Val 'n Tyne

by Hans Schreiber and Flip McHooter

Chapter 6

Warning! This story is a work of fiction written by a legal age adult. Any similarity between the fictional characters and any live person is purely coincidental. This story contains fictional descriptions of sexual activity between consenting minor youth. If you are under the age of 18, and/or if you are offended by this content, and/or if it is illegal in your jurisdiction to possess or read such material, please leave now and do not read this story as neither the internet host nor the author can be responsible for your actions. Please, always practice safe sex; no momentary thrill is worth your life.

All rights reserved. No part of this story may be transmitted or reproduced in whole or in part in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the Author or Publisher, except where permitted by law. Copyright © 2012 by Hans Schreiber and Flip McHooter.

Special thanks to our editor, Pablo.

Tyne sprinted off to find Noah surrounded by a half dozen pep squad girls still fretting over him. He was soaking up the attention. "You all right?" Tyne asked as he climbed over the bleacher in front of Noah.

"Tyne? Tyne is that you? Come closer and let me feel your face." Noah stuck both arms out, wiggling his fingers and staring blankly over Tyne's shoulder.

"Shut up, you freak. Stop acting like Helen Keller. Seriously, are you okay to drive home? I need to go get ready for the dance."

"Wait, I see a light. Should I go to the light? Girls, what should I do? Should I go to the light?" Noah was hamming it up.

"No, don't go, Noah. Stay with us, we'd miss you," one of the girls said.

"But it's so beautiful," Noah said dreamily, holding up his arms.

"Forget it. I'll find another ride. C'ya," Tyne grumbled.

"Oh all right, Grumpy Gus. Thanks for taking care of me ladies. I gotta go take Mr. Impatience home to get dolled up for the big dance."

"Yeah, that's right, it's the Val 'n Tyne dance," one of the pep squad girls blurted out. That sent a rash of tittering giggles through the group. Tyne almost lashed out over it but decided to just ignore it instead. He grabbed Noah's painted red arm and pulled him to his feet.

In the car, Noah asked what the big rush was. "I have a lot to get ready before Val comes by to pick me up for the dance."

Noah slammed on the brakes and swerved to the side of the road. Tyne's head flopped forward, restrained from hitting the dash by the shoulder harness and then whipped back into the headrest. "Did you just say Val is picking you up and driving you to the dance? Like on a real date? Is there something you're holding out from me?"

"No. It was his idea. He suggested that he pick me up so I could load all the stuff for our date … I mean outing at the lake, into his truck. That way we can get an early start in the morning since the fishing is better in the morning according to him."

"Hmm, it wouldn't take that much time to load up your crap in the morning when he picks you up at your house. I think he wants to treat this like a date with you."

"No, no, you're making this into some big thing it's not. Now start driving and get me home, I have a lot to get ready."

Noah pulled out on the road again and said, "I'm pretty good at figuring people out and I'm telling you, there's something more to this than you want to admit. Noah knows all. Noah sees all. So Tyne, what you planning on wearing tonight? Want some help picking out an outfit?"

"Actually, I would, but you can't get carried away. I want to fit in, not stand out."

"Oh, so the peach chiffon idea is out. Hmm, let me think."

"So do you think I should take a sleeping bag over to Val's or would that be too middle school? Also, do you think I should take my blue pajamas or just a pair of sweats and a t-shirt to sleep in? I haven't been on a real sleepover in a long time."

Noah slammed on the brakes and swerved to the side of the road again. Tyne's head flopped forward and back and Noah looked at him wide eyed and asked, "Did you just say you're spending the night at Val's?"

"Dude! What's with you? Now you're driving like Helen Keller. Stop doing that, or you're gonna give me whiplash," Tyne scolded. "And yes, I'm spending the night at Val's, so what? It's just so we can get an early start in the morning."

"Oh yeah. I knew it. I knew it. Noah the magnificent knows all."

When they got to Tyne's house, the place was dark. Tyne was glad to have Noah with him to go inside. He hated going in the house alone at night when it was all dark. Once inside, Tyne started scurrying around putting the picnic lunch together. He pulled out the wicker basket that his mom and dad liked to use when they went on family outings.

"Thanks for getting me all this stuff with your discount. But dude, what is half of this stuff? It looks weird and, well, kind of gross. Some of it looks like bait, not that I'd really know what bait looks like."

"Pardonnez-moi!" replied Noah, flicking his head. "This is a truly fabulous spread for two young men on their very first outing. Wait! It won't work now because technically, tonight's sleepy-sleepy thing is your first outing. Well, anyway, this smoked salmon will get you going, because growing boys need their protein. Be sure to put the roe on top. You can pair it with this tasty goat cheese and …"

"But he's not going to like this stuff. I'm not even sure I like this stuff," Tyne interrupted his friend. "It looks kinda gross."

"What are you saying? I got something Val will love right here: Portobello and pineapple veggie burgers. These sell out fast."

"Ick! OMG. Are you serious? Like I said, it looks like bait. Bait burgers. Yummy – not! I think I'll take a can of Cheese Whiz and some crackers so at least we don't starve." Tyne said, rooting around in his mother's cupboard.

"Whatever. I was just trying to help you out. Don't get a bug up your ass over this."

