They say everyone has a double, a doppelganger, someone who’s their mirror image. What if you just met your double? What if you were a thirteen-year-old kid who’s gay and you just met your double?
“Hey, I was just kidding,” I said.
“Seems to me I read somewhere that misstatements often end up as very good ideas when someone actually does them,” Brian said.
“So you’re saying you agree with me and we should use Tony as our messenger?” Todd asked, then chuckled.
“I’m not acting as your messenger!” I shouted. “Forget it!”
“Well, that’s disappointing. I thought Brian and I would be able to have some fun without actually disobeying my dad. He said you’d have to be in here, and being in my bed between me and Brian is as ‘in here’ as you can get. Also, he said he didn’t want me and Brian doing any hanky-panky, and it seems to me with you in the middle you’re the one who’d actually be handling it, doing both the hanky part and the panky part.”
“That is so wrong on every possible level,” I said. “First, not only would there be hanky-panky, all three of us would be involved in it. Second, I’d be having twice as much fun as either of you. Third, I’d be messing around with both of you, and I’d think you two being boyfriends now wouldn’t want the other to be messing around with someone else. Fourth, as boyfriends you should want to be monogamous. And fifth, I have to get up early to go to my Saturday practice. What you two do then is up to you. Just remember, Todd, after I get up your dad is likely to walk in and catch you.”
“Numbers three and four seem to me to be the same thing,” Brian said.
“Nope,” I said. “Number three is about what we would be doing. Number four is about what you two should be doing. There’s a difference. Maybe it’s sort of subtle, but think about it because they aren’t the same thing.”
“Okay, I guess you’re right, Tony,” Brian said. “So Todd, no hanky-panky or messing around tonight.”
“Number five is the one that I’d worry about,” Todd said. “So I’m reluctantly in agreement. No hanky, no panky, no messenger, and no messing around.”
“Okay, thanks for that you two. Now I’m going to get ready for bed because I have to be up by seven-fifteen tomorrow morning.”
Todd had set his alarm to the ‘ring’ setting and that woke all three of us. Todd slammed the button on his clock radio.
“Umpff! I’m gonna go back to sleep,” he said.
“Me too,” Brian added.
Since I’d be getting all sweaty and dirty in practice, I skipped taking a shower. I brushed my teeth, got dressed, then went downstairs. I was surprised to see Aunt Nora in the kitchen.
“You’re up early,” I said.
“I had to turn off the house alarm. You’d have opened the front door and set it off. So I decided to make some coffee and wait for you to come down. What do you want to eat?”
“A toaster pastry will be fine.”
“No it won’t. You need more protein along with the carbs. Let me scramble a couple eggs for you. The pan is ready.”
I had enough time, so I sat down at the table.
“Thanks, Aunt Nora.”
“Milk?” she asked.
“Okay. I’ll get it.”
I ate my breakfast and finished by twenty of eight.
“I gotta run. I need to be at school by eight.”
“I’ll drive you. That way you’ll have enough time to change into your uniform.”
“Thanks, but you don’t have to do that. If I get there before eight I’ll probably be the first one.”
“Let’s make sure of that,” she said. “Come on.”
So she drove me to school, to the parking lot at the back side of the campus which is closest to the gym. I saw Parker and Lane standing at the entrance to the locker room.
“Thanks, Aunt Nora. I’ll see you Thursday after school.”
“See you then, Tony. Good luck with your practice.”
I walked to the gym and said ‘Hi’ to Parker and Lane, then to Jiago, Ron, and Darryl who joined us.
“Locker room door is locked,” Parker said.
“Sounds appropriate to me,” Lane said.
“What? You don’t like puns, Tony?”
“Not on Saturday at eight o’clock in the morning.”
The door opened, and Coach Kavanaugh looked at us. “You’re the only ones here?”
“We saw a bunch of guys walking on Eastgate from both directions when we got here,” Ron said.
“Well, come on in and get your equipment and uniforms on,” Coach Kavanaugh told us. Then he looked and pointed at Lane. “We have a new recruit?”
“No, Coach. I’m Parker’s brother. I drove him here this morning, and figured I’d watch the practice. If that’s okay, I mean.”
“Sure, as long as you don’t go to Campo it’s fine,” Coach Kavanaugh joked.
“Eww! Campo!” Lane said, then he grinned and we all laughed. “I’m Parker’s brother and a senior here at Wilson.”
