Cory Wade is Missing

by Rick Beck

Chapter 5

A Confession

Jessie spent a few minutes wrestling with the truth that had change the trajectory of his life. His hopes, dreams, and aspirations were endangered, once he fell in love, He didn't allowed himself to feel too deeply about anything but the sport he excelled in.

As powerful as anything he'd felt, love, though unwelcome, came calling anyway. Had he been able to resist those feelings, his life would be peaches and cream, compared to what it had become, and Jessie was left grappling with the truth about what he was becoming.

"What would you say to your son if he told you he liked another boy?" Jessie asked. "Your son is a straight A student, he's a respected tennis player in limited circles, but he tells you he's gay, and he's in love with a boy."

"As difficult as it would be, I'd tell my son, and I'm not lucky enough to have one, you need to face the truth about who you are. Learning to be happy is hard enough. Trying to do it while living a lie, is a recipe for unhappiness. It's the definition of unhappiness."

"You don't know my father. He's Mr. Perfect. He runs his own firm. He is president of a local businessman's club. He married the home coming queen from college. My father is the man everyone wishes they were," Jessie said, sounding defeated. "I can't tell him I'm queer. It would break his heart. They talk about grand children."

"It's not their call, Jessie. They are lucky enough to watch you grow into the man you're becoming. They don't get to tell you who you are. Finding out who you are is your job," Angus said.

"I've never felt like this before. It was confusing enough before, and now Cory's gone. I'm alone, and I'm mad as hell."

"I'll tell you what happened, but you need to promise to find him. Please, tell me you'll find him."

"I make no promises. You give me something to go on, and I'll follow the clues. Once I pick up his trail, it'll become easier. Until I pick up his trail, I have nothing to go on."

Jessie seemed to give up his resistance. Angus being the only hope he had of seeing Cory again.

Jessie began to talk, "Cory and I have a thing. Had a thing. It's hard to talk about. I've never done anything like this before. I haven't put the pieces together yet. Mostly because I thought I'd overcome the part of me that could like someone like Cory that way."

"But you do know what happened that made Cory run?"

"Yes, sir. I mean, I know what I think happened."

"Let's start there. How is it, you think you know what happened? You and Cory were together after school on Monday?" Angus asked.

"Yes, we met after school. That was our plan. We'd been planning it for a week or more. Monday was the big day," Jessie said.

"Maybe start at the beginning. What made Monday a big deal?"

"I can't tell you what happened to Cory. I know what led to his running away," Jessie said, being careful with his words. "I'm the reason Cory ran. It was all my fault. I guess we were both at fault. I had so many feelings charging around inside of me. I didn't know what to do."

Angus settled back. Jessie was thinking about his role in what went down on Monday afternoon. Once he found a train of thought, Angus let him talk. He'd try to keep him focused, but Jessie wasn't going to tolerate being questioned too closely.

When Jessie fell silent, Angus waited. He could see Jessie's mind working through his intense brown eyes. Jessie was thinking about how to put into words what he wanted to say.

"I told yo the coach asked me to help Cory with his backhand. I didn't know anything about anything back then. I know tennis, and I ace my schoolwork with little effort required. I've got a nice life."

People respect me, you know? I play hard and I mostly win. I've always been a winner at everything I do. Maybe it's been too easy for me. Maybe having a life that's a walk in the park isn't how to learn the ways of the world," Jessie confessed.

"For me, it's always been about me. I'm the apple of my parent's eye. They've given me everything a kid could want. I've been able to perform above and beyond expectations both academically and athletically. I'm the kid every parent wants to have. Then, one day, Coach Struck, asks me to coach Cory Wade in how to hit a backhand properly. I don't know why he picked me. I knew why I didn't want to get close to Cory," Jessie said. "That's part of an old story."

"I'd watched Cory for three seasons of tennis. I didn't like what I felt when I did. He was a distraction I didn't need. I mostly steered clear of him. The feelings aren't new, but getting close to another boy i had feelings for, was. Coach Struck put me in a position I'd avoided being in, since coming to Bishop's. You can imagine how that went? Well, maybe you can't. I've fought it before, when I was a younger teenager, but I was finally in a place where I no longer needed to watch other boys, see how they moved. Everyone watched me. I was large and in charge, until Cory touched me," Jessie said.

