Matt and Tim

by Small Town Guy

Chapter 3

Matt and Tim made their way along the walk on their way home from school. They giggled as they joked and gently nudged into each other. Already they felt more than comfortable together. They'd spent lunch together that day but their subjects of conversation had been limited. Matt had entered extremely pale. He'd encountered a long line today and would have been late getting to the table. He turned to a vending machine. Tim noticed he didn't carry a tray. In one hand he held an orange juice.

"Wow, Matty...........Do you feel okay today?........Yer white as a ghost!"

He slumped down across the table from him, dropping his pack from one shoulder to the floor. He reached into his rear pocket and produced a folded paper. In fact it had been several papers folded three times. He tossed them onto Tim's tray.

Tim hesitated for a moment before he picked it up. He unfolded the smudged, wrinkly sheets. It was obviously a math test. At the the top was a large "F" in red ink.

"Whoa!........Bummer!"

Matt shook his juice before opening it.

"I really think Mrs. Jenkins hates me!"

Tim continued to spoon soup into his mouth.

"...I mean, look at the size of that 'F'!.......It's bad enough it's in red but she's gotta make it like four inches high!.......Oh!....She is such a........a CUNT!"

Tim suddenly choked, spitting his soup back into the bowl. He quickly reached for a napkin.

"Oh Timmy.........I'm not gonna lie about bein' bitched at for not bein' a straight A student. Mom's pretty cool. But she doesn't want nothin' under a 'C'.........You got any idea what that's gonna do to my average?!"

Tim set his wadded napkin aside as he glanced at the exam. He'd take a spoon of soup and glance back at the paper several times. Without taking his eyes from the exam, he'd tear at a piece of bread, place the piece into his mouth and spoon in more soup. Soon his forehead wrinkled. He picked up the paper with one hand and held it at an angle to the table.

He suddenly dropped his spoon into the bowl with a clatter and held the paper with both hands. He flipped the first page over. Matt could see only his eyes over the top of the paper. His eyebrows would rise into high arches and just as quickly, drop to nearly straight lines.

"He's making 'eyes' again!........Oh! His eyes are so........so expressive!......so HOT! I really think I'm gonna melt here!........No wonder I'm failing. I'm just so much in love!"

"Whoa, dude!........Wait a minute here!" Tim nearly shouted.

He placed the paper flat on his tray. His left hand index finger scanned a problem as his right scanned the answers. He did this on several other problems. Again he flipped a page. Again his index fingers scanned.

"Yeah!........Yeah!........I can see a pattern here!.........This is gonna sound silly but..."

He placed the paper aside and looked up at Matt.

"Okay, you got almost all the problems wrong........but, but it was caused by only like four or five real mistakes! It's the way you're followin' the formulas! You keep doin' the same mistakes over 'n' over. I can show you a real easy way to do this!..........I just love math!"

"...You........gotta........be........kiddin'!"

"No! No!..........Look.....it's like this........My English teacher asks me if some word in a sentence is a verb er pronoun er preposition.......I either know it or I don't! If my history teacher asks about some date that something happened........I either know it or I don't! With math........you can figure out the answer! You don't have to memorize like a whole shitload of facts 'n' dates........You set up your formula........plug in your values......Bingo! The answer!"

"Oh shit!........I'm ready to try anything!"

Matt pulled his key from his pocket for the back door. Tim seemed to look around.

"My mom gave me the key for the back door," Matt began, "She doesn't like me coming home alone because people will see me!..........She never really said it, but she makes it sound like there are six dirty ole men parked in cars across the street, checkin' me out with field glasses!"

They entered the kitchen. It was a long, rather narrow room. There were the usual white enamel appliances, range, refrigerator, washer, dryer. They entered a small, conventional dining room. Off this was Matt's room.

As they entered, Tim noticed this room also was long and narrow. To the right was a dresser and a bed. To the left was a small wardrobe, a desk with cabinets above on the wall and another dresser. In the corner was a small walk-in closet. In the other corner was a corner-desk with computer, monitor and printer.

"Hey! That's the same computer as I have!......Printer too!.......Well, as soon as the moving company finds it.......and my bike!.......and dad's golf clubs......and half of mom's shoes!"

"Oh wow!"

"Yeah, well they know the truck left! It's GPS broke down and they don't know exactly where it is!"

"Ohhh, bummer!...

"Hey, why don't you just fire-up the computer. I think I gotta head for the bathroom! I have no idea what I ate this time!"

Matt entered the room several minutes later. He saw Tim before the monitor. His head moved slightly to one side.

"OH......MY........GAWD!.........He......he found my BRACES FOLDER! He's lookin' at all those HOT BOYS with braces! How am I going to explain that?!.......I mean, there's nothing dirty there!........There's no nudity! There's nothing to indicate they're from any gay site! It's just sooooo embarrassing!...

"Something just told me not to put that on there! I should have left it on the password protected flash! I thought he'd go right to the Internet!.........Shit!....... Well, I'll just have to admit to it all...........I can't help it!.........I'm....I'm kinky!"

As he took small steps forward, his toe struck his backpack on the floor. The noise caught Tim's attention. He looked over his shoulder.

"Matt!" he sounded out, turning ninety degrees in the chair. He placed his elbow on the backrest. Then Matt saw the largest, most original, happy, ear-to-ear smile, he'd ever seen come from Tim. He instantly became weak in the knees.

"Oh!....Oh!!! LA SONRISA DE PLATA! He is just soooo drop-dead gorgeous with that HUGE smile!.......And.......And the DIMPLES are back!"

"Wow! Matt!........You really DO like braces, huh?..."

Matt hooked his finger into a small step-stool near the desk. He drew it up to the computer beside Tim and sat. His head was still hanging. He was lost for words.

"Wow!" Tim continued, "....And........and I thought you were just saying that stuff just to make me feel better!"

Matt had a shy, embarrassed somewhat "defeated" expression on his face. He held out his hand toward the screen, palm up.

"I.......I told you I like braces, okay?.........I....I....I think they're just so CU....COOL!"

"Shit Matt!........Just tell 'em!........Stop sayin' COOL for CUTE!"

"...And I think they're so.......NEEEET!.........And I think, well.......I don't like those plastic invisible ones.........They're........You can't see 'em! You know?........And the metal ones....... the real shiny.......silver ones........you kin see um!........But the plastic ones are....um....umm just not as nice......because the metal ones are...."

"SAY CUTE YOU DICKHEAD!"

"....the metal ones are.......silver and....and....just soooo damn KEEUUUTT!"

He quickly placed his elbows on the desktop and covered his face with his hands.

"...And I'm just soooooo embarrassed here!"

Tim quit smiling as his expression sobered. He leaned close to Matt and threw his arm over his shoulders.

