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Second Shot - 2. Chapter 2: A "Plan"

Plans have a way of seeming so great when you think them up and so terrible when enacted.

Stuffing the last of his things into his bag, Jason tossed the wet towel into the bin. Everyone was showered and dressed by the time he finished running his laps; laps he got as punishment he reminded himself. Darryl got a reprieve when he pulled up hurt during practice. Coach sent him to the locker room to be sure it wasn't serious.

Coach Slewman was in his office working on something when Jason stopped in the doorway.

"See you tomorrow Coach." He called out. There were no hard feelings on his end, running laps was part of being on the team.

"Okay Tellerman." The older man looked up. "Nice hustle today."

"Thanks Coach." Jason waved as he moved toward the exit.

The soccer pitch and field house were on the far south end of campus, his apartment was on the Northeast side. Normally he and Darryl drove to the field house in the morning, parked and walked to classes. They took turns driving and today they took Darryl's car.

Because of his injury, which turned out to be just a tweaked muscle, Darryl's day ended early. He offered to wait around but Jason told him to go ahead, he would find a way home. When he told Darryl to go on, Jason expected someone would be around when he finished. Now he regretted his generosity.

Slinging his bag over his shoulder, he decided to walk through campus so he could stop at the food court. Normally he avoided the place, the food was over priced, heavy on the starches and tasteless. Today, however, he didn't want to walk home then cook. Besides that, he was already hungry. Walking the mile or so to his apartment would do nothing but make it worse.

Checking the sky, Jason noted how much shorter the days were now than when the season started in August. It was getting dark and it was not even 5:30. Not that it mattered, he had walked home at night many times before.

Getting from the field house to the student union required him to walk up a long slow incline. Monday practices were always the hardest - need to work out the lazy Sunday toxins Coach Slewman would say. Add in his five extra laps, laps he did as quick as he could in hopes of getting a ride home, and Jason could feel how tired his legs were today. Good thing the next game was not until Thursday.

After what felt like a longer than normal walk, Jason opened the door to the food court area of the student union. Most nights about this time, despite the terrible food, the place was busy. Tonight was no exception. He noted few empty seats but hoped that might change once he bought dinner.

Shuffling by the various counters, Jason finally settled on some mystery pasta. It looked better than most of the food, so he decided to try it. Grabbing two cartons of chocolate milk and a banana, things they couldn't screw up, he debated snagging a couple large cookies. They appeared freshly baked and Darryl raved about how they were the best thing the place sold.

Picking up a plastic wrapped cookie, he turned it over in his hand as if he could tell something through the saran wrap.

"Cookies and milk after practice?" An amused voice said from behind.

Jason turned to find Peter smiling behind him. Although his ‘plan' was to try to hang out with Peter without responding to the missed connection, he had not worked out the kinks. Peter's sudden appearance had him back on his heels.

"Chocolate milk." Shaking a carton for Peter to see he laughed. "They are my treat to myself for having to run my extra laps today."

"Oh yeah," Peter rolled his eyes. "That coach of yours has some way of rewarding his players for scoring."

Just as on Saturday Jason forced himself to look away when he realized he was staring. Peter had his bag over his shoulder. His face was slightly flushed and his hair damp.

"Coming from practice?" Jason asked.

"No," Peter shook his head. "Just finished teaching class at the dojo where I learned as a kid. Helps pay my bills."

"Nice." Jason nearly rolled his eyes at how dumb he sounded. "Are you eating here too?"

"Wasn't planning on it." Peter shrugged. "I usually stop here for a protein shake after a work out. Helps me maintain my weight. Otherwise I would be that skinny kid I used to hate growing up."

"Oh." Even Jason could hear the disappointment in his voice. "I normally eat at home too, but Darryl tweaked a muscle and left early. He drove today so that left me stranded when everyone was gone before I finished running my laps."

"Where do you live?" Peter quickly added, "If you don't mind my asking?"

"No I don't mind, but I only sign autographs after a game and at the field, so having my address won't help with that." His feeble attempt at humor didn't even strike him as funny so he was surprised to see Peter laugh. "Fox Hill Student Apartments."

"Ah." Peter nodded, drawing a shrug from Jason.

"They are okay. Darryl picked it." He explained. "I didn't really care where we lived as long as it was not in a dorm again."

"I grew up around here so I avoided the dorms. Found an apartment close to campus instead." Peter told him.

"Sounds like you had it under control." Jason wasn't sure what to do with his food. "I am going to go pay for this. Join me if you like."

Getting the last five words out proved difficult. His mouth went dry and his voice nearly cracked but he managed to ask without sounding desperate.

"Sure," Peter's eyes scanned him closely. "Just going to study when I get home."

"Cool, I will find us a table." Jason turned quickly toward the cashier. Find us a table? What were they a couple or something. God he was such a dork.

Lost in his thoughts, he didn't hear the cashier tell him how much until she said it again.

