This is the earliest draft of "Someone Is Watching". At the time, the novel was titled "Middle of Nowhere". This draft is much shorter than the final one and key elements and characters are missing. Keep in mind too that this is an uncorrected draft, so there are many errors within it. It was never meant for publication and is just as I left it when I abandoned it and wrote and entirely new draft. It's an interesting alternate version however and in some ways superior to the final draft. Reading M.O.N. is a bit like traveling to a parallel universe where things are similar, but not quite the same as they are here. If you enjoyed "Someone Is Watching" you'll definitely want to read "Middle of Nowhere". Some of the names changed in later drafts: Jordan became Jon, Adam became Devon, and the Simmon's Mansion became the Graymoor Mansion. The story is easier to understand if you keep this in mind. I do want to warn you that M.O.N. where is more sexually graphic than S.I.W. These scenes were deleted or toned down more in later drafts to focus attention more on the main story.
The Middle of Nowhere
I stood mesmerized. My jaw actually dropped open for a moment before I remembered to snap it shut. I didn’t even know his name, but wow! I had to fight to tear my eyes away from him. I did avert my gaze however. Staring wide-eyed at another boy in gym class wasn’t exactly a wise idea, especially in backward Verona, Ohio, which I was convinced was still stuck somewhere in the dark ages. I just knew that someday, they’d have a witch trial here, it was that kind of town. Without question, I lived in the middle of nowhere.
I couldn’t keep my eyes from drifting back toward him, but I made sure not to stare. I tried hard to look like I wasn’t checking him out when my eyes were practically devouring him. I tried not to drool, but this boy was way hot, not just any hot either, but right out of my dreams hot. I dreamed a lot. For a boy like me it was the only way to experience life the way I wanted to experience it.
“Ethan!” Hearing my own name yelled out loud made me jump. I half feared I’d been caught checking out the boy of my dreams. It was Brandon, he was standing right next to the boy I was drooling over. I was so busy checking out the boy, I’d failed to notice Brandon. What luck however! It was my chance to get closer, and meet the youth who so captivated me. I ran over to Brandon and he punched me on the arm in greeting.
“Hey Brandon! You going out for soccer again this year?”
“Is that a trick question?” he mocked. “Of course I am stupid, you wrestling?”
“You bet!” I lived and breathed wrestling. It was funny, I didn’t give a damn about most sports, I’d rather be reading, playing my keyboard, or watching a movie, but I was obsessed with wrestling. I was real, real good at it too. I could never decide if I was good at wrestling because I loved it, or if I loved it because I was good at it. I guess it didn’t matter.
My eyes drifted over to the boy of my dreams. How could they not? He was even more breathtaking close up than he had been at a distance. Brandon noticed me looking at him. Luckily, I don’t think he had any clue as to why I was looking at him.
“Ethan, this is Jordan.”
“Hi.” I said, trying to sound friendly, but not too friendly.
“Hi.” His voice charmed me. I almost started staring at him again, but I caught myself.
“Where are you from?” I asked. I hadn’t seen him before. He had to be new. I wouldn’t have forgotten someone like him.
“Dayton.” he said. “We moved here a couple of weeks ago.”
“Yo Mark!” yelled Brandon.
There was a lot of yelling going on. It was the first day of school and everyone was getting back together with their friends. Mark came over and joined our little group. Mark was the soccer stud at our school. He also looked real good in shorts. I guess I had a little crush on Mark, why not? A lot of the girls were after him. I had a secret fantasy that he was into guys, but that was a joke, Mark was a major jock. There was no way he’d be interested in guys.
A couple more of my classmates wandered over and we all began talking. Jordan was quiet and looked kind of left out. Being the new boy in town was always tough. At least I guessed it was, I’d lived in the same place all my life. I stepped out of my circle of friends and started talking to Jordan. I was trying to be nice, but to be honest, I was also way more interested in him than I was in anyone else. I was being thoughtful, but at the same time I was dying to talk to Jordan. I wanted to be his friend, and much, much more. I’d never felt quite the same way about another boy before. I’d been attracted to plenty of guys. Hell, attracted wasn’t the word. Guys like Mark, Steve, and Brandon just about made me explode. There was something different about Jordan however. Something that drew me too him in a way I wasn’t drawn to the others. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it was there, I knew it. Just being near Jordan excited me beyond description and kind of made my knees wobbly.
I found out Jordan played the guitar. I told him about playing the keyboard. He even suggested we get together and play sometime. He and his friends had a band at his old school. I didn’t have time to find out more. Mr. Dicke (it’s pronounced dicky, but you just know what we all called him behind his back) came out and blew his whistle. That was the signal for everyone to shut up and pay attention. I turned my eyes to Mr. Dicke, but I couldn’t wait to find out more about Jordan.
I couldn’t keep my eyes off Jordan during class. It was the first day, so we didn’t dress out all we did was some calisthenics. I stood right behind Jordan as we did jumping jacks. He had broad shoulders that tapered down to a slim waist. He was wearing jeans that were just a little tight. My eyes kept drifting down to his firm little bubble-butt. We did pushups next. The way his biceps bulged while he pressed himself up and down almost made me lose concentration and fall on my face. I had to shake myself to clear my head. We took turns holding each other’s ankles while we did sit-ups. Jordan’s shirt was a little short and I had a clear view of his abs. Jordan had a firm six-pack stomach with a thin trail of hair that led into his jeans. I had to avert my gaze to keep from getting too excited, if you know what I mean.
By the time we hit the showers, I was all worked up. I stripped, got in there fast, and back out again in a flash. I was so quick I didn’t even get a look at Jordan. That was okay, I don’t think I could have handled it. As much as I wanted a look, I just couldn’t trust myself. It was bad enough being surrounded by all those other hot guys, but seeing Jordan naked was more than I could have stood. I was always afraid I would pop a boner in the showers. With Jordan in there, I knew I would. Getting hard in a room full of naked guys was the last thing I needed. My attraction to other boys was my biggest secret and I intended to keep it that way. I’d read in the papers about being gay becoming more accepted. There was stories on television about it too. But that was elsewhere, Verona, Ohio was centuries behind the rest of the world when it came to things like that.
I felt more secure when I got my clothes back on. If I got excited, at least my jeans would hide it some. Second period gym was my only class with Jordan, but I sought him out at lunch and pulled him into my little circle of friends. I think he really appreciated that. I’d just met him, and we were already becoming friends.
“Why don’t you come out for soccer this year?” asked Mark as we were eating.
“Can’t.” I said. “I want to wrestle and I can’t do both.”
“Soccer?” said Jordan.
“Yeah,” said Mark. “You play?”
“Try outs are this afternoon, right after school.”
“I’ll be there!”
I was becoming more attracted to Jordan by the minute. I don’t know why, but I had a thing for soccer players. Like I already said, I had a crush on Mark.
“Sure you don’t want to do soccer this year?” asked Mark mischievously. “Oh yeah, that’s right, you’re a major wrestling freak aren’t you?”
“Soccer freak!” I yelled.
“Wrestling freak!” Mark yelled back.
We both laughed. Mark knew I was as obsessed with wrestling as he was with soccer. Our lives practically revolved around our sports.
“You don’t need me anyway, you’re getting Jordan.”
“If I make the team.” said Jordan.
“You’ll make it, Mark can give you some pointers. Right Mark?”
Wrestling tryouts were great. I’d kept in shape during the summer by working out and I had no trouble at all making the varsity team, even though I was just a sophomore. All of the guys were there from last year, except the Seniors of course, as well as a few new guys. It was the first day and not really practice, just tryouts, so we didn’t dress out or even stay all that long. Everyone that tried out was put on the wrestling team. The only hard part was making the varsity squad. I was thrilled with making it. Coach Grant had told me last year that if I kept improving, he’d put me on varsity this year. That’s why I worked out all summer. I guess it paid off.
I was practically walking on air on the way home. I didn’t live all that far from school, so I always walked, of course I had to, I didn’t have a car yet. I was about to burst with happiness over making the varsity wrestling team. I knew it would be a lot harder than the junior varsity squad, but that didn’t bother me. I lived and breathed wrestling.
I found my thoughts turning to Jordan as I strolled along. He was a babe. His face was about as handsome as it could get. Jordan was a masculine type of handsome, he wasn’t a pretty boy type, but he was gorgeous. His features radiated both beauty and strength. His chestnut eyes perfectly matched his hair, which was such a light brown that it almost looked blonde, maybe dirty-blonde is a better way to describe it. Whatever you called it, he wore it long in the back, which I really liked. I kept my hair long in the back too, but mine was black as coal.
Jordan was taller than me too. I liked that. I was ever so slightly short, so I had a thing about height. I wasn’t even really short, just an inch or two shorter than most guys my age, but it kind of made me feel, I don’t know, a little inferior in some ways I guess. I know that’s probably stupid, but everyone has something they don’t like about themselves, and height was the biggest thing I didn’t like about me.
Well, that’s not exactly true. The fact that I’m into guys bothers me more. It’s not that I think anything’s wrong with that. Well, maybe I do. I don’t know. The way I’m attracted to other guys seems natural to me and yet, I know how everybody feels about that kind of thing. I mean, about the worst thing you can be called at school is “fag” or “queer”. I’m not naïve enough to think I’m the only gay boy in the whole world, but sometimes it seems like it. Even though there are others, most guys aren’t gay. I’ve read that maybe ten percent of guys are gay, but even if that’s true, then ninety percent aren’t. However you look at it, I’m different and in the minority. I can’t help but think that there’s something wrong with me. I mean, I feel okay, but why would everybody be down on something so much if there wasn’t something wrong with it?
Sometimes I felt just fine about myself, and sometimes I felt like some kind of freak. One thing was for sure. I’d never tell anyone I was gay and I’d never do anything to make anyone suspect me. I think I had things pretty much covered. True, I was pretty sensitive about feelings and stuff, but it didn’t show much on the outside. I was kind of quiet sometimes, but not at all feminine. I wasn’t into sports like most guys, but I did wrestle and lift weights, I couldn’t think of anything that was more masculine than that, unless it involved going out and killing something. That I wouldn’t do. I felt guilty when I swatted a mosquito. I accidentally stepped on a baby bunny once and crushed it’s head. Sometimes I still cry when I think about it. I don’t want to think about it now. I’d never be able to go out and gun down a squirrel or a deer. Deer hunting was big in Ohio and my dad was a major deer hunter, but I’d never gone, and I never would. Sorry, I get off track sometimes. I’m always getting lost in my own thoughts.
I guess I did feel bad about what I was. I felt like there was something wrong with me and yet, being like I was felt right. I tried not to think about it much. I just tried to have fun. I wrestled, I wrote in my journal, played my keyboard, and did all the other stuff I loved. I tried not to think about it, but I couldn’t help thinking about it. Not thinking about it was becoming harder and harder, especially now, especially after I’d met Jordan. I couldn’t stop thinking about him and that made me think all the more about the fact that I was attracted to other boys. I wished that someone could teach me not to think.
I hadn’t more than stepped in the door, when my mom called to me.
“Ethan, Kim called.”
“She wanted you to call her as soon as you got home.”
“I told her you’d call.”
“Okay mom!” Sometimes I thought my mom would never stop talking. Don’t get me wrong, I loved her and all that, she was a great mom, but sometimes she just drove me crazy. I ran upstairs before she could ask me how my day had been. I wanted to tell her about wrestling practice, but I knew I’d be talking to her for an hour if I did. She’d have to tell me how proud she was of me, then she’d start talking about when I was a little kid and how much I’d grown and how I was fast becoming a man and all that. I’d heard it a thousand times before and I didn’t want to hear it again just now.
I showered and changed before I called Kim. I didn’t really want to talk to her all that much. Kim was my girlfriend, well, kind of. I mean, she was my girlfriend, but I didn’t really want her to be. It’s not that there was something wrong with her. Kim was pretty, and nice, and fun to be with most of the time, but I didn’t want to even have a girlfriend. I only started dating her because all the other guys had girls. I was afraid they’d think I was gay if I didn’t have a girl. I was gay, but I didn’t want anyone to know that.
Kim and I had been going together for the grand total of three days. We hadn’t even went on a real date yet. All we’d done so far was have a milkshake together. Our first date was the coming Friday. I was taking her to a movie and then somewhere to eat. I knew Kim from school and started talking to her at Koontz Lake last Saturday. I could tell by the way her eyes drifted down over my body that she was interested in me. I have a pretty good body from wrestling and lifting weights. Sometimes I like to check myself out in the mirror. Anyway, Kim was kind of checking me out as we talked and I noticed some of the guys watching us. She was pretty and had a nice body (for a girl), but I wasn’t interested in girls, not at all. The whole idea kind of made me sick to my stomach. I wasn’t interested in her, but she was in me, and the guys were watching. I knew they’d think there was something wrong with me if I didn’t do something, so I asked her out. She said “yes” almost before I was done asking.
I hadn’t planned to have a girlfriend. I hadn’t even really thought about it. Why should I? I didn’t want one. But, all of the sudden, I had one. We went to this little ice cream shop not far from the lake and I bought her a milkshake. We sat there and talked a long time. I did enjoy her company, but I wondered what I’d gotten myself into. The way she kept looking at me made me a little uncomfortable. I felt like I was a juicy steak and she was a dog drooling over me. I know Kim wouldn’t appreciate the comparison, but that’s how I felt.
She called me that very evening, and that twice that night. She made me promise to call her the next day. I did. Later the same day she called me again. Just before I went to sleep, I called her. I thought it was the thing to do. Now she’d called me again. Why did she have this need to talk to me every five minutes? What was it about girls? We hadn’t been on our first real date yet and she had to be reassured constantly that I liked here. Arrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggggggggh!
I dialed her number. I already knew it by heart.
“Kim, hi, it’s Ethan.”
“Hi Ethan.” I could almost hear the swoon in her voice. I must admit, it kind of made me feel good about myself.
“My mom said you called.”
“Yeah, you just get home?”
“Yep.” I lied. “I called you the very first thing.”
“Of course.” I wasn’t big on lying, but what did it hurt in a case like this?
“How were try outs?”
“I made the varsity squad!” Now I was getting enthused.
“Great, I knew you would. I bet you look great in your uniform.” Oh geesh! I ignored her last comment.
“Want to come watch one of my matches sometime?”
“I want to watch all of them, at least the home meets.”
“We won’t have one for a couple of weeks, but I’ll let you know when it is.”
“I’m really looking forward Friday night.”
“Me too.” I couldn’t figure out if I was lying or not this time. Part of me was looking forward to Friday night, part of me wasn’t. It would have been cool going with Kim just as friends, but I wasn’t too keen on this whole boyfriend-girlfriend idea.
The rest of our conversation was pretty dull, not that it had been too exciting up to that point. At least I had someone to tell about making the varsity squad. I had to promise to call Kim before I went to bed before she’d say goodbye. Girls!
I had a dream that night about Jordan. It was a short dream and I don’t remember much of it, but the part I do remember was awesome. I dreamed that he kissed me. It was just a simple kiss, no tongues or anything, but it filled me with a contentment I’d never experienced before. Dreaming that put me in a real good mood the next morning. I was so taken by Jordan that just thinking about him made me feel all warm and happy inside. Even if it was only a dream kiss, it was still wonderful.
I really couldn’t get Jordan out of my mind. I was thinking about him all the time. He was so perfect. Everything about him was just right. I felt like he’d been sent from Heaven. This was more than a little crush. I was fast falling in love. Too bad I couldn’t tell him about it.
I couldn’t keep my eyes off Jordan in gym class either, nor in the locker room, nor in the showers. The very sight of him fully clothed made my heart race. When he pulled off his shirt in the locker room I practically drooled. I devoured his chest with my eyes. Everything about Jordan was muscular, firm, and smooth - his chest, his broad shoulders, his arms, his abs, and even his cute little bubble-butt. My jock got a workout controlling my manhood. I changed quickly. The last thing I wanted was to be naked while Jordan was changing. I knew what would happen and I knew there would be no hiding it. In the showers, I allowed myself only the briefest of glances. I had promised myself not to look at all, but how could I not look? I allowed myself just one quick glance, but even then I almost lost control. I had to start thinking about that baby bunny I’d stepped on to keep from getting a major boner.
I’d checked out other guys before. One of my secret, forbidden pleasures was checking out the hard bodies of my class-mates. There wasn’t a guy in my gym class whose body I hadn’t memorized. Jordan got most of my attention now of course, but Mark was incredibly hot, he was a major stud. Adam had a great build too. So did Matt, Steve, and most of the others.
