A series of events gives Jay a reputation that he didn’t deserve.
Will he be able to recover?
My name is Jay Lee. This is the story of the worst week of my life.
I’m thirteen and a freshman — for those who don’t know, that’s the ninth grade — at Riverview High School in Antioch, California. I’m telling you this story so you can understand what happened to make everything go so bad so fast. And how it got fixed, with a surprise ending. As my dad likes to say, “Read and learn.”
I’m pretty good at school. In middle school I mostly got A’s and only a couple of B’s. Yeah, and a couple C’s and those were in gym, which is the one class that I really hated. What I hated about gym is that I don’t like to be regimented. Middle school gym is all about being regimented into playing games I wasn’t interested in playing and doing exercises that I didn’t want to do.
I’m not skinny, not really fat, but a little chubby. It’s mainly in my hips, butt, and thighs. Not that mom has to buy my clothes in the husky department or anything, but a toned bod I definitely do not have. I’ve tried to diet, but my mom thinks it’s stupid and that I’ll outgrow my “baby fat” (I can’t tell you how much I hate those words). My dad says I should take the weight training class at school, but there are too many kids that want to take it, so it’s limited to sophomores — the tenth grade — and up and I’m out of luck until next year. I might take it then, or maybe I won’t. I’m not sure if I want to work that hard.
I guess some kids would say I’m a nerd or a geek, but I feel mostly normal. I like computers and science, but I also like outdoor stuff like hiking and fishing. My dad and I like to go to the Sierras (that’s a huge mountain range that’s about 3 to 4 hours east of Antioch) on a few weekends each year, and hike in to get to some streams that my dad learned about from his dad when he was a kid. It’s really great to be all by ourselves in the forest with a rushing stream for fishing. Sometimes we’ll camp out overnight, other times we just go for the day and come back that evening. My dad tells me stories (mostly funny) he hears at his work at the Lawrence Berkeley Labs. He’s a scientist and an engineer and works on projects to come up with new ways to generate energy more efficiently than power plants.
My mom works from home. She is a web designer, and only has to travel to visit clients about once every week or two. She’s okay. In fact, both of my folks are okay. Only trouble is, since mom mostly works at home I’m under observation starting from when I get home from school, so it’s like I have no privacy.
I have a little sister, Lisa, who is ten. She’s great, but likes to stick her nose in everything I do. I suppose that’s like most little sisters. The worst is when I have friends over she always wants to be part of what we do, and that bugs me. My friends seem to really like Lisa, so they don’t get bent about it. But when I want to be with a friend alone like when we’re concentrating on a video game, I want Lisa to split and she’s gotta whine about it before she takes off.
I have an X-Box, a Dell desktop computer with an Intel i7 processor, 16 gigs of RAM, a 2 terabyte hard drive, and a 27” flat screen IPS display (IPS means it’s very bright with vivid colors; it’s way cool). We have a 250 megabit cable connection to the internet (that’s really fast). I play some interactive games online, and the cable connection really makes them jam. My mom has it because of her work, and my dad needs it for his laptop PC because sometimes he brings work home. Mom has a server, and we all share the connection using a network. Makes my friends’ eyes pop out when they see how fast my internet connection is.
My absolutely very best friend is Steve Choi. Like me he’s Chinese, and lives two houses down from me. He’s another nerd-geek, and is really into computers. He even writes programs for his dad’s software company. He doesn’t have any brothers or sisters. He’s not athletic, but has a toned bod even though he doesn’t even work out. I’m jealous. We like to just hang together, reading books or watching TV, or playing games on my X-Box or on our PCs, or figuring out game strategy together. We’re like brothers. We’ve know each other since fifth grade and we really connected. We do almost everything together. Steve’s got a pool at his house, so during the summer we swim a lot because our housing development is a long way from town. Of course, Antioch isn’t much of a town anyway, with nothing much for us to do, so Steve having a pool is really fantastic.