"Oh sorry." He pulled out his debit card, swiped it before punching in his PIN.

Grabbing his tray, he resisted the urge to look around for Peter, focusing instead on getting a table. The more isolated the better, but not too isolated or people would talk. He saw a table against the wall surrounded by a few empty tables devoid of chairs. Several tables around it were pushed together and a large group of girls, mostly from the field hockey team, he noted, had taken most of the chairs around them. Making sure there were two chairs, he set his food down and dropped his bag on the floor.

Peter walked out a minute later carrying a tray. Jason looked over hoping he would be seen without having to stand and wave. It took a few seconds for Peter to make eye contact but his smile told Jason he had been seen. Busying himself by opening his milk, he waited for Peter to make his way to the table.

"What happened to just a protein shake?" He asked as Peter settled into the chair across from him.

The question drew a shrug. "I figured what the hell, I'm here might as well eat dinner with someone for a change."

"You live alone?" Jason asked, shoving pasta into his mouth to avoid seeming too interested.

Peter nodded. Picking up his fork he said, "yeah. I didn't know anyone who was going to school here when I got accepted."

"Really? I would think more than a few people in the area come to school here." Jason didn't really know why he said that. Just because he, Jordan and Darryl went to the same school, it wasn't that common for so many people from one school to come to a small college like Graydon.

"I think two girls I barely knew in school also go here, but it wasn't like I could live with them. They were pre-approved to join some sorority." Peter seemed uncomfortable with the question for some reason.

"Yeah." He nodded not sure what he should say to that. "I guess I got lucky that my best friend and I both went to the same school."

"You on scholarship?" Peter started to eat without much interest. Like Jason, he got the mystery pasta. His protein drink sat on the tray along with a banana and two oranges.

"Partial." Jason managed to say without spitting out too much food. "Soccer."

"Gotcha."

Swallowing, Jason nodded. "Pays for tuition. I think they gave me a partial scholarship to ensure I keep my grades up. You know, don't pass, don't get to play. This way they can yank my scholarship too. Added incentive to study."

"Is that a problem?" Peter asked.

"Not really, my dad could pay for tuition if that happened." Jason started to drink his milk but noted the odd look on Peter's face. He quickly realized Peter meant keeping his grades up. "Oh dag, stupid me. No my grades are good. No danger right now of having my scholarship jacked."

Peter raised both eyebrows, making a face. "Really? I mean, my question wasn't that hard."

"Sorry, wasn't paying close enough attention." Jason felt himself turn red. "What about you? Martial arts scholarship?"

Peter shook his head. "No such luck. Don't think they have one since we are not a revenue-generating sport. I got an academic scholarship and some needs-based grants. All I have to pay for is my apartment and spending money."

Jason wanted to ask if Peter's parents helped but stopped himself. Doubtful he got help if he received needs-based aid.

"Geez, so you are a genius. Can you help me with my classes?" Jason joked.

"Sure, but it will cost you." Peter laughed. "Can dad cover that too?"

Jason quickly looked down. The dad's money comment struck a nerve.

"Whoa." Peter said quickly. "I didn't mean to insult you. Sorry."

"No worries." Jason smiled as he looked up. "No insult taken. My folks give me money every month for rent etc. If I want private tutoring, I need to pay for it from my money, which is really their money I suppose."

Most students at Graydon came from wealthier families. Where it not for soccer, Jason would not have gotten any financial aid. His grades were good but not great and his parents made well over the limit for aid. He knew there were students on full rides whose only way in was their scholarship but he was not friends with any of them.

"I am pretty lucky, I know." Jason said before returning to his dinner. Things were definitely not going according to his ‘plan.' When he looked up, Peter was staring at his own dinner.

"Sorry." Jason said.

"For what?" Peter asked. "I thought I insulted you."

"Nah," Jason laughed. "It takes a lot more than that to insult me. Royce, I mean my dad, has done well and he is generous to me and my brother. I try not to announce it but I am not embarrassed by it or him."

"Good." Peter's mood improved quickly. He continued to pick at his food. "How can you eat this?"

"What?" Jason asked, a fork just about to enter his mouth.

"This? The pasta is over cooked, the sauce tastes like it came from a can and the meat and vegetables must have been bought at the beginning of the semester." Peter ticked off his problems with dinner.

"I am hungry and it beats anything I can make." Jason put his fork down. "I am a terrible cook."

"Next time let me take you some place in town." Peter suggested.

"Don't know much in town besides the Java Shack and a few hoagie places. Too lazy to explore." He confessed.

"Lame." Peter teased. "What if you have a date? You can't take her here."

"I suppose I would have to wing it." Jason laughed. "But that hasn't been an issue for me lately."

That was as close as he could come to suggesting he was also gay.

If Peter understood what he meant he didn't show it. "I suppose soccer season can get in the way. Especially if you have to run laps for scoring." Peter smirked as he added the last part.