"Like I said, there had been things going on inside me since I was really young. I kept moving my feelings aside. They were unpleasant. They disagreed with the well-ordered life I was living," Jessie said. "I knew how queers were treated. I knew I didn't want to be seen as a gay kid. I didn't want that label, even if I felt an attraction to the boys I ran with. I could change."

"It's not easy putting this into words. I've never thought about it in terms of describing it. Feelings defy description. They just are."

Jessie stopped talking.

He looked at Angus closely. He was standing on the edge of a truth Angus needed to know, but saying the words he was about to say, would make that truth official in Jessie's mind. Telling Angus the details of what had happened, what he had done, was the final step in admitting to himself, he was gay. He wasn't confused. He'd never been confused. He'd been afraid, but none of that mattered now. Jessie was struggling to survive what happened.

"Cory," Angus said.

Angus waited. He didn't know if Jessie was going to continue or turn tail and run from the truth he seemed ready to face.

"Man, am I thirsty. It'll be lunch in twenty minutes, and the cafeteria will be absolutely packed."

Angus needed coffee. He'd been worried that taking a break would end any chance of getting what he needed from Jessie, but a break might be just the ticket, allowing them both to regroup, and lighten the mood. It wasn't recommended procedure, but Angus was in serious need of some coffee.

"Are there any soda machines around?" Angus asked.

"No, there is a refrigerated section in the cafeteria for cold drinks. They have cold juices and soda. I'd love an ice-cold Coke and some Doritos."

"Show me where it is, and we'll both get something to drink and some Doritos. My treat," Angus said, standing up.

"You don't understand. They watch the athletes like a hawk. I pick up a soda and a bag of Doritos, and coach will be looking for my scalp in about ten minutes, after the cashier squeals on me," he said.

"OK. Tell you what. I need a cup of coffee. I'll get the Coke and two bags of Doritos. You get a cup of coffee. I'll pay for it, and the cashier will be none the wiser," Angus said.

"Cool," Jessie said, anxious to take part in the conspiracy.

Angus held the door. Jessie took the lead. Angus followed.

"I don't suppose the coffee is any good here," Angus said.

"It's OK. A bit strong for my taste," Jessie said.

"Sounds like it is right up my alley," Angus said.

Angus bought a 16oz Coke and two bags of Doritos. He smiled at the cashier, paying for both of their snacks.

She never looked twice at Jessie, but she gave a wink and a smile to Angus. So much for putting one over on the cafeteria lady. Angus didn't believe she was fooled for a second, but all's well that ends well. He had his coffee.

Justin drank half the Coke in one long swig. Angus sipped some unexpectedly good coffee. Then he opened his Doritos and ate a few.

"I find it goes best when you start at the beginning. Unload what's on your mind. I'm here looking for information that might lead me to Cory. Anything else i hear will not be repeated. You are one piece in a puzzle I'm putting together," Angus said.

The fresh start seemed to lighten Jessie's mood. He sat picking one Dorito after another out of the bag.

Angus knew Jessie heard him. He would let Jessie tell the story in his own time.

"It isn't easy to talk about, you know. I should go back to when it all started for me. That goes back a ways. I have a gay uncle. He's a good guy. He's maybe ten years older than I am, so he's still young at heart. I used to stay over at his place in L.A. He carried me around with him when I was younger; ten,eleven, twelve. We went to see the Dodgers, to Disneyland, stuff a kid likes, and Uncle Joe seemed to have fun too. He still like a kid. My parents are so entirely uptight about bills, school, tennis, college prep. Their little boy has to be the best, have the best. So I'm the best, without too many exceptions," Justin said, sipping from the what was left of his Coke, popping Doritos into his mouth.

He was adroit at talking around the chips.

"When I was twelve, I was going through puberty, and that's when I found some books in Uncle Joe's linen closet. He thought it was safe. What are the odds his nephew will get an urge to make his own bed?" Jessie asked. Nonetheless, there they were. I heard the whispers about Uncle Joe long before that. He was my father's kid brother. He wanted to protect him, but he couldn't protect him from a world that hated people who were like that, and so he worried."

