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Puppy for Sale - 16. Introducing Hunter (The Grenade)

For once, I felt like I'd had a great night's sleep. The faint sound of Steven's alarm came to the forefront of my mind as I came round from my slumber. Dave took a little longer, which gave me a perfect opportunity to watch him sleep for a few seconds.

It was so cute!

I looked over and saw Steven hit the button on his clock, sending the room back into silence. Steven fell back onto his back and lay there looking at the ceiling. Dave took in a deep breath and yawned, gently rubbing my chest with his hand.

"Morning, you two," Steven said, turning his head to face us.

"Morning, Steven," I replied. Dave just held up his hand before he jumped out of bed. "Where are you going in such a hurry?"

"Need a pee. My bladder is full."

Steven also got out of bed but then came and sat on mine. "So, you guys had fun last night then?" He asked, a wry smile on his face. I giggled like a girl.

"Yeah, it was awesome, but you shit!"

"What?" Asked Steven, trying on his best innocent look.

"You were awake the whole time and were listening to us?"

"Well yeah, but hey, you should be thanking me for waiting until after you had both finished before I said anything."

"Why?"

"Because If I hadn't, you and Dave might not have had any action, right?"

"I guess so."

"So there you are. Hey, does he give a good blowjob?"

"I guess so… well, he made me cum, let's put it that way."

"I know, I heard, remember?" Steven said, winking.

"Yeah, don't remind me."

Dave came back into the bedroom and sat on the end of our bed, still looking like he was trying to wake up. Steven got up and left the room. I assumed to go to the bathroom.

"Looking forward to your first day at school?" Dave asked, scratching his balls.

"Yeah, I think so. I still can't believe it's happening, though." I said excitedly.

"I think you are the only person I ever met Jensen that wanted to go to school," Dave chuckled.

"Boys, are you up and alive?" Max called.

"Yeah, Max, be down soon," I called back.

"So, did Steven say anything about last night? God, that was so embarrassing."

"Only briefly. He seemed pretty cool with it, though." I replied.

"I'm sure he swings both ways. But, I mean, how can a straight guy be ok with two other guys having sex in front of him?"

"He did try and explain that part of him to me. I don't know Dave. He says he is straight… oh, and he does have a thing for this girl at school. He's supposed to be having lunch with her today, I think.",

"Ha! Well, we'll see. Mind you. I don't really like the idea of us doing things under his nose, though."

"Why not? Who knows, he might even get off on it," I laughed.

"Get off on what?" Steven asked, coming back into the bedroom.

"We were just talking about-"

"Jensen!" Dave exclaimed, cutting me off mid-sentence.

"Oh, I see. So what do you think I got off on you two making out? Well, for your information, my cock was soft all through it."

"Thanks for that information Steven," Dave said. Steven wandered over to his underwear drawer and pulled out a fresh pair of boxer briefs before sliding his old ones down his legs, not seeming to care Dave and I were gawping.

"What's up? Never seen a dick before," Steven asked, shaking his head. He then started to massage it in his hand before bursting out laughing. "Like putty in my hands… close your mouths!"

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

So just when I didn't think Dave could get any sexier, he surprises me again by appearing in his ironed school uniform and takes a seat at the table. His hair is immaculate, each blond spike different from the next, giving him a sharp, fresh look. Now fully woken, his blue eyes are big and bright, and he finishes off the look by giving me his killer smile.

"Wow, you look good in that," Dave stated, looking at me in my uniform.

"I was just thinking that about you."

"Guys, guys, it's a school uniform; let’s remember that," Steven barked, rolling his eyes.

I put my head down and crunched on my cornflakes. Just then, my phone started buzzing in my blazer pocket. I brought it out and looked at the screen. It was just a number.

"Hello?" I said, placing the phone in my ear. I almost leapt out of my chair as I heard Cindy's voice on the other end. "Oh, wow, you called… yeah… yeah… my first day, how did you know?... Oh right… yeah… yeah, I'm so glad you called… yeah, I'm leaving soon, shall I call you later?... okay… yeah will do… okay… okay bye."

I swiped the screen on my phone and just sat there looking at the screen before looking at Dave, who had a serious expression on his face.

"You look annoyed again," I said, matching his facial tone.

"I'm trying not to be… so are you meeting with her?"

"We didn't plan anything, but I'm going to call her later."

"Okay," was all Dave said, getting up from his seat and placing his half-finished bowl of cereal on the worktop before leaving the kitchen. I followed him with my eyes before shaking my head in frustration.

"Give him some time," Steven said softly, obviously seeing Dave had annoyed me.

"I wouldn't mind, but I don't choose who he is friends with. I just don't get it. She's my best friend, not someone I'm doing anything with."

"Dave has always had that streak in him, you just got to be firm, and he'll fall into line. He used to get jealous when I would spend time with Jessie."

"Really? You never told me that."

"Well, I thought it was just a one-off thing, but seeing how he's been regarding you and Cindy, I see it's just him."

Susan came into the kitchen and started to clean up. "What's up with Dave?" She asked, wiping down the work surfaces.

"Cindy just called me; I don't think he liked it."

"Oh, well, I'm sure he'll be okay. Anyway, boys, you better get going, or you'll be late."

"Yeah, I just need to get my shoes on. Are you ready, Steven?"

Steven nodded, and we both got up from the table. I went upstairs to get Dave and found him sitting on our bed with his hands locked together, leaning on his knees. I wasn't about to make a big thing about Cindy calling, so I just pretended I didn't notice his deep thinking pose.

"Are you ready? I think we need to go."

"Yeah," he grunted his reply.

The three of us met at the bottom of the stairs and picked up our bags. I had a couple of forms given to me by Susan I needed to hand in, and we all got money for lunch.

"Now, Steven, Dave, you look after Puppy now, won't you. Make sure you show him around and stay with him at lunchtime, at least until he makes some friends."

"Mum, he's not a baby, but yes, we planned to do that anyway."

"Good, well, Puppy, you have an amazing day. I hope you like it there, and I want to hear all about your first day when you get home, ok. Dave, I'll be speaking with your mother today hopefully to give her an update on you, and Steven, you behave yourself, okay?"

We all nodded and stepped out onto the driveway. Susan waved us off as we headed up the road towards the main junction.

"So, are you two love birds not talking now, is that it?"

"I'm talking. I don't see there being an issue of my best friend contacting me." I said bluntly.

"I said I was trying to deal with it, okay?" Dave huffed.

"Dave man, you got to chill out; she’s just his friend."

Dave didn't say anything; he just carried on walking alongside us. There was something very unattractive about Dave's jealous streak, and I really hoped he would sort it out.

"So do you guys wanna wait for the bus or just walk it?" Steven asked as we neared the stop.

"I'm happy to walk… Dave?"

"Yeah, happy to walk. It’s not too cold."

"Walking it is then," Steven said, starting to quicken his pace. Dave and I did the same.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

As we rolled up to the school’s main gates, I started to feel a little nervous and stopped just outside. Different children of all ages walked past us as Steven turned round to see why I had come to a halt.

"What's up?"

"Nothing, this is just a big deal for me. I know it's not for you." I replied.

"Want me to hold your hand?" Steven asked, grinning.

"Want me to?" Dave added, his mood a little lighter.

"Guys, don't take the piss. I have never been to school before. A little support wouldn't go amiss."

"Jensen, we are joking around with you. Now come on, you don't want to be late on your first day, do you?" Steven said.

"Ok, I'm coming."

Steven and Dave led me to the main entrance and guided me through to the main admin office.

"Hello, Mrs Godfrey, this is Jensen Stibbings, he's my brother, and this is his first day."

"Well, hello there, young man," Mrs Godfrey said, smiling at me through the window hatch. "Just let me get your file, and we'll see where we are with you."

I nodded, and she got up from her seat before flicking through a filing cabinet. She pulled out a beige file, similar to the one I had at Greenstone; only this one was a lot thinner. Then, coming back to her seat, she clicked on her computer a few times and looked back up at me.

"You have been assigned to Mr Dawson, Jensen. He will be your tutor. Steven or Dave, Would you mind walking Jenson to his classroom?"

"Sure thing Mrs G," Steven replied.

"I can take him if you like, Steven?"

"If you want to, yeah, So if that would be good. I need to catch up with the football guys before class anyway. We got a match this week."

"Cool."

"Ok, Jensen, well, have a good day, and if anyone starts on you, just let me know, and I'll bury them."

"Thank you, Steven, but I'm sure I'll be fine."

"Ok then, we'll I'll come to get you at lunch, wait outside your Tutor room for me. See ya."

"Bye Steven," I said, along with Dave.

"So, we better get you to your tutor room. Any last words?"

"Do I need any? What's Mr Dawson like?"

"Nice guy, He's an English teacher."

"Bet you like him then, eh?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Ah Dave, with your posh voice, I'm sure he likes you too."

"Pfft, my English sucks. I’m sure he is more interested in how I do in my exams rather than the way I talk."

"I was pulling your leg," I declared as Dave took me down a series of corridors. It was one of those times where I wished I had paid attention to where I was, seeing as now I had no hope of remembering how to get back to the main entrance.

"Here we are," Dave announced as we came to a stop. The corridor was full of people going in and out of different classrooms. There were hundreds of lockers being slammed shut along both walls as Dave tried to tell me where he would meet me after registration.

"So after registration, just wait here for me. I will come and get you."

"Okay. Well, you better get going. I’ll see you soon."

"I really wish I could kiss you now, but I won't," Dave whispered in my ear. I giggled like a girl and walked into my new classroom.

I spotted Mr Dawson sitting at his desk. He was a large man with bushy white hair. He wore a three-piece white suit and brown shoes. He looked really strange.

"By golly, my new student, dear fellow, come closer. You must be Mr Stibbings, right?"

"That's right, Sir."

"Welcome to the class. I will be looking after you from now on. I have arranged for you to miss your first lesson so I can have some time with you to settle in, lad, and tell you about a few things. How does that sound?"

"Excellent, Sir," I said, feeling more relaxed already.

"Boyle, your voice is getting louder and louder. Keep it down over there, boy." Mr Dawson yelled through the noise. I looked over to see who he was talking to. A boy with long brown hair and a pierced eyebrow locked eyes with me, and he smiled shyly before looking back at Mr Dawson.

