You know it takes a while for a guy to find a boyfriend.
Then when you do, will he be the one perfect boyfriend you’ve been looking for?
This is a sequel to the story One Best Friend on Codey’s World.
Mike’s grandfather, Roger Butler, picked up the boys in front of the Cheesecake Factory. Mike took the passenger seat and Jeremy sat in back of him.
“Have a good time, guys?” Roger asked.
“Yeah, we did, Granddad, Mike replied.”
Jeremy added, “Mike introduced me to Key Lime Cheesecake. I’ve never eaten any dessert that good before. And thanks for taking me home.”
“You’re welcome, Jeremy. I’m glad you two boys seem to hit it off and have become friends so quickly.”
Both Jeremy and Mike blushed. Roger noticed that and grinned, but didn’t say anything more until he asked Jeremy for his address.
“I live on Bearwood Lane. Take Cherry north from Treat, then turn right on Brighton, then right on Bearwood. We live at 1447, that’s the second house from the end of the street. It’s on the right.”
It took about ten minutes to drive to Jeremy’s house.
“Thanks a lot for the ride, Mr. Butler.”
“You’re very welcome, Jeremy.”
“See you tomorrow morning, Mike.”
“See you, Jeremy.”
Jeremy watched them make the U-turn at the cul-de-sac at the end of the street, then turned back to his house once the car’s tail lights disappeared down the street. He hated to come home all alone to an empty house. But that’s the way it was now.
He went to the mailbox at the curb and removed the contents, then walked to the porch. He unlocked the front door and entered, turned on the lights in the living room and entered his code to disable the security alarm, then put his backpack on the floor next to the computer desk. He took off his new coat and hung it in the closet next to the front door.
He sat down at the desk and opened his email, hoping that there’d be a message from his mom. There was some spam, a few messages from friends and from school, and that was it. Nothing from his mom.
He opened his mom’s email account. The cellphone company sent the bill and usage information by email. He logged on to the account. His mom’s cellphone had no usage, and his only had free local calls. He saved the message in a ‘Cellphone Bill’ subfolder in the email inbox. There were no other messages to his mom, not even any spam.
Jeremy took a deep breath, then sorted the postal mail. He set aside the supermarket flyers. He’d found them a good source of specials that let him save money on food. There was a notice from PG&E that the September monthly electricity usage was less than ‘energy efficient’ homes that were the same size as theirs, and therefore they qualified for a three percent reduction on their bill for the month of October. He opened the file drawer and put that letter in the PG&E folder. The rest was junk mail addressed to his mom which he tossed into the recycle bin.
He put one of the frozen dinners into the microwave and set it for three minutes. These meals listed for two dollars but often sold for fifteen to twenty percent less at Safeway. He took out a pot, added a little water and turned on the burner, then added some frozen peas. When everything was ready he poured a glass of milk, sat down, and ate his dinner. Alone, as usual. Only the pan he’d used to heat the peas needed to be washed. His dinner plate, fork, and glass went into the dishwasher. After rinsing the plastic dish his meal came in he tossed it and the box it came in into the recycle bin.
With Mike coming over in the morning Jeremy decided he’d have to check what he had for snacks and for lunch. Not much, it turned out, as a quick inventory of the kitchen proved. There were five of the frozen dinners and an unopened carton of vanilla bean ice cream in the freezer. He had eggs and bacon, pancake mix, real maple syrup — a luxury he decided was worth the cost — bagels and cream cheese, sliced cheddar cheese, romaine lettuce, blue cheese salad dressing, and a container of grape-sized tomatoes. There was bread, butter, peanut butter, strawberry jam and orange marmalade which were ingredients for the bag lunch he made for himself each day. There were cans of soup and chili. No sodas, no chips, no salsa, no burritos, no lunchmeat. He’d have to remedy that situation with a trip to the supermarket.
It was late and dark outside, so walking wasn’t a good idea because of the length of the trip. He could ride his skateboard or his bike. He decided on the bike. He made a list. The trip to the store took about ten minutes. He spent about a half hour picking items and filling his cart. After paying for everything he spent about five minutes arranging the items in his backpack and the saddlebags on his bike. After the ride home he spent another ten minutes putting things away in the cabinets, the refrigerator, and the freezer.
