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Beyond Salvation

by Mark Peters

Chapter 15

Before we left the tattoo parlour I found out something about Dallas that I hadn't known before. He couldn't handle the sight of blood very well, especially when it was oozing slowly from the two holes left in the skin of my penis, following the removal of the first piece of metal.

There wasn't very much. Just a few drops really, about the same as what had earlier oozed out of my nipple, but he didn't handle it very well after Justin had removed that first piece. That was when it was gently suggested he wait outside while we finished up, lest he might pass out altogether.

Ten minutes later, after Justin and I had finished up and the six neat holes along the underside of my cock had been covered with sticking plaster, I found Dallas sitting in the shop area flicking through a book filled with tattoo images. I went and sat down beside him.

'You okay?' I asked, as I placed a hand on his knee.

'Yeah. I'm good. It was just a bit full on. What about you?'

'Covered in band-aids, but it's all good. It'll be fine by tomorrow.'

'Fuck… I could never understand why people get pierced like that. Why did you?'

'I was being a rebel. Getting the piercings was about the most outrageous thing I could think of at the time that wasn't, I don't know, permanent. It could have been worse… I could have got a tattoo like that one plastered across my chest,' I said, as I pointed to the open book in front of him where an evil looking Grim Reaper was staring back out at us.

'Your mum would have loved that!'


'But I found one that I do like,' he added.


He flicked back to the start of the book then turned a couple of pages, before pointing at an image.

'I was thinking, just a very small one for each of us, right here,' he said, then pointed to the spot where the top of his leg joined his pelvis. A spot about half way between his cock and the point of his hip. 'It would always be covered,' he added, 'unless of course, we were naked, and then it would only be each other who would see it or know it was there.'

I looked at him wide-eyed. 'You're fucking serious, aren't you?'

'Well, it's something that we shared not too long ago, isn't it? It'll remind us of what brought us back together.'

I looked back at the image. Yes, he was certainly right about all of that. The image was of a helicopter of all things. The very means by which we had been rescued from out beyond Salvation.

'Well?' he asked.

'Fuck yeah. Count me in. It's perfect,' I said, before throwing my arms around him and then kissing him on the cheek.

It was just at that moment when Justin came through the doorway from the back rooms and saw us kissing.

'You lads okay there?' he asked, a bemused expression on his face.

'Yeah. We have another job for you. Maybe next week?'

'Now what?'

Dallas got up and hobbled over to the reception counter with the sample book, and with me beside him.

'Can you do a small version of this on both of us?' he asked.

'How small? And where?'

'Oh, only about an inch across, and right here,' Dallas answered, while pointing to the spot near his hip.

'Something personal and discreet, eh?'

'Yeah, it has meaning for both of us, but we don't want to flaunt it, if you know what I mean.'

'Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. You would be surprised at what some people want and where they want it. And yes, I can do it exactly as you asked. Just let me know when, okay?'

'Same time next week?' I suggested. 'Oh, and the colours need to be red and yellow please.'

'You mean like the how the rescue helicopter has been painted?'

'You've nailed it!'

'Consider it done,' Justin replied. 'I'll see you then, and I'll have your pieces all sterilised and ready to go then as well.'

'Thanks, Justin. You're the best,' I said, as I hugged him.

'Maybe not the best, but the best in this town anyway! I'll see you next week.'

After leaving Justin we were walking along the row of shops when we came to a coffee shop, with tables set up on the footpath and shaded by large umbrellas.

'I'm starving,' Dallas said. 'How about a coffee and something to eat?'

'You paying?'

'Of course,' he answered. 'What'll you have?'

After sitting at one of the empty tables and taking a look at the menu sitting on it I told him what I wanted, then he went and ordered for us, before returning to the table.

'I have to admit that you really surprised me back there,' I said to him.

'Why's that? Because I almost passed out? Or because of the tat?'

'Both actually,' I said with a laugh.

'Well, I can't help the first one. I've been like it all my life to be honest. As for the second one… maybe you're just a bad influence on me. God only knows what sort of a hoodlum I'll end up as.'

'Hoodlum? What the fuck are you insinuating?' I said. And I couldn't help but grin at him as I did so.

'Don't take it so hard. I always wanted me a bad boy,' he replied. 'And it looks like I've finally found him.'