"Sorry, Sir," The boy called back.

"Leo Boyle, Jensen, lovely lad, but very excitable. So, tell me about Jensen Stibbings. You have around two minutes until I need to register the class.

I suddenly felt under pressure. "Well, you know my name. I grew up in a children's home and have just recently found my real Dad. This is my first time at a real school."

"I know about your background Jensen. I want to know about you."

"Me?"

"Yes, like what gets you out of bed in the mornings, what are your hobbies, things like that."

"Oh, okay, well Steven, my brother? His alarm gets me out of bed in the morning. I don't really have any hobbies, but I do like chickens, and I like movies. I've had quite a solitary life Mr Dawson, so I'm not really up-to-date with lots of things yet."

"Well, laddie, you have come to the right place to learn that. I teach English, but you won't have me, you'll have Mrs Bead, she is an outstanding teacher and a nice lady. Okay, well, we better get started, go take a seat, and once everyone has gone, we'll get you settled in."

I nodded and scanned the room for a spare seat. The classroom had around twenty-five students in it, and everyone was looking at me as the noise died down. I saw a seat up near the back of the classroom and went to sit down. The boy who occupied one side moved his bag from the vacant seat and allowed me to take my place.

"Name's Hunter, good to meet you," Said the boy in a deep voice, holding out his hand.

"Jensen, good to meet you too," I replied, staring into his eyes. They were big and brown and almost hypnotic. He was an attractive guy, made even more so with the way he sat chewing gum like he had a bad boy attitude. With his head tilted, he just kept looking at me. Was I supposed to say something? He eventually let my hand go and moved his focus back to the teacher, ending a rather strange but pleasurable experience.

I continued to watch him chew.

"Okay, class settle down, settle down. Before we start this morning's briefing, I would like to introduce Jensen Stibbings to the class. Jensen has just started here, and I want everyone to make him feel welcome. He is part of your family now, so make him feel that way."

I got nods and hello's from almost every one as I tried to acknowledge each one of them in the room.

"Now I need to prepare some paperwork for Jensen, so once I have done the register, you are free to chat until the bell for first class goes. That does NOT mean shout at each other, understood? Especially you Leo Boyle."

Everyone looked at poor Leo, who just grinned stupidly. I liked Leo already, and I hadn't even spoken to him. He reminded me of Steven a bit, and I was betting he was the class clown. Mr Dawson started to call out the register, and I tried to remember everyone's name as he did. There were some good looking boys in my class, something I had immediately noticed. Hunter was no exception, and I found myself feeling guilty because I wanted to keep looking at him. Like Steven, Hunter was a well-defined hunk who looked older than his age. He had his blazer off, and I could see he had really broad shoulders. I could also see he shaved as well, which added to the attraction I had for him. I tried to put that out of my mind as I was with Dave and should not have been even looking at other boys, but it was like I had been let loose in a sweet shop.

Before long, I heard the bell go, and everyone piled out of the classroom, leaving me with Mr Dawson. He called me over and asked me to sit at the desk that backed onto his own, and I waited in silence while he looked through my file.

"So, do you have any particular subjects that interest you?" He asked, looking up at me.

"I like Mathematics and Science."

"English?" He asked, grinning.

I shrugged. "I guess."

"You don't have to lie, Jensen. I’m not offended. It's good you like numbers. My father was a Maths teacher, you know, so I naturally have an interest in that subject. And Science, eh? What kind?"

"Kind?"

"Yes, Biology, Chemistry or Physics?"

"Oh, uh… well, I don't know, really. I like watching Mythbusters on TV. You know where they blow things up with chemicals."

"Sounds to me like you're going to favour chemistry then," Mr Dawson said, Letting out a loud belly laugh.

Just then, there was a knock at the door, and I could see Dave standing outside. Mr Dawson waved him in.

"Sorry, Sir, I was just coming to get Jensen for his first lesson."

"His first lesson is in here with me, David. You can come to fetch him in fifty minutes."

"Okay, Sir, thank you. See you soon, Jensen," Dave said, smiling. He left the room and closed the door.

"Friend of yours?"

"He lives with Steven and me. He’s my boyfriend."

Mr Dawson sat back in his chair, looking somewhat startled.

"You seem quite relaxed about that, Jensen."

"Relaxed?"

Mr Dawson scratched his chin. "Yes, don't get me wrong, your sexuality is absolutely fine with me. My brother is gay, you know, but I really must advise you to be careful about who you admit that to in terms of your peers."

"My peers?"

"Your fellow students." Mr Dawson sighed. "Jensen, as much as I hate to say this, a school can be a very cruel place for students that fall outside the traditional makeup of a person. I know you are new to this environment, but this is not like home. Some people might not be as accepting of you as your family obviously are."

"Oh, right, so I need to keep it a secret, then you think?"

"You need to do Jensen, what you feel is right. I can't tell you not to inform people. After all, the way you just casually told me says that you are not afraid of who you are, and that is a great personality trait, but before you do tell anyone, settle into school life first. Get a feel for the way things work in a school and then decide."

"Well, thank you, sir, I will take your advice."

"Good, now shall we move on to school matters?"

"Sure thing Sir, what do I need to know?"

"Well, I have spoken with the headteacher about your arrival, or rather he has spoken to me. So we decided to put you on the same class list as Steven, your brother. That way, you won't have a problem finding your way around."

"Oh, that's great."

"Uh-huh, but with that comes the same optional classes that Steven took."

"Optional?"

"Yes, when you reach fourteen, Jensen, you have a choice of what classes you wish to drop and what ones to pursue. These are called your options. Now, if I put you on the same rota as Steven, it means you will automatically have to take the classes he took but also drop the ones he did."

"I'm just happy to be here. You, Mr Dawson," I replied, not really worried about that. "Out of curiosity, what has he taken?"

"I have his file here… so, let me see. Ok, Steven took Geography, Materials Technology, IT, Spanish, PE and Personal and Social Education."

"Sounds fine, so what did he drop?"

"Um… History, Religious Education, French, Travel and Tourism, and Food Technology."

"Wow, he took Maths, English and Science? That's not like Steven."

Mr Dawson Laughed. "No, Jensen, those are core subjects; you can't drop those… you have to do them. So did you hear any ones that he had dropped that you might like to have taken?"

"No, I think I'll be okay with the ones he dropped. Hmm, about PE, though, I'm not really sporty."

"Okay, well, this is where it gets a little more complicated. Even though you are in Steven's group in PE, you don't have to take the sports he is taking. So, for instance, I know Steven likes Football, but you might not. So in this case, you can apply to take a different activity."

"Such as?"

"I don't know. What sort of things do you like doing?"

"I'm not sure, I like weights, and I did swim a few times in the lake where I used to live."

"Well, we do have a weights room and a swimming pool. When you have PE, you'll need to speak with the department head to see what is available on your period."

"Ok, thank you."

"Now, do you have any medical conditions I should know about?"

"Well, My foot is still healing from a nail that went through it, and I also take a pill for my mental issues, but apart from that, I don't think so."

"Ahh yes, I see you are taking Citalopram for anxiety… and how is that foot?"

"Almost completely healed. I have no pain anymore, so it won't be any bother."

"Good to hear. Now, I suggest you find someone from this tutor class to buddy up with."

"What about Hunter?"

"Good choice. He is a good student and will look after you."

"He seems nice."

"Yes, would you like me to ask him for you or is that something you would like to do?"

"I'll speak to him. It’s fine."

"Okay then, so do you have any questions?"

"Yes, what is my first lesson?"

"Hmm, let's see. Ahh, here we are, you'll have Geography second period. If you take a copy of Steven's schedule, you'll know what all your lessons are for the week. Now, Jensen, we are right in the middle of a school term, so almost all the classes will be working through some project. I don't want you to worry about that for the moment. Just get used to the feel of the school and the lessons. Your teachers are aware of your unique background and will not be expecting the earth. However, when you enter your final year of senior school, you will be expected to perform ready for your GCSE exams. But, again, I don't want you to get worried about this. We are going to put you through them to see how you do. If we find any areas where you are weak, we will support you so you can get where you need to be."

"Okay, thank you."

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

My first three classes were a blast, and I really enjoyed them. Steven was able to sit next to me in two of them, and it was nice being in the room with someone I knew. I felt that nearly everyone had been friendly to me, and I soon settled into the day, the nerves almost gone. After the bell went for lunch, I followed Steven to the Cafeteria and met up with Dave, Jessie and Billy, who were already there.

"Hey guys," Said Steven. "Jensen, why don't you go and grab a tray and pick out some food? I’ll be right there."

I did as he said and went over to the queue, picking myself up a brown tray before getting in line. The way it was set up reminded me a lot of Greenstone. Hot food was first, and then cold food deserts and snacks were further down with the drinks machine right at the end. It looked like they had something for everyone there, but my eyes locked on to the fries and burgers as my stomach rumbled. Finally, I saw Steven walking over to me before picking up a tray of his own and joining me.

"Hey Chase, there is a queue, you know, get to the back." Some boy barked.

"Shut it, Boulderstone, unless you want your face broken. It’s my brother's first day here, so I'm standing with him."

The boy said nothing, and Steven turned back to face my direction, a satisfied look on his face.

"You didn't need to be rude to him," I said.

"Jensen, you are going to quickly find out that school is a dog eat dog world. You are either at the top of the food chain or the bottom. There is no in between. Show any weakness, and you'll be eaten alive; just remember that. Pricks like Sam Boulderstone need to know when to quieten down, and by the way, if anyone and I mean anyone, gives you any trouble, I wanna know about it, understand?"

"Sure, but I think I'll be okay. Everyone seems nice."

"Don't be fooled. Once they latch onto something about you, it will change. Right now, people are sussing you out for weaknesses, trust me. When word gets around, you and Dave are banging each other, or that you used to live in a kid prison, they will use that as the ammo for their guns. I'll let you know which ones to watch out for as we come across them."

"Okay, thanks,"

"No worries, now tell the women what you want to eat, and they put it on a plate for you."

"I do know how this works, you know."

"Just saying."