I was real careful about checking out my buddies, and real good at it too. I knew I couldn’t risk getting caught, so I took no chances. I never gave any of the guys more than a glance, but I’d trained myself to take in all the details. When I looked at one of them, it was like I took a picture. I could see them in my mind clearly long after they were gone.
I wasn’t as subtle at checking out Jordan as I was the other guys. I was attracted to the others, but I was completely taken with him. How could I not look at him? Still, I was careful. The last thing I wanted was to get caught checking out another boy. If I got labeled as a fag, I’d never be able shake it, that’s what I’d be called forever.
I arrived to pick up Kim for our date, but she wasn’t ready. I had to sit in the living room with her father. His eyes bored into me and he kept asking me all kinds of questions. It was like the Spanish Inquisition or something. He acted like all I wanted from Kim was sex. He never came out and said it, but I could tell from what he did say, and his tone of voice, that I was being warned. His message was clear, “Keep your dick in your pants boy”. Of course he didn’t say that either, but I knew what he meant.
I was distinctly uncomfortable in there. It was hot and stuffy and smelled funny. I bet they hadn’t cracked a window in that place since Lincoln was president. I kept looking at the stairs, willing Kim to get down there so we could go. I wanted nothing more than just to get the hell out of there. Kim’s father grilled me about wrestling. I thought I was taking some kind of test or something.
“How about baseball? You like baseball?”
“Not really, it’s kind of boring.” That was the wrong thing to say. I knew it immediately from the look on his face.
“What’s wrong with you boy? Everyone likes baseball.” I just shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t like baseball, nothing ever seemed to happen. The few times I’d watched it, all I did was sit there and wait for the guy to hit the ball. When he did, he just ran a little bit and then I waited for the next guy to hit the ball and so on. Like I said, boring. I didn’t like it and I wasn’t about to say I did.
Things were going from bad to worse and then he noticed the earring in my left ear.
“Why are you wearing an earring son?”
“A lot of my friends have earrings.” I said. It was true.
“They must be girls then, or fancy boys. When I was in school only girls wore earrings, girls and queers.” I swallowed hard. I really, really wanted out of there. First this guy all but accused me of planning to fuck his daughter as soon as we were out the door, next he starts acting like he thinks I’m gay. I mean, make up your mind dude.
I wondered what block of ice this guy had been frozen in. When he was in school! That was probably a hundred years ago or something.
“A lot of the wrestlers wear them, the football players too.” That was kind of a lie, but I didn’t care if I lied to this old geezer or not.
I was wearing a silver chain around my neck. I saw his eyes light on it and thought “Oh fuck, what now?” Just then Kim made her appearance. I practically jumped off the sofa and rushed to her side.
“Have her back by eleven if you know what’s good for you son!” he yelled as we slipped out the door. Was I glad to get out of there!
Kim looked at me apologetically.
“Sorry about that. Dad thinks he has to question every guy I go out with. I didn’t mean to leave you down there that long, but I couldn’t get my hair right.”
“It looks beautiful, as do you.” I wasn’t lying. Kim was beautiful. If I’d been into girls her father would have had to threaten me to keep my dick in my pants. As it was, he had nothing to worry about.
Kim smiled. I knew I’d said the right thing.
“Next time though, maybe we should just meet there, or I could pick you up outside?”
“That bad huh?”
“Yeah, your dad’s convinced I have nothing on my mind but sex.” I didn’t mention the earring deal.
“Hmmmm?” The way she said that made me uncomfortable. I think it was meant as a hint. I was already nervous over what I was expected to do. Should I hold her hand? Should I put my arm around her at the movie? Should I kiss her? What? If I didn’t do things right she’d either think I wasn’t interested in her, or get mad because I tried to move too fast. As far as I was concerned we could skip the whole thing. I had no interest whatsoever in kissing Kim, or any girl for that matter. And as far as anything more was concerned, the mere thought almost made me sick. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with girls, not at all. I’m just saying I didn’t want to do anything like that with one. I tried to change the subject and ended up talking about the earring thing, even though I’d decided not to.
“I don’t think he liked my earring, or my chain.”
“He wouldn’t.” she said, rolling her eyes. “But I do. I think it makes you look sexy.”
This was going to be hard. Why hadn’t I picked out one of those girls who wouldn’t so much as kiss on the first date? One of those that would probably be a virgin until she got married? Kim wasn’t exactly diving into my pants, but I had the feeling she expected some kind of action pretty soon. Fuck.
When we got to the theater, I made it a point not to sit near the back where most of the heavy necking went on. I sat where I always sat, in the center, about two-thirds of the way down. That’s the best place for watching a movie. While the previews were playing, I went out and bought us some popcorn and sodas. I also went to the restroom. I was so nervous I felt like I had to take a piss every five minutes. I made it back just as the movie was starting.
Kim sat real close to me. That was cool, but I wondered where it would go. I’d never dated a girl before, I’d never dated anyone. I was a total virgin, unless you counted jerking off, then I was about as experienced as you could get. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing now. I guess all guys felt like that. Guys are supposed to know everything about dating, even if it’s their first date. Guys are expected to be more experienced than girls in that sort of thing. Where did everyone think they got that experience however? Unless they were going with another guy, a date required a girl. I wished I was dating a guy. It would have been so cool to be dating Jordan. Yeah, like that was going to happen.
The whole problem of where to put my arm pretty much solved itself. My arm was near the arm rest between us and Kim slipped her hand into mine. We sat there holding hands while we watched the picture. After a while my fingers got numb, so I put my arm around her shoulders. I didn’t even really think about it, I just did it. Maybe guys had some kind of instinct for that sort of thing.
I was still nervous and I needed to make another trip to the restroom, but I just held it in. I tried to lose myself in the picture and not think too much about the fact that I was on my first date.
After the movie, I took Kim to this little 50’s burger place. It had the best burgers in town. We were half through eating before I thought again about us being on a date. I was having fun. I guess dating a girl wasn’t so bad after all. I was beginning to understand what my friends saw in it.
On our walk home, the nervousness returned, as did my need to go to the restroom. The closer we got to Kim’s house, the more I worried about what I should do when we got there. I sure as hell wasn’t going in, but I knew there would be some awkward moments at the door.
The porch light was on. We stopped just short of it’s golden glow. Kim turned to face me, then leaned in, just a little. My instincts kicked in again and I pressed my lips to hers and kissed her. It wasn’t anything like the kiss in my dream. I felt no passion, no love, it didn’t get me excited at all. It was no more significant or meaningful to me than a handshake would have been, or a pat on the back or something. Kim seemed to like it however. She smiled at me and said “goodnight”.
I walked home with a sick feeling in my gut. I wasn’t being true to myself. This wasn’t what I was. I could have went out with Kim just as friends and had a great time, but this whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing just wasn’t me. I didn’t know whether I wanted to continue it or not. It would only get more difficult as time went on. The longer we dated, the more I’d be expected to do with Kim. I almost felt like I was selling my body or something. That was gross. By the time I reached home, I decided to stick with it, at least for a while. It wasn’t what I wanted, but I knew I couldn’t have what I wanted. I couldn’t have Jordan.
Jordan and I started hanging out together, in school and out. We were fast becoming not only friends, but close friends. I loved being near Jordan, but it was a bittersweet pleasure. I really cared about him but I knew I couldn’t have him. Seeing him just made me want him all the more. His magnificent body tormented me with possibilities. I yearned to touch him, kiss him, and do so much more, but I knew it was all beyond my reach. I couldn’t begin to tell him how I felt. I knew he couldn’t possibly feel as I did and I feared losing what I already had with him. Friendship was a valuable thing and Jordan was a good friend. I couldn’t risk losing him. The mere thought of life without him filled me with dread. No, I’d never take that step. I would take my secret to the grave.
I was torturing myself, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off Jordan, whether we were alone or with others. My eyes were drawn to his bare chest like a moth to candlelight. His magnificent torso made my heart beat faster and other parts of me stir. Jordan drove me out of my mind with lust. I craved him as a starving man does food.
I thought I was so very careful checking him out, but I hadn’t been so sly as I believed. Jordan had no clue as to my interest, but someone did. I found an unmarked envelope stuffed into my locker. At first I thought it was a note from Kim. She was forever sticking little love notes in there. When I opened it up I knew it wasn’t from her. She always carefully wrote out her messages, this one was typed. As I read the words they struck fear into my heart. The message was short, and to the point, “I know you are a fag.”
There was no signature, no indication of any kind as to who it was from. I tried to convince myself that it was just some kind of joke, but I knew in my heart it was not. If I had any doubts, they were erased the next day when I received another unsigned, typed note, “I know you want Jordan’s dick.” This wasn’t a joke, and it wasn’t funny.
As soon as I read it, I looked around like whoever typed it was going to be standing there. That was stupid, whoever typed those notes didn’t want me to know who they were. They sure knew about me however. I wondered who did type them, and more importantly why. What did they want? I was terrified. Someone knew. Not knowing who it was only made it worse. He could be watching me right now and I’d never even know it. Someone was fucking with me in the worst way.
There was no way to tell who wrote those notes. They could have been typed on any computer in the school, or even at somebody’s home. The only clue I had was that it was someone who had seen me checking out Jordan. That pretty much narrowed it down to the guys in my gym class. But who among them would do such a thing? Mark? Jon? Adam? Jeremy? Alex? Who? I couldn’t think of one person who had any reason to dislike me. I couldn’t think of anyone who was cruel enough to fuck with someone else like this. I had no idea who it was, but from that moment on I lived in fear of being revealed.
I half expected someone to make an announcement during gym. Maybe one of the guys would stand up and say, “Guess what? Ethan’s a fag. He wants Jordan’s dick!” I lived in dread. The dire possibilities hung over me like a dense, dark cloud.
I went to my first wrestling meet with those two notes hanging over my head. I was getting paranoid. Did one of the guys on my wrestling team write those notes? Was he watching me even now, just waiting to see who I was looking at? More than half the guys on my team were also in my gym class. Whoever sent me those notes could well have been right there. I tried to erase all those thoughts from my mind, but I wasn’t entirely successful. I walked out to the mat for my very first match as a member of the varsity team. Kim was in the stands yelling my name and waving. Jordan was there too, cheering me on.
I shook hands with my opponent. I recognized him from the finals last year. He hadn’t won, but he was tough. I didn’t let that shake me, but I had an uneasy feeling, like I was being watched. I wondered again if my tormentor was keeping an eye on me even now.
I started in the down position [ask Justin about this], but I broke free pretty fast. I think that shook my opponent up a bit. He realized he was up against someone pretty good. I rushed at him, but couldn’t take him down. It was like trying to subdue a wildcat. If there’s one thing I love however, it was a challenge. I was beginning to wonder if I didn’t have more of a challenge than I needed however. The blonde muscle-boy I was wrestling caught me off guard and took me down. Before I knew what was going on I was on my back and the referee was on the mat to see if my shoulders were touching. I had to use all my strength to keep blondie from pinning me.
After what seemed an eternity, I broke free and even managed a reverse. Now my opponent was on his back. The look on his face was one of pure disbelief. His concentration was broken and I pinned him. Seconds later the referee proclaimed me the winner.
I watched my team-mates from the bench. Our entire varsity team was tough. It was hard to decide who was the best among us. Steve was an awesome wrestler, with some really slick moves. Jeremy was fast as lightning and powerful beyond belief. Zac, Bruce, Tyler, Alex and Scott all had their own strengths. The others were really good too, but not quite up to the level of the guys I just mentioned. I knew I was really good at wrestling, but a few others on my team were every bit as good in my opinion. I think out of the entire team that Steve, Jeremy, and myself were probably the best. I knew my own strengths and weaknesses and I could recognize wrestling talent when I saw it. Steve and Jeremy had it. Zac, Bruce, Tyler, Alex and Scott had it too, but Steve, Jeremy, and me had a little something extra. Still, not one of those guys would have been an easy target for me. Like I said, our team was tough.
We won the meet with ease. The guy I wrestled seemed to be about the only really good wrestler on the other team. Every single one of us took his match. That was pretty rare, at least it had been on the junior varsity team. I couldn’t remember any meet when we’d all won. I was pumped. We really kicked ass!
Kim ran over to me right after the match. She brushed my sweaty hair out of my eyes and kissed me on the cheek. My team-mates didn’t miss seeing that.
“See you in the locker room stud-boy!” yelled Jeremy as he ran past. That kind of embarrassed me, especially when the other guys yelled “Bye stud-boy.” as they made their way to the lockers.
“You were awesome!” said Kim.
“Thanks.” I don’t mean to sound conceited, but I was pretty awesome at that meet. My opponent was tough. He probably should have whipped my ass. I was pretty proud that I’d been able to take him.
It felt good to have Kim feel the way she did about me. It kind of made me feel like a rat too. She thought I was awesome and here I was leading her on. I had a lot of fun with her, but I wasn’t really the boyfriend she thought I was. I’d been doing a lot of thinking about that. Sooner or later, Kim was going to want more from me than I was willing to give. Maybe more than I was capable of giving. Girls didn’t get me excited at all and I wondered what would happen if I tried to have sex with her. I hadn’t been thinking about that when I’d asked her out. I just did it because the guys were watching and that was what I was expected to do.
Kim was practically devouring me with her eyes. I have to admit, I looked pretty good in that wrestling uniform. I have a real nice build and that uniform really showed it off. All the guys looked good in those uniforms. Even if I didn’t wrestle, I would have showed up at the meets just to watch.
Speaking of good looking, Jordan walked over and joined us.
“Good job Ethan. That guy you were wrestling looked tough.”
“He was.” I said. “I thought he was going to kick my ass.”
“I knew you’d win.” said Kim. She was all dreamy eyed again. That made me uncomfortable.
“You going to the lake?” I asked. “A bunch of the guys are going.”
“Yeah, I’ll be there.” said Jordan. “I promised to take Mark and Adam. In fact,” he said, looking at his watch. “I’d better get going. I’m supposed to be picking them up right now.”
“Later.” we both said.
I watched Jordan for a moment as he departed. I was overcome by a sense of unfulfilled longing. I turned my attention back to Kim.
“Wait here. I just have to shower and change, then we can go to the lake.”
We hadn’t been to Koontz Lake since the day I’d first asked Kim out. I had to admit, Kim looked hot in her swimsuit. I noticed a few guys checking her out and a few others looking at me with envy. Jordan was already there. Now there was someone who looked good in a swimsuit. He made me drool. I wished I could date him instead of Kim. That would have been a dream come true, literally. I had a lot of dreams about Jordan. Too bad none of them had ever come true.
I was pretty distracted the whole time we were at the lake, a lot of guys from school were there. Along with Jordan, there was Mark and Brandon from the soccer team, talk about hot! Steve, Billy, and Jeremy were there from the wrestling team. I had fantasies about all of them, especially Jeremy, he had to be one of the cutest and best built boys on the entire planet.
Mainly, I was distracted by Jordan. In my eyes, he was hotter than all the rest of them put together, and that’s saying a great deal. Whenever he was near, I was drawn to him, as if by some powerful, unseen force. To me, everything about him was perfect and I’m not just talking about the way he looked. The way he smiled, the way he couldn’t quite hold still, the way his hair fell down into his eyes, the way he always seemed to be there when I needed him, the way he acted all crazy and wild when we were doing something fun - I could keep listing stuff I loved about him forever.
I thought his looks were pretty much perfect too. He was so handsome it made my heart ache. His face, his hair, everything about him made me yearn to be with him. I couldn’t look at Jordan’s lips without thinking about the dream I had about kissing him. His lips were full and red and just begged to be kissed. Sometimes when I was talking to Jordan, I kind of got lost in his face. I was so taken by him that I had to ask him to repeat what he’d just said.
The rest of Jordan was, if anything, even more appealing than his face. His broad shoulders surged with power, a feature echoed by his bulging biceps, and thick, muscular, perfectly shaped chest. His torso tapered down to a slim, firm abdomen, giving him a perfect V shape. I know I use the word “perfect” a lot, but I have to when I’m describing Jordan. There’s just no other word that does him justice.
I tried not to look at the rest of Jordan too much. His firm little bubble-butt and the sizable bulge in his shorts just about drove me out of my mind every time I looked at them. It was kind of like being tortured, wanting him so bad, and not being able to have him.
