I spent most of the practice watching Austin walk around and talk to the
coaches and my teammates. Every time I would look at him, he would be
standing and jotting something down in his notebook. Occasionally, he would
look over at me and smile.
A few times, he walked over and tried to take a candid picture of me. When I
saw him with his camera pointed at me, I would stop and try to pose for him. He
would put the camera down, giggle and walk away. Later, after I’d run a race
and was bent over trying to catch my breath, he would be standing off to the
side with camera in hand. He would give me an evil grin, then a thumbs up and
There was something about his demeanor on the track field. When he was at
work, he didn’t seem shy and uncomfortable. He appeared at ease as he walked
among my teammates and asked them questions. I watched him as he talked to
Marty for about fifteen minutes. He seemed completely relaxed and appeared to
be enjoying himself. I couldn’t understand why he felt so nervous when he was
Coach called us to the center of the field and had us sit down. He gave his usual
pep talk about the meet in a couple of days. “You guys have trained hard,” he
said as he walked around us. I laughed when I saw Austin following him, taking
pictures of me as I sat amid my teammates. He put the camera down and
frowned when I started making goofy faces at him.
“Our first meet is in two days. Marty has scouted some of our competition.” He
looked over and nodded at Marty. “If you guys perform Saturday as well as you
have in practice, then we’re sure to win the meet.” The guys started cheering
and giving high fives all around. When we finished, Adrian was standing off to
the side with his camera pointed directly at me. He giggled when I flipped him
off. “Now go hit the showers.” We rose and ran screaming as we ran toward the
Austin walked beside me as we headed toward the gym. “So, what do you
He looked up at me and smiled. “I think I’ve got enough on you to write a book.”
“I hope it’s all good,” I laughed as I nudged him in his side. “Just don’t use any
quotes by Solomon. He and I have had this thing going since about the fourth
grade. You can’t believe a word he says.”
Austin opened his pad and read something. “Then you don’t want me to use his
quote about you being one of the most dedicated athletes he’s ever met? He
says you’re the team’s greatest inspiration.”
“Okay,” I laughed as he gave me a coy grin. “You can scratch what I said about
Solomon.” I put my arm around his shoulder as we continued to walk.
Suddenly, I dropped my arm from around him. I realized that since we had met
up after school that I always seemed to be touching him. Every time we walked,
I would put my arm around him. Strangely, he seemed to like it. He would step
closer to me and even press his body against mine. When I dropped my arm, he
looked up and gave me a questioning look as if he had done something wrong.
When we got to the locker room, he again stopped and leaned against the wall.
“I’ll wait for you out here.” I rolled my eyes, grabbed his hand and pulled him
inside the door.
He sat and watched me undress, but this time he was careful not to stare.
His face burnt a deep red when I removed my running shorts and stood naked
in front of him. I was enjoying teasing him because it made him feel
uncomfortable. I laughed when he grabbed his book bag and placed it in his lap.
“I’ll be back,” I said as I walked away naked. I wanted to turn around and watch
to see if he was staring at my thin ass. It didn’t bother me to be naked in front
of the other guys. We had grown up seeing each other’s bodies. However,
Austin seemed embarrassed by it.
When I returned, he had his head down and was reading his notes. I grinned
when I saw him trying to look furtively at the naked bodies around him. “Miss
me?” I laughed as I approached him. His gaze immediately dropped to my cock.
“Remember what I said,” I whispered. “It’s okay to look, just don’t stare.” He
nodded and pretended to read his notes, but I could see him glancing at me
while I dressed.
I was putting on my shoes beside him when Sticks Johnson walked out of the
shower area into the locker room. He was toweling his hair as he approached.
Sticks is actually Brad Johnson, but everyone calls him Sticks because he’s so
skinny. He runs the long distance events for our team. Everything about him is
skinny except for his cock. In the ninth grade, we called him Donkey Johnson
because of the massive piece of meat between his legs.
