Jay & Miles

by ColumbusGuy

Chapter 48

Another Saturday Night

POV: Greg, Mikey, Benny, Jay

I could only say one thing: Thank God it's Friday!

Our quizzes were over for this grading period, sure…but that meant it was a little less than six weeks before the Biggies—Semester Finals. For the first time, that didn't make me want to barf my guts out from stress; I now had a group of friends I could study with, and while I was a good student, every little bit helped. I could face those trials with a calmer mind, in no small part because I had a boyfriend now—even if he was a Yankee. There wasn't anything wrong with that, of course; everybody around here was one, but some of us had the good fortune to be born into Southern families. On the plus side, Denny has a far-out accent. I hope he never loses that New England twang.

When my Yank mentioned going to the movies on Wednesday afternoon, it took me some time to change his mind. It wasn't just that we could still use the time to study for our last two days of tests, but that we would be short on time, having to be home by 11p.m... I wanted to spend more than just a couple hours with him, and thought the weekend would be a better choice to celebrate our being together. After the cookout at Mikey's, it became even more obvious to me that a snatched hour or two wasn't going to be enough anymore. That's why I was angling for Saturday rather than a movie after school—we could be together all day.

I had to laugh when I saw the way Mikey was teasing Jay about being done with his tests already, until Thursday, when Calvin had his Biology test, and he and my Yank had had their Psych test. That would finish up the week for all of us. Vocational Agriculture didn't have a period exam as such...just updates to our projects, and a discussion of the current chapter, which took all of fifteen minutes. Jay and I handed Mr. Vincent our Project Notes: Jay's on his progress training Gulliver, and me on how diet and exercise affects energy levels in teenagers. Since I didn't live on a farm like other kids, I had to be more creative in my projects; I used my family as my subjects. It was going pretty much as expected: eat regular meals and you get through the day…miss breakfast and you could fall asleep in class. Big whoop.

During lunch Friday, we talked about the weekend, and were just relaxing now that our tests were over. Most of our teachers were busy going over the stacks of papers, using their class time to start on grades, and let us talk quietly or read as long as we behaved. The lunch room was humming with conversation and laughter even more than usual, and that made my job harder as kids lingered over their trays as they chatted. Mamaw C told me not to worry, and just have fun with my friends—she'd give me my usual pass since clean-up would obviously run late today.

"Okay, Reb…you got out of the movie Wednesday, but I'm not letting you off tomorrow. We're going to the drive-in, so we need to figure out what to see." I was about to tell Denny it didn't matter, when Jay chimed in with a comment that Mikey knew all about the two main features. I was surprised when Mikey frowned at him, and the blond didn't continue. I saw him move his hand to his neck for a second—a gesture I'd noticed both of them do in the past two weeks—and Mikey did the same. A pair of smiles lit up their faces, and then Mikey was the one who spoke next.

"I read about the two movies, Death Race 2000 and Rollerball in a movie magazine. Both looked like they could be fun, and me and Jay talked about them when we all went to Pizza Hut last week." I could see him blush a little when our eyes focused on him, but he went on when Jay gave him a soft smile. "The first one is about a road race cross-country, and you get points for how many people you run over…."

"I think I better tell you guys they're both sci-fi movies," Jay said with a grin.

I chuckled at that, and I saw my Yank let out a little sigh of relief too. So it wasn't one of those NASCAR things, or something like the Indianapolis 500. I tried watching those races on television, but found them boring as hell, despite the chance of there being a wreck. I wasn't really into cars, and watching them go around an oval track for hours was a lot like watching clothes tumbling in the dryer. My cousins down in Kentucky loved that shit, but not me.

I glanced around the cafeteria, still hoping to get some work done, but only a few people had left, so I gave Mikey a questioning glance. "So it could be bloody…what's the other movie about?"

Mikey looked at Jay, but he only shook his head. "You're the movie expert, not me."

