Sunday, January 6, 2013

Call Out Your Name Ch. 01

Shane and Jesse Don't Meet Under the Best of Circumstances

The first day I met him was the first day at my new high school. Oh boy, was that fun!

Here I was, popular man on campus at my old school, Sacred Heart High School which is a huge institution —one of the largest Catholic prep schools in the country. I lived in Rancho Martinez, California in the heart of Orange County, and I had the world by the tail. I was the golden boy, made in America. With a soaring six foot height, ripped body and my long, flowing blonde hair and turquoise eyes, I was a chick magnet and everyone wanted to be me.

I played wide receiver on the Knights football team that won the CIF division crown in December and was ranked tenth in the nation, one of the team’s stars with eighteen touchdowns this year alone. I also wrestled at 170 pounds on our squad, looking forward to a stellar season where I expected to be the top grappler in my weight class, and I was a sprinter in track. I could get laid just by asking a girl her name, and I was a good student one semester shy of graduating from high school and heading to a Big-10 or PAC-12 school on a full football scholarship.

On a personal basis, I had two semi-regular girlfriends. Danae was a tall brunette with a fantastic body who went to Sacred Heart with me. Kristina was at Loara High School, a tiny blonde cheerleader I met when our football teams played each other in September. Duh, they didn’t know about each other which was fine by me. I was a typical teenager who loved to Facebook and Skype, get high once in awhile, play videogames with my buds and hang out long boarding on the streets.

I lived with my mother, Lisa, stepfather, Whit, and twin half-sisters, Suzanne and Roxanne, in an exclusive subdivision of mini-mansions in the Rancho Martinez Hills. My stepdad is, like, loaded and making Mom happy seemed to be his only desire. What made Mom happy was having a big 4,500 square foot house for showing off to the neighbors and entertaining. What did not make Mom happy was me, apparently.

So there I was on that mid-January Friday which had begun in a decent enough manner. With it being a final exam day, school let out at lunch and the possibilities for the afternoon were endless. I drove home after my last test, so thrilled to be able to boast to my mother about my grades. I knew she would be there because Friday was her hospital auxiliary meeting and they always ended at 11:30.

I was excited because I was going to get that A- in the Literature class that I’d worked my ass off for all semester, meaning I would have all A’s and B’s on my report card, something she should be proud of. I had managed with an illocutionary skill that often escaped me to convince my teacher that my term paper on the differences between Classicism and Victorian Poetry deserved a higher grade than a B-, and we reached a compromise. Who’d ever thunk old Ms Haney would be so fair?

Everything turned to shit the moment I opened the front door and saw the twins. They had their own finals and, for the record, I had no idea how they arrived home ahead of me, but they’d texted me earlier not to wait for them. Anyway, the girls were speaking to Mom in whispered tones, and all of them turned to glare at me. Roxie looked shocked and scared, but Suzie tried to hide an evil grin of triumph behind a look of moral outrage and family embarrassment.

“Shane,” Mom demanded, “what is this nonsense your sisters have been telling me about Owen Turlock’s mom catching the two of you naked in bed together on Sunday afternoon?”

I turned beet red, and I know the look I shot my fourteen-year-old sisters, particularly Suzie, was hurt and incredulous. Like many siblings, especially those in blended homes where the present male parent spoiled his own children and not the one he didn’t spawn, we didn’t always get along. But this was a new low even for them.

“I asked you a question, young man.” My mother wasn’t known for her patience.

Okay, you know where I said above that I can get all the pussy I want? I can also get dick. I’m bisexual and a damn good equal opportunity player. Owen is this studly, gay Sacred Heart classmate, now graduated and a college freshman, whom I’ve hooked up with on occasion over the last nine months. He was getting ready to go back to Ohio State after winter break, and I was giving him his going away present… until his mother interrupted us. I barely had time to get redressed before finding myself kicked out of their house. I could hear her shouting at him from a block away.

Not that I’d said anything to my parents about Owen… or the other half-dozen guys I’ve fucked. I certainly didn’t want them to find out this way. It was none of my sisters’ damn business, and right after I got done listening to Mom scolding and threatening me with a near-certain two weeks of being grounded my hands were going to find themselves wrapped around Roxie and Suzie’s necks.

I sighed. “It’s true, Mom. I have been trying to find a way for the past year and a half to tell you…”

My acknowledgment was interrupt by his mother’s horrified scream, and then her face twisted into something ugly as she rushed at me. “Gay? You’re gay? You can’t be. I won’t tolerate it.”

I edged around the wall towards the arched doorway into the living room to stay away from her hands that now looked like they wanted to wrap themselves around my neck.

“No, Mom, I’m not gay. I’m bisexual.”

Wrong answer. If I hadn’t been afraid she was going to hit me I might have found the situation funny. In truth, this was the reason I had kept my thoughts to myself. My mom and stepdad are really big in our local church diocese and of course, anything other than straight vanilla heterosexuality is a mortal sin. Deep down, I knew my mother would go to pieces like this once she found out.

We kept circling each other while I waited for her to calm down so I could get a word in edgewise. On the other hand, maybe not saying anything else would work out better, just as long as she didn’t catch up with me. Mom went on and on over how God hated me and I was a freak, and even my sisters blanched at the words she used against her only son, until the final dictum.

“Get out,” Mom said with the quiet determination that I had often feared growing up. If the screaming was scary, this was like the voice of doom. “Get the hell out of my house and don’t come back.”

All I could do was stand there gasping with my mouth hanging open and staring at her as if her eyes were spitting fire. She can’t kick me out, I thought, I’m her son. She’s supposed to love me.

“Go pack your stuff. I will contact your father, and you better hope to god that he takes your miserable slutty ass in. Whether he does or not, you have twenty-four hours to be out of here.”

