Knots, Book 4
by Elias Scott
This is the fourth book of Knots. It's the story of Matt and Andy, who were fourteen when Knots was first published and are not sixteen and going into their junior year in high school. This is the continuing story of the relationship between Matt and Andy and the knots they tie in their lives that change the course of their lives and their futures. Knots 3 ended with Andy in the hospital after having been seriously beaten by a homophobic man who picked him up and beat him. Matt tells Andy he loves him and Andy says, "It's a strange love that we have, isn't it?" Matt answered, "Yes, it is, isn't it?"
I've never been able to figure out why I'm lucky enough to have a best friend like Matt. It often seemed like I didn't deserve him. In many ways, I thought I had corrupted him. We'd been through so much together, starting with being friends in elementary school, a time when we were so innocent and knew nothing of sex or of what kind of control it would have over our lives. There was the time when we mowed lawns together and the day Emily and Gina came by and rubbed their hands up and down our chests and Matt and I both felt something we'd never experienced before. And of course there was the pond where he and I had put up the rope. He was so angry when I invited everyone else because he wanted it to be just for the two of us. I was wrong, but I wanted to be popular.
Dillon affected all our lives. Dillon broke my heart and because of that Matt had his first taste of guy sex. For the first time I knew what it was like to be betrayed. I'm not sure if Matt would have given me his virginity if Dillon hadn't tried to seduce him, or for that matter, if I hadn't tried to seduce Matt. But whatever the reason, he gave his virginity to me because he was afraid I might kill myself, and I have to tell you, I was thinking about it. Who knows what I'd have done if Matt wasn't there for me.
We got to know Thomas and Randy because of Dillon. Thomas had become a good friend. Randy and I worked for Derrick, and of course that's why I found myself in the hospital. Dillon's trial exposed everything we'd been doing to our friends, the community, and the whole school. It was embarrassing enough for me, but at least I was out of the closet, but poor Matt suffered through it all.
It's still hard for me to believe that we prostituted ourselves for money. Well, at least it's hard for me to believe that Matt did. "Just another dumb knot we've tied in our lives," he'd say. He'd be right of course.
He came to my hospital room the first day I was able to see visitors. Just seeing him, made me feel like I would live forever. It wasn't anything much except that it was Matt and he loved me unconditionally. Who could ask for more?
He kissed me on the forehead and said, "I love you, Andy." I started to cry. The scabs and bruises on my face didn't seem to bother him. He sat with me for awhile and I remember saying to him "The love we have for each other is a strange love."
He said, "It is, isn't it."
We sat there alone holding hands and didn't talk for a long time because it hurt for me to talk. It was just nice having Matt there. You could hear the machines in the room monitoring my breathing and heart rate. Suddenly I smelled the flowers, and when I glanced at the huge wreath the GSA club sent, I couldn't help but smile. The things we do can come back to us in many ways. Seeing that wreath made me realize that I'd done at least one good thing so far in my life. Being Matt's best friend was the other.
The police had tried to get information on what happened to Andy, but he wouldn't tell them at first. He said he was in too much pain and was having trouble remembering. What was he going to say, "I was whoring around and some religious fanatic paid for sex and then beat the shit out of me."
Derrick kept his distance. Randy came a couple times and said that he thought maybe he should get out of the business, but just as quickly said, "Now that I'm the only one, the money's even better." Andy warned him just like I'd warned Andy, but everyone has to make their own decisions and their own mistakes.
The kids at school and on the football team asked me if I knew what happened. I told them the story Andy and I had agreed on. We thought someone from the anti-GSA protestors was responsible. Andy eventually told his parents and the police that he left the house to meet Randy when some guy pulled up beside him. Before he knew it, another guy opened the back door of the car, grabbed him, threw him in, and took him out to the field where they beat him, tied the note on his dick, and left him there. I gave everyone else the same story. That seemed to satisfy them. The last thing Andy wanted was an investigation. The one question that went unanswered was: why was he meeting Randy and going to Rockbury? Andy blew if off and said they wanted to go to the beach and the amusement park. Sounded good except for the fact he missed football practice, and that was so unlike him.