Jeremy had spent barely an hour doing a small amount of shopping, but it had exhausted him. Besides, it had been a long day and he was ready for bed. He showered, brushed his teeth, enabled the staying-at-home setting on the security alarm, and sat down to watch the ten o’clock news.
Just before the weather report he heard his cell playing his ringtone song and rushed to his bedroom and answered. Maybe the call was from his mom.
“Hi to you too, Jeremy.”
It was Mike, not his mom. Jeremy noted the time on his phone: twenty minutes before eleven.
“Hey, Mike. What are you doing up this late? Isn’t it time for you to be in bed sound asleep?”
“I could ask you the same thing. But I know teens, a persuasion of which we’re both members, are late to bed and late to rise by our nature. So what are you doing?”
“I’ve been watching the ten o’clock news. As soon as it’s over I planned to hit the sack.”
“I wonder, where did that saying come from?”
“Uh, what saying?”
“‘Hit the sack.’ What’s hitting a sack have to do with going to bed?”
“You should Google it. Then you can let me know the source, and you and I’ll have a piece of trivia to use at school to dumfound our classmates.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
“So, you still coming over in the morning?”
“Yup. I decided to ride my bike, so I’ll be there at about ten. That’s a little earlier than what we decided last night. Is that okay?”
“Absolutely. I’ve got some snacks. Thing is, I didn’t know what you liked so I got what I like. Tortilla chips and spicy salsa, some frozen burritos, Coke, and root beer.”
“Sounds good. Can I bring something?”
“If you want, but it’s not necessary. Oh yeah, don’t forget to bring your books so you can actually work on your homework.”
“Say, what kind of game system do you have?”
“I have a PS-1. It’s a little long in the tooth.”
Mike laughed. “There’s another saying I’ll have to look up. What about if I bring my Xbox and a bunch of games, and you can pick which ones you’d like us to play.”
“Great. What time do you have to be home tomorrow?”
“Okay, that’s cool. Maybe we can spend the night playing video games on your Xbox.”
“Sure. Are you saying it’s okay for me to spend the night at your house?”
“Yes, that’s what I’m saying. If you want to. And if your mom will be okay with it.”
“She’s okay with it. I already told her I’d be spending the night at your house and we’d be playing video games all night. I sorta thought you’d be okay with that.”
“I am. Okay with playing video games all night. And you staying over.”
Jeremy paused, and Mike didn’t say anything either. “Mike, I really enjoyed meeting you and spending time together today.”
“I’m glad. I enjoyed getting together, too. But now I guess I’d better hit the sack so I’ll be able to get up and be at your place by ten.”
“That’s a good plan for me, too. I’ll watch the sports news then go to bed.” Jeremy yawned rather noisily, and he heard Mike laugh. “Damn, I’m starting to yawn. I guess I should skip the sports news and just go to bed.” He yawned again.
“Just go to bed now. And go to sleep. Make sure you set your alarm so you’ll be up and ready to greet me at ten o’clock.”
“Will do. See you in the morning, Mike.”
“See you mañana, Jeremy,” Mike responded and ended the call.
Jeremy returned to the living room and backspaced the cable box to the start of the weather news. A better fall day, not as cold in the mornings and evenings as it had been today, sixty-eight degrees for the high, and about the same for every day next week.
He watched the sports news. After that he went to bed and, as usual, fell asleep immediately.
After breakfast Jeremy got his textbooks and arranged them at one end of the dining room table. He normally did his homework at the computer table, but it wouldn’t accommodate both him and Mike. He went online to the school’s website and checked his account. Nothing new in his inbox. He went to the pages for each of his classes, and found and printed Monday’s assignment lists for Chemistry and PreCalc.
He got a large bowl for the tortilla chips and a smaller bowl for the salsa and put them on the sink. He looked around. The kitchen was clean. In fact, he kept the rest of the house, at least the rooms he used, clean and neat.
Jeremy felt nervous. This would be the first time he’d invited a friend to his house since his mom started dating Leo. He’d have to make an excuse about his mom. He couldn’t tell Mike the truth; she went off with Leo, and Jeremy had no idea where they went. He checked the time. Ten minutes to nine. What could he do for over an hour? Read a book. Surf the net. Check email.