"I was nosing around as kids that age do, and there were these books. Porn. Now I've played tennis since I was nine. I played at the country club in an all-boys league. I've been showering with grown men since then. From the first time I saw grown men naked, it excited me. At nine and ten, who notices? At eleven and twelve, you can't pop a woody in the shower without drawing some attention. I needed to make sure that didn't happen. You get the picture," he said. "I have feeling that are as exciting as anything I've experienced, and I have fears about what that means."

"I figured I was too young to be thinking about the things I thought about, but it didn't slow me down. I never did anything but look, but I was looking at guy's dicks. I had no urge to touch them or to be touched. Just liked seeing them."

"No big deal, but then I found these books, and it became a big deal. I stole one of my uncle's books, when I was maybe thirteen or fourteen. I don't know if he even remembered those books were there. It was always the same books in the same place. If he knew I stole it, he never said anything to me. That's when I started masturbating to the pictures. I'd masturbated some before, but it became a regular deal, once I had the book," Jessie said.

"What I'm saying is, I whacked off to pictures of men," Jessie said, eating more Doritos. "I knew what that meant. I knew my attraction to men meant that I could be gay, like Uncle Joe," Jessie said with resignation. "But Uncle Joe was cool and I never saw him do anything gay. He had a couple of friends we met for dinner and to go to ballgame. They were men. A women never went with us."

"So I figured I might be gay way back then. I've never been interested in girls. No one says anything because I'm this big-time tennis player. At fourteen and fifteen, I've got to play boys sixteen and seventeen, to have real competition. The older boys could hold their own for the first few games in a set, but then I figure out how to beat them," he said. "We all shower together after matches and I'm with older boys. I liked that. I liked more than one of the boys I played against, but those boys didn't like me. I never needed to worry about the competition having any desire to spend time with me. I was the kid who beat their asses, and I learned liking, and attraction, don't mean a thing in competition. He can be the most gorgeous guy on the planet, and if he's across the tennis court from me, I'm going to drive him into the ground. So, I got a bad reputation and I learn to see my opponents as fresh meat to beat," Jessie said with a smile.

"That's how I controlled my feelings for boys. They didn't go away but I learn to keep them out of the way. So at fourteen and fifteen, I'm playing good tennis. They bring in someone to beat me once in a while to keep me from getting too egotistical, but not often enough for me to think one of them will beat me."

"I was at Bishop's School by then. I'm already the singles champ at the country club, and I become the single's champ at school just before I turned sixteen. It was my second year with Coach Struck. He thought I was already too intense, but how do you change that?"

"Over the summer that year, my parents send me to a tennis camp run by two professional tennis players. They're retired, but they instill in their students a drive to win that's something like a killer instinct. Once you get your opponent on the ropes, you pound him harder, harder, and harder," Jessie said, banging his fist on the arm of the chair. "You do not let up, until you've annihilated him. You want to own him. Every time he comes on the tennis court and looks across the net, and he sees you there, sees me there, he remember the beating he took the last time we played, and he's already beaten. That's what they taught us. That's what I learned."

"I became more intense. No one wanted to play me. It would be what's called, over the top, but I was driven to be the best. My parents paid a lot of money to be sure I'm a winner on the tennis court. It's what they want from me, and I don't disappoint them. When I play, I don't know the meaning of let up. Once I win, I go back to being normal. As normal as I can be. Do you think I could be crazy? It would explain a lot."

With the Coke gone, Jessie polished off his Doritos.

"That's how I got here. I was a well oiled machine, until I got together with Cory," he said.

"He broke through the armor I built around the tennis stud persona. I liked seeing fear in the other boy's eyes, when they looked at me. Underneath it all, I just wanted to be loved," he said, hesitating again. "It was a month before he started talking about going to his house. That's not to say we weren't going there from the first day he touched me. He got my attention. Tennis season is over. Nothing stands in our way," Jessie said.

"I'm very aware of my status at Bishop's, and I know I'm not well liked. When the coach puts me with Cory, I was never going to teach him to hit a backhand. For me, you either can hit a backhand or you can't. If you can't, you practice your ass off until you can. That's my philosophy on how you hit a backhand," Jessie stated flatly.

