What Else Is There?

by Al Norris

Chapter 9

I woke up with the same thing on my mind that I went to bed with… Mitch.

I know his mom well enough to know that she would have told him that I called. Why didn't Mitch call me last night? Or text me? It didn't take much, at the moment, to get me angry. I mean, he flat-out ditched me yesterday.

Well, this isn't getting my morning exercises done. So I headed to the bathroom to do my morning stuff. Predictably, my next destination was the kitchen to make some coffee and toast. While waiting for the coffee to be done, I grabbed that super rubber band the Doc gave me and began the range-of-motion exercises.

I drank my coffee, ate my toast, grabbed some bottled water, and went outside to do some stretching. The staples are out. The sling is gone. Being free of them felt really good, but I was still a bit stiff. High time to get running again. Besides, running helps to work off my stress… And this thing with Mitch is definitely causing stress.

As I came off the footbridge, I saw all the guys I normally ran with, jogging in place waiting for me. This cheered me up! "Hey, guys! Good to see y'all."

"We figured you might start running," Jesse called, "what with getting your sling off and those staples out."

"You figured right. Let's do this!"

"That's a nice scar, by the way."

"Yeah, the gift that keeps on giving. I'm thinking about getting another one on the left arm, to keep the look balanced." OK, so not everyone has a sense of humor this early, but I did get a couple of laughs.

Oh man, this felt so good to be running with the gang again. We did the seven miles, and I will admit I was struggling at the end, but I pushed through it anyway. It just felt good. "See you guys tomorrow morning!" I waved at them and jogged across the footbridge and on toward home.

Home. Yes, Uncle George's house had become home. Uncle George had become my family. In fact, he was more family than anything I had ever known before this.

I came in through the back door and Unc was sitting at the breakfast bar, reading the morning paper. "Sausage, eggs, and hash browns?" I asked.

"Do you know how to make Eggs Benedict? That's something I like and don't often get to have."

"Let me check to see if we have everything I need." I looked in the fridge and started to pull out what I would need. "Yup. We have everything. It'll take me about twenty minutes to make, Uncle. Do you like your Hollandaise Sauce spicy or not?"

"I do like it with a little kick like they make it in New York."


I'm pretty lucky living here with my uncle. He has just about every pot or pan I could ever want. A medium six-quart stock pot, a fine strainer, a food processor, and a flat iron griddle. Eggs, butter, cayenne pepper, lemons, and cottage bacon instead of Canadian bacon. Yup, got everything I need.

True to my word, about 20 minutes later I have it all plated up. I place Uncle George's plate in front of him, refill his coffee, and sit down to eat my breakfast. He laid his paper down and started eating. "Well?" I ask.

"This is good. I do have to wonder about the bacon, though. It's not Canadian bacon, that much I know."

"I saw it the last time we went shopping. It's made by a company up in Montana. They call it, Redneck Cottage Bacon. It looked similar to Canadian, costs about the same, and from what I can tell, tastes pretty darn good."

"Actually, I think it is better than Canadian bacon. It has a better smokey taste!"

"How about the sauce? Did I get that right?"

"Yes, this is pretty close to what they serve in New York. Although you could spice it up for me, just a bit more."

"Hmm, I'll keep that in mind for the next time I make this. Maybe we should get another pepper shaker and fill it with Cayenne, just for you." No laugh, but I did get a smirk out of him.

We finished breakfast and I got up to clear the table, "Peter, sit down for a minute and talk to me."

I sat back down and looked at my uncle. "OK. What do you want to talk about?"

"Ever since we got back home yesterday, you've been different. Umm, not exactly morose, but not your usual chipper self."

"Everything is just fine."

"Bullshit! Something's bugging you. I don't know if I can help, but if you don't tell me, neither of us will know. Please, talk to me."

"It's Mitch."

"OK, what about him?" Unc wasn't smirking or smiling. He had a serious look.

