Curt's life takes a turn that he never expected, and he realizes that it's because he forgot something that didn't seem important at the time. He also discovers that others have forgotten things that are important and that turns out to both help him and hurt him.
Mature or distressing themes. This story deals with abuse.
Chapter 20 — Getting Ready for Laura’s Party
I blushed when Mrs. W kissed me, but it was nice that she did. She was filling in as my substitute mother and doing a great job. She pulled back from our hug.
“Now, let me get the rest of dinner on the table. Would you tell Michael that dinner’s ready?”
Mr. Williams was in the family room, and I told him dinner was on. The three of us sat down and we heard Tom clomping downstairs, but this time he wasn’t running.
“Those lamb chops smell so good. I love lamb chops!”
With that we served ourselves and chatted about this and that. Tom talked about the deposition and how Beth Wolman led him to more complicated questions that Don’s lawyer might ask him. I talked about Laura’s party and the arm cast wraps I got at the drugstore. Mr. Williams talked about the trial starting on Tuesday and how he and Beth couldn’t understand why Don’s attorney was doing what he was doing. He speculated about how Lawrence Wilde wasn’t a criminal attorney and he might not have been the best choice for Don. Tom talked about the clothes he bought, and Mrs. W informed us that while Tom might have picked out his clothes, she was the one who paid for them. I talked about the birthday presents I got for Laura and Mark, and Tom talked about what he bought each of them. Mr. Williams and Tom talked about going to the Backrib House for lunch and how good their ribs are, which brought Mrs. W into the conversation when she said she liked tender meat more than gloppy barbeque sauce and that digressed into a three-way argument about what rib place is best, and it ended with the three of them agreeing that the Backrib House had the best barbeque sauce and Stanford’s had the best meat. I stayed out of it until the end when I said I agreed about Stanford’s and the meat was king when it came to barbeque. By then we were finished and I helped as much as I could with the cleaning up.
I spent the next two hours going over the next group of chapters, then going back and reviewing the quiz and exam questions from the earlier chapters for another hour. Then it was time for bed. All of the assignments and the studying really wore me out. But it was important. This was an Honors class, and I wanted an A so there’s be no question about it being accepted so I’d be able to take Pre-Calculus as a sophomore instead of waiting until I was a junior. Then I could take AP Statistics as a junior and Advanced Placement Calculus AB/BC as a senior. During the summer after I graduated from high school I could take Differential Equations and Linear Algebra at the community college and that would complete almost all of the math requirements for the degree program in Computer Science. All before I started my freshman year at UC Berkeley.
I washed up and got into bed. I fell asleep immediately.
“Oof!” I woke up and looked at Tom, who was straddling me, sitting on my stomach. “Ow! You’re too damned heavy to be sitting on my stomach like this. I might barf all over you.”
“Nah. Never happen.” He moved back a little, so he was sitting just above my hips. “Better?”
“Yes and no. Yes, it’s better because I probably won’t hurl. No, it’s not better because now you’re sitting on my bladder and in about ten seconds I’m going to make you wish you weren’t sitting there.”
Tom jumped off me and I got up and rushed to the bathroom. I made it just in time. When I finished I turned and Tom was standing there grinning.
“See, I acted as a discharge agent. Without me you’d probably still be asleep and then you’d wake up and find you’d wet the bed.”
“I’ve got better control than that. Unless someone’s sitting on top of my bladder. Anyway it’s time for me to shower and get my stuff together so I’ll be ready to go to Laura’s.”
Tom stood there looking at me. “You know I love you, Curt. You’re like my best friend ever.”
“I love you too, Tom. We are best buds and it’s like we’re brothers who get along.”
“Yeah, absolutely true that.” He walked over to me and hugged me. “You get cleaned up and I’ll see you downstairs for breakfast.” He grinned. “Don’t take too long. There might not be any food left once I get going.”
“Out! I’ve gotta shower and brush my teeth.”
Tom left and I showered and brushed my teeth. I checked my upper lip, chin, and cheeks. Time to shave, so I pulled out my electric shaver and did a once-over. My whiskers didn’t grow much so that was all I needed. I got dressed. I put on a swimsuit, board shorts, a T with a scene from some bay in Australia famous for surfing, and a pair of Crocs. That was all I needed for the day. I put my gifts for Laura and Mark in my gym bag along with a T with a sunset scene from Hawaii, my other swimsuit, another pair of board shorts, a pair of briefs just in case I got both swimsuits wet, a tube of sunblock, and two of the arm cast wraps and a roll of the waterproof adhesive tape.
Mrs. W was in the kitchen. “Good morning,” I said.
