Matt and Tim

by Small Town Guy

Chapter 4

The boys entered Tim's house just minutes after Matt's mother had left.

Ayumi looked out from the kitchen.

"Oh, Matt!........You mother just left!........I put your sleeping bag and clothes in Tim's room."

"Oh, thank you Mrs. Webster..."

"Umm........Now boys........I really shouldn't have done it, but I bought all kinds of snacks for you this weekend. I'm having second thoughts. I really think a proper dinner first is more appropriate.

"...Now how about hamburgers, fries, tossed salad and a side order of vegetables..... Umm.......peas 'n' carrots?"

"Oh MOM!........PEAS?!.......OH! GAG!"

"....and corn!"

"Okay!"

Ayumi looked at Matt then Tim. She smiled.

"Timmy won't eat anything that's green!"

"Oh Mom!......PUKEY GREEN?!.....

"Come on Matty........You still haven't seen my room..."

They entered a rather large room, yet it held a considerable amount of furniture. There was a rather large bed, several dressers, a huge desk with a fluorescent lamp. Large wooden bookshelves were mounted on the wall above. There was a large walk-in closet in the far corner. After the desk was a counter top with storage space below. On the counter top was a medium size, flat screen TV. A large desk held his computer with three printers and a large scanner. All bookshelves and CD cases were orderly. Matt saw nothing but vertical lines intersecting horizontal lines, perfectly square. Only the bed was unmade.

"Oh shit!.........I sure hope Timmy isn't one of those........those....OCD people! I don't remember what it stands for....but I call 'em neat freaks!.......... Awww, terrible thing to call Tim.........but they drive me nuts!

"I bet I could hold a straightedge up to those books and CD's and everything would line up perfectly! I'm......I'm afraid to touch anything! I might move it an eighth of an inch out of alignment!.........Oh! Please, please God..........Not a neat freak!"

He approached the computer desk.

"WOW!........Look at the size of that printer!"

It was obviously a commercial grade printer. Its capacity was poster size prints.

"That?........I used it once! Just to try it out. It used to be Dad's. I've got three sets of ink cartridges for it. When those are used up....that's it! It's obsolete. They don't make ink cartridges for it anymore.........Same with the scanner there! That was Dad's too. I think the lamp is going in it. You have to scan very slow. When the lamp goes that's it! Obsolete! They don't make the lamps anymore either! Dad set this up for me while I was at school. What the hell am I gonna do with a printer that size?! This one here, just like yours? This is my favorite! And this one here is getting a bit old too. I just use it with black ink.......for reports 'n' stuff."

Tim sat down before the computer and started it up.

"I'm studying some probes that NASA has out there. I haven't exactly decided on which one I find the most interesting. I wanna be interested in it! That way I can write a good report on one for science class. If it doesn't interest me, it's kinda hard to do a good report..."

An hour later Ayumi peeked into the room. Both boys sat on the large chair, shoulder to shoulder. She could see the planet Saturn with its complex ring system on the monitor. Tim was talking.

"...they're called shepherd moons..........They sorta keep the rings in perfect order."

"...Are you boys surfing naughty sites?..."

"No Mom," Tim moaned, "We aren't looking at naked girls!"

She suddenly wondered why she wished to find them doing that very thing. A pang seemed to strike her stomach. She knew it was an uncomfortable, strange feeling.

"...Well dinner is ready.........Wash up and dig in!"

Ten minutes later they sat around the table in the kitchen. Matt and Tim sat opposite each as well as Ayumi and Clara. Clara wanted to sit between "My boys." Ken was going to be late again, as usual.

The boys continued discussing science, NASA, space flight, the sun, planets and black holes.

Matt held his hands out. His thumbs and index fingers of both hands pressed tightly together.

"Just think, Timmy!........Even if you had a tiny, tiny grain of sand and compressed it down into......into......zero volume!.........What would happen?.........What happens when space and time come together?.........What happens when you have mass so dense that not even light can escape?!.......... Mass compressed down into......into zero volume! SINGULARITY!...... What happens when you reach singularity?! Physics as we understand it.......just doesn't apply anymore! Sometimes it just makes me crazy thinkin' about it!......But it sure is fun!"

Ayumi smiled, knowing most boys had some interest in the sciences. She often encouraged Tim in his interests, knowing the importance of science with today's technology.

"Oh you boys have no idea how pleased I am about your interests in science. It's just so important today!......YET!........You've both been studying all week! You both need a break from that! I consider myself progressive. And I believe that too much studying can just end up confusing you. You......you sort of overload your brains...

"I want both of you down into the family room. Go.......race some cars. Fly your spaceships! Go discover another earth-like planet........or just go blow something up!"

Both boys burst out laughing.

"Don't worry, Mom.......We're going to have an epic battle tonight!"

He looked at Matt.

"...I'm gonna soooooo destroy your outposts!........I mean OBLITERATE 'em!"

Matt shook his finger at him.

"...We'll see about THAT!"

For two hours the boys battled on the video game. Ayumi had taken her time with cleaning the kitchen. She'd listen to the young voices coming up through the floor.

"I'm gonna get you for that!" "No you won't! I'm goin' into HYPERDRIVE!" (Boom, Crash) "Owh SHIT!.....No fair, no fair! I'm low on fuel!"

It seemed there hadn't been a twenty second break in the battle. They continued to engage in friendly competition, laughing, an occasional cuss word would fly.

Ayumi neared the island again and began to slowly rotate the lazy Susan. She'd often do this when she daydreamed or went into deep thought.

"Oh that just sounds so.........so wonderful!........Timmy has a friend! He's laughing! I never thought I'd see the day. They're still a bit shy but they're sure opening up to each other rather quickly...

"Oh what the hell!.......It's time for some....some junk food!"

Ayumi entered the room in slim slacks and angora sweater. The boys sat on the couch. Matt held his controller in his lap, rapidly tapping buttons. Tim held his controller high, then low, then gave a sudden nudge to the left or right. Suddenly a buzzer sounded, dropping both in volume and pitch.

"Four to four!......Let's call it a draw!" Matt said, "Let's take a breather here!"

"Excellent timing!" Ayumi said, setting down a tray.

"Wow!........Thank you Mrs. Webster!" Matt said quickly reaching for a donut. He hadn't hesitated as he'd done in the past.

Tim popped the tops on two cans of soda.

Matt got the donut halfway to his mouth as it broke in half. One piece fell to his lap.

"Aawwhhh!"

He picked it up to return it to the tray and struck both cans of soda, knocking them over.

"Eeeee!......I am such a dork!.......I'm so sorry....I'm so sorry."

Ayumi placed a dishtowel she'd carried on the tray over the soda.

"Matt, it's just a spilled soda. In fact just a couple ounces from each can."

Matt stood and reached for the game controllers. He drew them across the room to the large screen and placed them on the floor.

"I'm putting these wayyyy over here! In five minutes, I'm gonna dump something into 'em and totally ruin 'em!"

As he made his way back to the couch, his foot caught in one of the cables. He quickly hopped to withdraw his toe. losing his balance, he crashed onto the tray. Getting to his feet he saw the entire plate of squashed donuts and tipped cans. His shirt had round patches of frosting and powdered sugar on the front.

"Aaaaaahhhh!..........I could trip over a CORDLESS PHONE!"

Ayumi quickly turned her back to allow herself a quick smile and laugh. She returned her attention to Matt as quickly as she could.

"Now don't worry about donuts and soda!......At least you didn't get a missile shot through your cockpit. We'll all survive."

Matt held his shirt out from his stomach. There was a large damp spot visible on the material. He looked up at her seriously.

"I'll say one thing Mrs. Webster.........You sure got a cold refrigerator!"