My other best friends are Ron, Devin, and Matt. Ron reminds me of Ron Weasley in the first couple Harry Potter movies. He has red hair, freckles, and a lop-sided grin all of the time. Devin is real short and skinny, is kind of quiet and not very social at all. We think he has some real problems with his family, but he gets along with us just fine. Matt is, well, just Matt. He’s probably the most totally normal fourteen-year-old in every way that I know. His favorite thing, besides his PS2, is anime comix. He even draws his own, and I think they’re fantastic and I tell him he should get them published, and he just says “Yeah, sure, like that would ever happen.”
We hang at school with “The Girls” — yup, with capitals T and G. There are three of them, Marina, Doreen, and Lucy. Marina has a crazy streak, and will do really off-the-wall stuff, especially if someone dares her. She has a great singing voice, and knows all the words to lots of current songs. Doreen is more the studious type. She would be a nerd-geek except she’s not that into computers and stuff, but likes archeology and goes on “bone hunting trips” as she calls them with her aunt and uncle who both teach archeology at U.C Berkeley. Lucy is the funniest girl I’ve ever met, sarcastic just like the Lucy in the old Peanuts comic strips. She also knows more jokes than anyone I’ve ever met, and once you get her going you’ll probably end up rolling around on the floor barely able to catch your breath because you’re laughing so much.
Like most thirteen-year-old boys I’d discovered sex, but it’s not that huge a deal for me yet. Trouble is, I’m on the small size down there, if you know what I mean. That’s one of the reasons that I don’t like gym, having to shower in front of those other guys, especially some of the 12th graders who are huge. I don’t have any hair down there either, so it’s really embarrassing, even though no one makes fun of me… yet. There are lots of ninth graders in my fourth period gym class, so there are lots of other guys that are about the same as me. And I’m, as I overheard one of the kids in gym say about himself, “not ripe yet.” I beat off, sometimes when I look at porn sites when I’m home and Mom has gone to visit one of her clients. I have to be careful because we share the cable connection, and I worry that Mom could tell what sites I was visiting. I go through Tor, it’s one of those anonymous browsing programs, but I don’t really trust that it’ll really hide what I’m doing from Mom.
Steve and I haven’t ever messed around with each other, but I think about him that way, and I’d like to. In fact I’ve never seen him naked though I want to, and he’s never seen me naked either. We have different gym periods, so no chance there. I like looking at Steve because I think he’s so hot. I read stuff on Nifty that says it’s normal for kids to experiment with each other, and it doesn’t mean that you’re gay. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you’re not gay, either, but I think I like girls so I think that I just kinda want to experiment to see what it’s like to mess around with a guy. Besides, thinking about messing around with a girl is sort of scary.
It was mid-October, and school had been in session almost exactly two months when a series of events gave me a reputation that I didn’t deserve.
It just worked out that all my friends and The Girls and I have fifth period lunch. That’s a lot better than fourth period lunch, which leaves you with a way long afternoon of classes and the hungries and no way to take care of them. We only had three classes after lunch, so it made the day seem shorter.
Okay, so you’re probably what all this is leading up to, especially all the ‘worst week ever’ deal.
October is still real hot in Antioch, and there wasn’t a hint of a breeze to cool things off. The Sacramento River runs in back of the school, and we were in the back lunch area at a picnic table that was nearest to the chain link fence that separates the school yard from Riverview Park which is between us and the river. My friends and I were sitting on a bench on the front side of the table with the river in back of us. The Girls were sitting on the bench facing us. The rest of the school yard and classroom buildings were in back of them. We were all bitching about the heat, and how it would be so cool to strip and jump into the river.
Marina said she was so hot she was ready to take off her blouse. We all did our “woo, woo” and “take it off, take it all off!” thing, and what does she do but unbuttons her blouse and opens it up for all us guys to see. She wasn’t wearing a bra or anything under the blouse, and you can just imagine how our eyes popped right out of our heads. And all the kids who were near us must have had their radar tuned in ’cause they all seemed to turn to see what she was doing.
I saw that Marina has good sized firm boobs, and what amazed me is that they were totally tan so she must sunbathe without a top. It was so exciting that I popped a bone, but because we were sitting on the bench my jeans hid it pretty well. Of course, it really wouldn’t have made any difference if I’d been standing. Remember what I said about being small a few paragraphs back?
Anyway, it seemed like I had been staring at Marina and her boobs for minutes, but it must have only been maybe ten or fifteen seconds. I saw some movement in back of her, and tore my eyes away from her and saw old lady Peterman heading across the school yard in our direction. Ms. Peterman was a math teacher, and no one at Riverview wanted to get stuck in one of her classes. She was a hard case, had no sense of humor, and just loved to stick it to us.
I hissed to Marina, “Button up, Peterman’s on her way over here,” but Marina just looked at me with a puzzled expression and said “Huh?” I said in a loud whisper, “Peterman’s coming this way!” then in a louder voice said, “Jeez, Marina, button up, will you?” So Marina did just that.
It turned out that Peterman wasn’t heading our way, but went to another picnic table where some kid was vaping. So, my friends all turned on me wanting to know why I had made Marina shut down the view, since I’d told her to ‘button up’ like I was her parent, and kept joking that I must be one of those “queers who isn’t interested to see a girl’s boobs.” I tried to explain but no one listened to me. They were too busy razzing me. That’s when the bell rang that ended fifth period. As we walked back to our sixth period classes they kept up their loud comments, and other kids heard it and turned and laughed. Some even said junk like, “Hey, Lee, hear you’re queer now!” and “Hi, fag!” and “Hey, it’s Gay Jay” and “Gay Lee” and man, was I pissed.
Things kept getting worse during my English and Social Studies classes, with more guys coming up to me and whispering stuff like, “Hi,Gay-Jay” and the girls just pointing at me and giggling. Man, I never thought something like this could spread so fast through a school of 2,100 students. It was embarrassing, and frustrating, and I couldn’t shut it down. Anything I said just made it worse. And the worse was yet to come.
It was the next day that turned out for me to be the worst one ever. Homeroom totally sucked because we had a sub teacher and she just ignored the class after she took roll and read the day’s notices. So the guys kept doing loud whispers like, “Hey, Jay, hear you’re a fag boy now” and “Now we got our own little queer in here” and “Jay doesn’t like girls” and “Hear you don’t like Marina’s titties ’cause you’re gay” and some meaner stuff like, “Hey homo, why don’t ya go back to where you came from.” It kept up on my way between first and second period classes, but thank God not as bad as in homeroom.
Fourth period was my gym class. You can probably guess what it was like for me. While we were suiting up you wouldn’t have heard a bomb go off in the locker room ’cause of about 175 guys catcalling, laughing, prancing around like fags, and yelling at the top of their voices. Finally, Mr. Wilson, the assistant coach, came in blowing an air horn and got us quieted down enough to hear him yell “Okay, get your fat asses out on the track. You’re going to run laps today until you drop!” This was met by a chorus of groans, but we shuffled out onto the field and gathered near the track’s starting line. If anything, it was even hotter than it had been the day before, and the idea of running laps was the last thing I could get enthusiastic about. Well, I didn’t have that to worry about because Mr. Peck, the head coach, got on his bullhorn and yelled “Jay Lee, front and center!” Every eye turned to look at me. Jeez, could anything else go wrong today? I ran over to where the coaches sat at the front of the stands.
“Lee, I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m going to put a stop to it right now.”
Oh, no! Please! Don’t say anything that will make things worse.
So, of course, he did.
Back on his bullhorn, Coach Peck yelled “Look, guys, coach Wilson and I heard some of the crap you were saying to Lee in the locker room. I don’t want to hear any of this kind of crap from any of you. It doesn’t make any difference what Lee is or isn’t, in this school you’re not going to harass anyone because of what they are or aren’t. Do you understand? Let me hear that you understand!” A chorus of “Right, coach” and a smattering of giggles rang out from behind me. “I can’t HEAR YOU! Don’t you sissies UNDERSTAND?” he shouted in his bullhorn. That resulted in a much louder “WE UNDERSTAND!” and almost no giggles.