'I know who'll be taking it hard soon.'

'I hope that'll be both of us?' he responded.

'Damn straight.'

Just then we heard his phone beep, as a text message came through. Dallas picked it up and looked at the screen, seeing the ID of the sender, then after pressing the button to read the message I saw him frown.

'What is it?' I asked him, but he simply shook his head.

'It's nothing.'

'It doesn't look like nothing. You look like you're about to blow a fuse.'

Knowing he wasn't going to put me off he sighed, then opened his phone and passed it over to me. I soon saw who the last message was from. Timmy Baker.

Clicking on the message it then opened up. Now it was my turn to almost blow a fuse.

< Enjoying your date with your favourite cocksucker? >

Before I could even think, however, my own phone pinged and a message came through. I quickly checked it.

< Keep ur grubby hands off D, faggot. We're watching you. >

I didn't have Timmy on my contacts list, so there was just a number attached. A quick check of the details on Dallas' contacts though, soon confirmed that it came from the same number.

'That cunt!' Dallas said quietly, before standing up and looking around the car park, trying to see if he could spot Baker anywhere nearby. 'He's going to die!'

'Just calm down,' I tried telling him. 'He's not worth it.'

'He won't be worth shit when I get my hands on him.'

'Dallas, don't let him get to you. He's just trying to bait you… trying to get you to react somehow,' I said. 'His problems are that he's pissed with me because I'm back on the scene. And he's probably pissed with you because you're not siding with him and putting the faggot in his place.'

He looked down at me, still looking pissed, but when I smiled at him his expression seemed to soften.

'And you're okay with that?' he asked as he sat back down.

'Fuck no. I want that prick put in his place just as much as you do, before this little power trip goes too far.'

'Go on,' he said, as a waitress brought out our order and placed it on the table between us.

I spooned some sugar into the coffee mug in front of me as I thought for a moment just how I should go on. Dallas did the same and we each took a moment.

'Before you came back to school I talked to Hollywood about just this kind of scenario playing out,' I offered. 'He likened it to the law of the jungle.'

'The what?'

'It's all about someone being a leader of the pack, which at the moment is you. But, should the leader get called out by one of his underlings for any reason, such as over something like supporting a weakling -- that's me by the way -- Hollywood thinks that most of the pack would still follow the leader initially. But then if the others also see that the leader is growing weak in their eyes, then that support might shift to the challenger. Am I making sense?'

'So this is what? Baker throwing out a challenge, and if I don't take some kind of action against you, and put things back as they were, then the whole gang will support him and not me, and I'll be the one on the outer? And Baker will be the new king?'

'Yeah, something like that.'

'Fuck. When did you get to be so smart?'

'Well, I've spent a lot of time in the library these past few years,' I replied.

For a few moments we sipped our coffees and ate some cake as each of us contemplated what we had just discussed.

Eventually Dallas looked across the table at me and said, 'I could always just whoop his ass and be done with it.'

'Hollywood reckons you'd be able to do that on crutches and with one arm tied behind your back, but is it worth the risk?'

'So I guess that means we need to change the game somehow so Baker doesn't ascend to the throne.'

'Assuming you actually still want to be the leader of the pack.'

'No, I don't really want that… I've never really seen myself as being like that, but I sure as hell don't want Timmy Baker to be head honcho either. Whatever we do, we need to make sure that Timmy Baker gets left out in the cold.'

'Looks like we'll have to do some thinking about this one then.'

'Yeah,' was all the reply that I received.

There was no sign of Timmy when we left the coffee shop, but that didn't mean that he wasn't there in the car park still watching us. As we walked to the car we were both conscious of the fact that any sort of contact between us could be misconstrued in the minds of those who had been watching, so we kept a healthy distance. We needed to think before taking any action.

Once we were in the car Dallas sat there for a moment, before eventually saying, 'I could always just come out at school. That'd pull the rug out from under him.'

'And probably you as well.'

'How do you mean?'

'If you did that without having some kind of support group behind you then that would just hand Timmy the crown, so to speak.'

'So what then? If we're going to be honest with each other, if I'm going to actually be myself, then I don't want to stay in the closet. I don't want either of us to be the dirty little secret of the other. I want to be able to hold your hand. I want people to know we are together. I thought that having people know about us would scare the shit out of me, but I managed okay when we held hands in front of Hollywood the other day, and when you introduced me as your boyfriend today, I actually felt proud to be called that, so maybe it's time?'

