As I drove to the pool I couldn't get the image of Doug's face out of my head. The way he looked at me was one of complete disgust - as if I had done something wrong to him. I didn’t understand any of it.
How could I have been so stupid?
After everything that happened between us, how could I possibly believe something special had developed.
Why did I fall so fast and that hard?
He was all that I could think of, and when we weren't together - a physical pain rattled inside me.
My only explanation was love – but was a really love or just something "new".
Was any of it real?
I had so many unanswered questions.
I needed answers.
Donny’s truck was in the parking lot when I arrived at the pool. What a relief.
I checked in with Theresa after clocking in.
"You okay Jason?"
"You look upset - is something wrong?"
"I haven’t had the best morning so far."
She smiled and nodded - "Okay".
"Have you seen Donny?"
"He is out with Carissa pulling the buoy lines in the shallows."
I went to the locker room for a quick shower; I needed to wash Doug off me. The water was as hot as I could get it and it felt good to wash over me. As I leaned against the wall I felt a wave of emotion pull me to the ground. I sat with my heard covered by my arms and began to cry.
"God, I'm so stupid!" I said as I pound my fists into my skull.
"Why are you stupid?"
I looked up and saw Kyle standing over me.
"Why are you stupid?" he asked again.
I felt ridiculous that I had allowed Doug to reduce me to this lump of self pity on the shower floor. I told Kyle it was nothing and stood up.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"Okay. Well Theresa wanted me to tell you that you have 3 private lessons this morning before we open. A couple of little kids and some ninth grader. Are you up for it?"
"Yeah, I'm good." Kyle handed me their information and started his own shower. I toweled my hair and went out to the deck.
Working with the kids was a good distraction. Sarah was four and Jake was six. They were brother and sister. We practiced on the water boards kicking from one end of the shallows to the other. Carissa was working with me as a spotter.
"You are so good with kids Jason."
"Thanks, these guys are a lot of fun."
"Jason, can I be done now? My legs are tired." Sarah asked.
"Yeah honey, you want to jump off the board for a while? I can catch you."
Sarah got out and walked to the diving boards as I swam over. We were joined by Carissa and Jake a little while later. I would tread water while Sarah would jump and then dog paddle to the side. Donny and Jess joined us with their swimmers.
"How you guys doing?" Carissa asked them.
"Good, I'm ready for a break though." Jess told her, "Can you boys handle these guys?"
"Sure." I told them.
Carissa and Jess got out while Jake and Sarah continued to take turns on the diving boards.
"How you doing man," Donny asked me.
"I could tell you that I'm doing fine, but I would be lying."
"What's the matter?"
"I went to see him in the hospital this morning and he was being a complete prick. His Aunt showed up and treated me like I was some vagrant piece of shit."
"Does she know about the two of you?"
"Which Aunt was it?"
"Oh, that's Doug's father's sister. My mom is in a book club with her. Isn't her first name Joanne?"
"Yeah, that's it."
"What did she say?"
"She said she thought I would look more 'gay' than I did."
"What did you say to her?"
"I called her a prejudicial bitch."
"Ew, that's not good."
"She was being a bitch."
I looked up and saw Jake ready to jump in. "Come on Jake, I've got you." He jumped, I grabbed his arm and helped him to the side.
"Then what happened?"
"Did he say anything?"
"He was pissed about what I said to her. I told him to fuck off and I leftt. Can you believe that shit?"
"Jason - catch me!" Sarah shouted from the board.
"Okay Sarah, one more time and then it's time to be done."
She jumped and I helped her to the side. Donny swam up next to me and we helped Sarah get out of the pool.
"Dry off honey, your mom will be here in a little bit."
We hung on the end of the pool, our arms crossed in front of us, our chins resting on our forearms. Donny was looking at me intently.
"And then I came here." I looked at him; his blue eyes were so intense in the morning sunlight - like two pieces of cobalt or sapphires, his brown hair clinging to his face. His gaze lingered.
"What?" I asked
"What's it like?"
"What's what like?"
"Being with him?"
"With Doug; why?"
"I want to know."
He smiled and wiped some water off his face.
"Why do you want to know?"
"I just do."
I was surprised by his question - considering that he seemed so repulsed by what he saw happening between Doug and I in the hospital.
"Um..." I stumbled for the right word, "...it's nice."
"Nice how? I mean, nicer than being with a girl?"
"Are you fucking with me?"
He laughed a little and turned around to rest the back of his head on the edge of the pool, putting his arms back to hold on to the sides. "No, I'm not fucking with you."
I turned around too, paddling my feet up to float on top of the water, my arms behind me to hold me up. "Donny, I thought you didn't want to know about Doug and I."
"I never said that."
"Uh, yeah you did."
He looked over at me again, "Jason - I said that I didn't need to see what I saw in the hospital."
"Well isn't that the same thing?"
"Why are you asking?"
"I'm just curious."
"Donny, if you want to know what it's like to be with another guy, then I'll tell you. It's very different, and yet - very familiar. For me, it's amazing to feel such an intense and deep intimacy with another person. More than I ever felt in being with a girl. There is something about being accepted in such a complete way by another man that just consumes. Does that make sense? "
"And you’ve never felt that with any of the girls?"
"No, certainly not like I have with Doug that."
"What are you two talking about?" Kyle asked from behind us.
We both turned around quickly and noticed Kyle standing over both of us.
"Uh, nothing Kyle" Donny replied.
"Jason, your next lesson is here."
"Oh, okay." I looked across the pool deck and saw a young man, probably fourteen or fifteen, standing in a pair of long board shorts. Skinny and pale. He looked nervous. I climbed out of the pool and went to him. As I left, I heard Kyle ask Donny again what we had been talking about. I looked back and noticed Donny watching me.
"Hi, I'm Jason. You must be... Tyler?"
"Should we get started?"
"Hey man, just relax - you'll be fine" I said with a smile, and we went to the shallows.
While I was working with Tyler I noticed Doug was watching me from behind the fence. When he saw me notice him, he waved - I ignored him.
When Tyler's lesson was over I went to Theresa and told her to put Doug's name on the list for no admission for the rest of the season.
"He acts inappropriately when he is here."
Jess came in to the office and I called her on our interaction with Doug a few days before.
Theresa asked Jess what had happened and she told her.
"Oh, he's the young man I walked in on in the men's locker room."
I'd already forgotten that Theresa had walked in on us that day.
"Alright – he’s out."
The afternoon was uneventful until around four when Doug had tried to enter the pool and Carissa told him he had been banned. Theresa had to intervene and apologize. When Doug asked why, she told him about the trouble with his swimming naked in the deep end and then wearing such a small swim suit around little kids.
"You've got to be fucking kidding me!"
"I'm sorry Doug."
"I want to speak with Jason Shaw."
"Just let me talk to him Theresa."
"I'm sorry Doug, he is working. You can come back after we close. Now go, I don't want to call the police."
"Jesus Christ!" he exclaimed and then left.
I saw him walk out to his car. He stood there next to the driver's door looking in at me. I just stared back from behind my sunglasses. We held each other’s gaze for some time before he finally got in his car and left.
A minute later my phone chirped. It was a text message from Doug saying that he needed to talk to me. I deleted the message. I couldn't deal with him anymore today. Then my phone chirped again and his message said that he was at home with his aunt and sister. Apparently his dad was being detained at the police station on charges of assault.
I turned my phone off.
When it was break time, I went into the locker room to pee. While I was standing at the urinal, Kyle came up next to me and dropped his shorts to pee too.
"Hotter than fuck out there isn't it?" he said.
"So what's with you and Doug Merrick?"
"Do you and Doug have a 'thing'?"
I stopped peeing. "What do you mean a thing?"
"Well he's gay, even though he doesn't like to admit it, and I know you two have become friends since the summer started. I just wandered if you two had... you know... a thing."
I took a deep breath, and the urine began to flow again. "No Kyle, we don't have a 'thing'."
"Yes Kyle, I'm sure."
Kyle turned towards me and started pissing on my leg. I jumped back away from him.
"Fuck! What are you doing?" I shouted at him.
"Pissing on you like Doug did that night."
"He said you liked it."
He continued to piss all over the floor; I backed up out of the way. He started to spray his piss back and forth in front of me, his limp dick between his thumb and two fingers - waving it back and forth. When he was finished, he pulled his suit back up.
"There... now clean that up." He turned and walked out.
I just stood there, my back to the cement wall, my mouth open, horrified by what Kyle has said. My fear and shame quickly turned to rage. I walked through Kyle's piss, out onto the pool deck, and shoved him from behind.
He stumbled forward and turned around.
"What is your fucking problem Kyle?"
"My problem!?! I'm not the one getting fucked in the ass while I'm at work - you little bitch!"
Jess, Carissa, and Donny were laying in the deck chairs off to the side witnessing our interaction.
I charged at Kyle, head-butt him in the stomach and wrapped my arms around his waist. He grabbed me around my chest from above and threw me to the side where I fell to the ground.
"You think you can take me Jason - I was a four time state wrestling champion."
"JASON DON'T!!!" Donny yelled.
The palms of my hands were scuffed from the concrete and my left knee was scratched and bleeding.
Theresa came out of the office and yelled at Kyle, "What the fuck is going on here?"
"Nothing Theresa - just go back in the office.
"Jason needs an attitude adjustment!" he told her.
"Kyle, you're done! GO HOME!" she yelled back at him. He turned towards her in shock and anger.
"Go home!" she commanded him.
He turned back towards me as I sat on the ground.
Jess had come over and was kneeling next to me.
"This isn't over Jason."
Kyle went into the office, grabbed his things and left. Theresa, Carissa, and Donny came over and helped me up and into the office where they cleaned my knee and bandaged it.
"What the hell that was all about?" Theresa asked.
"I have no idea. I was in the locker room taking a piss - he came in and started talking smack and copped an attitude with me."
"What was he going on about you for?"
"I don't know."
Donny quietly observed my interactions with the girls.
"Jason, are you okay to keep working?"
"Yeah, I just need a few minutes. I'll be fine."
Theresa said she would cover my chair until I was ready to come back out.
"I'll stay with him." Donny told her.
The girls left. Donny broke open one of the instant ice packs and put it on my knee.
"Jason, what the hell was that all about?"
I looked up at the ceiling, closed my eyes, and looked back at Donny. "Doug was texting me earlier and I shut my phone off. I can only guess that he asked Kyle to start some shit with me."
"Why would he do that?"
"I don't know. But Kyle knows about what happened between Doug and I at the High School and what happened here in the showers the other day."
"What happened in the showers the other day?"
FUCK! I shouldn't have said that.
"Oh god, did you two do it in the locker room?"
I didn't respond.
I felt bad, and yet - he asked.
"My guess is that Doug is trying to get back at your for today. He is a lot like his dad."
"Bat shit crazy?"
I felt like it was starting all over again, and that was the last thing that I wanted to have happen.
"But why would he tell Kyle what happened between us? He was so embarrassed earlier today when the nurses at the hospital caught us in his shower, it’s like he doesn't want anyone to know what we are doing."
"Nurses caught you in the shower with him?" he clenched his eyes shut and shook his head, "What is it with you anyway?"
"Donny, my point is - why does Doug want to hide what we are doing so much and then blatantly share specifics with Kyle? I would think that Kyle would be the last person he would want to find out about us."
"I don't know."
"How am I supposed to work with Kyle if he is going to act like that?"
"I don't think you need to worry about Kyle being here. It sounds like Theresa has taken care of that - or she will shortly."
"Shit. Why is all of this happening? I really fucked things up didn't I?"
"Yes... yes you did."
After the pool closed I went out to my car. I turned my phone on and saw that I had eleven messages. Each one was from Doug - begging me to call him and escalating in frustration and anger until the last one where he apologized for Kyle's behavior and that he really wanted to see me.
I didn't delete the messages, but I didn't return his call either. I couldn't think of what to do so rather than make another impulsively bad decision I headed for home.
My phone rang on the way and it was Donny asking if I was okay.
"Yeah, I'm just headed home."
"You want to get together tonight - maybe catch a movie to get your mind off today?"
It was a good idea. "Yeah, let's get something to eat first."
"Okay, let's meet a Joe's around 7:30, and then we'll catch the nine."
I rounded the corner to my street and noticed Doug's car parked across from my house. As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed the car was empty. Was he in my house?
I called home and Lindsey answered the phone.
"Lindsey, its Jason - don't say anything except 'yes' or 'no' - okay?"
"Is Doug in the house?"
"Is he talking to mom or dad?"
"Well which one?"
"You said I could only say 'yes' or 'no'."
"Lindsey, who is he talking to?"
"He's talking to dad."
"Lindsey - who is that on the phone?" my father asked.
"It's Jason - dad."
I hung up the phone and turned off the car. I didn't want to go in the house, but soon my father was walking outside with Doug following behind him.
"Jason? What are you doing out here?"
They both came up to the driver’s side of my car.
"Mr. Shaw, can I talk to Jason alone please."
My father was hesitant, but agreed and went back into the house.
Doug stood there in silence just looking at me while I sat in my car.
Finally he asked me if I was going to say anything.
"What do you want me to say Doug?"
"Anything; tell me you're mad at me. Tell me you hate me. Tell me you love me."
"Tell you I love you? You've got to be fucking kidding me!"
"Just say something!"
I turned away and looked out the windshield. He leaned in and put his hands on the door sill.
"I'm not leaving until we talk about this."
"I don’t want to talk to you Doug?"
He reached in and brushed the back of his hand on my face. I flinched and pulled away. My reaction surprised him.
"I think we have a lot to talk about."
He was right; we did. But I didn’t know where to start. I had gone over so many different things in my head today that it was all a jumbled mess. And then I just let it all go...
"Okay, let's start with why Kyle pissed on me today and said he knew about what happened between usat the high school last fall and at the pool the other day. Why were you screwing with me like that at the pool on Memorial Day weekend, and how you came in my house and got in the tub with me. And let’s not forget this morning when you seemed so utterly disgusted by me when the nurses caught us in the shower? Let's start with that!"
He had no reaction, other than to back up, cross his arms, and look at me. "Are we going to discuss this here?"
"Well, can't we go somewhere and talk about this... in private?"
"No, I think we can talk about this right here."
Doug opened my door and asked me to get out of the car.
"Jason, you're being ridiculous."
"No Doug, I don't think I am."
I huffed, got out of the car, and leaned back against the side. He closed the door and stood next to me, side-by-side, looking down at the ground. I stared off into the woods behind our house.
"I'm sorry about today."
"All of it."
"Why does Kyle know about us?"
He didn't answer. I looked at him and asked again.
"Because I told him."
"No - I know you told him - I'm asking you WHY you told him."
He hesitated and then told me it was 'complicated'.
"What is so complicated about it? He told ME you were gay. It isn’t as if I hadn’t figured that out, but why would HE tell me that?"
"Because he was the first."
"The first what?"
"The first boy I ever had sex with - he is the reason I know I'm gay."
I stood there in silence and let him continue.
Doug told me about how Kyle had been his wrestling mentor during his freshman year. Apparently they were sparing one day and something happened that Doug was very embarrassed about.
Doug had gotten an erection while sparing with Kyle. Obviously he couldn’t hide it – we all know how big his dick is. Kyle confronted him in confidence and told him it wasn't a big deal; something about hormones and all the adrenaline in your system when you are wrestling. I guess it happens to young wrestlers all the time but they don’t talk about it.
