Outside the Foul Lines - Book I

by Rick Beck

Chapter 13

Balancing Act

There was a tension that grew up between Andy and me, once we lived together. I couldn't forget how nice it was having him touch me. There was no repeat of our nude wrestling, even though I looked for ways to encourage him.

But living with him was still pleasant and way better than my old dorm. Instead of studying at the library until I was exhausted enough to sleep in spite of the noise, I now studied in my room. I was focused on a paper that would account for a large potion of my grade in English. The quiet made working a breeze.

Andy was nervous when I didn't stop what I was doing to help him as soon as he decided to open one of his books. Several times he hit me with something that was due in short order, forcing me to set aside my own work to make certain he passed his classes. I reminded myself not to let his procrastination bother me. I was there to help him and that's what I intended to do, even when he made a habit of waiting before asking me for help. I encouraged him to let me know about his assignments so we could plan our study time better, but it was always the same last minute rush. I was smart enough to have had some instruction on almost everything he needed to learn, and this was invaluable in expediting my learning sessions with him.

One of my best classes was English and it was his worst. No matter what we discussed and studied, the next day the same information baffled him again. Andy was not stupid, but working with him was frustrating to the max. I remained calm and ended up completing my studies long after he was asleep. If he became ineligible my own future would be in doubt.

We lost the next three games in a row. While I didn't make any errors, the second baseman dropped two of my throws, which were the front part of what should have been double plays. One time he recovered fast enough to make the out at second but neither ended in a double play. He was unhappy with me and I told him to hold on to the ball and he might have a better disposition. Coach Bell told us to cool it, suggesting the throws were fine, but not saying more.

Two of the three loses were blowouts, 9-3 and 5-0. I bunted twice, struck out four times and walked twice. Neither bunt accomplished anything but making an out. I was confident in my fielding, but I dreaded coming to bat and being replaced in the fifth or sixth inning each game. Coach Bell had no more comments for me and that was both good and bad in my mind.

It was the following Sunday that Andy and I went out to mow the grass on the varsity diamond, after a couple of evening hitting sessions late in the week. We didn't talk about the feelings that we'd been dealing with since meeting. I caught him watching me at times and he caught me looking at him a lot. There was no sign of any change in direction. We were both depressed when the baseball team slipped below the .500 percentage in wins to loses.

We ended up wrestling on the freshly mowed lawn. Andy always ended up behind me with his face pressed against mine as he kept me from getting up. I wasn't trying all that hard and we mostly laughed a lot and enjoyed the closeness. I didn't want to upset him by pointing this out, but he wasn't working all that rigorously on the relationship with his girlfriend. I'd been holding all my feelings inside me for what seemed like forever and I wasn't made of metal, but moving the wrong way could spell disaster to my college aspirations.

I could feel his heart beating against me as he prodded my backside with the bulge in his jeans. For a few minutes I stayed still, enjoying the contact. I made no serious effort to slip the grip he had on me and he knew that. Our giggling was the only thing that said we weren't serious as far as wrestling was concerned, but that's not all that was concerned.

He got up first and took the mower back to the shed and I got up and collected the tools I'd been trimming with. The chat and laughter of our Sunday morning chore left us as we walked back to the dorm. It was a little cooler than the week before with the sun appearing and disappearing into the mostly cloudy skies. We had a game Monday afternoon, but the forecast was for rain.

Andy told me of the paper he had due in English the following week. We showered and sat in front of his computer as we constructed a paper that was indicative of his ability and not mine. I was dressed in a clean pair of boxers and he was still wrapped in his towel. Keeping my mind on the paper was going to take some focus.

We discussed his understanding of his assignment and I jotted down ideas while he looked into his textbook at what the class was studying. As I typed the information he leaned forward to see the words. His bare leg leaned against mine, making it more difficult for me to concentrate. When he finished reading he leaned back thoughtfully, leaving his leg against mine.

The heat he furnished through that little contact was enough to push the idea of putting on a shirt out of my head. The slight coolness in the air was welcome as my body flushed from his touch. There was no way to know if he was experiencing a similar pleasure from our legs leaning together. I didn't move my leg and he left his in place once he leaned back to give some thought to what he was reading.

His upper body wasn't tight and lean compared to Chance's upper body. You could see where Chance's power was built into his arms and shoulders. Andy wasn't defined in that way but even with a larger torso, he was relatively fat free. His shoulders were the widest part of a well-proportioned body. His hips were almost too small for his body but his thighs were thick and more defined than the rest of him.

Above his knees Andy's legs were hairless. Blond wiry hair covered his lower legs. By the time he leaned back the third or fourth time, he was pushing down on the front of his towel, using his thumb and first two fingers to move the bulging to one side or another. As quick as he released it, the towel slowly began to rise in the same spot where it first appeared.