"Fine—Rollerball is about a guy who gets famous playing a sport involving motorcycles and roller derby. Companies run everything, so people aren't supposed to count for anything…but this guy is challenging that view, and the leaders try to get rid of him. I don't think there's as much blood in that one, but the pictures I saw in the magazine make them both look good."

I watched Denny's silver eyes across from me, waiting to see what he wanted to do, and he shrugged. "It doesn't matter to me, Reb. I'm just glad our tests are over, so we can see whichever one you want." I let out a loud sigh, and gave him a little bit of a glare. I'd seen other couples do the 'I don't care—whatever you want' game, and wasn't going to play that with my Yank…it was a waste of time and was the start of losing your own identity to someone else. For me, the whole fun of dating should be to explore what you liked about the other person, then build on that. If you gave up being who you were to attract someone, then you might as well just date yourself—it was a heck of a lot cheaper, and you always got your rocks off. No, Denny had a lot more potential than he seemed to credit himself with, so I'd be talking to him later—maybe in another 'appointment'.

"Maybe we should decide if we're all going, then pick a movie," Jay put in quietly. I saw Mikey nod enthusiastically at that…and I let some of my tension drain away. I had no reason to be mad at my Yank—he was only waiting to see what I wanted to do, not play any sort of game with me. Was I the one who needed our 'therapy' sessions instead of him? It sure seemed like it—the first chance I got, I was going to give him one fantastic make-out apology—even if he had no idea why he deserved it!

I looked around the table at my friends, and asked, "Anybody got a quarter?" Denny reached into his pocket and held up the coin. I reached over and took it from him, letting my fingers hold his for a second, absorbing the warm tingles he seemed to generate whenever I touched him. I'd noticed that when we'd made out at his house just before Easter. I felt myself getting hard from just that little touch. "Since we don't know anything else about the movies, we'll flip for it. Two of us see one, the other two go to the other one, then we compare notes later….Call it!"

I tossed the silver disk into the air, then caught it and slapped it on the table, waiting for someone to choose. "Heads," Jay said with a wide grin, and Mikey turned beet red when he said that. Or maybe it was the little lick of his lips that went with the gesture? I moved my hand away to reveal Jay's call. "You pick the one you want to see, and Yank and I will see the other one," I said.

It took only one second's glance between my two friends before Jay said, "Death Race 2000. I could tell when we saw the sign Mikey wanted to see that one."

"Works for me," I said, and put the quarter in my pocket. "We'll tell you about Rollerball on Monday during lunch." I saw the clock gave us five more minutes, and got up to start picking up trays, now that more people were realizing the lunch break was almost over.

"Hey—give me back my quarter!" Denny hollered, holding out his hand. I murmured 'Oops' under my breath before I laid the coin in his palm, letting my hand give his a squeeze as I let it slide back toward his side. Before I moved off to start gathering trays, we decided there wouldn't be any studying tonight, but that didn't mean we'd go our separate ways—I'd be spending time with Denny, and I was sure Jay and Mikey would be working on the truck now that it had been fixed by the Auto Shop guys.

"See y'all at the drive-in around 7:30 tomorrow night!"

After what I'd done to Jay while we were reviewing on Wednesday, I was pretty sure he was going to get back at me…but his plans had been derailed by his encounter with Linda in the bathroom, and I'd crept out into the hall to see what was going on. I was a little apprehensive around her, despite her welcoming me into the family after the crap with Timmy Zane, but I offered her my help when I saw how upset she was. Listening to them talk about Bobby Thomas hit me right in the gut—yeah, I knew she'd broken up with him over that fight—but I thought she was okay with it….

Jay's words urging her to attend the Prom with him, for all the rest of us who couldn't, for one reason or another, hit me harder than I thought they would. I'd never dreamed of going, but knowing I couldn't—just because I loved Jay rather than some girl—made my stomach roil in anger, and my heart break in two. I knew instinctively there would be a lot of things Jay and I couldn't do, not even counting kissing or holding hands on the street. Our very words would have to be pondered and reviewed for 'gayness', and even just watching each other would have to be casual lest it lingered too long and aroused suspicion. There was no way I could stop doing what happened next.

