Travis had dreamed of him again.
The camp fag.
Since the first day of summer camp.
Dream after dream.
Perhaps it was kindred hearts that fired the dreams.
Perhaps it was simply hope.
Travis had dreamed of boys before, but never with such clarity and potency.
He'd never felt anything like he did when he looked at Carey.
Just thinking about masturbating to thoughts of Carey felt... dirty... wrong.
What he felt for Carey was better than that.
It was new.
Waking with sticky shorts was not so new, but in a cot in a room with other boys was.
He rose before the others to shower and remove the stain. He trudged back to the cabin and was in bed again before the counselor stirred.
Another day at camp. Another day alone.
But today he vowed to change that.
After breakfast, alone, during which he glanced at the other loner, he followed the camp fag as he walked toward the woods.
He kept distant, but kept Carey᾽s slim form in sight.
Into the trees. Behind the main building. Into the shadows.
Travis silently followed behind the old building, surrounded by dense foliage.
Carey swung out from behind a tree, glaring.
"Going to follow the fag and see what he does?" he asked rudely.
The soft features were tight and angry. The gentle eyes were full of fire. The soft lips Travis had never seen smile were down-turned in rage.
Travis stammered, "Uh... n-n-no!"
"Then why are you following me?"
Carey put his hands on his slim hips and glared at Travis.
Of similar height, they looked at each other: One angry, the other frightened.
"I... I wanted to t-t-t-talk... to you," Travis told him gently.
"About what it's like to be a fag?" Carey sneered.
"Yes. B-b-but, I mean... not... I..."
"Fuck off and leave me alone," Carey said, then turned and began walking away.
Travis cursed himself, growing angry himself, and not just at himself for being caught.
"Because I'm g-g-g-gay!" Travis yelled at the slim back.
Carey turned. Disbelief.
"I'm... I'm a f-f-f-fag... too."
Carey stared. He walked back and stopped to face Travis from just a foot away.
His gray eyes penetrated Travis.
"I never told anyone before," Travis admitted, barely able to meet those icy eyes.
Long moments of silence followed. Travis began to sweat profusely.
"What makes you think I am?" Carey asked smoothly.
"Aren't you?" Travis squeaked.
The silver eyes bored again, impaling Travis.
"So you want to talk about it, huh?" Carey asked, hands on slim hips again.
Travis nodded, barely managing that small movement.
It took every ounce of his resolve to stand there and not turn and run. He was determined.
"Talk about what? Being hated? Being made fun of? Having no friends? No one ever wanting to talk to you?"
"I do!" Travis blurted.
He stared at Travis for several seconds before he asked, "Do, what?"
Travis swallowed, and replied, "Want to talk to you. Be your friend."
"Why? Think I'll fuck you? Just because you're gay, too?"
This wasn't going the way Travis had hoped and planned. Not only had he been caught following him, he wasn't being nice at all. Or even giving him a chance. And he had touched on Travis' deepest hope as well - with disdain.
"I just want someone to talk to! I'm sick and tired of being alone! I'm tired of hiding it! Of being alone because of it! Of being hated because of it!"
Carey's expression softened for the first time since he'd jumped out from behind the tree to surprise Travis.
For a moment, it seemed he would relent.
"I'm not looking for a boyfriend. Especially at a camp that ends in a couple weeks. And especially not..." he looked Travis over, head to foot, and continued, "another skinny dork like me."
Travis visibly deflated, his disappointment clear.
"How about just a friend?" Travis offered.
Carey shrugged, replied, "Maybe."
"Please? Just talk to me."
Carey obviously thought about it for several seconds before he said, "How do I know this isn't a trick? To get me to admit it, and make fun of me?"
"I told you. I'm... I'm gay, too," Travis said, unable to even look up from the ground between his shoes.
Another pause as Carey thought, then he said, "Prove it."
Travis looked up in surprise, then asked, "What do you want me to do? Suck you off or something?'
He'd once hoped for that very offer, but not in this way. The idea seemed repulsive in these circumstances. It showed in his expression.
Again, Carey paused, thinking, staring at Travis.
"Please," Travis almost whispered. "I've got tons of questions."
"You think I've got the answers?"
"You seem like you know... at least more than me."
"You put up with the names and t-t-teasing. Like you have for a while. Like you know how to d-d-deal with it."
"I do, huh?"
"You always stutter?"
"Just when I'm n-n-nervous. Or scared."
"Which are you now?"
"B-b-b-both," Travis said, jokingly, smiling.
Carey didn't smile back. Travis had never seen him smile.
"D-d-don't you ever smile or laugh?"
"D-d-d-don't you ever think anything is ever funny?"
"Sometimes," he answered with a shrug.
"What if I made you laugh? Would you t-t-talk with me?"
Carey shrugged, then said, "Maybe give you a few minutes."
Travis tried to think of a good joke, or something, but his mind was too occupied with the fact that he was standing before the one he'd been dreaming of for days. His sense of humor was frozen.
Travis realized he was talking to him, though, answering questions.
"You ever had a... you know... a..."
"No. And that's three questions. That's all you get for free."
Carey crossed his arms.
"Huh?' Travis asked.
