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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Choices - 4. Chapter 4

Part III Choices

Chapter 4 Geography Can Be Fun!

Saturday morning we had a basketball practice. The team was doing great. We were 6 and 0, undefeated in our little Catholic middle school league. Coach Riegert was pushing us extra hard now, realizing that we had a shot at the regional playoffs. Morgan took it all very seriously, as our team captain and as our starting center, and he was determined to make every player an important part of the team. By the time I got home, I was exhausted. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was starving, I would have gone for a nap in a big way.

I took a shower and came downstairs to eat some sandwiches with my mom. I felt somewaht reenergized after that, and decided to tag along when my mom said she was going to to the mall to do a little shopping.

I followed her around for a while, and she made me by some more boxers, which was a little embarrassing (she couldn’t believe how I could go through so many pairs in week!), but she also let me buy a pair of really cool Diesel jeans: a little baggy, but all worn and scruffy looking, and really expensive. Then she let me go on my own, and I headed straight for the arcade.

There was almost always someone there from St. Boniface, even though it was a really small school. I immediately spotted Artim Khouladarian, who was repeating the eighth grade this year, and was thus the oldest kid in our class. He was on the basketball team and was pretty good when he was focused. The problem was, he didn’t seem to stay focused for very long, which was probably why he hadn’t managed to get through the eighth grade the first time around! I was always impressed by how patient Morgan was with him, willing to go over play patterns and signals with him long after the rest of us had them commited to memory.

With him was Manny Aguilar, a small Phillipino kid, also from our class. Last year he had been a cute, slender, brown-skinned Asian boy with jet black hair that fell nicely over his ears, and full lips and high cheek bones. Over the summer, he had totally embraced the skater lifestyle, and had his hair cut short with bleached blonde highlights. Boys weren’t allowed to pierce their ears at St. Boniface, but outside of school, Manny always had a ring on each ear, along with a thick layer of chains around his neck. Today he wore baggy carpenter jeans, an oversized hooded sweatshirt and a backwards St. Boniface baseball cap. He actually played on the team with Tom and me last year, and probably would again this year, since every eighth grader was required to join at least one sports team--like I said, it was a really small school!

“Hey, Perry, dude!” Artim waved me over with a little smile. We weren’t really friends, but there was something about being on a sports team that brought people together, even if they had nothing else in common. We were all feeling good about having a (so far) undefeated season and that seemed to make us feel even closer.

I didn’t really want to hang out with them, but I figured I’d just go over and say hello. They had their skateboards leaning up againt one of the game machines. Manny seemed happy to see me as well, and insisted I give him a high five. They were playing Martial Arts Madness 4, and I stood behind them and watched for a few minutes. They seemed pretty evenly matched for a while, but Manny was much more consistently aggresive, and he finally won. That’s when Artim looked around and then tapped Manny on the shoulder.

I followed their gaze and was surprised to see Tom and Derek at the other end of the arcade, laughing and smiling. I was about to go over and say hi, when Artim touched me on the shoulder.

“Look at those two fags!” he said disdainfully. “They can’t keep their fuckin’ hands off each other!”

I was stunned to hear those words, especially knowing all the things that I knew.

“That’s not a very nice thing to say about Morgan’s brother!” I said, immediately taking the defensive.

“But check it out, dude!” Manny said, continuing to stare boldly in Tom and Derek’s direction.

I looked more carefully, and I noticed they weren’t even playing a game. They were leaning up against one of the pinball machines, occassionally giggling, sometimes pushing each other lightly, but obviously enjoying each other’s company. I was about to tell Artim and Manny that they shouldn’t be so quick to make those kinds of judgements, when I saw Tom rest his hand on Derek’s shoulder. Then, as Tom looked Derek intently in the eye, he slid his hand up and down Derek’s arm. I had to admit, that looked a little weird. I quickly turned away.

“Big deal--besides, it’s none of our business,” I said uneasily.

“It’s none of our business,” Artim agreed, “but if that Espinoza kid doesn’t watch it, he’s gonna become Morgan’s business--and that’s gonna hurt like a son of a bitch!”

I couldn’t argue with him about that. Tom was being way too brazen, and while Derek was being less touchy feely, he wasn’t doing anything to dissuade Tom either. I decided I needed to get out of there before Tom or Derek saw me.

“Look guys, I gotta run,” I said, glancing back at Tom one more time.

“Stay and play a round!” Manny urged. “I’ll kick your ass just like I kicked Artie’s!”

“Another time, ‘kay dudes?” I said, spinning on my heels and getting out of the arcade as fast as I could.