“You can come on in. Or you can go sit in the bleachers now. Your choice.”
“Thanks, Coach. If it’s okay I’ll come in and help these guys put on their pads to speed things up.”
“Thanks. I know they’ll appreciate it.”
We were dressed out and ready to go in about fifteen minutes and ran out onto the field. Coach Kavanaugh stood there with his clipboard, whistle, and bullhorn.
“Okay, guys. Everyone’s here, and I appreciate that you’re giving up your Saturday for an intensive practice session. First, I have something for each of you. I know that your parents are concerned about concussions. I hope you are too. Hitting is part of football. We provide a helmet that will help protect your head, but it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get a concussion. It’s important that we learn how to determine if there’s been a concussion when someone has been hit, or hits something like another player or the field.
“The school district is having the Wilson High School freshman football team test a new impact signaling device from Reebok, the Checklight™.” He put a thing on Darryl’s head that looked like the black caps that we wore under our helmets. Then he had Darryl turn around slowly so we could see there was a flap in the back with a little screen and some LEDs.
“It goes on your head like our regular caps, but it has sensors that are coupled to your head. It helps measure direct accelerations that your head experiences, and gives us real-time visual feedback like a traffic signal with red, yellow, and green lights. Steady green means it’s turned on. Blinking green means your head received a light impact. Blinking yellow means your head received a moderate impact. Blinking red means your head received a more severe impact. The number of impacts are counted and stored.
“It is not a way for us to know that you have a concussion. What it does is gives us an objective measurement of impact force. It’s an additional tool that lets us decide when to assess whether you might have a concussion or not.
“It can be used with or without your helmet, so it’s especially useful for practice sessions when you’re not wearing equipment. So if you fall and hit your head on the ground, it will take and store the impact reading, and light up the appropriate LED.
“This is not a toy! They list for a hundred and fifty dollars each. They are to be used only for Wilson High School freshman football practices and games. Since we have your helmet measurements we used those to determine how many of each size we needed to buy for the team. The caps come in small, medium, large, and extra-large.
“Each person will have their own cap and sensor unit. The sensor logs the number of impacts and we will count them after each use. You can find more about it in the instruction book. The box includes the cap, the sensor, a charger with a USB cable, and an instruction book. Your name has been written on the side of the sensor unit. This one,” he pointed to the one Darryl had on, “just happens to have his name so it’s his unit.
“We will collect the information following each practice and each game, and use that to assess the number of head impacts each of you has sustained. That information will help us evaluate whether to adopt the use of Checklight™ for our other contact sports teams in the future.
“After each day you wear it, you are to take your cap home, remove the sensor unit, and hand or machine wash the cap. It is to be air dried. Do not put the cap in a clothes dryer!
“Follow the instructions for cleaning the sensor unit, which is call the electronic device in the instruction book. Do not submerge the sensor unit in water or put it in a washing machine!
“You will be responsible for your Checklight™. Don’t loan it to anyone else! Don’t lose yours! Don’t forget it at home!
Jiago raised his hand. “I love this idea, coach. I can’t wait to show it to my folks. This should help my mom stop worrying so much about me getting a concussion.”
“Thanks, Jiago. Everyone be sure to tell your parents or guardians about the Checklight™. I suggest you read the instruction booklet first, then let them read it.”
Pete Ross raised his hand. “What happens after football season’s over? If this thing helps detect concussions I’d like to use it when I play soccer in the spring.”
“The unit you receive is yours. If you play football or any other sports at Wilson, you can use it for those sports. If you transfer to another school you’ll have to return it. When you graduate from Wilson it’s yours to keep. If you play sports in college, including intramural, you can use it there.”
I raised my hand. “Coach, what happens if it stops working or is broken during a game?”
“Your cap should be fine. We have some replacement caps on hand. We’ll take a sensor out of one of the replacement caps and give it to you, so you’ll be good to go. Your broken sensor will be returned to Reebok and they’ll replace it.”
Wayne Frias raised his hand. “Coach, what’d happen if I forget to bring it to school?”
“You’d do whatever you’d normally do but with your regular under-helmet cap: practice, play in a game, whatever. Since you won’t have the sensor we won’t have the ability to determine the level of an impact if you’re hit hard. Or not so hard. We’ll do what we’ve always done, guess about the impact. You’ll be told to bring it with you the next day. What’s best is don’t ever forget your caps and sensors at home!”
Parker raised his hand. “Coach, what about recharging the sensor?”
