Dancing on a Star Chapter 29
Emily walked me to my first period class. She helped me to a seat and then she sat down beside me. “If you need anything, Jack, just ask.” She smiled, opened her bookbag and took out her literature book.
I leaned down to get my book. When I did, another student lightly bumped into my head. I looked up, expecting it to be someone who would threaten me for wanting to suck his dick. Instead, Murray was grinning down at me. He slipped into the seat behind me and started talking to Emily.
When the bell rang, Mrs. Dawson stood at the front of the room and took attendance. She smiled when she noticed me. “It’s good to have you back, Jack. We missed you.” My face blushed as everyone turned in their seats and stared at me. Murray patted me on my back.
I wasn’t getting the reception I expected. I thought I would be teased and threatened by students. Instead, everyone seemed genuinely happy that I was back in school. After a twenty-minute class discussion about a short story they had read last week, Mrs. Dawson gave us a handout and told us to complete it by the end of the period.
Emily scooted her desk nearer to mine. “Since you weren’t here last week, I’ll help you with the assignment,” she volunteered. Murray scooted his desk until he was on the other side of me.
“I’ll help too,” he smiled. It was a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I was glad Emily and Murray volunteered to help me because the story was boring, and I probably would have fallen asleep at home trying to read it.
As we worked on the handout, Murray kept looking into my face and smiling. Emily noticed and gave him a glare. I stopped breathing when he stretched out his leg and then rested it against mine. I wanted to scoot away, but I couldn’t. I quickly looked at Emily to see if she noticed, but she was reading over the short story.
I started to get hard when he rubbed his leg forcefully against mine. Murray was trying to make a pass at me! When I gave him a surprised look, he smiled slightly and looked quickly at Emily. When he saw that she hadn’t noticed what he was doing, he rubbed his leg harder against mine. I looked down at his crotch and noticed that he was hard like I was. He looked down and grinned at the erection poking through my sweatpants. Since I couldn’t wear jeans, I still had on the sweatpants Dad had made for me by cutting up the side so they would fit over my cast. They were thin, and my erect dick was very noticeable.
“Hey, Guys,” Emily asked, “Have you completed…” She let out a gasp when she looked down at both of our erections. She hissed, “Jesus Christ,” she warned, “You guys better be careful.” Murray grinned and nodded his head.
At that moment, I realized that Murray was gay, and that Emily knew it. She didn’t seem at all shocked by what she saw. She was more worried that we would be caught if other students noticed.
Murray chuckled and said, “Yes, Mother.” He scooted his chair a foot away so that our legs were no longer touching.
“Better,” smiled Emily. She leaned toward us and again warned, “I’m serious Murray. You guys be careful.”
I couldn’t believe it. In all the years I had known him, I never expected Murray to be gay. In fact, I think everyone in our class thought like I did that Murray and Emily were dating. They had been close friends since the fifth grade. We just assumed that they were now ‘doing it.’
“Okay, Class,” announced Mrs. Dawson as she rose from her desk and looked around the room. “Hand in your papers when the bell rings.” Emily handed us her paper, and Murray and I quickly copied the answers. We finished just as the bell was ringing.
Before standing, I glanced quickly at the front of my sweatpants to make sure I wasn’t showing a bulge. Murray giggled, and I glanced down to see if he was still hard. I felt relieved when he wasn’t. At least no one, except Emily, would know what we were doing.
Murray put his arm around my waist and helped me from the room. I wanted to tell him I could walk on my own, but it felt nice. Murray is a really great guy, and he’s extremely attractive. He’s not like a guy you would admire on the beach in a speedo. He’s like the all-American guy. He’s the guy next door that a mother would wish her daughter would date. He’s handsome with short blond hair and blue eyes. He has slight dimples that only adds to his boyish appearance. While most guys wear shorts and a tee shirt, Murray usually comes to school wearing khaki pants and a dress shirt. I’ve had a crush on him for several years, but I never thought that he might be like me. If he is gay, which I’m beginning to think he is, then he has hidden it better than me. Now I’m beginning to wonder if Emily was his cover. It’s obvious that she may know he’s gay. Maybe she’s gone along with the act all these years to protect her best friend- her gay best friend.
“What’s your next class?” he asked as we headed down the hall.
“Old Man Glicker,” I informed him.
“Shit,” he mumbled. “I got chemistry.” He tightened his grip around my waist. “I’ll help you to class, but I gotta book to make it to my class.”
