For the two weeks Kyle was off school with bronchitis, which his doc said could've become pneumonia if he hadn't caught it in time, I spent most afternoons at Kyle's house, helping him with the stuff he missed at classes. I didn't tell him so, but I missed him at school, too. I'd gotten so used to him sticking to me like shit to a blanket during breaks, I felt as if he'd been surgically removed or something. Even in the gym before school, it was like a damn morgue without my whacky bud to spar with. Yeah, we'd become a lot closer than I'd realized, and his recent absence really brought that home to me.
Anyway, it was way cool to rock over to his house almost every afternoon, and sit with him in his room, with its trademark surfboard hanging on the wall, and all the surfing posters, including the one I'd bought him for Christmas, and going over our homework together. It was kinda weird in a way, though, 'cause I often felt more like his tutor than his bud. Kyle was pretty smart, but not as academically gifted as I was.
"How come you don't look like a nerd… with glasses and a skinny bod?"
"I don't get it, Mark. Your notes are always so damn neat, and you breeze through exams like you've got a photographic memory or something, then you beat the shit outa me in the gym, and get all sweaty, and your muscles…"
"Sometimes I wish I was a nerd… then you wouldn't crap on so much about my bod. Anyway, what's having muscles gotta do with having brains? Who says you can't have both?"
"It's not fucking fair, that's all. And stop grinning like a fucking Cheshire cat!"
"Hey, did I tell you I might have a job?"
"I talked to the guy who runs the pizza restaurant. He said he'll give me a couple of training sessions. If I can handle it, and learn the menu, and shit like that, he'll give me a job as a part-time waiter."
"Mark, the pizza boy!"
"Fuck off, Kyle."
"Hey, you'll be great. I can see you now… going up to a table and saying, "What kinda shit do you want on your fucking pizza, assholes?" And with that, Kyle alternated between laughing and coughing his lungs out. If he hadn't been so damn sick, I would've clobbered him.
The week leading up to June 1 was study, study, study. Then it was exams, exams, exams. Fortunately, the exams started on a Thursday, so after two days of brain strain, we had the weekend to recover before the exams resumed the following Monday.
On the Friday night, Kyle, Steph, Carol and I went to Corners, but we behaved ourselves, which surprised the hell outa the girls. Kyle was quieter than usual, probably 'cause he was still recovering from his bout of bronchitis. But I figured it was also 'cause he didn't do as well with his papers as he'd have liked. It'd been a shit term for him, and the pressure was on big time to do well in our final year of high school. I was pretty chuffed about my own efforts, though. But it wasn't due to luck. I'd studied long and hard for those exams.
On Monday night, I was in Kyle's room again, sitting beside him at his desk, helping him study, when he put his hand on my leg. At first, it didn't faze me too much, but when his hand began to move toward my crotch, I freaked.
"Jesus, Kyle! Your folks are home!"
"Chill for fuck sake! It's not like I'm gonna jack you or anything."
"No, of course not. Your hand is on my crotch. Perfectly explainable. You just wanna keep it warm. That's how I'll explain it to your dad when he walks in. Yeah, right."
Next morning in the gym, I was taking it pretty easy with Kyle. He still wasn't feeling hundreds, so I was pulling my punches. Then, outa the fucking blue, he whalloped me with a punch that could've flattened Mike Tyson. My instinctive reaction was to send him sprawling on his ass.
"Yay! Fuck, Mark… cool it!"
"Me? Cool it? Fuck, Kyle, do you realize how hard you just hit me?"
"Yeah," he groaned as he got to his feet. "But you can handle it."
"So can you."
"Take your fucking excuses somewhere else. You gonna fight or what?"
Then it was on for young and old alike as we danced, ducked, punched, skipped, and bounced around the ring. Afterwards, we were both totally exhausted, but helluva pleased with ourselves.
"Hey, you're pretty damn good, Kyle."
By Friday, our exams were over for the time being, and so were the storms. It seemed almost as if the gods were trying to dramatize our week of mental exertion by sending in the heavy, rolling clouds, the constant dazzling flashes of lightning, and the ear-splitting claps of thunder that threatened to reduce every building to rubble. Our papers were held in a hall, rather than a regular classroom, and we were only allowed to take in one piece of equipment… a pen.
As Kyle and I walked home from school, I announced that I was in the mood to get totally slaughtered that night.
"What about Carol?"
"I need to just let my hair down after this last week. I can't believe we've still got another week of exams. I'm totally strung out."
"Yeah, well Carol will string you out, and hang you out to dry, if you get outa hand."
"No she won't, 'cause I promised her some serious loving tonight."
"Oh? So when you're so damn trashed that you can't get it up, she's gonna be OK with that?"
"I can always get it up, bro. Just watch me."
"Nothing. Anyway," he laughed, "I can see you tomorrow morning telling me all about how Carol was bitching."
"Hey, it's you who can't get it up, bro. Me? Anytime."
Well, I guessed I should've listened to Kyle. At the end of the night, he and I ended up walking outa Corners, arm in arm, swaying all over the fucking place like a couple of drunken sailors, which pissed the girls off big time. Carol was so mad, she became coldly silent. But Steph was a little more heated and vocal as she burnt Kyle's ear.
"You encouraged him!"
"Fucking hell, Steph, Mark needs no encouragement from me! Anyway, he and Carol have got a date in bed tonight. How about you?"
"I'm going home to sleep, Kyle. I'm really upset that you and Mark spoiled our evening like this."
"Come on! For fuck sake, Steph."
Well, it must've had something to do with the fact that Kyle was slurring his speech, and having considerable difficulty putting one foot in front of the other, that failed to convince Steph of his willingness to compromise. "Just take me home, Kyle." You could've put Steph's words in a cooler, and kept beer chilled for a fucking month.
