Where Do I Fit In?
by Andrew Foote
Throughout this story real organisations and real people are mentioned by name. Their place in the tale is in the author's imagination. No thoughts, words or deeds attributed to those people or organisations are real, nor have they ever happened. This is a story! It's fiction. The people and organisations, even when they interact with the characters, are presented in an entirely imagined and fictitious manner, and no discourtesy is intended to them by the author nor by the web site.
For a while we just lay in each other's arms. I had built up enough confidence to do some of the touchy-feely things I'd been needing to experience, nothing heavy but just caressing Lucas's back and stealing the odd kiss making him purr like a kitten and with him reciprocating made me cast my mind back to some of the trashy novels I'd read where they banged on about boy meets girl, they fall madly in love, spend nights apart crying like babies, then nights together in ecstasy yar-di-yar but the thing was, it was mostly true! One minute I was up there, deliriously happy, the next, feeling sad and upset that tonight would be our last opportunity to be truly 'together' at least for a while.
"I'm really dreading tomorrow night."
"Why? What's happening tomorrow Andy?"
"I'll be here on my own, that's what. I don't want this to end."
"I was just thinking the exact same thoughts. Gonna be a bitch for sure. We'll have to come up with ideas like maybe camp out some nights or you stay over at mine now and again, kinda rotate venues. Anyway we can be together most days and two evenings a week we've got swim club, it aint all doom and gloom?"
"I know but we can't be 'like this' during the day can we?"
"Not unless you really want to set the cat amongst the chickens! Something will turn up, it usually does."
"But spending every waking hour together. Don't you think our rents will suspect something, us acting like we're joined at the hip or whatever?"
"Nah. I don't think so. What's so unusual with best friends wanting to be in each other's company as much as possible? I reckon that's pretty normal behaviour."
"You're probably right. Maybe it's me getting paranoid! Thing is, my parents can read me like a sodding book, I've just got this awful feeling they'll see straight through me!"
"What to see? Sounds like you're doing a damn fine job of convincing yourself you're gay already! Is that it?"
"I don't know but this relationship thing's very difficult!"
"Just float with the current. One thing Bible classes taught me was that no matter what you do, your destiny is preordained and there's fuck-all you can do about it. Che sera-sera and all that shit."
"You do have a way with words don't you!"
"I spent too long in Texas! They don't mince words Andy, they tell it how it is and if you don't like it? Well tough titty!"
Lucas was already showering when I woke. I'd slept well and felt refreshed. I heard the water stop running and a few moments later he came back into the room.
"The sleeping beauty awakes! You definitely put in an extra shift there buddy! Do you have any idea how late it is?"
I glanced at my watch. Ten o'clock.
"Oh my God! I can't believe I slept for so long! I'd better get up!"
"Might be a plan! I mean it wouldn't do to have your folks turn up and find two naked twelve year-old boys in bed doing whatever two naked twelve year-olds do now would it! That really would be a dead giveaway!!"
"Don't even think about it! What do two naked twelve year-olds do together in bed Lucas?"
"I promise to show you someday soon now up and at them cowboy before I lose all self-control and jump ya!"
"God no! That so-called Korean crap has given me so much gas I'm already losing the will to live."
"TMI Lucas, TMI!"
"Too much information matey-boy. Like I need to know all about the state of your digestive system!"
"Love me love my gastric problems ha-ha! Yeah well sorry! I'll go a mug of coffee though?"
Just as we sat down outside with our drink, I heard a car coming up the driveway.
"That'll be them now. Bloody good job I woke when I did! I'd better put the kettle on for them. Tea will be top of their priority list I reckon."
Mum and Dad walked into the kitchen, Dad slumped onto a stool and yelled.
"Ahhhhh! Bloody traffic! Monday morning. I completely forgot! Rush hour traffic in central London! Sodding nightmare and the M4? Never seen it so busy and we were heading out of town! Three hours to do 110 miles! I mean, I ask you! Oh God! Hello Lucas! I clean forgot you were here. Sorry for my little outburst there."