"That first day, We got real close. It just happened. It wasn't a plan. I'm showing him how he needs to position his racket to hit a proper backhand. It's not rocket science, and we're real close, and his hands on my racket, my arm, my chest, my junk, and I'm paralyzed by his touch. I'm looking into his eyes. If I hadn't finally moved, he'd have kissed me in front of God and everybody else. I wanted that kiss more than you can imagine, but not on the tennis court," Jessie said, squirming in the chair. "This is like the first hour we ever spent together, and I've forgotten five years of restraint, and I'm ready to rip his clothes off. I must be crazy to let it happen that fast," he said.

"By the time we get off the tennis court, and avoid Coach Struck wanting to know what's up with the backhand, Cory is showing me the janitor's closet he was shown by the senior boys the first year he was at Bishop's. I'm appalled that I'm not the first boy he's been with in that closet, until he tells me he's been to the closet with me more than all the other boys put together. Another record, I suppose. Every day as quick as we can slip away from tennis practice, we're in the janitors closet. It gave new meaning to coming out of the closet. It's May. We're taking finals, handing in term papers, ready to graduate, and every chance we get, back to the closet. I kind of miss it, but when you deny yourself chocolate ice cream for long enough, once you get some, you can't stop eating, you know?"

"I'm doing the kinds of things I convinced myself I'd never do. The things in that book I clipped from Uncle Joe. What those guys were going didn't bother me, I got off to it every night, but I knew once I did things like that, I'd never stop, and I'd be gay after that. I may have been gay before that, but I didn't think much about that."

"This went on for most of a month. That's when the big day came. Daddy is away. Mommy is out, and we can go to his house and make love to each other in Cory's bed," Jessie said, stopping again.

"What happened last Monday, Jessie?"

"I'm just thinking about how bad this must sound. I spent years avoiding having physical contact with boys. I built a wall around myself. As soon as the first boy touches me, I'm out of control. We spent more time in that closet than we did working on his back hand. I don't know why I thought I could stop feeling anything. I'm intense in tennis, but the whole sex thing is another ball game entirely. The more I was with Cory, the more I wanted to be with him, because he made me feel good. Hitting a fucking tennis ball made me feel good, but if it meant never playing tenis again, I'd do it to find Cory."

"Saying that you're young isn't what you want to hear, Jessie," Angus said. "You learn to deal with your feelings the way you learned to be a tennis player. You go a step at a time. You don't need to give up tennis, but if you want to see Cory again, you need to tell me what happened. You've told me the story of your life, and I must admit it's fascinating, but now you need to tell me why Cory ran away."

"OK. I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be. It's not easy for me to talk about this," Jessie said, and then he hesitated once more.

Angus had nothing else to say to get Jessie to the point. Then, Jessie takes a deep breath, and he continues talking.

"His father was in New Jersey. We couldn't meet on the weekend, because his mother and the help was there, but on Monday, his mother went to get her hair done, and the help was off Mondays. We were going to go to his house and get in his bed, and... well, you get the idea, McCoy. I was going to finally make love to another boy. I was hard all day. Kept my shirt out all day. We practically ran to his house once we left last period. We were taking our clothes off all the way up the stairs and down the hall. By the time we got into his room, we were naked, and we made out and got each other about as hot as we could get, and we were in the bed, making love. I was so excited, I thought I might pass out. It was that intense. It was incredible, and then his father came charging into the room," Jessie said, with a gasp in the words.

He stopped talking and watched the scene play out in his mind.

"Do you know what it's like to be on the most incredible euphoric plain you've ever experienced, and you're yanked back to reality? I was caught. My entire life would be ruined. All my fears had come to pass, because I let myself fall in love with another boy."

Jessie looked at the empty soda bottle. He flipped it end over end, and it landed in the trash can in the corner of the room.

"He was fat and old. I'm young and quick. I got around him. I ran down the stairs, out the front door, naked as the day I was born, and I duck down between two cars parked in front of the house. I didn't know what to do. The cops would come and hall my ass off. I was ruined. I wanted to cry. I never gave one thought to what might be happening to Cory. Escaping was all I wanted to do. The big tough tennis player squatting naked between parked cars, crying his eyes out. I've never been so ashamed of myself," he sniffled, wiping the tears.

"Mr. Wade obviously saw the cops and the headlines too. He realized what was at stake, and he throws my clothes out the front door at me. He was yelling something. I couldn't hear him, but I got my pants, my shirt, and my shoes back. I put them on, and I got the hell out of there," he said excitedly.

