We prepared dinner in silence. It was a comfortable silence and I think both Tony and I were equally glad of it. Dinner wasn't anything special, but at least it was a hot meal and it was only during our eating of it that a conversation struck up.
"Did I embarrass you?"
"Embarrass me?" I wasn't sure I understood the question and Tony must have noticed my quizzical look.
"I mean about what I said. About loving you."
"Oh, right! No, you didn't embarrass me. Actually, I was quite flattered."
"Good. I didn't want to embarrass you. I was always quite good in school at Phys Ed, but to be honest, I enjoyed the academic stuff more. I wanted to prove something, I guess - not just to myself, but to my parents, too and to you."
"The school I went to in Costa Rica was a good one, Dad saw to that and I did okay. It was a bit of a wrench coming to San Francisco, but that was to do with Dad's job. He didn't really want to come - I think it was his nightmare destination, 'full of queers,' he said, but he didn't really have a choice and the money was going to be better. I think he figured a year at the most and then we'd be back home. Didn't quite work out that way. I remember the conversations he had with my mother, cursing the fact that we had to move."
"How long ago was that?" I asked.
"Five years. I know he misses his family and I know Mom does too, but she's less vociferous about it. I mean, we do take trips back there every so often, but it's always hard for them to leave. Anyway, at school I made new friends and did okay in class. I noticed any time I was stuck you were there to help. When I first realized I was gay, I almost came to tell you. I'd started taking an interest in the boys in the locker-room at school. My own body had started to develop and I was curious about other peoples. I remember I'd seen this boy in the locker room - he'd just finished showering and came out, still damp and with a hard-on. That really turned me on and I went home and jacked off. I knew I couldn't tell my Dad, he'd freak, but somehow I felt I could trust you."
"But you didn't come to me."
"No, you're right, I didn't. I kept it to myself. I guess I still wasn't really sure, but the more boys I saw, the more I realized that I wanted to be with them - not just as friends, but in other ways. I knew it wouldn't happen and dated a few girls, but they never really had the same appeal to me. I guess I had to figure it out for myself what was going on in my head. Besides, I didn't know you other than as a teacher, so I didn't know whether you'd freak out, or not and I don't think I could have handled it if you had."
"You took a risk telling me today."
"I had no choice, did I?"
"Yes, you did. You didn't have to tell me anything."
"But turning up like I did - I mean, you needed an explanation."
"You needed help, I could see that and I would have given it to you without knowing the full situation, but I'm pleased you told me. I want to help and I'm not freaking out."
"No, you're not. Thanks. For a teacher you're a pretty cool guy."
I smiled. "Thank you, that's quite a compliment coming from someone of the younger generation."
Tony grinned and we finished dinner in a comfortable silence and then Tony yawned. It had been a long day.
"I'll finish up here, why don't you get some sleep? I've made up the spare room for you, can't have you sleeping in that armchair again, can we?"
"I think I will go up," he said. "I'm feeling a bit whacked. Not used to so much good food."
He stood and made to leave the kitchen, reaching the door he turned back and smiled at me.
"Thanks, John - for everything."
How can someone's life be turned upside down in less that 24-hours? I didn't seem possible that only yesterday I was making a salad for dinner, getting ready to give a check to the first carolers of the holiday season and wondering if I'd really sworn never to touch alcohol again.
Now - tonight - I had comforted a 15-year old ex-student who had sat in my armchair all day telling me the story of the last ten days of his life.
My head was spinning from it all. I wasn't quite sure what to do to help him, but I had promised to do so and I was sure as hell going to try. I needed a game plan, but where to start? I needed time to think through what Tony had said, find the best course of action to take. It wasn't going to be easy - I was, I suspected, out of my depth.
It wasn't long before I was heading upstairs myself and as I walked from the bathroom to my bedroom, I noticed Tony's door slightly ajar. The room was in darkness, but a shaft of light from the landing, as I pushed the door open wider, allowed me to see the figure of Tony, huddled under the sheets fast asleep.
I don't know how long I stood at the foot of his bed watching him sleep - listening to the rhythm of his breathing, watching him turn, watching his eyes flicker as he dreamt, but when I crawled into my own bed, my mind was racing with a mixture of ideas, thoughts, reasons, explanations, all in an attempt to try and figure out a way to help him.
I lay there, in my bed, trying to do just that in an attempt to formulate the best course of action to take, Tony's story running through my brain. What had happened to Dave? Where had Charlie gone? Would Tony's friends tell their parents that Tony had been thrown out of his home? Would his father ever want to speak to him again? Did Tony's mother really think her son was a nobody?
That was it! Suddenly, it struck me - Tony's mother - that was it - she had to be the center of my game plan!
I had to get this straight in my mind. Okay, John, slowly, you can do it - work this out.
But what if it hadn't been Tony who had made his mother cry? What if had been his father? Okay, concentrate harder let's go through this.
What if she was crying because she knew what her husband was going to do? What if she couldn't give her son the support he had needed when she had opened the door to him because she was afraid of what her husband would say. "Go away, Tony, your father's home," she had said. What if her husband wasn't around - would she want to see her son? Surely she would. She had to, if the plan I was formulating was going to work.
That was the last thought I had until awoke the following morning.
How long I had slept, I don't know - but it couldn't have been more that a couple of hours. It was still early when I woke - the alarm clock read 5:17. I needed to pee and climbed out of my bed and headed to the bathroom. I was still half asleep and I yawned as I aimed my dick into the pot. I suppose I could go back to bed, but what would be the point. May as well have a shower and get ready for another day - it might be a long one.
I turned on the shower and stepped in, the warm water hitting my body like pins. Tony, again - he had altered the showerhead - how could he enjoy showering under what felt like a barrage of needles being thrown into your body?
The thought of Tony made me remember about my game plan - was it really that simple? Did I just have to get Tony and his mother together? At least would be a start. They could talk to one another and try and work out between them how best to approach Tony's father.
I showered quickly and dressed. Today the weather was cooler and rain had started to beat at the windows. I would put my game plan to Tony when he got up to see what he thought.
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