‘Read a book’ won his mental debate. He got up and went to the bookcase in his room. He’d read almost all of his books, some more than once. He found a science fiction book he’d bought at the dollar store, ‘Rollback’ by Robert J. Sawyer. He preferred ‘hard’ science fiction over fantasy, and the cover on this book noted that it had won the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel. He sat down and started to read.
The doorbell startled Jeremy. He checked the time. Ten o’clock. He grinned. That must be Mike.
He put a bookmark at page 94 and set the book on the coffee table. The doorbell rang again. That made him laugh. He pulled the door open, and Mike stood there pointing to his watch.
“I got here at exactly ten o’clock!” he announced.
“That’s a fact. You rang the doorbell the first time at exactly ten o’clock. So, Mike, how long were you standing out here waiting for exactly ten o’clock to ring my doorbell?”
“Maybe four minutes.” Mike grinned, Jeremy laughed, and soon they were both laughing.
“Where can I put my bike?” Mike asked.
“How about in the garage? I’ll come around and open the door.”
Jeremy walked through the house and into the garage. He pressed the button to open the garage door, and Mike rolled his bike inside.
“Yeah, perfect.” Jeremy pressed the button and they watched the door close.
“Come in, come in.”
Mike looked around as Jeremy led him into the living room.
“Nice house. It’s just you and your mom?”
“Mostly. Sometimes her boyfriend is here. Leo. I don’t like him.”
“What’s his problem? Doesn’t he like….” Mike broke off what he almost said. “You don’t have to answer that question. It’s awfully personal.”
“Nah, it’s okay. It’s the sort of thing I don’t mind telling my best friend.”
‘Damn!’ Jeremy thought, ‘I just said we’re best friends but we never talked about that.’
But Mike was grinning from ear to ear. “I think you’re my best friend too, Jeremy.”
“Well, let me tell you why Leo and I don’t get along. It’ll be good to get it off my chest.
“First, he spends a lot of time here, drinking beer and eating all the food. He and my mom go out to eat a lot of the time. Sometimes when I get home from school there’s nothing left to eat, and I have to go to Safeway and buy something I can nuke and have for dinner.
“Second, he lost his job and isn’t looking for a new one. Leo has his own place and he spends nights there and most days here. He’s sponging off my mom.
“Third, he keeps talking about how he wants us to move to Texas with him. I absolutely do not want to move anywhere with him, especially not to Texas. I want to finish school at Las Lomas and graduate, then get a scholarship to go to U.C. Berkeley. Or U.C. Davis, if I can’t get in to Berkeley.
“Fourth, he never talks to me. He acts like I’m… I don’t know, in the way or something. I complained about him to Mom, but she won’t kick him out, won’t do anything about it.”
Mike saw that Jeremy looked sad.
“Maybe you need to sit down and have a long discussion with your mom,” Mike said.
Jeremy stared at Mike for about fifteen seconds.
That definitely made Mike nervous. He wondered if he’d stepped across a line.
“Sorry for saying that, Jeremy. It really isn’t my business,” he offered.
After a few more seconds, Jeremy made up his mind.
“If I tell you some things, more details about me and what’s going on, will you keep it private? I mean, not tell anyone else, ever, unless I tell you that it’s okay?”
“Yes, absolutely. I want us to be best friends, Jeremy. Best friends are close friends. That means we can and will keep each other’s secrets private.”
Jeremy smiled. “Okay. Here goes.
“I don’t know who my father was. My mom doesn’t know. She had a lot of one-night stands when she was young, and I was the result of one of them. She’s been a waitress and a bartender, on and off. Recently it was more off than on.
“My mom’s never been anything like my friends’ mothers. She’s always been sort of stand-offish and didn’t seem to care much about what I did. When I’d show her my report cards, which were always all A’s, her only comment would be, ‘Looks okay.’ But things had been, if not good, at least not terrible.
“Then she met Leo. He’s no good. I never got along with him. He kept saying we should move to Texas. I said I didn’t want to move to Texas. He’d just shrug his shoulders and let it drop, so I figured he was blowing smoke and there was nothing to it.
“In August the restaurant where my mom worked closed. She looked through the want ads but couldn’t find another job. Then Leo lost his job. I heard him say he’d been fired for smoking in the work bay. He said it wasn’t fair, but I know that smoking where there’s lots of flammable oil and gasoline is a really dumb idea. So money got real tight, and it became a hassle to get her to give me money for clothes and school supplies for this semester.
“Then suddenly I didn’t get any money from Mom at all. When I complained Leo stepped in and told me to get a job. I told Leo that I’d tried to get a job mowing lawns, but no one was interested. I couldn’t get a regular job because I’m not sixteen yet. Leo’s response had been, ‘Tough shit, kid.’
“Mom finally stopped buying groceries. I had to resort to stealing small amounts of cash from her purse so I could buy cereal and milk for my breakfast and bread and peanut butter so I could make a bag lunch. Most nights she’d be gone and I’d have to dip into my meager supply of stolen cash and walk down to the shopping center and buy a two-dollar frozen dinner and bring it home to heat in the microwave. If I’d buy a couple extra Leo would find them and eat them. When I complained to Mom about that, she’d always end up saying, ‘It’ll be better when I get a job,’ and she’d give me a few bucks and I’d walk to the market and buy another of those two-dollar meals. I never knew where she was eating. I think she went over to Leo’s and they went to a restaurant for dinner. She could afford that, but she couldn’t afford to buy groceries for me or give me some money so I could buy them. It really pissed me off.
“Leo was always hanging around the house drinking beer and watching TV. Mom told him he needed to start looking for a job. They fought about it, and I guess Leo did start going to car dealers looking for a job as a mechanic. I heard him complain that his last two bosses gave him bad references.
“It was September ninth, a Tuesday. That morning everything seemed okay with my mom. She told me that she had a second interview that day at a new restaurant in downtown Walnut Creek, and she seemed hyped about that.
“I rode my skateboard to school that day. When I got home after school Mom wasn’t here, so I figured that she got her job. She always worked evening shift because that’s when restaurants are the busiest and tips are better, so her coming home late wasn’t unusual. I nuked my frozen two-dollar meal, one that Leo hadn’t found in the freezer, did my homework, watched some TV, and went to bed.
”When I got up the next morning Mom still hadn’t come home, and Leo wasn’t around. So I checked Mom’s bedroom. Most of her clothes and her two suitcases were gone. I checked the garage, and Mom’s car wasn’t there. It looked like she’d just up and left. I checked around looking for a note, but I couldn’t find one.
“I couldn’t believe that my mom would leave and not tell me. I’d expect her to at least leave me a note. I didn’t know where she could have gone. Maybe she split to get away from Leo. Maybe she left with Leo. She, or they, could have gone anywhere, maybe Texas where Leo said he could get a job at an oil refinery. No note meant either she didn’t care about me or that Leo forced her to leave.
I was sad that she’d left; after all, she is my mother. On the other hand, I was glad Leo had left, and if it meant Mom left with him — well, it isn’t a very nice thing to say, but I have to admit I’m relieved that she left with him or went off by herself. I also have to admit that the fact that she’d left had pissed me off, a lot.
“Then I began thinking about things, and I freaked. Here I am, fifteen years old, no money, by myself, what the fuck do I do? Go to the cops? No, I’d get put in a foster facility by CPS, and probably have to change schools, and I definitely didn’t want either of those to happen. I decided that I’d have to figure out how to live on my own.
“So I looked around. I found my mom’s checkbook and credit card in the bottom of the file drawer in the computer desk. At first that didn’t make sense, why didn’t she take her credit card with her? It was almost like she’d hidden them for some reason. Maybe from Leo?
“Looking through her checkbook I saw that she only wrote checks to pay a few bills like the homeowner’s insurance, so I could write those checks. Her signature is real sloppy, almost as bad as mine, so I could easily forge her name. I needed to know how much money she had in her account. I powered on our computer, an old Dell desktop with a CRT monitor. I logged onto the Central County Bank website and her name showed in the login ID field, but I needed her password. I knew that she kept a list of passwords because one time she said she wrote them down because she couldn’t remember them. I didn’t know where she’d kept it. I looked everywhere to see if I could find the list. Finally I looked in her checkbook. On the first page of the check register she’d written my name and birthdate all run together. That might be the password. I tried it and it worked! So I logged onto her account.
“I was stunned. There was just over $27,000 in the account. There was also a security message in her account. It said that because there had been failed attempts to access her account, she needed to change her login ID and password as a security measure. The failed attempts might be Leo trying to get into her account. So the first thing I did was change them. Leo would never guess the new login ID and password, and neither would Mom. Besides, because I changed the login ID, Leo’s attempts wouldn’t register against the account any longer.
