Once Kevin had his sneakers on, his over sized hockey bag stuffed with his gear, he turned to Richie and said, "OK, dude, we're outa here."
"Where we going?" asked Richie through chattering teeth.
"My house, of course. It's right over there," said Kevin as he pointed to the houses off behind the warming house.
"I don't know, man. It's late, and I should be getting home."
"Hey, look at yourself, Rich. You're freezing to death, man. We'll just walk over to my house where you can warm up for a few minutes before you head out. Besides, you just might want to check out your damaged parts, if ya know what I mean."
"Yeah, you're right. OK, let's go."
They had taken just two steps when Richie stopped and said, "Oh shit, my bag"
"Wait here," said Kevin, "I'll get it for ya." and then he was gone, leaving Richie alone with his thoughts.
'God, I feel like such a load. Kevin's a nice guy, and now he's saddled with a cripple. Why did this have to happen to me? Richard Andrews, gimp, Richard Andrews, eunuch. Oh please, God, don't let that be true.'
Before he knew it, Kevin was back with bag in hand and off they went, side by side, Kevin always ready to help his new friend if he needed him.
Kevin's house wasn't very far away, but they took their time. With each step they took, a shot of pain would jump from Richie's crotch. Not a huge pain, just enough to make him grimace.
"So, how old are ya?" It was Kevin speaking, trying to keep things light as they walked.
"You a freshman at Radison?"
"Me too. I mean, I'm a junior there... and you're on the diving team?"
Kevin suddenly stopped and looked thoughtfully into Richie's face. Soon there was a glimmer of recognition.
"Yeah, right, I've seen you dive before. I just didn't recognize you with your clothes on."
"You have?" asked Richie, "You've seen me dive? Where?"
This was interesting because Swimming and Diving were not your mainstream spectator sports like Football and Hockey. Most of the time the only people at swim meets were parents. The City and State meets drew much better of course, but he had yet to try out for either of those events.
"Well, my girlfriend, Stephanie, has a little sister who is into tumbling. Sort of pre-gymnastics I guess. Anyway, she has practice on Saturdays at the gym, and once when she needed a ride we were volunteered to take her. Borrring! So while she was doing her thing, we wandered into the pool where a Swim Meet was going on, so we stayed through the diving to watch. You were pretty good, too, as I remember. Now don't get me wrong, I have no clue how the scoring works, but you sure looked good from what I could tell."
"Thanks," said Richie, "I don't remember seeing you though, which doesn't surprise me really. During a meet I'm pretty much focused on my diving, and block almost everything else out. Hell, you coulda been standing right next to me and I wouldn't have noticed."
After a short pause in the conversation, Richie continued.
"I take it you play on the Varsity Hockey team."
"You bet," answered Kevin with obvious excitement in his voice. "Hockey is my life, man. Well, that and Stephanie. I just can't get enough of the game."
"I've never been to a Hockey game," said Richie. "For one thing, Hockey and Diving are both winter sports so there's a time conflict. That, and I guess I've never really had an interest in it."
'At least until now,' he thought to himself.
"Yeah? Well I probably never would have gone to a Swim Meet either if it wasn't for Stephanie's sister."
Crossing the street behind the warming house, Richie figured they would turn either left or right and continue. Instead, they just kept walking, straight toward the house in front of them. It was a nice split entry with a tuck-under two car garage. Richie stopped them as they entered the driveway.
"This is your house? Cool," he said.
"What? The house?"
"No... well yeah, but what I meant is you live next to what you love, the ice. I've always wished we lived on a lake. I'd be in the water 24/7 all summer long. Do you swim, Kevin?"
"Well, I know how to swim if that's what you mean. I took several years of swimming lessons when I was a kid, and I hang out at the beach in the summer, but I haven't done anything like what you do. My coach discourages it"
They had made it to the garage door now, and Richie continued the conversation.
"Really? Why's that?"
"Different muscles. A Hockey player's muscles are harder, and more contracted, where as a swimmer's muscles are looser, and stretched. I don't know if that's true or not, or if I explained it right, but that's what my coach says."
