Boys Do It Better

by Rob Warr

Chapter 2

The breakups

I was awake by 6 am the next day, which sucks cause I didn't have to be at school till 8 and it was only like a ten minute walk. But here's the thing. I couldn't walk to school with Tommy like I always did, because, well...he's the enemy now. I have to keep him at a distance till I can get the two snakes together and beat them both with a stick at the same time. Okay, I'm not really going to beat them with a stick, I don't think, no, definitely not a stick, but I want them together when I confront the two cheaters.

So, I ate my usual breakfast of Pop Tarts and milk, even though my Pop Tarts tasted like cardboard and the milk almost gagged me. I kept thinking about how the milk looked like my spunk that night when Beth, my cheating bitch of a girlfriend gave me my first beejay/hand job. Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, I started thinking about all the times me and Tommy had spanked it and blew our loads laying side by side and connected I felt with him as we bragged about how much goo we shot. As much as I hated Beth and would miss having a girlfriend, I hated Tommy more and would miss having my best friend the most. Only, I wasn't sure I knew how to hate Tommy. How do you stop loving someone you've loved all your life and start hating them?

Fortunately, my dad was already gone to work and my mom left while I was eating breakfast. Before she left she gave me a funny look, but I guess she was in a hurry or something and she didn't ask me why I was up so early.

I had showered the night before, so I brushed my teeth and got dressed. I had planned on wearing that new tee shirt I got at Target on Saturday, but somehow it seemed connected to all my misery, and I couldn't bring myself to even touch it. Instead I wore an old tee shirt that felt worn and comfortable cause I needed some comfort today.

I made sure to leave plenty early to miss Tommy, and even took an alternate route that didn't go by his house, just in case. I got to school about 20 minutes early and was surprised to see that I wasn't the only kid there at that time of day. I figured maybe it was just the geeks, or kids who's rents had to drop them off early, but I saw all kinds of kids I knew there, including Ronnie Pitts.

I didn't exactly know Ronnie all that well, but he was in my gym class and of course I had kinda saved him from being embarrassed that day when he'd popped a boner. He'd thanked me the next day, and got all shy and was blushing, and ever since then he'd gone out of his way to say hey every time we ran into each other.

So, when he sees me he like seems to brighten up, and he's like smiling really big as he approaches me. Hey, I say, trying to smile a little, but the hurt and pain must've showed through, or Ronnie's just really sensitive to these things, cause he says, Hey, are you okay? You look kinda down.

You just don't know how tempting it was to open up to Ronnie and get all this crap off my chest, but after all, I didn't really know him that well, and he'd know soon enough anyway. He didn't need to hear me whine about losing my girlfriend and my best friend. Hey, maybe he could be my next best friend.

Damn, I was already looking for a replacement and I hadn't even heard Tommy's side of things. Maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought. Yeah, maybe they were thinking we could be like a thrupple or something. Was that really a thing? Don't even know where I heard that, but isn't that three people in a relationship?

Anyway, I gave Ronnie some load of bullshit, and then wandered off to my locker to get my stuff before Tommy showed up. I didn't figure I had to worry about Beth, cause I hadn't been walking her to her locker for a while now, only now I knew why. Tommy must be her guide dog now.

I headed to class and for once I was glad Tommy and me didn't share any classes till the afternoon. By then I'd have confronted the girlfriend stealing weasel and he'd understand why I didn't talk to him any more. I fidgeted with my notebook and pulled out my homework and scanned it just to keep busy, but all I could think of was what was going to happen at lunchtime. Three and a half hours to go.

By lunch period I was a fricking bundle of nerves, but I had managed to avoid both of the traitors all morning, and I was ready to get this over with. I hadn't bothered to bring my lunch, and I sure didn't want to stomach any of the slop the cafeteria served up, so I figured if I had any appetite after giving the two a piece of my mind I'd hit the vending machines in the common room. Not much chance of that though, my stomach was doing somersaults and the thought of food made me deathly ill.

I waited till I figured the two lying, cheating bastards (or one bastard, one bitch) were seated on their throne with all their subjects, and then I headed to the cafeteria. As I came in the door, I saw Tommy look up...and guess what? He was sitting right beside Beth on my side of the table, right where I used to sit.

When Tommy locked eyes with me I think he must've figured out something was wrong, and I'm pretty sure he knew what, cause he started scooting away from Beth. That caused her to look up, and when she saw me she lowered her head and started paying attention to her tray.

I was trembling and as mad as I'd ever been in my life. Which was a good thing, cause at least I wasn't about to start crying like a little school girl. In fact, I even felt my fists balling up, and the others at the table were looking at me like they were ready to take off running.

I finally made it to the table and I stopped on the other side of it, facing the two and not saying a word for a minute. Then I let them have it. Yeah, I am kinda proud of myself, because I didn't use any cuss words or the B word, even though I was thinking it. I told them what an idiot I was to not see that they'd been playing handsy under the table, and going behind my back for a long time, and how I saw them at the mall Saturday sucking face, and how rotten I thought it was for them to do this to me. Okay, about then the tears did sort of start clouding my eyes, but I was still mad enough to finish.

I told them that I hated them, and that I never wanted to ever, ever, see either one of them, or ever talk to them again...but Tommy cut me off.

Dude, he said, Calm down. We were gonna tell you today. It just happened, we didn't plan it. We just, we really like each other, and I'm so sorry dude. I know this hurts, but you didn't seem to really be into having a girlfriend anyway.

What?!!! I almost did hit him then. Was he saying I was acting gay or something?

What do you mean? I said, I was a good boyfriend. I was looking right at Beth now, who was pretending she wasn't there or something, and I wanted her to look at me, so I said...Beth, tell him. I was a good boyfriend, wasn't I?

Then she raises her head and looks me right in the face and she says, I'm sorry Josh, but Tommy and I just much more in common, and he's like always there for me, and you seemed like it was a chore to be my boyfriend.

