Later, during class, a guy sitting near me leaned over. "Hey, Mark," he laughed. "You're a pretty lucky dude."
"Yeah? Why's that?"
"Your chick, Carol. She's the best fuck I've had in ages."
I was on top of the smartass before he knew what was happening, but it didn't last long. Kyle and two of his buds pulled me off the dude. He wiped blood from his mouth and nose then taunted me. "C'mon, you mother fucker." He was dancing around like some dumbfuck jerk. I could've flattened the guy, but didn't get the chance.
"What's going on here?" the teacher demanded to no avail. It was a foolish question, anyway, 'cause we kids had a rule: never rat on another dude, no matter who he was or what he'd done. "You, with the blood. Go to the washroom and clean yourself up."
I immediately told the teacher that I needed to go to the boy's room, but Kyle was right on my ass. "What do you think you're doing?"
"Fuck off, Kyle. This is none of your fucking business."
"Yeah, it is, actually," he said as he grabbed me and pushed me up against a wall, then eyeballed me with the same look of determination I'd often seen in the gym.
"What makes it your business, huh?"
"'Cause you're my friend, and you're gonna end up on suspension."
"So who the fuck cares?" I was so damn angry, I was on the verge of tears.
"I do," he insisted. "Leave this shit 'til the morning. Take it out on me instead."
"Hey, tell you what, friend and all, if you don't move, I'm gonna fucking move you."
"Yeah? OK, so go ahead and hit me. It's the only fucking language you understand, anyway. So, go for it."
I gave Kyle a hard shove which sent him flat on his ass, then I took off down the passageway in time to catch up with the other guy. I had him pinned to the wall when Kyle arrived once more on the scene. "So, c'mon," I snarled at the kid. "We're alone now. So tell me again what a good fuck Carol is, huh?" The kid's head spun sideways as I flathanded him across the face.
"Leave him, Mark."
"Stay out of it, Kyle," I glared at my bud, then returned my attention to the kid who was giving me the evil eye, so I smacked him again. "Hey, I'm talking to you! So who's a good fuck?"
"You're such a big shot, figure it out for yourself."
"Your mother?" I felt Kyle trying to pull me away from the dude, but I just shrugged him off and gave the kid my most intense stare. "What's the story about Carol?"
"No story," he admitted with fear in his eyes. "I was bullshitting. Someone dared me to rile you."
I turned to walk away, then swung back and fisted the kid right on the cheek. As I walked back toward class, Kyle was beside me trying hard to keep up with my long strides.
"Make you feel better?" he said, sarcastically.
"Then how come you look so fucking miserable? Hey, you know why they do it, don't you?"
"Piss on your battery?"
"'Cause they can?"
"No, 'cause they know you've got a short fuse. Obviously Barry didn't or he wouldn't have taken the dare. You messed him up fucking good."
"Hey, just stop for a sec," he demanded as he grabbed my arm, so I stood there and glared at him. "We're like really up and down friends, you and me. I wish you'd just listen instead of getting so fucking aggro. You could be suspended if Barry goes to the head."
"I've been suspended before. It's no big deal."
"A suspension goes on your report. No sport privileges."
"So what? What do you want, Kyle?"
"I want you to know that I'm your friend, and I'd rather you talk to me about things instead of flying off the fucking handle. I could see that the guys were baiting you, and I don't think they wanted it to end like this."
Dammit, the fucking dude was getting to me. And he was right. I did feel miserable about hitting Barry. "I know you're my friend, and you know me. But I'll tell you something about friends. Once I get on a suspension and get kicked outa the boxing and swim teams, then let me see how many friends I've got."
"Hey," he grinned, "you can still come and shower with me in the mornings in the gym."
Fuck! How was I supposed to stay mad when I had the school comedian for a friend? I just couldn't help cracking up. "You're crazy. Totally fucking crazy. Nobody else would've chased after me to stop me."
"I didn't stop you."
"Yeah, 'cause you're so fucking trying -- that's why."
As it turned out, Barry didn't report the incident, but I figured he might've given his buds something to think about for getting him to piss on my battery. As for Kyle, well, he was one helluva dude. I'd never had a friend like him in my life before, and maybe never would again. Jeez! A guardian angel with spiky black hair and a boner!
It was in the gym next morning when I discovered yet another side to my lunatic bud. He was telling me about how excellent the surf had been even though it was stormy, dark and raining. He called it the 'Dawn Patrol'.
"You must've froze your balls off!"
"Nearly. Actually, I was all nice and warm in bed when my dad came into my room. He was so damn amped about going for a surf 'cause he knew that the waves were kicking serious ass. So we both went down in this really eerie, gray light 'cause there's no way the sun's gonna peek through all that early morning fog. Anyway, my dad was catching some really wicked waves. I'd never seen him in surf that big before, but he was styling big time. We only surfed for about 45 minutes, then I had to get ready for school and he had to go to work. He would've been late, but he was so damn stoked."
"Must be cool to have a dad like that -- more like a friend than a dad."
"Yeah, he's wicked. I wanna be just like him one day."
"That's a pretty awesome thing to say about your dad."
"Hey, you've gotta come down on a Dawn Patrol one morning -- it would have to be summer, though, 'cause you don't have a wettie -- and maybe we could borrow a body board or something. I want you to see the sun rise over the mountains when everything is so damn perfect."
"That good, huh?"
"You better believe it. So what did you do last night?"
"Same thing as every night. Nothing. Homework, listened to music, a bit of TV, then bed."
"What time did you get to bed?"
"About 9:30. You?"
"Shit, only about 10:30."
"Hey, if you ever get bored or anything, you must come around. You don't need an invite."
"That's cool. Thanks. There's always something around the house that needs doing, though." Why did I say that? It's like I was making some excuse not to visit. I guessed being Kyle's friend was kinda scary in a way. He was peeling away layers of myself and exposing the real me. Yeah... it was kinda scary.
"You guys going out tonight?"
"Not sure what Carol wants to do. Maybe give the club a break and go see a movie or something."
"I need to phone Steph to see what she's doing."
"You guys OK now?"
"Yeah, I guess."
There was no doubt that Kyle was having an enormous impact on me -- more than anybody I'd ever known. Sure, I still had moods and a short fuse, but I was becoming more aware of them, as though I was standing to one side and looking back at myself. Until I met Kyle, I was only conscious of what was around me, not what was inside me.
And Barry? Well, we got to talking in class and everything was cool. He was sorry about baiting me and I was sorry for hitting him. Actually, he was a pretty neat kinda dude, and not the asshole I thought he was when I had him pinned against the wall. Yeah. Kyle scored another point.
Apart from Friday night out with the guys and Carol, the weekend was pretty fucked. Lots of chores around the house and things that needed fixing. So where was mom's boyfriend when there was shit to do? He was a lazy SOB who treated me like I was some kinda boy slave. If it hadn't been for mom, I would have happily let the fucking house fall down around our ears. Anyway, I was in an aggro mood again on Monday morning and gave Kyle a bit of a hard time in the gym. Not that I had it all my own way. He knocked the fuck outa me as well, and I didn't think he realized just how much power there was on the end of his punches. He was mumbling something about a corrupted diskette that had the whole story of his trip with Steve to Jeffrey's Bay on it. "I don't fucking believe this!" he kept saying. "It's like two months work down the fucking drain!" Then his glove would connect with my face. Maybe it was a new strategy. If it was, it worked.
By Tuesday morning, I was in a better mood. We were in the showers after gym when Kyle noticed my riproaring boner. Well, I guessed he didn't need 20-20 vision. The damn thing would've been obvious to somebody who was waving a white stick around.
"You thinking of Carol or just excited to see me naked?"
"Seriously, I've noticed that whenever we have a really hard session, I get a hardon when we're done."
"Must be from me touching you," he giggled.
"Fuck, Kyle, be serious. I mean, look at you as well."
"Yeah," he cracked, "I get hard every time I smack you around."
I shook my head in exasperation. "You can't be serious. Not even for a minute."
"Hey! I don't know what brought it on! I'm forever getting a damn boner!"
"So I noticed."
"Oh? You noticed?"
"Fuck off. You know what I mean."
"Yeah, well I can't help it. I figure it's also 'cause of the sessions. Gets my blood flowing or something."
"Yeah, right." I wanted to suggest that his boner was the result of ogling my bod, but I figured I'd better not. It would only have led to complications which I wasn't prepared to deal with. But it was pretty obvious to me that Kyle had given me more than just a cursory glance. And my boner? Yeah, well I didn't really have an explanation for that, except that physical contact with Kyle -- even in the boxing ring -- kinda sent messages to my groin for some reason. Dicks did things that weren't always the result of a conscious decision. Problem was, when they decided to react it wasn't exactly the world's best kept secret.
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