"Hey that's okay Mr Pope. You kinda sounded just like my Dad! I reckon you've a lot in common!"
"Tell me something? Is he a golfing man?"
"Well my Mom thinks, - no she's convinced that if his set of clubs could talk, he'd most likely have proposed to them rather than her so yeah, he plays every once in a while!"
"Has he joined a club over here yet do you know?"
"Not that I'm aware of. He did mention having a look around for something but whether he's gotten around to it yet I'm not sure."
"Well the thing is, I'm looking for a new partner. Jimmy, that's my old one, well sadly he passed away recently. I just wondered if he'd be interested."
"No harm in asking him? Andy and I were going to go back to my house as soon as we've finished our coffee, why not come with us? He's home for the next month. Eight years of only getting two weeks' vacation is his excuse!"
"I might just do that. You off right now?"
"No it's okay. More than happy to wait for you."
"Thanks. Did you boys have a nice weekend?"
"Yeah, it was great!" we both said in unison.
"And just the two bottles of wine I trust?"
"Yes Dad, just the two. As you can see, the house is still standing, I didn't sell the family heirlooms and there was no police involvement."
"Okay son of mine. All boxes ticked! Now if you're ready, let's take a walk so I can talk golf!"
I never did understand what fascination golf held for some people? My Dad and Mr Carmichael obviously did! Arrangements were made to introduce Mr Carmichael to the Club Captain with a view to membership and that afternoon they would do eighteen holes so they could understand each other's playing styles.
This new-found friendship seemed to work well as both my Mum and Lucas's Mum also had plenty in common and so it was that we spent that evening with the Carmichaels and once the supper dishes were cleared away, Lucas and I volunteering to do the washing up, (no harm in earning a few brownie-points!) we managed to escape to his room.
"Damn I wish there was a lock on this door!"
"We'll just have to control our urges for tonight. Maybe you can fit one another time or would they mind?"
"Hell no! They'd be cool with it. They understand the need for privacy."
"Yes but they know you're gay and stuff so two of us in your room behind a locked door. Look a bit suspicious don't you think?"
"Well they might probably take a guess I suppose but like my Mom said, she hoped that after it all came out I'd find someone my own age."
"Oh cool! You can still give me a cuddle, lock or no lock?"
"Definitely but standing up and with our clothes on at least for now!"
As ever the evening passed too quickly and by eleven-thirty we were walking back towards home and already I was feeling sad but happy in as much that if anything had been said about Lucas and his sexuality, certainly nothing got said to me. I refused the offer of a glass of port and went straight up to bed.
It seemed strange being on my own. How can two short nights make such a difference? I missed him, his smell, his gentle touch, his conversation, his……..everything. Fortunately I drifted into oblivion before I could get too upset.
The following morning, yet again it was if I'd developed sleeping sickness as my first conscious recollection was a knock on my bedroom door. I looked at my watch. – Ten o'clock. Ten o'clock!!!!
"Come in, I'm decent!"
"That's a shame!" Lucas stood there smiling.
"Jezz can you sleep or what?! I thought I'd left it late enough but when you didn't answer my call, I thought I'd better come over and see what's cooking. You okay Andy?"
"I'm fine! I'm just not used to late nights. I'm not much good as a night owl! Anyhow, how did you get into the house?"
"Your Dad let me in. We had a bit of a chat before he went off to work and then I decided enough was enough and so with the house empty other than you and me? Here I am!"
"My Mum's out too?"
"Yup! Got some heavyweight volunteering stuff on I think. My Mom went with her and your old man and mine are going to the golf club this afternoon to sign mine up for membership. Sounds like they are going to partner each other in tournaments or some such crap."
"Hey! That's pretty cool! Maybe takes the spotlight off us for a bit."
"Not necessarily it doesn't. That's the bad news. You and me? Well mainly me actually, well I was one of the conversation topics last evening. Nothing bad but your folks know I'm gay. They know what happened back in San Antonio but don't freak on me, it's okay."
"They never said anything to me Lucas?"