"I know. I'm sorry. I really appreciate that you got all this for me. But still, I'm not sure Val will eat any of it. What did you get for dessert?"

"Cornish clotted cream and fresh strawberries. I wanted something red and white and juicy for Valentine's Day. I thought I'd be very proper."

"Oh, for the love of God!" Tyne said, smacking his forehead on the counter. "No offense, but you really have to help me throw something together that resembles human food that Val will eat. Thank God I already made a black bean and rice pilaf."

"What?" Noah gasped. "You were bitchin' at me over freaky food and you made a black bean and rice pilaf? Dude, now you're the one that's messed up. Well, check this out. I bet you won't complain over this little acquisition." Noah grinned wide as he pulled a bottle of red wine from the bag. "Lizzy's sister actually bought it for me. I didn't tell her why I wanted it, of course."

"What? You didn't. I don't know if I should. Oh hell, stick it in the basket." Tyne grabbed some Wheat Thins and a can of Cheese Whiz and tossed them in the basket. He also grabbed some carrots and celery sticks and a couple of Granny Smith apples. Finally, after opening and closing a couple of drawers, he found the corkscrew and tossed it in with the rest of the food. "Figure out a main course while I go shower."

As the boys headed into Tyne's room, Noah rolled his eyes. "So what are you going to wear?"

Tyne took a deep breath and centered himself. "I'm going to wear my black suit that my mom bought me for my dad's funeral. It still fits and it looks good. I only wore it that one time. I was going to wear a tie, but I think I'll just go simple with a dark gray shirt. What do you think?"

"Sister, we've got our work cut out for us. Black and gray? Are you sure you're gay?" Noah asked.

"Yes I'm gay, for the thousandth time. I'm just not a clothes whore like you are. Maybe I should wear my black jeans and a black sweater."

"No! No, no, no, no, no. Let's look in here and see what we can dig up. Go take a shower and when you're done come out here. I want to do your 'do. Don't dry it."

"All right. Just don't go all queery on me and give me a hair don't." Tyne went into his bathroom to take a shower while Noah rooted around in his best friend's closet. He pulled out a couple of outfits and when he was satisfied, he set two of them on the bed. Then Noah dug around in Tyne's shoes and finally found what he was looking for. Satisfied, he sat down at Tyne's computer to check out his Facebook page and see what everybody was doing. Noah had maybe 450 Facebook friends, 400 of which were people who knew people who knew some other people he knew and the other 50 were just kids from school. But there was a friend request from Nick which really made him excited and squirm in the chair.

Noah clicked on the accept button and moved on to browse other posts. One of them was a recipe for quick and easy chicken salad sandwiches that were supposed to be exceptional. Noah printed it out and headed off to the kitchen to check out the ingredients. They had everything but sprouts in the cupboards or fridge. Noah doubted the canned chicken would be as good as fresh chicken, but in a pinch, it would work. Out of spite, he mixed the goat cheese into the chicken spread before stuffing it all into a Rubbermaid container. He packed some croissants and butter for them to spread it on. He tasted it and had to admit, it wasn't half bad.

When Noah returned to Tyne's room, he jumped on Facebook again and saw that Nick had already seen that he'd accepted him as a friend and sent a private message: "Hey Noah, I'm so sorry I smashed you in the face with the ball, but way to take one for the team. You are really pretty cool. See you at the dance? Hope so. Nick."

Noah squealed like a little girl and rushed off to the bathroom and barged in just as Tyne was climbing out of the shower. They crashed into each other, and ended up in a heap of arms and legs sprawled out on the floor.

"Dude, get off of me. And don't get your make-up on me! What's wrong with you? Damn dude, you got that red body paint on me. I have to shower again. I think that basketball to your face shook something loose in your head. Or did you forget to take your meds again?"

"It's not that, smartass, it's Nick! He friended me! Me!"

"That's great," Tyne said, toweling off his wet hair and wiping the red paint off with a wet washcloth. "But that doesn't mean much. Everybody accepts friend requests so you can out-do everybody else. Look – you have to chill on this. If you get all spastic on him, it might turn him off. Be calm, cool and collective. Be Mr. Suave."

"But that's hard for me to do. You know how I get when I get excited. But he did the friend request to me, so that must mean something," Noah whined.

"Nick's going to like you. Like I said, just be cool and calm. Like you said, he wouldn't have friended you if he didn't like you, right? Don't make a big splashy deal out of it, though. Have you thought of taking most of your piercings out to mellow your look?"

"No! Never."

"I'm just saying, that's all. You know, Val told me that the guys on the basketball team can't get tats or piercings or they'll be kicked off the team. Maybe he's scared or afraid of them."

"These little old things? Not hardly," Noah said, tweaking his lip ring around.

"Well, try it without them and see how you look."

While Tyne was finishing up, Noah jumped in the shower and washed off all the red war paint and then borrowed some of Tyne's deodorant and cologne. Noah spiked up his hair and cocked a pose in the mirror. He thought about heading for Tyne's mother's bathroom and getting some rouge, but then thought about what Val and Tyne both said. Instead, he took out the lip, nose and eyebrow ring and just left the four in his ears. "It's worth a shot," he mumbled. He looked in the mirror and liked what he saw, and then on impulse, took out the two in his left earlobe.

"Tyne, I'm borrowing a pair of your nasty ass undies to get home in. You okay with that?"