She smiled when I sat down. “Good morning, Curt. What would you like for breakfast?”
“Not too much. There’s going to be lots of food at Laura’s party so I don’t want to get too full.” I saw her expression and knew that she’d rag on me about not eating enough, so I headed that off. “I’m going to be in the pool a lot before we eat, so it’s a good idea to not have a lot to eat before that.”
“Hey, we’re not leaving until around three, so having a bigger breakfast is gonna be better than a big lunch before you jump into the pool.”
“I agree with Tom, Curt. A larger breakfast without heavy foods would be good for you. If you skip breakfast you’ll be starved by lunch and you’ll need to eat before you go to Laura’s party.”
“And,” Tom added, “you’re not going to be swimming, just hanging out at the edge of the pool. You probably won’t even be in above your waist.”
“Okay, okay,” I replied, “you two win, I give up. What do you suggest?”
“Okay, what I suggest,” Tom offered, “is cold cereal, maybe Joe’s O’s and corn flakes, with milk and some fresh blueberries, and a couple of pieces of toast with peanut butter and jam. See, it’s what I’m having.”
“Okay, that sounds pretty good. I’ll get my cereal.”
“You just sit there. I’m the mother around here and I’ll serve your breakfast.”
“Okay, Mrs. W. Thanks.”
Tom nudged me. “Never argue with a mother.” He turned back to his rather huge bowl of cereal and continued eating.
After breakfast we turned on the TV and watched a Lacrosse match between a couple of high schools that weren’t even in our area, then the movie Monsters Inc. which I always think is very funny no matter how many times I’ve seen it.
After breakfast Tom and I went upstairs. I was all packed, but Tom hadn’t even started.
“Okay, I planned to bring those blue trunks, but what do you think if I bring the yellow ones instead?”
“Jeez, I don’t know. I didn’t see the yellow ones on you so it’s hard to tell.”
“Okay, I’ll try ‘em on. I’m going to wear them under my board shorts anyway.”
He got undressed and very unceremoniously dumped his clothes on the floor. I turned around and closed his bedroom door. When I turned back he was wearing the yellow trunks. They had the same narrow white strips running horizontally all the way around, but until I got close the white stripes seemed to blend with the yellow and it looked like they were a very pale solid yellow color. I just stood there, my mouth open, staring at him.
“Oh my god. You are so freakin’ hot in those trunks. And sexy. Maybe too sexy. They seem less opaque than the blue ones. And the pouch on this pair seems to show more of… uh… an outline of what’s underneath. I’m afraid that everything will show through when they get wet.”
“Okay, let’s do the shower test on them like I did with the blue ones.”
“But they’ll be wet. You want to wear them under your board shorts when they’re wet?”
“They’ll dry. No problemo.”
So we marched across the hall to the bathroom and I closed the door behind us. Tom got in the tub and aimed the spray at his yellow trunks.
“Shit, that’s cold.”
He got them very wet, and the pouch didn’t show much of anything, just like the blue pair.
“The pouches on those trunks must be lined or something. I can’t see anything through them. However, I can see the outline of your dick more with these then when you were wearing the blue ones.”
“Lemme see.” Tom got out of the tub, walked to where he could see himself in the mirror.
“Damn, I am hot in these. That color really shows up against my skin. It sure does highlight everything. Of course, when you have as much to highlight as I do….”
He grinned and sort of readjusted himself. “Better?”
“Not much. But you know, it’s not that bad. Hell, my swimsuit shows the outline of what’s underneath. And Kyle is going to be wearing your Speedo and unless he’s built like a ten year old it’s going to show everything. I don’t think you’re going to be more noticed than anyone else.”
“Damn. So to get noticed, that means I’ll have to do my famous striptease.”
“I’d like to see you try that at Laura’s house. Your folks would lock you in your room until you’re thirty years old. That is, if you’re still alive after Laura’s dad kills you.”
“Well, enough of this engrossing discussion. I still have to pack my stuff, and wrap Laura’s gift.”
“You haven’t wrapped Laura’s gift yet?”
“Nope, I have not done that.”
“How about Mark’s gift?”
“All ready to go. Dad had a mailer for CD’s and the card and CD fit into it perfectly.”
“I’ve seen those mailers. They’re just a cardboard box. It’ll look crappy as a gift unless you wrap it.”
“Okay, okay, I guess I’ll wrap it too.”
“Why didn’t you wrap Laura’s gift already?”
“Mom said she’d help me with it.”
“Well, now you can go downstairs and get her to help you wrap both of them. Kyle and Mark will be here in about a half hour, so it’s gotta be done before they get here.”