"Oh!....Oh!.......Oh shit!....Oh shit! He's got his ARM around me! And his HAND on my shoulder!......and.....and its not just layin' there........he's....squeezin' it!"

"Now let me see if I've got this straight........You're embarrassed because you like braces? I should be the embarrassed one here........I'm the one that has 'em!

"Matt........This folder of yours.........these thumbnails......It's like now I know you're not lying to me........Oh! NOT that I thought you were lying!....... Ummm I was just......I thought that....well.....ummm.......you were kinda like.......pushin'-the-truth........to.......put it a bit more politely...

"Now take yer hands down off your face!"

He pulled at his wrist with his right hand.

"Come on!........Quit hiding."

Matt dropped his hands and turned to look at him. His face was only inches from Tim's.

"....Matt......ummm......Ever since I got these braces. It's really been downhill for me.....If that's possible. But today.........Right now!..........I don't think I've ever felt so good in my LIFE! Now I really know you aren't just saying things. And I......Oh, wow......like we said to each other last night........We feel we've known each other for so much longer........Right now. It just seems like I've known you all along!.........From the very start!"

He began with a shy grin. It continued to grow. Matt began to see Tim's second, fully genuine, large smile.

"Holy fuckin' shit!........I don't know how much of his sonrisa de plata I can TAKE! His mouth is just five inches away!.........Oh! I just wanna hold his head in my hands.......so he can't move it! I wanna press my mouth up against those braces!........I wanna feel those little 'bumps' run over my lips!........Then I wanna just stick my tongue against 'em! I wanna feel those thin wires and those little 'pads' run over the tip. I wanna just taste their BEAUTY!"

"...Ummm.......yeah. I....I was kinda umm thinking the same thing here......I'm errrr well so bad at words! But I'm just sooooo glad we met!"

"Yeah!.......Me too! So!......Now..."

He seemed to draw his face closer. He reached up with his fingers. He slowly ran his fingertips over Matt's forehead, brushing his hair from his eyes. For Matt, it seemed an eternity.

"Now.........you quit hidin' your.......your CARTOON EYES!.......and.......and I'll quit doing the Linus Mouth!..."

He raised slightly up from the chair, reaching for a pen on the other side of Matt.

"Here.........Let me get this pen..."

Tim's lips seemed to "bump" against Matt's cheek. It had been very subtle.

"...Fuck ME!........Oh shit!.......Timmy's.......Timmy's lips just....just touched my cheek! I....I....can still feel that!........Oh! My cheek has moisture on it......From Timmy's pouty lips! That spot is all sorta.......sorta sparkly........sorta all tingly. Oh shit! Am I hard! I gotta hide it under the desk!"

Tim drew his arm from Matt's shoulders as he sat again. He seemed almost businesslike as he wrote on a tiny pad.

"...This is my e-mail add..........HA! The only reason I've got an account is a couple cousins up in Washington State wanted me to get one. I think I heard from one once and the other twice!"

Matt had gripped the stool between his legs and "hopped" it farther under the desk.

"I'm rubbing against the bottom of the desktop!........Shit! When are they going to invent some kind of PILL for these uncontrollable stiffys?!"

"...Okay, now give me yours........Hee,hee. Lots of good this will do us 'til my computer comes off the truck!.........I'll ahhh......contact you first! Just as soon as my computer is set up. Dad has one in the den, but holy shit! I don't dare touch that! He's got millions of dollars of stuff on that!...........I mean, it's all backed up at the company an' all...but..."

He began clicking the thumbnails on the screen, enlarging them.

"Oh, hey, I was going to comment on your trackball!........I love this! I'm gettin' one for myself!"

"Now he's enlarging the photos! Oh this is soooo embarrassing!"

"Hey!..........Here I sit in your comfortable rotary chair an' you're sittin' on that stool. Let's switch places!"

"NO!....NO!......I mean....ummm......The trackball is right there on your right. The cable isn't very long. This is fine..."

"Sure?"

"Yeah!.....Yeah! This is fine."

Matt's face blushed as Tim continued through the thumbnails.

(click-click) "Mmmm....Now he don't look bad." (click-click) "Ohhhkayyy!" (click-click) "Awwwhhh! Is he cute!......Looks kinda young for braces though." (click-click) "Wow!.........Look at that lady! She could be a model er something!" (click-click) "Awwwhhh. That little girl with the red hair 'n' freckles.........Oh shit! She looks like one of those little tomboys." (click-click) "Hhhhuuumm........He's cute." (click-click) "Hhhuuumm......Nah!.....A bit too nerdy with the pocket protector 'n' geeky watch!" (click-click) "Holy shit! Is HE a little DOLL!"

It was here he bowed his head with a slight blush. He quickly closed the file.

"Ahhhh......ummmm......I think I'm getting way off the subject here...

"I wanted to show you that site.........the one I got bookmarked. The math site?"

He went on the Internet.

"Ummm......bein' bookmarked.......I don't exactly remember the name of it. I'm sure I'll be able to Google it..."

"WHAT was that?!.........Did he just say, 'Is he a little doll?!'.......Shit! I was just gettin' Junior under control here, and now I'm hard as a ROCK again!"

He wedged his toes behind the front legs of the stool and pried it closer, until his stomach was pressing against the desktop. He reached for a mechanical pencil beside the monitor. It was something for his hands to do. He fiddled with it.

"Oh gee, this is so embarrassing!.........They've gotta invent some kind of MEDICINE for this!..........Yeah, they'll invent it and then it'll have to be administered with a big hypodermic needle.......right into the head of your dick!........OUCH!......Yeah! That'll work!"

"...Yeah!........Here it is! Here it is!"

He glanced at Matt as the home page downloaded.

"I'm bein' serious here Matty!.........This is actually a fun site! I go on this even during summer vacation!..........Every week they have some puzzle that you have to solve. Well, three of 'em! The first one's easy, the second a bit harder.......and the third........I don't hardly ever solve the third one. The following week they have the solutions. Even if you get 'um wrong, it shows you why! It's fun! I'm not joking here.........You'll see..."

Tim seemed to run on and on. Matt had never heard him string so many words together at one time. He wasn't listening.

"What's he doing here?.........Is he kinda trying to......cover up that, 'Is he a little doll!' thing? Is he trying to tell me something?........or was that just kind of a........a slip?"

"...Now some of these lessons are real baby like for grade school kids. Some are for college students.......and then high school...

"I'll try to find some problems like you had on your test the other day..."

Matt gazed at his face. It reflected the monitor colors and light intensities as the site switched pages. His dark, black pupils scanned each page. His eyebrows raised in high arches at one moment, then lowered the next.