I ordered a fat cheeseburger and fries, took a cup of coke from the dispenser and paid, before heading back to our table where the others were. Steven was right behind me.

"That was cheap, I'm guessing?" I said, showing Steven the change I had.

"If Mum and Dad ever ask you, you tell them it's barely enough. That's why we get this amount of money. It’s taken me a long time to convince them inflation has rocketed at school," Steven replied, winking.

"So, what do I do with the rest?"

"Spend it on junk, of course, or save it."

"I can't lie to them. I feel guilty." I said.

"You will if you value your life," Steven growled.

"So how is it going, Jensen, settling in, ok?" Jessie asked, taking a bite out of his burger.

"Yeah, it's nice here."

Jessie laughed. "Yeah, I remember that feeling. It lasted about five seconds. So you have Mr Dawson, I hear, he's an eccentric guy, but one of the good ones."

"Yeah, he seems nice as well."

"Who are you sitting with in tutor, Jensen? I know most of the people in your class."

"A boy called Hunter," I replied. Jessie and Billy looked at each other and high fived, while Dave looked horrified. Steven swallowed hard."

"What… what is it?" I asked, suddenly worried.

"Jensen, Hunter Kirby is one of only two out people at this school. No one dares pick on him, though, because he is built like a brick shit house." Jessie said.

"He's gay?" I asked, eyes wide

"Yep, and I gather your ass is for sale. When he finds out, he's gonna be all over you, trust me. Damn, Hunter even hits on the straight guys," he added, laughing out loud.

I looked at Dave, who seemed as if he was about to scream. I knew he wanted to say something but couldn't because Jessie was there.

"Guys, give it a rest, yeah," Steven intervened, seeing Dave's red face full of anger and my astonishment.

"I need to be somewhere," Dave said, getting up from the table and marching off.

"What's eating him?" Jessie said. Billy and Steven stayed quiet. I did too.

"I'll go see if he's okay, Steven announced.

"I'll come with you," I added.

We found Dave by the stairs near the main entrance and hurried over to him.

"Why did you walk off?" I asked.

"Why… WHY? Why is a good question Jensen, like WHY out of over eight hundred people you had to sit next to the queer king of the school."

"Hey, how was I to know he was gay… he doesn't look gay."

"You need to move. You need to sit somewhere else."

"What? Are you mad? That’s going to look really good, isn't it? Oh yeah, sorry, Hunter, I can't sit with you because you’re gay. Oh, by the way, I'm gay too."

"Don't you dare tell him… if he finds out, he'll be-"

"He'll be what, Dave? All over me?" I snapped. "I do have a say in that, don't I? Or do you think that just because he is gay, I am going to run off with him secretly."

"I can't handle this." Dave spluttered, bursting into tears and slumping down on the stairs. "First Cindy and now this."

"Dave, chill the fuck out, will you? Jensen is sitting with Hunter, not fucking him. Now get up; people are looking."

"Let em' look."

"Sort him out, Steven. I am getting tired of this bullshit. I have done nothing wrong, and all I get is jealous accusations." I began to head away.

"YOU WALK AWAY FROM ME, AND WE'RE FINISHED," Dave screamed, stopping anyone who was in earshot in their tracks. I looked at Steven, who was just about to faint. I felt like that myself realising that Dave had just outed not only himself but me as well. Steven was now seething and yanked Dave up by his arm, marching him down a corridor.

I chased after them as Steven pushed Dave into an empty classroom.

"Do you know what you have just fucking done, you stupid, ignorant Fuck!"

"Steven, don't do anything stupid… don't hurt him."

"Stay the fuck out of this, Jensen!"

I did as he asked, having never seen Steven this angry.

"I didn't mean to," Dave squealed.

"Didn't fucking mean… you have just outed Jensen and yourself in one fatal blow. This is gonna be all around the fucking school by the end of the day… Jesus Dave, you fucking IDIOT!"

"I'll deny it."

"You can't deny it, shithead, enough fucking people heard you!" Steven yelled, running his hands down his face, "This is gonna be the perfect shitstorm. I can feel it. Jessie is gonna find out… oh, and Hunter is definitely gonna find out, so you done yourself a right favour there, haven't you. Jesus to FUCK!"

"What do we do?" I asked softly.

"Like I have the fucking answers, Jensen."

"So we come out, if people ask, we say yes, we are together," Dave said.

"Are we?" I asked.

"Are we what?"

"Together, you said we were finished if I walked away. So I was walking away."

"Is that what you want?"

"No, but I also don't want this crap from you its, not nice, Dave, and it is a real turn off."

"Look, Dumb and Dumber, do you think you could solve your marriage problems after school. Right, now we have more important things to worry about, like how to stop the both of you getting your heads kicked in.

"I can look after myself," Dave retorted.

"I guess I can too," I added.

Steven held his hands up. "Fine guys, you deal with it, but don't come crying to me when the name calling starts, or worse."

Steven turned on his heels and walked out of the room and slammed the door, leaving Dave and I standing there in silence.

"So, are you gonna move away from him?"

"You have got to be kidding me? After what you just did,Dave On you are still only thinking about whether I am sitting next to Hunter?"

"Well are you?" He repeated.

"No, I'm not, and if you can't get used to that, then I don't see a future for us. I am my own person Dave, I am not your property. I am with you because I trust you and like you. If you can't be that then, what's the point?"

"I'll try harder. I just feel so insecure, Jensen."

"Why? I haven't done anything, and I'm not going to, so why do you worry. So what, Hunter is gay? What difference does it make to me? I'm with you, not him! I chose to be with you, can't you see that?"

"I know I know," Dave replied, wiping his eyes. "C'mon, we better be getting back. The others will wonder where you are."

"And you, you're the one who marched off."

"Yeah, sorry about that," he sniffed.

"Dry your eyes; otherwise, they will see you have been crying."

Dave took his blazer sleeve and wiped it over his face before heading towards the door.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Back in the cafeteria, things looked pretty normal. Steven was joking around, telling Jessie and Billy some story. Dave and I approached the table and sat back down. Nobody seemed to notice.

"Hey guys… oh Jensen, I think your burger is cold now," Jessie remarked.

"That's okay. I’m not that hungry now anyway," I replied, looking at Dave.

"So, when are we all going back to Cutters Farm, fancy some fishing… oh wait, what about camping? We could go camping and do some night fishing," Billy said excitedly.

"Sounds like a plan," Steven said. "Guys, are you up for that if Mum and Dad let us?"

"I'm not sure I am allowed near Cutters Farm. Last time I went, I got nailed."

"You sure did," Billy said, laughing. I cracked a smile, but Dave didn't. He was lost somewhere in his mind, I could tell.

"Look, I'll sort out Mum and Dad, okay?"

"If you do, Steven, I am happy to come along."

"Cool… What about you, Dave? DAVE?"

"What? Oh, yeah, So if sure, sure, whatever you guys wanna do.

"You okay Dave, you look zoned out, man." Asked Jessie.

"Yes, I'm fine, just thinking that's all."

"Well, guys, I guess we better be getting back. Next class starts soon," Steven said, getting up from the table. We all followed suit and got up, heading towards the exit. Just as we were approaching the door, we happened to see Hunter Kirby come strolling in. His tie was loose, and he was chewing gum as before. His eyes locked on mine, and just before he walked past Dave and me, he gave me a sideways grin winked at me.

Dave growled, and I hit him on the arm. "I'm with you, remember?"

"He fucking winked at you. I saw it."

"So what if he did."

"Well, someone has obviously told him," Dave hissed.

"As I said, I'm with you."

Just before we went through the door, I managed to quickly turn round without Dave seeing, and sure enough, Hunter was looking at me. His cute face was adorable, and I loved how he did his hair. It was almost jet black, and he wore it messy with a tuft that hung down over his forehead. Although I wasn't about to admit it to anyone, I did find him extremely attractive. I just couldn't help that. I don't think Dave being the way he was, was doing much to stop that either. I was starting to wonder if being with someone like Dave was the right thing to do, and now, with Hunter winking at me, my head was being totally screwed up.

Fuck!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

"What's up with you?" Steven asked as I sat slumped at the kitchen table, staring out of the window.

"Don't tell me you haven't noticed?" I replied, watching max through the kitchen window, hacking away at some bush ready to put the new fence in.

"Dave, by any chance?"

"Fourteen days, Steven!" I said, probably sounding cryptic.

"Excuse me… fourteen days what?"

"We've been together, fourteen days, and in that time, I have had to explain myself from the off pretty much. Cindy first and now Hunter, I mean Jesus Steven."

"Sounds to me like the honeymoon period is already over for you both," Steven remarked, giving me a thoughtful look.

I sighed. "Is this how it's supposed to go when you get with someone? Is this what it's like to have a partner… for them to think or suspect you are being unfaithful behind their back?"

"I did tell you Dave has a trust issue, but Jensen, you're not helping yourself, you know that, right?"

"What?" I barked. "Hang on, how have I suddenly become the one who should be changing the way I am."

"Hey, don't fly off the handle, but look, I've seen you looking at Hunter. With the way Dave is, are you sure you wanna be doing that?"

"Ok, so I looked. He’s an attractive guy. Why should that matter? It’s just looking with my eyes. It’s not as if I have my mouth around, his dick."

"I'm just saying that if you are berating Dave for getting jealous, then you need to make sure it really is all in his mind before you go off on one… unless you DO have something to be guilty about?"

I let my head fall back, so I was staring at the ceiling. "Steven, I have not given Dave any reason not to trust me, nor have I looked at Hunter while Dave was watching, so there is no way he would know. Besides, I sure as hell don't think I should feel guilty about glancing at another guy if that's all it was. You need to speak to him, Steven."

Steven nudged back in his seat. "Me… why me?"

"Because I have said all I can. He does these things, says he's sorry and then does them again. It's a fucking vicious cycle, and it's wearing me down. Jesus, I don't even find him attractive anymore. It's like his jealousy has acted like some toxic poison to his looks."

"What are you saying?"

"I think you know Steven."

"You're gonna dump him?"

"What would you have me do? I am becoming unhappy. We don't even talk anymore, Steven, not like we were. All that happens now is we come home from school, and I get him asking me loads of questions about who I spoke to, who called me and why I was late for lunch. So even you must get fed up with it?"

