Not Always Easy
Chapter 2 - Best Friends Share
Having heard Mike's little speech, I decided that I should at least tell him about my sexuality, but definitely wait for another time to mention my recent experiences with Ben. As I didn't want Mike to get the wrong idea, I decided to withdraw my arm from around his shoulders before talking about being gay. As an excuse for moving, I stood up and got a tissue to blow my nose. As a tactical withdrawal it wasn't exactly subtle and possibly a bit tacky, but my mind wasn't really up to much subtlety or originality just then. When I sat down again, it was on the other bed and facing Mike. He gave me a strange look, probably wondering why I had apparently distanced myself.
"Okay, Mike, you're closer to me than anyone else in the world and I know I can trust you not to react badly, but I'm glad you're already sitting down," I said, smiling weakly at my own puny attempt at humour. "Well, rather than beating around the bush, I'll just say it.... I'm gay."
I looked across at him and at first I saw no apparent reaction, then he gave me an almost puzzled.
"Are you sure you're gay?"
That was not exactly the response I'd expected, and for some reason I felt slightly irritated.
"Are you sure you're straight?" I retorted with a frown.
Mike just burst out laughing with a genuine merriment that was infectious, and I couldn't prevent myself from smiling.
"Sorry," Mike said. "Pretty stupid question, eh? Well, it's a bit of a surprise, but not a total shock. But I guess the most important thing for me to say is that I don't care if you're gay, hetero, or ambidextrous. You are still the same person and still my best friend."
He stood up, came over to sit next to me, and surprised me a little by putting his arm over my shoulders, just as I had done to him a few minutes earlier. As I mentioned, we didn't often show much physical affection, but I guessed he wanted to make sure I knew that my announcement made no difference to our friendship.
"Have you told your family?" he asked.
"No, you're the first person I've told."
"Aaawww, I'm honoured. Do you want to keep it secret?"
"For the time being at least, but I guess I'll tell Mum and Dad sometime."
"How long have you known you were... um... gay?"
"Not long... maybe even just a few days. I've only become sure recently, but I sort-of suspected for years... Did you never suspect?"
"No, I never even thought about it... but I never thought 'Oh, Paul's heterosexual' either. You're just you."
The discussion with Mike so far had made me very happy and I felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders. However, I began to worry that he might start asking questions about sexual experiences and I wasn't ready for that yet. At some stage I wanted to be totally open with him, but not just then.
"Okay, maybe you have more questions, but it's getting late now, so let's leave them to another time. I'm knackered, and with school tomorrow we should get some sleep."
Perhaps Mike knew exactly what was on my mind, and if he did I wouldn't have been surprised, as he often seemed to be able to read my thoughts. In any case, he said he was tired too and we started getting ready for bed. As usual, I slept nude and Mike wore boxers to bed. For half our lives we were used to seeing one another naked, and I was relieved when I found that, also as usual, there was no embarrassment or inhibitions involved with seeing one another without clothes.
The next day the routines of family, friendship and school continued as usual. Mike didn't ask me directly if I'd had any sexual experience but he occasionally hinted that he'd like me to tell him if I had. Ben never phoned, which didn't surprise me, and I certainly didn't feel like phoning him. Between my last meeting with Ben and the arrival of Christmas I had neither the time nor the inclination to go back to the GLYG.
Christmas arrived, with the usual family events, and Mike spent half of his time at my house. As I passed my driving test just before Christmas, my parents bought me an old red Ford Escort as a Christmas present. The car, which had belonged to one of Dad's friends, was nearly as old as me, but it was still in good condition. They even paid for the insurance so that all I had to do was provide running costs such as petrol from my allowance. Of course I was overjoyed at having my own transport, and the fact that the car was old and not very exciting didn't bother me because I'd never been one of those boys who was really into cars.
From my parents' point of view, providing me with a car was not totally altruistic. As Mum couldn't drive I became the family chauffeur. Both my parents worked, Mum as a secretary and Dad was a manager. Mum arrived home from work around 5.30 pm and Dad about an hour later, so if my brother needed to go anywhere in the evening I usually ended up taking him. Also, John went to the same school as I did, so most of the time I gave him a ride to and from school.