"...Ohhhhhh!........His eyes are just soooooo expressive!.......And that black.....shiny..... silky hair!.........It just brushes against his cheeks!........Those pink, moist, pouty lips!...

"I'd like to just stand up and......kinda put my hand on the other side of his face.......and .........and just lean forward and.......and kiss that....that porcelain cheek!..."

It was here he noticed he had a small pad of paper before him. He was doodling figures on it with the pencil he kept fidgeting with.

"...Matt!......KNOCK IT OFF ALREADY!.......Junior ain't ever goin' back to sleep if you keep up with these HOT FANTASIES!........Well, to me they are!.......Oh, I need a PILL or some MEDICATION or SOMETHING!..........I should just excuse myself to the bathroom and go stick a PIN into it! Oh yeah! That'll do it!.......But......ummm......no way! Oh shit......I hope I don't have to stand up or anything...

"He's explaining something here!......LISTEN to him!........Just forget about eyes 'n' lips 'n'.........porcelain cheeks!"

Matt found he'd quickly developed an interest. Indeed, Tim's explanations and silly mnemonics helped him grasp ideas quickly and recall formulas.

"Okay now the bit more harder stuff.......You got a calculator?"

"Yeah, right here in my pack..."

He rushed for his pack on the floor.

"Oh shit!........Oh!......Okay, Junior went back to sleep..."

He began to figure volumes and surface areas for solid geometric figures. He found some of the problems he'd had the most difficulty with, were becoming simple to solve.

"Oh! GEE!.........I......I just can't thank you enough for all this help!...

"Oh! I was scared shitless about math this year........And next? I gotta start....... TRIGONOMETRY!...........I'm never gonna make it!"

"Trig?" Tim asked with a sly grin.

He began clicking again.

Matt jumped up and covered the monitor with his hands.

"No!....No!......PLEASE!........I'm begging you!"

Tim pulled his arms back.

"Will you just SIT there for a minute?! Don't go all spazz 'n' have a shit fit here! This is just simple trig of the right triangle..."

Matt became literally astounded at his own sudden abilities and understanding. He knew it was Tim and his simple explanations. His mnemonics became even more humorous and zany, some even a bit racy. Yet it helped him to remember.

Matt drummed the palms of his hands on the desktop and stomped his feet.

"Oh WOW.......Oh WOW!.......Timmy!.......You gotta grow up to be a teacher!...

"...Ummmm........about you feeling like you....used me?.........Meeting your mom?....And that you owed me one? Well, I never felt that way about it.......but if it makes you feel any better........Holy shit!....We're more than even today!"

Tim gave Matt his third, huge, genuine, silver smile.

Matt got to his feet.

"Oh! Thank you!....Thank you!"

He grabbed Tim's head and hugged it while he kissed the top with a loud smack. He quickly sat down again and bowed his blushing face.

"...Ummm.....Sorry..."

Tim bowed his head as well, blushing, yet turned toward Matt.

"...That's ummm....okay!"

For the moment the atmosphere became very thick for the both of them. Neither could find words. They nervously fidgeted in their seats.

(Beep, beep)

Tim reached for his phone.

"Hello?.........Sure Mom.....I'm okay. I'm still at Matt's helping him with math."

His jaw dropped and eyes literally bulged from his face. He quickly stood up.

"OH!....OH!.....MOM! I....am....sooooo sorry! I had no idea it was SEVEN O'CLOCK!"

Matt snapped his head around to look at his digital clock. It read "7:05 PM". He glanced back up at Tim.

"....Oh GEE....I'm so sorry!......I thought it was like five at the latest!...

".....Ummmm....Just let me finish up this last problem and I'll be right on my way!.......... Noooo, I don't need a ride!........I'm like five minutes up the street!....

"Sure....Okay.....Bye Mom..."

It was here they heard a key slip into the front door. It opened.

"...Mathewwww!....I'm home!"

"I'm in here on the computer, Mom........Tim's here!"

"Well I sure hope you two aren't lookin' at anything....naughty!"

She entered the room.

"Oh it's soooo nice to finally meet you, Tim. You're all Mathew talks about!"

Matt rose to a slight squatting position. He nodded his head shyly.

"...Evenin' ma'am......Nice meeting you too."

She glanced at the monitor and saw what, for her, was a rather complex math formula.

"...Well I'll be dipped in shit!" she gasped.

"BWWAAHH....HA,HA,HA!...HOO,HOO,HOO!.....OH MOM THAT'S THE FIRST TIME I'VE EVER HEARD YOU SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT! HEE,HEE,HEE!"

She blushed as she held her fingertips to her mouth.

"Oh dear!......I'm so sorry Timmy! I'm just so shocked!"

She pointed at the monitor.

"...I was expecting nudies or....or monsters being blown up!......I would never have guessed........SCHOOLWORK!"

"Oh gee, Mom!........Timmy's just great at math! You wouldn't believe the stuff I learned from him tonight!"

"Oh that just makes me feel sooo good to hear you talk like that..."

She paused for a moment.

"...I........I really shouldn't say this but........I'm going to...

"...I hate to get on your case about school, Matthew, and I really don't want to be a BITCH about it!........But, with today's technology........It's absolutely necessary!"

Matt looked up seriously.

"...Yeah Mom.........I know........It's just sometimes sooooo hard for me. But I'm sure Timmy can help me."

"Ok, just apply yourself. I don't expect all 'A's' but I do expect you to do the best you can! That's all you can do!........And I know when you aren't doing up to your potential..."

The following afternoon the boys gathered at Matt's math room after school. Tim followed Matt inside. At the desk was a very attractive brunette. Her hair was in nearly a "pageboy" cut, yet with a somewhat more mature appearance.

Tim nearly gasped at the slender figure. Her pleated skirt was an inch above her knees.

"Matty calls her a........CUNT?!........I was expecting a real WITCH!"

Matt slowly approached the desk and placed his wrinkled test on it.

She reached for it with her left hand and glanced over it. She turned her chair forty five degrees to face him. Her brilliant green eyes seemed to pierce over her oval-shaped wire glasses on the tip of her nose.

He stood there with a stooped posture, shoulders rounded. His large blue eyes held fear behind his blond hair. She wanted to reach out and hug him.

"Sooooooo........Matthew.........You'd like to discuss your....test results with me?"

The boys could actually hear the 'acid' dripping from the tone of her voice.

"...I....ummm....ummm....ahhh..."

She suddenly shook the papers in her hand.

"Matthew!........This test is disgusting!" she shouted.

Both boys seemed to jump back a step. She forced herself to hold back a smile.

"...NO!........It's not because of the appalling grade on it!.........It's because I know you're so much more capable!.........Sometimes I just get so....so frustrated with you kids!