When it seemed she was wavering, and he'd played his last card of 'do it for those who can't'…I walked over and wrapped my arms around her in a gentle hug. I think she was as shocked as I was, but I just held on tighter when she started to pull away. I kept my voice low, but still audible to my kæreste. "Linda, it's not just about the dance—it's about Love. It's so easy for you, no one will say anything if you hold hands, or kiss, or anything else—but let me or Jay do that, and we'd have to move or switch schools at the very least. Maybe that is why a lot of people just drop one person and move on to another, not caring much because there's another person to take that one's place….

"For people like me and Jay, even if there were a 'next one', we still couldn't show it in public. For people like us, love has to appear as casual friendship. Seeing just now how much you were bothered by losing Bobby, brought home to me how important—and rare—love is, no matter whether you're queer or straight. It would be great if you went to the Prom with Bobby for us—but wouldn't it be better if you went because you love him?"

I pulled Jay in and wrapped one of my arms around him, settling his weight against my side in a three-way hug. I planted a soft kiss on his lips, and tilted his head up so she could see the look that passed between us—brownish eyes and cornflower blue exchanging such loving glances that I felt my vision blurring. "Linda—do it for Love—the love that's still in your heart…then dedicate one of those dances for Jay and me…and for Benny and Calvin."

Sure, I was a dick for playing the 'Benny' card on top of Jay's move…but if it worked, I didn't think she'd hold it against me. It was only a few seconds that we stood there like some fleshy incarnation of Wells' Martian machines before she backed up to grab more tissues from the bathroom sink. I took some, and saw Jay do the same, and then she gave us a grin.

"You two fight dirty—remind me not to get on your bad side," she said as she turned to head into her bedroom. "I shouldn't give you the news first…but since you're the cause of it—I'm calling Bobby and inviting him to dinner on Saturday—and telling him I'll go to the Prom with him."

Before Jay took me home on Wednesday, Linda came out to my car with us. I was letting Jay drive it until all the work on his truck was done, so we wouldn't have to keep washing road dirt off it whenever we wanted to prime the sanded spots. She put a hand on the cushy front seat, and gave us a smirk worthy of my boyfriend at his worst. "Just to let you know—I told Bobby everything, including why you couldn't go—and he has one condition for us to have that special dance for you…."

My heart fluttered and almost stopped when she said Bobby now knew why we couldn't go, but Jay wrapped his arms around me and pulled me in to calm me down, and Linda's words helped too. "Don't worry, Mikey—Bobby won't say anything to anybody. He told me that last Summer he had to go to church with his uncle's family down in Cincinnati, and the preacher started talking about gay people and how evil they were. His uncle stood up right in the middle of the sermon, told the man he wouldn't be a member of a church so lacking in Christian Love, and they followed him out.

"As it turned out, they weren't the only ones who did that. Apparently, the man was a 'guest' speaker, but even when the regular preacher returned, Bobby's uncle still refused to go back, not when the church had shown so little adherence to Christ's true teaching of love and kindness."

That made me feel a lot better, but my voice was still a little shaky when I asked her what the condition was for them to do a special dance for us. I was dividing my attention between her words and my elskede's face as she spoke, and I could see Jay getting that little glint in his eye that usually spelled trouble. I knew what she meant when the topic of knights and chivalry came up—and the word 'favor' was used—it was a token the knight carried to symbolize the love he would fight for, from the owner of the gift. "He'll only do the dance for you and Jay if each of you give us something to carry as we do it."

My hand went immediately to the silver tree around my neck, and Jay's to his Pegasus almost as quickly, then I shook my head. "No—not those! I'm never taking mine off…not even when we're both dead and buried. It'll have to be something else. The dance is a couple weeks off, we have time to figure something out…."