“Mom,” I began. “I only have one more semester of school. I can’t leave now. Everything I’ve worked for, all my friends…”

“I don’t give a shit!” she screamed. “I won’t have a goddamned moral degenerate living in my house, bringing shame down on this family and being a bad influence on your sisters. Get the hell out of my house.”

I started to retort that making me leave was against the law until I realized the power was all in her hands. I was already eighteen, an adult. Legally, she didn’t have to give me squat. I turned on my heel and walked to my bedroom to find a way to crowd everything I owned and a lifetime of memories into a few bags and boxes.

Just so you know how crazy this all sounds, I hadn’t seen my father for almost five years. He has visitation rights that he’s rarely used, and I don’t know whether he didn’t feel it was worth the effort to haggle over weekends and holidays with Mom or something else was afoot. What mattered most to me was that I was moving away from the place I’d called home almost my whole life and going to live with a stranger.

My disgruntled father flew down the next day so I could drive both of us back to live with him in Calberia, a small town near Santa Barbara. Ever heard of Calberia? I’m not surprised. That’s because the place Dad calls home is a village on the coast of around twenty-nine hundred people. To do the math, that’s about three-quarters as many people that attended my old high school, and we’re talking about men, women and children here. It was the rural burg with one main street, a Pizza Hut for fast food and a really tiny high school with a few lame-ass sports teams that don’t do nothing spectacular. I’m sure you can tell just how thrilled I was to move there. I hated Calberia with a passion before I ever stepped foot in it.

Four days later I was enrolled in Calberia Junior and Senior High School, a set of squat, ugly, yellow-stuccoed buildings in a rectangular campus that was forty years old and desperately needed to be demolished. Yeah, this stupid little postage stamp of a town isn’t even big enough to provide a separate school for its sixth, seventh and eighth graders. I was so looking forward to having immature twelve-year-olds on campus. Not!

I contemplated my future bleakly. There’s a lot that goes into applying for a university, especially when you’re a jock and hope to play college ball. For sure, Mom and Whit weren’t going to give me money for tuition, and my father couldn’t afford it. Any scholarships I was being offered were most likely secure seeing as the season was over and my grades were good. However, I was counting on advanced studies in English, Government and Math which they didn’t have here. That would suck if my only ticket out of California was in jeopardy too.

There was no wrestling squad, and I doubted track was a big attraction since their football program is 8-man ball. Thank God I was graduating in five months. I was a new student in the middle of my senior year, and the way people stared at me, you would’ve thought I was Medusa with a head full of snakes for hair instead of my long blonde locks. It was sobering to go from Mr. Popular to zero on the social scale in one fell swoop.

But then I was crossing the quad after 2nd period on, I hate to admit it, a pretty winter day, wondering what the term MLbB on my new schedule meant. I heard laughter, looked up and saw a trio of students my age. Two boys and a girl were ten yards in front of me, talking loudly and caroming off each other hard like they wanted to knock their opponents down. One of them was the most beautiful person in the world. Raven hair, a wavy black so dark it had streaks of blue in it under the sunny sky and fluttering neck-length around his ears like little wings.

He had a triangular face, wide in the forehead with a long, straight nose and pointed chin. Very pretty but not in a feminine way, and the confidant way he moved was definitely not girlish. His lips were perfectly formed over straight, white teeth you see in those dentist’s ads in the telephone book. His pale, golden eyes were unusual, like shiny marbles with long dark lashes, and they glowed next to his olive skin. He was dressed in a t-shirt from my favorite band, The Offspring, which definitely gave him points in my book and Levis skinny jeans that draped his legs as if they went on forever. All this was set into a slim, lithe frame reminding me of a dancer in the cultural programs my mom enjoyed watching on television.

Oh yeah, did I say this person was male?

He most definitely was. Gorgeously, strikingly male. Totally hot and so cute. Sparks danced around me, a warm breeze blew through my mind, and if anyone had been staring at me, I’m pretty sure they would have seen me drooling.

I was smitten. It’s on old-fashioned word, but that was the best description I could come up with.

I was all set to go up and ask this beautiful stranger what MLbB meant when some teacher walked by, correctly assuming I was new- duh, the whole school had less than seven hundred students in it, so a new student might as well wear a sign that says kick me, I don’t belong here. She asked if I needed directions and pointed me in the direction of Math Lab B… down the sidewalk to the four hundred wing and turn left. By the time I looked up Totally Hot Cutie was gone.

Fifth period after lunch—at least they have decent food in this crappy institution of education—and it was time for English with Mrs. Coates. Not Ms, Mrs. I was stopped by the teacher outside before I walked in, showed her my schedule, and she told me which desk in the classroom was free- the row closest to the door, next-to-last seat. I dumped my backpack on the floor, getting a few quizzical looks from the girl in front of me, and took in my surroundings. That’s when I saw my dream boy again. Totally Hot Cutie was perched on the other side of the room, holding court with five or six other class members, all of them talking loudly.

With less distance between us now, I could see that he was definitely only an inch or two shorter than me and very slender, but with the way he’d been jumping around earlier he probably had a really high metabolism and burned off calories fast. I had never seen hair so black as his; he didn’t give the impression of a Hispanic heritage, but maybe there was some Mediterranean blood running through his veins with that lovely olive complexion. His pretty eyes were a sparkling tawny shade, too dark to be called hazel and too light for plain old brown. They were lit as if by some inner fire that made his face come alive, or at least half of it. Totally Hot Cutie’s smile did the rest.

That smile went straight to my head. Then it went to my cock, and I was glad I was sitting where I could pull my t-shirt down and hide it. The grin was happy, like he was secure in himself and his surroundings, exactly where he wanted to be without a care in the world. I envied him, to tell the truth. I couldn’t stop staring; his grin was infectious and so brilliant it could power a small city.