'And I'm proud to have you as my boyfriend,' I said. 'But let's just sit tight for now. We can talk to Merry and Pete on Monday and see if they have any suggestions.'

I started the car and pulled out of the parking space, then out onto the road.

'Are you okay if we swing by my place?' I asked. 'I better check in with the folks, and I'm sure they would love to see you.'

'Whatever you want, babe.'

I looked across and grinned at him.


'I just love it when you call me that.'

When we made it back to my house and entered through the back door as we always did, it was as if we had suddenly stepped into a whirlwind, as my parents fussed and exclaimed, firstly over my new appearance, but then over Dallas.

I hadn't seen my parents since leaving the house early yesterday morning, so they had yet to see my transformation, but I suspected that they would have been given some warning from their discussions with Dallas' mother.

'So this is what was so important that you had to rush off early yesterday?' my mother asked.

'Yes. I guess it was time to change things up a little,' I answered.

'A little?' my father added, with a laugh. 'I'd say you've changed things dramatically, JJ.'

'It's all Dallas' fault. He convinced me.'

'Well, it looks like your new friendship is already having a positive influence on you.'

'It's more than just a friendship, dad.'

'Yes, son. I know that,' he said, placing a hand on my shoulder as he did so.

Just as I had expected, my parents were delighted to see Dallas again, showing great concern for him over his injuries and with how his father had treated him, but also sharing with him how happy they were that the two of us had worked things out and that he was having a positive influence on me.

If only they'd known how positive he had been last night in bed.

Over lunch the discussion seemed to venture into our past, and in particular my past. My mother mentioned that they had long suspected that I might be gay, especially following the big bust up between Dallas and me, but despite this our parents had still hoped that we would mend our relationship. None of them had expected things to go this far, however, with the two of us now together like this, especially given Dallas' original, very strong rejection of me and anything that could be considered gay.

'I knew back then that I had these feelings for JJ,' he responded, 'but I guess they were outweighed by everything I'd been told, everything that was being forced upon me, by not only my dad but also just about everyone else around me. Being gay was a sin. Being gay was disgusting. Gay people were perverts. You name it, I was fed it. I was constantly being told that all that kind of stuff was wrong, and I guess I believed it.'

'And now?' my father ventured to ask.

Dallas simply smiled and said, 'Love is love. But it took JJ to show me that.'

'Well, we are pleased that he did,' mum remarked. 'The road ahead is not going to be totally smooth for you boys, but the two of you definitely belong together. You deserve your chance.'

'Thank you. And yes, I know you're right there,' Dallas replied, before reaching across and taking my hand.

'And what about your friends? Are any of them aware of what is going on between you?' my father asked.

'Only Pete and Merry on my side,' I replied. 'And Hollywood… that's errr, Mr Harris… at school.'

'And on your side, Dallas?'

'Not a chance,' he replied. 'There's no way we could come out to them, they would eat us both alive, friends or not. We do suspect that one of my friends may already have an idea that something is happening though… and he has already had a bit of a go at us, so it's possible that may lead to us having some issues. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.'

'And what if the two of you do have issues with this friend? What then?' asked mum.

'I really don't know,' Dallas said with a sigh. 'We had hoped we could keep it quiet and just get to the end of the school year, then see what happens after that. But if some of my friends suspect something is up then it looks like we may have to rethink things.'

'Can the teachers help?' asked mum.

'Hollywood said they would support us, yes. But whether that will really happen, or if anyone else at the school will do so, is anyone's guess,' I said.

'Well, you two just be careful,' mum said.

'That's exactly what mum said this morning,' Dallas replied.

'I'm not surprised… we have been having a few chats about the two of you and we are all on the same page. We just wanted to make sure that you two are with us.'

Dallas and I glanced at each other, not quite sure what was coming.

'While we all support the two of you one hundred percent,' my father continued, 'you are both still only seventeen… so at least for the time being we think some ground rules are in order, until you both turn eighteen and have finished school.'

Once again we both exchanged glances.

'But…' I managed to say, before my father held up a hand to stop me there.

