The fact that Kyle and I had made up, and that our friendship was back on track, was like a huge weight that had been lifted off my shoulders. I slept well that night, for the first time since the fight, and was in a pretty chirpy mood the next morning at swim prac while training the juniors.
Wingnut seemed to think that I was pushing him too hard, and, at one stage, I thought he was gonna yell at me to get well and truly fucked, but he resisted the temptation, and followed orders. Good for him.
Later, I was sitting in the stand with Kyle, watching the juniors train, and trying to spot their mistakes, when Wingnut left the pool and approached us, dripping wet, and looking like a little Adonis.
"So, are you guys friends now?"
"We never stopped being friends," I explained. "We had a fight… that's all. And that's a lot different to not being friends."
"Oh?" the grommet placed his hands on his hips, and gave us a mock pissed-off look. "So are you two gonna make me your target now? Huh? You need someone to screw around, and it's gonna be me, huh? Just 'cause you're not giving each other a hard time anymore? Is that it?"
I picked up the cheeky little bugger, threw him over my shoulder, and carried him to the water's edge where I jumped in, still carrying the kid. A few moments later, I exited the pool, holding my trophy… Wingnut's Speedos.
"Give those back here!" he yelled as he shook his fist at me, and cracked up the whole team. I was surprised that the little dude wouldn't leave the water until one of his friends brought him a towel. I thought he would've relished the opportunity to flaunt his larger-than-average cock for a kid his age. But, no, he chose not to. He laughed along with everyone else, though. If he hadn't, he would've been dissed big time by his peers.
That afternoon, as the three of us walked home together, Wingnut and I were enjoying taking the piss outa each other.
"You'd better watch your back, Mark… or Super Glue your Speedos to your ass."
"You want your face seriously re-arranged?"
"Oh, yeah? And I suppose you'll get Kyle to help you, 'cause you've got no chance on your own."
Wingnut had a cool way of sending himself up, and making us all laugh. He was the kinda kid you just couldn't help liking.
That night, I rocked around to Carol's house to tell her about Kyle and I, and how we'd patched things up. Steph was there, as usual, feeling miserable about her fling with Steve, and the damage it had caused to her relationship with Kyle. "So why don't you phone him?"
"Are you kidding, Mark? I did a couple of days ago, and he was like ice. Hey, Mark, will you phone him?" she pleaded. "Kinda sus him out? See if he wants to talk to me?"
"OK, but don't blame me if says no." I used a phone at the other end of the house to call my bud. "Hey, Kyle! How's it going?"
"Tops. Hey, listen, I'm at Carol's house, and Steph is here. You wanna speak to her? She didn't wanna phone you in case you put the phone down on her. Hey, if you're not up to it, I can tell her that you’re not home or something."
After a fairly short phone convo, Steph returned to the room where both Carol and I were curious to know what had happened. At least it was cool to see Steph smiling for a change, and looking a lot better than she had for a week. "I apologized to Kyle for screwing things up between us, and said that I'd like us to be friends again… y'know, at least speak to each other… and maybe go out sometime."
"And what did he say? You don't have to tell us if you don't wanna," Carol added.
"Well, he said it would be like starting over… he wants to take it one step at a time."
"Did he say anything about Steve?"
"Yeah, he said that Wingnut had seen Steve in the surf a lot, and that he was cool with Wingnut, but that Steve hadn't tried to contact Kyle."
"Did you tell him that Steve's always phoning you?"
"Yep. I told him that Steve wanted to go out with me, now that Kyle and I weren't together any more. But I made sure that Kyle knew I wasn't interested in Steve. "You know Steve," I said… "doesn't stop him from trying." Then Kyle said that he thought he knew Steve, but really didn't, and asked me how I felt about him. So I told Kyle that I didn't feel anything for Steve, and that he was just a friend. Anyway, Kyle said that he's just taking things kinda slowly at the moment, and that he'd wait to see how things turn out. He's willing to give us another try, though."
"Are you gonna call him again?"
"Yeah… I said maybe I'd call him tomorrow… and he said that would be cool."
Next morning, during breaks between swim training, I sat with Kyle and pretended that I didn't know anything about the details of the phone convo between him and Steph. "She seemed a lot better after you'd chatted with her. Maybe you two can just start out being friends again."
"That's pretty much what Steph and I agreed on."
"Oh, fuck, Kyle, I think girls were put on this planet to give us guys a hard time."
"Oh? I thought it was the other way around," he laughed.
"You know what I mean, Kyle. Girls can be so fulla shit. Carol says she can't understand what the big deal is… I mean about the Steve thing… and why everyone just can't be friends. She thinks that you're treating Steph a bit rough. Anyway, I'm staying out of it, otherwise I'll just lose my cool… and you don't wanna be around when Carol and I start arguing."
