Christmas with Colt

by Rob Warr

Chapter 3

I found Colt waiting for me at our agreed upon location, and he gave me a big smile as I approached. He was wearing jeans and a grey hoodie, a bright red tee peeking out at the top of the partially opened zipper. His athletic shoes looked worn, but not worn out, what I'd call comfortably broken-in. I had several pair of those myself that I loved to wear around the house. However, today I had on a fairly new pair of Vans I'd bought with my own money at the very mall we were headed to.

"Hey, how's it going?" I asked as we bumped together, neither of us sure whether to hug or kiss, or what.

"Good, I slept really good last night," he said grinning.

"Me too," I said, returning that shit-eating grin tenfold, "and I even got up early, which I never do on a Saturday."

"Oh, you lazy bones. You like to sleep in, do I, but I hardly ever get to."

"It's my one day to do that," I said, "Sunday we usually go to church, so I have to get up by at least 9 o'clock."

"Church, huh?" he sounding thoughtful, "um, do they know at church that you're gay?"

"Not everyone, a few do. Kids I know, and a few trusted adults."

"How about the preacher, does he know?"

"Well, the minister is a woman, but yes, she knows. The church we go to is pretty progressive. They don't preach hell and brimstone, mostly love and acceptance. And as you might've guessed, they're big on helping the poor and homeless in our community. That's how we got started helping at the food bank and the mission."

"Oh," Colt said, seeming to consider that before going on, "So, the mission is like affiliated with your church?"

"Sort of, it's just one of several outreach programs people at our church volunteer for."

"I see.," he chuckled, "I never thought of you as a church-going boy."

"Why, do you think I'm bad or something?" I teased, trying to look hurt.

"No, no, not at all. I don't know, I have no particular reason, it was just an assumption on my part, a bad one too, I might add. I'm sorry if you took offense."

"I'm teasing, I'm not gonna lie and say I go every Sunday, and my folks don't insist that I do. I go regularly though, and I usually enjoy it, especially when we have a potluck dinner or a birthday party. Once a month they have one big party for everyone who has a birthday that month, with cake and ice cream, and singing and games, stuff like that."

"Wow, sounds like a cool place. I've never even been inside a church before," Colt confessed, "my mom is definitely not the religious type," he chuckled.

"I don't believe a person necessarily has to go to church to believe in God or be spiritual," I said, I think churches were supposed to be there for support, and to help the needy. Too many churches are all about membership and money, and building the preacher a new house or buying him a Cadillac. As far as I'm concerned, Mega churches are actually just businesses disguised as religion, taking advantage of their tax free status. I think if a church has over 500 members they should have to pay taxes, but that's just me."

Colt laughed, "Now, that...I agree on. I think those big churches are bordering on cultism. Only the preacher is the cult leader, not God."

We'd reached the intersection then and I pushed the button to tell the traffic light that we wanted to cross. It took a few minutes but we finally got the all clear and we hurried across as the voice coming from the lighted sign counted down the seconds. Boy, I don't know how slow people ever make it across those streets, we barely made it in the time allotted.

The Mall is always busy on the weekends and that Saturday was no exception. As we pushed through the doors, we were greeted by the noise and smells of the huge mall, and the rush of shoppers trying to get an early start on their holiday shopping. After all, the day after Thanksgiving was traditionally the beginning of the shopping season.

"Man, look at all the people," Colt said, looking a bit pensive.

"Come on, let's head to the food court. I'm starved, all I had for breakfast was a bowl of Fruit Loops."

"Fruit Loops," Colt laughed, "what are you, like nine -years-old?"

"Come on, tell me you don't still eat kid's cereal," I said punching him playfully.

"Not Fruit Loops, Capn' Crunch maybe, or Frosted Flakes, they're greaaaat!" he said, trying to imitate Tony Tiger and doing a somewhat passable job of it.

"I laughed, come on, Tony Tiger, I have a craving for tacos, how does that sound?"

"Honestly, you don't have to buy me lunch," he protested, but it was a weak protest.

"Don't be silly, I'm not eating alone. Find us a table, I'll be right back, I said heading for the Mexican food counter.

I bought us each two tacos, two burritos and a huge bowl of nachos with cheese to share. The soda was self serve, so after sitting the tray down we both walked over to fill our cups. I chose Mt Dew, Colt chose Pepsi.

"Wow, this is a lot of food," Colt commented, but his mouth was literally watering as I divvied it up.

