During the week that the events at the end of this chapter were occurring, the Captain was able to email me, but my email wasn't getting through to him. In desperation, I tried everything I could think of. Meanwhile, the Captain was having one of the worst weeks of his young life. I felt helpless and frustrated by my inability to console my friend. Nevertheless, he kept writing me, and telling me about the things that you'll read below. One of his emails was titled, "Friends are there to screw you over... I've just learnt that". Can you imagine how I felt, as his friend, not being able to contact him? For all I knew, he could've been thinking that I was ignoring him... or worse. Eventually, I contacted Eudoramail, and the email problem was resolved. I'll never forget that week, and I'll never forget the Captain's faith in me as he continued to write, believing that, somehow, I was still out there in the vastness of cyber space reading his words, and caring about him. Moreover, I felt so damn privileged that he'd chosen me as his confidant, even while his world was crumbling all around him. Hey, Captain, you rule, mate. BFT. Thanks for being my friend. Fossil.
Over the next few days, Kyle was becoming more and more depressed about his swimming, especially in the freestyle. It wasn't just 'cause Ross and I were creaming him… if that had been his only worry, he would've at least been third fastest in the team. But there were five other guys who were also flying through the water, which gave Kyle no hope. The good news was that he was doing OK in the backstroke and butterfly.
Kyle was a pretty proud kinda dude, and it seemed to me that his pride was taking a real fucking battering 'cause of his poor performance, which was being watched by his two best buds, Wingnut and me. One afternoon, after training, I suggested that maybe he wasn't using his legs properly, and he almost bit my head off. Then I asked him if he was gonna shower, and walk home with me. He shook his head, pulled on his tracksuit, and split. He looked as though he would've burst into tears if he'd tried to say something. Wingnut was also keeping a safe distance for fear of becoming the target of Kyle's frustration.
I didn't know quite what to do… then I figured I skip the shower, sprint home, and phone him from there. Maybe he wouldn't feel so bad if we weren't talking face to face.
"What's up, Kyle?"
"Nothing." His voice was still shaky, and brimming with emotion.
"He's out the back picking up the dog crap. But he hasn't spoken to me."
"Hey, y'know what you're always saying about being there if I need to talk? Well, I'm here. I know you don't wanna talk right now, but when you do, just shout. OK?"
As I replaced the phone, I thought about how weird it was that he was trying to help me the other day when I was punching the crap outa the bag, and now the shoe was on the other foot. Despite our volatile natures, though, the bottom line was that we were there for each other when it really counted.
Next morning, Kyle bombed outa the freestyle trials, and I was disappointed that my bud hadn't made it into the top six. To make matters worse, I'd beaten Ross by about half a second, which meant that my success had rubbed salt into Kyle's wounded pride.
In the change room, I felt a sudden stinging sensation on my back as somebody gave me a helluva slap, then turned to see Kyle. He was lucky that I didn't fist him. "Fuck, Kyle, that is painful, bro."
"So, you want me to help you outa your black Speedos?"
"Go fuck your hand," I said as I slid my Speedos down my legs.
"Can I fuck yours?"
"Shuddup, Kyle, for fuck's sake! What if someone hears you?"
"So, can I?" he whispered.
"OK... so can I wash your back, then?"
"Jesus Christ, Kyle, stop that!"
"Oh, just in case you haven't noticed, you've got a boner."
"Fuck!" I sat down on the bench, and put the towel over my lap. "Go away, Kyle… please."
He must've realized that I was getting pretty pissed at him, 'cause he just shrugged, and said, "OK. See ya later."
He was definitely in the mood to annoy me, probably 'cause of his failure in the trials. But, the next day, he managed to turn the tables. When he came third in the 100m fly, I was glad for his improvement. But I hadn't expected him to do much better than that… and neither had anybody else. We were all blown away big time when he came first in both the 200 and 400. "You got lucky," I smiled as I exited the water.
"Maybe I'll get lucky again."
And he did… well, maybe it was more than luck. Maybe the frustration of the previous few days had been replaced by sheer determination. He came second in the 400m backstroke behind one of the fastest swimmers, a cocky young dude named Kenny. After the swim, Kyle walked up to Kenny with his hand outstretched to congratulate him, but Kenny shouldered past my bud. I could see the fire in Kyle's eyes at having been snubbed.
"Cease! Desist!" I grinned as I approached Kyle. "Do not think those thoughts… 'cause I'm a prefect, and I'll bust you if you lay a hand on Kenny."
"Yep, but a big cunt, even though he's only fifteen."
"Fifteen? What's he doing on the senior squad?"
"'Cause he's faster than you in the backstroke, and he's right on your tail in the fly."
"He's fifteen, and he just fucking pushed right past me? I should smack him just for shoving a senior. Fuck, I would've gotten smacked when I was fifteen."
"That's 'cause you're so damn hittable," I laughed. "Hey, that was some awesome swimming, boyo."
"Thanks. It's a pity Wingnut had to leave before the trials, though. I wish he'd seen me kick ass."
"Hey, you wanna come around to my place after school? I've just gotta get changed, then I'm meeting Carol."
When we entered my room, Kyle sat on the side of my bed, then watched me get changed. I was wearing a pair of track pants with nothing underneath, and Kyle was making no secret of the fact that he was gawking at the shape of my furniture through the soft material. It didn't bother me, though. I was kinda getting used to his fascination with my bod, even though I didn't understand why he was the exception to the rule. My rule.
I pulled on a pair of boxers, which were designed with a neat pouch that accommodated my jewels perfectly, and formed a nice bulge that always managed to turn Carol on. As I was about to discover, she wasn't the only one.
Kyle rose from the bed, stood behind me, and placed his hand on my crotch. I instinctively turned around, and faced him.
"Whoa, boy! Hey, Kyle, that's not why I asked you to come here with me, bro."
His face turned instant scarlet. "Fuck… sorry."
I could see that he was not only embarrassed, but also needed a bit of friendly reassurance. "Hey, Kyle… it's cool, bro," I smiled as I placed my hands on his shoulders. "It's just that there's a time and a place for everything, and I don't want you getting the wrong idea about us. OK? What happened between us was pretty special for me, and I want those times to stay special."
"I'm sorry… I thought…"
"You thought I invited you around to jack me off?"
"Kinda." By then he was finding it difficult to look me in the eye.
"Yeah, well, you're my friend, and I thought it'd be cool to have you around while I'm getting changed, and then I can walk you to your place before I go to Carol's."
"I feel pretty fucking stupid."
"Why? 'Cause you touched my dick? Here, man." I wrapped my fist around his boner, and gave it a quick, friendly tug.
After grabbing my jeans, and pulling them on, I sat on the side of my bed while I got into my runners, and tied the laces.
"Your lats. Fucking wicked! They're like steel rods running down the sides of your bod. And your biceps form a tight ball everytime you pull on your laces."
"You're talking like I'm the only dude in the world with muscles."
"Thanks for not getting mad at me."
"Mad at you? I'm always mad at you, bro. Well, nearly always," I grinned.
In the change room at school the next day, Kyle told me about the practical joke he'd played on Wingnut, where he had Steph on the phone, but the grommet didn't believe him. "He grabbed the phone thinking that nobody was there, and started asking Steph to blow him. You should've seen his face when he suddenly realized that Steph was really on the line!"
I totally collapsed, and it was a full minute before I could speak. "You are fucking wicked, Kyle. I would've clobbered you."
"He did," he said, showing me the bruise on his arm. "Check that."
"Good for him."
"Yeah? Well, you should see the bruises on his legs."
"So you beat up on lighties? You're a bully."
"He's a tough little shit. Anyway, how did it go at Carol's yesterday?"
"Oh," I smiled, "we had our ups and downs."
"You really dig her, huh?"
"Did you ever feel that way about Steph?"
"You sure you wanna go in that direction?"
"I don't think Steph and I got any further than a fuck when we needed it. I'm surprised you've lasted as long as you have."
"It's my charm."
"I just don't wanna see you get hurt, buddy."
"Hey, we're in love."
"You're in love!"
"Why do you say it like that?"
The moment of truth had arrived. "Can I tell you something without you rushing off to tell Steph?"
"Not sure… depends."
"Then I can't tell you."
"OK… I won't tell Steph."
"Sorry, Kyle," I said, after changing my mind. "I can't tell you."
"Ahhh, fuck! Don't do this! Now you're gonna have me wondering what the fuck's up the whole damn day!"
"Hey, it's nothing anyway."
"So tell me."
"Forget it, I'm sorry I even said anything."
"Some kinda friend you are."
"I fucking hate it when you say that! So you're not gonna tell me?"
"Pretend I didn't say anything."
"Yeah, right. So I'll go and ask Steph what it was that you never told me."
"Now you're being fucking stupid."
Touche. "OK, if you're so desperate to know, why don't you ask Steve?"
"Ask him what?"
"What it was like fucking Steph."
"If Steve told you that, then he's lying."
"No, he didn't tell me… Carol did. She wasn't supposed to tell me, but we've got this weird relationship where we don't have secrets."
"Steph wouldn't do that."
"No? She's a fucking slut, and that's why I left her."
I didn't see Kyle's fist coming. The next thing I knew, I was flat on my ass with a sore jaw. The damn bastard had almost knocked me out. Then I struggled to my feet. My bottom lip was already starting to swell. How I resisted the temptation to flatten him, I would never know. Instead, I just shook my head. "Fuck you, Kyle. I should break your fucking neck. You begged me to tell you, and now you can't handle the fucking truth."
"It's a lie!"
"Is it? Steve's been fucking Steph for a while now. That's the problem with having a friend like Steve… he sees every fuck as a conquest."
"Steph wouldn't do it!"
"Yeah? Well, he tried it on with Carol as well."
"He's my best friend! He wouldn't do that with my girlfriend!"
"Maybe she came onto him." I wiped my hand over my mouth, then saw blood.
"I'll phone Carol and find out if she thinks it's true."
"Leave Carol outa this, bro."
"Why? She told you, didn't she?"
"Stop being fucking childish, and just leave her alone."
"Scared I'm gonna fuck her?"
"You? Don't make me laugh, Kyle. Just don't ask me to tell you anything again. You've got a fucking short fuse, and you'd better learn to deal with it before you get hurt."
The dude was so fucking mad, he was shaking with rage. "So who's gonna hurt me? You?"
"Kyle, just quit while you're ahead. OK? Before we say things to each other that we're gonna regret later."
"Nah, let's sort it out now, and be friends later." He placed his hand on my chest and shoved me back a step.
"I can't believe you're doing this. I'm doing everything I can to stop hitting you 'cause you're my friend."
"So? Hit me!"
"Fuck off, Kyle. I'm outa here. Speak to me when you've cooled off."
As I turned to leave, he grabbed my blazer. He'd gone too far. I let him have it with a flurry of fists. He crumbled to the floor of the change room, out cold.
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