"That's all you get unless you do something for me."
Travis felt his insides tighten again in dread, worried he would try to make him do something sexual.
But it was his chance. He was talking.
"What?" Travis asked, his voice cracking in that way he hated which it had begun doing recently
"Bring me some chocolate pudding."
"Go back to camp, sneak in the kitchen, and bring me some chocolate pudding."
"Because I love it. It's my favorite thing. They only give us that one little cup. I could eat an entire can of it. I love chocolate, and pudding is the best. If you bring me a couple chocolate puddings, I'll talk to you."
"Are you serious?" Travis asked, his voice cracking again.
"Prove you want to talk to me."
Travis met and held the gaze of those cold, gray eyes for the first time. They were steely and icy, but he knew they could also be warm and soft, even if he hadn't seen them so.
He didn't want to steal, even just pudding.
"What if I make you laugh?"
"Then I'll give you a few extra questions after I finish the pudding. By now they're done and gone. So go get me some pudding, prove you got the guts, and I'll talk to you."
"How long, what?"
"How long will you talk to me if I do it?"
"As long as it takes me to eat what you bring."
"Plus I can make you laugh and have some more time?"
"Sure," Casey replied with another shrug.
Travis was sure he could bring quite a few little cups of the pudding and have quite a few minutes. And he could work on remembering some jokes while he walked to the kitchen and back.
He turned and ran.
He stopped when he reached the end of the building.
He watched campers and counselors moving about the area, but it was clear between the trees and the building that held the kitchen and dining mess.
The door to the back of the building was open, only the screen door closed.
He dashed across the clearing and put his back to the wall next to the screen door.
He peered inside.
It was empty.
He opened the screen door.
It was locked.
He placed a foot against the wall next to the door and pulled on the handle with both hands.
The door gave with a loud pop.
He cringed and waited.
When no one came to scream at him, he slipped inside.
The kitchen was small compared to what he thought it would be. One steel table in the middle, two long steel tables, one on each side of a door in one wall, a glass cabinet with large dispensers above them, the other wall lined with shelves of huge cans.
He ran to the shelves and searched them.
Big cans of vegetables, fruit, and gravy, as well as other things, but no pudding, let alone chocolate.
He went to the other door. It was solid and locked.
He grew frantic.
He dashed to the walk-in cooler, found it locked. It was too solid to break, and he didn't want to do that anyway.
He leaned against the cold, steel door and shoved his hands into his pockets.
He hoped that reasoning would bring Carey around and he would still talk to him. He pushed off from the door with his elbows and walked to the back door.
It was then he noticed the small labels on the large containers in the glass cabinets above the long steel table. They were silvery plastic bags with pump-handles in front, down low, so that their contents could be dispensed until they were empty. They hung in odd brackets that kept the soft bags from slumping, and held the valves in place at the bottom of the bags.
Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo, French, Ranch, Thous. Is., Vanilla, Choclat, Butrsctch...
He had wondered if the camp bought the little plastic cups already filled with the condiments, and the slightly larger ones with pudding in them, or if they filled them there. Now he knew.
He slid open one of the glass doors and felt the cool air spill out. He held his finger below the spout and turned the valve.
Chocolate pudding squirted out, most of it missing his finger and falling to the silver tabletop.
But his grin was short-lived.
He glanced around, but there was nothing to put the chocolate into to carry back to Carey.
He checked the cabinets, but there were only packets and boxes. No dishes, no little plastic cups. He knew they would be stored in the other room of the kitchen. This room was too small to hold everything. There wasn't even any spoons.
He tried to figure out how to get the silvery plastic bag out of the holder, but there was no obvious lever or latch. And it would be too heavy and awkward to carry that far anyway.
He had to find something.
"What am I going to do?" he asked himself aloud.
᾽How am I going to get him to talk to me? Maybe if I just make him laugh, he'll talk for a little while. But I don't remember any jokes. I wish I had memorized some or something. I'd do anything to talk to Casey, and see him laugh.'
He knew he had to leave before someone came. He thought and thought.
An idea came to him. He grinned.
Moments later, he was dashing back across the clearing. He entered the trees behind the brick building, his heart racing.
He hoped this would work.
At the worst, he would be laughed at.
He was used to that.
He sneaked his way through the heavy brush, until he saw the familiar form sitting on a fallen tree.
So slowly and quietly, he crept closer, up behind him.
"I got all the pudding there was," he said when he was merely a foot behind Carey, his back nearly against the wall of the building.
Carey jumped up off the tree and spun around.
"I couldn't find any of those little plastic cups."
Carey's eyes went wide.
"And the rest of the kitchen was locked, where the spoons and dishes are."
For the first time that Travis had seen, Carey's lips curled upward.
"I figure it'll take you a while to eat it all this way, and I can get in plenty of questions," Travis snickered.
Casey grinned wider, then began to laugh.
"Plus, you said you'd give me extra time for a laugh."
This story was submitted just too late to be a full part of the 2016 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture: Chocolate Spread". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 7 April 2016 to 28 April 2016 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, but, because it was too late for the competition itself, may not be rated against other stories on the competition home page.
The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:
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