How I Got Carter

Chapter 14

By Roe St. Alee

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The next few weeks are a blur. With November quickly approaching, my world is ramping up on all fronts. Now that we've settled into our routines at school, my teachers are starting to assign papers, reports, and midterm projects. We've played our first handful of games in soccer, and division play has started, which means we have games two or even three days a week now, with practice on all the days in between to hopefully revise our strategies before our next game.

And that's only the beginning. Drama auditions came and went, and much to my surprise Katy won't be the only star player this season at the theater. My hard work and practice with Amhearst High's most talented thespian must have paid off, because when I checked on the assignment sheet taped to the outside of the drama classroom door, my name was written right next to the role of “Puck.” Three days a week after soccer practice I can count on heading back into the locker room, showering off as fast as I can and running across the school to play practice.

But most importantly, there's Carter.

Every minute I can find outside of soccer, drama, homework, and chores I'm spending with the one and only Carter Mulkins. Granted, those minutes need to co-occupy the same minutes that Carter isn't busy with school, homework, and football - so there aren't too many to go around, but I'm loving every single one I can get.

It's not just the time I spend with him, either. It's everything. Everything I do is better because of him. At home on a Sunday doing chores, I find that I don't mind the hour or so it takes me to clean up and vacuum the house, because I'm interrupted halfway through by a text message from Carter. Homework is a breeze, because I take a break after a few math problems and daydream about the next time I'll see him.

I'm starting to understand how everyone could tell when things started happening a few weeks ago. It's not like I was singing a joyful tune at the breakfast table that morning or running down the hallways of school shouting the news at the top of my lungs. But inside, whether or not I consciously knew it at the time, I was full to bursting with a special sort of happiness that you might call “Carter.”

A few weeks later, it sure as heck hasn't worn off.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as stoked on life as I am. Ko, for one, has not been taking it well that I'm involved with someone, and he's been mopey and whining up a storm about everything recently. For once the tables are turned and it's me getting some action while Ko is sitting deep in a dry spell. I don't feel bad for him in the least, but it's made him a bit difficult to work with.

“Complain, complain, complain,” Katy says, putting her hands on her hips and tapping her foot impatiently. “You can moan about it all day, but are you going to the game or not?”

Ko rolls his eyes and does his best to look as disinterested as possible, but I know how he works. Sure, a big football game is not high on his list of exciting things to do on a Friday night, but Katy and I are his best friends. If he doesn't hang out with us he probably won't do much of anything. Especially as he currently is without a girlfriend, or whatever the equivalent is for some who likes to play the field as much as Ko.

“It's not my scene,” he says. “Take me to a soccer game any day of the week, but football?”

It's almost a tradition at this point. Friday comes and I talk to Ko about going to the football game during study hall. He refuses. I text Katy and tell her to start bothering him about it. She tracks him down at some point during the day and demands that he attend. Under her persistence and pressure he cracks, then he steels his reserve all afternoon to make one final stand before our last class on Friday.

“Are you going to go or not?” I ask. “As much as I’d love to stand here and watch you break under pressure, ultimately giving in and agreeing to come to the game with us - your best friends - I need to get back to class before the bell rings.”

“Arghhhh!” Ko throws his hands up in frustration. “I don't want to go, and that's final.”

Katy smiles wickedly and slaps one of his upraised hands like he was looking to get a high five. He wasn't.

“But you ARE going, and that's final too,” she says.

“What if instead of going to the game we go see the new Spiderman movie and then we go play video games at my house?” A feeble attempt. Any other day of the week, maybe. But on a home football Friday he's not going to get any traction with that argument.

“Not a chance,” Katy says, shaking her head decisively. “There's only four games left this year, and I want to go. And Jackson...”

“Wants to go watch his boyfriend run around groping a bunch of dudes in tight pants,” Ko finishes.

“Shut up,” I look down the hall, but no one seems to have noticed Ko's accusation. “He's not my boyfriend,” I insist in a whisper.

Ko sighs. “Fine,” he concedes, “we can go watch your boyfriend.”

I bristle again and try to silence Ko, but Katy is too pleased with herself to help me out. I guess Ko has decided to trade his Friday night freedom for the chance to make fun of me for having a crush on Carter. If that's what it takes, I can live with it.

“Just in time,” Katy says, glancing down at her watch. “I need to run to class, boys. I can drive tonight, I'll pick you up at 6.” With a dramatically blown kiss, Katy does an about face and runs down the hall to her next class. I'm not sure how many seventeen year olds can run in high heels, but unsurprisingly – to me at least – Katy is one of them.

“Well?” Ko asks, “are you going to stand here and gloat, or do you need to run off to class to flirt with your boy toy?”

“Stop,” I plead. Ko's locker is right across the hall from the chemistry lab, and Carter or some other classmate could walk by at any second. I know he's ticked off that we've yet again ganged up and forced him into watching a football game, but he shouldn't take it out on me, cathartic as it must be.

He slams his locker and slings his bag over his shoulder. “You get it all at the end of the day, don't complain.”

With that, he walks off to his next class, leaving me practically alone in the hallway. Taking it as a sign that I am running very late, I hurry back into chem lab just as the bell rings. Thank goodness our pow wows are right across the hall.

Walking back into the room, I think more about Ko's reaction to our badgering. I get it all? What's that supposed to mean? Sure I'm making progress with Carter, but I'm not letting myself get too hopeful.

