A Mourning Storm
Chapter 18
Do you have any idea how boring in-school suspension can be? Earl and I started it
yesterday, and thank God, we only have one more day to go. We enter the room quietly, sit
at a cubicle and we remain there the entire day. We can’t even go to the cafeteria for lunch. I
feel like I’m a prisoner. The only good thing about it is, I’ve managed to catch up on all the
work I’ve missed the past few months.

Earl keeps flirting with me. Since our ordeal in Mrs. Livingstone’s class, I guess he thinks we
have bonded or something. I really don’t mind it, though. He is cute, even if his mannerisms
are a bit girlish. We almost got into trouble yesterday when he passed me a note. The
warden, Mr. Erving, saw him do it.

“Mr. Buckman!” I thought I was going to shit my pants when I heard him shout out Earl’s
name. I could only think of what happened the last time his name was shouted out in class. I
quickly stuffed the paper he’d passed me inside my notebook and prayed Mr. Erving wouldn’t
come over and get it.

“Would you like another day of suspension?” he hollered. Besides Earl and me, there were
four other students sitting at cubicles across the room. They were too scared to turn in their
seats to see what was happening.

“No, Mr. Erving,” replied Earl in a trembling voice. And that was it. I let out a deep sigh when
Erving picked up his newspaper and began to read it. Earl looked over at me quickly and then
buried his head inside the cubicle. We didn’t look at each other the rest of the day.

I did read his note, though. I smiled when I saw what he had written. I’m glad Mr. Erving
didn’t get it. He had drawn a pair of kissing lips. Underneath he had written, “I haven’t
forgotten.” I should never have promised him I would kiss him. It wasn’t that I minded doing
it. The past couple of days I found myself looking at his lips. They were full and had a pink
color to them. Once I even got hard when I stared at them when he was talking. I just didn’t
want to give him the wrong impression that I liked him. He had been hurt too many times,
and I didn’t want to make matters worse.

When the bell rang at the end of the day, we stood and put our books in our book bags.
Earl flipped his hair back and smiled at me. “One more day,” he said cheerfully. “I guess it
hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be.” His smiled widened. “Of course, I’ve been able
to spend it with you, Richie.”

I looked around the room. Everyone had left but the two of us. “Look, Earl,” I said. “I’m not
looking for a boyfriend. You’re a great guy and all...” He put his finger to my lips.

“Don’t worry, Richie,” he said softly. “I know a guy like you will never want a guy like me. So
you don’t have to worry. Just let me dream a little, okay? It’s harmless.” Tears started to
well up in his eyes. I looked quickly around the room to make sure we were alone. I then
walked over to him…and kissed him. Not a kiss like you’d give your grandmother, but a big,
wet, passionate kiss. At one point, I even let him push his tongue into my mouth. My cock
strained inside my pants. He let his hand brush gently across it.

After a minute, he pushed away from me. His eyes were sparkling with excitement. I looked
down and noticed an obvious tent in his pants. “Wow, Richie!” He raised his hand to his
mouth and touched it. “That was better than I ever expected.”

I smiled back at him. “Yeah, it was.”

His face started to redden. “I’ve wanted to do that for years,” he confessed. “I had a dream
once that I was kissing you.” He started grinning. “What we just did was even better.”

“I only did it because I promised you I would,” I reminded him. When his smile disappeared,
I added quickly, “But I still liked it.” I reached down and grabbed my still erect cock. “See.”

“I know,” he giggled. “You let me feel it.”

“I did not,” I said playfully. “You just brushed your hand against it.”

“Well,” he smiled. “I still felt it.”

“Come, on.” I pulled my book bag over my shoulder. When I did, Earl reached down, gripped
my cock and tugged on it.

“Now I’ve felt it,” he giggled. Before leaving, he grabbed my arm. “Thanks, Richie,” he said.
“I know I shouldn’t feel this way because of the things that happened, but I’ve enjoyed the
past few days.”

“Me, too,” I smiled.

I thought he was going to cry when he looked at me and said, “Thanks for being my friend. I
don’t have too many.” I put my hand on his shoulder as we left the room and headed toward
the exit.

                                                        ********

I was surprised when I went home and found Gabe and Freddy sitting on my bed talking.
They looked up when I entered. “What are you doing here?” I asked as I took my book bag
from my shoulder and let it drop to the floor.

Gabe grabbed imaginary bars and grinned at me. “How was prison?”


“Only one more day,” I replied as I flopped down on the bed between them. “Actually, I’ve
gotten a lot of my work done.” I looked at Freddy and wiggled my eyebrows. “Now I can
spend more time helping you catch up.”

Gabe rose from the bed and acted as if he was leaving. “I’ll leave you guys alone.” He looked
at me and grinned. “I know Richie. I’ll come back in about two minutes. He should be done
by then.”