His voice was deep and warm, like a soothing cup of dark hot chocolate on a cold day and the way he spoke was crisp. On some it might seem affected but it sounded natural coming out of his mouth. There were at least three conversations going on around him, and he seemed to be in the middle of all of them, effortlessly keeping track of what each participant said and responding to questions posed to him. Not only that, but he didn’t act like the students clustered around his desk were a nuisance even though a few crowded him.

I willed Totally Hot Cutie to look up and see me. I didn’t have the balls to bounce over there and introduce myself to him—hey, I knew nothing about him and sure as hell wasn’t willing to put myself out there until I did, but I’ve been told my smile is playful and inviting. I figured all I needed to do was turn on the old Shane Elliott charm. I’ve turned more than one straight boy bisexual in my past.

The bell rang, and a short, rather pudgy Asian kid came bounding through the door yelling, “Hey, Jesse, I found your music,” and waving a folder around. The one formerly known as Totally Hot Cutie and now Jesse gave him a big thumbs up and reached out to take it from him. The teacher sent a scowl in their direction.

“Kwan Park, find your seat now,” Mrs. Coates told him firmly, insisting on order that didn't seem wise to ignore.

“Students, this is Shane Elliott,” she called out in an imposing voice, indicating me. “Do your best to make him welcome.” I received a lot of stares as attention was riveted on me, but Jesse didn’t even look up.

They were studying John Keats, the young English romantic poet from the early nineteenth century that I did a term paper on for my other school earlier in the year. I knew a lot about him and idly hoped an essay would be assigned so I could use it again but I didn’t raise my hand and volunteer information when Mrs. Coates asked for it. Best not to over-shine the first day just in case.

Various students in the class turned to me in silent examination, probably judging me by my looks and I kept my focus on the front. When the bell rang ending class I was immediately besieged by three girls who sat nearby. Katie, Jasmine and Raven introduced themselves, flirting with me, and wanted to talk my ear off about how awesome Calberia was and wasn’t it grand that I was in their high school? I didn’t offer my real opinion, and by the time I extricated myself, Jesse was gone.

School ended after 6th period, and I drove to my dad's house. It's a three bedroom, two bath ranch built in the mid-1980s, and just over fourteen hundred square feet, about the size of my mom and Whit's bedroom suite. Ken, my father, is an accountant in a small business in Santa Barbara, and he and mom divorced when I was four. To listen to her, Dad was laziest SOB on the planet. He calls her a money hungry skank who wanted the finer things in life but was unwilling to lower herself and get a job and help work for them. All I know is that she latched on to Whit, and Dad is still slaving away in Calberia.

It was only three o'clock so, naturally, Dad wasn't home yet. Hey, it could have been eight and he wouldn’t be here. My father isn’t really big on time schedules, and I guess he doesn’t think I need anyone hanging around keeping tabs on me either. If he isn’t at the office, he’s at this bar called Leroy’s in the city where he stops every night after work. Or he’s playing poker with five friends of his, including my Uncle Carl.

Or he’s with his girlfriend, Jillian Gallegos. I met her the day after I arrived and she’s nice. She’s this tiny women with a short cap of light brown hair and green eyes, but I could feel the strength radiating from her in trying to keep my father in line. She welcomed me to the area, but she made it pretty clear that she never expected to have to parent Dad’s son. Not that I want her to.

It’s kind of a weird situation to be eighteen and suddenly thrust into a world where I wasn’t wanted. I’m not saying my dad doesn’t love me, but it was obvious that his arm was severely twisted when Mom kicked me out. I think the only thing he likes about me living with him is that he doesn’t have to pay child support to her anymore. He gave me a dirty look when he found out why I was being shipped off to his house and told me that he wouldn’t put up with me fagging around any more than she did.

I spent half an hour unpacking the rest of my stuff and trying out different arrangements of my bedroom furniture. I finished the homework packet for Trigonometry and a Government assignment that wasn’t due for three days. There was nothing on the boob tube. I was so bored.

I made a fast dinner of boxed macaroni and cheese, canned peaches and leftover broccoli from last night’s meal. After eating, I cleaned up my mess which was one of the few rules my dad had set when I moved in and then flopped down on my bed. It was only seven and, feeling homesick, I decided to call some of my old friends from Rancho Martinez, starting with my best friend, Gordie.

“Hey dude,” he yelled when he answered his cell. “How’s jail?”

Gordie was the first person I’d phoned after finding out I would have to move to my dad’s and we had commiserated for over an hour. Not that I gave him the whole picture… my bi side was something I only shared on a need-to-know basis, like with the guys I planned to fuck. Definitely not with the general population at Sacred Hills High… a man needs some mystery, right?

I merely told him my mother was pissed off because I couldn’t get along with Suzie and Roxie and sent me to live with Dad. However, not one of my friends, not even Gordie who I’ve known since first grade, offered me so much as a couch to sleep on temporarily so I wouldn’t have to move.

“Dull as fuck,” I huffed angrily. “It sucks, man. The itty-bitty school up here is totally hick. Nobody wrestles, and their track team is probably lame-ass too. I am so screwed!”

“Look at the bright side,” he laughed. “You’ll be the track star, the big man on campus.”

“Har-har, so not funny,” I sneered. “I already was the big man on campus with a decent rep. I hate it here.”

“Yeah, but you only have five months before you’re out. Maybe you can come back over the summer.”

I contemplated this, knowing my life in Rancho Martinez was completely in my mom’s hands. “Maybe,” I answered in an uncertain voice. A guy could always dream, I guess.

“So is living with the other ‘rent as bad as your mom?” Gordie wisely switched subjects.

“Nah, he doesn’t give a shit. He’s, like, never home, so once I find someone to hang with up here, if that’s even possible in this hell hole, I’ll be free to do whatever I please and he won’t fucking know the difference.”