She couldn't resist a giggle as she held his shoulders. She steered him to the stairs.

"Now just run up to Tim's room and get a fresh shirt. Run into the bathroom and wash off all that sticky root beer........Just throw that shirt on the hamper lid. I'll take care of it..."

Matt stood shirtless at the sink. It was a large marble basin with decorative chrome faucets. He noticed a container of liquid soap with a pump on top. This he put a cloth under it and gave the pump one stroke. He quickly began to wash with it.

"Ouch!....Ouch......That water sure felt cooler on my hand. What?..."

He brought the cloth to his nose and sniffed it.

"Wow!.......That's what I smell on Tim........Oranges! Yeah! My little Timmy smells like sweet citrus! That's what it is..........And mixed with that dryer sheet smell it's a smell totally unique to just him! Oh! Just everything about him is soooo cute!"

Minutes later he passed into the kitchen in a clean t-shirt. Ayumi was rinsing the tray at the sink.

"Oh, Mrs. Webster........I'm so sorry! I'm just such a doofuss!"

"Matthew........Please?........I've cleaned up plenty of soda, milk, soup, paint and broken dishes caused by Timmy. Squashed donuts is no problem."

"Paint?........Timmy spilled paint?"

"A whole gallon!........All over himself and the garage floor!"

"Hee,hee,hee....Oh wow! Neat! I wish I coulda seen that!........Ummm ....Oh, sorry. Me 'n' Tim are trying to see who's the biggest dork........I think he's finally catching up to me."

He went for the basement door and held the knob. He slouched, shaking his head.

"...Nah!........Nobody's ever gonna catch up with me!"

He disappeared down the stairs.

Ayumi hung her head and laughed quietly.

Matt opened another can of soda and munched a flattened donut.

"Coooool!........A t-shirt. You look kinda nice like that, know it?"

"I'm not putting on another shirt tonight! I'll get all shit in about five minutes!"

"So? What movie you wanna watch? We got hundreds here!"

As Matt studied the rack of CD's, he noticed Tim glancing at him from the couch.

"He's looking at me rather strangely........Well, not weird strange........Just different strange."

He held several cases as he glanced through them. Several slid and fell to the floor. He quickly bent over and picked them up.

"Holy shit! He was lookin' at my butt!........I didn't mistake that! Even with the dim lights down here..........I saw his braces flash! He was smilin'!.........Oh! Here we go with the signals again! I just....ohhhh....I just wanna tell 'em! I just wanna sit down with him and tell him!........I really wanna just come out to him!........Yeah! An' hell's gonna freeze over at twelve tonight!"

"...So....Lookin' for anything special?"

"...Nah!......Well not by title! I just like lots of action!"

Tim joined him and selected more "rockets and explosions." He returned to the couch.

"Wait 'til you see this shit!........The graphics and special effects are just awesome!"

He had placed four CD's on a turntable. He operated the remote.

Both sat on the edge of the couch a distance apart. After five minutes, Matt could actually feel Tim shivering. He knew he wasn't scared or nervous.

"Shucks Tim........Are you cold?"

"Yeah, a bit....I think it was the sodas." he replied drawing a newer blanket from the back of the couch. He wrapped himself up in it.

"Well, I guess it's a bit chilly down here but you're from California."

"Aaahhh! California gets cold at times. It's just me. Dad says if the temperature drops below seventy, my breath steams! He's jokin' but I think he's right!"

After the first movie ended Tim got to his feet.

"That does it!........I'm turnin' up the thermostat."

He pressed a button on a digital thermostat on the wall.

"We got the basement on a separate thermostat. We're not always down here."

The next movie started. Matt noticed within seconds, electric baseboard heaters began to glow. First they were a dull red, then within a minute they were bright red-orange.

Tim pulled the blanket tighter around himself.

"Well, here goes a good excuse..."

"Tim, why don't you just lay down at the back here. I'll lay in front of you and we can wrap the blanket around both of us!"

"Good idea!"

Tim lie down and placed the cylindrical sofa pillow under his head in order to see over Matt. Both pulled the blanket up to their necks as they lie on their sides. Tim continued to shiver for several more minutes.

"...How do you manage to stay so warm?!" Tim asked.

"Well, I don't feel so warm right now."

"It'll take the heaters about forty five minutes to really heat the place. I wish we had gas down here! It heats in minutes!"

As they watched the second movie, Matt found it difficult to focus.

"Oh gee, this is nice!........I can feel Tim's body all pressed up against me! And he's got his hand on my hip! Oh wow! Heaven!"

Minutes later Matt finished several assorted, crushed donut pieces from the coffee table.

"Oh! Oh!........Tim's hand is on my waist!........Under my shirt! Oh, he's got such gentle hands! Oh no! Oh no! Junior's waking up again! Shit! I sure hope he doesn't run his hand down there! I'll die of embarrassment!...

"Oh! Oh!........He's running little circles over my belly now!........I'm so hard I almost HURT down there! Oh shit!........Watch the movie! Watch the movie!"

Although the screen was bright and the volume comfortable, Matt couldn't see or hear much of anything.

"...Ummm," Tim began, "Is it okay if I sorta touch you like this?........You're just so warm and it feels kinda nice 'n' all. But if it makes you uncomfortable I'll..."

"No! No! It's fine!........Really!........And, and....I never really knew how cold I was until you......ummm......No! This feels ummm really nice!"

"...Really....nice?! You fuckin' dickhead! You're about to come in your pants and it's nice?! Can't you be more honest than that?! Tell him you're in heaven!"

Again he directed his attention to the movie. The entire room flashed with explosions and flames. He squinted his eyes at the screen. He strained his ears to listen.

"Oh! Oh!........He's rubbin' my chest now! Any minute now I think I'm gonna scream! ..........Well...maybe not scream....maybe moan........but it'll be really loud!"

Again he tried to direct his attention to the movie. He continued to lie there on his side occasionally lifting his head to take a sip of soda.

"I've got to hold this can in my hand! I don't think he can see it, but I just don't know what to do with my hands!.........I know what I'd like to be doing with them! It really feels good with him touching me but........it's not fair! I should be able to touch him too!

"Oh GEE!........He just put his leg over mine!........And....and he's kinda well cuddling close to me!.........He's kinda scrunchin' his....middle up against my butt! Oh my GOD!......I can feel his breath on my neck! I sure hope he doesn't rub near my heart, because I think it's pounding against my ribs! And I sure hope he doesn't touch me......down there!........'Cause I'll let loose in like five seconds!

"Oh that HOT BREATH of his! I think I just felt his lips brush over my ear! Oh Timmy! Just kiss my neck!......Just kiss it once!......please?!......I think I'm gonna explode here!"

It was here that Tim had seemed to do just that.

"Ooohhh! Screech!........Now THAT was no accident!........I could feel those soft, warm, moist lips distinctly PRESS to my neck! That was no bump!"

"Ummm.....Matt?"

"...Yes?" he tried to answer calmly, yet it sounded more a gasp.

"...Remember that night we were down here........The first time I asked you over?"

"Sure."

"Well, remember how tired I was 'cause I was so worried the night before....and didn't get any sleep?"

"Yeah, sure I remember."

"Where is he headed with this?........Another signal?"

"...Ummm, well I really hated to take that nap, but I had to! I was so tired it just HURT! I mean it felt just like real pain! I've never been that tired in my life!...

"Well I kinda woke up a couple times that night........Well tried to wake up. I just couldn't get with it!........And I kinda felt your hand on my chest. You were........well, bein' kinda sweet about it. Oh shit! I don't know if that the right word! And I kept tryin' to like force myself awake."

"Yeah!" Matt surprised himself matter-of-factly, "I remember that...

