Door Number Three
Chapter 25
Dad was reading the paper when I went down for breakfast Monday morning. He
smiled when I sat down and handed me the sports section. I read the headline:

                        
  Local Runner Has His Eyes on the Prize
                                           by Austin Winger

There was a large picture of me kneeling at the starting blocks. I was staring
straight ahead with a determined look on my face. I didn’t even remember Austin
taking the picture. It must have been during the finals when I was focused only on
the race.

“It’s a wonderful article, Son,” my father stated proudly. “That Austin Winger did
another good job. I’m sure it will be the talk of the town today.” My mother
patted me on my shoulder as she placed a cup of coffee in front of me.

“I can’t wait to get to the store today,” she said as she returned to the kitchen
sink to wash some dishes. “I saw so many of my customers at the meet on
Saturday.”

“You’re going to have to invite Austin to dinner soon,” Dad said as he looked at
Mom for approval. “He’s written two articles on you and we’ve yet to meet him.”

“Yeah, sure,” I said unenthusiastically. “I’ll ask him.” I quickly scanned the article.
Austin had done an excellent job. As I continued to read, I felt I was reading
about someone else. There were several quotes from Coach Templeton, Marty and
my teammates. All of them talked about my team spirit and how I motivated
others to do their best. I thought how much better I appeared in the paper than I
did in real life.

Just then Billy walked into the kitchen and sat down. He grabbed the paper from
my hands. “Hey, cool,” he said excitedly. “You’re in the paper. What did you do,
rob a bank?” He looked over and grinned before reading the article.

“Hey!” he shouted. “Cool. You mentioned me.” He started reading the paragraph
where I talked about the support I received from my family. “And my younger
brother, Billy, is a tremendous source of inspiration to me. As the older brother, I
have to set the right examples for him to follow.” He looked over with a wide grin
on his face.

I looked up at the clock. We were running late because of all the attention the
article had received. I jumped up and hit Billy on his shoulder. “Let’s move,” I said
as I picked up my gym bag and headed toward the door.

“Wait up!” Billy hollered as he took a final swig of milk.

I was pulling out of the driveway when I looked over and saw Kenny running
toward the truck. “What the hell does he want?” Billy asked angrily. I had
forgotten to mention to him about us bowling on Saturday night.

“Unlock the door,” I told Billy.

“Why?” He unlocked it when Kenny ran up and pounded on the window.

“Hey, Punk!” Kenny said as he pushed Billy into the middle. Kenny looked over and
gave me a questioning look. “Mind if I catch a ride?” Billy looked at me with a
startled face. I know he couldn’t figure out why Kenny was riding with us.

“Sure,” I said as I shrugged my shoulders. Billy looked at me as his eyes narrowed
in anger.

“We still gotta pick Lonnie up,” he stated angrily.

I gave him a pleading look. Since Kenny and I were talking once again, I  didn’t
want Billy to cause any problems. “Okay,” I said. I looked at Kenny and then back
at Billy. “I’ll explain later, okay? Trust me.” Billy gave me a skeptical look and then
nodded his head.

Lonnie’s reaction was the same as Billy’s. He stopped suddenly when he ran out
to the truck. “What’s he doing here?” he asked as he leaned down into the truck.

“Just get in,” I said hurriedly.

“Where?” Lonnie looked around the small cab of the truck. The three of us were
already squeezed into it like sardines.

“Sit on Billy’s lap,” I said. He tried to climb over Kenny, but the truck was too
small. Kenny grabbed his small waist and pulled him into his lap.

“Sit here,” he said as he wrapped his arms around him. “And don’t bounce
around.”

The ride to school was interesting. Billy kept giving me dirty looks while Lonnie
giggled as he squirmed around on Kenny’s lap. I think he was intentionally trying
to grind his ass against Kenny’s cock. I held my breath when I saw his hand
disappear to his side as it appeared he’d reached under him to feel on Kenny’s
cock. I was worried that Kenny would open the door and toss him out onto the
road.

I was relieved when I pulled up to the front of the school to drop them off. Kenny
got out letting Lonnie and Billy out. Lonnie walked away whispering something in
Billy’s ear. Billy looked back at Kenny’s crotch. I looked down and noticed the
obvious bulge in the front of his pants.