“Reebok says a fully charged battery can be used for about six hours of power-on time. That’s two games, or a week’s practice sessions. Of course, it’s important to turn it off when you’re not using it. I recommend that you recharge it every night. Think about your sensor like you think about your cellphones. You sure wouldn’t want your cellphone to stop working because you forgot to charge it. People would start calling you a dork or a dufus. Think about your sensor the same way. You sure wouldn’t want your teammates to start calling you dork or dufus because you forgot to charge your sensor. Or forgot to bring your cap and sensor with you to school.”
We laughed, but it really wasn’t something funny. None of us wanted to be called out by our teammates for forgetting any of our equipment or uniforms, especially a sexy new piece of equipment. Some of the guys were talking about showing it off to their current or potential girlfriends. I couldn’t wait to show it to Scott. I counted him as my friend — and maybe even a potential boyfriend.
We spent the next fifteen minutes getting our caps and inserting the sensors, turning on the units, and going to practice. Coach Kavanaugh, Coach Lenning, Jeff Liu, and even Lane helped guys get their caps set up and turned on. Some of the guys had questions, and Jeff was able to answer them.
Then we put on our helmets and ran out onto the field. Light contact drills, Coach Lenning called them. Lemme tell you, there was absolutely nothing light about them.
We’d been totally focused on our practice and had worked our butts off until just after one o’clock when Coach Kavanaugh finally called us to stop and have a team meeting. We gathered around him.
“Sit down, guys.” We sat. Man, it felt great to just sit on the turf for a while.
“I’m very impressed with all of you. Keep up the good work and we’ll have a great season. I know this is going to make some of you unhappy…” Those words were greeted with groans. “…but I want you to go in and shower and dress and head home.”
It took maybe a second and a half for what he meant to register. When it did, we jumped up and cheered, then ran to the showers. I noticed that the guys who’d said they weren’t going to shower until after we won our first game were in the showers too.
Parker told me Lane wanted to drive us home, so I phoned Dad and told him I had a ride.
I wanted to show my mom and dad the Checklight™ and the best time turned out to be after dinner. They seemed excited about it and maybe even a bit relieved. Especially Mom, and that didn’t surprise me at all.
I had to focus on homework the rest of the weekend. Todd and Scott both called, but I begged off getting together. I wanted to read ahead in my textbooks for each class. I knew my free time would be limited now that football season started with our game against Campo Friday afternoon, and I needed to maintain my straight-A average.
I was tired Monday morning, so I sort of dragged myself out of bed and got ready for school. When I went downstairs for breakfast Mom looked at me.
“Are you alright, Tony?” she aked.
“Yeah, just tired. I guess our first practice on Saturday was heavier duty than I thought.”
“I have some scrambled eggs and bacon for you. Eating a good breakfast should help your body recover.”
“Okay,” I said. It’s good having a mother who’s a doctor.
After eating I did feel better, and was surprised when Dad said he’d drive me to school. There wasn’t anyone at the bus stop when we drove by. If there had been, I would have asked him to pick up Scott and Frank.
Monday was a typical Monday, dull and boring until lunch.
“You ready for our Sex 1A class?” Todd asked me as we stood in the lunch line.
“You guess? Today’s the day show us how to put on condoms. And we’re going to get some of our own!”
“You’re panting, Todd. Calm down!” I said, and grinned.
“I’m not panting!”
“Yes, you are!” Scott said. I handn’t seen him get in line in back of us.
“Hey, Scott! Glad to be here for another scintilating freshman-year high school Monday?” I asked.
“Actually, my classes today were interesting,” he replied.
“Tony had football practice on Saturday. He’s wiped,” Todd explained.
“I’ll be glad when today’s over,” I mumbled.
According to Todd, in the ‘Sex 1A’ class we would learn how to put on a condom. He claimed that they were going to give away free condoms to anyone who wanted them. That might prove interesting. Especially since tomorrow Todd would go home with me for our first Tuesday-Thursday overnight. Maybe they’d show a video of someone putting them on for real. No broomsticks. As if!
Of course, nothing exciting happened in seventh period Health and Reproduction (‘Sex 1A’). We learned how to put on a condom by watching a film — which was animated, and didn’t have real guys. It was about the least sexy sex film I’d ever seen.
When the film finished I bumped Todd’s shoulder. “That was sure a waste,” I said.
“Tell me about it!” Todd responded.
“They didn’t have any live guys putting on the condom. Instead they had….”
Todd reached up and put his hand over my mouth. “I didn’t mean for you to actually tell me about it. Hey, look! They are giving out condoms at the front desk. Let’s get down there before they run out.”
We walked up to the teacher’s desk.
“How many can I take?” Todd asked Coach Hilton.
“How many do you need?” I could see he was trying to hide a grin.
Todd looked up at the ceiling for a second or two, then looked at Coach Hilton. “About twenty. To start.”
“How about five? That’ll give you four you can ruin trying to figure out how to put them on, and one for whatever.”
I laughed, then Coach Hilton laughed, as well as several kids around us who had been waiting to get their free condoms and overheard Todd’s conversation with the Coach.
“You’re pretty cheeky, buster.” Then Coach Hilton looked at me, then back at Todd. “Is your twin brother the same as you?”
Todd looked back and forth, then shrugged and said, “I don’t have a twin brother.”
Coach Nelson pointed at me. “Then who’s that?”
Todd turned and looked at me, then turned back. “Oh, him. He’s just my cousin.”
“Oh, yeah, now I remember hearing about you two guys. Are you the cousin going out for football? Or is he?” He pointed at me again.
“I’m Tony McKinley, and I’m the one going out for the freshman football team. I’d like five of the condoms, please.”
Coach Nelson handed me about a dozen. “Share these with your cousin, Tony.”
I shoved them into my backpack. “Thanks, Coach.” I grabbed Todd’s arm and pulled him through the other guys and out the door into the hall.
“Jeez, you could’a gotten me in trouble with the varsity football coach, Todd.”
“Nah, he laughed at my joke. It’s all good. So you didn’t have to drag me outta there. I could’ve gotten my own bunch of condoms.”
“I dragged you outta there because we’ve gotta move so we’re not late for our eighth period classes,” I said.
“We can be a few minutes late, no big problem. If our teachers ask why we’re late we’ll just show them a couple condoms and say, ‘We were in the Health and Reproduction class and we had to wait to get these.’ It would’ve worked.” He grinned.
“You’re out of your mind, Todd Anderson. Completely and totally out of your mind. First, I’m not giving you any of the condoms until we get to my house tonight. Second, you don’t want to get detention by making wiseass comments to your teacher.”
“I can’t ever have a little fun!”
I looked at him and wiggled my eyebrows. “You can have a little fun tomorrow night.”
“Yes. Absolutely. For sure. Guaranteed.”
“Okay, let’s move it!”
Monday after school I stood next to Scott as we waited for the bus.
“Say, where’s Frank?” he asked.
“I guess he’s sick. He wasn’t in homeroom or English.”
As more kids arrived, they pushed us so we were sort of crushed next to each other. I looked up at him, ready to say something about how many kids were waiting for our bus. But instead as I looked up at him, I realized something.
He looked down at me. “What do you mean?”
“You are getting taller. You are even taller than the day I met you in the cafeteria breakfast line. You said you’d grown about five inches over the summer. I think you’ve grown another couple inches.”
He blushed. He actually blushed!
“I’m embarrassed because I am getting taller. Dad says I’m in a growth spurt. He thinks I’ll get to be about six foot six by the end of ninth grade. Fourteen years old and I’m going to be six foot six!”
He shook his head and looked down. The bus pulled in and we were able to force our way on so we could grab the seat just behind the rear exit.
“So tell me, Scott, exactly what’s wrong with being that tall? Especially since you’re a basketball player?”
“I don’t know, exactly. My body isn’t coordinated. Some parts are big, like my height, but some haven’t caught up yet, like the spread of my hands. Everyone on the team thinks I should be able to pick up a basketball with one hand.” He held out his hand like he was grabbing a basketball at the top. “I can’t. Someday, maybe, but not yet.”
“I don’t understand. I’d give my left nut to be tall as you.”
He looked at me and sort of chortled. Then he looked at my crotch.
“Don’t give away your left nut for anything. I like it right where it is. Leave it there.”
I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard. I whispered to him, “You like my left nut?”
“Sure.” I was glad we were sitting just behind the rear exit and there was no seat in front of us. That’s because Scott didn’t whisper.
“You’ve never even seen my left nut! Or any of my other dangly bits.”
“Sure I have.” Still not whispering.
“Last Thursday when you were in the locker room after showering. I got to eighth period early and went to the locker room to change. You were at the end of the aisle and you dropped your towel and stood there trying to figure out your gym locker combination.”