Steven sighed and leant back in his seat. "I don't know what to suggest. Yeah, he does seem different lately, but don't forget, he has a lot going on with his Mum and stuff. So I reckon that is playing on his mind."

"Yeah, I get that totally, but what's that got to do with him and me?"

"I don't know Jensen. I’m just looking for an explanation, that's all."

"No, it sounds to me like you are looking to excuse him."

"Hey, that's not fair, you're my brother, and he's my friend, and we all live together. So you must know I can't take sides in this?"

"It's not about taking sides, It's… it's about, oh fuck I don't know!" I huffed, banging my fist on the table.

Steven and I had started this conversation after Dave had gone over to see his Mum after school. Something I was pleased about after having yet another argument with him. Steven surprised me as he was the one who wanted me to sit with him in the kitchen while Dad was in the yard and Mum was out visiting with Dave. He said he thought we should talk about what's been going on, but alas, I didn't feel like we had got far as he was reluctant to give any sort of opinion.

The truth was, any feelings I had for Dave were fizzling out fast because of his relentless jealousy and erratic behaviour. Sometimes he could be pretty nasty and childish in his questioning, and I was growing tired of having to explain my every move like I was on some giant chessboard. What didn't help was Hunter, in respect of him being so far the other way. He was so calm, gentle and laid back, which added to the attractiveness I felt for him. He would listen to me go on about Dave when we were in class together, and despite him telling me he wanted more than friendship, he was a real gentleman and never tried it on with me, not even when we somehow ended up needing to use the toilet at the same time at school.

"So, you and Hunter?" Steven said, breaking the momentary silence.

"What about Hunter and meSo you?" I replied, flicking him a look that said don't you start!

"Is there anything going on?"

"Er, no, and when exactly would there have been the time to? I'm in all your classes. I spend lunch with you and Dave, and then we walk home from school together."

"Ok, I'm just asking. No need to bite my head off."

"I'm sorry, I am… it's just so stressful living like this. I dread getting into bed at night because I don't know what he will say next. It's not so bad when we're all upstairs and talking, he tends to skip him, and me subjects, but as soon as you go to sleep, I am kept up for ages while he runs through his daily list of questions. Anyway, I don't wanna talk about this anymore. It didn't help… how come you never see that girl anymore?"

"Girl?"

"Yeah, you know, the one you saw that day at lunch when I was off school. You seem to have two dates with her, and then that was it."

Steven shrugged. "She's not my type, if I'm honest."

"You mean you're not her type?"

Steven tried to hide an embarrassed smile, but I saw through it. "She said I had big ears… do I have big ears?"

I looked from left to right at his face and shook my head. "I think you have lovely ears, whatever was she on about… mind you, I am biased," I chuckled.

"Well, her loss, not mine. Besides, you know what? I'm happy being single and free, so it hasn't bothered me."

"I just don't get it," I said, looking at him and shaking my head.

"Don't get what?"

"You're a good looking guy, probably one of the best looking in school, so far as I've seen, so how can you be single?"

"Maybe I give off the wrong vibes, but whatever it is, as long as I get sex every four to six months to stave off the urges, I don't care about not having some tart on my arm. Most of them just want to spend my pocket money anyway," Steven laughed, and so did I."

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Upstairs after Max had attempted to feed us, Steven and I were lying on our beds watching TV. I was lost deep in thought, mostly about how to proceed with Dave and Steven was glued, as usual, to some low budget movie on SciFi. My mind was shaken back to the present with the voice of Dave talking to Max after he just walked in with Mum. I couldn't hear what was being said, but I guess I would find out when he came up, which I heard him do moments later.

"Hi guys, I'm back," Dave announced, walking into the bedroom. I smiled at him and patted the bed. He looked to be in a good mood which was a relief as I didn't have the energy to argue anymore with him.

Steven looked up from the TV and waved. "How was it?" I asked as he came and sat on the bed with me.

"My Mum? Yeah, she was ok… sober at least."

"That's great, and your brother?"

"Oh, I didn't see him, but I hear he's doing well with my aunt."

"Oh, ok, well, at least you know he's ok."

"Yeah, so what have you both been up to?"

I looked at Steven, who then looked at me. "Tell him," Steven said, a serious look forming on his face.

"Tell me what?" Dave asked, bringing his attention to me.

"Jensen was telling how you have turned into a jealous control freak and that he is thinking of ending your short lived relationship. Just for the record, I think that is a fair comment, seeing as the way you have been acting, but I will stay out of it."

"Stay out of it?" Dave retorted. "It sounds like you are already well into it, Steven. Jensen? What's this all about?"

"I um, well, he is kinda right, we did have a discussion."

"I see, so you think I'm all those things he said?"

"I'm just tired of arguing with you, Dave. You know I was so happy when we first got together. I just never knew relationships were going to be this difficult. I've tried to understand you and your reasons for getting jealous, but the more I do, the more I can't get my head around it. I haven't done anything wrong, and maybe…."

"Maybe what?" Dave asked, his eyes wide.

"Well, maybe I'm just not good for you."

Dave turned his view back to Steven, who was listening intently now. "Did you put him up to this?"

"Whoa, Dave, I had nothing to do with any of what he said, but give Jensen some credit. He can think for himself."

"So what are you saying Jensen, you wanna end it after two weeks?"

I didn't answer straight away. Yes, if I was honest with him, that's exactly how I felt right at this moment in time, but a chunk of me wondered if I was being too hasty.

"I want you to end the way you act around me," I said, settling for a milder alternative… for now.

"Funny, I want Hunter to do exactly the same thing," Dave said, surprising me with the comment.

"What do you mean, what's Hunter got to do with this?"

"Oh, come off it, Jensen, you are by far the best looking boy in the school. Everyone can see it, especially Hunter, who fancies the pants off you. Is it any wonder I get a little uneasy?"

I just looked at him in amazement. "You are unbelievable, Dave, you know that? You really don't see this as your issue at all, do you? It's either me leading guys on or Hunter leading me on. For your information, neither is true. Yes, Hunter may like me, but it takes two to tango and if you think I am that cheap that I would just waltz off with him while going out with you then why the hell are we a couple?"

"He has a point, Dave," Steven chimed in.

Dave sat there for a moment, silent. The room became so quiet the ticking of Steven's wall clock started to come into focus.

"You wanna know what I think?" Asked Dave, his voice calm. I was now hoping for something more positive.

"What's that?" I asked, equally calm.

"I think you really want to be with him, and you are just searching for a way out of what you have with me… yeah, that's what I think."

My heart and body sank, and I shook my head slowly. "I don't think I even know who you are anymore, Dave," I said, getting up from the bed. I walked out of our room and into the bathroom, where I burst into tears, trying to hold in all my anger that had been building listening to Dave since he got back.

At that moment, his final statement had a half truth to it. Yes, I was now looking for a way out. Not to be with Hunter, but because Dave had just become too incompatible with who I could adapt to, with tonight being a classic example of why I needed to end our brief relationship.

I leant over the sink and squeezed the rim, trying to hold back the tears that were flowing down my face. Just two weeks ago, So if I had been so happy with the same boy out in my bedroom to the one who I now don't think I could even look at. I needed a good chat with Mum; she would know what to do, but getting her on her own proved to be difficult lately.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

After around twenty minutes, I reappeared from the bathroom after spending the time trying to compose myself. I had wiped my eyes several times, making them red, but I was not going to be that scared little kid anymore, locked away in some room because I was too afraid to stand up for myself.

Defiantly I walked back into the bedroom to find Steven still lying on his bed. As I came round into view of my bed, I found it empty.

"Where did he go?"

Steven shrugged his shoulders. "Dunno said he needed some air; I think he went for a walk."

"Don't you have anything to say?"

"Sure I do, but what's the good in me saying it. This is something you both have got to work out."

I took on a solemn pose. "What if I don't want to work it out? What if I have had enough? Would you blame me?"

"No."

"Well then."

"Well what?"

"Well, then I am going to tell him we are over."

"Good for you. This is going to be a very nice place to live once that happens," Steven said, sarcasm in his voice.

"Oh, so you just want us to stay together, so things are less awkward, but at the same time, I'm miserable?"

Steven laughed. "I've already learned to ignore it, but it's funny because this seems to be the shortest relationship I have ever known anyone to enter into, and that's saying something at our age."

"Well, what would you do?"

Steven shrugged. "Meh, it is what it is. Look, in all seriousness, I don't wanna see you unhappy, Jensen, but there is no point asking me about stuff like this. After all, I don't have the best track record with sticking around with girls. On the other hand, if you have decided in your head, then you need to follow through with that. Dad always said that you should go with your gut because it's usually right."

"And Hunter?" I asked.

"If you are asking me whether you should move onto him, then-"

"Moving onto him sounds so shallow, I don't want to move onto anyone… in fact, I would prefer it if Dave was just normal, I like him a lot, but I can't have him assert this control over me. I need my freedom Steven… too many years have people had control over me."

"Ok, look, let me put it this way then. I don't think you and Hunter should get close until Dave is a least some way to being over this."

"WHAT? Have you seen what he's like? That could take months… years even!"

"Just be subtle. That’s all I'm saying. Anyway, why is it so important that you are with someone? Why not just be single like me?"

I thought about his question. It was true that I didn't need a boyfriend. I think it was just the case that two awesome looking guys had come into my life simultaneously, and I was just following the natural course of events, but part of me wondered if it would just be simpler not to have anyone. Again, I thought about really trying to have that chat with Mum to see what she thought. Steven was a good listener, and he did offer his opinion, but right now, I felt like I needed someone with a bit of experience in love and all that jazz to advise me on.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

I was down in the dark feeding the chickens when Dave got back from his walk. I, too, needed some air and was really just sitting by the coop when I heard the back door open. Blinded by the floodlight that was attached to the house, it took me a second to see it was him.

"Steven said you were out here, sorry I took off. I just needed some time alone," Dave said, coming to sit down next to me.

"That's ok. I’m just doing the same. Sometimes we all need a bit of space, I guess."

"I'm sorry about what I said. I don't mean to get these crazy thoughts in my head; it’s just… Oh God, I don't know. I think I may be wired up wrong."

