Chapter three

The physiotherapist, Fernando, came over three times a week to keep an eye on me and watch that I didn't over do it. The school had given me an extension on all the work I had missed out on, and I was trying to catch up as quickly as possible. That also meant I was given a chance to sit midterm exams. Dad had told me to slow down a few nights ago, when he saw the light on under my door at 1 AM. Coming in to investigate, he found me typing on my laptop for an assignment. He admired my dedication, but his 'Like any good athlete, you must also take care of your body, and that includes sleep,' so I reluctantly put my computer away and shut it down. Dad sat beside me with the candelabra lit, and read quietly as he made sure I closed my eyes. I think he was starting to get to know my habits too well for my liking.

I tried the old 'pretend I am asleep' trick, but soon found myself nodding off anyway. That seemed to amuse dad, and proved that I was not as independent as I wanted to be. I heard him blow out the candles before sleep caught up to me.

The days Kevin came around to see me, I would plead too ill or tired to see him. Dad started giving me questioning looks. I didn't care; I wasn't going to give dad the explanation his eyes kept asking. I knew he would never ask; it wasn't his way. I found the hardest times to rid myself of images of Kevin, was at night. I still dreamt of him, and I cursed him for still holding power over me.

In my dreams he hadn't cheated on me. In my dreams we were still the happy couple. The last dream I had was one that had me panting and sticky when I woke up. What made the dream even worse to bear was that it had actually happened. Before he cheated on me. No one had been home on that day. It was the perfect opportunity.

We were in my room when it started. He was nibbling on the side of my neck, and using his tongue to glide over my skin after using his teeth. It sent a chill down my spine and had me moaning for more. My hands traced over his back and I kneaded his skin. Our groins rubbed against each other and I felt his hard cock slide beside mine, pushing into my navel. The sticky residue of his pre-cum left a trail from my belly button down to my pubic hair. He cupped my butt and pushed against me. I heard his rumble of pleasure as he leaked more pre-cum. Hearing that deep rumble of pleasure always made me want to do more to him just to hear that sound again. I pulled away from him so I could kiss his nipples. Our earlier forays into pleasing each other had taught me what he liked. Using my tongue I would flick across the tip of his dark rose nipples. Blow over them and then suck them hard. He loved that. His deep rumble echoed all around me. My mind was going into a whirlpool of lust at the sound.

It made me aggressive. Standing back up, I pushed him onto the bed. He hit the bed with his legs sprawled apart slightly. He had a light dusting of hair from the knees down. But from thighs up, there was very little hair. I trailed my tongue over his knee. I lifted his leg, so that it bent at the knee, and licked the underside of it. That was a ticklish and erogenous spot. He cried out his pleasure and his hips jerked, trying to pump the air. I loved the fact I that I had the power to make this man beg for my touch. My hands glided over his legs, and around his groin. His hips moved back and forth trying to draw my hands closer to his hard cock. I avoided that area and traced them over his stomach using my nails. The goose-bumps that shivered over him told me I was doing it right. I circled my fingernails around his nipples. 'Stop teasing,' he growled. He always got impatient. I smiled down at him. I gave him a kiss, and his tongue came out to slowly lick the inside of my mouth. I loved that. How he could be mad with lust and still be able to tease and torment me with his kiss. It was so contradictory that it drove me to impatience and he knew that. I deepened the kiss and slid my tongue over his; a demand that he ravish my mouth. Still, he took his time and kissed me thoroughly. I breathed my frustration into his mouth. He pulled back and chuckled.

With a quick twist, I ended up on the bottom with him lying over me. He gave me another kiss, pushed his cock alongside mine and rubbed it along the slick line of pre-cum that we both had made. He pumped hard and fast a few times while keeping the kiss slow and soft, before pulling away and looking down at me with an intense look of concentration.

'Lie on your stomach,' he said. I did as he instructed. He placed a pillow under my hips that elevated my ass into the air. I wasn't sure where this was going, but I didn't care. He bit and licked from my neck all the way down my back. My hips started pumping back and forth. I felt my pre-cum coat the pillow as he ended his kisses near my ass. Kissing the two ass cheeks, he bit them before squeezing them with his big hands. I hollered my pleasure.

