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.
Lucas got the best of the deal as he was travelling under his status as a US citizen or rather as a result of his dual nationality so he flew through immigration whereas we had to wait in the queue not that it took very long. We emerged through the barriers to find him relaxing with a can of Coke and pushing his southern drawl to the limits said "What kept y'all? A've been her for a livetahm waitin' for ya!"
Lorain swatted him playfully over his head.
"Cut it out matie-boy or you'll live to regret it!"
"Yeah well I had to do something. It isn't that often I can put one across you guys so I thought I'd milk it for all its worth."
Someone had organised porters so all we had to do was point out which of the cases on the carousel were ours and they picked them up, put them on a buggy and ferried them to a waiting bus.
Shit it was hot outside! Not as humid as I thought it would be but even Lucas seemed stunned.
"This is even hotter than Texas in the summer and no kidding, that's hot-hot! I hope the bus has air conditioning or we'll fry!"
It did and we didn't but never the less, now I could understand the need to keep covered up when exposed to the sun. Definitely not the place to top up your tan!
The bus made a fast journey to our hotel which was all it was purported to be. A nine-hole golf course, two swimming pools, tennis courts, croquet lawns and refreshment bars and café's scattered around its grounds.
The rooms were no less impressive. Ours sported a bed large enough to sleep a football team, a walk-in shower, bath, twin hand basins, toilet and bidet. There was also a refrigerator containing a selection of soft drinks, white and Rose wine, ice and sliced fruits and on the table, bottles of red wine and some glasses. A large sofa and three easy chairs and double patio doors leading out onto a balcony that overlooked an area of woodland sort of completed the picture. Lucas muttered something like "Oh wow. Party time already." To which I replied "Too bloody tired to party right now!"
"The secret is to stay awake just as long as you can then get your sleep otherwise you'll be forever fighting jetlag Andy. Trust me on this or else you'll not enjoy yourself."
"I'll take your word on that for now but if I'm expected to stay awake I'll need to take a shower……..on my own! My God, a cum right now would really put paid to me!"
"Ha-ha! Maybe later so you get a sound night's sleep then and pretty please? I might need the same?"
"I'll give you everything you need and then some but I feel dirty and sweaty so I'm going to get under the shower now."
"Hope you're dirty later Andy?"
We took ourselves off and did a tour of the hotel grounds Very swish! Obviously whoever had laid out the gardens was a true master of his or her craft cos they were beautiful. We stopped off a one of the bars and took a freebee glass of chilled Grapefruit juice before walking down towards the swimming pools. There were three in all, the first was a shallow child's one no more than two foot deep and all but deserted except for a handful of little Japanese kids who waved furiously as we walked past. We returned their waves and walked on.
The second pool was almost a cross between the kiddie pool and an adults with a shallow end and a deep end with a grassy island in the centre and all surrounded by deckchairs. This one was rather busier with families and young kids together with some our sort of age. There was another bar here but you could only get to it by water so we stripped off our tee shirts and flip-flops and dived in.
Not exactly what I had expected as the water was decidedly chilly but it was nice to cool down for a bit so we swam over to the bar for another glass of fruit juice and it was while we sat and relaxed sipping our drinks we were accosted by two girls, one sat herself down by Lucas, the other by me.
They were both Japanese but spoke immaculate English.
"Hey guys? Oh wow, are you American or Australian?"
Lucas left me to reply given my accent was pure Brit.
"Neither as it happens. We're English and here on a training and relaxing trip with the Sports Council of Great Britain."
"Well we could use some relaxing as well……..up in your rooms maybe? You guys are hunky!!"
"We have a problem there. We share the same room."
"So? We don't mind a bit of voyeurism going down? It'd be hot!!"
"No, I think you miss the point. We share the same bed."
"Even hotter babe!"
"Oh for Christ's sake girl? We're gay!!"
"Whoops! Wrong place, wrong time and definitely the wrong people. I'm sorry!"