Since it was only a quarter past 10, Jay pulled us into the little dirt road we usually stopped at every morning, and turned off the car. I pulled him across the soft seat to lay on top of me, and we let our lips get their fill as our hands roamed, mine on his back, his in my unruly hair. I felt him grind his hips against mine, and he was really hard, but I could also tell it was more than sexual by this point in our relationship. He was full of energy, and his grin told me it was little to do with what our dicks were deciding was a good idea before bedtime. I was sure of it when he let his fingers move down and slip inside my pants to rub my bulge through my briefs…we'd let them play together only an hour before, but that didn't stop two seventeen-year-olds for long. "I know the perfect favor for Bobby to wear…."

Jay's fingers gave my cock a firm stroke through my shorts, and then he worked on pulling down my zipper, exposing my purple underwear. He licked his lips, and he scooted down to take me into his mouth through the thin cotton…and it didn't take a genius to figure out that his murmured '…perfect…' referred to more than what he was tasting.

I groaned as his suction continued, but managed to gasp out a little more. "No—not our…under…wear…." Because I'd denied him letting our briefs be used as the love tokens at the Prom, I didn't see any need to refuse him what he was so eagerly trying to get from me now—and before we left to continue on to my house, I'd accepted his own milky love token for the night.

Part of Thursday evening, and all of Friday, I spent with Jay in the barn, sanding the rusted spots on his truck, and using a little of Mr. Walker's filler on the few tiny holes we found. A lot of the sanding we did using my dad's sander, thanks to Dirck having a really long extension cord for working on their farm equipment in the barn's large central bay. We were lucky the barn even had electricity since it was over a hundred years old. There were only two outlets in the whole place, and the switch for the overhead lights was a really old knob you turned, rather than a modern flip-switch, or the push-button ones in Jay's house.

By Friday evening, we had all the rusted spots sanded to bare metal, and the rest of the truck's body had been lightly gone over to make the paint stick better. I told Jay it was a good idea to do the same to the new metal welded on, as sometimes it had a slightly greasy coating which might make the primer peel, so we did that too, and then we were all set to prime. I showed my kæreste how to spray on thin coats using a smooth side-to-side motion, being sure to keep the distance the same all the way through, and we made quick work of the bare metal sections.

"Do you think we should put a coat on the whole thing?" He was standing next to me, his head tilted to one side, trying to decide...not easy when I had an arm across his shoulders and my lips nuzzling his ear.

We'd done a good job on her, and most of the truck was now a dull blue, with the gray patches of new primer covering about 20% of the antique's exterior. "I think it'll be okay as is, but let's wait until tomorrow so the primer can fully dry…then we'll see how it looks after we wash it."

"Oh goody—another chance to get all wet with you again," he said with a chuckle, and I began to hope it would rain tomorrow. Then I remembered we'd be going to the drive-in—so I took back my wish for rain. I wasn't sure what would happen if it started while we were at a drive-in movie, but I doubted they'd refund our money—maybe try to wait it out and show the film where it left off? I could think of plenty of things to do in a dark parking lot during a storm…especially with the large and comfortable seats in my Pontiac. Heck—if the movie sucked, maybe we'd just fool around instead?

"Hey Ben, you wanna go to the movies tomorrow?"

Callie's voice came from the bathroom where he was putting the towels away after our bath. We'd gotten pretty dirty out in his Grandma's barn after school today—I'd come over to start my photography lesson, and he said he had to muck out the cows' stalls, so I helped out. I was putting on a pair of my jeans and one of his tee-shirts. To make things easier after my third visit, I had asked him if I could leave a pair of pants and a shirt or two here, and he'd said 'Sure…it saves time.' I wouldn't have to worry about going home with dirty clothes for Finn to investigate, and those extra minutes we saved meant more time for us to make out.

I wasn't sure if he meant one of the theaters in town, or maybe the one in the Mall; either would be fine with me since I was staying over tonight, so that would leave all of tomorrow afternoon to work on my picture-taking skills…if I had any. "You mean the one in Eastland, or one of the others in town? I don't know what the Bexley is showing, but I think the mall one is doing Bad News Bears, from what the guys said about their trip to the Mall before Easter."