“Okay, kiddies, get your sorry butts on the track and start your laps!”
Shit. Coach Peck couldn’t have made things any worse if he’d made me pull down my gym shorts and jock and shown myself to the whole fourth period PE class. Of course, it would have made things worse, but… he had actually said, well, just about said, that I was gay right in front of the whole fourth period gym class. Twice. I might as well go slit my wrists right now. My life was totally ruined.
I walked to the starting line, looking down at the ground instead of at the guys. Coach Wilson was starting the laps in groups of six guys, and I was at the back of the crowd waiting for my turn. Alan Grant walked up to me. He’s a tenth grader, and huge, is a wrestler and is on the rugby team, and is the best athlete in the school, probably in our whole league. He was the first one to say anything to me.
“Hey, Lee, don’t let these freaks bother you. If you get any shit from anyone, come to me and I’ll straighten them out. I’ll make sure you’re okay. I got your back.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. First, if you’d asked me I would have sworn on a stack of Bibles that Alan Grant hadn’t known that I even existed, even after Coach Peck basically outed me. Second, we ran with different crowds. He was in the tenth grade, I was in the ninth. I had never talked to him, or been in any classes with him except for this gym class this semester. Third, he’s got an athletic build with six-pack abs and muscles that don’t quit, and I’m a slightly chubby-ish Asian nerd. Fourth, he’s the absolutely hottest stud in our school and has those chiseled good looks that the hot movie stars have, and he has all of the girls at Riverview High lusting and drooling after his bod. And last, but most important, he was saying that he would protect me. I didn’t even mind that he was talking to me using my last name.
“Thanks, Alan. I really appreciate it, what you said.”
“What happened to start all this crap?”
I told the story about what happened. When I told him about Marina’s showing her boobs, he laughed out loud, and a bunch of guys turned around to see what was going on. Alan just glared at them and squeezed my shoulder, and they turned back so fast I thought their heads would unscrew and fall off.
“Look, Lee, this will probably blow over in a couple of days. Today’s Thursday so you only have tomorrow and then it’s the weekend. By Monday, this’ll be old shit and no one will remember it ’cause they’ll be onto something else.”
“Jeez, Alan, I sure hope so. It’s so embarrassing to have everyone telling me that I’m a fag and not being able to say or do anything about it.”
“Okay, Lee, just remember what Coach Pecker (that’s our nickname for coach Peck) said, that it doesn’t make any difference what someone is or isn’t in this school. You just be who you are, and don’t put up with any crap from anyone. And if you need me, or just want to talk, just let me know. I’ll give you my cell and home numbers after class.”
Now I was really confused. Here’s the number one school hunk saying he was going to give me his home phone number, and his personal cell number, too? It was my turn to line up with five other guys to run my laps, and we started off. I couldn’t stop thinking about my conversation with Alan. Did he really think I was gay? He almost said so when he reminded me about Pecker’s little talk about what someone is or isn’t. What had I said to him? I replayed the conversation over and over in my mind. The details slowly came back to me. One thing, I couldn’t remember if I’d told Alan that I wasn’t gay. Maybe he thought that I was. What if he was gay? No fucking way, not Alan Grant. Shit, I didn’t know what to think. I kept rehashing yesterday’s lunch and classes and my talk with Alan while I ran the laps. Suddenly I realized that I had been running my laps, and that I ran more than I needed to and was done.
There were only eleven of us left on the field, my group of six and the last group which had five guys. Everyone else was already in the locker room taking showers and getting dressed. I stopped and looked back to the last group, which was just finishing their laps, and Alan was in that group. I walked slowly across the field to the gym and let the guys in Alan’s group catch up.
“Feel okay, Lee? You ran a real fast set of laps, guy,” Alan said.
“Yeah, I was thinking so hard about yesterday and today and everything that’s happened that I didn’t even notice I was running laps.”
“That’s funny. Don’t forget to come by my locker after you’re dressed, and I’ll give you those numbers. My locker is in row D at the outside end”
“Right. See ya in a few.”