I head to my usual desk in the back corner of the room. Chemistry is a double period, and on days when we don't have a lab scheduled we usually get the second half of class as a sort of study hall to work on our omnipresent lab writeups and homework. For how much of a stickler he is, Nizen is pretty casual about our off days in the classroom. As long as we're doing something productive and working on chemistry in some way or another, he doesn't mind if we talk.

In other words, it's a prime opportunity to flirt with Carter.

I was a little bit late getting back into class, so by the time I get settled into my chair and get my books out, Carter's nose is already buried in his own. I try to take a mental snapshot of how he looks, so focused and serious. It's so determined and adult-like and... sexy. Careful not to stare too long, I start working on my first problem. I force myself to get one question finished before I shift my focus back to the beautiful boy next to me.

“Ready for your game tonight?” I ask.

“Yeah, I guess so,” he responds. He still hasn't looked up from his work, but I know how to get his attention.

“You guess so?” I fire back. “It's a conference game, you guys need to win.”

He laughs and puts his pencil down to look up at me. “You don't have to pretend you care that much about football,” he says, “I know you don't.”

“I do too,” I respond with admittedly less conviction than I should.

“No you don't.” Carter looks back down at his homework, but he's smiling now. I'll never get sick of knowing that I can make him smile.

For being a pretty big deal on the football team, Carter doesn't actually talk about it much. He'll tell me about funny stuff that happens at practice or the latest gossip about his teammates, but it's strangely hard to get him to open up about the game itself. I'm not sure if he holds back for my sake or his own, but I don't mind it. A lot of the other guys on the team live and breathe pigskin – it's all they ever talk about.

Next it's Carter who breaks our studious silence.

“You're going to the game?” he asks.

“Yeah, definitely,” I say, “Someone needs to give you tips at halftime, right?”

He laughs again. “Yeah? What did you see last game?”

“Well...” I try to rack my brain for anything I can criticize. It was definitely an empty threat for my part. I know football well enough to enjoy watching it, but that's about the extent of my acumen. Our last game was at a private school just a few miles away, so a lot of people went even though it was an away game. Carter pulled in a touchdown with a really nice catch in the third quarter, and we won by two or three scores. Not a lot to complain about.

“Your touchdown celebration,” I finally settle on. “Not your best effort.”

“Oh really?” he questions, his lips curled into a wry smile. “And with your drama background, you could give me some pointers?”

I shrug and shake my head. “I think it's just an intrinsic skill. You've either got it or you don't. It's all in the hips.”

He makes eye contact and gives me a peculiar look. It makes me want to melt.

“And you're gonna teach me how to use my hips?”

I will my face not to turn beet red. Whether he was trying to be dirty or not, I wish we were having this conversation somewhere other than the chemistry classroom. I'd love to be involved on decisions regarding the movement of Carter's hips.

He chuckles smugly to himself. “What are you doing after the game?”

My stomach does a backflip and there's no longer any hope that I'm not flushed. The unspoken “speaking of which” before his question was abundantly clear.

“Uhhh, nothing,” I say.

“You want to hang out?”

“Yeah,” I say weakly, “your place or mine?”

If I was standing up right now, I'd probably need to sit down. This shit makes me rubbery in the knees.

To anyone else, I'm sure it sounds like we're just setting up some time to hang out, play video games, watch sports, or whatever. Typical guy stuff. But the implication is obvious to me, and I know it's obvious to Carter too.

This is how it's been going for the last few weeks. We've settled into this sort of casual, easy routine of hanging out and hooking up. We'll knock out some homework, play video games for a while, and then it's only a matter of time until the conversation turns. It'll just be a look or a word or a suggestion. We don't talk about it, but it's like a switch flips and next thing we know pants are off and hands are wandering.

It's fucking awesome.

Mostly we've been hanging out at my place, which is less exciting in terms of the video games, but plenty exciting in terms of what's been happening afterward. So far, I've given Carter no less than five handjobs and two blowjobs, and he's jerked me off six times. I've been hoping against all hope that he'll go down on me, and this weekend was looking promising. Maybe tonight?

“We can hang at my house,” he says. A smile slowly makes its way across his lips. “Actually, I forgot. I have a surprise for you.”

I swallow hard. A surprise? This could be even better than I was hoping for.

After a few seconds of me waiting for more information or another teaser, I realize that Carter doesn't have anything else to say about it. He can't just leave me hanging like that.

“A surprise?” I ask casually, doing my best to pretend I'm not incredibly interested in finding out what it is.

“Hmm?” Carter is looking back into his textbook as though our conversation hasn't even been happening, and that my mention of a surprise is completely off the wall. Maybe he could teach me a thing or two about drama.

Before I can pry further into the matter, we're interrupted by a quick double vibrate from Carter's phone. Text message.

Carter takes a quick look to the front of the room to make sure Nizen isn't watching us and then checks his phone. His face falls and he puts his phone back down, now scowling into his book. I wonder what that's about.

I try to think of a clandestine way to ask him what the deal is with the text he just got, but I can't think of one. Finally it's Carter who breaks the silence.

“Anyway,” he says, “yeah, there's a surprise.” Again he doesn't take his eyes off his book. He's back to his normal self, messing with me. Whatever fleeting cloud passed over his head a second ago, it's gone now.

Rather than give him the satisfaction of me groveling before him for more details on his surprise, I look back down into my own textbook and get to work on some of my homework for Monday. I can be patient. I don't need to know what the surprise is. I can’t always let him put me on edge like this.

