Chapter 21
Shade and I sat in the car while Rodney went inside to meet Megan’s parents. Before exiting, he held up
his arm and smelled his armpit. He looked over at me with a worried look, extended his arm toward me
and asked, “Do I smell?” When I laughed and pushed his arm away, he said, “I’d rather nail my nuts to my
knee than meet a girl’s parents for the first time.”

Shade and I laughed as he walked up the sidewalk and knocked on the door. He looked back at us
pleadingly when Megan’s father came to the door and invited him in.

I asked Shade, “What are her parents like?”

“They’re pretty cool,” he replied. “Her dad likes to joke around a lot, so it’s hard to tell what he’ll do.”

Minutes later, Megan and Rodney came out of the house. Megan looked stunning. She was wearing a black
silk blouse and designer jeans. I giggled when she stepped ahead of Rodney. He looked down at her ass,
looked over at me and wiggled his eyebrows.

I got out of the front seat so Megan could sit beside Rodney. Shade grinned and grabbed my hand when I
slid into the back. Megan turned and warned, “Now you boys behave back there.”

I was embarrassed when Shade leaned in and kissed me. Rodney was looking in the rearview mirror at us.
I had a feeling it was the first time he ever saw two boys kiss each other. So far, he had seemed to accept
the fact that Shade and I were dating. He also didn’t seem to be bothered by us holding hands. Kissing,
though, might make him uncomfortable.

When we got to the mall, we strolled around as if we had been friends forever. Rodney had a comical side
to him I had never seen. As we roamed around various stores, he would put on a woman’s hat, pose and
ask Megan how she liked it. Another time, a little girl was crying beside one of the kiosks that lined the
mall. Rodney knelt down and made funny faces at her until the girl started laughing. Her mother gave him
a hug before she headed off with the giggling child.

We ate at an Arby’s in the food court. Rodney insisted on paying for all our meals. I whispered and asked
him where he got the money since he didn’t work. “Mom gives me an allowance.”

“For doing what?”

He grinned and replied, “Being me.” He laughed when I rolled my eyes.

After eating, we strolled around for about a half hour before the movie began. It saddened me when Megan
wrapped her arm around Rodney’s as they walked. The best that Shade and I could do was let our hands
touch occasionally. I wondered if there would ever come a day when two men could walk hand and hand
through a mall and no one would mind. I was beginning to see more and more affection being displayed on
television. Gay characters were becoming more normal. ‘Perhaps, one day,’ I thought to myself as I let my
hand brush gently against Shade’s. For a few seconds, he wrapped his pinkie around mine as we walked
behind Megan and Rodney.

Since it was the first date for all of us, we watched the movie more as four friends. Shade was to my left,
and Rodney was to my right with Megan sitting beside him. I could tell Rodney was nervous because he
kept fidgeting in his seat. He spent most of the night pressed up against my shoulder rather than Megan’s.

It was almost midnight when we got out. Rodney suggested that we find a late night restaurant, but Megan
insisted she had to go home. “I’m Cinderella,” she joked. “If I don’t get home by midnight, Rodney will
turn into a pumpkin.” Even though the car was dark, I could see Rodney’s embarrassed face.

Shade and I sat in the backseat and watched as Rodney walked Megan up the steps. “I bet you he kisses
her,” I laughed.

“Not a chance,” replied Shade. “I know Megan. She never kisses a guy on the first date.”

Rodney fumbled nervously with his keys as they stood on the porch and talked. A light overhead made it
possible for us to watch them. Suddenly, the light went out.

“I bet Megan’s little sister turned out the light,” giggled Shade. Suddenly, he muttered, “Dammit.” I looked
at Megan and Rodney as they stood facing each other on the darkened porch. Megan leaned in and gave
Rodney a quick kiss before heading inside.

I said excitedly, “I won!”

“Damn,” replied Shade. “She must really like Rodney.” I smiled hoping that was true. They did make a
cute couple.

Rodney whistled all the way home. He kept looking at me in the rearview mirror and smiling. When we
arrived, I expected him to go inside and leave us alone. Instead, he leaned up against the car and grinned
at me.

I asked, “What?”

“Your turn,” he smiled.

“My turn?”

“Yeah,” he laughed. “I want to see you tell Shade goodbye.”

“You’re not going to leave us alone?”

“Nope,” he replied. “You didn’t leave me and Megan alone.”

“We were sitting in the car!” I said excitedly.

Rodney said, “Don’t care.” He folded his arms and pretended to wait. I sighed and followed Shade over to
his car.

“Guess I’ll see you Monday,” I said sadly.

Shade looked over at Rodney and asked, “What’s he doing? Ain’t he going inside?”

“Nope,” I replied. “He wants to watch us say goodbye.”

An evil grin appeared on Shade’s face. He looked back at Rodney and then said, “Okay. Let’s give him a
show he’ll never forget.”

I started to respond by saying, “I don’t think that’s....” But suddenly, Shade pressed his lips to mine and
kissed me passionately. When he finished, I was gasping for air. He looked back over at Rodney. “That
should do it.” He then leaned in and kissed me quickly before getting in his car and pulling off.

Rodney had a surprised look on his face as I approached. Even though Shade thought it would be cool to
kiss me openly in front of him, I was too embarrassed to look him in the eyes.

As we walked toward the house, Rodney remarked, “That was hot as hell. I’ve never seen two guys
making out before.”

I laughed and responded, “Well, don’t get any ideas. I’m not kissing you.”

“Aw,” he laughed as he tried to grab my arm to stop me. “Come on, Casey, just one little kiss.” When he
approached and puckered his lips, I pushed him away.

He continued to chase me. He grabbed my arm and once again tried to get me to kiss him. “Come on,” he
laughed. “Just one little smooch.”

When he puckered his lips and leaned in toward me, I stuck my tongue into his mouth. “Aw, Fuck!” he
shouted as he began scrubbing his mouth with his coat sleeve. “You’re fucking gross!”

I laughed and replied, “You said you wanted a kiss.”

“I didn’t say anything about tongue,” he mumbled as he continued to wipe his mouth.

After thanking Rodney for a fun evening in the foyer, I headed downstairs as he went to his bedroom. I
took a shower; and as Lane says, I made the white stuff. As the water cascaded down my body, I thought
about Shade. I really wanted to make love to him, but I knew I had to do it at his pace. I think his mother
also knew that he wasn’t ready to be involved in a serious relationship. Just knowing that he felt about me
the same way I felt about him was enough for now. I just hoped that I wouldn’t have to wait too long.

I was sleeping soundly until I was suddenly I was awakened by a noise in the family room. My alarm clock
read 2:39. It was too late for anyone to be watching television.

I cautiously looked out my door to see Curtis stumbling out of the bathroom. He made it across the room
before running into my father’s recliner and falling to the floor. When he tried to get up, he stumbled and
fell again, this time hitting his head on the coffee table.

“Son of a bitch,” he moaned as he tried to sit up. He started to crawl across the room to the stairs. I ran
out and stopped him.

“What are you doing, Curtis?” I knelt down beside him and placed my hand on his shoulder.

“Leaf me alone,” he mumbled as he grabbed my hand and removed it. “I don’t need your help.” He tried to
get to his feet, but he fell back against me. I steadied him as he tried to regain his balance.

I stood and tried to help him to his feet, but he fell back onto the floor. “We gotta get you up,” I said as I
tried to help him once more to his feet.

He teetered as I tried to keep him balanced. He reeked of alcohol, and his clothes were disheveled. It was
difficult for him to focus his eyes as he stood and looked at me.

“Leaf me alone,” he muttered again as he tried to slap my hand away from his arm. “I got this.” He took a
deep breath, and then he tried to walk toward the steps. He lost his balance, and I grabbed him around the
waist to keep him from falling.

“Let’s get you to my room,” I suggested as I attempted to drag his heavy body across the room. It didn’t
help that he was resisting every step we took.

I was finally able to get him inside my room, and I dropped him onto my bed. He lifted his body up and
looked around the room. “Where am I?” he asked through half-open eyes.

“You’re in my room,” I said. I lifted his body and tried to remove his jacket. “Leaf me alone,” he said as he
fought to keep it on. He opened his eyes and looked at me. “Hey,” he muttered. “What are you trying to do
to me?”

“Would you shut up,” I spat. I attempted once more to pull his jacket off. This time, he didn’t resist.

Curtis opened his eyes, and then shut them again. He warned, “You better not touch me.” Instinctively, he
covered his crotch with his hands.

“I’m not going to touch you,” I assured him. “You’re drunk and you need some sleep.”

He opened his eyes and looked up at me. “I’m not drumph,” he muttered before closing his eyes.

“Sure you’re not,” I replied sarcastically as I pulled off his shoes and covered him with the blanket.

As I was getting up, he reached out and grabbed my arm. “Why, Casey?” he asked in a pleading voice.

Before I could ask him what he was talking about, he closed his eyes and fell asleep. I took his bare arm
and placed it under the blanket before getting up and turning out the light. I then went out and lay down  
on the sofa. I managed to eventually fall asleep.

I woke up a little after seven. The house was still quiet, and it appeared that no one was yet up. I knew it
wouldn’t be long until Lane would come bounding down the stairs to watch cartoons. He usually did on
Sundays before my father, Rodney and Curtis spent the rest of the day watching football.

I crept over to my room and opened the door. Curtis was sprawled atop my bed. By the appearance of
blanket, it looked as if he had been fighting all night. I walked over and poked him gently in the shoulder.
He stirred slightly, but he didn’t wake up.

“Curtis,” I said as poked him again. He mumbled something incoherent, and then he opened his eyes.
“What?” He looked around the room, and then up at me. “Where am I?”

“You’re in my room,” I informed him as he sat up and rubbed his eyes.  

He looked around again and asked, “What am I doing here?”

I told him, “You came in drunk last night. I brought you to my room.”

He stood up and brushed his clothes. He lifted his hand to him mouth and blew into it to see if his breath
still smelled. “Jesus,” he muttered as he did it again.

He looked at me and asked, “Did Mom see me come in?”

I shook my head. “No. No one saw you.”

He gave me a concerned look and asked, “Did I say anything?” He gave out a sigh of relief when I shook
my head.

I suggested, “Maybe you better go to your room before anyone gets up. It’s after seven.”

He ran his hands over his hair. “Yeah, maybe I better,” he said.

“Stop by my bathroom and gargle with Listerine,” I suggested. “Your breath stinks.”

He blew into this hand and frowned. “Yeah.” He left the room and headed to the bathroom. I went out into
the family room to straighten the sofa so no one would notice that I had been asleep on it.

When Curtis emerged from the bathroom, he stopped on the way to the stairs. I turned when he said,
“Casey.”

“Yeah?”

“Thanks for looking out.” I nodded and he hurried up the stairs.

I turned on a boring movie that I had seen before so I could fall back asleep. It didn’t do any good because
Lane came downstairs around 8:30 carrying two bowls of cereal. He didn’t say anything as he handed me a
bowl of Fruit Loops. He still looked sleepy. After he finished eating his cereal, he lay down on the sofa, put
his head in my lap and fell back asleep.

My father came down about a half hour later carrying a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper. He mumbled,
“Hello, Casey,” and then he opened the paper and read for the next half hour without looking up.

Karen came down with a cup of coffee. She was wearing a blue robe and pink bunny slippers. She rolled
her eyes when I giggled at her as she sat down on the other end of the sofa. She took Lane’s feet and
placed them in her lap to make room for her to sit.

It surprised me when Curtis came down carrying a plate with several pieces of toast and a glass of milk. He
grabbed the remote and turned it to ESPN before sitting across the room.

Karen asked him, “What time did you come home last night? You weren’t in your room when I went to
bed.”

Curtis looked quickly at me. “I..um...got in around twelve thirty.”

“Twelve thirty?” She frowned and said, “You know your curfew is midnight.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” he replied as he took a bite of toast. “I’ll remember next time.” He glanced at me once
again.

“Well,” admonished Karen. “You better, or next time you’ll be on grounded for a week.”

Curtis simply replied with a soft, “Yes, Ma’am.”

The rest of the day was pretty typical at the Crawford house on a Sunday. My father, Rodney and Curtis
spent the day watching the NFL on television. Karen went to the living room and read a book she had put
off for several weeks. Lane and I spent most of the afternoon in his bedroom playing video games. Shade
was at work, so I didn’t get a chance to talk to him.

At six, Lane and I fixed a quick dinner of hot dogs, baked beans and potato chips. It seemed like a fitting
meal for watching football. I later went to my room to work on my homework. I did manage to talk to
Shade around nine. However, he was tired from working so we only talked for about fifteen minutes.

I was surprised the next morning when Rodney came downstairs and peeked in my room. “Better hurry
up,” he ordered. When I asked why, he said, “I’m giving you a lift to school.”

“What about Lane? He can’t walk by himself.”

“He’s going too,” he replied as he reminded me to hurry.

When I went upstairs, Lane had a bowl of Fruit Loops waiting for me. Rodney was eating a banana, and
Curtis was heating up a Pop Tart in the microwave. Rodney looked up at the clock and told us it was time
to go.

Curtis gave him a questioning look. “Are they riding with us?”

“Yeah,” replied Rodney challengingly. “You got a problem with that?” Curtis   didn’t reply. He picked up his
gym bag by the door and stormed out of the house.

As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, Rodney began talking about his date with Megan. Curtis asked,
“You went on a date with her?” Rodney nodded, and Curtis asked, “Is she hot?”

Rodney cooed, “Is she ever.” He looked at me in the rearview mirror. “Thanks again, Casey for hooking
me up with her.” Curtis glanced back and gave me an angry look.

Lane was excited about riding to school in Rodney’s car. He grinned when Rodney told him that he and I
were going to ride with him every morning. “I   can’t take you home though,” he said apologetically. “Not
unless you want to wait until baseball practice is over.”

I laughed, looked over at Lane and responded, “We’ll walk home.”

Curtis shook his head, looked out the window and muttered, “I don’t get it.” So much for the bonding I felt
the morning before.

I’m glad I finished my history report. When half the class didn’t turn theirs in, Mrs. Bedlaw became irate.
She made each student who hadn’t turned one in to write a note to their parents explaining why they were
receiving a failing grade in class. When two students objected to do it, she sent them to the office. They
returned ten minutes later with Mr. Snyder behind them. He stood at the door as they wrote the note and
then had Mrs. Bedlaw sign it.

When they finished, he stood before the class and warned those students who failed to bring back the note
signed by their parents that they would receive three days of in-school suspension. I was glad I had
finished mine.

Shade was waiting outside the theater door when I arrived. “Hey,” he smiled as he took my hand and
started leading me down the hall.

I asked, “Where are we going?”

“Megan wants us to go get Lane and Tiffany,” he explained. On the way to their room, we stopped by the
restroom and kissed. Shade pressed his back to the door just in case another student decided to enter. I
was surprised when he didn’t object to me running my hand over his crotch. When it started to stiffen, he
giggled and said we had better leave. “We don’t want to start anything we can’t finish.”

“I can finish,” I replied as I kissed him again.

He pushed me back, laughed and said, “I’m sure you can.”

He playfully slapped my cock before rushing from the room. “Ball tag,” he laughed.

“Hey!” I shouted, “That’s not fair.” He turned and stuck his tongue out at me.

Lane was excited to see us. He jumped up from his seat and rushed over to hug us. I had to suppress a
laugh when his teacher told him to take his seat, and he was to raise his hand before getting up. His face
reddened as he did as she asked. When she told him he could leave, he skipped over and held my hand.

On the way back to the theater, Shade asked Lane, “Why do you skip so much?”

Lane smiled and replied, “Because I like to. It’s fun.” He grabbed Shade’s hand and they skipped together
down the hall. I walked behind them and laughed.

Lorenzo came over and took Lane and Tiffany backstage with him. Megan then rushed over to us with a
broad grin on her face. “I’ve found my Captain Von Trapp!” she announced excitedly.

Shade asked, “Who?”

“You know Joshua Lyons, right?” Shade nodded his head.

“The sophomore who is working on lighting?”

“Yes,” she replied. “He was backstage singing one of the songs from the show,” she explained. “I don’t
think he was even aware he was doing it.”

Shaded asked, “And?”

“I pulled him out onto the stage and called for Max,” she said. “We auditioned him on the spot. He’s great!”

Shade shook his head. “Isn’t he too young looking for the part?”

“That’s your job,” reminded Megan. “Have make-up make him look older.”

“They’re not miracle workers,” replied Shade. “Besides, he’s too short for the part. Captain Von Trapp is a
tall gentleman.”

“I don’t care,” huffed Megan. “He has a wonderful voice, and I want to cast him for the part.”

Just then, I noticed a beautiful blond-haired boy approaching. He tossed back his hair, and looked over at
me. He had the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen on anyone. They literally sparkled under the
overhead lights.

Megan rushed over and grabbed his arm. “Joshua!” she exclaimed. She pulled him over to Shade. “I want
you to meet Shade, the stage manager.” When he extended his hand for Shade to shake, he flirtatiously
scanned his body.

“Shade,” he replied as he held his hand. “I’ve been dying to meet you.” He then glanced over at me with a
sinister grin.


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Chapter 22      Return to TMJ
Birds Don't Sing
   Before a Storm
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