Ferrying John around wasn't a burden for me and in fact I quite enjoyed it because it gave us a chance to get to know one another better. Maybe that sounds strange, but for the past couple of years we'd not spent a lot of time alone together and we'd never seemed to have time to just sit and talk. Driving my parents around wasn't bad either because they were generous with the 'petrol money' they gave me for each trip, and as they paid my petrol costs for going to school, I very rarely had to pay for my own fuel.
Mike and his mum saw in the New Year with my family then his mum went back to their house, which was only a couple of minutes walk down the street. When my family went to bed, Mike and I were left alone in the living room. We were sitting on the sofa, sipping the remains of the champagne and were already quite 'merry' but certainly not drunk. The room lights were dimmed and there was a slightly hypnotic flicker of light from TV, which was on but with the sound muted. After several minutes of companionable silence, Mike spoke.
"I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours," he said, looking at the bubbles rising in his glass.
"What?" I said when his words penetrated the haze in my mind.
"I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours," he repeated.
"Tell me your what?" I asked, my voice squeaking a little as the significance of his words began to dawn on me.
"You know... experiences..." Mike said, almost in a whisper.
Having hoped he'd forgotten about all that, and realising that my mind wasn't agile enough to avoid this discussion, I thought to myself 'Oh shit!'.
"Well, what d'ya say?" Mike persisted.
"But you know I'm gay. You're straight. Why should you want to know if I've done gay stuff?"
"We're best friends and I'm interested in what you get up to. Aren't you interested in my love life?" he said, then before I had chance to respond, he added, "And for all I know you might have done it with a girl as well..."
Well, when he put it like that, what could I do? I was backed into a corner, and with the influence of alcohol and tiredness, I couldn't see a way out.
"Erm... Okay..." I mumbled. "How d'ya want to do this? I don't know where to start."
"You've had so many you don't know where to start?" he almost gasped.
"Noooooo, silly, I really just don't know how to begin this! You suggested this, how do you want to get it started?"
"How about question and answer? Any question one of us asks he has to answer himself. No fibs allowed, but if you really don't want to answer, you can refuse. Is that okay with you?"
"That all sounds very detailed," I said, voicing my suspicions. "Have you got this all planned out?"
"Well, I've been thinking about it for awhile," he admitted, then after a brief pause he added, "So do you agree or not?"
"Okay," I said and sighed deeply.
"Right... have you ever done it with a guy?"
"Done it?" I asked with feigned innocence. "How do you define 'done it'?"
"Sorry, I guess I should be more specific."
From his words and the sound of his voice I was beginning to suspect he wasn't as drunk as I'd thought and that he was certainly not as merry as I felt.
"Have you touched a guy's dick?" he continued.
"Ahhh!" I interrupted "Your rule said you have to answer your own question, and then I get to ask a question!"
"Um, okay, the answer is 'No'. What's your question?"
"Have you touched a girl's private bits?"
"Does that include breasts?"
"Then the answer's 'No'. Have you?"
"No, of course not... Hold on," I said, getting even more suspicious, "do you have anything to tell or are you just using it as an excuse to get me to tell you stuff?"
"Hey, it's my turn to ask a question!"
"Not if you don't have much to tell... you cheated!" I said, getting irritated.
"Okay, I admit I don't have much to tell, but I didn't know you had either, so it wasn't really a trick."
He gave me one of his smiles and I knew I couldn't be angry with him. We both sat there considering this apparent stalemate. The effects of Mike's smile, combined with the alcohol put me in a good mood, so I thought I'd be generous to him.
"If you don't find out more tonight, you're gonna keep trying, aren't ya?" I said.
"What do you think?" he said, meeting my gaze with his twinkling eyes.
"Just as I thought... tell ya what... I'll just tell you everything then you tell me everything. That way we can clear up the whole thing, go to sleep and save lots of future aggro. Agreed?"
"Agreed," he said, folding his arms and settling deeper into the sofa, "I'm all ears, so you can get started right away."
So I told him the only guy I'd ever been with was Ben, and I told him what we'd done. Of course, I gave just the outlines, not the minute details, though he was eager for as much detail as I was prepared to give. I even surprised myself by telling him about that first time when I came in my pants. He laughed and told me it had happened to him as well. Mike then told me that he'd never been totally naked with a girl but had got at least as far as French-kissing and breast-feeling with five girls and had been 'quite intimate' with three of them. Two of them had felt his dick through his pants and one had wanked him, but only once, and not to orgasm. All this had happened within the last couple of years.