I sighed, "After practice, we talked about getting together. He said he had no other plans for the day and I told him I would call him after I was done at Luciano's. When we came home, I called his cell and it went straight to voicemail…"

"That usually means the cell has been turned off but it could also mean he was out of a service area."

"Anyway, I called the house phone and Mrs. Thomas said that he had come in, made a call, and gone out with another friend. He never so much as texted me the rest of the day. Or today, so far."

"Did you leave a message in voicemail or with Dorothy? If you didn't try to call him back later, what would you expect?"

"I expected Mitch to remember that I was supposed to call. I expected him to call me, at some point. At least wondering why I didn't call… Assuming Mrs. Thomas didn't tell him I had called." I was angry and it bled through to my voice. So why were tears trailing from my eyes? "What I didn't expect was to be completely ignored," I said softly.

"Looking at things from your point of view, I can't say I blame you for how you're feelin'. So… Go wash your face, change your clothes, and let's run out to the range. Time for your shooting practice."

And that's what we did.

I was able to use both hands to shoot this time. Although we started with the twenty-two, we moved up to the 9 mm and I even got to shoot two magazines of forty-five in unc's 1911! All in all, we spent about three hours out there and I felt pretty good about my aim. I still didn't have a very tight grouping… Let's face it. I didn't have a grouping at all. It was much better than the last time, though. I didn't miss the paper at all and all my shots were within the rings. That was something I was proud of!

I also came away with some resolutions about Mitch. I wasn't near as angry (or sad) over what had happened yesterday. Blasting those targets helped a lot, and it was better than punching a hole in my bedroom wall. It must have shown because Uncle George asked me as we were cleaning our firearms.

"OK Peter, you look more at ease. What's happened?"

"As we were practicing, I had a chance to think about what happened yesterday. It's kinda funny. A lot of times I will run, to relieve stress. But something about shooting targets, trying to get that bullseye, really helped me focus on my current problems with Mitch."

"I've often found that the intense concentration involved in hitting the target allowed me to hone in on other facets of my life too. I suspect you are doing the same thing, Peter."

"Actually thinking about the last 2 weeks, since all this crap started happening, I've concluded that whatever Mitch felt about me. At most, it was probably infatuation and experimentation."

"Why do you think that?"

"This is kinda embarrassing to talk about, Uncle. But you said I can talk to you about anything? Even sex, right?"

"Yes, I did, and you can. In case you failed to notice, I know more about gay sex than you do."

"Yeah, I've kinda wondered about that. Maybe someday you can tell me about it? Anyway, that one night we were together, Mitch admitted he didn't know if what we were doing, what we were feeling was lust or infatuation. Maybe love, but he didn't know and wouldn't name it. It never bothered me at the time because quite honestly, even if I was falling for him, and I even said so, I don't really know for sure what the right words are… but… it felt right. It was good."

"Go on…"

"Umm… Do you know what rimming is?" He nodded. "I do too, but anal play was not something I was willing to experiment with. Not then or now." I could feel my face turning red, but I pushed through it to continue, "Our second time around that night, Mitch went right in and began rimming me. I didn't think about it at the time, now, thinking back on it, he didn't hesitate. It was as if he already knew what to do and how to do it."

I paused to gather my thoughts. I needed to voice what I thought. Saying it out loud, let me hear if my thinking was clear or just jumbled. "Since that night, Mitch has hinted that we should go all the way with each other. I've told him I'm not ready for that. But, he keeps hinting. And his hinting is that he does me. Not once has he suggested that I do him.

"I don't think Mitch is the virgin he claimed to be. I admit I've got a hair trigger. From all that I've read, that seems to be normal for anyone not sexually experienced. Now that I've thought about it, that wasn't how Mitch acted. This all leads me to think he has been lying to me. And if he is, then what was he doing yesterday? Why did he blow me off? Why hasn't he called or texted me?

"I'm angry that he didn't wait for me when he knew I was going to call. He could have at least texted me that he was going to do something else. I feel… well, it's confusing, and it hurts."