Austin let out a gasp when he looked up and saw it bouncing as he walked. His
eyes widened and his mouth dropped. I quickly nudged him in his side, trying to
divert his attention away from Sticks. “So, when do you want to finish this
interview?” He blinked his eyes several times as he looked at me.
“What?” He looked blankly at me. I waved my hand in front of him.
“The interview,” I laughed. “You know, that thing you were going to write about
“Oh, yeah.” He glanced quickly over to where Sticks was standing.
“Down, Boy,” I giggled. I leaned in toward him so no one could hear me. “You
should see it when he gets hard. It must be a foot long.”
Austin looked astonishingly at me. “No shit?”
“Yeah,” I said softly. “You should be here on a day he soaps it a little too much
and gets an erection. He does it about once a week.” I laughed when Austin
looked quickly over at Sticks who by now was dressed and talking to another
I stood and put my hand out to him. “Come on,” I laughed as I pulled him to his
feet. I looked quickly at the front of his tented pants. “I think you’ve seen
enough for today.” His face reddened as I pulled him toward the door.
As we were walking down the hall, the baseball team entered. Kenny was leading
the group and he was laughing. He seemed in a better mood than in previous
days. I leaned down and warned Austin, “Don’t make eye contact with any of
these guys- and don’t look down at their dicks.” He nodded and we moved to
the other side of the wall while they passed. Kenny looked at me, but he didn’t
He followed me to my truck. We leaned against it and chatted for a few minutes.
Most of it was about school and teachers in particular. He was a senior and we
talked about graduation.
I looked at my watch and realized it was getting late. Mom would be calling me
soon and telling me my dinner was getting cold. “When do you want to finish
He took out his note pad and flipped through it. “Your trainer, Marty, had a
“What?” I laughed. “If it’s Marty’s idea, it’s probably not good.”
“No, really!” Austin said excitedly. “It is. I don’t know why I’ve never done it
“Follow you around for a few days,” he said. “Like you said earlier, shadow you.
He says it will help me understand better what it’s like to be you.” He looked at
me and grinned. “Good idea, huh?”
I looked back toward the gym to see if Marty was coming out onto the parking
lot. If he was, I was going to flip him off. I knew what he was doing. He probably
suspected that Austin was gay and it would be a good way to get us together.
The only problem- I wasn’t looking for a new boyfriend. I had just lost one, if
you could even call him a boyfriend. My experience with Omari had taught me
that I wasn’t ready yet to replace Adrian.
“So, what do you think?” he asked hopefully. “Can I?”
I looked at him and forced a smile. “Yeah, sure.” For a minute I thought he was
going to start dancing around the parking lot.
“Cool,” he said. “I’ll meet you before school tomorrow and we can work out how
we want to do this.”
“You’re going to follow me around to my classes, too?” That’s all I needed was
to have another boy following me around everywhere I went.
His smile turned to a frown. “No,” he said as he put his note pad back into his
book bag. “Maybe it wasn’t a good idea.” He turned and started to walk away. I
rolled my eyes and grabbed his arm.
“Okay, Austin.” He started to smile broadly. “But only for one day, okay?”
“Okay, promise,” he said happily. He then turned and started walking away.
“Hold up!” I shouted out. “Are you walking home?”
“Yeah,” he replied. “Mom’s at work right now and can’t come get me.”
I walked around to the passenger side of my truck and opened it. “Get in. I’ll
take you home.” He smiled, trotted over to the truck and got in.
Since I had arrived home late for dinner, I had to eat alone. Dad came into the
kitchen while I was eating and sat down at the table beside me. “How’s
everything looking for Saturday?”
“Good,” I mumbled as I tried to swallow a mouthful of meatloaf. “I think Marty
has been a great addition to the team this year. He’s really helped me a lot.”
“I think he’s been a big help to you, on and off the field,” he said rather sadly.
He reached out and touched my arm. “Look, Zac, I know I’m not the best father
in the world.”