Callie came in through the door which joined his bath to his bedroom, and my throat went dry—and contrarily—my mouth began to drool. All he had on was a pair of his new briefs from Lazarus, and I saw his muscles ripple as he walked toward his dresser. I watched him open a drawer and pull out his socks, and one of his new tee-shirts—the sleeveless muscle ones—then he sat on the chair by his desk, legs spread slightly to lean over to work his socks over his feet. I wasn't sure, but it seemed he was making a pretty long job of it, but I wasn't going to complain.

As he slipped the thin shirt over his head, he went on. "I was thinking we'd do the drive-in…two movies instead of one, and the price would be the same as we paid for one anywhere else." The wooden swivel chair creaked a bit as he leaned back; the shirt was a little tight on him, and it made his nipples stand out nicely, which he only emphasized by running his hand down the front to make sure the fabric lay smoothly on top of his chest. I was positive he was doing this for effect when he stood up. His dick was half-hard in the skimpy underwear, and his grin was unmistakable.

"Sounds cool, man. I don't remember what's showing, but that's part of the fun. Usually, one movie is good, and the other's a turkey."

Cal got a pair of old jeans from his closet, pulling them on slowly over his light-green briefs, making sure he pivoted to give me a show of his ass and growing bulge as he zipped them up.

I had had enough—I got up off his bed and stalked over to stand in front of him. "You're a bastard!"

To make sure he couldn't mistake my ire, I pinched his nipples hard—and when he opened his mouth to let out a yelp of pain, I shoved my tongue into it. As we had quickly discovered, we were soon dueling and Frenching like crazy, and the tingly sensations were starting to make our dicks even harder. It didn't matter that we'd sucked each other off in the bathroom less than half an hour ago. My hands began running up and down his back, and my fingers moved down to feel his firm cheeks through his jeans…then I was gasping as he pulled away and picked up the camera he lent me from his desk. "Come on, we'll lose the light if we start that again…" And he walked out the bedroom door.

Fuck—Callie was a bastard—but I loved him anyway!

Saturday, Callie and I slept in—we didn't get a lot of sleep the night before thanks to the teasing he'd done the previous evening, but that still gave us time to get in his chores and a couple lessons on using a real camera. He made it easy on me by saying that most pictures would turn out okay with one setting. He set the f-stop and shutter speed for me as we walked from his yard toward one of their pastures. "With the light today, and not many clouds, these settings will be good—all you have to do is make sure the image is in focus…just look through the viewfinder and twist the lens barrel until it isn't fuzzy anymore."

Since the morning had been a little cool, my boyfriend was wearing a long-sleeved blue shirt over one of his tee-shirts, and black jeans. I was letting my eyes wander over his body more than the scenery around us, then something made me take a better look around. There was a stand of woods in the distance, and the trees were just leafing out, The line of trees looked familiar, then it clicked—we were pretty close to the spot where Callie had taken one of his pictures for his project—the one with him in Winter, half-turned toward the camera, and a sad, forlorn look on his face. I stopped dead, and circled around a bit until it looked right.

"Turn to your left, Callie," I said softly. When he did, I moved around a little more, getting the angle with the backdrop to fit what I remembered from before. "Now, turn your shoulders my way—just a little—good!" It was close, but not perfect, so I moved a little more, and it was all there except for his three-quarters profile. "Good…Turn your head to look at me…a little more…more—perfect."

It was all there, but I wanted this to be a happy picture—an utter contrast to the mood of his earlier one. He needed to be smiling…but I wanted more than just a regular one, not a grin as such, but something with some fun along with the joy I was sure he felt now. I knew that people usually said 'Cheese!' to get a smile, but that just seemed too hokey for the feeling I wanted…then, I had it.

"Ready—hold it—now say…'Blow-job'!" It was perfect—and I knew this would always be my favorite picture of Calvin Schuyler.

