Rodney continued to watch the game, but it was obvious he was very upset. Finally, he jumped to his feet and started pacing around the room. I watched and waited for him to tell me what had happened. I was curious to know what Curtis had done to anger him so much.
“He fucking ruined the game for us,” he spat angrily.
I asked, “What happened.”
“I’ll tell you what happened,” he responded as he stood before me. “Every time someone passed him the ball, he turned it over.” He shook his head. “I ain’t talking about once or twice. He must have turned the ball over at least twenty times. When the coach pulled him out of the game, everyone in the stands booed him.”
Rodney continued to pace around the room. “I don’t know what’s happening to him. He’s been acting really weird the past couple of days.” He stopped and looked thoughtfully at me. “I mean, it’s like he’s not even here. I talk to him, and he doesn’t even act like he hears me.”
He handed me the control and said, “I’m going to bed. I hope I don’t jump his ass while he sleeps tonight.” As he walked away he muttered, “Dumb mother fucker.”
When I woke the next morning, the house was unusually quiet for a Saturday. Lane would be watching television, and Karen and my father would be in the kitchen trying to wake up over a morning cup of coffee. When I went upstairs, there was a note on the counter telling me that they had taken Lane into town to buy him some new shoes for school. If they weren’t back by noon, then I should go ahead and eat lunch alone.
After showering, I went out into the family room and turned on the television. I found an old movie I liked on the Hallmark channel. I was surprised when Rodney came downstairs because I thought I was alone in the house.
He was dressed in a wife beater and athletic shorts. As he headed to my room, he asked, “Want to work out with me?”
“Naw,” I replied, “I’m good.” He nodded his head and went inside. As I watched the movie, I could hear him occasionally counting out his reps. Twenty minutes later, he came out and plopped down on the sofa beside me.
“Man,” he moaned as he rubbed his left shoulder, “I think I overdid it.”
I laughed and said, “Still upset from last night?”
“Naw,” he replied. “I got over it.” He gave me a worried look. “You got any idea what’s going on with Curtis?”
“Why would I know,” I replied. “He doesn’t even talk to me.”
He shook his head worriedly. “Something ain’t right, Casey,” he said. “I mean, Curtis is my brother. I know everything about him. He just ain’t being himself.” He positioned himself on the sofa to face me. “Like last night, it was like he was on a different planet or something. Every time me or someone threw him the ball, he acted like he didn’t even see it.”
I suggested, “Maybe he has things on his mind.”
Rodney shook his head. “I know he’s failing some classes, and Monica broke up with him. He hasn’t said anything, but I think that mess with Mike and you upset him, too.”
“Why?” I asked sarcastically. “Because Mike didn’t finish kicking my ass?”
“He’s not that bad a guy,” replied Rodney as he shook his head. “I mean, he can be a total prick at times, but usually me and him see eye to eye on things.”
Just then, Rodney’s cell phone rang. He looked to see who was calling, and a big grin appeared on his face. I laughed when he answered it. “Rodney’s Male Stripper Service. Please leave a message and he’ll call you back when he gets dressed.” I heard a voice at the other end, but I couldn’t make out who it was. “Aw, come on,” he muttered apologetically. “I was just kidding.” He put his hand over the phone, looked at me and rolled his eyes.
Again, I heard the voice. Rodney listened a minute, then he looked over at me and asked, “You and Shade want to catch a movie tonight?”
I gave him a dumb expression and asked, “What?”
He covered the phone again and explained, “This is Megan. She wants me to take her to a movie tonight, but she won’t go with me unless you and Shade go with us.”
I laughingly joked, “I wouldn’t go out on a date with you alone, either.”
“In your dreams,” he laughed. “So, how about it? You up for a movie tonight?”
“Yeah, sure,” I replied. “I have to call Shade and see if he wants to go.”
Rodney grinned and said, “He does.”
“How do you know?”
“He’s with Megan now,” he laughed. He then told Megan that he and I would join them. We would pick her up at seven, and then we would pick up Shade at his house.
“Yes!” he exclaimed excitedly as he pumped his hand into the air. He looked at me, grinned and acted like he was going to kiss me.
I laughed and pushed him away. “What are you doing, you freak?”
“Casey,” he smiled. “You hooked me up with the most wonderful girl at our school. I don’t know how I missed her all these years.” He held out his arms again. “Come on, let me give you a kiss.”
He howled with laughter when I stood, turned around, slightly pulled my pants down and told him, “Kiss this.”
“In your dreams,” he laughed as he headed upstairs.
Shade called me about fifteen minutes later. He said he had left Megan’s house, and he was bored. He asked what I was doing, and if I wanted to hang out for a little while.
“Sure,” I replied. I looked up the stairs to make sure no one could hear me. “I’ve missed you.”
He laughed and said, “It’s only been twelve hours since you saw me.”
“That’s twelve hours too long,” I replied.