“Sweet,” he judged my situation, seeing only the positives. He didn’t have to spend all his time by himself.

“So how is the crew?” I asked, tracing my finger over the square pattern on my navy quilt.

For the first time Gordie didn’t have an immediate reply. “Uh, ah man, I hate to have to be the one to break it to you, but Danae is already going out with someone else.”

“Who?” I screeched loudly.

Danae was my girlfriend. One of them. My most regular girl, the one at Sacred Heart. I had barely been gone from Rancho Martinez for four days and, from what he was saying, it didn’t sound as if she had wasted any time finding someone to take my place. Not that I had any intention of being faithful, but I thought she’d at least have the decency to be less public about it.

“Randy Dawson,” he said in a diffident voice. “They showed up at school yesterday morning holding hands.”

“What the fuck, Gordie. That bastard!” Randy was another of my best friends, make that former friend. “How serious?”

Another pause. “According to gossip straight from Danae, you don’t want to know, Shane.”

“Fuck and double fuck,” I swore heatedly. It was bad enough that Randy couldn’t stay out of her pants, but for her to be happy about it? Damn, they were trashing my creds.

We bitched back and forth for awhile about the capriciousness of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ friendship. Then we zeroed in to encompass slutty-ass girlfriends before he changed the subject to general gossip around school and what the sports teams were doing. By the time he hung up, I was feeling sorry for myself and in a foul mood. Foul enough to call my mother and beg her to let me come home.”

“No, Shane,” she stated with finality in her voice. “You stay up in Calberia. You can’t live here.”

“Why?” I cried. “What about all that forgiveness the church preaches? It’s all fine when you’re talking about other people but you can’t even forgive your own son?”

“This isn’t about forgiveness. It’s about the way you act and the example you set for Roxie and Suzie.”

Oh my god, did she mean what she just said? “You’re afraid I’m going to turn them into lesbos, Mom? That isn’t how it works. Besides, Suzie has already slept with half the freshman basketball…”

“Watch what you say about your sisters, young man!”

Okay, I guess that was the wrong tact, seeing as she’d never believe anything negative about Whit’s darling girls, so let’s try this again and begin with an apology. “Sorry, but… What I’m trying to say is that this isn’t a choice of mine. It’s the way God made me.”

“You leave God out of this, Shane. That is a terrible thing to say.”

What the fuck! Mom is an intelligent, college-educated thirty-nine year old woman. How could she be so closed-minded and ignorant about my lifestyle? You would think she’d be willing to take the time to go online and investigate, at least for the sake of her own son.

“Mom, please don’t do this to me. I hate it here.” I begged, near tears and feeling the conversation getting away from me. “You’re messing up my entire life. Gordie says that Danae is already dating another guy. There are no AP classes up here. No sports teams. Just some stupid hicksville country school with less than a hundred seniors. What about my scholarship for college? I’m losing everything I love.”

“Well maybe you should have thought about that before you jumped into bed with Owen Turlock.”

Now I was crying. “Can’t you give me another chance? What if I promise not to… uh, do anything like that again? You know, just stick to girls.” I wasn’t sure I could live up to such a promise but it was worth a try.

Mom actually paused a moment to think. “No, Shane, this is the best solution for everyone. Stay up there with your father. I’m sure your scholarship is secure. You graduate in June and will be on your way to college in a little over six months. Then you can live however you choose and I won’t have to deal with it.”

Deal with it? It sounded as if Mom was willing to write me out of her life completely.

I flipped my cell phone closed, the desire to throw it against the wall strong, but I fought it because if I broke the damn thing, Dad probably wouldn’t pay to replace it. I stomped around the house for half an hour and finally settled for gulping down half a tumbler of Dad’s cheap rum. It burned going down and then it turned me maudlin, but at least I was able to cry it all out before I fell asleep in my clothes.


I slowly settled in to Calberia life but I was pretty lonely for awhile.

To give me something to do I approached Mom’s brother, my Uncle Carl Weatherby, who owned a sports fishing and diving enterprise, and asked if he’d hire me on. He looked like an aging hippie with flinty eyes and his graying hair tied back in a braid and he smoked a fair amount of weed. His wife, Elaine, was ten years younger than him and owned a 1960’s-70’s boutique in downtown Calberia. It fronted a supposedly legal head shop and catered to the arts and crafts crowd.

Despite his liking for herb, Carl was a conscientious boat pilot and a decent businessman, and he was well-liked by his charters. He had two identical boats which I called yachts, but he said were trawlers, tied up in the small Calberia harbor. He already had a flock of young men who were eager to crew for him and were very loyal to his business. Not that I expected special favors, but I needed a job. I hoped he would teach me all about running the boats so I could help on weekends when he took them out.

I had approached my uncle after my second day of school. He was sitting in his office that gave off the pungent scent of slightly-off skunk, and I figured my timing couldn’t have been better. Carl would be mellow.

He at first didn’t think I was serious, but I told him I had to earn some money and find something to do before I lost my mind with the tedium. He smirked at that.

“Calberia not your cup of tea after the high life of Rancho Martinez?” He didn’t look angry so I knew he was teasing and wouldn’t take offense if I was truthful.

“Seriously, Uncle Carl, what do people do up here? I mean it’s pretty and all…” Which it was, the Santa Barbara area was a lot greener than Orange County. “But it’s hard to make friends starting school in the middle of the year. And this town has absolutely nothing for entertainment except watching the grass grow.”

He pursed his lips and looked at me with wide, slightly hazy eyes. “Okay, Shane,” he said.

“Okay?” Even with him being high I expected a lot more of a fight to get a job. I guess there are a few small advantages in having his sister as my mom, nepotism and all.

