Chapter 22


Tyler – Part 22




Tyler slowly descended the stairs one by one, holding onto the rail as he went down in case his legs went weak and he started to fall. He could hear his mother moving around in the kitchen, making breakfast. Usually the smell that drifted to his nose would make his stomach growl with hunger but there were just too many butterflies flying around in there to make the food appealing.


Every step he took made him feel even more nervous. He had been awake most of the night from both the pain in his side and from constantly thinking and worrying about what everyone would say or do to him. He was a known cocksucker now. Life would never be the same. Maybe it would have been better if he didn’t wake up at all.


But he was awake. He was alive and he had to get up and face the world. That started with his mom.


He rounded the corner from the stairs and looked down the hall into the kitchen. She was in there. Waiting.


The nerves in the pit of his stomach felt like a really bad cramp and he was afraid he might throw up. He wanted to turn and run, to throw open the front door and flee. He couldn’t face her. He wasn’t ready.


Then, just as he was about to turn around, she appeared in the doorway, jumping slightly when she saw him standing there.


“Oh, Tyler, honey, I didn’t know you were there,” she smiled. “I was just about to call you. Breakfast will be ready in about five minutes. Come get your juice.”


Tyler stared as she turned and walked back into the kitchen. He looked around to check that he wasn’t in a dream and then followed her, standing in the doorway as he watched her prepare the breakfast.


He couldn’t believe it. The tone of her voice, the way she moved the pots and pans around on the stove and did three things at once to make sure everything was ready at the same time, the smile she flashed him when she turned her head and saw him looking at her, it was the same as any other morning.


“Sit down, honey, it will only be a second,” Tyler’s mom said, pointing at the table.


Almost in a trance Tyler took his seat and continued to watch his mother as she finished preparing the food and served it up on a plate, which she put in front of him. It wasn’t until she sat down opposite him and poured herself a cup of coffee, like she did every morning, that he realized she still didn’t know. No one had told her. Yet.


He should have been happy that he didn’t have to face that conversation, that everything appeared normal, but he couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed because that just meant the inevitable had been postponed. Whether it came later that day, the next day or even years in the future he knew he would likely have to have that conversation with his parents eventually and if it was a certainty maybe it would be better to face it early rather than have it hanging over him for years.


He looked down at his untouched breakfast and then up at his mother. He opened his mouth ready to start the conversation but he couldn’t do it; he wasn’t ready and he didn’t even truly know what he wanted in life. Regardless of what he had been doing with Joe, of what he had done with Alex, he was still attracted to girls and he wasn’t sure where that left him. He needed to be sure first. Instead he picked up some food on his fork and filled his open mouth to keep it busy so he couldn’t talk.


When he finished his food he looked down at his empty plate and then closed his eyes, knowing what came next after being caught in the same looping routine for years. It was time to head upstairs to get dressed for school.


The thought of school and of everyone knowing what had happened, the rumour spreading quicker than a fire, made Tyler feel dizzy and the colour drained from his face. That was the last place that he wanted to be.


“Tyler? Are you okay?” his mom asked, noticing how pale her son’s cheeks were.


“What?” Tyler gasped, looking up into the eyes of his concerned mother. “Oh… Erm… I’m just feeling a bit queasy.”


“Queasy? Do you think you’re coming down with something?” she asked.


“I don’t know,” Tyler said. Suddenly he saw a way out of his predicament. “Maybe I should just stay home today.”


“Really? Do you think it’s that bad?” his mom asked, standing up. She began to move around the table. “Let me take a look at you.”


Tyler realized his mistake immediately. His mother was a doctor. He couldn’t remember the amount of times he had tried something similar during elementary school and she had always seen through it, checking him over and sending him on his way with his lunch in his little SpongeBob SquarePants lunch box.


As she got closer he began to panic. He couldn’t let her touch him. Even just one finger in the wrong place on one of his bruised sides as she was examining him and it would all be over; he would scream in pain, she would pull his shirt up, see the damage and demand to know what had happened.


“No, no, it’s okay,” Tyler begged off, quickly getting up from his seat. “I think I’m just nervous about finals is all.”


“Okay…” his mother replied, sounding like she didn’t entirely believe him. “Try not to worry too much. You’ve already got a passing grade. You will sail through to next year.”


“I guess…” Tyler said, quickly backing away, wanting to get out of the kitchen as quickly as possible. “Thanks for the breakfast.”


With that he turned and ran up to his room. He headed straight into his bathroom and turned on the water, leaning over the sink as it filled up, his heart beating hard in his chest.


He looked up into the mirror, staring into his own eyes and then at the rest of his face, taking in all of his features. He studied himself for a long moment, trying to spot the differences to the face he had looked at the day before but it was exactly the same, nothing had changed.


How was that possible? He felt so different inside that he was sure it would show on his face so that other people would be able to see what had happened just by looking at him. Even though Michael hadn’t hit him in the face he expected some sign of the beating, an expression of guilt, something, to be etched on his face forever. That there was nothing there, nothing visible, made him think that maybe he could get away with pretending like it never happened, just like Joe had said.


After brushing his teeth and taking a quick shower, Tyler headed back out to his room to get dressed. Once he had his clothes on he looked around for his bag and then remembered shoving it under the bed the night before. As he pulled it out he heard the familiar buzz of his phone vibrating with an incoming message and all of the confidence and courage he had slowly been starting to feel was stripped away in seconds, replaced by nerves and fear.


He slowly pulled open his bag and reached in, wrapping his fingers around his phone but pausing for a moment, second guessing himself, before he pulled it out and stared at it without pressing any buttons, leaving the screen dark.


This was the moment his world would change. He would look at the phone, see all of the messages and missed calls that had come in and have his worst fears confirmed. He took a deep breath and pressed the button to light up the screen.


There were no missed calls and only five unread texts.


He stared down at the phone thinking that he can’t have read it right, that there had to be a number before or after the 5, but there wasn’t. He then wondered if somehow the signal had been blocked beneath his bed so the messages hadn’t come through yet, flooding his phone like they sometimes did at New Year when there was a delay because the network was so busy.


Still, it didn’t matter how many messages there were, it was all about the content. With a shaking finger, he typed in his passcode and unlocked the screen. After another deep breath he opened up his messages and gasped at what he saw.


The first message was from his mother informing him that dinner was in the refrigerator and that she would see him at breakfast in the morning. He got a similar message every day.


The next two messages were from Joe, shortly after Tyler had made it home, the first asking where he was and the second saying he was coming over.


The fourth message was from Toby late the previous night, cursing the amount of studying he had done and asking if they could do something at the weekend to take his mind off their finals because he might be losing his mind over them.


Tyler stared at that message for a long time. He had expected it to be a comment about sucking Joe’s dick or saying they were no longer friends, but it was just a regular text. That meant Toby didn’t know. And if he didn’t know, maybe having no texts from the rest of his friends and contacts meant that they didn’t know either. How could that be?


The fifth and final message was from Joe, received just moments ago. He opened it. “No one knows anything. Pretend like nothing happened and we’re good.”


Tyler didn’t understand what was going on. How was it possible that no one knew about what had happened yet? He was convinced it would have been all over school and the town by now, spreading from mouth to mouth like the worst case of Chinese whispers, what had really happened getting spun into something even more horrifying with every new mouth that told the tale.


Was it possible that Michael hadn’t told anyone? Tyler was convinced that if Cody hadn’t shown up Michael would have killed him. Maybe the beating was enough. But no, Tyler didn’t believe that. He had half been expecting torch-wielding villagers to be knocking down his door to execute him in the night. There had to be another reason. Maybe Michael was waiting until they were at school, in the middle of the cafeteria in front of hundreds of other kids before he exposed and humiliated them, leaving their reputations in tatters.


Before Tyler could dwell on it too much another text came through. The words he saw flash up on screen sent a cold shiver through his body and he gulped hard. It was from Cody.


“We need to talk. Alone. It’s important.”


Tyler felt a sense of dread return at the thought of speaking to Cody, but it wasn’t a fear of Cody himself or even of what Cody would say, it was the feeling of knowing that he couldn’t deny it, that Cody knew what he had done and had unequivocal proof that Tyler was at least bisexual and liked sucking dick. Tyler knew he would have to look Cody in the face and admit to what he had done, to his feelings, and surprisingly that scared him more than anything else. Joe was right, he could deny it to everyone else, but to Cody there was no denying, he knew the truth and there was no telling what he might do with it.


“Tyler! You’re going to be late for school,” Tyler’s mom called from the bottom of the stairs.


He glanced at the clock and realized that she was right. He tossed his things into his bag and threw it over his shoulder. As he reached the door to his bedroom he paused, thinking about what might lie ahead, but if Joe was telling the truth and no one knew about them yet, maybe he had nothing to fear. Besides, he couldn’t stay locked in his bedroom forever, he had to go to school and face whatever came his way, how else would he be able to live with himself?


After a kiss goodbye to his mom, who was heading to bed for a few hours, Tyler walked out to his car, got into it and set off for school. He drove almost on auto-pilot, the route so familiar to him now, until he came to a stop at a crossroads and looked up at the sign giving directions.


Seeing the name of his school listed for the road straight ahead brought all the nerves back to Tyler’s stomach and he thought he might have to throw open his door to be sick into the street. Five minutes down that road and he would be there. There would be no turning back.