A chore? Well...yeah, it was, but I did everything she asked, and I called her, and I walked her to class. I was her fricking guide dog around school. Sigh, what more could I have done? Had her name tattooed on my chest? Glad I didn't, cause I heard those things are hard to get rid of.

Fine! I said, Go, be happy. But you know what? I don't want to know about it, so just stay away from me and don't talk to me, ever. And Tommy, don't call my house, don't come over, and...and, we're not walking to school together anymore or, or anything. We're done, through! Seven years or whatever of friendship is gone for good. I hope she's worth it, I said, then I stomped off.

All around me the place had been quiet as I let them have it, but now that I was done I could hear whispering coming from all the tables and every eye was on me. I turned around then and flipped them both off and I heard laughter as I finally made it to the door.

By the time I got to the bathroom the tears had begun to fall, and I had to lock myself in the back stall and stuff toilet paper up my nose to keep from dripping all over the place. I'd been in there about two minutes when someone came in. I tried to keep quiet, but suddenly someone was shaking the door and I heard a familiar voice.

"Dude, I'm so sorry. It was Tommy of course, and that made me cry even harder. It just happened and I knew it was wrong, but dude we love each other. I didn't think about what it would mean to our friendship. I guess I thought I could just...have both, but now I see I was sooo wrong. Dude, if you say so I will stop seeing her right now. If you want...uh, I mean...if it will make you not hate me.

But I could tell he didn't mean it. If I said yes, and he really loved her, he'd start hating me cause I denied him the love of his life, and things would be ruined no matter what. And that would be really selfish on my part anyway, and well, it just wouldn't work.

Go away! I said sniffing back tears, not wanting him to know I was crying, but I think he knew. I hate you, both of you! I meant it when I said...when I said, then I broke down and was crying so hard I couldn't go on.

Dude...please....he whined.

GET OUT! I screamed with such rage that I scared myself, and I heard him like cry out or something, like he was scared, Get out and leave me alone, forever. I never want to talk to you again! Go...get out or I'll come out there and throw you out!

I was plenty mad again, and the good thing was the anger pushed away the tears. I guess he got the hint, cause I heard the door close and it was quiet in there again. Then the tears started up again and I spent the rest of lunch period in there.

I managed to pull myself half way together, and washed my face and went to my locker to grab my stuff for my next class. Fortunately I didn't share that class with either of them, but I worried about what would happen the rest of the day. That's when I decided to ditch the last two classes of the day.

No way did I want to see Tommy and that back stabbing bitch in 5th period, or see Tommy half naked in gym class. Wait, why did I say half naked? What's that got to do with anything? Strike that, no leave it in, it must mean something.

So, after 4th period class I sort of disappeared. I was lucky that no one saw me, well almost no one. As I was sneaking out the door by the science lab, which hardly anyone used, Ronnie was coming in. I don't know where he'd been, but when I saw him I was terrified that maybe there was a teacher on the other side of the door or something.

Hey, he said giving me a weird look. Then he started giggling, Oh my God, are you skipping? How did he know that? Was this where all the kids skipping class exited?

Uh, maybe, I said stupidly.

So he's says, Cool, want some company?

So, what could I say? The best way to silence a witness is to involve them in the crime. He's not gonna rat me out if he's guilty too.

Sure, but hurry. So we headed out the door, and fortunately no alarms went off, and no one sent the guard dogs after us, so I guess we got away with it. We didn't talk till we were a block away, and suddenly I realized I hadn't thought about Tommy or what's her name for at least 15 minutes.

So Ronnie says, I never thought you were the kind of kid who'd skip out.

I laughed, Yeah, well...I could say the same about you. I mean, you're kinda quiet and all.

So he says, Yeah, well...maybe I have a good reason.

Me too, I said shrugging, But I won't ask why if you don't.

Deal, he said offering his fist to bump. We bumped fists and then we walked along in silence for a while. Somehow we wound up at the 7-11 near the school and Ronnie offered to buy me a Big Gulp. I realized I was hungry and I picked up some chips too, but I paid for those myself and shared them with Ronnie.

We sat against the side of the building, away from the traffic, and ate chips and sipped our drinks, and suddenly Ronnie started talking. At first it was just the usual stuff, school, video games, movies, but it began to get more personal as he went along.

I learned that he had two twin brothers that were 10, and I could tell by the way he talked about them that they were close. I kind of envied him having two brothers like that. I mean, he never had to worry about having someone to hang out with, then I thought of Tommy and how he'd been just like a brother all those years. I guess the sadness showed on my face, cause Ronnie asked me if I was okay and I just shrugged.

I guess you heard all that stuff that went on in the cafeteria today...

So he says, Uh, no, I spent lunch period in the library. I had a book report to write, which is why I kinda didn't mind skipping, cause I didn't finish it.

Oh, okay. Damn, I thought, why didn't I keep my mouth shut? Now he's gonna want to know what the hell I'm talking about, but you know what? He waited a few minutes for me to fill him in, and when I didn't, he just went on talking about his brothers and his family.

I felt like I really knew him after a while, and I really envied him until he laid the last part on me.

He says, But ever since they found out I was gay, the other kids treat me like I've got the plague.

Wait, he's gay, and everyone knows it? I didn't know it. Why didn't I know it? When did this happen? Was he out when I defended him in the gym for popping a boner when he saw Doug naked? Did Tommy know when I told him about that incident? Nah, no way, he'd have told me, right?

What was I supposed to say to that? Congratulations? Sorry kids are dicks? I'm not gay, so don't hit on me? No one prepares you for this moment. There are no books like, What to say when your friend comes out? The Straight boy's guide to handling Gay friends? Nope, nothing like that. Then I thought, what would my mom and dad do?

That sucks, I finally managed to say, Kids can be such jerks, but not everyone is like that.

He turned and looked at me and I saw tears in his eyes, Thanks, he said, I knew you'd understand.

