We're Working On It

by Richard Norway

Chapter 12

Cory removed his shirt and began to hang it in his gym locker. There was noise all around from the rest of the boys hurrying to get dressed for their gym class. His best friend, Kevin, was seated on the wooden bench behind him tying his sneakers.

"Come on, Cory, quit dragging. We're going to be late."

"Yeah, yeah, I'm hurrying."

Just then, Matt, still dressed in street clothes, hurried around the corner, excited about something.

Cory turned to Matt and whispered emphatically, "Where in the hell have you been? You're going to be late."

"I was talking to the swim coach. Oh man! Guess what I just found out?"

Kevin looked up and shouted, "That he got you pregnant?"

Kevin and Cory burst into laughter.

Matt quickly swatted Kevin on the back of his head, and again Matt and Cory burst into more laughter.

"No, you asshole," Matt replied.

"Well, what did you find out?" Cory asked. "Don't keep us waiting. We don't have all that much time."

"You will be interested to know that there is a senior leaving..."

Kevin got up off the bench and bursts in. "We know that. There will be one opening on the swim team this spring, but we all wanted to be on the team together, remember?

"Let me finish stupid. Jason and Tom are also going to be leaving the team. Both Jason's and Tom's dads are getting transferred. They're going to be moving away."

Matt grinned widely.

Now Kevin got excited, "What?"

"No shit," Cory remarked with as much enthusiasm,

Matt looked like he was the announcer of the biggest thing to come their way all year.

"Yup! That means we can all try out for the team next week."

Matt's grin was unstoppable. Matt then turned and opened his locker and threw in his books. He started to unbutton his shirt and spoke directly into his locker, not looking at either Cory or Kevin.

"The way I see it guys, we're a shoe-in."

Cory turned to look at Matt and shouted into the air with obvious glee.

"Oh, man, this is just awesome!"

Matt continued to get his gym clothes on while Cory turned to Kevin and grabbed one of his elbows.

"Kevin, we need to get new trunks, at least I do. Tryouts are next week, and I can't be seen in those old ones."

"What's wrong with your old pair? I kinda liked them."

"I am so not going to be wearing those. They don't fit me anymore," Cory shot back.

Kevin was at it again with those brows.

"Well," he started, "I should get some new ones too. The best is none too good for us."

Matt stared at his two friends.

"Ah guys, I don't have any Speedos. I've never worn any."

Kevin shot back at him.

"Oh, Matt, have you got a surprise coming," Kevin giggled.

Cory looked up at the clock hanging on the concrete block wall.

"Holy shit, guys. We're late."

All three boys looked at the clock. Kevin picked up his tee shirt and together all three boys ran down the aisle towards the front door. Once outside, it was obvious to them that they were in trouble. There was no one outside. Everyone was in class or on the playing fields.

The coach was leading the class in calisthenics as they reached the soccer field. The coach glared at them as they arrived.

"Hey, you three, get over here," he yelled.

Kevin, Matt and Cory slowed their run as they approached the coach. Their heads were bowed as they readied themselves for the onslaught.

"And just where have you been? We started this class five minutes ago."

From the back of the class formation, Jeremy yelled, "Playing with each other's dicks."

Matt turned toward the back of the class. He was angry, and it showed on his face.

Jeremy looked away but wasn't ready to stop.

"Bunch of fags," he commented to the rest of the class.

The class burst into laughter, but Johnny, standing next to Jeremy, just stared at Jeremy, not saying anything. It was in Johnny's face that he believed Jeremy.

"Quiet out there!" the coach yelled, stepping one menacing step forward.

"We're sorry, Coach," Matt said. "I was talking to the swimming team coach, and well, I guess we all just lost track of time."

Matt looked down toward his feet.

The coach scowled down at Matt.

"I don't really care where you were. I want to see all three of you in detention for the next two days. Got it?"

"But coach..." Cory started.

Kevin grabbed Cory's shoulder from behind and pulled him away from the coach.

"Yes, coach. We'll all be there," Kevin let out, keeping Cory from saying anything more.

The coach stared at the three boys for a moment.

"Good. It's settled then, right, Cory?

Cory nodded his head.

"Okay. You start tomorrow. Now, Get in line."

Cory, Matt and Kevin turned and ran to the back of the formation, settling into the back row. They started their 'jumping jacks' along with the rest of the class.

After completing the warmup exercises, the class was divided into two teams. It was time for the soccer game, and Cory, Kevin and Matt were lucky enough to be assigned to the same team. Cory loved the game as did Kevin, but Matt was not as much into soccer as his two friends were.

At one point, as the game progressed, Cory was in possession of the ball. He was running the ball down the sideline but noticed that his way ahead was blocked. He saw Matt in the clear at mid field and kicked the ball to him. Matt received the ball, but as he started his way toward the goal, Jeremy ran into him, and they both hit the ground hard.

Jeremy began to roll around on the ground laughing at Matt. "Hey, girly, lose your ball or maybe it was both of them?"

Matt stared at Jeremy for a brief moment and then got up off the ground, turned and walked away.

"Damn faggot," could be heard from Jeremy.

Johnny ran over to Jeremy and helped him up as Jeremy continued to watch Matt walking away from him. Johnny followed Jeremy's suit and also glared.

Cory ran over to Matt, slowed and fell in beside him.

"Hey. Don't let that asshole bother you, Matt."

Matt continued walking looking straight ahead.

"He doesn't."

