I woke up and heard the rain against the roof, and saw the gray sky, but the soft noise of the rain wouldn't let me wake up. I reached out to James and placed my hand on his stomach and went back to sleep. I woke again, and felt the eyes of someone starring at me.
"Good morning sleepy head."
"How long have you been starring at me?" I asked.
"For a while."
"I kept waking up, but I could hear the rain falling, guess I went back to sleep," I said closing my eyes again.
"Did you sleep well?"
"I guess so," I said struggling to open my eyes again. "Had a bunch of crazy dreams."
"What were they about?"
"Don't know. I can't remember them now. What about you? How did you sleep?"
"Great. I slept really good." James brushed my hair out of my face. I suddenly realized where my hand was. I remembered placing it on his stomach, but he must have moved, now my hand was down further, like on his shorts. I wasn't touching something I shouldn't, and even though I was curious, my hand was down too far, and I put the back of my hand back up to his stomach and closed my eyes again. I wonder if he knew where my hand was. I felt him breath in and out. It was very peaceful at that moment, for my heart was at rest, and the boy I was falling in love with was right next to me, and I was next to him. I wanted more, and in my mind, I wanted to be brave, to reach out to him in ways I had only dreamed of, but my mind wasn't in control at the moment. My heart was in control, and it told me another story. There deep inside at that moment was a peace, quietness, but more than anything, patience. It seemed as though one day, one day soon, all that I longed for, all that I was dreaming of, would come true. If the right time came, if it felt right to me, I thought, maybe today, but I wanted it to be special too. I wasn't looking for something quick, I wanted to remember everything, and I wanted that memory to be something I would treasure the rest of my life. He ran his hand through my hair, and I began to see that I should no longer be anxious, and to let events unfold as they should.
"Are you hungry?" he asked. I opened my eyes again. I still felt tired.
"I guess so. It's still too early."
"It's later than you think."
"Why what time is it."
"Really. I never sleep that late."
"I'm going to get started on breakfast," he said, "you go back to sleep." He moved over next to me and gave me a big hug. I was still half a sleep but welcomed his hug for the morning. I guess if everyone started their day with a hug, the world would be a better place. James was moving to get up, but moving slow.
"Hard to get up isn't it."
"You got that right. I can't believe how sore and stiff I am." Slowly he got up. Once on his feet, he moved with a deliberate awkwardness, not the way I was accustom to seeing him move. I on the other hand wasn't moving at all. The rain sound on the roof was more than I could take, as my mind wondered and I felt myself drifting away. When I woke again, my eyes didn't open, and I stirred slightly, then felt this hand going through my hair. I tried to open my eyes and got a glimpse of James sitting there in bed, drinking coffee. My eyes went back shut again. He continued to run his hand through my hair. I had to get closer to him, and rolled over finding his leg. I lay on my side with my head on his thigh, placed my arm around his legs. I needed to get up, but liked where I was and didn't move.
"Are you waking up yet?"
"I'm trying to, but want to be near you right now."
He didn't say anything, but I felt him smiling at me. He sipped his coffee a second, and then continued to run his hands through my hair. "I was waiting on you to wake up, before I started the eggs."
"I'll be up in a minute."
"You just lay there and rest." No wonder I liked him so much, he was so sweet. I turned a little on my stomach and placed one arm around the outside of his leg, the other around his hip, and then squeezed him as hard as I could. I sat up, and opened my eyes.
"Still raining," I said.
"Sure is. You going to get up?"
"I'm up." I crawled over him and was on my feet, looking at him.
"Do you need help getting up?" I said.
"I can make it," he said, as he set his coffee down. I offered out my hand, not knowing if I could pull him up or not. He always pulled me up with no trouble. Once I had a firm grip, I placed my other hand on his, and took a step backwards. He looked surprised that I pulled him up.
"You did it."
"Not as easily as you but yeah, I pulled you up. Used my legs, the only muscles I have in my body."
"Not true," he said. I turned to walk out to the kitchen. James grabbed me from behind and put his arms around my chest. I liked him being so close to me.
"Here, you have plenty of strong muscles here." He was rubbing my chest with his hands. I felt his hot breath on my neck. Shivers ran up my arms, and down my spine. I nearly gasped for breath, but then I couldn't breath, couldn't move. It was starting to turn me on, the way he was holding me. His strong hands feeling my chest, his whole front side pressed up tight against my backside. He held me there, as I reached back with my arms but all I could grab was his legs. I felt myself melting into him, bonding with him, becoming one with him. He had his face there against my shoulder and neck.
"What do you want to do today," he said.