"I was tryin' to stay interested in the movie, but I kept looking down at you. I think you fell asleep in thirty seconds!.........You looked so....so....tiny layin' there and........and so totally exhausted!........I was tryin' to think of what you had put yourself through. All that worrying! Just about asking me to come over. All because we'd just met the day before. And....well I can understand part of that. I'm so shy myself! All I could think of is everything you put yourself through and how it made my heart just ache! It really did, Timmy! It felt like this giant hand was reaching into my chest and just crushing my heart! Sure your shy. I'm shy. But you're just too good to be suffering like that!.......And....and....Oh shit! I don't know what I'm sayin' here!"

"...No. I think I understand...

"...Ummm that last time I kinda....sorta woke up. I looked up at you. You were looking at me. I felt your hand about to pull away. It sounds crazy. I could have said, 'No!' or 'Don't take your hand away,' or something like that. It sounds silly. Instead I held your arm with both my hands!......Like that was going to take less energy than talking! But somehow it just seemed easier. I was just so tired that night I couldn't think straight!"

"Aahh, ummm........Where are you headed with this? What are tryin' to say here?"

"Well, I just wanted you to know I really appreciated you helping me out like that. And, and I guess I felt sorta rotten about falling asleep like that! I just want you to know that.... umm....I wasn't.......well, ignoring you that night!"

"Oh! Shit!....Timmy!....I'd never think that! I really felt bad for you! I really did! I thought that kinda touching you like that would draw some of the pain and worry away!"

"...Ohhhh........Thank you!" he sighed.

Matt distinctly felt Tim's lips press to his cheek. They hadn't been pursed. It hadn't been followed by any 'smack,' yet it most obviously had been a kiss.

Tim's arm drew out from under Matt's shirt. He took his leg from Matt's. He drew his head back. He turned to his back and sighed. Matt had been expecting at least some sort of hug; some smoother more graceful transition than this.

"What th....what th....What the FUCK?!........What was THAT all about?! That.... that could have been sooo sweet! I....I really don't understand what's going on here!"

He gazed back at the screen, trying to pick up on the movie.

Upstairs, Ayumi watched the news. Her phone beeped.

"...Hello?..........Oh yeah! That's just what I expected around ten! Okay. I'm going to bed.........There's a burger in the 'fridge, salad and some corn. You can just nuke it! Yup! Love you too!....Bye."

Matt had become mildly interested in the movie, yet still considered things.

"Wow. He's asleep again. I wish he'd just kept kinda holdin' me. That was so nice. Was that a....ummm....kiss he gave me?........Well, ummm I'd call it that....sorta. He's so hard to figure out sometime! I wish he'd just tell me........Yeah, I can't tell him so he has to tell me? Oh, wow. I......I really think I was awful close to it tonight. If he had kept cuddling me like that......I really think I'd have told him........Yeah! I say that now but it's kinda scary when the time is really there. In fact, I don't think it's that I'm shy or embarrassed........so much as I'm scared! What if he tells me to get lost! No......This is better. At least I keep thinking I can have these moments with him.

"Well, Junior went back to sleep........I guess I can too..."

Two hours later Matt woke up to a dark screen and silent basement. He glanced around as he heard a whirring sound.

"Oh. That's just the furnace running...

"Holy crap! Timmy's holding me again! With both arms! When did that happen? I never even woke up! And....and it's real nice and warm in here. I don't see the heaters glowing though. Oh yeah. This feels good!

"Oh no! I just figured out why I woke up. I shouldn't have done that last root beer! Oh, I gotta pee a lake! It hurts!......Now how do I get away from Tim without waking him up?..."

He carefully slid down out of Tim's arms. He stirred slightly but didn't appear to wake.

Matt made his way through the house. Ayumi had left a few counter cabinet lights on in the kitchen. In the bathroom, the ceiling globe obviously had a smaller lamp in it to serve as a nightlight. He quickly returned to the basement.

"Awh. Tim turned to the back of the couch. I was gonna slip myself back through his arms."

He lie on his side behind him.

"Let's see here now. Blanket up to our shoulders........No! It's too hot in here for that! ......Up to our waist! That's better. Now to see if I can hold him somehow......Without waking him up...

"Oh! I just love these skinny little ribs! His shirt's all tucked in. I can't pull it out! He'll wake up! Oh! I wanna feel his skin not his shirt! Oh! I just bumped his ass! I gotta back up some. I don't wanna......I gotta! Junior will wake up for sure! Ohhhh, what if Tim woke up and felt my stiffy poking him in the ass?!...

"I really wish I knew what was going on here. I just gotta get to one of those GSA meetings. They must have signals or something. I wonder if Tim knows about them. Shit he actually held me tonight! And that was sort of a kiss he gave me....sorta. Well, it was sure no accident! I really think that was a signal for me..........and kinda an out for him if I took it the wrong way.......I could just feel the moisture from his lips evaporating from my cheek after that!........Then he had to turn away!........Maybe it was something I did! What was it?.... Maybe it was something I didn't do! Oh! I just don't know what's going on here!

"Oh! Oh! Brainstorm! We gotta do reports in English class about a school club! I could do the GSA!........Awh, I don't think that's considered a school club. Never! Parents wouldn't allow a school club to.......to........to 'promote deviant behavior.' Why is this considered so bad?"

He placed his head closer to Tim's and sniffed his shoulder as he squeezed his ribs.

"What's so wrong about this? It's not like we're rapin' girls or shootin' up the school! We don't belong to gangs that go out bullying others because they're......different! We don't spray paint the walls 'n' trash the boy's room. We're relatively good students. We don't give our teachers a hard time. We don't do drugs!......Well I don't think anyone here in this school does........We try not to be mean and hurt others feelings....try to be nice to other people.

"Alex and Bob are way out! Nobody really teases them, gives 'em a hard time. They're always helping little Tori around in her wheelchair! Especially when it's snowing! They help little Daymond when he's having a hard time with his leg braces! They're just so nice to people! Yeah, they are!.........And, well, they're really kinda....well....cute together! Really!

"Mmmmm........I could do a report on the GSA and turn it in real early. Then when they tell me I can't do that, I'll do a report on the Science Club or some other. I'll play dumb! 'Gee!....I didn't know that!' It'll at least get me in there!........Well, hopefully without too many questions asked. It won't look like I'm snoopin' around......While I snoop around. Hee,hee!"

He tried to adjust his position beside Tim.

"I wish this couch wasn't so saggy. I can't get my other arm under him. I just wanna hold that narrow little chest of his.........He sure isn't anorectic........ Well, I wouldn't really call him skinny either.......He's.......well he's.......sleek!........ YEAH! That's the word I'm looking for!

"Now what was I just thinkin' about?........I.....Oh shit, I'm getting soooo tired here. I can't think anymore!.........Oh, I'll just go back to sleep. I'll think more tomorrow..."

Matt opened his eyes. He had no idea if he'd slept minutes or hours. The track lighting over the couch was still glowing a red-yellow. He understood it was on a dimmer control. The last movie had played and the system had shut down. He lifted his head slightly to glance at the tiny windows which ran around the perimeter of the basement. They were still dark. He dropped his head back down. It was way too much of an effort to hold it up.

"I wish there was a clock down here! When I wake up during the night, I like to see what time it is. I don't know why..."

His eyes suddenly opened wide. His entire body seemed to freeze. Indeed he was nearly scared to breathe.

"HOLY......FUCKIN'....SHIT!.......We're facing each other!......We got our arms around each other!......Holdin' each other! When did this happen! I never woke up!......At least I don't recall it."

Tim's face was only inches from his. His eyes were closed. His mouth was relaxed, slightly open in what Matt called his 'oval mouth' as compared to his 'triangle mouth' or his 'pouty mouth.' He could slightly see his upper braces.