The locker room and showers were almost deserted, and I was glad. No catcalls! I stripped, showered, and dressed. I walked to the outside end of my row of lockers, G, and walked down to row D. Alan was sitting on the bench already dressed, waiting for me. “Here you go, Lee.” He handed me a 3 by 5 card with his name, home address, email address, and cell and home phone numbers written on it.
“Thanks, Alan. By the way, my first name is Jay, and you can call me that, if you want.”
“OK, Jay it is. Well, I gotta get going. I’m working this afternoon. I do lawns for people in my neighborhood. Give me a call tonight, will you?”
I gulped. He is asking me to call him tonight. Un-fucking-believable. “Sure, Alan, will do. I should be through with dinner around seven, is that okay?”
“Well, I won’t get home until about 6:30, so how about calling around eight? Use my cell number, okay?”
“Okay, I’ll call you then.”
We walked out of the gym together, Alan turned left to walk to east campus, and I turned right toward west campus to go to lunch. I turned the corner around the end of the library, and almost ran into Steve.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, I guess. ‘This is some fine mess I got myself into!’” We both grinned. We were Laurel and Hardy fans, and Steve had lots of their old movies and shorts on DVD and we never got tired of watching them. We had lots of their best lines memorized, and would repeat them which broke us both up.
“I saw you talking to Alan Grant. Was he hassling you?”
“No, you won’t believe a word that I’m going to say, but here’s exactly what happened.” I told Steve about the conversation that Alan and I had, that he had promised to protect me if I needed it, that he had given me his numbers which I showed Steve, and that he wanted me to call him tonight. We had stopped walking as I told my tale, and I could tell that Steve was having a hard time taking it all in.
“Jay, this is just too weird. This guy is the numero uno bodacious hot guy and number one top athlete at Riverview and practically has all the girls and half the boys hanging off his body like shrunken heads.”
“I know. I can’t get my head around it, either.” I laughed, but Steve didn’t and just stared at me.
“I’m thinking, you said you didn’t tell him that you only think you might have said you aren’t gay, and that maybe he thinks you are.”
Steve stared at me like I was some sort of half-wit. “As in, maybe, just maybe, Alan Grant is gay, and he thinks maybe you are too.”
“Steve, you’ve tripped over your own brains. Alan Grant isn’t gay. No fucking way. He has all the girls falling all over themselves trying to get him to date them or even to just notice them, and he’s always talking to some girl or other.”
“I don’t know, Jay. It should be a very interesting conversation when you call him tonight, that’s for sure. You want me to come over to listen in?”
“No. I don’t want Alan hearing you giggling and snorting in the background.”
“I don’t snort! I never snort! Anyway, I can’t because we’re going to my grandmother’s house for dinner tonight, it’s her 65th birthday, and she’s cooking Chinese.”
“Your grandmother has to cook her own birthday dinner? Jeez, that sucks.”
“It’s a family tradition. My other grandmother does the same thing. Anyway, my mother doesn’t cook Chinese because she says it smells up the house too much, you know, all of that garlic and oil and other Chinese ingredients. So, I’m glad when we get to go to my paupau’s house so I can get a really good Chinese meal.”
“Well, you have a good time feeding your face and filling your belly, and I’ll see you at the bus stop in the morning to tell you everything that Alan and I talked about tonight. Get there 15 minutes early, that way we’ll have time before the bus gets there.”
Steve agreed, and we walked to the cafeteria for lunch. There were a few hoots and hollers and laughs, but I just ignored them which was easy ’cause there’s so much noise with almost 1,100 kids who have 5th period lunch and eat in the cafeteria. Regardless, I wasn’t looking forward to the rest of my classes. Steve and I both have English sixth period and computer lab seventh period, and I have Chemistry eighth period. Mr. Gibbs is our English teacher, and he won’t take any crap from any of the kids, so other than few laughs and a few “Gay Jay” and “Gay Lee” comments in the hall between classes things were actually getting pretty quiet.