“Bitch!” I screamed as I threw a pillow at him. Freddy was howling with laughter.

He sat back down on the bed. “So,” I said, “You didn’t tell me why you’re both here.” Gabe
looked over quickly at Freddy.

“Okay,” responded Gabe. “I know you’re going to say no, but...”

“No,” I interrupted.

“I haven’t even finished.”

“I know you, Gabe.” I replied. “When you start out saying I’ll say no, then the answer is no.”

“But your birthday is next week,” he announced. “You’ll be sixteen.”

I stared blankly at him. “It is?” With everything I’d been through for the past few months, I’d
completely forgotten that I had a birthday coming up.

“Next Friday,” he informed me. He looked back over at Freddy. “We want to do something
special for you.” Freddy nodded his head. “Please don’t say no,” Gabe pleaded.

I jumped off the bed and started pacing around the room. I stopped and stood before them.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I don’t think I want a party.”

Gabe jumped up. “It doesn’t have to be a party, Rich. Let’s just do something special,
okay?” He started grinning. “We could always streak the neighborhood again.” Freddy fell
back on the bed and started laughing.

I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t feel like celebrating my birthday, but I knew that Gabe
wouldn’t take no for an answer. Since his birthday was two months away, we’d talked for
years what we would do when we turned sixteen. He already had plans for us when we
turned twenty one. Most of his plans involved going to a liquor store, showing them our ID
and then going home and getting drunk. Of course, we’d have to wait until his birthday to do
it.

I definitely didn’t want a party. Most of our friends probably wouldn’t come anyway since I
was now out and everyone in school knew I was gay. Attending my party might start rumors
about their own sexuality. Other students would snicker and joke about it.

If I had a small birthday party with just family, then my dad and Linda would be there and
I’d feel uncomfortable. Even though Dad and I were getting along better since our dinner, I
hadn’t been able to accept him back into my life completely. I was still trying to figure out
what that middle ground could be.

I stopped pacing and stood before them. “Okay,” I said as I crossed my arms. “We are not
going to streak again.”

“Damn!” Gabe looked over at Freddy and smiled. “So? What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know.” I shrugged my shoulders and looked over at Freddy. “How about we just go
back to the amusement park? This time I can ride the rides.” Freddy smiled and nodded his
head.

“That doesn’t sound like a way to celebrate a big birthday, Rich,” Gabe replied. “I thought we
could do something more fun. We can always go there.”

“You asked my I wanted to do,” I said defensively, “and that’s what I want.”

The amusement park seemed safe. It would get Gabe off my back, and I wouldn’t really have
to be with anyone, but perhaps Freddy. Except for that afternoon we spent studying in the
den at home, we really hadn’t had a chance to get to know each other very well. The last
time we were at the park, we hardly spoke to one another. I was looking forward to it being
like a first date.

Gabe asked, “You sure it’s how you want to spend your sixteenth birthday?”

“I’m sure,” I assured him. “Besides, your birthday is in two months. We’ll celebrate then,
okay?”

His face brightened. “Deal,” he said as he held out his hand and fisted mine. “But I want
girls!” he exclaimed. “Lots of girls!”

I looked over at Freddy and grinned. “All right.” I pretended to write on my hand. “Let’s see,
we’ll invite Teresa. And Sasha, we have to invite her too.”

“No!” Gabe shouted. Freddy and I started laughing. “Maybe a lot of girls isn’t a very good
idea.” He patted the bed and asked me to sit down. Freddy sat beside me. “Okay,” he said.
“We have something else to discuss.”

“What?” I asked skeptically.

“Well, duh.” He made a stupid face at me. “You’ll be sixteen.” He pretended like he was
holding a steering wheel. “Driver’s license.”

“Yeah, right,” I frowned. “Like that’s going to happen.” It had been something else that Gabe
and I had discussed over the years. His father had already told him he’d teach him to drive.
He had even promised him a car as a graduation present. But who was going to teach me?
Uncle Ray probably would if I asked him. However, getting a car now wasn’t even a
possibility. Even if I did get one, I wasn’t sure my aunt or uncle would even let me drive it
after what happened to Wade.

“You’ve got to do it, Richie,” pleaded Gabe. “We’ve talked about this. I don’t want to drive it
you don’t.” He started grinning. “Well, that was kind of a lie.”

I looked disappointedly at him. “And who is going to teach me? You?”

He sat up and smiled. “I can if you want, but that means I’ll be driving before you.”
He looked over at Freddy. “You can teach him.”

“You have your license?” Since I’d never seen him drive, I just assumed he didn’t know how.
He smiled and nodded. “But you don’t drive.”

“Mom lets me drive to the store once in a while,” he responded, “But that’s about all.”

Gabe started to get excited. “So then you can teach Richie.” He made it sound like it was a
done deal.

Freddy shook his head skeptically. “I don’t know, Gabe. This plan won’t work.”

“Why?”

“Well for starters, I don’t have my own car.” He looked over at me. “And two, I’m not sure
Mom will let me.”

Gabe leaned toward him. “Maybe she can do it. She taught you, didn’t she?”

Freddy got off the bed, walked over to the dresser, picked up the television remote and
nervously twirled it in his hand. “Well she did, didn’t she?” Gabe asked again.

“No.” Freddy looked nervously at me. “Richard did.”

“Richie’s dad?”

Anger swept over me, but I tried to hide my feelings from Gabe and Freddy. The whole time
he was treating me like shit, he was treating Freddy like a son. I got off the bed and walked
across the hall to the restroom.

I looked at myself in the mirror. I started taking some deep breaths. “You can handle this,
Richie.” I told myself as I looked at my image. “Don’t lose it now.” I took a few more deep
breaths. “You’ll be all right,” I tried to convince myself. I then took another deep breath and
walked back across the hall. Gabe and Freddy stopped whispering when I entered.

“We’ll just wait a few months until I get my license,” Gabe said. “I’ll teach you to drive.”

I tried to smile. “It’s okay, Gabe, really. I’ll just have you chauffeur me around when I have
to go some place.”

“Bet!” responded Gabe as he held out his fist. I looked over at Freddy, but he still had a
worried look on his face.

                                                          ********

What started out as a birthday outing with Gabe and Freddy turned into a huge event. My
birthday was on Friday, but since we had school, we decided to go on Saturday. When we
went downstairs and asked my aunt if she could take us, Uncle Ray asked if there would be a
problem if he went.

“I haven’t been on a ride with Barbara in years,” my uncle said as he grabbed Aunt Barbara’s
hand. “It will be like old times again.” Gabe looked at me. I shrugged my shoulders. How
could I tell them no when we needed them to take us.

When Freddy went home and asked Linda if he could go, Harley overheard him. He told
Andrew. They got excited and convinced Freddy to let them go. However, that would mean
another car would be needed. Linda volunteered to drive. Freddy said when she discussed it
over dinner that night, my father told her he’d like to go with us. That also meant that
Melinda would join us too.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I happened to mention to Earl that I was turning sixteen in a
week. He got excited and told me he was going to get me a gift. I tried to talk him out of it,
but he insisted. I then accidentally mentioned where I was going to spend my birthday, and
he asked if he could go. When he thought I was going to turn him down, he looked like he
was going to cry- so I agreed. He’s been bugging me all week about it. You would think I
asked him to marry me.

The only problem was Freddy. Now that we were beginning to like each other, I was afraid
Earl might mess that up. Freddy would be hurt if he thought Earl was interested in me, and I
was afraid of hurting Earl’s feelings. For someone who wasn’t interested in finding another
boyfriend, I sure had gotten myself into a mess.

Then Gabe almost had a stroke when I told him I had invited Earl. “You did what!” He
shrieked. I had to grab his mouth and hold it since we were eating lunch in the cafeteria. He
looked angrily at me and whispered. “I swear to God, Richie, I’ll kill you if I have to end up
riding rides with him all day.” It didn’t help that I started laughing hysterically. I could only
imagine Earl trying to kiss him when they stopped at the top of a ride.

So what had started out as just the three of us going to the amusement park to celebrate a
quiet birthday had grown into eleven. Gabe, Freddy, Earl and I would ride with Uncle Ray.
Linda had a van, so everyone else would cram into it.

                                                       *********

I went home after school with Freddy on Tuesday to help him with an assignment in history.
He said he was almost finished with the make-up work, but that he would continue to need
my help. I think it was just his way of spending time with me.

Linda was in the kitchen preparing dinner. She smiled when she saw us. She walked over and
hugged Freddy. “How was school?” He shrugged his shoulders.

“It’s school,” he replied as he took a cookie off a plate and nibbled on it. Linda then
approached me. She started to hug me, but stopped.

“May I?” she asked as she held out her arms.

I nodded and reluctantly said, “I guess.” She gave me a quick hug as I kept my arms to the
side. She and Freddy continued to talk about school for a few more minutes. Linda gave me
a glass of milk and a couple of cookies. I sat at the island and listened to them. It was much
like the conversation Mom and I used to have when I’d come home- except Linda’s cookies
tasted better.

We heard the bus pull up outside, and a minute later Andrew and Harley came bounding into
the kitchen. “Don’t run, Boys!” Linda admonished them as they dropped their schoolbooks
on the floor and grabbed a handful of cookies. She told them to pick up their books and go
to their room.

“Can we go swimming, Mom?” Harley asked. She went to the window and looked out.

“Isn’t it a little cool to swim?”