“What?” Kenny asked embarrassedly as he climbed back in. “You have some little
perv sitting in your lap pushing his ass against your cock, and you’ll get a hard-on
too. Little fucker even grabbed it once.” I tried not to laugh, but we soon were
howling with laughter.

When we finished laughing, Kenny added, “Tomorrow I’ll sit in the middle and the
runt can sit in your brother’s lap.” I started laughing wondering what Kenny would
say if he knew how much Billy and Lonnie would like that.

The accolades began as soon as I entered the school doors. Several members of
the team were waiting for me by my locker. They seemed surprised to see Kenny
walking beside me.

They playfully picked me up and tried to carry me to my first period until Rory
started to drop me. They carefully let me down and I walked the rest of the way.
Students kept stopping me and telling me that they had read the article. One
freshman girl even approached me and shyly asked me if I’d sign the article.

“I’ll catch up with you later,” Kenny said as he patted me on my back and walked
away.

Justin stopped me and gave me a questioning look. “I’m I going blind, or did I just
see what I think I saw?”

“Okay, you‘re not going blind.” I smiled. “We’re trying to be friends again.”

“Cool with me,” Justin responded as he hit me lightly on my arm. “But if he tries
to kick your ass again, don’t expect me to protect you.”

“He won’t need you,” laughed Rory. “He’s got Austin now.”

I looked over quickly at Rory. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

He looked at me and shook his head. “Nothing, Man, nothing.” Just then the bell
rang and I entered my class as they tore off down the hall.

Mr. Wingard, my lit teacher, embarrassed me when he entered with a copy of the
article and read parts of it to the class. Everyone kept turning and laughing at my
reddened face.

Later, I was working on a class assignment when a student entered and
approached Mr. Wingard. He called me over and informed me that Mrs. Jarvis
wanted to see me in her office. When I arrived, she was sitting at her desk talking
quietly to Austin. He looked up at me, scowled and then looked down at the floor.

Mrs. Jarvis gave me a puzzled look when she saw the look he gave me. She
pointed to a seat beside Austin and asked me to sit down.

“Zac,” she said, “As I just told Austin, the response to the article in the paper has
been overwhelming. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing.” She held up a stack of
post-it notes. “These are just a few.” I looked over at Austin. He still had his head
down as he fiddled with the zipper on his book bag.

She continued, “I received a call from Mr. Boyers, editor of the newspaper. He
wants to do a follow-up story at the end of the season.” She looked at Austin for
a response. He didn’t say anything.

“Austin?” He looked up at her. “Do you think you could do that?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” he answered politely as he looked back down at this book bag and
played again with the zipper.

“How about you, Zac?” She gave me a puzzled look. I glanced over at Austin.

“Yeah, sure, Mrs. Jarvis,” I responded as I shrugged my shoulders.

“Well, then,” she said as she rose from her seat. “You boys should get back to
class. I’ve taken up enough of your time.” Austin rose and left without saying
anything. I tried to catch up with him to apologize about Saturday night, but he
had disappeared by the time I reached to hallway.

When I entered the cafeteria for lunch, Kenny motioned for me to come over to
the table where he was sitting with the baseball team. “Have a seat, Zac,” he said
as he scooted over to make room for me. I thought I’d get a reaction from his
teammates, but no one seemed to mind. In fact, the atmosphere at the table
seemed more cheerful than I would have expected it to be after just losing their
first game on Saturday.

“Sorry, Kenny,” I apologized as I looked across the room to where the track team
was seated. Rory and Justin were motioning me to come over to the table. “I’ve
got to eat with my teammates.”

“Sure,” he smiled. “I understand.”

As I made my way to the table, Rory stood and put his hand on my shoulder.
“Don’t you think you’re taking this renewed friendship thing too far? For a minute
I thought you were going to sit at the dumb jocks’ table.”

“Naw,” I laughed. “I decided to eat at this dumb jocks’ table instead.”

“Hey!” He shouted as I walked away to the food line to get something to eat. On
the way, I heard my name being called. It was Billy. He was sitting at a table with
Lonnie, Valerie, Dwayne and two other guys I didn’t recognize. As I walked over, I
smiled at Valerie when I noticed that Dwayne was holding her hand.