I probably come off like a sex crazed maniac of some sort. I guess I kind of am in a way, but my desire for Jordan was fueled by love. There were plenty of really hot guys around. Mark had a body to die for and there are some major studs in my gym class and on the wrestling team. I won’t deny that some of them make me drool, but it’s different with Jordan. I fantasized about having sex with some of the jocks at my school, but I dreamed of making love with Jordan. I even dreamed about just being with him.
I was in love with Jordan. That was the main reason I hadn’t tried too hard to get into some other guys pants. I mean, I wanted to do that sure, but what I really wanted was to save my first time with anyone for Jordan. I knew a lot of guys had already been laid by the time they were my age, but I was so in love with Jordan, so obsessed with him, that no one else really mattered. I knew I was just torturing myself, but I couldn’t help it.
There were other reasons I had never put the moves on another guy. I had no idea what guys might be interested, I had no idea how to do it, and I didn’t want anyone to know I was gay. Those were all pretty powerful reasons, but my love for Jordan outweighed them all. If I did anything with another guy, I would have felt like I was cheating on Jordan. I know that’s pretty silly, but it’s the way I felt.
Actually, I think I could have been quite content if Jordan would have just held me in his arms and told me he loved me. Everyone has a physical need for sex, but love is more important. Sometimes I feel like sex is the more important. Sometimes I’m just ready to explode, but even then, I know that love is so far above sex that there is no comparison. Jordan’s body drove me crazy, but what I really found myself fantasizing and dreaming about was just being with him, just being in his arms while we kissed.
I had to tear my eyes away from him. It wasn’t easy. He’d just come out of the lake and rivulets of water were streaming down his firm chest and over his tight abs. I managed to pull my eyes away when I thought about the notes in my locker. I hadn’t received another one after the first two, but I was still leery. Whoever wrote them could be sitting there watching me. Ever since I received those notes I felt like I was living under a microscope, with someone watching my every move. I think I could have dealt with the whole situation much more easily if I’d have known who wrote those notes. It had to be someone in my gym class, but that only narrowed it down to about twenty-seven guys!
I tried to be a good boyfriend and pay attention to Kim. She was pretty fun to be with and she was quite beautiful. I could recognize her beauty, even though it didn’t really attract me. She wasn’t quite active enough for me however. All she really wanted to do was listen to the radio while she tanned. I like quiet stuff like reading a book or writing in my journal, but I had trouble just sitting somewhere not really doing anything. It didn’t take me long to start itching to do something, anything. If I was reading a book, I was lost in the story. If I was writing, my mind was so busy I didn’t realize I was sitting still. Just sitting somewhere drove me out of my mind however.
I lay back and closed my eyes, losing myself in the music, keeping my mind busy by following it in my mind, by wondering if I’d be able to play it on my keyboard. I enjoyed the hot sun beating down on my bare chest and the soft breeze coming off the lake. I’d rather have been laying beside Jordan, but at least Kim was someone to do stuff with. My life wasn’t what I wanted, but it wasn’t so bad. If only I could have had Jordan, then everything would have been fine.
At first, I didn’t notice the envelope stuck into my locker, but then my eyes locked on it. I just looked at it for a few moments, my heart pounding in my chest. Fear fell upon me. I actually shook a little as I picked it up and tore it open. I was afraid to read it. I thought about just throwing it away, but I knew I couldn’t. The typed words on the page terrified me.
“Thought I forgot about you, huh fag? Fat chance. Write me a three page report on The Lord of the Flies, and make it a good one. If I don’t get an A, you’ll be sorry. Leave it in the library, stuck in the first volume of the Encyclopedia. I hope for your sake no one takes it. If you don’t do it, I’ll tell everyone what I know about you. And don’t try to hang around and find out who I am. If I see you there, I’ll tell everyone you’re a fag.”
I was screwed. Now I had to write another report on The Lord of the Flies. I’d just finished mine. I wanted to just defy whoever it was that was blackmailing me, but there was no way in hell I could do that. I had no doubt that whoever was leaving those notes wouldn’t hesitate for a second to expose me for what I was. If he did, it wouldn’t take anyone long to put all the pieces together. I’d been careful checking out the other guys, but once I was labeled as a fag they’d remember all the times I’d looked at them. I’d tried to be careful, but I’d already exposed myself too much. Fuck! I felt like I was someone’s slave.
I still wasn’t any closer to figuring out who it was that was doing this. The demand for a report didn’t even narrow it down. The Lord of the Flies was required reading for sophomore English and we all had to write reports on it. All the guys in my gym class were sophomores, so this new clue didn’t eliminate anyone. All it did was create more work for me.
This was the first thing my blackmailer had demanded from me. I felt the noose slowly tightening around my neck. What would he want next? I knew this was far from over. Not knowing who it was drove me crazy. I even made a list of all the boys in my gym class, so I could cross them off one by one as I eliminated them as suspects. So far the only name I’d crossed off was mine. I wasn’t exactly Sherlock Holmes.
I wrote the report that night, making it different enough from mine that it wouldn’t look like I’d written it. I knew what would happen to me if I got my blackmailer in trouble. I’m not ashamed to admit I was pretty scared. Knowing that someone was in possession of my deepest, darkest secret was pretty intimidating. Sometimes I didn’t even want to admit to myself that I was gay. I sure as hell didn’t want anyone else knowing it. The last thing I wanted was to become known as the school fag. I really think that if word got out, I would have just blown my brains out. I was pretty sensitive and walking through the halls knowing that everyone knew I was into guys was more than I’d be able to handle. I was scared. If whoever knew my secret narked me out, I was finished, I was dead.
I dropped the report off as ordered the next morning. I was tempted to stake out the library, but I couldn’t take the chance that I’d be seen. Whoever it was that was blackmailing me wasn’t fucking around. This wasn’t a game.
I wished there was a way I could check out all the reports that were handed in. To get credit, my blackmailer had to put his name on the report I’d written for him. It wouldn’t be hard to recognize that report. There was no way I could do it however. There were three different sophomore English teachers and I didn’t see any way I could get a look at all those reports. It wasn’t like they were quizzes or something that I could offer to grade either. I wasn’t Sherlock Holmes and I wasn’t James Bond either. The only clue I had that would reveal my tormentor wasn’t of any use.
Later that week I received another unsigned note. All it said was, “Good faggot, I got an A. Your secret is safe, for the moment.” That didn’t exactly put me at ease. I could still feel the noose around my neck.
Friday night I found myself once again sitting with Kim’s father. He was every bit as charming as the first time. He didn’t say much, he just sat there like a big toad, glaring at my earring. I could just imagine what he’d have said if he knew I was gay, even if I wasn’t dating his daughter. It was people like him that made it impossible for boys like me to be honest about what they were.
I knew what would await me if I was ever “outed”. Most of my friends would drop me like a red hot rock. Everyone would be staring at me, calling me fag, queer, fairy, and all the other names that went with being gay. Guys would beat me up just for the fun of it. My life would be a living hell.
No, my life wouldn’t be a living hell. I’d already made up my mind that if I was “outed” I wouldn’t go back to school. I wouldn’t go anywhere. I just blow my brains out, or cut my wrists, or kill myself in some way before everyone had a chance to rip me apart. I felt a little like a coward for taking that way out, but I’d do it in a flash. I would not live out my life as the school fag. If I was “outed” I’d kill myself before anyone had a chance to call me fag. I wondered if I’d go to hell for that. People who killed themselves were supposed to go to hell. Of course, most church people said homosexuals went to hell too, so what was the difference? I might as well go to hell for both as just one. Personally, I didn’t think there was a hell. How could anyone possibly be bad enough to be punished forever. If there was a hell, it was here on earth and I was going to escape it by taking myself out if I had to.
Kim didn’t keep me waiting long, but the few minutes I was with her father was like an eternity. If there was a hell, then I should get a lesser punishment because I’d already done some of my time with Kim’s father.
Kim looked beautiful. If I was into girls, I’d have been thinking hard about how to get my hands up her shirt. My mind would have been racing, searching for ways to have her. As it was, she didn’t do a thing for me. I wasn’t excited in the least. I knew she was hot, but it didn’t matter to me.
As we walked to the school gym for the dance, I was uncomfortable. This was our second serious date and there had been several minor dates in between. So far I’d gotten away with holding hands, putting my arm around Kim’s shoulder, and kissing her, but I knew I’d be expected to do more soon.
I could tell that Kim was already wanting more. When I pulled my lips from hers I had the sense of putting on the brakes when Kim wanted to step on the gas. I knew Kim wasn’t satisfied with the way I kissed her, she wanted my tongue involved. The mere thought kind of made me queasy. I just didn’t want to kiss a girl like that. The thought of her blowing me wasn’t bad. I mean, a blow’s a blow. Well, at least I guessed it was. I’d never had one, except in my dreams. The thought of fucking her just about made me sick. Girls were so nasty. I didn’t see why anyone would want to fuck one. If other guys liked it, that was fine. I believed everyone should do what they enjoyed. I just didn’t want to have to do it.
I did enjoy dancing with Kim however. We got there right as the music started and the dances were fast and wild. I felt more like I was dancing with everyone instead of Kim. I’d danced with girls before. I went to all the dances and it was unavoidable. I didn’t want to avoid it anyway. It was fun. Dancing with Kim made me a little nervous however, not because I was dancing with her, but because of what she might expect.
I looked around. Jordan were there, looking so fine in his jeans. He was dancing with a lot of different girls. All the girls liked Jordan, who could blame them? I also saw Mark, Jon, Brandon, Jeremy, Alex, and a bunch of the other guys. I’d rather have been dancing with any of them! They all looked real good.
The music slowed and I pulled Kim close to me. This was what I’d been dreading, the slow dances. This was where I was expected to do some boyfriend stuff and I didn’t really know what to do. Kim put her head on my shoulder and slipped her hands kind of low on my back. I slipped mine down even further and ran them just barely out onto her ass. It was about as arousing as feeling up a roll of toilet paper.
I looked around at some of the boys in the room and intentionally tried to get excited. I couldn’t see Jordan anywhere just then, so I gazed at Mark and pictured him without a shirt. That got me excited. I could feel something stirring in my jeans. My eyes drifted across the room and locked on a boy I’d never seen before. He had to be the cutest boy ever, even more attractive than Jordan, if that was possible. He had long blonde hair and a beautiful face. He was a real pretty boy, almost too good looking to be a guy. Before I knew it, I was getting hard. Normally I tried to control stuff like that, but right then it was just what I wanted.
I pressed my bulge against Kim. I wanted her to know I was aroused. I’d tried to get excited around her before, but I just couldn’t do it. Trying to get excited by a girl was like trying to get turned on by a cabbage, it just wasn’t going to happen.
Kim was looking into my eyes. I could tell she knew I was hard. She even pressed up against me a little bit. I kept stealing glances of Mark, the beautiful blonde boy, and the other guys at the dance to stay hard. I let my mind wander and fantasize about what I’d like to do with them. Jordan was back on the dance floor pretty soon and I devoured him with my eyes. I had no trouble keeping myself aroused looking at him. I was a little worried that my blackmailer might be watching, but I was moving around so much I really doubt anyone could tell what I was looking at.
I was more successful than I really wanted to be. Thinking about Jordan, looking at him, got me more aroused that I could handle. He was driving me out of my mind. I actually started breathing harder and my nuts ached. Once I got started thinking about him, I couldn’t stop. I quit looking at him as much as I could and tried to pay attention just to Kim. I wasn’t entirely successful of course, and it didn’t help anyway. I was all worked up. I was fast approaching the point of no return. I’d taken things a little far and gotten in over my head. At least I’d accomplished what I had set out to do. For all Kim knew, I had it for her bad. She pressed up against me harder as we danced and purred like a kitten.
We kept dancing, only taking a short break now and then. It was fun, but I was so aroused I was about to explode. I’d succeeded a little too well. Kim was hinting around about leaving the dance and going somewhere more quiet. I was beginning to wonder if faking attraction to her was such a good idea. I was beginning to wonder if this whole girlfriend thing was a good idea. I sure as hell didn’t want one. Why hadn’t I thought about all this more that day at the lake? I should have just walked away. Why did I have to ask her out? I knew the answer to that one. I asked her out because the guys were watching, and I didn’t want anyone to know I was gay, that’s why.
Jordan was no where in sight again. I felt jealousy stir inside me when I thought he might have slipped off with some girl. I knew I was being stupid. Sometimes I acted like Jordan and I were dating. If he had gone off with a girl, it didn’t matter anyway I guess. If he was into girls, then he wouldn’t be into me.
The blonde boy was standing over by Mark and they were talking. I wondered who he was. He was really cute. Great, just what I needed, another crush on a guy I couldn’t have. I did want to meet him however and at least talk to him. I mean, it wouldn’t hurt just looking. Would it?
An especially fast dance ended and I pulled Kim toward Mark and the blonde boy. When we were still half the dance floor away, Mark bolted like a rabid dog was after him. I wondered what the hell was up. There went my introduction to the hot, blonde stud. We kept walking toward the blonde boy, but he took off too before we got there. It was just as well. I wouldn’t have known what to say to him anyway without Mark there.
Kim never knew I was planning on talking to the boys. She had other things on her mind. She pulled me onward toward the exit. I didn’t mind. I needed to get out of that gym. I was burning up, in more ways than one.
It was pretty warm outside, but cooler than in the gym. The lower temperature did nothing to cool my desire however. I’d worked myself up so much I couldn’t get my mind off Jordan for a second. My eyes were glazed over with desire. I was like some out of control animal or something. I got that way sometimes, although I was damn careful not to let it happen at school, except for now.
Kim stopped in the parking lot and hugged me. She held her lips mere inches from my face. I knew what she wanted. I pressed my lips to hers and kissed her. I closed my eyes and pretended she was Jordan. I wasn’t entirely successful, but I was able to lose myself in the fantasy enough that I didn’t mind kissing her. I even found myself slipping my tongue into her mouth. If only I had been kissing Jordan!
“Let’s go somewhere we can be alone Ethan.” said Kim.
She didn’t wait for an answer, but took my hand in hers and led me out toward the football field. My mind was in a daze. I almost felt like I was buzzed from drinking or something. I didn’t even think about why Kim was leading out into the darkness. I knew why, but my mind was so filled with Jordan that it was like what I was doing just then wasn’t real. Maybe it wasn’t, it sure felt like a dream, all misty and ethereal.
I found myself standing in the middle of the football field with Kim. I held her close and kissed her once again. She ran her hands over my chest, then lower, lower. Her fingertips danced along my hard abdomen, then descended onto the bulge in my jeans. That bulge had nothing to do with her, but it was hard as rock. Kim was a girl, but her hand still felt incredibly good there. A sigh escaped my lips and I kissed her more passionately. It was almost as if I was with Jordan.
Kim tugged at my shirt and pulled it over my head. She ran her hands all over my hard torso. I pulled her shirt off as well and found she wore nothing underneath. Any other boy would have been going nuts over her breasts, but they appealed to me not at all. I reached out and grasped them, groping Kim as I thought a real boyfriend would. Her hands were busy unbuckling my belt, unzipping my jeans, and pushing them to the ground.
We stood there in the middle of the football field, necking and undressing each other. The night air felt cool on my naked skin, but I was on fire with lust. Kim’s hands were all over me. I closed my eyes and pretended I was with Jordan. Being naked in the middle of the football with him would have been a dream come true. We sank down onto the field.
As we writhed on the grass, feeling, fondling, and kissing, beautiful boys drifted in and out of my mind, Jordan, Mark, Jeremy, Adam, and the blonde boy from the dance. Physically, I was with Kim, but in every other way, I was with them, and with Jordan most of all.
Kim lay on her back and I mounted her, pinning her with my manhood. A moan escaped my lips as my virginity came to an end. I was lost in the sensation of the moment as I thrust in and out, my mind a blur with young men’s faces and forms. The body beneath me meant nothing to me, did not attract me in the least, but the bodies of those I pictured in my mind drove me insane with desire. Kim was nothing more than a prop for my fantasy, a physical tool to make my dreams more real. I arched my back and moaned out loud. A wave of ecstasy ripped through my young body, my mind exploded with pleasure. I had to bite my lips to keep from moaning Jordan’s name. I was overwhelmed with sensation, overloaded with pleasure. I’d never felt anything so intense before.