"Well if you will spend most of your life asleep? Hell, you don't give them much of an opportunity! Anyway, your Dad was cool this morning, he never mentioned it and he had his chances. He knew I'd come up to your room once he'd left for work but he never said nothin'."
"English. He didn't say anything!"
"Right! He didn't do that either. Anyway, looks like everything's cool!"
"Actually I somehow wish they would. Does that sound weird to you?"
"No. I know where you're coming from but take a break. Can I join you in bed please? Just for a little while?"
I grinned and nodded my head. Lucas shook off his clothes in nanno-seconds before turning back the duvet then staring at my very erect dick, joined me in bed pulling me into a hug and kissing me deeply.
"God Andy? You're wonderful like 'down there'! Uncut like me, probably much the same length but wow, so very thick! Way thicker than I am! I hope you make up your mind quick, I'd love to love that!"
"But what if I made my mind up and it wasn't how you wanted. What then?"
"I could dream is all."
" Noooo!! ENGLISH! Not 'is all'? That's all!!"
"Oh okay! I got it! Soooo it would follow that the Shakespeare speech is wrong then?"
"What Shakespeare speech!"
"'Is that a dagger I see before me' blah blah blah. According to you, that should read 'That's a dagger I see before me.'"
" NOOOO!! The first was a question, the second a statement!! Oh for heaven's sake!!!!"
Lucas was doubled up and I wasn't far behind as we almost cried laughing together.
"Oh well, that got shot of one small problem. I've gone soft as butter thanks to you!"
"Me too. I suppose we'd better get up and do something with the day. Hey I was going to ask? Do you want to use Jo's bike to go to the swimming club tonight?"
"Could we walk it instead?"
"Yes if you'd rather. Why?"
"Obvious. Ten minute bike ride versus a thirty minute walk? I get to spend more time with you is……… that's all!!!"
"Good thinking and well done on the grammatical correction! I'm only taking the piss, you do know that?"
"Of course? It'll take me some time to get out of the habit of speaking the way I do but I'll get there.
Talking of the swim club? I wonder if that what's his name, Mr Wilson has managed to get us a coach or not."
"Hope so. After that last session, normal diving could seem a bit tedious! He's an okay bloke and normally manages to come up with something. One way or the other I guess we'll find out tonight. What do you fancy doing today?"
"Ahh well! What I fancy doing and what's possible are two different things! Hey! Is there a decent shopping Mall around here?"
"Mall as in shopping centre, precinct, village or arcade?"
"Ah hell! Here we go again! WHATEVER! Is there one of……. WHATEVER!"
"So I need to go there pretty please."
"Sorted! Let me get some clothes on and we'll head off. Have you got anything specific you need to buy? I mean if you do it might dictate where we go."
"Yup. I need a new laptop. Mine's bit the dust. It was pretty old when I got it but now it's finally died. Just about managed to do a backup this morning before it finally drew its last breath! Sad really, I was rather fond of it! I'll miss the Windows 98 logo especially. It was really cool!"
" Windows……………….98?? I think I just about remember it! How on earth have you survived for so long with something that's practically antique? Fucking hell Lucas? I wasn't born until 2002? That pile of junk was built four years beforehand!"
"You aint seen nothin' yet! SORRY! You haven't seen anything yet! My Dad has a desktop that runs on 3.11!! Now that's almost a collector's item! Who would want to collect it beats the crap outa me, OUT OF ME even but it's really neat. Full MS DoS and everything. You can create some really good games on DoS ya-know……….YOU KNOW. Oh shit!!"
"Lucas's attempts at correct English pronunciation had me in near hysterics!
"Look stop trying to correct yourself all the time! I'll love you no matter if you do sound like a hillbilly! It's cute actually!"
"Hillbilly? Oh Jesus H. Christ Andy? Do I really sound like that?"
"Sure as shit ya-do partner!"
"Whoa! Pure and unadulterated English finally!!"
"Yeah……whatever! Now do ah have to whoop yr ass or you goin to git outa bed like ride now!"
"I'm out already!"
"Ha-ha!! Welcome to the Lone Star State…. Ayendee!!!"