"Sauce?" I said throwing some packets of hot sauce his way.

"Thanks for dinner," Colt said smiling over at me, "I'm gonna have to pay you back one of these days."

"Just keep sending those smiles my way," I said blushing, "and that will be pay enough."

He chuckled, "Maybe I should become a model or something."

"You could, I swear, I'd buy anything with your face on it. could become an actor and become famous. But...would you still remember me if you did?"

"Of course I would, and I'd even autograph something for you," he laughed, "get serious, guys like me don't wind up in the movies or become rich and famous."

"Huh? You really don't know how good looking you are, do you?" I marveled, "dude, you are one of the, if not the cutest boys I have ever seen. Why do you think I was so surprised that you didn't have a cult following of your own?"

"Shut up," he laughed, "You're cuter and sexier," he said blushing.

"Well, I am pretty damn gorgeous, but you outrank me there. But...we do make a nice looking couple," I hinted.

"I like you, a lot," Colt said sounding serious now, "but...I'm not sure you want to get tied up with a guy like me."

"A guy like you? Like what, are you actually a serial killer or a drug dealer?" I teased.

"I wish I was a drug dealer, I'd be rich," he joked, "and I faint at the sight of blood, to serial killer too."

"Then what? Anything else I can deal with. I don't care what it is."

"It's just, well...complicated."

"Heck, what isn't?" I laughed, "do you think my life is all rainbows and unicorns? Heck no, I have bad days too."

"But not every day, right?" Colt said sounding down.

"No, most days are great."

"Well, my good days are fewer than my bad days," he said looking sad, then there was a sparkle in his eyes that hadn't been there a moment before, "except, well...lately, I've been having an awful lot of good days...since I met you."

"Aww, that's so sweet. Me too, all my days have been awesome ever since we met, except that one day you didn't show up," I pretend pouted.

"Sorry about that," he said reaching over to squeeze my hand.

Before he could pull away I took his hand in mind and just held onto it, "Colt, please, let me help you. Whatever it is that's wrong, we can fix it."

"I dunno if it can be fixed or not, but you sure make me want to try," he said smiling.

"Let's eat, then we'll talk some more," I suggested, "we don't want this shit to get cold," I laughed.

"Oh my God, you said shit," he laughed, "I've never heard you swear till just then. Up till now it was just heck, and darn, and shoot."

"I can curse, when the occasion seems right," I laughed, "I thought you might need a shock to get your heart going again."

"Ha, ha, very funny," he said, then we dug into our food and didn't talk till there was nothing left but a few scraps of lettuce and cheese on the wrappers.

"That was good, but oh man, I'm gonna have gas later," Colt teased as we walked out into the mall again.

"Just direct it the other way," I teased back, "passing gas may be the funniest thing on earth for sixth graders, but not for mature young men like myself."

"Oh, I feel one coming on," he teased.

"Oh come on, you just ate, how could it get through your digestive system that fast?" I said, "unless you had beans for breakfast."

"Nope, didn't have any breakfast, I wanted to save room for lunch."

"What? Then why did you try to stop me from buying lunch?"

"I dunno, I just felt the need to protest. You know? I do have some pride left."

"Colt, I didn't mean to make you feel bad by buying you lunch. I just wanted to do something nice for you. I know you'd do the same for me, right?"

"Yeah, and I soon as I get some money. You'll see, I'll take you out for a real dinner. Hey, do you like McDonalds?" he said cracking up.

"I love it, ba ba ba ba ba," I sang before joining him in laughter, then once we'd settled down, I added, "Let's go to Foot Locker and look around," I suggested as we approached the store.

"Sure, nothing like browsing in a store that I could never afford to shop at," he said sarcastically.

"Or not," I said turning red.

"I'm kidding, for gosh sakes. Don't take everything I say so seriously. I like dreaming as much as the next guy," he said taking my arm and guiding me inside.

We checked out all of my favorite stores after that, but when I suggested we go to the arcade, Colt seemed reluctant at first. But after some coercing on my part, he finally agreed, even though he still looked uncomfortable.

"Come on, we can play doubles," I said loading two quarters into a racing game.

"Okay, but here you go again, spending money on me," he sighed.

So, that was it, that was why he was balking about going to the arcade. Damn it, I'd hurt his pride again. Going forward, I was going to have to be a lot more sensitive to that, or I was going to scare him off.

"Sorry, I just hate playing alone," I said blushing.

"It's fine, just prepare to have your ass handed to you," he said, perking up some now.

"Oh yeah,'s a nice ass, or so I've been told," I giggled.

He cocked his head and stared at my behind for a moment, then went back to the game.

"Well? Is it a nice ass or not?"

"Yeah, it's a nice one," he said grinning, "but I'd have to see it up close to really judge just how nice."

"Oh man, that sounds like a challenge, invitation," I chuckled, "maybe if you feel like coming home with me, you could get an up close and personal look."

"Can't today, but I'll take a rain-check," he said, concentrating on his game now.

Unfortunately, I was too distracted by his suggestive talk concerning my posterior to pay much attention to my game, and I spun out and hit a wall.

"Damn," I muttered.

"You're turning into a real potty mouth," Colt teased, "and I thought you were such a nice boy..."

"I am...nice, and I don't curse that much. Only twice today, so give me a break, okay?"

"I wonder what other kind of dirty words you know," he teased, "do you like to talk dirty to other boys?"

"What, no...well...what do you mean?" I sputtered, all flustered now.

He laughed again, then took advantage of my momentary discomfort to add to his lead in the game. We played for about a half hour, moving to another game after a while, and then suddenly I heard a sweet melodic voice calling my name and turned to see Mary and Jake headed our way.

"Hi guys," I said pausing my game, but Colt took a second to do so as well.

"Well, look at you two?" Mary said giving us an exaggerated up and down stare, "are you a couple now?"

"Mary!" I almost yelled, "keep your voice down, and no...we are not a couple," I said blushing, "are we, Colt?" I said, suddenly unsure of myself.

"Nah, just friends," he said, seemingly unfazed by Mary's brashness.

"This is Jake," I said moving along quickly to cover my discomfort, "Jake, Colt."

The two bumped fists, then Jake started looking around the room as if searching for someone. Mary noticed right away and explained.

"He's looking for Jenna Thompson, he has the hots for her," Mary informed us.

"Do not," Jake protested, "I just think she's pretty...and nice," he said, but his red cheeks said Mary might be right.

"I know Jenna," Colt said suddenly, "well, not really know her, but I have two classes with her, and we've talked a few times."

"Really?" this from me, so Colt did occasionally interact with others.

"She's actually a very nice person," Colt said, "not stuck up at all, despite being so pretty and popular."

"Do you think you could mention that you know me, umm, sometime?" Jake asked shyly, abandoning all claims that he was infatuated with the girl.

"Sure," Colt chuckled, "hey, there she is now," he said suddenly, and Jake's head spun around so fast I'm surprised he didn't get whiplash.

"Where?" he said excitedly.

"Oh, my bad. It was some other gorgeous girl," Colt laughed.

"Dude, not cool," Jake pouted.

"Sorry, but seriously, all you have to do is talk to her and you'll see what I mean. She'll talk to anyone, I mean, she talks to me," Colt said, sounding almost sad.

"Yeah, but look at you," Jake said giving Colt an appraising look, "you're like all buff and good looking, I mean, you know...not like me."

Jake was about two inches shorter than me, weighed probably 115 pounds, and though not buff by any means, he had some muscle definition and not an ounce of fat on him that I could see. As far as looks, he was average, nothing special, cute, yet not pretentious, but his best feature was perhaps his personality. That was one reason he and I had become friends as soon as we'd met in 7th grade. He never had a bad word to say about anyone, and he was the kind of friend who had your back, no matter what. When I'd come out to him shortly after we met, he surprised me by saying, "Duh, I've known forever," then proceeded to give me a hug and wipe away my tears of worry. However, he made it clear that he liked the ladies, but he would be upset if I didn't try to hit on him once or twice.

After that day, he and I had become even closer, and occasionally I would teasingly hit on him, just to keep his ego in tact. Mary said she had also figured me out early on, but then we'd known each other since 5th grade, and had even gone through the adolescent boyfriend/girlfriend stage, which as you know, consists of holding hands and an occasional kiss on the cheek, but was mostly about bragging rights with your peers.

Mary is a lovely girl, sweet tempered most times, but a force to be reckoned with if you cross her or her friends. I remember one time in 6th grade, some kid was picking on a 3rd grader and Mary took the bully down and punched him in the nuts. He went off wailing and crying, while the rest of us boys stood around holding a hand over our privates and hoping we never got on Mary's bad side.

"Earth to Blake," I heard Mary giggle, "are you with us?"

"Huh, oh...what? I was just thinking about that time you punched Danny Evans in the nuts," I laughed.

"Blake, I never...oh, that," she said blushing, "well, he deserved it, picking on little kids..."

"Oh, I do want to hear that story," Jake said looking interested, even as he continued to scan the area for his crush.

"Why don't we go to the food court and get something to drink?" I suggested, "Colt and I have already eaten, but I'm thirsty, how about you?" I said looking at Colt with a smile.

"Sure, but after I beat your ass at this game..."

"You two go on ahead, we'll be there in a minute," I said, "it won't take me long to put this poser in his place," I said confidently.

But, boy was I wrong.

Apparently Jake hadn't eaten, or he was a pig, because he had a whole pizza sitting in front of him when we joined the two, though Mary only had a Lemonade from 'Hotdog on a Stick'. You know? The fresh squeezed kind with actual lemon slices floating in it.

Colt and I got Cokes from the same place we'd gotten lunch, but the shift had changed, I guess, and the cute guy from earlier had been replaced by a chubby white boy, who looked to be about 17 or 18. He was nice enough though, and seemed to take more than a passing interest in Colt, which I didn't like at all. Stop it, shoo, get away, he's mine.

"Help yourself to pizza," Jake said, "I can't eat it all, but it's cheaper to buy a whole pizza than buy three slices, go figure," he said, rolling up a piece of pizza and biting the end off.

"Thanks," I said, grabbing a piece, "I'm never gonna pass up free pizza," I chuckled, "especially if Jake's buying."

"Colt, help yourself, buddy," Jake insisted, pushing the pie his way, and finally, reluctantly, Colt accepted his offer.

"Thanks, my favorite kind, free," he laughed.

"Ugh, you boys," Mary said, "all that salt and preservatives. Don't you know you're killing yourself eating that stuff?" she teased. I say teased, because Mary could out eat any boy I knew, and she wasn't vegan by any means.

"Yes, mom," Jake teased, "but I'll die a happy boy."

"And sadly, alone," Mary said jabbing him in the ribs."

"Will not," Jake pouted, "there's someone out there for me, I just know it."

"Well, I guess I'm still looking for a boyfriend," I teased, looking at Colt and noting just a shade of jealousy appear in those emerald eyes of his.

"Sorry, wrong equipment, but thanks for the offer. Check back later though, the older I get, the better that will sound," he laughed.

"You boys, there is so much sexual tension between you two. Why don't you just go at it like animals and get it over with. I wouldn't even mind watching," she joked, or was she?

"Only if you join in," Jake said grinning.

"Ugh, I couldn't, you boys are like brothers to me, it would be like incest," she said making a face.

"Incest is best," Jake laughed, and that got a chuckle out of the rest of us.

Seriously though, I'd often wondered why Mary and Jake didn't hook up. I supposed it might be because they were afraid that if they did hook up, and it didn't work out, that the friendship wouldn't survive. Personally, I thought it was worth the risk, but then again I didn't even know if either had any interest in the other that way.

"So, what are you boys doing later?" Mary asked, looking bored.

"Nothing, I'm trying to lure Colt home with me, again," I teased.

"Again? Oh my, do tell. What sort of carnal things have you two been up to?" Mary said perking up some.

"Down girl, nothing carnal. Colt had dinner with us last night, that's all, and as expected he was a big hit with the family."

"I bet," she said smiling, "and I'm sure Sammy was happy to see you bring a boy home..."

"Sammy is cool," Colt said jumping in, "we have a lot in common, I think..." he said trailing off, suddenly realizing what he'd said.

"Oh," Mary said, but she didn't ask for clarification, "Sammy is a doll. If he was older I'd marry that boy," she said grinning.

"He's only two years younger, that's no big deal," I reminded her, carrying the conversation even further away from Colt's comment, "but...I think he thinks of you as a big sister, so that might be a problem."

Mary sighed, "Why am I destined to be only a sister and never a lover?" she said theatrically.

We all laughed at that, then we started talking about school, and this and that, and the time seemed to slip away from us. Suddenly I looked at my phone and saw it was well after 4:30.

"Oh, shit," I said looking up, "we need to get going. I promised mom we'd be back by 5," I added scooting out my chair.

"Why don't you two come home with us, we can hang out there, if you want?"

"Nah, we're going to see a movie," Jake said, "I was hoping to run into Jenna there," he added with a grin.

"I don't know whether to be jealous or hurt?" Mary lamented, "oh...where did I go wrong?"

"Ah, don't be jealous, "you can hang out with us two...if we hook up."

"Again, no thanks, three-ways aren't my thing," she said grinning.

"Not that way," Jake said blushing, "I mean...oh, never mind," he sighed, realizing he'd been tricked again.

"Well, it was fun, and it was real," I joked, "but it ain't been real fun."

"Very funny," Mary said smacking me on the arm playfully, "say hello to your folks, and Sammy, for me."

"Will do, ready Colt?"

"Sure, uh, hey...nice meeting you, Jake," he said, "and hanging out with you guys."

"Guys?" Mary said rolling her eyes, "I guess it's a good thing to be one of the 'guys' though," she added with a chuckle, "at least I'm not stuck at home doing my nails."

Colt laughed, "Sorry, I mean, guys and gal," he offered, then leaning in he gave Mary a brief hug and whispered something in her ear.

I couldn't hear what he said, but I saw a smile form on her face and she nodded as he pulled away. When we were a safe distance away I finally had to ask, "What was that all about, what did you tell Mary?"

"It's private and personal," he said grinning.

"Was it about me?" I pouted.

"Everything isn't about you, you know?" Colt laughed, "but in this case, was."

"Good or bad?" I asked, unable to drop the subject just yet.

"Nothing about you could ever be bad," he said sincerely, that smile of his melting my heart, once more.

"Aww, you're sweet," I said, "I guess you're entitled to keep some secrets from me, but I bet Mary will tell me later anyway," I teased.

"That's on her," he said as we exited the mall.

"So, have you decided yet, about staying for dinner?"

"I can't, not tonight," he said, looking away suddenly.

"Aww, are you sure?" I think we're having fried chicken..."

"Good as that sounds, I'll pass. Besides, between lunch and the pizza, I'm still full. I have a ton of homework to do and I gotta keep my grades up."

"Well, I won't nag, but I wish you'd change your mind."

"Sorry, maybe next time," he said, and we walked on in silence for a while.

At the spot where we'd met up earlier, Colt suddenly stopped and turned to face me, "well, I should get on home," he sighed, looking nervous and sad at the same time, "thanks for lunch, and for letting me win those video games."

"I didn't let you win, you just...distracted me, that's all," I said red-faced, "being around you is a big distraction, you know that, right?"

"Hmm, I'll take that as a compliment," he said grinning, "you're not so bad yourself."

"Thanks," I said, wishing I could think of just the right words to convey how I really felt about him.

"Well, see ya Monday, I guess."

"Sure, same place, same time," I said hopefully.

"Yeah, I'll be there. Bye, umm, Blake, and thanks, really man, thanks," he said near tears.

What came next seemed natural and right, and even though we were right there in public, with traffic whizzing by on the busy street we'd just crossed, I grabbed Colt and hugged him tight, then kissed him on the lips. At first the kiss was chaste and tentative, then he opened his mouth and his tongue sought out mine, and we began to kiss passionately, with the inevitable results.

A car horn brought us back to reality and some dude in a Mustang hollered out the window, "Get a room, you two," then there was loud laughter from the driver and the passenger.

"Uh, sorry, got carried away," I said blushing as I pulled away, the lump in my jeans obvious as I surreptitiously tried to adjust myself.

However, I needn't have been embarrassed, because Colt too was sporting some wood of his own, and from the looks of it, he had more to manage than I did.

"It's fine, at least we didn't get beat up. Those guys seemed cool, but I should really go now."

"Yeah, sure," I teased, "leave me here with the boner from hell, and blue balls..."

He laughed, "Go home and beat off, okay? And...if you want, you can even think about me."

"That's a given," I assured him as we stared into each other's eyes, "you can do the same," I teased.

"That's a given, too," he laughed.

We said goodbye a few more times, but at last we began walking away in separate directions, though I did turn back around occasionally to see if he was looking back at me. He was, of course, and though I only caught him doing so once, I was quite sure that wasn't the only time.

Sammy seemed disappointed that I'd come home alone, but when I suggested we throw the ball around outside he was all smiles. I was glad I had my little bro to spend time with, because it helped to get my mind off Colt, if only for a while.

Tomorrow was Sunday and I had promised to hang out with Sammy, but I couldn't help but wish I could include Colt in our plans as well. Colt was fast becoming my obsession, and I couldn't wait to see him again.

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