"Us teachers are trained!..........We can see who's really trying and those who.... just....don't ....care!.........You aren't one of those!...

"I can see your eyes just sort of....glued to the chalkboard when I explain something. I....I can almost hear those....those little gears turning in your head! I know that you're really trying!.........What is the problem here?"

He looked up shyly. His eyes seemed even larger.

"....Because.......ummm......I'm dumb?..."

She tossed the test paper onto the desk. She removed her glasses and tossed them as well.

"...MATTHEW!........You are not STUPID!"

She pushed her rotary chair back. It rolled until the backrest struck the aluminum tray below the green chalkboard.

"....Matthew..........When I.......when I.....SLASHED," she paused, allowing the word to hang for a moment, "that....that big 'F' on your test......I was so ANGRY!........And....and I apologize for that.........I'm so sorry! It's just if I thought you were.....dumb, I'd never have done that!"

She placed her hands in her lap and looked up.

"...What........What can we do here?"

"...Ummm......ummm.....ahhh."

He sidestepped to the right. Exposing Tim who had been "hiding" behind him.

"This is Tim........The New Kid?..."

"Ahh yes. Timothy Webster.........Welcome to our school."

"Ahhh....thank you.......Afternoon....Ms Jenkins."

Tim's large black eyes seemed twice as frightened as Matt's.

Mrs. Jenkins pursed her lips to prevent a smile.

"....And uhhh.......Timmy's like real good at math! He really knows his sh....stuff!"

"I ALMOST SAID SHIT!"

"....And ummm......He......well, he tells me these silly little stories and writes these letters and funny symbols. I don't know how to explain it! They just help me to kinda remember sh....stuff"

"I ALMOST SAID IT AGAIN!"

"Last night he got on a website with me that just super explains everything! And I can kinda click back 'n' forth at the solution and sorta figure it out. I gotta keep goin' over things like three er four times until I understand. And it got real easy in like just two hours!"

Tim stepped forward, a slight shy expression on his face.

"...I think what Matt is trying to say is.........He's looking for something to do for extra credit.........Kinda bring up his average again..."

Mrs. Jenkins placed her elbow on the arm of her chair. Her thumb rested under her chin. Her index and middle fingers rested against her temple.

"Matthew........I.........I have worksheets in my office. I wrote them up myself. They've ......they've got to be......HALF AGAIN as difficult as the problems in our textbook........They're for the more..........advanced students."

She paused as she placed her hands in her lap. She swiveled the chair to face them.

"....I'll have to find them on the drive and print them out. I'll have them for you by Friday. This way, you'll have the entire weekend to study them. I'll expect one worksheet each day next week. You can put them on my desk at the start of each class. If you do even fairly well, I'll put your average back up."

Matt began to stagger around. He clasped his hands before himself, nearly squatting down.

"Oh!....Thank you, thank you!.........I'll try real hard!......I just promise!"

As it worked out, Mrs. Jenkins had difficulty finding the worksheets along with her busy schedule. It hadn't been until a week later she'd finally printed them out. She'd already noticed a marked improvement in his past two quizzes. His classroom participation was slightly improved. He volunteered answers several times. He asked questions with something he didn't quite understand.

Matt had spent nearly the entire two weeks at his computer on his "Fun Math Site" with and without Tim to guide him. He could barely believe his own progress. Problems which had been literally incomprehensible two weeks ago were being solved quickly and accurately. It had been a great boost to his self-esteem as well.

He'd said goodbye to Tim on Sunday afternoon and went home.

"I.......I can't really have fun today," he'd said, "Just let me get those worksheets out of the way. I know I'll feel better next weekend!"

"That's okay........I've still got that English paper to put the finishing touches on before I print it out!" Tim replied.

He sat at his desk in his room. He'd placed out everything he thought he'd need. He took a large drink of orange juice from a glass beside him.

"Okay........Calm down........One problem at a time..."

He began entering numbers into the calculator.

Within a single hour, he'd completed the first worksheet. He picked it up quickly.

"YES!" he yelled out loud, striking the empty glass beside him. It crashed to the floor.

"SHIT!" he yelled out, quickly covering his mouth.

"Did I just SAY that?!"

"Don't worry Matthew," his mother called out from the living room, "I'll get it!"

Over the course of the afternoon and into early evening, his mother would pass his room. Unlike other teens, he seldom closed his door except for sleeping. He was always bent over his desk, diligently working.

"Matthew!.........Supper time!"

"Oh Mom! I'm on my third worksheet! I can't stop now!......I'm on a roll here!"

His voice seemed excited, nearly happy!

"Matthew.........You need food for energy. You'll feel better. You'll think better after a break..."

"Oh no!.........I'll lose that train of thought and it'll be like starting all over again!"

She entered his room with his supper. It was on a makeshift tray, a cookie sheet. She pulled out the sideboard on the desk and set it down.

"Just nibble a bit every now and then," she said simply and left.

He munched on a piece of chicken as he considered the next question.

His mother frequently passed the room. Although she didn't actually see him eating, she noticed the food disappearing on the tray.

He finished the third worksheet and picked it up quickly to look at it.

"YES!" he yelled again.

He jumped. His knee struck the sideboard causing the cookie sheet to crash to the floor.

"...OH DAMMIT!"

"I'll get it, Matthew," his mother replied with a dejected note.

She'd grown used to his frequent accidents. She refused to admonish him. She understood he felt self-conscious over his awkwardness for the past two years.

She entered the room with a plastic dishpan.

"Oh Mom!........I'm soooo sorry! I'm such a GEEK!......I HATE THIS!"

"MATTHEW!....ENOUGH!........Now I've told you time and time again, these things are going to happen. You're body's changing. You're becoming a young man now."

He got to his knees and began helping her place items into the dishpan.

"Oh.......I'm shy enough........but when shit like this happens at school, it embarrasses the hell outta me!"

She knelt down and settled back on her heels.

"Matthew..........I know you don't believe me, but we all went through this. When I was a little girl I didn't understand what feet and legs were for! I don't think I could stand up or walk or run! I was always falling down!.........My knees were all scabs.......my elbows my palms! My legs and arms were all scratches!..........I was sooooo boy crazy and yet I couldn't get myself to meet one......talk to one. I was certain I'd make a total ass of myself!"

"Hee,hee,hee........Really?"

"...Yes!...........And one day I remember falling off my bike. Oh! My arm was all scraped up!........My LEG!........Oh! There was blood everywhere! I found a stick and started pounding on my bike with it!........I was just so MAD!"

"Hee,hee,hee.........You beat you bike with a stick?!"

"...Yes I DID!........I was more angry than hurt!.........But you'll see. One day will come and all this will stop........almost overnight! I'm not going to yell at you for all these........ accidents!"

