Knots, Book 3
by Elias Scott
We had a basketball game that Friday. All the basketball players wore their jerseys to class. I looked at myself in the mirror that morning and there was someone else staring back at me. It wasn't the Matt Spence I used to know, but someone else. Something in my eyes looked different. Confidence used to show in those eyes, and suddenly they were filled with fear and doubt. I had no idea what I was afraid of. Looking back on it now, I think it's because I lost respect for myself. I never realized how much I took it for granted.
If you'd have asked me at the time what was different or why, I'd have said it wasn't because Andy and I had sex or had a foursome. I guess it was that everyone knew. We can say that we don't care what people think, but we do. Gina, Emily, Thomas, Andy, Alan, Ollie, and Ernie had all been close friends and now everything was different. I was sophomore class president and felt I had to quit because I'd betrayed my class, or at least I felt I had. We were all going to be juniors in just a few months. The summer would lay before us and it was my hope that everything I had before would return by the time football started in August and we went back to school in September. But I wasn't sure my hopes would come true. I felt small. I'd never felt that way before. Maybe that's the way Andy felt when he broke his leg during football. Randy didn't hang with us much anymore, but I remember thinking he felt the same way.
Andy and I met each other at my house before heading to the bus stop that morning. No one paid much attention to us, which is almost as bad as them paying too much attention. We'd been the popular kids in school. We were leaders and now it seemed like we were like everyone else. I'm sure that pleased a lot of people. We sat on the bus while kids joked and laughed and acted like they always did. Thinking about it now, I guess it was because they hadn't lost their innocence. They were still kids at heart. But we'd played at grown up games, and we were no longer children. We'd been to court and had to testify about the private things in our lives. All our knots were exposed.
Andy and I headed to our usual table before school, hoping to see the gang all there, but only Ollie and Thomas were there. We sat as people walked by and just smiled or ignored us.
Ollie sat between Andy and me. He nudged both of us with his elbows. "You know, maybe this is what it felt like when people had leprosy in the old days. Do you think it's catchy? Maybe I should move."
Andy and I ruffled his hair.
"You better not," I said. "Otherwise we're going to take you and dump you in the garbage can. Give you some real bullying."
He laughed. "You know I'd never do that. Hell, I'm the only one of the old gang who's still here."
Gina and Emily came into the cafeteria. I jumped up. "Gina, can we talk?"
She and Emily kept walking.
"Gina. Come on. Come to our table. Can't it be like it used to?"
She ignored me. Emily spun around. "Leave us alone. Can't you see she doesn't want to talk to you?"
"Emily, can't you make her understand?"
"Understand what, you like guys more than girls. We can live with that, but you're such a coward. We were your friends and you've been living a double life. Even Andy. He said he was gay, but he didn't give us any idea that you guys were all having sex. Gina and I haven't had sex because we want to wait, and you guys are all fooling around."
I moved closer to Emily and started to push her away until I thought better of it. "Emily, this is between Gina and me, not you and me. Let her talk for herself." I turned to Gina. "Let's talk. All I want to do is talk. Give me a chance to explain. That's all I'm asking."
She turned toward me with anger in her eyes. "What's there to talk about? You did what you did. There's nothing to discuss. What's left for you and me? Nothing. I will never be your first. Even if I was interested, you'd always be thinking of other guys. I don't know much, but I don't think you can turn that stuff on and off."
Kids noticed the tension and began to gather round. "Gina, please. Meet me at lunch under the elm tree in front of the school."
"I'll think about it."
You can't believe how much those words meant to me. You'd have thought she'd just agreed to give me a blowjob. I shouldn't really say that because I don't want to think of Gina that way.
It seemed like it took forever for the lunch bell to ring. I rushed out of class and stood under the elm tree. Of course, there were no leaves on it and it seemed stupid that I suggested it once I was there. Talk about looking ridiculous. Kids were walking by and there I stood all alone. After ten minutes of standing there like a fool, I finally joined the others at lunch. Alan and Ernie showed up. That was an improvement.
Alan patted me on the back as I sat down. "Heard you were supposed to meet Gina out under the elm tree." He pointed to another table. "Obviously she's not under the elm tree."
"How'd you know about the elm tree?" I spit out.
"Gina and Emily told us. We did our best to convince her to give you a chance, but she's pissed. Who knows if she'll ever forgive you. And every time it seems like she's going to weaken, Emily steps in."
"What do you mean, forgive me? I didn't do anything to her."
Ollie took a bite of his sandwich. "Trust, Matt. It's about trust."
Andy jumped up. "Fuck this shit." He headed to their table and sat. Unfortunately, his voice was loud enough for everyone to hear. "We're getting tired of this crap. Knock it off. We made a mistake. Get over it."
Emily spoke. "Go back to your cave, Andy."
"You know something, Em, you're acting like a real bitch. Get over this crap. We were wrong. Doesn't anyone have the right to make a mistake? Haven't you ever made a mistake?"
The rest of us sat at the table with our heads down acting like we were deaf.
"You betrayed our trust."