I rolled off Kim and caught my breath. I’d lost my virginity, to a girl. The ecstasy was gone. A sense of guilt and depression was all that was left. I looked at Kim beside me, so unappealing, so un-male. I couldn’t believe I’d just fucked a girl. The mere sight of her filled me with revulsion and disgust. What had I done? I’d thrown away my dream. There was only one first time. I’d wasted it on a girl. Now I could never experience it with Jordan. I was angry with Kim for a moment, but she bore no guilt in this. She hadn’t forced me. All she’d wanted was to make love with her boyfriend. I felt disgust with myself. I had so little control over myself that I’d used her, used her in my desperate need for another boy. I couldn’t have what I so desired, so I had fantasized using Kim as a prop. I made myself sick.
“That was the best sex I’ve ever had.” said Kim.
If I was the best she’d ever had, then I felt sorry for her. I had no idea what I was doing. I lasted for less than two minutes. Now that the fantasy had cleared from my mind I knew how lousy had been my performance. We hadn’t arrived at the football field more than five minutes ago and we were done. All I had done was strip her and fuck her. If that was the best she’d ever had than she’d been with some pretty lousy guys. I was disgusted with myself, and with her. I didn’t even want to look at her. I felt no love for Kim. I didn’t even feel friendship for her now. She was only a physical reminder of my failure, a walking monument to the night I betrayed my own hopes and dreams. I wanted to die.
“I’ve got to go.” I said. I dressed quickly and walked away. Kim just sat there, staring after me. I knew what I dick I was being, but I couldn’t help it. I’d fucked myself up. I felt like I’d cheated on Jordan. I felt like I’d betrayed all I believed in and all because I couldn’t control my balls. I’d worked myself up so I could lie to Kim about being attracted to her, and this was the result.
Kim didn’t call me that night, nor the next day. I knew she was hurt, and with good reason. We’d had sex, and then I just walked away. I knew she thought I was a bastard, and she was right. I’d used her. I was just as bad as those guy that pretended to really like a girl just to get into her pants. What I’d done wasn’t at all the same, but it was just as bad, if not worse. I couldn’t go on with this. I couldn’t hurt Kim any more.
I found Kim at lunch and we went outside where we could talk alone. I could tell by the look on her face that she was really hurt. It made me feel like a stack of shit.
“So, are we breaking up?” she asked.
“Yes.” I said. “I’m a dick Kim, you deserve a lot better than me.”
Tears were running down her cheeks. I couldn’t take that. I almost cried myself. I’m pretty sensitive, but I’m not a crier. Seeing her hurt was hurting me.
“I thought you loved me.” she said.
I didn’t know what to say to that. I just sat there for several long, painful moments.
“We had fun Kim and I care about you, but just not enough to be your boyfriend. I’m sorry. I should have told you sooner. I thought that maybe things would work out.”
“So you waited until after we had sex, and then decided to dump me.”
“Save it!” she said. “You used me! You strung me along until you got a chance to fuck me. All I was to you was an opportunity to get your rocks off! I just wish I’d figured out what a bastard you are before we did anything!”
She walked away, tears in her eyes. When I walked back into the cafeteria, everyone was looking at me. They knew I’d just broken up with her. That kind of shit was big news at my school. No body there had a life.
Some of the guy on the wrestling team kind of smirked at me in the locker room. They weren’t putting me down, just letting me know that they knew what was up, or at least thought they knew. While I was pulling on my uniform, Jeremy stepped over to me.
“You fucked her, didn’t you?” he asked. “I saw you two walking to the football field.”
I was kind of pissed that he said that and it deepened the guilt I felt about using Kim. I was about to tell him to shut his mouth, but then I looked around and noticed the guys kind of looking at me with approval. They weren’t approving the fact that I used her, but that I’d fucked her.
“Yeah,” I said. “I fucked her.”
“So was she good?” asked Jeremy. This guy just didn’t know when to quit.
“She was the best I’ve ever had.” All the guys started hooting and hollering. They were animals, but I liked that about them. What I said was the truth too. I had fucked her and she was the best I’d ever had. She had to be, she was the only one I’d ever had. Even as I was playing it up, I felt like a louse. I had used her and here I was bragging about it.
The next day I found another note in my locker; “So you dumped your “girlfriend”. Ready to admit you’re a fag?”. I wanted to just move away and get away from all this. When did my life become such a soap opera?
I was really uptight over the way things had worked out with Kim. I don’t think I could have screwed things up anymore if I’d tried my hardest. At least it was over. I was back to having no girlfriend, but I’d gotten laid and all the guys knew it. That was insurance against anyone finding out about me. I could go for weeks without a girl now and no one would suspect at thing, especially after the way things worked out with Kim. I’m not sure I could have found another girl if I wanted one. Kim pretty much told everyone what a dick I’d been. What girl would want to date a guy like that?
Of course, the whole girlfriend thing wouldn’t matter if the one guy who knew about me narked me out. Then again, I had done it with a girl now. That’s not something gay guys did. I had the sickening feeling that even that wouldn’t save me however. If someone openly denounced me as a fag, he could easily get everyone to believe that the whole thing with Kim was just to cover my tracks, which it was. No, I wasn’t safe yet and I probably never would be. Why did this have to happen to me?
Jordan invited me on a camping trip for the weekend. I think he knew I was upset over the whole thing with Kim and wanted to help me put it out of my mind. It worked. I’d be spending a whole weekend alone with Jordan! What could be better than that? Well, I could think of a few things, but nothing that could actually happen.
I wondered what Jordan thought of the way I’d treated Kim. He didn’t know the real story of course, no one did, but I had to look like a pretty big jerk in his eyes. He never said anything about it however. If he thought I was a jerk, he kept it to himself.
Not long after Jordan invited me camping, I found another note in my locker; “Going camping with the boy of your dreams huh? Sure you can control yourself fag? You know this will only make it easier for me to show everyone you’re a faggot if I want. Sure you still want to go?”
The note scared me shitless. My blackmailer was right. If I spent the weekend with Jordan it would be that much easier for everyone to believe I was gay. It didn’t matter what happened when we were camping, everyone would think I was making a play for Jordan. And what about Jordan? If I did anything that could make him suspect me, he’d look back on this trip and know I wanted him. Fuck! I almost decided not to go after all, as badly as I wanted to. Something inside me got pissed however at being controlled. I was not going to let this bastard, whoever he was, control my life, at least not any more that I had to let him control it. I was going and the consequences be damned.
I thought hard about who would even know I was going. Jordan and I were talking about it in the locker room. I closed my eyes and pictured who was there and who wasn’t. Mark was already in the gym when he told me, so was Steve. I could think of about half a dozen guys who weren’t around. At least I could mark at least a few names off my list of suspects. It wasn’t much, but it made me feel a little better. Of course, someone in the locker room could have said something about our trip to one of those guys, but why would they? It wasn’t exactly big news. I managed to pare a few names from the list. Maybe I’d figure out who the bastard was after all. Unfortunately, I had a long way to go.
Jordan pulled up at my house in his dad’s pickup. It was one of those double cab deals that cost about as much as a house. Jordan’s father was more trusting that my dad would have been. There’s no way I’d have been allowed to drive the good car. We threw a tent, my sleeping bag and all my other stuff in the back and took off for a nearby State Forest. There were some really cool camping areas there and miles and miles of forest.
As always, my eyes drifted over Jordan as we talked. Alone in the truck I could do more looking than I ever could at school. Here, all I had to worry about was Jordan catching me checking him out. I had no need to be concerned about whether or not someone else was watching me, watch him. Whoever he was, my blackmailer was not here, unless of course he was Jordan himself! Once the thought occurred to me, it gave me pause. The doubt lasted a mere moment however. There was just no way!
Jordan was wearing a dark yellow shirt that looked especially good on him. I liked the way the sleeves tightened around his biceps and the way his chest pressed against the shirt. Hell, I liked everything about Jordan. I would have thought he was hot no matter what he was wearing. I felt the yearning ache for him more strongly that I usually did, probably because we were alone. I’d been looking forward to this weekend, but I knew it would be difficult as well. Being near Jordan was always hard on me, kind of a torturous pleasure. Now that we were alone, those feelings were intensified.
We sat up camp near a large stream. I loved the sound of the running water. Our tent was only a few feet from the rushing waters so we could lay there at night and listen to it’s music. Of course, with Jordan laying next to me, I probably wouldn’t be thinking much about the sound of the stream.
As soon as things were set up, Jordan pulled on his hiking boots and led me off through the woods. We walked for over an hour, examining every unusual site we discovered. There were some huge outcroppings of rock that we just had to climb. It was really weird, most of the forest was pretty much flat, but then there would be a big stack of rocks poking out of the ground. We also saw a flock of wild turkey’s, but only for a moment. They took off fast as we approached.
It was getting hot. Jordan took off his shirt and stuffed it in his back pack. The way the straps crossed his chest made him particularly appealing. I doffed my shirt as well. I was all sweaty and it was started to stick to my skin. I didn’t think it would be this warm in October, it felt more like August.
I was having a wonderful time. The forest was beautiful. I loved being outside. Being alone with Jordan was cause enough for happiness itself. Had I known where Jordan was leading me, I wouldn’t have been so happy. In a few more minutes I looked up to see a fire tower dominating the sky line. It seemed to go up forever. When Jordan eyes spotted it, his lit up.
“Come on! Let’s go!”
“We’re going to climb it?” I asked.
“Sure, that’s why I brought you here. It’s cool, isn’t it?”
“What’s wrong Ethan?”
I didn’t want to admit it and I didn’t want to ruin his fun, but heights scared the shit out of me. More precisely, falling from heights scared the shit out of me. I didn’t say anything for a few moments.
“Nothing, nothing’s wrong.”
Jordan didn’t look totally convinced, but didn’t say anything more. I let him lead me to the tower. I believed in facing my fears and maybe it was time to face this one. I started up the steps behind him, they were narrow, steep, and just a little worn by time. In other words, they were a nightmare.
The first couple of flights weren’t too bad. The sides were enclosed with some kind of fencing, so the only way to fall was down the steps. Still, I felt uneasy as we went up and up. I was smart enough not to look down, but I was beginning to feel dizzy and uneasy. I started breathing harder and I was getting a little panicky. At the top of the fourth flight of steps, I stopped. I was practically frozen with terror and their were eight more flights to go. Jordan turned around when I didn’t follow.
“Ethan what’s wrong?” He could read the panic in my eyes.
“I’m afraid of heights.” I admitted. It made me feel weak to tell him that.
“Here, sit down a minute.”
“I know it’s stupid.” I said. “But something about being up high just scares the crap out of me.”
“It’s not stupid. Why didn’t you say something?”
“I didn’t want you to know I was afraid.”
“Ethan, everybody’s afraid of something. Don’t worry, we’ll just go back down.”
“No, I want to go to the top. I want to know I can do it.”
I stood up.
“Here,” said Jordan. “You go first and I’ll be right behind you.”
Having Jordan behind me did help. I took a deep breath and stepped up first one step, then two, then more. After what seemed an eternity, I was at the top of the fifth flight of stairs. To be honest, I was terrified, but I didn’t want to chicken out in front of Jordan. I could never have made it alone, but I actually climbed right to the top. Jordan grinned at me as we looked out over the tops of the trees.
“You made it!” he said.
I was kind of proud of myself. Heights were one of my biggest fears. I still felt pretty uneasy up there, but I was there. I hadn’t chickened out.
We stood there for a long time looking out over the forest. We could see for miles in every direction. Everything looked so different from up there. I looked down at the ground. It seemed so very far away. It made me a little dizzy and I held onto the side of the tower with a death grip. Jordan stood right beside me. We looked at each other and spit over the side. We watched as our spit raced to the ground. It was so far down we couldn’t even tell when it hit. Jordan laughed.
The climb back down wasn’t nearly as bad as the trip up. It felt good when my feet touched earth again. I looked up at the tower and wondered how I’d ever had the courage to climb it. I looked at Jordan. I knew how. I’d have done about anything to impress Jordan.
We walked back to our campsite by a different route. Being with Jordan was like a dream. I think it was the best day of my entire life.
By the time we got back, the light was dimming. It was still warm however and Jordan suggested we take a swim. He stripped down to his shorts. I loved those shorts. They were black and made of some kind of parachute material, real light and thin. I could tell Jordan wasn’t wearing anything underneath them. I could clearly see the outline of his equipment and his cute little butt. I felt myself getting warmer than ever. I’m glad he didn’t strip nude. Sure, the view would have been fantastic, but I was already tempted almost beyond my level of control.
I stripped down to just my shorts too, but I had a probably. I was wearing boxers underneath and didn’t want to get them wet. I couldn’t strip in front of Jordan however. I was getting kind of excited and it was pretty obvious. I decided to just do it and hope he didn’t notice. I pulled my shorts down. Lucky for me Jordan jumped in the stream right then and I was able to get my boxers off and my shorts back on before he saw anything.
I dove into the water beside him. The stream was pretty deep. It came almost half way up my chest. The cool water felt good on my hot skin. It looked good on Jordan. Little rivulets of water were streaming down his muscular chest. I looked at him and sighed. It was wonderful having Jordan as a friend, but sometimes being with him was hard on me. I was in love with him and I wanted him to love me so bad it hurt. I think he did love me as a friend, or at least he was pretty close to loving me like that, but I wanted him to love me the way I loved him. Being with him was the best part of my life, but it was a reminder that things were really the way I wanted them to be. Could Jordan ever be my boyfriend?
Being near Jordan was physically hard on me too. All of us have needs, especially sixteen year old boys, and when I was near Jordan, I was in desperate need. I was ten times more attracted to him than I was to any other guy. Jordan was incredibly good looking and really well built, but it wasn’t just his looks that attracted me. I was attracted to him because I loved him. To be honest, I knew a few guys who were hotter. Steve had a body to die for, Mark was probably the best built guy in my school, and cute as hell besides, and then there was that new blonde boy, talk about beautiful! Any one of those guys was better looking than Jordan, but I was drawn to him most of all because of the way I felt about him. I really think I’d have felt that way even if he wasn’t good looking.
The cool waters felt refreshing, but they did nothing to lessen my desire. I gazed on Jordan’s beautiful body with unfulfilled yearning. Physically, he was driving me insane. Emotionally, I felt sad. I wondered about all those who loved someone and couldn’t tell him. It really was a shame. If you loved someone, you should at least be able to tell them about it. Maybe they’d turn you down, but at least you’d have a shot. I couldn’t take that chance however. The odds were just too great against success. I knew I wasn’t the only gay boy in the world, but I knew that the chances of Jordan being gay too were practically nil.
I forced the thoughts from my mind and just enjoyed being with Jordan, well, as much as I could anyway. We floated around in the stream for a long time, then started swimming against the current, which was much stronger than I thought it would be. Jordan was a thing of beauty, cutting through the water with powerful strokes. I was hard pressed to keep up with him. We fought our way upstream until we were panting and our hearts pounded in our chests. When we couldn’t hold out anymore, we let the stream float us back toward our camp. It was awesome!
As we stood in the stream catching our breath, Jordan lunged for me and took me down. I went under and came up sputtering and coughing. Jordan thought that was pretty funny. I lunged for him and missed. He thought that was even funnier. It didn’t take me long to get hold of him however and with considerable struggle, I took him down.
We circled each other like gladiators, carefully watching for an opening, ready to exploit any weakness. I had trouble keeping my footing and it wasn’t too hard for Jordan to knock me off balance.
“Not too tough for a wrestler!” he taunted.
“Oh, you’re dead Jordan.”
I lunged for him and missed again.
“If you can catch me.”
“You’re not that fast soccer boy!”
It took a couple more tries, but I took him out. I grabbed him, lifted him over my head, and dumped him in the stream.
“Yeah!” I yelled as he came up sputtering. I held my arms above myself in victory then flexed my muscles. “Yeah!”
We kept fooling around in the stream. I loved it, but it only increased my old problem of attraction. Seeing Jordan in action, watching his muscles flex, feeling his firm young body as I strained to overpower him - all this and more aroused me almost beyond control. Sometimes I wished I didn’t have any sexual desires, but then again, it did feel pretty good. Even though it was kind of like being tortured sometimes, the feeling it gave me was one of intense pleasure. The delicious bite of adolescent sexual desire was both a torment and a dream.
When we left the stream, our chests were heaving from exertion. It seemed neither of us really knew how to rest, even our fun was strenuous. It was really getting dark so we built a small fire for light. We certainly had no need of it for heat, it was still way too warm. At least now I didn’t have the dilemma of changing in front of Jordan. I was able to slip out of my shorts and into my boxers before the fire was high enough to give off much light. Jordan changed after me and a got a quick glance at his naked body as he pulled off his shorts and slipped into a pair of boxers. Jordan sure looked good.