The sound of a horn from the car behind him forced him to make a decision. He turned left and kept driving.


Meanwhile, Joe was already in the school parking lot, standing beside his new car, surrounded by people who still wanted to hear more about how he knew Donte. Not a single person mentioned Tyler or what had happened the day before. He couldn’t believe that no one knew about them being caught in the locker room but he wasn’t going to bring it up or question it. Somehow they had gotten away with it.


Even so, he didn’t want to take the chance that something could come out later in the day if Michael was simply waiting until he was in school to start spreading the word. That thought worried him and so he decided to try to get in front of the situation. As soon as he saw the girl he had slept with the night before he called her over and planted a very public kiss on her lips. She blushed and looked embarrassed at first but quickly slipped in beside him as he put his arm around her waist and showed her off to everyone watching them.


Across the lot, Michael stood glaring at Joe. What a pathetic piece of shit he was, Michael thought. Joe had been as into that blowjob as Tyler was meaning it probably wasn’t their first time together and he was just as gay as his buddy, but now he was acting all straight and macho when he was anything but. Michael wanted to march over there and tell everyone what he had seen, to expose the queer for what he was so people would see the truth and wouldn’t look at him like some kind of god because he knew some college athlete, was a good one himself and had everything in the right proportions. Michael resented it. People like Joe should be wiped out and kept as far away from girls as possible, never allowed to breed.


Joe’s laugh carried over the crowd, adding heat to the cauldron of hate and anger bubbling up inside Michael’s body. He gritted his teeth, stood upright and took the first step toward him.


“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Cody said, suddenly appearing beside Michael.


Michael froze on the spot and lowered his head. He then turned it so he was looking at Cody. There was a mixture of anger and fear in his eyes.


“I thought we talked about this,” Cody continued. “You made me a promise.”


“Fuck! Why the hell are you protecting them?” Michael growled.


“You know why,” Cody stated. “Do we still have a deal?”


Michael looked away, unable to meet Cody’s eye. Finally he mumbled, “Yes.”


“Good,” Cody smiled.


Michael took one last look at Joe and then turned to look at Cody before storming off across the lot, muttering two words under his breath that made Cody want to tackle him to the ground and give him a beating similar to the one Michael had given Tyler: “Fucking faggots.”


Cody watched Michael walk away and then turned to look at Joe in the middle of his little crowd, a girl attached to his side. He couldn’t help but smile, knowing a truth no one else did and wondering just how many times Tyler had been satisfying his curiosity with Joe, and indeed how far they had gone.


He then started scanning the crowd and the parking lot, looking for Tyler. He knew the beating had been pretty bad but he hoped he had got there in time to prevent any serious damage, knowing only that he needed to get Michael out of there before he finished the job and left Tyler lying in a pool of his own blood. All Cody wanted was to see Tyler, to know that he would be okay and to tell him that he didn’t have to worry, but there was no sign of him or his car. Where was he?



*



In the quiet of the locker room, Coach was sat at his desk going over some paperwork when he heard the door from the main school building open and close. He listened as footsteps approached and then looked up just in time to see Mr Brown appear in the doorway, the younger man lightly tapped on the doorframe even though he knew Coach had seen him.


“Hey Stephen, come in,” Coach greeted Mr Brown with a smile and motioned him over to the chair in front of his desk.


Mr Brown walked over and took the seat. He was just about to speak when he saw Coach wince and squirm in his chair.


“Are you okay, Dan?” Mr Brown asked, trying not to smile.


Coach chuckled in his deep voice, “Oh man, I am so sore right now. You really did a number on me last night.”


Mr Brown’s smile quickly spread across his face until he was beaming. “Let’s just call it payback for all the times you’ve done that to me.”


“Oh thanks,” Coach laughed, “So much for you taking it easy on me.”


“I thought you could handle it,” Mr Brown grinned.


“Oh I can handle it, I just didn’t expect the first time to be so intense,” Coach said.


“It gets easier, trust me,” Mr Brown winked.


Coach laughed and then said, “So, what brings you here in the middle of the day?”


“Ahhh…” Mr Brown said, his face turning more serious. “I wanted to talk to you about Tyler Goodwin.”


“Tyler?” Coach asked. “Why? What has he done?”


“He didn’t show up for the class I’ve just had and he’s never missed one before,” Mr Brown explained. “I thought maybe you knew where he was.”


“No,” Coach shook his head. “I don’t. And you’re right, he doesn’t skip class. He’s never missed a single practice in the three years he’s been here, even when he came down with the flu last year and nearly collapsed. Did you check to see if a parent has called in for him?”


“Yes, that was the first thing I did,” Mr Brown said. “I thought he must be ill or that something had happened at home but no one has called in.”


“Okay…” Coach said, standing up from his desk. Mr Brown stood up too. “I’ll call his mom to see if she knows where he is. Do you have a class now?”


“Yes, in about five minutes,” Mr Brown said.


“Okay, leave it with me and I’ll see what I can find out. Someone has to know something,” Coach said.


“Thanks,” Mr Brown smiled. He started walking toward the door but stopped and turned back around before he reached it. “You don’t think something’s happened do you? You know, because of what we talked about the other day?”


Coach looked at Mr Brown thoughtfully. “I hope not. I think Tyler’s a smart boy. He wouldn’t do anything stupid.”


“Good,” Mr Brown said. “I just remember how I was at his age.”


“At his age? You’re still like that now,” Coach chuckled.


Mr Brown returned the laugh, “Just tell me what you find out, okay? He’s a good student.”


“I will,” Coach agreed.


Coach waited until Mr Brown was out of the office before he reached into his drawer for his address book. He pulled it out and flipped it open to the correct page and then picked up the phone, dialling the number.


The phone rang for a long time and then clicked as the answering machine picked up the call. Coach waited for the right moment and then began to speak.


“Hello, Mrs Goodwin, this is Coach Hansen. I’m just ringing to check up on Tyler. I was a bit worried when I heard that he hadn’t shown up at school today…”


Coach stopped talking when he heard a loud thud on the phone and then the sound of someone scrambling around on the other end.


“Hello?” the panicked and sleepy voice of Mrs Goodwin answered. “Coach, is that you?”


“Yes,” Coach replied.


“I’m sorry. I was in bed, that’s why I didn’t answer,” Mrs Goodwin explained. “Did you say that Tyler hasn’t shown up to school?”


“Yes, Mrs Goodwin, that’s correct,” Coach answered. “I was just calling to check up on him. I hope he isn’t ill.”


“Oh God…” Mrs Goodwin gasped. “He’s not here. He left for school this morning.”


“Excuse me?” Coach asked.


“He was acting a bit strange but he said it was just stress. I made him breakfast and then he drove off. He should be there. Oh, where is he? You don’t think he’s been in an accident do you?” Mrs Goodwin asked, growing more worried and concerned with every word.


“I’m sure he’s fine, Mrs Goodwin,” Coach said, trying to bring the woman some comfort, even though he was pretty scared himself at the idea of Tyler being involved in an accident on the way to school. “He’ll be safe somewhere. I’ll ask around his friends to see if anyone knows where he might be.”


“Oh yes, please do that,” Mrs Goodwin begged. “I am going to phone him now to see if I can get hold of him.”


Coach heard the phone being put down but it wasn’t hung up so he held on as he listened to Mrs Goodwin moving around.


“He isn’t answering,” Mrs Goodwin cried when she picked the phone back up. “It says his phone is switched off. He never turns it off. I am going to call the hospital to see if he’s been admitted.”


“Okay,” Coach said, “You do that, but please keep your phone line free. I will call with any updates. We will find out what has happened to him.”


“Thank you,” Mrs Goodwin said briefly before the phone went dead.


Coach put the phone back on the receiver and then placed his head in his hands. He wasn’t a religious man but he was praying now for his athlete to be found safe and unharmed. He knew something had happened to Tyler because he didn’t ditch class ever, he just hoped it was something trivial and nothing serious.


After taking a moment to compose himself, Coach logged into his computer and pulled up the schedules for his students, which he had in case he ever needed to pull them out of classes. He found Joe’s, checked the room number he was in and set off, hoping to find some answers so they could locate Tyler.


When he got to the classroom he knocked on the door and apologised to the teacher. He glanced quickly around the room but didn’t see Joe.


“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Coach said. “I need to speak with Joseph Brooks. I thought this was his class.”


“It is,” the teacher said. “Mr Brooks has obviously decided to skip this lesson.”


Now Coach was really worried. Something had definitely happened and he needed to know what.


“Have any of you seen Joe this morning?” he asked, addressing the students.


“Yes,” one student replied. “He was in my morning class.”


“I saw him too,” another student said.


“Okay, thank you,” Coach nodded. “I’m sorry for interrupting. If Joe does show up could you send him to my office immediately?”


“No problem,” the teacher replied.


Coach backed out of the classroom and closed the door. Where the hell was Joe now if he had been at school that morning?


He walked back toward his office, passing through the empty halls, when he heard a thud and what he thought was a moan coming from one of the store rooms. He stopped and listened carefully, trying to discern where the noise was coming from.


The second moan was more like a whimper, almost too quiet to hear, and yet it was just enough for Coach to pinpoint the location to an audio-visual store room that was almost never used due to more modern technology being available.