"Yeah true." He laughed to cover his awkwardness. "Next time you see me about to eat this . . ." he waved a fork at his food. "Let me know where I should go."

Peter laughed nervously. Jason wondered what that meant.

"Better yet, I will drag you away from the counter and take you there myself." Peter laughed again.

That sounded promising, Jason thought. Now all he needed to do was arrange to be at the student union for dinner alone. "Sounds good to me."

Peter ate a few more bites then pushed the tray away to drink his shake.

"Sorry you ended up wasting your money." Jason apologized. Staring at his own food, he kept eating, it wasn't THAT bad and he was still hungry.

"It's okay." Peter shrugged. "I won't make this mistake again."

"It's really not THAT bad dude." Jason ate another forkful for emphasis.

"You really need to get away from here," Peter shook his head. "This place must be killing your taste buds."

They finished eating without venturing back to girlfriends or meeting to go out to eat sometime. Lingering for a bit after they were done, Jason knew he needed to go study.

"Thanks for keeping me company Peter," he stood up. "Sadly, I have to go study. You know that whole scholarship and dad having to pay thingy."

The smile Peter gave him tugged at Jason's desire to stay. "Yeah, never mind soccer, who wants to tell dad he needs to pay for school now."

"How often do you teach?" Jason hoped to get a better feel for Peter's schedule to make it easier to ‘run in' him again.

"Monday, Tuesday and Friday's during the week and two classes on Saturday." He replied. "Monday is my early day, only the one class. Tuesday and Friday I teach two classes, one at 6 and the other at 7:10."

"Ouch," Jason figured it would have to be a Monday if he wanted to catch him here.

"Eh, not so bad," Peter shrugged. "I love teaching so basically I get paid to exercise."

"Sweet." Jason was still trying to figure out how to work this new phase of his ‘plan.' "Take care. I am sure I will see you around."

"Um," Peter acted like he wanted to ask something but he looked away. "Yeah cool. Thanks for the company."

Walking back to his apartment, Jason knew he had a goofy smile on his face. Passing Darryl's car, reality set in. He ran through what he would say one more time, knowing his best friend would ask.

Unlocking the door he steeled himself, hoping to pull it off.

Darryl wasn't in the living/dinning room area. Scanning the small apartment, he noticed Darryl's door was shut. If Jason was lucky, Darryl had a ‘guest' and would be occupied until tomorrow. Turning the lock he made for his room without calling out. Door closed usually meant, ‘give me some privacy' so he didn't feel guilty being quiet.

Shutting his door, he quickly changed into shorts and a tee shirt. Grabbing his text book, he flopped onto his bed to attempt to study. He knew it was going to be almost impossible to get the night's events out of his head, but reading about history might be the ticket.

Taking a deep breathe he opened to the correct chapter and began reading. In the past, he found using a highlighter helped him focus, so he found a neon green pen in his back pack and set to using it. Halfway through the second page, the dreaded knock on his door brought him back to reality.

"Yo Jase, you awake?" Darryl never opened the door without permission, even when he knew Jason was alone.

"Yeah D, c'mon in." Jason put the pen down as Darryl opened the door. "How's the leg?"

"Not bad, soaked it when I got home." Darryl instinctively looked down at his injured left leg. "Sorry I bailed on you like that."

"Hey, it's cool." Jason started to hope he would not ask what happened. "You offered to wait, but I really thought someone would be left when I got done. There always is."

"Yeah, until you needed a lift." Darryl laughed. "What did you do?"

Ugh, Jason thought, as predicted.

"I went to the student union thinking I would get something to eat." He figured he should keep it as close to the truth as possible.

"You ate there?" Darryl shared his dislike of the place.

"I really didn't want to walk home then cook." He explained.

"Eat with anyone I know?" Darryl always wanted to know if anyone was having fun when he wasn't able to.

Jason nodded. "Remember that guy I ran into on Saturday, Peter? He was there so he sat with me."

"I told you he was sweet on you!" Darryl joked. Jason knew he was just teasing so he didn't react.

"Turns out he is from around here. He told me next time to go into town." Jason was glad he rehearsed in his head what he would say. It helped him stay calm and act causal.

"Nothing is worse than that place, not even mall food." Darryl joked.

"Yeah, nothing looked good tonight." Jason said truthfully. "I mean normally there is something worth eating. I had a banana, some milk, a cookie and the mystery pasta. He tried it too, but couldn't eat it. He said next time he would save me from digestive hell by sharing some of his townie knowledge."

"Didn't that seem, I don't know, weird?" Darryl's choice of words concerned Jason.

"Not really, just seemed like he was being friendly." Jason tried to stick to as close to what happened. At the time Peter suggested dinner, he did just seem like he was being friendly.

Darryl nodded. Jason knew his best friend well enough to know he wanted to say something but didn't know if he should.

"What's on your mind Darryl?" Jason asked even though he knew the question was going to make him uncomfortable. "I know you too well, something's eating at you."