“Hey, Guys,” I said cheerfully as I stood over their table. Billy held out a couple of
newspapers opened to my picture.

“Can you sign these for me?” He handed me a pen.

“Why?” I asked as I scribbled my name across my chest.

“A couple of guys wanted your autograph.” He started grinning. “They’re paying
me a dollar each.” I handed him the papers back.

“I get half,” I laughed as I walked away.

“Twenty-five percent!” He hollered back.

Throughout lunch, I kept scanning the cafeteria for Austin, but I didn’t see him.
I did see, though, Adrian sitting with Latoya. Instead of sitting beside her with his
arm around her waist as he normally sat, he was sitting across the table from her.
He was facing me, and occasionally I’d catch him looking at me.

I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about Austin. It’s strange how life
works sometimes. Just last week, I was sure I was deeply in love with Adrian. I
couldn’t go an hour without imagining how great our lives would be if we could
only be together.

Now, I didn’t have any feelings for him. In just a short time, Austin had taken his
place. I guess that was what was worrying me the most. How does someone
know for sure who is the right person for them? If I could be in love with Adrian
last week, then Austin this week, will there be someone else next week?

What if I fall in love with Austin and then realize that I really am in love with
Adrian? Is this what life is about? You fall in love with one person one day only to
hurt them the next day? What if I fall in love with Austin, and he finds someone
else next week? Will my heart be broken again as it was with Adrian when he
started dating Latoya?

I keep telling myself that I love Austin, but is it love? I’ve been obsessing so much
on these damn doors, am I only fooling myself? I was so sure that Adrian was
Door Number Three. Even Marty felt he was. But now, Jimmy had convinced me
that Austin might be it. I do know now that Adrian will never be that door. But is
Austin?

One thing is for sure, I have to... No I must find out. If I let Austin slam it shut in
my face like Adrian did, then I’ll always go through life wondering what might have
been if I later choose another door. I needed to talk to him, but after his reaction
to me in Mrs. Jarvis’s office earlier, I wasn’t sure he’d speak to me again.

I was now beginning to understand why he’d reacted to me after I kissed him in
the locker room. Even I couldn’t decide at the time what the kiss meant. He must
have felt it too. If he was beginning to like me, then I certainly didn’t give him any
signal that I liked him too. We both played it off and quickly forgot about it. But
perhaps it did mean something more to him. Perhaps he felt like I had slammed
Door Number Three in his face.

I couldn’t concentrate during practice. My mantra, “Focus, Zac,” didn’t work. All I
could focus on was Austin. Marty pulled me aside and asked me if everything was
all right, and I assured him it was. I couldn’t expect him to try and help me. I had
asked him to help me with Adrian, and now I was glad he hadn’t intervened. I had
gotten myself into this mess, and now I had to find a way of getting out of it.

I took a long, hot shower after practice. Most of my teammates had already left
because I was lost in thought and the water felt soothing. I looked up when I
heard a loud commotion as the baseball team entered. It surprised me when
Kenny walked up naked and took the shower beside me. I quickly looked around
me to see if I was being set up for some hazing. However, everyone seemed to be
showering as usual.

“How’s it going?” Kenny smiled as he began to lather his body. It was a sight I’d
seen thousands of times, but not recently.

Suddenly, I heard someone shout out, “Hey, Fletcher.” I grimaced expecting some
crude comment about dropping the soap. “You’re pitching sucked today. My little
old grandmother could do better than that.”

Kenny started laughing and grabbed his cock. “Tell your little old grandmother to
suck on this.” The shower room erupted into laughter. When he noticed that I
wasn’t laughing, he looked at me and smiled. “Relax, Zac.”

It was then that I realized things were going to be okay between me and Kenny
again. He was standing naked before me lathering his cock and balls and didn’t
see me as the queer perving on his body. He even let his eyes wander over my
body to let me know it was okay.

We dressed and talked about his upcoming game on Thursday. From the
playfulness in the locker room, it appeared the team was once again coming
together. Kenny even introduced me to his new catcher, Cal Turner, a sophomore.
After he left, Kenny joked about not throwing him any low pitches.

Kenny rode home with me and we talked about our futures. Kenny seemed
resigned to the fact that the baseball team had probably blown any chances for a
state title after losing their opening game. He seemed determined, though, to
make sure they finished so that those members on the team who were being
scouted by colleges might be able to get an athletic scholarship. I kept looking
over at him in amazement. It didn’t even seem like the old Kenny I used to know.
He was actually thinking of someone besides himself.

“That article Austin did on you today was pretty good,” he remarked as he
punched me in the arm. “The Olympics?” He started laughing. “Setting a pretty
high goal, aren’t you?”

“I just mentioned what some other people said,” I stated. “I don’t see it ever
happening.”

“You never know, Zac,” he replied. “Sometimes things have a way of just
happening. It’s kind of like it is just meant to be.”

I looked over and nodded. “Yeah, meant to be.” I pulled into my driveway and
Kenny jumped out. I was going to park the car, but instead, backed out of the
driveway. Ten minutes later I was pulling up in front of Austin’s house. I sat for
about five minutes looking at the front door before finally getting out and walking
up and knocking on it.

The door opened and Mrs. Winger looked out. “Zac,” she gave me a curious look,
“I wasn’t expecting you.” She opened the door wider and stepped back. “Come in.”

“Thank you,” I entered and looked around. “Is Austin home?”

She studied me a moment before heading toward the kitchen. “He’s out right
now,” she informed me. “But why don’t you come into the kitchen. I bought an
apple pie at the store and it’s been beckoning me since I got home.” I took a seat
at the table while she cut two pieces of pie and poured me a glass of milk. After
placing them in front of me, she sat down and stared into my face.

“Why are you here, Zac?” She spoke softly, but I could tell there was some
tension in her voice.

I took a bite of pie and then looked into her face. “I need to talk to Austin.”

“I see,” she said as she continued to stare into my face. “Does it have to do with
Saturday night?” I looked into her face and nodded. For some reason I felt
extremely embarrassed even though I wasn’t sure how much she knew.

We sat silently for a minute before she reached across the table and gently
squeezed my arm. “Austin cares a great deal for you,” she said to my amazement.
I was completely surprised by her candidness. “I’ve warned him to be careful
about falling in love.” She gave me a worried look. “Sometimes people aren’t
always what they appear to be.”

Tears suddenly welled up in my eyes. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Winger. I never meant to
hurt him.” A few tears turned into a torrent. She handed me a napkin and I wiped
the tears from my face.

“I know you didn’t,” she assured me as she patted my arm gently. “But you’re
both so young.”

“Does he want to see me again?” I became worried when I saw the concerned look
on her face. She patted my arm and started smiling. “Zac, he would jump off the
roof if you asked him to.”

“I don’t think I’ll do that,” I laughed tearfully. “But I would like to ask him out
again.” She gave me a worried look. “This time I mean it.”

She gently squeezed my arm. “He’s been through so much. He suffered a great
deal when his father died when he was so young. Sometimes he pushes himself
too hard. I think he’s somehow trying to make his father proud of him.”

“I think his father would be very proud of him,” I said. “He’s a great guy. I love
him a lot.” My face started to redden when I realized what I had said.

“It’s all right, Zac,” she smiled as she patted my hand.

I looked out toward the living room. “So can I talk to him?”

“He’s not here,” she replied. She studied me for a moment. It appeared she
couldn’t decide if she wanted to tell me where he was. Finally, she sighed and said,
“He takes judo classes on Monday afternoons.” She walked over to the kitchen
counter, wrote something on a piece of paper and then returned and handed it to
me. “Here’s where you’ll find him.”

I looked down at the paper. It read: Red Dragon School of Martial Arts, 1268
Meredith Avenue.

I looked at her and smiled. “Thanks.” She walked over, embraced me and
whispered softly in my ear, “Don’t hurt him, Zac.”

When I pulled away, she had tears in her eyes. “I won’t,” I assured her. She gave
me a puzzled look when I pretended to spit on my palm and held it up to her.

It took me about ten minutes to drive to Meredith Street. I pulled up to an old
warehouse. Many windows on the second floor were boarded up. There was a
faded sign over the door that read, Red Dragon. I sat in my truck for several
minutes wondering if I was making the right decision by going in to see Austin.

