Hey all my readers. RichardAdams here. Once again, thank you again for all the comments and support. A chapter or two ago, I said that I would not respond to your emails. I apologize for what I said. I am still not responding to them, but I will read any email you send to me. And if you have any question, I will answer it at the beginning of every new chapter.
Ashley, thank you the email. It's great to know that even women are reading my story. I'm sorry, but I will not friend you on Facebook. I would like to remain anonymous. But if you have any more questions, feel free to email me or post something in the comments. I check and read them everyday.
Luke, thanks for the message. It's also great to see that I have readers on the other side of the world. In response to your question, I am only going to reveal that I live on the eastern seaboard of the United States. No specifics (sorry!).
Drgovender (sorry if I spelled that wrong), thank you for your email. I apologize, but I accidently deleted your email and forgot what it said. If you could send it again, I'll answer whatever question it had. If there wasn't a question, then thank you again for the message.
If you have emailed me in the past, thank you for all that you've said. If you have had any question for me, could you send it again? I always permanently delete my email. I will answer any question you have for me (as long as it isn't too personal).
Thank you all again for the messages, comments, emails, and everything else. Here's Chapter 7 of 'Am I...?'
Saturday night. After a rather...revealing and interesting day, sitting in my bed with a book sounds fantastic. My cell phone suddenly buzzes and I see it's a call, Leo's name on the screen. I feel myself smile and pick it up. "Hey," I say.
"Hey," Leo replies. "What're you up to?"
"Just reading a bit. Today was...pretty weird wasn't it?"
"No kidding. My mom won't stop bugging me about how long I've wanted to be with you and how hot you are. You can't talk to your mom about shit like that!"
I laugh. "Tell me about it. My parents gave me an hour-long talk about safe sex and crap like that. I already know about safe sex, you don't need to tell me about it. Wait...your mom thinks I'm hot?"
"Josh, everyone think you're hot. Have you looked in a mirror recently? You look like you've dropped out of heaven. I'm just waiting for the day your wings pop out of your back and you suddenly fly away, leaving me behind."
I can fell Leo wipe his eyes. "Leo, I love you. I would never even think about breaking up with you and I'm not going anywhere. Plus, if I had wings, I'd fly around with you in my arms."
Leo's laugh fills my ear. "Thank you Josh. Um...there's also something I want to talk to you about."
"What is it?"
"So far, only our parents know about the two of us going out. And for now, I'd like to keep it that way. So in school, could we just act...like we're still only friends?"
"You're not ready to come out to everyone."
"Yeah. I'm sorry if you are ready, but I'm still mostly in the closet."
"Hey, I'm not ready either. I'm perfectly fine pretending you're still my friend. Maybe in time, the two of us can come out together."
"I'd like that, Josh. I really would. But...I'm just not mentally prepared yet. I'm not sure how long it will be, but I will. I promise."
"Thank you Leo. So...are you free next Friday?"
Even through the phone, I can see Leo smile. "That depends. What are you doing?"
"I'm probably going to see a movie and get some dinner with my boyfriend, as long as he says yes. I haven't asked him yet."
"Well, your boyfriend says yes and is already looking forward to next Friday."
"Great. I'm probably going to head to sleep. It's been a long day..."
Leo yawns into the phone. "Yeah, I was just about to head upstairs to get ready for bed. Is it okay if I call you tomorrow?"
"You could call in the middle of the night and I would gladly pick up."
"Great. Good night, Josh. I love you."
"I love you too. Good night, Leo."
I end the call and look up at the ceiling, smiling broadly.
After two restful nights of sleep, I head downstairs and find Mom and Dad sitting at the kitchen table, coffee and the morning newspaper in front of both of them. "Hey guys," I say.
They both look up. "Hi sweetie," says Mom.
"Hey bud," says Dad.
I walk to the fridge and grab the milk carton and quickly pour myself a glass. As I look up, I see both Mom and Dad staring at me. "What? Do I have something on my face?"
"No," says Mom. "You just seem...happier."
"Does this have anything to do with Leo?" Dad asks.
I smile to myself. "Maybe. Or the fact that we have our first date this Friday."
