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