But he’s doing a hell of a good job.

*******

I'm already worried as I walk from my front door out to the road, where Katy's sedan is waiting for me. Surprisingly, I'm not talking about the football game or hanging out with Carter afterward. For now I'm just worried that I didn't dress well for the game. It's in the 40s already, and I think it's only going to get colder.

I step into the car, which is about eighty degrees warmer than outside, and I'm thankful for once that both Ko and Katy are complete babies when it comes to the cold. Usually I'm sweating to death in either of their cars, but today it's a welcome relief from the bitter weather outside. After our usual greetings, we head off toward the stadium.

“Why are we going to this game again?” Ko asks about halfway through the twelve minute drive to our school's sports complex.

Even from the back seat I can tell Katy is rolling her eyes. I don't need to see it, I can feel it.

“Because you are seventeen, in high school in the Midwest, and this is what you do on a Friday night.”

“What if this isn't what I want to do on a Friday night? What if I can think of about twenty other things I'd rather be doing on a Friday night?” he asks, more whining rhetorically than actually looking for any kind of answer.

Katy sighs before re-engaging. “When you agreed to come to the game this afternoon, I distinctly remember you promising not to be a baby about it. Jackson, do you recall this?”

“Nope,” I say, prompting Katy to turn back and glare at me for a split second. “I remember Ko promising not to be a HUGE baby about it.”

“I'm not being a huge baby,” Ko says, “I'm just seeing if by some miracle I can get you both to change your minds at the last minute and we can go do something...”

“Not happening,” I say before he even has the chance to finish.

“I know I'm not going to convince you,” he says, emphasizing the word 'you.' “But I thought there might still be hope for Katy. You need to go to the game to see your boyfriend play football.”

“He's not my boyfriend!”

I regret how worked up I sound as soon as I see the edge of Ko's smile. I forgot that Ko's plan to amuse himself tonight is to bust my balls about Carter. I can't bite when he dangles bait out there in front of me. Luckily Katy jumps back into the conversation to rebuke Ko one last time.

“We're going to the game,” she says in a motherly tone, “and that's final. You can sit there and mope all night if you want, or you try to have a good time.”

Ko stares out the window and sulks dramatically, apparently choosing the former. “I don't wanna have a good time...” he mutters to himself. Katy and I talk football the rest of the ride, and Ko continues giving us the silent treatment.

By the time we get to the stadium from the parking lot, the first quarter is practically over. I promised Carter I would go to the game, but I never said that I would be on time, right?

As we approach the entrance gate, Katy digs through her purse for our tickets and finally manages to find them among the bobby pins, chap stick, makeup, chewing gum, and whatever else girls keep in their purses. Tickets in hand, we step up to the ticket checker, an older guy who is completely decked out in our school colors from head to toe. It's bad enough that we're rolling up late, but this guy puts us to shame in the school spirit department. We hand him our tickets and try not to look too out of place.

“Hold on just a second.” He squints his eyes and looks the three of us up and down. “The three of you are Eagles fans?”

We all steal furtive glances at each other before looking back up to him and nodding as earnestly as possible.

“Huh,” he says as though he doesn't believe it for a second. “I'm not so sure. You see, I only let Eagles fans through my gate, and I don't see a single piece of school spirit on any of you.”

I look at Katy and Ko and realize that he's absolutely right. Not one of us wore anything school related. Unfortunately we didn't realize that we'd be stopped and interrogated by a superfan on the way into the game.

“It's cold,” Katy says as cutely as possible, flashing her biggest, most innocent smile. “We had to wear all our warm clothes for the game.”

“Hmmph,” the man replies. “I'll let you in. But you might want to stop at the souvenir tent and get yourself a nice Eagles scarf or maybe a hat.”

We all nod in agreement.

“Big game tonight, huh?” he says as he rips the short ends off all of our tickets.

“Yeah,” Ko says, “it sure is.” I wonder if it's as clear to the ticket checker as it is to me and Katy that he has absolutely no idea what he's talking about.

“What do you think?” he continues. “If we win tonight do you think we have a shot at the conference?” Apparently the old man either hasn't figured it out yet, or wants to test us one more time before letting us enter the stadium.

“Uhhh...” It's too late now to back down. “I think that...” Ko looks over to me for help. Getting nothing, he looks to Katy. She shrugs. “I think that anything could happen?”

The ticket checker looks at him suspiciously for a second, then smiles and claps him hard on the back. ”That's the spirit!” He waves us through the gate. “Enjoy the game, you three. Go Eagles!”

“Go Eagles...” we all murmur, trying not to laugh.

We do a quick lap around the stadium and by a stroke of luck manage to find decent seats in the eighth row right above the 30 yard line. We make our way across the row and I glance up at the scoreboard. It's the beginning of the second quarter, and the Eagles trail 0-7. Not the score I was hoping for, but at least I didn't miss any of the offensive action. Then I'd have to figure out if Carter scored a touchdown or not, and make sure I knew exactly what happened, and then lie about it later and pretend I watched the whole thing.

I get my head in the game and figure out where things stand. Looks like we have the Beavers backed up deep on their side of the field, and it's 3rd down. If we can force a punt, we should have decent field position on our next possession. I glance over to either side of me and wish that I could talk about something like this with Katy, who is paying close attention - but only to the hot boys running around the field - or Ko, who is furiously texting away on his phone.