Sunday was Father's Day, not something I'd thought all that much about in previous years. But after having met Kyle, and his folks, and getting along famously with his dad, Father's Day had become relevant. Suddenly, I realized what was missing from my house. Sure, my real dad had contacted me some time ago, and tried to make amends, but I told him to fuck off, and that I didn't have a father. That's the way the situation would've remained forever if it hadn't been for Kyle and his dad.
On the Saturday night before Father's Day, I slept over at Kyle's.
"Steph OK now?"
"Yeah, I phoned this morning and apologized. She seemed to be OK. How's Carol?"
"Did you get it up?"
We were both sitting on his bed, dressed only in our boxers, and listening to music. And, yes, he was staring at me. But I'd gotten used to that… well, kinda used to it. What I couldn't figure… and there was no way I was gonna ask him… was how come his eyes could never get enough of my bod. He must've known every square millimeter of my skin in all its detail, yet he'd continue gawking. He had to be the craziest dude on the fucking planet. I must've been the second… 'cause I was in his room… by choice!
"You get your dad something for Father's Day?"
"Yep. Check this out. I haven't wrapped it yet." He opened a drawer and produced a pair of satin PJ shorts, like boxer shorts. "Cool, huh? And I also made him this card…"
"Hang on a sec!" I couldn't believe what I was seeing. "These shorts have got 'Eat Me' printed on them!"
"Yeah… neat, huh? Anyway, I made this cool card and…"
"What's your dad gonna say when he sees a pair of shorts with 'Eat Me' printed on them?"
"I dunno. I guess he'll wear them to bed and… well… y'know. Anyway, I made this totally cool Father's Day card using the pic from Endless Summer… the surfing movie. Wicked, huh? Hey… what's up? Mark? Your eyes are all watery."
"Nothing. Forget it."
It was about 2am when Kyle asked me if I wanted to sleep in his bed instead of on the spare mattress on the floor.
"Have I got a choice?"
"You've always got a choice, but I'd like you to sleep in my bed."
"Why?" As soon as the word had escaped from my mouth, I realized I shouldn't have said it.
"'Cause I like to feel you up close."
"I'm not Steph."
How the fuck was I gonna argue with this dude? He was just so damn honest, and up front. When he said stuff that would normally freak a guy, especially a guy like me, he said it in a way that wasn't confronting. There was an innocence about Kyle, like a child's, or a dog's. He could express his most private feelings without fear of rejection. For some reason, he had the confidence to speak his mind, and his confidence was completely disarming, as though you were left with no choice but to do his bidding without a single word of protest.
Anyway, dammit, I climbed into bed with the crazy guy and he wasted no time in putting his hand on my thigh. Surprise, surprise. But I willingly reciprocated, and we stroked each other's boners, not in a passionate way, but in a caring, affectionate manner, until we fell asleep.
Next morning, I woke to find Kyle hard up against me, with an arm and a leg draped over me, and his hand on my stomach. I had to smile. There was absolutely no doubt about his feelings for me. He loved me.
"Hey, Kyle. Rise and shine, dude."
"Five more minutes."
It was kinda weird that nothing had happened during the night… no sex, no jacking off or whatever. Just being close, and enjoying that closeness. Who would've thought that two horny guys with hyperactive testosterone, and dicks with a determined mind of their own, could get a wicked high outa just being together in the same bed, cuddling? Well, hey, he was doing all the fucking cuddling… but, still…
After I'd showered, and wished Kyle's dad a happy Father's Day, I returned to my bud's room. "Hey, Kyle."
"You wanna come back to bed, right?"
"Wrong. You wanna ask your folks something for me?"
"Can I use your phone? I'll pay for the call."
"It'll be cool. Go for it."
"Ask your folks first. I wanna phone long distance."
"Hang. I'll take a quick shower."
Ten minutes later, Kyle's folks said it was cool to use the phone in the den. My big-ears bud left the room, but I was pretty sure that he'd gone only a short distance up the hall so that he could at least catch my end of the convo. Oh, well… I'd been working up to this call for a while, and Kyle's curiosity wasn't gonna stop me now.
"Yeah. It's me. Just wanted to wish you happy Father's Day."
"Mark! This is so… well, I never expected… my God! How are you?"
"It's going OK. School's great. Mom's fine."
"Is she there?"
"No, she doesn't know I'm phoning. I'm calling from a friend's house."
"I'll pay for the call. Hang up and I'll call you back. What's the number?"
"I've got money, dad. Stop stressing."
"I'll be in Cape Town on business soon. Can you get some time off to meet somewhere?"
"I'll see. When?"
"I'll let you know. Maybe we can get together for a while. There's a lot I wanna tell you, need to tell you, but not over the phone."
"I love you, son. Thanks for making my day."
"Love you too, dad."
Whoa! That wasn't so easy! I replaced the phone, then went to the living room where I paid Kyle's mom for the call. The moment he and I were outa earshot of his folks, big ears decided to quiz me.
"What made you call your dad? I thought you weren't gonna speak to him again."
"I dunno… seeing you with your folks… and, anyway, things change. I can't go through my whole life being a jerk." I paused a moment while I tried to collect my thoughts, which were all over the fucking place. Besides, I was still reeling from the call. "And, I dunno, man. It's kinda crazy. I wanna see him again. We haven't spoken face to face for years."
"He's coming to town on business, and wants me to go out with him one night."
"That'll be cool, huh?" Kyle was giving me that same wide-eyed, innocent look of his again.
"Yeah, right," he laughed. "You?"
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