"No need to apologise. We don't have a problem talking to you, hanging out together even but I just thought it'd be good to set some ground rules just so as you know."
"Oh okay, thanks. Can I ask you something? I've never met any gay boys before and I wanna know, what's it like being gay?"
That took me completely by surprise but no so Lucas who on seeing the expression on my face, answered for me.
"Just the same as being straight except you fancy someone of the same sex rather than the opposite. I love Andy and he loves me back. Problem sorted!"
"Cool……..I think. What a waste of hunky guys though."
"We don't think so! We're very happy with the situation. Tell you what? Ask these guys." As he spoke, Benny, Paul and Lorain walked around towards us.
"Hey you blokes! You decided against hitting the sack as well?"
Benny as always seemed have boundless amounts of energy and didn't look in the least bit jet lagged. Lucas got up and they had a four way hug.
"Pretty stupid idea doing that. Come and meet our two new friend's whose names I don't know but can't get their heads around mine and Andy's relationship! Ladies, this mongrel's name is Benny, and this is Lorain and her boyfriend and our mutual mate Paul."
Benny wasn't best impressed by his introduction and said as much.
"Mongrel? I'll have you know I'm a pure bred with pedigree to prove it you wanker!" but his anger was very short-lived as he looked at the two Japanese girls and his raging young hormones once more took control.
"Oh where's the point! So you girls are Japanese?"
"Yes we come from Osaka. Have you ever head of it?"
"Oh yes. It's a very famous place. It's down towards the south of your country isn't it?"
"Well its south of Yokohama by about three hundred miles maybe. Why do you ask?"
"It's just your skin colouring isn't what I expected so it was either you were from the south or you had some English DNA in you, that's all?"
"No, no English DNA in either of us."
Benny went in for the kill!
"Would you like to have some? I'm more than happy to provide it?"
I think our laughter could've been heard back home but the girls were not amused as they stood up and walked away.
"Nice one Benny but not the best approach in the world! You didn't exactly make friends there."
"Didn't mean to. A couple of spoilt rich kids if you ask me. I know where my sights are set!"
"The girls on the plane maybe?"
"The very same? You're quite intelligent Lucas!"
"Yeah well just be careful huh?"
"Why is everyone bothered about me all of a sudden?"
"We're not bothered about you? It's the girls we worry about! The way you're putting it about you'll impregnate half the female population of South East Asia before you're done."
" Game on!!! No seriously now. I'll be careful thanks to whoever bought the condoms but I suspect nothing will happen given my age but there's no harm done by dreaming."
The following day we woke feeling slightly more refreshed even if we both had a disturbed night. The time difference was still causing problems but Lucas assured me that given another twenty-four hours and we would be all but accustomed to it. Peter told us over breakfast about the plans for the next couple of days.
"It's very important that we don't allow the luxury of letting up on your general fitness so we will all be getting together mid-morning for a group workout in the gym. It won't be anything too strenuous but enough to maintain agility and strength. Following that you are free to do whatever you want but lunch will be served at one o'clock sharp in the main dining room. On alternate afternoons there will be organised trips to various places but the afternoons in between are yours to do with as you wish so I would urge you to make the most of that time. We will be issuing books of tickets so you can, if you like, take a bus into the town and go exploring the area or just relax with a game of golf, tennis or just go poolside but please remember that the afternoon sun is vicious given how close we are to the equator so sun block and loads of it please! This afternoon you will be taken into town for an introductory guided tour and then on our way back we'll be visiting the main US Naval base to watch a demonstration given by their elite Seals in how to exit a stricken submarine. Sound boring? You'll all be very surprised when you see how it's done and I can guarantee you'll be talking about it for weeks to come! This evening is free time with supper served at eight-thirty then following that and for one night only, I suggest you all grab an early night and with luck that'll finally get you over your jet lag leaving you free to enjoy the rest of your stay. Any questions?"