He couldn't help but notice that I noticed, but he made no move to readjust the seating arrangement to where we were no longer touching. His clear vivid blue eyes watched me typing and his leg kept me toasty warm. As I leaned to see the words I'd put on the screen, he leaned to see them as well. Our faces touched as they did when we wrestled and he held me from behind. He hadn't shaved yet that day and I detected an ever so slight roughness near his chin.

I turned my face a little, but it was enough to allow our lips to touch. His eyes left the screen and became aware of how we touched. There was no movement in the instant before I decided to take the kiss that was on our lips. I suppose there were a million good reasons not to kiss him and only one reason why I should, but the one won out.

I kissed him and put my left arm on the bare skin of his back. He made no attempt to move away from me. His lips moved as mine moved against his. His right arm hung over the arm I had around him. His left hand ended up on my thigh. His mouth responded and opened as I experimented with where my lips, tongue, and lust belonged. He helped me figure it all out.

"We aren't making much progress with your paper," I said, having progressively more trouble breathing.

"It's time for a break," he said, standing up and pulling me to my feet.

I left the keyboard behind me on my chair as our bodies came together. He kissed me this time and I kissed back. Both of my arms slipped around him. Thinking became something I traded in for feeling. My body was exploding with feelings. I tingled in places I'd never tingled before. Every place our bare bodies touched heightened the excitement. He held me close to his body and there was no longer any cooler air to be found in the room. We furnished enough heat to wawrm the entire dorm.

We ended up on the bed with me on my back and him on top of me. He'd stripped off his towel, and I felt his ass and lower back as we kissed fervently. We spent the next hour in my bed, speechless. It was the kind of experience I only expected once.

It seemed like the perfect timing to discover what little was left to learn about the other. Being close to him, or closer to him, created a new level of awareness about him. What came before those intimate moments no longer mattered. Sharing intimacy with him removed what little distance remained between us.

We got up, brushed ourselves off, and tackled his paper again. It somehow got finished in between breaks that always ended with us in my bed, exploring new ways to kiss. Andy was one of the nicest people I had ever known and now I knew him better than anyone. I fell asleep reading from my economics textbook late that night. When I woke up Andy was back in my bed and the textbook was on the floor.

I woke him for long enough to get him under the blanket with me and I fell asleep in his arms. I'd never felt so content as I did that night, but it was over and the sun was shining through the window far too soon. I felt like I'd just fallen asleep, but sleeping wasn't what we did so well together.

On Monday we had an afternoon game. We were all edgy because losing creates discontent. It rained. We sat in Cornwall's locker room, us on one side and Cornwall on the other. Andy and I kept looking at each other. I put my hand over the front of my game pants. The fellow sitting next to me got up to get a drink from the water fountain just outside the door. Andy got up and sat down beside me to ask me about the paper we'd finished the night before. We were packed in like sardines and Andy let his leg lean against mine. I smiled at nothing, staring off into the distance, feeling content. Let it rain.

The game was rescheduled and Andy and I sat together on the bus ride home. It rained even harder that night, which made for great sleeping weather, except we didn't sleep. I woke late and raced across campus for my economics test. By the time I got there the time left for the test was less than thirty minutes.

"Mr. Dooley, you are skating on thin ice with me. Do you understand how important this test is to your grade?" the economics teacher whispered as he handed me the multiple choice test questions."

"I'm really sorry. We went all the way to Cornwall and the game was rained out. I didn't get to sleep until late," I explained without giving him the details of how long it took to make love, when you were just learning where things went.

When it was time to leave I kept answering questions until everyone else had handed in their test. Then, I jumped up and raced to the front of the class, caring my jacket, my test, and the books I'd grabbed before leaving my room.

"Go back, Mr. Dooley. You have another twenty-seven minutes coming to you. I don't want Coach Bell up here chewing on my ass," he announced as I returned to my seat in the back of the room.

With five minutes to spare I finished the second half of the test. I put on my jacket and strolled to his desk.

"Okay, now how about winning a game or two before season's end. We depend on alumni contributions to keep us well funded. They always feel more generous when you fellows win."

"Yes, sir," I said, breathing a sigh of relief once I made it to the hall.

I raced to my next class and got the same long unhappy look when I interrupted with my late entry. The professor stood silent until I made my way to the only empty seat I could find. Luckily there was no test and no reminder that I should be prompt or not bother to come at all. For the most part it was up to me to be where I belonged when I was supposed to be there. On the days I missed classes to travel for a game there were special arrangements made to furnish me any of the work I missed and a modest amount of time to get it done.