"Sure, whatever. Are you sure this looks alright? And hurry up! You have to double check my hair."

"I'm on it. Oh sweetie, you look marvelous! If you weren't my best friend I'd do you right here and now." Tyne was wearing the second outfit that Noah had picked out. It was his black suit jacket and black pants, and a jet-black shirt. It played nicely off his pearly white, blemish free face. The only bit of color was a red pocket square and a red pair of Doc Martens. It really played off his long blond hair that Noah had gelled up and slicked back.

"So what do you think? The PJ's or sweat pants?"

"Neither, just tell Val you like to sleep naked and suggest he join you," Noah snickered.

"You are completely useless." Tyne tossed the blue PJ's in the overnight case and Noah pulled them back out.

"Seriously, you're not a six year old. No PJ's. Sweats are acceptable. Don't be shocked if he sleeps in his boxers, though." Noah shuddered, and put the sweats in the case. "God, the thought of it just about makes me cum. I want all the details the minute you get back."

"Damn, Noah, stop it. There's nothing going down. We probably won't even share the same bedroom. It's just a convenience thing so we can get an early start so Val can catch a bunch of slimy fish that I'm going to have to pretend to like eating. Chill, would you?"

"Whatever. Noah knows all."

"Okay, Mr. Know-it-all, get dressed and out of here before Val shows up."

"Too late. I'd know the roar of that big machine anywhere. I'd say your date has arrived, Cinderella. Want pictures?"

"NO! Don't embarrass me. I mean it." Noah just smiled his wicked smile and pulled the pair of Tyne's clean, white boxers up to his balls where he paused.

"Tyne, you think I got any shot at Nick? I mean, do you think if I turn the flame down a bit he might be interested in a little goochi-goochi action?"

Tyne smiled at Noah, seriously surprised. "Sure. You got a shot. Are you serious about getting with him?"

Noah didn't make a joke or act goofy at all as he plucked the silver rings from his ball sac. "Yeah, I am. I don't want to leave high school without any experience and honestly, I think he's cute."

"Go for it." The doorbell interrupted any more conversation and Tyne checked his meticulously combed hair in the mirror one last time and scurried off to answer it.

"Hi Val," Tyne said. "C'mon in." They both raised their hands to bump or shake but neither one was sure quite which to do.

"Okay, this is it," Val said. "Check it out. Hold your hand out like you're gonna shake hands and spread your fingers." Tyne complied. Val took his hand in his, only he interlocked the thumbs and little fingers. Then he shook it once up and down, then slowly slid out of the grip forming a fist after the fingertips cleared. Then they gave one knuckle bump. "From now on that's our shake, just for you and me."

"Great, let's try it again," Tyne said. They practiced it twice more and then Tyne grabbed Val's large wrist and pulled him inside.

"Dude! Dew-ew-ewde, you're stylin'. You look great. I almost didn't recognize you," croaked Val.

"Who were you expecting? Russell Brand?"

"No, it's not that. It's just that you look so different. That's all. Kinda all gangsta and mysterious looking."

"Well thanks. You look nice too. It's good to see you out of those shorts that you always wear."

"Umm, well." Val pulled his lavender, dress shirt tail up and exposed that he had on his black basketball shorts under his gray slacks. He grinned as Tyne groaned.

"You're impossible."

"Hey, the dance is in the gym, right? What if a basketball game breaks out afterward? You gotta be prepared, you know."

Laughing, Tyne said, "Okay boy scout, come help me load up." Val walked into the kitchen and met Noah loading up a small cooler with sodas and the chicken salad spread for the sandwiches. He was just wearing Tyne's white boxers and a pair of white ankle socks but nothing else.

Val looked at him and said, "When I suggested you should tone it down a little, I didn't mean quite this much."

Noah, without missing a beat, grabbed the tie off the table that Tyne decided against wearing and looped it around his neck. He spun around, struck a pose with his hand on a hip and said, pointing at Val with the other hand, "I just wasn't finished with my ensemble. I'm going with a simple, yet formal look. What do you think? Good?"

"I think you're hopeless, but you crack me up. If that's all you're really wearing, you better at least button up. The fly is spread open and I can see your little dick," Val said chuckling. "So are you for sure coming? I kinda talked to Nick about trying to give you a chance. I told him you're kinda like a piñata. Once you get past the wacky, bright colored outside, you're filled with all kinds of good surprises on the inside."

"Why thank you, you big hunk. I think. That was a compliment, right? Hey, he's not gonna go whacking me with a big stick to get to my goodies is he? Hmm, although if he uses the right kind of big stick, that might not be too bad after all." Noah covered his crotch with both hands and scrunched down, sticking his skinny ass out and wiggling it.

Everyone laughed and then they got to work loading up Val's truck with Tyne's stuff and the food. Tyne covered the basket with a red and white checkered cloth to hide the wine. Val followed Tyne into his bedroom to get the rest of his stuff. Tyne had a big heavy coat, a jacket, three pair of socks, a pair of new jeans, and a nice A&F t-shirt for the morning. He had his overnight case with his sweats in it and a sleeping bag next to the case. He had packed his toothbrush, deodorant, a can of hairspray, blow dryer, two hats, hiking boots he'd borrowed, flip flops, gym shoes, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellant, lotion, a flashlight with extra batteries, and a full first aid kit.

