Red Cherries

by Benjamin J. Conner

Chapter 4 "Close to Josh"

The next morning wasn't as relaxed as the last few days. After a quick breakfast mom told me that we had to go shopping to get some clothes for our vacation. I struggled, because I wanted to see Josh but she insisted that we go for it today. We agreed, that she would drop me at the Nolan house afterwards and that we don't waste too much time in looking here and there. I called Josh to let him know what our plan was.

We got some new shorts, a pair of jeans, swimming trunks, some shirts, socks and some cool new sneakers for me. All in all we had been really fast - it took us about two hours. But mom also was in a hurry, because she had to prepare for lunch - thank god.

When we arrived I got out of the car and rang the doorbell. We both waved at each other once more while mom drove off.

"Hey Josh!"

"Hi Sam."

I followed him into the living room where he switched off the TV.

"You ok?"


"Sorry you had to wait, mom didn't tell me yesterday so everything had to go really fast. She is already preparing lunch."

"I am fine, watched some TV."

"You ready to go over to my place?"

"In a minute."

Josh went upstairs, put on some socks and shoes and was back soon.

"Ready to go!"

"Great, what are we going to do today?"

"I don't know, you choose!" Josh suggested.

"Ok, cool."

We slowly walked to our house. I don't know why, but something was wrong. Josh was a little silent today. Was he mad at me for making him wait? I mean, we called and informed him about the shopping. Or perhaps something else was bothering him? Was he missing me, as I did him, even if only for two hours?

I was sure to find out later, but for now, I was hungry and we looked forward to potato mash with pan-fried salmon and asparagus. Hopefully Josh also liked that.

It was Friday afternoon just after lunch; only two weeks to go until our trip to Italy. We were upstairs in my room relaxing; as usual.

"You wanna sleep-over tonight?"

"I don't know. Have to ask my mom."

"Shall we call her?"

"She's not home, and I don't have any new clothes with me."

"Look at my cupboard silly, there's enough you can wear."

"Yeah, you're right. What if we go downtown and ask her?"

"We can take the bikes, but this time you have to take my dad's!" I suggested.

"Oh noooo, it's too big for me, I will take my board then."

"Ok, let's go!"

We rode downtown on our usual way through 4th street. Josh would hold on my right arm while I took up speed on my bike. We were really fast. A little too fast perhaps. Josh asked me to go slower now and then, but he was making good progress in his skating skills and was therefore cool with it in the end.

The street was a little steep and I didn't have to pedal very much for us to keep pace. When we reached the next crossing I pulled on my brakes to slow down and look for the cars. The one thing I forgot was, that Josh didn't have any brakes so he passed me and rolled on at a good speed. He tried to keep direction but after some swerving about he jumped off his board and stopped in the middle of the street.

A dark colored car was coming fast from the right directly towards Josh. I thought he would stop right away but the driver didn't seem to pay attention and continued without slowing down.

"JOOOSSSHH MOVE!" I yelled and waved at him as I saw the upcoming and pointed over to the car, but he didn't seem to notice. For whatever reason I dropped my bike without thinking and ran over to him. He looked at me with eyes wide open and didn't know what I was about. It was only a matter of seconds. I jumped and pushed my friend off the street with all my weight. The last thing I know before I passed out was the gray asphalt coming closer.

"Ms. Duncan?"

"Dr. Miller, how is my son?" she asked running over to him.

"Nothing serious Ms. Duncan. Samuel has little bruises on his elbows and his right knee and will get some stitches for a little laceration on his forehead. He might have a light concussion, but we couldn't see that clearly. Anyway, you can take him with you in an hour."

"Thank god....and about the concussion?" she asked full of relief.

"He might have a headache for today but it should go away soon, I will give you some medication for him; if he continues to have a headache or feels sick I want you to come back immediately!"

"Will he be ok?" Josh asked while Ms. Duncan nodded to the doctor.

"What's your name?"


"He will be alright Joshua, don't worry. What about your knee, shall I take a look at it?"

"No it's ok thank you, can I see him?" the boy asked with a worried expression on his face.

"Yes you can, follow me."

Rebecca, Sam's mom, sighed and put an arm around the boy's neck while the doctor lead the way.

"Don't worry Josh!"

I felt a little dizzy after what happened, laying there in a hospital bed. The room I was in was quite sterile and it smelled awfully. My right knee and my arms hurt. I was unsure what happened and tried to remember when the door was opened. Josh and my mom came in and ran over to me.

"Hi honey, how are you?"

"Hi mom, my knee and my arms hurt, but I am okay. What happened?"

"You saved my life." Josh stated.


"You pushed me off the street and fell over."

My mother listened and held my hand slowly stroking it.

"Are you ok?" I asked.

"Yes, I am fine.....thank you Sam."

"We can leave soon honey, but you will get some stitches before."

"What for?"

"Your forehead."

"Do they have to mom, it doesn't hurt anymore?"

"I am afraid yes, but it won't hurt very much."

A nurse entered the room, cleaned Josh's knee and put a plaster on it. It was painful as far as I could see in his face but he didn't say a word.

An hour later we left the hospital and drove home. Josh helped me upstairs and insisted that he wanted to take care of me. He never left my side for a minute that afternoon as far as I know. I slowy started to remember what happened while I relaxed on my own bed and fell asleep for an hour or so.

"No sleep-over tonight uh?" I mumbled more than asked after I woke up and saw Josh's face again.

"I will not leave you Sam."

"What about your mom?"

"I told your mother that I wanted to stay and take care of you and she offered to call her and ask for permission. But I won't leave you alone, no matter what. You saved my life and I owe you."

"You owe me nothing Josh, I just did what everybody would have done."

"No, nobody has ever done anything like that for me."

"Hey, that's what friends are for."

"Thank you Sam, you are the best friend in the world."

"Best friend with stitches" I said examining my forehead and we both laughed.

"Hey Josh, can I ask you something?"


"When I came to your house today, you seemed to be a little down. What was going on?"

"Nothing." he answered shrugging his shoulders.

"Josh come on, you can tell me."

"Really it was nothing!"

"Ok, whatever you say."

Josh cared for me the rest of the day. I always had something to drink or to eat before asking for it. He switched on the TV and lights, but never left my side for more than one or two minutes, always sitting on the bed next to me. It felt so good, though I could have abandoned the bruises.

Later on my dad and also Marie came by and asked how I was. My dad said, that I had really done a man's job and that he was very proud of me. Marie thanked me and even gave me a kiss on my cheek for saving her son. She brought some clothes with her for Josh and said, that he could of course stay with me if that was what we both wanted.

I didn't know why everybody made such a big deal of it, because I only had some bruises and didn't lose a leg or so. But for Josh being around, I was happy the way it was.

We played some video games and enjoyed ourselves until my mom got upstairs and one last time asked if we needed anything.

"No mom, we are fine."

"How do you feel?"

"Ok, and Josh is taking good care of me."

"That's really nice of you" she said looking at my friend.

"I wanted to, he's my lifesaver."

"A good friend is priceless. I will prepare your bed on the couch Josh."

"Can't we sleep together in my bed? It's big enough. Mom, please!"

"Only if you promise to not make a night of it."

"Cross my heart and hope to die."

"You know I don't like it when you say that."


"Fine, you need anything Josh?"

"No Rebecca, thank you."

"Rebecca? Did I miss something?" I asked.

"Your friend here has been a real help today and he also brought back your bike while you were sleeping."

"Cool, thanks." We smiled at each other.

"You could take a page from his book sometimes. However you two sleep tight and remember your promise!"

She left after giving me a kiss and ruffling through Joshua's hair. I went for a pee and even in this situation my friend asked me if I needed any support, but this was lonely man's business.

When I came back, Josh had started to drop his pants and socks.

"How do you sleep?"

"What do you mean?"

"Pajama or in your boxers, and don't you dare to say, you don't know!"

We both laughed before he answered my question with a short "Boxers".

"Me too. Let's go and brush our teeth!"

"Wait a moment....have to get my stuff."

After doing that, we both agreed that the left side was mine and switched off the TV and lights. It was our first sleep-over and I was a little excited about it, don't ask me why. While we arranged ourselves under my king size bedcover our legs touched more than once and again I thought that Josh really had soft skin.



"Thank you for what you've done today."

"I am glad I was there."

Some minutes passed without a word and we both were laying on our backs with eyes wide open before he started again.



"I like you very much."

"I like you too Josh."

"I mean, I really like you."

"What do you mean by really?"

The tingling feeling came back, I guess some would say the butterflies in my tummy started to go crazy.

"I don't know, you are like a big brother to me. I feel safe, when you are around."