I really didn't have trouble with my grades but missing tests was never a good idea. No one wanted to be the only student in the room taking a makeup test, but if it came to that it wasn't unusual for athletes to be extended a little wiggle room.

When I got back to the room, Andy was still asleep in my bed. He wanted me to get in bed with him until I told him it was almost noon. We did our kissing standing up and he dressed so we could eat before our afternoon classes.

Later that week we faced Greenwood at home. The day was clear and cool with no sign of rain. In the first inning the first batter hit a single past me into left field. The second batter hit the first pitch right at me. It bounced once next to the pitcher's mound and I was on the move, scooping it up and tossing it as quick as I could to second and he shot it to first for the double play.

I had been graduated to the second spot in the lineup and I walked on five pitches before the pitcher was in his grove. The third batter up hit a single out of the reach of Greenwood's shortstop. I stopped on second and Andy came to bat. He looked out at the pitcher and beyond, smiling when he saw me.

The pitcher took a real risk by throwing his fastball down the center of the plate. Andy swung and missed but he looked damn good doing it. He swung his bat a few times before stepping back in for the next pitch. I took a couple of steps off second base and watched to see how far off first the other runner went. There were two straight balls. One was high and outside and the other was low and away. On the third pitch he went back to his fastball and Andy was waiting for it.

He took that roundhouse swing that rocked him back onto his heels before he tossed the bat down and headed toward first. By the time he got there the ball had gone over the fence in left centerfield. He trotted around the bases and we greeted him at the plate. We never looked back, winning 7-2. We were delighted after the losing streak and the rain that had depressed all of us.

Coach Bell was delighted and kept hitting me early, going against his theory that he needed to bring me up late so I batted fewer times. As the second batter I walked a bit more often than before. I had made several singles and a double to get my average over .200 for the first time. My glove kept me in the lineup except when we fell more than two runs behind, and then, he pinch hit for me.

After the game Andy and I went to the cafeteria for dinner. We sat off to one side and spent a lot of time chewing and staring at one another. I don't remember what was for dinner but if you didn't ask, you usually couldn't be sure what you were getting. Sometimes you had to read the tags that were loosely fastened to spot where they set the food for us to take. Many times they didn't hit the right spot with what they were laying out, so your mac and cheese might actually be rice pudding. Interesting enough you couldn't tell the difference half the time.

Andy turned in his paper and we actually did study some each night, but admittedly we were both far more interested in studying each other's bodies than the knowledge that came from our books. I could refresh my own memory of high school classes to tell Andy what would likely end up on his tests. He didn't get all that much homework so we devoted all our study time to details in English and History.

We put together three wins in a row and went back above .500 in the league standings. Mr. Philmore smiled and told me I had done a good job, which came out to a B plus on the test, but he was talking about the games we'd won. Until the day of the test I didn't know he even knew I was on the baseball team.

The world is a far larger place than small town boys realize. Even when you go away to college you don't immediately know how many people might be aware of you. I proposed that concept to Andy and he thought that as long as we knew each other, he wasn't bothered about the rest of the world, and he wasn't.

Andy was never distracted or out of sorts, which wasn't true of myself. I thought a lot about who I was and what I was becoming. Baseball was far more important than I'd calculated it would be when I left home for college. Up until the last couple of months of the school year, baseball was a game I played, but then, I learned that baseball was at the center of what I did at school, in my bed, and on the field.

Go figure.

My freshman year at State ended with a notice to return at the end of July for summer practice. I'd spend a couple of months at home and then I'd come back to see what my sophomore year would look like.

The thought of leaving Andy was hard and I suggested he come home with me for a few days to see where I lived, not to mntion sleeping in my bed with me in his arms and the door locked. I got no answer and the final few days I waited patiently without bugging him about what I wanted him to do. He was the thing primarily on my mind, once all my tests and papers were handed in.

"Well, have you thought about it?" I asked the next to last day.


"Are you coming home to see where I lived or not?"

"You asked me, didn't you. Of course I am. How long we been sleeping together. I've got to tell you I'm going to be in your bed until you throw me out, Do. It's not something we need to talk about. Is it?"

Of course it wasn't. I told him I thought Chance and Wertz were coming up to replace some of the graduating varsity players. He didn't know how Coach Bell made his decision but Wertz played right or left and Andy wasn't interested in giving up his left field perch. We had an idea of what the team might look like with so many graduating and Coach Bell was obviously looking to build his team with the players he'd recommended for scholarships. The last few weeks he'd spent a lot of time on the road, taking a look see at the next crop of high school players. We'd be ready early and I was excited about our prospects.

The End

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