“$27,000 sounds like a lot of money, but I discovered that she paid most of our bills using the bank’s automatic bill pay system. That meant each month the PG&E bill, the trash pickup bill, the cellphone bill, the cable TV bill, the water bill, and her credit card account were automatically taken out of her checking account. Going through her drawers I found the property tax bill, $1,386.20 due on November 1st and delinquent if not received by December 10th. And there’ll be a second payment of the same amount due on February 1st and delinquent if not received by April 10th.”
“What about the mortgage payment for the house?” Mike asked.
“The house is paid off. She got a settlement from something, I don’t know what for sure, but I know that she’d been injured when a customer at one of her bartender jobs hit her with a bottle. She said she planned to sue the guy. Anyway, there’s no mortgage, only property tax.”
“How long do you think the money will last you?”
“If the bills stay at their current amount, and not go up, about five years. But I know they’ll go up. So I’m only counting four years.
“In the meantime, I’m doing okay. The refrigerator has everything I need like milk, eggs, veggies, all the usual things that you’d keep in the refrigerator. The freezer has about five of the two-dollar meals, beef patties, frozen peas, green beans, and corn, a half-gallon of ice cream, and an apple pie. I have canned stuff like soup, tuna, and chili.
“I try to buy things when they’re on sale, like larger quantities of items when there are two for the price of one sales. I found enough dish detergent, laundry detergent, paper towels, tissues, and toilet paper in the garage to last through next year. It seems weird that Mom would stock up on stuff like that, but not keep enough food in the house.”
Mike scratched his cheek, then turned to Jeremy. “What about income tax?”
“She got money back last year. But that’s a problem because I don’t know anything about income tax. I know there’s Federal and state, and her checkbook shows she got money back from both, just over a thousand dollars in all, and she deposited the checks into her checking account.”
“My dad uses TurboTax,” Mike said. “My granddad does his online, and he said it’s on the Federal and California websites and it’s free. If she didn’t have a lot of income this year you should be able to do her taxes for her online, and have the refunds deposited in her checking account.”
“Uh huh. I could ask my granddad. You know, for a ‘project’ at school? Wink-wink, nudge-nudge?” Mike grinned and wiggled his eyebrows.
Jeremy smiled. “You are very clever, Michael Butler, you are indeed. I love it and I bet it would work.” Jeremy’s expression changed. “But I’d rather have my mom come home and go to work and do her own taxes.”
“Yeah, that would be best. But in case that doesn’t happen, you have a way to do her taxes and get the money back. And if it’s a thousand bucks that’ll help you pay your expenses.”
“Thing is, I don’t know who she worked for or how much she made.”
“The employer has to mail a form, it’s called a W-2, with the income and tax information. That should come in the mail sometime after the end of the year. They also have to send it to the Internal Revenue Service so it can be checked against your mom’s tax return. My dad had me sit down with him and I learned how he does his taxes. He said I should learn this stuff. Since they don’t teach it in school, he decided to teach me.”
“I didn’t have anyone to teach me how to pay income taxes.”
“It doesn’t make any difference. You should be able to go to Google and get answers to your tax questions.” Mike grinned, “Besides, because her taxes are probably simple, you can just go online and file for her. And my granddad will help us with my ‘project’ and can answer more complicated questions.
“What do you plan to do now, Jeremy?”
“I hope Mom will return home, but I’m scared that if she went with Leo he might have done something to her. I’m also scared that Leo might come back and try to figure out how to get into her accounts, or come after me because he thinks that I know how.”
“I think you should change the locks on the doors and install a burglar alarm.”
“We already have a burglar alarm, and I changed the alarm code. I’m using the alarm when I leave and when I go to bed. I think your suggestion about changing the locks is good. You think that’s something I could do by myself?”
“How many outside doors are there?”
“Three. No, make that four. The front door, the kitchen door, the door from the hall into the garage, and the door from the garage into the side yard.”
“Tell you what, I think it’s easy enough that you and I should be able to change them.”
“Hey, we’re best friends, Jeremy. Of course I’ll help. We just need to look at the kind of door hardware you have, then look up how to do it on Google. Besides, the new door hardware should have instructions.”
“Couldn’t I just call a locksmith to come and change the locks?”
“Yeah. How would you pay him? Write a check and sign your mom’s name?”
“Oh, right. You know what, I need a credit card. You told me about how you got your own credit card. Do you think I could do that?”
“Yeah, but I went to the bank with my dad and he signed the paperwork.”
“Hmm. I remember when I went onto her bank account the other day there was some sort of offer to get another credit card for a family member.”
“Well, log on and let’s see what it says.”
Jeremy turned on the computer and logged onto the Central County Bank website. The same offer was displayed after he logged in as his mom, using the new login ID and password.
“Okay, what’s it say?” Mike asked.
“It reads, ‘Add credit cards to your account for the members of your family. It’s easy! Just fill in the form below.’ Man, that does sound easy.”
“What kind of information do you have to fill in on the form?”
“Name, address, phone number, maximum credit limit, relationship, and male or female.”
“It’s not asking for your social security number, or your age?”
“Neither. Unless there’s another form that will open after I’ve filled in this information.”
“Can’t hurt to try.”
Jeremy filled in the requested information, including a one thousand dollar maximum credit limit, and clicked the Submit button. He was asked to log in again, for security.
“Okay, now it’s asking for my birth date.”
“Well, fill it in.”
He entered ‘11/7/1998’ and pressed Submit.
“Jeez, why doesn’t it ask everything all at once,” Jeremy groused. “Now it wants my mom’s credit card number, CVC code, and expiration date.” He opened the file drawer and pulled his mom’s credit card from the Central County Bank folder. He keyed in the sixteen digit credit card number and the expiration month and year.
“What’s a CVC code?” Jeremy asked.
“It’s a three-digit number on the back of the credit card.”
He turned the card over and Mike pointed at the number. Jeremy entered the three digits then pressed Submit again.
“Look,” he said, “it’s listing all of the information I entered. It says I should verify that it’s all correct, and either click the Confirm button if everything is correct, or click the Cancel button to make changes to my application.”
“Well, go ahead and click Confirm.”
He did, and a new screen displayed stating that the new credit card for Jeremy Alan Sievers would be mailed on Monday, and that it should be activated and signed as soon as it’s received.
“Look, it’s asking if a credit card if wanted for another family member.” He clicked ‘No’ then logged out.
“I can’t believe how easy that was,” Jeremy said. “Having my own credit card is going to be a really big help. Now I won’t have to go to the ATM and withdraw cash so I can buy groceries.” He stared at Mike and grinned. “Thanks for helping me, Mike. I’m so glad that you’re my best friend.”
“And I’m glad that you’re my best friend.”
Just as Jeremy started to close the window he noticed a flashing message next to the logout button reading, ‘New Notifications.’
“I wonder what the notifications are,” he said.
“Well, click the link and see,” Mike suggested. “It’s probably just a confirmation that your new credit card has been added to her account.”
Jeremy clicked the link. There were two notifications. The first was a confirmation that an additional credit card had been added to the account in the name of Jeremy Alan Sievers. Jeremy clicked on the second notification and when it opened he looked at it then said, “Hey, Mike, look at this!”
The notification read that a transfer of three thousand dollars from his mother’s credit card account to a bank account in Hermosillo, Mexico had been refused.
“Now I know where she and Leo went,” he said. “They tried to transfer money from her account to Mexico.” Jeremy continued reading the long notification. “It says here that Central County Bank doesn’t transfer funds to accounts at Mexican banks.”
“Man, you’re lucky that they don’t,” Mike said. “They could have transferred money from the credit card and paying it off would have cleaned out that $27,000 that’s in the bank account. You’d be stuck without any way to pay bills and buy stuff you need, like food.”
“I just thought of something. I changed the login ID and password for online access to her bank account, but I need to change her credit card account too.”
Jeremy went to his mom’s credit card account and changed the login ID, password, and PIN number.
“Now both the checking account and credit card account can’t be accessed by Leo or by Mom. That way she can’t ask for a replacement card to be sent to her.”
“Sounds like you have the bank and credit card accounts pretty much locked down.”
“I sure hope so. Now, let’s get started on our homework so we’ll have time to do something else later,” Jeremy said.
Mike wiggled his eyebrows. “Something else, ‘eh?”
Jeremy grinned. “Yeah. You did bring your Xbox and some games, right?”