"That's great sweetie," says Mom. "I hope you have fun." She looks over to the clock. "You should hurry up if you don't want to be late. Grab something to eat before you go."
I grab an apple, give both of them a hug, and head out the door. I get to school fifteen minutes later and see the familiar black motorcycle with the sexiest guy I know taking off his helmet. I pull my car in next to Leo and quickly shut it off and hop out. "Hey Leo," I say.
He smiles at me. "Hey Josh."
I do a quick look around and see that there's no one around us. So I lower my voice to make sure Leo's the only one who can hear. "You have no idea how much I want to kiss you right now."
Leo's face flushes, but he smiles again. "I jerked off twice thinking about what we did in the shower..." he whispers back.
I smile back at him. "Hey guys!"
Leo and I both jump a solid two feet in the air and see Shawn and Mark walk up to us. "H-Hey guys," Leo and I both say.
"Leo, how was the hangover?" asks Shawn. "You looked pretty hammered when you left the party Friday night."
"It wasn't too bad," Leo replies. "Josh really helped me when I fell asleep in his bed."
Mark looks to me. "Leo slept in your bed?"
I can see Leo regretting his choice of words. "More like passed out," I say. "I had to sleep on my couch that night. I'm just happy he didn't puke on my pillow."
Okay, so it's a little white lie, but it looks like Shawn and Mark bought it. After a few minutes, Leo and I head off to Biology. Mr. Creswell greets us when we walk in. "Good morning boys," he says.
"Hey Mr. Creswell," Leo and I both say.
"Did you two have a nice weekend?"
You could say that...
"Pretty good," says Leo.
Leo and I both take a seat at our lab table and the bell rings a minute later, students rushing into the room and into their seats. "Good morning everyone!" says Mr. Creswell. "Seeing as it's November now, I've decided to change the seating arrangement for all of you."
Leo and I glance to each other and instantly think the same thought. We won't be next to each other anymore?
"I'm going to go through the list and have you move to your new seat. Josh Rusden, row one, seat one."
I grab my bag and move to my new seat. "Leo Trigon, row one, seat two."
Relief floods my body as I see Leo getting up from his seat and sitting down next to me. "Oh, by the way," Creswell continues. "If I feel you and your old seat partner worked well together, I'll keep you two together."
Thank you Mr. Creswell...
Creswell continues through the list as Leo and I keep exchanging looks, smiling every time.
At the end of the day, as I'm walking out to the parking lot, I hear a voice call from behind me. "Rusden, stop for a second."
I look back and see Mr. Coddler, or Coach Coddler as I call him, walking up to me. Coach Coddler is also my history teacher and is freaking gigantic. He's six foot seven, two hundred fifty pounds. He has greying blonde hair, stays in great shape, and is forty-three years old. "What's up Coach?" I ask.
"Rusden, I just got a call from SCFA. Congratulations. You've been nominated for Running Back of the Year."
The SCFA is the Southern California Football Association. Every year, they nominate players from dozens of Southern California high schools for various awards, from player of the year to best defensive linesman. It's a huge honor to be nominated, let alone win. "Are you serious?" I ask Coach Coddler.
"I don't kid about stuff like this, Rusden. Your stats were the highest they ever were this season. We almost made it to the regional finals with your help. Looks like the SCFA agreed with me."
"Congratulations again, Rusden. You're probably going to get a call later this afternoon, but I wanted to personally tell and congratulate you."
"Thanks Coach. I...can't even describe how happy I am right now."
"You don't need to, Rusden. I can tell. You should go head home and tell your folks. I'll see you tomorrow."
I give Coach a wave and head out, almost wanting the skip down the hallway.
When I tell Leo about the news, he hugs me in the middle of the parking lot. He manages to hide it as a bro hug, but I can feel the intimacy in it. Mom and Dad both celebrate by taking me out to dinner that night, which was pretty nice despite the fact that a waiter tripped and spilled the food they were carrying on Dad (we got our meal free).