I looked at him disbelievingly. “Are you serious?” He seemed surprised by my
outburst. “I couldn’t ask for a better dad. You and Mom have always been there
for me. I love both of you more than I can ever tell you.” I reached out hugged
him. We both pulled away with tears in our eyes.
“Thanks, Zac,” he smiled. “I needed to hear that. I was starting to worry that
Marty was beginning to take my place. You seem to run to him when you have a
I hugged him again. “No one will ever take your place. And the next time I have
a problem, I’ll come to you.”
“It’s a deal,” he said cheerfully as he started to get up from the table.
“I do kind of have a problem I need to talk about?” He looked worriedly at me
and sat back down.
“What is it?”
I buried my head in my hands and pretended to be upset. “I’m in a really big
“What’s happened?” he asked worriedly.
“Well, you know Saturday’s the track meet?” He nodded his head. “And I was
kind of hoping that I could go out with some of the guys afterwards.”
“Okay,” he said as he gave me a questioning look.
“Well, I kind of spent my allowance money this week.” I pretended to start
crying. “And I’m broke, and if I don’t have any money I can’t go out with my
friends, and if I can’t go out with my friends they will hate me, and then when I
see them next week they won’t talk to me, and then I will feel bad…”
Dad sat back in his chair and roared with laughter. “I get it, Zac,” he laughed.
“These are the kind of problems I get to handle?”
“Yeah,” I grinned. “So?” I held out my hand. “Can you help me with the
“What problem?” He laughed as he got up from the table. “When I was your age
I never had any money and it didn’t bother me.” He turned and grinned.
“That’s because you didn’t have cars, so you didn‘t have to buy gas,” I quipped.
“All you had to do was give the horse a little bit of hay.” I laughed when he
flipped me off and left the kitchen.
I stopped suddenly when I entered my bedroom. “Not again!” I moaned as I
tried to tiptoe over the mess strewn on the floor. Billy, Lonnie and Dwayne were
sitting in the middle of it trying to figure out how to assemble the science
project they were working on.
“This piece goes here, Asshole,” Billy shouted as he snatched a piece of tubing
from Lonnie’s hand. Lonnie looked over at a diagram Dwayne was holding, and
then grabbed the tubing from Billy.
“It does not, Bitch.” He looked once again at the diagram and tried to shove the
tubing into a hole in a slot on the aquarium. Dwayne looked at me with pleading
eyes. I shook my head and sat down at my computer.
I listened to them argue for about ten minutes when Billy begged, “Please, Zac,
you gotta help us.”
I turned and looked down at them. “I told you I won’t. It’s your project and I’m
not doing it for you.”
“Please?” he begged. “Just this once and I won’t ask you to help me with
anything else ever again.”
“No!” I stated adamantly. I got up and left the room.
I heard Billy holler out, “Bitch!”
As I was going downstairs, I had a great idea. I went out onto the deck and
dialed Valerie. “Hey!” I said when she answered her phone. I then explained to
her the problem Billy and his friends were having with the project. “Do you think
you can help them?”
“I’m working on one myself,” she said. “I don’t have time to help your brother
“Please?” I whimpered. “For me?” She hesitated a minute before responding.
“All right,” she sighed.
I threw up a fist and silently whispered “Yes!” I then asked, “Do you think you
can come over tonight? They’re about ready to kill each other.”
“I’ll have to ask my mother,” she said. I waited for several minutes until her
mother came on the phone. I had to explain to her why I wanted to come get
Valerie and bring her to our house. She insisted on calling my mother. After
about thirty minutes, I was in the car and on my way to her house.
“Thanks,” I said as she got in the car.
“I should get my head examined,” she replied. “Your brother hasn’t spoken to
me all year, but here I am going to help him out.”
I looked at her and tried to force a smile. “You won’t regret it, I promise.”
“Sure,” she said as she sat back and looked out the window.
Billy’s eyes almost popped out of their sockets when I walked into the room with
Valerie. He jumped up from the floor and shouted, “What’s she doing here!”
Valerie turned and started to leave. “I told you this wasn’t a good idea.”