"Why am I so ape shit over braces?........Ohhhhh!......I just wanna stick my tongue out and just sorta touch those braces with it. Just kinda feel 'em on the tip of my tongue."

He actually felt his head moving closer to Tim's. His lips parted and his narrow tongue began to project. He suddenly backed away.

"What the fuck am I doin here?........What if Timmy woke up an' found......MY TONGUE IN HIS MOUTH?!...........How would I explain that?........Like it was an accident?! He'd probably flip right out! What would I tell him I was doing?! 'Gee Tim, I just wanted to taste your sexy braces.' Oh shit!....

"Aaahhgg!........Junior's waking up again! I gotta stop this!........When are they gonna make some medication for this?!...

"Oh! Oh! He just pressed his crotch up against my thigh! Oh wow! Is it HOT!......I don't think he's even awake........He doesn't feel ummm hard or anything.......but holy shit! Is he HOT down there!........Oh STOP! STOP! Quit thinking about this stuff! Junior's gonna rip your fly open! Timmy's gonna wake up! He's gonna press his thigh up against ME! And ........and he's gonna feel how hard I am!........I'll die!........I'll simply die! How would I make some nonchalant exit from this couch after that?!

"I gotta turn around here......This is getting to be just too much!........ Ohhhh! I can't! I don't wanna! I just wanna keep feeling his breath on my face. I wanna smell that cute dryer sheet scent!........I wanna feel those skinny ribs in my hands!........I wanna feel his arms around me....his hand on my back, under my shirt........His other hand........Ohmigod! Ohmigod!..........His other hand is on my ASS!..........And his fingers are....ummm....like kinda right over the crack! Oh shit!....Oh shit!........I'm so hard it hurts! I gotta sit up and turn the TV on again. I gotta watch a movie and get my mind off this!....Here I go....Here I go....I'm gonna sit up!.........Oh shit, I can't! I'm like trapped here!...

"Oh this does it!........I'm gonna tell him tomorrow!........He's probably just too shy to tell me first. I've really got to just come out to him in the morning! He has to know! It's not fair to him. I've got to be honest with him......Oh, oh!......Now I'm getting all nervous again. Oh my stomach!......It's....it's just grinding!.........Oh, what if he really freaks out?! What if he gets all pale and embarrassed?....backs away from me?....his beautiful eyes all big 'n' scary lookin'?........What if he pushes me away?!........What if he hits me?!....or calls me a fag or a queer!..........No! He'd NEVER do that! Even if he's straight! He'd NEVER be that mean to ANYONE! He's just too sweet to be cruel to anybody for any reason! Oh shit! I'm just so confused here...

"I just gotta get into one of those GSA meetings. I wonder if Tim would come along with me........I could sorta....ummm....read his face....his body language as they call it. I could listen to what someone says and kinda look at Tim's face. Would he smile?....Or would he get that sick kinda disgusted look to his face? No......Timmy wouldn't even give mean looks! It's just not him!...

"So?........Do I tell him in the morning?........I soooo wish I wasn't so shy! We're laying here holding each other! For cryin' out loud Matt, are you waiting for an engraved invitation or something?! He's holdin' me! He's got his crotch pressed up against my thigh! He's got his hand on my ass! If that doesn't spell G-A-Y, what does? I just wish I wasn't so fuckin' sh..........No, no, no...........That's not it. Well I am awful shy but that's not it! I can't keep using that for an excuse anymore! I'm scared!......I'm TERRIFIED!"

He slipped his arms around Tim and drew his chest close.

"I just don't want this to end! It's nice....really. Okay I'd like it to be more....but this is way better than nothing! We don't even have to be doing anything!........Well, I'd sure like to kiss him........Oh, the fantasies I've had dreamin' of just how that would happen! I've never even kissed anyone before!........Oh shit! I'm sure Tim hasn't. He's more shy than me. Would it ummm, work okay? How do we ummm, touch each other? How do we ummm kinda get our faces up close to each other. How do we kinda like know?......know we're both ready? Do I just kiss his lips lightly?....or kinda open my mouth a bit. And the second kiss! Do I sorta, kinda lick his lips........kinda get 'em more wet?....slippery?...

"Aaaarrruuggghh!......I just gotta stop this! Timmy's gonna wake up and feel me! I could be wearing baggy boxers and he'd see me! I'd be tenting out! I just gotta try to turn around here. I gotta get my mind on something else! This....this just hurts! It hurts all over!"

He allowed his mind to become blank for a moment. He tried to think of nothing for a moment.

"I can't DO it! I can't just stop thinking about Timmy! I love this! I'm his! He owns me!.........OH MY GOD!......I just wanna lay here in his arms! I'm so confused here!"

A tiny tear ran down his cheek, along his nose and onto his lip.

It was Wednesday after classes. Matt stood at his closed locker waiting for Tim. Tim had decided to talk to Mrs. Jenkins about tutoring students and begged Matt to go with him.

He reflected over the weekend. He'd been doing so for the past four days.

"I really don't know what the fuck's goin' on. Timmy's all sweet and cuddly when we were on that couch..........Then, in the morning......he......he sorta acted like nothing happened! I just can't figure him out!

"And I really know his mom knows we spent the whole night down there. Hell, my sleeping bag was still in his room......all rolled up! I wonder if she....ummm....suspects anything. It was kinda embarrassing the first time I was over there. When she came down to wake us up that night. I still had my arm over Tim's chest. She didn't seem like she thought anything was wrong. She was bright and cheerful. This weekend, she didn't even wake us up!......Course it wasn't a school day either."

Tim appeared coming down the hall.

"Oh! Here he comes! Oh that walk of his!......Kinda slinky......not girly or that. He's just so cool the way he walks. He isn't that tall, but his legs look so long!"

"So!" Matt began as Tim approached, "Are you ready to see Mrs. Jenkins?"

Tim's face suddenly looked crestfallen. He shook his head.

"...I......I just can't do it Matt."

"Oh shit!....Come on man! You 'd make a great tutor! Hell! You'd make a great teacher!"

"...No!....no....I'm just too scared. I gotta think about it more..."

"We'll be on summer vacation before you make up your mind!...

"Come on, Tim........You're great at explaining stuff. Especially math! I mean, you've really got a knack for it!......A real talent!"

Tim opened his locker and turned with a serious expression. He held his arms up, palms forward.

"...No.......And that's it!"

Matt had never seen Tim this direct before. He dropped the subject.

As they made their way along the hall, the students were formed into smaller groups. This was normal through the week. On Friday the groups became larger as plans were made for the weekend. Again they reached room 200A. Again Tim seemed to slow his pace. Matt felt a sudden burst of courage. He quickly walked over to the door. The window was dark. He looked in.

"Yup!........This is our GSA room," he said, turning to Tim, "I've been thinking about doing a report in English class on it........You know?........Kinda see how they're helping the school and community."

Tim hung his head with a brilliant blush and shy smile.

"Forget it, Matt. They won't let you," he replied softly, "It's not a.....a school club!"

"...Well, yeah.......I know that!" Matt replied, falling into step beside him again, "See, I got this plan..."

He explained his 'plan' to Tim about getting 'inside' and just out of 'curiosity' of course. As they neared a group, or a group of students passed, Matt would stop talking in mid-sentence. After they had passed, he continued as though no time at all had passed. Both boys often did such and neither thought it strange.

Matt saw Tim's head hanging.

"Wow! I haven't seen him this shy since we met!........Oh he's so cute when he blushes! And that shy smile of his....it makes those dimples!"

"Come on Tim. Come in with me. They'll be having a meeting tomorrow after school."

"I'm SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT?!"

"...Nah, I'd really rather not..."