'Just hear us out, JJ. We're not trying to put controls on you. You're both over the age of consent, so you have no issues there, but we just want you both to be sensible about this whole situation, okay? And we need you to respect our wishes, especially while you are both still at school, both still under the age of eighteen and we, being your parents, are still responsible for you.'

'Okay, I guess.'

Dallas grinned at me, and held my hand just that little bit tighter.

'All we're asking is that you be responsible. Sleepovers are okay… at both homes, but just until the end of this current school year we want you to restrict these to Fridays and Saturdays… no school nights. When schools out, well, I guess you'll probably be making your own rules about sleepovers… within reason, of course.'

'Okay then.'

'And we would appreciate it if there is no flaunting of your relationship in front of anyone. Simple holding of hands, cuddling, and some limited kissing perhaps, that's all fine by us, but if you are going to take things any further, then that happens behind closed doors. Got it?'

'Got it,' Dallas replied, as I suddenly felt my face burning up with embarrassment, which was rather odd when you consider the many boundaries I had been pushing these last few years with my parents.

'And you will both still need to do whatever chores you currently do, and help out wherever asked. You'll still have plenty of time to see your friends or do whatever it is that you teenagers do these days, so it's not the end of the world. Agreed?'

'Yes,' I replied, before dad turned his attention to Dallas.

'Of course, Mr Jackson,' Dallas added.

'Well then, that wasn't too bad now, was it? All we're trying to do is keep you boys grounded, keep things as normal as possible and not let you get ahead of yourselves. You know we love you both and the last thing we want is for your worlds to come crashing down, so just remember we're here for you… for both of you. Now why don't you boys go and enjoy the rest of your weekend. I guess we'll see you home sometime tomorrow, Joel?'

'Yes, sir,' I replied, before getting to my feet in something of a daze, with Dallas doing the same.

Dallas' hand found mine once more and we headed for my bedroom. I just wanted to throw a few clothes and things in an overnight bag to take back with me to Dallas' house. Instead we soon found ourselves sitting on my bed and whispering to each other, 'What the fuck just happened?'

Dallas was quiet for a few minutes, as I sat looking at him, trying to figure out what was going on inside his head. Eventually he looked my way and then smiled.

'I guess it's official now,' he said.

'What's that?'

'Well, if we didn't already know it, we now have their blessing. You and me. As a couple. Since the other night when I asked mum to bring me around here, had you spoken to your parents about us?'

I shook my head. 'There hasn't been a time when we've had a chance to talk. I rushed off yesterday morning to get my haircut and this is the first chance I've had to come home.'

'Well, mum was cool with us last night, and they've obviously been talking, and now your folks have said the same thing… although with a few conditions attached.'

'I guess.'

'And I don't know about you, but the more I talk about this, the more accepting I'm becoming of this whole situation… of our relationship. Even up until last night I was scared of what it all meant…'

'And now?'

'And now, I know I love you. I know I'm going to love being loved by you, on all levels, and I know that our families are behind us all the way. That gives me… I don't know, confidence maybe. Not just in us, but in me, personally. And that's something I don't think I've ever had… at least, not when it comes to things so personal.'

'Is the rugby super-stud finally admitting to previously feeling some vulnerability?' I gently teased, bumping shoulders with him as I did so. 'We've all only ever thought of you being impervious to feelings.'

'Is that so?'

'Oh, yes. I used to admire the way you handled yourself at school, but you used to scare me a little the way you used to look at me. I could never tell what you were thinking about me. I thought you hated me, to be honest.'

'No, JJ. I've never hated you. I always sought you out because I was trying to look out for you, even if I didn't ever really show you that. There were times I defended you, trying to keep the others in check. When we were younger I was convinced that I was in love with you, until… that night. After that I was just confused. I guess I never really stopped loving you.'

When I looked into his eyes I could see they were damp. Tears were starting to form, and I know my own eyes were in exactly the same state.

I reached up and brushed a tear away, then I leaned in and kissed him.

'So, what happens after we turn eighteen?' I whispered.

'I think that's when we start making plans for the future,' Dallas replied. 'And I want you in mine.'

'Ditto,' I replied, then kissed him again. 'But first I think we're going to have to get through the next week.'

'Agreed,' he replied. 'And that could be a challenge in itself.'