“You’re crazy,” he giggled. “I’m on my way.” He then hung up. I hurried into the bathroom, brushed my teeth and gargled with Listerine. I wasn’t sure what Shade had in mind, but I was hoping we could make out for a little while. Since no one was home but Rodney, I was sure we could find time to be alone. I hadn’t seen or heard Curtis, so I assumed he had left for the day. Besides, I wasn’t planning on us getting naked and having wild sex in the family room, although the idea did excite me. I was just hoping we could kiss passionately like we had earlier.
I was pulling a shirt over my head when the doorbell rang. I heard Rodney tell him I was in the family room. Rodney passed by and hollered downstairs that Shade was here. He was coming down the stairs by the time I made it across the room.
“Hey, you,” he smiled as he came down the stairs.
“Hi,” I replied as I looked to make sure Rodney had gone to his room. I then pulled Shade into a tight hug and kissed him.
“I’ve been thinking about you,” I whispered softly as we pulled away.
“I can tell,” he giggled as he looked down at the protrusion in my sweat pants. I laughed when he reached down and rearranged himself.
I wiggled my eyebrows and said, “Looks like you’ve been thinking about me.” I laughed louder when his face reddened.
I took his hand and led him to my room. “I want to show you something.”
He looked toward the stairs. “What about Rodney?”
“What about him?” I laughed. “Do you want to do a threesome with him?”
“NO!” he shouted as his face reddened again. “I mean, what if he comes down?”
I asked innocently, “What if he does? We’re just going to be sitting in my room talking.” I gave him a puzzled look and added, “Aren’t we?”
“You’ll find out,” he giggled as he gripped my hand as we walked across the room.
I closed the door and grabbed Shade around the waist. “Mmmm,” I moaned as I kissed him. “I’ve been wanting to do that all day.”
He pulled away, grinned and said, “Well, I’m not that kind of boy.” When he headed over to the exercise equipment, I ran over, grabbed his waist and pulled him toward the bed.
“You’re not?” I picked him up, tossed him on the bed and straddled him.
He tried to push me off and replied, “No, I’m not. I’m a Southern gentleman.”
“I bet you are, Arlon,” I giggled as I leaned in to kiss him. It surprised me when he lifted his body and tried to throw me off him.
He sneered angrily, “Let me up.” I rose off him and stood before him.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “Did I say something wrong?”
He gave me an angry look and replied, “I told you not to ever call me Arlon. Okay. That’s my daddy’s name.”
I sat down beside him and apologized, “I’m sorry, Shade. I forgot.”
He gave me a puzzled look, and then his eyes narrowed. “She told you, didn’t she?”
I had promised Megan I wouldn’t tell Shade what she had told me about his father. “Told me what?”
Shade jumped to his feet and stared down at me. “Oh, come off it, Casey. Megan told you about Daddy, didn’t she?”
I bowed my head and muttered, “Yes.”
“How much did she tell you?”
“I don’t know,” I replied. I didn’t know if there was more to the story than what she had related to me.
Shade sat down on the side of the bed. “That was a long time ago,” he said almost in a whisper. “I hardly remember it anymore.”
“Must have been hard,” I responded as I looked into his eyes.
He shrugged his shoulders and said, “The hard part is knowing my daddy is in prison cause of what some man did to me.”
I shook my head sadly and replied, “I suppose.” I reached to pull him into a hug, but he rose from the bed.
He looked down and said, “Fair is fair. You know about me. Now what about you?”
“What about me?”
He sat back down on the bed. “You ain’t been truthful with me. You still haven’t told me what you were running from that day we met.”
I sighed and replied, “Myself, mainly.”
“What do you mean by that?”
I then spent the next fifteen minutes giving him details of my life. If I knew his past, then it was fair he knew mine. I told him about my father leaving home. He listened but didn’t say anything when I told him about Rollie. I had to choke back tears a few times when I told him how my mother had turned against me after that. He only responded by calling her a bitch after I told him how she had unexpectedly packed my things and sent me to live with my father.
“So that’s it,” I said tearfully when I finished. “That day we met, I was going to run away.” He leaned in and held me as I rested my head on his shoulder. I whispered softly, “I’m glad I ran into you that day.”
He pulled away and we stared into one another’s eyes. “Me, too,” he replied as our lips met.
Soon, our kiss became more passionate. I laid him back on the bed and positioned my body over his as I pushed our erections together. When I sat up to unzip his pants, he pleaded with me to stop.
I asked, “What’s wrong?”
He crawled out from under me and sat on the edge of the bed. “I’m not ready yet,” he muttered.
I asked worriedly, “Is it because what happened to you?”
“No,” he replied. “That’s past me now.”
“Then what is it?”
“Except for what happened then, which I really don’t remember anymore,” he admitted, “I’ve never done anything with anyone?”
I grinned and asked, “So, you’re a virgin?”
“Yeah,” he replied as his face reddened.
I reached out and tried to lay him back down on the bed. “Then maybe I can teach you,” I giggled.
“No,” he replied as he sat back up. He looked into my eyes and said, “I want to do something, Casey, I really do.” He turned and looked at a poster on the wall. “But I kind of promised my mother I wouldn’t when she said I could come over here.”
“What!” I shrieked as I jumped from the bed. “You told your mother you were going to have sex with me?”
“No,” he smiled. “I told her I wouldn’t have sex.”
“You talk to your mother about things like that?” I asked incredulously. “No one talks to their mother about having sex.”
“She knows I’m gay,” he explained. He took my hand and held it. “And she knows I really like you.”
I said excitedly, “You’ve told her that?”
“Of course,” Shade replied. “How do you think she knew your name when I took you to the diner?”
I shook my head in disbelief. “I don’t believe this. You tell your mother you like me, and now she thinks we’re going to have sex?”
“I told her we wouldn’t have sex,” he reminded me.
“Jesus,” I muttered as I sat back down beside him. “Why would you talk to her about something like that?”
He answered innocently, “Because she’s my mother.”
I quickly jumped off the bed and stared down at him. “So,” I asked, “When we do have sex, you’ll tell her?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “I probably won’t have to. She’ll just know.”
“Oh, great,” I moaned as I paced around the small room. “How will I ever be able to look her in the face again?”
He stood, walked over and hugged me. “Don’t worry, Casey,” he assured me. “She’ll be okay with it. She thinks we’re good for each other.” He leaned forward and kissed me.
When he pulled me to the bed, I looked into the air and shouted, “Hey, Mrs. Shade! I’m not doing anything nasty with your son.” He giggled, pushed me on my back and kissed me again.
As hard as it was, and I mean literally, we managed to keep Shade’s promise to his mother. After making out for a few more minutes on the bed, we left my room to go watch television in the family room.
Rodney came down and joined us for a while. He kept quizzing Shade about Megan was like. “What kind of guys does she usually date,” he asked.
Shade giggled and said, “One’s that have a heartbeat.”
“Come on, Shade,” pouted Rodney. “I want to know if I have a chance with her.”
“Don’t worry,” assured Shade. “Megan likes you.”
His eyes lit up and he asked, “Did she say that?”
“Well,” he replied. “She doesn’t think you’re a dick head.” I fell back on the sofa and roared with laughter.
Rodney got up and stormed out of the room. “You’re a lot of help,” he remarked as he went up the stairs.
“So?” I asked. “Does Megan like Rodney?”
“Are you kidding?” he responded. “She practically has them married, and they haven’t even been out on their first date yet.”
“Poor Rodney,” I replied as I shook my head. “He’s going to be lured into the spider’s web, and he doesn’t even know it.”
Shade smiled and responded, “You lured me, and I’m not complaining.” I moaned softly when he leaned in and kissed me.
I pulled away, smiled and replied, “And we haven’t been on our first date yet, either.” We then kissed again.
Lane, my father and Karen arrived home around six. Lane ran downstairs and showed me the new pair of Nike’s Karen had bought him. “These are cool,” he exclaimed as he paraded around the room in the red and black basketball sneakers. Shade and I laughed at his antics.
Karen hollered downstairs and asked if Shade was staying for dinner. I told her we were going out to a movie, and that we would probably get something to eat at the theater.
Lane asked, “Can I go?”
He surprised me when he didn’t get upset as I explained we were going with Rodney and Megan. He grinned and asked, “Are you guys going to kiss again?”
“Shhhh,” I said excitedly as I looked upstairs to see if anyone had heard him. “Remember what I told you?”
Lane giggled and said, “They already know about it.”
“What!” I said excitedly. “How do you know?”
He informed me, “They were talking about it at breakfast this morning.”
Again, I shrieked, “What?” I looked worriedly over at Shade.
“Yeah,” replied Lane. “I heard them talking about you liking Shade.” He looked at Shade and smiled. “I hid behind the door so they wouldn’t see me.”
I asked him worriedly, “What did they say?”
He giggled and replied, “Mommy thinks you two make a cute couple.”
“What did Dad say?”
“He says he’s going to buy you a car.”
I jumped to my feet. “What?”
Lane giggled, looked at Shade and said, “Yeah. He’s afraid Shade’s old car is going to break down. He’s afraid you might get stranded somewhere late at night.”
It was Shade’s turn to get excited. “He said that?”
I laughed and said, “Well, it is probably true.” I looked back at Lane and asked, “So they didn’t seem upset about me and Shade?”
“I guess not,” he replied. “I went into the kitchen to get some cereal, so they started talking about the weather.”
I let out a sigh of relief. I was fairly certain my mother had told my father about Rollie, but he might have thought it was something I did when I was younger. I wasn’t sure how he would react if he found out I was gay. Now, it seemed as if I had nothing to worry about.
I tousled Lane’s hair and said, “Next time you sneak around, see if you can find out what kind of car he’s going to buy me.”
Lane grinned and said, “Okay.”
At six-thirty, we left to go pick up Megan. Lane volunteered to take his car, but Rodney laughed and said, “I don’t think so.”
“Hey.” Shade acted like he had been insulted. “It gets me where I want to go.”
“Well,” remarked Rodney. “Right now, I want to go pick up Megan, and I’m not sure it will make it that far.” He looked down and laughed at the taped up rear window as we headed to get into his car.
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