"Dude, you don't need all this. I know I told you to bring a warm coat, but I think a sweatshirt is fine. The weather report is just partly cloudy and it's been pretty warm lately," Val said. "We aren't camping at the lake. We're just going for the day and there's no one to get all fancy for. The fish don't care what you look like. Here's how it goes down in the morning. We get up around five, stick our heads under a faucet, rub them dry with a towel and stick a hat on. Done and done."

"Oh sorry. I didn't know." Tyne tossed most of the excess onto his bed but tucked the sleeping bag under one arm.

"What's the sleeping bag for?" Val asked.

"I thought for sleeping at your house. I wasn't sure about the … you know … bed situation."

"Oh. Well I got a big bed and we can share it. I sleep a little sideways, cuz of my long legs but we'll both fit."

"Oh. Okay. Well fine then. But you're okay with me being in bed with you. Like together?"

"Yeah. Why wouldn't I be?"

"Well. I just thought. Well you know since I'm … you know, and you're … not, you know."

Val busted up and said, "Who's the heterophobe now? Dude, as long as you don't plan on raping me in my sleep, which I doubt, I'm cool with sharing the bed. Now if it was Noah here, that would be another story all together."

Noah piped up and said, "You better believe it. I'd be all over you like white on rice."

Tyne tossed the sleeping bag back on his bed and said, "Okay, I guess I'm ready."

"Are you sure you want those jeans? They're like new and so is the t-shirt. Don't you have some old ones to wear?"

"No, not really," Tyne said. "If things get old and worn, I toss them or give them to the Goodwill."

"Okay. Just so you know they're gonna get messed up with fish guts and mud and maybe even get a little greasy and ripped up from the quad."

"Uggh," Noah said. "You're making it sound less and less appealing. Wouldn't you really rather go to a Holiday Inn, lay on the bed and watch the redneck fishing channel while you feed each other worms?"

"NOAH!" Tyne yelled.

"All right, all right. I'm just saying if it were me. And I was talking about Gummi Worms, by the way. What were you thinking?" Tyne gave Noah a playful shove and shaking his head, grabbed a large, heavy blanket to sit on during the picnic and carried it out to the truck.

"Hey, Tyne," Noah called from the doorway. "You mind if I borrow some of your boring swag to wear tonight so I don't have to go home?" Noah asked. "You know, to bring it down a notch for Nick."

"Help yourself, my man. Just don't get any makeup on anything." Tyne jumped in the truck and Val sped off toward the dance. Noah watched from the doorway with one hand tugging on the bright red tie dangling around his neck and his other hand inside his boxers tugging on the pink dangly thing between his legs.

Driving to the dance, Val and Tyne chatted easily about the fishing trip. Val was excited to show his new friend the outdoors while Tyne was excited to finally be going fishing. The trip from Tyne's house to the gym was a fast one, and once Val pulled into the parking lot, Tyne started to get nervous.

Val whipped into a parking spot and jumped out. Tyne sat there almost frozen in his seat. He hadn't expected his first high school dance to be such a big deal. He wondered what he had been thinking when he agreed to go. The idea of the crowd and fear of socializing with people he barely knew was making him physically ill. Val pulled his door back open and asked, somewhat confused, "Dude, what are you doing? Let's go. If you're waiting for me to open your door for you, forget that."

Tyne looked over at him and his expression spoke his concerns. "Promise you won't abandon me in there? I'm really nervous. I don't know these guys. What if I say something gay and embarrass us both?"

"Wow. Mr. "I don't need anybody's approval" is having a little self confidence crisis. Tyne, just be yourself and you'll be fine. Don't try too hard to fit in. If you don't know what to say, just don't say anything. That's what I do when I'm around girls I don't know how to talk to. Smile and laugh at the jokes, take any ribbing that comes your way and spread some around if you want. You're fairly good at it, actually. Mostly, just try to lay low and feel out the territory with my crew. Seriously, if you're just yourself, it'll be cool. It's not like you're a Noah, but try to avoid making goo-goo eyes at any guys you think are hot. Oh, and if you're really worried about someone thinking you're gay, comment on how hot some of the girls look. Maybe even dance with one. Oh, and also if someone does happen to say that something you say or do is 'gay', don't assume they really mean it. It's just a stupid expression that guys like us say to harass each other. It's dumb that we do it, but we all do. Don't take it personally or think they really believe you are."

Tyne took a deep breath, smiled and said, "Okay. I can do this." He climbed out of Val's truck and they walked side by side into Tyne's first high school dance.

They flashed their student ID cards and stepped inside. The decorations were cheap and cheesy, but the budgets were slim for these kinds of dances. The big bucks went towards prom and homecoming. There was a good DJ with a nice sound system up on the stage, and he had some awesome lighting effects. The music was loud and the gym was dimly lit. As Val and Tyne made their way across the gym floor, Tyne noticed the clear segregation of the groups gathered into clusters. The Emos and the Goths were up front near the DJ where they could silently scream 'Look at me, I'm different'. The various jocks were gathered at the back wall near the locker room doors. They were in loose sub-groups sorted by sport, with some occasional intermingling. Nearby, but within striking distance, were the cheerleaders and other popular girls chatting incessantly and casting glances at the various hot studs. All eyes of that group followed Val and Tyne as they paraded past. Val seemed oblivious to the infatuated stares but Tyne saw them and fully understood.