Oh what a day! We took the bus into town, Jo had obviously taken her bike to work but again it was something else to show Lucas.
I'd decided that the Palace Shopping Centre was the best place to go given it had numerous tech outlets so we could perhaps do a bit of bartering!
It took three hours and visits to all the relevant stores before Lucas settled on an HP Laptop with Windows 8, quad-core processor, 650 gig of RAM with touch screen operation. All very snazzy but the price of £385 was pretty good although when he made a quick conversion into USD he almost shit himself!
"Dear God Andy? For what I paid in pounds I could buy in dollars in the States?" Now all we had to do was wait while their people loaded all the software so I treated us both to a bite of lunch but then later having collected everything we took a stroll around the rest of the Centre before getting the bus back home. Once got there Lucas disappeared off home to test the laptop, collect his swimming stuff before we went to the pool.
I sat down with my parents for a light bite of tea, my father looking at me with a degree of suspicion.
"So what's so important about tonight? You're acting like you're nervous."
"Mr Wilson is going to tell us if he's managed to get a diving coach otherwise we can't do it anymore."
"We as in you and Lucas?"
"Yeah well we want to do formation diving and that's not allowed without supervision."
I changed the subject quickly.
"How did golf go with Mr Carmichael?"
"Good! Very good! We're going to team off for the next competition and if things go as we'd like then we'll register as a partnership. Yes, it was a good afternoon!"
Just as he'd finished speaking there was a knock on the door.
"That'll be Lucas. I'm gone. See you later!"
"Okay so I'm paranoid but I swear to God my Dad suspects something? I mean the looks I was getting across the table tonight! You should've seen them!"
"It bothers you right?"
"No not really but it's almost as if I want him to say something. Clear the air or whatever but no, he just looks at me weirdly!"
"I guess he'll do it in his own time if he feels there's really is something to say but you're probably reading between the lines. I wouldn't worry about it. Come on Andy? You've done nothing wrong! Let's go see what Coach Wilson has to say for himself!"
We changed in double-quick time but Mr Wilson was otherwise occupied with some of the younger swimmers but eventually he spotted us and pointed in the direction of his office where we patiently waited outside.
We waited for about fifteen long minutes then finally he caught up with us.
"Actually I meant you to go inside but no matter. Mr Coughlan is waiting to see you."
Mr Coughlan was a man in his 60's, bronzed and well fit for his age but very 'business-like'.
"So you are Carmichael and Pope? Stand up straight please boys."
He looked us over.
"So which of you is which please?"
"I'm Andrew Pope sir, this is my friend Lucas Carmichael."
"Well Mr Pope, you could use some extra weight. Mr Carmichael? I think if anything you're slightly overweight but that's easily taken care of but both of you look fit and dare I say it, healthy so now I need to see what you're made of. Into the gym please."
We were led through into the gymnasium but what followed was eye-opening!
"Okay boys. Four laps of the gym please. This isn't a race so pace yourselves but I need to see speed so three, two and GO!"
Pace ourselves we did but we gave it everything we had but as it turned out there was almost nothing between us so a little out of puff we walked back to where Mr Coughlan was standing, concerned that we'd not put up a good show but he seemed pleased enough.
"Not at all bad! Now I need to see you do press-ups. Ten please. Chin on the deck for each one and no bending at the waist please."
We both managed it! Difficult but we did it!
"Good. Very good! Now for your, - how should I put it, - sensory perceptions. I need one of you to be blindfolded. Your partner will stand in front of you and do a handstand and whoever is blindfolded will grab the other's ankles and hold him up. It matters not who does what, you will both be doing it so who wants to be the first?"
I elected to be the one who was blindfolded first.
I concentrated hard focusing on the image of Lucas doing his handstand, his height, his weight, I heard his hands touch the floor and instinctively reached for his ankles catching him perfectly. Then we changed paces but the result was the same, - a perfect catch!
"Well done. Thank you. Now I want you both to close your eyes and when I clap my hands I want you both to start counting in your head and when you hear me clap a second time I want you to tell me where you got to, understood?!"