"I certainly can't tell you how you should feel. The way you have laid things out, you have every right to feel used. You didn't exactly say that, but that is what I'm hearing."

"Yeah, I guess that is what I'm feeling."

"There is one thing you two are not doing. It is essential for any relationship. You aren't communicating. That's not too surprising really. You're both very young, and until you have an experience like this, you don't realize how important it is to share your feelings. So what do you plan on doing now?"

"That's just it. I don't know what I want to do."

"Why don't you just give him a call and see if you both can talk about what happened?"

"Hmm, won't that look like I'm being weak if I call first?"

"Weak, shmeak! If you care about Mitch, be man enough to make the first move, and say so."

We finished cleaning our firearms and Unc put them back in the gun safe. I cleaned the oil and gunk off of my hands, pulled out my cell, and made the call. It rang about a dozen times then went to voicemail.

"Mitch, it's Pete. I just called to talk to you." I said in as neutral a voice as I could before I disconnected, but I was seething inside.

Monday I got up, did my range-of-motion exercises, and got ready for my run. Coffee, two slices of toast, and off I went. As expected, the guys were at the bridge waiting for me and the morning ritual was complete.

Mitch hadn't returned my call from Sunday. I was still aggravated, but the run helped to settle me down. When I got back to the house, Uncle George was up and he cocked an eyebrow at me.

I almost laughed at him. "Is this you wondering if Mitch called?"

"Well, the thought had occurred to me…"

"Nope. Nary a peep outa him. So I'm just gonna play it cool and assume whatever there was between us, was just wishful thinking on my part. What I'm not gonna be is some little girl bugging him about it."

"It looks like that might be for the best, Peter." Uncle George sighed. "So what's gonna happen during practice?"

"Coach Anderson wants me to play as the infield coach, so that's what I'll do. I just have to remember to treat Mitch like I would any other teammate."

"You manned up and made the first move. If Mitch decides to talk to you, you should probably listen to him."

"I will, but he had better have a good reason for not calling back yesterday." With that, I picked up my backpack and left for school.

I went to the locker room and suited up. I knew I was going to do the warmups like everyone else, so there was no reason to stay in my street clothes. Mitch was there and never even looked at me.

As we suited up, some of the guys were talking to me, some were talking to Mitch. So he knew I was there. He just chose to ignore me. How's that saying go… Adding insult to injury?

Today we were using two ball fields. On our field, we were using the second string in the outfield and the first string was in the infield. As we practiced several variations of single and double-play situations, I was using my glove to show Jack how some of the variations were played. My arm and shoulder felt good, but I was still careful not to over-stretch while demonstrating the plays. While there was no chatter between me and Mitch, he did perform his best.

Coach called time so we grabbed the gear and headed to the showers. I couldn't help but notice that as I undressed to take a shower, Mitch quickly dressed and left.

I got in the shower and started to soap up. Robert took a spot next to me and asked, "What's up with Mitch?"

"I have no idea. He hasn't talked to me since after practice on Saturday."

"Really?" Robert sounded surprised. "I thought you two were like, boyfriends!"

I sighed. "That's kinda what I thought, but I guess Mitch just wanted to be friends with benefits."

"I wouldn't have thought that Mitch was that kinda guy."

"I can't really say… At least until I talk to him and find out where his head's at."

We finished our showers and dressed for home. Bobby was waiting for us. "I guess me and Robert are your escorts today, Pete."

"That sounds good, Bobby. I'm hoping that we can stop this escort stuff after this week. Assuming we don't see the assholes anymore."

"That sounds good to me, Pete. You know though, that if you need us, we will be right there, don't you?"

"Yeah, I know and I appreciate it too."

"So what's up with you and Mitch?"

"Funny you should ask that. Robert was wondering the same thing."

"Aren't you guys talking?"

"We were, up until Saturday after practice. I haven't heard a word since then. I mean, I've called, but he hasn't returned my calls."

"When did you call him?" Bobby asked.