That had been disturbing and I was glad Tom and Derek hadn’t spotted me. Not only was I not used to seeing two boys my own age displaying their affection for each other so overtly in public, but I was worried that Tom wasn’t taking things as slow as he claimed he was. Then again, maybe the playful shoving and arm rubbing didn’t seem weird to them, just a natural expression of their close friendship. For some reason, the whole incident frightened me, and my thoughts again went to Jesse and me. I didn’t want anyone to know what kind of relationship we had, and I most definitely didn’t want to be called a 'fag' by the likes of Artim and Manny.

I spent the rest of the time wandering the mall, checking out the music and bookstores, but always keeping a wary eye out for Tom and Derek.

When I got home, I went straight to my room and called Jesse. I got the answering machine and tried to leave an innocuous sounding message. I was tempted to call Tom and tell him what I had seen, but decided it would be better to talk to Jesse first. But he never returned my call, and I went to bed that night, full of fears and worries.

I was nervous and jittery all day Sunday, but set myself the task of finishing up my part of the Geography project. I kept looking at my watch, wondering when Jesse would return my call.

My cellphone finally rang around five in the afternoon. I quickly picked it up.

“Hello?” I answered with a sense of urgency. I almost said Jesse’s name, but checked myself at the last second.

“Hi...it’s Tom.”

What was I going to say to him about what I saw, and what the other kids were saying? Despite his strong conviction about only liking boys, and despite what we almost did up in my room on Friday, Tom still seemed like a little boy to me, and I didn’t feel comfortable just telling him whatever was on my mind.

“Hey, Tom,” I replied nervously.

“You okay, dude?” he asked, apparently detecting my unease over the phone.

“Yeah, sure--just finishing up the old Geography project.”

“Cool--that’s actually what I called about. I worked on the collage all afternoon and it came out pretty good--I bet we’ll get an ‘A!’”

“That would be great,” I said, barely able to even think about school stuff at the moment.

“So, everything else okay?” Tom asked again in a more hesitant fashion. “I mean, you know...like everything?”

It was kind of funny the way he said it, but I understood his meaning.

“We had quite a week, didn’t we?” I said with a nervous little laugh.

“Yeah...I can’t really talk too much, ‘cause the familia’s home and all, but thanks again, Perry. I...really want to tell you some things, but I guess they’ll have to wait until a better opportunity comes up.”

“I understand,” I said, relieved that Tom wasn’t going to get me into one of those heavy discussions again. I also felt like I was off the hook as far as telling him what I saw and heard at the arcade, since he wasn’t able to talk freely right now.

“Okay, well, I really just wanted to see how it was going with the project...” Tom said.

“I’ll have everything done tonight--a day ahead of schedule!”

“That’s awesome. It’s good to have that out of the way but...”

“What is it, Tom?” I asked, actually cringing, hoping I wasn’t opening a can of worms with my innocent question.

“Nothing, I guess,” he said with a sigh. “I’m just glad we had a chance to work on something together. You’re the coolest, Perry, I mean that.”

“Thanks, Tom. I feel like we really got closer this week.” Ooh, that sounded weird, didn’t it?

“Me too, for sure,” he replied without a hint of sarcasm.

“Well, see you tomorrow, huh?”

“Yeah, see ya tomorrow, Perry.” Tom hung up the phone and I breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

It was nearly nine thirty when Jesse finally called.

My first instinct was to jump down his throat, demanding to know where the hell he had been all weekend, but he certainly didn’t deserve that kind of attitude, so I just forced myself to calm down.

“I missed you all weekend,” I said, leaning against the headboard of my bed, dressed comfortably in a T-shirt and sweatpants.

“Yeah, same here,” Jesse replied. He sounded tired.

“Where were you?” I asked in what I hoped was a light conversational tone.

“Well, it turns out my mom’s boyfriend has this cabin up in the mountains--near Lake Big Bear...you know where that is?”

It was in San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles, and along with Lake Arrowhead, was one of the most popular outdoor recreational areas in the whole southern part of the state.

“Yeah, I’ve been up there a few times.”

“Well, my mom kinda sprung the news on me early Saturday morning. The guy was coming to pick us up in a little over an hour, and we were going to be staying up there overnight. She said it would be really cold, and I had to race around digging out my winter clothes which were still packed in the moving boxes.”

“Sounds like fun, though,” I said. “Was there snow?”

“No, but it was pretty cold--guess I’m already spoiled by the balmy southern California weather after just a few months! The thing that I was pissed about,” and his voice dropped a level in volume, “was that I needed to work on that Geography project. I had planned on meeting Jeremiah at the public library to do some research on Saturday and I kinda had a fight with my mom about it. “

“Sorry to hear that,” I said sympathetically.

