As Donny drove through the night, I found myself lost in the images along the road as we sped along towards my house.
We didn't talk much - Donny and I - until he pulled up in front of my house. It was hot and humid that night. He pulled up and turned off the truck.
"Thanks for the ride, I really do appreciate it."
Donny reached out and touched me on my bare shoulder and then moving his hand up to my neck where he lightly squeezed the back.
I smiled as he starred me in the eye.
He asked me if I was going to be okay.
"Yeah, it will all work out."
"What about your parents? Your mom seemed pretty upset when I spoke with her earlier."
"I suppose the whole idea of their son being in a relationship with another guy is still overwhelming to them."
"What about your dad?"
I thought for a moment and then told Donny how I was surprised the way he initially handled it.
"Well, he was just very dismissive at first and then really concerned for my well being."
"That is to be expected; especially if he suspected Doug as your attacker."
"Why did you suspect Doug as my attacker? We both denied that he was the one who had done it, and yet everyone thought it was him."
"Jason, after what happened in the parking lot that day, and then only a few days later you are admitted to the hospital with a broken jaw, cracked ribs, and God only knows what else - who else were we supposed to think did it?"
He was right.
"Your mom told me that it was Mr. Edgars."
He nodded and then told me that he thought that was really odd, since Mr. Edgars had always been such a quiet guy and never really interacted with anyone.
I could tell Donny was suspicious of my accusations that Edgars had attacked me - especially without provocation. I was silent.
Donny sat there quietly looking at me and finally said, "It was Doug wasn't it?"
My head fell into my hands and I didn't know what to say.
"Jason - it was Doug that attacked you wasn't it."
"Yes!" I yelled at him.
He was startled at my strong response, withdrew his arm, and sat back against the door of the truck.
My emotions became overwhelming and I lost it. The tears and sobbing started almost instantly after that. Out of pure embarrassment, I couldn't bring myself to look at Donny. He had been my best friend for as long as I could remember, and yet I couldn't bring myself to tell him anything.
Did I owe him an explanation?
Did he even want to hear one?
I felt guilty and ashamed for what Doug and I had been doing together.
Did I really love Doug, or just how he made me feel? Was it love at all?
There were so many unanswered questions and I didn't know where to turn.
"Jason..." he said softly "...what can I do to help you?"
Through my sobs, I told him that I didn't know. I was becoming hysterical and started to hyperventilate; my chest heaving with inhalations
"Donny... I... I... I don't... know."
Soon I felt his arm again, and he pulled me forcefully into him and held me tight. My face pushed into the crook of his neck, his arms wrapping around me tight and embracing me, I propped my chin on his shoulder - the tears streaming down my face and onto the bare skin of his upper back.
"Jason, I need you to calm down - okay - breath for me - alright - just breath."
I continued to huff and pant, even as he stroked the back of my head trying to calm me.
I felt the scruff on his chin as he nestled his head in next to my neck and grasped me even tighter.
Normally, I would have found Donny's actions towards me to be out of character. He was a very masculine guy, always approachable, we were the best of "pals", but to be holding me like he was seemed more brotherly than "pal-ish".
I felt my embarrassment begin to subside, and when I slid my right arm around his torso, it slipped inside his shirt and my hand went up his backside and grasped his warm moist flesh.
"Oh man, what am I going to do?" I asked him.
"Shh, it's okay - just relax - we'll figure this out."
The tears continued to stream down and I felt him shiver as they ran down his back into the fabric of the white muscle t-shirt he was wearing. I inhaled deeply to catch my breath and it brought in his scent. A subtle blend of sun kissed flesh mixed with a light musky deodorant. He felt so warm and smelled even better. It reminded me of the effects Doug sent through me when we were together.
Oh man, he smelled really good, and I inhaled deeply again.
"That's it - just breath buddy - okay?"
"Mmm Hmm" I closed my eyes and took in the intimate moment Donny and I were sharing.
I turned my face into his neck and up to the hair behind his ear, exhaled my hot moist breath, and then inhaled deeply again.
Oh god - it was intoxicating.
He shivered again and asked if I was feeling better.
"Mmm Hmm" and then my lips grazed the perspiration on his neck, and I tasted a part of Donny for the first time.
Oh my god - I thought - this is so hot.
With my eyes closed, I gently kissed Donny on the neck, just below his ear and he shivered again.
"...yeah..." I said softly
I felt him pull back and grasp the sides of my head with both his hands.
I opened my eyes and he was inches from my face.
"...it's going to be alright, I promise" he told me softly. I watched his eyes as he studied my face, and when he looked at my lips, I leaned in slowly and kissed him softly at first - when he didn't pull back - I pushed in harder and slid my tongue into his mouth.
He pushed me away and pulled back.
I had gone to far.
"Jason - no..."
"JASON - I said NO"
My shame and embarrassment quickly returned and I moved back towards the passenger door, wiped his sweat off my lips, opened the door, and got out of his truck.
I started walking through the dewy grass towards my house. I heard the other truck door open and slam shut, then heard Donny rush up behind me and spin me around.
"I'm sorry - I don't know what I was thinking" I said to him.
He grabbed me around the arms and pulled me into him again.
"Jason, it's okay."
I grabbed at him hard and felt tears well up in my eyes again. "Donny, what's wrong with me?"
"Jason, you have been through so much; and I want to be here to help you - but I can't help you like that. Can you understand that?"
I didn't respond, and only held him tighter.
"I love you man. You're the brother that I never had and our friendship means everything to me. I don't want to ruin that. I don't want to LOSE that. Don't you understand?"
"Yes... I do understand." I squeezed him tight and then let go and took a step back. I wiped my eyes and looked into his.
He put his hands on top of his head, exposing his underarms, his chest drawn up, his nipples visible under the white t-shirt - he was sweating in the evening heat. I could see the beads of moisture as they ran down the underside of his arms.
"Donny, I'm sorry."
He exhaled strongly, "I know - it's okay."
I looked down at the grass and extended my hand.
I heard him snicker and then felt his hand grasp mine.
He tugged on my arm and pulled me into him again.
"You crazy bastard. You're gonna be fine."
When he let go a few seconds later he told me to get inside, shower, and get some sleep.
"You smell like shit."
"Yeah, well, you could use a spritz yourself" I told him.
He laughed and told me he would call me tomorrow. I turned and went to the house. Once inside the door I looked back and saw that he was still standing in the front yard. He had his arms clasped in front of him and was looking down at the ground, the contours of his biceps glistened with sweat in the night air. I opened the door again...
"You okay?" I asked.
"Yep... Goodnight" he replied with a single wave of his hand before turning towards his truck and walking away.
From inside the house I heard his truck pull away. The kitchen light was on and when I went in my dad was sitting at the kitchen table.
"You're up late"
"I was waiting for you to get home."
"You and Donny okay?"
"Oh yeah, he just brought me home. We talked for a bit. He is worried about me, that's all."
"Jason we are all worried about you."
I gave a heavy sigh and leaned on the kitchen counter.
"Jason, I know the whole story you gave us in the hospital about Carl Edgars is a bunch of shit."
I felt my stomach in my throat. "Dad..."
"Jason, don't lie to me."
"Dad, just let it go - please."
"I'm calling the police in the morning and you are going to report this - as you should have last fall."
I couldn't deal with this anymore tonight. I had really had enough of him and my mother. All this bullshit about them caring about me and wanting to recreate another scandal in this fucking shit hole town. I couldn't do it. I felt I was ready to burst - and I did.
"Dad, if you don't let it go, I will tell them you did it."
"I'm serious dad, I want this to end - now."
He stood up so fast that the chair he was sitting in tipped over and crashed to the floor. He came up to me and leaned in to my left ear.
"You will NOT speak to me like that - do you fucking understand me."
I closed my eyes and nodded 'yes'.
He took a step back and let out a heavy breath, "Jason, your mother and I..."
"Dad, I really can't talk about this anymore tonight - I'm really tired. I just want to go to bed."
He paused and then seceded, "Okay son. We'll talk about this later."
"Thank you", I replied as I turned and went up the back stairs to my room. I didn't even bother taking a shower - I was drained. I turned my fan on, slipped out of all my clothes and collapsed onto my bare mattress.
The exchange between Donny and I stayed with me throughout the night. I found it difficult to sleep as my mind tried to process what I had been feeling and how both of these boys had such a deeply rooted and intense effect on me - physically.
My only realization was that I like boys. No - men - I liked men. I liked strong, young, athletic, well defined, sensual men who weren't afraid to show me their bodies, who weren't afraid to share there feelings with me. Men who wanted to have an emotionally and physically intimate relationship with me. Men who would hold me tight, make me feel safe, and special - loved even.
And I didn't care why - it didn't matter why. Girls always looked at me as some kind of hunky trophy - something they could show off to their friends, something that could fuck them and make them cum really hard. It was never about me - it was always about them.
That's how it had always been - about how I could make someone else feel better.
But not with Doug.
And not with Donny.
They cared about what I felt, they cared about me for who I am - now - even after all that had happened.
Will I ever understand why Doug did what he did to me in the locker room that night? I didn't know. Perhaps he would tell me in time. And even though he hurt me at first, what we came to realize in the end was so much more powerful. He rocked me - hard.
And then he reached out to me, and I didn't want to let him go.
And I wouldn't.