Tommy climbs out of the fort and runs straight home. He has lost track of time and as soon as he opens the front door he can smell dinner cooking. "I'm home." he says kicking off his shoes and placing them neatly by the doorway. He passes a small Buddhist shrine before entering the hallway then the kitchen.
His dad smiles at him as he enters. "You had fun with Wyatt today?"
Tommy grins. "Yeah it is a blast! We played spy."
His mother sits down. "Did you do your homework?"
"Uh uh, before I went over." Tommy says sitting down. He always does it before he goes out. He can't wait for summer vacation when he won't have to worry about that stuff. It is only a month away, twenty-one more days of school.
"That's good." His father says pushing back some of his dark hair.
The conversation wanders a bit as everyone shares their day. Tommy only half pays attention as he tries to plan out the rest of the week. Not that he has anything in mind. There is some school stuff, but Saturday is going to be the big day, the day of Wyatt's birthday. He freezes at that thought as he realizes he hasn't gotten Wyatt a gift yet. For his birthday last year Wyatt gave him a pretty big Lego set. He knows it was expensive in the $40 range. He only has $12.
During the next lull in the conversation he speaks. "Mom, dad I need money."
His parents both glance at each other before looking at him. "For what dear?" His mother asks.
"I need to get Wyatt a birthday present."
"And how much do you need?" His father inquires.
Tommy opens his mouth and then shuts it. Wyatt is his best friend. Wyatt has shown him what sex is. Wyatt deserves something great but he isn't sure what it is, maybe Legos or video games and a few other things to? What in particular to get him, he isn't sure. "I don't know, I just need money."
His dad smiles warmly. "I'm sure he will like whatever you get him."
Tommy looks down at his plate. Wyatt would pretend to like anything he gave him. He wants him to really like it though. "Can I do anything for you?" he asks. His parents never give him money. He always has to earn it.
"Well I suppose I could use some help at the office. Let's say three dollars an hour. How many hours would you like to work?" His father asks.
Tommy gives it some thought. "I don't know."
The next day his dad picks him up from school and takes him to his office. His father is an accountant, a forensic accountant which sounds cool because it sounds like it has something to do with the police, but doesn't. For about three hours Tommy cleans around the office and licks envelopes. He has learned working for his dad is easier than working for his mom and a lot of the time he doesn't really have anything to do. He has time to daydream and he thinks of Wyatt and his mouth. He has truly enjoyed being tied-up and definitely wants to do that again. More so he also thinks of sucking Wyatt off. His dad lets him do his homework and doesn't subtract that time from his work. On the ride home his father asks him if he has earned enough and he just says no.
For the next four days, Tommy only sees Wyatt occasionally. One of the friends would slip over to the other's house to play video games after he gets home. They don't have time to slip away and do anything. That is how it goes until Friday. He has $48 and his dad takes him to Toys "R" Us.
He walks up and down the aisles, money clenched in his hand, looking at all the stuff. Everything he looks at, he finds flaws with. After a while his father calls him over. "You never stress out like this. What's going on up here?" He says pushing his finger against Tommy's forehead.
"I want to get Wyatt something special. Something he will really like."
"I understand. Wyatt is your best friend isn't he?"
"Kind of like a big brother?" His father asks.
Tommy hesitates and then nods again.
"Why don't you get him something you can use together? I know he likes spending time with you."
Tommy thinks about that. Something they could do together. There are video games of course but he doesn't have enough money for that, at least not for a new one. Then the idea hits him. He quickly walks to the electronics section. They have Walkie-Talkies there for about $30. He finds a pair with a range of 5 miles. That's it.
The next day at ten o'clock Tommy walks over to Wyatt's and knocks on the door. Wyatt's mom opens it and let him in. The family room has been decorated with a few balloons and some letters saying 'H-A-P-P-Y B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y'. Wyatt is just sitting there watching TV. Tommy assumes he is just early.
Last year Tommy's birthday party was fantastic. Tommy usually had two birthday parties one for friends and one for family. All his friends from school were there and Wyatt came for the very first time. He was thrilled to show off Wyatt. He was the only one who actually had an older friend. Not a babysitter or a cousin of some sort but a real friend.
