Door Number Three

Chapter 1

God, I can’t believe it! I think I opened Pandora’s Box this afternoon. That’s the only thing that keeps running through my mind.

I read about it in my Lit class during my sophomore year. I enjoyed the section on Greek mythology. I listened attentively as Mr. Thurston talked about the Greek gods. The story of Pandora’s Box particularly interested me.

It seems that Zeus handed Pandora a jar, which I found interesting since the story we read called it a box. She was warned never to open it or evil would escape. Naturally, it was finally opened; and according to the legend, bad things did indeed happen.

So that story is now running through my mind. Even when I read it two years ago, I thought how ironic that it could apply to many things in life. Pandora’s Box could hide many evil things- even dark secrets that we can’t imagine ever being revealed.

“Are you going with me to the baseball tryouts?” My best friend, Kenny Fletcher, looked across the cafeteria table with a mouthful of the half-eaten sandwich that he had earlier shoved in his mouth.

“Why don’t you close your mouth when you eat?” I scolded him. He laughed and opened his mouth wider.

“Jesus, Kenny,” moaned Rachel. She was sitting to my left, attached to my hip like she always is.

He closed his mouth when his girlfriend, Alise, slapped him on his arm.

“What?” he asked innocently. “I’m just eating.”

“Well,” huffed Alise, “you’re in the cafeteria, not a pig trough.” Kenny looked around the large room.

“Looks like a pig trough to me,” he laughed. He pointed to a table where the football jocks sat.  I turned just in time to see Butch Oliver throw a slice of pizza at Tim Reynolds. “See, I told you.”

Rachel looked at me and giggled. “He does have a point.”

“Yeah!” Kenny shouted as he shoved more of his sandwich in his mouth and started chewing.

“You’re an idiot,” I laughed.

Kenny and I had been best buds forever and a day. His family moved in across the street from us when we were six. He saw me playing in the front yard when his family pulled up in the moving van. As they unloaded the truck, he ran over and introduced himself. Minutes later when his father called him to help unload the truck, he asked me if I wanted to help.

“Yeah, sure,” I said as we tore off across the road and picked up some boxes that went in his room. Hours later, after everything had been removed from the van, I helped him unpack his boxes.

“You wanna spend the night?” he asked after we had finished putting the sheets on his bed.

“Sure!” I said excitedly. I ran across the street and begged my mother to let me stay the night. She was hesitant at first because she didn’t know anything about his family. After taking my hand and leading me back across the street, she introduced herself to Kenny’s mom. They instantly liked each other and have remained best friends for the past thirteen years. My dad and Kenny’s father have played golf every Saturday for over ten years. His family and mine have become one extended family. Of course, ours is much larger.

Kenny looked across the table at me. “You never did answer my question.”

“What question?”

He looked over and gave Alise an exasperated sigh. “Jesus, he’s eighteen and already having senior moments.”

“Senior moments this,” I said as I flipped him off.

“In your dreams,” he laughed. “So, Zac, are you going with me to the baseball tryouts?”

“Why? You know you’re already going to make the team,” I responded. “You’re already assured of a spot.”

“I just need moral support.” He looked pleadingly at me. “Please?”

“Sure,” I replied. He started to smile. “Just how I want to spend my afternoon, watching you break in a new catcher.”

Kenny had been a state all-star pitcher for our team the past two years. Seven colleges had offered him an athletic scholarship. I went with him and his father when they visited the schools last summer.

I don’t play baseball. I like running track.

I run the 100m and I came in second in the state finals last year. I had posted an 11.2 and missed first place by a tenth of a second. I trained hard all summer so I could increase my chances of winning the state title. It is my dream to stand on the top spot while a gold medal is placed around my neck.

I had also been offered a few scholarships. Many were from outside our state, but two were from the schools Kenny had visited. We had sat for hours in the fall going over our options. We wanted to attend the same school so we could be roommates. After a long discussion with both our families in the Fletcher family room, it was decided we would both go to the state college about 200 miles away. It was a Division 1 school, and attending would give us the greatest opportunity of perhaps getting a professional contract.

Kenny wanted to be a professional baseball player. It had been his dream since we met. He had a natural talent for pitching. Even when we were little, few players at the sandlot could hit anything he threw at them. In fact, most refused to play if he was pitching. When he complained to his father, he took him to a little league game. The next year Kenny tried out and he’s been hurling balls past disgruntled batters since.

