Boys Do It Better

by Rob Warr

Chapter 3

A new best friend

I slept better than I thought I would, but I still didn't want to get up the next day and go to school and have to face everyone. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad. Ronnie had said that most of the kids were on my side, and the few jerks who weren't probably wouldn't say anything to my face. So I put on a brave face, got dressed, and went downstairs.

For one horrible minute I thought, What if Tommy shows up again this morning? But fortunately there was no one downstairs that morning. Evidently, both my mom and dad were already gone, and after a quick breakfast of instant oatmeal, I brushed my teeth, grabbed my backpack, and I was off to school.

As soon as I got in the door, I noticed kids sort of staring at me, but I didn't drop my head or anything. I just looked them in the eyes and put on this smug, I don't care attitude. Before my life blew up in my face, it would have been Tommy and me coming in together, and it felt strange to be alone.

I was grabbing some stuff out of my locker when someone came up behind me and just stood there. At first I thought it was Tommy, but I spun around to see Ronnie grinning kinda nervously at me.

Hey, he says. I'm glad to see you made it today.

Yeah, I can't stay home forever, especially since my folks know I skipped yesterday.

Yikes, did the school call?

Nah, I kinda told em. I figured they were gonna find out anyway, so I came clean, and they didn't come down on me too hard.

That's cool. So, wanna walk to class together?

We didn't have first period together, but we did share the same homeroom, though he sat near the front and I sat near the back. Thankfully, Tommy and I didn't share that class, but I had two classes in the afternoon with him.

Homeroom lasts about 15 minutes, and then we're off to first period, but Ronnie caught me at the door and asked me if maybe we could sit together at lunch. Well, why not? It's not like I'm going to go sit with my back stabbing ex-best friend, and his harpy girlfriend, so I say yes, and we agree to meet there, then we split up for our next class.

The morning dragged by, but other than a few stares, and a few whispered comments here and there no one really said anything to me about what had happened in the cafeteria. I was relieved in some ways, but kinda disappointed in others. I mean, why weren't kids coming to my defense and telling me what a rotten deal I'd gotten and stuff?

I had a lump in my stomach by lunch period, and I actually dreaded going into the cafeteria and seeing those two skunks all cuddled up. Fortunately, Ronnie met me at the door, and since we'd both brought our lunch, we decided to eat in the common area. We grabbed a bottle of juice out of the vending machine and sat down on one of the benches by the big front windows. From there you could see the parking lot and the front lawn, and there were a few kids milling around out there.

How did it go this morning? Ronnie wanted to know.

So, I tell him, So far, so good. At least I haven't seen the weasel or his ho. I kinda laughed to hide my pain, but I think Ronnie saw through me.

Do you have any classes with them?

Yeah, 4th period and PE with HIM, none with her, thank God.

Well, I'll be there in PE, so if you need any help...

I laughed, Help? I said, you think I'm gonna beat him up or something?

No, course not, he says. I just meant if you need someone to talk to, and to show him that you don't need him, and you're doing okay.

Oh, okay...thanks. I said, but I wasn't really following his logic. I really wasn't in the mood for talking anyway, so we pretty much ate in silence after that. We were almost done, and I was thinking that I'd been lucky so far, not running into the two, then suddenly there they both were coming out of the cafeteria, holding hands.

I almost choked on my sandwich when I saw the two, but I couldn't look away. For some reason it was Tommy that I was looking at though. At first he was looking at her, and then he said something that made her laugh, and he laughed, and I had this pain in my chest. That used to be me laughing with Tommy. I wasn't even thinking about her. Heck, truth was, I didn't even really miss her that much.

Was it like that for Tommy when I was the one dating her? Did Tommy miss me when I was hanging out with her? Maybe he felt left out, and maybe getting with her was just his way of getting back at me for ignoring him all those times. Nah, that's stupid. The jerk is just horny, and he moved in on Beth cause she was available, and apparently she was encouraging him. Maybe she went for him cause she didn't like the fact that me and Tommy were so close. What better way to break up our friendship than to get with Tommy? Nah, that was crazy thinking too. They were just two horny teens who discovered they liked each other, and they didn't care who they hurt by getting together.