We sat around the fire in our underwear. We were alone, so it didn’t matter. Besides, it was too hot for clothes. The firelight played on Jordan’s face, making him look beautiful and wild. I yearned to run my fingers through his hair and hold him close. I yearned to do a lot of things with Jordan. Most of all I yearned for him to love me.
We laughed and talked until the mosquitoes drove us into the tent. Jordan was my best friend. We had so much fun together, so many good times. We were like Tom and Huck, inseparable, loyal, always there for each other. I felt so close to Jordan that I began to wonder if maybe I shouldn’t just tell how I felt. God knew I needed to open up to him. Not being able to tell him about my feelings for him made me feel as if a giant weight were pressing down upon me. Sometimes that weight practically crushed me into the ground. I didn’t have anyone to talk to about that sort of thing. I had quite a few friends, but I wasn’t about to tell any of them I was in love with another boy. Yeah, that would have been fun!
I found myself staring at Jordan dreamily in the dim light of a lantern. He was so beautiful and I loved him so much. I wanted more than anything for him to love me back. The desires coursing through my young body pressed me onward. Just maybe this night I could have my heart’s desire. Maybe Jordan would confess he loved me too. Maybe we’d spend the night in each other’s arms making mad, passionate love until we fell asleep exhausted. Maybe my dream could come true.
“Jordan… I, uh, have something I want to tell you.” I could barely get the words out. Jordan looked at me questioningly.
“I, uh, I really like you Jordan.”
“Hey, I like you too Ethan, we’re buds.”
“Yeah” I said smiling. Jordan looked so happy. His eyes sparkled. He was a good friend, my best friend.
“What Ethan?” he asked softly.
“Nothing.” I said, letting my voice trail off. I came within a hair’s breath of telling him I loved him, but something held me back. Something told me this was not the time. Suddenly I felt very, very tired.
“Let’s go sleep.” I suggested.
“Good idea, I’m whacked.”
We lay back on our sleeping bags and Jordan blew out the lantern. In the darkness I could hear his soft, regular breathing beside me. It was comforting to have him so near. Despite the heat, I wanted to snuggled up against him, be close to him. I settled for laying near him, almost, but not quite touching. I fell asleep with his gentle breath upon me.
When I got back to school on Monday morning, there was a nasty note waiting for me. “Have fun drooling over Jordan all weekend fag? You disgust me. Faggots like you deserve to die. I need a report on the Roman Emperor Augustus for Wld. History, five pages, typed, double-spaced. Put it in the usual place by Thursday morning or you know what’ll happen queer.”
Great! Another report! I was so tired of being someone’s fucking slave! I almost felt like telling everyone I was gay, just to get him off my back. Yeah right! I’d do that for sure! I’d sooner blow my brains out. If everyone found out I was gay, that’s just what I intended to do.
Before the week was out I got another note, this time demanding a poem for English. Trying to write my own poem for that class was like trying to shit a brick, now I had to do another one. I ended up giving my poem to my black-mailer, while I handed in the crappy one written later for my own assignment. I was afraid not too, the second poem really sucked, but I just couldn’t do any better. Whoever was sending those notes was a real pain in the ass!
After all the work I’d done for my black-mailer, I wasn’t much closer to discovering his identity. Every sophomore had to do a report on a famous Roman for Wld. History. Mine was on Caligula. The poem did help however. Only the students with my English teacher had to write poems. The other two teachers didn’t make that assignment. I was able to cross a few names off my list with that information. Still, there were fourteen names on my list. Of course, that was better than the twenty-seven I’d started out with.
Jordan invited me to a grave yard party that weekend. It was really a soccer team thing, but he said no one would care. He picked me up and we drove out near the old cemetery on the edge of town. We hid the truck on an old deserted lane and walked the rest of the way. There was supposed to be a good supply of alcohol at this party and the guys were taking precautions so as not to get caught. That’s just what I needed, getting arrested for underaged drinking. I didn’t worry about it however. It wasn’t going to happen.
It was after dark and the cemetery was one spooky place. I’m not all that superstitious, but I do believe in ghosts and I had the feeling some were around. I tried not to hang on Jordan like some chickenshit. Of course, I always wanted to hang on Jordan and it had nothing to do with being afraid.
I was feeling great. I’d caught up on my work for my blackmailer and had all my own stuff done too. I still had the possibility of being “outed” hanging over my head, but I just pushed that right out of my mind. It wasn’t easy. If I was “outed” I’d be dead within a few hours. It was kind of like knowing that I could die from some disease at any second. Of course, I guess everyone could die at any second so what was the difference. Anyway, I wasn’t going to let it ruin my life. I’d learned a long time ago not to worry with things. If it happened, I’d deal with it then.
Only a couple of other guys were there when we showed up, but more and more came in and things really got going. Someone brought their boom box and some sweet CD’s. One of the guys pushed a beer in my hand and I downed it real fast. Personally, I thought beer tasted like piss (what I imagined piss would taste like anyway), but I liked the way it made me feel. I took a couple of swigs from a whiskey bottle that was being passed around and I was feeling fine. I toned down my drinking after that. I didn’t want to get wasted. I knew I’d be sick as a dog if I did. I got really drunk once and spent most of the next day punking my guts out. It was not an experience I wanted to repeat. I also got my ass grounded for two weeks over it. I didn’t want to repeat that either.
I leaned back against a grave stone and looked at the other boys in the light of a lantern. There were some really good looking guys on the soccer team. As a group, they weren’t quite as well built as the wrestlers, but they were way hot. Mark showed with the blonde boy about an hour after Jordan and I arrived. Talk about a fine body. Mark still made me drool.
I’d been itching to meet the blonde boy, so I ambled over in his direction. He was sitting real close to Mark, so I just starting talking to Mark and looked at the blonde boy every so often. Mark caught on that I didn’t know him and introduced him. Taylor, his name suited him well. If I hadn’t been so head over heels in love with Jordan, I’d have fallen for Taylor pretty fast I think. He was a real pretty-boy, with long blonde hair that went past his shoulders. He had to be the cutest boy I’d ever seen and he had a nice build as well. He wasn’t as muscular as Mark, but he was fine. I tried to keep from looking at him too much as we talked, but it wasn’t easy.
Jon, one of the soccer player’s, starting telling ghost stories. I’m not a coward, but it kind of freaked me out. I guess it had something to do with the fact we were sitting in the middle of a grave yard! I was sitting near Jordan and I had to resist the urge the lean up against him. I wanted to be as close as I possible could, but I didn’t want the guys to see me hanging on him. I didn’t know what he’d think about that either.
I kind of zoned out for a while. I might have even fallen asleep. I was kind of dreaming about this murderer with a hook instead of a hand, but I think that was Jon’s story. I’m not sure. Anyway, I came to when I heard Adam talking real loud.
“What are you fags doing?” he yelled.
That got my attention real fast, everyone else’s too. Adam was staring down at Mark and Taylor, just glaring at them. I wondered what the fuck was up.
“What is all the noise about?” asked Jon.
“Mark and Taylor were all over each other, they’re fags dude!”
Neither Mark nor Taylor said a word. I wished I hadn’t zoned out. I think I might have missed something good. The whole thing kind of scared me however. It hit way to close to him.
“You’re drunk.” said Jon to Adam, clearly dismissing him.
Adam was a little unsteady on his feet. He was drunk. He had the distinct look of someone who was about to barf. He just stood there, staring down at Mark and Taylor.
“I still think they’re fags.”
“In the condition you’re in, you wouldn’t know a fag if he bit you!” yelled Brandon. He laughed so hard at his own joke he fell right off the tombstone he’d been sitting on.
“Bite me and we’ll see!” said Adam. Now all the guys were laughing.
I laughed too, but I didn’t think it was very funny. I noticed Mark and Taylor weren’t laughing either. I wondered if maybe there wasn’t something going on between them. I’d never have suspected Mark of being a homosexual in a million years, but he had been sitting real close to Taylor and those two were practically inseparable. It seemed like there was something there, at least to me. You know what they say, it takes one to know one.
No, I was being stupid, and I was a little out of things myself. Both Mark and Taylor had girlfriends, pretty ones too. Adam was drunk and I was seeing things that weren’t there. Still, I was plenty glad I hadn’t opened up to Jordan. What if I had and he’d flipped and told everyone. The mere thought of anyway calling me a fag in front of others chilled me to the bone.
Mark and Taylor left pretty soon after that. Taylor was practically bombed and Mark swayed a little. Jordan took me home about an hour later. I was pretty unsteady myself.
Wrestling season was awesome. Our whole team was really kicking ass. Steve, Jeremy, and me were all undefeated. I can’t tell you incredible it is to be undefeated. Almost every wrestler expects to be beat now and then, either by being pinned, or just on points. Even the best wrestlers have off days. To go as long as we had without being defeated was remarkable. My head was in the clouds over that. The way I was going, I had a real good shot at becoming the wrestling champ in my weight class at the sectionals. Coach told me that only three other guys were holding as good a record as me. Two of them were at rival schools, the other one was Jeremy.
I was happy for Jeremy, but now we were really competing against each other. I couldn’t help but hope he’d lose a match so I could pull out ahead. I know that may sound a little shitty, but I’m just being honest. I wanted to win the sectional championship so bad I could taste it. It had always been a dream of mine. I never really thought I’d even have a shot at it. It was kind of like dreaming about winning an Olympic medal. Athletes dreamed of that, even though they knew they’d probably never even come close. Okay, I know a sectional wrestling championship isn’t as big of a deal as an Olympic medal, but to me it almost was. Now that I really had a shot at it, I wanted it so bad I could taste it.
I put in a lot of extra time working out and practicing. I knew it could all come down to one move, one little spurt of strength. I wanted to make sure I covered every angle I possibly could. If I didn’t take the championship, it wouldn’t be because I hadn’t tried.
My blackmailer sent me at least a note a week, sometimes I got one every day for days on end. I lost count of how many fucking reports, assignments, and projects I had to do for that bastard. I felt the noose around my neck drawing tighter and tighter. Whoever was blackmailing me was getting more and more demanding. He really had me by the balls and he knew I’d do anything to keep him quiet. Daily I regretted that I hadn’t been more careful checking Jordan out. I was really paying for that mistake, over and over again. I had become another boy’s slave. It wasn’t a good feeling at all.
I felt like a coward for not standing up for myself. It was like I was too afraid to stand up to the school bully. Every time I put an assignment or report in that encyclopedia, I felt like I was handing over my lunch money to keep from getting beat up. In my heart I knew I was not a coward, but I sure felt like one. I wanted to find whoever it was and just kick the living shit out him, but I couldn’t. One false move on my fault and he’d tell what he knew. I was his slave and I couldn’t do anything about it. Hell, whoever was blackmailing me could be the biggest wimp in school and I still couldn’t touch him.
I was so frustrated over the whole affair that sometimes I felt like screaming. Why did things have to be like this? I wanted more than anything to break the hold my blackmailer had on me, but how? I wanted to defy him, but that was impossible. I knew there were guys my age that were out and lived openly as homosexuals, but that was elsewhere. Verona, Ohio was the middle of nowhere and about as homophobic as it could get. Admitting to begin gay here was about as easy as admitting you tore the arms off babies for fun.
The whole situation sucked. I wasn’t hurting anyone. There was no reason everyone had to be down on homosexuality like they were. It wasn’t fair, but whoever said this was a just world? The fact that I was gay shouldn’t have been any more important than what kind of music I liked, but for some reason, it was.
Just how bad it could be for a boy my age who was “outed” was made painfully clear to me. I arrived at school on Tuesday morning to find everything in an uproar. Everyone was buzzing about Mark and Taylor. Mark’s dad had caught them in bed together, getting it on. Some of the guys were being real graphic describing what they’d been doing, although I don’t know how they knew so much about it. I mean, it wasn’t like they were there! I knew some of it was probably a bunch of crap, but apparently the basic story was true, Mark and Taylor were both homosexuals.
If I’d stayed around longer after wrestling practice the day before, I’d probably have known more. Mark and Taylor’s soccer coach had confronted them with what they’d done in front of the entire soccer team. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what a nightmare that must have been. I would have died right then and there! Both Mark and Taylor had ran out of the locker room. I didn’t blame them. I intended to ask Jeremy exactly what happened later, he was there.
I couldn’t believe that Mark and Taylor were lovers! Okay, that night at the grave yard, I kind of suspected something was up, but both those boys were so un-gay that it didn’t seem possible. I mean, Mark was one of the hottest studs in school and Taylor was a major jock. Neither of them struck me as gay in the least. I know I was buying into all the stupid stereotypes, but still they just didn’t seem gay to me. The fact that they both had girlfriends seemed to make it an impossibility.
Actually, I was kind of proud that Mark and Taylor were homosexuals. I mean if guys like that were gay, then what was so bad about it. I’d had a little trouble accepting the fact that I was gay. As much as I denied it to myself, I still felt like there was something wrong with me. It was like I was abnormal or some kind of freak. It’s no wonder I felt that way. Hell, practically everyone was done on homosexuals. Being called a faggot was about the worse thing that could happen at school. Knowing that Mark and Taylor were gay was shaking up my whole self-image. I practically idolized Mark and I’m not just talking about his body. He was so strong, so confident, so athletic - he was the very essence of manhood in my opinion, and now I found out he was just like me! I admired Taylor too and knowing he was a homosexual affected me in the same way that knowing Mark was gay did, just not as much.
I was near Mark’s locker when he came to school that day. I must admit I was kind of hanging around to see what would happen. More than anyone else, it was natural for me to be curious. I was gay too after all. I didn’t really think Mark would show up at school after what happened. If I was him I sure as hell wouldn’t have. Like I said before, if I was “outed” I’d blow my brains out.
When Mark walked in everything got kind of quiet. Just about everyone was watching him while pretending they weren’t. A few guys stood there just glaring at him. It was like they hated him now just because he was gay. The change in the way everyone acted toward Mark was unbelievable. He’d always been pretty popular and got a lot of attention, but now no one was talking to him. Very few even looked at him. I think most of us just didn’t know how to act.
What shocked me the most was the way some of his friends treated him. There were guys standing there that had been his best buddies the day before. Now they were acting like he’d just murdered their parents or something. I felt so sorry for Mark. Standing there it was obvious that most of his friends were dropping him like he was leper or something. I couldn’t imagine how bad that must have hurt him. I could tell he was hurt by the look on his face. He was covering his emotions pretty well, but he couldn’t hide it all. He must have felt like the whole world was turning on him.
I wanted to go over and say “hi” to him, let him know I was still his friend, but I was afraid. I wanted to be there for him, but I was too much of a coward. I guess I was afraid everyone would think I was gay too. I was so terrified of being “outed” myself, that I couldn’t help a friend when he really needed me. I felt like a worthless stack of shit.
Laura, Mark’s girlfriend, was waiting by his locker. It was not a pretty scene. She started shrieking at him, calling him “bastard”, and saying all kinds of stuff about how he’d used her. She even kneed him right in the nuts and he went down like a ton of bricks. He pulled himself up and hobbled off to class with everyone looking at him like he was some kind of freak. One of the most popular boys in school had become an outcast simply because he was gay.
My mind was reeling. I simply couldn’t believe Mark and Taylor were homosexuals. I knew I’d be doing a lot of thinking about that. That knowledge shook my world to the core. I wondered who else was gay. I’d always known I wasn’t the only one, but I’d never guessed anyone like those guys could be gay. I know I was pretty naïve and even fairly stupid, that realization was beginning to dawn on me. Like I said, this was shaking up my whole world.
I looked around for Taylor, but I didn’t see him at all. It didn’t surprise me. Like I said before, I sure as hell wouldn’t have showed up after what had happened. The whole school was talking about Mark and Taylor all day, even the teachers. It was like some kind of freak show.
The guys were real crude about the whole thing during wrestling practice. The stuff they said made my skin crawl. It really pissed me off too, but what could I do about it?
Jeremy was the worst. When everyone was getting dressed in the locker room before practice he yelled, “Hey, look guys, I’m Mark! Come here Taylor.” He grabbed me and started humping me. I shook him off and pushed him away. Everyone could tell I was pissed, but they probably thought it was because Jeremy had humped me, not because I was upset over him making fun of my friends. Everyone had a big laugh over Jeremy’s impression. Well, not quite everyone.