"Oh, come on! I know John! He's the president. Well, I don't know him that well. I mean he's a senior.........Not too cool hangin' out with a.......a little kid like me. But he's okay. He's kinda nice with everybody. Real friendly type."

This seemed to push Tim's chin down onto his chest as he blushed profusely.

"Oh, I mean like John's....ummm....straight. But a gay friend of his got beat up real bad some years ago......Hospital an' everything. John was really pissed."

"...He....he has a gay....friend?" Tim asked quietly.

"Hell!......LOTS of 'em!........He's the one who got the GSA in here, in the first place! He really fought hard for it!......Ohhhhh am I glad I wasn't a student here at the time. Wow. I guess the shit really hit the fan around here. The school board really wanted them in here, the way I hear it. But they were just scared of all the parents and religious groups......you know, all that political correctness?......And you've sure got lots of whine-asses out there! They said they'd allow it but only if it were off-school hours. And they said they have to remain sorta neutral on it. They can't advocate it, but they can't knock it either!"

Tim's blush seemed to diminish a bit, yet Matt could see him in deep thought.

"Oh shit! I think I'm on a roll here!..."

"Come on! Why don't you go in with me?........Aren't you even curious about what goes on in there?! I wanna see who's in there! I wanna see what its all about!........Well, I know what's its about....but you know what I mean..."

Tim obviously had no interest. In fact it seemed to not only make him shyer, he began to become a bit uncomfortable about it. Matt decided to drop the subject.

It was Thursday after school. Matt had left his pack in his locker. He held only a spiral bound notebook in his hand. A pen had been slipped within the metal spiral.

Tim reached his locker. He seemed to blush again. Matt had told him during lunch what his plans were. He still refused to accompany him.

"Oh Matt, I feel so rotten here.........After you came over to my house and all to show my mom you were real and I wasn't making you up. And all the..."

"...Timmy!....Tim!....Stop!......I told you we're all even on that......You don't owe me anything........Now if you're just too shy or uncomfortable going in there......Just go home!...

"...Oh shit!......I'm sorry!....I didn't mean it to sound like that!"

"I know!....I know!....I didn't take it like that! I know what you're saying..."

He didn't seem to finish what he'd intended to say. He kept hesitating with his books and his pack. It almost seemed he was stalling for some reason.

"Look Timmy........If it wasn't for John. I'd never even be going in there! Now I can't even call us friends!......I just know him from around school. It's been killin' me from day one to see what that's all about........Ummm....I mean, just kinda sit in on one of their meetings.

"Now I finally got the courage up to go in there......but if I wait too long.....in two minutes I probably won't have it. So....I'll catch you on the way to school tomorrow!"

He patted his shoulder as he started down the hall.

"...WAIT!" he heard Tim's voice.

He turned to see Tim before his locker. His pack was on the floor as he held one strap in his hand. Again, in Matt's eye, he seemed so tiny. It appeared he barely reached the handle of his locker.

"...I'll go with you!"

"...Great!......Come on!"

Before Matt had known it, he'd opened the door, they stepped in and he was already closing it. He turned to look around. It seemed odd to see lights in this room which sat dark nearly six days a week. The large desk at the front of the room was a gray metal. The legs had hints of rust on them. The smaller desks were student desks, decades apart. There was everything from dark stained varnished wood desks to a bit more modern tan colored with metal tubing. Some of the tubing had holes where screws had obviously fallen out. Near the back of the room were rickety tables. They were covered with a brown craft paper to serve as tablecloths. No two were the same shape, size or height. Indeed they teetered as students reached for punch and snacks.

The room contained thirty or thirty five students. He breathed a sigh of relief to notice nobody seemed to be staring at him. Indeed, everyone was gathered around in small groups, talking among themselves. He thought it strange that few seemed to be same-sex paired.

"Was that what I was expecting to see?!........Yeah it was!"

Matt noticed only Alex and Bob stood shoulder to shoulder. Their inner arms were around each others backs. Their pose seemed relaxed, natural, as they talked to three girls before them. A distance from them, near a table was an absolutely beautiful African-American girl. Her light skinned cheeks were flawless and creamy. Her shiny black hair hung in ringlets. Beside her was a thin, pretty blonde. Her hair was straight and hung over her shoulders and arms. Her face seemed a bit apprehensive. Both stood with their inner arms hanging. Matt noticed the back of her hand lightly tap the one of the African-American girl. She in turn, grasped the girl's fingers. They both looked at each other with shy smiles.

Around the room were numerous posters, amateur artwork, news clippings and postings which were obviously printouts of Websites. Both Matt and Tim followed along the wall, reading and looking. Their eyes fell to a poster they'd both seen on the Net. It featured two young, shirtless boys in jeans. They seemed to be playfully wrestling on a floor. Below it read, "SEX OR VIOLENCE." In smaller print it read, "This picture is acceptable as long as you assume they are simply trying to kill each other."

Matt's attention was drawn to Tim as he made a strange snort. He was nodding his head as he gazed at the poster.

"...Yeah! Firrr shure!" he said quietly, yet sarcastically.

"Hey!......Welcome to our group!" a voice sounded out.

They turned to see John approaching them.

"Matty!........And Timothy......ummm."

He shook his finger at him quickly.

"...Webster" Tim replied with a shy smile.

"...Webster!......That's right!"

He took one step back and placed his hands on his hips, striking a comically serious pose.

"THE NEW KID!"

"...That's me..."

John let his arms fall as he smiled.

"Trust me, that goes away........Small town, small school. Everyone will come around in a bit. We joke about the school but.......Hey! We got some great kids here!"

John wore a white shirt with a sweater. His slacks were trim and neat. He had an athletic build, yet didn't strike people as the school's quarterback. His somewhat sophisticated speech and mannerisms fooled many adults into believing he was much older than his eighteen years.

"...So as the school year closes it looks like I'll be stepping down........well out is more like it.........Headed to those ivy covered walls!

"I might as well tell you I'm not the most popular president of any GSA group around. I think my methods are correct, yet there are lots of people out there who are a bit impatient!

He threw his arms over both their shoulders and began leading them to the snacks in the tables in the back of the room. As he continued to talk, both boys could hear a sort of authority to his voice. It was a tone which seemed to promote respect. Although his voice was a bit louder than the others in the room, he didn't seem to cause others to look in their direction.

"...Yup.......GAY RIGHTS!" he continued, "It's all over! I'm one to kind of tone things down a bit. I really don't think too much flamboyance is good. I really don't like what lots of these groups are doing. They aren't helping the cause. In fact I think they're hurting it in many ways........Call it BAD PRESS, okay? We really don't need all these parades with the flags, the jock straps and drag queens.........People start calling us a 'special rights' group. The gay community doesn't want special rights............It wants equal rights! Nothing more, nothing less."

He reached for a plastic cup of red punch.

"Help yourselves here. I'll warn you........this stuff is awful! That powdered stuff you mix with water.......We're on a very tight budget here."

He held out his arm as though presenting the room of old furniture.

"...As you no doubt may see here!"

They noticed him smile and wave to someone entering. Matt turned to see a boy enter. Although he wore what he thought was male clothing, he seemed a bit too feminine, a bit too stereotypical of 'gay.' His shoulder length hair seemed to be brown, but had a strange pink-purple highlight to it. He drew out a chair at the large desk in the front of the room and sat. He also set a steno pad down and pulled out a pen.

"Oh gee!........The way he holds his hands!.........It's like his nail polish hasn't dried yet! It's like he's afraid he's gonna ruin his manicure! Hey, I'm gay. I may be the only one who knows it but........I wanna boy!.........Not a boy who looks like a girl!...

"Nobody else in here looks like that!......but then again lots of these kids could just be allies. Maybe they're just helping out their friends.....or just the cause itself."