"I don't know if I should say this, I mean it really isn't a big deal but I am worried about you." Darryl's prefacing his remarks raised the level of angst for Jason.

"Worried about me? What are you talking about?" Jason hoped his genuine confusion would help hide his apprehension.

"He's, I mean, I heard, . . ." Darryl stammered.

"Would you spit it out D?" Jason demanded.

"Peter is gay." Darryl told him finally.

"So?" Jason said.

Darryl's head twitched slightly. "Nothing, I guess."

"How did you find out?" Jason watched as his question made his best friend squirm.

"Um well," Darryl really looked uncomfortable. "I kinda mentioned it to Wendy, I mean what happened after practice. She told me about him."

"Are you suggesting I avoid him because he is gay?" Jason tried to put Darryl back on his heels. He felt bad after doing it. Darryl was one of the most open minded people he knew.

"C'mon Jase, you know I don't mean that." Darryl frowned.

"Well I didn't think you did but I don't get where this is going." Jason didn't have to act much because he was confused at Darryl's reaction.

"Jase, just be careful," Darryl warned. "You don't know him from Adam and he wants to be your best friend?"

"No," Jason corrected. "I didn't say he asked me to be his best friend, he just suggested I let him show me some place better to eat."

"Oh, okay." Darryl sounded slightly better.

"Thanks for having my back D, but I am good." Jason held out his fist for Darryl to tap.

"You're not worried?" Darryl asked.

"Should I be?" Jason decided to go on the offensive slightly. "Would you?"

"Me? No but I meant you." Darryl seemed to sputter when put on the defensive. "I just meant, well, I mean, well we are different people. You are more . . . ."

"Naive?" Jason finished the thought.

"Yeah," Darryl definitely was uncomfortable now.

"I know I am but does it really matter if he is gay?" Jason suspected Darryl would say no but he wanted to hear him say it.

"No not at all, well not to me." Darryl still acted like he wanted to say something but he wasn't.

"Spit it out D, something's still bugging you." Jason braced himself for the question.

"Honestly?" Darryl looked him in the eye. "I am worried he is going to mistake your being friendly for interest."

"Why?" Jason was really curious to hear Darryl's explanation. It might help him manage his secret.

"After I mentioned this to Wendy, she went on line." Darryl looked like he got busted doing something wrong. "Said she wanted to see something."

"Is there a news story about him or something?" Jason asked. "What is he, some kind of serial straight person killer?"

"No, nothing like that." He waved his hand dismissively. "She went to Craigslist to see if he posted something."

Jason felt his stomach leap into his throat. "Posted something?"

"Yeah, you know, one of those, "hey I saw you, thought we had a moment, I was doing this you were wearing that,' kind of thing."

"Oh," he just nodded to let Darryl know he understood.

"He did." Darryl said.

"Did what?" Jason tried to play dumb.

"He, Peter, posted an ad, on Craigslist, trying to get in touch with you." Darryl broke it down small for him.

"Oh," Jason tried his best to sound shocked.

"Yeah," Darryl nodded. "So be careful. It is clear he is interested in you. Being friendly could easily be misconstrued."

"Gotcha," Jason acknowledged. "I will let him know I know about the ad and not to misconstrue things."

"Whoa Jase," Darryl laughed. "If you tell him you know about the add, he will be more convinced you are interested. Just be sure you convey the right impression. No need to mention the ad."

"Thank you Dr. Phil." Jason used one of their favorite insults. "But as I am fond of saying, ‘Darryl, that dog won't hunt.' I don't think he misunderstands my intentions. Trust me that I am not that naive."

"Cool." Darryl stood up. "I will let you get back to studying."

"You going to be able to practice tomorrow?" Jason asked.

"No," Darryl's expression told him he disagreed with the decision. "Coach said not til Thursday. Only good thing is I don't need to run my five laps. Coach will forget by then."

Jason laughed. "Get the F out of my room D."

"You're just mad because you know I got out of doing them." Darryl laughed.

"Not now you won't. I will see to it coach remembers for next week." He threatened.

"I know you ain't no snitch." Darryl said heading toward the door. "At least not where I am concerned."

"Sucks you know me that well." Jason agreed.

"See ya tomorrow Jase." He said, pulling the door shut.

***********************************

Peering up, Jason estimated he had a good hour before the sun would go down; long enough to get in a good run. It was a rare Saturday that they had no game and he wasn't too sore from the game earlier in the week. Taking advantage of the cool but not cold mid-November afternoon, Jason decided to burn off some frustration.

Most days he went running, Darryl would join him. Jason enjoyed running with Darryl, they pushed each other harder than either ran alone. Today, however, Darryl spent the day with his girlfriend. They were going shopping - something Darryl loathed - then meeting her parents for dinner.

Jason smiled at the agonized face Darryl gave him before he left for the day. He felt only minimally sorry for his best friend. For the last month he kept suggesting he let his girlfriend fix Jason up with one of her friends, something he rejected for obvious reasons. In some weird way, Jason felt this was karma paying Darryl back for trying to foist the agony of a blind date on him.

Tossing his apartment key, bottle of water, towel and sweatshirt in the back seat of his car, he used the electronic key pad to lock the car. Once he got running, it would be too warm for more than shorts and a long sleeve tee shirt but once he was finished, the sweatshirt would come in handy as he walked around.

Leaving the parking lot, Jason turned north, jogging first to warm up. East, or around campus. was his preferred route. On the other hand, the road going north had more hills, something he wanted today. There would also be less traffic than if he stayed around campus.

Alone without Darryl to talk to, Jason began thinking about how perfect today would have been to run into Peter. With Darryl eating with Emily, Jason could subtly hint that he was solo for dinner and wouldn't mind some company. Only he didn't want to call and ask, he wanted it to seem spontaneous.

The problem was, between practice, games, studying, and trying to ditch Darryl without acting suspicious, Jason never managed to arrange a ‘chance' meeting for dinner. Several times they saw each other walking around campus and would stop for a few minutes to chat but all efforts to have Peter find him alone for dinner again failed.

During their first chat after dinner at the student center, Peter asked for Jason's cell number. His reason for asking - so he could text Jason the number of a good restaurant he had at home - was so contrived even Jason knew it was just a pretext. Pretending it seemed normal, Jason exchanged numbers. Scared of how it might come across, Jason never used Peter's number except to answer the rare text he received from his new friend.

Every time Peter would text him, Jason quickly answered and did his best to appear glad to get the text. He hoped Peter would take that as a hint to do it more often, but it didn't work out that way. Of course, he never gave Peter any indication he was gay so why would Peter do more than he had? Maybe if Jason initiated contact now and then it might help.

Their meetings on campus also frustrated Jason because they were either too brief or there were too many people around for them to say more than hello. What irritated him more was his own inaction. From their interactions, Jason knew Peter was interested. If he could gather the courage to say something, anything, Peter could interpret as interest, Jason was sure it would move things forward. His failure to do anything more than act straight left him angry with himself every time they parted.

Jason picked up the pace as he neared his turnaround point. His goal when finding this route was to reach the halfway point in about 35 minutes, then run back in 25. Slightly behind his self appointed schedule when it was time to head home, the run was not proving to be the stress release Jason hoped.

Determined to keep to his goal, Jason focused on his run rather than how to run into Peter. Most of the way back to campus was open road, no traffic lights or stop signs. The few stop signs there were, he used as a way to make up time. When he could see the word "Stop," he sprinted toward the intersection. Taking a second or two to catch his breath, he resumed his original pace until he saw the next sign.

As he reached the last stop sign before campus, Jason took off like he was chasing a ball down the side line. A dozen yards or so before the crossroad, a red motorcycle passed him, slowing as it approached the sign. The rider idled his bike at the intersection, not going despite a lack of cross traffic.

Focused on his goal, he ignored the motorcycle until he stopped to catch his breath. The red Honda kept its place, despite being free to move on. Jason turned to see if anything was wrong.

"Damn Jason, you were moving." Peter flipped his visor up. "In a hurry?"

Shocked to see Peter, Jason stared at him for a moment before he realized who it was.

"Hey," Jason said between breaths. Damn Peter looked good in his black leather jacket and jeans. The helmet hid his face but with the visor up, Jason could see Peter smile. "Yeah timing my run. Gotta keep going. Call me later if you want to get something to eat."

He did it, he finally, inexplicably perhaps, found the nerve to make a move. When he realized what he did, Jason resumed running, hoping it would hide how nervous he suddenly felt. He heard Peter start moving moments before the bike passed him. Giving Jason a brief wave, Peter continued toward campus, acting like he was in no hurry.

Torn between keeping to his training and talking to Peter, Jason kept to his route. If Peter wanted to meet, Jason just gave him a perfect chance.

Traffic was light, almost nonexistent, so Peter idled a few hundred feet in front of him. When he caught up to the bike, Peter began to move forward slowly.

Flipping the shield up again, Peter needed to practically shout to be heard. "You headed to the field house or your place?"

That was forward Jason thought without breaking stride. "Apartment." He answered.

"Okay." Peter appeared as indecisive as Jason felt. "Were you serious about dinner?"

Jason nodded. "Yeah," he thought about stopping but kept going. Between deep breaths he said, "Darryl's gone, would just end up at the Student Union. You said you would save me from that."

"Ha, yes I did." Peter gave Jason one of his disarming smiles.

"Let me finish my run." He hoped he didn't come off as rude. "If you want to meet me at my building we can talk there." If Peter could be forward so could he. "Or just call me."

"Foxhill Apartment's?" Peter asked.

Jason nodded trying not to slow down.

"Cool," Peter put his hand to his visor. "See you at your building."

Watching Peter drive away filled him with nervous energy. Did they just make a date? It felt like they did. Peter jumped at the option of meeting him at his apartment. Was he hoping to be invited inside? And what about Jason inviting Peter to go to the apartment in the first place? Could he pass it off as an off hand comment made while running?

Why did he care? If this were a friend from the team no one would think it odd he suggested meeting at his place. That was where Jason was going after all. Peter couldn't know Jason had seen his ad, so while he might suspect Jason was interested, he didn't know for sure.

This was the ‘chance' meeting he hope to create, even if it wasn't where he expected it to happen. Too late now, there was no turning back. He couldn't cancel. What could have come up on the last mile of his run? Besides it was just dinner. No one would question it if he met up with Eric or Davis or Matt.

He pushed aside those thoughts to concentrate on running. Excitement at what was waiting for him at the finish gave him renewed energy to push himself harder. Maybe he could salvage his time with a big finish. Racing across campus, he couldn't completely get the image of Peter in his bomber jacket riding away out of his head.

Even with his new found energy, Jason was breathing hard by the time he ran into his parking lot. Peter sat, helmet in hand, in an empty spot close to the first door. Jason's car and apartment were at the far end of the lot making this last stretch his final sprint. Ignoring Peter for the moment, he ran full out, trying to keep his focus.

Darryl and he measured the lot when they moved in; three quarters of a soccer field long. Longer than most sprints Jason made, it was good practice anyway. Panting heavily when he reached the end, he turned toward the entrance where Peter waited. Walking toward his guest, he stopped at his car to retrieve the key, towel, sweat shirt and water bottle. Punching in his code to unlock the car, he collected his things before walking back down the lot.

"Damn, do you have wings?" Peter asked. "I barely got here ahead of you."
Still breathing hard, Jason tried to smile. "Coming back I tried to push harder. I need my legs for the end of the game. This helps."

Peter smiled again. "Impressive."

Jason shook his head. "No, actually it was too slow. Should have done it in less than an hour, took me an hour and two minutes."

"Oh my, two whole minutes." Peter mocked. "Your coach is going to make you run more laps."

"Whatever," Jason laughed. "This was for me. Tell me you don't set goals to push yourself."

"Fair enough." Peter agreed. "Still, not sure many people could do what you did."

"Darryl is a good challenge," Jason downed half the water bottle. "But I am still faster."

Winking at Peter, Jason suddenly felt self conscious at the move. He quickly pulled the towel off his shoulder to wipe his face. When he removed the towel, Peter was still staring at him.

"So, you up for dinner?" Peter asked hopefully.

Jason started to put his sweatshirt on but decided against it as they were only a minute from his door. "Sure unless you are bailing on me. Darryl has a date and I hate to cook, especially for just me. When he is here we at least screw it up together."

"You did mention that." Peter smirked.

"Did you want to come in?" Jason asked. "I want to get a protein bar."

"Um well," Peter mumbled. "Sure."

Separating his key from his stuff, he led them to his building. "Did you have some place in mind where we can eat?"

"Kinda." Peter said. "Do you have a preference?"

"Not really." Jason opened the door, going inside first. "I eat most anything."

"Okay that's no help." Peter laughed. "When did you want to go?"

"Whenever you like. I just need to shower and I will be ready." Jason walked to the cabinet with the protein bars. Grabbing two, he offered one to Peter. "Did you want one?"

Peter looked at what Jason offered. "Um thanks. Did you get these at the health store?"

"No, Target sells them." Jason took a bite. "One of the assistant coaches is a health nut. He recommended them to the team. I just like how they taste."

"Is a health nut a bad thing?" Peter asked.

"Not really," Jason wondered if he said something wrong. "Just more work than I care to do."

Peter took a bite, cocking his head slightly. "You train like a fiend but you won't take the time to eat right?"

"Buying what's easy usually works best for us." Jason laughed. "Want something to drink?"

"Sure," Peter nodded. "But I can see I need to show you how to eat healthy and make it easy."

"Water, soda or juice?" Jason ignored the healthy food comment and recited the contents of their refrigerator.

"Water is fine." Peter quickly gave him a goofy smile. "That should be easy enough for you."

Rolling his eyes, he quickly smiled at the joke. "What about you? When did you want to go to dinner?"

"I am ready now, we can go after you shower." Peter answered.

"Okay," Jason put down his glass. "Let me go get ready.

"Sounds good," Peter followed Jason out of the kitchen. "Let me go home and change, then I swing by and pick you up."

"Pick me up?" Jason was surprised by the statement. "You mean in a car?"

"No goof ball." Peter laughed. "I just have the bike. We can ride together."

That was fast, Jason thought. From meeting for dinner to riding on the back of his bike all in one sentence. "Sorry, not sure I can do that."

"Why not?" Peter asked. "You afraid to ride with me?"

"Yeah, that's it." Jason laughed. "Team rules say no motorcycles. If we get hurt riding one, we can be kicked off the team." Jason explained. He thought about how cool it would be to go on Peter's bike. Not only would he get to ride a motorcycle but he would be pressed up against Peter. Throwing caution to the wind, he said, "If you promise not to crash I suppose it's all good."