During practice, it was the same. If someone touched someone else, whoever was getting touched yelled “Get off me Mark!” or “Keep your hands to yourself Taylor!” It was the big joke of the day. Even when they were pulling that shit, most of the guys were trying to see who could outdo the others cutting Mark and Taylor down. I wanted to whip all their asses, but I was still too afraid of being “outed” myself. I felt more and more like a coward with every passing moment.
After practice I picked up a few books from my locker and found another note. I hated the very sight of those typed words on stark, white paper. It read, “Aren’t you glad you’ve been doing as you’re told fag? Think Mark is having fun? You can join him if you want you know. Ha Ha Ha Ha.” I crushed it into a ball and slammed it in the trash. I hated the bastard that wrote that! I hated everyone who was treating Mark like shit.
I thought about Mark and Taylor all that evening and night. It sickened me to see how everyone was treating Mark. He was the same boy he was the day before. He was still handsome, smart, funny, athletic, strong, and talented. He hadn’t changed, but everyone acted like he’d morphed into some kind of monster. What sickened me the most were the friends that turned on him, and the friends that were too chickenshit to help him now that he really needed friends. I was one of those chickenshit friends. I’d failed him. I was too much of a coward to stand by him. I was going to change that however. I wasn’t going to be a coward anymore.
The next day at gym I made a point of undressing right in front of Mark to show I didn’t care one damn bit that he was gay. A lot of the guys acted like they were afraid he was going to molest them or something if they so much as took off their shirt while he was in there. Some of the guys really wouldn’t change until he was gone.
I wanted to say “hi” and talk to him, but it was a lot harder to do than I thought. The truth was, I couldn’t think of one damn thing to say. Second period ended and I hadn’t done much about standing up for Mark like I had intended. I was determined to make it up to him at lunch. The day before, no one would sit with him. He wouldn’t be alone today. I was going to sit with him no matter what anyone thought.
I had just picked up my tray when I saw Mark and Taylor heading for an empty table. It was the first time I’d seen Taylor since he’d been “outed”. He looked terrible. He was still as attractive as ever, but he looked like someone with a death sentence hanging over his head. I could see all the guys whispering as they passed and a few who said shit right out loud. Everyone was making fun of them and talking about what they probably did together when they were alone. Well, not everyone, but a lot of the guys anyway.
I took a deep breath and headed in their direction. Before I reached them, Brandon and Jon both sat down by them. I was glad to see that. First, because it made it easier for me to sit there, there was safety in numbers. And second, because I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one who had decided to stop being a chickenshit and stand by them. As I sat down I could tell Mark and Taylor really, really appreciated my support, even if it was as simple as sitting by them at lunch. Pretty soon, Jordan sat down by us too and so did this boy named Matt. I didn’t really know him, but I knew he was on the soccer team. It didn’t matter. If he was sticking up for Mark and Taylor, he was a friend of mine.
It really surprised me when Steve walked up and sat down. I knew he’d been into it with Mark over Laura at the lake. They’d gotten into a real nasty fist fight. I’d have expected just about anyone to sit down there before Steve did. I guess Mark and Taylor had some friends they didn’t even know about. I was sure glad about that.
Their enemies were still apparent however. We were all talking and eating when Adam walked up to us with a major attitude. I knew he’d been real shitty with Mark since he was outed. That kind of surprised me. He’d been one of Mark’s closest friends before all this happened. They sure weren’t buddies now.
“Looking for some recruits faggots?” said Adam.
Mark turned around and looked at him. I could tell he was both pissed and hurt. Jon and Brandon both stood up and glared at Adam. That got his attention. His eyes quickly turned to them and he held up his hands.
“I’m not saying anything about you guys. I know you wouldn’t go queer.”
“Shut the fuck up Adam!” yelled Brandon.
“Why are you standing up for this faggot?” asked Adam. “For God’s sake he’s a fucking queer!”
“That’s enough Adam!” said Brandon. “You’re not calling any friend of mine those names. Apologize or I’m going to kick your ass right now.” Brandon meant it and was quite capable of it. Jon was standing by his side and looked more than willing to help, although Brandon would not have needed it. I didn’t say a word, and neither did Jordan or Matt, to be honest I didn’t know what to say. We all glared at Adam however, letting him know we’d be more than happy to help kick his ass.
Adam looked at Steve for support and Steve blew him off like he wasn’t even there. I would have laughed at that if the scene hadn’t been so nasty.
Adam snorted. I could tell he had a real smart-ass comment on his lips, but he was too scared to say it. He knew that all of us, or any one of us, was just itching to fuck him up.
“Sorrr-ee!” he said, clearly without meaning it and beat a hasty retreat.
The scene had attracted a little crowd and all heads were turned our way.
“What are you looking at!” said Jon. “Get a life.”
Everyone turned quickly back to their own business.
Jon made me laugh when he jumped up from the table and yelled “Yeah!” while flexing his muscles as if he was ready to fight off an army.
Mark and Taylor both thanked us for sticking up for them. Everyone told them it was no problem and that they shouldn’t have to put up with that shit. I was real proud of everyone there, including myself. I just wished I’d done more. I guess that being brave was going to take a little longer than I’d thought. At least I was standing up for what I believed now. I’d made it plain I was behind Mark and Taylor. I was no longer a coward.
I was kind of quiet the rest of the time at lunch, not because of what had happened, but because of something that was going through my mind. Adam obviously hated Mark and Taylor because they were homosexuals. He was also in my gym class. Was he the jerk who was blackmailing me? I had never really thought he was that kind of guy before, but after witnessing this little scene it was obvious he was that type. It didn’t necessarily mean he was the one using me as his slave, but it sure moved him to the top of my list of suspects.
The possibility that Adam might be the one frightened me more than ever. The look of hatred and contempt in his eyes when he looked at Mark and Taylor was terrifying to behold. He really hated them. It sent a chill up my spine to think he might think of me in just the same way. Despite my fear, I was more determined than ever to stick up for Mark and Taylor. Who could understand what it was like for them more than me?
I received a note in my locker later that day that aroused my suspicions more than ever. I read it with a mixture of fear and anger, “So fag, I see you’re all buddy buddy with the other fags. You given up on Jordan and starting fucking Mark and Taylor? You faggots disgust me. I wish all of you were dead. I have a little job for you. Tomorrow at lunch I want you to call Taylor a faggot in front of everyone. Do it!”
I was shaking. If my blackmailer was standing before me, I really think I’d have killed him right then and there. This was the worst yet. How could I possibly say that to Taylor? Didn’t he already have enough heartache? I had just stood up for him and if I did this it would hurt him all the more. Of course that’s what my blackmailer wanted. I suspected more than ever it was Adam. I thought hard for a moment, mentally going down my list. Who was at lunch? Who saw me eating with Mark and Taylor? I knew three guys on my list that had lunch a different period. That narrowed it down to just five guys and Adam was one of them. I still wasn’t sure, but Adam and my blackmailer sure acted a lot alike.
My thoughts turned back to the note. What the fuck was I going to do now? The last thing I wanted to do was add to Taylor’s pain, but how could I defy my blackmailer. I had always been terrified of what would happen if I was outed, but after seeing the way everyone treated Mark and Adam I knew the reality was ten times worse than what I’d feared. Maybe I was a coward, but how could I face that? How could I walk down the halls while guy called me “fag” and “queer”? How could I stand knowing what they were thinking about me? I knew in my heart I couldn’t. I wasn’t that strong.
The decision that faced me was really life or death. If I didn’t do as I was told, my blackmailer would expose me for sure. If he did, I already know what I had to do. I didn’t want to die, but I couldn’t live like that. Whichever direction I turned, I was screwed. Did I betray a friend, or end my life? I prayed to God to help me. Almost instantly, a solution came into my mind. It wasn’t perfect, but it would save my life and keep the pain I had to cause Taylor to a minimum. I had a solution, but it was still going to be rough.
I caught up with Taylor and Mark later that day. I was so afraid I almost couldn’t speak. They were both so friendly that it put me a little at ease.
“What’s up Ethan?” asked Taylor.
“I’ve got to talk to you after school.” I said. My voice was so serious and desperate that both Taylor and Mark grew silent and just looked at me.
“Please.” I said, almost on the verge of tears. “It’s important!”
“Of course.” said Taylor. “Of course we can talk. Take it easy, what’s wrong?”
“I, I can’t tell you here.” I said looking around. I was more than half afraid that my blackmailer was watching me. I didn’t see any of the guys on my list standing around however.
Taylor looked at Mark and something passed between them silently.
“You know where the old Simmon’s place is?”
Did I? It was the creepiest haunted house in town. It was a murder house.
“Uh, huh.” I said, more afraid than ever.
“Meet us there after practice, okay?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there.”
I walked away. I could feel Mark and Taylor looking at me. They had to be wondering what the hell was up. I was acting like some kind of spy or something. The old Simmon’s place! I’d vowed never to set foot near there. I just knew that place was haunted. It was a thousand times worse than the grave yard. It was a murder house! My fear of being exposed and of hurting Taylor were greater than my fear of ghosts however. I was determined to go.
It was about 5:30 when I reached the Simmon’s Mansion. I looked up at the dilapidated Victorian home with trepidation. The massive iron gate creaked ominously, announcing my presence to the dead. I really, really didn’t want to be here. I almost turned back, but I didn’t let myself. I didn’t even allow myself to stop for a moment. I knew if I did, I’d never be able to keep going. I know it sounds stupid for a sixteen year old boy to be afraid of an old house, but you wouldn’t think that if you’d been there! Just take my word for it. I had every right to be afraid.
I crossed the porch which felt like it could give way under my feet at any second. I put my hand on the doorknob and slowly turned it. I pushed the door open with a loud creak. I felt like I was in some horror movie. All I needed was for… A hand grabbed my wrist. I yelled and almost shit my pants.
“Take it easy dude!”
It was Taylor. My heart was pounding in my chest and I could feel my face go pale.
“You scared the fuck out of me!” I said.
“Sorry about that.” said Taylor. He really was. He was so sensitive to everyone’s feelings. “Come on.”
Taylor led me upstairs to a parlor on the second floor. It was furnished with heavy dark chairs and love-seats, all ratty and worn. Mark was sitting in a chair. I looked around, wondering why we were here. Mark could read the question on my face.
“Tay and I come here to talk, and be alone.” he said. “Our parents won’t let us see each other and we can’t go anywhere public, you know…”
I knew. Everywhere they went guys were calling them all sorts of crap. It was a wonder either of them had the courage to walk out of the house.
“What’s so important?” asked Taylor.
My face altered. I actually sat down on one of the love-seats and cried. Taylor put his hand on my shoulder and gave Mark a worried look.
“Ethan, what’s wrong?”
“Oh God!” I said. This was so much harder than I’d thought, and I hadn’t exactly thought it was going to be easy.
I blurted out my story, all in a rush. I knew if I stopped or slowed down I wouldn’t be able to tell them, just like I wouldn’t have been able to walk in that haunted house if I’d paused for so much as a second. I told them everything, about me being gay, about my feelings for Jordan, about my blackmailer.
“My God! That’s horrible!” said Mark. “How long has this been going on?”
“Weeks.” I said. “I don’t know who it is, but someone knows about me and if I don’t do as he says he’ll tell everyone.”
No one could understand how terrible that would be better than Mark and Taylor.
I told them how terrified I was of being exposed, about how I couldn’t take it, and what I’d decided to do if I was outed.
“Listen,” said Mark, “If he tells, come to me, don’t do anything crazy! It’s not worth killing yourself over.”
“I’m not as strong as you.” I said. “I don’t know how you can stand it!”
“I bet you’re stronger than you think.” said Mark.
“It gets worse!” I said, about as upset as I’d ever been. “I got another note today. He wants me to call Taylor a faggot in front of everyone. If I don’t, he’ll tell!” I was crying again. Mark and Taylor understood my dilemma, they knew what a spot I was in.
“Then do it!” said Taylor. “Call me a faggot!”
I explain how I thought that was my only choice, but that it was the last thing I wanted to do. I hoped that if I talked to Taylor and made him understand I wouldn’t mean it…
“That’s a good plan.” said Taylor.
“I still feel so awful about it.” I said.
“Ethan, listen. Guys call me faggot everyday, and it hurts, but I know you won’t mean it when you say it. It’s all right! It isn’t that big of a deal.”
I felt a lot better as Taylor assured me he wouldn’t be hurt. He seemed far more worried about me. Mark and Taylor both vowed to help figure out who it was that was blackmailing me. I can’t begin to describe how good it felt to talk to someone who understood. We even came up with a plan for me calling Taylor a faggot.
“Just remember,” said Taylor, “what I do tomorrow isn’t real. Don’t let it upset you.”
“And anytime you want to talk, about, you know, stuff, you just call Taylor or me.” said Mark.
I left soon after that, feeling better about my whole situation in life than I had in a long, long time. Mark and Taylor were both so good and kind, so strong and courageous, that they made me feel proud I was gay. I’d never, never felt that way before. I was proud of what I was for the very first time.
I was nervous sitting with Mark and Taylor at lunch the next day. I knew they had told Brandon and Jon what I had to do, although they didn’t tell them why. I still felt like a traitor sitting in their midst. Without being obvious, I looked around the cafeteria mentally checking off my remaining suspects. I was disappointed that they were all there. I was hoping to pare down my list just a little more. Adam was now suspect number one, but I was sure. The most obvious guy was hardly ever guilty in all those mystery movies after all. Then again, sometimes it was the obvious guy and no one suspected him because he was too obvious. I was going around in circles in my head and I knew why, I didn’t want to think about what I had to do.
I started to get up and take my tray with me. That was Taylor’s cue. He reached up and grabbed my wrist, like he was wanting me to stay longer. The time had come. I summoned all my courage.
“Get off me faggot!” I yelled, loud enough everyone could hear. All eyes were turned in my direction. Taylor looked real upset, everyone else at the table looked at me the way they had at Adam the day before. My number one suspect had a happy smirk on his face, but I couldn’t tell if it was because he was my blackmailer, or because he just like hearing someone else call Taylor a fag. I walked off like I was pissed and dumped my tray. I got out of the cafeteria as fast as I could and hide out in the library.
I felt rotten. I know what I said didn’t hurt Taylor, and didn’t make Mark, or Brandon, or Jon mad, but I still felt real bad about it. I also felt like a traitor to what I was. I wanted to stand up for myself and others like me, but I couldn’t. Of course, that was the world’s fault more than mine.
If people weren’t such biggots then boys like me wouldn’t have to hide what they were. No one had the right to treat others the way some people treated homosexuals. I hadn’t really understood when we studied prejudice in school. I didn’t identify with the blacks or Jewish people or any of the other groups we talked about that had to experience prejudice. It wasn’t that I didn’t care. I just couldn’t quite grasp what it was like or why it was so wrong. I sure could now. My life was a mess because of the prejudice of others. Mark and Taylor were looked down upon and discriminated against almost everywhere they went because they were different. I wasn’t really a traitor, nor was I a coward, I was just trying to survive in a cruel world. I still didn’t feel too good about myself however. I was becoming proud of what I was and I felt like I should have the courage to stand up for myself no matter what stood against me. That was a pretty big task for a sixteen year old boy however.
Just before wrestling practice, I found a note in my locker. I was not surprised. I read it with contempt for the author; “Good fag. I knew you’d be too big of a coward not to do as I told you. You are such a fucker loser, but hey, you’re a fag, and that’s the same thing. I’ll try to think up something better for you to do.”
I wondered just what he’d think up next. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wouldn’t like it. As bad as it was, something good did come of the whole situation. Now I had Mark and Taylor to talk to about things. Even though I knew they were gay, I’d never have admitted to them that I was too. Up until recently, I barely admitted it to myself. I was in a living hell, but I felt myself growing, becoming more than I had been before. I’d always thought there was something wrong with me, now I knew there wasn’t. That alone helped me more than I could begin to describe. A lot of gay kids my age killed themselves every year and I had no doubt that most of them did it because they were convinced there was something wrong with them. Why did the world have to be like that?
I kept my eyes peeled the next day in gym class to see if I could detect my blackmailer. I thought that just maybe he’d slip up and I’d catch him giving me a condescending smirk or something when he thought I wasn’t looking. Whoever he was, he was taking pains not to give himself away. I had five suspects still, so I couldn’t exactly keep an eye on them all.
Adam seemed a little nicer than he had been in the past. I couldn’t decide how that affected him as a suspect. He was obviously getting buddy buddy with me because of the incident with Taylor. Adam was such an open gay basher that I was sure he was thrilled with what I’d done, whether he was the one who forced me into it, or if he was just a prejudiced bastard who had no idea while I called Taylor a faggot. I was beginning to think I’d never figure out who it was that held me as their slave.