She gazed up at his bookshelf.

"...Have you been reading that......BOOK I bought you?"

Matt understood about the BOOK. It was always capitalized in his mind's eye.

He gazed down at the floor as he placed a fork into the dishpan.

"Yes Mom........I know all about where babies come from..."

"I understand you've had classes in school.........but that....BOOK.....goes much farther than that. It's not only about biology!........It's about emotions and feelings and things like that."

"Okay.........Now I really gotta get back to my math here..."

"Okay, I'll do-up the dishes........And look! Nothing's even broken here!"

After finishing washing the dishes, she passed his room again. His desk lamp was on and he was hunched over his worksheet and calculator. He made notes on a piece of scrap paper. She entered the living room and stretched out on the couch. She listened to Matt mumble.

"...Mmmm......No!.......I forgot the parenthesis again......the quantity of.....RATS!"

She heard paper crumpling up and being tossed aside.

"...Ummm......This is 'x' raised to the third.......and this is....SHIT!" (Crumple, crumple)

"...This is 'x'.....cubed and I gotta equalize both sides of the equation.......that'll be.......Oh! FUCK!" (Crumple, crumple)

She placed her hand over her mouth, holding back a giggle. Such language wasn't tolerated in the house, but this was one of those boys-will-be-boys instances. She was pleased at his determination.

At eleven o'clock Matt's mother stood before his door. He was still hunched over his desk, papers scattered everywhere.

"I really think that's enough for one night Honey........It's time for bed."

"Oh MOM! This is worksheet five! I got just four more problems left! I'll have the whole week's work done! I can turn them all in tomorrow!"

"Well, don't be too late........I'm going to bed."

Matt finished the last paper and held it up.

"YES!"

He was about to jump up.

"Wait!........Look around!.......Don't dump something else over!"

Soon he slid the worksheets into the brown manila envelope.

"Well.......I don't think I got 'em all right........but I feel pretty good about 'em! I'm sure I passed!.........I think I got enough right that Mrs. Jenkins will give me credit!"

He glanced at his computer. Tim now had his setup as well. They'd exchanged several short e-mails during the week. They'd had little time together this week. Both were doing schoolwork and had papers for several classes.

"I wonder if my SONRISA DE PLATA has any messages for me..."

He started up his computer.

"Oh WOW! It's one o'clock!........Mom finds me on this computer she is gonna literally SHIT A BRICK!.........I'll try to do this real quick...

"Ohhhh.......My little Angel!.........He still seems to be giving me those......those little signals again. I don't know for sure. I'd really like to go to one of those GSA meetings. Oh shit!.......Everyone would seeeeee me in there!........I don't even know who goes!......Well Alex and Bob!.........Yeah! ........They've been OUT since.........like forever!.........And last year Michelle came out.........SCHEEZZE!........Michelle?!.........I'd never have guessed!.......She's so.....so tiny.......and sweet........and cute and girly! Nobody could call her a Dyke! As far as I know there hasn't been any bullying.........Okay, a few snide, sarcastic remarks, but nothing really nasty!.........Oh shit! I'd be soooooo embarrassed to go in there!

"I wonder what they talk about..........I wonder if they talk about suckin' or boinkin'! No way could I sit there and listen to that! I'd be so embarrassed, I'd pass out!.......I'd FAINT! And I'd wake up and...........and everyone would be crowded around me. And they'd be looking at me! Oh shit! I COULD NEVER DO IT!

"I'd love to hide a recorder in there.........or a VIDEO CAMERA! Just to see what goes on! I guess I could ask Alex.........He's cool........He's not.......flamboyant!........It's just......he's the type that thinks everyone should be out! He'd blab it all over!.......Not to be mean. He just doesn't understand that some of us feel more comfortable IN the closet!...

"Okay, homepage is up.........Click on mail..."

"Matt:

Thought I'd give you an update on my homework assignments:

History paper (early railroad): Complete

English paper (diagramming): Complete

Spanish (tourists phrases): In process

Math exercises: Complete

Science thesis: In process

More Time with Matt: NOT EVEN STARTED!

Last week was just too loooooong! Miss ya, Matt!

Tim"

"Awwww! He misses me! He wants to spend more time with me! I missed him too! It's just I've been so busy with homework!..........Gee, how do I take that?.........Is that another signal?.........I wonder if he's sorta....feeling me out! I've never resisted one of his......well, advances?..........That's not the right word. It's just when he sits real close to me, or casually touches me........I sure don't back off! In fact I've got everything I can do to control myself! I wanna just HUG him soooo hard! I'd probably snap his neck off!.....or crush his lungs!

"Oh shit!........Junior is waking up again. Noooo! It's too late! I need to get some sleep! I wish there was a FUCKIN PILL for this!

"Oh gee, I've gotta get a picture of Timmy......Several!.......Hmmm......The first one would be a full length!........I gotta see those skinny jeans!........The next would be....ummm waist up!.......No! No!.......Hips up!.......I gotta be able to see those bony hips stickin' out! Ohhhhh, they make his waist look so........ slender!.......So, so hugable!.....So squeezable! Squeezable?!......Hee,hee,hee........ Is that a real word? It sounds funny!.......And the next photo would be waist up........Well, with a little bit of 'hip' in it. And he could wear a tight little t-shirt........Kinda shrunk up.....so I can see that tight, flat belly of his! I'd like to just jam my face into it! He has such a cute little belly button! It's not oval.......it's perfectly round and kinda deep! Oh!......Just to stick my tongue into it!.......Hee,hee,hee.....Oh shit! Never! As ticklish as Timmy is......he'd....he'd FLIP RIGHT OUT!.....Hee,hee,hee And the next photo would be just his face.........A super close up! With Timmy smiling his biggest smile ever! Oh, (sigh) How would I go about that?.........'Hey Timmy, I want some pictures of you so I can....like whack-off ten times tonight!'..........Beautiful! Shit!......Oh that sounds....raw!

"Hummm........I'll get some pictures of him.......I'll figure something out..."

Monday morning, Matt entered his math room early. Even though first period hadn't started and his math class was seventh period, he wanted to drop off his extra credit assignments. He hesitated at the door. Mrs. Jenkins looked up from her desk. Today she wore an overly conservative, charcoal colored suit. The skirt came down to her ankles.

"...Yes, Matthew?..."

"...Ummm......I.......ahhh......got my worksheets here."

"...Worksheets?" she asked.

"....Umm...yeah!.......I was up until like midnight last night........I'm sure I got some wrong, but I really, really think I did pretty good..."

"...Well, come here. Hand me the sheets. How many do you have here?"

"...All of 'em!"

"...All of them?" she asked, suspiciously.

"....Yup!........And.....yeah, they were kinda rough........But I really think I did good!"