Huh, wait! What did he mean by that? Why would I understand? Did he think I was gay too? He has to know I had a girlfriend, emphasis on HAD, and I don't act the least bit gay, right? He has to know that I'm like really popular with the girls, and most everyone respects me and stuff. I'm totally straight, ask anyone.

Uh, what do you mean? I finally asked.

Oh, just that you're like super cool, and you don't act like some of the jerks around here. Like that day in gym class, you like totally saved me that day. I mean, you could've just laughed at me like everyone else, but you took the heat off me and got them to laughing at your joke. It was so cool.

Oh, um...when did you like, um, come out and stuff anyway? Cause I didn't know that you, um had...come out, I mean?

Oh, that. I haven't really officially came out, but I think most everyone knows it. Why else would they treat me like they do?

Dude, you had me going. So, you haven't come out then? And he says, No, but everyone has to know by now.

Why do you say that? I didn't know. Dude, you just came out to me...ha ha ha. And he starts laughing too and we sorta share a moment. Oh God, that sounds so

So he's like blushing bright red, Oh man, I did, didn't I? Then like a total change comes over him and he looks me right in the eye and smiles, I don't care, cause you're so cool and all, and I know you won't make fun of me, or treat me like I have a disease just cause I like boys.

Nah, I never would, I say, and for a while we just sit there, and then I think, this is kinda interesting. I mean I never knew a real live gay boy before. And it wasn't like the things two boys did together were disgusting to me or anything. I guess you could say I had done some of those things myself, with Tommy, and just thinking about that sorta made me hard.

God, I have to be careful or I'm gonna throw wood, and Ronnie's gonna think I'm interested in him, and not about him being gay in general. Wait, what does that even mean? I'm rereading what I just wrote to see if that makes sense. Um, okay...I think what I meant was, well...I just want to see things from the perspective of a gay boy or something. I mean, I'm open minded and all, right. It's not cause I'm going to get any sexual gratification from it or anything, right?

So, um..., I say, are there like, any other gay boys at our school?

Oh yeah, sure. But only a couple are out. There are a few I think are gay, but they're pretty much in the closet.

So are there boys you, I asked, then blushed bright red.

He giggled, and it was kind of cute. It sort of reminded me how Tommy would giggle sometimes when we'd wrestle around and stuff.

Yeah, promise you won't get mad?

Uh oh, what was he gonna say? Was it someone I knew? Maybe Tommy, cause I could def see some gay boy wanting Tommy, cause he's, hot. What? No I did not write that. Okay, I did, but it's true. I might not be gay, but I know which boys, and which girls are HOT. So, it's not cause I have this thing for my ex-best friend or anything. I'm just being honest.

Promise you won't get mad, he said scooting a little further away like I was gonna whack him or something.

Promise, I said, just say it.

Well, he said looking down at his feet. I looked down too, and I noticed his shoes were like a little ragged and some off brand, like from Walmart or something. Now, that stuff doesn't bother me. I know not all kids can afford Nikes or Adidas, but I know some kids do, so maybe that was part of the reason Ronnie was sort of picked on.

I sorta like you, he said cringing a little, I mean I think you're really nice, and you're like...really cute.

What? Get out of here, I said shoving him playfully with my shoulder, I am not cute.

He giggled, and gave me the most beautiful smile. That sounds gay too, doesn't it? Oh well, I guess when you're talking to a gay boy that stuff happens. Next I'll be singing show

You know you are, everyone knows you are. Your girlfriend is really lucky. He just had to say that, and the look on my face must've told him something wasn't right. I felt like I'd had a rusty fork jabbed into my heart, and I had to look away as tears gathered in my eyes.

What, um, what's wrong. I'm sorry. I'm not hitting on you. I was just trying to be honest. God, I'm so sorry. I'm messing things up, aren't I. I just wanted to be able talk to you about my feelings, and I hoped you'd understand. I'll shut up.

Nah, it's not that. It's um, something else. Something private.

Oh, okay, He said, but I don't think he was convinced.

Want to come to my house? he said suddenly, then he looked terrified as he realized how that might sound considering that he'd just admitted he was gay and thought I was cute and stuff.

I chuckled, Nah, why don't we go to my house instead. My folks are gone all day and it might be safer to be off the street.

I didn't give any thought to the fact that I was inviting a gay boy to my house, or that he'd said he thought I was cute, but I guess I really wasn't thinking too clearly. This crap with Tommy and Beth was still weighing heavy on my mind, and I needed someone to get my mind off it, even if for a little while.

Uh, you mean it? he said looking at me like he'd won the lottery.

Yeah, I'm starved, and those chips didn't do it. Let's go to my house and I'll nuke some pizza rolls or something.

So, that's how we wound up at my house that day, and you know what? Ronnie turned out to be a cool dude, and he didn't hit on me In fact, we didn't even talk about the gay stuff after we got there. He talked about his family some more, and I showed him my games, and he got all excited at how many I had. I guess he doesn't have that many games, and he only has a PS 3, which he's had for a long time. I guess his folks don't have a lot of money or something, but they're not like poor. I mean they don't live in the projects or anything. In fact they live just on the other side of my neighborhood. The houses there aren't quite as nice as the ones in our edition, but they're not shacks either. I guess it just takes more money to feed and clothe three kids, and his mom doesn't work, so it's just his dad's pay that keeps them going.

We played video games till it was time for school to be out, and I figured Ronnie would want to go home then, but he didn't seem to be in a hurry, which was fine by me. The longer he stayed, the longer it would be before I started thinking about my problems again.

My mom came home about 4:30 and I introduced her to Ronnie, and she was like, Oh, you have a new friend. Well, I'm happy to meet you Ronnie, and I hope we'll be seeing you again. Yeah, that's one of the things I love about my mom so much, she's really cool with my friends and never gets bent out of shape when I show up with one unexpectedly.