I'm done, wanna go for a walk around the track? I said, tossing my sandwich back in my lunch bag. Fortunately Ronnie had finished his lunch, and after draining our bottles of juice we threw away our trash and headed out. I guess Tommy and Beth must've gone upstairs, because I didn't see them when I turned back around, which was fine by me. They were probably going to the library to neck among the books.

The school had a huge track, but there was only one runner out there that day, an older girl, wearing nothing but satin shorts and a tank top. She was pretty, and had a slim runner's body, but I didn't really think much about how she looked. Beth had pretty much put me off of girls for the time being.

Anyway, I guess she didn't mind sharing the track as long as we stayed out of her way. Ronnie and I walked in silence for a few minutes, and it was Ronnie who spoke first.

They look happy together, he said, then kinda winced like I was gonna hit him, I mean it sucks what they did to you, but it looks like they really like each other.

I just sort of grunted, but didn't say anything for a while. Then I decided to risk sharing a little bit of my feelings. After all, Ronnie was gay, and probably very sensitive to the kind of feelings I was having, so I gave it a try.

I don't really miss her, is that weird?

What do you mean? Ronnie said, turning his head to look at me. He reminded me of a curious puppy and I think I smiled then.

I miss my best friend, is that weird?

No, of course not. You guys have, uh, had something special. You were probably closer than you and your girlfriend, right?

Yeah, a lot closer, and Tommy was a whole lot easier to figure out, till now. What does he see in her that would make him throw away everything we had...just for a girl?

You're asking the wrong person, Ronnie giggled, and that made me giggle. God, I was beginning to sound as gay as Ronnie. But I bet it's her fault, he added.

My God, he said what I'd been thinking and I loved him for that. It had to be her fault. She cast some kind of spell on him, maybe with the promise of BJs and Hand Jobs our something. Tommy is probably a lot hornier than I am, and he's so smoking hot that no girl could resist him. Wait, I did it again, I said Tommy was Hot, no, smoking Hot. Wow, maybe I am turning Am I lisping and swishing now?

I don't know, I said, just trying to consider all the possibilities, He had to know how much it would hurt me, so he's to blame to. He can't be that stupid...he must've known it would be the end of our friendship.

I still don't think you have to quit being friends. Yeah, I know it's gonna be weird, and it may take some time, but I think you guys need to figure some way out to stay friends.

Why do you care? I said a bit more gruff than I intended.

Sorry, he said clamming up then.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound mean. I just, I just wonder why you want me and Tommy to work things out. I mean, I thought maybe you might wanna take his place, I laughed kinda nervously then. What was I doing interviewing candidates for my best friend opening?

Can't we both be your friend? He asked innocently.

Yeah, you can never have too many friends I guess. I just...I want what me and Tommy had...before, before she came along, I sighed, and Ronnie gave me a knowing look.

You really miss him, a lot, don't ya?

Yeah, I mumbled, I miss my best friend, and I...I feel bad about some of the things I said to him. I told him to get out of my house and not come back or I'd call the cops. Damn, that was harsh.

You were just upset, he knows you didn't mean it.

Yeah, I guess. Um, so...I was wondering...

What? Ronnie said, grinning and looking all shy and cute. Damn, cute again? Oh man, I am getting so weird lately.

Have you ever had, um...a boyfriend?

Sorta, he said blushing and biting at his lower lip, in 6th grade there was this one boy, Teddy, and we kissed and stuff.

Stuff? I chuckled, What kind of stuff. Did you play sword fight or something? Wow, sword fight. I remember me and Tommy doing that when we were about 10 or 11, grabbing our stiff pricks and battling it out, and the feeling when our pricks touched was amazing. It would always wind up with us laying down and jacking off afterwards after getting all worked up.

What's that? We held hands a lot, when we were alone, and one time we went to the movies and we sat way in the back and, rubbed each other through our pants till, you know? Good thing we couldn't come wet yet, it would have been a real mess...he he.

Wow, so what happened? Did you breakup or something?

Nah, he moved at the end of the summer and I never saw him again. It was sorta sad, but you know it happens with kids all the time. You make a friend and they move away.

And you never tried to find anyone else?

I been trying, really I have, but it's hard. Now that I'm in middle school the kids are a lot less accepting of anything that's different. I mean I could get away with it in 6th grade, cause half the boys there were fooling around with their buddies, but once puberty hits, it's too gay.