Friday rolls up and I'm feeling nervous the entire day. Leo's and my date is tonight and I both can't wait and want to throw up. I even have trouble deciding what to wear. I finally choose a nice, collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up to my elbows, some dark jeans, and a pair of Chucks. After I gel my hair a bit, grab my wallet and phone, and Dad gives me fifty bucks (despite me already having money), I head over to Leo's house.
I get there about fifteen minutes later and park next to the sidewalk. I hop out of the car, grab the flowers from the front seat (yeah, I know it's cliché, but it seemed nice), and walk up the front steps and ring the doorbell. Mr. Trigon opens the door. "Hi Mr. Trigon," I say. "I'm here to pick up Leo."
"Hi Josh," he says. "Leo will be down in a minute. Would you like to come inside?"
"I would, thank you."
Mr. Trigon leads me into the house and I get my first look at Leo's house. There are family pictures everywhere, many of them of a younger Leo with his parents and older sister. It makes me feel that this house is a home. "Would you like something to drink while you wait?" Mr. Trigon asks me.
"Oh, no thank you. I'm alright."
Mrs. Trigon walks into the room and sees me. "Oh hi Josh!"
"Hi Mrs. Trigon. I'm sorry these flowers aren't for you. I would've bought you a bouquet if the florist in town wasn't so expensive."
"Oh you're so sweet Josh. As long as I know my son is getting flowers from such a handsome boy, I'm alright."
I smile at her and hear footsteps come down the stairs and look and see Leo. He's wearing a grey collared shirt, black jeans, a casual, thin black tie, his leather jacket, and a pair of black boots. He has all his earrings in and is as sexy as ever. "Hey," I say.
"Hey," he replies. Leo walks over to me. "Are those for my mom?" he asks, indicating the flowers.
"Uh...no. They're for you."
God, I feel like such an idiot. I've never been this uncomfortable in my life. Leo smiles and takes the flowers from me. "Thanks, they look great."
I feel my face get red and Mrs. Trigon takes the flowers from Leo. "I'll put these in a vase and water. You two go out on your date."
Leo and I walk to the front door, Mr. and Mrs. Trigon behind us. "Leo, curfew's twelve-thirty," says Mr. Trigon.
"Got it," Leo says.
"You boys have fun," says Mrs. Trigon.
Leo and I walk down the stairs and I open the passenger side door for him. After he's in, I climb into the driver's seat and turn the car on "Josh, are you okay?" Leo asks.
I look to him. "Y-Yeah, I'm fine. Why do you ask?"
"Because you're shaking." Leo's right. I see my hands trembling a bit. "Josh, I'm really nervous too. I've never been on a date before. But I'd like it if we don't try to be people we're not. Right now, you look like you have a stick up your ass and I'm sweating like nobody's business. Let's just be who we are and have fun."
Wow, Leo's just that amazing. My hands have stopped shaking and my heart's beating at a normal speed. I lean across the armrest and give Leo a kiss. "Thank you Leo. Let's go see that movie."
I shift into drive and head off to the theater.
Leo and I decide to see a comedy, seeing as he's not the biggest fan of action and I'm not too keen on science fiction. We get some popcorn and soda and walk into the theater, a fair number of people in there. We walk up the stairs and take two seats in the back row in a corner.
The movie rolls through the previews and as the movie starts, I feel something in my hand. I see Leo's fingers intertwining with mine and I look over at him, who smiles at me. "I said I'm not ready to come out at school. Here, I can be open with my boyfriend. Don't worry. I did a look around and made sure no one from school was here."
On that note, I push my lips against Leo's. My body starts to get hot and Leo reaches around my neck and pulls me even closer. I can smell Leo's cologne and it makes me want him even more. It takes all of my strength to keep me from grabbing Leo's pants and ripping them off him.
Leo pulls away from me, out of breath. "I've been waiting all week to do that," he tells me.
I smile at him. "I have too."
Leo and I spend more time making out than we do watching the movie. As the movie ends and the light start to brighten, we separate and wipe our mouths. "I didn't hear a minute of that movie," Leo says.
"Neither did I. But I give five stars to you."
Leo laughs a bit a kisses me again. We both get up and grab our food and drinks, both of them mostly full, and head out. After we throw the food away, we walk back out to the street, it slightly cooler than earlier. "You ready for that dinner I promised you?" I ask.