We both nodded our heads.
"Okay now, eyes closed and CLAP!"
I started to mentally count spacing each number about one second apart. 'Ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen'
"Okay. Where did you get to?"
"Fourteen" I answered.
"Thirteen." Said Lucas.
"Not bad for your first attempt. Not spot on the money but pretty good. Are you two good friends?"
Lucas answered first.
"Yes sir, we are very good friends." I just nodded my head in agreement.
"Fine. You lads go and get changed and I'll see you back here as soon as you're ready."
"But sir? Don't you wanna see us dive?"
"No I don't think that'll be necessary Lucas. Mr Wilson told me you were competent enough despite your lack of training. I've seen all I need to see. Now off you go and get changed!"
We collected our stuff from the locker and began to change out of our swimming gear. I wondered why he wasn't interested to see us in the water.
"Odd he didn't want us to dive? I wonder what all those exercises were about."
"No idea. Maybe he'll tell us when we get to the office. All this way and we never even got wet!"
We wandered over to the office, Mr Coughlan was waiting for us.
"Well lads, you are probably wondering what those little tests were all about. Quite simple. Formation diving or whatever you care to call it requires split second timing so the ability to count at exactly the same speed is really crucial. A fraction of a second disparity and any judge worth his salt will pick it up straight away. The handstand exercise? It's important that you can sense each other's movements. Be aware of how much your partner weighs, how tall he is, almost you have to know as much about them physically as you know about yourself. You have to be in tune one with the other at all times because much as a dive well executed is a thing of beauty and precision, it is also a very dangerous sport. Hit the water badly when diving from a five meter table is like hitting concrete let alone a ten metre table. You have to think as one, act as one, read each other's minds almost. The other bits and pieces were just so I could get a rough idea as to your fitness levels and by the way, you passed! So? Given everything I've said, are you interested in moving forward? It's going to require a lot of hard work from you both but there are no half measures. You either commit to it fully or no deal."
He raised his eyebrows in anticipation. I answered for both of us.
"Yes Mr Coughlan. We are both ready and willing."
"Andy about said it all. He answered for both of us."
"You've discussed this then?"
"No sir not in so many words but he knew I'd be up for it."
"Remarkable! Very well now all I have to do is get your parents 'okay', get them to sign the risk assessment documentation so we can organise insurance, discuss a training regime and we're all set. Just one other matter Lucas? I take it you are English?"
"I've dual nationality but I was born to English parents in England, it's just I spent the last eight years living in America is all………….I mean that's all!"
"Good. Now if you could give me your home phone numbers and you can get away."
Two days later we, that is Lucas and I, his and my parents and Mr Coughlan, were seated around our dining table.
He was explaining what the tests he'd carried out showed him and obviously we'd made some sort of an impression.
"From what I was able to glean during those short exercises, these two boys could have real potential. I don't want to rush my fences but I fully believe that they could compete not just at club level but also at national meetings possibly even at international level but to achieve this, they have a considerable distance to go and I must emphasise this is going to mean a lot of intensive training, a lot of dedication and hard work both in and out of the pool."
He then went on to explain the importance of personal contact and the way in which he phrased it, it sounded as if we should almost live together!
"They must become almost like one of the same person in order that they are able to anticipate each other's actions, thoughts and moods. Mind reading almost, to subconsciously aware of each other's needs. It isn't going to be easy. They will possibly get stressed and irritable but we have sports psychologists well used to help them overcome these feelings. Their methods are occasionally somewhat unorthodox but very effective."
My father interjected.
"All of this I'm sure we understand but who's paying for all this?"
"The Sports Council of Great Britain. They will cover the majority of the costs involved. The training and coaching staff, legal and insurance costs, private medical care should it be needed and private tuition due to missed schooling. As parents you might be asked to chip in towards some accommodation costs, summer camps and the like but you have to bear in mind that not all talented athletes of their age have families that are able to support their ambitions so part funded by the state, part charity, the SCGB looks to most of the expenditure."