Somewhere along the development of their friendship, they began masturbating together in the showers after practice. I guess it wasn’t uncommon for guys to rub one out after practice to release tension. Doug said Coach Locke knew about it and often encouraged it from his boys.
I played sports all through high school and I had never seen or heard of such a thing. I was a little shocked by what Doug was telling me and couldn’t help but think he was the butt of some sick joke.
Doug told me that he became very close with Kyle and their friendship developed into something much more. Doug confided in Kyle about how his father abused him and Kyle took him under his wing. Doug would spend the weekends at Kyle's house to escape his father. Soon they were having a very secret, yet intimate and sensual relationship. Doug developed strong feelings for Kyle. After Kyle graduated, they saw each other during the summer, but in the fall when Kyle left for college, their relationship ended. Kyle just wanted to remain friends.
Doug admitted to having a hard time with such a dramatic shift in their relationship and the following year he had could barely focus on school. He was constantly reaching out to Kyle until finally Kyle told him he had to stop.
Doug failed several of his classes and was held back his sophomore year as a result. Kyle told him they would always be friends and that what they had shared was special; but that no one was to ever know.
Doug said that he promised not to tell.
"So after all that, why did you start shit with me in school that day?"
"I blamed you for what happened to my sister and it was an easy outlet for all my anger and frustration. But after our fight in the parking lot something changed I felt ashamed; and when I took you in the locker room something happened. I felt something very strong with you that I hadn't felt with Kyle before."
"A sense of control. Of power."
"Doug, you tied me to the railing in the shower and raped me."
"I know, but towards the end, when I was fucking you and you told me not to stop. You were enjoying it. I mean REALLY enjoying it – and I felt this connection."
I wasn’t sure how to react.
"And each time we've been together since then, it has been amazing."
"But... I'm not ready for anyone to know about it yet."
"Because I still have another year of high school and I'm looking at a possible scholarship to state university for wrestling if I have another good year. I can't risk losing that by coming out to everyone."
As I listened to him, I couldn't help but feel some twisted sort of empathy for him. He was spilling all of it; all this history and honesty. It was starting to make sense.
"Why couldn't you have told me all this before?"
"I'm telling you now."
I reached for him and hugged him. He buried his face into my neck and hugged be back.
He told me he was sorry.
"What are you going to do about Kyle? "
"Don't worry about Kyle, he'll be fine. I've already talked to him."
"Did you ask him to confront me in the bathroom today?"
"You know he pissed on my leg and told me that I liked it when you did it."
"Yeah, well... he had known about us since the night in the high school locker room. I went to see him after I left you. I was so freaked out by what had happened I wasn’t sure what to do. I stayed with him for a couple of days and he was there for me."
"So that's how he knew."
"And the shower thing at the pool the other day?"
"He was in there while we were doing it."
"He came in to use the bathroom and heard us going at it."
"He heard us?"
"He looked under the stall and watched us. He started jerking off while we were fucking."
I couldn’t think of what to say.
"He said it was pretty awesome."
"...said it was better than any porn he’d seen."
"Should I be flattered?"
I let out a heavy sigh and looked out towards the street. The lights had come on and the sun was setting. I checked my watch and it said 6:55 pm.
"Listen, I've got to get going. I'm meeting Donny at Joe's for pizza and I still need to clean up."
"Oh, so are we good?" he asked
"I suppose – for now"
He hugged me again and kissed my neck. I turned
to face him and he softly kissed my lips.
"Can I see you tomorrow?"
"Do I have a choice?"
He smiled and kissed me one last time before walking to his car.
As I watched him go, I couldn't help but feel the slightest bit afraid of what might happen next. Obviously Doug had a temper and he wasn't afraid to show it. But now this thing with Kyle had the potential to make things even more complicated.
Was it to let to walk away from all this?