'I so want to fuck you, but your not ready yet,' he said. I groaned at the idea, bucking my hips at his suggestion. He chuckled and then groaned as he watched my asshole winking open and closed as I pumped my hips up and down.

'Not yet, baby,' he said firmly. 'We'll try something else.' He lay on top of me and kissed my neck. I felt his cock probing my ass and I spread my legs a little. I felt him fumble and then slide his cock between the crack of my ass, past my hole, and into the groove of my groin. He had to lean on his hands to get the right angle. But when he did, I felt his cock rub alongside my cock and I closed my legs around him. He groaned as my thighs squeezed him. He pushed me into the bed, and my cock-head rubbed against the pillow. He lowered himself onto his elbows, and slid his hands underneath and up towards my collarbone. That way he could move his hands towards my shoulders and hold onto me for a better grip and harder plunge. As soon as his hands wrapped around my shoulders from beneath me, he pounded hard. I loved it.

I felt his thrusts mash against my ass, and the slapping of skin on skin had me humping the pillow for all I was worth. I kept my thighs tightly locked. The sweat and pre-cum that had built up between my thighs, acted as lubricant. He was groaning and shaking and I knew he was ready to cum. I wanted to be there when he did. A few more plunges of my own and I was there. I felt him coat my groin and the pillow underneath me before I felt my own load shoot too. I screamed out my pleasure for the entire world to hear. He collapsed on top of me panting.

I woke up, sometimes crying, other times horny, but mostly sticky with my own cum. I had been having that dream, on and off, since I came out of hospital. During those times, I would concentrate on the activities Fernando had given me to strengthen my body. It was the only outlet I could think of that could distract me enough, and tire me out, so that I could have dreamless nights.

Just under three weeks after leaving the hospital, Fernando declared me fit enough to attend school. I was a little nervous, and excited. The school play was in its last two weeks of rehearsal, and I was determined to ask if I could still do my solo piece. It seemed that dying had also killed a lot of my inhibitions. One cheer for half dying. Go figure, I thought.

Fernando also commented on how much my body had filled out. He eyed my arms before looking away. For a split second I thought he was flirting with me. I brushed it away as a figment of my imagination. I gave him a hug and thanked him for all the work he had done. I was surprising myself daily. Hugs just weren't my thing, but I was willing to try something new at least once, so why not.

'You've been avoiding me for weeks, James, what gives?' Kevin said angrily on my first day at school. He pulled me away from listening ears.

I was tired of hiding. That got me no where. I was tired of being the shy one too scared to speak my mind because I might get ridiculed, so to hell with everyone. I would never fit in, so I wasn't going to try.

'We are through,' I said in a monotone voice.

Kevin glanced around to see if anyone was near. A group of girls came close and waved at him 'We will talk later.' His whisper was almost a growl.

I walked away from him rolling my eyes, 'No we won't,' I said over my shoulder. He frowned at me, smoothed it out, and turned his smile on the girls, sauntering over to say hi.

This new mood I was in was exhilarating, like riding a roller coaster minus the brakes and seat belts. The next thought had me stopping in my stride. How far was I willing to go to speak my mind? Did I have the guts to openly admit to my family that I was gay? My heart pumped fast, and a spurt of adrenalin /fear raced through me. Half of me screamed, 'God Yes,' and the other half pleaded, 'Hell No!'

A girl who was in my history class did a double take as I entered the room. 'James, is that you?' she asked, ogling me.

'Is that a trick question?' I asked.

She looked like a floundering fish and then giggled. 'Wow, you look good, real good.' I had the distinct impression that she was undressing me with her eyes, and it sent a chill of distaste down my spine. I gave her a cool smile and stared her down. She flushed and looked away from me. 'Perve,' I thought. If it was another good looking guy that had done that, well that's different.

People kept staring at me during class; I was starting to get a little annoyed at it. In fact I was starting to get pissed. 'Guys, will you quit staring at me like I'm some freak at the zoo, kindly keep your eyes focussed on the teacher.' Mrs. Evans, the history teacher, looked down her beak of a nose at me, frowning. 'Thank you, James, but theatrics is for the drama department, and not in my class room.'

People snickered. 'Touche, Mrs Evans, touche' I replied, half bowing in my seat.

A small smile tipped the corner of her mouth 'You are being impertinent, Mr. Rogers,' she said.

I grinned back, and did my little bow once more.

She chuckled and continued on with the lesson. If I thought the staring was bad before, it was worse now. Mrs. Evans was famous, or infamous, for her sharp tongue and even sharper temper. She had made many a boy, or girl, cry with that stinging wit of hers. In fact, I had been terrified of her and wouldn't even say boo in her class. Like I said, I was on a roller coaster ride. I had a feeling shit would hit the fan once the ride derailed. But I was going to enjoy it while I could.

The bell rang and, as I walked out of the classroom, another year mate, Steven, came up to me.

'Dude, that was awesome.' He had a beaming smile on his face.

I smiled back at him slightly puzzled. 'Fill me in, what was awesome?'

'The way you handled yourself; you were cool and calm and shit, you've changed. What's your secret?'

I shrugged my shoulders, 'You've hit the 'shit' part on the head. I really don't give a shit. Dying kind of made me realise that worrying about what other people think just makes me afraid of my own shadow, and who needs that? See you around Steven.' I smiled and bustled into the crowd of people in the hallway.

More stares followed me down the hall. I think I started getting paranoid. Was there a huge zit on my face or something? Rushing into the toilets, I took a peek at my face.

My jaw dropped. Something had definitely changed from the time I brushed my teeth and combed my hair this morning. It was subtle, but I had seen my face in the mirror too many times not to see the difference. There was more arch to my eyebrows and they were clearly defined like they had been plucked. That made my lip curl in disgust, but that wasn't the only thing that had changed. The freckles that had been a small spatter across my face were all gone and, for some strange reason, I mourned the loss. My lips seemed fuller and much redder than they had any right to be, and my eyes that I had once considered mud looking, were now a rich light brown, with flecks of green and gold. My eyelashes hadn't changed. They were still thick, curly, and so damn girly. But now, my curly hair had gold, copper, red, and black highlights that gave it a multi toned look. Gone was the soft rounded face, and my cheek bones were much more prominent. I lookedsleek. With the workouts I had done with Fernando, my body looked toned. You couldn't see any bulging muscles, but if I moved my arms or flexed, you could see muscles ripple under the skin.

What ever was going on with me wasn't a bad thing, but it made me nervous, I wasn't sure where this was leading and I liked things in black and white. It was much more comfortable that way. Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm my pounding heart.

A small kid came rushing through the door and collided with me. We both crashed to the ground, a tangle of arms and legs. He scrambled up madly and rushed into one of the cubicles to lock the door. A few seconds' later two guys swung the toilet doors open. One was a year older than me, and the other was a year younger. Judging by the similarities of their features, they were brothers.

'Timmy,' the older one crooned in a nasal voice, 'Come out, Timmy.'

'Beat it,' the younger brother said to me.

A switch turned on in my head and my body moved into a fighting stance. I felt cool and calm. 'You'll have to get through me first,' I said.

Both brothers turned to me with surprise. The older one laughed. 'Then get ready to have your pretty face smashed in,' he said.

A cruel smile lit my face, and the older one frowned before attacking. I saw his fist heading towards my face as if it was in slow motion. I moved inside his punch, my back flush against his chest, grabbed his swinging hand and threw him over my shoulder. The move was done so fast I was a blur. He went sailing and crashed into the wall on the opposite side of the door. The younger brother tried to run, but I was too fast. I had him up against the wall by his throat. His feet dangled off the floor like a marionette on strings, and his face was turning red from lack of oxygen.

'If you ever bully any kid, and I hear about it, we will be doing this again.' I let him go, and watched as he collapsed to the floor, breathing hard. The older brother groaned and stood up, staggering as he did so. I was beside him before he took his next breath. I had a hand on his chest, and that was the only thing that was keeping him upright as I pushed him back against the wall. 'Same rules apply to you. I hear about you doing this to any other kids, and I'll be giving you flying lessons.' He looked at me with fear and defiance on his face. My eyes turned cold and lifeless as I gave stare for stare. The defiance left his eyes only to be replaced by fear. I backed up off him. 'I'm glad we could come to an understanding. Now, beat it.'

They scrambled out of the bathroom, leaving the door swinging in their wake. Timmy had the cubicle door partially open and he was giving me wide eyes.

'T-t-thank y-y-you' he stuttered. He blushed and looked down at the floor. 'I am s-s-s-sorry I ran into to y-y-y-you.'

I squatted and stared at his lowered face. 'It's okay, bud. I know what its like to be bullied, trust me.' The adrenalin was fading and that switch in my head had clicked off. I was starting to realise what I had just done.

Timmy looked at me with doubt written plain on his face. 'Y-y-you are just t-t-trying to make m-m-me f-f-feel better.'

I gave him a serious look, and put the screaming part of me that was freaking out about what I did on the back burner. 'I have an older brother and sister. They have been my tormentors all my life. I felt worthless, because my dad favours them over me, so trust me; I know what bullying is like, I used to get it all the time at home.'

The bell rang, and morning tea break was over. 'Well, champ,' I said, 'I got to get to class; see you around.'

He gave me a beaming smile, nodded his head, and walked out of the bathroom with me on his heels.

I was relieved I didn't see Kevin in the hallway to my next class. I wasn't ready, yet, to talk to him. I was trying to get over the whole thing. My face had gone from pretty to beautiful, and, for anyone out there that thinks that should be a wonderful thing for a guy, think again. Ask any straight guy that question. Mind you, I should ask a gay guy's opinion. So far, I was the only 'true' gay guy I knew, with Kevin balancing on the fence as bisexual, lets not go there. But personally, I would rather be seen as handsome more than beautiful.

I started smiling at the fact that I had kicked two guys' asses when I had never gone to any self defence classes in all of my 16 years. That last part was sounding pretty cool, but freaky nevertheless. I had to laugh because I was like Peter Parker of Spider Man. But, instead of being bitten by a radioactive spider, it was me being brain dead that helped my 'transformation'. Go figure. Talk about what an odd ball I was becoming.

Mathematics class brought similar stares; the whole 'double take and then look quickly away in case I caught them ogling' kind of stares. What surprised me was that Mr. Henson had his mouth wide open when I walked through the door. He was a salt and pepper haired man, with black glasses that emphasized his blue eyes. He had the whole shirt with the cashmere jumper over the top thing going for him. I used to have this small crush on him when I wasn't thinking of Kevin. Mr Henson had this whole 'wow-your-too-good-to-be-true' look and, frankly, I was getting tired of it.

My 'I-don't-give-a-damn' buzz that I had been on earlier was starting to fade under my annoyance. Mr Henson coloured slightly and then started the lesson. Others started getting the message too, as I gave them the evil eye. One girl actually winked and when I frowned. She dimpled prettily before looking at the black board.

The bell rang and I moved promptly out of there to my next class. Being back on your first day and then being ogled like an animal in the zoo was not my idea of fun. I was the first to arrive at class and decided to sit in the back; less chances of people staring. Others waltzed into the room and Steven, from my history class, spotted me and sat down next to me.

For the next hour we laughed and joked and only paid half our attention to the lesson. I was fine; I had already studied up on the topic when I was home. I felt that it was important to get ahead of the class a little when you had the chance. I also had mid year exams to do tomorrow, so a little extra study on top couldn't hurt.

The time went so quickly I was surprised when the lunch bell rang.

'Hey James, you wanna hang out with me and my friends for lunch?' Steven asked with a hopeful smile.

I looked at him with surprise and pleasure. I had been the guy that sat outside under the tree with my lunch. I avoided people and vice versa.