Yeah, I guess. I said thinking that Tommy and I sort of thought that too, but it didn't stop us from occasionally jerking off together. Maybe that was something straight guys did too.

Well, what if I helped you look? I know a lot of guys, and maybe we can figure out who likes boys and who doesn't. Do you have that gaydar stuff that gay boys are supposed to have? I chuckled.

Well, sometimes I sort of get this feeling about certain boys. If you watch someone long enough you kinda pick up on things.

So, anyone I know giving off vibes?

He blushed deeper, then I wondered what he was thinking.

What? I said poking him.

Nothing, he said shaking his head, then he changed the subject.

Okay, if you help me, then maybe I can help you. What if I sorta negotiated some kind of peaceful settlement between you and Tommy?

You sound like a politician, I laughed. You must do good in Civics class. What would you do exactly?

Oh, you know, talk to him and get his side of it. I doubt you have taken the time to really listen to him, have you? He was blushing again and looked a little scared, but he was right, and he knew it.

No, I guess not, but it's just sooo hard to look him in the face and know what he did to me.

Which is why you need someone who's not emotionally involved to help you work things out.

Okay, that makes sense I guess, I said, thinking about all the things I'd said to Tommy and realizing I hadn't meant any of them. I wasn't gonna throw him out, or call the cops, and I wasn't gonna hate him forever, her maybe, but not him. How could I hate my best friend in the whole world. Heck, he could probably shove a knife in me and I'd still forgive him.

Okay, but here's the deal. I can't just go up to him and start talking to him, so we're gonna have to arrange a meeting between the three of us.

What about her?

Do you really care about staying friends with her?

No, not really, but it might be uncomfortable if I gag every time he brings her around, I teased.

We'll worry about her later, right now it's Josh and Tommy that need fixing.

Josh and Tommy, got how many times have I heard those two words spoken together? As kids we were hardly ever separated, and in fact up until SHE came along, we were together more than we were apart. Yeah, she was the cause of all this misery, and suddenly I was starting to hate her even worse, but not Tommy, now that the anger had eased up, I was missing my best bud, and what Ronnie was offering to do sounded pretty sweet.

Okay, I'll figure out something. I can text him once I figure out where and when then I'll let you know and see if that works for you.

It was time to go back in then, and we split up at the door to go to our lockers and then class. My 4th period class was at the far end of the building, but I still managed to get there early, and talk to my teacher about my makeup work for the last two days. I shared this class with Beth, but forunately she sat on the far side of the room and I didn't have to deal with her.

I made it through 4th period without incident, although I did have one interesting thing happen. This girl named Libby who just happens to sit right behind me, leaned forward and said, I think Beth was crazy to give up a sweet boy like you.

Wow, talk about stroking my ego. Too bad I was off girls for a while, cause I could have probably scored with that chick. I sort of thanked her, then turned my attention back to the assignment. I might not be looking for another girlfriend, but it was nice to know that someone was thinking about me.

This was it, 5th period and I'd have to see Tommy. I waited as long as I could, goofing around in my locker and walking slow, hoping Tommy would already be seated and I could just slip in and take my seat. But as I got near the classroom door, guess who came from the opposite end of the hall? Yeah, he who's name I shall not speak.

I tried to look away, but suddenly our eyes met and, OMG, he had such a hurt look on his face that I had this sudden urge to run over there and just...hug him or something. But that would have not been cool, so instead I just kind of nodded at him and went inside before he got any closer.

For once I was glad there was assigned seating in that class, because Tommy's desk was way on the other side of the classroom by the door, and mine was by the window. Which meant he didn't have to walk past me to get to his seat, so things sorta worked out after all. Well, except for that moment when our eyes met outside the classroom, that was...harsh, for both of us I think.

I could barely concentrate on what Mr. Livingston, our teacher was saying and kept glancing over at Tommy, but he pretty much has his head down the whole period. I was starting to think that maybe he was feeling just as bad as I was, maybe even worse. I know I should still be mad and all, but I was beginning to soften some. I just hated seeing him sad.