We left my house a little while later and headed back to Dallas' place, which we found was empty, his mum having left a note on the kitchen bench to let us know she was out with some friends, and we had the house to ourselves.

'So what do you want to do now?' Dallas asked, a lopsided grin on his face.

'We were told to be careful,' I said to him.

'But sleepovers were okay,' he responded.

'Do you really want to just sleep?' I asked.

'Hell no. Well, not right now anyhow.'

'Yeah, that's what I thought you might say.'

He was leaning against the kitchen bench, half propped up with his crutch, so I stepped up close to him.

'I'm thinking we could fool around a little, then maybe sleep a little, then maybe we go to the movies later. What do you think?' I asked him.

Dallas reached forward and grabbed hold of my t-shirt, or his t-shirt I guess it was, then pulled me closer. Just before he kissed me, he said, 'I like the way you think, kid.'

Placing my arms around him I held him tight, nestling my face into the crook of his neck and breathing in the scent of him, which I never tired of. I felt his arms reach around me also, and for a few minutes we just stood there, holding each other, not wanting to let go.

I could have stayed like that forever, but there was something else that I needed to do.

Tilting my head back I said, 'C'mon, it's time for some lovin',' I said to him.

'Then lead on, Casanova! Let's take this inside,' he replied, before stepping aside and taking my hand. 'Let's go and pick things up from where we left off last night.'

'And just what are you expecting to happen today?'

'I'm sure you'll think of something that will make us both happy.'

When we reached his bedroom I closed the door after us, just to be on the safe side. Dallas raised his eyebrows at this, but said nothing.

'So, where were we?' I asked as I crossed the floor to him, pulling the t-shirt over my head as I went, before dropping it on the floor. He was standing with his back to the bed, watching me.

When I reached him I went straight to the hem of his own t-shirt, lifting with both hands and pulling it off him over his head, then tossing it aside as well. Placing my hands on his firm, well defined pecs I ran them over his flesh, tweaking his pert nipples as I went. A few hairs had recently appeared in the hollow between his pecs, with an odd one also sprouting around his nipples. Bringing my hands together I then trailed them down his abdomen, playing with his navel a little by inserting my thumbs and wriggling then around, before eventually following the faint treasure trail down into his shorts, dropping my hands to the waist band of his shorts and underwear, then in one swift action I pulled both garments down around his ankles, almost being poked in the eye by his rampant manhood as I did so.

What I really wanted to do was make love to him, fuck him gently and allow him to really enjoy the experience for the first time, but with my cock feeling the after effects of my visit to the tattoo parlour this morning, that wasn't going to happen today. Instead I took him in my mouth, all the way to the back of my throat and then out again, holding his hardness with one hand while the other snaked between his legs and found that most tender part that I had explored the night before.

I could hear him breathing heavily already. I could feel his legs trembling. Like last night I knew it wouldn't take long before he would explode, but I also knew that I needed to make it last, both for Dallas, and for me.

Allowing his cock to slip from my mouth I looked up at his face. He grinned down at me.

'Kneel down and lean over the bed for me,' I whispered. A curious expression came over him, but he complied. When he was in position, those firm globes of flesh looking oh, so inviting, I placed a hand on each and spread them apart slightly, revealing his pink rosebud, which seemed to be already quivering in anticipation of what was about to follow. Tentatively I leaned forward and nuzzled along his crack, taking in the scent of him, before allowing my tongue to reach out and touch his skin.

I heard a sharp intake of breath from Dallas, and saw him look back to see what I was doing.

'Holy fuck, you're…'

'Ssshhhh!' I said, as I delved a little deeper, licking around his hole, lathering it with spit, soon slurping at him as he moaned and groaned with pleasure.

With each probe of my tongue I could feel Dallas opening further and so I soon replaced my tongue with a finger, and then two, and before long there was three being thrust in and out of his body.

'Roll over,' I commanded, which he soon did, his cock slapping against his flat stomach. With one hand I took hold of him, bringing his cock upright and allowing me to slip my lips over the head once more, while with the other hand I continued to probe the depths of him. One finger. Two fingers. Three fingers.

I could hear his breath becoming ragged, and feel his legs trembling once more.

'Fuuuuck!' he groaned, his head moving from side to side. 'What are you do-i-nnn-ggg?'