There was a little pain in my chest, but this time it was a good one. I nodded my head, afraid I might do something like bawl my eyes out. I coughed trying to clear the ache behind my throat, and answered as casually as I could.

'That could be fun.' My old self started worrying if his other friends would like me. But I shoved that thought into the back of my brain as hard and as furiously as I could.

Dad's girlfriend, Sara, made my lunch today. She was in the mode of 'housewife' for some type of movie. I kind of switched off to what she was saying after the first sentence. But if that meant her making my lunch who was I to complain.

There were six of them around the table when Steven brought me to his friends. I knew most of them, since they were my year mates. But I had never associated with them.

'Hey guys, I asked James to come over have lunch with us, so move over and give him a spot on the table,' Steven said, as he hugged a small blonde girl with bangs that went chin length. She in turn gave him a kiss on the cheek.

'Hey' and 'Hi' came from various people in the group as I sat down. The urge to look at my feet was very near the undoing of the new me that was starting to grow. I gave myself a stern talking to. If I could kick two bully's asses and flirt with the history teacher, then I could do this. I looked at the group, imagined what my older siblings would do and smiled.

There were two girls and four boys. The blonde girl was Justine. She had just made it into Leila's cheer squad, so I already knew who she was. Leila was fanatic about cheer and would sometimes bring the girls home for meetings and routines. I was kind of surprised. Generally all the cheering squad stayed in their own separate crowd. That was a given. I guess there were exceptions to the rules after all. I liked her for that on the spot. I nodded my head to her and she smiled back.

The next girl had beautiful caramel brown skin, light green eyes, and the body of a goddess. Her mother was half Irish and half African American. Her dad was Australian and her exotic looks could have bought her a one-way trip on any catwalk in the world. She had only arrived at our school the beginning of this year. Leila had hated this girl on sight and the feeling was mutual. Her name was Christine. She even turned Leon down when he asked her out. In my books Christine was rewarded 100 brownie points for her instant dislike of my siblings. I was going to make it my business to try and make her my next best friend. I gave her a bright smile.

'You and I have something in common,' I said.

She arched her eyebrow and, in a voice that sounded like honey, replied. 'Oh? And what is that?'

'We think my older siblings are ass-wipes,' I said, with a wicked grin covering my face.

Her jaw dropped and her laughter pealed out as the rest of the group guffawed. With laughter still riding her voice, she answered. 'I think you and I will get on very well.'

My heart lifted. I thought I just might start liking high school after all. In many ways it broke the ice, as the rest of the four boys interrupted to introduce themselves.

William seemed the most serious of the group, and he was brown headed and blue eyed. He gave me a quick 'hey,' before concentrating on eating his sandwich.

Eddy was the jokester of the group and there had been a few times that he had made snide remarks to me in the past. A dark suspicion came to mind that this was a hoax and they were going to pull a prank on me. I stared hard at him and he seemed to blush. A rueful smile crossed his face, and he nodded his head. 'Hi,' he said. He looked down at the table before looking up. Was there an apology in those eyes?

Paul bumped my shoulder as he was sitting next to me. 'Do you go to the gym?' he asked.

A small smile curled my lips. 'Nah. I have my own physiotherapist. He gave me exercises to do to help tone my body. I've kind of made sure that I followed his regime a little more religiously than he expected me to.'

'Cool,' Paul said. 'Maybe you can give me a few pointers.'

'Yeah, sure,' I said doubtfully, looking at the physique he already had. Blond like Steven, he had blue eyes and an easy smile. His body was athletic and, without the shirt, I could imagine washboard abs.

Those lips smiled. 'Like you, I too train religiously and the more pointers I get the better, is my motto.'

Sam was the last of their group. He had long brown hair that was tied in a ponytail down to the middle of his back. He had brown eyes and I thought he was cute. I have a thing for brunettes. In his ancestry, he had some sort of Mediterranean or American Indian blood, because he had high cheek bones under that light tanned skin. He looked up from his book and nodded his head. He gave a thoughtful look as he stared at me. 'We were told you were brain-dead for a month, is that true?'

'Sam!' Justine said in reprimand. 'That's rude, even for you. You don't have to answer that, James.'

I looked at Sam for a few seconds before replying. I liked him for being so straightforward. 'Actually, I was in a coma for a month. But, the night before I woke up the doctors diagnosed me as brain-dead.'

Sam nodded his head thoughtfully and then went back to his book.

'He's a moron,' Justine said in way of an explanation.

I shrugged my shoulders and said. 'It's all right. If I didn't like what he had said, I wouldn't have said anything back. Don't sweat it.'

It was quite pleasant sitting there. There was banter and bickering that seemed a common thing in the group. I smiled at their antics. This time I didn't have Kevin here to mediate or Leon and Leila to run me down to make me feel less within the group. I was accepted on my own merits. I laughed and gave as good as I got, as the banter went around the table.

The back of my neck prickled. Someone was watching me. I could sense it. I looked away from the table and stared into the eyes of Kevin. He gazed at me with an unreadable expression on his face. My laughter faded and I looked away before looking back. A girl was holding onto his arm and whispering in his ear. He smiled at her and whispered back. My treacherous heart lurched. To hell with the bastard, I thought. I forced a smile on my face and went back into the laughs and banter with enthusiasm.

The bell rang, and I had a double period of English. I smiled; my favourite class. I waved goodbye to everyone and walked away with a lighter step. I had new friends and a new lease on life.

Just as I was walking through the doors to the hallway, I saw Timmy. He had a red mark on his face, and it seemed as if he was trying not to cry. I saw red. Not very long ago that was me. Not the red mark from someone hitting me, but the defeated look, as if the world was too heavy on my shoulders.

'What happened, Timmy?' I asked, my voice coming out angry. He hunched his shoulders and kept his face averted. I took a deep breath, trying to calm the rage that was burning through me. The last thing Timmy needed was another person screaming at him. 'Come on bud, you can tell me,' I said, trying a calmer and more soothing tone.

He shook his head. 'Was it those two boys from earlier?' I asked. His body stood still and he refused to look at me. That was all the answer I needed. Instead of helping him, I had made things much worse, and I felt guilt and anger flow through me. Those bullies had doubled their determination to hurt Timmy, all because of me. I was responsible and, as much as I wanted to pound the crap out of those two once more, which was not going to be the solution for Timmy. They would just take their pound of flesh out of him again, once I wasn't looking. I knew this. My siblings had done the same thing to me.

A thought occurred to me as I wrapped my arm around his shoulder. Timmy was me, and now I was in Kevin's shoes. Talk about full circle.

'Listen, how about you come and hang out with me and my friends during morning tea and lunch times?' I asked. 'Unless you would rather hang with your own friends.' He hunched his shoulders even further, and I winced. God, this kid really was me. No friends and all. 'Scrap that,' I continued. 'You WILL be hanging out with me; I won't hear another word of refusal.' He looked up at me on that last statement. He hadn't said a word since we spoke. I smiled down at him with cocky confidence. He scowled with mock annoyance, and then smiled back. 'I'm glad we got that settled,' I ended.

'Are any of your classes going my way?' I asked, pointing towards the doorway. He nodded his head, and I ushered him ahead of me.

I lead him to his class and raced for my own. Doubts started racing through my head. How did I know I could kick those other guys' asses if it came down to it? I mean the first time I had done it was purely by accident. I didn't know exactly what switch I had turned on and off... And what if my 'new friends' didn't like Timmy? I liked this new life I was starting.

Then Timmy's face appeared in my mind's eye. The look of gratitude that had been on his face ended my doubts. He had waved to me with a huge smile as he walked into his class. It had done my heart a world of good to see that look. I just had to trust that, if I needed it again, the ability to kick ass would be there to help me. And, if my new friends couldn't accept Timmy? Then to hell with them; I couldn't turn my back on Timmy. That rollercoaster ride was making me way cockier than I ever used to be, and I chuckled as I entered the class.



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