"I feel the same. Now stop that, silly; we are friends."

"I know."

"It's going to be warm, I'll get rid of my shirt."

"Yeah, me too."

We both tossed our shirts away. Now we were laying there, in only our boxers. You again may call me stupid or so, but I wanted to get closer to him. Not in a sexual way. Unable to explain what went through my mind I was usless to the situation. I only wanted to be close to Josh.

My heart was beating faster as I started to gather all my courage; but read my mind again.

"Sam, can I ask you a personal question?"


"Would it gross you out, if I put my arm around you, I mean only in a friendly way?"

My heart nearly jump out of my chest. I was thrilled that he asked about it but also afraid for whatever reason.


"Cool." he said, but didn't move an inch.

I got goosebumps, felt hot and cold at the same time. 'God, what is happening with me?' went through my mind.

After what seemed hours Josh turned towards me, re-arranged the blanket and softly put his left arm on my chest. Before he touched my skin, I tensed up a bit and was unsure of how to react to this but tried to act as normal as possible.

He rested his head on my left arm, which hurt a bit from the bruises but I didn't say anything.

"Night Sam!"

"Night Josh!"

It took me some minutes to relax, because of how close he came to me, but after some time to getting used to it I felt free and safe. There I was, wanting to be close to him so very much, but when it happened I was unsure of what to do.

However, it felt wonderful. We both enjoyed the warmth of each other and slowly fell asleep after an exciting day, together.

I opened my eyes; the clock read 7:48 and my room was bright. Laying on my back I could see through the window. The sky appeared to be a little bluer than yesterday.

Still feeling a little tired I sneaked out of my bed to gor for a pee; my morning boner aching to be freed from the thin material that hid it. Josh was turned to his side. It took me a minute to control that thing down their and release my bladder afterwards. I was unable to take a piss with a hard on or I would have sprayed all over the bath.

When I returned, the situation was unchanged and I crouched back under the blanket. Josh's back was free and slowly going up and down from his breathing that I could hear in a steady rythm. Besides this, nothing was heard around us - ok some birds were singing, but that was very far away in the background.

Like using my pencil I stuck out my index finger and softly let it draw along each line of his back starting at his neck; again the lights and the shadows were the most important things. To draw with only two colors; the white from the paper sheet and the black color from the pencil was difficult enough. But I was always better at it, when I felt what I was drawing. Only this time, I had no pencil and no paper.

His skin was like my cashmere scarf; so soft and smooth. The thin fuzzy hair in his neck would stand up, when I came closer. It also was golden in color, like any kind of hair on his body. I on the other hand didn't have so much hair. My legs, my arms, even my armpits were fair and clean....and of course my goddamn pubes that didn't show up by now.

Josh jerked a little as I got farther down with my finger and turned around, eyes still closed. I immediately laid back, closed my eyes and faked to be asleep.

He moved towards me.....came close.....closer....and finally put his head on my chest and one leg on mine while he continued with his rhythmic and sound breathing. I swallowed and my heart was starting to beat faster.

"I liked that" he mumbled.

"You what??"

"I liked that."

"You're awake?"

"Not really."

I tried to ease up, but was useless to the pressure in my tummy. It felt as if I was sick. Josh on the other hand was peaceful, took my hand, which was laying stretched out next to him and directed it to his back.

The situation was awkward in so many ways but equally familiar. I stuck out my index finger once again and slowly let it run along his back. Josh sighed weakly and pressed himself in on me as I touched him again.



"I'm sorry."

"Sorry? For what?"

"I lied to remember when you asked me if I was down yesterday?"


"I was."


"Because I missed you."

"But it was only two hours."

"No, it was the evening, the entire night and the morning until eleven....

"You're crazy." I said with a smile on my face.

"I know....that's why I lied."

"It's ok."

He raised his head, looked into my eyes and continued

"Did you miss me?"

"Yeah, I did. I was fighting with my mom because I wanted to stay and be with you. But I'd no chance."

"You tried, that's all that matters." Josh said, while he put his head back on my chest; the tension was leaving my body and I started to enjoy the situation.

"Wanna get up?" I asked.


"Me neither."

In the meanwhile I used my entire hand to stroke Josh's back. His softness was magical and it was combined with a pleasant smell that came from him and slowly filled my nostrils. We closed our eyes and drifted off to sleep again, appreciating the wonderful warm feeling of being together.

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