"You know something, Em? I don't care. We're sorry. What do you expect from us? Matt really cares for Gina. Kind of pisses me off because I wish he cared about me the same as he does for Gina, but he doesn't. Same goes for Thomas. So get over this shit."
This was the last thing I needed. If I felt small before the day began, I felt even smaller now that Andy was talking loud enough for the whole cafeteria to hear. Alan, Ernie, and Ollie looked at Thomas and me like we really did have leprosy. Thomas and I glanced at each other just long enough to shake our heads. He whispered, "I think we're fucked."
Gina and Emily got surprised looks on their faces. Emily should become a lawyer, because she never gave Gina a chance to say anything. "How do we know you're telling the truth?"
"Emily, would I lie about something like this?"
She slowed some. "Maybe you should keep your voice down. Everyone is looking at
I smiled and lowered my voice. "Well, at least they know Matt's interested in girls more than guys."
Gina finally spoke. "So you say. It's a little late now."
"Look, Gina. He only had sex with me because he thought I was going to kill myself the night Dillon broke up with me. Maybe it was a stupid thing to do, but he did it and it meant a lot to me. It showed just how strong Matt's love was. It wasn't that he wanted to have sex with me. He did it because I was hurting. Gina, how could you not want a guy like that?"
"He's not the guy I thought he was. I thought he really liked me. I thought we'd go together and now it has all ended. What is there ahead for us? He's had sex not with some girl, which would have probably made me angrier, but with you and two other guys. I didn't expect it from Thomas. Randy, maybe. But not Thomas. It's hard to look at all of you. No matter how much I try to understand and be open-minded, it's hard."
My voice pleaded. "Gina. We're still the same guys. Sure we've tied a few knots maybe we shouldn't have, but…"
"But what?" she sneered. "I wanted to be Matt's first and now, if we were ever to have sex, I'd be his second. You were his first. How do you think that makes me feel?"
Damn. This ended up being harder than I thought after busting my balls to get over to them and convince them to give us a chance. And like a fool, I said, "Yeah, I was."
Emily hit me upside the head. "Get your ass back to your hole."
I tried to recover. "I'm sorry. Of course it makes you feel bad. I understand. Look what Dillon did to me. I know how you feel, Gina. Believe me. I was ready to kill myself over it. Are you ready to kill yourself over Matt?"
She didn't say anything at first. "Well, no, it's not like we were boyfriend and girlfriend. But I'm not ready to talk to him either. It's going to take time."
"Can I tell him you'll at least meet him under the elm tree on Monday?"
"I'll have to think about it. We're going to the basketball game tonight and I'll let you know then."
I smiled. "That's fair."
I headed back to our table where Thomas and Matt were looking down at the floor. I sat down with a smile. "Matt, Gina's going to think about talking to you. She'll let us know tonight after the game if she's going to meet you Monday during lunch. Try to look like a star and make yourself irresistible."
And what does Matt say but, "Damn, Andy. Everyone could hear you. Do you know how embarrassing that is? You're talking loud enough for everyone to hear about us having sex. Hell, the whole cafeteria was silent except for you."
"Just because you're a chickenshit, doesn't mean I have to be one. After all, I'm Andy Gibson."
I could tell Thomas wanted to say something but he didn't. He had an embarrassed look on his face.
"Andy Gibson or not, you need to think about the rest of us."
"Hell, Matt. Gina might change her mind. If she does, then I expect a big thank you and an 'I'm sorry' from you."
He frowned. "It's unlikely she'll ever talk to me again, but if she does, then you'll get both."
"Think confidently and play well tonight."
Matt squeezed his lips together before saying, "Like that'll help."
After school got out, I began to think maybe Andy was right. I planned on playing my best game ever. But then doubt entered my mind. Why would she care how good I looked on the basketball court? There was nothing to lose though, so during warm-ups I took every opportunity to do some fancy dribbling, passing, and shooting. Andy and Thomas helped. Even Randy got into the deal. Suddenly, I realized our foursome was on the court playing basketball and warming up together instead of playing with each other's asses, balls, and dicks. I couldn't help but wonder if Gina and the whole school were thinking the same thing. Shit, sometimes there's no end to the knots we tie in our lives.
We played well and I was the high scorer. Andy was second. There was one time when all four of us were out on the court at the same time. I thought I heard someone yell, "Hey, the foursome's on the court."
I made sure I knew where Gina and Emily were sitting before the game started and every now and then I glanced up at them. Andy came up to me in the middle of the game and said, "Damn, Matt. You're looking hot. Gina's going to be down here jumping all over you after the game."
Things were really going well until Thomas went up for a rebound and came down and twisted his ankle. Andy and I rushed to him. He was screaming, and I hate to say all I could think of was, there goes sex with Thomas. Andy later told me he thought the same thing. What selfish assholes we were.
Thomas was put on a stretcher and taken to the hospital.
We finished the game with a win. Gina and Emily came up to us after the game. "I'm sorry about Thomas," Gina said.
"Me too," Emily added.
Then they just walked off and left us standing there. Randy joined us in the locker room and he was really concerned about Thomas. Andy and I were surprised. I'm not sure why. After all, they'd been best friends most of their lives.