John seemed to return his attention to them again.

"...So, as I was saying. We've got to start at the bottom. We've got to start at home! We need to educate the schools, our communities. We've got to stop people from thinking this is some kind of choice people make........It's something people are! They can't change that! You can't get some kind of....of inoculation to prevent you from being gay! I keep telling all these people that this is what we should be working on. Sure, gay rights!....Sure, equal opportunity!......But we've got to reach people at an intellectual level. When people see this as what it is, they'll be more accepting. Yeah! Yeah! Real simple, huh? We probably won't change the minds of the older people out there, but we can at least try to educate everyone about this. We've got to dispel all these 'old wives tales' and these.... these urban legends that are just running wild out there!

"When I get into college. I want to join a PFLAG!......All these kids here.....They understand these things. It's the parents of gays we've got to work with..."

He took a cautious glance around and drew closer to them in confidence.

"...Sunday night I stumbled across a site on the Net about coming out stories. Well, there's all kinds of 'em. This one I hadn't seen before. Where kids come out to their parents?.........Oh my God!.......I just couldn't understand all the vicious, hateful, malicious parents out there..........The......The Satanic Hatred! I cried!....... Ummm ........No, that's not right either. I bawled!......I sobbed! I'm not lying here. I just dropped my head on my desk! I was shaking so much I couldn't even operate my mouse! Oh! Such horror stories So....so....heartrending!........ Okay some of them were happy.....Great in fact!.......But too few.....Way, way, way too few..."

He seemed to look up toward the door again.

"...Oh no!......It's Emo Joe!..."

Both turned to see a boy enter. He wore baggy jeans and shirt. It was obvious they were clean, but much too oversized for his tiny frame. His blond hair was clean and fluffy. The bangs curved down over his right eye, completely hiding it. A black stripe had obviously been dyed into it.

"Gee!........I don't know......He looks kinda cute, really! I love that clean, fluffy hair. He has a nice, little round face for a boy..."

"Okay, guys........Bottom line here......He thinks this place is some kind of free gay dating service. If he comes on to you......don't be afraid to just say you're not interested. He doesn't say much of anything. He's very quiet....strange........ Kinda that emo mystique. He's a bit weird, but he's harmless...

"And well, we do hold our meetings on Thursday in the event a couple gets to know each other. They can sort of make plans for the weekend. However, we are not a dating service!"

The boy at the front desk seemed to motion John over.

"Oh! Hey, gotta go guys. Jeff wants me.......Stick around for our meeting, huh?

"Hey, nice meeting you Timmy!......And don't be such strangers. We're open to everyone!"

Matt and Tim took seats beside each other. Tim suddenly took out his phone.

"Oh shit!......I gotta text my mom. Tell her I'm gonna be a bit late."

He sat there with the phone open, looking at Matt.

"So?"

Tim pointed at the screen.

"I'm not gonna tell her I'm at a GSA meeting!"

"So tell her we're doin' research in the school library!"

He drew the phone close, tapping at the keys.

After John dealt with the minor business, he stood up behind the large desk. People took notice. The room quieted as students took seats. Again his air of authority seemed to pass through the room. He leaned against the desk with his palms and looked up.

"So?.......Mr. Miller won't be with us today. I guess his kid got hurt and he's in the emergency room. Nothing real serious I hear though......So......How many more meeting have we got this year?....Two?...Three?"

"THREE!" someone called out.

"Oh great!.......Because people.......I'm about burned out! Oh it's not my busy schedule, it's just I'm totally out of ideas! And I'm being honest here. We've had a good year actually, well as far as statistics go. He went for the chalkboard and wrote out percentages, GSA membership, religious institutions allowing gay clergy, and the like. The figures seemed impressive, yet John tempered the room's enthusiasm.

"Yes! Very impressive! And look how things compare to just last fall that I wrote there along the left! I really feel great about it!....We're quite a ways along......BUT!......We've got a long ways to go yet!...

"Now we really did great this year with students. Most of the kids here are just fantastic. Okay, we've still got a few toughs out there that like making snide comments. But for the most of it, I really think the students came the farthest. Now!........The PARENTS!..."

He leaned up against the desk again and hung his head for a moment. One could see the frustration in his expression. He tilted his head up.

"I....I certainly hope I was of some help with you people, but now it's the parents!....What can I say?........We have about a hundred pounds of fliers, leaflets, pamphlets and handouts. We can take them home. We can show our parents......... but we can't make them read 'um! We can't make them understand 'um! We can't pound it into their heads that this is normal! They don't like that word! To them, this is not normal! To them, this isn't normal at all!"

He began to pace before the desk. He reflected in thought for a moment.

"As you all know, it's against our policy here to have any show of hands. To outright ask your orientation.......Whether your gay, straight, simply interested or a real ally. I'd just like to mention to you I read an awful piece on the Net Sunday night. I know were supposed to be gay pride. We're told not to be ashamed of ourselves. Yet.......I read some awful, awful coming out stories. I don't know if I'm even saying the right thing here.......but I think I am...

"Those of you who are gay and not so assured of your parent's reaction. I really think it better for you to remain quite about it. Some of you just simply want to be honest! You want to be you and not someone you're pretending to be. Some of you who may be a bit more radical, may call this........well.......cowardly."

He rested his hands on the desk again.

"...Oh shit!........I really hate to use that word!"

He straighten up again and began to pace.

"It's just that we're high school students. We aren't independent yet. The 'RENTS call the shots! They own the house........They make the rules! Blah! Blah!.....Yaddah, yaddah! I can tell you to show them this sheet, that handout, these facts, these statistics. But I can't get inside their heads! So, I'd say to just play-act for a few more years. You can do it. If we can't change minds, we'll just have to be a bit more........discrete. We'll have to wait until we're at least independent.

"Yeah....It's the shits! You can't outwardly date through your teen years. You can't go to dances........you lose out on lots of your teen years. You can't do......what.....well, everybody else is doing! It's a shame really. Yup, we're making progress, but we've got a long ways to go yet.

"I've just felt so bad these last couple weeks. I'm drained. One of you asks a question, and what do I do?..........I scribble out a website on a piece of paper and hand it to you. Sure it answers a question..........but only if you want to accept it. I hand out website addresses! Some of you probably even show the sites to your folks!........But there's no way to make them understand."

"Jerry!......I see your hand up!"

"Ahhh, yeah.....ummm....I might have an idea here that some kids can try."

"Tell us about it!"

"Well, it isn't my idea. It's this one boy I know. He........knew that his parents just weren't going to go for the gay scene. He found lots of sites just by surfin' and clickin' links. He started copying down some of the addresses on scraps of paper. Hey now, I'm gettin' ahead of myself. These weren't those trashy porn sites we're all so familiar with. They were well......educational sites and some were blogs.......for parents to communicate with each other who have gay children. And some were actually religious sites that were pro-gay...

"Well, he kinda left these little scraps of paper around. He made it look like they were dropped, or forgotten on a dresser, or he'd slide it under his monitor like it was hidden. But he'd make sure just a tiny part stuck out, so it would be found.

"His mother can surf. She knows her way around the Net. But she really isn't all that ummm......computer savvy. He takes care of disk cleanups, downloading updates, routine maintenance...

"Well, he noticed some of these little scraps of paper were missing. He checked the history! Sure enough, his mother was on those very sites! She never really said anything to him.......Well, I guess she finally got on one of the blogs. She started, well I use the word talking to some of these other parents......Within weeks he noticed quite a change in her attitude. She wasn't quite so harsh in her judgments. She started dropping little.......well, hints....like she was trying to open the subject with him. I really think she suspects he's gay.......but she seems a bit better about it. Well, from what we gather anyhow..."