"Oh, fucking hell, yeah! She starts throwing things at me when she really loses it. The best part, though, is afterwards, when we make up, 'cause then she's like an animal. Whoa!"
"You really like her, huh?"
"Lemme tell you… Carol is everything that's good about me. She's helped me a lot. I was totally off the rails before I met her. It was my mission to get plastered and look for fights."
Kyle's sarcastic grin spread across his impish face. "So what's changed?"
"Yeah, right," I laughed, "you haven't seen me when I'm really in the mood to do damage. If you do see the signals, just leave me alone. Well… come to think of it, you don't know when to leave me alone, so you're always getting hammered. I must say, though, that your face is looking a lot better. I like the new shape."
"Didn't realize that I'd done that much damage, though. I must admit, I didn't mean to give you stitches."
"You didn't. Steve did."
Huh? That took me totally by surprise. "You're kidding! I didn't even know that he'd hit you!"
"Is the bruise on your ribs a lucky punch, too?"
"What can I say?" he shrugged. "I forgot all the boxing training you gave me."
"I honestly didn't think he had it in him to hit you."
Kyle's sarcasm surfaced again. "Neither did I. I thought he'd just stand there and let me smack him."
"He never said a word about hitting you when he phoned me."
"Yeah, he phones… just to check how it's going with me. He wants to go out next Friday or Saturday night. Wanna come along?"
"I dunno… things are definitely different between Steve and me, now."
"I guess so. I didn't know that he'd beaten you so badly, though. I thought it was me. I didn't think Steve had it in him to hit anyone… and definitely not you. But I guess you thought you could just walk up and smack him around, anyway."
"I hadn't realized how much bigger and stronger he'd gotten. He's like six foot now! He was a grommet when I first met him."
"I guess he also knew what was coming when you pitched up at his house. It's weird, though, that he didn't say anything to me about it."
"Nothing at all?"
"Oh, he said that you were there, and that you guys had a bit of a push and shove. That was it. And that's when I found out that he was gonna ask Steph to go steady with him, now that you guys weren't together."
"Steve? Steady? Yeah, right."
Anyway, the convo wasn't really going anywhere, so it shifted to talking about the swimming, and how the guys were preparing for the upcoming tour. We agreed that Ross was gonna kick some serious ass, but Kyle was confident that I'd do well, too. "I've been watching you, Mark. You're getting better and better all the time. You're swimming like a damn dolphin, only you're better looking. Well..."
After swim prac, it was the normal story in the showers. I'd waited for the rest of the guys to vacate before I entered… closely followed by Kyle. Jeez! If I hadn't known him better, I would've clobbered him!
"Kyle? Why don't you shower with the other guys?"
"I'm shy," he grinned as he turned on the tap.
"Yeah, fucking right. YOU?"
"OK… honest… I come in here after the other guys have gone so that I can see you naked."
"Fuck off, Kyle. And point your damn woody somewhere else!"
Why me? What was it about me that attracted this crazy dude? Mind you, I was glad for whatever it was about me that made him wanna be my friend… not that I had a fucking clue what it was. Ever since I'd known him, I'd given him a million reasons to avoid me like the fucking plague. So what was it about me? My bod? Hey, there were plenty of other guys on the swim team with cool bods, so it had to be more than just that.
I was sooooo tempted to ask him what it was about me that he found interesting or attractive, but I figured I'd get a whole load of fucking bullshit, so I resisted. Besides, Kyle rarely revealed what was truly in his heart of hearts. He was a lot like me in that respect. He didn't like mushy stuff, and preferred to communicate his feelings by deed rather than words.
"Are you scared that my woody is gonna give you a woody?"
"You're just too fucking outrageous, Kyle. Too fucking outrageous."
"You've got cute buns."
Sometimes, it seemed to me as if I were some kinda large piece of rock that Kyle was patiently chiseling away at, like some sculptor trying to shape a meaningless stone into something worthwhile. The most puzzling thing was that he was doing it with love and affection, rather than for some selfish motive. There was absolutely nothing selfish about Kyle. No doubt about that. I would've known in an instant if his motives had been superficial. Nope, this guy was genuine through and through, and that's what made it so damn difficult for me to treat him like any other guy. Sure, he joked around, and was often fulla shit, but it didn't take a genius to read between his flippant lines. He loved me. And I was fucked if I knew the reason why.
And did I love him? Fuck, who knew? Love wasn't a word that I associated with guys. My father had shown his love for me by belting the shit outa me. Then he split when I was seven. Later, my mom found a new man who took over where my dad had left off. So whatever I felt for Kyle, it was something that I didn't really have a word for. All I was really certain of was that I wanted to be his friend. Big fucking time.
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