"Absolutely. I'm starving. I could eat a horse."
"How about a cow?"
I lead Leo down a few blocks and we walk up to Wentz's, a very nice steakhouse. "Josh, this place looks expensive," Leo says.
"Hey, I want to give you the best first date there is. Trust me, you'll love it here."
Leo and I walk up to the hostess table and request a table for two. The hostess leads us through the restaurant and seats as at a table and hands us two menus. Leo opens his menu and I can see his eyes bulge. "Twenty bucks for a salad?" he asks me.
I shrug a bit. "The food may be expensive, but it's all amazing. Anything for the guy I love."
"Josh, I would've been fine with a McDonalds."
"Leo, can I please just give you something I want? I want to give you a nice dinner. Are you okay with that?"
Leo sighs to himself, but smiles after a minute. "You're going to regret bringing me here. I'm in the mood for a huge prime rib."
I smile at him and a waiter walks up to the table, Nelson on his nametag, and pours us two glasses of water. He's attractive enough to be a model. "Welcome to Wentz's," he says, smiling at us. "Are you two enjoying a guys night out?"
I look to Leo and back to the waiter. "No, I'm taking my boyfriend out on a date."
Nelson smiles at us. "Fantastic. It's always nice to see two people so much in love. It reminds me of how my boyfriend and I were when we first met."
"You're gay?" Leo asks.
"Why yes I am. And I've been in a committed relationship with my boyfriend, George, for the last four years."
"Wow. Good for both of you," I say.
"Thank you. Would you like me to start you off with something to drink?"
"I think I'll stick to water," I say.
"Could I get and iced tea?" Leo asks.
"Certainly. I'll get that right for you. Enjoy your date."
Nelson walks off through the restaurant and Leo looks at me. "He seems really cool."
"Yeah, he does. So how big of a prime rib are you going to get?"
"That depends. What's the most expensive size?"
I laugh and grab my glass of water. "A toast," I say. Leo puts down his menu and grabs his glass of water and holds it up. "To the greatest, most amazing guy I know. I love you so much, Leo. I hope we can be together forever."
Leo smiles back at me. "And to the most fantastic and beautiful guy I know. I love you too, Josh. I want us to be together forever as well. I promise to love you and to care for you as long as I'm your boyfriend.
I clink my glass with Leo's and take a small sip, the corner of my eyes a little wet.
For the next hour, the conversation between Leo and me never dies down. Leo keeps his promise and orders a gigantic prime rib, which smells amazing. I keep to a New York strip, which smells just as good, and tastes even better. After our plates are cleared, Nelson walks up to our table. "Would the lovely couple be having dessert with us tonight? It's already paid for."
"Really?" Leo asks. "Who paid for it?"
"Oh, two men told me they would like to pay for your dessert."
"Well, could you tell them we very much appreciate it?" I ask.
"Gladly. So what will it be tonight?"
"Could I get a slice of the cheesecake?" Leo asks.
"I'll have a slice of key lime pie please," I say.
"I'll get those orders right in and tell the two men of your thanks."
Nelson walks toward the kitchen and Leo and I go right back into our conversation. We don't even hear or see the two men walk up to our table. "Mind if we take a seat with you?"
Leo and I look over and see two faces we see everyday: Mr. Creswell and Coach Coddler. Both of them are wearing nice suits and are smiling down at us. "Mr. Creswell, Mr. Coddler," says Leo. "What're you doing here?"
"Oh, I'm just taking Adrian here out to dinner," says Coach Coddler. "So, may we take a seat with you?"
"Sure, go ahead," I say.
They both take a seat at a table next to us. "So what're you two doing out together?" asks Mr. Creswell.
I feel sweat starting to break out on my back. "O-Oh...um...we're just...hanging out," I say.
"At one of the most expensive restaurants in town?" Coach asks.
I glance to Leo, and he seems just as distressed as I am. "Or is it you two are on a date?" Creswell asks.
Fuck. Fuck! FUCK! My heart's beating a mile a minute and I can't breath. "Adrian, should we stop prodding?" Coach asks Creswell.
"We probably should Tony," Creswell replies. "We're making them both incredibly uncomfortable."
Coach and Creswell laugh a bit. "Sorry about that boys," says Coach. "We didn't mean to take it that far. We were just teasing."
"We both already know you two are dating," says Creswell.
A lump starts to fill my throat and I can see Leo squirming. "H-How did you know?" I quietly ask.
"I could tell the minute I saw you two together on Monday," says Creswell. "But no need to worry. Neither of us will tell anyone."
Leo and I look to them. "W-What do you mean?" Leo asks.
"See this ring?" Coach asks. He holds up his left hand and I see a solid silver ring on his ring finger. "Have I ever mentioned me having a wife to my students or the team?"
I think about it and can't think of any time Coach said anything about a wife. I look back and see Creswell holding up his right hand and see another silver ring on his ring finger. Upon closer inspection, I see that the two rings are identical. "You two are...?" I start to ask.
"We are," says Creswell. "Josh, Leo, this is Tony Coddler-Creswell, my husband of twenty wonderful years today."
The shock that comes over me cannot be described. Leo looks just as surprised as I am. "I can tell you two are surprised," says Coach. "But if you have any questions, we'll be honest."
"Um...what's your story?" Leo asks.
Coach and Creswell look to each other and smile. "Tony and I met in 1987 in high school. I was a quiet science guy and Tony was the quarterback of the football team. He needed help in Biology and I volunteered to tutor him. It didn't start out too well, mostly because I was intimidated by his huge size.
"I started to open up not too long after and found out we liked the same stuff. Movies, books, hobbies, everything. After about a month of tutoring, I came out to Tony."
"I actually lied and said I was straight when he told me," says Coach. "But I felt so attracted to Adrian, that I couldn't stand it. I finally told him I loved him about two months after and he said he loved me back. We started going out, and it was amazing. But back in the eighties, homosexuality was much more frowned upon than it is today.
"So we decided to keep our relationship a secret. But at our high school graduation, when we were accepting our diplomas, I grabbed Adrian and kissed him right on stage, in front of our class and our families. Both of our families accepted us and we couldn't have been happier."
"Tony and I dated through college and about a year after we graduated, we got married," says Creswell. "And in the twenty-six years we've been together, every day has been as wonderful as the first day we met."
I fell myself smiling and see Leo is too. "That's a great story," says Leo.
"Thank you," says Coach. "We don't tell it to very many people, only our families, some of the school administration, and son and daughter have heard it."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," I say. "Son and daughter?"
They both smile again. "Yes," says Creswell. "Connor and Rachel. They're seventeen and sixteen years old respectively. We both had surrogate mothers carry them and we love them both dearly."
"How come we haven't seen them at school?" asks Leo.
"They both go to a private high school on full scholarships," says Coach. "They both love us and we both love them. We couldn't be prouder of either of them."
Two plates are placed in front of both Leo and me and I see Nelson standing next to the table. "Hello again, Adrian and Tony," he says.
"Hi Nelson," says Mr. Creswell. "These desserts are free, right?"
"Just like you and Tony asked." Nelson looks to Leo and me. "I'll get out of your hair. Enjoy the dessert."
Nelson walks away and I look to my coach and teacher. "Well, we don't want to spoil your date," says Coach. "C'mon Adrian. Connor and Rachel are probably wondering where we are. We said we'd be home thirty minutes ago."
"You're right." Creswell looks to me and Leo "Bye, you two. We'll see you next week."
Coach and Creswell get up and begin making their way to the exit. "So what should we call you now?" I ask. "Coach and Mr. Coddler-Creswell?"
They both smile back at me. "Coach Coddler and Mr. Creswell are fine," says Coach. "We hope you two have a great future ahead of you."
The Coddler-Creswell couple waves and heads out the door. Leo and I both look to each other, still in amazement. "Wow," I say.
"That's the understatement of the year," Leo replies. "But it's...pretty awesome knowing that. Maybe we could be like them someday..."
I smile at Leo and he smiles back. As we dig into our desserts, I look at Leo and can already see a wedding ring matching mine on his finger.