Somewhere along the way it was decided that Ronnie could stay for supper and that was when he called his house. I sort of expected him to call when it was time for him to be home from school, but he acted like it was no big deal that he wasn't home.

I can stay, he said, but I have to go home right after. I need to watch my brothers while my mom goes somewhere, and my dad is at work. He said once he'd hung up the phone.

So, my mom said she'd take him home after we ate, and he thanked her, and we watched some TV in the family room for a while. Then I took him out back and showed him around the yard, and my treehouse that my dad and I had built when I was a little kid. Only that got me thinking about Tommy, cause we'd spent a lot of time up there over the years. In fact, that goof had fallen out of it when he was 10 and broke his arm. I remember waiting on him hand and foot when he first got his cast on, till I figured out he wasn't helpless and he was just playing me.

What is it? Ronnie asked when he saw the look on my face. What was it with this kid, was he a mind reader or something, or was I just that obvious?

Nothing, just a bad memory that's all, I lied. Want to go up there?

Well of course he did, and once we were up there it got worse. Scrawled on the plywood wall Tommy had drawn a big heart and put the initials J+B. He'd done that right after I started dating Beth and he thought it was hilarious. In fact he was singing that silly song that goes like: Josh and Beth sitting in a tree, k.i.s.s.i.n.g...You know the rest, only now there's no Josh and Beth, but worst of all, no Josh and Tommy.

Aww, is this for you and your girlfriend? he said seeing the big red heart.

It was, I said so lowly I figured he couldn't hear me.

Was? Dude is that why you're so down? Did you and your girlfriend break up or something?

Kinda, I mumbled. I didn't want to tell him at first, but then suddenly I wanted to. Does that make sense? Maybe I just wanted one person on my side, and if Ronnie really liked me, then he'd have to see what a rotten deal I'd gotten.

Oh dude, I'm sorry. Do you want to talk about it? Cause if you do, I'm a really good listener.

You're gonna find out tomorrow anyway. Everyone in school has probably heard about it by now. That's one reason I skipped out. That, and I didn't want to see a certain back stabbing ex-friend and my ex-cheating whore girlfriend.

So I told him, but not till we were back in my room again with the door closed. I mean I told him everything. Well, not everything. I didn't mention the crying or the weird thoughts about Tommy snuggling together or...well, you know, the other stuff. But the more I talked, the more I felt like my soul was getting cleansed or something. And hearing the words come out, I felt justified in what I'd told them, about not talking to me or coming around, and how I couldn't be Tommy's friend anymore.

Only I don't think Ronnie felt exactly like I did. So, you're like not going to be friends with Tommy any more? That's harsh don't you think? I mean, you guys have been friends a long time. Are you gonna let a girl come between you?

So, I'm like, Why are you taking his side? I didn't realize how whiney that sounded right at the moment, but I tried to fix it as soon as I did. I mean, can't you see that I can't be around him any more after what he did? He stabbed me in the back, he sneaked around and stole her from me right under my nose.

Yeah, but she had to want it too, so it's not just his fault, right?

Well, no...they both screwed me over, I admitted, but Tommy and me were like brothers, and her, her...I barely knew her. How would you feel if someday one of your brothers stole your, um...boyfriend away? I said, then actually chuckled a little.

Not much chance of that, but I get what you're saying Josh. I understand, it's supposed to be bros before hos, right? he said chuckling. Gosh he has a cute little laugh. Oh, shit...did I write that? Oh well, I'm gonna leave it.

But you don't think I should quit being friends with Tommy, do you? I said after the laughing died down.

Promise you won't get mad?

Wait, I said pulling out my wallet and digging out the crumpled piece of cardboard I knew would be there. I found it right where I thought it should be, took one look at it, sighed, and handed it to Ronnie. He looked at it, then turned it over and looked at the other side, then read the words on the front out loud, Get Out Of Jail Free. What um, does this mean?

It's something me and Tommy used to do, I said, barely able to say his name, and the memories this was dragging up were even worse, but it had seemed like a good idea at that time. We made copies of that stupid Monopoly card and we always kept a bunch around for times like this. Anytime we got mad at each other or had a fight, we'd use one of these to smooth things over. Now, I'm giving it to you so you don't have to ask me not to get mad, okay. Does that make sense?

I could see that he was touched, and I guess I looked kinda sad, cause he laid his hand on my shoulder and said, Thanks Josh, thanks a lot. This really means a lot to me.

Huh, what did he mean? It was just some stupid card to let him know he didn't have to worry about talking to me. I'd better be careful or he might start falling for

So, to answer your question, he said then, and I had to backtrack to figure out what my question had been. Oh, yeah, did he think I should be mad at Tommy?

I think you have a right to be mad, but I think you need to forgive him at some point, and try to stay friends. Friends are important, and best friends like you guys are special. I wish I had a best friend like that, I'd be willing to put up with almost anything.

That's just it, don't you see? I shouldn't have to put up with what he did, cause if he really liked me, like I like him, then he would never have hurt me that way, tears were stinging my eyes now and I had to look away.

I'm sorry, I just...I hate to see you so upset, and I hate to see you lose your best friend cause of this. Just give it time. Maybe you can forgive him eventually. I mean, you know how long the average boyfriend/girlfriend lasts in high school, it could be over by this time next week.

Not if she's giving him blow jobs like she gave me, I blurted out.

Ronnie's face turned bright red and he covered his mouth as if he was trying to hide his surprise or something. She,, did that. I didn't think girls did that stuff.

I shouldn't tell you this, but yeah, she did, and know what? I think she'd done it before, more probably. I think she's a, a..slut or something, and now she has her lips wrapped around Tommy's um...

But I couldn't go on. I was beginning to sound jealous of her, not him, and that made me a little nervous.

I don't know much about girls, but I guess that's why boys date them, right, to um, have sex and stuff? Not that you did, he added quickly, I mean, I don't know if you did. Then he held up the card and giggled, I better shut up, this card might not get me out of jail again.