"You sly dog!" I complained, "How come you never mentioned any of this before?"
"Private," he smirked. "And you notice I didn't name any names."
"Yeah, I noticed. You always were a gentleman... but I was just wondering...has Sue been one of those girls?"
"Well, I can answer that cos the answer is 'no'," he replied, then he looked down at the carpet and added wistfully, "Anyway, Sue's special."
"Ooooow!" I said, sounding more camp than intended, and showing Mike my patented evil grin, "Is wittle Mikey in lurrrve?"
"Not sure," he admitted, much to my surprise, "but she's special and I like her a lot... anyway, haven't you ever been in love?"
"Not in love, no. I've fancied lots of people and of course I love my family and a couple of friends, but I've never been in love."
A pause of at least a couple of minutes followed, then Mike, still looking at the muted TV, broke the silence.
"Am I one of the friends you love?"
"Actually, you're the only friend I love... closer than a brother."
"Yeah, me too," he said.
We sat in silence for a few more minutes, finishing our drinks. Then I turned off the TV and we went upstairs to prepare for bed.
In January I went to another meeting of the GLYG. Ben was there and it was clear he was avoiding me, but that suited me fine. After the 'business' part of the meeting, two guys came over to say 'hi' and introduce themselves. They were obviously a couple. I found out that Dan was aged seventeen and Steve was eighteen, and both, I was interested to learn, were in the Sixth Form at Mike's school, Dan being in the Lower Sixth and Steve in the Upper Sixth. Although both were good looking, for some reason I couldn't define I thought that Dan was considerably more attractive.
Dan was slim and about my height whereas Steve had a more muscular build and, at around 6', was taller than either of us. Dan had black, slightly curly hair and deep brown eyes, while Steve had light brown hair and hazel eyes. I noticed that even though it was winter, Dan had a nice light-gold tan, so I guessed that either he'd been away somewhere sunny or that he was one of those people who maintained that attractive skin tone throughout the year.
During our chat, Steve mentioned seeing me at a meeting before Christmas.
"Oh," I said, "pity you didn't say 'hello' then."
"Well," Steve replied, "you were being monopolised by Ben. As usual."
"As usual?" I echoed.
"Yeah, Ben usually tries to monopolise new guys, particularly cute ones," Dan said.
"Is that a compliment?" I blushed.
"Might be," he replied with a slight smile and looked at the floor.
"Sounded like a compliment to me!" Steve said.
Dan blushed and playfully punched Steve's arm.
"The pity is," Dan said, looking at me, "a lot of the people Ben monopolises never come to another meeting, so it's nice to see you here again.... By the way, I notice you and Ben have been avoiding one another tonight."
I smiled, but decided not to say anything about my interactions with Ben, and I was grateful that Dan didn't pursue the matter.
"It's interesting that Ben's boyfriend never comes to the meetings. I wonder what he would make of Ben always chatting up new guys?" Steve said.
"Boyfriend?" I sputtered, trying to keep my voice down.
"Yeah, me and Dan met Ben and his boyfriend last summer in The Castle... ya know the gay pub on Boulton Street?"
"Oh, yeah, I've seen it, but I've never been inside," I said.
"Anyway, we saw Ben there and said 'hello' and the guy with Ben introduced himself as Ben's boyfriend."
"And is Ben still with the same guy?" I asked.
"Well he was when we saw them at the pub's New Year party," Dan replied.
As our conversation continued across various other topics, my mind started absorbing this information. It occurred to me that Ben was doing things with me while he was, allegedly, still attached to this unnamed boyfriend. At the end of the meeting Dan and Steve went off to a pub and invited me to go with them, but I went straight back home. As soon as I got home I phoned Mike to share the information about Ben. It was great to be able to share such things with my best friend, and no matter how straight Mike is, it doesn't stop him enjoying a good gossip.
The next GLYG meeting I went to was in February. Again Ben was there and again we avoided one another. Unfortunately Dan and Steve were not there and no one else came over to my corner to talk to me. Yes, I suppose I could have tried starting a conversation with someone, but they all appeared to know one another and seemed busy talking in their own little groups. Maybe if I'd attended more of the weekly meetings it would have been easier to make new friends, but I didn't want to make my parents wonder where I was going if I went out every Wednesday. Also, there was still the nagging fear that the more often I went, the more likely it was that someone I knew might see me going into the well-signposted room. If and when I decided to let people know about my sexuality I wanted it to be my decision, not the result of someone spotting me going into the GLYG meeting and spreading the news.