My parents took Andy and me to the hospital, but only family were allowed to see him. His parents were pacing outside and said he'd broken his ankle and would be out for the rest of the basketball season.
Everyone seemed to feel somewhat uncomfortable after everything that happened, but no one mentioned the trial or our sex. To be honest, I can't imagine why I had even expected that to happen.
I hate it when shit happens. Thomas broke his ankle and Gina and Emily managed to just stop long enough to say they were sorry. Matt and I were really upset about Thomas breaking his ankle, but at the same time we were upset because he'd be on the injured reserves when it came time for sex. Hell, Matt was too for that matter. What the hell was I going to do? It seems like my love for Thomas was being put to the test.
Matt, Alan, Ernie, Ollie, and I went to see Thomas at the hospital on Saturday. He was lying in bed with his foot in a cast up to his knee. The whole thing was held up in a sling. He looked sad. I figured I'd cheer him up. I moved in close. "Some people will do anything to get out of having sex."
His face broke into a small smile. "Don't make me laugh. It makes my whole leg hurt."
Alan pulled out a pen. "I want to be the first to sign your cast." He signed his name and the rest of us did the same.
"You'll have to do it again," he said. "I need to have an operation. They're going to put pins in my ankle."
"Damn, Thomas, looks like you're going to be on the injured reserve," I said as I gave him a wink.
"Andy, what do you mean injured reserve?" Ernie asked.
Alan poked him. "Don't be such a dumb shit. Think about it."
Ernie got all embarrassed. "Oh! Now I get it. Unfortunately, non-gay guys like us, at least Alan and me, are on the permanent reserve list."
Alan poked him again. "Speak for yourself."
Matt grabbed Thomas' hand and squeezed. "Sorry, tough break. No pun intended."
Thomas smiled as Matt let go of his hand. I couldn't let Matt get away with that shit so I grabbed Thomas' hand. He pulled his hand away with a smile. "Sorry, Andy. Tough break."
We made small talk for about ten minutes before the nurse kicked us out. We got down to the lobby and who should walk in but Gina and Emily. They gave us a quick nod and headed to the elevator to see Thomas. At least he wasn't on their shit list.
We saw Gina and Emily on our way out of the hospital. I hoped Gina would stop to talk to me, but all they did was give us a quick nod on their way to the elevator. I remember thinking maybe I should just give up. She's never going to talk to me. Why bother. Andy and I can have sex any time we're able. Unfortunately, I knew my feelings for Gina went deeper than sex, and of course, if Andy and I continued to have sex, she'd never talk to me or ever go out with me. Talk about being in a bind.
One thing I'd learned from sports was to never give up, so I called her Saturday night. Her mother answered. "Hello, Mrs. Lockhart. This is Matt Spence. Can I talk to Gina?"
There was silence at the other end. Shit, I thought. It never occurred to me that Mr. and Mrs. Lockhart might not want me talking or hanging around with their daughter.
"Matt, it's nice to hear your voice. It's been a long time since we've seen you. I guess you've been pretty busy."
Shit. Pretty busy? What did she mean by that? I finished the sentence for her in my head. Pretty busy fucking each other in the ass and sucking each other's cocks.
"I have been busy, Mrs. Lockhart. "I have basketball, and of course there was court."
"Yes, there was court, wasn't there?"
"I'm not sure Gina will talk to you, but I'll check."
The phone clanked on the table. You could hear the TV in the background. Someone picked up the receiver. "Matt, I told you I didn't want to talk to you."
"I know. But we need to talk sometime. I really like you. Can't we still be friends?"
"Friends confide in each other."
"Yes. I made a mistake. Aren't I allowed to make mistakes? I'm not perfect."
"It's a matter of trust, Matt."
Gina lowered her voice. "Andy talked to me yesterday. As much as he likes having sex with you, he wants you and me to be friends. I think he'd give up having sex with you if he thought that's what it would take. He must really love you."
It seemed so strange to hear her talk about our sex so casually. And then love all in the same sentence. I was unable to speak, so she continued. "He said you did what you did because you were afraid he was going to kill himself and that I should forgive you because you should be respected for being the type of guy who would do that for a friend. I can accept that. You've been friends almost your whole lives. But you should have told Emily and me. That's what I'm upset about."
"I know, Gina. But it was hard. I could hardly believe I was doing it myself. But it happened and I'm sorry for not telling you, but I want us to be friends."
There was silence at the other end of the line for at least ten seconds as my heart was pounding in my chest. I was more nervous than before a football or basketball game. She finally said, "I'll meet you under the elm tree on Monday at lunch. That will give me the rest of the weekend to think about it. And by the way, just so you know, Oscar Wilde's wife stuck beside him. I haven't had a chance to tell Mr. Abbott. Mrs. Wilde got sick and died a year or two after he went to jail. Her family never let him see his kids. They told the kids their father had died."
Why she was telling me this stuff was beyond me. But I didn't care. She was talking to me, and we were going to meet under the elm tree on Monday.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
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