I knew I was entering a private world that he shared with no one. I wasn’t sure
how he might react if I showed up. His mother, though, wouldn’t have given me
the address if she thought he might get upset. Finally, I decided it was worth the
risk. I needed to see Austin and apologize to him. However, I wasn’t sure if this
was the right place to do it.

I took a deep breath, opened the door and got out of my truck. As I approached
the steps, the door opened and a couple of young boys around ten years old
came out and bounded down the stairs. They stopped and turned after walking
past me.

One of the boys asked, “Are you looking for Master Douglass?”

“No,” I replied nervously. “I’m looking for Austin Winger. Do you know him?” I was
surprised when they started giggling.

“Everyone knows Austin,” the other boy replied. He pointed up the stairs. “You’ll
find him inside.” They then turned and scurried down the sidewalk.

I entered and walked down a narrow hall. The wooden floors were noticeably worn
and the walls appeared to have not been painted in years. I walked in the direction
where I could hear people talking.

I came to an old door with the words Red Dragon School of Martial Arts painted
on it. I cautiously opened it and peeked inside. It was a large room with red mats
strewn around. Several of the mats contained two people in white robes who
appeared to be practicing their judo techniques. A large man who appeared to be
in his thirties was roaming from mat to mat giving advice to the twenty or so
students.They appeared to be in their teens. Most were boys, but there were four
girls on two of the mats.

I stepped inside and peered around the room to see if I could spot Austin. He was
on one of the mats towards the back of the room. I watched as he picked up
another boy, lifted him over his shoulder and threw him to the ground. When the
boy got up, he did the same to Austin. I watched as they repeated it several
times. The large man stood beside them and nodded his head.

As the man walked toward another mat, he looked over and noticed me. I started
to turn and leave when he called out, “Wait!” I looked past his shoulder and
noticed that Austin had looked over to see what was happening. His face was
expressionless as he turned and continued practicing with the other boy.

“May I help you?” The man asked as he approached me. “I am Master Bruce
Douglass. Are you here to sign up for classes?” He extended his hand for me to
shake.

“No, Sir,” I tried to keep my hand from trembling as he gripped it tightly. I looked
over his shoulder at Austin. “I came by to see Austin.”

“Okay,” he said as he turned to see Austin looking in our direction. He looked at
his watch. “We are almost finished. Why don’t you have a seat over there.” He
pointed to a folding chair against the wall. “He’ll be through shortly.”

I was fascinated as I watched his students practice. It reminded me of wrestling as
they picked each other up and tossed the other to the ground. They would do
this repeatedly as Douglass walked around and instructed them how to do it
properly.

The students seemed to be divided according to the color of their belts. About
half of them had white belts. I noticed a few blue belts and brown belts. Only
Austin and the boy he was paired with had black belts.

Douglass looked at his watch and clapped his hands. The students stopped and
bowed respectfully toward him. They then moved to the back of the room and
entered what I thought might be a locker room.  Mr. Douglass walked over to
Austin and chatted. Occasionally, they’d look over at me. After several minutes,
Douglass left and Austin approached me. He sat down in a chair beside me.

“What are you doing here?” He looked over at me as he straightened his white
robe and tightened the black belt around it.

“I wanted to see you,” I replied as I looked into his eyes.

“Why?” He stared at me with an expressionless look. It was hard for me to tell
what he was thinking.

“I want to apologize for Saturday night.” We stared into each other’s eyes before
I finally looked away. “I’m sorry,” I said softly.

He remained silent for a minute before looking at me. “Were you with Adrian?”

I knew I couldn’t lie to Austin. He already knew the truth. He no longer trusted
me, and lying would only make matters worse. “Yes,” I said as I stared into his
eyes.

“I see,” he said softly. We watched as a few of the students came out of the
locker room and waved goodbye to him. After what seemed like an eternity, he
turned to me again.

“Do you love him?” The look on his face was filled with hurt. I scooted my chair
nearer to his.

“No,” I responded. I reached down to touch his hand, but he quickly moved it
away when two girls walked out.

He waved to them, and turned and asked me, “Did you?”

I sighed deeply before responding. “I thought I did, but I don’t.”

“I see,” he said as he waved to a couple of guys who were leaving.