Computer lab was something else. It’s totally full, 50 kids in the class, one per computer. We have pretty good hardware, mostly Dells with Intel i5 chips and lots of memory running Windows 7. Yeah, yeah, I know, they should be using Windows 10 but this is a school and they don’t have the money or something. The PCs are all on a network run by a Linux server that’s locked up so we “can’t get our grubby hands on it” as Ms. Kuluk, the computer teacher, likes to tell us. The server may be locked up, but we’d figured out how to get Yahoo Messenger running on almost all the PCs. We renamed it “C#” (which we didn’t use) so Kuluk wouldn’t have a clue. I kept getting messages with the same old same old stuff like, “Hi, Gay Jay!” and “Attention all girlie boys!” and worse. It kept going all once the class started, and Kuluk just sat there doing her thing. I kept getting messages, so after a couple minutes I just exited YM on my PC so I was able to complete the assignment even though it wasn’t due until the end of tomorrow’s class. Each of us was to design our own idea for a new home page for Riverview High.
Chemistry was no problem ’cause most of the kids were geeks like me, so everybody just kept their attention focused on Mr. Fischer, the teacher, who was reviewing the material for our chem lab session tomorrow. Man, was I glad when the class ended and Thursday was over. I walked to the west campus gate to meet Steve and catch the bus home. We grinned at each other, and to my relief talked about other things on the way home on the bus. Steve’s great, and I could tell he knew that I had a bum day and needed a break. And no one on the bus made any comments, so maybe Alan was right and it was already starting to blow over.
After dinner I was nervous as a cat and couldn’t concentrate on anything else waiting for it to be eight o’clock so I could call Alan. I decided to call at around five minutes after so it wouldn’t sound like I was too eager. Whoa! What the hell was that? I’m eager? Why am I eager about this call? I started thinking about the call, and Alan, and what Steve said about Alan maybe being gay, and maybe Alan thinking I’m gay, and Alan’s hot bod, and what would we talk about, and what if Alan is gay? And what if I’m really gay? Whoa, whoa! Now, what the hell is that “what if I’m really gay” thought? And the “hot bod” thought? Where did that come from? What’s wrong with my brain? I had never thought about being anything other than normal. I got a bone looking at Marina’s tits yesterday, didn’t that mean I’m straight? Then why have I pulled a bone thinking about my call to Alan? I suddenly realized that I, in fact, was hard, and it felt really good. I reached down and rubbed the front of my jeans, and Mr. Tiny reacted in a way that felt even better. Mr. Tiny wanted me to do more, but I glanced at the clock on my desk and it was 8:09 and now I was really late calling Alan.
I grabbed my phone, dialed Alan’s cell number, and waited while it rang. After the third ring, it was picked up and I heard a guy’s voice say “Hello?”
“May I speak with Alan Grant?” Jeez, how lame.
“Hi, Jay, this is Alan Grant. Call my cell and it will always be Alan Grant. I’m the only one who answers this number.” I heard him chuckle.
“Sorry, Alan, it’s just that I don’t call people I don’t know very often. I was using my usual lame politeness that I use when calling someone and expecting their folks to pick up the phone. So, you asked me to give you a call tonight.”
“Yes, I did. I want to make sure that you’re okay.”
“Umm, Alan, can I ask you a question?”
“Umm, why… why did you talk to me today? You don’t know me. And why did you say you’d protect me if anyone was bothering me. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great, and I really appreciate it, and you’re the only one who hasn’t given me a bunch of shit about this whole thing, and I really appreciate it…” I stopped because I realized that I was rambling and repeating myself, and I didn’t have a clue what to say next, and here I was questioning Alan Grant about why he was being nice to me and….
“Jay, I guess you’re confused about what I said to you, and I don’t blame you. Let me tell you why.
“We lived in Oregon when I was in the sixth grade at Emerson Middle School. My best friend, Josh Winters, went through something like what you’re going through, but worse. A kid claimed that Josh had tried to feel him up in the shower after gym class, but it was a lie. Lyle, the guy who lied, spread the story around school that Josh was gay and was a perv. Lyle was a real jerk, and most kids didn’t believe him. But enough did, including some of Josh’s friends. The name calling by Lyle and his gang of idiot friends never stopped. It really changed Josh, and he was sad all of the time. I had to practically drag him to do things, like go to a movie. His folks were worried and took him to a doctor who said that he was depressed and they gave him a prescription for some pills. In January my dad got transferred and we moved here.
“I emailed and wrote to Josh, but he never replied. I phoned him a bunch of times, and left messages but he never called back. I talked to his mother a couple of times, but both times she told me he was out and she would have him phone me, but he didn’t. I don’t know what happened to him, or if the pills worked, and it makes me sad when I think about it. I lost my best friend. What happened to you is different, but the result could be the same. I don’t want you to become a Josh.”
“Wow, that’s awful what happened to him.”
“Well, there’s one other thing you need to know about Josh. He was actually gay. He told me that when he thought about sex it was always about boys, never girls. But I was the only person he ever told, and he told me because we were best friends and he felt safe telling me and that nothing would change between us. And it didn’t. That’s may be the reason why he never talked to me again, that I was the only person to know that he was gay.”
“I’m wondering why his mother wasn’t more helpful when you called her. Do you have any idea?”
“No. I thought it was strange, too.”
“I’m hoping that something else will come along and everybody will get excited by it and I’ll become old news.”
“I hope so, too. I’m thinking that if we hang together maybe that will help.”
“Aren’t you worried that because I’m being called gay and fag that it would rub off on you?”
I heard Alan laugh. “Nope. There’s no reason for us to not hang together. And Jay, I don’t care if you’re gay or not gay. No one should be hassled for any reason.”
“The only class we have together is PE.”
He corrected me. “That’s PE and lunch. We both have fifth period lunch. You know, having fourth period PE automatically means you have to have fifth period lunch. So you have fifth period lunch. And I do, too.”
“God, I’m so embarrassed. I should have figured that out.”
I could hear the laughter in Alan’s voice.
“Hey, I’m new at this whole high school thing. Gimme a break, okay?” I said. Now we were both laughing.
“One thing you can do is stare down the asswipes that are hassling you.”
“No way that I could do that. I’m short and unmuscular and no threat to anyone.”
“Have you given any thought to building some muscles so you can scare off some of the asswipes who hassle you?”
“Yes. I wanted to take weight training, and my dad wanted me to take it too. But you have to be in the tenth grade or higher to take it. It’s too popular for freshmen to get in.”
“Hmm. I have a proposal. I have a gym at home. It’s got some great equipment that can be set from light- to heavy-duty. That’s what I use instead of using the weight training room at school. Why don’t you come over and workout with me? Are you interested in doing that?”
“Yes! I’d love to do that. I’d have to get my dad — maybe my mom, too — to agree.”
“My dad would want you and your dad to come over and talk about designing a set of exercises that are appropriate for you. Let me get this set up with my dad and I’ll call you back. Okay?”
That’s what Alan and I ended up doing. I told Steve that I was training with Alan, and he said he’d like to join us. So I talked to Alan then Steve’s dad and Alan’s dad met and he joined us. Alan’s mom met my mom and talked her into improving my diet. I switched to eating a high-protein high-fiber low-sugar diet with lean meat — and more veggies than I’d ever eaten in my life. And I love it! It’s great! I didn’t lose weight. Instead I replaced my chubby parts with muscle mass.
It’s amazing what six months of exercising did to improve my body. I’m toned, have a good start on a six-pack, have biceps that impress me, and I feel a lot better. Especially since I turned fourteen in December and I’d become pretty much normal size down there. I guess puberty had finally kicked in.
The gym at Alan’s house is great. It’s connected to the back of their pool house — yes, they have a pool — and the best thing is that after exercising we use the shower in the pool house so Steve and I won’t have to go home all sweaty and smelly. What that means is that I finally got to see Steve naked and he got to see me naked. I liked seeing him naked, a lot.
One day on our way home from school I decided to cut to the chase and told Steve that I liked seeing him naked. He said he likes seeing me naked, too. We discussed it and by the time we got home decided that it might be fun to experiment.
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