It's strange when I think back on that time. I had $9200 hidden away in the garage from prostituting myself to older men and a few days later I'm a full-fledged junior in high school and a guy who had already lived and experienced too much for a sixteen-year-old boy. So one day I'm selling myself and the next I'm on the football field trying to beat out Frank Kutcher for the starting quarterback job. The irony of it was that I couldn't buy the starting quarterback job with the $9200---I had to earn it and work for free.
Kutcher strutted out on the field like he owned it. He started tossing the ball around to his friends and copping an attitude because he was a senior and figured that meant the job was automatically his. Little did he know that he was full of shit and Matt Spence was going to take the job away from him. Coach Gilbert was now the varsity coach, and the one thing I knew about Coach Gilbert was that he was fair, and he'd give the job to the guy he thought would do the best job. He couldn't be bribed. Fortunately, Frank Kutcher was lazy and figured he had the job sewn up, and that gave me a strong advantage
Frank walked over to me just before Coach called us together to start warmups. "Spence, it's just as well you realize it now, you'll be sitting on the bench while I'm on the field. You don't have a chance. I've been practicing all summer."
I couldn't help myself. "With whom, Dillon Burke?"
"Fuck you, Spence." He paused for a second. "No, I wasn't working out with fucking Dillon Burke. Coach Mills may have retired, but he's been working all summer with me."
I patted Kutcher on the back. "Good, because you're going to need it. But like they say, you can't make chicken feed out of chicken shit. And that saying definitely applies to you."
Frank pushed me. "Take that back."
I saw Coach Gilbert out of the corner of my eye, so I started to walk off. "Frank, you have to earn your job. It's not going to be given to you. And shoving me around and threatening me isn't going to get you the QB job."
He saw Coach Gilbert too and decided to keep his mouth shut and walk over to Jackass Barnes. The two of them made a good pair.
I hated it in the hospital. Matt visited me every day after practice and unfortunately, all it did was remind me that I was stuck in that damn bed and unable to play another season of football. All I could hope for was basketball. The one thing I decided while lying in the bed was to put the sign away that said, Young Boy for Sale, and go with Knots for Sale. Matt laughed when I told him that.
I had to stay in the hospital for two weeks and it was like being in prison. I was in pain and didn't even have the energy or the will to jack off. A lot of the GSA members came to visit as did Emily, Gina, Ollie, Thomas, Alan, and Ernie. Ollie knew something was up. Maybe they all did, but Ollie seemed to have some kind of sixth sense. He got everyone to clear out of the room. "I need to talk to Andy in private." They left and he moved in close. "Okay, what really happened?"
"I already told you."
He frowned. "Yeah, I know, but I think that story is just bullshit."
I reached over with my good hand and smacked him lightly on the side of his head. "What makes you so wise? Are you calling me a liar?"
"Well, uh, uh, kinda."
I hit him again. "Some friend you are."
There wasn't any way he was going to get anything out of me. "Look, you know I'm gay, right. Everyone knows I'm gay. I started the GSA club. Doesn't it only seem logical that one of those religious assholes would attack me?"
Ollie rolled his eyes. "Well, I suppose so."
"What do YOU think happened?"
"I heard rumors."
I became concerned. "Rumors?"
"Yeah. Thomas and Randy were talking and Randy hinted that it was more than what you're telling us."
"Randy's full of shit. Ignore him."
"Randy told Thomas that you and he were prostitutes." He pointed at me. "And one of your clients did this to you."
I was getting angry and it made everything hurt while I tried to remain calm. "Do you really think I'd do something like that?"
"No, but I'm afraid it's going to get around if he doesn't keep his mouth shut."
"Randy might be doing that shit, but not me. Everything happened just the way I said."
"Are you telling me the truth?"
"Yes. And make sure no one believes those rumors. Got it?"
"Yeah, I got it. I'd lie for you anyway, so don't worry about it."
