My Best Friend

by Victor Thomas

Chapter 2

Friday, after finishing practice, Todd and I decided to drive over to NorthPark Mall in Joplin and maybe see a movie. This would be our last weekend before school started back on Monday and we wanted to spend it hanging out together.

We arrived at the mall an hour later. We strolled through stores long familiar to us both, looking at merchandise that hadn't changed since our last visit. Neither of us was looking to buy anything so we mostly talked as we walked around. We had plans to see a movie later and then probably eat somewhere.

I followed his gaze to a group of girls coming toward us. He started strutting just as the girls were passing, his head turning to follow them. Then he pretended an invisible force was dragging him backward like a hooked fish. After hopping on one foot a couple of times, he winked and resumed walking normally.

The girls giggled. I turned away from them with a grimace. Nothing confused me more than the fairer sex. Did their giggles mean they though Todd was stupid? Were they mocking him? Or, like me, perhaps they found his antics more adorable than embarrassing.

"You've got to work on your moves," I said once the girls were out of earshot.

"They liked me," he said, oozing confidence. "Besides, I didn't see you trying."

"I let the ladies come to me."

I instantly hated myself for pretending. I should be brave. Easier said than done. Besides, what did I have to gain by playing straight? If he was interested in me, this little charade would send the wrong signal. Coming out would be more strategic. That way, he could do the same and we could finally admit the truth to each other.

Yeah right! I already knew the truth. Todd was straight. There wasn't a chance in hell we could be together, but in the meantime, at least I could pretend. As long as I never gave him an opportunity to shoot me down, I could keep dancing with my own delusions.

"Sorry, man," he said, mistaking the reason for my exasperation. "I was only kidding. Besides, who am I to talk? When's the last time I got any action?"

I grinned. "When your cousin tried to kiss you."

He winced. "Don't remind me."

We both laughed, but as we kept walking, I glanced at him and wondered why he was always single. I mean the boy is downright fine. If the ladies couldn't see that, it was their loss.

We made our way back to my car and drove over to the Hollywood Theaters behind the mall. Tonight, we were going to see the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

"Damn, that was good," he said as we exited the theater two hours later.

We went through the drive thru at Taco Gringo and drove around Joplin as the sun set, not having a destination in mind and not caring. Being free was enough. No parents, no school. No rules except for traffic laws, and I broke most of them at one point or another. As long as the car was in motion, we were free. He was in charge of the music, changing radio stations, finding songs at random. Occasionally, when some random thought would occur to him, he would turn it down and we would talk.

In other words, the perfect night. On Monday, when I was back at school, other kids would no doubt brag about a big weekend party or whatever. I would simply say that me and Todd drove around, but that didn't communicate just how amazing a time this was. Hanging out with my best friend felt good. Simple as that. From the frequent grins he flashed me, he felt the same way.

So, maybe there was no chance of us getting physical, but surely this was the reason he was single. No girl could offer him companionship like I could. Aside from sexual frustration, he probably didn't feel he was missing much of anything. I sure didn't. Sex together would be awesome, but we already had everything else.

Once we arrived back home, we went straight to my room. We plopped down on my queen-sized bed, which doubled as a couch, to watch TV. After catching the second half of an instantly forgettable action movie, I shut it off. Todd flopped onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. I sat cross legged and watched him. The sole illumination came from the lamp next to the bed. The shadows cast across his face showed a grin.

"What are you grinning about?" I asked.

"I was just thinking about Monday," he replied. "We'll start our senior year. I can't wait to graduate and head off to college, or maybe the military."

"The military?" I said. "Where the fuck did that come from?"

"It's just something I've been thinking about," he said. "Nothing is definite yet. What about you? What are your plans after high school?"

"I haven't really thought much about it, truthfully," I answered. "I guess I always assumed I'd go to college somewhere, but I really don't know. I guess I need to start getting serious."

"We both do," he said. "It'll be here before we realize it."

The two of us talked for a few more minutes before we finally decided to go to sleep. After taking turns in the bathroom, we stripped down to our underwear, just as we always did. Once under the sheets and the room was dark, we went to sleep. One of us did anyway. I remained awake, listening to the sound of his breathing. When enough time had passed, more than an hour according to the red digits on the nightstand clock, and when I felt certain that he was asleep, I shifted in bed.

To an outsider, I hoped this sudden movement appeared careless and impulsive, maybe a reaction to a dream, resulting in my arm pressing along his side and one knee resting against his leg. I remained rigid, terrified as always that the body contact would wake my friend. When it didn't, I allowed myself to exhale and relax, basking in how warm our skin became where it touched. Unable to resist any longer, I moved once more, resting an open hand on his back. This was all I ever allowed myself, and frankly, it already seemed too much. But I liked it. Only in sleep could he be my unknowing lover, providing me with comfort impossible in the waking world.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead