Book 2


DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


Chapter 16


~*~*[[ DM ]]*~*~

"GO, VAQUEROS, GO!" I screamed with the deafening cheer of the crowd. The cheerleaders and the band were all doing their parts despite the light rain pouring all over the Irvine Stadium. I stood on my seat and waved the heavily-drenched team banner, a rectangular 2 by 3 foot piece of green cloth with the letter "V" printed behind an image of a vaquero (or more famously known as a cowboy) riding a horse stitched to its fabric. I waved it with pride and with just a tiny hint of acting like a freaking madman - occasionally shouting with delight and euphoria when our team would score and booing with misery and disgust when the school's adversaries would. Spittle was spraying from my lips when I shouted, but I didn't even think of having the grace to feel ashamed. I wanted us to win. Thankfully, the crowd never gave a shit about my antics; they were too busy doing their own to notice. The rain poured on.

Having barely a minute to spare before the final quarter ends, with Northwood leading the game by two points with thirty-one, the tension was escalating at an astonishing level.

Hopeless, it may seem, but I know that the Irvine High School football team would give it their best.

The whistle sounded above the downpour - indicating the continuation of the game - and, aiming for Tyler who was already rushing towards the far side of the field, the quarterback snapped the ball to one of his running backs, who then threw the ball. It sailed above everybody's heads and landed in the wide receiver's experienced hands. Immediately, Tyler covered impressive yardage; the mud splattered all over, the rain poured all around. He was Flash in the flesh.

I risked a quick glance at the electronic score board across the stands where I was cheering.

Thirty-six seconds remained. Shit!

With the obstacles taken care of by the offensive linemen, I watched as Tyler dashed nearer to his destination, hoping that he knew what he was doing. For a short moment, he passed it to another receiver then it was back in his arms the next. I saw Bruce and one other offensive lineman each tackle an opponent to the muddy ground, giving Tyler more room to run. He swerved an oncoming linebacker and sprinted another ten yards. He ran as fast as he could.

Twenty-three seconds.

"TY!" the muffled voice echoed across the field towards Tyler's right, and after weeks and weeks of training and practice, he instinctively made a lateral pass.

With a splattering swoosh; the football flew towards the rushing blue-green-and-white adorned figure of Number One - the Quarterback.

Eighteen seconds.

Momentarily stunned by the sudden change in possession, the opposing team just blinked the mud and water out of their eyes while Keith, who had a very clear yet slippery road ahead, sprinted faster towards the goal line. He tore towards his target.

Eleven seconds.

My breathing hiked I could distinctly feel my heart beating against my lungs! My subconscious was waving his blue-green-and-white pom-poms while doing backflips and cartwheels and cheering at the top of his lungs.


Seven seconds!

Linebackers desperately ran for the speeding quarterback, intent on taking him down and preventing a possible drastic downfall.

Then, from out of nowhere, an enormous player from the other team hit Keith hard on his left side.

His knees buckled, but still, he moved forward. The whole stadium was filled with the sound of fans losing their minds, screaming and cursing. I was one of them, of course.

Three seconds!

I fought the urge to cover my eyes as Keith started to fall to the ground. NO!

"He couldn't possibly-" I heard someone scream from behind me. "Oh, shit - he is!" Still holding the ball, Keith thrust it forward with every muscle in his body - and the tip of the ball broke the goal line just as he hit the ground.

The whistle screeched one last time.

". . . AND PRINCETON MAKES A PERFECT TOUCHDOWN!" I heard the commentator's booming cry. "Oh, my God! Sensational! They just won the game! The Vaqueros just conquered another one! Ladies and gentlemen, the Irvine High School Vaqueros will be facing Woodbridge High School next week in the Irvine District Stadium!"

And my screams were lost in the uproar of the rain-soaked crowd.

~*~*[[ KP ]]*~*~

My teammates crushed me between them in a wild sort of group hug, then lifted me onto their shoulders in celebration.


I feel it rushing through my veins like a fresh dose of adrenaline as I made my way through the cheering crowd, only to stop and say thank you to their congratulations. I swerved through hugs and pats and hugs and kisses and more hugs. My feet needed to go to the stands. To him.

I looked up and there he was; a flash of brown hair with a cute, angelic smile, running down the steps towards me.

I was laughing like a fool while I quickened my pace across the muddy field and dodged the overwhelming mob. Faster, my legs ran.

Danny. I have to get to Danny. I don't know why, but I have to get to Danny. I won the game. But I did not realize it 'til then that I won it for him.

I don't understand it myself, so don't fucking ask me!

The crowd was loud all around me. A swerve to the left, a slide to the right, a pat on my shoulder, a slap on my bum, and finally, I jumped on the steps and got a clear look at the bleachers - at Danny - swaying in the muddy arms of someone, yelping with cheers of joy and happiness. The Vaquero Team banner was a wet, squishy dirt beneath their feet.

My legs stopped. My laughter vanished. My heart dropped. Number 63 got to him first.


He was hugging Bruce.

"YOU DID IT! YOU'RE MAKING IT CLOSER TO THE CHAMPIONSHIPS!" I heard Danny yell above the noise. It should have made me shout with joy that the months and months of training under harsh conditions of weather has finally paid off, but the sound of him telling it to somebody else pierced my heart.

'That should be me.' A faint voice whimpered inside the deepest corners of my head.

I swallowed the sob forming in my throat and I trudged towards the locker rooms.


"Hey, Champ! The team's heading to Newport for a victory party tonight! Come on! Move that ass! It's gonna be fucking awesome!"


How ironic it is. I should be excited that I would be the center of this 'victory party,' but all I feel deep inside me is defeat. I just won my very first Conference Game but I feel like I just lost the freaking Super Bowl.

"'Cause everything you do and words you say - you know that it all takes my breath away and now I'm left with nothing . . ." I can hear Boys Like Girls' 'Two Is Better Than One' playing from the speakers outside on the field - making me feel a whole lot worse than I already am.

Turning the water on, I let the warmth of the shower drown me with my despair and my sorrows, hoping to wash away the feelings that, for a few weeks now, have been confusing me - haunting me each and every night in my dreams.


I never thought seeing him in public with another guy would have this effect on me. Those countless times when he was with me, I never thought of him as someone other than my closest friend. Just my closest friend. My best friend. Now . . . I don't know.

Middle School. Seventh Grade.

I remember it like it just happened last week.

The bell already rang. I was on the way to first period, following an overenthusiastic Principal Rose. As we were walking down the hallway, I watched as the other students scurried back into their classrooms. Probably because of the woman walking before me. Principal Rose was a warm and hospitable-looking woman, the way principals should look like. She was welcoming, but not in an overbearing manner that most principals seemed to act when a new student arrives. She was motherly in a good way but her presence alone demanded respect. And that was what the students were giving her. I know, I should, too.

"Well . . . here we are." She mentioned sweetly as she knocked on a door.

I don't remember what class it was because as soon as the door was opened, a misty-eyed, little boy - maybe three inches shorter than me - was standing before us, stealing all of my attention.

'This could be something.' I thought amusedly.

He looked really fragile, as if a slight change in the weather pattern and he would crumble to pieces. I smiled at the thought. I think it was funny. Suddenly, I had the urge to blow him.

WHOA! That's definitely not what I meant!

I meant "blow him" as in "project or send forth a strong current of air towards him."

God, I'm starting to hate English! Nowadays, there are just too many double-meanings and innuendos for my own good!

Anyway, back to my story.

I wanted to test my theory but I remembered that Principal Rose was still right here beside me. I kept it to myself.

"Daniel," she sighed in a plain and bored manner, "Don't tell me he's gone off again . . . ?"

The boy, Daniel, still looking as delicate as before, shrugged and - maybe because he saw my arrogant sneer - puffed out his chest and squared off his shoulders and narrowed his gaze. 'Wow, he's confident.' I noted agreeably. 'Maybe he's not as fragile as I thought.'

"He said he has to go back to the Faculty room to get Robert Dunn's checked assignment, Principal Rose." The boy explained, trailing his eyes back to the principal. "He left me in-charge for a while."

"But, there's no longer a-"

"I know, Principal Rose. I told him Robert Dunn is already a senior in college and that he's now in Boston living with his cats, like what you said to me days ago." He shrugged, "But, he insisted . . . He's the teacher. What was I supposed to do?"

Principal Rose heaved a sigh. "Oh, poor, old Arnold." she tutted disapprovingly. "I think I may have to let him go now. It's for his own good." Principal Rose nodded thoughtfully, and then remembering that I was still there, she turned to me and hastily introduced me to the boy.

"I know who he is." The boy just cut in and told her. "He's the rich kid." he said plainly. Not even a hint of disgust, excitement, or envy in his voice. From my former schools, the kids there would have expressed either or all of those reactions, despite the fact that they, too, were wealthy. I smiled at his, though. He just didn't fucking care!

From preschool up to sixth grade, my parents have been sending me to private schools and institutions. This is the very first time that I would be studying in a public school. Just so you know.

Throughout the entire introduction, the boy only gave me a pensive look - but, in time, I can see curiosity lurking behind his blank stare, as if he was examining a certain rare species of bacteria. I just returned his glare with an arrogant grin that then disgusted him so much. I smiled with amusement.

So, I learned that his name was Daniel Mockins. "What kind of a name is that?" I thought when I heard it for the first time.

But, secretly, that was just one of the few things that I already know about him. Weeks prior to my family's arrival in California, my dad had briefed me on who the Mockins were - specifically on who Daniel Christopher Mockins was. He never told me why I had to know. He said that I just had to know who he is and watch out over him. He wouldn't entertain another question about it and, in time, I stopped asking. Like the good son that I was - I just did what he asked me to do.

To avoid wasting time, Principal Rose appointed Daniel to be my "official school tour guide." Well, I had no complaints on that. I still wanted to tease this runt. I wanted to know what was so different about him. I wanted to know what the facts that my father didn't tell.

I was now sitting beside him when our first period teacher finally came in. I was already five days late and they already started their discussions, so I had a lot of catching up to do. Ugh. This is why I hate transferring. I never get the chance to start fresh. I always had to catch up.

"So, Daniel, does being my official school tour guide come with added perks and benefits?" I asked him cockily while he was taking notes on Linear and Nonlinear Equations.

He ignored me, but I noticed that his strokes were now more pronounced. I feared the lead from the pencil he was using might punch through the thin material of his notebook. I silently laughed at how much I annoyed the boy.

So, I continued. "Like, you know . . . being my study buddy? Or treating me to lunch? Or making my assignments? Or taking me home?" but this time I looked at him squarely. He was still carving the words onto his paper so he must not have noticed me at first. I cleared my throat forcefully and, with much annoyance written thickly on his face, he turned to me and raised an eyebrow and pursed his lips.

I beamed and waggled both of my brows expectantly for an answer.

"No." said Daniel plainly, and he returned to his writings.

My brows scrunched. I was taken aback. What? That was it? 'No.'? He's not even going to ask me where I came from? Who I was? Why I transferred here? Why the ozone layer is slowly depleting? Why the economy is as it is?

I sighed. His silence only made me more curious as to how this boy's mind was working. Earlier, by the doorway, curiosity and something I could not figure out was all over his face. Now. There was nothing.

Instead of annoying Daniel, I took the remaining time to doodle on the edges of my own notebook.

Hmmm . . . Maybe later.


"So, through there is the Library." he pointed at the double doors before us that said SCHOOL LIBRARY. Duh!

Then he turned to the far end of the hallway, opposite the Library doors. "And that there is the mess hall. That's where we can buy food and drinks. That's where we eat." He drawled.

"I know what a mess hall is!" I answered annoyingly.

"Okay," he shrugged, raised both arms in the form of a surrender and went on his way.

That time during extended lunch, he patiently, or more like robotically, took me to the rest of the campus - showing me where the Faculty Room was, the Clinic, the Gym, the Lockers, the Football field, the Principal's office (though, I have already been there), the Mess Hall, the Library, the Band room, the Laboratories, the Audio-Visual rooms, and more. He also took my class schedule and showed me where my classrooms were. We had most of our classes together, I noticed. But, most of the time, I wasn't paying any attention. I just wanted to walk around the school. To breathe in the surroundings. To start feeling at home - even though it was Middle School.

Then, the bell rang. Daniel went to his Science class. I went for my Math class.

The whole afternoon, I sat down and tried to listen to Mrs. Pratt's detailed discussion on the Scientific Method, to Mr. Cole's historical droning about the Civil War, to Ms. Kennedy's blabber on figurative languages and idiomatic expressions.

Seriously. It feels like deja vu. I've had these lessons when I was in elementary. But, whatever!

Then the bell rang. Yes! At last! Dismissal!

I dashed for the lockers. No, not there.

I checked the mess hall. Still, not there.

I went for the library. Nada!

"Where the hell is he?" I cursed.

Then an idea struck me. He might be there.

I made my way through the crowded hallways until I got out of the building.

"There you are." I muttered triumphantly when I saw him just beyond the flagpole.

But there was something wrong. I can see it in the way he was standing before three tall, fat, and ugly Eighth Graders - in that particular order.

"Where is it?" From the short distance, I heard the fat one growl.

"I told you, I forgot it at home, Ed." Daniel said in a clipped voice. "I'll bring it tomorrow."

"That's what you said yesterday! I need that paper today! And don't lie to me, Mockins! I know it's in your bag." He stepped forward and grabbed Daniel's backpack.

"Ed, let go! Stop it! Give that back! Your assignment's not in there!" Daniel protested, reaching upward for his bag.

They're making Daniel do their assignments? Fucking hell!

Remembering the duty that my father had appointed to me, I strode towards them. This has to stop! Right now! "Hey!" I called out loudly. All four pairs of eyes turned towards me. I stepped before Fat and looked up. "Give him back his bag."

Tall and Ugly took their places beside Fat and sneered at me. "Who the hell are you?" Ugly hissed.

"Keith Nathaniel Princeton!" I beamed widely, provoking them, and I squinted at them. "So, tell me. Where were you three when God made us humans?"

I heard a chortle behind me. The three growled in unison and they grabbed at me. But I was quick. I pulled Fat's fat arm with all my strength and, using his weight in my advantage, pushed him to the ground behind me, leaving him incapable to stand back up at any time soon. Tall swung a fist at me but I dodged it, sending a strong one on his widely exposed gut instead, making him retch and lose his breath. Shocked, Ugly just stood there looking at one of his fallen friends, then at the other. I took a step towards him and the next thing I knew he was running for the hills, screaming like a little girl - a really horrid, ugly, little girl.

It was only until then have I heard the sweet chime of someone laughing behind me. I turned and saw Daniel laughing his head off. Tall and Fat were flat on their backs. People were gawking at them with amused, cheerful, almost triumphant expressions.

"Are you alright?" I asked Daniel.

"Dude, are you seriously asking me that?" He responded in between heaves of laughter. "I'm great! That was priceless!"

I just smiled at him.

It was right after that incident that we became friends. Sure, we served detention with Tall, Fat, and Ugly - Daniel, for the very first time in his immaculately clean academic life, and me, for . . . well . . . I don't know how many times I have served detention, to tell you the truth.

But, I was right. There was more to Daniel Mockins than what my father has told me.

Throughout the years that we've been together, I learned that he loves to swim. He loves the water and he constantly sleeps-over at our house so he can practice swimming in our pool. He is jolly and he likes to eat his hamburger with fries in it. I know! It was an odd combination, but I can't help but smile 'cause he looks fascinatingly cute whenever he arranges his fries on top of the patty and drowns it with ketchup and mayonnaise - as if he was making a beautiful masterpiece, which he was. He has a very cute, lopsided grin that makes him look almost seraphic it should be illegal, that I think he doesn't even know he possesses. He likes the color blue and hates anything that's pink. In his not-so-good days, he listens and sometimes sings along the soundtracks from "The Sound of Music" to calm and clear his head. I teased him about it one time but he continued singing and in end of the day, I was singing the hell along with him through the 'Do-Re-Mi's. He likes anything that has to do with superheroes, especially the "The Avengers," and he collects stuff - from comics to magazines to posters to action figures - anything that has something to do with heroes. He reads fictional novels and he likes watching crappy, romantic-comedy movies. He doesn't know that I know this, though. The guy's such a hopeless romantic.

In time, he became my best friend. He was no longer the Daniel Christopher Mockins that my father told me about . . . he was Danny - my closest friend.

And now . . . what has become of us?

You're asking if I loved him. Of course, I loved Danny. I mean . . . he's my best friend. But seeing him happy without me . . .

Then . . . I had a girlfriend. Stacey Coleen Moore. Fuck, she was what every horny sixteen-year-old teenage guy would dream of. She was intelligent, friendly, and smoking hot! The perfect package! One day after Christmas break, she just sort of caught my attention and I decided to pursue her. Impulsive. All out of the blue. It was two, long months of courting. I was so happy when she finally said yes.

But my happiness was short lived. For during that time, there was no one to divulge the news to. No one who cares enough to listen to me yammer about how hot Stacey was, or how lucky I was to get her. There was no one to share to. No one to argue with. During that time, there was no Danny to tell.

Well, I had Lucas, sure. But he's my brother. I was certain he'd only pat me on the shoulder, chat on how Stacey looks like, and return to his game. Then, my parents came into consideration. Though busy, they're just a phone call away, and I'm sure they'll be glad for me, especially my mother - but I decided it was too risky; my grades were starting to plummet because the time that I should have been spending on my studies were now focused on Stacey Moore. I can't let them know that. Then, came my friends. Well . . . I told them, of course - but, it still felt like nothing. They congratulated me for the "great catch," praised me for how cool I was to get "Stacey Moore" - but that was it. No more questions asked. No nothing to discuss.

Then, as a reflex, my mind thought, "I can always tell Danny." I tell you, I was almost through our double-doors when I remembered what he did with Bruce, and what I did to him in result, and I stopped - disappointed, angry - and returned to my room.

It was four months later when I realized the attraction that I had for Stacey was nothing but . . . attraction. Everything about her suddenly turned average, ordinary, mundane: I would look at my girlfriend, but the face that I really wanted to see was that of my best friend's. I realized that I missed him. This confusion fucked me up. For the next two months, this made me the crappy boyfriend that I was to Stacey. I thought I loved her, and that she was the one, but that only made me realize that she never was my first love.

I never even knew how love would feel like until I saw Danny spending his time with another person. I hate to admit that I was foolish enough to not see it, but the truth was - I love him. I love Danny. And the things that I did to him - the stupid things that I said to him - make me sick down to my soul. If only I could turn back time to when he would look at me the way only he could . . . . If only I could turn back time to when he was sitting with me on the bus - I was hugging him, he was hugging me. I should've realized it by then. I should've . . . .

Stacey. I thought I loved her and I continued believing it until it was too late, until she broke it with me.

I was stupid!

Danny was now in the swim team, I was in football. Two worlds apart with nothing in common but the connection that we once had.

I have deep, intense feelings for him. But I can't tell him that without distracting myself from my job of protecting him.

But what does that make of me? Was I gay? Was it possible to have feelings for another man and still be straight?

"FUCK! I can't think of that!" My voice echoed in the empty shower room, shivers ran along my spine despite the warm water cascading down my muscles and I dismissed the idea.


Is that what I'm really feeling?


I parked my Jeep at the back of a small diner situated on the busier parts of Newport Beach. I arrived at the bay - wearing beige cargo pants and a black sleeveless shirt topped by a Hawaiian polo shirt - with an immediate urge to look for Danny. As I walked along the sand, I took that everybody was having a good time. A really, really good time. I saw at least five couples necking, petting and almost having sex on the way to the spot where me and my friends usually hung. Here and there, people were dancing to the beat of Iyaz's hits. Eventually, I found them. Danny was sitting around a bonfire, talking animatedly with his friends and my team mates and a bunch of the cheering squad - and with Bruce. My gut wrenched when I noticed that nothing but a millimeter of air was sitting between them. No one seemed to think it strange, though. It was just me who noticed.

But I was thankful that Danny was now slowly edging himself back into my circle. He doesn't know this but my friends missed him, too.

'Compose yourself.' I breathed through gritted teeth before I trudged closer.

"FINALLY! The man of the hour!" One party-goer yelled upon my arrival, and everybody's heads turned to me and raised their plastic cups to a loud chorus of whoops and cheers for the quarterback - another round of pats and bear hugs. I all but gave them a weak smile and took my own cup of beer. I contemplated on sitting beside Danny, but the stronger voice of the jealous part inside me went for the space between Julie and Melissa - two of the hottest chicks in school. I guess I was a dick that way. Like clockwork, their attention and their ever-dwelling fingers found every exposed skin on my body. Flirting was as easy as breathing. All I had to do was act interested and the girls would immediately juice-up between their thighs. Then I would move on to another and leave them hanging, heated and aroused, wanting for more. I had to admit, it makes me real proud and aroused that I have that kind of power over them.

I thought I saw Danny look our way, but when I tried to look back, he was laughing at a joke that Tyler made. Another twinge in my guts. Fuck! Even Tyler makes me jealous? Now, that's just great!

'Distract yourself! Flirt with the bitches!' I told myself.

It was not long before I really got into it. Julie's fingers were starting to go to unchartered places and I liked the softness of her touch. Melissa's lips were hot on my neck, her teeth nipping at the skin that connected my shoulder to my neck. I let them, hoping that Danny was looking. Shit! How twisted is that? I don't know where the sudden urge to make him jealous came from. Fuck! This is a really strange feeling!

Julie stood up and motioned for me to follow her. I looked at Melissa and she just smiled and licked her succulent lips. Fuck! My cock hardened just by looking. I stood up and Julie took my hands. Everyone saw this and, immediately, a roar of horny football players and shrieking cheerleaders rang above the music from somebody's boom-box.

"You can travel the world but nothing compares to the Golden Coast. . ." Katy Perry sang. "Once you party with us, you'll be falling in love. Oh-Whoa-Whoa-Whoa. . ."

I tried to play cool and act all predatory towards the girls. That was when I saw Danny. He was not looking at me, though. He was looking at the girls clinging to each of my biceps. I don't know how to describe the look he was giving, but it definitely was cold - like a man who was out for blood. Shivers ran down my spine and went straight to my cock.

Fuck! It turned me on?

"Hey, who wants to play Spin the Bottle?" I heard Coach Connor's son's shrill voice call above the commotion. I think his name was Ricky, or whatever. With the skimpy, white shorts, the skin-tight pink shirt, and the purple flowers-and-feathers fedora, he was obviously gay.

Everybody wanted to play Spin the Bottle. I glared at Ricky to look as if I was pissed, but deep inside I was thanking him. I didn't think I was up for some petting session.

Anyway, Julie and Melissa shrieked with excitement and went for the new circle surrounding a small table where a beer bottle was already spinning. I pretended to be annoyed and slouched back on the sand. This time I sat beside Tyler and the Filipino dude.

"Heeey." he slurred.

"Hey." I grunted. Up close, I realized that what they were saying about him was true; he really looked like the darker version of Danny. Only Asian.

"Shaw your moooooves tonight, mahhhn. You were greaaaaaat!" he slurred, his eyes were a bit red and somewhat dreamy. I winced. Was he high, or something? "I'm Haaaay-meh, man!" He chuckled to himself.

I took a sip from my beer and muttered, "Thanks, Jaime."

He was definitely high.

I glared at Tyler beside me and he just shrugged and mouthed "first timer." I socked his arm and leaned in to whisper.

"What the fuck, man! I told you not to use those fucking drugs anymore. They're bad news!" I didn't want to sound like a pussy, but I didn't want my friends to become addicts and just waste their lives after High School.

"It's a party, DAAAD! Let me! WHOO!" he bawled sarcastically, not even listening to what I'm telling him.


I sipped from my beer and turned my attention to the game. The game was wild. Guys dared girls to strip and do crazy things. "Strip. Strip. Strip. Strip." They chanted.

When the bottle stopped in her direction, Julie gladly complied and removed her bras. And out came the melons! God! She sure was a blonde goddess!

The bottle spun for the twentieth time and it pointed to one of the linebackers. Harris. It was Julie's turn to give the dare.

"Harris. Harris. Harris." Julie whispered provocatively, her full breast erect from the chill of the night. "I want you . . . to jump into the water." She hissed seductively.

"Babe, is that all you got?" Harris snorted before standing up, "How about I eat you right here? Right now? Huh?"

"Aww . . . I haven't finished yet, 'babe'." Julie giggled, "I want you to jump into the water. Naked."

I saw Harris take a step back, and I thought he'd back down on Julie's challenge, but he surprised us when he said with a seductive grin, "You are one dirty, little bitch, you know that, Julie? But I like your idea of foreplay, babe."

The drunken circle howled with Oooohs. Julie just winked at him.

Shaking his head with laughter, Harris took off his shirt, showing how ripped his upper body was. He looked at Julie, who just bit her lower lip in anticipation. Next, he lowered his shorts down, revealing a pair of big, blue, bulging boxers. Shit! He was aroused! This really was his and Julie's foreplay! Everybody boomed with excitement. And finally, Harris was as naked as the day he was born. His cock was flapping from side to side when he stood erect, purple and ready to rumble!

"WHOO!" the Senior linebacker howled with his arms in the air. Everyone cheered for his bravado. Then his eyes focused on Julie. "I think that's enough foreplay for one night. You're coming with me!"

And the huge linebacker went for the tiny cheerleader and carted her away on a broad shoulder, running towards the waves, with Julie laughing with delight.

I just hope they thought of protection.

From then on, the game got boring. But, hell, I was fucking horny! I only got to shrug my shirt off. All I can see then was Danny. Danny's smile. Danny's mouth. Danny's hair. Danny's eyes. Danny's lips around my cock. Fuck! I downed another cup of beer to distract me from Danny's laughter coming from across where I was seated. Then another to drown the urge to snatch him from Bruce's side. And one other more for winning a conference but still feeling like a fucking sore loser.

I drank. And I drank. And I drank. Until I couldn't count them anymore. God damn, I couldn't erase the image of my best friend on his knees with my cock lodged deep in his throat.

"Dude, ease up a bit!" Tyler drawled beside me. But I didn't listen to him. I couldn't. All I could hear was my best friend's laughter; see Bruce's fingers discreetly exploring his back; feel the talons of jealousy clawing at my insides.

In a drunken stupor, I stood up. "Hey!" I called to him. I took a step forward, and I found how difficult it was. My feet felt like giant slabs of concrete. I dragged them across the sand. "Stay away from him!" I slurred loudly. I threw my cup into the fire that doubled in my vision. I staggered towards them. "Bruce, you fucking piece of shit!" I growled. I made a couple more steps onward before I slipped over my own feet and felt the world spin around me.


I woke up next Saturday morning tangled with the bed sheets, sporting a terrible headache and a sore . . . everything. I felt really tired and worn-out. What the hell have I been doing last night? Oh. Right. My 'victory' party. I was on my bed with no idea how I got there. I was naked and I had a fucking boner. And the bed. It was flaky . . . and sticky in several places. So was my cock! What the fuck! I must have had a pretty nice dream last night.

Hmmm. I don't even remember leaving the party. How the hell did I get home?

I shrugged it off. This has happened. Maybe, like before, the guys took me home.

Hearing the call of nature, I went to the bathroom and took a piss. A really long piss. Fuck! If anyone would hear me right now, they would probably think a horse was inside the house. I smiled and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror above the sink.

What the fuck? How did that Band-Aid get there?

I went to the sink and fumbled with the sticky Band-Aid. Once I had it removed, I saw a small cut, just barely an inch long, on the left side of my forehead. And it was bruising up a bit. There really was no need for a Band-Aid. But how the hell did I get cut up?

I just shook my head and looked at the pink Band-Aid. Whoever did this, no matter how unnecessary the action was, I had to thank.

Knowing it was just Giuseppe - my butler - and me during Saturdays, I went to the kitchen naked and took a couple of Tylenols and downed it with a tall glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice. I groaned. Not enough. So, I decided to use the coolness of the pool and swim the hangover off.


Monday morning came and I was excited. Walking along the halls right after a successful game was one of every other football jock's favorite moments. The crowd would part like the Red Sea, making way for no one but me. I would smile and receive pats of congratulations for a job well done. I would swagger like I was the fucking king of the world and girls would flirt and steal a touch and giggle and bat their eyelashes at me. And I would stop sauntering because I would see Danny walking along with Bruce.

WAIT . . . WHAT?

I take it all back. I HATE MONDAY MORNINGS!

So this is how it feels like. To be watching the person you care for so much spending time with the person whom you despise more. Jealousy is a bitch! What does he even see in that guy?

Whatever Adams is doing, it is not good!

Checking that my pride was held intact, I made my way towards them and suited for the role of a concerned best friend.

"Hi, Danny!" I greeted him with half a hug and purposefully stayed between them, never minding Bruce.

"Hi." he replied breathlessly, and his face immediately flushed with color. Why haven't I noticed this before? "How are you, Keith?" I quickly glanced at Bruce's grim expression towards our exchange. Silently, I laughed.

"I'm great! Thanks." I replied happily. And he smiled at that.

"Hey, Keith. I'm glad you recovered from your last Friday night's beer marathon!" Bruce - acting all courteous and gentlemanly. For all I care, he wasn't even here with us.

But . . . well, two can play the same game, right? I scrunched my eyebrows before giving him the most plastic smile I could ever muster. "Yeah, Bruce. I woke up with a really bad headache, man. But there's nothing a handful of Tylenol and a good swim in the pool cannot cure, right?"

"Right." He drawled with a pursed lip. "What's with the Band-Aid, man?"

The Band-Aid? Oh. I don't know why I wore the same Band-Aid. It was girly. It was pink. It had flowers and bees designed on its surface. It was stupid and makes no sense. But, I thought, whoever gave me the Band-Aid must be a girl and must be the same person who gave me a ride home. And I still wanted to thank her for that. Whoever she was.

"It's from last Friday. A chick must have taken me home and put this Band-Aid on me. I don't know who, but I sure as hell want to find out."

Danny paled at what I said and his mouth curved into a perfect O.

"What?" I asked immediately.

"You don't remember . . ." he whispered shakily. His whole body was trembling.

"Remember what?" I asked again.

He took a step back. "Nothing." Then he forced a chuckle and blinked repeatedly then excused himself, rushing towards the nearest restroom.

What was that? I was only wearing the Band-Aid so I can thank the girl for being so nice. I shrugged and shoved past Bruce. "I gotta go to class. Later."


And I left.

What was wrong with him?


The last week of November passed.

I watched Danny's progress in his swimming career. He was amazing in the water, despite the fact that he was a novice to the sport, and fucking sexy! With an ass that can shame a professional model and a body that definitely befits the title of a jock. Yep! I think Danny is fucking sexy and bulging at just the right places! No need to deny that anymore. I had enough boners to prove to myself that fact.

Two weeks into December, he swam until he fell out of the competition. It was sad when he reached the end of the lap just a second too late. But I know Danny: he's strong, he'll get over it, and I'm gonna be there this time to make sure that he does. I watched him get out of the pool and congratulate the victor of the race. My heart swelled with pride.

The same thing happened to me a week earlier when we faced Woodbridge on the field. We lost to them - it was bitter - but it was fine. They were the better team and I acknowledged that with a handshake with their team captain.

A sad fact in High School Sports: not everyone is supposed to win. True, but life goes on.


School stopped for the Winter Recess. My Christmas Break was spent with Lucas and the twins. My brother flew to California on the 22nd and took me with him to New York the next day. I had fun in the big city, but a dark cloud hovered above me wherever I go. I know that we were back to being friends, considering the constant exchange of calls and emails throughout the break, but there's still something between us. I can feel it blocking our connection. I have a sinking feeling that Danny was keeping something from me. I have no idea what it is and, because of that, it's freaking the shit out of me.

"You okay, man?" Blake came to my room one Christmas morning. Luckily, the Trio lived in a four-bedroom apartment - it was a nice place; earthy, colorful and warm - so, I had a room to myself the whole time I was with them.

I chose to ignore his question but I can't help but feel his eyes staring at me from behind. Finally, I sighed. "I don't know, man. I . . . I don't know." I stopped staring out the snowy landscape outside my window and sat on my bed, the springs beneath me creaked their complaints about my weight.

Blake's worried expression eased up a bit. Just a tiny bit. "Is it a girl?" He presumed.

There was only him and me this morning - Jake and my brother just went out for the Christmas rush - so there was no point keeping it a secret. Blake would just push me and push me until the truth would come out of my mouth. Plus, Blake is a cousin, a close friend and I am sure that he would be open-minded enough to understand.

Well . . . At least, I think he would.

"No." I took a deep, steady breath. "No. It's not about a girl."

"Then, why the long face? Only heart problems can make a man look like that." He chuckled as he went for the chair on my desk and faced me. "Tell me."

I smiled. He was the very first person who referred to me not as a boy, not as a teenager, but as a man. And I appreciated him for that.

"Promise me you wouldn't tell anyone. Not Luke. Not even your brother." I said tensely, locking my eyes with his.

He blinked, finally understanding the intensity of my dilemma. "It's that serious, huh?"

I nodded grimly.

"Alright. I won't tell anyone. You have my word." Blake promised.

"Swear on it!"

"What're you, seven?"

"Blake!" I snapped at him.

"Alright. Alright, I swear." he chuckled lightly. "Jesus!"

I nodded with the knowledge that Blake is a man of his word. He wouldn't break a promise. So, I succumbed for the truth.

"I think I may be in love." I whispered, so low that I thought Blake didn't hear me.

But he did.

"Okay, that's a start. Love is a wonderful feeling. But why would it be bothering you now? This didn't bother you before."

Before? Oh. He's talking about Stacey.

"It's too . . . complicated." I answered cautiously.

"Nothing is too complicated, man."

"Well, this one is!"

"Bro, if you love someone, then you should tell her. It's as simple as that."

"But . . ." I hesitated.

"But what?"

Diffidently, I answered. "He's not a her."

A deafening silence then hovered around the room. Then, out of the silence, Blake said, "Oh."

Oh, no! Wrong move, Princeton. Fuck! He's going to beat the shit out of me! I closed my eyes and expected the worst.

"Damn . . ." I heard Blake's low voice say moments later. "Keith, look at me."

I ducked my head lower. I didn't want to see the shame and disappointment in his eyes. I shook my head and fisted my hands beside me.

"Keith, be a man and look at me! Right now!" He growled.

Scared, I looked at him, ready for the worst. But, upon opening my eyes, instead of contempt and revulsion, I saw concern and understanding in his. He wasn't baffled. He wasn't even angry at me.

"Keith, listen to me . . . that is not something to be ashamed of." Blake said in a firm but soothing voice. "Loving someone is not something to be ashamed of. No matter who that person is. No matter how that person lives his or her life. Do you understand that?"

Reluctantly, I nodded. A sob escaped from my chest and, like a little child, I started crying. Thank God, he isn't mad. Blake crossed the room and held me, like how my father used to. He told me that it would be alright, chanted to me that everything will be okay, like how my mother told me. But I kept on crying.

"So, who is it?" Blake asked minutes after I had my moment. "Wait. Don't answer that if you don't want to. My question is - does he know that you have these feelings for him?"

Hmmm . . . that one's hard to answer. With him mooning over Bruce and shit, I don't even know if Danny has feelings for me. Maybe, one in a trillion chances, he has. I optimistically told myself. But I can't be that hopeful.

"No." I breathed sourly. "I think not. I think he only sees me as a . . . as a friend."

Blake sighed. "Then, you have to change that, man. Let him see you. Make him believe."

"It's not that easy, Blake. Hello. I'm in freakin' High School. I'm the fucking Captain of the football team. I'm playing Baseball next semester. I can't go out and court him. People will talk. What will everyone say when they hear that their Quarterback likes another guy?"

Blake just stared at me, leaving my question unanswered.

"Well, I like guys!"

My head whipped towards the doorway.

"Jake!" I gasped. Fuck! "How long have you been there?"

"Long enough to suspect that you're planning on jumping to my side of the fence," My mouth hung open. Was he . . .? "But that doesn't matter." He strode towards the room and gradually sat beside me. "Keith, it's okay."

I growled and looked down. "Shit!"

"Dude, it's okay! I told you, I like guys. There's nothing wrong with that."

My eyes shifted to Jake on my right, then to Blake on my left who nodded affirmatively, then back to Jake who was giving me a tender smile. I know that disbelief clearly etched on my face. "No way."

"Yes, Keith. Do you really want me to say it? I'm gay. There. I'm gay and I'm really sorry. I should've told you a long time ago." Jake said slowly, licked his lips lecherously and smiled. "You want proof, little cousin?"

My eyes widened with shock and I gasped and gathered my limbs towards me and the two of them started laughing.

"So, you like guys, huh?" Jake inquired casually.

I composed myself and tried to answer. "Well . . . not really. I mean. I don't know. Girls give me a boner. And they still make me fucking horny and shit. I see guys get naked every day in the showers u dick, ass and all u but . . . I don't get attracted to them as much as . . . as much as this guy does. I'm only attracted to him, it seems." I shrugged and looked at them, not really knowing how to explain my feelings.

Jake then spoke. "Keith, it's alright. I can see that you're still confused. So, whatever you want to ask, just ask. I will be here. Blake will be here. Your brother will be here."

My head snapped up. "You can't tell Lucas! Please don't tell him. If he knew that I'm-"

"Too late, kiddo."

Shit. Shit! Fuck! Shit! Fuck! Shit! FUCK! I didn't have to turn to the doorway. I knew that my brother was already there. Just my luck! I tried to swallow the frog that was stuck in my throat. Why the fuck is this happening to me?

"Keith, you don't have to put labels on it. It doesn't matter if you're straight or bi or whatever. I know you and that's good enough for me. You're a dick and a great pain in the ass sometimes, but deep inside you have a great personality and a golden, little heart that-"

"Alright, alright, stop! Stop!" I turned to my sappy brother, my face flushed with embarrassment. "Jeesh, Lucas! Too much details, man! Fuck! I can't believe this is happening!"

He chuckled. Then he looked me squarely in the eyes. "Keith, I understand, okay? I understand."

I looked at him and my mind ran another hundred miles an hour. How can he understand?

"And besides, ever since I saw you two together in our pool for the very first time when you were thirteen, I always thought you two would make a perfect couple."

I glared at him and growled. "What are you talking about?"

"Oh, for the love of Pete!" He groaned and rolled his eyes. "Daniel! I'm talking about Daniel! And don't you dare deny it, little brother! I have always known even before you realized it."

My mouth opened. And closed. I don't know what to say to that. Blake and Jake just chuckled. Bastards!

"Keith. It will be alright." my brother said, seating himself across the bed opposite Jake. Now, I'm in the middle of their circle. Or triangle. Or whatever. Weirdly, I felt loved. I felt positive. Somehow.

Then something crossed my mind.

"Bruce." I hissed his name. "Danny's not saying anything to me, but I know that he's with Bruce."

I looked at Jake then at my brother, expecting an answer from either the two of them. But it was Blake who responded in a plain baritone.

"Bro . . . they aren't married. Daniel's fair game." And a facsimile of a mischievous grin spread over his handsome face. The smile reached Jake, then turned to Lucas until, I, too, was smiling.

My smile widened. Damn!

Jake is right: there's nothing wrong with loving another guy. It's love. Love is a good thing. I just have to deal with it right so nothing bad results from it, but I should never be ashamed of it.

Lucas is right: everything will be fine. Straight or not, I know that he would be there for me. He would support me in everything that I would go through. I am myself and it's nobody's business.

And most importantly, Blake is right: Danny is fair game. It isn't too late to try.

And, damn, will I try!

So, all in all, I had twelve days of temporary happiness with my brother and the twins. Twelve days of loneliness like I have never felt before. Twelve days of a blue, blue confusing Christmas. And, this time, I'm not only talking about my mood, I'm also talking about my balls.


January 2011 arrived with the rush and anticipation for the end of the Fall Semester hanging on the atmosphere. But before that happens, everyone knows that they should study for the Fall Final Examinations - and study hard, they should.

We, I mean. Ugh!

"This is boring." I mumbled irritably on the pages of GENERAL BIOLOGY: Concepts and Connections. "Why did I even get an AP this semester?"

"Studying is supposed to be boring, Keith. Only you and your brain can make it exciting. And regarding the Advanced Placement that you and I took . . . let me just say that you are one of the few guys who utilizes his brains, unlike most of the jocks who think of nothing but scoring - both on the field and in between the sheets."

'Right now, I'm thinking of scoring, myself, Danny.' I wanted to tell him and his sexy ass; how fucking tight he must feel like stretched around the thickness of my cock, how delicious it must be to slam myself balls-deep inside him while I kiss and lick the sweat glistening on the hollow of his neck, how he would scream my name while I pound him orgasm through orgasm. Shit! Now I've got a hard-on! But I can't weird him out. Deep breaths, Keith! Deep breaths.

"Well, that's because brains are for pussies." I countered sharply; loud enough for our librarian - Mrs. Weaver - to shush me with her 210-year old dehydrated lips.

"Oh, really!" Danny hissed under his breath; his eyebrows rose surprisingly high on his forehead. Oops! I think I just hurt his feelings with that statement. "Well, I think a man who uses his brains is appealing." He mumbled and returned to studying - skimming hardly through his notes that they almost crumpled beneath his fingers. I smiled when I noticed that he was wearing the custom-made silver band that I gave to him when I returned after the holidays. I was really glad that he liked it. Though, at first, he hesitated upon accepting something so "shiny and expensive." And he felt really sorry that he had nothing for me. But I shrugged him off and said that it was totally fine. Which, it was.

Then, I thought of what he just said: A man who uses his brains is appealing. Really? He thinks so?

Discreetly, I sat erect on my chair and flipped through his notes, reading through the pages. I heard him chuckle. I think he noticed my sudden interest in mitosis, isotopes, adenosine diphosphates, phylogenic trees, and the embryonic development. I smiled wickedly.

But soon enough, I, too, delved into my notes. Danny shook me ten minutes later. "Keith, I think I just heard the bell. Come on."

Shocked that I actually managed to study in the Library, I just packed my things and followed him to our next class.

"Settle down now, children. Settle down." I heard Mrs. Giovanni's vivacious muttering as we entered the Drama Department Auditorium for Multicultural Arts - we were having a sort of a dry-run for our practical exams today. But Mrs. Giovanni's airy movements were dominating the stage, grabbing everybody's attention.

"What is she doing here? Where is Mr. Thorne?" I mumbled.

"I have a hunch. Must be a special announcement." Danny replied quietly.

Everybody sat near the front row, curious as to why the school's Drama Department Chairwoman was in our class. She cleared her throat to attain silence. "Very well. I am here with permission from your Multicultural Arts instructor to proclaim about something . . . magical."

Proclaim? That's, like, 14th century ancient! Oh, God! Just get to the point, woman!

Mrs. Giovanni continued. "Let us start with something trivial. Who among you have heard these lines before?" And she delivered a lengthy passage:

"Two households, both alike in dignity,

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

From forth the fatal loins of these two foes

A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;

Whole misadventured piteous overthrows

Do with their death bury their parents' strife.

The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,

And the continuance of their parents' rage,

Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,

Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;

The which if you with patient ears attend,

What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend."

My mind swung, shifted and shuffled. I swear I have heard some of the words from that passage before; like Verona and star-crossed lovers. But I couldn't figure out where! And apparently, so, does everybody else. So, she gave us another one - her shrill voice echoing all around the auditorium as she delivered the verses.

"It is my lady, O, it is my love!

O, that she knew she were!

She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?

Her eye discourses; I will answer it.

I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,

Having some business, do entreat her eyes

To twinkle in their spheres till they return.

What if her eyes were there, they in her head?

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,

As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven

Would through the airy region stream so bright

That birds would sing and think it were not night.

See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!

O, that I were a glove upon that hand,

That I might touch that cheek!"

I gotta admit, she was good. But when she finished speaking, amazingly, something clicked inside my head. Verona. Star-Crossed Lovers. Gloved Hand. Touch. Cheek. This one I think I knew!

"That one's from Romeo and Juliet. At the Capulet's Orchard. Scene II, I think." I answered automatically.

Shit! Why the hell did I just do that?

Everybody was silent. I realized all of their eyes were focused on me, partly-sitting and partly-standing out of my seat, including Danny's big, deep, chocolate ones. I felt like I should explain, but I think that that would just make things worse. A jock who knows literature? Are you kidding me? Well, in my defense, we had a book report before when I was in Middle School and the teacher chose Romeo and Juliet as the piece to work on. So, I had no choice but to read and understand it. It must have stuck on me or something. Their eyes kept staring at me. If not because of my tan, they would've seen me blush.

"That is correct!" Mrs. Giovanni's voice rang louder with dramatic delight. "Mr. Princeton, you are the perfect specimen! You have proven to us that, nowadays, brawn can still go along with brains! BRAVO! Everyone, give Mr. Princeton an applause!" she commanded.

I was a bit shocked that she knew my name, but it vanished when everybody started clapping. She must have gone to my games - however weird that might have looked like.

Thank God that none of my team mates were here;

For they would've done worse than clap and cheer.

Wow. I actually followed Shakespeare's meter and rhyme! Ha! I'm such a dork sometimes.

"See? Appealing!" I then heard Danny whisper to me, his warm breath sending shivers along my neck. And I chuckled. Damn! I can feel precome running down my leg!

"Now . . . everybody knows that the Drama Department holds three productions every school year. Both the Fall Play and the Winter Musicale has been successfully presented during the previous year. So now comes a production for Spring."

I shook my head clear of pornographic ideas. Dear Lord. Here comes.

"The Drama Department would like to announce that this year's Spring production would be a bit . . . different."

Yeah, right.

"Yes, people, we are going to have a musicale . . ."

Oh, great! I thought it would be different. Can we go now?

". . . But with a twist . . ."

Uh, isn't there always?

"We're making a comedy with all the added musical elements . . ." She exclaimed excitedly. "A musicale . . . as you may have already figured . . . based on the classical play . . . of William Shakespeare's . . . Romeo and Juliet!" Mrs. Giovanni finished with a delicate flourish of her hands.


Eerie silence.

Creepy silence.

Awkward silence.

Deafening silence.

Life-altering silence.

Mind-boggling silence.

And much, much, much more variations of SILENCE.

What the hell is she thinking! 'Romeo and Juliet' is okay but . . . is she serious?

"Well, what do you think?" she asked enthusiastically, her eyes widening with the excitement that we couldn't really feel. "Okay. I'll be passing forms. To anyone who's interested in joining the production staff, just fill the blue one up and meet me here right after class dismissals for our very first meeting. To those willing to join the play itself, fill up the green audition form."

Mrs. Giovanni then walked along the aisle where the papers were passed on, answering questions and giving information about the play. When she came to our row, she spoke to Danny.

"Child, are you Daniel Mockins?"

Danny nodded.

"Pleasure to meet you. Daniel, I would really love to have you in our department next semester. You could really help with the play. Mrs. Elmers gave me great commendations about you. You should think about it." She smiled.

"But that's just English. I didn't have to sing the words, then. And you don't want me singing in front of a crowd, Mrs. Giovanni." he jested.

Not true at all. When I've been sleeping over at Danny's, I've heard him sing in the shower countless times. Maroon 5. Nickelback. Secondhand Serenade. The Jonas Brothers. Five for Fighting. The Fray. I even heard him sing Avril Lavignes, Taylor Swifts, Rihannas and Beyonces at times in there. But once he gets out, I pretend to be still asleep and stifle my laughter under the sheets and act like I didn't hear anything. He was good, I can assure you that.

Damn! I'm just realizing these things now? How fucked up am I to realize it just now? These little things just make me want him more!

"Well . . . we can always use another scriptwriter. Or, maybe, an editor." Mrs. Giovanni beamed at Danny, "Mrs. Elmers said you have potential. Think about it, Mr. Mockins." then she turned to me, "And you, young man, should, too!"

Danny nodded and he told her he would. I didn't say anything. And the papers were then passed to Danny's hands. I watched Mrs. Giovanni return to the stage.

"You're definitely not going to think about joining, are you?" I asked with a whisper. But when I turned to face him, the blue form was already filled up with his name and contact information. He thrust the blue and green forms to me.

"I already did." He grinned. "And you should, too, Mr. Appealing!"

I scoffed and took the papers with contempt and scanned through the familiar names, just like what most of the class did. From our year, Stacey Moore, Theresa Hall, Diane Reed, Jonathan Plum, Jaime dela Cruz, Carter Davis, and Isabella Martinez joined. And from the higher years I read Richard Connor, Tyler Jones, and Timothy Garrett.

What the hell were they all thinking? Plays are boring. Musicales are lame. "Seriously? Tyler and Garrett are joining?"

"Now, is that really so hard to believe?" Danny pouted before he rolled his eyes at me.

"It's lame. It's boring. It's a waste of time." I exclaimed. "I think I'd rather study than wear tights and sing falsetto in front of a crowd!"

"You? In tights? Now, that would be sexy!" He laughed.

"Oh, shut up!" I socked his arm but his laughter didn't falter a bit.

Then another name scribbled carelessly on the sheet of paper caught my attention.

Bruce Adams.

My stomach tightened. Is this why he's joining?

Then the papers were snatched from my grip. Danny stood and moved towards the stage to return them to Mrs. Giovanni.

Fucking Spring Musicale!

This is not good! Bruce and Danny in the same room for the majority of the next four or five months?! Not good! NOT GOOD AT ALL!

Taking the opportunity of Danny's absence, I decided to call for help.

"911 Emergency!" I hissed as soon as I got through. I sat low on my seat to keep myself from being busted on using my phone during class hours.

"You're breaking rules again, dickhead! Talk. And get to the point. We have Calculus in five." Luke snapped.

"They're always together. I can't make a freaking move! What the hell am I going to do? I'm supposed to be his best friend but I only get to hang out with him during lunch, and even then, Bruce is always beside him. And I have a feeling that there's something that Danny is not telling me. He is avoiding me sometimes. Sometimes, he's not. It's confusing! I don't know why and I'm afraid to ask for fear of ruining this friendship. Again. And now, they've both joined the production for the Spring Musicale and it has given them yet another fucking chance to go googley eyes with each other for the next semester!" There was silence on the other line. "Lucas, what the fuck! Are you even listening to me?"

"Loud and clear, bro!" Blake - or Jake - answered. Must be Blake. Luke must have put me on loudspeaker, then.

"And? What?" I exclaimed. "What should I do?"

"You really got it bad, don't you?" That, surely, was Jake. "You weren't like this when you were courting Stacey."

I groaned in impatience. Yes, I got it bad! I got it fucking bad! "This is different. Just answer the question, guys!"

They heaved a sigh in unison.

"Well . . . as you have said, you're the best friend. Demand for some of his time. You're technically entitled for it."

"Blake, Bruce is the boyfriend-"

"Assumed!" my brother cut in.

"Fine! Bruce is the 'assumed' boyfriend. Doesn't that entitle him for the majority of his time?"

Jake growled impatiently. "Keith, you're being paranoid! Whether he has a boyfriend or not, that doesn't erase the fact that you're his best friend - and if what you're saying that you love him is true, then you would fucking do whatever it fucking takes to fucking get him! Now, don't be a fucking baby and fucking get him! We have Directional Derivatives and Gradients to tend to!" And the call ended.

I shut my phone and shoved it back into my pocket. Phew! Jake sure has temper issues.

Deep breaths, Keith! You're smart. You're appealing! Danny told you so. Surely, you can figure this out.

Now, what are the things that you have to consider?

One, you have to actually be with Danny to be able to make a move on him. Two, you have to keep it plain, simple and discreet so no one would be suspicious enough to stone you both to death. Three, the Spring Musicale's rehearsals and preparations may start as soon as the beginning of the second semester, that's long enough time for Bruce to spend time with Danny, long enough time to hurt him when he finally learns the truth about them. You can't tell him. That's absolutely a no-no. Bruce has to. Four, you have Baseball on the second semester, are you willing to sacrifice your time playing your dream sport to join a stupid school production? And five, are you sure you are ready about this?


It's now or never. I have to decide now.


"Mrs. Giovanni!" I called as I shoved my way through the crowded hallway. "Excuse me . . . Oh, sorry . . . Oh, my bad . . . Mrs. Giovanni, wait up . . . Shit, I'm sorry . . . MRS. GIOVANNI!"

Thankfully, the crowd thinned when I reached the next bend, and I spotted her turning another corner towards the faculty rooms.

I called her name again. This time, she heard me.

"Oh, dear me! My apologies, Mr. Princeton." She paused, "What can I do for you, young man?"

Well . . . What the fuck! Why was I even following this fuddy-duddy, antediluvian language-speaking woman?

Focus, Keith. You're here for the play. Focus.

"Um . . . I would just like to ask something about the play, Mrs. Giovanni."

Ask what, bonehead? Shit! Think. Think. Think.

"Ask away, my dear." and she proceeded towards their office. I followed.

"Well . . . Um . . ." Think. Think. Think. Just right then, I saw a maintenance crew painting the boarders of a newly installed bulletin board. Perfect timing!

"Plays and musicales will need props, right?" I knew it was a really dumb question as soon as it left my mouth but I was rattled and I was baffled by what to say it just sort of came out.

"Well, of course, Mr. Princeton." she replied, never losing her stride. "Props and decorations are imperative to creating an indefectible scene."

Great. "Then, I'd like to help with making the props, ma'am." I interjected.

Mrs. Giovanni stopped walking and I almost bumped into her. She turned to me, her round-rimmed glasses magnifying her mossy-green eyes. "Are you sure about that, Mr. Princeton? Props-making can be a tedious job. And it would take a lot of your time . . . I heard you're playing Baseball next semester, am I right? Are you sure you can manage it?"

She has a point. I do have Baseball for next semester. Am I even capable of handling two things at the same time, three if I include my academics?

But . . . whatever! Only time can tell. I'll cross that rickety bridge when I get there.

"Yes, ma'am." I reassured, mostly to myself. "I think I can handle it."

She nodded appreciatively and gave me a cordial smile. "Very well. Mr. Princeton," I heard her speak in her heavily-accented European voice, "Welcome to the team! I'll expect you in the auditorium after dismissal."

"Great!" I replied.

I smiled inwardly as I turned around for my next class. I may have to do this in an agonizingly slow method but, damn, "Operation: GET DANNY MOCKINS" is finally a GO!

*End of Chapter 16*

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the longest chapter yet after Book One, Chapter Seven: "Getting Deeper Than My Nerves." I hope I didn't bore you. I'm so sorry if I had some technical slip-ups concerning the American Football Conference Game. Living on the other side of the world, I have NEVER seen an actual one so the game portrayed in this chapter is purely made out of research. Again, I deeply apologize.

P.S.: A late Valentine's greeting to everyone! I hope you had a great time on the fourteenth. Me - on the other hand - my Valentine's Day sucked! The only highlight of my day was listening to Hunter Parrish's songs, watching Rom-Coms, and jerking off while Gabriel Clark pounded Tommy Defendi. Read with you in the next fifteen days, GayDemons! And don't forget your COMMENTS! COMMENTS! COMMENTS! - XOXO NJ


Nerdy Jock

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