It was the rest of the groups that really surprised Tyne. There was a fairly large group of guys and girls with no apparent common base who all seemed to be having the most fun, chatting freely and dancing on and off in bursts of energy that came and went randomly according to the songs being played. Tyne thought they would probably end up being the future middle class of America just going about their business and making a quiet life for themselves, happy and comfortable for the most part. They were neither overdressed nor underdressed. They were just having fun without any pretense that Tyne could discern. The last group that really stuck out was the desperate and hard-up crowd over near the refreshments. As Tyne watched them, he realized that without Val, that's where he would be. He understood exactly why they congregated near the refreshment table so they could easily slip into line for a dry cookie or cup of watered down punch to give the appearance they were purposely not interacting with other humans.

The desperate look on the faces of the girls especially bothered Tyne. He saw a whole group of fellow humans dying for some social interaction and absolutely clueless how to get any. The thought occurred to him that just being asked to dance one time would be like a dream come true for them. He was a bit upset with the male freaks and geeks who stood just behind the desperate girls, equally desperate to interact but absolutely terrified to put themselves at risk. The immaculate power of the fear of rejection was driven home to Tyne and he instantly resolved not to be that guy. He turned and jumped into the conversation which at the moment was all about Nick's final shot block into the face of that 'weird kid's' face. "Noah," Tyne interjected. "His name's Noah. He is weird, all right, but in a good way. We're friends."

Val looked at him and a small smile crept over his lips. The intended silent message was that Tyne had certainly jumped right into it. Before anyone could make a gay comment, Nick spoke up, "Yeah, I was worried I hurt him, but he was okay. He's cool, even though he's kinda out there." The conversation turned back to the game and they relived more of its highlights.

"I was so worried when Val fell and cracked his head on the floor. I thought he'd have to come out!" Tyne said. "How is your head, by the way?"

"I'm fine. I still have a little headache, but no big deal. This F'n music isn't helping the headache though. What is this shit he's playing?" Val asked.

Evan spoke up and said, "It would take a lot more than a little bump on the head to hurt this thick skull." He reached up and knocked several times on the back of Val's head and everybody laughed. "And this is 'Get Crazy' by LFMAO playing now."

"Shit, look at Tyrell and Latwanza," Dane said nodding toward the dance floor. Everyone snickered and cat called when they saw the two of them bumping and grinding against each other in sexually provocative manner. Then Tyrell grabbed Latwanza's ass with both and hands and started some serious grinding. "Fuck, man," Dane said, "Tyrell better cool it a little or he's likely to blow his wad right on the dance floor."

"No shit," Adam agreed.

"Is that a dress or a just a long t-shirt that Latwanza's wearing?" Val asked.

"Really. Good question. Besides being short, it's so tight and stretchy that you can see her freakin' nipples through it," Adam said, "She isn't wearing a bra. I saw them over by the refreshment table and I was like 'holy shit' and popped a boner over it. I bet Tyrell is hard as steel right now." A couple of guys, Tyne included, shoved their hands in their pockets and squirmed around a bit. Tyne for a slightly different reason than the others.

The music transformed into a Justin Bieber song, Somebody to Love, and Spencer spoke up, "This song's so gay. But, I gotta go dance to it with Carly or she'll give me a rash of shit and probably cut me off. She loves Justin Bieber. C'mon Adam, go with me and pick someone to dance with." Adam followed as did about ¾ of the rest of the group. Tyne was worried Val would go also and was relieved when he didn't. Tyne looked across the gym and noticed the surge of chicken shit geek boys rush to the refreshments. The wistful looks on the desperate girl's faces bothered Tyne a lot.

Tyne looked at Val and asked, "You miss having Lizzy to dance with?"

Val looked at him somewhat shocked and said, "Hell no. Good riddance to that bitch. Besides, I got you." Tyne's eyes widened and he shot Val an uncomfortable look. Val laughed and grabbed Tyne and started swaying to the music turning slowly in place grabbing his ass with his big hands like Tyrell had been doing to Latwanza until Tyne shoved his way free. When everyone laughed, Tyne caught on and forced a laugh himself. Val gave him a little wink.

When the song was over and the next fast dance song came on, about half the guys who split off with girls stayed out on the floor and danced. That's when Noah made his entrance. The song was Wild Ones by Flo Rida and Sia. "Whoa, they're playing my song." Noah said, trotting to the center of the dance floor and broke into a stunningly expert dance routine. A small crowd circled around him and then it grew. Sensing the attention, Noah turned it up a notch and definitely got his groove on. The basketball group headed over to watch. Nick commented how normal Noah looked. Noah had on a pair of black skinny's and a red shirt overlaid by the vest that went to Tyne's black suit. His piercings were gone and there was no makeup.

Nick pressed up to the front of the circle and was clapping and cheering Noah on with the rest of the crowd. Noah grabbed one of the cute girls and pulled her into the circle and got her to copy his moves. She picked up on it quick and then Noah grabbed Nick and pulled him in. Nick resisted at first but then gave in. Then to Tyne's horror, Noah went in two rows deep and grabbed Val and Tyne both by a wrist and dragged them into the center of attention.