“And you saw Mr. Tiny and his two little friends?”
“Yes. They are fine. Just right.”
I stopped whispering. “They are tiny!”
“They’re normal. Not huge, but not tiny.”
“I can’t believe it. You’ve seen my stuff.” I shook my head, looked at him, and grinned. I bumped his arm with my elbow. “You owe me a peek, Scott.” I wiggled my eyebrows then laughed to show I wasn’t serious. And I made sure that I didn’t look at his crotch.
Now he whispered, “Let’s solve that when we get off the bus. You come home with me and I’ll show you that you’re normal. Or at least the same as me.”
I was breathing hard. And I was hard. I read stories where a guy looks down and surprise! Surprise! He sees his bulge and finally realizes that he’s hard. That’s bullshit! When you get hard you know you’re hard! I knew I was hard, and to make matters worse Scott was staring at my crotch.
I stared out the window wishing that my hard-on would go away. It did, in the nick of time, just before we got to our bus stop.
We got off and stood waiting as the other kids who got off headed to their homes. Finally we were alone. Scott looked at me and grinned.
“You want to come to my house? No one’s home.”
“Not even Josh?”
“No, he and Lane went somewhere after school today. I don’t know where.”
“No. Trust me, I know no one’s home.”
Outside I probably seemed calm and relaxed. On the inside I wasn’t. My brain was going about a million parsecs a second.
“Okay,” I said.
We walked down San Miguel Avenue. I hadn’t said anything since we started walking. Scott broke the silence with a very interesting statement.
“Do you think I asked you to come home with me because I’m gay?”
“Yeah. Probably.” I started laughing. “And do you think I’m going home with you because I’m gay?”
“Yeah. Probably.” Now we were both laughing. Finally we calmed down.
I looked up at Scott and he was grinning. So was I. This wasn’t anything like the stories I’ve read on the internet about how two guys get together. Somehow this was… nicer. We each knew the other guy was gay, and we’d known for over a week. Now we planned to get to know each other better. A lot better.
So, grinning like fools, we walked to Scott’s house. There wasn’t anyone home.
Scott led me to his room. Like mine, it was very neat. He pulled the bedspread off the bed and dumped it on the floor at the foot of the bed, then did the same with blanket.
“Looks very enticing,” I said, then I pulled Scott to me and kissed him, on the lips. The kiss lasted about fifteen seconds and we pulled back to catch our breaths.
We got undressed. I discovered I wasn’t much smaller than him. A lot shorter in height, but that wasn’t much smaller.
“I have got to take a leak. Don’t go anywhere, Tony! I’ll be right back.”
I grabbed my backpack and reached in the back pocket I counted out the condoms Coach Nelson had handed to Todd. There were nineteen of them. I returned nine of them to my backpack, then dropped five on each pillow on Scott’s bed. I walked over to his desk and sat down, facing his bed.
When he returned, Scott didn’t notice them at first. Then he saw there was something on the pillows. He walked to the side of the bed, blocking my view of what he was doing, and he started laughing.
He walked to where I was sitting and pulled me out of the chair. Then he put his chin on my right shoulder and whispered in my ear. “Good hotels leave chocolate candy on the pillow. Great hotels leave a pile of condoms on the pillow.”
“We are here to please the customer, good sir,” I replied in my best fake English accent. I stepped back and, with my left arm behind me and my right arm across my stomach, I bowed like I thought a good concierge would in a fancy hotel.
“I’m pleased. But, good sir, this is my hotel!” That made both of us laugh.
He stepped back and held out his hands. He held one condom between his thumb and index finger of each hand, and wiggled them.
“One for you, one for me. I think we might have a vague idea about how to put them on, even if they used a stupid cartoon to show us. Shall we get started with our practice session?”
A little over an hour later four things had happened, but not necessarily in this order.
The first thing: I called my mom to tell her I was at Scott’s house, and we were doing homework. Well, it was sort of homework, and we were doing it at his house. She said I needed to be home by six-thirty for dinner. I told her I might be invited to have dinner at Scott’s, and if so I’d call and let her know.
The second thing: I showed Scott my Checklight™. He thought it was very cool. He said having the readout at the back of my neck made me look sexy.
The third thing: we discovered we liked being gay. Really, really liked being gay. Especially the doing-things-together part of being gay.
The fourth thing: we decided that we were going to be boyfriends and not keep it a secret.