He approached the door slowly, the moans growing louder and clearer as he got closer until they were in a very recognisable rhythm and he knew what was happening. Someone was having sex in there. 


Without a second thought he threw open the door, letting it crash into the wall with an almighty bang. The door hit the wall in a split-second and yet everything seemed to go into slow motion as the door retreated from view, revealing Joe, shirtless, with his pants and boxers down around his ankles, his back to the door, his tight ass clenching as he thrust into the girl beneath him, whose legs were up in the air as she lay back on a desk, giving herself to Joe and moaning for more.


The crash of the door against the wall scared Joe and made him jump, yanking his cock out of the girl, who screamed from the sudden withdrawal. Coach’s eyes quickly dropped to Joe’s stiff eight inches standing up in the air, looking huge, as the boy scrambled around, trying to pull his pants up.


“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Coach shouted, his booming voice echoing off the walls.


The girl screamed, only now realizing that Joe had pulled out because they had been caught. She quickly tried to cover herself and then rolled onto the floor to hide behind a desk as if Coach hadn’t already seen her.


“Coach… I… I…” Joe stuttered as he struggled to get his dick back into his pants.


“Shut up, boy, you’re in enough trouble,” Coach commanded.


A female teacher came out of one of the nearby classrooms to see what was happening. She gasped when she saw Joe standing shirtless and the girl on the floor fighting to pull up her panties.


“Miss Davenport, are you okay dealing with Miss Ray here if I take care of Mr Brooks?” Coach asked the female teacher.


“Yes,” Miss Davenport replied, “I’ll call and let them know to expect us.”


“Get your shirt back on boy,” Coach growled. Joe immediately grabbed his shirt and tried frantically to pull it on. “Follow me.”


Joe grabbed his bag and hung his head as he followed Coach out of the room. He couldn’t believe he had been caught. After he had fooled around with Tyler in that room before he thought it was safe. Still, no one would think he was gay now.


Other teachers and students who had heard Coach’s loud voice had come to the doors of their classroom to investigate and Joe knew word of him being caught screwing a girl would spread quickly. He hadn’t planned it that way but maybe it would work out for the best.


Trying to ignore the whispers and the snickers coming from the people he walked past, Joe followed Coach silently, dreading what came next. He had never heard the big man sound so angry and Coach was the last person you wanted to piss off. He hoped it wouldn’t affect his chances of playing on the team next season.


As they rounded a corner Joe realized that they weren’t heading for Coach’s office in the locker room and spoke up, “Erm, Coach, where are we going?”


Coach spun around to glare at Joe. “Where do you think we’re going? You’ve just broken one of the cardinal rules of the school. You’re not getting away with just a slap on the wrist.”


“Oh shit…” Joe gasped, “Principal Williams? Really? Wait, can we not…”


“No!” Coach cut Joe off. “You can’t fuck someone in school, Joe. What kind of an idiot are you? If I did anything other than report it I could lose my job.”


Joe began to panic. “What’s gonna happen to me?”


“You should have thought of that before you got your cock out,” Coach replied.


“Coach, I’m serious,” Joe pleaded. “What’s going to happen?”


“I don’t know,” Coach said sternly. “No one has been dumb enough to do it since I’ve been here. Now come on.”


Joe felt like crying but he got into step behind Coach and followed him until they entered the Principal’s outer office.


“You can go straight in Coach Hansen. Principal Williams will be along in a few minutes,” the secretary said, waving them through to sit in the Principal’s office.


Coach closed the door and ushered Joe into a chair before sitting down next to him. They were silent for almost a full minute; Joe had his head hung while trying to take deep breaths to stave off a panic attack while Coach stared a hole in his athlete.


“What the fuck were you thinking Joe?” Coach asked.


“I… I wasn’t thinking,” Joe admitted.


“No shit,” Coach replied. “Jesus Christ… Why would you do something like this?”


“We got caught up in the moment,” Joe tried to defend himself.


Coach laughed, “You’re going to have to come up with something better than that if you want to stop him from expelling your sorry ass.”


“WHAT?” Joe screeched. “He won’t do that, will he?”


“I don’t know,” Coach admitted. “It’s possible. He might want to set an example. You can’t have sex in school no matter how horny you are.”


“Oh shit!” Joe whined.


“You’re damned lucky you only have to be 17 to have sex here or you’d have broken the law as well and he would really have to come down hard on you,” Coach said. “I don’t get it, Joe. You’re smart enough to know better. You know what is on the line here. Your whole future depends on you keeping your head out of your ass, your record clean and your place on the team.”


“He won’t kick me off the team will he?” Joe worried.


“Of the options I can see in front of us that wouldn’t be the worst,” Coach admitted. “I’ll fight to keep that from happening, Joe, but there’s only so much I can do. I’m really disappointed in you.”


Joe hung his head again. Those words coming from Coach wounded him. “I’m sorry.”


“I sat down with all of you at the beginning of the year and gave you a lecture about how you need to act a certain way if you want to be taken seriously as an athlete. Did you not listen?” Coach asked.


“Of course I did,” Joe said.


“This isn’t a game, Joe,” Coach went on. “If you want to become a professional athlete there’s a certain expectation of you, a level of behaviour and etiquette that you need to match in every aspect of your life. It’s not just a hobby or a part-time job. If you want to be successful you need to live the life of an athlete 24/7, on and off the field. You are held to a higher standard and as soon as you let that slip that’s it, over, done.”


The silence that followed hung heavily in the room.


“What I want to know is what happened to make you do this,” Coach finally said.


“What do you mean?” Joe replied, confused.


“I know something has happened, Joe,” Coach pressed on. “You, this, it’s not your normal behaviour, it’s in reaction to something. What was it?”


“Nothing…” Joe mumbled.


“Where’s Tyler?” Coach asked.


“What?” Joe gasped.


“Tyler’s missing, Joe,” Coach stated, “Are you telling me you don’t know where he is?”


Joe stiffened and sat up in his seat, looking Coach in the eyes, “What do you mean Tyler’s missing?”


“Wait, you really don’t know where he is?” Coach asked, surprised.


“No,” Joe shook his head. “Maybe he’s at home.”


“He’s not,” Coach said. “I called his mom. He left there this morning but he never made it to school. We hoped you’d know where he was.”


“Oh fuck…” Joe gasped, on the verge of tears. “If he’s not… that means… no…”


Coach reached across and put his hand on Joe’s forearm, rubbing it reassuringly. “We’ll find him, Joe. I’m as worried as you are. I hope he’s okay. But I need to know everything. What happened?”


“I don’t know what you mean,” Joe said again.


“Come on, Joe,” Coach sighed. “When I left the two of you yesterday you were both fine and happy. Today, Tyler has gone missing, I’ve just caught you fucking a girl in a store room, and you’ve got a black eye. Or did you think I wouldn’t notice that?”


Joe immediately put his hand up to his face, remembering the punch from Tyler that knocked him on his ass. “Erm… my brother did that. We were play fighting and he got a bit rough.”


Coach stared at Joe for long moment. “Even if I did believe you, there’s still something you’re not telling me. You can trust me, Joe. With anything…”


Joe looked away, unable to meet Coach’s eyes, those last two words filled him with fear from the implication of what they could mean.


“If you know anything that can help us find Tyler, please tell me,” Coach continued. “I will protect you both as much as I can but I can’t do that if I don’t know what is going on.”


Joe looked back into Coach’s eyes and a silent understanding passed between them. Joe was just about to open his mouth when the door opened and the Principal walked in. Joe shrank back into himself and Coach closed his eyes, cursing his boss’s timing.



*



“Hey Coach, what’s going on?” Toby asked as he jogged over to where Coach stood watching Joe pull out of his parking space.


Coach turned his head and then looked up at his student, meeting Toby’s eyes. Toby was one of the only people Coach ever had to look up at and the kid was only 17, there was no telling where the growth spurt would stop. He then glanced back at Joe’s car as it sped out of the parking lot and out onto the road.


“Where’s Joe going?” Toby asked when Coach didn’t say anything.


Coach lowered and the shook his head before letting out a long sigh and looking up to meet Toby’s eye again. “He’s been suspended for the rest of the semester.”


“What?” Toby gasped. “What for?”


“I shouldn’t really be discussing this, but I am sure you will find out one way or the other,” Coach said. “He was caught having sex in one of the classrooms.”


“WHAT?!” Toby screeched, feeling both shocked and proud at the same time. He tried to fight the smile that wanted to break out across his face at the thought of Joe getting laid in school of all places but he knew it wasn’t something Coach found funny.


“Yeah, he’s a damn fool,” Coach said. “He’s lucky the principal went easy on him. Don’t ever let me catch you or any of the other guys doing something so fucking stupid.”


Toby said nothing in reply. He had never seen Coach as angry and disappointed as he was in Joe and he didn’t want to do or say anything to upset the man.


When Coach turned and started walking back toward the school building, Toby followed him. They had just reached the door and Coach pulled it open, holding it for Toby to walk through, when he put his arm in front of Toby and stopped him. Their eyes met again.


“Do you know where Tyler is?” Coach asked, quietly.


Toby’s eyes went wide, “Tyler? No, why? Is he okay?”


Coach was surprised that Toby clearly had no idea what was going on with either Tyler or Joe. He replied, “No one seems to know where he is.”