"Um...I don't care," I said out of breath. It was all I could say, I couldn't think, then I felt my legs starting to shake, my bones dissolving away, and all that was left was flesh and a big pounding heart. Just him breathing on my neck made me fall back into him even more, becoming more a part of him. I was losing myself in him, and had this feeling of wanting to belong to him. It wasn't him and me anymore, it was us now. Just when I couldn't take it any longer he squeezed me tight then released me. I turned my head to look back, and I saw him getting his coffee. I was embarrassed about my situation, and hurried out toward the kitchen. I quickly sat down at the counter and faced toward the kitchen. I enjoyed him holding me, I liked that feeling, and hoped he would do it again, but it bothered me too. I didn't know why I was so turned on by his presences, he was just holding me, he had done that before, but something had changed inside me, something that was difficult getting use to. Had our positions been switched, me standing behind him, he would have felt me, he would know something about me, something I wanted him to know, just didn't want to let him know like that. I wanted it to be special for both of us. James walked by and picked up the bowl with the eggs and began to beat them. I watched him, as the excitement that had stirred within me, began to settle down. He was beating the eggs, then stopped to add some spices, and milk.
"Being on the road is an adventure," he said. It's exciting in a way to see new things, new people and places. If only I could come back here and see you, every night, then it would be perfect."
"I know what ya mean. That note you left the other day, it was...well... I just hate it when you're not here." Why did he bring that up? "You're not leaving again?" He stopped what he was doing and set the bowl down. He looked at me with the saddest eyes I've ever seen. He walked around the counter, up to where I was sitting, still facing the counter, and he put his arms around my chest, and rested his chin on top of my head. I felt him take a giant breath and release it.
"I'm going to be gone most of next week." I said nothing. What was there to say? My heart felt heavy, and sank. I suddenly felt low, as if all the energy inside me was gone. "I'm going to miss you," he said.
"I know, I'm going to miss too."
"We just have to make the most of this day. Lets try to have some fun," but he said it in a sort of begging tone.
He let go of me, then spun my chair around so we were now face to face. He placed his hands on top of my shoulders, and looked me in the eye.
"It won't be that long, just a few days. I'll be back before you know it." I thought to myself no, it's going to be forever. I remained silent, still looking into his eyes. What was he trying to say to me, with those eyes? His look was soft, warm, and caring. For a moment I thought he was going to kiss me. What if he did? I would probably kiss him back. No, I know I would kiss him back. Please do it! I felt my breathing speed up, felt my yearning for him. Please just kiss me now! I was begging him to, but he didn't hear me. How could he not hear me? My thoughts were so strong, like I was yelling to myself, yelling at him, just kiss me, please. I want you now! He released me and stood there for a moment. "You can smile now." I was thinking too much about the future, a future with him. Then he reached out quickly with both hands and went for my sides. He started to tickle me and I immediately started to giggle. "I didn't know you were so ticklish." He was making me laugh uncontrollably, and I tried to get him back and acted like I was pushing him away but didn't put much effort into that. He stopped tickling me, took another look at me, and reached around my shoulders to hug me. I came part way out of the seat, sitting on the edge and wrapped my arms around him. I placed my ear up to his chest and drew him closer to me, with my arms now around his hips and at the bottom of his spine. I squeezed him for a minute and he squeezed back. He let go and stood back a moment. He was smiling and I was smiling. "There that's better."
"You fixed me," I said.
"Guess I did." He went back to the kitchen to work on the eggs some more. I couldn't help but think of the way he made me feel. He could have kissed me, should have done it, but being close to him meant so much to me, and if that was all I could have, then it would have to do. I loved him, I knew that, those thoughts were consuming me, turning my mind into Jell-O. Maybe today I would show him, tell him just how much I loved him. I watched as he poured the eggs into the pan, then began to stir them. He smiled at me and I smiled back.
"Looks like breakfast will be ready in a few minutes," I said.
"About five," he said.
"I'll be back soon." I picked out some old clothes to wear and took them to the bathroom with me. I finished getting dressed, brushed my hair and came out ready to eat. James was just putting the eggs on our plates as I arrived.
"Looks good," I said, as I sat down. I got some bacon on my plate, then drank some orange juice. I took a few bites, enjoying my food. "Thanks for making breakfast James, this is really good."
"Your welcome." He looked back down and continued eating. For a boy, he sure was a good cook. I liked him, liked him being there, and now there were new things happening to me. I wondered if my body was always going to react to him the way it did, when he held me in the bedroom. Does this mean I'm gay? I don't' want to be gay, but how could I fight it. I can't make it go away, can't make my wanting to kiss him, go away. When would I finally kiss him? The problem was, he would have to want to kiss me too, but how would I know? Why won't he tell me? Can't he see it in my eyes?