I had to laugh. We shared a smile, and I thought to myself, that Ronnie was the kind of guy I needed around at the moment. About then my cell phone went off and I had to scramble to find it. It was still in my backpack and it took me a minute to dig it out, but it was still ringing. It was Tommy. I punched the refuse button and threw my phone down on the bed. Ten seconds later I got alerted to a text. Guess who? No, not Satan, but close, it was Tommy.

I considered deleting the message and not reading it, but I was weak.

Dude: pleeze talk to me i'm sooo sory :(

How dare him send me a sad face when my whole world had been blown to hell.

Before I could stop myself I typed back, go to hell. and don't call me. EVER

I expected a reply, but after a few seconds, when something witty or desperate didn't show up I threw my phone down, and fortunately my mom yelled that dinner was ready.

My folks spent most of the meal trying to get to know Ronnie, and I was thankful he was there to keep their minds off me. I only spoke when spoken too, and didn't waste a lot of words. Ronnie however, was more than glad to fill my folks in on his family life, personal life, and future aspirations. Heck, I'm surprised he didn't tell them he was gay, but he managed to keep that one little detail to himself, for now. Not that my folks would have minded, in fact they would have probably gone out of their way to make him feel at home and accepted. Then I got to thinking, what if he did tell them, and they happened to remember that we were alone in my room for a few hours that day? Would they think we were doing, stuff? I definitely had to be careful if Ronnie was going to be my friend. Be my friend? When had I decided that? Oh, well...I could probably use a new friend now that mine had stabbed me in the back and driven the knife in with a sledge hammer. Ouch!!

I offered to help mom with the cleanup, but she said she would take care of it when we got back, so we hopped in the car and she drove Ronnie home. We rode in the back on the way there, sitting on opposite sides of my mom's Edge, but Ronnie kept looking over at me and smiling as we drove along.

Mom seemed to know the way for some reason, and then I realized that she had gotten the address from Ronnie and typed it into her GPS. Well, I guess I shouldn't be surprised, my mom is pretty smart when it comes to that stuff.

Thanks for having me over, Ronnie said as we pulled into his driveway, And know? he said blushing. I was about to ask him what he meant, then he was like thanking my mom and starting to get out, so I decided to walk him to the door.

I told my mom what I was gonna do, and once we were at his front door I said, What did you mean back there. He looked confused at first then he said, Oh, you know? For letting me skip with you, and...and talking to me and stuff. I had fun, and I'm sorry about what happened with Tommy, and if you want to talk some more I'm there for you.

Okay, I said, I think I'd like that. I'll see ya tomorrow in gym, okay? and then we bumped fists and I walked back to the car. He was just going in the door by the time I got to the car, and as I was getting in he gave me a little wave, then he was gone.

So, my mom's like, I like your friend. Is he new, or just someone you never brought over before?

Kind of new, I said, not really in the mood for the Spanish Inquisition, We've never really talked except at school. He's pretty cool I guess.

He seems sweet, she said sounding like she was already starting to think of him as part of the family, just like she had, he "who's name I shall not mention" But I didn't have to mention his name to feel sad. Damn him, he's too big a part of my life to just forget about him. Maybe Ronnie is right, maybe I can forgive him eventually. A long time from now, after he's grovelled and licked my boots and become my slave for life, lol.

So where was your other half? I was surprised there was no Tommy today.

God, why did she have to mention his name. Uh, he was busy. I mumbled.

Oh no, did you two have a falling out? It seems like you don't hang out as much as before, or is it because you and Beth are spending so much time together. Then she seemed to be thinking, and she said, Come to think of it, you haven't been hanging out with Beth much either. Is something wrong honey?

Mom, I don't want to talk about this right now, okay? Can we just not talk? I pleaded.

Oh dear, she said.

Oh shit, now I've done it. I should've made something up, now she knows there's something wrong.

It's just that, well...Tommy and I had a little fight, I mean not that kind of fight, a disagreement, and we're sort of mad at each other right now. And um, Beth and I just decided to kind of cool it a little, you know? We're sort of young to be going steady.

She didn't push it any further, but I could tell she wasn't satisfied, and I was terrified she'd call Tommy's mom and try to find out something from her side. So, I decided to head her off and use her own tactics on me.

Mom, you and dad taught me to use my head and my heart to figure things out, right? Well, I'd appreciate it if you would let me use your advice this time and not get involved, okay? If I can't work this out I promise I'll come to you and dad for help, okay?

So, what could she say to that? I mean, I was doing what she'd trained me to do since I was old enough to understand her words. I know it was kind of unfair to use the big guns on her, but dang it, I didn't want her snooping around in my business till I could figure out exactly where this thing was headed. But most of all, I just didn't want her and dad's pity, and hugs, and assurance that things would get better, blah blah blah. I know it would have been heartfelt and all that, but I just couldn't handle the emotional trauma right now.

Okay honey, we'll stay out of it, but if things get too bad for you, I want you to promise you'll come to us for help.

I promise, I said giving her a weak smile, Thanks mom, you're the best. And I really, really meant that, it wasn't just sucking up.

You're welcome honey, she said, giving me her best mother's smile and patting my leg.

That night I did my homework and messed around on my laptop for a while, but I really wasn't in the mood to be entertained. I just wanted to crawl in a hole somewhere and wait till this all blew over. Till my heart didn't hurt anymore, and I could get on with my life again. Ordinarily when I felt this way I'd have called Tommy, or we'd get together, but now that he was the reason for my feeling this way, there was no one to turn to.

Ronnie had helped some, but Ronnie didn't know me, and I didn't know him. Despite spending the afternoon together and talking, we were still strangers. Tommy and I had years of common experiences and memories to draw upon. We'd been there for each other since we were little kids, and we were so close that we could almost read each other's minds. We did everything together, if Tommy was sick, I'd get sick too. Okay, maybe that was cause we spent so much time together and just passed the germs back and forth, but there were other times that we really felt connected. Like the time I cut my foot on a piece of glass and had to go get stitches. My phone was buzzing almost as soon as we got in the car, and it was Tommy asking if I was okay. Weird huh? And when the goof fell out of my treehouse and broke his arm, I swear my arm hurt too. Sympathy pains, that's what mom called em, but it was like that with us.