Unable to get away without worse embarrassment, Tyne copied Noah's actions but Val had trouble and they both kept sliding right when they were supposed to slide left and soon everyone was laughing at and with them. Noah gathered about ten more people and then got in line next to Nick and led the group in a synchronized music video type dance. When the song ended, the crowd chanted, "Again, again, again." The DJ started it over and soon almost the whole gym was doing Noah's dance. He grabbed Nick and two girls and pulled them up to the stage where they led the group in the dance. Everyone was cheering and copying Noah's smooth, fluid motions. Even most of the desperate freaks and geeks and Emo crowd joined in. Tyne leaned over to Val and said with a nod toward Noah, "Mr. Subtle."

After the group dance, the students started to reassemble back into their familiar territories. Noah jumped off the stage along with Nick and glanced around looking for a place to go. There wasn't a gay corner formed anywhere. Nick sensed Noah's problem and took his arm, "Come join us over by the locker rooms."

"Um, okay. You sure?" Noah asked, hopeful he'd heard right.

"Course. You're cool and Tyne's over there. You know him, right?"

"Yeah. Great." Noah was doing somersaults and backflips in his mind and while walking over to the jock spot, he started skipping and had to consciously focus on walking normal.

When they reached the group, Val spoke up first, "Noah, that was awesome. You got some fly moves, dude. Where'd you learn to do that stuff?"

"Let's just say I pretty much have no real life, so I spend WAY too much time online watching music videos and practicing moves in my room," Noah answered. Everyone chuckled.

"Dude, I'm surprised you even showed up tonight, let alone dancing in front of everyone after the way you got kissed by Spalding in front of everyone at the game earlier," Evan said.

Tyne jerked to attention and his naturally rosy cheeks burned bright red. Even in the dim light you could tell Tyne was red-faced. "I did NOT kiss Noah at the game."

Everyone stared at Tyne. Evan asked with one eyebrow cocked, "Who said you did?"

"You did. Just now."

"No I didn't," Evan objected. "You heard me wrong, dork. I said he got kissed by Spalding, and it was a whopper. I'm surprised he doesn't have Spalding tattooed across his face from it."

"Look, that's not funny. Stop it," Tyne said, getting agitated.

"If Tyne had kissed me, even though he's not down with that kind of shit, I probably would have tattooed his name on me but not on my face. I'd have to put it on my ass cuz that's what he'd be kissing. Either that or my balls."

"EWWW!" the crowd groaned. Some of them put their hands over their mouths and cringed, others covered their ears. Noah continued undaunted, "I'd have to use his nickname, Tyne, instead of his first name, Spalding. It wouldn't fit on my skinny little ass or my tiny little balls." Noah joked and cracked up at his own joke. When he puckered up and started slapping his ass, everyone busted up.

When the laughter died down, Val spoke up, "Oh damn, that's right. Oh my God, that's so funny."

"I'm really not seeing the humor in all this," Tyne said acting offended, but gaining control of his initial real anger. He realized this was one of those times Val warned him about before leaving the truck where he had to roll with being the object of a joke.

"No, you don't get it. How could you. Evan doesn't even know what the F he said. That's why it was so damn funny. Your first name is Spalding. I saw it on your paper in Ms. Harris' class. Your name is Spalding von Tyne, right? We use Spalding basketballs in our games. When we say you got kissed by Spalding, we mean you got hit in the face with the ball. Get it? Spalding kissed Noah at the game."

The group erupted with renewed laughter.

"No shit? Your first name is Spalding?" Evan asked between choking fits of laughter. "My God, that's hilarious. How the hell did you get named after a basketball?"

"I'm not sure, but I think my grandfather probably named my father that before basketball even existed. Well maybe not, but I'm definitely sure he'd never heard of a Spalding basketball. I'm named after my dad. I'm Spalding von Tyne, Junior."

"That kinda sucks sometimes," Andy spoke up. "I'm Andrew Cornelius Taylor, Junior. My dad and I were always getting confused so I became Andy instead of Andrew. No freaking way I was letting them call me Cornelius. Is that why you went by Tyne?"

"Yeah, pretty much. I've just always been Tyne as long as I can remember."

"Holy shit," Dane piped in. "Your middle name is Cornelius? I so wish you'd used that instead of Andy. It'd be so much more fun. We'd call you Corny. It'd freakin' fit you perfect."

"Shut up," Andy said. The conversation switched to middle names and one by one, everyone confessed their middle names and took their turn getting teased over it. When it came to Val he held out quite a while before he finally caved and admitted his middle name was Gaylord. "Val Gaylord Hardcastle."

All the guys were giving Val a rash of shit until they spotted Lukas strolling over with his date dragging along behind him. "Gaylord fuckin' fits you for sure, Hardcastle. So what? This is now the Glee club instead of the Basketball team? I see you got your new faggots for a president and vice president. I'm sure Noah here is perfect for vice president, he probably knows about every sick, perverted kind of vice there is."

"Lukas, when we want any comments from you, we'll beat them out of you. Why don't you take your hate somewhere else, all right?" Val stepped into Lukas' space and Lukas backed off a step.

"You got so lucky today. Wait until you play a real team. You'll get your butts kicked without me at center. You really sucked at center today by the way. But what can you expect from a fag lover."