We sat for a minute in silence. After watching a few more people leave, I turned
toward him. “I’m in love with someone else now.”

A sad expression appeared on his face as he stood and started to walk away. I
got up and grabbed his shoulder, stopping him. “It’s you,” I said softly as I looked
into his eyes.

“Last week it was Adrian,” he said sharply. “I don’t think you know what you
want.” He turned and headed toward the back of the room. I followed dejectedly
behind.

He was right. Last week I was so sure that Adrian was my future. Now I knew he
could never be. I realized how stupid it was for me to tell Austin I loved him when
I hardly knew him. Perhaps, he was right. Maybe I didn’t know what I wanted.

As we were entering the locker room, Douglass was coming out. He looked at his
watch and spoke to Austin. “I’ve got to pick my wife up in ten minutes. Everyone
has left except for you. I’ll lock the door. Just pull it tight when you leave.” Austin
nodded as Douglass hurried walked away.

I followed behind Austin and sat on a bench as he opened a locker. I could see his
clothes hanging inside. He took them out and entered a stall. I watched as his
white robe fell to the ground and he removed his pants. Several minutes later he
walked out and stuffed his judo uniform into a gym bag.

I stood up and faced him. “You‘re right. Maybe I don’t know what I want. But give
me another chance to prove to you I care about you. Please?” We stared into
each other’s eyes until he looked away and picked up his gym bag. I grabbed him
by his shoulders, then leaned in and kissed him.

I thought he would resist, but he didn’t. I placed my arms around his waist and
pulled him tighter to me. He opened his mouth and I ran my tongue gingerly
inside his mouth. I could feel his cock begin to harden against my leg. I reached
down to stroke it, but he grabbed my hand.

“Not now,” he said breathlessly, “Not here.” I removed my hand as he leaned in
and once again kissed me passionately. We grinded our hard cocks against each
other, but I was afraid to touch him again. He was probably right. I didn’t want to
rush things like I had with Adrian. Just holding Austin in my arms was enough.

After a few minutes, he pulled away. We left the locker room and entered the large
room. I headed over to one of the red mats. “Show me a couple of moves.” I
spread my legs and held out my arms like I’d seen him do earlier. He laughed and
put down his bag. When I jumped at him, he kicked me in my thigh and threw me
over his shoulder to the ground.

I grabbed my thigh and writhed in pain on the floor. Austin knelt down beside me
and told me to lie on my back and put my legs out. I continued to hold my leg and
moan.

“Lie back,” he insisted as he started to massage my inner thigh. The pain started
to subside, but I soon realized I was having another problem. His hands were just
below my crotch and occasionally he would rub them against my nuts. My dick was
soon jutting upward inside my thin athletic shorts. He watched it harden as he
continued to massage my sensitive leg.

I looked at him and smiled. “You did that on purpose, didn’t you?” He moved his
body over mine until he was straddling me. He lifted himself and then pressed his
ass against my throbbing cock.

“I’ll never tell,” he giggled as he pressed himself harder against me. I pulled him
forward and kissed him. He stopped kissing me and rested his head on my
shoulder. “I’m scared,” he whispered softly in my ear.

I kissed his cheek and whispered back, “I’ll never hurt you again.” I then
pretended to spit on my hand and held my palm to him. He smiled as if he
understood what I was doing. He leaned in and gave me a gentle kiss.

He then pulled away. “We’d better be going.” He looked at his watch. “It’s getting
late.” When he got off me, I pointed to my hard cock.

“What about this?”

He smiled. “One thing judo teaches us is patience.” He turned and started to walk
away.

“Hey!” I shouted as I ran to catch up with him. “That’s not fair.”

He smiled at me and laughed. “Confucius say that boy who go to bed with sexual
problem wake up with solution in hand.” At first I thought he was being serious,
until he started laughing.

“Not funny,” I frowned as I rearranged my hard cock inside my shorts.

As we left the room, Austin made sure the door was locked securely. When we
got to the main entrance, I stopped and turned toward him.

“I mean it, Austin,” I assured him as I reached down and took his hands in mine.  
“I really want this to work.”

He smiled warmly at me. “I know,” he replied. “I do, too.” As he leaned in to kiss
me, I knew I’d finally found my Door Number Three.