I managed a smile. "Thanks, Ollie. You're the greatest." I paused. "Do me a favor and ask Thomas to come in. I need to straighten this out."
"Yeah, sure," he said as he turned and left the room.
The damn heart monitor was beginning to tell on me. It made me think of the Edgar Alan Poe story, The Telltale Heart. There on the heart monitor was that bouncing line, letting everyone know my heart rate was 120 beats per minute.
Thomas came in with a concerned look rather than a smile. He glanced at the heart rate monitor which was still over a hundred. "I guess Ollie told you about Randy?"
"Yeah. What's up?"
Thomas pulled up a chair. "Your heart rate's a little high. I think normal's around seventy-two. Are you all right?"
"Yeah, it goes up and down."
"Anyway, back to Randy. You know how he is. He likes to talk. There's no way I'd believe all his crap. You'd never sell yourself on the street."
"Hell no. I'd be more discreet." I laughed, hoping it would throw him off by my acting like I was admitting to something.
He laughed too. "That's what I thought. But whether it's the truth or not, the protestors got word of it, and they're challenging your story. There's no way they can prove it wasn't one of them, and who else would tie a note on your dick like that?"
"Yeah, who else?"
"Did you see what they looked like?"
"No, they wore hoods." I hated lying to Thomas, but what choice did I have?
"The talk around school is that you were whoring around for big bucks. There was some talk about Matt too, and when I heard that, I figured it definitely wasn't true."
I grabbed Thomas' hand and felt a twinge of lust. "Look, none of us wants another Dillon Burke experience. I'm hoping they don't find these guys because the last thing I want to do it get on the stand again or have you guys called in to testify. When you leave here, tell Randy I'm pissed and to get his ass over to the hospital ASAP. Got it?"
Thomas looked me up and down. "Yes. I'll do that. You're looking better little by little. When do you get out?"
"Sometime next week."
Thomas looked down at our hands and let go. "I think I might have a boyfriend."
"That cute new boy in the GSA. He's a sophomore just like me. His name is Colton, but I call him Colt. You know like a Colt 45?"
It hurt, but I laughed. "Hope he doesn't shoot blanks."
"We haven't gotten that far. We have a lot in common, and he's a good kisser. But it's going to be hard not to compare him to Matt, Randy, Dillon, and you. I'm pissed that my first time was with Dillon. But I guess some things you can never take back. I'm just glad you didn't get killed by those assholes."
"Me too. Best of luck with Colt. Matt and I both love you in our own way, but we're just not right for you. You understand, don't you?"
He smiled. "Yeah, I understand." He grabbed my hand and squeezed it. "Talk to you later. If Randy doesn't show, give me a call on my cell."
"Will do, but he better get his ass over here today. Let him know I'm pissed."
"I will, but you know Randy."
"I'm afraid I do."
Thomas got to the door, turned back, waved, and was gone. Everyone else came back in and wanted to know what was so hush-hush, but I told them it was gay boy stuff and that shut them up. Of course, they must have heard the rumors too, but no one wanted to bring it up.
I sat in my room listening to my telltale heart after everyone left, figuring that Randy was basically going to tell Thomas I could just go fuck myself.
Fortunately or unfortunately, my parents came by to visit. They still had doubts about my story. My mom wanted to know about Randy. "What I don't understand, Andy, is that you said you were going to Rockbury with Randy. Did anyone else know that?"
I played dumb. "I don't know. He could have told someone. You wouldn't let me have the car and I had to walk. If I hadn't been on the street they'd never have gotten me." I smiled. "Are you sure you didn't call those guys to have them stop me?"
She grinned through her tears. "Very funny. Of course I called them. How else was I going to stop you?"
My dad didn't like my joke. "This isn't funny. You're lucky to be alive. You could have easily been killed. If you'd have gone to football practice that day, none of this would have happened."
There was the old I told you so. "You're right, Dad. I was stupid. I guess the devil made me do it."
He went on. "As much as football means to you and after missing a whole season with a broken leg, what were you thinking? Why would you put going to the beach and the amusement park ahead of football? It doesn't make sense."