“Maybe he stayed home,” Toby offered.


“No,” Coach said, “I’ve spoken with his mom, besides, we both know Tyler doesn’t miss class. He treats his attendance record like he does a football game, he wants 100% all the time.”


Toby smiled, “That’s true. So where is he then?”


“That’s what we’re trying to find out,” Coach said. “I was hoping one of you boys would know.”


“I haven’t seen him today. We don’t have a class together until after lunch,” Toby said. “Although I did text him last night and he never replied. That’s not like him either but I just figured he had already gone to sleep since it was pretty late. Do you think something has happened to him?”


“Let’s hope not,” Coach said. “He was okay when he left his house this morning, physically at least. Let’s just hope he’s found safe. For now, try not to worry and get yourself off to your next class.”


“Will do, Coach,” Toby smiled. “And if I can help in any way please come get me, Tyler’s one of my best friends. If anything has happened I wanna be there for him.”


Coach smiled, “I’m glad to hear that, Toby, and don’t worry, I’ll let you know if I hear anything.”


Coach removed his arm from the door and let Toby into the school building. He entered behind him and watched his huge student walk down the halls, smiling at how Toby’s big afro hair bounced as he walked and how he had to dip his head to make it through the doorway. He knew Toby would be an asset to the team during the fall season.


As Coach headed back towards his office he walked straight past a darkened doorway, completely oblivious to the two people just inside the room.


“What the fuck?” Michael gasped, still shocked from being slammed into the wall. Cody’s strong forearm was pressed against his throat, threatening to cut off his airway.


“You heard what Coach just said,” Cody growled. “Tyler’s missing. If you did anything to him after you made your promise to me you know what I’m going to do.”


Even through the darkness Cody could see that Michael was scared.


“Fuck… I promised okay? I didn’t touch him. I said I’d leave him alone. I had nothing to do with this,” Michael whined.


Cody guffawed. “I’m pretty sure you kicking the shit out of him had something to do with it.”


“Yeah, okay,” Michael gasped for breath, “but I didn’t go back to finish the job. Please, I’ll forget what I saw. I won’t say a word. But you have to do the same thing for me. We made a deal.”


Cody nodded and released the pressure. “Yeah, we did. As long you keep up your end neither of us have anything to worry about. You had just better hope he turns up safe or it’ll be me kicking your ass all over town.”


Cody shoved Michael hard into the wall and walked away, leaving Tyler’s attacker to sink to the floor, his back against the wall, his head dropping into his hands.



*



Tyler’s Mom, Mrs Goodwin, paced around in the hallway by the front door. She had never been more worried or felt more helpless than she did in that moment, having no idea where her only son was or if he was okay. Her mind kept going to the worst case scenario of him lying in a ditch somewhere on the side of the road but she had to try to ignore those thoughts, glancing between the phone on the table and the front door, hoping someone would either call or arrive with good news.


When she heard a car door slam outside she ran to the front door and threw it open, hoping to see Tyler walking towards her. When she saw her husband’s face instead she felt a strange mixture of happiness that he was finally there and disappointment that he wasn’t Tyler.


“Oh thank God you’re here,” she said as she ran out to greet her husband, throwing her arms around him.”


“I managed to get an earlier flight. Is there still no word?” Mr Goodwin asked.


“No,” Mrs Goodwin replied. “Coach called back. None of Tyler’s friends seem to know where he is or even what might have happened to him. I’m so worried.”


Mr Goodwin kissed his wife’s head, “I am sure he’s fine. He still hasn’t turned up at the hospital and the police haven’t found him or his car so we’ve got to stay positive.”


“It’s just so unlike him to disappear,” Mrs Goodwin cried, burying her face in her husband’s firm chest.


“I know,” Mr Goodwin replied, “which means there has to be a good reason. You said he was worried about finals this morning. Maybe everything has just gotten on top of him and he needed a breather.”


“I hope you’re…” Mrs Goodwin started.


“Wait!” Mr Goodwin interrupted. “I think I know where he might be.”


“What? Where?” Mrs Goodwin gasped.


“Where I always used to go when I needed to clear my head,” Mr Goodwin said. “Maybe Tyler’s gone to speak to my Dad.”


“We have to go there then,” Mrs Goodwin exclaimed.


“No, honey,” Mr Goodwin sighed. “If Tyler needs space we can’t crowd him. I know you want to come but I need you to stay here in case I am wrong. If he calls or turns up you need to be here for him.”


Mrs Goodwin closed her eyes but nodded, knowing that her husband was right.


Mr Goodwin turned back towards his car. When he reached it he opened the door and looked over at his wife. “I’ll call as soon as I know anything.”



*



The roads were quiet so far out of town as Mr Goodwin drove in silence. Usually he would have the radio playing but he didn’t want any distractions. He was almost positive that Tyler would be where he expected him to be but there was still an awful fear churning away inside of him that something bad had happened. Because of that he concentrated his attention on the road, looking for any signs of a car veering off into the ditch or trees on either side, praying that he wouldn’t see his son’s car smoking away as a mangled wreck.


When he finally got to the turning he was looking for, almost hidden in the trees along the side of the road, he sighed with relief, knowing that if Tyler had taken the same route that he had at least made it that far successfully.


The two minute drive down the winding single track road was the longest of his life, but he couldn’t take the turns any quicker or he himself would end up crashing into a ditch and no one would ever find him.


Finally the trees opened up into a clearing and Mr Goodwin fist-pumped the air when he saw Tyler’s SUV parked in front of the tiny cabin that had been his own father’s pride and joy. He had never been more pleased to see anything in his life, except perhaps when Tyler first emerged into the world, and he almost closed his eyes in relief until he remembered that he was still behind the wheel of his own vehicle.


Pulling up beside Tyler’s car, he jumped out and quickly looked through the windows, checking that his son wasn’t inside. He then headed for the door of the cabin but was shocked to find it locked. Peering through the tiny windows in the wooden walls he could see that no one was inside and hadn’t been since he had last entered the cabin a few months before; a thin layer of undisturbed dust covered the surfaces.


Knowing that Tyler had to be somewhere close by, Mr Goodwin slowly walked around the side of the cabin, unsure of what he would find. He thought that Tyler might be sitting behind the cabin where they had a makeshift table and chairs made from the stumps of fallen trees, but again there was no one there. That left only one option.


Mr Goodwin turned toward a little, virtually undetectable pathway through the trees that led to a beautiful fresh water stream running along the back of the land. He was halfway down the path before he saw the back of his son’s head and a lump rose into his throat, tears threatening to burst from his eyes. Seeing Tyler and knowing that he was safe filled him with emotions he wasn’t sure he had ever felt. He had never cared for a human being more in his life than he did for his son; not his own parents and not even his wife.


He continued down the path until he was almost at the end. A branch snapping underfoot was the first thing that alerted Tyler to his father’s presence and Mr Goodwin gasped when Tyler’s head turned towards him and he saw the redness in and around his son’s eyes, a clear sign that he had been crying. Suddenly he didn’t look like the muscular nearly eighteen-year-old son Mr Goodwin was so used to seeing; instead he was the five-year-old boy Mr Goodwin had comforted when his new friend Joe had to go home instead of being able to spend the night for a sleepover.


Without a word Mr Goodwin sat down beside his son, fighting the urge to put his arm around his shoulder, wanting to give the boy space. They said nothing for two minutes, letting the quiet envelope them as they watched the water flow downstream.


“I always used to come out here when I needed some time to myself,” Mr Goodwin said, softly, needing to break the silence. “Being out in nature, away from everyone and everything, it feels incredible.”


Tyler said nothing he just continued to stare at the water.


“We all go through hard times, son,” Mr Goodwin continued, “some far worse than others. Whatever is bothering you, whatever brought you out here, it’s something you can handle, even if it doesn’t seem that way right now. You’re the strongest kid I’ve ever known, and I don’t mean physically.”


Tyler closed his eyes and swallowed hard before slowly turning his head to look up at his father. He opened his mouth as if he was going to speak but he couldn’t form the words for what his mind was thinking.


“You don’t have to talk if you don’t want,” Mr Goodwin reassured. “I’m not going to pressure you into anything. I’m just glad to know you’re okay.”


A slight smile rose onto Tyler’s face. He sniffed and wiped away a lone tear on his cheek with the back of his hand.


“Your mother might show her emotions a little differently,” Mr Goodwin chuckled. “You’ve had her really worried.”


“I’m sorry,” Tyler said, closing his eyes.


“We don’t mind if you need some time alone, Tyler,” Mr Goodwin replied. “We’ll give you any space you need. But you can’t just leave and not say a word. You can’t get in your car and drive away without at least leaving some message to tell us where you’re going. Your mom has been beside herself. Hell, I have too.”


“I’m really sorry,” Tyler whimpered. “I didn’t even know where I was going until I got here and by then my phone was dead. I didn’t put it on charge last night.”


“That’s okay, we’re not worried about that now,” Mr Goodwin said. “But please, don’t think that no one cares about you. You’ve got me and your mom and you’ve got your friends. Coach has been on the phone four or five times checking up on you after you didn’t turn up at school. Even that big guy cares.”


Tyler chuckled, “God, I feel so bad now.”


“Don’t,” Mr Goodwin stated. “You’re okay. That’s what matters. Forget about everything else. Whatever has happened to cause you to come out here doesn’t matter right now. If you want to tell us, fine, if you don’t, that’s good too.”


Tyler looked up at his dad, processing the words his father had just used. That was the second time he said he didn’t know what had happened. Was that possible? Did they still not know about him being caught with Joe in the locker room?


Before Tyler could speak his dad went on, “You don’t need to worry about grades, Tyler, you’re a smart kid. You’re an awesome athlete too. Your mom and I are very proud of you and we know you have a bright future.”


“Thanks,” Tyler smiled.


“I mean it,” Mr Goodwin said. “I don’t want you to ever feel like you’ve let me down like I did with your grandpa.”


“What?” Tyler gasped. “What do you mean?”


Mr Goodwin looked off into the distance and then took a very deep breath, holding it for a long time before he finally let it out.


“Our family used to own all of the land around this cabin,” Mr Goodwin explained. “I’m not talking about the little bit that we own now I’m talking acres and acres on every side. Half of the countryside around here belonged to our ancestors.”


“Wow,” Tyler was amazed.


“They farmed it, generation after generation, for nearly 150 years,” Mr Goodwin continued. “But by the time I was born times had changed, demand for the crops and livestock had decreased and it brought in less and less money every year. Your Grandpa kept it going because it was his life, it was everything he had ever known and he wanted me to follow in his footsteps. I worked the farm with him until I was about your age and then I sat down and told him I didn’t want to be a farmer and that I wanted to do something else.”


“What did he say?” Tyler asked.


“Not a lot,” Mr Goodwin replied. “He didn’t need to. It was written on his face. The sadness. The disappointment. He was crushed. His whole body deflated. I felt like I’d broken his heart.”


The emotion in his father’s voice made tears well up in Tyler’s eyes. Hearing his father talk so openly wasn’t something he was used to and he was hearing the story for the very first time.


“What happened then?” Tyler asked.


“I told him I wanted to go to college,” Mr Goodwin explained, “but we didn’t have any money. Everything we had was tied up in the land, so your grandpa made the hardest decision of his life and he started to sell it off to put me through college.”


“Wow, Grandpa did that?” Tyler asked.


“Yes, because he loved me and he knew what college meant to me. He wanted to give me the best chance in life, no matter how disappointed he was that I wasn’t going to continue with the farm,” Mr Goodwin said. “This was the last piece of land that he had left and he couldn’t bring himself to sell it. They moved into town, bought a new house, started a new life, but this was his last connection to his old life so he decided to keep it and he built the cabin out here so he could come out whenever he wanted to get away from everything. I think he felt more at home here than he did anywhere else.”


“I remember how happy he was when we came out here camping,” Tyler smiled.


“Yeah,” his father smiled. “It made him so happy that you loved this place.”


“I do. It makes me feel close to him,” Tyler said.


“Me too,” Mr Goodwin said, sniffing. “I think he was happy when I graduated college, met your mom and started working for her father. He saw that my life was going somewhere and that his sacrifice was worth it. But by far his proudest moment was when you were born. You were the spark that reignited the fire in him, you gave him life and I am so happy that you got to spend twelve years getting to know him, I just wish he was still here to see you now.”


Mr Goodwin had to break off and look away. He didn’t want his son to see the tears in his eyes. Tyler reached out and put his hand on his father’s arm. Mr Goodwin turned his head back and met his son’s eyes. They both smiled.


“When he died I missed him so much,” Mr Goodwin said. “I still do. Every day. And this is the one place, the only place where I feel like he’s still here. That’s why I haven’t changed anything inside the cabin. I can’t bring myself to do it. It’s the last authentic bit of him left and as long as it’s here there’s that sense that he is too.”


Tyler got up and hugged his father. They cried on each other’s shoulder for a moment and then Mr Goodwin pushed Tyler away and wiped a tear off his face.


“Damn, I didn’t come here to cry like a goddamn baby,” Mr Goodwin laughed. He then got serious again. “I didn’t tell my dad that I loved him in those last few years of his life and I regret that, but I can tell you. I love you. Whatever is going on in your life, whatever you do, your mom and I will always be here for you.”


“I love you too,” Tyler smiled.


Tyler sat back down, letting the words from his father play over and over in his head. He couldn’t help but wonder if they would really be there for him no matter what. Would his father still feel the same if he knew that he had been having sex with Joe and might be in love with his male best friend?


Just as he was building up the courage to come clean to his father, feeling like there might never be a better time to say something, Mr Goodwin spoke.


“I know when you get married and have kids that you’ll understand what I mean,” Mr Goodwin said. “I never truly appreciated my parents until I was one myself. It changes you, it changes your perspective on life.”


Tyler looked away from his father. He didn’t want his eyes to betray him, to give away the fact that he might never have children because he was leaning more and more towards liking men. The feeling of hope that had lifted him up just moments before was ripped away and he felt that sinking feeling in his gut again that no matter what he did in life he would never truly be what his father wanted. Maybe it was in his genetics to disappoint his parents but he wasn’t ready to find out.


“I wish we’d had a couple more kids,” Mr Goodwin said. “I see Joe’s family and I’m kind of jealous, but we did things our way and if I only get to have one kid I’m glad you’re that one.”


“Thanks Dad,” Tyler smiled.


“Anyway…” Mr Goodwin said, slapping Tyler’s shoulder before standing up. “If you’re okay, I am going to head back. Your mother will still be worried sick so I’ll go tell her you’re fine. Stay out here as long as you need to, maybe give her some time to cool down, and try to be home before dark.”


“Okay Dad,” Tyler said. “And thanks. I feel better.”


Mr Goodwin smiled, “We’re here for you whenever you need us, son.”


Tyler watched as his dad walked away. He was tempted to follow but he still needed time to think and process everything. He was feeling better about himself and what the future may hold and yet he was still terrified of people finding out about him and Joe. He sat back and let his eyes settle on the flowing water again.



*



Almost two hours after his dad had left him; Tyler pushed himself up from his place beside the stream and walked back up the path toward the cabin and his car. His skin felt warm from having the sun on him for so long but his head was clear and he felt like he could go home and face whatever came next.


The drive back into town took longer than he expected because he had been out at the cabin almost all day so he was travelling back at the height of the rush hour with everyone making their way home from work for the weekend.


When he finally turned the corner onto his street he gasped at the sight of a familiar car parked outside his house and a feeling of dread came over him.


He continued driving, slowing down as he approached the house. Some kind of instinct must have taken over as his body guided the car the final few yards, turning onto the driveway, because his mind and eyes were completely focused on the blond haired senior sitting on the hood of his own car, watching his every movement. What was Cody doing there?


Before Tyler could think about that or worry about what Cody might have told his parents and before he could even turn off the engine the front door of his house was thrown wide open and his mother raced out of it, heading straight for him. He shut off the ignition and opened the door, stepping out just as his mother’s body crashed into his.


Pain exploded through his torso as his mother collided with him with enough force to tackle a lesser built man to the ground. He barely managed to suppress a scream from the impact and then as she threw her arms around him and squeezed his injured body he clenched his teeth together, both fists and feet curling up with the agony surging through him, and he had no choice but to bury his face in his mother’s shoulder to subdue any further screams as tears burst from his eyes.


“Thank God you’re okay,” Mrs Goodwin cried as she held her son. “I have been so worried about you.”


“I’m sorry,” Tyler said, hugging his mother back, careful not to let her see the pain he knew would be etched on his face. “I had so much on my mind I needed some space and then my phone died so I couldn’t contact you.”


“I’m just glad that you’re alive and you’re okay,” she continued to cry. “I couldn’t stop thinking that the worst had happened.”


“I’m sorry,” Tyler said again.


When his mom released her grip on him he felt like he could breathe again and like the fire that had been ignited in his body had been weakened on the way to being extinguished. He sighed and closed his eyes as the pain lessened only to cry out when his mother’s open palm connected with the side of his head.


“Ow!” Tyler moaned, reaching up to touch the area of impact.


“I love you, but don’t ever do that to me again,” Mrs Goodwin warned. “Now that you’re home, I can finally go back to bed. Oh, and you’re making dinner tonight.”


She didn’t wait for Tyler to respond, instead turning on her heels and marching back into the house, walking straight past Tyler’s father who failed to hide the grin from his face. He waved to his son and made a motion to ask if he was okay. When Tyler nodded, Mr Goodwin returned it and disappeared into the house, leaving Tyler alone on the lawn as Cody began to approach him.


“Hey,” Cody said with a nod. “Are you okay?”


Tyler looked into Cody’s blue eyes and replied, “What do you think?”


“Okay, yeah, I’m sorry, stupid question,” Cody said, looking away momentarily.


“What are you doing here?” Tyler asked defensively, glancing toward the house.


“I haven’t told them anything,” Cody stated, reading Tyler’s mind.


“Then what are you doing?” Tyler asked.


“I told you we need to talk,” Cody said.


“So you came to my house?” Tyler exclaimed.


“What other option did I have, Tyler?” Cody asked. “You didn’t turn up to school. You weren’t answering your messages and when I tried to call you it said your phone was switched off. I got worried, okay? After what I saw yesterday, yes, I was worried about you. And I really needed to speak to you TODAY.”


“Why? What do you want?” Tyler asked in an aggressive tone.


“I want you to relax,” Cody said.


Tyler’s face showed his confusion, “What?”


Cody stepped up to Tyler so he was staring straight into his eyes. In a low voice he said, “No one knows. About you and Joe. No one knows. They’re not going to find out either unless the two of you do something stupid again.”


Tyler gasped, “How is that possible?”


Cody looked around as one of Tyler’s neighbours walked by with her dog. “Do you want to invite me in or do you want to talk about this out here?”


Tyler gulped, thinking about having Cody in the house with his parents, but he needed to find out what Cody had to say, he needed to know why no one knew about him getting caught sucking Joe’s cock. It defied explanation.


“We can go inside,” Tyler said, turning slowly. “Just keep it down. I don’t want my parents to hear anything.”


Cody nodded and followed Tyler into the house. They were barely through the door when they met Mr Goodwin coming out of the living room.


“Hey Cody, nice to meet you,” Mr Goodwin smiled, extending his hand out for Cody to shake. Cody accepted. “I’ve seen you at some of the games; impressive stuff. I’ll be looking out for you on TV come the fall.”


Cody chuckled, “I don’t think I will be playing quite that quickly, Mr Goodwin. There’s going to be a lot of competition but I’ll try my best.”


“I’m sure you will, son,” Mr Goodwin smiled. “And thanks for helping my boy here learn how to be a good quarterback.”


“I don’t think he really needed my help, sir, he has a bright future all by himself,” Cody smiled.


Mr Goodwin beamed with a huge smile and patted Cody on the shoulder before excusing himself to go into the kitchen.


Tyler led Cody up the stairs to his bedroom and made sure the door was securely closed behind them.


“Alright, explain,” Tyler demanded, glaring at Cody. “Because I don’t understand what’s going on here. I’ve been shitting myself all day worrying about what was going to happen and now you’re saying it’s all okay? Why should I believe you? Why wouldn’t Michael tell anyone about us?”


Cody sat down on Tyler’s bed with a sigh and looked at him for a long moment without saying anything.


“Are you done?” Cody finally asked.


Tyler nodded. He walked over to his desk, pulled out his chair and moved it closer to the bed so that he could sit down opposite Cody, close enough to talk quietly while still keeping his distance since he didn’t know what was coming.


“Michael isn’t going to tell anyone,” Cody said. “Your secret is safe. You don’t need to know why you just need to trust me.”


Tyler was still none the wiser. “I don’t understand.”


“I’m sorry,” Cody said quietly.


“For what?” Tyler asked, more confused than ever.


“I should have helped you yesterday,” Cody said. “I wanted to when I saw what Michael was doing. I knew you were hurt but I needed to get him away from you or he might have killed you. That’s why I left with him.”


Tyler took a moment to digest what Cody was saying. “I don’t blame you. Yes, I’m hurt but I should be thanking you. You saved my life.”


“Fuck Tyler, I was so scared when I saw him laying those kicks into you. I thought you were already dead,” Cody explained, shaking a little. “I didn’t know what was going on or why he was attacking you but I knew I had to stop him.”


“Thank you,” Tyler whispered.


“It wasn’t until after I’d pulled him off you that he started screaming about what he’d seen. I didn’t believe him at first but then it all started clicking into place,” Cody said.


“What did?” Tyler asked.


Instead of answering, Cody asked his own question, “Why did you do it?”


Tyler’s mind was all over the place. He felt like Cody wasn’t giving him a straight answer and he still didn’t know what was going on or why he should trust the older boy. “What?”


“Why would you fuck around in the locker room?” Cody asked. “Hell, not just the locker room, anywhere at school… Do you know how fucking stupid that is? Did you not think someone might walk in and find you?”


“We thought it was safe,” Tyler defended in a pathetically weak voice.


“Thinking it’s safe isn’t enough,” Cody spat. “You need to know it’s safe. You need to know that no one is going to find you before you even think about getting your dick out.”


Tyler stumbled over his words without a whole one actually coming out of his mouth.


“Fuck…” Cody muttered.


“What?” Tyler asked.


“Have you really got it that bad?” Cody replied.


“I don’t…” Tyler began.


“Yes you do,” Cody said. “You know exactly what I mean. For Joe…”


“I… Fuck…” Tyler sighed.


“That’s what happened, isn’t it?” Cody asked. “I know you’re smart, Tyler. I know that if you’d have been thinking with your head you would have taken all of those precautions but you can’t say no to him, can you? There’s something about him that makes you lose all rational thought when you’re with him. You’d do anything for him.”


Tyler swallowed, “How do you know?”


Cody held Tyler’s gaze, “Because I’ve been there.”


Tyler gasped, “With a guy?”


Cody paused, closed his eyes and then took a deep breath before answering, “Yes.”


“Fuck…” Tyler gasped. “Who was he?”


Cody chuckled, “Tyler, you’ve got to learn that guys like us can’t kiss and tell and we definitely can’t fuck and tell. The only way we get to keep our secrets is by keeping theirs.”


“But it’s someone I would know?” Tyler asked.


“Definitely,” Cody smiled. “But you’re not getting any more out of me than that.”


“Does…” Tyler started. “Does that mean you’re gay?”


Cody looked into Tyler’s eyes for a long moment before a smile lit up his face, “You know I’m not gay. You saw me fucking that girl at that party. Do you think I was faking that?”


“No,” Tyler shook his head. “You looked pretty into it.”


“I was,” Cody grinned. “I love girls. I love their smooth soft bodies, the way they feel, the way they smell. I love being bigger than them, more powerful than them, the one in control, even when they’re on top of me. I love it.”


“But…” Tyler urged.


“But then, yes, a couple of years ago I started seeing guys in a different way, beyond just appreciating their bodies. I get turned on by tall muscular guys. I want to run my hands over their bodies, feel the strength in their muscles. There’s probably nothing hotter than being with someone who you know could dominate you or at least give you a damn good fight even if he ends up on your dick.”


“Fuck…” Tyler whispered.


“All guys are different, Tyler,” Cody said. “Urges come to us in different ways. Some guys can’t accept what they want. They fight their urges. Others like me give in and accept who they are. I like fucking hot girls. I like fucking hot guys. I don’t know where I’m gonna end up or who I will be with but I’m not worried about labels, I just want to live a life where I’m happy.”


“Me too,” Tyler smiled.


“So I guess it’s time for me to flip the question on you now I’ve told you all,” Cody replied.


“What do you mean?” Tyler asked.


“Well, seeing as you got caught sucking Joe’s dick, and having picked up a few signals from you myself already, where do you stand?” Cody asked.


“I still like girls too,” Tyler began but then something dawned on him as to what Cody had just said. His voice rose in panic. “Wait, what signals?”


“Relax,” Cody laughed, “It wasn’t anything obvious, at least not to the untrained eye. I just know what I’m looking for.”


Tyler took a moment to let that sink in. “So you knew?”


“More like I had a feeling you might be interested,” Cody explained, “but it could have been wishful thinking.”


“Really?” Tyler gasped.


Cody chuckled, “Are you really telling me you didn’t pick up the signals from me? I’ve been feeling you out for weeks hoping you’d give me something I could act on.”


“Damn…” Tyler muttered. “You…”


“I think you’re hot,” Cody stated. “And I’m pretty sure you think I am too. But that’s not what this is about. If something happens between us it happens, but that’s for later. I’m not here for that. That’s not why I wanted to talk.”


“Then what is?” Tyler asked.


“I wanted to give you some advice, as an athlete, as a friend and as someone who knows what you’re feeling. You made a stupid, rookie mistake and I can’t let you risk doing that again,” Cody explained. “We all get urges, Ty, especially me, believe me. Sometimes there is just chemistry between two people and neither of you can fight it; you have to have each other. But you’re not just an ordinary guy and neither am I. What we want to do, what we want to be, it comes with restrictions. You have to have self-control, you have to show restraint and plan your sex life a lot more carefully. You have to be smart about sex and pick the right moment, the right places, the right people, girls included. Even if it’s spontaneous and you didn’t plan it you need to think with your head and go somewhere private, especially with a guy.”


“Joe and I thought we were alone,” Tyler protested.


“And again you prove my point,” Cody replied. “You thought. Like I said, that’s not good enough. Make sure you are alone. Make sure no one can walk in on you and catch you, or even worse, record you. You are damn lucky Michael didn’t think to take out his phone to get a video of you two.”


“I know,” Tyler sighed heavily.


“I’m not saying you can’t fuck around,” Cody said. “But you have to be selective. Make sure no one can catch you and make sure the guy is someone you can trust to not say a word to anyone afterwards. You know what’s on the line if word gets out, I don’t have to go over it again.”


“No, you don’t,” Tyler agreed. He paused for a moment. “Did you say all of this to Damien?”


Cody’s eyebrows went up in shock. “Damien?”


“Yes,” Tyler grinned slightly.


“No,” Cody shook his head.


“Why not?” Tyler asked.


“Because Damien was different,” Cody explained. “For starters he didn’t suck anyone’s cock in public.”


Tyler’s face went bright red.


“And he’s not gay,” Cody expanded. “It was a one-night thing that satisfied his curiosity I guess.”


“So you didn’t fuck him?” Tyler asked.