Peter gave him a half frown. "Are you sure? I don't want you in trouble with the team."

"No, I am not totally sure." Jason wasn't sure about the whole evening. What was he doing going out to dinner with Peter in the first place, much less riding there on his motorcycle? "But it does sound fun. Just don't crash."

"Not planning on it, trust me." Peter replied. "We won't be going far anyway. I will call you when I am on my way back to get you."

Special thanks to Anyta for . . . too much to mention, she has been such a help and to Jian for editing for me.
Copyright © 2011 Andrew Q Gordon; All Rights Reserved.
If you enjoyed what you have read, please leave a reaction and/or comment for the author!

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Chapter Comments

This was a chapter with two hot boys, protein shakes, chocolate milk, and a lot of sexual tension. Well written my friend.

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On 12/21/2010 11:59 AM, Kavrik said:
This was a chapter with two hot boys, protein shakes, chocolate milk, and a lot of sexual tension. Well written my friend.
when you put it that way, it sounds so cheap and tawdry LOL - um well then again, maybe it is
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Ah, food court at a student union, brings back the memories . . . okay so it wasn't that long ago :P

 

Another great chapter! BTW I just love it when writers don't have their characters jumping in the sack in the first chapter, building up tension is sooo much better!

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On 12/25/2010 08:09 AM, Sara Alva said:
Ah, food court at a student union, brings back the memories . . . okay so it wasn't that long ago :P

 

Another great chapter! BTW I just love it when writers don't have their characters jumping in the sack in the first chapter, building up tension is sooo much better!

Thanks for the comment, I always like to hear what people think. I know it is not the easiest to find time to comment. As for rushing into the sack, I wanted to give them a chance to know each other first. Also, I don't do a lot of sex scenes, I don't think I am good at it so I get to that point and let the reader imagine for themselves what happened. That way no one is disappointed :P Thanks again for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it.
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LoL, I know all about running extra laps, except for me it was swimming extra laps. My swim coach was just as much of a hard azz as Coach Slewman. thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif

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On 01/21/2011 04:03 AM, TrevorTime said:
LoL, I know all about running extra laps, except for me it was swimming extra laps. My swim coach was just as much of a hard azz as Coach Slewman. thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif
I was the king - well probably queen but no one knew it at the time - of getting laps after practice, I was such a smart ass and I couldn't keep my yap shut. I suppose in some ways it helped as I have MOSTLY lost that smartass streak. Mostly :whistle:
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A RED HONDA!!! :D :D :D can I love Pete anymore??? Please tell me he had a red Helmet too.. :) (although, i'd reckon it'd be tough to get Pete to be the pillion rider... :/ oops! )

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On 02/02/2011 04:48 AM, Frostina said:
A RED HONDA!!! :D :D :D can I love Pete anymore??? Please tell me he had a red Helmet too.. :) (although, i'd reckon it'd be tough to get Pete to be the pillion rider... :/ oops! )
Pillion rider?? :blink: no clue. And no, the helmet is black :P
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LOL--I really, um, got this:

 

"No I don't mind, but I only sign autographs after a game and at the field, so having my address won't help with that." His feeble attempt at humor didn't even strike him as funny so he was surprised to see Peter laugh. "Fox Hill Student Apartments."

 

How many times have I ended up saying something that lame? (a lot)

How many times has there been this awkward, fuzzled cough or just plain silence, or quick change of topic? (just as many)

In my opinion, it makes Peter and stand-up guy to laugh anyway. Saves face and it's simply a nice thing to do. I mean, how much does a laugh cost, huh?

 

 

Hmmm, again, even this early in the story you foreshadow the major points of conflict that make up this story. Actually, multiple times--Peter sort of jokes about it at this stage--but it's enough to get a sense of that meaning more to him...

 

Good stuff.

 

Oh, and the tension between them--Spot On. :D Really, really good. :2thumbs:

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On 06/03/2011 12:06 PM, AnytaSunday said:
LOL--I really, um, got this:

 

"No I don't mind, but I only sign autographs after a game and at the field, so having my address won't help with that." His feeble attempt at humor didn't even strike him as funny so he was surprised to see Peter laugh. "Fox Hill Student Apartments."

 

How many times have I ended up saying something that lame? (a lot)

How many times has there been this awkward, fuzzled cough or just plain silence, or quick change of topic? (just as many)

In my opinion, it makes Peter and stand-up guy to laugh anyway. Saves face and it's simply a nice thing to do. I mean, how much does a laugh cost, huh?

 

 

Hmmm, again, even this early in the story you foreshadow the major points of conflict that make up this story. Actually, multiple times--Peter sort of jokes about it at this stage--but it's enough to get a sense of that meaning more to him...

 

Good stuff.