"I had a job interview right after practice and told him I would call when I was done. His cell went straight to voicemail. So I called his home phone and his mom said he was out for the rest of the day. I thought that was strange since Mitch had said he wasn't doing anything but was hoping we could get together. I didn't hear from him all day Saturday, so I called him again yesterday morning after I knew he was done with church. That finally went to voicemail and I left a message. I still haven't heard from him."

"But you saw him today at Gym and practice, didn't ya?"

"Mitch was ignoring Pete," Robert spoke up. "After practice, Mitch dressed and left without saying a word to anybody." I guess I wasn't the only person who noticed his behavior.

"Well, shit!" Bobby dropped his head for a moment, then looked up at me, "Pete, can I ask a personal question?"

"I suppose, but I may not answer ya."

"Uh, have you and Mitch had sex yet?"

My whole body felt like it turned red. I looked at the sidewalk, "Umm… yes." I almost whispered.

Robert chuckled. "Nothing to be embarrassed about, Pete. I was a virgin until last year. You're what, fourteen? I was still playing whack-a-mole with Rosie Palm and her five sisters back then!"

"Oh jeez, guys! I'm 16 and still haven't gotten laid!" Bobby laughed. "The thing you might not understand Pete is that the shit talk you hear in the locker room is just that, talk. Almost none of it is true."

"Yup. And Bobby? There's more to sex than stickin' your pecker in some skanky hole!"

"Not to hear some of these guys."

"Well, gettin' a blow-job is sex. I don't care what Bill Clinton says."

"Who?" Both Bobby and I said at the same time.

"William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the U.S. claimed that gettin' head from one of his interns wasn't sex."

"You gotta be kiddin' me. And he got away with it?"

"Pretty much, yeah. But the point I'm trying to make is that sex includes a lot of activities that do not involve penetration."

"You mean like hand jobs and oral?" Bobby asked.

"Yup. Especially oral. Both you and your girlfriend will like that. A lot!"

"Have you done that, Robert?"

"Yup," he smiled. "You know what a 69 is, don't you Bobby?"

"Yeah. Never done it, but yeah, I know what it is."

"It's totally fun," I said. "You last a lot longer that way, too."

"Fuck!" Bobby almost yelled. "You and Mitch have gone that far? And how does that make it last longer?"

Robert laughed. "Bobby, think about it. While you're getting blown, you're blowing her. In other words, you're not paying 100% attention to what she is doing to you, you're also paying attention to what you are doing to her. So your concentration is divided. That alone helps to make it last longer."

"See, if someone is giving you a blow-job, all your attention is on the feeling being given to you. But if you are giving the blow-job, all your attention is on giving the best you can… Well, that's the theory," I was saying. "In practice, I think your attention actually wanders back and forth." I was giggling at this point.

"Yup, Pete has it exactly right. Mutual oral is great!"

I know I grinned, "There's another thing you can do without penetration. But I think if you did that with a girl, you would need a condom and lube."

Robert thought a second or two, "OK, I give. What's that?"


"I know what that is. But I don't see how that would work with a chick. If it did, I can see why the lube and condom, though"

"I don't see why it wouldn't work, Robert. Rubbing the head and shaft of your dick, back and forth over her clit should do it. I mean, you're stimulating her and yourself at the same time. If that's not enough stimulation for her, roll over where she is on top and can apply whatever force she needs, where she needs it. If you pay enough attention to how she does it, then the next time, you can be on top and do her the way she needs." I smiled, "I think that's why they call it, bumpin' uglies!"

"Shit, that sounds hot, Pete."

"OK guys. Do you know how weird this is? The straight boy and the gay boy giving the straight virgin lessons on how to have sex without penetration!" Bobby shook his head. "What makes it worse is that it's the oldest guy and the youngest guy giving the lessons. This is just fucked up!"

Robert and I cracked up. Bobby quickly broke down and began laughing with us. By the time we stopped laughing, we had reached the footbridge.

"Pete, Jesse and Tom will meet you here tomorrow morning. See ya."