The 40 East Drive-In was probably typical as they go, but I'd never been to another one, so I couldn't be sure. There was a narrow lane going back to the parking area to the right of the huge sign announcing the movies, and another one which came from the far end of the area to wind up next to the left side of the sign. The left one had an 'Exit' sign, and the one we were in said 'Entrance'. We paid our money at a little booth about half-way down toward the lot, then we had a wait as the cars inched slowly forward to enter the drive-in itself. At the booth, it didn't matter which movie you saw—you just paid to get in. I don't know how big the place was, but a giant-sized white screen dominated either end of the space, with a low white building dead-center. That was the concession stand where you could get all sorts of food, drinks and snacks to eat during the night. On top of that was a small square block where the movies were projected from.

Next to the snack bar was a space with a few picnic tables, and an area with a swing-set, slide, and a whirl-around for kids to play in if they got bored. Between the stand and each screen lay a huge area with metal poles about five feet high at intervals far enough apart for a car to park next to each one…then a space before the next row began. That left enough space for you to pull out of your row and leave if you got bored with the film, or move to the other side to see the second feature if you didn't like the one showing on your end. I wondered how they stopped people from entering on the other 'Exit' side, but figured there had to be a way. The person in the booth was there all during the show, to take latecomers' money. Yep, the price was $5 a car now, and I almost wished we'd brought some of our friends to split the cost, but then I saw the smile on Mikey's face…alone was good, tonight.

We found a spot about halfway back in Area 1, and I shut off the engine. The metal pole was close to my side of the car, so I rolled down my window and grabbed the heavy rectangular metal speaker from its' mount. A thick cable connected it to the post, and it had a hook on the back to hold it at the top of the window-glass, and a volume knob on the front below the speaker's grille. Since we still had at least forty minutes until our movie started, I only tested the thing to see if it worked, rather than hang it on the window. Fortunately, it worked fine—not even much static—and the sounds of some 60s song came through the mono speaker.

"Let's go see if Greg and Denny are here yet," Mikey said, running his hand out of sight along my thigh. "We can figure out if we want to get something to eat, too."

I put the speaker back on its' pole, and circled the car to walk next to Mikey as we headed for the picnic area where we'd arranged to meet our lunch-mates. The sun was getting lower, but not setting, so there weren't a lot of cars here yet, on either side of the food block. From the number of spaces a car could park in, I guessed only about a quarter were filled, and there were plenty of spots between each one. Was that because it was early—or so people could make out with some privacy?

May Day was a big deal in some places, like Russia, but here in central Ohio it was just another Saturday in mid-Spring. The days were getting warmer, but we could still get a downpour, and the nights were still pretty cold—in fact—if it got down low enough, we could still get snow. We sat at one of the tables, and the aromas from the snack bar were starting to work on me: burgers, hot dogs, pizza, fries—and was that fried chicken? Despite mor's warnings to eat dinner with them, I figured we'd just do a sandwich, and then eat between the two movies later…now I was regretting the rashness of my decision. I'd even turned down her offer to pack us something, thinking it would get cold before we were really hungry. When my stomach growled, I saw Mikey break out in a huge grin, and his raised eyebrow said it all. I didn't need to hear the actual words 'told you so' from him.

'You're a dick," I growled at him, and then we began laughing when his own stomach echoed mine.

"Takes one to know one," he said with a snicker, before getting that self-satisfied look again. I leaned in a little over the cement table-top, my next words would be for him alone. "Keep that up, and there's no 'dick' for you tonight…."

I froze and my pulse raced when I felt a large hand clamp down on my shoulder from behind…a really strong hand. I could feel the blood drain from my body when a deep voice came about a foot from my left ear. "Young man, I think you'd better come with me…."

