Authors: Alex Sanchez
Tags: #Social Issues, #Dating & Sex, #Social Science, #Gay, #Juvenile Fiction, #Homosexuality, #Fiction, #Gay Studies
Three times Kyle listened to the message, relishing every word. Over the past months he’d saved al of Jason’s messages, til the voice mailbox became so ful his dad made him erase them.
Reluctantly he now deleted the new one and immediately dialed Jason.
Mrs. Carril o answered. She was always sweet to Kyle, asking how he was and thanking him for helping Jason with school. Now she sounded out of breath.
“Hold on,” she told Kyle. “Jason! It’s Kyle!”
Kyle ran a hand through his hair, eagerly listening for Jason’s approach.
“Wha’s up?” Jason said. “Have you seen Nelson? Did he tel you about what happened with Coach today?”
“Yeah. Congrats. How’d Coach take it?”
“Okay, I guess. He didn’t kick me off the team or anything. But he said he wants to talk to Muel er.”
“No way!” Kyle sat up in his seat. “What for?”
“I don’t know. Hey, can I cal you back? I’m helping my mom move furniture.”
“Wel , you want to come over later?” Kyle asked, anxious to hear the rest of Jason’s story. Happily, Jason agreed.
After hanging up, Kyle went upstairs and crashed onto the bed, wiped out from the doctor’s visit with Nelson. He cupped his hands behind his head and stared at the movie poster Jason had given him tacked on the wal .
During the past few days Kyle had spent hours thinking back and forth about col ege and his future with Jason. Now once again his thoughts began turning. But before he knew it, he’d fal en asleep.
His mom woke him, brushing her hand gently across his forehead. “Honey, it’s time for dinner.” She’d made lemon chicken, with cinnamon sweet potatoes and almond string beans. Kyle loved her cooking.
“Stil no word from Princeton?” his dad asked. “Maybe I should cal and ask when they’re sending their letters out.”
“Dad!” Kyle said, tossing down his fork. “Can’t you just leave it alone? I’m the one going to school, not you!” His dad drew back a tiny bit. “I’m just suggesting—”
Kyle’s mom intervened, as usual. “Honey, Kyle’s right. It’s not going to do any good to cal them.” As if scolded, his dad backed off. “At least they could tel us when we’d hear.” His mom tried to switch the conversation, asking Kyle what he knew about the Tech and Princeton swim teams, just as the doorbel rang.
“Jason!” Kyle gasped, suddenly realizing he’d forgotten to tel his mom. “Um, I invited him over.” Kyle tried to keep him self from tearing to the door. “Is it al right?”
“Of course, honey. But it would be nice if you’d tel me ahead of time.”
“Sorry!” Kyle yel ed over his shoulder as he bolted to the foyer, his socks sliding across the tile.
Jason stood on the doorstep, warming his hands with his breath, dark eyes glowing brightly above his cheeks. “Wha’s up?” he said, stepping inside.
Kyle pressed his hand against Jason’s. “You’re ice cold. You need gloves.”
“I’m al right.” Jason smiled, peeling off his coat.
Kyle hung it for him on the hook atop his own jacket. Then glancing over his shoulder and seeing his parents weren’t looking, he quickly pecked Jason a kiss.
“Hey, cut it out,” Jason whispered. But he was smiling and an instant later, he tapped Kyle a kiss in return.
“Have you eaten?” Kyle asked, grinning.
Jason gave a vague shrug that Kyle took to mean he wouldn’t mind eating again.
“Hel o, Jason!” Kyle’s dad said, instantly on his feet as Jason came into the dining room. He shook Jason’s hand, clapped him on the shoulder, and as Kyle set an extra place, his dad and Jason began talking excitedly about assists, steals, rebounds, and turnovers.
Although Kyle never doubted his dad loved him, he could tel Jason was the type of son he’d always wanted Kyle to be—self-confident, popular, winning.
Kyle tried not to feel jealous, listening politely til everyone finished eating and his mom interceded.
“Honey,” she told his dad, “the boys probably want to go study.”
“Huh?” His dad blinked. “Oh, yeah.”
“There’s apple pie when you boys get hungry again,” his mom said after Jason helped Kyle clear the table.
“I hope my dad didn’t talk your ear off,” Kyle whispered to Jason as he led him upstairs.
“I don’t mind.” Jason shrugged. “At least he takes an interest. That’s more than I could ever say for mine.” He sat down in the desk chair.