“Yes, Mommy!” Tom smirked at me as he grabbed a shopping bag next to his bed and started out the door.
“No! Wait!” Tom turned and looked at me. “Put on your boardies and a T first, Dufus.”
“Gotcha!” He started laughing. “What! Do you really think I might go downstairs wearing just these wet yellow trunks?”
“Well, you’re right. But I guess it’s better not to do it this time.”
Tom put on his board shorts, his T that read ‘Your Boyfriend Thinks I’m Hot’, and some flip-flops. He tossed another pair of boardies in the bag along with two plain, brightly colored T’s, one yellow and one light green, and started to walk out.
“You’re not going to bring any underwear?”
“Sure. My trunks.”
“But you only have one pair.”
“Hmm. Okay.” He got the blue pair and put it in the bag.
“I should be good to go now.”
“After you get your mom to help you wrap the gifts for Mark and Laura, maybe.”
“Alright, alright, that’s where I’m going, to get her to help me. By the way, Laura’s mom called my mom and said we’re to bring Mark’s presents with us to Laura’s party. I think they’re going to give them to him there.” Tom headed downstairs. I thought how cool that was of Laura to find out that it’s Mark’s birthday too and plan this for him.
I went back to my room and looked over the homework I’d finished yesterday afternoon to make sure I finished all of the problems and that they looked correct. After I was finished rechecking my Algebra 2 homework I decided to rest for a while. I grabbed my MP3 player and put on the earbuds. I turned it on and selected my favorite group playlist with my favorite tracks from my Plain White T’s, Bruno Mars, and Shakira CDs. I closed my eyes and listened to the music.
I guess I fell asleep because I heard some giggling and whispering. I could tell that it was Tom, Kyle, and Mark plotting to play some trick on me. I sat up and did my best lion imitation and roared at them. We all started laughing, and I swung my legs off the bed, slipped on my Crocs, and stood up.
“Very funny, guys.”
Tom grinned and turned to Kyle and Mark. “I guess we woke him up.”
“Who says I was asleep?”
“You were snoring.”
“I do not snore, Mark!”
That was greeted by a cacophony of “Yes, you do snore, Curt!” from all three, followed by all of us laughing again. I looked at Kyle and Mark. They were wearing boardies, same as me and Tom.
“You know, if someone has the trademark on board shorts they’re making big bucks. Everyone wears them these days.”
Tom pulled his boardies down to his knees, and pointed to his yellow swim trunks. “Maybe everyone wears boardies, but these are gonna make more money. They look mondo-sexy, and boardies are called that because they look bor‑ing.”
Mark whistled. “Oh my god! Tom, you look good enough to eat.”
Tom smirked. “You wish, but it just ain’t gonna happen, Markie,” and he pulled up his boardies to a round of boos from the three of us.
Mark turned to Kyle and shook his head. “Why are so many of the hot guys straight? It just isn’t fair.”
“You’re right,” Kyle declared, “but I haven’t found anything that I can do about it.”
Tom pulled me to one side and whispered, “What about the birthday presents for Mark?”
I whispered my answer, “He’ll get them at Laura’s, and his own birthday cake. It’s a surprise.”
Tom grinned and nodded. Then he announced, “Okay, enough of this idle chatter, let’s get this show on the road. It’s time we get over to Laura’s. It’s hot outside and I want to go swimming!”
“Me too!” Mark and Kyle added in unison.
I picked up my bag. “I’m ready too. Vámonos, muchachos!”
We went downstairs and said goodbye to Tom’s folks.
“What time will you be back, boys? Do you want me to pick you up?” Mr. Williams asked.
“I don’t know, Dad. Maybe six-thirty or seven?” Tom shrugged his shoulders and looked at me.
“You know, the last party at Laura’s ended around nine. So I’d guess maybe it could be as late as eight-thirty or nine. Is that okay?”
“Tom, call home when you’re ready and your Dad will pick you up. That way Kyle and Mark won’t have to walk home from here.” Mrs. W suggested.
“Okay, Mom. That sounds good. I’ll get my cell.”
Tom ran upstairs and got his cell and started to put it in the shopping bag he was using for his stuff.
“Tom, give it to me and I’ll put it in my gym bag. It’ll be safer in there. It can’t get wet, it’s water resistant including the zippers.”
“Good Idea, Curt.” He handed me his cell and I put it in one of the outside pockets and zipped it closed.
“We’ll see you boys later. Don’t forget to call.”
“We won’t Dad, Thanks.”