Wyatt smiles as he looks over to see Tommy. "Hey, glad you could make it."
Tommy sits next to Wyatt. "When's everyone else getting here?"
Wyatt shrugs. "Dunno."
Tommy doesn't think Wyatt sounds very excited. Maybe this is something that happens when you get older. His mother doesn't like celebrating hers.
Around 10:30 there is another knock on the door and this time it is two of Wyatt's cousins. Tommy sort of remembers meeting them once before. They are both older, fourteen and fifteen. He can't remember their names and aside from wishing Wyatt a happy birthday they just sit down and watch TV with them. At 11 o'clock another person shows up. Wyatt seems to know him but Tommy has never met him before. Again the new boy just sits down and watches TV with them. Tommy spent many mornings with Wyatt watching cartoons but this is supposed to be a birthday party. Maybe it hasn't really started yet, he thinks?
After the TV show ends Wyatt's mother comes down and suggests they play video games. With five people there they have a little competition. Tommy gets eliminated quickly and so does Wyatt. They just sit and watch the others play.
"Wyatt, when does your birthday party begin?"
Wyatt glances at him. "This is it."
Tommy looks around the room. Wyatt's two cousins are named Robert and Alex. The third boy is named Rodrigo. From what Tommy has determined he is the son of a friend of Wyatt's parents. "Where are your friends?"
Robert the older of the two cousins overhears the comment. "Wyatt isn't exactly popular."
Tommy looks over at Wyatt who looks away. "You're so cool though." Tommy says.
Robert hands the controller over to Rodrigo. "Little guy, think about it. You are his friend right? If you hang out with him, that's cool for you because he's older. From his point of view though, he's just hanging out with a little kid."
"Shut up Robert." Wyatt hisses.
Robert raises his hands. "Hey, I'm just explaining it to the kid. It's your own fault for not being popular you know. You're always so quiet."
Wyatt doesn't say anything to that, but Tommy fees the urge to stand up for his friend. He gets on his feet and for the first time in a very long time deliberately puts aside all of his manners. "You shut up. Wyatt is awesome! And my name is Tommy not kid!"
"Looks like your little boyfriend is standing up for you, Wyatt!" Robert snickers.
Before Tommy can figure out a retort, Wyatt stands up and walks out of the room. Tommy stands there for a second confused and unsure what to do. Robert has watched Wyatt leave the room, but made no move to follow. Eventually Tommy realizes he doesn't want to be there and follows after his friend.
Wyatt's bedroom door is ajar and Tommy lets himself in. His blond friend is lying on his bed staring up at the ceiling, a small squishy ball in his hand.
"I really hate Robert." Wyatt announces.
Tommy isn't sure what to say. "He's not nice."
Wyatt makes a sound of agreement, "Me too."
Tommy stands there watching Wyatt toss the ball into the air and catch it. "I think you're cool."
Wyatt catches the ball and sits up. He looks over and smiles. "Thanks."
"My friends think you're cool too." Tommy says before remembering what
Robert said about it being uncool to be friends with someone younger.
Tommy looks down and kicks the carpet. "Don't you have friends your age at school?" he asks.
"No." Wyatt answers. There are a few seconds of silence before he adds.
Tommy swings his arms back and forth not sure what to do. "I'm sorry."
"Why are you apologizing?"
Tommy shrugs. "I don't know." He hesitates and adds. "I think you're cool."
"Thanks." Wyatt waits a few more seconds. "We should go back to the party."
Tommy nods not really wanting to go. It would be more fun if it was just
Wyatt and him.
The rest of the party goes a little better. Robert feels bad for upsetting Wyatt and talks a little more to him. Rodrigo doesn't look like he's enjoying being there but he is nice enough. He has also brought a pretty good present, a Lego set. They sing happy birthday and eat cake. Then Wyatt opens the rest of his presents. After that they play a few games that are more like party games and then people start to go home. It isn't a great day.
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