I thought about that time we both had the flu, so to keep us from infecting everyone else, they put us both in my bed and we spend almost a whole week quarantined together. Once we started feeling better, we had fun. We played video games and got waited on hand and foot. We even took a bath together a couple times and washed each other's back.

Okay, before you think that's really gay, we were only like 9 or 10, and we weren't sexing it up. We didn't even pop boners. We were just goofy little kids, having fun and sharing a bath. It was nice though, especially when we snuggled up in bed and went to sleep. My mom has a picture she took of us one morning while we were still asleep. I was on my back and Tommy was stretched out with one leg and one arm thrown over me and his head resting on my chest. She said it was soooo cute, and adorable. Of course we were mortified and so embarrassed, but later, when we were older, we looked at that pic and we got a good laugh out of it.

Tommy and I shared everything, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that he would want what I had, and I guess he got it...her, I mean. But you know what? It really wasn't about losing Beth, cause truthfully, I was kind of getting tired of her and all that crap anyway. It was having my best bud sneak around behind my back and get with her. If he'd just waited a few weeks, I bet it would have been over anyway. Like Ronnie said, the average relationship in high school is sometimes measured in days and weeks.

There was this huge hole in my heart now, but it wasn't Beth that had put it there, it was Tommy, and I wasn't sure I could ever forgive him. Why did it have to hurt so bad? Why couldn't I just accept it and move on? I guess Ronnie might be right when he said things would get better with time, but what was I supposed to do right now?

I don't think I slept more than an hour at a time that night. I kept waking up, then going back to sleep, and repeating it all over again till the alarm went off at 7 am. I groaned as I rolled out of bed and my feet hit the floor. I had the morning wood from hell, and my whole body ached. My nose was stuffy from crying so much, and my eyes were puffy, and I felt like I'd been drug through a cactus patch. I was tempted to tell mom I was sick and ask to stay home, but I didn't want to risk it, considering I'd managed to get her to back off a bit.

I peed, showered, and got dressed for school, then wandering downstairs I got the shock of my life. Sitting at the breakfast bar was my ex-best friend, now worst enemy, eating MY Pop Tarts. My first impulse was to drag him off that bar stool, cram that Pop Tart down his throat, and pour his glass of milk on his head. Unfortunately, my mom was standing there talking to him, and when she saw me she looked up and smiled.

Good morning sweetheart, look who's here.

How could I not see him, the back stabbing, girlfriend stealing bastard?

Uh, yeah...I see, he he, I said, choking on the words and my fake laughter.

Hey, he had the nerve to say, Thought I'd save you a trip and come meet you here today. So we can walk to school together, he said giving me a hopeful look.

Oh gee, look at the time. I have to run boys. Have a good day. Josh I fixed your lunch, it's on the counter. She kissed the top of my head and gave me a shoulder hug, then grabbed her purse and she was out the door.

As soon as I heard her car start up I walked into the kitchen and I let him have it.

What the Hell are you doing here? What part of, we're done, and stay the Hell away from me, don't you understand? You don't get to sit in my kitchen, and eat my food, and drink my milk, and talk all nice to my mom, we're done, it's over, you're not part of this family anymore.

Well, the look on his face bout broke my heart, but he deserved it, right? He was getting everything he deserved, and it was all his fault. I was the one who was wronged here, by my cheating girlfriend, and my back stabbing best friend, so why is he looking all hurt and stuff? The nerve of some people.

Gosh Josh, I told you I was sorry, and I even told you I'd break it off with her if you wanted. You gotta believe me, I never intended to hurt you. It just happened, and I thought you'd be happy to get rid of her, and happy for me...

Happy for you? I practically screamed, Happy that you stabbed me in the back and stole my girlfriend from me? Oh, yeah...maybe I've got this all wrong, yeah...that's it...I should be happy for you two, right? I said sarcastically.

He looked at me like he was kind of scared, cause I'd gone from a screaming rage to this soft voice that probably caused goosebumps all over him. I don't think he realized how stupid what he had said sounded until I repeated it back, and he began trying to back pedal right away.

I didn't mean that exactly, I just meant...I mean, Beth said you two weren't as close as you used to be, and that she didn't think you liked her that much...

Oh, so you two talked about me behind my back? I see, did anyone bother to ask me how I felt? NO, did anyone think about how much it would hurt to be shit on by the two people who were closest to me? NO. So, do you still think I ought to shake your hand and thank you, and just go on being your best friend? Well, the answer to that is, Not just NO, but HELL NO!

So, you can take your Pop Tart to go, and you can walk to school with your girlfriend from now on, and if I see you here again, I'm gonna call the cops, got that? You're not welcome, Beth's not welcome. Got it? Get out and stay out! I said pointing toward the door.

Dude...he said shaking his head, I'm sorry, I get it. I'll go, but...please, don't hate me. I can't stand it when you're mad at me.

I didn't reply. I was drained, and if I opened my mouth again, there was gonna be tears involved, and I didn't want him to have the satisfaction of seeing me cry, again. I pointed again, jabbing my finger violently, and he threw his Pop Tart on the breakfast bar and started toward the door.

He turned and gave me one last sad look before he opened it and stepped through, and as soon as the door was closed I collapsed on the floor and began crying.

I don't know how long I lay there crying, but it was too late to get to school on time by the time I picked myself up, so I just decided to skip. I'd be home to intercept any phone calls from the school, but even if I got caught, I'd figure something out. I just couldn't face all those kids today, not after going off like that in the cafeteria yesterday.

I managed to eat a bowl of cereal, Tommy had ruined Pop Tarts for me now, and I calmed down a little. I thought I should probably go to school and just be late, but I kept thinking about facing all those kids at school and I just couldn't do it. I mean, what if they sided with Tommy and Beth? What if they were laughing at how stupid I was? Or worse, what if they pitied me and were like, Oh poor Josh, he got shafted by his best friend and his girlfriend? Well, must've not been much of a boyfriend, if he couldn't keep her...ha ha ha. Oh man, the unknown sucks. And now on top of that they're gonna figure out I didn't show up for school and they'll be thinking all kinds of stuff.

I was now totally depressed again, and I just wanted to climb into my bed and sleep till this all went away. I stripped down to my underwear and climbed under the covers, and I guess I was pretty tired from not sleeping very good the last two nights, cause I was asleep in minutes.

My phone woke me at some point, and I groaned as I dug it out of the pocket of my jeans on the floor beside my bed. I was still half asleep, and it took me a minute to focus on it, and I almost threw the phone down when I saw who it was from.

This time it wasn't my back stabbing ex friend, it was my cheating bitch of a girlfriend.

Oh Josh, I'm so sorry. Tommy is so upset and I feel like it's all my fault. I'm soooo sorry. I never meant to hurt you or to get between you two. pleeze don't blame Tommy, he is so miserable right now.

I threw the phone down on the bed and tried to go back to sleep, but the home wrecker wasn't done yet.

Tommy is so worried cause you didn't show up for school. where r u, r u ok? please let us know

I wasn't gonna give them the satisfaction of knowing I'd got their pathetic message, but I was afraid if I didn't reply they would come to the house, or say something to my mom and dad. So I decided to answer, only I wasn't sure exactly what to say. Should I come across mad again, or sad, or just pretend I didn't care anymore? Yeah, that sounded good. Let them think I've moved on, and that nothing they do or say has anything to do with my life from this day on.

So, I finally tapped out a few words.

Don't worry about me. I'm fine. Enjoy your new boyfriend.

There, that should say it all. I hesitated a few seconds, then I pressed the send button. I waited a few minutes for a reply, but apparently that was enough to keep the wolves away from my door. I tried to go back to sleep, but now I was awake, and annoyed, and hungry as a bear.

I glanced at the clock and realized that school was out for the day, and I worried that Tommy might come knocking even though I'd pretty much threw him out this morning. Sometimes he was really stubborn, and if he was stupid enough to come by this morning, he might just be stupid enough to come by this evening.

I was in the kitchen fixing myself a sandwich when I heard the front doorbell ring, and I just shook my head and moaned to myself. Why won't he give up? I marched to the front door and threw it open ready to jump down Tommy's throat, but to my surprise it was Ronnie standing there.

Uh hi, he said looking really nervous, I was worried about ya, and I thought I'd come check on ya. I hope that's okay.

Well, for some reason I thought that was about the nicest thing anyone had done for me lately, so I let him in and offered to fix him a sandwich. He seemed happy to see me, and as we sat eating our sandwich, he said he was glad I was okay.

I'm not really okay, but I'm still alive, I joked.

God, you're not thinking of...of...killing yourself are you? The kid was definitely freaked, but that was pretty nice of him to worry so much.

Nah, they're not worth it. I just couldn't handle seeing them and all the other kids today. Um, I was wondering, were a lot of kids talking about me today?

Not a lot, a few. Most of em were on your side, but a few of the jerks said they thought you didn't deserve Beth or something, and that Tommy was a better boyfriend.

I sighed, Maybe, maybe they're right. Maybe I'm not cut out for this boyfriend/girlfriend stuff.

Me either, Ronnie giggled, but I'd sure like to try that boyfriend/boyfriend stuff.

I thought that was funny, and his giggle was contagious. Yeah, maybe that's safer. At least guys are easier to figure out.

Some are, Ronnie sighed, but some of em can be pretty complicated.

Oh, is there some boy in particular that you find complicated? I said poking him in the ribs. It was just so easy to play around with Ronnie, but I never thought that I might be giving him the wrong idea about me.

I can't answer that, he said blushing bright red.

Okay, but if you ever need to talk dude, I'm here for you. And I promise I won't freak. You were here for me, I wanna return the favor.

We ate our sandwiches and drank a soda, then Ronnie said he needed to get home, but that he hoped he'd see me at school tomorrow.

I told him I'd be there for sure, cause I couldn't stay away forever without getting in deep shit with my folks and the school. He said if I needed anything to call him, and he gave me his cell number and his email address before he left.

My mom came home around five, and I was watching TV and trying to look innocent, but you know how moms are, they can always tell when a kid has been up to something. So, being the good kid that I am, I decided to head her off at the pass.

Uh, mom. Before you find out from the school, I kinda didn't go today.

Why on earth? You were fine when I left here this morning. Are you sick? She said feeling my forehead. Why do moms always do that? Is that like some magical way of seeing if you're sick?

I'm fine, now, but after you left...I sort of started feeling bad and I just laid down for a little while and before I knew it the whole day was gone. I'm really sorry, and I swear I'll get with my teachers and do all the makeup work.

She sighed, but my mom is so easy sometimes. She read me the usual riot act, but I could tell it was just for show, and there was no punishment of any kind, she just made me promise never to do it again.

I promise, If I'm ever sick again I'll call you before I do anything stupid. I'm really sorry. I know you must be really disappointed in me...

Yeah, I was laying the guilt trip on her, works every time.

A little, she said, but she was smiling. You're a good boy, and I know you usually do the right thing. I'll let you slide this time, but if it ever happens again, there will be consequences.

So that was that, I was off the hook, that is unless Dad had something else to add, but usually he let mom do the disciplining. To get back on mom's good side, I took out the trash and set the table for dinner, and she seemed satisfied that I was repentant, and that I would never sin Boy, was she wrong.