We headed out and turned up Penrose. We talked about how the weather had warmed up and how that would make swimming at Laura’s birthday party perfect; what Laura’s folks were like; that her dad was some sort of big executive in the music industry; if there’d be a big birthday cake; if there’d be ice cream; if people around here TP’d trees, and Tom said sometimes but we didn’t think anyone would do it to Laura’s house because her dad had surveillance cameras and automatic floodlights installed; and if there’d be other gay guys at the party.
That last item reminded me about what Laura had told me.
“I think there will be a couple of gay guys there. Laura thinks she’s a matchmaker, so if they’re there she’ll be sure to introduce them to the two of you.”
“Laura knows we’re gay?” Kyle asked.
“Yeah, is that a problem?”
“No, no, I’m just surprised. Did you tell her about us?”
“Kyle, she found out about you when I talked to her about the trial. I sort of accidentally outed Mark to her. Is that okay, Mark?”
“Hey, it’s better than okay. I’d love to meet some guys and maybe one of them and I would click and I’d have a boyfriend.”
“Curt, do you know the guys she invited?” Kyle asked.
“Yeah, they’re both nice guys and they are good looking.”
“Are they hot looking?” Mark wanted to know.
I grinned. “That’s left as an exercise for the students — that’s you two — to figure out on your own.”
We continued to talk and joke as we walked to Laura’s house. When we got there it was obvious that it was Laura’s 16th birthday party. A huge banner was strung across the front porch blocking anyone from trying to go in that way. It read:
There was a sign over the driveway at the house that said ‘Private Party’ and there were three real big guys with clipboards checking people in so no one could crash the party. We walked up to one of the guys.
“Your names, please.”
“I’m Curt Fischer, this is Tom Williams, the guy with the red hair is Mark Hutchins, and the other guy is Kyle Campbell.”
He wrote on the paper on his clipboard then took one of those stamps that they use at a concert or an amusement park and stamped our hands.
“What’s in the bags?”
“Our clothes and gifts for Laura.”
“There’s a table on the right after you go in where you can leave her gifts.”
“Okay, thanks. Can we use the lockers in the pool house for our clothes so we don’t have to carry them around with us?”
“Sure. We’d appreciate it if all four of you would use the same locker. There aren’t a lot of them.”
“That’s cool, no problem. Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. Have fun. Remember, you four are underage so no booze, no getting naked, and no horseplay in the pool. We don’t want anyone to get injured or arrested.” He grinned as we walked into the Rosas’ backyard.
I heard Mark and Kyle say “Wow!” They stopped so they could looked around.
“Nice yard and pool, ‘eh?”
“Oh my god! This is like one of the places you read about that are in Hollywood.” Kyle was obviously impressed. And he should have been impressed. Laura told me that the backyard alone was six acres. The lot backed onto what had been a small farm, and Mr. Rosas bought that and merged it with the lot his house was on. Then he built onto the back of the house adding more bedrooms and a huge family room. He put in an Olympic size pool and a pool house. He built an outdoor kitchen with two barbeque grills, a regular gas stove, two ovens, one refrigerator for food and one for drinks, and a freezer. I was impressed every time I visited Laura, which wasn’t that many times but enough that I knew my way around.
“Come on, let’s get changed and put our stuff into a locker then go find Laura.”
The pool house was huge, about the size of a normal house. Laura said it was 1,200 square feet. There were separate men’s and women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms, and a big lounge room for sitting around and relaxing with a big fireplace in the back wall that they used during the cold weather.
“Let’s get a locker and stow our stuff.”
I found a locker and we took off our boardies and T’s.
“Whoa, dude, that is sex city!” Mark exclaimed as he walked around Tom a couple of times, giving him more than a once-over.
Tom was laughing so much he had to struggle to finally get a “Down, boy!” out. “You’re pretty freakin’ hot there yourself.” It appeared that Tom and Mark had a mutual admiration society going on.
I was too busy perving on Kyle. At least that’s what he accused me of doing.
“I’m not perving on you. I’m just admiring how well you fill out that Speedo. In fact, you and Mark look like you’re on the same swim team. Where did Mark get the same design and color as the one you borrowed from Tom?”
“He went out and bought it. We decided that it would be fun to wear exactly the same suits. Maybe attract some guys.” He grinned at me. “Looks like maybe you’re ready to come over to the fun side.”
“To what? …Oh, no, I’m straight. Sorry, not interested. I won’t be competing with you for the gay guys who show up.”
“I’m not so sure about that. You seem to have your eyes pretty much locked on to my crotch.”
“No, I don’t!”