One Wednesday evening just before Easter, I was just finishing off some Maths homework when my mobile phone rang.
"Hallo, Mike, I was just thinking about you," I said.
"Hi, Paul. Nice thoughts I hope?"
Knowing him so well, I could hear the grin in his voice.
"That's good, cos I've something to ask you. Would you be annoyed if I cancelled our usual Friday night meet-up?"
"Not annoyed, no," I said, unable to hide the disappointment in my voice. "What's up?"
"Well, nothing I can't postpone if it's going to spoil your plans."
"No, it's okay. I'd nothing planned and we'll still meet up on Saturday won't we, so no problems."
"Yeah, I'll still see you Saturday."
"So, what's happening Friday then? Don't keep me in suspense! Not your dad trying to get to see you again is it?"
"Nah, nothing that awful. In fact it's something good. Sue's invited me over to her place... and her parents will be out till late".
Hearing the enthusiasm in his voice, I couldn't help smiling.
"Aaaahhh! If this is a development in the Sue-saga then I couldn't possibly get in the way of true love."
There was a slight teasing tone in my voice, but I was genuinely happy for him, as he'd been seriously dating Sue for over a month.
"Well, I don't know yet if it's true love, but she is really nice..."
"And you fancy her real bad!" I interrupted.
"Mmmm. That as well," he said. I could almost hear the grin in his voice.
"Yeah, pal, you go for it... and tell me all the juicy details on Saturday, okay?"
"What!" he retorted pretending to be shocked and offended. "Do you think I'm the sort of boy who kisses and tells?"
"Not normally, no, but you've been sort-of dating her for almost two months now and giving me a running commentary, so why should this be different?"
"Yeah, well let's just wait and see."
I thought I detected a hint of embarrassment in his voice, but maybe I'd just imagined it, as I'd hardly ever known him to be embarrassed with me.
"Okay," I said and laughed, "if you have any nasty secrets I'm sure I can pry them out of you on Saturday."
"You can always try! Anyway, I'll phone you Saturday afternoon and let you know what time I'm coming over."
The conversation drifted on to other topics for a few minutes before we said our goodbyes and I returned to my homework. Despite the fact that our Friday meeting had been cancelled, I still felt more cheerful than I did before Mike phoned. He had such an infectious good humour and zest for life that even just chatting with him on the phone was enough to brighten my day. Of course, that still left me with the question of what to do on Friday night.
Well, there was the special Easter party meeting of the local Gay and Lesbian Youth Group that Friday. I'd stopped going to the usual Wednesday meetings, as I wasn't really interested in most of the introductory discussions, which were usually related to politics, campaigns, etc. Also, it was difficult for me to make friends there, which was probably my own fault for being so shy and not going to many meetings. Still, this was to be a purely social meeting, and there was a good chance that Dan and Steve would be there, so as I couldn't think of anything better to do that night, I decided to go.
On the Friday evening I showered, splashed my best aftershave liberally, and chose my clothes carefully. No matter how unlikely it was that I would meet and talk to someone, if it did happen I wanted to give as good an impression as possible. I also made sure I took my little tiny notebook, just in case there was a chance that some cute guy wanted to give me his number. Well, there may not have been much of a chance, but one can live in hope, and I didn't want to risk missing any opportunities.
The party was due to start at 8 pm, but I made sure I didn't get there before 9 pm because I didn't want to be among the first to arrive. When I got there I saw more people than I expected and the room looked about half full, with at least fifty people. Much to my relief, I quickly found Dan and Steve not too far from entrance, and I immediately went over to them. They were chatting to a couple of girls who were about my age and who I guessed were among the few lesbians in the group. Steve introduced them as Helen and Kate, and it didn't take long for me to work out that the two of them were a couple.
"I see Ben's up to his usual trick," Dan said, nodding his head at the far corner of the room.
When I looked in the direction he indicated, I saw Ben deep in conversation with a guy who seemed quite young, maybe fifteen or sixteen, and quite attractive in a non-cute sort of way.
"I guess the lad that Ben's talking to is a new guy?" I asked.