 

Oh, and the tension between them--Spot On. :D Really, really good. :2thumbs:

If I had to pick between the two - I am not sure who I would say is my favorite. Am I allowed to marry both and we can call ourselves a triple instead of a couple :P
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More contact between Peter and Jason...

 

Mystery pasta, **giggle**

 

I think the ending was so hot in building tension and expectations. And who doesn't like men with motorbikes?

 

I liked this chapter, it was tighter than the first one, lesser characters in it probably helped me to get in the flow. Aside from random scenes with many people I prefer tops 2-4 people in one scene so I can focus and make a clear image of it. The first chappy represented the parents and Jordan and coach. Maybe too soon was the dinner with the parents there since I didn't feel connected to them yet. Uhm... Sorry this was supposed to be c2 review :D

 

That said, I really liked this chapter! Poor Jason. I hope he gets over his dilemma of losing his parents money soon and faces the real world of consequences. Now he is worried about losing the financial support more than he is losing the love from his mother and father. At least that was how it came out. The fear of being kicked out of the soccer team was totally 100% believable! That is reality. Ok, fear of losing the money is too, but I don't think Jason is that cold. Anyways, he certainly has some great amount of personal growth to do and that is what this story is basicly about, right?

 

:D :D :D

 

ps. I keep getting images of young David Beckham as Jason and Shemar Moore as Darryl.

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On 06/30/2011 04:33 PM, Marzipan said:
More contact between Peter and Jason...

 

Mystery pasta, **giggle**

 

I think the ending was so hot in building tension and expectations. And who doesn't like men with motorbikes?

 

I liked this chapter, it was tighter than the first one, lesser characters in it probably helped me to get in the flow. Aside from random scenes with many people I prefer tops 2-4 people in one scene so I can focus and make a clear image of it. The first chappy represented the parents and Jordan and coach. Maybe too soon was the dinner with the parents there since I didn't feel connected to them yet. Uhm... Sorry this was supposed to be c2 review :D

 

That said, I really liked this chapter! Poor Jason. I hope he gets over his dilemma of losing his parents money soon and faces the real world of consequences. Now he is worried about losing the financial support more than he is losing the love from his mother and father. At least that was how it came out. The fear of being kicked out of the soccer team was totally 100% believable! That is reality. Ok, fear of losing the money is too, but I don't think Jason is that cold. Anyways, he certainly has some great amount of personal growth to do and that is what this story is basicly about, right?

 

:D :D :D

 

ps. I keep getting images of young David Beckham as Jason and Shemar Moore as Darryl.

David Beckham? Okay sure :) My image was totally different, but that is because he - Jason - reminds me totally of a guy I played soccer with - god he was hot! - ooops was I supposed to mention that?? 0:) Yeah, Jason has a bit of growing up to do - and while in theory he would not worry about the money too much - there is always a fear of being cut off entirely.
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Kicked off the team for riding a motorcycle? Doesn't that violate some sort of constitutional right? Schools have such lame-ass rules.

 

Good chapter. The protein bars reminded me of my favorite faux pick-up line: "Hi, I'm on a liquid protein diet. Can you help me out?"

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On 07/22/2011 03:16 PM, Mark Arbour said:
Kicked off the team for riding a motorcycle? Doesn't that violate some sort of constitutional right? Schools have such lame-ass rules.

 

Good chapter. The protein bars reminded me of my favorite faux pick-up line: "Hi, I'm on a liquid protein diet. Can you help me out?"

:lmao: Why am I not surprised that is you faux fav. Um . . . does it work? 0:)
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On 09/20/2013 06:03 AM, Daddydavek said:
Another chapter I never reviewed: Glad to see Jason get over his shyness and say something to Peter.
I re-read this and almost cringe - I've learned a lot from a lot of talented people since I started this story 5 years ago. If I had enough time I'd love to go back and rework it some and clean it up - sigh, time, time time. Thanks Dave!
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I'm enjoying the story. Your characters are great and the interaction good. Really want to see what happens to Jase and whether he and Peter get to be an item, ever. Lol!

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On 04/10/2016 01:07 AM, Jaro_423 said:

I'm enjoying the story. Your characters are great and the interaction good. Really want to see what happens to Jase and whether he and Peter get to be an item, ever. Lol!

Ha, I can't comment, BUT I know you've read ahead by now, so you know. :D

 

-AQG

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Two chapters in and so enjoying this coming of age, tango of the tripod. Heartwarming! 

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On 1/21/2021 at 9:31 AM, Chris L said:

Two chapters in and so enjoying this coming of age, tango of the tripod. Heartwarming! 

Hi Chris,

Sorry I'm so far behind commenting. Had a publishing deadline just as you started reading.  I've probably said this a dozen times or more, but I'm trying to clean this up and rewrite some bits. The other thing that I've wanted is to perhaps do a dual POV, trade off scenes between Peter and Jason. Not sure I can do that without a complete redo. We'll see. 

Thanks for reading!

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