As I would learn over the next couple of months the Sorsha Lynn and the Tammany Jo, named for his two daughters, were Bayliner 3388s, both thirty-three feet long, each with a spacious flybridge, wide side decks and an open, drop down aft so divers could drag themselves back into the craft with ease. They had a live bait tanks, owner-installed shelves for diving gear and each carried a small, attached dinghy. Carl did his best to teach me all the intricacies of the radar but what I was most interested in was how to work the twin 330hp diesels to make it move through the water.

So I went to work for my uncle on weekends, doing the grunt chores nobody else wanted. Hosing down the decks and getting all the fish guts washed off—Uncle Carl was strict about his ships being both clean and as sweet smelling as possible. It was my job to go to the wholesale bait markets early on Saturdays and buy the fish for the tanks and dispose of what was left at the end of the day. I was the fetch and carry boy aboard the Sorsha Lynn, helping the fisherman with small tasks like gutting their caught fish and storing it on ice until we got back to shore. I actually enjoyed my work.

As far as I could tell I was the only teenager in my neighborhood. My dad’s house was in a medium-sized tract of similar dwellings, but what had been young families buying when the community was first developed were now middle-aged empty-nest couples.

I wasn’t much better off at school; it’s true that many of my peers had settled into their cliques long before my arrival, and I was the unlucky bastard who was encroaching on them and had to break in as the new kid when none of them could pigeonhole me.

What was I? Jock in a school where I wasn’t participating in school sports? A brainiac who was afraid to show up the less grade-conscious because I didn’t want to ruffle feathers? My intermittent drinking and use of weed did not make me a stoner, and the skater crowd was a closed assembly.

As for Jesse, I soon learned he had last name to go with the first. Capps. Jesse Capps, which came from Mrs. Coates in English because she insisted on using our full names all the time as if we’d forget them without hearing them every day. But I wasn’t any closer to getting to know him, much less being his friend, because Jesse had this habit of looking right through me. I was the invisible man.

Nothing was going right for me at first. But for some reason fate finally decided to start treating me decent and be less than a fickle bitch. Rumor had it that Jesse Capps was gay; rumor being a big blonde knucklehead of a bruiser named Mark Butler.

Four days into my second week of school I was passing the quad between 3rd and 4th periods on my way to Physics when I noticed a commotion off to the side. Mark had chosen to get up in Jesse’s shit by planting himself firmly in front of him with five other muscle-bound boys just like him, all of them sneering at Jesse calling him a fag. While the boy of my dreams didn’t confirm or deny, it was obvious there was bad blood between the two of them going way back. Jesse gave them a pitying smile, turned and walked away but not before several of his friends took up in his defense. They dished it right back and started aping the bully, calling him a loser who didn’t dare confront his victims without his posse. Mark scowled, and I think he was angrier that Jesse was ignoring his taunts then the way the others were so aggressively defending him.

Truthfully, I didn’t know whether Jesse was gay or not. I had been keeping my ears open in school and listening for his name to be mentioned, but I wasn’t in a position to ask anyone about him without stirring up trouble for myself. I did overhear that he was enrolled in dance and drama, and some people would think, oh, he must be gay for sure. But just as not all male hairdressers or figure skaters are gay and not every man who designs clothing or home interiors sleeps with men, being a dancer meant nothing more than he liked to move his body to music. There was nothing in the gay stereotype that matched Jesse one bit, and the only thing I had to go on was a few taunts by some prick who might have any number of reasons to be calling Jesse out.

That night I was lying in bed, weary with anxiety. Mom had called the house while I was at school and left a message on the answering machine about some important form that my previous high school counselor had neglected to send to the admissions departments of three large universities back east. Now it was too late, and I could take them off my list of potential schools I might be attending in the fall. I was so mad I called Gordie to bitch and moan, but he didn’t have time to listen to me. Less and less it seemed like I had anyone I could count on, and seeing boys who had been my friends for years so easily forget me only two weeks after exiting Sacred Heart was sobering.

My hand found its way to my hard cock, and I began to stroke it, slowly at first, then more forcefully. Tonight was not the time to take it easy and torture myself lazily; I needed fast and firm to get off so I could relax and rest. Focus, I told myself with a hard squeeze to my dick, and I let my mind settle into a fantasy. The face I saw in my head at first was that of Danae, my Sacred Heart ex-girlfriend but, truthfully, it was hard conjuring up her image with any emotion pleasant enough to speed along a handjob. So I tried to reflect on Owen, sweet Owen from Rancho Martinez. Then his face morphed into Jesse’s.

Imagining Jesse’s lips wrapped around my rigid staff, I gripped it with my palm, flicking fingers over my balls and around the head as tingles danced up and down my legs. I gave in to them with a deep groan, continuing to pull on my weeping erection and let the pleasure take me under. I could almost physically feel his wispy black hair tickling my thighs and soon passed the point of no return. I didn’t even try to hold off when the muscles in my abdomen began to ripple under my skin.

“Fuck,” I hissed as intense contractions overtook me and sticky cum shot out to paint my chest in streaks of pearly white that pooled in my navel and pubic hair. Eventually, my hips stilled, my breathing slowed back to normal and my eyes began to close before I hooked a towel off my bedroom floor and wiped myself down. Only then did I give in the creeping exhaustion and let myself sleep.

Another week and a half went by since my transfer in. I was determined to make friend with Jesse Capps, but he was acting odd around me. For instance, we high schoolers had many opportunities to pass each other in the halls every day because of the way the campus was laid out for the upper division students. However, he looked like he was doing his best to avoid me.

If he looked down a corridor and saw my approach in time, he started veering off. Jesse tried to be inconspicuous and pretend he wasn’t making a wide circle around me, but I could tell by the alarm in his eyes. When I greeted him before or after our lone class together he would throw me this frown as if he expected me to devour him… which I would have liked, but not in the way he imagined it. He thought I was some kind of threat and wanted nothing to do with me.

It was the middle of February, and we were studying English writers from the early-to-mid 19th century. Yeah, this is a mainstream class, not advanced like down south, so they move at a snail’s pace, and I doubted we’d get through the whole textbook by the end of the term. I could do the class work in my sleep and I wasn’t paying any mind to Mrs. Coates until I heard her say my name.

My head popped up to find her staring at me. “Shane Elliott,” she repeated sternly now that she had my full attention, “the assignment for you and Mr. Capps,” she glanced over at Jesse who was lounging at his desk, “is to compare the works of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë.” I nodded and flicked a quick glance at Jesse but he didn’t acknowledge me at all.

The bell rang a few minutes later, and I moseyed over to his side of the room, trying to act nonchalant and hide how excited I was over being teamed up with Jesse for this project. I could scarcely believe my good fortune: a legit reason to spend time with my Totally Hot Cutie. I didn’t even object to being given female authors like the Brontës to write up. It was worth landing them instead of someone more interesting like Browning or Carroll or Lord Tennyson if it meant Jesse and me getting to know each other and becoming friends… or more. Having studied the sisters previously at Rancho Martinez and using the notes to draw from would help us get a good grade and maybe make some points with him.

Jesse visibly flinched when he looked up and saw me standing next to him and then settled into a guarded reserve. Refusing to meet my eye, he stared down at his desk, gripping the hell out of the wooden edge as a flush covered his cheeks. Shit, what was up with this dude? What could I have inadvertently done that made him act so panicky? He never let me get close enough to say one word, good or bad. It wasn’t like my rep preceded me nor did I have BO.

Well, I guess it was going to suck to be him because we were working together on this project over the next ten days whether he liked it or not. I’d be damned if I was going to get a bad grade simply because he wanted to play games and hate on me for no reason.

“We need to get together and divide up tasks for the essay,” I suggested cautiously.

He nodded and refused to lift his eyes; otherwise, he would have seen me smiling at him in a charming attempt to be friendly. I tried again.

“So when and where should we meet?”

Actually I was having a tough time getting the words out because being this close to Jesse for the first time, I could smell him. He was a definite Cool Water fan. I recognized the scent because I bought a bottle strictly on seeing the Josh Holloway ads on television. It smelled much better on him than it ever did on me, and my dick made a crazy little flop in my jeans. I sternly reminded it that I was standing in a public school room and didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of my Totally Hot Cutie, and when it wouldn’t listen I shifted my books to hide my crotch.

Jesse nodded, finally raising his head to stare straight at me as if in challenge. “How about tomorrow after 6th period in the library?”

I had anticipated going to my house where nobody was home and we would have more privacy, but I wasn’t going to insist on it. If he wanted to use the library, that was fine by me. In fact, it was probably a better idea since we’d have study materials at our disposal. Waiting the extra day would also give me a chance to find my notes and essay on the Brontës. In the meantime, we decided to each check out one of the principal books, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, by the sisters.

The next afternoon, it was fifteen minutes after the last bell, and I was sitting at a large table in the back of the library with my information and several reference books spread out in front of me. My whole body quivered with anticipation at spending time with Jesse, and it just seemed appropriate that today was Valentine’s Day. Then here he came, stomping through the library door acting angry and distracted, and that killed my good mood straightaway. He glared at me in suspicion.

“How long have you been here?” His face was dark as a thundercloud.

I shrugged not knowing why it mattered, but he didn’t look like he was in any frame of mind to be riled up so I held my tongue. “Since school let out,” I answered pleasantly. “My last class is in room two-oh-two.” I didn’t need to explain that it would take me less than a minute to walk from one location to the next.

He grumbled as if he didn’t believe me, and I tried to let it pass for now because it made no sense to pick a fight with a study partner I would have to work with for the next week plus. Despite the fact that Jesse was the cutest boy I’d ever seen and I got instantly hard just staring into his amazing latte-colored eyes or hearing his deep voice rumbling in his chest, I was beginning to think he was also one of the snobbiest kids in our grade. My assignment was to work with him on our essay, but it was going to take all my strength to remain cordial and not punch him out if he didn't stop treating me like dog shit on his shoes.

Jesse took the seat across from me and continued to give me the stink eye. “What?” I asked in mounting irritation.

“Nothing,” he finally muttered, pulling his binder from his backpack.

“Okay then, let’s get to work.”

We whipped out our copies of the essay instructions, breaking apart the work into manageable chunks. I showed him the materials I’d located in the library as well as some sites online we could get information from.

“I already learned about the Brontës in my old English class,” I explained tersely. “I still have my notes. Part of a term paper I did was on their novels, so if you like we can use it too.”

He studied me for about fifteen seconds before answering, and then it was only a short nod. Hey, don’t fall all over yourself in gratitude because I just saved your ass eight hours worth of annotating and typing, you dick. I shook my head and tried to concentrate on something besides getting annoyed.

For the next half-hour we went over my information, deciding what was relevant and what wasn’t. We were cross referencing terms and dates and discussing the writing styles, but I could see that Jesse was going to have trouble talking himself into reading either novel seriously since they were both dry and romantic. Maybe Heights would be easier because it was narrated by a male and Healthcliff was more sympathetic and less abrupt than the men in Jane Eyre.

We were working on our own, using our laptops to look up study guides and read interpretations of the novels. Through my lashes I watched Jesse gradually relax. He really was fine to look at, especially when his mouth wasn’t all squished up in anger or his eyes didn’t flash in fear.

“You’re kind of cute when you let your guard down.” The words spewed forth before I even thought about the wisdom of uttering them. Oh well, there’s nothing like laying your cards on the table, and if what the Butler kid said about him was true, I was announcing my position loud and clear.

His head shot up. “What did you say?” Fortunately he only sounded shocked.

I raised an eyebrow and grinned. “I said I think you’re cute.”

“You can’t possibly believe that,” he responded, his voice low with astonishment. He was fighting to keep his face blank but his eyes were glittering with some emotion between hope and despair.

“Well, I do,” I answered with conviction. “You don’t need to be all down about yourself like that.”

I decided to let it go for now and went back to work on the note-taking, allowing him to decide whether to trust me because I had pushed enough for one day. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him open his binder and remove a single piece of notebook paper folded in half twice. He looked like he wasn’t sure what to do next until, with a flick of his eyes in my direction, he laid it on the table between us.

Glancing at it only briefly, I noticed that it was standard wide-ruled paper and leaking through it were large but indistinguishable words in green marker. They were, of course, backwards from the wrong side of the sheet, so I couldn’t make them out, and two corners had been torn off around the edge. Not knowing the significance of the note, I ignored it.

Five minutes went by in which Jesse kept watching me surreptitiously. When he spoke, his voice had a curious vibe but mostly sounded relieved. He fingered the sheet. “You don’t know what this is, do you.”

“It’s a piece of paper.” Duh! Stating the obvious, that was me, and I fixed Jesse with a bewildered smile.

He, on the other hand, broke into a smile of pure delight, leaving me more confused than ever.

“What’s so important about it?” I asked, holding out my hand as if I expected him to hand it to me. Which he did. I unfolded the paper and written in large green letters was ‘My OO R on U, Jesse.’

I raised my eyebrows. “Double O? What does that mean?” It looked like a valentine written by a second grader. By somebody who was colorblind.

He laughed, but it wasn’t happy. “They represent eyes. See the dots inside?”

Now that he mentioned it, I did. A faint green dot inside each O made them look cross-eyed. I grinned, hoping the answer was becoming clearer and deciding it was worth the risk to find out. “So somebody likes you and you thought it was me? I mean, I’m not that brave to send an anonymous card like that uninvited.”

“This isn’t the first one,” Jesse explained, his face muddling back into sadness and disappointment. He reached back into his binder and brought out a similar sheet of paper. When he opened it up, I could see that it wasn’t a love note at all. They were both threats. The new one announced, ‘U wil git wat U desurv’.

“Holy shit!” The spelling was crappy, but my eyes bugged out and I gasped. “Someone is stalking you?”

Jesse nodded. “There are a couple bullies here at school who know I’m gay, but it’s no big deal. Last year was worse and I used to just get defensive and mad, but now it’s easier to walk away.”

“Mark Butler,” I mentioned. “I saw him that day in the quad. I thought you handled yourself well.”

My praise made him squirm a little, but he looked more abashed than anything. “Thanks. He’s a junior. Last year I had to deal with him and his older brother, Mitchell, who was an even bigger nightmare. Four inches taller than me, dumb and mean. Then he graduated, and I decided I wasn’t going to let Mark push me around like that anymore. It isn’t worth stressing myself out over.”

He indicated the threats with his chin. “I’m really sorry I thought it was you. I received the first one shoved in my locker two days after you started school here. Putting two and two together, it seemed too coincidental…”

I felt myself get irritated and set my mouth to retort, but then I stopped, considering the circumstances. The bad timing of these threats was hardly either of our faults, and if I’d been him I probably would have believed the same of me. It certainly explained Jesse’s peculiar behavior and fear over the past month, but at least he had the balls to be frank about it and not hide behind excuses or platitudes.

Jesse was still talking.

“…The first note said something like, 'It ain’t safe 4 U to be queer.’ I threw it in the trash because it didn’t seem like a big deal. I just thought someone was trying to be a douche, not really a threat. But the way the second one was written,” he indicated the letter in his hand, “made me take it more seriously. And then I found the one you’re holding taped to my car’s windshield today after school.”

This explained his anger at me when he walked in. My mouth was hanging open and I closed it. “Damn, Jesse, what are you going to do?”

He shrugged. “I hope it’s some prank and the person behind it will get bored if I don’t respond. So for now, nothing.”

I started to tell him that he shouldn’t try to handle this on his own and needed an adult’s opinion, but frankly, who was I to give advice? The idea that he was willing to open up and trust me after the past month was gratifying.

“At least, don’t throw any more away,” I suggested, handing the newest one back to him. “You’ll need them if this turns more serious.”

“Thanks,” Jesse went on, candidly studying my face for anger. Or as if he expected to find the answer to a puzzle there. “I’m sorry I misjudged you. You aren’t like that, are you? At least, I don’t think you are; otherwise, I’m in a mess of trouble.”

He was so earnest, almost boyish, and I fought back appreciative laughter so I wouldn’t hurt his feelings. I wanted to jump up and down in cheers because Jesse seemed equally in like with me and it was a huge relief. It felt pretty damn good to get this out in the open now that I knew where his mistrust came from.

“No, I’m not,” I agreed with an encouraging smile. “I don’t threaten people. I’d rather be the new kid sending the cute gay boy a real valentine telling him that I like him and want to ask him out.”

Jesse’s face lit up again in eager hope, and I swear, I could tell exactly what he was feeling just by looking at him. He had the most expressive eyes I had ever seen. I was already making plans to get lost in them.

“This is going to sound stupid but even when I was worried about you being my stalker I thought you were cute too.” Jesse blushed and fidgeted with the notes in his hand.

Oh good, I thought happily. Mutual attraction, what the best sex was built on. And then we were grinning at each other like fools. Jesse had his hand lying on the table between us and I reached over and put my hand on top of his and squeezed gently. We were the only ones in the back of the library so the librarians must have been busy in the front. I knew I was being discreet, and I wanted him to know precisely how I felt about him.

He smiled at me shyly and linked his fingers into mine, and all the ambiguous feelings I had been harboring against him disappeared. He wasn’t conceited and being difficult; he was being harassed and was afraid that I was behind it. There was a world of difference.

We got back to work on the project, but I can’t say we accomplished much. I kept darting quick glances at him, and peripherally, I noted him doing the same thing, his cheeks reddening up nicely every time he got caught.

“Can we go somewhere tonight?” he asked quietly. “Out to dinner or the movies, maybe?”

I smiled saucily and nodded. “Give me your cell number and I’ll put it in my phone.” He relayed the digits, and I immediately sent him a text message.”Now you have mine too. Let me know when and where.”

Jesse picked me up at 5:30 and we went into Santa Barbara. After we grabbed two very tasty orders of cheeseburgers, milkshakes and fries from some mom and pop diner that was rumored to be famous, he took me to the multiplex to see Safe House with Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington. It was a rather predictable action flick that wasted the talents of the cast but it was worth groaning over the film since I got to do it with Jesse. Being a drama student, he was able to point out to me where the production was just plain bad and we laughed and made fun.

All in all, I had a wonderful time. The movie had only been out for four days but the theater wasn’t crowded, especially in the back where we chose to sit. Once the lights went down I snaked my hand over and grabbed Jesse’s and we stayed that way through the whole two hours. His palm was dry in mine, but he was running the pads of his fingers around my knuckles and it was getting me wound up in a good way. I was glad of the dark because my cock was trying to burst through my zipper.

It was shortly after 9:30 when Jesse pulled his silver Jeep Wrangler into my driveway, and I sighed silently. The house was dark so I knew my dad wasn’t home, meaning he was spending the night with Jillian like he did almost every night of the week. It was so silent outside I could hear a coyote yipping way on the other side of the canyon at the end of the street.

On the bright side, I didn’t have anyone keeping tabs on me or watching through the living room window to see who I was kissing. Strangely, even though I was used to taking the lead in these types of situations, I hung back, all of a sudden insecure. He turned off the engine and I think we both felt awkward, not really knowing what to do next. I could see Jesse’s teeth glowing in the dimness.

“Thanks for a great night,” I said sincerely before climbing out of the cab. “Next time I’ll pay.” I hoped there was going to be a next time because I wasn’t picking up any signals at all from him.

Jesse jumped out of his door and followed me up the sidewalk to the porch, nodding at the unlit windows. I was fumbling in my pocket for my keys. “Do your parents go to bed early?” he asked.

“It’s just my dad and me,” I corrected. “He’s a heavy sleeper.” This early in the game, without me knowing him very well, I was ashamed to tell him I was alone most of the time.

“Good,” he whispered hoarsely, stepping towards me and leaning in. I caught his body in my arms and I wrapped them around his back.

Reaching to splay his fingers around my neck, he slowly pulled my mouth down, and I could see desire swirling through his pale golden eyes just before he closed them. The first brush of his cool lips against mine was soft but it sent a bolt of passion coursing through me. Oh fuck, he felt so good and I wanted nothing more than to kiss that pretty mouth back.

Tilting my head for a better fit, I felt his full, moist lips tug at mine once more and it was like an electric current lighting me up inside. Slow and gentle turned into urgent when I felt his tongue seeking entry, and I parted my lips to accept it. He lost no time in gauging my response, but there was no struggle for dominance. I sucked on his tongue and just let it eagerly explore my mouth.

I pressed myself closer so our bodies lined up. Of course, the inevitable happened; I began to get hard. Shivering, I begged my cock to remain soft but it had a mind of its own and continued to grow and twitch in my jeans. I was afraid of Jesse feeling it, and I tried to lessen the contact between us, but instantly it didn’t matter. My hard-on was being matched with a steely column of his own, and we moaned together as the two trapped lengths skated against each other.

Kissing Jesse made me feel new and alive but all too soon we had to unlock because I was getting faint from lack of air. I knew his lust-filled eyes matched mine. My heart was pounding so fast it was almost painful and his hand was feeling up under my shirt to find my pectoral.

My nipples were already rigid. When his fingers skimmed one, it made me tremble and I went hot and cold at the same time. He pushed a stray strand of hair behind my ear, thumbing my bottom lip gently before angling his mouth for another slow kiss. The desire between us spread, hands moving against skin, dicks straining and tongues firmly entwined.

“Damn, Shane, I could stay here kissing you all night.” His deep voice was filled with regret as he pulled away at last and his long, black lashes fluttered against my cheek. “But I need to get home. It’s a school night, and I have a curfew.”

“I wish you could too,” I sighed sadly. “That was fucking unbelievable.”

“I haven’t been turned on like this in… a long, long time.” He gulped, lightly running his fingers over my shoulder and I could feel the emotions raging inside him.

I tightened my hold on him, afraid to let him go because then I’d be alone again. But I didn’t want to act overly needy or cause him trouble so I gave him a quick kiss and stood back. “Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow, Jesse.”

He squeezed my hand and with a light glaze of his lips he was gone. I could still smell his cologne when I went inside, and I jacked off to memories of our kisses and fell asleep.


(To be continued...)


  1. Oh my gosh! A new series! I am soo happy. I really like this story so far, I just hope that Shane's bisexuality doesn't cause any trouble for these two. Jesse is a sweetie, and my heart melted when he was so psyched that Shane was interested. I am worried for them both now because if these threats actually turn into something real, they both could get hurt because they are involved now. Or at tthe very least, Shane could get outted and people could make his life hell if they want. But hey I am a big worrier.

    Beautiful start though girl. These two guys are sweet and I can't wait for the next chapter.

    Katie []

  2. I just stayed up way too late to read this, and oh, I am so thrilled! I'd write more, but it's 2:30, so just know I love it already.