I sat with Mark, Taylor, and our whole crowd again at lunch. I’m sure than neither Adam, nor my blackmailer (if he was someone else) liked that. It kind of undid part of the damage I’d done the day before. I knew I might get jumped for it, but the note didn’t say a damn thing about not talking to Taylor, all it said was that I had to call him a faggot. Mark, Taylor, and the other guys were cool with me. It was like the day before hadn’t even happened.
At lunch I kept looking at Mark and Taylor, they were both gorgeous, practically the idea example of manhood, and they were gay! I kept coming back to that thought over and over in my mind. All the homosexual stereotypes were degrading and effeminate, but these boys didn’t fit the description at all, neither did I. I only knew three gay guys and not a damn one of us matched up with any of the stereotypes that had been hanging over my head for so long. I’d lived in fear that I starting wanting to dress like a woman, or that I’d develop a lisp or something. I thought maybe that stuff came about the same way guys start growing hair on their chest at puberty. I guess I was pretty naïve, but having Mark and Taylor as an example set my mind at ease. To be honest, I had a case of hero worship for both of them now. They were the example of what I wanted to be.
Most of my life was one big mess, but wrestling was the exception to that rule. The team was doing great and I was doing even better. I was actually undefeated. I was getting quite a reputation too. I could tell a lot of my opponents were scared of me. I could read the fear in their eyes as we squared off against each other. A few hot shots were determined to take me down. The attitude of those guys was obvious. Instead of fear in their eyes, I read there a cocky, self-sure confidence. They weren’t so cocky after I pinned them however!
I took pains not to get cocky myself. That could blow the whole thing for me. I treated each opponent with respect, knowing full well that a lot could happen during a match. I’d seen mediocre wrestlers beat excellent wrestlers, just because of one wrong move, or one distraction. I had worked hard to get where I was. I practiced like a maniac and worked out as often as I could. I was in shape and I was good, but I knew that I was far from invulnerable. I guarded against overconfidence the same way I guarded against the moves of my opponents.
The possibility of a sectional championship in my weight class was looking better than better. One by one the undefeated records fell until it was just me and Jeremy. No matter what happened now, our school had that win all wrapped up. Now all that remained was to see who would win the championship. Jeremy and I also kept a watch on each other. If one of us was in a match, you can be sure the other was looking on with rapt attention. One loss on the part of either of us could automatically give the other the championship, assuming that the other guy continued undefeated. If neither of us slipped up, we’d be wrestling each other in the sectionals. The rivalry between us was clear. Our team was kind of dividing up into little support groups, some of the team rooting for me, others for Jeremy. I was civil to Jeremy at all times, but I intended to win. I don’t think anything had ever meant as much to me as that championship.
My success in wrestling, combined with my new outlook on being gay, was giving me an entirely new self image. I really did feel good about myself and what I was. Before, I let the fact that I was attracted to other boys drag me down. It more or less canceled out everything good about my life. It was always there to haunt me, to mock me. The world around me had pounded into my head the idea that there was something wrong with homosexuals. It made me feel like some kind of freak. Not anymore. After discovering Mark and Taylor were gay, I took a good long look at myself and discovered that there was a lot to admire. I wasn’t prefect, but who was? I had a lot going for me. Being gay was just a part of what I was. No doubt I couldn’t have been who I was if I wasn’t gay.
I still wasn’t ready to live openly as what I was. I just couldn’t do that. No matter how good I felt about myself, I knew that others didn’t share my opinion. Everyday I heard boys mock Mark and Taylor. I heard the stories about what happened to them. Hell, some guys even worked Mark over in the locker room. He came into school one day all bruised and bandaged. He looked like a truck had hit him. No, I couldn’t open myself up to all that, but there was something I could do.
I’d thought about it a lot. I had examined every angle, thought about all the possibilities, and finally decided I’d do it. I was going to tell Jordan I was in love with him. I knew what a risk it was. I knew the chances were slim he’d feel the same way about me, but there was nothing I wanted more in life that live it with Jordan. Even the wrestling champion meant nothing compared to him.
I was a little afraid he’d freak and then expose me for what I was, but we were good, close friends. I trusted in that friendship. I trusted that he wouldn’t throw me to the wolves by outing me. That trust came hard. I’d seen guys I thought were tight with Mark turn on him in the wink of an eye when they found out he was a homosexual. That could happened with Jordan too, but it was a risk I had to take. I was trusting him with my very life. I was placing in his hands information that could destroy me.
I’d thought about it long and hard, but in the end I decided it was a chance I had to take. I couldn’t live my life knowing I’d been too big of a coward to express my feelings to Jordan. How could I possibly throw away what could be the greatest relationship of my life? I loved Jordan more deeply than I can describe. I had to take the chance. I had to give myself a shot at happiness.
I invited Jordan over to my house that Saturday when I knew everyone would be gone. And no, I didn’t intend to do anything with him, but I sure as hell didn’t want my parents around while I was telling another boy I loved him. I told Jordan in advance I needed to talk to him about something serious. I wanted to prepare him a little and I also wanted to make sure I didn’t chicken out. Deciding to tell Jordan about my feelings for him was one thing. I knew that actually doing it would be quite another.
I knew if I didn’t start right in, it would be hours before I worked up the courage to tell Jordan how I felt. I actually promised myself that as soon as he entered my room, I’d start talking to him about it.
I met Jordan at the front door. He was wearing a yellow tee-shirt and the sleek, black shorts that drove me out of my mind. I gazed into his eyes, feeling so much love for him I wanted to just take him in my arms and hug him close. I grabbed some sodas from the refrigerator and we talked about wrestling, soccer, and lots of other guy stuff. I was so nervous I was ready to puke. I was way beyond butterflies in my stomach. I actually thought I was going to hurl. I had to fight to keep from shaking and to keep my voice even. I was having serious second thoughts. I had thought it all out however. I was going to do it, even if it killed me. It was beginning to look like it just might.
We went up to my room and sat on the edge of my bed. This was it. I started in before my fear overwhelmed me.
“Jordan, there’s something I have to tell you. There’s something I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time.” My God it was hard. I could have more easily tackled a grizzly bear. Jordan sat there patiently and quiet. He could tell how hard this was for me, and how afraid I was. My voice was trembling. I went on.
“You may really, really hate me for this, and I’m so afraid of losing you as a friend.” I was on the verge of breaking into tears.
“Ethan, listen, whatever it is, I’m not going to hate you. You’re my best friend.”
“But you don’t know what it is!” I said, a tear ran down my cheek.
“It doesn’t matter Ethan. I’m your friend. Whatever you have to say, just do it. I’ll understand.”
I was silent for a moment. No one who has not been in such a situation could even begin to comprehend how difficult it was for me to speak the words. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life. Finally, I just blurted it out.
“I’m in love with you Jordan. I want you to be my boyfriend.”
Jordan sat there in silence for a moment. He had a shocked expression on his face, like he couldn’t believe what I’d just said. I think I was more afraid at that moment than I ever had been in my life.
“You’re gay?” he asked.
“Yes.” I said with more pride that I ever thought I’d muster. “I’m gay.”
“I’m not.” he said. Jordan looked into my eyes. I read compassion there, but also a certain lack of understanding. “You’re in love with me?”
“Yes,” I said. “I have been for a long time. I just, couldn’t tell you.”
“I, I can’t be what you want Ethan. I can’t be your boyfriend.” I could hear the sorrow in Jordan’s voice. He knew how much he hurting me. He didn’t freak out, but my hopes and dreams were crushed. The boy I loved most in all the world couldn’t love me back. It was a dream that I couldn’t just let go. My whole world had revolved around it for so long, I just couldn’t give up on it.
“Jordan, I love you more than anything. Can’t you just…”
“No! No I can’t Ethan! I’m not gay all right! I like girls! I don’t love you!”
I actually broke down and cried. Nothing had ever hurt me so much in all my life. I wanted to just crawl in a hole and die. I’d been wrong. Living all my life with the knowledge that I didn’t have the balls to tell Jordan how I felt wouldn’t have been as bad as this. Hearing him speak the words, hearing him tell me he didn’t love me was far, far worse. I couldn’t imagine anything worse in all the world.
“Ethan, listen.” he said, running his fingers through my hair. “Listen to me!” I turned to him, tears running down my face. “I don’t love you like that because I can’t, understand? But I do love you, as my friend, as my best friend. You’re like my brother.”
“What about my being gay?” I asked. “What about that?”
“What about it? It doesn’t matter Ethan. I never even dreamed you might be gay, but it doesn’t matter. You’re still my friend. You’re no different than you were yesterday, only now I know more about you.”
I was beginning to feel a little better. My heart had been ripped out of my chest and crushed. That was something that would always, always hurt, no matter how long I lived. My dream had died as had my hope of a life with Jordan, but he was still my friend.
“You mean knowing that I’m attracted to other boys, to you, doesn’t matter? How could it not?” I asked.
“I’ll be honest Ethan. Knowing you’re in love with me, knowing you’re attracted to me, makes me uncomfortable. But I can live with that. You’re my friend.”
There it was, no black eye, no bloody nose, but no life with Jordan either. I had a knot in my throat the size of a baseball. I’d dreamed about a relationship with Jordan so often it just didn’t seem possible that it wasn’t going to happen. I’d always known how unlikely it was for my dream to come true, and yet, I thought that just maybe it would happen because I wanted it so very much.
Jordan was kind to me, and still my friend, but nothing would ever be the same between us again. He knew something about me now that few others did. Such knowledge couldn’t fail to alter his opinion of me. I could sense a certain disapproval, and a mild distaste for what I was. Jordan was far too nice to openly express his feelings, but I knew they were there and it hurt me to know that the one I loved thought that way about me.
“Ethan, have you ever…” Jordan paused, as if wondering if he ought to ask me what he was asking.
“Go ahead.” I said.
“Have you ever, you know, done anything with another guy?”
“Like give a blow-job or something like that?”
“Yeah” he said.
“No, I’ve never done anything with another guy, or anyone for that matter. Why?”
“I was just wondering.” he paused again. “I was just wondering what it was like, between two guys. I mean, I’ve been thinking about that since this whole thing with Mark and Taylor started. I just wonder what it’s like for them.”
My ears pricked up. Maybe I couldn’t have the relationship I wanted with Jordan, but I still loved him with all my heart and desired him with all my body. Just maybe he’d be willing to do something with me to see what it was like. I was practically willing to sell my soul for only a few fleeting moments of making love with Jordan.
“Would you like to find out?” I asked cautiously.
“What to you mean?” his voice was suspicious.
“I mean if you want to do something with another guy, I’m here.” I said.
“You wouldn’t have to do anything. I could just…”
“No Ethan! I told you, I’m not gay!”
“I didn’t say you were. If I gave you a blow, that wouldn’t make you gay. It would be just like a girl doing it. It would feel the same. I love you Jordan. I want to be with you.”
“No, it wouldn’t be the same.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because, because you’re a guy Ethan.”
“Come on Jordan, just once.”
“No! And stop asking me!”
I knew I shouldn’t have been pressuring him, but I was almost obsessed with the idea of being with Jordan. I couldn’t help but try. I was a little angry with him too. Jordan knew how I felt about him. He knew how much what I was asking meant to me. It did mean a lot. It wasn’t just sex I was after, it was an intimate closeness than went beyond friendship. If Jordan couldn’t be my lover, then I wanted to have physically loved just once. I tried explaining it to him, but he wouldn’t, or couldn’t understand. I think what angered me the most was that we were best friends and he wouldn’t do this one thing for me. Hell, what sixteen year old boy wouldn’t like a blow-job? I wanted to give one to Jordan, I knew he’d love it, so did he, and yet he staunchly refused me. We were both getting pretty hostile and Jordan soon left.
I buried my face in my pillow and cried. I cried over a lost love, the death of a dream, and a damaged friendship that would never be the same. The one boy I loved in all the world didn’t love me. Not only that, but I knew he didn’t approve of me, not entirely anyway. Jordan was the one person in all the world whose approval I really needed.
I headed back to school after the weekend, almost afraid I’d arrive to find the same scene facing me that Mark did not so long ago. Nothing was different however. In the locker room before gym Jordan smiled at me and said “hi”, just as he always did. He pulled off his clothes in front of me and even talking to me about my upcoming wrestling meet while he was bare ass naked. I guess it was his way of letting me know that everything was cool between us. Everything had changed in some ways, but that didn’t mean we weren’t still friends. I was still hurt, and angry, and I knew Jordan had some negative feelings toward me, but he was making a real effort to continue our friendship. Obviously he saw something in me that he really liked. That made me feel a lot better about myself. My self esteem had taken a nose dive after the scene with Jordan in my bedroom. Now I was reminded that there was a lot that was good about me.
I knew that Jordan not wanting to be my boyfriend shouldn’t have hurt me like it did. It wasn’t like he’d told me he was more interested in Steve, or Jeremy, or some other guy. Jordan wasn’t interested in any guy. He could no more change that than I could get a hard-on over a girl. Even with that knowledge, being rejected by Jordan was hard to accept. I guess part of me just couldn’t let go of the possibility of a life with Jordan like I wanted. It was like some small part of my mind just couldn’t accept reality, and therefore didn’t. I knew that was hurting me, but there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.
More than anything, I guess I just thought that every story should have a happy ending. I loved Jordan with all my heart, so he should love me back just as much. This wasn’t a story however, this was my life. I guess things could have been worse. I had only to look at Mark and Taylor to see that. They had each found exactly what I was looking for, and then it blew up in their faces. As bad as I was feeling about my life, I wouldn’t have traded places with them for a second. I couldn’t have lived like that.
After class I grabbed Jordan and pulled him aside for a moment.
“Hey, thanks.” I said.
“For still being my friend.”
“You’ll always be my friend Ethan. What you told me won’t ever change that.”
We went out separate ways. I can’t say my heart didn’t ache over the way things had worked out. I’d regret what had happened to the end of my days. At least Jordan stood by me however, and didn’t abandon me when some others would have. I knew how precious a thing friendship was, and if I couldn’t have Jordan as a lover, at least I could have him as a friend. I knew this wasn’t over. I knew I’d have to deal with it over and over again, but at least I had Jordan’s friendship and that was something.
Less than two weeks later, I realized just how lucky I had been. Mark and Taylor were dead. I couldn’t believe it when I arrived at school and heard about Taylor committing suicide. It was all over the school. His parents had found out he was still seeing Mark and they kicked him out of the house and told him he wasn’t their son anymore. Brandon and Jon went out hunting for him after they discovered what had happened and they found him dead by the soccer goal.
I was there when Mark came to school that day. All his friends felt deeply for him. He kept looking around at us all in a daze. It was a couple of minutes before any of us realized that he didn’t know! I found out later he’d been gone until late the night before and walked into school with no clue about what had happened the night before. We all just kind of froze in terror. No one wanted to be the one to tell him Taylor was dead. No one but Adam however. Adam was such a fucking bastard. He walked right up to Mark and told him.
“He’s dead. Your boyfriend killed himself last night.”
It was the way he said it that was the worst. He was actually happy Taylor had killed himself. I could tell by the tone of his voice and the smirk on his face. I don’t think I’d really ever hated anyone before that moment. I hated Adam. He was the one who deserved death. He’d treated Taylor like dirt when he was alive and now he was celebrating his death.
Mark looked stunned, like he just didn’t believe it could be true. He screamed and tore at his hair. Tears were already streaming down my face and I just about broke down and bawled because I felt so bad for him, and for Taylor. Adam didn’t feel bad at all however.
“One down.” said Adam.
I could not fucking believe he said that. I just gaped in total shock for a second that anyone could be so filled with hate, so uncaring, so cruel. Mark turned around and just fucked him up. He didn’t even slow down when Adam kicked him in the nuts. He just beat the fucking shit out of Adam. I really think he would have killed him if some of the guys hadn’t pulled him off. It’s too bad they didn’t just let him kill him. I couldn’t think of anyone who deserved to die more.
Mark bolted from school and that’s the last I ever saw of him. I found out the next morning that he’d blown his brains out on the very spot where they found Taylor the night before. I couldn’t believe that Mark and Taylor were both gone. I felt so angry with everyone around me, with all those who had made fun of them, put them down, and just generally made their lives a living hell. They’d killed them. All those that were down on Mark and Taylor had killed them just as sure as if they’d shot them dead.