"Probably. We've never seen him before, have we, Steve?"
"Nope," Steve confirmed, "but we're not here every week."
I took a closer look at the boy who was chatting with Ben. He looked to be about 5'7" and he had a chunky build, with short curly ginger hair, which was the shade of ginger that was nearer to brown than it was to a true redhead. Although he didn't fall within my usual definition of classically 'cute', there was something attractive about his round face with its ruddy cheeks and shy smile. There was also something about him, and especially that distinctive hair, that made him seem vaguely familiar. I felt rather sad at the idea that Ben might treat this new boy in the same way he treated me, but there wasn't anything I could do about it, so I turned my attention to the discussion between Steve and the two girls.
Later on in the evening, as I went to refill my orange juice, I notice Ben still monopolising the boy I thought of as 'Ginger-top'. Then it suddenly occurred to me why he was so familiar. He went to the same school as me. Well, that was one mystery solved, but I still had no idea of his name or even what year he was in, except for the fact that he was definitely younger than me. Also, as he was at the party, the obvious conclusion was that he was presumably gay; and if he was gay then, apart from myself, he was the only gay boy I knew about in my school. This 'bond', tenuous as it may be, made me consider again if there was anything I could do to save Ginger-top from Ben's clutches.
No matter how hard I thought about it, I couldn't see any viable course of action. Anyway, I thought, with any luck there would be no need to do anything and maybe Ginger-top wouldn't want to go with Ben. Maybe Ben wouldn't try to seduce him, especially if Ginger-top were only fifteen and therefore below the legal age. While I was pondering these possibilities, I saw Ben leave the room, possibly going to the toilet. As the nearest toilet was one floor down and some distance away, Ben might be away long enough for me to at least say 'Hi' to Ginger-top. Without further thought, I decided to grasp the opportunity and went over to the younger boy. As I approached him, he looked up from his drink and gave me a shy smile.
"Hi," I said. "Don't you go to Saint Cuthbert's?"
As I made that rather lame opening gambit I couldn't help staring into his unusual blue-green eyes.
"Oh, yeah, I thought I recognised you," he replied.
"My name's Paul," I said and held out my hand.
He looked startled, but shook hands anyway. At this point I was beginning to feel that maybe he didn't want to be recognised by someone from the same school, but I was reassured when he spoke again.
"I'm Robert... Rob," he said a little hesitantly, but he gave me a big grin.
"What form are you in?" I was encouraged enough to ask.
"Fifth... you're a Sixth Former, aren't you?"
If he'd seen me at school that would be easy for him to know because the Sixth Form uniform was a different colour to that of the lower forms.
"Yeah, Lower Sixth Science."
"Oh. I do Sciences too. I'll be doing mainly Science GCSE exams this year."
"Poor sod!" I quipped.
He grinned again and then for a few brief moments there was a slightly uncomfortable pause.
"So you're gay too, then," Rob said, more as a statement than a question.
"That's right. I can't believe we're the only two out of more than six hundred boys at our school, but I don't know of any others, do you?"
"No. 'Fraid not."
"So if you're in the Fifth-form, you'll be fifteen or sixteen?" I said.
"Sixteen just two weeks ago. Legal now. That's why I'm here tonight."
He shot me a big cheeky grin, which I returned, though my mind was racing. The conversation temporarily ground to a halt while I thought to myself: 'Oh Shit! Rob seems to be a prime target for Ben. What can I do? I can hardly just warn him about Ben, and why should he believe me if I do? Maybe everything will be OK'.
"I noticed you talking to Ben earlier," I said, trying to sound nonchalant.
"Yeah, isn't he great!" Rob said enthusiastically.
I thought: 'Double-shit!'
"Oh... errr you fancy him then?" I said as calmly as I could.
"Not half!" he replied, apparently slightly embarrassed. "He's invited me to a party at his place a week on Saturday."
He looked as happy as a puppy with two tails and I couldn't think what to say next. He was such a shy and gentle guy, and he looked so sweet and innocent that I felt he was just a kid, even though he was only a year younger than me.
Time was running out as I could see Ben returning, but fortunately he was chatting to someone and hadn't seen me yet. Even if I had time to warn Rob, he was so keen on Ben that he'd probably ignore me, or even worse, think I was just jealous of one or both of them. The only thing I could think of was to make sure he had someone to talk to if he got hurt. So I ripped a page out of my tiny notebook, jotted down my mobile number and gave it to him.