I raised my hand.
"Just one Peter? Are there any diving facilities on the island?"
"Oh sorry Andy. Yes indeed there are. One of the reasons for making such a long journey is because the sports facilities here are second to none. All of you have been selected according to your disciplines in order that you can enjoy some of the finest in the world and all under one roof. Well not exactly but you know what I mean.
The Basketball arenas are superb as are the track and field facilities. Top class gymnastics areas, swimming and diving pools, even an indoor ski slope that replicates not just downhill racing but slalom, ski jumps, cross-country and even red-runs and all down to the US Military God bless 'em! In your case you'll have to liaise with Liam to check availability and you others check with your personal coaches but there are slots allocated most days for all of you. Please make the most of them."
We left the dining room in the company of Peter. Lucas looked slightly confused and took the opportunity to quiz him.
"Why should the US Military agree to share their facilities with us Brit's do you think? If it was me, I'd keep them for my own countrymen!"
"Ever heard of having a level playing field? Yes of course they want to win but only on their own merits. Just think about it for a moment. You have a number of athletes from various countries who all have had access to the same facilities and identical training conditions so it really is down to the individual's talent when it comes to competition rather than one country having invested more money than the other."
"Are the Yanks really good?"
"Oh yes! Seriously good but you have a secret weapon you see?"
"And that is?"
"The Americans tend to take things very seriously to the extent that nothing else matters other than their sport. They eat it, sleep it, live it and breathe it. They're told that missing training is almost like committing a felony but you? We put no pressure on you whatsoever and so if you don't turn up, we don't give you a hard time. Think about it for a moment. What does that tell you?"
"We do it because we love it I guess."
"Right answer Lucas! Right answer! We all of us watch, not just you two but all aspiring athletes of whatever disciplines to see if you have that fire in your belly. Have inside you the determination to be as good as you possibly can be without the pressure from us adults kicking you up the arse all the time. To be top-flight, the passion has to come from within and nothing else in the world can instil that in you. We can help, point you in the right direction perhaps but to make the most of everything you could possibly be has to be because and I use your words Lucas, you love doing what you do! First let me sight Paul and Lorain. They came to us via your endeavours and they've both shown so much determination in the gym and their Basketball coach says much the same. They're good, very good in fact and they have the potential to go to the top but I'm no expert but when we talk about Benny? This really is my domain. All I can say it's as if he's a walking talking nuclear reactor with an endless supply of fuel rods. He's fast, nimble, supple, I swear to God if he had wings he would fly! In all my years as a gymnastics coach I have rarely come across someone with so much potential as him. Try and sneak in to one of his sessions and you'll see what I mean. In much the same way as Liam views you and your diving, he makes the impossible possible. These are exciting times and no mistake!"
"Oh wow! That's really good to know because we get the impression that he sees himself as sort of like a hanger-on, the one following on behind everyone else."
"He certainly isn't that, well none of you are otherwise you wouldn't be here but perversely him seeing himself in that light isn't such a bad thing as it drives him forward to prove to himself that he justifies his place in the team. The will to succeed that only comes from within remember?"
"I think we all feel like that. We know there are others better than us but unlike a team discipline where you could lay the blame on someone else if the team screws up, the buck stops with us so we can't afford to rest on our laurels."
"Wise words Lucas. You'll have off days, of course you will but come competition time you will all be managed in a way that ensures that you're at your peak at just the right moment and this is where mental preparation is so important. When we get back home, Lauren will take you all through various techniques such as yoga and meditation that will enable you to empty your minds and focus on just one individual thought. I've had a go and it's a very liberating experience but I'm too old to really get to grips with these things whereas you're not!"
Training was fun although it seemed strange for there to be thirty-two people in the gym as opposed to just the five of us. The lady who took the session paced us well and so after a three-quarter hour stint, we knew we'd been worked but we didn't feel totally pooped. It was also the first chance I'd had to study our fellow team mates up close. The eldest were a lad and a girl from Liverpool who I guessed were about nineteen then going down in age to Benny who was the youngest and a pretty even 50/50 split between boys and girls.