The game continued without another incident. Although Cory's team lost the game, the boys' spirits were high after their rigorous workout. After the final whistle blew, they all ran toward the locker room to shower and get ready for their next class. Once in the showers, Cory, Matt and Kevin took showerheads next to each other. Cory was in the corner of the large shower room, busily getting himself clean when he noticed Jeremy and Johnny enter the room. Jeremy and Johnny separated and take shower heads apart from each other and on the other side of the room from Cory. Cory kept his back to them. As Cory continued to shower, he looked over his shoulder and saw Jeremy watching him.

Cory was a little self conscious about being in the same shower room with Jeremy, and he tried to keep to himself in the corner. Kevin and Matt also continued to shower, not speaking.

Suddenly, Cory looked down and then looked up at the wall in front of him. He started to panic. 'Why can't I control this? Why now?' he thought to himself. He then looked around the room at the rest of the boys to see if anyone was watching him but didn't see anyone looking in his direction. As Cory turned his head back toward the wall, he realized that he was having the same trouble that all teenagers have for no apparent reason. He was getting an erection.

Cory had to think of something else, like math or English. That usually worked for him, but not this time. As much as he tried to keep his mind off of his erection, he realized that it was not going away.

"Hey, looky there. I think Cory's got a boner," Jeremy shouts from the other side of the room.

'Oh shit!' raced through Cory's mind.

Everyone in the shower room turned toward Cory at that moment. Cory was totally embarrassed and looked around the room for a way to exit quickly. He turned back toward the wall, hoping that this would pass without an incident.

Just then someone grabbed Cory's arm and swung him around to face the rest of the boys. It was Jeremy. Jeremy looked down at Cory's embarrassment while Cory just stared into Jeremy's eyes. Cory did not know what to do.

"I always knew you were a faggot," Jeremy said looking back at Cory's face.

Just then he grabbed Cory below the waist and dragged him into the center of the shower room. Cory tried to push Jeremy away from him but stumbled to the floor.

"You cocksucker!" Jeremy said as he approached Cory.

Cory was trying to keep his crying silent, but the sniffles kept coming. Jeremy grabbed a handful of Cory's hair and pulled his head upward. Cory, in panic, moved his head from side to side, trying to avoid Jeremy.

"The one thing I hate more than anything in this world is queers. You don't belong in this world," Jeremy said directly into Cory's face.

Johnny watched all of this, agreeing with Jeremy.

"Hey! Break it up," the coach's voice rumbled through the shower room. "Back off, Jeremy. Now!" the coach yelled.

As Jeremy let go of Cory's hair and backed away, Cory jumped up from the wet floor and bolted from the room. He raced to his locker and opened it as quickly as he could. As he grabbed his clothes, he looked around to see if anyone had followed him. Cory dressed without drying the water off his body first. After his last shoelace was tied, he slammed the locker closed, looked around again for any sign of any the other kids and flew out of the locker room.

Cory left the school grounds, ran to his bike and raced the entire way home. As he ran up the stairs towards his room, he started to cry again. Slamming the door behind him, he threw himself on his bed. The tears were now streaming down his face. His embarrassment was complete. He couldn't believe what had just happened to him. Lying on his side, he slowly adopted a fetal position.

Suddenly he heard a knock at the door. Cory did not move to answer the door but continued staring at nothing. The knock was heard again, and again Cory remained lifeless and refused to answer. The door slowly opened, and Kevin pushed his head through the opening.


Kevin walked into the room, closed the door behind him and walked over to where Cory was lying. He looked down at his friend, staring at him for a few moments and then sat down on the bed next to him.

Concerned, Kevin asked, "Are you okay, Cory?"

Kevin put his hand on Cory's back and held it there for a moment before slowly moving his hand from Cory's shoulders to the small of his back and back up again providing comfort to his friend.

Cory waited for a moment soaking in Kevin's reassurance through his touch and then slowly turned over to face his friend.

"I am now," Cory said softly.

Cory paused for a moment and then sat up next to his Kevin, their legs hanging over the side of the bed.

"What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be in class right now?" Cory asked, looking at Kevin.

"Are you kidding me? You're my best friend Cory. There was no way I wasn't going to be here for you."

"Thanks, man," was all that Cory could say.

He wanted to say more and hug Kevin as his heart wanted, but his fear returned. So, he just looked at Kevin with glassy eyes.

Kevin didn't say anything for a long moment and then turned to look at the floor in front of him.

Cory also turned his eyes to his feet below him.

"I guess I made a fool out of myself, didn't I, Kevin?"

Kevin looked up and directly at Cory.

"No, man, you didn't. I'm the one that's the fool. I'm really sorry, Cory."

Kevin looked away from Cory. His gaze was directed toward the open widow. After a moment he looked back to Cory.

"You're the one person in the whole school, no the whole world, who I care about the most, and I should have jumped in to help you. It was all my fault. If I had moved faster, this wouldn't have happened."

Cory moved closer to his friend, the sides of their bodies touching from shoulder to ankle. He took Kevin's hand in his own, rubbing his back with the other.

"No, Kev. You couldn't have done anything to stop Jeremy. He's just an asshole."

"I felt so bad. I should have done something, man. I should have stuck by you."

"No, Kev! You couldn't have done anything. It happened so fast. I was embarrassed, that's all. I don't like going around parading a boner, you know?"

Cory giggled a little. Having Kevin here with him at that moment and thinking about how Kevin wanted to protect him made him the happiest boy in the world.

Cory was a little surprised when Kevin turned toward him and put his arms around him.

Kevin held him tightly as he rested his cheek on Cory's shoulder.

Cory brought his arms up and placed them on Kevin's back slowly rubbing.

"I'm so sorry, Cory. I just wish it hadn't happened."

Cory smiled knowing what a true friend he had in Kevin. He knew that Kevin really did love him.

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