"Aren't you hungry?
"Sorry," I said and continued eating. I finished every bit of it, and cleaned up my plate. I took my plate to the sink and washed it off.
"Thanks for breakfast James."
"Glad you liked it."
"What are we going to do today?" I asked.
"First lets go by and get your mom's crook pot, then we'll go to the grocery store."
"I'm game for that," I said.
"When is this rain going to quit?" James asked as I turned out onto the highway.
"Don't know. Hasn't stopped since yesterdays thunderstorm." I looked over at him and he smiled, as I thought about yesterday, how I almost kissed him, but I couldn't tell him that. Not that way, I would tell him that I loved him, then I would kiss him. That's what I was hoping for anyway. "Thanks again for being with me yesterday during that storm. You just don't know how much you helped me."
"You would have done the same for me Shawn."
"I suppose your right. But you're the one without fear, not me."
"There is plenty of stuff that I fear."
"Like what?" I looked over a second, saw him looking at the countryside, as it whizzed by.
"You know, stuff." He didn't seem to want to disclose his fears to me, and that was all right. I didn't have to know, didn't want to know. I preferred to think of him as being strong and brave. He was there for me. Well almost always there. I was disappointed seeing his note on last Thursday, and knew I had better get accustom to him not being there. The miles were zooming by, and my mind was drifting aimlessly, thinking about next week. How much different it would be there without him. Before I knew we were at my parents house. I pulled in but one of their cars were gone. We both got out and walked around to the back door. I could see Teddy waging his tail inside the house.
"Look there is a note in the door," James said as he went to retrieve it. "Sorry we missed you. We are at Church. The crook pot is on the kitchen counter. Hope you make something good. Love Mom." Teddy was just a bundle of energy, all fur, and tail, as James made friends with him again. Then it was my turn, and Teddy, licked me in the face, while James went to the counter.
"This one is bigger than the ones I've used before." James said picking up the crook pot.
"Can't wait to taste your stew," I said licking my lips, and then Teddy liked me too.
"My stew? We are going to make this together."
"Your right," I said, petting Teddy on the head one last time and locking the door behind us. It was just a few blocks away to the store and we bought tons of stuff. James picked up things that I hadn't much thought of getting before, but there were reasons, like the fact that he cooked so well. I pushed the cart around and we managed to fill it up, over the top. When we got home, we had a hard time finding a place for all the food we bought. I was trying to find a place to put the potatoes.
"James where should I put these?"
"Just leave them out for now. They are going in the stew."
"That's right. I forgot already."
"You know how to wash and peal potatoes?"
"Sorry, never done it before."
"That's okay Shawn, I'll show you. Got a potato peeler?"
"I think so." I grabbed what appeared to be one out of the drawer. I handed it to James.
"Okay, first wash the potato off in cold water then peel the skin like this. Use this thing on the end to get out the eyes and any other brown spots you see. I'll finish putting everything away." I started on my task and finished the first one. I held it up for James to look at. He smiled then told me to cut it into pieces and put them in a bowl. I proceeded until the bowl was nearly full. James had finished putting everything away and was washing out the crook pot. He took the bowl of potatoes and put them in the pot. James had me do the same with the carrots, then I cut up the beef into bite size pieces, and also added corn and tomato sauce. He was busy with onions, peppers and spices. Then it was my job to stir till everything till it was mixed up, and put the lid on. It felt like an accomplishment to me, to be a part of such a creation.
"Now what do we do?"
"We wait till it's done. That will be early this afternoon," he said.
"What else can we do?"
"I know you don't have a dryer, and it is raining, but I need some clothes for next week. Mind taking a trip to the Laundromat with me?"
"Not at all, I've got some wash of my own to do." We arrived at the Laundromat to find the place nearly empty, so we got our wash started and waited.
"Kind of boring here, isn't it," I said.
"Hey, I got a good idea," James said.
"While the clothes are washing lets go look at some cds."
"That would be cool." Each time I picked up a new cd, I put it back. I wanted to buy a few of them, but I thought I would save my money and buy James something instead. Something that he would like, something special for him, and a cd wouldn't do. Once back at the Laundromat there was a nice looking girl loading up a washer inside. I couldn't help but notice her, James did too. Our wash was done, so we loaded up two dryers. I finished first, walked over to the window to look outside. I turned back around to see the girl looking at James. She was pretty, just a few years older than us, dressed in jeans and a tee shirt. She was looking hard at James, and I didn't want to embarrass her so I turned back around to the window. James came up beside me.
"You have a secret admirer," I said quietly to him.
"I know, I felt like she was looking at me."