I think a few of my classmates realized that too. A lot of the guys who had been making smart ass remarks for weeks went around with a look on their face that looked a lot like guilt to me. They knew what’d they’d done. I didn’t hear anyone cutting Mark and Taylor down around school either. I’d heard guys say some really disgusting shit when they weren’t around, but now no one dared. I don’t think all of it was because Mark and Taylor were dead anymore. Making of fun of someone who had just died wasn’t cool, but there was more to it than that. I think everyone took a look at what they’d been doing and realized just how bad it was. I didn’t even hear anybody called “fag” or “queer” for several days.
I’m not saying that Verona, Ohio had become a place where homosexuals could live openly and freely. Far from it. I’m just saying that a lot of people had their eyes opened by Mark and Taylor’s death.
I did feel a little safer. I was still terrified of being exposed, but I knew if that happened that I’d have more allies than Mark and Taylor did. That didn’t mean it wouldn’t be a living hell however. I knew the names I’d still get called. I knew I’d still get beat up. I knew everyone would still look at me like some kind of freak. I felt a little safer, but not any better. If anything, the deaths of my friends made me even more fearful of being exposed. I couldn’t think of anyone tougher, or more confident than Mark, and in the end he’d killed himself. I know losing Taylor was what pushed him over the edge, but he was already on the edge anyway. If everyone hadn’t been so cruel and made his life a living hell, then maybe he could have survived Taylor’s suicide. I didn’t blame him one bit for killing himself. I would have done the same. I still would too if I was outed. The bastards weren’t going to get me the way they had my friends.
My blackmailer knew I was running scared. His very first note after the suicides of Mark and Taylor made that abundantly clear. I read the neatly typed note with shaking hands.
“So your faggot friends took themselves out. Running out of allies huh? You’re alone now faggot. You do exactly as you’re told or every faggot hater in this school is gonna know your name.”
Reading that note made my blood run cold. Why did things have to be like this? Mark and Taylor were dead and how long would it be before I joined them? And what about the other boys like me, both here and elsewhere, didn’t they deserve better?
My mind was reeling. After wrestling practice I took out walking. I walked and walked, thinking hard about my life, what I was, and what I was to become. I found myself in the grave yard, the very cemetery where Jordan and I had went to that party, the very cemetery where Adam called Mark and Taylor fags. Now my friends were buried here, not so very far from where they’d drank and laughed.
I walked to where they’d buried them. Grave stones already stood above their fresh graves. I reached out and touched the nearer one. It was chill to the touch, as if it was within the icy grip of death itself. A single tear rolled down my cheek, mourning friends who need not have died by their own hands. I read the simple inscriptions before me, they did no justice to the lives my friends had led. “Mark Bailey Born August 21, 1981 Died November 6, 1997” and beside it “Taylor James Born September 4, 1981 Died November 5, 1997”.
Neither of these boys who now lay so cold within the earth need have died by their own hand. If those around them, their families, their class-mates, their friends, had been more understanding, less prejudiced, and less judgmental, Mark and Taylor would yet be alive. Suicide was not really their choice, those around them had led them, forced them to it. They could have led long and happy lives together, but the cruel world would not let it be so. Would it be any different with me? Was I not holding on by a mere thread? An enemy stood poised to expose me. If he did, I’d die by my own hand just like my friends. Was there no way out?
I looked at the graves of Mark and Taylor. At least their parents had buried them side by side. Mark and Taylor could be together now as they could not be in life. Together in death, it seemed little compensation for the sorrow that was heaped upon them in their short lifetimes.
In a way Mark and Taylor were lucky. At least they’d experienced love. At least they had found each other. The one I loved did not love me back. Which was worse, loving and not being loved in return, or finding love and being driven to death?
I pulled my flannel shirt close around me. I had grown as chill as the graves of my friends. I was cold, cold with fear for myself and those like me. Something had to change. Boys like me didn’t deserve to die because others couldn’t understand. I said a silent goodbye to my friends. I left them to be alone together and returned to my own life.
It was almost here, the wrestling finals were a mere two days away. The season was over except for the sectionals. Neither Jeremy nor I had lost a match all season. A part of me was hoping he’d lose just once before the end of the season. That would have given me the championship. Now that it was coming down to it however, I liked things better this way. If Jeremy had lost to some other wrestler, I don’t think I would have really thought I was the champion. It would have been like someone else won for me. This way, if I won, my victory would be clear. I would know that I was the one who did it.
I must admit, I liked all the attention as well. The competition between Jeremy and myself was big news. The sectionals were always crowded, but practically the whole school would be there to watch us. I felt like some kind of celebrity at school too. Guys were always shouting, “Kick his ass Ethan!”, “Take Jeremy down hard dude!”, and stuff like that. It was like I had my own fan club. They say everyone is famous for fifteen minutes. I guess I was getting my time in now.
Of course, Jeremy had his own little fan club too. Guys were even getting into arguments over who was going to win. There were signs hanging on the walls in the halls. Some said “Go Ethan!” while others read “Go Jeremy!”. It was a friendly rivalry, the opposing sides weren’t too hostile toward each other. The was probably because Jeremy and I got on pretty well ourselves. We always kept an eye on each other, kind of sizing up the competition, but we weren’t enemies.
I think everyone was so worked up over our match because no one had any idea who would win. We were so evenly matched it was impossible to tell who had an edge. This wasn’t one of those one sided contests where everyone knows who’s going to come out on top, far from it. I had confidence in myself and had worked hard for a win, but I knew what I was up against. Jeremy was one fine wrestler with some slick moves. Hell, we were even the same height and there wasn’t but a few ounces difference in our weights. In wrestling terms, we were practically twins!
A match could be tossed either way so easily by some many little variables that it wasn’t possible to anticipate everything. I thought I knew Jeremy’s moves pretty well, but I was sure he’d have a few tricks up his sleeve. He’d studied me pretty well too and I had a few moves ready that he didn’t know about.
I wanted to win so bad I could taste it, but I was also excited just by the contest. I loved wrestling for wrestling’s sake and being part of this meant more to me that I could express. I guess it was kind of like an actor being up for an Academy Award, or a singing who’s been nominated for an Emmy. The whole thing was exciting. It was an honor just to make it this far. If I lost, I’d be gracious, but I intended to win. Nothing was going to stop me.
Just before I left school, I found a note in my locker. This one was different. It was on the same plain white paper, in the same neat type, but the message wasn’t the same at all. It read, “Meet me in the park by the drinking fountain at 6 p.m. Come alone.”
I looked at my watch, it was nearly six already. I started walking for park, my mind racing. My blackmailer was going to reveal himself at last. In a way, that was a relief, but in another way, it terrified me. What was he up to this time? Who was he? Which one of the five guys that remained on my list of suspects would it be. My bet was on Adam, but I was far from sure.
The drinking fountain was in a sheltered area of the park, concealed from view by trees and bushes. I stood there waiting, my heart pounding in my chest. I was actually trembling. The thought crossed my mind that more than my blackmailer might be waiting on me. Maybe he’d gathered a few of my friends and they were going to work me over. I thought about beating it the hell out of there, but I knew I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t take the risk. I knew the sadistic bastard that was blackmailing me wouldn’t hesitate to expose me. I was still his slave. As much as I hated being controlled, as much as I wanted to break the bonds of my enslavement, I was powerless.
I heard someone coming. I had to remind myself to breathe. My stomach was tying itself in knots. I waited, the seconds stretched into eternity. My blackmailer was drawing closer, closer. At last, he stepped into the open. It was Jeremy!
Jeremy was one of my five remaining suspects, but still I was shocked that it was him. He’d given me no clue that he hated me. We weren’t exactly the best of friends, but there had been no sign at all. I had to admit, he’d concealed his feelings well.
I swallowed hard. Being in his presence now was overwhelming. Before me stood a boy who could ruin my life, end it even. I felt utterly powerless and weak. I was on the verge of tears. I asked him the one question that had been on my mind since I received his first note.
“Why have you been doing this to me?”
Jeremy smiled at me. It was a cruel and wicked smile, cold and heartless.
“Because you’re a faggot. I hate faggots. And because I can.”
I hated him. I hated him more than I’d ever hated anyone. I wanted to kill him right there.
“I’ve come to do you a favor Ethan. I’ve come to put an end to all this.”
I more than half expected a bunch of guys to appear and start beating me, but we remained alone. Jeremy could see the fear in my eyes. He knew he had me by the balls.
“I’ve got one more thing for you to do, then I’ll forget what I know about you. I won’t ever mention it again.”
“You expect me to trust, you?” I asked, incredulously.
“I’ve always kept my word haven’t I? I’ve never once told anyone what I know about you. Besides, you don’t have any choice.”
That was true enough. I hated being controlled like this!
“What do you want?” I asked.
“You are such a fucker loser!” said Jeremy. He laughed at me. “I want you to throw our wrestling match. I want you to make it look good, then let me win.”
“What?” I couldn’t believe it.
“You heard me, you are going to let me win.”
“What’s that faggot? I don’t think I heard you right.”
“Never!” I repeated.
“Hey, it’s your decision queer, but just remember, if I don’t win, I tell everyone what I know about you. Everyone at school will know about you. I’ll tell everyone what a fag you are, how you look at the guys in the showers, how you tried to suck my dick.”
“I never did that!”
“So, you think anyone will believe you didn’t? You fucked up Ethan. Too many guys have seen you looking at them. If I tell what I know, they’ll all believe me. I can make up any shit about you I want and they’ll believe it. I could tell them you tried to rape me and they’d even believe that. Maybe I just will. Then I could get your faggot ass thrown out of school.”
“You won’t be happy until I’m dead will you?” I said.
“I’d fucking love to see that. I’d love to see you overdose or blow your brains out like your faggot friends! But hey, we don’t always get what we want do we? You never got Jordan did you? I’m willing to back off, if you let me win.”
“Afraid you can’t beat me? Afraid I’ll whip your ass? Not enough of a man to stand up to me?” I taunted.
“Don’t try that crap on me. I can take you, but I want some insurance. You’re my fucking slave so why shouldn’t I make you throw the match?”
“Coward!” I yelled.
Jeremy grabbed me by the shirt and jerked me toward him.
“Who in the fuck do you think you are faggot? You don’t even fucking deserve to live and you have the balls to call me that! You either throw that match or I’ll fuck up your life so bad you’ll be begging for someone to kill you!”
Jeremy slammed me down onto the park bench behind me. My back smacked hard against the back of the bench, pain lanced through me. I wanted to kick his ass right then and there, but I couldn’t. Jeremy controlled me completely. Jeremy stalked off, leaving me laying there in pain.
When I found the first note from Jeremy, I didn’t think my life could get any worse. Then when I told Jordan I loved him, and found out he didn’t love me back, I didn’t think my life could get any worse than that. Now this had happened. My God, what awaited me next?
I wanted to win that championship more than anything I wanted in my life. It meant everything to me. Knowing that Jeremy was the one who had been blackmailing me made me want it all the more. Knowing he was one of those who drove Mark and Taylor to their deaths made me want to whip his ass. I wanted that win more than anything, but how could I possibly go for it now? Was it worth my life?
I knew what would happened if I defied Jeremy. He’d expose me for sure. He was way to sharp to just yell it to the crowd at the wrestling meet. He’d wait, watch, and pick his time carefully. He’d probably wait until we were both changing in the locker room, then pull me toward him and scream I was raping him. He’d find a way to fuck me up good. There was not a doubt in my mind he’d do it and not a doubt about what would happen to me then. If I defied him, my exposure, and my death, were both a sure thing.
I sat on the bench and bawled my eyes out. My life was so unfair! I didn’t have control over anything. It was like I was a puppet performing for the pleasure of others. As miserable as I was, I couldn’t help but think of all the other boys out there like me. Didn’t they deserve one hell of a lot better life than they were forced to live? I’m not trying to make myself look noble or anything. I was almost consumed by my own problems, but still I thought of all those others like me. The world had no right to treat boys like me the way it did. Mark and Taylor died because of it, and how many before them had died for the same reason, and how many deaths were yet to come?
Why wasn’t anyone doing anything about it. Through my tears an anger welled more fierce than I’d ever experienced. I was more angry with the world than I was even with Jeremy. Someone had to do something! Was that someone me?
My thoughts grew quiet. How could I tackle something so big? I felt small and helpless. I hated that feeling. I had no control over my own life. I hated that too. But that wasn’t really true was it? I did have control over my life. Maybe my hand was being forced, but in the end, I controlled it.. Jeremy might hold me enslaved, but I had the freedom to choose. Even he couldn’t take that away from me.
I didn’t have to throw the match. The option lay at my feet like a naked child in the snow, vulnerable and sure to die if I didn’t pick it up and care for it. I stared at the ground. Did I dare?
I wanted that championship, and I wanted my life back. I wanted to be my own man and not another’s slave. Jeremy said this would be his last request, but how could I trust him? Would he lay down the power he had over me so easily? I thought not. If I didn’t stand up to him, defy him, I’d be his slave all my life. More than that, I’d be a coward, too afraid to stand up for myself, too afraid to defend myself. I had more pride in myself than that. Mark and Taylor had taught me that. They’d taught me that I could be proud of what I was, no matter what others thought. They taught me that there was nothing wrong with me. If the world couldn’t understand, then that was the world’s problem.
I reached up and ripped the noose from my neck. I’d no longer wear it. I’d no longer be a slave to another. I knew what lay before me. If I managed to beat Jeremy, he’d expose me, and he’d do it in a nasty way. I feared what would come then, but I would face it. Would I kill myself? I didn’t know. It didn’t matter. This had to end. I could not remain another day a slave. Far better to die a free man than to live my life enslaved to the likes of Jeremy. Maybe he’d get his wish. Maybe I’d soon be dead by my own hand, but I’d get my wish too. Jeremy couldn’t keep me from that. I’d made up my mind. I was going to go for it, and the consequences be damned.
It was time for my match. Jordan stood watching in the stands, cheering my name with more others than I could count. I felt like a rock star standing there. I was no rock star, but I was damned proud of what I was. Whatever was to come, I knew I’d made the right decision. If I lost this match, it wouldn’t be because I’d given up. If Jeremy wanted the championship, he’d have to fight me for it. If I lost, I didn’t have to feel ashamed, but I wasn’t going to lose.
Jeremy stepped forward and shook my hand. He pulled me close and whispered in my ear.
“Make it look good faggot.” His voice dripped with contempt and hatred.
We took our positions and it began. In seconds I had broken from Jeremy’s hold and was on my feet. I turned on him like a tiger and took him down. Jeremy was strong and fast. His powerful muscles bulged and strained. His moves were slick and fluid. He was no easy opponent. I was just as powerful and talented as he, and I delighted in our contest. I took a joy in it that Jeremy could not know.
As we struggled for domination, I couldn’t help but feel that I was wrestling for all those boys like me. I was gay and here I was, in the championships. How many boys like me excelled at something. We weren’t what people thought of us, we were just like everybody else. Like everyone else, some of us were damned good at what we did.
Jeremy and I were all over the mat. We were locked in the match of our life. One slip, one mistake, could cost all. Jeremy was so confident and smug. I’ve no doubt he thought all my prowess was for show. Little by little it dawned on him that I wasn’t drawing back. It took him quite a while, but finally he realized I wasn’t about to throw the match. I saw something I’d never seen in his eyes before, fear.
When I had him in a tight hold and my lips were near his ear, I whispered in a soft voice that only he could hear.
“Not bad for a fag huh?”
Jeremy went wild and struggled with all his might, but it availed him not at all. I held him. What’s more, I forced him onto his back and pinned him. I held him down while the judge made his count. Jeremy’s eyes were daggers stabbing at me, threatening to destroy me. He struggled, but I held him fast for all the boys like me who were called “faggot” and “queer”. This championship wasn’t just for me, it was for us.
The judge grabbed my hand and lifted it into the air. My team-mates and class-mates in the stands went nuts. My eyes met Jordan’s and I saw the delight in his eyes. Jeremy stalked off, no doubt planning his vengeance. I stood and smiled as a thousand voices chanted my name. I deserved it, not because I won the championship, but because I had stood up for what I believed. I didn’t knuckle under to Jeremy or those like him.
I didn’t know what was to come, but I’d taken my life into my own hands. I was no coward. Bravery was doing what one needed to do even though one was afraid. I’d faced my fear and wrestled it to the ground. I’d stood up for myself and of that I could be proud. I didn’t know what awaited me in life, but I knew I’d face it with bravery and pride in myself.
©Copyright 2000 Mark A. Roeder