We'd finished showering and were almost dressed when Lucas gave me a wink.
"See those two boys over there by the lockers?"
"Yes, what of them?"
"Gay. They're a couple just as we are."
"What on earth makes you think that? It's not like they're overtly camp or anything?"
"Gaydar, intuition, call it what you like but I'll bet you a dollar to a pinch of shit I'm right!"
"Beautifully phrased……..not! If I were to take the bet, how the fuck would you propose finding out?"
"Simple. Ask them of course?"
"Oh yeah right! Get real Lucas? You can't just go marching up to them and say like 'hi guys. Are you gay or what?'"
"Don't be a dickhead Andy! I'd be a touch more subtle than that!"
"Since when have you ever done subtle, shit for brains?"
"Oh I can do that if push comes to shove. Watch this space. I'll pick my moment carefully and you'll see!"
We boarded the bus that was to take us into town and for the first time I noticed the surroundings. Maybe it was tiredness or excitement but I'd not taken much notice of it on the trip from the airport. It took the appearance of being like a posh shanty town with most of the buildings being of wooden construction and all brightly painted set in amongst strange looking trees. Lucas turned to me.
"Shade. They did that back in Texas and also painting them to reflect the sun."
"Makes sense I guess. What was it I read? The temperature never falls below ninety-five degrees or something but it didn't say just how hot it got."
"From my understanding, they don't really get seasons like we do back home, too close to the equator I think. The odd tropical storm but the temperature remains fairly constant all year round."
"Shame really. I like the changing seasons like all the new growth in spring, warm summers, the changing colours of autumn and cold winters. It's like you know where you stand somehow."
"No. Give me summer all year round!"
The two boys who Lucas had pointed out in the changing room were sat right in front of us and as he finished talking to me they both turned and looked at us.
"Sorry for being rude but we couldn't help overhearing your conversation."
I smiled at them and replied.
"No problem. It isn't as if it was like private or anything."
"Thanks but it's like it came out of nowhere. Silence then a comment like it was just so natural."
"How do you mean?"
He looked at Lucas.
"You just came out and said 'Shade. They did that back in Texas.' Nothing was said between you to prompt that and we just wondered…….."
"You can read each other's thoughts can't you? Telepathy or whatever."
"Well yes sometimes. We kind of take it for granted. It doesn't surprise us anymore cos we know each other like inside and out and being dive partners it comes in very useful!"
Lucas took over.
"Unless I miss my guess, you two can as well?"
"Yes but we're not a team like you are. We're both of us track and field. Gary is a sprint runner and I do field like javelin and discus."
"But that said, you are like, a couple aren't you?"
The poor lad turned pink with embarrassment then looked at his friend who shrugged his shoulders.
"Umm……..well sort of."
Lucas leaned forward and whispered. "It's okay you know? We are as well, gay I mean. No shame. Be proud of yourselves."
The lad whispered back. "We know. We've both seen the Youtube vid and then the documentary on TV but we're not out like you are. Our parents would kill us!"
"Look can we talk about this later? We're in room 4006 so why not come up after we get back to the hotel. We'll have more privacy then."
"Really? That would be well cool! You actually get to share a room together? OMG our coaches would never sanction that! They police our rooms like it was Alcatraz or something! Would you mind if we stuck with you this afternoon? I mean I know you have friends here so if you'd rather not then........"
"That'd be great! Don't worry about our friends. They all know about us as do our coaches so it's no biggie, honest but we'll not let on about you guys if you'd rather we didn't. Let us introduce ourselves. I'm Lucas and this is my partner Andy."
"This is Gary and I'm Daniel or Dan. Thanks for being so understanding."
"Welcome aboard Gary and Dan! Let's go see what delights Guam has on offer shall we?"
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