THE END



                                            Epilogue

“Well, what do you think?” Austin was lying in my bed with his head resting on my
stomach as I read the article in the Sunday morning paper.

                               
 Zac Barnes Wins the Gold
                                      by Austin Winger

I leaned down and kissed his forehead. “You should win a Pulitzer Prize.” I leaned
down and kissed him on his lips when the door suddenly opened and Billy, Jimmy
and Kenny came barging in.

“See,” exclaimed Billy. “I told you they wouldn‘t be naked.” He was used to Austin
spending the night with me even though it meant he had to give up his bed and
sleep in Josh’s room.

Kenny came over and sat on the side of the bed. He snatched the paper from my
hands and looked at the picture on the front page. It showed me standing on the
winner’s platform holding my medal in the air. “I still can’t believe you set a state
record yesterday. Hell,” he added, “I’ve read it might be a national record. A
couple of states, though, still have to hold their finals.”

Billy sat down beside me and handed me a pen and about five copies of the article.
“Can you sign these?”

“How much are you going to ask for these?” I laughed.

“Five bucks!” he said excitedly. “Three guys have already called me wanting one. I
may have to get you to sign a few more tomorrow. Everyone thinks you’re going
to the Olympics in a few years and they think it might be worth something.”

I looked over at Kenny. “You better get his autograph, too.” Even though the
baseball team didn’t make it to the finals, Kenny had a spectacular season. He and
Cal Turner clicked on the field. They became known as the “Awesome Twosome.”
Several college scouts had attended the games and were offering Cal scholarships.

Adrian never attended any more of my meets. I’d scan the bleachers looking for
him, but he never showed. We’d occasionally pass in the halls, but most of the
times he’d be walking with Latoya hanging onto his arm. The times he was alone,
he’d give me a quick nod. I wanted to feel sorry for him, but I couldn’t. Like Dad
always says, when someone makes a bed, they have to lie in it.

Just then Mom hollered up the stairs, “Are you boys ready?” Since I was too
exhausted to celebrate the night before, she and Dad had invited everyone to a
Sunday brunch at Bob Evans. I think they had asked half the town. I know that
Austin’s mother, Tamara, Kenny’s mother and father, Valerie and Dwayne, Lonnie
and Irene were probably already waiting downstairs. Coach Templeton, Marty, Mrs.
Jarvis and most of the track team were going to meet us at the restaurant.

Before leaving the room, I turned and gave Jimmy, Billy and Kenny a hug.
“Thanks, Guys. I couldn’t have done it without you.” After they left, I pulled
Austin onto the bed and began kissing him.

“Oh,” he said excitedly as pushed me off. He walked over to my desk and picked
up a manila envelop. “I almost forgot.” I opened it up and it was the picture I’d
taken of him in the locker room after he had been soaked by a water balloon in
the cafeteria. I had almost forgotten that he had promised to give it to me if I won
the state title. I laughed as I looked at the picture of him posing seductively for
me.

“Thanks.” I smiled down at him and gently kissed his nose.

We both giggled when we said, “I love you,” at the same time. After another kiss,
we went downstairs holding hands.

The End- well almost….

Jimmy and Tamara got married during the summer. It wasn’t in Las Vegas with
Elvis as Jimmy had hoped. They got married in the Lutheran Church where Tamara
had attended since a little girl. As the best man, I was expected to host Jimmy’s
bachelor party- with a lot of help from Dad.

Dad rented out a party hall and Austin, Billy, Lonnie, Kenny and I spent two days
decorating it. In the middle of the room we put a huge box wrapped in blue foil
and a big, red ribbon. Towards the end of the bachelor party, Billy and I
blindfolded Jimmy and led him over to the box. We took off the blindfold and told
him to unwrap it. Jimmy couldn’t wait. He was expecting some girl in a skimpy
bikini to jump out.

You should have seen the astonished look on his face when he lifted the top and
Lonnie leapt out wearing a pair of red Speedos. Austin took a picture of it. We
gave it to him as a wedding present.

Tamara was a beautiful bride. As I stood beside Austin when she and Jimmy
exchanged vows, I was so happy that my brother had also found his Door
Number Three.

The End- Finally

Write:  ronyx@themustardjar.com  to comment on 'Door Number Three.'