When we approached Mr. Glicker’s class, Jimmy Tracy and Jeff were waiting outside. They gave us a puzzled look as we approached.
Murray laughed and removed his arm from around my waist. “He’s all yours, Guys.” He turned and started running to class.
“What was that all about?” Jimmy asked angrily. “Looked just a little too cozy to me.”
“Yeah,” Jeff chimed in. “You not telling us something, Jack?”
“What can I say,” I giggled as I patted my face. “I’m too charming.”
“Yeah, right,” mumbled Jeff as he put his arm around my waist and helped me inside the room. He continued to look at me throughout class and frown.
I know I think too much, but I’m really confused. Now, I have four guys interested in me. A couple of weeks ago, I was afraid that I would never be happy because I am gay. I’m out, and my life is even more unstable. I was becoming comfortable with Jeff being my boyfriend then Jimmy enters the picture. I don’t think he wants me as a steady boyfriend, but he does want us to have sex. Even then, I’m curious because he seems to get jealous if Jeff or Tracy show me any affection.
Now Murray. I don’t even know what to think. If he had shown interest in me in the past, I probably would have come out years ago just to be with him. But I don’t want to hurt Jeff. I know he already is wondering what is going on when he saw Murray and me approaching Mr. Glicker’s class. I could see the worry in his eyes. He’s dealing with Jimmy liking me, now he’s concerned that Murray may take me away from him. I don’t think he worries about Tracy. He knows that Tracy is no more than a friend. He hasn’t mentioned it yet, but I don’t think he would care if we had another threesome with him. Tracy is a good friend, a friend with benefits. I don’t think he sees Jimmy, and now Murray, that way.
Mr. Glicker gave us a test, so we couldn’t talk. He called me to his desk after handing it out and told me that I didn’t have to take it. I told him I would try. I don’t think I did too bad on it. If I did make a bad grade, I hope he won’t count it against me.
My next class was algebra. Fortunately, I didn’t share it with anyone except Kelly and Emily. Kelly sat beside me and stared at me. I’m not sure, but I think Emily told her about what happened earlier. If she’s like Emily, she’s probably a mother hen and she’s wondering if I would make Murray a good boyfriend.
Lunch was strange. Jeff met me outside the classroom when I exited. We hadn’t made it halfway down the hall when Jimmy approached. Tracy was waiting by the cafeteria door. When we entered, Murray stood, hollered out my name and told me to sit with him, Emily and Kelly. They pulled up another table so we could all sit.
Jeff insisted on getting my lunch. He headed to the cafeteria line before anyone could stop him. He returned with a ham sandwich, fries and a chocolate milk. I didn’t want to hurt his feeling by telling him I preferred regular milk.
Murray did most of the talking. Since he didn’t know Tracy, he found it interesting that he danced. At one point, they got into a discussion about some ballerina they both enjoyed. It surprised me that someone our age knew about something like that. He explained his mother dragged him to a lot of operas and ballets. Of course, Tracy had to invite him to see him perform in the Nutcracker. Emily and Kelly said they would be there also.
Before leaving, Jimmy reminded Tracy that he was supposed to come by the gym after school and meet his coach. He was excited about the team learning some of the moves that Tracy had taught him on Saturday.
“I can’t stay too late,” Tracy reminded him. “I have to go home and get ready for rehearsal downtown.”
“Okay,” replied Jimmy. “I just want you to meet the coach and the guys. I already spoke to Tyler and Brian about it.” When he frowned, I knew they didn’t like the idea.
I asked, “Are they cool with it?”
Jimmy shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know,” he replied. “They think it may be too gay.”
I laughed and said, “You thought that last week.”
“Yeah, well,” remarked Jimmy. “I think it will make us better basketball players. If they don’t want to do it, then that’s their problem.”
Jeff laughed and asked, “What if they think you’re a poof?” Emily and Kelly started giggling.
“That’s their problem,” replied Jimmy. Just then the bell rung, and we headed for the exit. Murray tried to put his arm around my back, but Jeff forced him out of the way and hugged me tightly. Murray frowned and walked away.
The afternoon classes didn’t go too bad. Several students asked me how I was doing. Most, though, just stared at me like I was some kind of freak. However, no one called me a name. Jimmy was in most of my afternoon classes. I think he would have gotten into a fight with them if they had.
Tracy and I shared sixth period, so when the bell rang, he walked with me to the gym. He didn’t put his arm around me like the others had. He walked closely to my side in case I started to fall. As we approached the gym, he said, “I’m not sure I want to do this.”
“I like to dance,” he explained, “but I don’t think other guys our age will like it. Jimmy already said two of the guys didn’t want to do it because it’s too gay.”
“Jimmy seems pretty sure the guys will go along with it,” I said. “He wouldn’t have suggested it if he thought they wouldn’t like the idea.”
Tracy shook his head and replied, “I don’t know if this is a good idea.”
Jimmy, Jeff and Murray were waiting outside the gym door. I was surprised Murray was with them since he didn’t play basketball. “Hey, Guys,” smiled Jimmy. “Let’s go talk to Coach Warren.” He grabbed Tracy’s arm and pulled him inside. They walked across the floor and headed toward the coach’s office. Jeff, Murray and I sat on the bleachers and waited for them.
Jeff and Murray at first engaged in small talk. They discussed teachers and classes. I stopped breathing when Jeff asked Murray if he was gay. Murray gave him a surprised look. He then grinned and asked, “What do you want me to say?”
Jeff’s eyes widened. I think he was expecting Murray to deny it. Finally, he asked again, “Are you?”
Murray leaned back on the bleacher, looked at me and responded, “Maybe.”
“Damn,” hissed Jeff as he stared at him. “All these years I’ve wanted your ass, and you mean I could have had it?”
Murray laughed loudly, winked and replied, “Maybe.” They continued to stare at each other. Now, it was my turn to become jealous.
Jeff was confusing me. He claimed he wanted to be my boyfriend, but he flirted with Jimmy in the car and let Jimmy feel on him. Now, he seemed interested in Murray. Just when I was beginning to accept the idea of having a steady boyfriend, it seems like Jeff may not be interested anymore. Maybe he just reacted like that because I was lying in a hospital bed, and he was worried about me. Now that I’m getting better, maybe he has changed his mind.
I sat quietly while Murray and Jeff talked. Instead of teachers and classes, their conversation turned to who they thought was hot in our class. I felt good when Murray looked at me, winked and replied, “Jack’s pretty hot.”
It disappointed me when Jeff laughed and said, “He’ll do.”
Suddenly, the locker room door opened, and fifteen guys came running out. They dribbled the ball and tossed it around. Someone would then run toward the basket and shoot. This went on for about ten minutes. I still hadn’t seen Jimmy and Tracy come out.
They emerged from the locker room with Coach Warren. He blew his whistle and hollered out that he wanted the team to sit on the bleachers across from where we were sitting. Tracy and Jimmy stood next to him.
“Okay, Gentlemen,” hollered the coach. “We’ve been practicing hard for a week, and today we’re going to try some new drills.” He put his hand on Tracy’s shoulder. “This is Tracy Craft. He’s new here so you might not have had a chance to meet him.” I watched as several guys started whispering amongst themselves. I had a pretty good idea what they were saying.
He continued, “Jimmy brought Tracy to practice, and we’ve been in my office discussing this. As you know, last year we didn’t perform very well.”
Someone laughed and yelled, “We didn’t perform at all.”
“Yes, well,” smiled Coach Warren as he cleared his throat. “One of the problems we had was protecting the ball on offense.”
“And defense!” Someone else hollered out.
Coach Warren put his hand on Tracy’s shoulder again. “This young man came to me with an idea.” He paused before adding, “I think it’s a damn good idea. I’ve read about it, but I have never considered doing it.”
“What is it, Coach?” A player asked loudly.
“Tracy is a dancer. A ballet dancer,” explained Coach Warren. The team immediately groaned and started talking among themselves.
“Listen up, Men,” chastised the coach. “I’m not talking about turning you guys into ballerinas.” He started laughing as the boys stared at him. “It’s just that some dance movements can be helpful in handling a basketball.”
“How can ballet help us?” asked Tyler. “Isn’t that a little bit gay?”
“Not at all,” replied the coach. “Don’t any of you guys dance?”
“Yeah,” replied Tyler again. “But we ain’t no homos.”
“That’s enough!” screamed Coach Warren. “Any more remarks like that, and you hit the showers. He walked around and stared at each player. “Understood?” The boys mumbled and nodded their heads.
He approached Tracy and hollered out, “Taylor and Smith. On the floor.”