I looked at him intently. "Do you really think I am doing all these things that are going around in your mind?"

"Sometimes yeah… if you want complete honesty. Jesus Jenson, look at you. You are so good looking, perfect in fact."

"But as I have told you before, Dave, I have my own mind; I can make decisions regardless of what other people want to do. Just because someone might like me, that does not give them the right to assume I like them too, and in turn, it does not mean I am automatically going to cheat on you just because they DO like me. Do you understand?"

"But what about Hunter?" Dave asked. I sighed.

"Hunter is a very good looking guy who happens to go to the same school as us. So, again, why should it matter if I talk to him or sit next to him."

"But you find him attractive, yeah?"

"Of course, don't you?"

"Well yeah."

"Well then… and why is it you two never hooked up?"

"Because I don't think he knows about me… my sexuality, I mean."

"Well, everyone does now after your little outburst," I replied, giggling lightly. "I think he is a very hunky lad, and yes, I am attracted to him… there, I am being completely honest with you."

"Thanks, but it doesn't make me feel better."

"Well, I don't know what you want, Dave. Would you like me to lie to you, which will be wrong and breed distrust, or do you want me to be honest, so you know where you stand? I can't do both, and I am sure as hell not going to keep explaining myself every time I talk to someone."

Dave let his head drop down, and he rested on his knees. "I'm surprised you want to continue this relationship," he said quietly.

"Back to being honest, I don't," I said, not looking at him, preferring to stare straight ahead towards the house. I could feel Dave's head slowly rotating to look at me.

"Are… are you ending it with me?"

I paused for a moment and puffed air through my lips. "I don't know, Dave, I'm not happy like this, that much I know."

"But we've only been together two weeks."

"I know, and that's what is scary. If we are like this after two weeks, how are we supposed to survive after two months… two years, etcetera."

"I've caused all this, I know." He stated. I didn't agree but stayed silent instead, which he knew meant I agreed, but it was more diplomatic.

"Just please don't hate me, Dave for feeling the way I do. Maybe we are just not meant to be together. Perhaps you will find someone else who doesn't make you feel so insecure, but I just don't think you and me can survive like this."

"You know, for someone who has never been in a relationship, you sure seem to know what you want and how they work."

"Not at all Dave, I'm learning all the time, but there are things that are obvious to see that are not right."

"Such as?"

I sniggered. "Well, two weeks in, and we are having conversations like this is a good start."

"Just tell me something, and be honest. If you end things with me, are you going to go straight to Hunter?"

"Why must you keep bringing him up Dave, it's like you are obsessed with him and I being a couple."

"Because I know he is somehow influencing the way you are going about this," Dave snapped.

"No, Dave, you are influencing the way I am going about things, you and your damn jealousy! Dave, relationships are built on trust. If we don't have trust, we don't HAVE a relationship. . . Look, I don't want to argue. We all have to live here, and if things don't work out between us, I want us to stay friends, ok?"

"Friends? Are you serious?"

"What do you mean?" I asked innocently and meant it.

"Jensen, you don't go from being romantically involved with someone to friends just like that. For a start, if we do break up, then I am going back home no matter how miserable I am there. I don't think I would be able to bear being around you knowing that I can't hold you or be with you intimately."

"I don't want you to do that, look, what about we have a break then? You see it on TV all the time; people have breaks, right? Maybe then we can see what we are missing and maybe start again." I suggested.

"A break? And Jensen, this is not TV."

"Well, what do you suggest? Unless the green-eyed monster in you quits, then what's the point of us trying to make this work?"

"Fine, a break then. I don't want to lose you, Jensen, and I'll try my hardest to control myself, just don't give up on me, please."

"That's the last thing I want to do, but I can't do things like this anymore. It’s making me unhappy."

"So, how long will this break last?"

I shrugged. "I don't know, maybe until we realise we have passed this little phase, and you are ready to accept I am not the unfaithful person you think I am," I replied bluntly. "C'mon, let's get inside. I’m getting cold now."

We both got up, and Dave wrapped his arm around my waist, and we both walked up the yard back to the house, under the watchful eye of Mum, who looked to have been watching us from the kitchen window.

I wanted to feel like this talk had done us good and that we had put to bed a lot of the issues, but it was now dawning on me that my brain was more screwed up now than before we spoke. Partly because my idea of ending it with Dave to save both of us had not entirely gone to plan. I now found myself in limbo by the suggestion of giving him… us, another chance. Were we together still, or was this break just an intermission for the final split? The truth was I didn't know. I liked Dave a lot, but as I had mentioned, this jealous streak in him was a real turn off.

We had been together two weeks and were arguing already. Steven had said that we should have been having sex every free minute of the day at this period in our relationship, but instead, we hadn't been intimate for ten days now because of the way things were. It left me to wonder if there was anything to salvage. Could I get those feelings back I had for him? Would Dave ever be the Adonis I saw every time I looked at him? Right now, I didn't see that. Sure I saw a handsome guy, but I quickly understood that personality went a long way with me and how I felt. Dave used to have the whole package, but now it was like half of what I liked was gone, and for me, one half without the other was as bad as having nothing.

Take a break, or break up? We'll see.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For some reason, I just couldn't wake up today. Steven's alarm had gone off what seemed like ages ago now, and I was still lying there on my back, my eyes closed. Finally, Dave walked into the bedroom and pulled up the blind in our room, letting the crisp autumn sun drench the walls, carpet and ME!

"Hey, what are you doing?" I groaned.

"You need to get up Jensen, we have school soon, and you aren't even dressed, let alone fed."

I sighed and ripped back the covers on my bed before getting into a seated position. "God, I feel so tired," I muttered, rubbing my eyes.

"I'll see you downstairs," was all Dave replied, walking past my half naked body, save for some tight boxer briefs.

The house’s mood had gotten slightly better since Dave and I had agreed on our 'break.' Mum and Dad had kindly dusted down an old camp style bed and placed it between mine and Steven's beds, so Dave had somewhere to sleep. I had offered to have it myself and give my bed up for Dave, seeing as I was the one that was causing the separate bed issue in the first place. But, after a fifteen-minute debate, Dave insisted he have it, and that was that.

I had hoped that I might feel something not having him in my bed with me. Something like loss or a missing feeling, but there was nothing. In fact, I would even go so far as to say it was nice to have my bed back.

My feelings towards Dave were if I'm honest, just settling back into friendship. Sure, he still looked handsome and had a great body, but I had no desire to have sex with him any longer, and that was a strange thing to come to terms with. On the other hand, Dave was subtly keeping up the pressure for us to give things another go, but underneath I was starting to look for ways to tell him that was not going to be the case.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

I got downstairs to find everyone barring Mum, at the kitchen table, munching away on their various breakfast food. I must have looked like a wreck as Mum came over and started to straighten out my blazer and tie, which I had made no effort to do.

"Sit down, honey, and I'll fetch you some toast," she said, finishing her makeover on me. I smiled sleepily and complied with her request.

"Man, you look like crap this morning," Steven commented. "Have you even slept?"

"That's just the thing, yeah I have. Guess it's just one of those mornings," I replied, rubbing my eyes and yawning for the fiftieth time since waking up.

"Do you feel ok, Puppy?" Dad asked, giving me a concerned look.

"Yeah, I guess."

Dad nodded and went back to his food. "By the way, boys, your mother and I would like to discuss something with you tonight as we have agreed on moving house." Max declared. Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked up at him.

"What, you've found a place?" Steven asked.

"We have, sweetheart, and you are all going to love it," Mum replied to him confidently.

"Where is it?" I asked as she placed two slices of toast in front of me, spread with butter.

"A few miles east, Puppy. Don't worry. You will both continue to go to the same school. In fact, as far as I understand it, you will actually be closer to it, just the other side, that's all." Dad said, getting up from his chair. "Right boys, I gotta run, have a good day at school, see you all tonight."

We said our goodbyes as Dad kissed Mum on the lips and left the kitchen for work. Mum came and sat down in his place, probably expecting at least one of us would have questions. Dave was particularly quiet, something she commented on while Steven and I chatted about transporting two chickens from one place to another. Steven found it an excuse to make fun of them, while I was very worried about Annie and Clarabelle.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

"Almost the end of your first week at school, Bonehead; you seem to be doing ok?" Steven remarked as the three of us made the walk to school.

"Yeah, I think I am, and I love my Maths teacher."

Steven laughed at my comment. "You ok Dave? You seem quiet this morning."

"I want my boyfriend back," he replied, looking at me while he said it.

"Yeah, so when are you two gonna sort your shit out and get back together?" Steven asked, which I really wished he hadn't.

I shrugged, not really knowing how to answer. "We'll see how it goes," was all I could finally respond with. Dave just looked at the floor.

As we approached the school gates, I could see Hunter standing outside, leaning against the wall. It was icy today, and yet there he was in just an un-tucked shirt and tie, smoking a cigarette. A wave of excitement went through me as his eyes locked onto mine. He nodded at me and smiled before dropping his butt on the floor and stubbing it out.

"I hope he doesn't come over to us," Dave said as we walked through the gates. I didn't say anything.

"Hunter is cool, Dave, and as Jensen said, nothing is going on, so I don't know why you let him bother you," Steven reassured Dave as we walked towards Billy and Jessie, who were chatting over by the main doors.

I looked back, scanning the area for Hunter before finding him talking to a couple of girls by one of the large trees in the schoolyard. His arms were folded, and he looked trim and hot. Again, I must have got his attention because he flicked out his chin to acknowledge me. I smiled like a stupid idiot, which he obviously found endearing as he once again smiled back at me.

"If nothing is going on, why do you two keep staring at each other lately?" Dave asked, appearing in front of me. My face went to one of seriousness. Even though I hadn't done anything wrong, I somehow felt guilty regardless.

"We don't stare at each other, Dave. He was just nodding at me to say he had seen me."

"He did that outside the gates. So what’s the need to do it again?"

"Oh Dave, I don't know. Do we really have to be having this conversation? I thought you were supposed to be trying to change this whole jealousy thing."

Dave shook his head and walked off, something I was glad about. His Big Brother surveillance on me was starting to become repressive, not to mention annoying.