That fourth thing presented a number of timing and logistical problems that needed a lot of thought and planning.
Like, my folks and I never talked about my having a boyfriend even though they knew that I’m gay. Scott’s folks and Josh knew that Scott is gay. So that’s the gay thing. But… now we’d have to tell both families that we’re boyfriends. And Scott and I had to tell Todd and Brian. And then we’d have to tell our friends at school, like Todd and Brian had.
“Scott, telling my folks that you and I are boyfriends will probably be a bigger deal than telling your folks.”
“I agree. I think we should start by telling my folks and Josh as soon as they get home. They should be here by five-thirty.”
“Okay, that makes sense,” I said. “I’ll tell my folks that you’re my boyfriend tonight at dinner. I’ll tell them the same way Todd told his folks about him and Brian. Maybe my folks will want you and your folks to come to my house and talk. That’s what Todd’s folks did when he told them about Brian. Is that okay?”
“Sure. They’ve already met and they get along, which is a good thing.”
I grinned. “When Brian’s folks went home he stayed at Todd’s. The three of us slept in Todd’s king size bed. We just slept. So, you think you’ll be able to stay over at my house tonight?”
“You mean a sleepover? Aren’t we a little old to do that?”
“Don’t you mean, ‘Aren’t we a little old to just do that?’” I asked, wiggling my eyebrows.
That made Scott laugh. “Let’s see what happens. If we can get away with it, I’m all for it. I wonder if we’d get any sleep.”
“We have to. I have football practice tomorrow morning and my dad is taking me so I can be at school by seven.”
“If I’m at your house I can get up and go with you, Tony.”
“That means you’ll be at school a whole hour early. Otherwise you could get up at quarter to seven like I usually do, shower, have breakfast, and catch the regular bus to school at twenty after seven.”
“I’d rather go to school with you. That way I can watch the freshman team practice.”
“What, you’re thinking about going out for football?”
“No, I don’t have any interest in getting slammed by two hundred and fifty pound tackles. I’m just interested because I like to watch football games.”
“Okay, you’ll have to get up about fifteen minutes before I do if you’re going to shower and have some breakfast. I don’t shower because I shower after my practice.”
“Getting up that early is no problem. Now, let’s get back to how we’re going to announce that we’re boyfriends.”
“Alright. After I tell my folks at dinner, I’ll call Todd and tell him. Then I’ll call Brian and tell him.”
“Sounds like a good plan,” Scott said.
“I just realized I’ll have to tell Todd’s folks, my Aunt Nora and Uncle Dennis. I’ll add them to my to-do list.”
We still had to decide which of our friends to tell personally and when.
“For me, I need to tell Heather, Frank, and Parker. Then our friends at lunch, like the way Todd and Brian did it. As far as the ‘when’ part I think we should do it tomorrow.
“You know, as soon as we make our announcement at lunch it’s going to spread all over school. Well, not really all over school, just among the freshmen. But that’s more than enough.”
“I think it’ll spread among more than just the freshmen,” Scott said. “This is the second set of boyfriends announced in less than a week, and both sets are freshmen. That’s going to be a topic of conversation for everyone at school just because it’s sort of a novelty.”
“So we should wait?” I asked.
“No! We need to go ahead and make our announcement at lunch tomorrow. The other question is when do we tell our friends?”
“I want to tell Heather tomorrow morning before classes start,” I said, “assuming I can find her. She’s already sort of hinted about me being gay when Todd and Brian announced that they’re boyfriends. Then I’ll tell Frank in homeroom. Is my telling them then okay with you?”
“Sure. No problem.”
“Is there anyone you want to tell Monday morning? Or call tonight?”
“I’ll tell some of the guys on the basketball team and my coaches. I’ll wait until eighth period tomorrow to do that.”
“Oops!” I said. “I forgot about the coaches. I’ll have to tell Coach Kavanaugh during our period zero practice. Shit! I should tell Parker and the rest of the team during period zero.” I thought about that. “Actually, I just thought of a way that will work out better. I’ll see Coach Kavanaugh and Parker before practice, and the freshman football team when we’re suiting up in the locker room. I’ll try to see Heather between period zero and our English class, and if I miss her I’ll see her at lunch. I’ll see Frank during homeroom.”
“I think we’re good to go,” Scott said. He grinned, then pulled me into a kiss.
We heard the garage door opening. Scott looked out his bedroom window.