"She was doing more than looking, she was staring you down."
"Yeah man. She looks pretty good herself."
"Got that right," he said.
"Why don't you go talk to her?"
"I couldn't do that."
"And why not."
"Just can't." She had long brown hair, dark eyes, almost seductive, and her clothes were tight against her body.
"Lets go outside for a minute," I said, as I walked to the door, holding it for him. You would have thought I was his mother grabbing him by his ear, like he was about to get scolded. He moved slowly to the door and went out, me right behind. There was an awning over the shops where we were so standing, and so we stayed dry as it continued to rain. It was noticeably cooler outside, and I was regretting how light I had dressed for the day. It was summer and suppose to be warm, but the air had a damp and cool feeling to it.
"What's the matter James?"
"Then why aren't you going to talk to her?"
"Just don't want to," he said, and I felt rather relieved inside, hearing him say those words, because I wanted him, and I didn't want to share him with anybody. The ideas I had, of wanting to kiss a boy, were new ideas, and I wasn't sure how to go about it. I didn't need some girl in his life to complicate things, because it was suppose to be us, just the two of us, nobody else. That's what I wanted, but if a girl would make him happy, then I would have to live with that somehow.
"She is pretty you know." I looked back inside a minute. She looked quickly away, but had been looking at James. "In fact she was just looking at you again."
"Me! She could have been looking at you Shawn."
"I doubt it. You're the one with the great body."
"There's nothing wrong with yours."
"Maybe so, but you have a lot more right with yours," I said. He did have a great body, and I was imagining him without any clothes on. I had seen most of his body already, but there were things I hadn't seen yet, things I was curious about, and I started wondering what it would be like to be with a boy, how he would feel, his skin against mine.
He looked at me, didn't say anything, just looked at me. I was secretly hoping he didn't want anything to do with her, but it would have to be his decision. He was going to have to like me for what I was, and I was a boy, just like him. I was getting accustom to the idea, it even thrilled me. I watched him standing there, looking off into the distance, his mind bright, his face perfect in everyway. Under his gray sweatshirt was his skin, tan, dark, soft to the touch, yet his muscles were hard, and pleasing to look at. I liked looking at him, and I felt my self breathing harder, longing for him, wishing I could reach out and touch him. I also felt sadness within me, telling me not to get my hopes up too high. My eyes started to water, but I didn't cry. I only felt love for him, a growing desire deep inside my soul.
"You need to get back inside." He rubbed my arm with his hand. "You have goose bumps." He then turned to open the door and we went back inside. As we entered I swore she was looking at James again. We waited until our clothes were dry and then headed back home. As I walked in the door the beef stew hit me.
"James, I don't know if I can wait any longer."
"Smells good don't it."
"Can we at least taste it?"
"That's part of cooking. We are required to taste it."
"If you say so," I said in a disappointed tone, but I wasn't disappointed at all. He went and pulled out a big spoon and handed it to me, while lifting the lid up. The steam that hit me smelled fresh, all of the ingredients coming alive. I scooped out a spoonful and let it cool before tasting it.
"This is awesome. I can't believe we made this. I mean you made this."
"You were right the first time," he said as he took a spoonful out and let it cool. He tasted it, and thought for a moment. "What do you think it needs?" He took another taste of it, and then handed me the spoon again. I took a taste and thought a moment.
"Seems like it needs salt or something."
"That's good Shawn. I thought the same thing. Let's try adding a little salt, some garlic salt, and some garlic powder." He added those things, with some soy sauce and a few other spices. Then he stirred it and replaced the lid.
"Can we eat soon?" I asked.
"Let's give it another 30 minutes or so. We can play a round of gin, then eat," he said winking at me. I thought about trying to lose the game, just so we could eat sooner, but when I looked at my cards, I changed my mind, thinking I could beat the pants off him in no time. Um, how I would like to see that. He ended up winning the game and I got us some water to drink, and James turned to me saying, "I'll get us our stew, you just go sit down." I nodded my head, and sat down. He got out some bowls and spoons for us. Then he dished out our stew and brought me a bowl, then got his own and sat down. He was good to me, took care of me, and made me happy.
"How's yours?" He asked.
"This is so good. I think this is your best creation yet."
"We both made it, remember."
"Well okay. I helped, but you made it taste good."
"You know," he said taking another spoonful, "it's even better if it cooks longer."
"Yeah, but it smells so good, I don't think I could wait all day."
We kept eating. The spices had cooked their way into everything. It was really good. We both had second helpings, and James had another after that. We put the leftover in containers for later. Afterwards we both went to lie down on separate couches and watched TV. I was so full, and didn't want anything pressing up against my stomach. Apparently James felt the same way. I lay there for a while and noticed it had stopped raining. I got up, looked out the window.