It had always been that way with us. If one of us was down the other one would go out of their way to make them feel better. I remember once when Tommy's dog got hit by a car, I made him come home with me and I put him to bed with some of my stuffed animals and laid beside him and patted him while he cried. Of course we were only 7 then, but even back then I couldn't stand for my best friend to be sad, no one minute.

When the bell rang, I waited till Tommy was out the door before I stood, then said goodbye to Mr. Livingston and slowly walked out. Even he had probably heard about what went on between me and Tommy in the cafeteria, cause he gave me a sort of sad look. I'm sure he was used to seeing me and Tommy come into class together and then join up afterwards every day, and the way we were avoiding each other today was a dead giveaway that something was up.

Next period was PE, and that was going to be the hardest. I was glad that Ronnie was there, because at least I had someone to talk to, but that didn't change the fact that Tommy's locker was right beside mine. Fortunately, I had beat him to the gym somehow, so I grabbed my stuff and took it over by where Ronnie's locker was, and we started dressing out.

When Tommy finally showed up, he didn't see me right away, I guess he got to wondering if I'd skipped again or something, and then he started looking around. This time I didn't make the mistake of locking eyes with him, I just kept my back to him and just took little sideways glances in his direction.

I don't even know why I was doing that. I should just forget about him and not worry so much. I just needed to get through this stupid class, then I could go home and think about all this stuff some more. Fortunately Ronnie got my mind off Tommy by telling me this joke he heard from some kid in his first period class. It was lame as f..k, but I laughed like it was the funniest thing I'd ever heard. And know what? Tommy strained his neck to see what we were laughing at.

There, take that, I thought. I don't need you, I can have fun with my new friend Ronnie. But who was I kidding? As much as I liked Ronnie, he was no Tommy. I felt all squishy inside, like my heart was melting and flowing into my stomach or something. Okay, that makes no sense, but if you've ever liked, no loved someone, and they turned on you, then you know what I mean.

Today was basketball, shirt vs skins, and thank God, me and Tommy were on opposite sides, but unfortunately he was on the skins side. That meant I had to look at his half naked body, and for some reason I couldn't keep staring at him. Not his face so much as his chest, his flat stomach, his arms, his legs, and yeah, even those size 10 feet of his. What was that all about?

Anyway, at one point the ball was handed off to me, and I was dribbling it, thinking about passing it off to one of the better players, then suddenly Tommy is there covering me and trying to steal the damn ball or something, and I am so mad. You Son of a Bitch, I said through gritted teeth, you stole my girlfriend, but you're not gonna steel my shot. So I stuck out my foot and tripped him.

I guess he wasn't expecting that, and he went down like a ton of bricks. I took the opportunity to make the shot, and after it rolled around the rim a bit, it went in. Score! Suddenly I realized everyone had stopped and were just staring like they'd just happened upon a car wreck. You know the feeling? You don't wanna look, but you can't tear your eyes away.

Suddenly, coach's whistle blows and I hear my name, Duncan, my office...NOW! Oh shit, did he see that? Of course he saw it, he sees everything.

Uh, what's up? I say, acting all innocent and stuff.

Don't play dumb with me Duncan, you know what. What surprises me is that it was Tommy that you fouled. If you two are having problems, work them out off the court. Got that?

Yes sir. Sorry, it, just one of those gut reaction things. I really didn't mean, hurt him or anything.

I don't think he's hurt, but I want you to go out there and shake his hand and apologize, that's what good sportsmanship is all about. Got that?

Yes sir, I said nodding my head. Shake his hand? Couldn't I just text him, or send a nice email with a pouty faced emoji? Damn, it just keeps getting worse and worse. Oh well, might as well get it over with.

NOW! Coach said when he realized I was slow playing.

Yes sir, I said practically running out to the court. The other guys had resumed the game, but Tommy was sitting on the bleachers just watching. For a minute I was afraid that I had hurt him, and he wasn't able to play, but I guess he just had the wind knocked out of him or something.

Man, I was really sweating as I walked his way, and he didn't even seem to notice me at all till I was right there in his face.

Are you gonna hit me now? he smirked.

No, I'm um, here to apologize, I said, holding out my hand to shake.

He just looked at me, a smart-assed smirk on his face, and said. For what? Tripping me, or calling me names and practically throwing me out of your house?

I sighed, he sure wasn't making this easy. For tripping you, I said, trying to keep my cool, That's all coach is making me do. There, now he knew it wasn't my idea to apologize to begin with.

Oh, so you're only apologizing cause Coach is making you? Well, I don't accept your stupid apology, and I won't shake your hand, who knows where it's been anyway?

Okay, this isn't going exactly how I thought it would. Can't he see I'm trying to fix this, but just like always he's being stubborn?

Fine, but if I get into trouble with coach, it's your fault, I said giving him a go-to-Hell look.

Maybe you'll get detention. Oh, by the way, if you keep skipping classes you're gonna be in detention till school is out for the summer. And then he laughed at me, not a nice laugh, but a mean laugh, and, and...I just lost it.

Yeah, well I wouldn't of had to miss school if it wasn't for you and your whore of a girlfriend. Okay, maybe that was going too far. Maybe I should back off a little.

Uh oh, too late. Didn't see it coming till I was flat on my ass, rubbing my face where my ex-best bud had just landed a sucker punch. I don't know who was more surprised, me, Tommy, or the other boys who'd stopped their game to watch us fight.

Coach came running out of the office, took one look at me, and said calmly, Both of you, to my office, now! You other guys, hit the showers or whatever, class dismissed.

Damn, he was dismissing class early, and just because we'd been jerks to each other. I saw Ronnie looking my way, and I just shrugged. I was hoping he'd wait around for me, but I couldn't exactly talk to him right now.

I let Tommy lead the way, and I followed behind him, still rubbing my cheek which was a little tender right now. At least he didn't hit me in the eye, a black eye is pretty hard to hide, but a bruised cheek is no big deal. I ran into a door, yeah, that's it.

Okay, what the Hell is going on with you two? Coach Carlson said once we were behind the closed door of his office.

Uh, nothing sir? I said innocently.

Shut it Duncan, SIT! Okay, Simmons, maybe you can tell me then. I hated it when a teacher used just our last name. I felt more like a prison inmate than a human being. It seemed like they completely forgot our first name when we were in trouble, as if calling us by our last name would make us behave better.

Well, sir. It was something Josh, um...said about, um...about my girlfriend. It made me mad, and I sort of got carried away.

I might have known this was about a girl. Men, listen, he said sounding almost sympathetic, don't let a girl come between you two. Friendships are much more important than crushes. I've known you two since you were in 7th grade, and I know how close you two were, so seeing you going at it like two alley cats really surprised me.

Now, I don't have to tell you that fighting in this school carries an automatic three day suspension. So, it's a good thing I didn't see anything, he said giving us a little smile, but I need to know that this sort of thing will not happen again. Not here, not in the halls, not in another class, cause if I hear that it has, I might suddenly remember to check the video camera that covers the gym floor. You guys understand?

Oh yeah, we understood alright. First of all: we weren't in as much trouble as we should be, and second: Coach was actually a pretty nice guy, for a teacher...he he.

Yes sir. I understand, Tommy said, looking at me with relief. Thank you Coach.


Yes sir, I understand. Thank you sir, I promise to control my anger better in the future.

Okay, you know. I like both of you guys, and you're usually so...mellow. You inspire the other boys with your easy going attitudes, but today, I think you fell down a few notches in my books, and in theirs. They look up to you two, and that's why I sent them home early. When they see you two again, I want them to see the old Josh and Tommy. OMG, he knows our first names too. Got that? Now get out of here. Use your free time to talk things out and don't let a little disagreement ruin a lifetime of friendship.

So we got, we didn't stop at Go, we didn't' collect 200 Dollars, but we did feel like we'd gotten a Get out of Jail Free card. We didn't say a lot to each other as we got dressed, but I finally decided someone needed to be the bigger man, and it might as well be me.

I really am sorry, I muttered, about tripping you, and what I said know? Beth. Why did her name cause bile to rise in my throat? And, I'm rethinking some of the other stuff too. I was pretty harsh, I'm sorry about that too. I just...but I couldn't go on, the words got stuck in my throat, and I just shook my head and turned away, fighting back the tears.

It's okay, I was a jerk today too. Dude, I don't want us to fight, he said blowing air past his upper lip and sort of falling down on the bench.

Me either I said, but I need some time, okay? That made sense, maybe Ronnie was right, I just needed time to adjust. Then I thought about Ronnie's plan to negotiate peace between us. I'd give that some thought too, but for now...I just needed time to heal.

Yeah, I understand. Well, I gotta jet, see ya around I guess, he said looking sad again. Damn it, those sad puppy dog eyes were killing me.

Yeah, laterz dude. He was halfway to the door before I added, I'm might text ya later. If it's okay, I said quickly.

Yeah, absolutely, he said smiling for the first time since this whole horrible thing began.

Cool. I said, and then I got dressed and headed out.

Ronnie met me out front and I was happy to see him. Dude, you didn't have to wait for me, I said, but I was glad he did.

You kidding? I had to know if they were gonna haul you two off in a cop car, he chuckled. That was epic dude, but sort of scary. Did it hurt? he said stopping to look at my cheek.

Nah, he's a pussy, I joked, He hits like a girl.

Ronnie cracked up, then he sobered suddenly, So, what happened? Did you get suspended, or detention or anything?

Nope, we got a warning is all. Can you believe it? Then I told him everything that Coach had said, and even about my apologizing to Tommy at our lockers.

Dude, that was really cool of you to do that, especially after he hit you and all.

Well, it was payback for me tripping him and for calling his girlfriend a bitch, I guess. I was wrong and he was wrong, but the important thing is, we're not as mad as we were.

That's good, hey, wanna come over today since we got out early? There won't be anyone at my house.

Why? Are you gonna try to molest me? I teased.

Nooo, he said blushing bright red. Are you worried that cause I'm gay that I only want to be friends cause I want to, know, get in your pants?

I couldn't help it, I had to laugh. Get in my pants, that sounded so weird. I had a vision of him literally crawling into my pants, snuggling down there in the crotch, and pushing my fly out like I had a ginormous erection.

Ha ha ha, dude, I could whip your ass easy if you tried to put the moves on me. Nah, I'm not worried, but you never know. A guy has needs, and who's to say I might not make room in my pants for ya.

We both laughed really hard about that, but I think we were both a little aroused by the thought of that happening.

Ronnie's house was actually pretty nice inside. It was clean, and the furniture looked pretty new. They had a nice TV, but it wasn't as big as the one we had at home. Ronnie fixed us a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, poured us some milk, and he asked if I wanted to see his room.

His room was small, but as neat as the rest of the house, actually a lot neater than mine, but he didn't have as much stuff as I did. His PS3 was connected to a 19" flat screen, and there were a few games on the bookshelf next to it. He didn't have a desk but he had a pretty nice tablet and they had internet and WiFi.

We sat on his bed and ate our snack and Ronnie asked me something that kind of embarrassed me.

I was wondering, he began sort of squirming around on the bed like he had ants in his pants, Did you and Tommy ever...I mean, you know? Maybe when you were around or anything?

Dude, that's kind of personal, I said blushing.

I know, I know...I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked, he said jumping up and just standing there like he was ready to run away.

Dude, calm down, I laughed, Sit back down, okay?

He gave me a weird look, but he sat back down, only this time he left plenty of room between us.

Afraid I'm gonna bite you? I teased, come on, Scoot down here by me.

He seemed really nervous, but he scooted a little closer, but not as close as he'd been before. Boy this kid was shy....he he.

Okay, this is between just you and me, okay?

Yeah, absolutely, he said, his voice sort of trembling a little, I swear.

Okay, The answer is...yeah, we did.

Oh, he said looking at me expectantly. What did he want, a play by play?

I guess most boys do, he he, he said looking at me nervously again.

And let me guess, you want to know what we did? I laughed.

Nooo...I mean that's personal, he said, then he added in a really soft voice, unless you wanna tell me.

Ha ha ha, well...nothing major, I said, we jerked off together and a few times we like...helped each other out. We didn't give each other beejays or anything like that, and definitely no butt sex, I added cracking up.

Well, Ronnie's face was so red a tomato would've looked pale compared to it, but I could tell he was kinda excited to. Know how I knew? Cause he was covering his crotch with both hands and kinda pushing his boner down to control it.