“The pool’s heated,” remarked Andrew excitedly. “Can we Linda, huh?”

I was surprised to hear my brother call her Linda. Since she had moved in, I was afraid that
she and dad would try to get him and Melinda call her Mom. When I asked about it later,
Freddy told me that Andrew did call her mom once. She sat him down and explained that she
wasn’t his mother, and that he had only one. She was watching down from heaven and she
wouldn’t like it if he called her that. Freddy said Andrew started crying while she held him.
Since then, he’s called her Linda.

She looked out the window again. “All right, but only for a little while. I don’t want you
getting sick.”

“Yes!” Harley shouted as he grabbed his books and raced Andrew to their room.

Freddy and I headed downstairs to work on his assignment. We had no sooner sat down
before he leaned in and kissed me. “I’ve wanted to do that all day.” His face began to redden.

“You have?” I leaned in and kissed him quickly. “Why?” I kissed him again, only a little
longer. He moaned softly. I laughed when he dropped his hand to his lap and rearranged his
growing cock.

“We’d better stop,” he said sadly as he pulled his history book from his book bag. I admired
him for not wanting to go too fast in our relationship. I was still trying to deal with Wade’s
death. Every time Freddy and I kissed, it made me feel guilty. I think Freddy understood and
he knew we had to take small steps.

I was beginning to really like Freddy. I trusted him. Sometimes it seemed like he knew what I
was thinking before I even knew myself. If I felt sad, he’d just reach out and touch me. If
we were alone, he’d hold my hand. Other times he’d just look at me and smile, and seeing
the sparkle in his eye would make me smile. I felt I was starting to fall in love with him, but
when I’d have those thoughts it would scare the hell out of me. I’d lost two people I loved.
I think I was afraid to love again.

“Did you hear what I said?” I looked up and Freddy was staring at me.

“What?”

“I said I have something important to ask you.” He had a worried look on his face. “But I’m
afraid you’ll say no. At least give it some thought.”

“What are you talking about?”

He sighed. “Okay, but just think about it.”

“What!” I was beginning to get upset with the game he was playing.

“I want to throw you a small birthday party Friday night.”

“No!” I startled him when I shouted. “I told you I don’t want a party!”

He looked at me pleadingly. “But it’s your birthday, Richie. It doesn’t have to be a big party.
Just some ice cream and cake. Mom said she would bake whatever your favorite cake is.”

“You know I don’t want a party,” I insisted. He leaned in and kissed me.

“Please?” he pleaded. “For me?” He kissed me again, only a little more passionately.

“That’s not fair,” I said as I pulled away and looked into his smiling face.

“I know,” he replied as he pulled me forward and kissed me again. “I don’t play fair,” he
moaned into my mouth. “So?” he asked hopefully when he pulled away. “Or do I have to try
and convince you more?”

“I don’t...” he pressed his lips to mine before I had a chance to finish what I was going to
say. His hand dropped to my lap and he gently squeezed my erection. I started giggling and
removed his hand.

“That’s really not fair,” I laughed.

He smiled, “So is it working?”

“You’re an idiot,” I laughed as I kissed him quickly. “Okay, but only because you convinced
me.”

“Yes!” he shouted as he kissed me again. “I promise, it won’t be anything big. Just Gabe and
us.” I knew the us meant Dad and Linda too. “Of course, you can ask anyone else you want.”
He let a slight frown appear on his face. “You can ask Earl if you want.”

I started laughing. “Is someone jealous?” I kidded him. I even pretended to toss my hair
back like Earl.

“What if I am?” he pouted. “He follows you around like a puppy dog. You even asked him to
go with us Saturday.”

I patted the side of my face. “I can’t help it if I’m irresistible.” He frowned, then grabbed his
pen and started to work on his assignment. I could tell he was hurt. He thought that I was
interested in Earl.

I took the pen from his hand and laid it down. I then took his hand and held it. “There’s
nothing going on with Earl. I promise. He just needs a friend, a close friend. We both
understand that.” I started to grin. “Besides, I told him I was kind of seeing someone.”

“Who?” Freddy pretended to be hurt, but I could tell he was holding back a smile.

“This really great guy.”

He leaned in and kissed me. “Do I know him?”

“You may.” I kissed him back.

“Does he love you?” I pulled away and stared into his eyes. Tears started to form in mine. He
had finally said the word I was too afraid to admit to myself.

“I can’t say it, Freddy.” He wiped away a tear that was falling down my cheek with his finger.

“I know,” he said softly as he leaned in and kissed me gently. “I told you I can wait.” He
pulled away and smiled. “Forever it you want me to.”

I leaned in and rested my head on his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around me and held
me tightly. “It won’t take that long,” I mumbled into his neck.



Chapter 19                                    Return to TMJ