The Beavers fail to get the first down and punt the ball back just past the 50. As the return team celebrates the field position and comes back to the bench, I get my first good look at Carter as he comes onto the field.

If I didn't know his jersey number – 87, just like his favorite player, Jordy Nelson – I would still be able to spot Carter from a mile away, even with his helmet and pads on. It's something about the way he walks. The easygoing confidence in his stride, the flawless shape and definition of every part of his body squeezed into that football uniform. It's the epitome of perfection, and I find myself slack-jawed every time I see it.

At practice, if we ever happen to bump into the football team, I find it impossible to take my eyes off him. But here tonight under the lights with the crowd cheering around me, it's all I can do not to get out of my seat, jump the fence, and tackle that boy myself.

“Uff!”

A sharp pain in my ribs interrupts my reflection on the beauty of Carter Mulkins. I look over at Ko, who has put his phone away in favor of jabbing me in the side with one of his elbows. He's wielding one of his biggest, shit-eating grins. It’s not a particularly uncommon occurrence, but it still bothers me.

“What was that for, asshole?” I ask indignantly.

“Look who it is,” he says, directing me to the field with his eyes. “It's your not boyfriend.”

“Shut up, he's not my…” I grit my teeth and frown in defeat. “You know what I mean.”

Ko grins to himself at his trick, and surprisingly turns back to watch the game. I look to Katy for support but she just shrugs at me.

“He's looking damn good in that uniform, I don't blame you for staring,” she says.

“It's a football game, of course I'm staring at it, that's what you do!”

Ko snickers. There's no winning with these two.

The offense lines up and progresses down the field in short order. A few running plays to pick up some yards, a nice screen pass to the tight end for a gain of 15, and then a short pass up the middle to Carter. We reach the 15 before getting jammed up on a few plays, bringing us to a 3rd and 11.

The quarterback takes the snap and throws a quick pump fake before twisting to his left and handing the ball off to our running back, Wes Wayton. Wes runs to the outside and finds a little space, picking up a handful of yards. He jukes his way past two more defenders, and breaks for the end zone. There's only one defender between him and the goalline, and BAM! Carter flies in from the outside and throws a massive block, clearing the lane for an easy touchdown.

The fans go crazy, and even Ko is swept up in the euphoria of a touchdown. We jump around, hug, and high five all the strangers around us in celebration. Even though he wasn't the one holding the ball, I'm so proud of Carter for making that play. There's no glory in throwing a block, but if he hadn't done it, we wouldn't all be on our feet right now screaming the fight song.

After things settle down, I decide to shoot Carter a text. He probably won't see it, but what the hell?

[ Nice block out there :) ]

I think about texting more, maybe something along the lines of “I want to get you naked and have my way with you,” but I decide against it, even though my fingers are itching to type it. Maybe if he gets a touchdown of his own.

The next few possessions come and go with little in the way of an offensive spark, and before we know it, the whistle blows on the end of the 2nd quarter. Both teams head back to their locker rooms to talk about their strategy or whatever it is football teams talk about at halftime. I make a mental note to ask Carter next time I see him. Tied at 7-7 it's still anyone's game, but I'm feeling good about it. We're playing well, and the tide seems to be shifting in our favor, slowly but surely.

The band is starting to play their entrance cadence when Katy suddenly pops to her feet.

“It's freezing!” she exclaims. “Do you guys want some hot chocolate?”

Ko and I both respond affirmatively and Katy bobs and weaves her way down the bleachers without so much as a goodbye. When she reaches the ground I see a tall figure in a varsity jacket at the bottom of the stands. Of course. Jeff.

He and Katy are still head over heels for each other, but aren't an official item for whatever reason. If I ask Katy about it, she just responds cryptically about waiting until the right time and not rushing into things. Whatever. If you're obviously right for each other, you should date. It doesn't seem that complicated to me.

Our numbers reduced, Ko and I scoot closer together and huddle for warmth. We sit in silence for a minute or two and try to think warm thoughts. That's what I'm thinking about at least, and I assume Ko is doing the same. He has a better jacket than I do, but he's a lot thinner than me, which is saying something.

The Beavers marching band plays their first song, a Michael Jackson mashup, and Ko and I both watch with a moderate amount of attention and enthusiasm. Their band is about the same as ours – decent, but not spectacular. The break between songs lags on a few seconds longer than it needs to and Ko breaks the silence between us.

“Not a lot of production from your not-boyfriend out there tonight,” he cracks.

“He's...” I stop myself, finally learning my lesson and not acknowledging his joke. “He's doing what he can. They've only thrown him the ball twice so far.”

“Yeah, I guess,” he responds. “He had a nice block on that touchdown though.”

I'm pleasantly taken aback at Ko making that comment. He said something nice instead of being a brat. Plus, he was paying attention to football for possibly the first time in his life. As much as we give him crap for not caring about sports, he's smart and perceptive. He could get into sports if he tried.

“We're worried.”

I'm snapped out of my pride and admiration in a heartbeat.

“What do you mean by that?” I ask. A second ago he was being cool, but now he's trying to take the conversation some place else, and I don't like it.

The insinuation is clear, but I want him to spell it out for me. We're talking about Carter. I've never gotten the feeling that Ko is especially fond of Carter, and he's been making snarky remarks about it all night. If he has an issue, I think it's time he comes out and says it.

“Carter,” he says, and leaves the word hanging in the air. I let the name ring in the silence between songs for the world's longest several seconds. Thankfully the band starts playing again before I have to respond. But Ko is a master manipulator, and try as I might to not let it bother me, he always knows exactly what to say to get me worked up.