I wanted so bad to call him out, but the thing was, I kinda had the same problem. Just thinking about the stuff me and Tommy did had given me a rager, and I was def uncomfortable at the moment.

Suddenly Ronnie jumped up, sort of keeping his back to me, and he said he had to go to the bathroom. Yeah, I bet, to rub one out, I thought. So, while he was gone I rearranged my wang so it was pointing upward and lodge it beneath the waistband of my boxer briefs. That way it was harder to see and it kinda felt good at the same time.

Ronnie returned about ten minutes later looking sort of flushed, but the bulge in his jeans was gone now.

Was it a good one? I teased.

His mouth opened like he was gonna say something, but about them we heard the front door open and two voices shouting from the living room.

We're home! Is anyone here?

That's my brothers, come on I want ya to meet em.

So that day I met Ronnie's twin brothers, Simon, and William. They were identical in every way, but at least they didn't dress alike like some twins do. They were both blond and blue eyed, and really cute kids, with slender athletic bodies from playing soccer and baseball.

They were shy around me at first, but they soon warmed up to me, and I liked them right away. They were funny and curious little guys, and they seemed to idolize their older brother, and I think some of that rubbed off on me.

Anyway, by the time I finally said goodbye and headed home, I felt like I had three new friends. Now I know most 14 year olds would think it was uncool to hang out with 10 year olds, but I'm not like that. If a kid is cool, don't matter what age he is to me, and besides, they were Ronnie's bros and that was enough to make me like them

Unfortunately when I got home, I discovered that I hadn't quite covered all my tracks with my rents. While I'd told them about skipping the day before and made up a story, I'd completely forgotten about skipping the last two classes the day I exploded at Tommy and Beth, and guess what? The school happened to mention that when they called about yesterday.

As soon as I got in the door my mom was waiting for me like a buzzard waiting for it's next meal. At first she didn't mention anything about school, she asked if I wanted a snack, and I said I'd had one at Ronnie's cause class had been dismissed early, and that was all it took to get her going.

Was it, dismissed early, or...did you skip again?

What? Um, I told you about yesterday...

And what about the two classes you skipped the day before that?

Oh f...fudge, I thought, I sort a forgot about that?

Oh, well...I um, see...

I'm waiting, are you gonna tell me the truth this time, or am I going to tell you what I've heard happened.

Oh shit, this was a new ploy. Was this a trick? What did she know? Had she been talking to Tommy's mom? What did Tommy's mom know? Had the school somehow found out what happened and laid that big news on her? What the hell was I supposed to do? I could tell her a half truth and risk being in trouble for lying, or I could tell her the whole truth and then find out that she didn't know anything and I had spilled my guts for nothing. So, I decided on something somewhere in the middle, hoping to play upon her sympathy since I was the one who had been wronged.

Well, I sighed theatrically, It's a long story mom, better sit down.

So I told her the abridged version of my tale of woe, beginning with my chance encounter of the two at the mall, my confrontation on Monday (omitting any obscene language or gesture), and then explaining how I just felt like I couldn't face Tommy in class, and that's why I skipped both days. I didn't mention today's little altercation in PE, relying upon Coach to keep his end of the bargain, and fortunately Tommy's punch had left no marks. All the time I was telling his sordid tale I was careful to look sad and pitiful and emphasize how much I felt wronged and betrayed by the two people I liked most.

I couldn't read mom's face sometimes, but I did get some sympathetic looks form time to time and by the time I wrapped up my tale, I thought I might have a chance of avoiding the electric chair, although life imprisonment was a real possibility.

So, that's why you were so down in the dumps that day at the mall? You saw Tommy and Beth there together and they were kissing? Did you confront them then.

No ma'am, I was gonna...after um, I got through in the bathroom, but they were gone, so I had to wait till Monday.

And they didn't deny this?

No ma'am, they pretty much admitted that they'd been slipping around behind my back. They said they were going to tell me that very day, but I beat them to it.

She shook her head, I must say I'm a little surprised at Tommy.

Score! mom was on my side. She could see how unfair this was, and that Tommy was wrong for taking my girlfriend away.

I'm sure this must be very difficult for him too.

No, mom...I'm the injured party, I thought. Don't go feeling sorry for Tommy.

I can understand why you'd be upset, angry and hurt, but skipping school? Young man I expect better from you.