“Yeah, I felt really bad about it later. Jeremiah left about a billion messages on the answering machine too, even though I called to tell him I would be out of town for the weekend. I just talked to him though, and he was pretty pissed, but he went ahead and did most of the work himself--so I guess I owe him.”

“Gees, I don’t think my mom would let me run off on a weekend, if she knew I had a big project to work on.”

“Well, normally I don’t think my mom would’ve gone along with it either. But I think she really likes this guy, and she really wanted me and him to spend some time together.”

“So how was it?”

“Well, like I said, it was cold. I felt a bit queasy on the way up the mountain, and I kinda had a headache most of the time, which it turns out is ‘cause of the altitude. We don’t have many mountains in Illinois!”

“Yeah, I’ve heard of that. They say you get used to it after a while though. I bet next time, it won’t be a problem. But how did you get along with...your mom’s boyfriend?” I asked, still finding it hard to get my mind around the concept of moms having boyfriends.

“He’s okay, kind of a sportsman I guess. Likes to fish and stuff. He rented a boat and took us all out on the lake. Didn’t catch anything though--probably 'cuz Miranda couldn't sit still."

I smiled, imagining Jesse's energetic little sister bobbing from one end of the boat to the other, completely oblivious to the fact that she'd be scaring all the fish away.

"He’s an electrician, but I think he inherited the cabin from his parents. It’s pretty nice, three bedrooms, fireplace, and a porch that looks out over the lake, even though the cabin is pretty high up.”

“Do you think your mom might marry him?” I asked naively.

Jesse laughed uncomfortably. “Don’t know, dude, don’t know. Of the guys she’s dated since coming to Santa Corina, this seems like the most serious one so far.”

“Would you like him to be your dad?”

“I...I don’t know. He wouldn’t really be my dad--I’ve already got one of those. I guess as long as he gives me my space, and treats my mom and Miranda with respect, I couldn’t really complain.”

“Does he know that you could kick his ass if he didn’t behave himself?” I asked, somewhat facetiously.

There was a long pause, and I immediately sensed that I had asked a very crass question.

“Hey, forget that--it was a really crude question,” I apologized quickly.

“That’s...okay,” Jesse said slowly.

I wondered if he had ever had to confront his real dad in that way. If so, that must have been a horrible experience and I regretted my stupid, tasteless question, especially if it brought up bad memories.

There was an awkward pause, and I realized this wasn’t going to be a good time to bring up the Tom and Derek situation.

“You know I say stupid things, sometimes...” I muttered apologetically.

“Don’t worry about it, Perry. I know you didn't mean anything by it...”

After a pause, he stumbled around a bit, trying to change the subject. “Look, actually, I wanted to tell you something else...” he began, and I heard him getting shy.

“What is it, my little blonde love muffin?” I asked, trying to make amends for my stupidity in the cutest voice I could muster.

“Hehehe...” I could ‘hear’ Jesse blushing. “It’s about next weekend,” he said, getting a little of his self confidence back. “You said that there were a lot of boxes and stuff to organize for the rummage sale?”

“Yeah, my mom is taking off work early so we can go through our stuff and organize it a bit. I think there's some furniture to be moved too. Then some old guy'll come over in a pick-up truck or whatever and haul the stuff over to the church.”

“Well, I told my mom about it and...well...I guess she felt a little guilty about dragging me up to the mountains this weekend unexpectedly so...she said it would be okay if I came over to help...” He said it in such a way that it seemed like he was expecting me to laugh at the whole idea.

I felt my heart rate start to speed up. Any chance to spend with Jesse, especially away from school, was fine with me!

“I...uh...guess it would be okay if you wanted to come over...and help,” I said, trying desperately not to sound too excited. I guess I just wanted to tease him a little bit. After all, he certainly managed to get me at every possible opportunity.

“Oh, really?” he said, sounding surprised.

I couldn’t hold it in anymore. Why did he think I wouldn’t want him to come over? “Jesse--it’s me!!! My God, I’d love for you to come over. I can’t wait!” I giggled, letting my emotions spill out.

“Oh...” Jesse said, sounding somewhat relieved. “I thought maybe you were upset about me not calling you back sooner...”

“Jesse, stop it. I’m not upset. I love you insanely!” I whispered as loud as I dared.

“Really?” he asked, a little life coming back into his voice.

“Really,” I insisted.

“Well then, I guess I should mention another idea my mom had...”

“What’s that?” I asked, already counting the days, hours, and minutes until Friday afternoon.

“You said we have to be at the church at seven in the morning on Saturday?” he asked hesitantly.