"...Well, hey! Great idea, huh?"

The students applauded.

"...Well, maybe we can spread the word about this idea! Tell your friends out there!"

John made his way around to the front of the desk and sat on it.

"...Yeah, that's a good idea. Get that curiosity going! As I keep saying. We can ALL look things up. We can hand out fliers. We can find books. There's just no way to MAKE someone open-minded or accepting......That's just something beyond our control...

"...Whoa!....Keeshia!......You got an idea?..."

A pretty fourteen-year-old redhead drew her hand down and slouched at her desk.

"...Ahhuumm.......Well this isn't really an idea.......It's kinda that thing about parents not understanding...

"......I......I read yaoi, okay!"

The room broke into laughter. She suddenly sat up and waved her arms.

"Well?!......When BOYS go onto lesbian sites, nobody says a thing! What's wrong with girls wanting to see a little hot boy-on-boy action!"

The room burst into laughter again.

She pointed her finger at one of the boys.

"...Mike!........Tell me you've never been on a lesbian site!"

He slouched in his chair as he nodded his head.

"...Okay, okay!......I'll admit it. But not any of those raw porn sites! I hate that stuff! I like to see girls kissin'........I don't mind the sites as long as they don't involve vibrators or vegetables!"

Again the room burst into laughter.

He slouched back down again as he rubbed his stomach with a mock expression of nausea.

"...Ohhhhh, I don't think I'll ever eat another tossed salad if it's got a cucumber in it!"

The room burst into laughter again! When it calmed, Keeshi continued.

"...Well, I was reading this gay story online......These two cute gay boys......Well it's yaoi! It's animated okay!......It's not like they're real pictures or anything. And there wasn't even any sex in it! And my mom walked in and saw these two boys hugging on the ground. I told her they were just playfully wrestling. Well, I don't think she bought that...

"...Anyhow she came back in later. Now the boys were on a couch. They had jeans on! It's not like they were naked or anything. And they were huggin' and kissin'. My mom hit the ceiling!.......I mean she shit the proverbial BRICK!"

The room roared with laughter again.

"I don't remember what she actually said, but she implied if I watched this stuff, I was going to turn into a lesbian!"

A tall brunette beside her with a pixie hairstyle snapped her head toward her.

"WHAT?!........You're gonna turn lez because you like to watch hot boys kissin'?!"

Keeshia slouched again.

"Well I don't understand any of it! You'll have to ask her!"

John smiled as he pushed his hands into his pockets.

"You're going to learn to become gay, right?"

"Well that's what she thinks!"

"OH YEAH!....OH YEAH!" a boy's voice yelled out from the back of the room. "That sounds soooo familiar....

"I got a friend who sorta came out to me a couple months ago..."

"...No names please!" John quickly put in.

He waved his hand in understanding.

"No. No.........He ahhh goes to a different school...

"Anyway, I never exactly told him I was an ally for gay rights. And he came over one night while my parents were out. Holy shit! The poor guy was as white as a sheet! And his voice was all quivering........He was just so scared to tell me. I don't even remember exactly how he told me....but he got it out. I never knew! We've been friends since like kindergarten! If I had known ahead of time that he was going to tell me this, I'd have been better prepared. I just didn't know what to say!......Yeah, I was shocked! So bein' the dork I am, I say, 'Cool! I'm all right with that!'"

There was a rather weak applause at this.

"I don't think either of us really knew what to say. It was kinda awkward for a bit. All I could do was just sorta hug him and tell him it doesn't change anything!"

There was a somewhat louder applause at this.

"I guess he thought I was going to say something like, 'Fuck off ya fag,' but I couldn't do that! I mean we were friends from day one. He's still the same person, you know?...

"Well, he's out to his parents. His mom's okay with it. I think she knew! The ole man.... I don't think he's ever gonna accept it!...

"We just sorta sat around the rest of the night talking about when we were little kids. All the mischief we got into.........Holy shit!......We were little MONSTERS!"

The room filled with laughter.

"Well....again, bein' the total idiot I am......I let it kinda slip around my parents. I didn't mean to. I don't remember exactly how it happened! Oh shit! That was a big mistake! Now they don't want me hangin' with him any more!"

"Guilt by association?" John asked.

"Well......kinda......They're worried about what people will say!......But that's not really it........I believe it's........Well, they think I'm gonna catch something from him!"

Several giggles sounded throughout the room.

"Well YES!" John shouted.

He comically approached Jeff who sat at the desk there. He began rubbing his shoulders from behind.

"Why just last week Jeff came over to my place. We were playing a video game."

He put his arms around him from behind and began rubbing his chest through his shirt.

"He......he sneezed!"

John continued to rub Jeff's chest as he placed his chin on his shoulder.

"...And....and I inhaled his germs!"

He drew his face close to Jeff's.

"...DIDN'T I, HONEY?!"

The room roared with laughter. Girls squealed, boys stomped their feet.

John's smile faded as he began to pace again.

"Okay, we're bein' a little silly here, but what a coincidence. I was just heading in this direction."

He sighed as he braced himself before the desk again.

"...We......I really think we've gone about as far as we're going to around here concerning the school and the students. Everyone's been great!...

"Now as I say, I'll be leaving here this fall. Oh shit!........I'm going to start crying after graduation and make a total ass of myself!..."

Several giggles sounded out.

"...What I really want to do here is start educating the adults........the parents!"

"GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, FUCKHEAD!" someone yelled out.

Everyone laughed again.

"Right!.......Mission Impossible!..."

John paced around in thought for a moment more.

"...I seriously don't believe we'll get a PFLAG in here anytime soon. But I'd like to somehow open our meeting to the adults......parents...

"...We've got to show them they're not alone! I think that scares them more than havin' a gay son or daughter. They feel....alone I believe. They feel like they're the only ones going through this. If we could just get a few parents in here to talk with each other. Parents aren't going to listen to kids! They never have! And they're not going to start!...

"...Now I don't know who's going to be taking my place here next fall. It may be one of you right here in this room now. It might be someone else from out there in the halls that we haven't even met yet! All I want to say is we've got to get ADULTS in here! Be they parents, teachers or maybe even a professional speaker!...

"I know!....I know! We just haven't got the budget yet! I mean, just look at all the high-tech equipment we've got around here!......I'm sort of hoping we can contact some local people. People with open minds. And......because of budget constraints......we'll have to beg! We'll just have to hope we can get some professional people in here, willing to donate a bit of their time to our cause. Maybe next fall you can all get together. Draw up some kind of form letter you can send out to people. You can use the Net for finding addresses. Maybe even some of the local colleges will have some psychology instructor willing to donate a bit of time!

"It's........I just think that this group has stalled here. I hate to even admit that. What do we sit around and discuss every week here?........Parents!...... Adults! Our hands are tied! It's time we go beyond the classrooms, the school."

He stabbed his finger toward the door.

"We've got to go out there and get people in here! We've got to get them talking among themselves. I doubt this small town will have very open minded preachers. Yet, I'm sure we can go a reasonable distance from here and find clergy who'll talk to parents. They've got to understand we aren't criminals ........We aren't deviants!......We aren't sick! We don't need help from psychologists to cure us!.......We are what we are! We didn't choose our sexual identity. And any straight people here......just remember that you didn't choose your identity either! It's all in our individual body chemistry if you will. We need adults to teach adults!"

He hung his head in thought as he began to pace again.

"I guess what I'm doing here is saying goodbye in advance, and wishing you all the best of luck. You're all smart students. I'm sure you'll all overcome the barriers. I'll be off to college. I'll be active in PFLAG. And you better believe I won't be forgetting any of you."

He leaned against the desk again.

"We all joke about our small town, our small school......If I live to be ninety, I'll still remember that I left a very big part of me behind here..."