Cody laughed, “No. Not that I wouldn’t have. He has the tastiest damn ass I’ve ever eaten.”


Tyler’s eyes went wide and he definitely felt his dick jerk in his pants at the image of Cody’s face lodged between the big mounds of Damien’s muscular ass.


“You can’t say a word about it to anyone,” Cody commanded. “That means not to Joe and especially not to Damien.”


“I won’t,” Tyler agreed. “But I need something from you to keep my mouth shut.”


Cody’s body suddenly stiffened hearing that threat. “What?”


“I need to know what happened,” Tyler said.


“With Damien?” Cody asked.


“No, with Michael,” Tyler answered. “Why won’t he tell anyone about me and Joe? He’s not doing it out of the kindness of his own heart. He wanted to kill me. What do you have on him to buy his silence?”


“I can’t tell you,” Cody said. “I just know he won’t say anything.”


“That’s not enough,” Tyler replied. “I need to know. This is my ass on the line if he ever decides to speak. I need to know what you have on him that has made him promise not to say anything in case I ever have to use it against him to keep him quiet.”


Cody sighed, “And that’s exactly why I won’t tell you.”


“What?” Tyler asked.


“In case you have to use it against him…” Cody explained. “You won’t have to do that so you don’t need to know. He might be a bit of an asshole but he has been a friend and I made a promise to him just like I’m making a promise to you.”


“But…” Tyler tried to interrupt.


“No, shut up and listen,” Cody commanded. “He is never going to breathe a word of it to anyone, I guarantee you, because he knows that if he does all I have to do is call his father, who is a minister by the way, and Michael’s life is over. He’s more scared than you are right now.”


“Is it really that bad?” Tyler asked.


“For him, yes,” Cody stated.


“Why are you doing this?” Tyler asked.


“What do you mean?” Cody replied, confused.


“Why are you protecting me? Why are you using what you know about Michael to stop him from telling people about me? You don’t owe me anything,” Tyler said.


Cody looked Tyler straight in the eyes, “Because I like you. As a person I mean. You’re a good guy and a talented football player. You don’t deserve to have someone put your career in jeopardy just because of who you’re attracted to. It shouldn’t matter that we like guys but it still does. I thought about what I would do if I was in your shoes, because it could have just as easily been me, and I wouldn’t want anyone to try to ruin my career because of it so I didn’t want him doing that to you.


“I don’t know what to say,” Tyler said, still holding Cody’s gaze.


“Another thank you would be nice,” Cody smiled.


“Thank you,” Tyler smiled back.


“And maybe a blowjob…” Cody smirked.


“You fucking wish!” Tyler laughed.


“It was worth a try,” Cody laughed back.


“Yeah…” Tyler chuckled. “Maybe one day…”




To Be Continued…















BONUS SCENE: Cody and Damien at the motel.




“Oh fuck! Oh fuck! Oh fuck!” the receptionist girl screamed as her orgasm overwhelmed her. She was covered in sweat, panting for breath and finally collapsed onto the bed, her eyes closing as she passed out.


“Holy shit!” Damien gasped. “Is she okay?”


“She’ll be fine,” Cody smiled as he pulled his dick out of her and took the condom off of his still hard cock. “That happens sometimes.”


Damien couldn’t believe his eyes. The girl was unconscious on the bed beneath them after the two of them, but especially Cody, had fucked her out of her mind. He had only had sex once before, with a girl called Emily, but as good as that was it didn’t compare to what he had experienced and seen with Cody leading the way. They had truly tag-teamed the girl, taking turns fucking her, spit-roasting her as they filled her from both ends, and then while she had been riding Damien, Cody had pushed her down onto Damien’s chest to eat out her ass before he pushed his cock inside her so they were fucking her up both holes until finally he couldn’t take any more, pulling her off Damien, putting her on her back and fucking her to orgasm.


“Fuck… I haven’t cum yet,” Damien groaned, looking down at the girl, then at Cody’s deflating cock as a drop of cum fell from the tip, and finally down at his own throbbing cock that was stood upright and begging for release. “I can’t fuck her while she’s out, man.”


“Well we can’t wait until she wakes up,” Cody said. “We’ve got to get back before Coach notices that we’re not in our room.”


“So what, I’m going to have to jerk off after you got to bust your load in her pussy?” Damien asked, clearly annoyed.


Cody heard the frustration in Damien’s voice, saw the cute scowl on the boy’s face and then let his eyes travel over his hot muscular body that was glistening with sweat, continuing down until his eyes settled on Damien’s stiff seven inch cock.


“There is one other way,” Cody said, moving his eyes back up to meet Damien’s.


“What?” Damien asked, urgently wanting to get off.


“Close your eyes,” Cody stated.


“What?” Damien asked, not understanding.


“Close. Your. Eyes.” Cody demanded.


Damien swallowed hard but did as Cody said. He had no idea what to expect but his heart nearly exploded in his chest when he felt what was unmistakably a pair of lips wrap around the head of his dick and his eyes snapped open to see his cock disappear into Cody’s mouth.


“What the fuck?” Damien gasped as Cody took every inch of his cock and then licked his way back up the solid shaft.


“Do you want to get off or not?” Cody asked, staring up at Damien, taking the hard dick into his hand to stroke it while he waited for an answer.


Damien looked all around the room, not knowing what to say. He felt like he should push Cody off him and run for the door because he wasn’t gay and he didn’t want to have a guy sucking his cock but he also felt so damn horny, was desperate to cum and the brief moment his cock had been in Cody’s mouth had felt amazing.


When he didn’t say anything in protest, Cody took that as a sign that Damien was okay and went back down, opening his mouth and swirling his tongue around the tip of Damien’s cock.


“Oh fuck!” Damien moaned as a huge spasm passed through his body.


“There’s a lot you don’t know about sex,” Cody smiled as he pulled off Damien’s dick and moved his head down to lap at Damien’s balls. “Let me show you.”


Damien just stared down at Cody in disbelief and then nodded. He watched as Cody stuck out his long pink tongue and ran it up the entire length of his shaft until he reached the top and went back down on him, sucking him hard.


Cody felt Damien tremble as he went to work, bobbing up and down on the beautiful cock, taking in as much as he could with every stroke. He loved the taste of Damien’s precum on his tongue and made sure to scoop it up every time his tongue passed over the head, dipping into the piss slit.


Damien threw his head back and roared. He hadn’t expected it but after fucking the girl for so long and then feeling Cody’s expert mouth on his cock he was closer than he had thought and went crashing over the edge, thrusting deep into Cody’s mouth as he unleashed the biggest load of his life.


When Damien was finally done and Cody has sucked every drop of cum from his cock, the two fell back onto the bed and panted for breath, taking in what had just happened. Cody half expected Damien to freak out but he just smiled happily as their eyes met.


“How was it?” Cody asked.


“Fucking unbelievable,” Damien groaned. “Damn, you can suck dick.”


“I’m good at everything,” Cody grinned.


Damien laughed and lay back on the bed. “Fuck.”


“Come on,” Cody said, climbing up and slapping Damien on the leg. “We’ve got to get going. Coach will kill us if he knows what we just did.”


Damien simply nodded again and followed Cody in getting up from the bed, pulling on their clothes and slipping out of the room, leaving the still unconscious girl naked on her bed. He couldn’t believe what Cody had talked him into or that he went along with all of it and yet he was still following the older boy, looking at him in awe.


“How are you feeling?” Cody asked seriously as they approached the stairs.


“A bit weird, but I’m okay,” Damien admitted.


“I told you that you wouldn’t regret it,” Cody smiled.


“I know, but… damn…” Damien replied in barely more than a whisper. “I can’t believe what that girl let us do. I can’t believe what you let me do.”


Cody laughed, “It’s all about doing what feels good. That felt good right?”


“Amazing,” Damien agreed.


“Then that’s all that matters, bro,” Cody said. “Now let’s get up to bed before Coach finds out where we were.”


Damien followed Cody up the stairs and they tiptoed quietly along the landing until they were at their room, carefully opening the door and slipping inside before they eased the door shut, making sure it didn’t bang.


“That was a damn good workout,” Cody smiled as he started to strip his clothes off his still sweaty body.


“Yeah,” Damien agreed, a little distant.


“Are you sure you’re okay?” Cody asked.


“Yeah,” Damien nodded, “I guess I was just wondering…”


“What?” Cody asked.


“Why did you do that?” Damien replied.


“Which part?” Cody asked.


“You know which part,” Damien stated.


“You mean sucking your dick?” Cody asked.


“Yes,” Damien said. “You let me cum in your mouth.”


“Yes, I did,” Cody confirmed.


“Why?” Damien asked again.


“Honestly?” Cody asked. Damien nodded. “Because I didn’t want to leave you hanging. I felt like I should help a bud out. And… because I wanted to.”


“You wanted to?” Damien gasped.


Cody chuckled, “Yes. I know you don’t think it but you are really hot. And you have a gorgeous cock. Watching you fuck that girl, I’ll admit, it made me horny for you, but I didn’t think you’d go for it so I was happy to just fuck her with you.”


Damien was silent for a moment, processing what Cody had just said. He finally spoke, “Are you gay?”


Cody looked Damien hard in the eyes, “You saw what I did with that girl. Do you think I’m gay?”