“Wait!” I grabbed her arm and pulled her back into the room. I then walked over
and stood before my brother. “She’s here to help you,” I said angrily. “You have
the same class together.” I looked down at the mess on the floor. “The way I
see it, you need her.”
Billy looked at Lonnie and then Dwayne. They looked at Billy and shrugged their
shoulders. “We could use the help,” Dwayne said as he looked up at Valerie.
“All right,” Billy said dejectedly. He looked at me. “If she makes me feel stupid,
it’s your fault.”
Lonnie started giggling. “You don’t need any help feeling stupid.” Billy leaned
down and smacked him on his head.
Valerie sat down on the floor between Lonnie and Dwayne. When I left, Dwayne
was showing her the diagram and explaining their project.
I was sitting in the kitchen talking to Mom when Billy came running downstairs.
She had just gotten home from work and was drinking a cup of coffee. “Hey,
Mom,” he said excitedly. “Can you fix us up some snacks and maybe some
She grabbed his hands and examined them. “Are your fingers broken?”
He gave her a puzzled look. “No, Mom.”
“Then why don’t you do it yourself,” she said as she threw his hands down.
“Aw, Mom, please?” Billy whined. “I got to get back upstairs and help.”
I rose from my seat and walked over to the refrigerator. “I’ll do it. Give me a few
minutes.” After thanking me, Billy hurried from the room.
I made a big bowl of microwave popcorn, and then I poured some chips and
pretzels into another bowl. I opened four sodas and carried them items
upstairs. When I entered the bedroom, Valerie and Dwayne were still sitting on
the floor piecing together the project. Billy and Lonnie were at the computer
bouncing to a video on Youtube.
“I thought this was a joint effort?” I remarked sarcastically as I set the food on
the floor in front of Dwayne.
Billy looked at me and sneered. “They said me and Lonnie was getting in the
way.” I looked down at Valerie and Dwayne. They were sitting closely together
with their legs touching. Valerie gave me a shy smile when she saw I’d noticed.
She seemed even more embarrassed when I gave her a knowing wink before
An hour later, Valerie came downstairs with Dwayne. I had almost fallen asleep
in a leather recliner while watching television. Josh was curled up asleep beside
me with his head on my shoulder. “Can you take me home now?” she asked
“Sure.” Josh grumbled something as I attempted to move him so I could get up.
“May I get a ride home, too?” Dwayne asked as I yawned and stretched my
body. My back had stiffened up from the position I was in so that Josh could be
comfortable. I noticed the shy eye contact between Valerie and Dwayne.
Dwayne was cute. He was about 5’9” tall, slender and well built. I figured he was
probably one of Billy’s basketball buddies. I had also assumed that he was gay
because he was hanging out with my brother. Seeing him flirting with Valerie,
though, I knew he wasn’t. Then I became filled with guilt because I realized I
had unknowingly stereotyped him as gay just because he was friends with my
brother. If I could do it, then I quickly understood how Adrian or someone else
might receive the same reaction if they associated with me.
I dropped Dwayne off at his house first. “I’ll call you tonight when I think you’re
home,” he told Valerie as he got out of the car. We drove in silence for a few
minutes until I couldn’t stand the suspense any more.
“What’s this about Dwayne calling you?” I looked over at her embarrassed face.
“He just wants to talk some more about the science project,” she answered
“Yeah, sure,” I laughed. “The science project.” We drove in silence another
minute before she sat up and looked over at me.
“Can you believe it?” she said excitedly. “I think he likes me!”
“What’s not to like about you?” I replied. “You’re very pretty and bright.”
“That’s just it,” she said. “The kids at school have always shunned me because
they think I’m too smart.”
“Dwayne didn’t seem to shun you,” I kidded her. “In fact, he seemed to really
“I know!” she shrieked. “God, I don’t know what to say when he calls tonight.”
“Just be yourself,” I said. “He seemed to like you just the way you are.”
“What if he asks me for a date?” she asked nervously. “I’ve never gone out with
a boy before.”