"Thanks, Robert. See ya later." He started walking away, so I turned to Bobby, "Guess I'll see you tomorrow too."

"Um… Pete, can I walk with you? There's a bit more I want to tell you but I didn't want to say it in front of Robert."

I nodded my head and we started up the ramp. "Sure. We can get to my house and have a snack."

"I just gotta ask, Pete. Have you done all that stuff with Mitch?" Bobby blushed, "Look before Mitch met you, he'd told me some of the stuff he's done with two other guys. So if he implied he was a virgin, it wasn't true."

"He told me… He lied to me." I was stunned. "I, uh, got figuring things out yesterday. There were things he did that I knew about but was too squeamish to even contemplate. At the time, I was too overwhelmed to realize it… I guess I didn't want it confirmed." My voice wasn't exactly steady and I could feel my eyes beginning to water. "He just wanted in my pants… He used me." I couldn't stop it. The tears began rolling down my face.

Then I got mad. "He's been hinting that we should go all the way but I've been telling him I wasn't ready for that yet."

"That explains it."

"Explains what?"

"There was a muscle car show in Winnemucca this last weekend. I texted Mitch to see if he wanted to go. He called me back and said he just got home. I was to give him a half hour to shower and change and I could come by and pick him up. I had no idea that he had already made plans with you. He never said a word to me about that…"

"So he blew me off 'cause I wouldn't let him fuck me? Nice to know." How the hell can you be angry at someone and still be near tears at the same time? "Bobby, you're his best friend. You probably shouldn't be telling me this stuff."

"Yeah, well, I've gotten to know you. You're a good guy, Pete. You've gone out of your way to help keep Mitch's secret. Who else but another friend would do that? And I'd like to be your friend.

"Anyway, there's more."

"More? Oh, this oughta be good." Sarcastic much? I thought, right after I said it.

"We had planned on being at the car show until about four pm, then head home. At about three, Mitch introduces a friend. He said he was gonna catch a ride home with him since he lived in Battle Mountain. The guy was gay. I know this because he was acting really fem around Mitch. Mitch generally doesn't go near those kinds of guys."

"Sounds like he was after a piece of tail… Since I wouldn't put out." We were at my house now. "You want to come in and have a snack, Bobby?"


I got Bobby a Pepsi and a Dew for me then built a couple of Reuben sandwiches. Bobby was watching everything I did.

"You really do like cooking." It was a statement, not a question. "Mitch told me about that dinner he helped you cook last weekend. How everyone raved about it."

"Yeah, I do like cooking. My uncle had me write up the original recipe and the one I modified for the dinner. He gave them to Luke over at Luciano's.

"I guess that impressed Luke, 'cause he wanted to interview me. That's where I was last Saturday after practice. I spent a couple of hours with him and I now have a summer job at his restaurant."

"Hey, that's pretty darn good. So you're thinking of becoming a chef?"

"Yup. The more I've thought about it, the more I think it would be a great career for me. Luke even told me where I can go to get an online certificate for the Culinary Arts. The school he recommended is one Luke has worked with before and it happens to be one of the best culinary schools in the nation."

"Wow! Does Mitch know any of this?"

"Mitch only knows what I told him after practice. That I was going for a job interview at Luciano's."

"So what are you going to do now?"

"About Mitch? I swallowed my pride and tried to reach out to him. I told you how that turned out. Now after what you've told me, I don't think I want to be with him anymore. We can still be friends, I suppose, but nothing more. If that."

"I should probably get home and do my homework. Thanks for the snack, Pete." I walked him to the door. "Pete, if Mitch asks, I'll likely tell him what went on."

"Yeah, I figured you would and that's OK. It's not like a job interview is a state secret or anything. If he wants to talk with me, I'll listen. But he lied to me and he cheated on me. That's kinda killed the boyfriend thing." We shook hands and Bobby left.

Before I started on my homework, I called the hospital to see if I could get tested for STDs before my rehab appointment.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead