Chapter 14

Blake lay down and covered his face. I approached cautiously and knelt beside him. “Blake?” I murmured softly. When he didn’t answer, I reached down and touched his shoulder.

He shrugged his shoulder and mumbled, “Leave me alone, Seth.”

I rubbed his shoulder and said, “I’m sorry, Blake.” He began to tremble as he started to cry. I continued to rub his back.

He pulled back the cover and looked at me. Tears were falling rapidly down his face. “I don’t want you here,” he pleaded. “Please leave.”

“No,” I replied emphatically. I sat down and put my arm around him. “I’m not leaving you by yourself.”

He cried, “I’ve been by myself my whole life. I can deal with it.”

“I’m not going to let you,” I said adamantly as I lay beside him and threw my arm around him. He didn’t resist when I pulled him into my body and held him. I kissed him gently on his neck and said, “I’m sorry I hurt you. I never meant to.”

He didn’t say anything for several minutes as he continued to cry softly. Finally, he turned, stared into my eyes and asked, “Do you love him?” I knew what he was asking, and it would be senseless to deny it. He knew that Craig and I were involved in a relationship. He just didn’t know how committed we were to each other.

“No,” I replied, “I don’t think so.”

Blake turned and covered his head again. “Please go away, Seth,” he pleaded. I pulled him tighter to my body. He resisted at first, but then he quietly relented to my embrace.

I kissed him on his neck again. “I never wanted to hurt you.” We lay quietly for several minutes without speaking. I sighed and said, “I don’t know how it happened. It began in the hospital room when I helped him put on a clean gown. He saw me staring at his dick. When he got out, one thing led to another, and before I knew what was happening, we were having sex.”

By now, Blake was no longer crying. For a minute, I thought he had fallen asleep until he asked, “Are you boyfriends?”

I replied, “I’m not sure.”

“What’s that mean?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I thought we were just having fun, but I think Craig wants more.”

Blake rolled over, faced me and said, “I thought he is straight.”

“That’s what I thought,” I replied. “But now I’m not so sure.”

“I think he loves you,” remarked Blake. “I saw how he acted when he saw us kissing in Roni’s pool. He didn’t act mad. He looked hurt.”

“That’s what Roni said,” I replied. “She’s Craig’s cousin. She said she talked to him last night, and I guess he’s really confused.”

For the first time, Blake smiled and said, “No shit.”

I rolled over on my back and stared at the ceiling, “I don’t know what to do. This is such a mess I got myself into to.” Tears welled up in my eyes. “I don’t know how I’m going to fix it. It seems like chaos is swirling all around me.”

Blake giggled and said, “Sucks to be you.”

I sat up and said, “I’m serious, Blake. I don’t know what’s going to happen.” I took his hand and held it. “I don’t want to hurt you. I wish I had never involved you in this mess.”

He leaned forward and hugged me. “Thanks, Seth,” he responded. “I’ve been hurt so much that I wouldn’t know how it would be to live without it.”

I started to cry again. “You’re so special.” He embraced me as I cried into his chest.

He pulled back and stared at me. His eyes were full of tears. “All my life I’ve been fighting my battles alone.” He hugged me tightly. “I’m not going to let you fight yours alone. I’ll help you figure it out.” We embraced tightly and cried for several minutes.

I pulled away, kissed him gently and asked, “Can I make love to you?”

“No, Seth,” he replied softly. “That won’t help anything. You have to figure out your feelings for Craig before we do anything. I don’t want to make love to you today, and then you tell me tomorrow you are in love with him.”

I replied, “I’m not in love with Craig.”

“No,” he said, “But you said that Roni said that he may be in love with you. I don’t want to be in the way if you two decide you really are in love.”

I started to cry again. “I don’t want to hurt you, Blake.”

“I know you don’t,” he said. “That is why I’m not going to let you make love to me. It will only create more chaos.”

I reached for his face, and then pulled him towards me. “I love you, Blake,” I said as I kissed him passionately.

After a few seconds, he pulled away and said, “I know you think you do.” He kissed me on my nose. “Let’s just wait until you’re sure.” I nodded my head and kissed him again.

I stood and grabbed his hand, pulling him up and said, “Let’s go get something to eat.”

“I don’t have any money,” replied Blake.

I pulled him toward the door. “I do,” I said. “We’ll go to the mall and get something in the food court.” It seemed like a safe idea. Most students wait until the weekend to hang out.

How wrong I was.

Blake was quiet for most of the ride. Occasionally, I would glance over at him, but he would have his head back and his eyes closed. I’m sure he hadn’t slept much the night before sleeping on a hard cardboard mattress. I wanted to take his hand and tell him everything would be all right, but how could I make that promise to him? My own life was so much out of control that I was in no position to assure someone else that their life would get better.

When I pulled into a parking lot, Blake opened his eyes and looked around. “Are we here already?” he asked.

I smiled and said, “You slept most of the way.”

“Yeah, right,” he responded as he got out of the car.

We walked closely together as we strolled through the mall to the food court. Blake stopped once to admire a pair of shoes in a store window. If I had the money, I would have bought them for him. At least it might have brought a brief smile to his face.

We entered the food court and sat down. I looked around to make sure no one from school was there. There were few people except for some elderly couples and a family with three children. One kept whining that she wanted more cookies.

I asked Blake, “What do you want?” He shrugged his shoulders as he looked at the food vendors.

Finally, he replied, “I’ll have whatever you have.”

“How about a pizza?”

“Sure,” he replied. “Okay.”

I told him to wait while I went and ordered a pizza. The guy behind the counter was cute. He looked like he might be in college. He flirted with me as I made my order. My face reddened when he looked over at the table where Blake was sitting. “Boyfriend?” he asked with a broad smile. When I didn’t respond, he said, “Lucky guy.” He turned and put a medium-sized pepperoni pizza in the oven. He then poured two Cokes and handed them to me.

“I didn’t order these,” I said. I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough money for pizzas and drinks.

He winked and said, “They’re on the house.” Another person walked up and placed an order. I continued to watch him diligently working behind the counter.  

My heart started racing when I turned to see if Blake was okay. Roni and Craig were heading over to the table. Roni was holding Craig’s hand and pulling him across the food court. I quickly looked around to see if there was a mall cop nearby in case trouble erupted. I told the pizza guy to call me when my order was ready. He nodded and went back to preparing a pizza for the other customer.

I hurried over to the table as quickly as I could. Blake had seen them, and he appeared ready to leap from his chair and run. When Roni saw me, she put up her hand and pleaded with me to wait.

“What do you want?” I asked defensively as I stood beside Blake. I put my hand on his shoulder, and I could feel him trembling.

Roni pulled Craig closer to her and said, “We only want to talk to you, Seth.” Craig lifted his head, and I noticed tears in his eyes. Roni pulled out a chair and told Craig to have a seat. She then sat close to Craig.

I sat down beside Blake and looked across the table. Craig looked horrible. His hair was tousled, and his clothes were wrinkled. His face was tear stained. He looked nothing like the cute, athletic boy I knew.

Suddenly, the guy behind the counter yelled out, “Hey, Kid! Your pizza is ready!” I was hesitant to get up. I wasn’t sure what could happen in the minute it might take me to get my pizza. I hurried over and grabbed it. The guy playfully held it tightly, but in a quick jerk, I pulled it from him. “Hey, relax,” he said with a frown. “I was just kidding.” Without saying anything, I turned and headed back to the table. The guy hollered out again, “Hey, Kid! You forgot your sodas.” I hurried over, placed the pizza in front of Blake, and then ran over and grabbed the cokes from the guy’s outstretched hands. He shook his head as I turned and hurried back to the table.

By now, I had lost my appetite. I was too worried about what was going to happen. I was afraid that Craig and Roni might make a big scene. I quickly scanned the food court for a security guard, but I didn’t see one.

I nervously asked, “What do you want, Roni?”

She looked quickly at Craig, and then at Blake. “Can we talk alone?” She again looked at Blake.

“I’m not going anywhere,” I said adamantly.

Roni pleaded, “I’m not asking you to go anywhere. Craig and I just want to talk to you.”

Blake crossed his arms and insisted, “I’m not going anywhere either.” He opened the pizza box and took out a slice of pizza and took a bite. I wanted to smile because he looked so cute trying to protect me. I had told him earlier about Craig’s threats, and I was worried what he might do to me. I looked at Craig, and he still had his head down. Not once had he looked up at me.

“If you have something to say,” I insisted, “Say it here.”

Roni glanced at Blake. “Can’t we talk privately?” she pleaded.

I replied, “He knows.” For the first time, Craig raised his head and stared at us.

Roni gave me a puzzled look and asked, “Are you sure?” I nodded my head. She looked down at the pizza and reached for a slice. “Can I have some?” I nodded my head, and she took out a slice and began nibbling on it.

I was becoming frustrated. Everything seemed too normal. Anyone watching would think that we were just four teenagers out for a pizza. Little did they know that fireworks could explode at any minute. Craig was not acting like I thought he would when he confronted me. I still wasn’t sure what was going on inside his head.

Roni asked Craig if he wanted a slice, but he shook his head. I was too upset to eat. I did manage to take a couple of sips from my drink. Finally, I asked, “What do you want to talk about?”

Roni glanced at Blake and turned to me and said, “I think you know.” Craig looked quickly at me, and then he lowered his head. Roni grabbed Craig’s hand and squeezed it. She then looked pleadingly at me. “Seth,” she begged, “You can’t tell anyone what happened between you and Craig.” She glanced quickly at Blake to see his reaction, but he pretended to ignore her and took another bite of pizza.

She looked at Craig and tears appeared in her eyes. “It was a mistake, Seth,” she cried. “It should never have happened.”

My first reaction was to protest. We both wanted it to happen. Craig wanted it as much as I did. However, I could see the hurt in his eyes. I also knew that if anyone else found out, it could destroy us both. Right now, only Roni and Blake were aware of what happened.

I asked Roni, “What should we do?” Craig raised his head and looked at me, but he said nothing.

“Right now, nothing,” she replied. “I know we can’t just say nothing happened, but we can keep it between us.” She looked hopefully at me and Blake. “No one else has to know.”

I asked, “But what about Stacy?” I looked at Craig. “She’s pretty pissed right now at you.” He frowned and looked down at the table.

“That’s been solved,” replied Roni. She looked over at Craig. “Craig called Stacy a little while ago and apologized to her. She’s going to take him back.”

I couldn’t believe it. This morning, Stacy wouldn’t settle for anything less than castrating Craig for breaking up with her. Now, she was taking him back. However, that is Stacy. She would rather take Craig back than have to explain why he broke up with her. I had heard nothing at school, so she obviously only discussed it with Maggie. Besides, the dance was on Saturday, and she had been looking forward to going. And Stacy, being as shallow as she is, would buy any story that Craig decided to tell her.

Roni reached over and gripped Craig’s hand. “We had better be going,” she announced. She looked at me and Blake. “Remember. This is just between us. Okay?” They turned and left before we responded.

“Can you believe it?” asked Blake angrily. “They just walk in here and want to pretend like nothing happened between you guys.”

I didn’t want to say anything to Blake, but I was deeply hurt. I thought I had meant something to Craig. He even seemed like he was falling in love with me. Now, he thought he could simply walk out of my life like nothing happened. I had given my body to him. I realize now that I was being used. I meant nothing to him. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t want to do it in front of Blake.

Blake looked at me as if he were reading my mind. “Are you okay, Seth?”

“Yeah,” I replied as I blinked tears from my eyes. “I’m okay. Let’s get out of here.” We walked quietly through the mall to my car. I could see out of the corner of my eye that Blake looked concerned. He knew how I felt, but what could he say to make things better? I had created the chaos swirling around me. Craig had given me a way out. Just pretend like nothing happened between us. It sounded like a reasonable solution. Then, why does my heart feel like it is breaking?

We drove silently to Amber’s house. Blake hesitated before getting out. Finally, he sighed, squeezed my hand and got out of the car. He looked back several times as he walked down the sidewalk toward the door. He gave me a slight wave before entering.

I felt like shit. I don’t think I had ever been so depressed in my life. I should be relieved, but I didn’t feel that way. Blake and I could finally start a relationship without Craig being involved. However, I still felt something for Craig. And I know it is wrong. But I can’t pretend like nothing happened between us. We gave our virginity to each other. We felt something special. Now, Craig just wants to throw all that away.

He didn’t even have the nerve to tell me himself. He had his cousin do it for him. I always admired him for his strength and masculinity. He seemed better than most of the boys I know. But now I see him as weak and immature. He couldn’t face his problems. He had to have someone else do it for him. And why does he have to make up with my sister? The hurt is going to be tremendous each time I see them together. How will I react when I see them making out on the sofa or walking down the hall holding hands? I can’t be like Craig. I can’t just walk away from what we experienced together and pretend it didn’t happen.

I drove aimlessly down the streets before I came to a familiar abandoned building. I got out of my car and made my way inside. I went over to the makeshift cardboard bed, lay down, curled into a ball and cried.

I lay there for about an hour thinking about my life. I had really screwed it up. Just a month ago, things were going along fine. I was doing well in school, and I had few problems. Nothing was really bothering me. Then, Craig had to get hurt and end up in the hospital. Little did I know at the time that my life would change so much in his room. Ironically, the two boys who were now most important in my life shared that same room.

I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve never been so confused. The solution seems so simple. Craig let me go, so I should be free now to turn all my attention to Blake. But I’m not ready to let go of Craig yet. I know that the incident in the food court was a sham. He couldn’t even look me in the eyes and break up with me. Roni did it for him. So, I think he still cares for me. He can pretend all he likes that our relationship is over, but it isn’t. It won’t be until we talk about what happened. We have to have some kind of closure to our feelings. If it is bothering me this strongly, then I know it is him too. I want him to look into my eyes and tell me he doesn’t care for me. I want him to convince me that what we felt for each other wasn’t real. Then, maybe I can move on.

I looked at my watch and it was almost 5:30. I had to get home. Aunt Marie would be upset if I didn’t show up for dinner. Besides, I know I’ll have to take Stacy to the game. Since Craig said they were now back together, I’m sure Stacy will show up to root for Craig. I’ll drop her off and tell her to have Craig bring her home. I don’t care if it will mean trouble if Mom finds out.

I was almost home when I got a text from Stacy. ‘Hurry up Fucker Im going to be late.’ It was going to be a long night.

Aunt Marie was scurrying around the kitchen preparing dinner when I entered. She said, “Thank God, you’re here, Seth.” She handed me a stack of plates and told me to set the table.

“Why couldn’t Stacy do it?” I grumbled.

My aunt replied, “She’s upstairs getting ready for the football game.” I shook my head and placed the plates on the table.

Aunt Marie entered and gripped my arm. “Is everything all right, Dear? You look upset.”

I pulled my arm away and replied, “I don’t want to talk about it. Okay?” Aunt Marie looked hurt, but she didn’t say anything as she turned and went back into the kitchen.

I went into the kitchen and apologized, “It’s been a bad day.” I said sadly. “But I’ll be okay.”

She smiled slightly and asked, “Do you want to talk about it?” I turned and left before she saw the tears appear in my eyes. I went to my room, closed the door and lay on the bed. Just then, my cell phone rang. It was Ty. He wanted to know if I would be at the game. He said he was taking Maryanne, and they were going to go get a pizza afterwards. He wanted me to go along with them. I tried to tell him I didn’t want to attend the game, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Finally, I agreed to go when Aunt Marie hollered up the stairs that dinner was ready.

We were sitting at the table when Stacy entered about five minutes late. Aunt Marie looked up and commented, “You look pretty, Stacy.” I looked at her, and she didn’t even look like my sister. She had put on makeup, and she had styled her hair differently. Instead of a school sweater, she was wearing a short red dress.  She looked like she was attending a dinner date rather than a football game.

“Why thank you, Auntie,” cooed Stacy as she touched the side of her face. I felt like puking. I’m sure she had dressed that way for Craig. After their one-day breakup, I guess she was going to try and snare him into her web again. It sickened me to think of them making out again. As usual, after we finished eating, I had to clean the table and put the dishes in the dishwasher. Stacy complained the entire time that I was going too slow, and that I was doing it intentionally so she would be late for the game. All it did was make me go slower.

When I arrived at the game, I looked around the bleachers for Ty and Maryanne. They were sitting about seven rows back. Ty seemed pleased to see me. I don’t know why, but it seemed like he didn’t want to be alone with Maryanne. He’s always been shy and introverted, and I guess he was still getting used to having a girlfriend. We sat and talked for about ten minutes, when I noticed Blake, Amber and a couple of other girls enter. They sat about three rows down from us. Blake looked up and waved, but he sat down next to Amber.

Ty asked, “Isn’t Blake going to sit with you?” I shrugged my shoulders and looked at the back of Blake’s head. Ty gave me a worried look. I guess Blake was going to avoid me until I made up my mind what I wanted. He’s been hurt so much; he doesn’t want to be hurt again. I suppose the best thing to do right now is give our friendship some space. It will hurt, but not as much as using him as a bench warmer if things don’t work out with Craig.

It was an exciting game. Craig was the star. He scored three touchdowns, and each time Stacy and her friends would go wild. After the third touchdown, he smiled up into the bleachers until he noticed me. Suddenly, his smile turned into a frown as he walked away with his head down. When other players ran up to celebrate, he pushed them away, trudged over to the bench and buried his head in his hands.

After the game, I wasn’t in the mood to join Ty and Maryanne for pizza. I made an excuse that I was tired and wanted to get a good night’s sleep before the big dance. Ty was disappointed, but Maryanne seemed happy that I wouldn’t be joining them. Sometimes I think that she sees me in the way. She may also be a little bit jealous because Ty spends more time talking to me. I told them I’d see them at the dance, and I hurried to my car.

It was after ten when I arrived home. Stacy probably wouldn’t be home for another two hours. I went to my room, stripped off my clothes and headed into the bathroom to take a shower. When I finished, I headed back to my room. Before closing the door, I heard some noise downstairs. It frightened me because I wasn’t expecting anyone else to be in the house. I thought that maybe Aunt Marie had come to make sure that Stacy and I arrived home safely.

I crept silently down the stairs to see who was there. When I peeked around the door and looked into the family room, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

Craig was standing naked beside the leather sofa. Stacy was pulling her sweatshirt over her head, so she didn’t see me. Craig froze when he looked over at the door and saw me. I wanted to barge into the room and stop them from having sex. However, I knew I couldn’t. It would blow our secret. I would look like a jilted boyfriend if I did.

Instead, I turned and hurried to my room, carefully closed the door and buried myself under my bed covers.