My Debate Partner

by Joel Young

Chapter 1

The following story is fictional, but it is loosely based on real events and real people in my life. The story includes a prologue, fifteen chapters, and an epilogue. The story is about two male high school students who are paired together as debate partners, and who fall in love. The story does include a few graphic descriptions of sexual encounters between the two, so no one who is less than 18 years of age or who is offended by gay sex should read the story. Also, much of the story focuses on the competitive nature of high school debate. Those who are looking primarily to read about sexual acts should skip this series. To those who wish to read a complete short story with characters and a plot, I hope you enjoy My Debate Partner

Looking Back

After everyone had gone to bed, I finally got to spend a little quiet time by myself in my den. I had been away on business for five days, and I was very glad to be home. I reached for one of my family albums from the shelf and looked for my favorite photograph of my parents and me. Running into my high school debate partner, David, at the airport after seventeen years had been very upsetting, but it had stirred up memories of happier times when my parents were still alive and David and I were together.

I found the picture. My mom had written, "Joel's Sixteenth Birthday" on the bottom. The picture was taken just days before the start of my junior year of high school. My parents looked so vibrant and so happy. And so did I.

At sixteen, I was about 5'9" tall and weighed 145 pounds. I had bright green eyes and short, dark brown hair that some people mistook for black. This particular picture highlighted what I thought were my best features. I had been blessed with smooth, clear skin, a ruddy complexion, and big dimples.

Looking back that night, I came to realize that the only time I have ever been truly happy was the brief period between my sixteenth birthday and the end of the first semester of my junior year of high school. It was a glorious time of friendship, love, success and sexual awakening. I have never felt as alive as I did then, and neither have I loved so completely since that time. I think I fell in love with David the very first time I saw him, and I still miss him so much it hurts.

We'll Be Fantastic Together!

I noticed him immediately as he walked into debate class on the first day of school in my junior year at Joliet High school in suburban Detroit. He was about 6' tall, lightly tanned, and very handsome. His hair was a beautiful, golden blonde. He had classic facial features and broad shoulders that seemed to emphasize how thin he was. The most remarkable aspect of his appearance, however, was his eyes. They were a sky blue, and they sparkled.

He had a youthful appearance, and I knew he was probably only a sophomore. But, his confident manner made him seem older. The confidence came from a slightly sly smile as he held his head up and looked around the room as if he belonged. I wondered who he was. It didn't take me long to find out.

"Hi, I'm David McAndrew," he said as he sat next to me.

Surprised at such a straightforward approach, I simply responded in kind. "Hi,

I'm Joel Young," I said.

He smiled directly at me and said, "I know. You gave a debate demonstration in my English class last year. You were terrific, Man! After listening to you, I decided I had to sign up for debate as soon as I could."

I remembered that demonstration. I thought none of the ninth graders had paid any attention.

The rest of the varsity team came into the third-hour class, and I introduced David to them. "This is Jim, my partner on the negative team. This is Sara, and this is Eric. They're the varsity affirmative team."

David's confidence and sense of humor were immediately apparent. "I thought this year's varsity team wouldn't be decided for two weeks," he said. "How do you know I won't knock one of you guys to the minor leagues?"

Eric, Jim, Sara and I just looked at each other as if to ask, "Who the hell is this guy?!?" Not that we thought this sophomore had a chance. We had an entire year of experience in varsity level debate, and the four of us had attended a 6-week summer debate camp at the local Junior College preparing to argue this year's topic. We already had hundreds of pieces of evidence to support our arguments, and this new sophomore probably didn't even know what this year's topic was!

Eric spoke for the rest of us. "Hey, go for it!" Ironically, it was Eric whom David knocked down to junior varsity two weeks later.

The bell rang, and the class began. There were only 12 students in the class. Four of the students had made up the junior varsity team last year, and there were three other new sophomores in addition to David. Oddly enough, there were no seniors in the class. Other students were planning on coming out for the team but couldn't clear their schedules to take the one debate class that was only offered third hour. Our debate coach, Mrs. Weber, taught the class. She was the coolest teacher in the high school, and she knew her stuff when it came to debating. I couldn't wait to start competing.

"No time for wasting!" Mrs. Weber announced. "Team tryouts in two weeks, and our first tournament with Edison is one month from today. Let's get to work!" She spent the rest of the hour handing out materials, explaining this year's topic, and covering the basics of debate.

Jim was not only my debate partner; he was also my best friend. We had set a goal to place in the State finals that year. We were so determined to achieve this goal that we went straight to the library after dinner on the first day of school to do some more research. We ran into Sara and Eric who were doing the same thing. We all sat at the same small table and quietly poured through materials. About 30 minutes, I was very surprised to look up and see David standing by our table. He carried a large card file case - the kind that debaters use for organizing evidence.

David asked, "May I join you?"

We scooted our chairs to make room for him, and he pulled up a chair from another table. He sat down and opened his case; it was full of evidence cards! "Where did you get all those?" I asked.

"Made them at debate camp this summer," he said. Then, we learned a little bit more about him.