Crap—I almost pissed my pants when I felt a warm breath of air brush my ear, and a whispered 'Gotcha—asshole,' followed it. I whirled around and found myself facing a very muscled chest, topped by black hair and laughing green eyes. Next to him stood a blond-haired guy only a little smaller. "Benny—you suck! You almost made me shit myself…." I heard the two athletes laughing at my reaction, and then my boyfriend joined them. I was mad for about a minute, then began to chuckle—I'd have played the same joke on somebody if I got the chance, so I couldn't hold it against anybody else for doing the same thing.

I watched as Benny took the end of the bench on my side of the table, and Calvin sat opposite, next to Mikey. I thought that was a little weird, until it occurred to me it would look even stranger if I'd moved across to sit next to my boyfriend rather than make room for one of the newcomers to be next to me. They were going to see the same movie we were, and we told them we were waiting for Greg and Denny to show up to see the other one, Rollerball. We would compare the movies later, probably on Monday since the double-feature wouldn't be over until nearly 1a.m.

Calvin pointed behind us. "There they are! They've got somebody with them…" We all turned to see, and it wasn't until they got a little closer that I could make out who it was, though I couldn't place the name right away. It was the guy who waited on us at the Pizza Hut the Friday before Easter. I guess Calvin couldn't think of his name either, so I heard Mikey whisper 'Bill…' before they got much closer.

A round of enthusiastic greetings for our friend happened next, and we asked him if he came alone. "Yeah, I needed some relaxation after my tests, so I called Greg to see if he was doing anything, so he said I could join you guys tonight." We made room for our three friends to sit down, but that meant the side with the odd number of people was a little tight…not that we cared, being such good friends.

"Bill's gonna watch Rollerball with us—he says he actually saw a preview for it." Greg broke into the lazy conversation. "He said it had a more serious tone than Death Race, so maybe the acting will be better. I mean—come on—Sylvester Stallone?"

"So, anybody getting snacks? If we wait too long, there might be a line." I looked around to see what everybody thought of Denny's suggestion, and saw nothing but nods. My ever-practical boyfriend mentioned it might be a good idea to use the restrooms too, and that got more nods.

The snack bar was a long area similar to the lunch line at school, only there was a long grill behind the counter, and several large ovens against the back wall. Condiments like relish, pickles, onions and packets of mustard and ketchup took up small sections where the cooks could dole them out depending on the customers' preferences. A deep fat fryer was next to the ovens for making fries, onion rings and mozzarella sticks. By the register at the end, was a soda fountain for Coke products. I knew that would bug Mikey, so I told him we'd bring cans of Pepsi next time.

The men's room was to the right as we went in, and the women's was on the same side, but at the far end of the serving counter. A menu board on the back wall listed all the things you'd expect, but with a few surprises, like the fried chicken, and cake or pie for dessert—you could even buy a whole one to take home. Only about ten people were in line, so we took a minute to huddle together and figure out what we wanted. I wasn't surprised when the sight of pepperoni pizza grabbed Mikey's attention. I shook my head and told him it would be cheaper to get a whole one rather than slices if he wanted more than two, so that's what he got—and I decided to share it with him. The other guys got a mix of burgers, cheeseburgers or hot dogs, and we got three orders of fries and one of the cheese sticks. Since it would be a little wait for the pizza, we decided to take advantage of the rest room now, rather than later.

The room was empty when we went in, so it wasn't too much of a hassle to line up at the urinals…except for Mikey, who went into a stall. I'd seen him do that in school too, and he finally told me why he did that; I'd have laughed if I hadn't been grabbing my own dick at the thought of the pain he'd endured. I guess he'd gotten the full story from his mom, since it happened when he was real little—and had blissfully forgotten the whole thing—except for the resulting behavioral consequences. I didn't even want to think about a toilet lid smashing my dick against the bowl's rim! You'd think that would reinforce the 'standing up' tradition, but it had made him so leery of it happening again, that he sat down on the toilet to do everything except jack-off.