He tried to get me to join him, but baseball never interested me. I got bored standing in the outfield waiting for someone to hit a ball my way. Many times I could go for several innings without moving. I was more interested in playing a sport that was fast paced.

After a growth spurt between seventh and eighth grade, I played basketball. I grew three inches during the summer. I went from being a short, skinny runt to being a tall, skinny athlete. At six foot, I towered over most of the guys in my class. Kenny was jealous until the next year when he grew an additional two inches.

When we started attending Northview High School, the freshman basketball coach approached me on the first day and recruited me for the team. We had a winning team that year and I was guaranteed a spot on the varsity team my sophomore year.

However, after basketball season ended I grew restless. Since I didn’t like playing baseball, I looked for another sport to occupy my time. A friend, Justin Stevens, suggested that I should try out for the track team. He ran the 200m hurdles and thought that since I was tall, I would do well.

I tried out, but failed miserably. Every time I would try to jump a hurdle, my foot would catch on it and I’d go tumbling to the ground. The coach, with clipboard in hand, just shook his head as I walked by.

Justin came running up to me as I was walking away. “Wait up, Zac,” he hollered as he approached. With him was Tommy Zimmers, another track member.

“We’re getting ready to run the 100m,” Tommy informed me. “Why don’t you join me?” I shrugged my shoulders. He walked over and said something to Coach Templeton. He then ran back over to me.

“He says it’s okay if you run.” He started laughing. “Coach says just don’t fall on your ass.” My face reddened as he and Justin poked me in my sides.

I positioned myself on the blocks and waited for the gun. When I heard it fire, I lifted myself up and started running. I ran faster than I had ever run before. It felt natural. I quickly looked to the side of me and realized that no one was beside me. When I crossed the finish line, I fell to the ground gasping for air. When Tommy ran over and helped me up, he had a wide grin on his face. I knew then that I had found my sport.

Writing in his clipboard, the coach approached me. “Son,” he said. “You ran an 11.7 in a tryout. That is amazing.” After a pat on the back, I was the newest sprinter for the Northview Bluejays. I ran in the state finals that year, but I only placed sixth. Each year my times have improved. This year I plan to win it all.

“You could always be my catcher.” Alise and Rachel started laughing.

“He’s been catching your shit for years,” giggled Rachel.

Kenny opened his mouth and showed what remained of his sandwich. “But he loves me.”

I moaned and looked away. “You’re a fucking pig.” Everyone started laughing.

Scott Banyon approached our table. I scooted nearer to Rachel while he grabbed a chair from a nearby table and sat down.

“Hey, Guys,” he said with a smile. He then looked at Kenny. “You ready for tryouts this afternoon?”

“Hell yeah!” he said excitedly. “I’ve been waiting all year for this.”

“If we don’t win state this year,” Scott replied, “then we’re a bunch of pussies.”

Kenny frowned. “We need to find a good catcher.”

Ryan Foreman, last year’s catcher, had graduated. He and Kenny made an invincible pair. It was as if they could read each other’s minds when they were on the field. All Kenny would have to do was nod and Ryan instinctively knew what to do. Interesting though, off the field they hardly spoke to one another. Ryan was now playing at the school that Kenny and I were going to attend. The coach there was excited because he had seen them play in high school and he was hoping they would have the same chemistry in college.

“Coleman says he’s going to tryout for the spot.” Scott informed Kenny.

“Shit,” hissed Kenny. “Not Coleman. He’s so fucking clumsy. One hit in the nuts and he’ll change his mind.”

Scott leaned back in his chair and roared with laughter. “You wouldn’t!”

“Watch me,” grinned Kenny. “He’ll be a soprano tonight.”

Scott sat back up. “I heard there may be a new guy trying out.”

“Who?” Kenny seemed interested in someone else trying out for the team.

“Lewis,” replied Scott.

“Adrian Lewis?” Scott nodded his head. “I thought he played football?”

“He does. But since it’s our senior year, he wants to try something different before he graduates.”

Adrian Lewis had been a running back for our football team for the past three years. They didn’t have winning seasons. However, being football, it had the best attendance. Since it was the first sport of the school year, most students went to socialize with others. Most of the time only parents seemed to watch what was going on down on the field.

However, that didn’t stop Adrian from being one of the most popular guys on campus. He had been voted into the homecoming court the past two years. He was black and extremely handsome. He had a dark, smooth complexion and short, curly hair. In his junior year, he wore it longer and often braided, but it was now only about a half-inch long. He also wore a wide grin on his face when he met people. No one was a stranger when Adrian was around. Even though I rarely talked to him, I always admired his friendly personality.

“Shit!” Kenny exclaimed excitedly. “Adrian Lewis! I would love to have him catch for me. If he’s half as good with a baseball as he is with a football, we’re going to be state bound this year!”

“Don’t get too excited,” responded Scott. “I heard he wants to try out for shortstop.”

“Fuck that!” Kenny said as he stood and looked around the cafeteria. “I’m going to talk him into catching.” When he saw Adrian sitting across the cafeteria, he walked over and sat down beside him.

We watched them talk and a few minutes later Kenny stood up and strutted back over to us. “It’s a done deal,” he announced with a wide grin. “Lewis is going to be my new catcher.”

“You don’t even know if he can catch a ball,” replied Scott. “What if you hit him in the nuts?”

Kenny started grinning. “I can make them look good, and I can make them look bad. When I finish, Coach is going to think that Lewis is the best thing since sliced bread.”

The bell rang and we stood. Alise kissed Kenny goodbye and disappeared. Rachel took my arm and we walked from the cafeteria, heading to our afternoon classes.

“See you after school?” She asked after we stopped outside her fourth period class.

“Okay,” I replied. “I’ll come by your house after baseball practice.” I leaned down and kissed her on the cheek before running to my class.

When I went to my locker after school, Kenny and Scott were waiting for me. Kenny and I had shared a locker since the sixth grade. When we came to Northview, I tried to get a separate locker, but Kenny still insisted that we put our books in the same one. In the winter when we wore heavy coats, we could hardly get the door closed.

“It’s about time,” he said as I walked up.

“The bell just rang,” I reminded him.

“You should have left early like we did.”

“I got old lady Adkins,” I replied. She was my government teacher. She warned us the first day of class that she wouldn’t tolerate senioritis. “If you suffer from it this year, you may find yourself with it again next year.” 

“You should have taken wood shop like we did the last period,” Scott remarked. “Crenshaw doesn’t give a shit if you show or not as long as you turn your projects in on time.”

“I didn’t exactly make out my schedule,” I said. “Mrs. Hardy told me that sixth period was the only time I could take government.”

“Well, we have her second period,” responded Kenny. “I’d hate to end the day looking at that old witch.”

He rummaged around inside the locker before pulling out a small gym bag. When he did, my books fell to the floor.”

“Oops,” he said as he stepped away from the locker. “My bad.”

“Aren’t you going to pick them up?” I asked angrily.

“Not my books,” he stated as he and Scott walked away. He turned and hollered out, “See you on the field. Don’t be late.” I flipped him off as I bent down and put my books back into my locker.

The guys hadn’t come onto the baseball diamond when I arrived. I walked over and took a seat on the bleachers. There were about thirty other students milling around waiting for the players to show up. I turned when I heard a loud holler and watched as about forty guys came running out of the gym door. Kenny was leading the way.

The coach had them sit on the bleachers and gave them a pep talk. He reminded them that no position was secure and that they would have to prove themselves worthy of playing. Kenny looked back at me and gave me a thumb’s up. He laughed when I returned a one-finger salute.

The players broke into groups. Two coaches worked with the outfielders, one with the infielders and Coach Brunswick worked with the guys who were trying out for pitching and catching positions. Kenny stood beside the coach most of the time as they evaluated the other players. Since he was the starting pitcher, the coach wanted his advice as to who would make good relief pitchers. Two guys had already been on the team the two previous years, so their spots were secure. Six other guys were new and Kenny and the coach watched them carefully.

After about an hour, the coach called the guys over who were going to tryout for the catcher’s position. There were four. Norm Coleman was one. He tried to talk to Kenny, but each time he did, Kenny would walk away.

He seemed particularly interested in Adrian Lewis. Several times, I watched as he walked over, put his arm around him, and gave him instructions. Adrian would grin and nod his head. Kenny took him off to sidelines where I was sitting and threw him some pitches. He started out throwing softly; but with each pitch, he increased the speed. Soon Adrian was catching anything Kenny pitched at him.

“Great job!” Kenny said as he trotted up to Adrian. They were standing about five feet away. Kenny looked over at me and announced, “I think I found my catcher.” Adrian looked at me and grinned.  He took off his cap and wiped the sweat from his forehead.

“This is hotter than practicing in the summer for football,” he remarked. “I thought going out for baseball would be easier.”

“You football jocks always thought we baseball guys were a bunch of pussies,” Kenny laughed. “We work as hard as you.” He grinned mischievously. “Plus, we’re a lot more smarter.”

Adrian looked out onto the field. “Not too sure about that,” he laughed. “I’ve had classes with some of these guys.” He pointed to Myles Allen who had his hand buried in his jock strap busily scratching his nuts. “Not exactly rocket scientists.” Kenny laughed and threw his arm around Adrian.

“Nope,” he laughed. “I guess we aren’t.” He then pulled Adrian over to the bleachers and stopped directly in front of me.

“Now, track jocks,” he grinned. “There’s a bunch of pussies.”

“Hey!” I shouted. “Fuck you!” Kenny pulled Adrian closer to him and continued to laugh.

“This skinny fucker is my best friend, Zac Barnes.” Adrian reached out and shook my hand. He smiled, and as he did, the sun made his brown eyes glimmer. I noticed a trickle of sweat dripping off his forehead.

“Hey, Zac,” he grinned. “I’m Adrian Lewis. How come you’re up there and not down here?” His eyes quickly scanned my body.

“He finds baseball boring,” volunteered Kenny. “Says it moves too slow. He runs track instead.”

“Zac Barnes.” Adrian ran his eyes once again up and down my body. He kept his gaze on my long, thin legs before looking up. “Zac Barnes. 100m, second in the state last year?”

“Yeah,” I said. My face started to redden as he continued to stare at me.

“You are one fast runner, Man,” he said admiringly. “I attended all the track meets last year. Even followed you guys to the state. You were awesome!”

“Thanks,” I responded shyly. Many people had praised me in the past, but for some reason Adrian’s praise embarrassed me. Perhaps it was because he was such a good athlete himself.

Kenny started pulling him away. “Don’t give him a big head. He’s already too hard to live with now.” Adrian’s eyes scanned my body once again before turning and running back over to the catcher’s mound.

I spent the rest of the afternoon watching every move Adrian made. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t stop looking at him. It wasn’t because he was handsome and athletic; I had been around guys like him all my life.

Hell, Kenny was my best friend. He was ruggedly good looking. We had practically grown up joined at the hip, but I never thought about him like I was now thinking of Adrian. And for some reason, I had a feeling Adrian was feeling the same way. Occasionally, he would look over and smile at me, particularly if he made a good catch. It was as if he wanted my approval.

Kenny was relentless in practice, though. When it was Todd Coleman’s turn to tryout as catcher, Kenny did as he said he would do- he threw a low ball that bounced off the dirt and hit Todd squarely in the nuts. He fell to the ground moaning in pain. Two players had to help him off the field. Scott was off to the side laughing hysterically.

He treated the other two trying out a little kinder, but he still was able to make them look inept. He’d toss pitches off to the side, making them reach to catch them. Usually, they would go past them and they would have to run to retrieve them. Meanwhile, Coach Brunswick would continue to jot notes on his clipboard.

After about two hours, he called the guys onto the pitcher’s mound. “You guys did a really nice job today. Tryouts went well. I think we’re going to have another winning team this year.” The players gave each other high-fives.

“As you know,” he continued, “some of you will not have a place on the team.” The players looked at each other, wondering if the guy next to them would be cut and not themselves. “I’ll post the positions outside my office tomorrow after school.  You can stop by and see if you made it.” He and his coaching staff left the field while the players continued to talk. Kenny kept talking to Adrian, but Adrian seemed to be looking past his shoulder at me. After several minutes, the players turned and headed into the locker room.

Since I was an athlete, I was able to enter the gym with them. I stopped by Coach Templeton, the track coach, to talk to him while Kenny took a shower and dressed. His office was locked, so I headed to the locker room.

The room was filled with guys in various stages of dress. Most were in the shower, and a few were exiting with their towels wrapped around them. It was nothing I hadn’t seen hundreds of time in the past. Kenny came out of the shower room and motioned for me to join him as he dressed.

“So, what did you think?” He asked as he dropped the towel from his waist, reached into his gym bag and pulled out clean underwear. He looked up at me once he’d pulled them on.

“You guys look good,” I remarked. I wasn’t exactly an expert on baseball; but from what I had seen, they looked strong.

Kenny stopped dressing and stood before me. “I really want this win, Zac. You know that. It will look good on my record if we win the state this year.”

“There’s more than just winning,” I replied.

“Guys who lose say that,” he frowned. “No one remembers if you come in second place or third. It’s all about winning.”

“What is?” I turned just as Adrian came walking up to us. He was naked and had his towel to his head drying his black, curly locks. My eyes immediately dropped to his cock. His pubic hairs were curly like the hair on his head. It was average sized, not like some of the black guys I had showered with over the years. However, he was sculpted like one of the Greek gods I had read about in literature. His body appeared to be what I thought Apollo would have looked like- strong, muscular and masculine.

He removed the towel from his head and caught me looking at his cock. My face reddened when I realized he had seen me. He glanced quickly over at Kenny before he looked back and let a small curl form in the corner of his mouth. We stood staring briefly into each other’s eyes. I couldn’t look away. I fell into his brown eyes, dark curly hair, smooth complexion and small little mustache and goatee that framed his mouth. Never in my eighteen years had I felt a wave of emotion come over me as I stared into his face.

And it scared me. A bashful look appeared on his face as he turned, bent over and pulled his boxer briefs up around his perfectly formed ass. As he did, I got a quick glimpse of his brown hairless hole. For the first time in my life, my cock started to harden at the naked sight of another guy. I sat down on the bench and turned from him, praying it would soften before I had to stand again.

He and Kenny talked about the tryouts. Kenny tried to assure Adrian that he definitely had made the team. “I can make things happen,” he said jokingly. When I finally looked back over at Adrian, he was dressed. He was wearing a pair of black athletic shorts and a tight white tee shirt. I let my eyes quickly scan his body, but I was careful that he did not see me.

“We’ll know tomorrow.” Kenny put his arm around his shoulder after they had picked up their gym bags and headed for the exit. I followed behind staring at Adrian’s ass as it pulled against the thin material. I couldn’t get the sight of his puckered ass staring at me as he bent over to put on his underwear out of my mind.

Once outside, Adrian said goodbye and headed down the sidewalk toward the street. Kenny hollered out to him. “Do you have a car?” He shook his head.

“Come on, then,” he yelled. He looked over at me and smiled. “Zac can give you a ride, can’t you?” I shrugged my shoulders. I really wasn’t sure I wanted to spend any more time with Adrian. I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable around him.

Adrian gave me a questioning look. “You sure it won’t be any trouble?”

“No,” I managed to stammer. “I can take you home.” He threw his gym bag back over his shoulder and followed us to my truck.

I drive an old, red Chevrolet S-10 pickup. I bought it last year from a neighbor with money I had been saving since I was fourteen mowing lawns in the summer.  I would have preferred to have a car, but I bought what I could reasonably afford. It was suitable for getting Kenny and me back and forth to school, but when I dated Rachel, I had to borrow my mother’s car.

When I unlocked the door, Kenny pushed Adrian into the middle. If you have ever been in a small Chevy pickup, you know that there’s not a lot of room. We were packed like sardines in a can. Kenny grabbed their gym bags and threw them into the back of the truck. As he got back in, Adrian pushed himself closer to my body.

After giving me directions to his house, I pulled out of the parking lot and listened to Kenny talk about the upcoming season. He shared with Adrian his hopes for a winning season. Many of his hopes were built upon the expectation that Adrian would be as good a catcher as Ryan had been the previous three years.

I tried to listen to their conversation, but all I could think about was Adrian’s leg pressed tightly against mine. My cock hardened when he reached down and scratched his bare leg, letting his hand rub up against mine. I wasn’t sure if his leg actually itched, or if he was just trying to rub his hand against my leg.

We drove into the black section of town. Our town is racially divided between the East side and the West. Whites generally lived on the East, blacks on the West. There were a few exceptions where blacks did buy homes on the East side, and generally there wasn’t a problem with it; but still, as a rule, our town was extremely segregated.

He directed me to a large home at the end of a dead-end street. It was well maintained and appeared to be one of the nicer homes in the neighborhood. I pulled into the driveway. Kenny got out as Adrian scooted toward the door. He turned to me and smiled.

“Thanks, Zac.” We once again made eye contact. It was several seconds before he nodded and got out. After a quick high-five, Kenny got back in the car. The conversation was once again about his hopes for a winning baseball season.

After dropping him off, I came home and went straight to my room. I’m now lying across my bed with a hard-on. I can’t get Adrian from my mind. I picture everything about him. His looks, his smile and his charm.  And I can’t figure out what is happening.

Why?  All I can think of is Pandora’s Box. It has been opened and trouble is about to enter my life.