Then before I knew it I felt his knob swell in my mouth, his shaft give a jump, and then he erupted, filling my mouth with shot after shot of his teen juices as he let out a strangled cry.

As I continued sucking on him I swallowed as best I could, but even then some escaped my mouth, trickling down over my hand and onto his shaft, then into his dark pubic hair. I let his cock slip from my lips, swallowed, then set about cleaning up that which had escaped, holding it in my mouth, before shimmying up to lay beside him, propped up on one elbow.

He grinned at me, as he sucked in some air, but before he could say anything I leaned forward and placed my lips over his, then probed his mouth with my tongue. Willingly he opened wide and the juices I was still holding flowed between us, pushed along by my writhing tongue.

'Hmmmm…' he moaned. I had no idea if he had tasted his own cum before this, but he seemed to be accepting of it.

When we eventually parted I leaned back slightly and studied him.

'How was that?' I whispered.

'Incredible,' he whispered back to me. 'Now what can I do for you?'

'After this morning, little JJ is a bit tender today,' I giggled. 'So right now I don't want anything other than for you to kiss me and hold me… but tomorrow, that's another story.'

For the remainder of the afternoon we slept, we cuddled, we kissed, and we slept some more. We weren't totally naked, leaving boxers or briefs on as we thought that would be prudent, just in case Dallas' mother returned. At some point late in the day I woke, though not sure what had woken me. I lay there listening for any sounds, but could only hear Dallas' breathing, but then I heard something come from inside the house, like the closing of a door.

Gently I extricated myself from Dallas' grasp and got up from the bed. Dallas moaned softly and rolled over, but didn't wake, so I quietly slipped out of his bedroom to investigate. Once again I found his mother in the kitchen, this time packing some items away into the cupboard. Several grocery bags sat on the bench.

'Oh, JJ. You're awake.'

'Yeah,' I replied.

'I knocked and there was no answer, so I looked in on the two of you. You looked so peaceful, I didn't want to wake you.'

'Thanks. We were just chilling out.'

'It's perfectly okay, JJ. I get it.'

I gave her a sheepish smile, then she came to me and hugged me.

'You're good for him. You know that don't you? He's not as…'

'Tense?' I suggested.

'Yeah, something like that.'

'He's good for me too. I don't know, it's like I can finally be myself around him.'

'And Dallas can be himself when you're around as well. You're good together, so no matter what anyone else tells you, no matter what shit gets thrown your way in life, always remember that, honey. Always.'

'I will. Thank you.'

With that she gave me a kiss on the cheek, before looking at my chest and noticing the sticking plaster over my right nipple.

'So, what happened here?' she asked, while brushing the back of her hand over the edge of my right pec.

I didn't get to answer her, however, as we suddenly heard from the doorway, 'Mum! Are you touching up my boyfriend?'

We both looked at Dallas in surprise and stepped back. He was grinning at us, then hobbled across the floor, no crutch in sight.

'I didn't think he'd be your type, ma.'

'Oh, and you think you know what my type is?' she scolded him.

'No. I have no idea actually. But I'm pretty sure it's not a seventeen-year-old twink.'

'And just what the hell is a twink?' she demanded to know.

'Maybe later, ma! Right now we need to get ready to go to the movies,' he said, before quickly kissing her on the cheek, taking my hand and then dragging me away.

When I looked back over my shoulder as we left the kitchen I could see her packing more groceries away, but she was smiling.

After a quick shower, during which Dallas made a careful inspection of my cock, after gently pulling off the sticking plasters, he then anxiously asked if little JJ would be good to go before I returned home tomorrow. I assured him that we would be good to go, and one way or another he was going to lose his virginity for real tomorrow.

'But I've already lost my virginity,' he told me. 'You remember Trish Evans don't you?'

'In Year Ten last year? Seriously? Okay then… how about your anal virginity? Or is there something else you haven't told me about yourself yet?'

He laughed, then holding both ends of his towel he swung it over my head, then used it to drag me forward.

'You'll be my first, and hopefully my last,' he said, before kissing me, gently at first, then with an increasing amount of intensity and passion. I didn't want to break away from him, but if we were going to make the six-thirty show we needed to move, so I gently pushed him back.

'How about we pick that up again later, big boy?' I suggested.

'Whatever you say, babe,' he answered, before then using his towel to start wiping me dry, like a parent drying their young child.