"You wanna know what's really gonna suck? You! You'll be sucking your dinner through an F'n straw after I knock all your teeth down your throat. You got two seconds to turn around and disappear. ONE." Val took another step into Lukas' space and chest bumped him.

"Fuck you. Wait, you'd like that wouldn't you?" Lukas muttered as he spun and retreated, dragging his clueless girlfriend with him.

Val turned around with a proud grin on his face. He'd just become the Alpha Male of the Basketball Pack. All the other players gave him the confirming nods and knuckle bumps showing their acceptance of him as the new leader of the pack. Nick wrapped his arm around Val's neck and said, "You sure did shut his hating ass up."

That got everyone talking about basketball again and Tyne and Noah faded from the conversation having little knowledge of the sport or the inside conversations about games they had played. Tyne focused his attention back on the insecure students on the other side of the room. He couldn't get over it. Then the DJ started playing Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye and Tyne had an idea. "Guys. Guys, listen. I've got a crazy idea." "What?" Val asked.

"I've been watching the group over there by the refreshments," Tyne said.

"You mean those pathetic losers?" Dane asked.

Tyne's anger flashed, but he took a deep breath before he spoke. "They're not losers. They're human beings with feelings, like the rest of us. They're just insecure. Instead of making fun of them, what if we did something unexpectedly nice for them. What if we switched up the rules a little bit the way Ms. Harris tried to do with the Contemporary Lifestyles assignment to try and get people to think differently, more tolerant like?"

"Tyne, are you sure you should be going there?" Val asked. "We don't really want to start stirring that shit pot again, all right?" He was forceful in his tone and Tyne realized he had frightened Val that he was about to say something stupid and get the whole Val 'n Tyne thing started again.

"Look, all I'm suggesting is we all go over there and ask one of those girls to dance. They are dying just for a chance to dance and imagine if one of the basketball studs asks them? They'll talk about it the rest of the year. I'm not saying you have to date them or even do a second dance, just one dance is all they need."

"Are you serious?" Dane asked. "They'll know we're faking it. It'll be almost cruel in a way to do that. It's like leading them on or something. It'll be way obvious that were just doing it like on a dare or something and that would just make it worse for them. It'll make them the butt of a joke. It's better just ignoring their kind."

"No. You're wrong. It's not better. I've been the one getting my face rubbed in dog shit just because I was a geeky, smart misfit. It sucks. Just one act of kindness like Val showed me by letting me hang with you guys is huge. Isn't it Noah?"

"You tell 'em gir … er, buddy," Noah said.

Tyne continued, "Look, maybe it would be too obvious if we all do it at once. Let's do it a few at a time. Seriously guys. Just try it."

"I'll give it a shot," Val said. "Let's go." He grabbed Tyne's arm and pulled him away. Val looked back over his shoulder and gave the pack his alpha male glare to communicate they better not leave him and Tyne alone on this thing. When they were out of earshot, Val said, "What the hell? Why are you always getting me into crap that's outside my zone? What happened to just laying low and hangin' quietly with my crew?"

Tyne just smiled and shrugged. "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it - being my friend, I mean."

"Did someone really rub your face in dog shit?" Val asked in a hushed tone.

"Yeah. Twice. They thought it was real funny."

"Wow. That sucks," Val said full of empathy for Tyne.

They picked out a couple of plain looking girls who were obviously friends. When they realized that Val and Tyne weren't just headed for refreshments, they stopped talking with each other, started to panic and backed up. Val picked up the pace and said, "Hey. I'm Val and this is my friend, Tyne. We were just wondering if you wanted to dance with us?"

"Uhh, us? Really?" The taller one asked looking around. There was no one else around but the few boy geeks who hadn't fled for the refreshment tables.

"Sure. If you don't want to, it's okay. We were just hoping you would," Tyne jumped in, extending a hand to the short one with the straight, dishwater blond hair pulled to the side and clipped with a bobby pin. She had on a worn, out of style dress that had 'hand me down' written all over it. Slowly a smile crept across their faces and they said, "Sure, I guess. The two of them bubbled over with suppressed giggles, fighting off their disbelief as Val 'n Tyne whisked them onto the dance floor."

Val 'n Tyne escorted the girls to the dance floor and students parted like the Red Sea as they did. They didn't hang out on the fringes where they could be overlooked, and instead, they went straight to the middle of the crowd. They put their hands on the girls' hips and the girls tentatively put their hands on the boys' shoulders and began swaying slowly to Gotye's song. Val and Tyne both looked at their dance partners and were overwhelmed with the absolute joy and excitement on their faces. The girls kept stealing glances back toward the pack of misfits to see if their friends were watching what was happening. Tyne turned and met eyes with Dane who was dancing with a girl with short black hair in a polka-dot, knee length dress with the most hideous pair of glasses Tyne had ever seen. Tyne smiled at him and Dane slipped Tyne the thumbs up sign behind the girl's back.

Tyne watched Noah as he practically sprinted up to the DJ and said something to him. Tyne wondered what he was up to now. When the song ended, the DJ slipped immediately into another slow dance with Thompson Square singing, Glass. Noah had already hit up the football team, wrestlers and was working on the baseball guys. Bit by bit they started following the basketballers' lead and were inviting girls to dance. Next, Noah headed for the cheer, other popular girls, and pep squad. He was having less success there, but finally he got the girls he was friends with from the pep squad and some of the volleyball team to go grab some geek males and drag them, literally, onto the floor. To the amazement of the faculty, the vast majority of students were on the floor dancing.