The bell for registration sounded, and we all made our way into school to our tutor rooms. I left the others and continued down a few corridors until I reached Mr Dawson's room, finding my familiar seat. I was soon joined by Hunter, who squeezed my shoulder before sitting down.

"Hey, I've missed you," he whispered, leaning towards me. I grinned bashfully. "You smell nice today as well," he added.

I cleared my throat. "I um… I missed you too. What have you been up to?"

"Since yesterday?" he laughed. "Not a lot, just watched some TV and then daydreamed about you."

"Hunter, stop it. You are making me blush," I said, smirking at him.

"So, will you go out with me?" he asked, fluttering his eyelids.

"Hunter, you ask me every morning, and you know I can't."

"Aww, I'm really hoping one day that will change, so I'll just keep asking until then," He said playfully, nudging his arm into mine.

The truth was, I desperately wanted to say yes to him. He was so calm, relaxing and playful. His personality was like a magnet to me. He was intense, his voice deep and commanding, yet he displayed a gentleness that told me that he would look after me if I did go out with him.

I felt so torn because here was a guy that I knew would be totally different from Dave in the sense that I would be able to keep my life, and as much as I felt annoyed Dave was an obstacle to Hunter and me getting together, I still felt sorry for him.

"Hey, on another subject, would you like to come to a drag racing event with me? My brother will be competing, and I was going to just go on my own to watch but, well, you know, I'd really like it if you would join me… just as friends, of course."

"Wow, erm, well that's really nice of you, I… I would love… hang on, what's drag racing?" I asked, raising a brow. Hunter burst out laughing and banged his hand on the desk before explaining it to me.

"So what do you think, sound like a fun day out?"

"Yeah, I've never seen anything like that before, but I'd need to get permission… oh God!"

"What… what's up?" he asked.

"Dave, I'll have to tell Dave."

"Will he have a problem with it?"

"Uh, yeah, it will automatically mean I am cheating on him if I go, you see, that's how his mind works."

"Oh, listen, I'm sorry, I didn't think. I don't want you to get into any bother by going. I can see it's a stressful situation," Hunter said thoughtfully.

I felt my heart sink. "I'll see what I can do; I really would like to go."

"Would you like me to talk to him about stuff? Would that help?"

"No, Hunter, it’s fine. I really don't want to involve you in this saga."

"Hey, erm, before Dawson gets here, I just want you to know that… well, if things work out with you two, then yeah, I'll be sad and all, but I'll accept it. I really like you, Jensen, as in REALLY like you, but I'm not going to be an asshole and try and wreck your relationship with Dave if there is a chance of it working out."

I could have hugged and kissed him right there. It was only the fact that the class was almost full of our fellow students that I didn't. The statement made by Hunter was a million miles away from the ones given by Steven and Dave on separate occasions. Steven warned me about ditching Dave to be with Hunter, saying that once me and Hunter had had sex that he probably wouldn't want to know anymore because that's how most guys minds work. Dave had gone one step further and said that Hunter had a horrible reputation for being a playboy, something which I had not seen in him since I started at school. Dave's comment? I just wondered if he had made it up to put me off him.

"I don't know what to say. I really want to be mature about this, but…."

"Just say what you feel."

"You really care how I feel?" I asked, causing a strange look to form on his face.

"Care? Of course, I care. Why would you ask that?"

"I dunno, it was a stupid comment. I'm flattered you like me, and yeah, I am attracted to you, so much, so it hurts in here," I replied, rubbing my chest. "I'm not just attracted to your features, but also you as a person Hunter. I just have issues to deal with that need resolving."

"I'm not sure what you mean by that, but as I said, whatever you decide to do, I will respect. Anyway, here comes Dawson, we'll talk later."

"Good morning, class. Settle down, please."

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Between lessons, I went to the toilet to relieve myself after finding multiple times that I had a boner that would just not quit. I stood over the toilet pan and furiously jacked my dick until it spewed rope after rope of cum into the water below. I threw my head back and let out a groan of relief before I squeezed out the last remaining drops from my now deflating cock. It was fast and very much needed as I felt automatically de-stressed. Spending time with Hunter, it seemed, was influencing my hormones, and I was trying to decide if that was a handicap or just fucking awesome.

Leaving the toilets, I saw Jessie coming towards me on his way to a lesson I imagined.

"Hey Jensen, how is your day going?"

"Hi Jessie, yeah, fine thanks, where are you off to?"

"I got English now, what about you?"

"Science," I replied.

"Cool, hey listen, I'm glad I ran into you. I just wanted to let you know that a few people have started to talk, so you might want to watch out."

"What? I mean, talk about what?"

"Well, it seems you and Hunter have become school gossip lately."

"Really?"

"Yeah… so is it true?"

"Is what true?"

"Well, you know, are you two like… well, sort of doing stuff?"

"NO!" I squealed.

"Oh, ok, well, just thought I would mention it."

"Hmm, thanks for the heads up then."

"Yeah no worries. Listen, I must go. I’ll see you at lunch, ok?"

"Sure, Jessie, see you soon."

We walked in separate directions, and I was now freaking out about what had been said, or more to the point, what was BEING said. First, I wondered if Dave had got the word about whatever was being spread around. Then I wondered why I was getting all worried about it, seeing as I hadn't done anything wrong.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

The bell went for lunch, and Steven waited for me as I packed my stuff away into my bag. Finally, we both left the classroom and headed for the cafeteria, where we planned to meet the other guys.

"Hunter has invited me to a car event thing," I said to Steven casually.

"Are you going?"

"Dunno, I would need to get permission from Mum and Dad," I replied as we dodged people coming in the other direction.

"I was more talking about Dave."

I sighed. "We would just be going as friends, Steven."

"Oh, come off it, Jensen, you can't fool me. So here is a guy that likes you, and instead of inviting some of his long standing friends, he invites someone he has known a week barely."

I hadn't thought about it like that, I guess, and what Steven said did make sense. Why would he invite me and not someone else? Surely Hunter had closer friends he would rather spend the time with. None the less I was flattered that he had me in mind, and yeah, I still wanted to go.

"Can we go somewhere," I asked?

"We are going somewhere… to eat."

"No, I mean, can me and you go somewhere? I need to talk to you."

"But the guys are expecting us, Jensen. So we can't just not turn up."

"Well, we'll go there and tell them we are going somewhere else for lunch, then."

"I take it you just want to talk in private? Because of you do, perhaps it's just better we go then otherwise some of them might want to join us… in fact, you know Dave will."

"Yeah, ok, that's probably a good plan, and yes, I do want to talk in private."

"I'll text Billy and let him know. He can then tell the others."

Cool, and… and thanks, Steven," I said thoughtfully.

Steven got on his phone and tapped a few buttons as we left the school grounds. Then, he took a left and headed out to the main street with a long line of shops on either side. Crossing the road, Steven led me into a small fried chicken place. It looked a bit like KFC but a kind of rip off version.

"What do you want?" he asked as we looked at the menu.

"Just a chicken burger and some fries," I replied, not really feeling that hungry through nervousness because of what I needed to say. Steven told me to go grab a seat while he ordered for us. The service was super quick because, by the time I got comfortable, he was standing in front of me with a food tray.

"So, what's up?" he asked, sliding himself onto one of the fixed seats and taking a slurp of his soda.

"I'm ending things with Dave. This is not working for me."

"Wow, erm… fuck Jensen, you really mean it, don't you."

"Yeah, I do. It’s keeping me awake at night. I never feel hungry, I am pretty miserable most of the time, and I feel like I am constantly being watched."

"I have to ask, but-"

"Hunter does have something to do with this, yeah, if that's what you were about to ask," I interrupted him.

"Have you two done anything?"

"What? No, of course not. I do have morals. I would never go behind Dave's back. That’s just wrong. Even I know that."

"So you are admitting that once you end it with Dave, you and Hunter are going to start seeing each other?"

"You make it sound so easy. Look, Steven, I like Hunter; Hunter likes me. He's good for me. I can feel that with him, he is nothing like Dave. For a start, he doesn't give a shit what I do or who I speak to, and that is so refreshing. He's kind to me, and he is thoughtful, not to mention fucking hunky."

Steven blew air through his lips. "Are you sure this is what you want?"

"Let's take Hunter out of the equation here, as I have done in my mind, Steven. Can I say that if Hunter had not have come along, I would be having this conversation with you now? I don't know, it's possible. But the way I see it, Dave would still be Dave whether Hunter was around or not."

"I don't get you."

"Well, it seems to me that Dave is just jealous of anyone male that I talk to. You know I had even seen him tense up when me and Billy were having a play fight two days ago, and Billy is… well, Billy is Billy as you know. I just don't think Dave and I are good for each other, and I can't have him control me, Steven. That is not a life for either of us."

"Well, I have to say you make a good argument. If this is really what you want, then of course I will support you, but you gotta remember Dave is a close friend of mine who I have known for a long time now, so this is going to be difficult for me to balance."

I put my burger down and stared into Steven's eyes for a moment. "Do… do you think he will be going home soon?"

"Argh, Jesus Jensen, what… so now you want the guy out of the house too?"

"I don't mean it like that. I’m just wondering how this is going to play out once he knows."

"It's going to be fucking shit, and you know it. Especially so once he finds out you are asking Mum and Dad to go to a car event with Hunter."

"Maybe I shouldn't go… you know until things settle down."

"I'm not saying don't go. I’m saying that you need to understand how this is going to make Dave feel once he knows."

"Steven, please tell me what to do!" I said, almost frantic. A few people even turned round to look at us due to my voice rising slightly.

"Jensen, I don't know. All I keep thinking about is the three of us cooped up in that room while yours and Dave's relationship implodes."

"Which is the reason I asked you when he is going home. I don't want there to be an atmosphere."

"To be honest, I think he will go home once he finds out you are ending things with him."

"You think? God, I feel so shit about all this, but I can't carry on like this. I feel like the bad guy Steven, but I'm not, am I? I mean, you know why I'm doing this, don't you?"

"Yes, I do, and if I were in your situation, I would probably do the same, but it doesn't make it any easier, does it. Look, we'll just have to see how it goes, but if I were you, I would have a chat with Mum rather than me."