"I'm a teenager, Dad. Teenagers do stupid things."
"And this was one of them."
My mom's curiosity was still on. "You said they pulled up beside you. Did you notice the color or the kind of car it was?"
"No Mom. I didn't. I could only see it from the side. They grabbed me before I had a chance to notice anything."
"You said the driver talked to you. Did he have a hood on too?"
I hadn't thought of that. "Yeah. I was getting ready to run when the other guy grabbed me. Anyway, why are you making such a big thing out of this? I'm alive. Isn't that all that counts?"
My dad frowned. "That may be true, but there are rumors going around about what you and Randy were up to. We heard you are high-priced male prostitutes. Is that true? Did some dirty old man that you were going to have sex with do this to you?" My dad glanced at the heart rate monitor. It was up to one hundred and twenty-two.
My mom came to the rescue. "Larry, you're upsetting him. He told us what happened; let's just leave it at that."
My dad groaned. "Don't you think this is important?"
"Of course it is, but right now all we can do is believe him and let it go. What difference will it make?"
My dad's shoulders drooped. "None, I guess."
They sat with me for a time, and slowly my heart rate went back to normal. My mom said, "See, Larry. Look how his heart rate has gone down."
He gave a loud humph. "Why do you think it was high in the first place? We were onto something."
The good times my dad and I had spent together before and during the Dillon Burke trial came to me as I sat and listened to him. He was hurt and probably asking himself what he'd done wrong. I tried to help.
"Mom. Dad. I love you both. I would never want to hurt you. But sometimes it can't be helped, like with Dillon. But right now, just accept my story and let's move on with our lives. The past is the past. Can we do that?"
They both gave me a helpless look. My dad managed to say, "I guess so. You're alive and you will be back to normal in no time. All I can say, and I think your mother agrees with me, is that whatever you were or weren't doing, make sure it stops. Can you promise us that?"
I nodded. "I promise. I love you both."
That settled them down, and they seemed relieved as they left the room. My heart rate dropped to 73 beats per minute by the time the door closed.
The shit was hitting the fan all over the school. Somehow the story got started that Randy and Andy were male prostitutes and it was one of Andy's clients that kicked the shit out of him. Frank Kutcher and Jackass Barnes were the first to confront me while I was getting dressed for football practice. "Hey, rumor has it that your best friend is a whore. Do you know anything about it?"
My first thought was to punch the assholes in the mouth, but I didn't want it to appear that they'd touched a sore spot. "No. Do you? Were you one of his clients? I don't know how else you could come up with such a stupid story."
"Fuck off, Matt. You're getting to be just like your whore friend, always coming up with the smartass remarks."
I smiled. "You're right. He taught me how to deal with assholes like you two."
Kutcher got in my face. "So you're saying you haven't heard anything?"
It took all the self-control I had to keep from spitting in his face. "No. Where would I get that kind of information?"
Jackass smiled. "He's your best friend. Doesn't he tell you everything? We know you guys like to fuck each other so maybe he decided to make a little money on the side because you aren't good enough."
"Barnes, I'm not sure what to say to you except that you aren't worth any kind of comeback. You heard what Coach Gilbert said to all of us during basketball. Now lay off and worry about getting a starting position." I pointed my chin at Frank. "Kutcher's going to lose his job to me. If it wasn't that Coach Gilbert was such a fair guy, I'd already have it."
Frank stepped in close to me again. "Let's see who has the job next week. You can blow me if you get it."
"Sorry Frank. If I get it, you can blow me." I looked at Barnes. "What do you think, Jackass? Isn't that the fair thing to do?"
He pushed me. "I told you not to call me Jackass."
"Then I suggest you quit telling stories about Andy that you know nothing about. How would you like it if someone beat up your mom or dad and then everyone said they were beaten up because they were whoring around?"
That was enough to shut them both up. They walked off while giving me the middle finger.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. - John Wooden
It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. - Benjamin Franklin
Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. -George Washington
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