“Come on,” he insists, “I know you want to talk about him.”

“What do I have to talk about?” I ask. I try not to get baited into it, but Ko's persistence is second only to Katy's, and he knows me even better than she does.

“You know exactly what I mean,” he says. “And you're yelling, so I think you're probably worried about the same thing we are.

I want to tell him that I'm not pissed off about it, and that I'm only yelling because the marching band is playing. He's right of course, but I’d rather not give him the satisfaction.

I let my thoughts ruminate a bit while the marching band wraps up their song. Shouting this conversation is only going to make it worse, and I need a second to think. It's obvious what Ko's driving at. He thinks Carter isn't into me, and that he's just enjoying himself without any real attachment. I'm spending every minute with him getting more and more involved, and Carter's just hanging out. I get it, but I don't believe it.

Finally they finish playing and I turn back to Ko to continue.

“I'm not sure what you want me to say,” I tell him. “Carter and I are hanging out, and that's more than I ever thought would happen. I'd call that a win. And whatever happens happens.”

Ko looks at me skeptically. “Is that really how you see it though?”

“I... I don't know,” I stammer. I don't. I can tell myself a thousand times that I feel one way or the other about it, but I still can't put my finger on it.

Ko puts his arm around my shoulder and pulls me in for a little bit of a side hug. “We just don't want you to get hurt, Jackson,” he says. “So don't let yourself get shit on. When you hang out tonight, think about it. If I'm wrong – and I seriously hope that we're totally wrong – you're going going to be so stoked about it that you won't even be mad at me.”

I stare daggers at him, but I still lean into his embrace. Asshole. He always makes such a good argument, and I know he's coming from a good place. If Ko's wrong about me and Carter I won't hold it against him. I will instead proudly hold my body against Carter's, and I'll be damn glad that I'm doing it.

“What the hell guys? Did you already talk about it?”

Katy stands over us, carefully balancing three steaming hot cups of hot chocolate between her hands. She looks back and forth between me and Ko and few times then comes to the conclusion that she has in fact missed our entire heart to heart.

“Well, fine.” She sits down in a huff and begrudgingly hand us both our beverages.

“Don't worry,” I tell her, “Ko made your point.”

“He wasn't too mean about it, was he?”

That manages to get a laugh out of me, and between the hot chocolate and the fact that my two best friends care about me enough to brave an awkward conversation while a marching band is playing, I decide that I actually feel a little bit better.

It's annoying that Katy and Ko are so up my butt about my personal business, but that's exactly what I need them to do. I've been worrying about this exact same thing non-stop since the day Carter drunkenly tried to make out with me at that party during the summer. The more we've hung out, and the more we've fooled around, the more it's made me wonder. What am I to Carter?

I feel a vibration in my pocket. Text message. I can feel my heart racing before I even pull out my phone. It's Carter, I know it is.

[ Don't worry, I got a TD for you in the 2nd half ;) ]

Despite how cold it is, I feel myself start to sweat. Why does Carter say things like that if he doesn't like me for real. I know we're friends and all, but I guarantee he isn't texting other dudes from class that he's going to score a touchdown for them.

I consider showing the message to Ko and Katy, but decide against it. They've made their case, and I need to fly solo for the rest of the night on this one. I've been wondering about all this longer than either of them have, and I'm the one who needs to get to the bottom of it.

But how?

Thankfully I don't have to think about it any longer, because the crowd roars as the Eagles jog back onto the field from underneath our bleachers. It's a Friday night in the fall, the game is tied, and there are conference title implications. Even Ko can't stay seated as the team pours out of the locker room for the third quarter.

The Eagles get the ball to start the half, and after a short glimmer of hope and a handful of first downs are forced to punt. The Beavers don't even fare as well as that, and they punt the ball back to the home team. Things go on like this through the rest of the 3rd, and both teams manage to pick up a field goal to keep the game tied.

Finally, with 6:21 left in the 4th quarter, the Eagles start to get something going. They break off a huge run to the weak side, and then strike quickly with two short passes for another first down. The crowd starts adding a bit more noise and excitement, and the momentum continues to build with two more nice rushes for another first down. 1st and 10 on the Beavers 26.

Our quarterback scrambles on the next play for 9 yards, setting up the the ultimate red zone situation. It's 2nd and short, within striking distance of the goal. This is what defenses hate. Literally every play is a good option for the offense. The obvious choice would be a quick draw for the 1st down. But if the defense plans on that, maybe you could go for a big passing play? But then again, if you try to stop the pass, maybe they'll throw a screen or run to the outside. The list goes on. This could be huge for the Eagles.

Carter lines up wide on the left side. The quarterback takes the snap and drops three steps. He looks to the left side just as Carter hooks back in towards the line of scrimmage and...

Pump fake left. It must have been part of the play, because Carter cuts over to the sideline and the safety bites. A second later the quarterback lobs the ball into the back right corner of the end zone and...

Touchdown Eagles!

The stadium erupts and the band blares the fight song across the field. What a play.

The cheering hardly subsides by the time the Eagles hit the extra point, and no one in the stands has sat back down as they line up for the kickoff. One thing is abundantly clear. The momentum of this game has shifted. The Beavers' offense hasn't done much all game, but now with the crowd back into it and less than five minutes remaining, a comeback might be out of the question. There's only one little issue.