"I've tried, but I can never get her on her own."

"Well, offer to go to the shops with her or something, you know how she likes to take you places."

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Back at school, Dave was going nuts in the corridor as to why me and Steven had snuck off, yeah his words, to a secret meeting at lunch. Steven had shot me a few looks, which said don't fucking tell him the news while he is in this mood, something which I knew would be a bad idea anyway.

By the end of the day, I was in a defiant mood, having had time to mull over in my mind the way Dave had acted when we got back. I actually thought at one point he was going to hit someone or something. I, though, was determined to tell him tonight no matter what mood he was in. As much a walkover I might have come across, this was something I was determined to do.

Steven and I waited at the main gates for Dave, only to be told by Jessie that he had already left the grounds and gone home. Steven rolled his eyes and told me to hurry to see if we could catch him.

It was going to be an interesting evening, that was for sure.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Steven and I ran pretty much all the way home, hoping that we might catch Dave on the way. Steven agreed with me because we would rather this potential shitstorm didn't spill out in front of Mum.

"You know I am starting to regret ever putting you two together," Steven panted as we approached the driveway.

"I'm sorry, I feel so bad about this, but I don't know what I've done wrong. This is such a shit situation."

"You're telling me, C'mon, let's get in and sort this out."

Steven pulled out his key, letting us both in, the faint sound of a sobbing Dave in the kitchen as we got closer. We both walked in to see Dave wrapped in Mum's arms, her wearing a concerned look.

"Boys, whatever has happened, why is he in such a state?"

Steven sighed, and I just looked at the floor. "Dave, will you come upstairs, please?" Steven requested, taking hold of Dave's arm.

"Whoa, no, you don't. I want to know why Dave is so upset and why you two seem to know something about it suspiciously."

"Dave, have you not even told her?" I asked.

"He hasn't said a word since he came running in here," Mum declared, speaking for Dave.

"Something is going on behind my back, and you two are keeping it from me," Dave spat, turning to look at Steven and me."

"What? That's… that's ridiculous!" I yelled, for the first time, in front of Mum.

"Dave, we went for lunch out of school. But, I did text Billy to let everyone know," Steven added, more calmly.

"Right! All three of you round that table, now! Something strange has been myself but going on for a few days, and I want to know what it is. You are supposed to be brothers and friends, and I don't see a lot of loving going on right now, so round the table pronto."

Steven and I dropped our bags where they were and quickly did as she asked. Mum never got angry and we weren't about to argue with her when she did. Dave dragged himself over to a spare seat and slumped in it, keeping his head as low as it would go. Mum was the last to sit, making sure she glanced at each of us, as if telling one of us to start. But I guess no one wanted to. I know I didn't.

"Well, someone needs to talk, or we sit here all night. I’m in no hurry to start cooking, so take your time. But, by all means, it just means empty bellies for all of you."

"Guys, shall I just tell her because I'm not up for going without dinner while you two aren't willing to sort your shit out."

"Steven… language!"

"Sorry Mum… ok, here's the deal, and I think these two will agree with me here, ready?" Mum nodded. "So, things are not working out between these two because that one there can't keep the green eyed monster locked inside," Steven stated, pointing at Dave, "And this one can't stand it anymore to the point where he has the hots for someone else but is too chicken just to be honest about it. Jensen wants to end it with Dave but doesn't want to hurt him, and Dave wants to keep their relationship going but is not willing to change the way he acts when Jensen talks to someone of the same sex! They are not compatible as boyfriends, they rushed into it far too quick, and Jensen does not have the experience to handle the situation. Dave's personality does not allow things to get better, and Jensen is out of ideas! There I said it. It’s done, out in the open, finished, yes sir, I HAVE EXCORSISED THE DEMONS!" Steven cried, holding his hands above his head.

I sat there with my mouth wide open while noticing Dave's head had lifted high enough, so he was now glaring at me.

"Do I wanna even guess who the guy is you have the hots for Jensen?"

"Dave, look, just forget about that for a mom-"

"Just say his name, go on say it!"

"Dave, please, this is not about anyone else; this is about-"

"SAY IT!" Dave screamed, even making Mum flinch.

"Ok, so I like Hunter there. Do you feel better now? No, of course, you don't, so I don't know why you even asked. Anyway, this has got nothing to do with Hunter or me and Hunter. The reason I need to end this with you is because of you, no one else!"

"Ok, boys, let’s calm the situation down," Mum said, scissoring her arms across the table. "Both of you will not get anything resolved if you turn this into a loud slanging match. So, Steven, why don't you go upstairs and give me some time alone with the boys."

"Yeah, Steven, I think you've said enough," I growled, thinking not how much he spilt to Mum, but rather the stuff he revealed to Dave.

Steven rolled his eyes at my glare and got up from the table, taking all our bags upstairs before Mum asked him to.

"So boys, how do we fix this?" Mum asked after making sure Steven was out of the room.

"I think I should go back home," Dave whispered, looking broken.

"Dave, I'm sorry, I didn't know things were going to go like this. I wasn't expecting things to be so difficult." I said passionately.

"Hang on, Jensen… Dave, do you really want to go back home?" Mum asked him.

"Well, I can't stay here anymore. The constant reminder of what I've lost is always just a few feet away from me."

Mum turned her attention to me. "Jensen, what do you think the problem is here?"

"He's got another boy on the go; that’s the issue," Dave spat before I could even open my mouth to talk.

"David Hill, that's enough of that," Mum barked. Dave dropped his head down again and remained quiet. Even though Mum asked the question to me, I decided to address both of them.

"Every night, I lay awake wondering if there was anything I could do to fix this. Every night I wonder if I am to blame… if anyone is to blame. I'm kind of embarrassed to say that I don't know how this relationship stuff works. I've tried to see your point of view, Dave, I really have, and I have even wondered whether there was… no scrap that, I even wondered IF there was something I could have done differently, but I don't have a benchmark to compare it to. Steven says it's not normal, and you Mum? Well, I've wanted to try and talk to you about it but never seemed to get the opportunity. The truth is I can't cope with your jealousy Dave. It’s making me so unhappy."

"You always seem happy when you are around Hunter," Dave remarked, not even looking at me now.

"You always find a way to bring Hunter into this. But, yes, I like him… I like him because I can relax around him. I don't feel like he is watching my every move, like, who I am talking to, who I'm with or where I am. And you know what? As much as you think something is going on between us, he…."

I had to stop and clear my throat feeling Mums eyes on me. I wonder if she thought I was talking about sex. I felt my face heat up.

"He, um… he has never once tried to make a move on me because he knows I am with you. So I wish you would believe me when I say nothing is going on between the two of us. But anyway, more than that, he is not the cause of our problems, Dave, WE are the cause of our problems."

I looked up and saw Mum had a tear rolling down her face. "Puppy, that was very mature and honest of you." Dave was also gently sobbing, and I got up and went over to him. Leaning forward, I put my arms around his back and whispered into his ear.

"I'm sorry it's turned out this way, just please don't hate me for being honest with my feelings."

I released my hold on him and went to sit down again. "So it's over… for real?" he asked, through soft sobs.

"We aren't good for each other, Dave. You can see that, surely?"

"Boys, I know probably sound like some silly old woman, but maybe you both rushed into this too fast. You're still young boys. There is so much you need to learn and learn from. I think what's most important right now is that you don't grow to hate each other because you are both beautiful people whether you stand together or stand alone."

"Dave, I don't want you to leave because of me. I get the trouble you are having at home and going back there… to the place you hate is only going to make you feel worse but for different reasons, right Mum?"

"Puppy's right, Dave, you have a home here for as long as you want it. That’s my commitment to you."

"I… I just don't know how I am going to be able to cope with seeing you day in, day out, knowing that we are not together."

"This is hard for me too Dave, the last thing on earth I wanted… expected was to be in this situation with you, but we can't do this thing while things are the way they are."

"I think I get it, but it's still so hard to accept."

I looked at Mum, not knowing what else to say. I had crushed another person's world and didn't even know how it had happened. I felt guilty… more guilty than I have ever felt about anything in my life. Why was caring for someone such a royal pain in the ass? How could I hurt someone so easily without putting an ounce of effort into it? The feelings running through my mind were a headfuck, and I wondered whether I was compatible with anyone. Then, once again, in the worst environment possible, a smiling Hunter creeps into my thoughts, where right now he should not be.

Dave stayed downstairs talking to Mum while I headed upstairs and had a twenty minute shower to rid the mental grime from my mind. I stood under the scalding hot water, continuously adjusting the heat until I couldn't bear it anymore. I felt like I needed to not only cleanse myselfbut also punish myself for hurting another person.

Finally stepping out, I took my daily and twice daily pills, using the mouthwash cup to wash them down with. God knows how I would feel if it weren't for these, I thought, staring into the steamed up mirror.

I pulled on some clean underwear and headed into the bedroom, finding Steven doing his homework, pencil in his mouth. He looked up, removing it and smiled.

"Still talking to me?" he asked, a grin forming on his face.

"I shouldn't be! The one time I need you to be serious, and you just treat this whole thing like it was a joke down there."

"Hey, that's not fair. I was serious," he retorted, placing his books to one side. "I just said, AS ALWAYS, what needed to be said."

"You know, I could stomach everything you said down there because it was true. I’ll give you that, but Jesus Steven, did you have to mention that I liked Hunter?"

"You said you could stomach everything that was the truth, so what's your point?"

"You know what I mean… you could have left his name out and still got the message across."

"Jensen, it shouldn't have to be me getting the point across! If you'd stopped acting like some girl and just had it out with Dave a while ago, you could have nipped this in the bud much sooner. But, instead, what's resulted, is a fucking scene from Twelve Angry Men downstairs."

"Twelve angry who? Look, never mind… I didn't know it was going to affect him this bad, nor me for that matter… AND, I was not acting like a girl, Steven. I just think about people's feelings before I open my mouth, something I don't think I have ever seen you do."

"Jensen, sometimes people have gotta know where they stand to protect them from making a complete fuck of themselves. The world works better that way. I have never understood why people pussyfoot around subjects and problems. Just say the fuck what's on your mind, and everyone knows where they are. It’s simple."