She continued her suspicious glare as she set the envelope on her desk.

"...Very well. I'll check these over today as I have a moment here and there."

Toward the end of his math class, Matt was certain Mrs. Jenkins had been giving him frequent glances the entire class.

"Oh shit........I'm in for it!........I'll bet I fucked up those worksheets ROYALLY! Oh well, I really tried."

The bell rang as Mrs. Jenkins stood behind her desk.

"Matthew, I'd like to see you after class today."

"Oh shit!......Here it comes!"

The other students filed out talking among themselves.

As Matt drew on his pack, he walked to the front of the room. Mrs. Jenkins walked for the door. She looked over her shoulder.

"...In my office, please." she said icily.

"Oh no!......Oh no!.....Oh God!.......I am soooooo FUCKED!"

He took a seat on the couch in there as Mrs. Jenkins seated herself at her desk. She began to shuffle through papers. Matt glanced at the couch.

"....Oh! All the offices here have one of these!.........Slime green plastic! With stainless steel tubes!...........If this doesn't look like something out of the fifties!"

Mrs. Jenkins looked up.

"...I went over your worksheets......And, yes........You did get some incorrect......VERY FEW incorrect."

She stood up and walked before her desk, leaning back against it. She held the papers in her hand. She hung her head and sighed, then looked up again.

"...Matthew......I want to know who did these sheets for you!.......Was it that new Webster boy?"

"Oh no! Oh no!.......Really! I did 'em last night! My mom was right there! She saw me!"

She hung her head.

"I've already called her."

Matt slapped his hand over his eyes.

"...Oh! NO!.."

"Matthew! I told her you weren't in any sort of trouble here!...

"Now I know your a bit......well slower than the other students at grasping things. I'm not saying you're dumb! Your....your learning process just causes you to take a bit longer. I know you're a bit awkward.......a bit uncertain of yourself......And very, very shy. And I also know you're a very honest person. That's why I just don't understand these worksheets! I just can't picture you in my wildest imagination of doing any cheating! It's just not you! But....but..."

She reached for more papers on her desk and shook them in the air.

"...This....this is simply....unbelievable!.........Nobody....nobody progresses this far in....in.....TEN DAYS!"

"...It's Timmy, Mrs. Jenkins! I'm tellin' you.......he....he has this....this ability to just make things soooo simple! I'm not lyin' here! A couple weeks ago he took me to this website on math. In one hour he had me doin' volumes of spheres and all kinds of things! In three hours he had me doin' trigonometry of the right triangle!"

"...Matthew....would you be willing to take a test....right now.....here....at my desk?"

"Well sure!" he replied simply, indicating no nervous reaction.

She drew out her chair.

"Get your calculator....a pen and sit down here."

She drew open a drawer and pulled out three sheets of paper, stapled at one corner.

"Now I told your mom you weren't in any trouble and that you'd be late tonight. I told her I wanted to give you a........performance test as I called it. This test takes about an hour for good students. Now I'm going to be here 'til six with paperwork. You just take your time and answer the questions carefully. There's no trick questions, but they're rather tough."

She took a seat at the couch with a clipboard on her knee.

"...Ummm..."

"Yes?"

"Would you have any small tablet or scrap paper?"

"Right in the cabinet behind you.........Help yourself."

Matt twisted the handle of the gray steel cabinet. The door suddenly gave and struck him in the head.

"Ouch!"

He reached for a thin, narrow tablet he noticed and pulled it out. This was followed by papers, forms and other items which seemed a never ending 'waterfall.'

"Oh, no, NO!"

She jumped up and guided him back to the chair by his shoulders.

"Now never mind those things. Sit down and work at this test!" she said, tapping the papers.

He slid his folded arms across the desk as he studied the first question. His elbow struck a coffee cup and sent it crashing to the floor.

"Oh I am SUCH A GEEK!"

"Matthew, ENOUGH!.........That was an old cup and it was empty! Let it lie."

She pointed vigorously at the desk.

"The test!....The test!..."

She'd glance up from her clipboard on occasion to study Matt's face. He indicated no nervous reactions. His blue eyes seemed to deepen in color as they enlarged in concentration. His thin tongue came out and the tip curled as he carefully keyed the calculator. She held the clipboard before her face to hide a smile.

Soon she heard the rustling of paper.

"...Ummm....Mrs. Jenkins?....Is there only three pages to this test?"

"Yes. That's all there is..."

"...Ahhh, well, I guess I'm done..."

She glanced at the clock. Only forty five minutes had passed.

She sat on the edge of the couch.

"Already?!"

"...Well....if there's no more than three pages."

"Let me see that," she said, standing up and going for the desk.

She returned to the couch with the test against other papers on the clipboard. She'd written it and given the test so many times, she'd put the answers to memory.

After a minute, she looked up, jaw hanging.

"You only got ONE wrong!" she gasped.

"Oh wow! Does that mean I passed?........I mean, do I get extra credit for all this stuff?"

"Well I should say SO!...

"...And you say this new.....Timothy....Webster taught you all of this in.....in ONE WEEK?!"

"Yes ma'am....Well two weeks actually..........He's like a genius at math....... And he teaches in a way he sorta.....well makes it fun!"

"Wait a moment," she said, rapidly scribbling on the clipboard.

She handed him a crude drawing of two triangles with only certain values given.

"What is the angle 'A' on the top drawing?........And the bottom, what is the length of the hypotenuse?"

He reached for his calculator as he leaned over the desk. Again she saw this thin tongue come out and curl at the tip, twisting left, then right. Within a minute he straightened up.

"Well now these answers are kinda approximate."

"I understand.........We don't need eight place decimals!"

"The angle is thirty six degrees and the hypotenuse is about....twelve and a half inches."

"Wow! I never taught you kids any of that!......It's amazing! I've certainly got to talk to this....this Timothy of yours!"

"WOW!........She said 'Timothy of mine!' Oh yes!........MY TIMMY...... MY!....MINE!"

"Matthew!....Matthew!"

"....Ummm....huh?....What?"

"...Here!......Take this test home to your mother. You aren't in any trouble, and I'm sure she'll be as proud of you as I am!"

"...Oh! Thank you!"

She leaned against the arm of the couch with a sigh, pinching her temples.

"...Oh Matthew!.........I am just soooo sorry about thinking..."

"That's okay!.........If I were you, I wouldn't believe me either!"

"It wasn't right of me.......I'm so sorry. You're such a good boy!"

"Thank you ma'am.......well, I'll be going here..."

He excitedly pulled at the door handle. It opened quickly and struck him in the head. He quickly walked out. No sooner had the door shut, it opened again.

"I'm sorry Mrs. Jenkins. Hee,hee. I forgot my pen!"