“Oh, that something else. I brought ‘em but I forgot to bring them in. They’re in the saddlebag on my bike, in your garage. I’ll get them later. That way we won’t be tempted to stop doing our homework before it’s finished.”
“You want something to drink?” Jeremy asked.
“I’ve got Coke and root beer. Which would you like?”
“I don’t care. They’re both fine. You pick whatever you want and I’ll have the same.”
“Okay, two root beers coming up, then. A glass or the can? If a glass, ice or no ice?”
Mike grinned. “Questions, questions, questions. A glass, with ice. Please.”
Jeremy returned from the kitchen with two glasses with ice and two cans of root beer.
“It’s diet root beer. Is that okay?”
“So, what homework are you going to work on?” Jeremy asked.
“I’ve got a bunch of problems for my Algebra 2 and Trig class, and there’s a story I’ve read for English 3 and I have to finish my response. That’s what I have to turn in on Monday. I need to read the next two chapters for Chemistry and the section on the precursors to the Civil War for APUSH. That’s it. How about you?”
“There’s a set of problems to solve in Pre-Calc. There’s a reading assignment for Chemistry with a bunch of questions at the end of the chapter to answer. There’s a story I’ve read for English 3 and I have to write my response; that could be the same story you have. Then I have to read the same section you have for APUSH. That’s my homework that’s due on Monday.”
“We’re reading Fleur by Louise Erdrich for English 3. What story are you reading?” Mike asked.
“Hey, we’re reading the same story,” Jeremy replied. “How far along are you with your reading response?”
“Not far enough. I’ve read the story three times, and I have a bunch of notes and the format Ms. Decker wants us to use. Now what I have to do is pull the notes into something that makes sense and make sure it’s in the required format. How about you?”
“I’ve finished the first draft of my reading response. I have to edit it so it makes sense.” Jeremy grinned. “Anyway, I could let you read mine, but that would be cheating. Besides, my conclusions might not be yours, and the way I’ve formatted it is probably different than the one your teacher wants you to use. We don’t have a fixed format for our response. I think we’re going to be graded on that part as well as what we say in our response.”
“I think I prefer having to use a predefined format. Hey, I almost forgot. I have the answer to your question.”
“Where ‘hit the sack’ came from.”
“Okay, what’s it mean?”
“It’s not a ‘what’s it mean’ it’s a ‘where did it come from?’”
“All right. Where did ‘hit the sack’ come from?”
“It’s an old saying going back to the 1800’s. It comes from a time when farm workers slept in the barn, and they used sacks of hay as mattresses. Bugs and mice and other unwanted things would get into the sacks, so before going to bed they’d pound on the sack to drive the critters out.”
“Eww. I hope those kinds of ‘critters’ don’t like my mattress.”
“Just remember, don’t think about it when you’re lying in bed and you hear noises late at night.”
“Thanks for nothing!”
“Hey, I’m just trying to protect you,” Mike retorted. “Don’t blame the messenger.”
“All this talk about sayings and words is making me think about my English assignment.”
“Yeah, me too. What say we get started.”
“Okay. Then after we’re finished with that we can think about lunch.”
“That works for me.”
Around one-thirty Jeremy’s stomach growled, loudly, and both boys laughed.
“I guess I’m hungry,” he said. “I can make ham sandwiches for lunch or heat up a couple burritos. What’s your preference?”
“Burritos, if that’s okay with you.”
“It’s perfect. I’ll get them started. How about you move our books and stuff to one end of the table so they’re out of the way. What do you want to drink?”
“Root beer, please.”
“How many burritos, one or two?”
“What are you having?”
“Two. They aren’t very big.”
“Okay, then two for me too, please. Is there anything else I can do to help?” Mike asked after clearing the table.
“You can help bring stuff into the dining room. The microwave will do the heavy lifting, and all I’ll have to do is transfer the burritos to plates and bring ‘em in.”
Mike followed Jeremy into the kitchen and they returned with two more cans of root beer, napkins and forks, bowls of tortilla chips and salsa, and their glasses refiled with ice. When the microwave beeped Jeremy brought out the burritos and they dug into their lunch.
As they ate Jeremy would sneak a look at Mike. Every time he did that, it seemed like Mike would realize it and turn and look at him then grin and look at something else on the table. Finally the time came when Mike continued to look at Jeremy. He didn’t look away. Instead he smiled, then started to giggle.
“What’s so funny?” Jeremy asked.
“Why am I funny?”
“Because you’re cute,” Mike stated.
“I’m cute? I don’t think so. Puppies and kittens are cute. Babies are cute, sometimes. But not high school juniors.”
“So that means you don’t think that I’m cute either?”
“I didn’t say that. And if I implied it then I’m sorry. Because you are cute!” Jeremy pointed at Mike, then laughed.
“So now I’m funny looking?” Mike asked, with a combination scowl/grin that ended up being a grin.
“No, besides being cute you can be funny, like a comedian. But mostly you are cute. And handsome, mostly handsome, too. I like looking at you.” Jeremy blushed.
“No, I’m not! I don’t blush.”
Now Mike laughed. “I can see you blushing. But as long as you like looking at me, it’s okay for you to blush. I think you’re cute when you blush. You’re cute and handsome, too.” He reached over and put his left hand on top of Jeremy’s right hand.
Jeremy closed his eyes for a couple seconds, the opened them and looked at Mike. Really looked at Mike, for about fifteen seconds, which is a long time to stare at someone without saying anything.
Mike started to move his hand away from Jeremy’s, but Jeremy put his left hand on Mike’s holding their hands together. Mike reached across with his right hand and added it on top. “I like this, holding our hands together,” he said.
“I do too. I like you, Mike Butler. I like you a lot.”
Mike too a deep breath and let it out noisily. “Good. Because I like you Jeremy Sievers. I like you a lot. Whole bunches of a-lots.”
Mike leaned forward, picked up Jeremy’s left hand with his right and brought it to his lips, then kissed the top of his hand. Then he looked at Jeremy to see his reaction.
Jeremy pulled his hands away, and using them on the sides of his chair seat, moved over until their chairs were next to each other. He reached over and put his hands on Mike’s shoulders. He pulled Mike to him and leaned forward until their lips were together and they kissed. They closed their eyes and continued to kiss until they found it hard to breathe and had to pull away. Of course, other things were hard, too. But that part would have to wait until later.
“Jeremy, will you be my boyfriend?” Mike asked.
“Oh, yes, Mike, I’ll be your boyfriend.” He replied. “I assume that means you’ll be my boyfriend, too.”
“Of course. Absolutely. No doubts about it. For sure. Unequivocally.”
Jeremy stopped Mike’s discourse by pulling them together and they kissed again. This time they had to pull apart because both were laughing so much.
“Why are we laughing?” Jeremy asked. “We can’t kiss if we’re laughing!”
“I think it’s because we’re both so happy,” Mike replied.
Jeremy stared at Mike for a few seconds, smiling. Then he said, “I know that I’ve never been so happy in my entire life.” He paused for a couple seconds, then said, “I love you, Mike.”
“The perfect three little words from my perfect boyfriend,” Mike said. “I love you too, Jeremy.”
“Well, I’m going to say something that a really perfect boyfriend wouldn’t ever think of saying.”
“We need to finish our homework.”
Mike busted up laughing, and when he calmed down he poked Jeremy in his shoulder. “Okay, then move back to where you were and let’s hit the books.”
“That’s not as much fun as ‘hit the sack’ will be later, but it’s what we have to do.”
So they cleaned off the lunch dishes and got back to their homework. Each would have been delighted to know that they both were thinking the same thing: ‘It’ll be fun playing video games, and it’ll be even more fun spending the night together.’
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing One Perfect Boyfriend
If you enjoyed this story,
you can read the other stories in the series on Codey’s World:
|One Warm Coat|
|One Best Friend|
|One Perfect Boyfriend|
|One Complicated New Year|
|One Sexy New Neighbor|
|One Cute New Neighbor|
|One Questionable Outcome|
|One Satisfactory Outcome|
|One Confusing Phone Call|
|One Acceptable Outcome|
|One Life Changed|
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This story may contain occasional references to minors who are or may be gay. If it were a movie, it would be rated PG (in a more enlightened time it would be rated G). If reading this type of material is illegal where you live, or if you are too young to read this type of material based on the laws where you live, or if your parents don't want you to read this type of material, or if you find this type of material morally or otherwise objectionable, or if you don’t want to be here, close your browser now. The author neither condones nor advocates the violation of any laws. If you want to be here, but aren’t supposed to be here, be careful and don't get caught!