“Then say you’ll go,” I offered. “It will be fun. Maybe you can go with Billy and
“No!” she said quickly. “I don’t mean to offend you, but your brother is a little
too weird for me.” I started laughing loudly.
“Billy’s a little too weird for me sometimes,” I laughed as I pulled up in front of
her house. Her mother came to the door and waved as I was pulling away.
Austin was waiting for me when I arrived. He was standing on the curb and
approached my truck after I had parked.
“Hey,” he said smilingly. “I didn’t know if I’d see you today, so I thought I’d
meet you here.”
“Austin,” I laughed as I put my arm on his shoulder as we walked toward the
building. “We’re in the same class second period.”
“Oh yeah, right,” he remarked. “But you sit with your friends on the track team.
I wouldn’t want to interrupt you.”
We walked down the hall to my first period. “So when do you want to go around
“How about tomorrow?”
“I don’t know,” I replied skeptically. “Saturday is our first meet. I’ll be too
nervous for you to interview me.”
“That’s what I want.” He stopped and turned toward me. “I want to experience
what you feel before a meet. I want to see how you get psyched up before you
I looked down at him and laughed. “You may be disappointed. I’m not much fun
to be around.”
“Good,” he smiled. “I’ll okay it with Mrs. Jarvis and my teachers.” The bell rang
and he ran off to class.
Something happened on the way to the cafeteria for lunch that was very
unexpected, but I’m glad it happened. I was hurrying down the stairs and I
accidentally bumped into Rachel. I quickly apologized before I realized who it was.
“It’s all right,” she said and then turned and noticed it was me. “Zac?”
“Um, hi Rach,” I replied nervously. “How are you?”
“I’m all right.” She didn’t seem upset to see me. In fact, she kind of smiled. Not
a big smile, but her mouth did slightly curl. “How about you? Ready for the meet
tomorrow? Everyone’s talking about it.”
“You know me,” I responded with a laugh. “Those dreaded nerves before a
“Yeah, those dreaded nerves.” Her smiled quickly turned to a sad expression.
“I remember those.”
I don’t know why, but I reached down and took her hand in mine. I was
surprised when she didn’t pull away. “Can we go somewhere and talk?” When
she hesitated to answer, I asked, “Please?” She thought for a few seconds
before nodding her head. I continued to hold her hand gently as we exited the
building and headed for a park-like area on the south side of the school. Once
there, we sat down on a bench. She pulled her hand away and watched a couple
kissing on a nearby bench.
“You don’t have to say anything,” I said as she turned toward me. “I just want
you to listen. Okay?” She nodded her head. “I never meant to hurt you, ever.
You have to believe me. Everything started to happen so quickly, and I did some
things I shouldn’t have.” I took her hand and held it. Again, she didn’t pull it
away. “I’m sorry.” Tears started to appear in her eyes.
“You’ve heard all the rumors?” She nodded her head. “It’s true, Rach, I’m gay.”
She pulled her hand away and looked down at the ground. “But I didn’t know I
was when we were dating. You have to believe me. I never tried to deceive you.”
She looked up tearfully. “Then what happened?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know. Things just started to come together.
It wasn’t easy.”
“Did you ever love me?”
“Oh, God! Yes Rachel.” I leaned in and hugged her tightly. I pulled away and
looked tearfully into her eyes. “I still love you. I always will. The one thing I
regret about all this is that I hurt you so much.”
“Yeah,” she said as she wiped tears from her eyes. “You did. I really hated you.”
“You had every right to,” I replied. She smiled slightly and nodded her head. We
sat silently for a minute before she looked at her watch.
“I’ve got to go,” she said. “Alise is probably wondering where I am.” When I held
out my arms, she stepped toward me and let me hug her.
I kissed her on her forehead. “Thanks,” I whispered softly in her ear.
She pulled away and looked at me with tears in her eyes. “I hope you do well
tomorrow.” She then turned and walked away.
Chapter 21 Return to TMJ