“No,” Damien admitted. “But you blew me.”


“Look bro, I like girls, but I also like guys, it’s not a big deal to me, try to not let it be a big deal to you,” Cody explained.


“I… Okay…” Damien said. He walked over to his bed and sat down.


“What’s bothering you?” Cody asked.


“I just let a guy suck my dick,” Damien said. “What does that make me?”


“Smart,” Cody stated. “Lucky.”


Damien laughed, “I’m serious.”


“I know you are. It doesn’t mean anything,” Cody said. “Look at me. Are you attracted to me?”


Damien looked at Cody, moving his eyes from Cody’s face and then down over his body. “No.”


“Were you attracted to that girl?” Cody asked.


“Yes,” Damien replied.


“Then there’s your answer,” Cody said. “I never doubted that you were straight. I just wanted to help you out. Fooling around with a guy doesn’t make you gay. At least, not until you do it again.”


Damien laughed, “Not much chance of that. I don’t think most of what happened tonight will ever happen again. Damn, I am tired.”


“Me too,” Cody smiled. “Sex like that beats any kind of cardio session Coach makes us do.”


Damien laughed and began to strip off his clothes. He lay back on his bed in just his boxers and glanced over at Cody who was wearing nothing but his black socks.


“Do you sleep in those?” Damien asked, pointing to the socks.


“Bro, I do everything in them. It’s kind of my thing,” Cody smiled.


Damien shrugged and lay back on the bed, looking up at the ceiling as he replayed everything that had happened in that girl’s bedroom. They had been silent for almost five minutes when he looked over at Cody, saw that he was still awake and decided to ask the question that he couldn’t stop thinking about.


“Cody…?” Damien began before hesitating.


Cody turned on his bed to look at Damien. “What’s up?”


“Erm…” Damien stumbled. “I just wanted to ask… No, it’s okay.”


“Just ask me, bro,” Cody said. “I’ve got your cum in my stomach so now’s not exactly the time to get embarrassed.”


“Damn!” Damien laughed. “You just say shit like it is, don’t you?”


“Yes,” Cody agreed. “I don’t see the point in bullshitting when you both know the truth. Ask me.”


“You fucked that girl up the ass…” Damien started.


“Yes,” Cody stated. “Although I don’t think it was her first time.”


“But before that…” Damien went on. “When you…”


“When I what?” Cody asked.


“You licked her fucking ass, man,” Damien finally spat out. “I felt your damn breath on my balls when I was fucking her.”


“Yeah, so?” Cody shrugged. “Girls like to get their ass eaten. Guy do too.”


“Are you kidding?” Damien asked.


Cody chuckled, “No, man, you have no idea how good it feels when a tongue is flicking across your hole. There’s a whole world of pleasure back there you don’t even know exists.”


“You mean someone has eaten your ass?” Damien gasped, his eyes wide.


“Yes,” Cody nodded, nonchalant. “I love it.”


“Shit… Is it not kinda dirty?” Damien asked.


“It depends what you mean by dirty,” Cody replied. “I tend not to go back there if they’ve only just been to the bathroom but if they’ve just had a long sweaty day… that can be so hot.”


“You really like doing that?” Damien asked.


“Almost as much as I like getting it done to me,” Cody smiled.


“And it really feels good?” Damien asked, still not believing it.


“It’s amazing. It’ll have your eyes rolling up in your head and your toes curling. You saw how wild that girl went when I worked my tongue into her. It would be the same for you.” Cody said. “But the only way you’re going to believe me is if you experience it for yourself.”


“What?!” Damien yelled. “Wait… do you mean…?”


“I could show you,” Cody stated.


Damien’s mouth fell open and he stared at Cody in stunned silence. “You’d eat my ass?”


“I’ve already sucked your dick,” Cody replied. “It wouldn’t exactly be going much further.”


Damien was silent again, thinking. “No, man, I can’t. Tonight has been too insane already.”


“Okay, bro, your call,” Cody said. “But the offer is there.”


Cody turned onto his side away from Damien. He closed his eyes and was beginning to fall asleep when he heard Damien speak and his eyes shot open.


“Fuck man, I can’t stop thinking about it,” Damien said.


Cody sat up on his bed and turned to face Damien, who was staring at him. “Thinking about what?”


“You eating my ass,” Damien whispered. “Would you really do it?”


Cody couldn’t suppress a smile. “Fuck yeah I would. You won’t regret it.”


Damien looked scared, “That wasn’t me asking.”


“Yes it was,” Cody grinned. “Do you want to try it?”


“Fuck, I don’t know,” Damien admitted. “That girl went crazy when you were doing it to her. I’ve never heard a girl scream like that.”


“I can make you scream like that too,” Cody vowed. “It’ll blow your mind, Damien. Just let me do it for a minute. If you don’t like it you can stop me.”


Damien closed his eyes and bit his lip as he thought. He let out a long breath and then looked up straight into Cody’s eyes.


“How would we…?” Damien started to ask.


Cody smirked and jumped off his bed, his dick already standing at attention. He approached Damien’s bed and noticed Damien staring at his hard cock with a look of terror in his eyes.


“Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to fuck you,” Cody assured him. “But you do need to take those boxers off.”


Damien clearly had second thoughts so Cody stood back and let him come to a decision. He never did anything with a guy who didn’t want it. Slowly Damien slid his boxers down and stepped out of them.


“Okay, get up on the bed on your hands and knees,” Cody instructed.


Once again Damien looked scared as he climbed up onto the bed on all fours, his ass sticking up in the air, his back rigid and stiff.


“Relax,” Cody said. “I’m not going to attack you. I’m not going to force you to do anything you don’t want to do. You can stop me any time you want.”


“Okay,” Damien said. His eyes were closed and his head was hanging down toward the mattress.


Cody climbed up onto the bed behind Damien and slowly reached out, gently laying his right hand on Damien’s ass. He felt the younger guy instantly tense up at the contact so he gave him a moment to get used to it and then started moving his hand around, stroking the smooth skin of the right butt cheek before adding his left so he held all of Damien’s ass in his hands.


For almost a full minute Cody simply cupped, caressed and massaged Damien’s ass, letting him adjust to the feeling of having a man’s strong hands back there and giving him time to loosen up. Cody then started to pull the cheeks apart, exposing Damien’s hole. It was so tight and Cody could hardly wait to get his tongue in it.


“I know you probably don’t want to hear this but you really do have a beautiful ass,” Cody said. Damien chuckled nervously in reply.


Wanting to take it slowly, Cody shifted his position, leaning in so his face was only inches from Damien’s ass. He pulled the cheeks apart and the most incredible scent hit his nose; it was the scent of a man, the smell of slightly stale sweat on an otherwise clean body, the tang of salty flesh mixing with the lingering aroma of the body wash he had used earlier in the day. It drove him wild.


All restraint that Cody had been using was stripped away in that instant and he buried his face between those two muscular mounds, making Damien gasp at the sudden movement and then yelp when he felt Cody’s tongue brush against his ass.


“Oh fuck!” Damien screamed, instinctively trying to get away.


Cody grabbed hold of Damien’s hips and ass and held him in place, pulling him back onto his face as he closed his eyes, shoved his face in as hard as he could and went to work on Damien’s hole, circling the tip of his tongue around it, lapping at it with full swipes and then gently jabbing at the opening, feeling it wince and pucker, trying to keep him out.


Damien’s breath had caught in his throat and his arms and legs felt weak. Never in all his life did he think that getting his ass eaten, that having another man’s tongue licking his hole, would feel so good. It sent shockwaves through him that he knew were pleasure but that he couldn’t find the adequate words to describe.


“Oh Jesus…” Damien whimpered, grabbing a pillow to bury his face in as he found himself pushing his ass back, forgetting what was happening or who was doing it and just enjoying the sensations, wanting more of it.


Cody was so lost in eating Damien’s ass that he didn’t see Damien’s hands curl into fists as he gripped the sheets beneath them, clawing at them as he writhed around, his body on fire as the tongue was slowly opening him up, pushing buttons he never knew he had.


Damien was almost delirious from the feelings. Few things had ever felt as good and he could actually feel his asshole clenching around Cody’s tongue as it gently pushed inside him. That thought alone nearly blew his mind; a guy’s tongue was actually inside his body. He should be throwing the guy off but instead he was pressing his ass back, wanting more of that tongue inside him, knowing he was getting closer and closer, his untouched dick as hard as it had ever been between his legs, dripping precum down onto the sheets as it pulsed in time with his hole.


“Oh fuck! Oh fuck!” Damien whimpered as his dick jerked. He couldn’t believe he was going to shoot without touching himself.


Cody felt Damien’s ass clamp down on his tongue and ripped it out of the hole, grabbing onto Damien’s hips and flipping him over so he was on his back with his hard dick flopping up into the air. Cody just managed to catch it between his lips, brushing the head with his tongue when he felt it explode, firing yet more shots of Damien’s cum into his mouth.


After four good blasts and a little extra dribble of cum, Cody pulled back, kissed the tip of Damien’s dick and lay it down against the younger guy’s abs. He then got up, walked the two feet back to his own bed and collapsed down onto it. In the silence of the night he listened to Damien pant until those breaths levelled out and Cody recognised the sounds of a contented sleep. He smiled and closed his eyes.

Big D
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