He paused for a moment.

"...So......anyone got anything to add?......Any announcements?........ Anything new on the gay scene?"

Students looked at each other in silence.

"...Well, I guess that's our meeting!...

"I'd just like to add that your suggestion to get some........well, gay romance novels into the library has flown about as well as a BRICK!........'Inappropriate material for children!' That's a quote, people! Hell! We can't get books stocked that are biological, medical or psychological if they have anything to do with homosexuality! Yeah, it really pisses me off but were right back to the bottom line again."

He held his arm out and pointed to the cork bulletin board at the rear of the room.

"I don't know if any of you noticed the piece I put up back there...

"...As you all know......I'm straight......I'm a boy, but you all know I just love romance novels! I guess not too many boys will admit that. And I'm not talking dime novel trash here. None of us are really into that sick stuff. And not only that, but the het novels are trash too. I hate these stories where a couple meets and on page two they're they're bangin' each other already!"

Chuckles filled the room.

"...Really people......I posted a site there. You can download the story, or just read it on line. I kinda cut the paper in sections at the bottom so you can just tear one off...

"It's a GAY romance novel!........There's no sex, no nudity, no trash in it. Or should I just say there's no adult entertainment in in it!"

Laughter rose. "Right!" "Oh yeah!" "That's for sure!"

"It's a sort of gay romantic COMEDY! Really!........It's one of those coming-of-age stories. It's two young boys that are gay, shy, klutzy....and just totally boy crazy! If you're looking for sexy, forget it! It's cute! And it's sweet! And it's very funny! I laughed out loud in several parts. Okay, there's a couple really serious parts to it. And there's a rather sad part as well, but it doesn't last too long. I read it three times! And I don't care if you're gay, straight, boy, girl.......You'll love it! Well, you do have to be open minded! You'll be able to identify with them. It's not a story about them questioning their identities. They know they're gay and have no problem dealing with it! It's not a tear jerker. If you cry, it's because you're laughing so hard! I loved it! And I'm sure you will too!...

"Okay........And as I say at the end of every meeting......Tell your friends about us! And don't forget our saying!..."

The entire room responded.

"YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE GAY TO BE IN GSA!"

Some students rose and returned to the snacks. Some gathered and talked. Some remained seated. Nobody had walked out.

Matt glanced at Tim.

"Shit!......I asked Timmy in here just so I could watch his reaction to things! I never even looked at him! That was the whole point of it!...

"Gee, nobody's leaving! Everyone's kinda milling around."

The boys rose and went for the snacks, both grabbed a handful of pretzels. Matt noticed the African-American girl again. Her hand was still in the blond girl's, their fingers interlaced. A boy stood before them.

"...well, I hardly ever see you two around!......I've always wanted to ask you......Why do they call you "The Twins"?

They laughed as they raised their clasped hands.

"We were originally called 'The Conjoined Twins' until it got shortened. We hardly ever let go of each other!"

"Wow.......Well, I'm a bit shy but, I just gotta say it! You two just look so cute together!"

"Awwhh!....How sweet!"

They both leaned forward and kissed him on both cheeks.

Matt turned to the bulletin board.

"...Now where is that paper with the gay romance story. That sounded interesting."

He found the sheet. Along the bottom, only one strip of paper remained with the website address.

"Now, how do I discreetly tear that off, and hide it in my notebook?..."

He took a quick glance around.

"Nobody's within ten feet of us!......And Tim has his back to me!....GO!"

He turned, about to reach for the remaining strip of paper. It was gone. As Tim turned back, Matt could see his fingers coming from his shirt pocket.

"Shit!......Timmy got it!......It had to be him!"

They continued along the rear wall. They glanced at news items, computer printed websites and even several jokes and cartoons which weren't lewd or offensive to the gay community. Matt noticed there were no rosters or rolls of members. He did find a rather lengthy schedule of e-mail addresses which ran several printed pages. At the top, on the first page was the heading, "Let's Just Be Friends!" It clearly implied a heterosexual acceptance.

Higher on the wall was a rather large watercolor painting. It consisted of a somewhat late 1800's park scene. One could see the path lined with gaslights and wrought-iron benches. On the closest bench, sat a young girl with another girl's head in her lap. They wore long, period style dresses. The girl who sat, held the others breast in one hand as she placed the stem of a flower into her dark brunette hair with the other.

Farther along was another watercolor poster. It was the typical 19th century swimming hole, complete with flowering lily pads and a tiny frog. Vines hung from the trees surrounding it, suggesting a remote site. Two young boys stood in the center. They were obviously nude. The water was up to their hips, ripples radiating outward on the calm surface. One boy wore the typical straw hat of the period. They were in a tight, intimate embrace as they kissed.

Matt's eyes went from one poster to the other. The style had suggested both had been painted by the same artist.

"...A girl drew those!........I can tell by the strokes. They're all curvy and smooth. None of the strokes hesitate or have sharp lines and angles. I just wish they were more modern...

"...Gee, I wonder if boys......umm......did that back then.......They must have! I'll bet they could have been in a lot of trouble if they ever got caught!........I kinda like these. They're ....well....cute!........They aren't sexy or dirty......just cute ........And....umm....kinda innocent too!........It looks like both the girls and the boys are so much......in love!......Yeah! It's almost like the painter wanted to show that!........I just don't like the old times. I still wish they were more modern.

"Oh gee! Tim's looking up at 'em too!........And he's looking at the boys! He's kinda got that triangle shape mouth too. Like he's almost....almost gasping! He sure doesn't seem to have that....that disgusted look on his face.......And....and well, he isn't exactly smiling but it looks like he is....Kinda like in his mind!"

"Great work, huh?" a voice sounded from behind them.

They turned to see John's large smile.

"...A girl did those........She graduated last year. I sure hated to see her go. She did some of the most fantastic artwork I've ever seen around here!...

"She had a boyfriend......I'm really sure she was straight......All the more reason her work is so impressive! She's in college now........I don't think I have to tell you she's majoring in art!"

He gazed at the paintings for several seconds.

"...She did those with little kid's water paints!......Can you believe that?!......Can you imagine what's she's doin' in college?!......With professional oils?!..

"Well, she's actually into advertising!" he continued, a bit sarcastically.

He held out his arm toward the posters in a sweeping motion.

"...Nobody's interested in putting something like this up on their walls!....She'd starve to death!........I was in here when she hung these. I just gasped!"

Matt looked at him.

"...Yeah, they're really great........I just don't understand why they're so old fashioned. Why couldn't she have done something more modern?!"

John put his hands on both of their shoulders and drew them back a distance.

"I thought the same thing when I first looked at 'em! I thought the girls should be wearing like short skirts or tight jeans. I thought the boys should be in some modern backyard swimming pool. It took me a couple minutes to really see what she was kind of saying in those paintings........Look!........It's the era!........She's telling people that this has been going on for thousands of years! In some ages, this was very acceptable. It was almost routine to see some of this. Then there were the more darker ages, where people weren't quite so tolerant about it.

"Think about it! Today we've got computers, cells, GPS, digital cameras! Mankind has never before been in such a highly technological age! Shouldn't we be more tolerant today than ever before?!....Even more than the ancient Romans?!...

"Yup. Times are changing. We're just a little impatient. We're young. Time goes awful slow for us. To a five-year-old, a year is one fifth of his lifetime. For someone who's a hundred......That's twenty years! I'm as guilty of it as the next person. I've got to sort of remind myself that you aren't going to change things overnight!"

Matt glanced down at the notebook in his hand.

"I didn't really even need this!........I didn't have to come in here with the big story of writing a report for English class!"

He glanced around again.

"Yeah..........Everyone in here is kinda cool!"

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