Carter still owes me that touchdown.

I crunch the numbers in my head and figure that the Eagles should get the ball back at least once before the game is over. However, they'll be trying to kill time when they get it, so they might not pass it again. Honestly Carter's best chance might be if the Beavers score. I know it's wrong to root against my own team like this, but I really want that touchdown.

Shockingly, the Beavers are able to overcome their surroundings and move the football. They pick up a few successful plays, and then build on their new found momentum with a big gain, taking the ball up to almost the fifty. Maybe I'll get my wish after all.

The next play, however, does not go well for the Beavers. The quarterback is under pressure and scrambles wide to the outside to escape one of our biggest, scariest linebackers. Even with the game on the line, I don't blame the guy for running away. He spots a receiver down the field, pulls his throwing hand back, and...

BAM!

He gets hit in the back and the ball flies out of his hand, just before he manages to throw. It's a fumble! Everyone dives for the ball at once, and after a few seconds half the players from each team are part of a huge pile of sweaty boys, all waiting for the referee to tell them who came out on top. I could see myself rather enjoying being a part of a pileup like that, and I sort of regret the fact that soccer doesn't afford any similar opportunities.

After a decent amount of time spent trying to disentangle everyone, the head referee blows his whistle and points toward the far end zone. Eagles ball!

The fans go crazy one more time as the offense takes the field. It's likely that we'll just run out the clock as much as we can, but I still have a little hope that they might try throwing the ball to Carter. After two quick running plays however, it seems unlikely.

The next play is another easy handoff to the.. wait, no it's not! The quarterback and halfback made a brilliant fake, and as most of the defense tries to chase down the running back on the right side, the QB slips off to the left more or less unnoticed. He has a man open down field, unleashes a big pass, and...

It's caught by Carter! He had his man beat by a few steps when he made the catch and doesn't let up a bit on his way to the end zone.

Touchdown Eagles!

And perhaps more importantly, touchdown Carter. I'm absolutely beaming as we give the team a huge roar of cheers and applause – he scored me a touchdown.

I feel a little bit like I’m floating as the clock ticks down to zero. The Beavers fail to score and the Eagles run out the game with a few more easy, safe running plays. The fans are on their feet celebrating a perfect Friday night in the Midwest. A win for the home team on a cold, clear November evening. It really doesn't get any better than that.

After we all sing the alma mater, the three of us slowly make our way into the flow of the crowd leaving the stadium. We get back outside the gate, but as Ko and Katy turn toward the parking lot, I make to head in the opposite direction.

“So this is it, huh?” Ko asks with a smirk. “You're heading off to spend time with your boy?”

Of course he wouldn't miss one last chance to razz me.

“Yep,” I say. “What do you guys want to tell me about it?”

Katy puts her hands on her hips and looks me up and down. “You'll think about what we talked about?”

I send her back an annoyed look, which doesn't faze her nearly as much as I wish that it did.

“It's going really well,” I try to tell them.

I try to be mad at them for giving me so much grief, but I can't be. I know that their number one concern is me, and if they didn't want me to be happy, they wouldn't be hassling me in the first place.

“You guys,” I assure them, “don't worry about me. I'm a big boy, I can take care of myself.”

They still don't look convinced.

“It's going really well,” I say again, half to them and half to myself. I really hope so.

In the end, Ko and I shrug at each other and turn to walk away. Katy, on the other hand, decides it's a good time to leap upon me with a huge hug. I hate to admit it, but I kind of wanted one.

As I walk over to the locker room exit where all the players come out after the game, I have a chance to think a little more about everything we talked about without all the noise, excitement, and distraction of the football game.

The most annoying thing about having friends like Ko and Katy is that they know me well enough to pretty much always be right when it comes to this stuff. And as much as I do think (or at least hope) they're wrong, I know there's at least a bit of truth to their worries. Carter and I have gotten further along than I ever dreamed was possible, but it's still not in a good place, at least not by their standards.

After all, Carter has a girlfriend. I've never heard him say a single nice thing about her, except maybe that she gave him head once, if that counts. But they're still together, so in the end he chooses her over me. I'm getting the sex, but she still gets all the love and affection, at least officially. I try to tell myself that it doesn't bother me, but it does. Being Carter's dirty little secret is fun and exciting, but I can't pretend that I don't want more.

My thoughts are interrupted as the locker room door bursts open and the first couple of football players start pouring out, freshly showered.

Is it weird that I'm here? Will it seem strange that I'm standing out here waiting with all the moms and girlfriends?

I have to put my fears and doubts on hold though, because the next person to file out of the locker room is none other than Carter himself. He looks fantastic. Better than I've seen him in a long time, which is saying something. He's freshly showered and dressed in sweatpants and a training jacket. I can't help but notice as he walks that he doesn't seem to be wearing anything under the sweatpants, as evidenced by the subtlest little bulge I can see swinging back and forth as he walks. I feel my heart skip a few beats as I think about that. Does he do this stuff on purpose, or is he just naturally this sexy all the time?

He's also beaming from ear to ear, clearly high off the excitement off a big win, capped off with his very own touchdown. Better yet, his smile gets even bigger when he sees me waiting, and he hurries over to meet me.

“I told you!” he whoops as he approaches. “I knew it was gonna happen tonight!”

I can't help but share in that infectious joy of his, and before I know it, all my doubts and worries are gone. We're together, Carter's happy, I'm happy. I feel like a million bucks as we start to walk to the student parking lot. Talking and joking about all the things at the game.