Richie pondered this a bit. It made sense, he guessed, but made a mental note to ask Coach Davies. Now he waited, expecting Kevin to dig his keys out of his pants to open the door. Instead, he punched a code into a keypad mounted next to the garage door and it immediately started to rise.
"Sweet," said Richie. "No keys to fuck with... or lose."
"Yeah," chuckled Kevin, "That's why my parents put this in. Before they got divorced, they both worked during the day and I needed to get into the house after school. When I was little I was always losing my key. Drove my dad bananas."
Many questions were forming in Richie's mind about his new friend. He didn't want to get too personal since they had just met, but he was beginning to like him a lot, and wanted to learn more about him.
Kevin hefted his bag high on his shoulder as he made his way through the empty garage to the access door to the house. As he opened it, he poked the controller on the wall and the garage door started to close.
"Come on in, dude. Welcome to the House of Hatcher," he said as he stepped to the side and bowed at the waist, sweeping his arm towards the interior of the house in a sort of a mock formal welcome.
Kevin's sense of humor was growing on Richie. He seemed to be so easygoing and happy, always seeing the bright side of things, and he was easy to talk to as well. Richie had always been kind of shy, at least when meeting new people. He could open up pretty good once he got to know a person, but getting to that point was very difficult for him. Already he felt he could talk to Kevin almost as easily as he could talk to Lindy, his best friend for ten years.
Richie stepped past Kevin and stood in the short hallway at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the rest of the house.
"This way, Rich," said Kevin as he led the way down the hall to the laundry room.
After dropping his bag on the floor next to the wall, Kevin looked over to Richie who stood in the doorway shivering.
"Whoa, man, you look cold. Lets go upstairs and get you warmed up."
Richie was cold, freezing cold, his body stiff and shivering uncontrollably, his feet totally numb. When Kevin stepped closer to him and looked at his face, he saw the snot running out of his nose and over his upper lip.
"Eeeww, gross," he laughed as he grabbed a paper towel from the holder on the wall and handed it to Richie. Taking the towel, he cleaned his face and blew his nose, embarrassed at how he must have looked.
"OK, now hand me my jacket and we can go up to my room," said Kevin as took the spent towel and tossed it into the wastebasket.
Richie didn't move. What Kevin said didn't make sense to him. What jacket? Kevin spoke again.
"The jacket, man. You know, the one I gave you to wear when we were outside."
"Oh, yeah, that jacket. Sorry, I guess I forgot I had it on."
"It's OK, bro, I'm not surprised after what you've been through."
Richie tried to unzip the warm-up, but his hands were too numb from the cold and he couldn't feel where the zipper tab was. Soon he gave up and looked over at Kevin who quickly stepped up to help him. Once he had his jacket hung on the wall above his bag, Kevin headed back the way they had come, motioning Richie to follow.
Kevin bounded up the first flight of stairs to the landing by the front door and kicked his sneakers off. Ready to race up the second flight, he realized that Richie wasn't with him. Then it hit him, Richie wasn't going to be running up any stairs for a while. Feeling bad at his insensitivity, he ran back down to wait for him, almost knocking him over as he turned the corner.
"Sorry, Rich, need some help?"
"No, I can make it all right, just not so fast."
"Well, it was a pretty shitty thing for me to take off like that. I guess I just don't always think before I act sometimes, ya know? My dad says I'm in training for the title of 'The World's Greatest Butt-head'.
When they reached the landing, Richie saw the pile of shoes there and started to remove his.
"Forget the shoes Rich, we'll get'em off when we get to my room."
"So, do you live with your mom or your dad?" asked Richie as they made their way up the final flight of stairs.
"My mom, but I see my dad a lot."
"Is your mom home?"
"Nope. She's downtown at a trade show. That's what she does, coordinates setting up, running, and tearing down big trade shows around the country. It takes up a lot of her time, and she has to go out of town quite a bit, but she likes it and is really good at what she does."
When they reached the top of the stairs, Richie glanced around and noticed the well kept living room to the right, the kitchen straight ahead, and a long hallway leading to the left where the bedrooms were.
"You thirsty, Rich? Wanna soda or something?" asked Kevin as he went into the kitchen and pulled open the refrigerator door.
"Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, or do ya wanna do the Dew?"
"Um, Pepsi I think, thanks."
Kevin popped the top on two cans of Pepsi, stuffed them into cold cups, then handed one to Richie.
"This way." he said as he started down the hall.
About a third of the way down the hall they passed two doors opposite each other. The one on the left was closed, the one on the right opened into a bathroom. When they reached the end of the hall there were two more doors, again facing each other, both were closed. Kevin went to the one on the left, pushed it open, and gestured for Richie to follow.
"Here we are Rich. Welcome to Hatch's World."
Without waiting to be told, Richie sat down at the foot of Kevin's bed, thankful to be able to get off his feet for a change. As he glanced around the crowded, but not really cramped bedroom, he noticed the typical teenage boy furnishings. There was a desk under his window, a fairly large bookcase on the wall next to the bed, and on the opposite wall, a number of posters depicting action shots of various NHL stars. Under the posters was a dresser with a lighted fish tank next to it.
The warmth of the house was starting to work its magic on Richie. He was still shivering, but the feeling was starting to return to his hands and feet as they both started to tingle. Pulling his gloves off, he looked at his fingers, hoping that they weren't frost bit. He noticed that they were white and wrinkled from exposure, but other than that, none the worse for wear, so he began to rub them together to increase the circulation.
Kevin took a swig of his Pepsi before setting the can next to Richie's on the night-stand. Then, he knelt down in front of Richie and began to massage the tops of his thighs in an effort to get some warmth back into them. It was working, and soon Richie was beginning to feel almost normal again.
Without saying a word, Kevin reached for Richie's wet shoes and pulled them off. To Richie's amazement, he then pulled off both of his socks and started to rub his feet. Nobody had ever rubbed his feet like that before, and it felt really good.
"How's that feel, Rich? Better?"
"Oh yeah, thanks."
Although Richie knew that Kevin wasn't massaging his feet in a sexual way, he felt himself start to get hard.
'Oh, God no, this can't be,' he thought. 'What the hell is wrong with me?'
After a few minutes had passed, Kevin jumped to his feet and headed for his dresser.
"I'll get ya some dry socks, Rich. Believe me, I know what works best for cold feet... been there, done that, ya know?"
Through all of his years of skating, Kevin was no stranger to cold feet. He had even suffered from frostbite once.
With Kevin's back to him, Richie decided to quickly shift his now half hard dick to a more comfortable position. Without thinking, he quickly grabbed his crotch. The shot of pain that rang out, not only deflated his cock, but caused him to gasp out loud.
Kevin was instantly in front of Richie again, the socks forgotten.
"What happened, Rich?"
"I was, um, trying to get more comfortable, and must have put some pressure on my balls. It's better now, though."
"Why don't you go in the bathroom and check yourself out while I change clothes. There's a full length mirror hanging on the door in there."
"Thanks, I think I will," said Richie as he eased himself to his feet and went into the bathroom.
As soon as he was gone, Kevin pulled his jersey up over his head and tossed it into the hamper in his closet. Next he pulled off his sweatshirt, and slammed dunked it on top of the jersey. Then, hooking his thumbs in the waistband of his sweat pants, he bent over and slid them down to his feet. After kicking them across the floor toward his closet, he sat down on the edge of his bed, clad only in his thermo-knit long johns, socks, and briefs. Just as he reached for his socks, he heard an earth shattering scream coming from the direction of the bathroom.
In one fluid motion, Kevin was up and moving. In no time, he was standing at the closed bathroom door where he heard soft sobs coming from the other side.
"Rich? You OK, man?"
No response. The sobbing continued.
"Yo, Rich, can I come in?"
When there was still no response, Kevin tried the knob. Finding the door unlocked, he opened it a crack and spoke again.
"Rich? Can I come in?"
"Yeah, I guess so." came the soft, almost inaudible reply.
Kevin slowly pushed open the door and saw Richie sitting on the toilet in his boxers, his Levi's bunched around his ankles. He was bent over with his face cradled in his hands, crying openly, his tears running between his fingers. Kevin squatted down in front of Richie as his own tears began to well up.
"What's wrong, Rich? Is it your nuts?"
'There you go again, Butt-Head,' he thought, 'Of course it's his nuts dip shit, what else would it be.'
"They're bad, man, real bad." each word coming between tormented sobs.
Gently laying his hands on Richie's thighs, just behind his elbows, Kevin spoke softly.
"Can I see it Rich?"
Richie didn't speak, he just shook his head no, and continued to cry.
"Come on, Rich, I just wanna help. You know that, don't you?"
"Yeah, I know."
"Then please, stand up and let me look. OK?"
After a minute or so, Richie's crying slowed.
"OK." It came out as a whimper, but it was definitely an OK.
"Let me help you stand up," said Kevin.
"No, it's all right, I can get up by myself."
With that, Richie stood up, his boxer clad groin area now just inches from Kevin's face. With out saying anything, or even thinking about it, Kevin started to reach for the waistband.
"Oh God, Kevin, please don't touch them." he screamed, startling Kevin so much he nearly fell over.
Quickly catching his balance, Kevin looked up into Richie's eyes, and gave him the most reassuring look he could muster.
"OK, Rich, relax. I promise I won't touch anything. I'm just going to look, that's all."
He reached for the boxers again and began to slowly slide them down. When the waistband cleared the end of Richie's penis, Kevin let out a loud gasp and fell back against the bathroom wall, horrified by what he saw. This gasp immediately sent Richie into another crying jag.
With the exception of his penis, his entire groin area was one massive ugly bruise. His balls were a dark, crimson color, and badly swollen. His inner thighs and pubic region were black and blue with shades of purple mixed in. With tears in his own eyes, Kevin knew he had to take action. He was instantly in control again as he stood and pulled Richie to him in a comforting embrace. Placing his lips close to Richie's ear, he began to speak softly, encouraging the boy as best he could.
"OK, Rich, now this is what we're gonna do. We're going back to my room and I'm going to call your parents to come and get you. I'm sure they'll want to take you to the Emergency Room to get checked out."
"They won't be home yet," said Richie, his crying almost stopped now. "They have season tickets to the theater, and they usually don't get home until after midnight."
Stepping back, Kevin put his hands on Richie's shoulders.
"OK, then I'll just call Kyle. He's a teammate of mine, and my best bud. He can take us in his car and we can call your folks from the hospital later."
"I'm scared, Kevin."
"I know, Rich, I'm scared, too. But we'll get through this, you and me, together... and you're going to be just fine. I'm sure of it, OK?"
"OK, sure," said Richie, not at all convinced.
Once back in Kevin's room, Richie sat on his bed while Kevin picked up the cordless phone and started to punch in Kyle's number. While he waited, Richie's mind went into overdrive. For the past year and a half, since his body had started to mature, he had been experiencing new and strange feelings, and they were getting stronger all the time.
His sexual awakening had always included an attraction to girls. The first time he jacked off he did it while looking at a Penthouse magazine that he had stolen from his older brother, Carl. For a year or so after that, his jack-off fantasies would include the likes of Britney Spears, or the Super Models in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, his favorite magazine.
Then, about six months ago, he found himself increasingly attracted to boys as well. This attraction began slow, so slow in fact that he didn't think anything about it. A casual glance at a teammate in the shower, or noticing the cute face of another boy as they passed in the hall at school.
As time passed, however, his attraction to boys grew stronger. He would catch himself staring at some of the bodies that filled the shower room after practice, his gaze lingering much too long to be acceptable should he be found out - and now it was so strong that he found himself checking out every boy he met, or passed in the halls, or saw on the street. He would notice the color of their hair, how they combed it, their eyes, their face. He would check out their bodies, their chest, their ass, their legs, and especially their package. On occasion, he would even get a hard-on in class while thinking about a cute boy.
He probably could have dealt with these feelings if he'd never acted on them, pushing them to the back of his mind and denying their existence. Unfortunately, just one week ago, when Lindy spent the night at his house, he had crossed the line. He now knew that he wasn't normal. He didn't know exactly what he was, but he knew he wasn't normal.
The sound of Kevin's voice suddenly brought him back to reality.
"Alright, Kyle's on his way over. He should be here in about 10 minutes."
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