He was almost 16, and his father was an English professor at the junior college. His family had spent the summer at one of the Big 10 Universities while his father taught the summer semester there. David had joined a summer debate program for high school students at the university. He had not only wanted to learn debate, but he wanted to meet some kids his age. "There were some fantastic debaters at the university," he said. "I really learned a lot."

Sara, Jim and I were surprised, but Eric seemed annoyed. "So, you're probably the master debater now, huh?" he challenged.

David didn't miss a beat in his come-back. "No, I'm sure that honor remains with your right hand."

Jim burst out laughing, and Sara hushed him. "Cut it out, guys!" she said. "We came here to work. We're not going to beat Edison with sick jokes."

We all went to work and finished for the evening about an hour later, tired but having found some good reference material that we thought would come I handy during the season.

Over the next two weeks, David caught my attention regularly. At the podium, he was articulate, organized, and a talented speaker - not to mention charming and good looking! I found myself very much attracted to him. I knew I liked guys as well as girls, but I had never been this attracted to another guy. I had dated girls a little, and there were several girls in school that seemed to like me, but my focus was quickly turning to David and no one else.

I tried to put thoughts about him out of my mind since I was sure he was straight. And, I had no intentions of risking my reputation by being labeled as a faggot.

Finally, the day came when the Junior Varsity and Varsity teams were to be decided after school. Each person trying out for a spot on the team had to draw for the order of presenting and to draw a specific argument related to this year's topic. After only ten minutes of preparation, each student had to give a five-minute speech defending the assigned position. Then, Mrs. Weber would pose two questions designed to challenge the speaker's points or evidence.

The tryouts wound up taking almost two hours as there were more students than expected. Once a student had presented, he or she could listen to the other speakers. Having drawn the last spot for presentation, I got to hear none of the other students, but everyone heard me. I was a little keyed up when my turn came, but I had learned to use nervous energy to my advantage. I was generally pleased with my speech. Later, however, I did think of several great points.

Mrs. Weber said she would post the team roster in the morning before 1st hour. As we all got up to leave, David came over to me. "How about a burger?" he asked. I agreed, and we both called home so our parents wouldn't wonder where we were.

I had my mother's car, so I drove to Burger King and gave David a ride. He ordered two whoppers, large fries, an apple pie, and a large Coke. This kid never ceased to surprise me. He was very trim with seemingly not an ounce of fat on him, and he ate like that!?! I, however, had always tended to gain weight easily. I kept my weight under control only by working out and eating healthy. My dad was a Physical Therapist, and he had me exercising before I could walk. My mom was a Clinical Dietician, and she had preached at me about eating right ever since I can remember. Even so, I had been chubby as a child, and I didn't ever want to gain the weight back. I ordered a regular hamburger, small fries, and a diet Coke. I decided I wouldn't mention the Burger King meal to my mom - unless of course, she asked. And she probably would.

David was quite pleased with his own performance at tryouts, and he told me again that I was terrific. "You were better than anyone else at tryouts. You nailed it!" he said enthusiastically.

I thought about David's compliments to me. In the two weeks since we'd met, he had told me I was terrific - twice. Having a guy say such nice things to me was new - and I liked it, especially from David. My heart was melting, or beating too loudly; I'm not sure which. We talked about the tryouts and our team's chances of winning districts, regionals and placing in the state competition. David was as determined as I was to win. I liked that. All too quickly, it was time to go home, and David asked if I'd meet him outside the school at 7:45 the next morning so we could look at the team postings together. I agreed and drove him home.

I got to school a little later than we had planned. I pushed the snooze button once too often. Then, I tried to skip breakfast. But, Mom insisted I sit down and eat. David was waiting for me when I arrived at school. "Sorry I'm late," I apologized.

"No problem," he replied. "Are you ready to look at the list?"

We went to Mrs. Weber's room and saw the sheet taped to the wall outside of room 103. I did a double take as I read the list:

Varsity Affirmative Team: Jim Roberts and Sara Hinman

Varsity Negative Team: Joel Young and David McAndrew

Junior Varsity Affirmative Team: Eric Morse and Mike Davidson

Junior Varsity Negative Team: Steve Ballard and Randy Bennet

Not only had Eric been bumped to junior varsity, but David was now my partner! Jim was paired with Sara! That wasn't supposed to happen. Jim and I were a team! We planned to go to state as a team! Besides, Jim hated being affirmative. He was naturally, well, negative. I looked at David who was obviously elated. "Yes!" he shouted in a drawn-out expression while holding two 'thumbs-up' gestures in the air. "Congratulations, partner!" he exclaimed. And then, he hugged me.

Since he was taller than I, he had to bend down slightly to hug me. It caught me totally off guard. I didn't even respond, leaving my arms hanging at my sides. But, I liked it. David seemed to hold the embrace, and I thought I heard him sigh as he squeezed his arms around me. Then, he whispered in my ear, "We'll be fantastic together!"

Okay, that did it. I pulled away but found myself looking directly into his eyes. "I guess we'll find out," I replied.

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