“Yes, you do!” Mark interjected. But I assume you’re just looking at how Tom’s Speedo fits on Kyle’s big butt.”
“I don’t have a big butt. And I am so gonna get back at you for that remark, Mark.”
“Oooo! Kyle made a rhyme.”
“And just remember it when I get my retribution.”
“Come on, guys, let’s get our stuff stowed away.” We put everything away and there was still room. These were bigger than the lockers in the gym at school. The key for each locker was on a long keychain. I locked ours and hung the keychain around my neck.
“If you need to get into the locker, ask me for the key and return it to me when you’re finished. I’ll be the keeper of the key since I can’t do any swimming because of my broken arm.”
Mark raised his hand like we were an elementary school class. “I brought my camera. It’s waterproof down to twenty feet. I want to keep it with me. Is that okay?”
“Sure, I don’t see why not. That’s a pretty cool little camera.”
“Yeah. My grandma got it for my birthday. It’s a super-zoom model. I’m gonna need its really wide angle mode for some of the pictures I’m gonna take in the pool.”
Kyle sort of growled at Mark, all in fun of course. “I’ll remember that remark too, Markie. You just wait.” He began to sing a little song that went something like, ‘You just wait, I’m gonna get you babe, you just wait.’
We all looked at Mark’s new camera and said ‘happy birthday’ and Kyle joked about him being thirteen and a teenager now. Mark was young looking, younger than most fifteen year olds.
“Okay, enough kidding around, guys. I’m fifteen now and I’m ready to celebrate by doing a cannonball into Laura’s pool.”
“Hey, before I go out I need someone to help me put on my cast wrap. Tom, can you give me a hand?”
“Okay, just tell me what to do.”
I pulled on the plastic cover. “Wrap the tape so it’s tight around the top of the wrap and onto my bicep so water can’t get inside, but not so tight that it will stop blood flow.” I relaxed my bicep, and after he wrapped the tape around my arm several times it felt okay and seemed like water couldn’t get in. I’d still have to be careful not to scrape it on something. I didn’t want it to leak by getting punctured.
As we turned to walk outside Laura rushed in. “Curt! Tom! And one of you two dressed as twins must be Kyle and the other must be Mark. Which is which?” she joked.
“I’m Mark,” Mark said, and then pointed to his head. “You can find me by my red hair. And this is Kyle. He’s here from Illinois for Don’s trial.”
“Yeah, I heard about that,” she said. “Hi, Mark. Hi, Kyle. Welcome to our home and our back yard and my sixteenth birthday!”
“This whole place is amazing,” Kyle said. “Thanks for inviting me.”
She pulled us into a group hug and kissed each of us on the cheek. “Curt and Tom, and Mark, I’m so glad to see you guys. Kyle I’m so glad to meet you too. Come on out and meet some people.” She stepped outside into the bright sunlight.
We just stood there looking at her in awe. Laura turned back when she realized that we weren’t following her. The reason was that she wore this totally skimpy light tan bikini that left absolutely nothing to the imagination. The color was amazing, a tan color exactly the same as her suntan. She saw us leering, so she did a couple of spins with her arms raised up.
“Like it? I got it at that new Pacific Sands beachwear store downtown, the one that opened up last week. They’ve got this cool deal where they can dye swimsuits and t-shirts and other stuff any color you want. I wanted it to match my tan and I think it does, don’t you?”
I shook my head. “I love it. I especially love looking at you in it, but I can’t believe your father let you buy that bikini dyed that color. I especially can’t believe that he’s letting you wear it. At first glance it makes you look like you have nothing on, and at second glance it looks like it’s made of some kind of transparent material.”
“Curt, that is the exact idea. Daddy had a… uh… little discussion, let’s call it, with Mom, and she won. His only rule is that I can’t wear it when any of our older relatives get here later. That doesn’t include my cousins who you’re about to meet. Now, if you’ve seen enough of the Laura Rosas bikini swimsuit fashion show for the time being, let me take a good look at you guys. Oh my god! You four are totally hawt. You’re going to have every girl and every guy wanting your bods. Really, you are!”
I grinned and bowed. “Thank you, thank you! And happy birthday!” The other three guys all said ‘happy birthday’ as well.
“There’s gonna be plenty of time to tell me happy birthday later. Right now let’s get out there and I’ll introduce you to everyone!”
So we were introduced. I’m not good about remembering names of people I’ve just met, and when there were about twenty of them there was no way I’d remember. Except one of Laura’s cousins, Sara. She was cute, and friendly, and smart, and funny, and we hit it off right away. This was starting out to be a great party.
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing Forgetting Can Be a Big Mistake
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