My Dad seemed satisfied by this but then went on to ask about our spending so much time together.
"Yes I understand what you're saying Mr Pope but if it could be such that these two boys spend as much time as is possible in each other's company it would go a long way to bond them together. Sure they'll train together but it's equally important that they relax together, play together. The more time they spend around one another the better."
Dad looked at Mr Carmichael.
"Well I suppose if we agree to allow this venture, something could be worked out. What do you think Gregg?"
"I'm sure we can arrange that so long as we're all in agreement. We live close enough so they could spend some time at our place then swap over spending time here. They will be attending the same school come September so it's not like that's an issue but my only concern is that we do get family time together as well."
"I was going to mention that Mr Carmichael. Family time is a given. These boys are still very young and family ties are very important to their development and mental wellbeing.
Now I'll leave you to chew it over. If you think of anything else you need to ask then my number is on the documentation provided, don't hesitate to call me and obviously please let me know what you decide as and when."
Once Mr Coughlan left there was a brief conversation between the adults before the Carmichael's left for home. On his way out, Lucas smiled at me showing his fingers crossed. I smiled back nodding my head as an understanding of the gesture.
Dad closed the door and beckoned my back into the dining room where Mum came and sat with us.
"Well Andy? It all sounds very good but I noticed that at no time did that Coughlan chap ask you and Lucas how you both felt about it. It sounds as if that if we agree to it and I'll reiterate if we agree because it's by no means a done deal, but you'll find your every waking hour occupied. You've school work to do and maybe now this and I wonder if you've thought it all through."
"He did sort of ask us the other night at the club and we both said yes. We both know it'll be tough but the way I see it, it's no different from let's say………I was a talented young footballer and I got spotted and was offered an academy place? Same level of dedication, just a different discipline."
"Nicely put. Okay but there is just one other thing. It's just………umm……….God this is awkward!"
"May I Dad?"
"May you what son?"
"Help you out a bit. What you're trying to say is did I know that Lucas is gay. I am right aren't I?"
"Err……..yes as it happens, you are. How did you know that's what I wanted to say?"
"Pretty obvious really! You were falling over your words and that's something you never do so it had to be something you weren't comfortable talking to me about. Look, he told me that he was gay as soon as it became apparent that we got on really well. He didn't want to risk a new friendship by being deceitful. I'm cool with it Dad. All that sort of thing is explained in sexual health classes and it really doesn't bother me. He is the way he is and he didn't choose to be that way and so far as I'm concerned, he's just my best friend, full stop."
"Hey, hey! Did I touch a raw nerve?"
"No?? It's only that to hang labels on someone just because of their sexuality is pretty low. Really Dad, he's my best friend, I like him lots and he likes me so what is the issue here?"
"No issue bar the one you're creating. All I was going to say was this. If we go along with Mr Coughlan's proposal, you and Lucas will become like Siamese sodding twins by all accounts and I just wondered how you felt about it. I mean after all it appears like you'll almost be cohabiting with each other."
"Dad! The other night, well two nights actually, Lucas stayed here with me, yes?"
"How many beds are in my room?"
"Correct. We shared the same bed and no, he didn't jump me! We just talked and slept."
"I wasn't suggesting for one moment……….I mean for heaven's sake!"
"Dad I'm only like twelve years old. I haven't even started puberty yet so I don't know what I am or what I'll turn out like? I look at girls, of course I do but no matter if I'm straight, gay or bisexual, there's nothing much anyone can do about it except support me. Sort of out of my hands really?"
"Yes well……..I suppose you have a valid point there. I'm sorry son. I never meant to criticise Lucas, I only have your best interests at heart and I wouldn't be much of a Dad if I didn't ask questions."
"I know you do but listen, whatever decision you come to, just don't base it on Lucas's sexuality. Tom Daley's gay but his dive partner isn't? That should tell you something?"
"Okay. Whatever happens I promise that will not influence anything Mum and I decide or come to that, whatever the Carmichael's decide. We all have to agree on the best way forward for both you and Lucas so can I suggest we sleep on it and have another chat in the morning?"
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