"I haven't seen Cory since. He hasn't been in school. I know he hates me for leaving him there. It was pure adrenalin rush. I just had to run away. It's what I did," he said softly, letting the words go.

Angus cleared his throat. The way Jessie described it was enough to make Angus cringe. Being unlucky in love was an understatement.

Angus needed to question him now, before he clammed up.

"Did Mr. Wade hurt Cory?"

"I don't know. I don't know how long I squatted between those cars. It could have been a minute and a half. It could have been ten minutes. I think he threw my clothes at me fairly soon after I got between the cars. How long would it take to hurt someone? I can't be sure about anything. My mind was going in all directions. It was horrible. It was the worst event in my life."

"You did nothing wrong. You know that, Jessie," Angus said, needing to say something to reassure the boy.

"Yes, I did. I left Cory behind," he said with certainty. "I don't want you to think it was all sexual. It wasn't. We liked each other."

"Coaching him was the start of something, even if we weren't sure what we were doing. What do kids our age know about making love. We see it and hear about it everywhere, but no one seems to know what love is. One minute I'm just playing tennis, and the next minute, I'm looking for a bed where we'd figure out how to make love to each other. It took a month to go from a broom closet to his bedroom," Jessie said. "One month from innocence to falling in love, and I ran away, when he needed me. How could I do that?"

"Anyway, you get the picture. Right away I was nervous being close to Cory. He represented my self destructive side, and I didn't care. I stayed a virgin until I met Cory. I knew being close to him was a bad idea, but the closer I got the closer I wanted to be. He was the flower. I was the bee," Jessie said, smiling wanly.

Angus couldn't imagine the courage it took to tell that story. Jessie was as tough as advertised. He simply saw his reflex to survive as weakness.

"Times are changing, Jessie. Athletes are coming out all the time. The more who come out, the easier it will get for athletes to come out. Besides, it has nothing to do with sports," Angus said.

"Take it from me, a level 1 sports centric college does not want to hear, 'And oh, by the way, I'm gay," Jessie said with a lisp and a flip of his wrist.

"You have a lot of company. Start a gay alliance for athletes, when you get to college," Angus said.

"We started talking about going to the same college, sharing a dorm room. That idea appealed to me. If no one else knew, it would be perfect. I could do all the things I'm expected to do, and at night I'll be with Cory," he said. "Dreams. I bet you think I'm pathetic. I ran out on him, and I'm talking about our dreams."

"I've never had more respect for a teenager than I have for you right now. You've given me the lead I need to pick up Cory's trail. If you hadn't told me the truth, I'd still be spinning my wheels, Jessie. What you did took courage," Angus said.

"There was some humor to my circumstances," Justin said. "Being naked isn't exactly a novelty for athletes. You get used to parading around naked. It's usually just the guys on the team, coaches, recruiters. While I was squatting between the cars, I heard water running behind me. I turned around and there's a guy standing on the lawn directly across the street. He's looking right at me. That's when Cory's old man started chucking my clothes at me. I wasted no time getting dressed and getting out of there. I bet that got watering the lawn was surprised," Jessie said, smiling.

"I bet," Angus said, making a note of it.

"I've told you about all of it. Can you find him, McCoy. I miss him something fierce," Jessie said. "I don't care how pathetic I sound. I need to know he's OK. I feel terrible."

"You've given me a lot more to go on than I had up until now. There isn't anyone I can't find if I know what I'm looking for. Right now, the man who needs to answer some questions is Cory's father. At this point, Anthony Wade is the last person known to see Cory Wade," Angus said. "He's not a man who answers questions."

"You don't think he'd hurt Cory, do you?" Jessie asked.

"I don't know what he'd do. Rumor has it, he's not a nice man."

"Where do you think Cory went?" Jessie asked.

"I'll need to get into his house, get a look at his computer, find his phone. Now that I have a direction to go in, it'll be easier. You need to get back to class. I've kept you way too long."

"Will you keep me posted, McCoy?" Jessie asked.

"Here's my card. Here's my cell on the back. You'll need to call me. You can leave a message at my office. I'll get back to you as quick as I can. I keep pretty busy. So you call me if you need to talk," Angus said.

They shook hands and Jessie left the office.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead