“OK then, so just let me get this straight,” Rick Mitchell said from the far end of the table. “In a matter of, however many days, you had switched your attentions, or should I say obsessions, from Thomas to Brian, then to Blake and now back to Brian again. Just tell me, what’s with that?”
A ripple of laughter echoed its way around the table, but from what I could see, all eyes remained firmly fixed on me, including those of the waitress who I noticed was hovering close by, listening in on our rather sordid little tale.
“Well,” I began, “you have to remember that I was only sixteen. Can you remember what you were like at that age?”
As I looked across the table at him I didn’t have any difficulty in imagining what he would have looked like as a sixteen year old, but as to what he would have actually been like at that age, I couldn’t really imagine. I guess he would have been one of those popular high school guys who had the girls falling over him. Anyway, I knew that that was one place we wouldn’t be going to tonight, so instead I just returned his gaze across the table. Even in the rather dim light of the restaurant I was sure that I saw him blush slightly, before eventually he shook his head.
“Let’s see now,” I said. “For me it was a time of much confusion, especially with all those raging hormones coursing through my body! But if you must know, I wasn’t exactly the only one who was guilty of behaving like that at the time?”
“Yeah? So who else was it that was in the same predicament as you then?” asked Karla, who was Keith’s girlfriend.
“If the truth must be known,” I replied, “just about all of us.”
“Oh, really?” Karla added. “Please, do tell!”
“Oh no, I don’t think so . . . not just now anyway. I think I need a pee break. How about someone else keeps the story going for a bit? What do you say Cyn, honey?”
She glared at me from across the table before her face then twisted into something of a smile. I felt sure she was thinking something along the lines of; “I’ll get you for this!”
Eventually she said, “Oh, I don’t know. I think Stan or Thomas might be the best ones to carry on from here, don’t you?”
I turned and looked at both of them, seeing two guys who appeared as if they were squirming in their seats and wishing that they were anywhere but here right at this moment. I smiled across at them and the squirming intensified.
“Yeah. That sounds like a plan!” I said, then stood up and excused myself from the table.
As I headed across the room toward the door adorned with the silhouetted image of a man in top hat and tails, I heard Karla ask, “Well? Who’s it going to be?”
Glancing back at the table I saw Thomas and Stan staring at each other, neither wishing to be the one put in the hot seat. I pushed open the bathroom door and disappeared inside, while going over the next part of the story in my own mind and smiling to myself as I went as I recalled those happy, though sometimes chaotic days.
* * * * *
If friends was good, then friends with benefits had to be even better, right?
Well, you would assume so, wouldn’t you? But if there is one thing I’ve learned up to now it’s that one should never assume anything. Never assume that the person you are most attracted to feels that same way about you and will reciprocate your feelings. Never assume that everyone you think is an asshole really is an asshole. Never assume that the people who you think really love you will remember simple little things like your birthday. And above all, one should never assume that they know what someone else is thinking or feeling.
No doubt about it, this being a teenager thing is fucking hard!
For now though, after working things out with Brian, I figured that I was in as good a position as anyone. The crabbiness I had felt that morning was now nothing but a distant memory and with all things being equal, despite some misgivings I knew I still had about things working out how I might have hoped, I could now see a little something of what my future might hold.
Yeah, I liked the idea of friends with benefits. Who knows what might come of it, if you’ll . . . errr . . . pardon the pun!
Or maybe I was assuming things there as well? I mean, would anything actually come of it? Could anything actually come of it?
Only time would tell I guess.
Being the weekend the one thing that I had tried to push as far from my mind as possible was school, and for the most part I was successful in doing that, but not entirely. Two things happened over the weekend that managed to bring things sharply back into focus for me.
That night after dinner, which proved to be a fairly tense affair in the absence of Matt, who was out hanging with some of his old school buddies, I decided I needed to get out of there.
Just as I was heading out the door to go over to Brian’s house again the phone rang. I heard Sean answer it and say, “Hang on dude, I’ll get him.” For an instant I felt like just stepping outside and shutting the door behind me, but something stopped me.
“Chad, it’s for you!” Sean called out, sticking his head into the hallway and seeing me with my hand on the door knob. Reluctantly I let go of the door and went to the phone and picked it up.
“Hello,” I said.
“Is that Chad?” a familiar sounding voice asked me, although I couldn’t quite put a name to it.
“Yeah. Who is this?” I replied.
“Where is he?”
“Where is who?”
“You know who I mean.”
“Look man, I’m sorry but I don’t know who you mean. Now who is this?”
“Where’s Thomas, you little cock-sucker?” the menacing voice said, sending an icy chill down my spine. All of a sudden I realised who it was and my blood ran cold. It was Leo.
“I . . . I don’t know,” I finally stammered.
“Don’t bull-shit me you little ass-wipe. Now tell me where he is! Otherwise it might be you, or that boyfriend of yours, that I come looking for the next time I feel like some fun!”
The threat of him coming after one of us was enough to have me shaking to my boots, but for some reason I felt surprisingly calm. There was no way I was going to tell Leo anything about Thomas, so I said the first thing that came into my head, which was, “Screw you,” then slammed the receiver down.
For a second I just stared at the telephone, as if I were half expecting it to come to life again, but thankfully it didn’t. It was then that from behind me I heard Sean say, “Chad? Are you alright. Who was that?”
I couldn’t remember the last time that I’d heard Sean ask if I were OK and to say the least I was a little surprised when I heard him. When I turned around I saw him standing in the doorway, looking quite concerned.
“I’m OK bro,” I answered, roughing up his hair a little as I did so. “It was just a guy from school being a jerk. We’ll fix him when we get back there on Monday.”
“Yeah, you and what army? The Geek Patrol? As if!” Sean replied, grinning.
“I’m heading over to Brian’s, if anyone wants me.”
“Alright, I’ll let ‘em know . . . if they ask me,” he replied, while sounding rather nonchalant about the idea.
“Thanks!” I replied, then headed for the door.
* * * * *
The walk over to Brian’s place in the early evening was rather pleasant, although it wasn’t entirely uneventful. At least I managed to make it there in one piece though.
Every time a car cruised by I found myself looking sideways at it, hoping that it wasn’t Leo and his buddies. One time an old Pontiac seemed to slow right down next to me and just crawl along at about the same speed I was walking at, with the guy behind the wheel taking a good long look at me as he cruised by. I had a pretty fair idea what it was he was after, but I wasn’t in the market for any of that, so I turned into the next yard that I came to and headed up their garden path. After I saw that my admirer speed off and disappear around the next corner I did an about face and headed back out onto the sidewalk, then turned my leisurely walk to Brian’s into a steady jog, arriving at his house a few minutes later covered in sweat, but with my body feeling alive.
After once again clambering over that god-awful front fence that his father loved so much I found him on his own, out the back of his house shooting some hoops. I stopped in the shadows of a tree that was close to his house and watched him for a few minutes without him even knowing I was there. I felt like a peeping tom, but it was worth it. In the warm night air I could see his hair was streaked with sweat and seemed to be matted to his damp forehead, while his wet T-shirt was clinging to his body in a way that was definitely getting a reaction from me. My heart was beating so fast I thought it was going to explode, while other, much more noticeable things were also happening. Because of this I thought it was probably best that I stayed hidden for at least a few minutes more, if I could.
It was only when the ball bounced my way, after a truly pathetic shot from Brian that hit the side of the house and bounced away and ended up at my feet that I stepped out of the shadows. He never was much of a jock, but I was having fun watching him try.
“Jesus!” Brian exclaimed as I tossed the ball back to him. “You scared the crap out of me Chad!”
“Sorry bud. I was just takin’ in the view.”
“How long were you standing there for?”
“Only a few minutes or so. I just had to get out of the house so I came over to see what you were up to. Want to go see a movie or do something?”
“Things that bad, huh?”
I shook my head. “No not really, but I just needed to get out, that’s all.”
It was just then that the back door opened and Brian’s mom came outside carrying a tray with some drinks on it.
“Oh, hello Chad. I didn’t realise you were here too. Give me a minute and I’ll get another drink for you as well.”
Before I could say anything she turned on her heels and disappeared back inside, allowing the screen door on the back of the house to slap shut in her wake.
“Too?” I asked, turning back toward Brian. “Who else is here? You’re not cheating on me already are you?”
I didn’t have to wait long for an answer, as the screen door opened once more and Stan stepped out into the night, stopping in his tracks and looking quite shocked when he spotted me.
“It’s Stan? Well, I’ll be damned!” I chuckled.
“Errr . . . Hi Chad,” he stammered, while not quite knowing who or where to look at.
“Now Chad,” Brian blurted out, grinning as he did so. “Don’t go jumping to the wrong conclusions. He’s just come over to hang for a while, that’s all.”
“Hey, I never said a word. But I must admit that I’m more than just a little bit surprised!”
“Yeah, well . . . not half as surprised as I was when I answered the front door,” he joked.
“Let me guess? He was in the neighborhood and just thought he’d drop by and say Hi?”
We both turned and looked back at Stan, who suddenly seemed to have shrunk in size, almost cowering in fear, as if he were waiting for the executioners verdict.
“Well then . . . I suppose he can come along if he wants to,” I finally offered. “So long as he behaves himself!”
“Come along? Where to?” Stan asked, having finally got his tongue back.
“To the movies,” I answered. “That’s what I came over for, to see if Bry wanted to hit the town. Do you want to come along? You do want to be . . . errr . . . one of us don’t you Stan? You know, hang with the guys, perve on all the cute guys at the mall and all that!”
“I . . . ummm . . .,” he started to stay, but soon stopped. For some reason he was going a bright shade of red and seemed rather tongue-tied.
“Oh Jesus, Stan,” Brian cried out in exasperation. “Do you really think we’re as dumb as we look? It’s okay . . . Cyn gave us the heads up about how she thought you were one of us! You’ve got nothing to worry about.”
Stan just looked at us for a minute, dumfounded and with his mouth half open, before finally stammering, “Sh-sh-she did? How could she know that?”
“Just call it women’s inutition or something. They’re all like that!” I scoffed.
“W – w – what about Cyn then? What would I tell her?”
“I wouldn’t worry too much about Cyn, pal. I’m pretty sure she’ll get over the heartbreak of losing you,” I answered.
“You really think so?”
Brian and I looked at each other and almost burst out laughing.
“Yeah, we think so!” we answered in unison.
* * * * *
The nearest mall was only a few blocks from Brian’s house, so after Brian had a quick change of clothes, and I ‘phoned home and caught Sean and asked him to let my folks know what we were up to, we set off in search of some entertainment.
On the way there I told them both about the call I received from Leo, as well as about the guy in the Pontiac that was freaking me out, with the predictable result being that this news then freaked out both Brian and Stan.
“What will we do if he comes after us at school?” Brian asked.
“We could run!” Stan offered, which cracked us all up and eased the tensions slightly.
Now that we had Stan away from Cyn and were starting to get to know him without her rather ominous shadow hanging over us, I have to say that he was kind of growing on me. Despite the nerdy appearance and demeanor he always seemed to have, he was actually quite funny and I had this feeling that he would quite quickly become ‘one of us’. The only question was what would happen when he fronted up to Cyn and actually admitted to switching sides. That could prove interesting, but I was fairly confident that all would be okay.
When we arrived at the cinema thankfully there weren’t too many other people there, so we settled on deciding to see some mindless teen comedy, grabbed some popcorn and drinks and headed inside to the appointed theatre. We were the first people there so we quickly settled ourselves into the back row seats, with Stan sitting between Brian and myself and looking rather nervous.
“I still can’t believe that Cyn told you that!” he said as we sat there watching a group of girls come in to find a seat, and looking up at us a couple of times and giggling. “I mean, I don’t even know if I am like you two.”
“What do you mean?” asked Brian.
“Well, I’ll admit to being curious about other guys,” he whispered. “But I’ve never actually done anything with another guy . . . unless you count the time when I was about six and I had to share a bed with my cousin who was visiting . . .”
“It doesn’t matter,” I said to him. “If you’re curious, that’s enough. You’ve got all the time in the world to work out who, or what, you are. And you’ve got us to help you if you need it.”
“Really?” he asked, sounding quite surprised.
“Yes. Really!” Brian answered, while placing a hand on Stan’s knee and leaving it there.
Stan and I both looked down at it, then I glanced up at Stan’s face. I thought for a moment that he was going to panic and flee, but after a few moments he seemed to relax again and placed one of his hands over Brian’s. I put my hand over the two of them and gave a gentle squeeze.
“Thanks guys,” Stan said. “This means a lot to me.”
“That’s okay,” I said to him. “But there’s just one catch.”
“What’s that?” he asked, suddenly looking worried again.
“You have to show us how to hack into the school computer,” I answered with a laugh. “I think my grades could do with some adjusting!”
* * * * *
It was nearing midnight when we finally made it back to Brian’s place, having laughed ‘til our sides hurt at the movie and then stopping at the cafeteria for a coffee afterwards. On the way back there very little was said about Leo, or anyone else for that matter, as we just chatted with Stan and tried to get to know him a little better.
As it was so late Brian suggested that we could all crash at his place that night, which was okay by us, so we threw some spare mattresses down on the floor of their garage, which his folks had stashed for just such emergencies. After grabbing some blankets and pillows we made ourselves at home, stripping down to our shorts and snuggling up beneath the blankets and talking until well into the night, before finally succumbing to the need for sleep.
At some point during the night, which I think was sometime just before dawn, something caused me to wake up. I couldn’t be sure what it was but as I lay there in the near darkness, straining to hear any sound, I looked across toward where Brian and Stan were sleeping. There was some streetlight coming in through the small window along the side wall of the garage and so it wasn’t totally dark. I could distinguish the shape of one of my friends, Stan, but Brian’s mattress was empty and I couldn’t see him anywhere.
For one moment I thought he may have gone back into his own bedroom, preferring the comfort of his own mattress to that which we were sleeping on, but just then I heard the familiar sound of a squeaking door hinge, followed by the sound of someone walking across the floor. I looked up and watched as a shadow crossed the garage and headed my way, then in silence dropped down onto the floor beside me, lifted my blankets and slid beneath them onto my mattress.
“I hope that’s you Bry?” I whispered.
“Sssshhhh!” he whispered in reply.
I felt a hand softly caress my cheek, sending a shiver though my body. Next I felt the hotness of his breath on my face, as his hand slid down my body and settled on my abdomen, his fingers gently stroking my skin.
“But what about Stan?” I whispered.
“No, I wasn’t looking for a threesome. You’re the only one that I want for now,” Brian replied.
“But he might see us?”
“Then it’ll be an education for him, won’t it?” he answered. For a moment I could see him grinning in the darkness, just before he leant forward and placed his lips over mine.
Rolling his body in closer to mine I could feel his hardness against me, and I was sure he would be able to feel mine against him, trying to escape the confines of my shorts, but neither of us made any move to go there. It seemed that we were both content just to be working our mouths against each other and probing each other with our tongues, at least for now.
When he broke away from me a few moments later Brian pulled back and sat there gazing down on me.
“Wow!” I whispered. “You’re getting better with every kiss.”
“I’m not the only one,” he giggled in reply.
“Is this what you call ‘friends with benefits’ then?”
I caught a flash of light as he grinned down at me.
“I think I could get used to this,” I added.
“Yeah. Me too,” he replied, before leaning in once more and kissing me again.
* * * * *
When we awoke a few hours later, with the early morning sun streaming in through the garage window, Brian had his back to me and I had my arms wrapped tightly around him, with the palm of one hand flat against his smooth stomach and my fingers slipped just inside the elastic of his shorts.
It felt good to wake up that way, holding onto someone I cared about a great deal. It felt rather odd however, to find Stan still laying in his bed, propped up on one elbow and watching us.
“Hey guys,” he said to us. “That looks nice and cosy.”
“Yeah, it is,” I replied. “You want to join in?”
I said it jokingly, but gauging by the expression that soon came over his face I think he may have thought I was serious there for a minute.
“You can relax Stan, he was only joking,” Brian quickly reassured him.
“Sometimes it’s a bit hard to tell just what Chad means, you know?”
“Yeah Stan, I know exactly what you mean,” Brian replied, before rolling over and giving me a hug.
“Have you guys done this very often then?”
I shook my head. “Would you believe that this was the very first time we’ve gotten this close?”
Now it was Stan’s turn to shake his head.
“He’s telling the truth Stan,” Brian offered. “Until a few days ago we’d never even kissed.”
“But I’ve thought for ages that you guys were like, an item? Cyn thinks so too!”
“Nah, we’re just friends,” I replied.
“Friends,” added Brian. “But friends with benefits!”
“Well, you know something? I think you two look good together!”
“Thanks Stan. It was sweet of you to say so,” Brian replied.
“I just hope I can find . . .,” he began to say, before cutting himself short.
“I know you’ll find someone Stan. They tell me that there’s someone out there for all of us,” I said, trying to reassure him.
“I hope you’re right about that.”
“I know I’m right about that,” I replied.
It was just then that we heard footsteps approaching, through the doorway into the garage, and Brian and I realised that we were about to be busted in bed together. With barely seconds to spare Brian rolled off my mattress and back onto his, hastily pulling the blanket up over him so that only his head was showing.
He managed to give me a wink just as the door opened and his father came into view.
“You know, you boys should really be up and about by now,” he said. “I know that the day is half gone already, but if you’re interested, there’s some breakfast waiting for you.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was already ‘up’.
“Thanks Dad,” Brian answered. “We’ll be out in a few minutes.”
There was a muffled grunt and then the door closed once more.
“Man, that was close,” Stan said.
“Well guys, I guess our pyjama party is now over?” Brian said, as he threw back his blanket to reveal a body that was fast developing into something worth showing off. Both Stan and I looked him up and down, with neither of us missing the unmistakable bulge in his shorts. I glanced up at Stan, whose eyes were just about popping out of his head.
“Hands off Stan,” I warned. “That’s all mine.”
Quickly he looked away while Brian and I both had a little chuckle, then the three of us got up and pulled on last nights clothes and wandered out into the kitchen.
* * * * *
I made it home by mid-morning, letting myself inside and calling out to let anyone who might be home know that I was there. No one replied, so I guessed that the house was empty. Going through to the kitchen I grabbed a carton of juice and drained it of its’ contents, before spotting something on the kitchen table, which proved to be a rather terse sounding note that was left there just for me it seemed. Apparently Sean had neglected to tell my folks what I was doing and I just knew I’d be paying for that later on today when they arrived home.
After going up to my bedroom I stripped off and threw my towel over my shoulder, then headed butt naked down the hall to take a shower, pausing for a moment by the hallway mirror and taking a look at myself in the mirror.
Looking myself up and down, while running the palms of my hands over my still too pudgy torso, I came to the realization that something was different about me, although I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. Had I really changed, or was it just my over-active imagination again? Maybe I was finally growing up. Or maybe I was just kidding myself again. I couldn’t be sure of what it was, but I knew that it was something.
Just as I was about to continue my journey to the bathroom the telephone rang, almost right beside me on the upstairs landing. Without even thinking I reached out and picked it up and said, “Hello.”
“Is that you Chad?” a familiar voice asked.
“Yeah Thomas, it’s me,” I answered as I leant against the wall. “How are things man?”
“Never better,” he laughed into the phone.
“Pleased to hear it.”
“How are things with you and Brian?”
“Never better,” I answered. “Thanks for your advice!”
“Hehe . . . you’re most welcome,” he replied. “So, are you up to anything today?”
“Nothing much. I was just about to take a shower actually. Why do you ask?”
“I . . . ummm . . . was hoping you might like to swing around by my old place today. Mom and me are coming down to pick up the last of our stuff, so if you weren’t doing anything . . .’
“Yeah? Hell man, wild horses couldn’t keep me away!”
“Great. I’ll see you there a bit after lunch time, alright? Call Brian and Cyn and that goofball boyfriend of hers too if you like!”
“It’s a date!” I exclaimed.
As he disconnected I could still hear him laughing.
I guess that was the second thing that happened that weekend that brought my mind back to the recent events at school.Previous Chapter