Again he walked out the door only to have it open again.

"Hee, hee........Now I forgot my calculator!"

As he walked to the door, he checked to see if he'd turned it off. He walked into the edge of the door.

"Ouch!......Cheezzz!"

Again the door opened. Matt's frustrated expression was clearly seen. He pointed toward the floor at a distance.

"Now I forgot my pack!"

As he walked to the door again, he tried to slip his calculator into a pocket in his pack. He walked into the closed door.

"Oh, SHIT!"

He quickly spun around, his mouth covered with one hand.

"I'm so sorry Mrs, Jenkins!"

"That's quite all right. Just please slow down.......And watch where you're going!"

Just before the door closed again, she heard Matt's voice echo in the empty hall.

"I'M SUCH A GEEK!"

She sat on the couch, one hand on her stomach, the other over her mouth. Her body shook with laughter.

Friday after classes, the boys met at their lockers. Tim flashed another huge "Silver Smile" at Matt. They were already planning a sleep-over. It had been a bit "prompted" by Ayumi. She'd even called Matt's mother, Cynthia. Within the first few minutes of conversation they were already on a insisted first name basis.

"Oh, I certainly hope Matthew isn't being a problem for you. If you have any problem with him, you just send him home!"

"Oh, NEVER!..........He's an absolute little angel, and I think the best thing for Tim!"

She'd already given a brief rundown on Tim's excessive shyness and how they were planning professional help for him. She'd mentioned several instances which had seemed to "get Timmy out of his shell." She mentioned the "teen parties" she'd missed. The "chips and popcorn" underfoot. The gathering up soda cans, mismatched socks and shoes.

"Oh, Cynthia!.........How I MISS all that!"

"...Yes....yes....yes," she replied, near tears, "I guess it's the same here. I miss it too! I think the boys are........are wonderful for each other..........And Timmy has been so helpful with Matthew's school work. I think he's actually enjoying math now! His teacher is even astounded by his sudden and drastic improvement.

"...Ohhhh, the other night they were here together. I get a bit suspicious when they get too quiet. I took a peek into the room. Why, Matthew was doing practice problems and literally kept begging Tim to give him more!...

"Oh........Ayumi.....(sigh)......Yes, I do see lots of shyness in Timothy. In fact I'd say more so than Matthew........yet........I don't believe it's as big of a concern as you make it out to be. If I were you, I wouldn't worry about it. With both of the boys being so shy, they feel a bit more comfortable with each other. They don't feel as though the other is such a......well threat to themselves.........If that's the proper term to use. I seriously think they......well complement each other. This has been going on with both the boys for quite some time. You......Well, you can't just flip a switch and turn it off just like that! This is going to take time! Perhaps years! I'm just so glad they met! Call it Providence....call it chance....call it the Law of Averages.... call it probability......Whatever! I truly believe these things happen for some reason! And being the optimist I am, I believe these things happen all for the good!"

Ayumi sighed, remaining silent for a moment.

"..........Yes........What you say does make a lot of sense. Gee, maybe I'm feeling a bit better already."

"I certainly hope so...

"Well, let me get Mathew's sleeping bag and throw some changes of clothes together for him.........I should be over in about twenty minutes."

"Excellent!..........And coffee and donuts in the kitchen!..."

"Oh now don't go to any..."

"It's no problem!.......Ummmmm......I really hate to admit this. This sleep-over the boys have planned........well I shouldn't even admit it but........I feel all silly schoolgirl inside! And I just want to gab a bit! Ha,ha,ha!"

"Oh dear!........The same here!....I was just too embarrassed to admit it! Ha,ha.ha!"

The boys placed whatever textbooks they needed into their packs. They glanced at each other frequently and smiled. They seldom talked to each other until the crowd dispersed somewhat in the halls. Not only was it too noisy for their soft voices to be heard, both still felt uncomfortable with others "eavesdropping" on their conversations. However they both had admitted to themselves neither of them had anything interesting enough to encourage such an activity.

"TIMOTHY!" a voice boomed.

"YES, SIR!" Tim said loudly as he turned, knowing it was Principal Emerson.

"...Afternoon Mr. Emerson."

"Good afternoon Timothy........I've been kind of watching for you. You're a rather difficult person to locate. I simply wanted to know if the students are.......well, warming up to you at all. Are you having any problems?..."

"Oh no! The kids are great. People talk to me. They're friendly. Ummm....I'm afraid I'm just not making it very easy for anyone."

Mr. Emerson glanced down and rubbed his chin.

"Yes........Your mother umm.....addressed your problem to me. Well, these things take time."

He glanced up again.

"...I see you're still chumming with.......Matthew here. And I trust you took my word of caution concerning our school's.........disaster area here..."

Both boys giggled. Tim enjoyed what he referred to as "Mr. Emerson's sophisticated humor."

"Yes indeed," Mr. Emerson continued, "I heard of several err, incidents in Mrs. Jenkin's office Monday."

Matt slapped his hands over his eyes.

"Ohhhh......Geeee!........I was such a GEEK!...

"I'm so sorry sir..........I......I think I was a little nervous..."

"I've told you before, Matthew, this........will all pass with due time..."

He hadn't said "stage" but both had heard the implication.

"So!....Timothy!........Mrs. Jenkins passes the idea to me that you could be a very valuable tutor for our school.........She'd really like to see you in her office sometime after classes next week. She has some ideas she'd like to discuss with you."

Matt looked up at Tim. Within five seconds, the color of his face had drained away. Indeed, it appeared even his lips had turned white.

"Oh! Oh! Umm....I really don't know about that! I don't think I'd be very interested."

"Well it's entirely up to you. It's not an assignment you know........However if you should reconsider, I'm sure Mrs. Jenkins would enjoy talking with you. If it would make you more comfortable, feel free to take Matthew along with you. He seems rather impressed with your abilities as well..."

"...Oh! Oh no!........Not me!....I can't!....I couldn't!..."

"Very well.........Now good day....and you boys have a safe weekend."

Minutes later, as Tim closed his locker, Matt noticed some color had returned to his face. He didn't have to ask any questions. Had he been asked to tutor, even as one-on-one, he'd have felt as though the floor beneath him had opened.

They walked silently down the hall. Matt could still see Tim considering what had just happened. He seemed to quickly brush it aside and dismiss it.

"...So.......are you ready to do battle tonight?" he asked Matt, smiling.

"Oh yeah!........And I've been practicing too!......Am I going to destroy you!"

"Oh, we'll see about that..."

A group of students were headed their way, about to pass them in the opposite direction. They grew quiet as they always did. As the group passed, they had neared room 200A. Tim seemed to slow slightly in his stride. As they reached the door, Tim made no secret of glancing at the door's window. Indeed his entire head had turned as he looked. After they had passed, his eyes seemed to indicate he was thinking about something.