This was something new for me, and I kind of liked it, especially when he got to the parts between my legs. And it seemed little JJ liked it too, but that would have to wait.

When we emerged from Dallas' bedroom a little while later, freshened up and changed and ready for a night out, we found Dallas' mother in the living room watching television, a wine glass in her hand.

'We're heading off, ma,' he said. 'You okay?'

'Oh yes, honey. I'm fine. I'm just going to, what'd you boys call it? Chill out, for the evening,' she replied. 'You boys enjoy your night out.'

'Thanks, ma. We will,' Dallas said, then after he kissed her on the cheek we left.

It was only a short drive to the shopping centre where the movie theatre was located, and we were there with plenty of time to spare, even after finding a parking space and walking to the cinema.

Looking at the list of movies that were available there was an animated kid's pic, a lovey-dovey romance, an action movie and a comedy all showing. Something for everyone really.

We chose the comedy, because things had been serious enough of late, bought our tickets, drinks and something to eat – including the mandatory choc-top ice cream – then found a table in the cafeteria.

We were a little nervous about the possibility of running into anyone we knew from school, but so far the coast was clear. After sitting for a few minutes Dallas said that that he needed to go to the rest rooms, so I told him I would wait here for him, and watched as he shuffled off, crutch in hand.

As I am waiting I study the people in the foyer and those who are coming into the theatre, when I see two people I know from school enter the cinema, Alex Costas and Zack Mason. The last time I had seen them they were following me out of the school late yesterday afternoon.

Alex Costas, was in our grade at school and was captain of the senior soccer team, while Zack Mason, a couple of years younger, just happened to be the kid who had run interference for me in the school library a few weeks back, when Timmy and his mates were hunting me.

They spotted me almost as soon as they entered and after a quick conversation between them they headed my way.

'Hey, JJ. Mind if we join you for a minute?' Alex asked.

'Sure,' I replied, pointing at the spare chairs at the table I was sitting at. 'How are things?' I said, bumping fists with both of them as they sat down opposite me.

'Yeah, good thanks,' Alex replied.

They looked at each other and I could tell they were both nervous. Yeah, I was pretty sure what was coming.

'Yesterday,' Alex said. 'When we were all leaving school…'

Then Zack chimed in. 'We know you saw us. We just…'

'We wanted to make sure you were okay with it, you know. And you weren't going to go telling the whole world,' Alex added.

That's cute, I thought. They're already finishing off each other's sentences.

I looked from one to the other. Two incredibly cute boys who I could tell were feeling vulnerable right now. There was no way I was going to put them through any more discomfort.

'Yeah, guys. I'm totally cool with it. I was never going to say anything to anyone. It's nobody's business but yours and I'm the last person who would do that.'

I could see relief wash over the both of them.

'Thank you so much,' Alex said. 'I knew you would be okay with it, as you're about the only person there who knows exactly what everyone at school is like once these sort of things get out. I really felt for you and Dallas for what happened to you on the school trip. It was all Timmy's fault of course. Too bad it wasn't him who fell in the drink!'

I could only laugh. I'd thought that exact same thought a million times since that trip.

'So, you were there? I couldn't remember if you were with us or not.'

'Oh yeah, I was there. And watching your every move… from a distance of course. I mean, after all the stories I'd heard leading up to that, you were intriguing for a guy like me.'

'I've been called lots of things lately, but that one's a new one.'

He was the same age as me, and a good looking guy, with his Greek-looking features, brown, curly hair, and fit, lean body. All in all he was handsome and athletic, so it was little wonder that Zack was attracted to him. Zack, on the other hand, was younger, shorter and fairer in complexion, the typical Aussie boy-next-door.

They looked at each other and I could see that there was something else that was bothering them. A look passed between them, you know that look when two people are thinking the same thing and one of them just wants to say something about it? I noticed Zack give a slight shrug of his shoulders before it was Alex who eventually turned to me.

'Ummm… can we ask you something really personal?' he said.

'I guess so,' I replied, though I wasn't exactly sure where this was going to go, but I figured I was about to find out.

'There's been some talk…' Alex said. 'It's about… about you and Dallas.'

'What about us exactly?' we heard Dallas suddenly ask, as we all looked up to find him standing there, right behind Alex and Zack.

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