“Yeah...I know, it’s pretty early, but that’s when the big rummage sale afficianados are out and about.”

“Right, that’s what I told my mom...” Jesse said, speaking ever so slowly.

I already had a smile on my face, sensing that something really good was about to happen.

“She said it would be okay if I slept over at your place...”

“No way!” I squealed, leaping to my feet next to the bed.

“If it’s okay with your mom,” he added.

“No problem--I’ll lock her in the closet,” I assured him.


“What about your sister? Who’s going to watch her until your mom gets back from work?”

“They’re trying to arrange to have Miranda sleep over at a friend’s house that same night. She’s really been pestering my mom about it for a while now. So if that works out...”

“We’ll be spending the night together...” I added excitedly, feeling like a little kid finding out he was going to Disneyland!

“With your mom...” Jesse reminded me.

“In the closet...” I reminded him.

As soon as I got off the phone, I rushed into my mom’s room to tell her the good news. Apparently, Mrs. Taylor had already spoken to her about it. The extra bonus was, Jesse would finally be getting his computer!

When I saw Jesse on Monday, I could barely look him in the eye I was so excited about him coming over. Only when I saw Tom chatting away with Derek at lunch, did I start to feel that there were important things that needed to be dealt with. I wasn’t sure that what Artim had said about Morgan hurting Tom, was an exaggeration. I knew Morgan was protective of his little bro, and I felt the idea of another boy coming on to Derek might send him over the edge.

Tuesday was the day we had to be prepared to give our oral presentations in Geography. Everyone haddivided up into their respective teams to go over their presentations, and I had to laugh, glancing over at Jesse, standing there by the lockers, with Jeremiah shoving that damn Palm Pilot in his face every three and a half seconds. Still, Jesse looked really nervous. He told me he had a hard time speaking in front of groups, and I told him to just think about our wonderful relationship and how much I loved him, and it would give him the confidence to get through it. Boy, did that ever turn out to be a bad piece of advice!

It would take two days to get through the whole class, but Mr. Walsh insisted that everyone be prepared to give their presentation today, even if it meant dragging a bunch of stuff to school that they might not need until tomorrow. He just called up teams at random, mostly alternating girls and boys. The last team of the day to be called was Jesse and Jeremiah. Tom and I would be spared until tomorrow, although everyone had already seen and admired Tom’s fantastic collage. He really was a gifted artist, and I felt an even more urgent need to protect him from himself if I could.

Jeremiah had prepared several elaborate graphs and charts for the digital projector. Apparently, it was Jesse’s task to read the actual report, while Jeremiah would point out the salient facts on the various statistical aides. The class subject was contemporary Mexico, and Jesse and Jeremiah’s topic was about the decrease in indigenous populations in Mexico as related to urban growth and technological development (or something along those lines).

While Jeremiah assumed his usual haughty and self assured persona, Jesse looked extremely nervous, standing there red faced and shifting awkwardly from foot to foot. I wished desperately that I could go up and give him a warm and encouraging hug, but I knew that was impossible. I just looked at him from the back of the room, trying to instill in him the confidence he would need to make it through.

He started reading the report in a quiet monotone, and a few kids told him to speak up. Jesse cleared his throat and started again, while Jeremiah looked on with a look of disdain. It started out better the second time, but again Jesse’s voice faded into inaudibility after a couple of paragraphs. Finally, Mr. Walsh, who was actually standing in the back of the class right behind me, taking notes, spoke up.

“Mr. Taylor, you’ll really need to speak up in order to make your presentation coherent.”

I noticed a few kids, including Artim and Manny, snickering at Jesse’s discomfort, but surprisingly, most of the class looked sympathetic, which made me feel good. In fact, I think Tom, by the pained look on his face, would have gone up and read the report himself if he could.

Jesse glanced over at me, and I gave him a warm smile of encouragement. He glanced down at the report again, the papers visibly shaking in his hands. He started to read again, this time a little louder, and I felt like maybe I had been somewhat helpful. After a couple of paragraphs, he glanced over at me again. The good thing was, since Mr. Walsh was standing right behind me, people would think that Jesse was looking at the teacher. The bad thing was, after a few more fairly audible sentences, Jesse began to snicker. He quickly recovered however, and began reading again, as Jeremiah stiffly pointed to various parts of whatever chart or graph he had up on the screen at the time.

Again, Jesse’s voice started to drop in volume, and again he glanced up at me. Again he started reading in a more confident tone, and again he started to snicker, and then to giggle, and then to snicker some more. Pretty soon, he couldn’t even open his mouth without a strange noise coming out. They even seemed to be coming out of his nose! If his face had been red before, now it was practically on fire! Jeremiah was also getting flustered at this point, and the class period was nearly over.