"Okay Matt........now here's you chance to open the subject......He saw that GSA sign! He didn't even make any secret of it. What do I say?.....'Hey Tim! That's our GSA room! They have meetings every Thursday after school!' Yeah! Great!......Like I should know that?! ......'So! Tim!......Are you interested in joining up with our GSA club?!' Shit! Okay, I know it's gay-straight......I'm sure he knows that. It's just why am I coming up with that? How do I casually slip that into a conversation?...

"Say something asshole!........We're getting farther and farther from the room! You gonna wait 'til were outside?........No......I'm gonna wait 'til........never! Oh how I just hate being so shy and embarrassed about everything! That would have been the perfect time to open the subject! Yeah....OPEN!........And how do I do that without sounding like I'm kinda like....well........coming out to him?! He's never really said anything one way or the other. We've known each other for a couple weeks. We're comfortable with each other. We even admitted we feel like we've know each other for years!........Yet.......GEE! We've known each other for actually no more than a few hours in the past two weeks!

"Oh shit!........Why am I such a GEEK?! Maybe I should just try to rehearse some lines in case we come past here again. We pass here every day! If he seems, ummm.....a bit interested, maybe I could say something........Oh! Who am I kidding?! I could memorize a two page speech and I wouldn't be able to put two words together that would make any sense!.... Why am I like this?!......I know in my mind what I want to say. It's just when the words get to my mouth, nothing but shit dribbles out!...

"How do these like....student body presidents get out on stage in the auditorium? They step up to a microphone and talk to like....hundreds of people! And they're all looking at you! I'd be shaking so much, even if I could talk, I'd sound like I was driving a tractor down a bumpy road!........How do people DO that?!....I'd open my mouth....and I seriously think that nothing would come out!......or if it did....if it did....it would be just.......all fucked-up!"

Cynthia walked into Ayumi's house with the sleeping bag and a worn suitcase.

"...Ohhhh myyyyyy God!.........What a beautiful home you've got."

"Well thank you...

"Now just set that stuff on the floor here near the coat rack...

"Now off to the kitchen!..."

She looked over her shoulder.

"Oh, it's so nice to finally get to meet you in person."

"Oh I feel the same here. We've talked on the phone so much I wondered what you looked like. And I'm afraid I have to admit.....I look like an old lady standing beside you."

"Oh, don't be that way!........I make no secret of my age....I'm forty!"

"No! You look like you were a child bride!....And I...

"Oh my goodness! What a beautiful KITCHEN!"

They quickly sat and enjoyed a short conversation before Ayumi glanced out into the dining room.

"Mom!........I thought you were taking a nap!"

"I did!" Cynthia heard a high pitched voice.

She entered the room putting on a long, dark coat.

"Mom, this is Cynthia......Matt's mother?....

"...And Cynthia......This is Ken's mom, Clara. She's staying with us on a permanent basis."

"How do you do?" Cynthia said.

"Oooo! Oooo!" Clara said as she took rapid, short steps toward Cynthia. "You're Matthew's mother?......Oooo! Oooo! It's so nice to meet you!"

She took Cynthia's hand between both of her's and squeezed it tight.

"Oh!......What a beautiful little boy he is!.........Soooo sweet! And soooo polite! And those HUGE blue eyes of his! He calls me Gramma you know. Ohhh to be a young girl again! I'd certainly be chasing that young man around the campfire!"

She suddenly covered her mouth with both hands.

"...Ooooo dear!......I sound like a dirty ole lady!"

Cynthia and Ayuma broke out into a laugh.

"...MOM!.......Where are you going?"

She raised her hand and pointed her curved finger into the air.

"...I'm going to store!........I need to buy some treats for my boys!"

She hadn't emphasized "my boys," yet Cynthia had heard it. It warmed her heart.

"MOM!........I've got a TON of snacks for those two!"

She simply waved her hand as she turned out of the room.

Ayumi turned to Cynthia.

"...Yes, I did it........I bought a TON of junk food for those two! Oh dear. I hope you don't mind."

"Not at all!........They say kids are too fat today. I'd like to get another twenty pounds on Matthew. He never really was a boy to overdo sweets and candy."

"Speaking of sweets," Ayumi said, lifting a donut from the plate.

She pushed the plate across the table.

"Dig in! I told Matt we don't stand on ceremony around here. We're very informal...... And.......I DUNK!"

The boys were making their way home. Tim still had not said too much. They were passing down the alley as Matt glanced up at him.

"Tim seems in deep thought over something. I wonder if it's that GSA room we passed. That's where he kinda started it all. His eyes usually make me melt. Today they're just too serious..........Well, not serious but they just have that look like he's thinking about something. Like when he was trying to ask me over that first time. I think something's scaring him."

"...Sooo, Tim.........What are you thinking about?........I can kinda tell when you're thinking about stuff."

He nodded.

"...About what principal Emerson said........Tutoring..."

"...And?..."

"...Well, remember when I was helping you with your math?..."

"...Sure! That was great! I'm not lying.......You should be a teacher!"

"...Well........I really, kinda think I'd like something like that. It's just I'm way too shy and scared. I'd have to keep meeting people.........New people!.......Maybe every week! I'd be just so scared of saying something wrong........making 'em feel dumb........or hurting their feelings.

"Oh wow! It was really great helping you. You got all excited and you sounded so...... happy!..........You really learned quick!"

"You're great Tim!...........The way you can make something soooo simple! And you tell those little stories that are so silly. It's fun and it really, really helps me to remember stuff!"

"...Ummm.........I don't think it's really going to happen but........If I decide to see Mrs. Jenkins about it..........would you come along with me?"

"ANYTIME!'

"Oh, wow. Thanks........I can just see myself in there alone. I'd be havin' a fit. I'd be shakin' all over 'n' my voice would be all squeaky 'n' quivery. Oh shit! I just know I'd be running for her wastebasket to throw up!"

"Wow, I think he's serious here. I'd better try to just get him to calm down."

"Hey Tim. Mr. Emerson said it wasn't an assignment! Just take your time with it."

"Well, I might be in there........I mean I will be in there with kids who aren't doin' too well in class............Probably those........tough kids. They'd maybe make fun of me. Or if they found out about me, maybe even beat me up!"

"Found out about what?"

It was here Tim's eyes shot open. They became large again, darting around.

"...Ummm.......ummm......You know!........If they found out I wasn't teachin' 'em good enough. They might not even try to do better........And....and they'd blame me for them failing!"

"Oooohhhkaaay! What's he trying to say here?! Shit! Is this another one of those....... those, signals?.........Well, we'll just take it slow 'n' easy."

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