"Look Rob, here's my number. If you ever want to chat or you ever need anything call any time. Anytime, day or night. Okay?" I said.
"Okay," Rob said, giving me a strange look but taking the paper anyway.
Ben came up to us, smiled at Rob and glared at me. Rob was beaming his happy smile and I tried to smile as sweetly as possible at Ben. After the initial glare, Ben totally ignored me, behaving as if I didn't exist at all, and Rob, not knowing what was going on but feeling the tension, looked confused.
"Ben, this is Paul. He goes to my school," Rob said.
"Yes, I know him already," Ben replied coldly without looking at me.
"Well, Rob, I'd better go now," I said as cheerfully as I could manage. "See you at school!"
"Okay, see ya!" Rob replied, still looking a little confused.
I felt sorry for him, but having done all that I felt I could, I beat a hasty retreat and went to look for Dan and Steve. I caught up with them only to find that they were preparing to leave and go to a pub, so I decided to walk out with them and drive straight home. When I got home I tried calling Mike, but he wasn't home, and I decided it would be indiscreet to call his mobile.
The next day Mike called me earlier than expected, and, as it was still not quite noon on a Saturday, I'd only just finished breakfast.
"My, my, you're an early bird for a Saturday!" I joked.
"Yeah, I was thinking of coming over early today. Like now. And wanted to make sure you were out of bed and decent."
"Out of bed, and about as decent as I ever get! Come over when you like. Mum and Dad are shopping and John's out somewhere... I guess you must have some news about last night?"
"Mmm, yeah, but not over the phone, okay?"
"Okay! Come right over. I can't wait!" I said and smiled to myself.
"See you in ten then."
He'd said ten, but it was only five minutes before he arrived, and he was so excited that he dragged me up to my room almost before he finished saying 'hello'. He sat on my bed and I sat opposite him on the other bed. Seeing he was bright red, I wondered if it was because he was excited, because he had rushed over to see me, or maybe because he was a little embarrassed.
"Well?" I asked.
"I'm not a virgin anymore!" he exclaimed, looking as if he'd just won the jackpot on the National Lottery.
Of course I was very happy for him, but I wasn't sure what the appropriate reaction should be. After all, it wasn't a situation I encountered very often and I don't think it's in the etiquette books. So I jumped up and punched the air.
"Yaaaaayyyy! Congratulations!" I shouted.
Mike jumped up off the bed and raised both arms in the air.
"Yaaaaayyyy!" he shouted as well. Then, taking me completely by surprise, he grabbed me in a big bear hug.
When things calmed down, we started to talk normally again. Of course he didn't give me any of the 'gory details', and I definitely wouldn't want to know them, but all appeared to have gone well the previous night. He didn't actually use the word 'love' but from his eyes, his smile, his happiness and his whole body language, I guessed he was in love. Presumably, since he was so happy and he was no longer a virgin, he had good reason to believe she felt the same way about him. We spent the rest of day together, and I enjoyed basking in his happiness.
Later, he went home to have his evening meal with his mum but afterward he came back to spend the night at my house. When I asked if he'd told his mum about his new non-virgin status he just grinned, called me a 'stupid bugger' and threw a pillow at me, so I interpreted his response to mean 'no'. By the time we were watching a late night movie together in my bedroom, he'd calmed down to his normal merely-happy self and we began to talk about my Friday evening at the GLYG party. I'd told him the details earlier in the evening, but I think they were just sinking in.
"What do you think will happen with Rob and Ben?" he asked.
"No idea. I just hope Rob doesn't get hurt."
"He may need a friend..." Mike said, being his usual considerate self. "I'm glad you gave him your number. It was very thoughtful of you."
"It was all I could think of to do."
"What about school. Will you see more of Rob there?"
"Mmmmm, you know my school's more formal than yours about things... uniforms and so on... it's not really done for Sixth Formers to socialise with lower forms, and especially not in school. But I'll keep an eye open for him."
"And what about Ben's party next Saturday? I presume you're not invited?"
"No," I replied, though I knew his question was just a joke. "And if I was invited, I still wouldn't go."
"Let's just hope that Rob's going to be okay."
"Yeah," I sighed. "We'll just have to wait and see."
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