Morgan glanced over at me with a puzzled look, as did Jessica and Tom. I just looked down at my desk, not knowing what was going on. Jesse struggled for a few more minutes, trying to read the report, but bursting into a silly stream of snickers and giggles every time he opened his mouth. Finally, Mr. Walsh loudly cleared his throat.

“I think we’ve had enough for today. Mr. Oatner, Mr. Taylor, please take your seats. I expect you to be better prepared tomorrow. You will be first up!” Jeremiah looked like he wanted to protest, but he just glared angrily at Jesse, gathered up his stuff, and walked stiffly back to his seat. Jesse just stood there alone, looking incredibly embarrassed and forlorn, and my heart felt like it was going to break in two.

Finally, it was Jessica who got up and whispered something in Jesse’s ear before nudging him along, back to his seat. I had no idea what she said, but I gave her a warm smile of gratitude as she went to sit down, giving me a little wink in return.

At this point, the class just broke up into a bunch of little conversations, and it was only a couple more minutes before the passing bell began to ring. Jesse sat slumped in his chair, and I dared to reach out and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Tom came over, a look of genuine concern on his sweet face.

“Are you okay, Jesse?” he asked sympathetically. Even though we hadn’t spoken about it, I assumed Tom must be aware by now, that I had told Jesse about his little secret. Still, Tom was Tom, and he also felt the need to reach out a hand and pat Jesse lightly on the shoulder. When Jesse didn’t seem to react, I shrugged helplessly and Tom moved along. We only had five minutes to get to our next class, which was Computer Lab.

“Jesse, what happened?” I asked, as we walked down the open corridor to the next class. The other eighth graders were definitely staring, so I was very careful about my body language and the things I said.

To my surprise, a grin appeared on his face--a rather sly grin at that! “I’ll tell you later,” he said, bashfully bowing his head.

I knew Jesse had to go to the library right after school for his tutoring job, but I caught him by his locker.

“What happened in Geography?” I asked.

Jesse looked at me, his beautiful blue eyes seeming to sparkle, even though we were in the shade of a sheltering eave.

“Remember, you told me to think about you and me?” he asked shyly.

I nodded.

“Well, that’s what I did...” He got as close to me as he dared. “I thought about you sucking my toes; I thought about you giving me my first blow job; I thought about our little ‘sword’ fight...” He began to snicker again, and I couldn’t help but laugh myself.

“That’s not what I meant when I said to think about us!” I hissed quietly, trying fruitlessly to keep my giggles under control.

“I know--but I couldn’t help it. Tomorrow--please Perry--just wear a bag over your head, okay?”

I asked Jesse what Jessica had whispered to him before he returned to his seat. He gave me a bashful little smile.

"She said, 'We all love you, Jesse'..."

I felt a lump in my throat.

Jesse’s presentation went much better on Wednesday, although he still had to be prompted to speak up every now and then. He intentionally didn’t look at me at all, and the class actually applauded when he was finished. Of course, Jeremiah assumed the glory was all for him and he actually bowed, causing the class to burst into laughter. This time, it was Jeremiah who walked back to his seat red faced!

Thursday, we had a home game against St. Matt's from Escondido. Tom and Derek were there to cheer us on, along with Katy and Jessica and even Dana. While I was still worried a lot about Tom, it felt good to have all those people there. I really felt like they were part of my extended family, and their enthusiastic support may have even helped us to our eventual victory! We were now 7 and 0, and it looked like we had a good shot at getting into the regional playoffs.

That night, I finally told Jesse about what happened at the mall arcade last Saturday. When I told him about Artim and Manny’s reaction, he snorted.

“Those assholes,” he muttered quietly.

“What are we going to do?” I asked, feeling certain that Jesse would have an answer.

“I really don’t know. Derek is hard to figure out. I know he’s thirteen, but he acts more like a ten year old most of the time. It’s hard to figure out if he has any kind of sexual feelings at all.” Jesse was speaking so quietly, I could barely make out his words. I knew he didn’t have the kind of privacy we needed to have a discussion like this, so I let it go.

“Can’t wait ‘til tomorrow afternoon!” I said excitedly.

“Same here,” Jesse assured me with barely contained emotion.

That night, I jacked off a couple of times to Jesse’s hot story--Mall Encounter, did the 'deed' once more when I woke up in the morning, and once more in the shower! I figured that’d last me until Jesse came over to spend the night...


comments and constructive criticism always welcome: underthehoodster@netscape.net

Copyright © 2011 underthehoodster; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 4
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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