I rolled my eyes at him. "No wonder you are single!"

"Yeah, maybe, but at least I own my own cock and no one else. That's right, isn't it, baby, there, there," he said, rubbing his crotch.

I walked across the landing into Mum and Dad's room, finding Dad taking a snooze on the bed. Then, just about to walk back out again, he called me back.

"Hey Max, sorry, did I wake you?"

"No, son, just dozing… you ok?"

"I guess, just feeling sorry for myself," I said, standing in the doorway. Max held out his arms, and I went over to him and snuggled up on the bed with him.

"Wanna tell your old man about it, I'm still pretty young, and with it, you know, maybe I can help."

I laughed at his comment for the first time in ages. "Yeah I guess you are."

"Hey, wanna go out for a drive?"

"For real?" I asked, getting excited.

"Yeah, just you and me, how does that sound? Then you can tell me what's going on in that head of yours," he said, using his finger to tap my forehead.

"Am I that obvious?"

"Well yeah, plus your Mum and I do talk, you know, but she told me to leave the subject for a while. But since you brought it up, then I have a get out of jail free card, don't I?"

"I didn't bring anything up."

"Nope, but your eyes did. Puppy, have you ever looked in the mirror at your eyes?"

"Uh, no, that would just be weird."

"Maybe, but let me tell you something, between your mother and I, you have been born with the most amazing eyes. Legend has it. The way into someone's soul is through their eyes. From the first moment I saw you Puppy, yours told a million stories, much like the one in the doorway just now. So come on, let's go… here take my keys and go warm the car up."

"But I don't know how."

"Just make sure the stick is level with the P and turn the key. How do you think I learned how to drive?"

I shrugged. "I dunno."

"I read it on the back of a matchbox… let’s go let Mum know we are going on a short tour."

We got up off the bed, and Max went to the back of the bedroom door and pulled off his thick coat, putting it straight on. I went into our room and told Steven we were going out. He just nodded and went back to his papers. Thankfully I was not being given homework at this point, which was a good thing, seeing as I had what felt like the world on my shoulders.

Dad and I wandered into the kitchen, where Mum and Dave were sitting, talking still. Dave's eyes looked dry, and he even managed a smile as we looked at each other.

"I'm taking our boy here out for a father-son rally drive."

"MAX! I have just had your car washed!"

"Joking Honey, just going out for a drive, we'll be back soon, yeah?"

"But what about dinner?"

"How long?"

"About forty minutes," Mum replied, looking at the kitchen clock.

"We'll be back by then."

"Ok, but don't corrupt him while you're out. I don't want him coming back knowing words he shouldn't."

"You hear that Puppy, apparently I'm a bad influence, isn't that cool?"

"Just be back by seven, please, and drive carefully."

Max threw back his head and laugh evilly with me in tow until we stepped outside into the fresh, still evening. Winter was coming, evidenced by a wet frost that had started to form on the cars nearby. I gave his keys back to Max, and he pressed the keyfob making the car blink at us.

"You get in Puppy. I just gotta move the van out of the way."

"Ok," I replied, opening the door and sliding into the bucket seat of his car. Max had moved the van enough so we could get the car out, and he got in, closing the door. He reversed out onto the road before turning the car around, so it was facing the right way to move off, then he stopped.

"What are you doing?" I asked, confused why we were just sitting there. Max slowly turned his head round to look at me, a slight grin on his face.

"Mum told me to drive carefully," was all he said.

"I don't think she meant by not moving. I think that's a little too safe."

"You're right. So, wanna know what a three litre engine can do to your stomach?"

"I guess," I replied, sounding a little apprehensive, not knowing what was coming.

"THIS!" Max yowled playfully before stamping his foot hard to the floor on the right hand peddle. The big beastly sounding engine roared into life immediately, with the tyres making an ear-piercing scream as they spun around faster than we were moving. Thick black smoke started to form outside my window until it was suddenly gone due to us speeding away at a frightening speed. That feeling Max mentioned in my stomach was prevalent as it was sucked back into the seat, making me want to piss myself suddenly. Looking to the right as we approached the end of our street Max saw nothing was coming and yanked on the steering wheel hard to the left. The back of his BMW spun wide out into the middle of the road like you see when muscle cars drift on TV. I think Max intended the vehicle to do that as he pulled the stick into setting one and made a minor correction, straightening the car up again. I looked over at the speedometer and saw we were now doing almost a hundred down a wide road, the BMW's engine protesting as it was being asked to work so hard.

"Max, won’t it blow up or something I asked," gripping the sides of my seat.

"Puppy, these kinds of cars love nothing more than being ragged to shit. The engines are tuned for it," he replied, starting to slow down as we got to a junction.

"Wow, that was… FUCKING AWESOME!" I screamed. Max took his left hand off the wheel and held it up, and we high-fived. I started laughing and screaming as excitement and adrenaline plateaued in my body.

"I did that with your mother in the car once, and she threatened to divorce me, boring, eh?"

"Haha, Max, you are so cool… you're such a cool Dad!"

"And you are a cool son, Puppy. Well, I think that cleaned out the old exhaust pipes, better slow down now.

I didn't know where we were going, but for some reason, it felt like Dad had a destination as he seemed to be taking particular directions. A turn here, a corner there. Each road seemed to be getting smaller and smaller until finally, we actually left a tarmac road and seemed to pull onto a bumpy dirt track. Max took the car slowed down a spooky pitch black lane, so narrow leaves stroked the wing mirrors. In front were what looked like several thick tree trunks, but as we got closer, it turned out they were actually wooden bollards. He stopped the car right in front of them and switched off the engine, leaving the lights on. We had been driving a mere ten minutes.

Max took off his seat belt and opened the door letting in the cold.

"Getting out?" he asked, almost as if he expected me to think I should.

"What is this place?" I enquired, stepping out of the car. I watched as he went past the bollards and stopped just ahead of them.

"Come over here," he requested, as the full beam of the headlights were blinding him, looking back at me. I slowly approached, watching my footing until I was standing next to him. Then, looking out, I saw a vast body of water.

"Wow," I uttered as the lights lit up the calm water.

"Recognise this place?" Max asked, looking at me. I looked up at him, confused before gazing once again out into the dark abyss.

"Nope, I don't think so."

"I'll give you a clue. Look straight out and slightly to your left… say about eleven o'clock."

"Yeah, I'm looking… what am I supposed to see?"

"That massive house over there… with the lights on."

"Oh yeah, I see it… oh hang on… oh my god, is… is that Greenstone?"

"The very place, Puppy."

"So… so this must be….,"

"Your special lake, yep."

"Wow!"

"So you remember all those times you and Cindy used to stare out onto that lake? Well, chances are you both would have been looking at you and me. Probably seems strange from the other side, doesn’t it?"

"Well, it is dark, but yeah, I don't think I would have recognised it had you not given me a clue. So… so why have you brought me out here?"

"Because Puppy, the next time you are feeling sad, or down… like right now, I want you to look across this lake and see where you have come from and where you are now. When you look at that house over there beyond the lake, I want you to think about that timid, anxious and frightened boy you were and realise the strong young man you have grown into these last few months. I wanted to bring you THIS side of the lake to see how far away and small Greenstone looks from here. Now I want you to think of that distance and let it signify how far you have travelled since we found each other."

"Wow, Max, that's really powerful," I uttered, indeed looking at the small building that had been my home for so long. I moved forward a little bit and splashed my hand about in the water, wondering if it was the same water I had splashed in so many times before with Cindy… even just myself at times. It even felt like different water from this side of the lake, and I wondered whether that was just my mind wanting it to.

Max came forward and put his arm around my shoulder, and we both stood in silence, looking over the still water. We could hear the odd duck quacking as they settled for the night. The moon was high in the sky, giving the lake a strip of rippling white light with nothing else for it to illuminate but the vast amount of water. How out ahead.

"I finished things with Dave today," I said, wondering if he was expecting me to tell him.

"Yeah, I know; tough luck, huh?"

"Yeah, it sucks Max, I feel so sorry for him, but I keep telling myself over and over that I haven't caused this, and so why should I feel bad."

"That, my boy, is because you have a kind, warm heart, and you are human. Good people hate to see others hurting, even when it's those people causing their own unhappiness. It's natural to feel responsible, Puppy. It's also natural to blame yourself, but everything is cause and effect, mate, everything. And, well, couple that all together with your lack of experience with these situations, it's always going to feel like you might be the one hurting him."

"Can I make it better?"

"You could, and you know how, but that would be wrong and not what you want, right?"

"You mean to get back with him?"

"Exactly, Puppy. Sure, you could fix it straight away by doing that, but from what Susan, and now you have told me, this is something Dave needs to work through as they are his demons. No matter how old and wise you get Puppy, breaking up with someone is never easy, especially when you hold that person in high regard or care deeply about them." Max sighed. "As with many things in life, Puppy, sometimes, there is just no way to win no matter what you do."

Copyright © 2021 James Matthews; All Rights Reserved.
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This was such a powerful chapter!!! Max & Susan's superb parenting once again shined as they tried to navigate the boys through the breakup. I feel bad for them but Dave's jealousy issues would've prevented anything positive from developing long-term. It's quite remarkable the growth that Puppy has done in just a short time with the support and love from his wonderful family. While Steven does have his own issues it's refreshing how he's not afraid to "pussyfoot" around situations and just lays everything on the line. 

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Such a tough time, and add to the mixed teenage hormones and anxiety, and lack of relationship experience, and it's going to be an unstable brew.I feel for all of them.  I hope they can come out the other side as friends.

And am I the only one who is nervous about Hunter.  I hope he's not just toying with Puppy as his next conquest.  Love on the rebound has its own perils. (Then again, I met my husband on the rebound from someone else, and we've been together 37 years.)

So we'll have to see where this "Puppy Love" (just dated myself again) goes.  That you for the great storytelling.

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Yes a difficult chapter but hopefully the worse is over for the boys.  With Mom and Dad's advise and comfort I hope it will help ease their pain.  Dave definitely has severe inferiority issues that may need professional help!  I too am a bit anxious about Puppy and Hunter getting together.  It appears Hunter is a player out only for himself!!  Great stuff James!

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