“It’s my mom. You know, a lot of the time my dad gets home late. I say we tell her now, then when Josh comes home we’ll tell him. What time will you have leave?”
“About quarter to six.”
“If Josh is home before my dad then we’ll tell them together, otherwise I’ll tell my dad when he gets home and Josh later. Okay, let’s go downstairs and tell my mom our big news.” Scott grinned. “What do you say?”
“Let’s do it.”
Mrs. Sanderson wasn’t in the kitchen when we got there. “You want something to drink? I’m going to have a lime soda.”
“A glass of ice water, if you have it.”
We sat waiting for Scott’s mom to come into the kitchen. About five minutes later she walked in.
“Well, hi boys,” she said. “Would you like a snack?”
“No, I think we’re okay,” Scott said. He looked a little nervous. “Uh… I have sort of an announcement. Well, Tony and I have an announcement.” I saw him look at his mom to see if she had any reaction.
She looked at Scott, then at me, then back at Scott, and grinned.
“You two are boyfriends!” she said. “Congratulations!”
“You guessed? How’d you know?” he asked.
“Your expressions, yours and Tony’s. Now come here, both of you, so I can give you a big hug.”
After the hugs, there were questions from Scott’s mom.
“When did you decide you wanted to be boyfriends?”
We each mumbled something about ‘last week’ because we weren’t sure ourselves.
“What was your folk’s reaction, Tony?”
“I’m going to tell them tonight, after dinner.”
“What do you think their reaction will be?”
“Okay, I assume. Since they know Scott and you and Dr. Sanderson that will help a lot.”
“Can I assume that your folks know you’re gay, Tony?”
“Yes. We never made a big deal about it. They said it’s just one thing about me like the color of my hair or that I’m right handed. My mom’s a doctor so she knows being gay is genetic. My dad is an instructor at Sand Hills Community College, and there are lots of gay kids there who are out and some are in his classes.”
“Scott’s dad and I are available to meet with you and your folks tonight if you’d like.”
“Hey, thanks a lot for that. I’ll let you know.”
“Why don’t you just let Scott know, and I’m sure he’ll tell me.”
Scott’s dad got home then, so Scott kind of blindsided him by making our announcement as soon as he walked in from the garage.
He grinned. “Boys, I think that each of you has made an excellent choice in the person you want as your boyfriend.” He waited for a reaction from us, but I was a bit confused by what he’d said. I turned to Scott and raised my eyebrows.
“Since Tony seems confused by what you said, I’d like to say that was a wonderful thing to tell us.” He hugged his dad, and right then I realized what he’d said and what he’d meant.
“Thank you, Mr. Sanderson!” I said. “I’m sorry if I was a bit slow, but that was a fantastic way of telling us you’re okay with us being boyfriends.”
“I am more than okay with you and Scott being boyfriends. I don’t think you could either make a better choice.”
The questions wound down and Scott and I went into the family room and he turned on the TV. Neither of us paid any attention to whatever show came on.
“When do you think Josh will be here?” I asked.
“I don’t know. It depends on where he went with Lane.”
If you gave a quiz about the show we were watching I’d probably get an F. But we kept staring at the screen to keep from getting terminally bored waiting for Josh. Finally, at five-twenty, Josh got home. He came in through the kitchen door, so Scott got up and intercepted him before he could go upstairs.
“Hi, Josh,” I said when he walked in.
“Hi, Tony. So, Scott, what did you want to tell me?”
“Tony and I are boyfriends.”
“Fantastic! Come here, you two.”
So we did the ‘hug’ bit and the ‘when did you decide’ bit, and talked until quarter after six when I decided I’d better leave to go home. I had some homework due the next day, and I wanted to finish it before dinner.
When I got home I walked into the kitchen, as usual. Mom was getting dinner ready.
“What’s for dinner?” I asked.
“Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and a salad. Would you like a snack now?"
“No, I think I’m good.”
She looked at me like I’d said something illogical.
At dinner my dad asked about my morning practice session.
“I’m tired of them already. Today’s Monday, so we used the weight training room. Seven o’clock is way too early to spend forty-five minutes exercising. Tomorrow we have our last practice before our game with Campo on Friday afternoon. I wish you could be there, Dad.”
“I wish I could be there as well.”
“Well, I have a surprise for both of you.” Mom sat there smiling.
“What is it?” I asked.
