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.”
He got off me and 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.
“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!
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