We washed our hands before going out to get our food, and carried it back to the table we'd sat at a few minutes ago. There were a few more cars now, maybe a third of the spots were now occupied, and there were only about ten minutes before Death Race 2000 was supposed to start. Rollerball would start about a half hour later. If I remembered right, the real start times depended on whether it was dark enough yet, so the movie Mikey and me were waiting for could start closer to our friends' time. That was fine…it gave us more time to talk with Bill.

It turns out our 'Pizza Hut' friend was a lot of fun; he knew some good jokes, and had read a lot of the same books we had, and he liked a lot of the same bands. Like Mikey, he was an only child, but his mom stayed home a lot more since her part-time job let her leave just before he got home from school. He was telling us about some of the teachers he had at Reynoldsburg High when his voice trailed off…then he shook his head, staring off toward the entrance to the snack bar. We looked in that direction, but didn't see anything. "I thought I saw someone from school…but it can't be—he moved over Christmas break."

That got our interest, but Bill just shook his head, his dark hair stirring a little around his ears. He wore it just ear-length and parted toward the left side rather than in the center, just short enough so he wouldn't need to wear one of those stupid hair nets at work. His blue eyes came back to his burger and he shrugged off his words with a sad smile. "I was just imagining things…I mean…there are a lot of redheads in the world besides Kev—I'm sitting with one right at this table."

With some prying, he told us that while he didn't have a boyfriend, he almost had one last semester—then the boy had moved. "We had a class together, and started to talk after a couple weeks, but he tended to be pretty quiet, when he wasn't angry. I'd chat with him before class, and sometimes we'd sit together at lunch, but he kept to himself a lot. I invited him over, and he showed up a couple of times to hang out, but he never asked me to his house…."

I looked at Mikey, and he was as puzzled as I was about how you could sort-of have a boyfriend, but not really. It took a few minutes, but Bill finally went on. I couldn't figure this guy out, and thought, maybe, Bill was better off not getting the chance to get closer to this mystery boy.

"Yeah, it wasn't easy being his friend—sometimes he was real friendly, other times he'd get mad, and I wouldn't see him for days. About a month before Christmas, he told me he was starting to see this girl…so I figured we'd never be more than just friends. That's when things got weird, weirder, I guess you'd say."

Bill's cheeks reddened a bit as he finished up his story. "At lunch one day, Kev dropped into the chair next to mine, and told me his girl was a bitch, and he'd broken up with her…I told him I was sorry to hear that, and patted him on the shoulder. He flinched a little, and I thought he was going to get mad at me, but he asked if he could come over on Friday…maybe spend the night. I was surprised because he'd never asked to do that before, but I said 'sure'—my parents didn't care as long as we were quiet…."

Bill took a deep breath. "So he comes over, and we eat popcorn and watch a movie—one of those that Jerry Beck shows on Friday nights—and he's talking about how he appreciated me being his friend, and apologized for spending more time with his 'ex' than me…then he pulls out a joint and asks me to share it with him. It was pretty good, and I got kinda wasted…we were falling asleep on the blankets we'd put on the living room floor since we were planning on watching all four movies. Anyway, just as I'm about out for the count, he leans in and kisses me full on the lips. I could swear I heard him say 'love you', but my brain was spinning from the pot, and he'd already turned away from me like he was going to sleep, so I couldn't be sure if I'd imagined it or not. When I got to school Monday morning, I couldn't find him, and one of the guys in the Office said Kevin had moved…."

I saw Greg sit up straighter, and looked a little nervous when he let his eyes settle on Denny Watson, his Yank. "You said he has red hair—bright red? And his name's Kevin?" When Bill nodded, confused, Greg lowered his voice. "Just before I called Mikey—I called one more person…his name was Kevin, and he'd just moved into the district to live with his cousins."

Bill's eyes went to the snack bar's door again—he'd been doing that whenever it opened—but this time his mouth dropped open in surprise. He stood up, and took a few steps toward the guy who'd just come out carrying a bag of chips and soda…a guy with fiery red hair…the guy we'd all seen in the cafeteria at school, but didn't know, who was apparently named Kevin. The guy stopped dead.


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