"I'm going to go out for a walk, how about you?"
"You go ahead I can't move," he said.
"That's okay, you stay here. I shouldn't be too long." I made my way down the drive and to the highway, wishing James had come along. I turned to the right and felt the whizzing of cars as they went by. Not much of a place to walk, but there really wasn't another direction to go, except maybe the woods. I walked past our neighbor's house and approached a row of trees. Then I noticed an old farm path down along the row of trees. It started there at the highway, hidden by the trees, then the path went way back to the woods, so I decided to take it. The path continued into the woods and then opened back up to a field. Apparently the farmer across the road still used this field. The field had beans growing in it, row after row it seemed to go on forever. The path continued along the edge of the field and I followed. I looked across the field. Not real wide, but very long. In fact it appeared to go into a small bottom area, then back up, and over a hill out of sight. The path kept going forever, and I followed. The sky was very gray, blank, without shape or form, and my mind was going there too. The farther I went down the path, the more I was surrounded by the gray peace. The path seemed to have no ending, and so did the blank gray feeling inside me. I kept walking, without paying much attention to any one thing. It was me, the path, and the gray. No thoughts, or emotions only gray. I walked a long way until the field came to an end, but the path continued. I followed another half mile or so to a lake. Much the same size as my Uncles lake but it wasn't improved at all. Just a lake with a path that led around it, so I followed it. The path followed around as the lake as it meandered in and out following the shoreline. I came around to the dam, and thought it would be a good place to turn around. Back around the lake, then through the woods to the field. I walked down the path next to the long field. It seemed to be endless and I wished James would have come with me, maybe, just maybe the right time would have come, the time I was waiting for. Eventually I got to the woods line, then through the stretch of woods until I reached our neighbors back yard. Instead of going up to the highway, I walked along the edge of the woods, through our neighbors yard till I reached our yard. There was James sitting out on the deck. He waved to me and I waved back. I walked across grass and up the stairs to find James waiting on me.
"I was starting to get worried about you."
"Sorry. Guess I lost track of time." Truth was I lost track of everything. It was a great escape for me.
"Where did you go?"
"I started down the Highway and saw this old farm path and decided to follow it. See way over on the other side of our neighbors house, next to that row of trees."
"I can see trees over there, but I can't make out a path."
"It's over there. It goes into the woods, then after about a quarter of mile it comes out to a field. An endless field with an endless path. I followed it until it got to a lake and then came back."
"Must be a long way. Do you know how long you were gone?"
"Sorry." I hung my head. "I'm sorry James."
He came up and hugged me. "I'm just glad you're okay."
"I'm sorry James."
"It's okay, everything is fine now. I was just worried about you."
"I know I told you I wouldn't be long, but I guess I was. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you worry."
"It's okay bud." He held me for a minute, held me tight against him, and I felt his body all of it, and I couldn't help but notice how good he felt there in my arms. He let go of me and brushed back my hair, and I saw a look in his eyes, it wasn't the look I had seen before, it wasn't what I wanted to see. He was disappointed, sad about something, then he said, "My boss called while you were gone. He wants to get an early start on Monday, and said he would come by here to pick me up in a little while."
"No, you can't leave," I said, and closed my fist into a ball. "You can't."
"I'm sorry, Mike said it would be better to travel this afternoon." I looked down, I couldn't look up, couldn't bear to see him, not if he was leaving.
"I want to stay here with you, but it's a four hour trip there, and he said he wants to be there first thing in the morning, so he can meet the guy we're working for." I stood there, closed my eyes, and I felt James come up and hug me, put his arms around me and hold me. I felt a deep sadness within me, as I put my arms around him, holding him like it would be the last time. I had hoped for this to be the perfect day, the day we could be together, and I felt myself swallow hard, trying hard not to cry. This wasn't the way it was suppose to go today, this wasn't what I wanted. I wanted him, I wanted to be with him, and now he was going away. Before I could say anything more, before I had a chance to think another thought, I heard the sound of tires on gravel. He pulled away for a second, looked at me deeply, and said, "I have to go now." Before I could say anything, before I had a chance to react, he got his bag from just inside the door, and gave me one last hug. "Bye Shawn, you take care of yourself."
"Bye," I said, and that was all I could get out, and gave his hands one last squeeze. I watched him walk down the steps, towards his boss's truck, and they drove away. What I had pictured in my mind, images of us being together disappeared. Fate had taken away that chance, but maybe it was suppose to be that way. Maybe it was a sign, telling me it just wasn't meant to be.
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