I'm sorry, I said giving her a hurt look, I just...I've never had anything hurt so much. Real tears came then, I didn't even have to fake them, and I could see mom soften.

Oh honey, I'm so sorry, she said opening her arms. I swarmed into them and actually cried for a little bit before I finally realized how much of a baby I was being. I sniffed back my tears and pulled away and sat back down across from her and waited for judgement to be passed.

You want to know what really upsets me the most? Mom said frowning, That you didn't trust your father and I enough to come to us with this problem. But I kind of see why it might be hard for a teenage boy to tell his parents that his best friend had taken his girlfriend away, practically behind his back. I could see the cards moving back in my favor again and I almost smiled. Then she whacked me back down. But there is no excuse for skipping school and there will be consequences for that. You're grounded for one week, no video games, no TV, internet only for homework. You are to come straight home from school each day and I want you in bed by 9:30 each night.

There will be some extra chores as well, starting tonight you have dishes every night. I won't take your phone this time, but no games on it, you can text for 15 minutes each evening, and that's all.

Damn, the electric chair was beginning to sound better and better. Oh well, one week isn't so bad, and maybe that will give me time to think about all this, and figure out what to do as far as Tommy is concerned. I'll miss seeing Ronnie, but I can always talk to him at school.

Yes ma'am. Thanks for understanding, I said meekly. I know you're disappointed in me, but I'll try to handle this better from now on. Tommy and I kinda made up a little today in gym class, we're talking at least.

She nodded, that's a start. I might allow him to come over for you two to talk this out, if you two decide that's what you want to do.

I think I just need some more time, but I'll think about it, okay? I told her.

All right, now. I'm sure you have tons of make up work, so go get that started, and I'll call you when dinner is ready.

I gave my mom a hug and she kissed the top of my head, and I zipped off to start on my homework. All in all, I had gotten off kind of easy. I mean, a week of grounding was pretty tame stuff, and more importantly I had this terrible burden off my shoulders, and I didn't have to worry about being careful what I said or did around them.

I was halfway through my Algebra homework when my dad knocked on the door and asked if it was okay if he came in. I said sure, and my heart sped up a little as he came in and sat on my bed.

You okay sport? He said, looking concerned.

Yeah, not perfect, but okay, I said grinning.

Mom told me what happened, that's rough. I'm a little surprised at Tommy though. See, he thinks I'm the one who got shafted too, I thought. Then he went on, But a girl can sometimes come between friends like that. I know it hurts doubly cause you lost Beth and you probably feel like you lost Tommy, but I think your friendship with Tommy is worth trying to save, don't you?

Yes sir, we're trying to figure out how to stay friends, but it still hurts, I said, trying not to have a repeat of the water works I'd experience earlier.

I see, well...if you need a guy to talk to about this, come see me, okay? I love you sport, and I know being a teenage boy is about the hardest job on the planet, he chuckled, But you don't have to do this alone. Your mom and I love you to death kiddo, and we don't want to see you hurting. So, just don't feel like you're alone in this, okay?

I wiped at a few tears I didn't know were there, and I was this close to bawling my head off when my dad got up and pulled me out of my chair and hugged me. Damn, I'm such a wuss sometimes. I know all kids aren't as close to their rents as I am, but mine are the best.

Thanks, I managed to sniffle, I'm sorry I messed up.

Don't worry about that, he said as he released me, I would have probably done the same thing, but don't tell your mom, he chuckled. By the way, you got off easy, he said giving me a noogie.

I know, I said grinning, but mom's easy sometimes.

Ha ha, yeah, that's cause she loves you so much, and she knows that deep down inside you're a good kid. Well, I'll let you get back to your homework. I'll call you when mom has dinner on the table.

After dinner, I used my 15 minutes of texting to let Ronnie know what had happened and he said he was sorry that I got in trouble, but that he still wanted to help me and Tommy work things out if we wanted him to.

I told him I'd see him at school tomorrow, and we could talk at lunch, and he sent me a smiley face emoji, and I could just tell he was happy that we were friends now, and you know what? I was pretty happy too. I remembered afterwards that I had kinda promised to text Tommy, but I'd already used my 15 minutes, and I figured it could wait till tomorrow.

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