Tyne danced his way up to the DJ and made a request. He motioned for Noah to come up front by him and he spoke into his ear. They both finished the dance out nearby the stage. The DJ played the Pink song, Get This Party Started. As the couples began to drift apart back to their safe territory, the DJ turned the microphone over to Noah. "Hey people, don't be running off the dance floor. We came here to dance and not just stand around playing with ourselves. Nick, that means you, so get up here. Dane, Val, Evan, Tyne, Andy, all you guys grab some peeps and get your butts up here on stage. Guys, stop being such wimps, ask a girl to dance and ladies if nobody's asking, just grab a guy and drag his lame you know what out there on the dance floor. It's time to GET THIS PARTY STARTED! EVERYBODY DAAAAAANCE!" The crowd let out a whoop and started jumping and gyrating to the music as the DJ cranked up the Db's.

Then, Noah ran around grabbing random people and pushing them onto the stage. Soon, the stage was full and Tyne moved over by Val and was shaking his booty next to his big friend, unconcerned if anyone was watching. Noah was putting on an unbelievable dance show as if he was one of Michael Jackson's old background dancers or something. The crowd got into it and even the worst diehards were up dancing. Tyne caught Lukas dragging his cave woman out the door. Lukas stopped and scowled at the scene. He caught Tyne's eye and Tyne pointed at him and winked. Lukas flipped him off and disappeared into the night.

The dancing kept up song after song and soon the freaks and geeks were dancing with each other and the popular girls and the jocks were back dancing with their group and the Emos and Goths were doing their thing together, but practically no one was just standing around wishing they could dance. Val, however, hadn't changed partners once since he first asked the tall girl with the long, brown hair to dance. They were chatting friendly like and Tyne could see Val was really into her. She, of course, was lit up like Times Square on New Year's Eve. Finally, the assistant principal announced the final dance and the DJ played We Are Young by Fun.

Tyne slipped over to the refreshments table and grabbed a glass of punch. Noah sat down next to him with a couple Nutter Butters. "Sister, you and Val put on one hell of a dance here tonight."

Tyne just smiled back. "With a little help."

"It was all your idea; I was just your voice - the wind beneath your wings."

"That's why they call it a Val 'n Tyne dance, you know," Tyne said.

"Somehow, I never seem to get on the credits." The two smiled and shared one of those best friends, bonding moments. They settled back, enjoying the scene and listening to the lyrics

Tonight
We are young
So let's set the world on fire
We can burn brighter
Than the sun
Now I know that I'm not
All that you got
I guess that I
I just thought maybe we could find new ways to fall apart
But our friends are back
So let's raise a cup
Cause I found someone to carry me home

"Good luck with Nick tonight," Tyne said to Noah. "You gonna try and talk to him after the dance?"

"Thanks, but Noah doesn't leave important shit like hooking up with Nick to luck. I parked next to his sizzlin' hot Mustang then pulled out my ignition fuse." He smiled shyly. "I hope he'll give a poor stranded guy a ride home to my empty house. The rents are gone and I'm home alone. Hopefully, I won't be home alone all night, though."

"You sly dog." Noah just smiled, very pleased with himself.

After the final dance, Tyne searched for Val and Noah headed out to the last row of the parking lot where he'd parked next to Nick's hot ride. Nick always parked as far away as possible so no one would scratch or dent his nice paintjob. Val and Tyne said goodbye to the basketball crowd and they headed to Val's truck. Tyne filled Val in on Noah's devious plan for Nick and Val cracked up. On their way out of the parking lot, they saw Noah and Nick standing by Noah's piece of shit car scratching their heads. Tyne and Val broke out into a fresh burst of laughter.

"Dude," Val said getting serious all of a sudden. "You F'n changed the world in there tonight."

"Well, not the world, but I guarantee we made some people happy they came."

"No, man. You changed the world. Maybe not the whole world, but you changed the world for everyone who was there tonight. That was huge. You changed my world."

"How?"

"You showed me what real courage means. You showed me what real compassion can do. And you got me Sylvia's phone number tatted on my arm." Val grinned and pulled his sleeve up to show Tyne where the tall skinny girl from the loser crowd had scribbled her phone number with a Sharpie. Tyne laughed.

"Okay, so the Val 'n Tyne dance went well. I just hope the Val 'n Tyne date goes well tomorrow," Tyne said with a grin. He was struggling with feeling jealous over the numbers on Val's arm and feeling happy for Val over it.

"Oh, it will. Trust me." Tyne hoped so. Val rubbed his temples and grimaced. "Val, are you okay? How's your head feeling?" Tyne worried Val suffered more than he let on from the injuries at the game and might end up not going on the date after all.

"I'm fine, I guess. I'll be okay." Val handed Tyne his iPod and said, "Here find something smooth and quiet to listen to please." Tyne went to Coldplay and played Paradise. He sat back and drank in Val's exceptional, rugged beauty while he listened to the lyrics singing along with the chorus line, 'This could be Para-para-paradise.' Val stole glances at him occasionally along the way home and smiled warmly at him. Tyne wondered if Val knew what he was dreaming about.

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