We're most of the way there when it suddenly occurs to me: Carter doesn't drive. At least not that I know of. The few times we've hung out, his mom or dad have dropped him off at my house, or there was that one time he came over with his family's driver. But I've never seen him drive a car before. I don't think he even has one.

“Do you have...” I start to ask the question, but he cuts me off.

“No, the driver isn't here,” he says with a embarrassed sigh.

I laugh. “I was going to ask if you had a car, but I guess I was wondering about the driver, too.”

“I'm still upset that you even found out about that,” he says, with the cutest little hint of embarrassment. “Even I think it's a little bit weird sometimes.” Carter stops walking and turns to face the next car in the row. “Well, here we are,” he announces.

I look up just in time to see the car's parking lights automatically turn on and the door handles slide gracefully out from the car’s sleek frame. We're standing in front of a bright, red Tesla. Holy. Shit.

“Is this your car?!” I ask incredulously.

I step around the car to get a better look at it. It's beautiful. Every square inch of it looks amazing from every angle. I've seen commercials, but I've never seen one in person. I didn't know anyone in our town even had one. He must be joking with me. Carter doesn't have a car, much less this $100,000 masterpiece sitting in front of me.

Carter, however, instead of denying ownership of the Tesla, just shrugs and looks a bit uncomfortable. “It's my dad's car, but I was allowed to drive it tonight, as long as I went straight home after the game.”

While I'm a little bit disappointed that we can't stop anywhere for food on the way home, I can't complain. We're driving home in a Tesla.

Once I'm done gawking, Carter tosses his bag in the trunk and we get into the car. The inside is even nicer than the outside. All leather interior, insanely comfortable, with what had to be the largest set of computer screens I've ever seen in a vehicle. I feel like I'm sitting in the future, and the future is looking very bright. With the push of a button, the car springs to life and Carter silently pulls out of the parking lot and into the road. It drives like a dream.

Carter's phone suddenly chirps that he has a text message and I'm struck with an interesting thought.

“Where's Beth at tonight?” I ask innocently. I feel like Carter's chosen me over her tonight, and I want to rub it in a little bit if possible. Granted, maybe she's just out of town or busy with family plans tonight, but maybe she's sitting at home crying wondering how I'm stealing her boyfriend. It's a possibility, right?

“She went home after the game,” Carter says nonchalantly. “She has a bunch of stuff to do tomorrow.” He pauses for a second, then decides to keep going. “Plus, I told her I already had plans.” He turns to me and winks, which I don't even need to tell you is the hottest thing in the world.

I decide to push my luck even further. “Dude, you don't have to hang out with me tonight, I'll totally understand if...” I trail off and search Carter's face for a reaction.

“I like...” He stops and decides not to continue.

“What?” I ask.

Carter shakes his head. “It doesn't matter.”

I feel like when people say that something doesn't matter, they're always on the verge of saying something really important. You can't let them off the hook.

“What?” I insist. “You obviously wanted to say something.” I let my words hang over his head in silence and I commit myself to not saying anything until Carter just tells me what he was going to say. After almost ten seconds of silence, he finally breaks down.

“I was going to say that I like hanging out with you more than her anyway,” he quickly mumbles, as though if he says it slightly faster and quieter that I won't hear it.

I can't help but smile at that, although I try to keep a look of concern on my face for his sake. Secretly, that's exactly what I was hoping for.

“Sorry?” I say tentatively, even though I'm not at all. “Sort of,” I admit.

Carter laughs when he hears me apologize, which breaks the tension. “Don't be sorry that you're more fun to hang out with than she is.” He looks over and makes eye contact for a split second before turning back to the road. “Especially, um... Especially lately.”

I see him blush a little bit, which confirms that he's talking about exactly what I was thinking (and hoping) he was talking about. Add another point to Ko's tally on that one, because it seems like pushing my physical relationship with Carter has been working even better than I thought it would. Get a boy hard (or off), and he's all yours.

We get to a stoplight, and when it turns green, Carter pulls over into the left turn lane and takes what is most definitely a wrong turn.

“I don't get to drive this much, so I figured we’d take the long way home,” he says. “Is that cool?”

“Uhhh, yeah,” I say. “I've never even seen a Tesla before, so I'm pretty stoked for an excuse to keep riding in it.”

“Cool,” he replies. He smiles as he drives, and I wonder if it's because of me or because of the car. Both, perhaps?

Reassured by Carter's words about me and Beth, I'm suddenly possessed with an unnatural courage. I would never do something like this, but it's getting to me, everything is. Maybe it's the fact that Carter chose hanging out with me tonight over hanging out with his girlfriend. Perhaps it's that he told me how much he likes all the fooling around we've been doing lately. Or it might just be the fact that I'm sitting in a $100,000 luxury car.

Whatever the combination of factors it took to get me here, I get an urge inside me to do something crazy, and I don't stop myself. Instead, I reach over into Carter's lap and set my hand on his crotch.

He gasps when I make contact, but he doesn't stop me. I slowly start rubbing my hand into the fabric of his sweatpants, and before long I start to feel the outline of his cock swelling inside of them. Without anything on under them (I was right about that), it's easy to make out the shape of Carter's long, full shaft through his pants, and I carefully wrap my fingers around it and gently stroke up and down.