Jimmy was already standing beside Tracy. Tyler reluctantly rose from the bleachers and strode toward them. Coach Warren tossed Jimmy the ball. “Smith, I want you to guard Taylor. If he makes a basket, then get down and give me 25.”
“But Coach,” protested Tyler. Before he could say anything more, Jimmy started dribbling the ball toward the basket. He put up his arms and tried to stop Jimmy from shooting. Suddenly, Jimmy swung around him using one of the dance techniques that Tracy had taught him Saturday. He easily approached the net and made a layup.
“What the fuck?” asked Tyler.
Coach yelled, “Give me 25, Smith.”
“But Coach,” remarked Tyler. “That wasn’t fair. He pulled some shit I ain’t ever seen before.”
“Exactly,” laughed the coach. “Now, give me 25.” Tyler reluctantly got on the floor and did pushups.
The coach scanned the bleachers. “Horowitz, you’re next.”
A tall boy rose from the bleachers and approached Jimmy. He towered over Jimmy by about a foot. I whispered to Jeff, “No way is Jimmy going to get around him.” We watched as the tall boy guarded Jimmy. His lanky body prevented Jimmy was approaching the basket. Suddenly, Jimmy turned and swirled around the boy. It reminded me of one of the movements I had seen Tracy perform while practicing for the Nutcracker. He must have practiced that with Jimmy when they went to his bedroom. Jimmy broke away, ran toward the net and again easily made a layup.
The tall boy stared at Jimmy. “What the fuck are you doing, Jimmy?”
Jimmy roared with laughter. “Taking you to school, Horowitz.”
The coach blew his whistle and told all the boys to come to the center of the floor. “Tracy is very busy rehearsing for something,” he explained, “but he has agreed to come by after school to teach you some drills.” He put his hand on Tracy’s shoulders. “You just saw what Jimmy was able to do with Smith and Horowitz with techniques he learned from Tracy. By the time we play our first game, I want each of you guys to master the skills Jimmy has learned.” He looked around at the boys. “Any questions?”
Tyler asked, “What if we don’t want to do it?”
“I can’t force you to,” replied the coach. “However, if someone outplays you on the court during practices because they did what Tracy teaches you, then you’ll be doing a lot of bench warming during the games.”
The team manager tossed five balls onto the court. For the next twenty minutes Tracy moved around on the floor showing the players certain movements. Most of them seemed pretty simple. Even I could have done them.
Coach Warren blew his whistle. He then divided the boys into two teams. The rest walked over and sat on the bench. “We’re going to play a quick practice game,” he said. “I’m going to watch to see if you do what Tracy just showed you. I don’t expect you to be good yet, but I want to see that you try. If you don’t, I’m taking you out and replacing you with someone who will.” He blew the whistle and they began to play.
It was fun to watch. I had never enjoyed basketball, but it was interesting watching ten guys trying to do the ballet tricks that Jack had taught them. A few of the guys picked it up easily and scored repeatedly. They would smile widely and high-five each other. Coach Warren kept rotating guys into the game. When he blew the whistle for them to stop, all the players had a chance on the court.
He asked the players to sit on the bench as he paraded in front of them. “I had given up any chance of winning a game this year,” he laughed, “but what I just saw on the court is giving me hope.” He asked Tracy to join him. “I know Tracy has a busy schedule, but he has agreed to come by for about a half hour every day to work with you.” He reached out and patted Tracy on the back. “If you guys pick up what he’s teaching you as fast as you did today, we’re going to surprise our opponents this year, and we may win a few games.”
“We’re going to win them all,” hollered Brian. They agreed and high-fived each other. Coach Warren blew his whistle and they guys rose from the bleacher and headed nosily to the locker room.
Tracy trotted over to us. “What did you think?” he asked.
“You did great!” Murray responded excitedly. “I never thought I would see the day a basketball team would act like a bunch of ballerinas and enjoy it.”
“I’m still not sure this is a good idea,” remarked Tracy skeptically. “It may help them win some games, but everyone is going to laugh at them. Then I’ll get the blame.”
I reminded him, “Coach Warren thinks it’s a good idea. I’m sure he’ll get most of the heat if people don’t like it.”
“I guess,” replied Tracy as we rose from the bleacher and headed toward the door. Jeff and Tracy walked beside Murray and talked excitedly while I trailed behind.
“Oh, well,” I thought to myself. “It was good while it lasted.” I sighed and followed behind as we left the building and I hobbled home.