“So, tel me everything!” Kyle said, sitting down on his bed. “What did Coach say? Why’s he want to talk to Muel er about Jason recounted the story, as if recapping a game, and even though he seemed to be cool with the whole thing, the way he bit into a fingernail every once in a while hinted he was real y kind of nervous.
“It sounds like you did great,” Kyle said, trying to reassure him.
Jason shrugged and gave a slight grin. “It was so weird when Coach brought up the role model thing. Almost like you’d told him to say that.”
“I did,” Kyle teased. “I phoned him over the weekend.”
“Want to give Muel er a cal too?” Jason kidded in return.
Kyle laughed, then turned earnest. “I think Coach’s idea of talking to MacTraugh is great. She’s awesome.”
“I hope so,” Jason said.
Kyle nodded, careful y considering what he wanted to say next. “I’ve been thinking. ...” He sat forward on the bed, bracing his arms on the mattress. “About what you said—you know—about staying home and going to community col ege?”
“Yeah?” Jason’s thick eyebrows rose with curiosity.
“Like you said,” Kyle continued, “going to a community col ege wouldn’t be the worst thing. I mean, I guess what I’m saying is . . . if that’s what you had to do, wel , I could do it too.
Kyle knew he was crazy to even entertain the idea, but wasn’t the alternative—being apart from Jason—even crazier?
“I mean,” Kyle pressed on, “we’d stil transfer to Tech junior year, right?” Jason ran a hand through his hair. “I don’t know about this, Kyle. You shouldn’t decide on your col ege based on me. You need to think maturely about this.”
“I’m not,” Kyle said. “I mean, I
thinking maturely. I wouldn’t only do this because of you. I’d be doing it for me.” Jason raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
Kyle wondered: How could he convince Jason how much he meant to him without sounding immature?
“I want to be with you,” he said softly. “I don’t want to be apart. We’re boyfriends.” Jason gazed into his eyes. “Wel . . .” His beautiful y rounded lips quivered anxiously. “Like you said before, this is al hypothetical.” Abruptly he glanced away, grabbing his backpack, and pul ed out a book. “Can you help me with some math?” His notebook accidental y dropped to the floor. Obviously he felt too nervous to talk any more about the future.
Kyle longed for some reassurance about his plan. But he knew from experience how skittish Jason could get, so he contented himself with Jason scooting his chair close.
For the next hour Kyle helped him with algebra, every once in a while finding himself leaning against Jason’s shoulder. He’d force himself to pul back, to concentrate on the math. But the next moment Jason would rest his knee against Kyle’s.
When they finished the last equation and Jason turned to him, Kyle had to close his eyes to keep from melting. An instant later, as in a dream, Jason’s lips touched his, their tenderness putting to rest al of Kyle’s worries about the future.
Losing al restraint, he pul ed Jason by the hand onto the bed.
“What about your parents?” Jason said in a soft voice.
“Who?” Kyle said, half joking and half in dazed earnestness. “Oh, yeah.” Reluctantly, he tiptoed to the door and quietly closed it. A thril coursed through his heart. He couldn’t believe he was actual y doing this.
“What if they come up?” Jason whispered as Kyle lay back down beside him.
Kyle pressed a finger onto Jason’s lips and kissed him. For a brief moment Jason resisted, but then relaxed into a kiss, tel ing Kyle, in a gravel y voice, “You feel so good.”
Then they kissed passionately—their tongues touching, blood pounding, hands clutching as they pressed against each other.
“This is getting too intense,” Kyle panted, about to burst.
“Yeah.” Jason’s chest surged and fel , mirroring Kyle’s passion.
But neither of them could stop—til a knock rattled the door.
Jason scrambled from the bed. “Crap!” he cursed, springing to his feet.
Kyle leaped up beside him. “It’s okay,” he told Jason, knowing ful wel it wasn’t. “Just a minute!” he cal ed out, smoothing the bedspread.
Jason tucked in his shirt. “Your hair!” he told Kyle in a stage whisper.
Kyle glanced in the mirror and patted his hair down. Trying to slow his breath, he opened the door. “Oh hi, Mom.” His voice squeaked out thin and false.
“I thought you might be ready for dessert.” She held a tray of pie and milk.
Though she wore a tight-lipped smile, her eyes, dark and troubled, darted between the two boys. “Kyle, can I talk to you a minute?” Kyle’s stomach clenched. He shot Jason a nervous glance, handing him the tray, then he fol owed his mom into the hal .
“Honey,” she said in a strained tone, “could you please leave the door open?”
“Huh?” Kyle tried to sound innocent, though he knew his face was betraying him. “Um, sure.”
“Good.” She gave his arm a firm pat. “Enjoy the pie.”
“Thanks,” he replied. Did she real y expect him to eat after that?
“What did she say?” Jason asked in a hushed voice.
Kyle handed him a plate of pie, trying to appear calm. “She wants us to keep the door open.”
“Crap!” Jason punched himself on the leg. “You think she knew what we were doing?”
“Al we were doing was kissing.” Kyle grabbed a plate and tried to eat, but his throat felt too dry to swal ow.
Jason started pacing. “I can’t believe this. You think she told your dad? How am I going to walk past them now?”
“Wel , as far as my dad is concerned, you can do no wrong. I think he likes you better than he likes me.” Jason gave him a sarcastic smirk. “I better go. We shouldn’t have done anything with your parents around.” Kyle didn’t want Jason to go, but he knew he couldn’t stop him. He fol owed Jason downstairs, wishing his mom hadn’t come up and scared him away. Why had she made such a big deal of the closed door? Didn’t she trust them?
She and his dad sat in the living room reading—his dad in the recliner, his mom in the wingchair. “Leaving so soon?” she asked Jason.
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied, keeping his gaze lowered. “Thanks for dinner. Good night, Mr. Meeks.”
“See you at the next game,” Kyle’s dad said, and gave Kyle a reproachful glance.
Kyle handed Jason his jacket. “Are you coming to the GSA at lunch tomorrow? It’s Ms. MacTraugh’s birthday.”
“Okay,” Jason said, pushing his arms through the sleeves.
Kyle recal ed his cold hands when he’d arrived. “Take my gloves.”
Jason brushed them aside. “I don’t want to take your gloves.”
“Take them,” Kyle insisted. “I have another pair.”
Jason took them. “Later.” He stepped out the door and down the driveway, leaning into the wind. Kyle watched, hoping he’d turn around.
“Kyle!” his dad yel ed. “You’re letting in the cold.”
Kyle pul ed the door closed just enough so he could stil watch until Jason disappeared down the dark, tree-lined street.
Sidling into the living room, he stood before his parents. “Why do I have to keep my bedroom door open?” His mom glanced at him over the rim of her glasses. “Because,” she said, calmly closing her book, “we’d feel more comfortable.”
Whenever Nelson comes over we always close the door.” His dad peered over the newspaper. “That’s different.”
“Why’s it different?” Kyle insisted.
“Because Nelson isn’t your boyfriend,” his mom said.
Kyle shoved his hands into his pockets. “So Jason and I can’t have any privacy because you’re afraid we’l do something? That’s pretty homophobic.”
His mom pushed a strand of graying blond hair behind her ear. “Kyle, that’s not fair. Your dad and I are trying very hard to be understanding.
If you had a girlfriend, we’d have the same rule. You can have Jason in your room, but keep the door open.”
“Why? You afraid one of us wil get pregnant?”
With that, he stomped up to his room and tossed himself onto the bed, where only minutes earlier he’d lain with Jason.
There was no way he could stay home and go to community col ege. What was the point, if Jason and he couldn’t be alone together?
How would they ever make out again—much less make love?
to go to Tech. Once away from home, there was no way his parents—or anyone—could keep Jason and him apart.
Except . . . what if Jason lost his scholarship?
Kyle shut his eyes, not wanting to think about that.
Jason trudged home, rehashing in his mind some of the things Kyle had said that evening and wondering since when had they become
“boyfriends.” They’d never discussed it.
True, they’d had sex. But that just sort of happened. Jason had wanted it to happen and wished it could happen more often—a whole lot more often. But did that make them
What did it mean for two guys to be boyfriends?
He definitely liked Kyle a lot. He was funny, sweet, smart, and always there to help. There was never a better listener, and Jason enjoyed spending time with him more than with anyone else he’d ever known.
He also liked being physical with Kyle—not just in sex, but also kissing and holding him. He ached to be with him.
But it worried Jason the way Kyle was so ready to sacrifice Tech and jump on the forever bus. Sure, it was a total rush. But was Jason ready for so much in-love-ness? Was
of them? What if Kyle got hurt—the same as Debra had?
As Jason walked down the street, thinking and fretting, a cold gust of wind blew into his face. At least his hands were warm inside Kyle’s gloves.