Dad didn't say anything about my skipping till we were almost done with dinner, then he gave me a stern look and said, Mom tells me you played hooky today. I'm surprised at you Josh, that just isn't like you. Is there something wrong at school? You're not being bullied or anything like that are you?

No, of course not, I squeaked out, I have friends, and we look out for each other. What I almost said was, I have Tommy, and he'd kick anyone's butt that messed with me, but sadly, I didn't have Tommy to protect me anymore. Not that I needed him, heck no, I'll get along just fine without him. I just didn't feel very good, I haven't been sleeping good the last couple of nights, I guess I was just tired, and I fell asleep, and well...I slept till school was out.

Hmm, he says, looking at me like he could read my mind or something. Sometimes I think being a parent is like being a cross between a psychiatrist and a torturer. Mom says you and Tommy had a...disagreement. Is that why you missed school?

God, why won't he let it go? Well, this got mom to thinking about Tommy's visit this morning, and I could see the wheels turning in her head as she worked it all out.

Tommy stopped by to walk to school with you this morning. She said, as if that was big news to me, but I guess it was for dad's benefit, Did something happen after I left for work? Did you get into another scrap? Before I could lie myself blind she went on. Now that I think about it, you looked a little strange when you saw him sitting there. Do you want to tell us what's going on?

Mom, I thought we agreed that you'd led me handle this, I whined.

I guess I did, didn't I? she said looking torn, then after what seemed like forever, she said, Okay, for now, but if there's any more monkey business like your skipping school little mister, I am going to be all up in your business.

All up in my business? Where did my mom get that stuff? She watches way too much TV.

Okay, I promise, no, monkey business, I said, trying to keep a straight face.

Just be glad your mother already made that agreement with you son, or I'd be wanting a bit more information, but I know how it is with best friends. Still, I don't ever remember you two staying mad more than a few hours. It's one thing I always envied you boys, how much you loved each other, and nothing seemed to bother you.

Why did he have to remind me, why did he have to use the L word? Now I'm just seconds away from breaking down and bawling like a six year old.

Can I be excused, I managed to choke out, I'm feeling kinda bad again. I think I'll go on to bed.

At 7 o'clock? My mom said. Yeah, she felt my forehead again. I guess if my guts were hanging out, the first thing she'd check would be my forehead. What's that about anyway?

Yeah, unless you need me to do some chores our something, I said, trying to sound pitiful and abused.

My dad actually laughed, then he says, Well you still know how to scheme, so you can't be too sick. Really Josh, using the hurt puppy dog eyes?

Mom laughed too, and damn it, I cracked a little smile too. But you know what? I felt a little better just kidding around with my folks.

Come here honey, my mom said holding out her arms, and damn it the tears were getting closer and closer to erupting like a volcano. Whatever it is that happened between you and Tommy, you'll work it out. You two boys are closer than brothers, heck, she laughed, you're more like an old married couple.

Moooommmm! I whined, causing my dad to crack up.

Dear, you're embarrassing our son, after all, he's not a little kid anymore. He's a teenager, and being smothered and teased by his mom isn't as cool as it used to be.

Thank you dad, at least someone understands.

Okay, all right. Go on son, why don't you take a nice hot bubble bath like you used to. I think there's still some bubble bath under the sink in your bathroom. Get a good night's sleep, and everything will look better in the morning. Then she kissed me on the cheek, and gosh...I just had to hug her, cause gee...I love her so much, and then I had to hug dad, only a more manly hug, you know? And I felt better already.

You know what? Mom was right, a bubble bath did feel pretty good. I sunk down in the tub till only my head was sticking up, and just relaxed, and I felt lots better. Then I had this like flashback. I must've been like 7 or something, and it was me and Tommy in the bathtub with this Ninja Turtle bath string stuff. We were shooting each other and giggling and splashing around, and then I accidentally shot some of that green soap stuff in Tommy's mouth, and he was like trying to spit it out, and saying it tasted like poop, and I was laughing so hard, so he like squirted some in my mouth while it was wide open. And you know what? It did taste like

Those were the good old days. We were too young to let a stupid old girl come between us, and even if we did get in a fight, ten minutes later we were playing together and best pals again. So, it was what they call a bittersweet memory, but I was still in a pretty good mood when I finally climbed out of the bathtub looking like a prune.

No more messages from "He who's name I shall not mention", or the wicked witch of the west, but I did get a text from Ronnie.

hey, just making sure I got ur no rite

yeah its me

you ok

good just gettin reddy for bed


its ok we can talk

k thanks

So we texted for like a half hour, but eventually we ran out of stuff to say, but you know what? I kinda like having a new friend. Heck, since me and Tommy spent so much time together we never had time to make too many friends. I mean, not real friends, the kind who you share stuff with, so this was kinda cool.

I brushed my teeth and climbed into bed, but since I'd slept almost the whole day I just lay there for a while. I kept thinking about that last time Tommy and I lay here in this bed, side by side, doing what teenage boys do so often, and really enjoying doing it together. Pretty soon my hand wandered down there and I was already hard, and well...I was doin' what I was thinking about me and Tommy doing.

I thought about Beth with her long hair fanning across my lap as she bobbed up and down on me that night, but suddenly the image changed, and it was Tommy's face I saw. That sort of freaked me out a little, but not enough to make me stop. Then Tommy's face changed to Ronnie's and that was sort of disturbing, but not as much as you might think. At least I knew Ronnie was gay, and would like that stuff, and...he was kinda cute. If you just closed your eyes a little it wasn't hard to imagine he was a girl.

Yeah, nothing wrong with that. So it was with the image of Ronnie's cute face bobbing up and down on my dick that I blew the biggest load of my life. It went everywhere, on my face, on my chest, and later I even found some on my pillow. It was a real Spooge-fest, and I was drained by the time I milked out the last few drops. I used the towel I kept under my bed and cleaned up as best I could, but I was sooo tired, and I fell asleep as soon as I threw the towel down.

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