Carter's breathing gets heavier and he slides slightly forward in his seat to afford me better access to the area away from his seat belt. Encouraged, I increase my tempo and grip on the hard rod in his pants. I slide my hand down all seven inches of him and give his nice, full balls a squeeze before moving my attention back up and resuming my jerking. I know exactly what I want to do.

I look up away from the action for a second and try to figure out exactly where we are. I'm glad Carter decided to take the long way home, because even with the extra time I estimate that we only have about five more minutes before we get to Carter's house. It's not a lot of time, but I think it will be just enough for what I have in mind.

My hand runs up under his shirt and I regret not having more time to feel the smooth, tight skin of Carter's stomach before sliding it into his waistband. Commando was a good choice tonight, because without any other obstructions I have free access to everything inside those sexy gray sweatpants of his. Carter's dick is rock hard, and I run my fingers up and down its length, marveling at the smooth, warm perfection in my hands.

Shit, there's no time for this! I can't be dawdling around relishing every square inch of this boy right now – even though I want to. We only have about four minutes left before we get home, so if I'm going to make this happen, I need to make it happen now. With that in mind, I reach my other hand over and tug down Carter's waistband a little, releasing his impressive manhood.

Damn that thing is just perfect. Even if I wasn't so pressed for time, I wouldn't have been able to hesitate for a second. I push my head into Carter's lap and start sucking his cock.

Estimating that I have roughly three minutes left in our trip to get him off, I don't waste any time with subtlety or foreplay. I bury him in my mouth right off the bat, and he half gasps, half moans in response. The flavor of his precum hits my tongue as I pull back off, which is a good sign. He's so ready for this. I take him in again all the way and let him out, then again a few more times. It feels incredible to have his swollen head banging into the back of my throat, and I know he's liking it just as much as I am from the increased pace and volume of his breathing. Two and a half minutes.

“Holy shit, Jackson...” he moans as I continue to bob up and down frantically on his hard tool. “Oh god that feels amazing!”

I glance up for just a second and see how flushed he is. Carter is concentrating as hard as he can on the road, probably willing himself to ignore what's going on in his lap and focus on driving. It'll be a losing battle if I have anything to do with it. Two minutes.

Halting my rhythm, I pull back until just Carter's head is in my mouth and I swirl my tongue around it, savoring the sexy ridges and contours of his cockhead. That gets a response from him as well, as Carter jerks his hips up in pleasure and moans softly. I continue with my tongue, making sure to get all over the head and underneath it to his frenulum. Damn, his cock is so fantastic. I'd love to spend all day running my tongue all over it, but there isn't time.

With just over a minute left of our car ride, I move back into a steady tempo up and down his pole. I start with just the head, then extend down to take him a little deeper into my mouth, then a little further, and so on, until I'm sliding up and down the top six inches of Carter's shaft with each stroke of my mouth. Less than a minute now.

I slide my hand down to his balls and gently squeeze those two smooth, perfect globes. I can feel them starting to tighten up, so I know Carter has to be close. I'm still bobbing up and down across most of Carter's dick, and he's starting to move his hips in time with my ministrations. This timing might end up being about perfect, and I've got one last trick up my sleeve. Thirty seconds.

With no time left to lose, I take a deep breath and plunge my head down as far as it will go, burying Carter in my mouth all the way to the hilt. I commit myself to staying there as long as it takes, and within seconds Carter starts writhing in the pleasure of my deep throating.

“Jackson, that feels... oh fuck that's so... oh god, I'm... ah, ah, ah...”

At a loss for words, Carter bucks his hips up into my mouth and explodes into the back of my throat, sending pump after pump of his hot sperm down into my stomach. I pull off a little to breathe, which is tricky given that Carter is still painting the inside of my mouth with a heavy load of jizz. I make a conscious effort to favor keeping the car clean over putting fresh air in my lungs, and I pull off with a gasp just in time as the last dribble spurts out of Carter glistening cockhead and onto his abdomen.

“Jesus, Jackson!” he says between breaths. “That was amazing.”

I knew it was, but it feels really good to hear him say it.

After tucking his still throbbing member back into his pants, I pull my head up out of Carter's lap and notice that we've stopped in front of the gate leading to the Mulkins residence. Perfect timing. The gate is almost done swinging open, which means I finished Carter off with not a second to spare. I give myself an A+ for my efforts tonight, and if the dazed look on Carter's face means what I think it does, I think he would do the same.

Still panting, Carter pulls the car down their long driveway and into the spacious four car garage at its end. As soon as he gets the car in park, he turns to look at me.

“Jackson,” he says, his eyes blazing even in the dim light of the garage, “that was fucking insane.”

I want to relish his words, but it occurs to me that he might mean the fact that I made a move on him while he was trying to drive something that might cost more than my house. In retrospect, I would agree that it was “fucking insane.”

“Sorry,” I say meekly, suddenly deflated by the enormity of how dumb of an idea it was.

Carter suddenly looks at me like I just sprouted a unicorn horn on top of my head. “Sorry? For giving me the best blowjob of my life?”

“Oh,” I say, “I just thought that it was like, with the car, and then...”

Carter cuts me off with his classic, million dollar smile. He gestures his hands around the cabin of the Tesla and then around his crotch area. “Not a drop in the car. So there's nothing to worry about.”

I let his words sink in and try to savor the moment. The best blowjob of his life, and it was all me.

Forget Katy and Ko and all their doubts and worries, because let me repeat that, straight from the horse's mouth: I just gave Carter Mulkins the best blowjob of his life.

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