“My sister and her husband, your Aunt Betty and Uncle Phil, Tony, are coming up from Los Angeles for a visit. They’ll arrive on Wednesday and will be staying in our guest bedroom. Phil is a videographer. He specializes in taking videos of sports teams and their games. I’ll be going with him to your game Friday afternoon, and Phil’s bringing his professional quality video camera. He’ll take a video of the entire game. He contacted Wilson High Athletic Director Garrett Benhoff and Coach Jake Kavanaugh, and they gave him permission to take the video. He’ll give a copy of the raw video to the school and show it to us on Saturday.”
“Oh, man, that is fantastic!” I said. “Is he going to take a video of the JV and varsity games too?”
“No, I’m afraid not. The JV game isn’t at Wilson, it’s an away game. Phil told me that students in Wilson’s video class always take videos of the varsity games. They have a staff of four students that are on the field and focus on the team and how they’re playing the game. Their video is used by the varsity football coaching staff. Phil won’t be on the field; he’ll be in the press box, so his view of the game will be from that position.”
“Will he be able to get closeups of our team from way up there?”
“Let me see. He sent me this email because I’d never remember all the details. He says that his camera has interchangeable lenses and the standard lens is 18mm wide angle to 200mm telephoto. He said that should let him take a views that will range from the full width of the field to closeups of individual players anywhere on the field. He’ll bring another zoom lens that will let him get closer if it’s needed. He said it depends on where he’ll be in the press box. When he returns home he’ll do a professional edit and send a copy to us and to the school on Blu-ray disks.”
“That sounds fantastic,” I said. “I assume they’re not coming because of my first football game. Is this their vacation?”
“No, Phil is going to a conference in San Francisco, so Betty decided she’d take some time off and come along to see us. I’ve arranged to get Friday through Monday off at the hospital so I’ll have time to visit with them.”
“Unfortunately I won’t be able to take any time off,” Dad said. “I’ll watch the video on the weekend.”
“Huh. That’s my problem too,” I said, and I grinned. “Having to be at school is messing with both of our schedules, Dad.”
“Just remember that my days at school help pay our bills. Your days at school are so you’ll be able to go to college then get a high-paying job so you can support me and your mom after we retire.”
“When do you plan on retiring?”
“When you get that high-paying job.” Dad grinned. Mom just said “Hmpf!”
“Hmm, do you know how much a Barista at Starbuck’s makes a year? Will that be considered a high-paying job?”
“I don’t think so, Tony,” Mom said. “You don’t worry about having to support us. You just go to school and get a job that’s something you’ll enjoy. Just not as a Barista at Starbuck’s.
“Now, I’m arranging to get together with Nora and Dennis on Friday,” she said. “I haven’t told them anything about our strange twin relationships so it should come as a big surprise, especially for Betty.”
“So Aunt Betty is your sister?”
“Yes. She was also adopted by our parents.”
“Too bad you haven’t found out if you and Aunt Nora are twins.”
“I know. Dr. Sanderson, said it would take a week to get the twin matching reports. It’ll be a week tomorrow. But I don’t think we should plan on getting the results until the end of this week or sometime next week. He said the detailed analysis of Tony and Todd would take about a month. That means we’ll get that report sometime in early October.”
“I hope I get it in time for my Biology project.”
“Do you have a plan B?” Dad asked me.
“No. These reports are a lot of work, and doing one is more than enough. When I asked Dr. Sanderson if I’d have the information in time to turn in our report, he said yes.”
We continued talking about the DNA reports and I continued to get more and more nervous about my announcement. We’d just finished eating when Dad looked at me.
“You seem to be worried about something, Tony.”
“Yeah. I’ve got something to tell you.”
“How about we clear the table first,” Mom said, “then you can tell us what’s bothering you.”
Dad and I cleared the dishes and Mom rinsed them and put them in the dishwasher. Then she washed the pans and I wiped them and put them away.
“Come and sit down and tell us what it is you have to tell us,” she said.
I sat with my arms crossed and leaning on the table. I took a deep breath, looked at Dad then at Mom. “You guys know I’m gay. Well, Scott is too. He and I like each other a lot. Now it’s more than just liking each other. Umm… we talked today, and we decided that we want to be boyfriends.”
Everything was silent for more than just a few seconds. I started to worry that they weren’t happy with what I said. Then Mom reached across the table and put her hand on my arm.
“Tony, I think this is a good time to talk with you about this.”
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing A Time When It All Went Wrong
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