Jason announces to his family that he’s gay. His sisters and his father tell him that it doesn’t make any difference, they love him regardless of whether he’s gay or straight or whatever. But what about his mother? Can she come to accept that her son is gay?
“Argh!” Jason exclaimed in frustration. “I don’t understand what Mr. Hunter meant about moving the images around on the screen. It’s too slow and is a total pain in the butt. I need a better solution. Take a look; maybe you can come up with a better idea.”
Ron stood in back of Jason and looked at the screen.
“Jase, I saw something when you were moving the images around. You can’t overlay them on each other.”
“Yeah, that’s the way Bridge works. Mr. Hunter thought I used Photoshop Elements. Does the Elements Organizer let you overlay images?”
“No, it looks like the Organizer and Bridge both work, or don¹t work, the same. You know, your headshot images aren’t all the same size. Let’s try this. First, make a backup copy of your headshot image folder. Then use a resizer program to resize every image in the copied folder. Since you’re printing your poster it needs to be set to 300 pixels per inch. So, resize them all to 300 pixels wide, that’ll be one inch, by whatever high. That’ll take a while to run with 640 headshot images.”
When the resizing finished, Ron continued. “Okay, open Photoshop and create the poster to 300 pixels per inch and the overall size you need and save it as a Photoshop psd file. Left click in a blank space on the title bar, hold it, and drag to the right edge of your screen. Okay, see how that made the Photoshop window lock to the right edge and fill half the screen? Now, open Bridge, left click in a blank space on the title bar and drag to the left edge of your screen. Now narrow the left panel and widen the right panel until your poster is taking almost all of the space, then open the folder with the resized headshot images in Bridge.”
Jason grinned. “I didn't know you could do that. That is way cool. That way I have Bridge on the left and Photoshop on the right.”
“Exactly! Okay, let’s get this show on the road. Select one of the images in Bridge, doesn’t make any difference so you could just use them in order by file name. Left click on it and drag it onto the poster and move it somewhere, like the upper left corner, then press the Enter key to lock it in place. Keep doing that until you’ve moved a whole bunch of images, then begin moving them around, overlap them, whatever. Keep doing those steps until you’ve filled up your poster. Got it?”
Jason tried out Ron’s suggestion, and after moving about fifty images onto his poster, and quite a bit of trial and error, he found it did work well. In fact, very well.
“Okay, I got it. Ron, you are a genius. This is going to work great.”
Jason worked for a few minutes more until his mom called them for dinner. He saved his poster and Bridge, and he and Ron washed their hands and rushed downstairs. Without running, of course.
“Man, this spaghetti is fantastic, Mrs. Phillips,” Ron said, complimenting her cooking. “I love spaghetti. Your sauce is really good, a little spicy which is exactly the way I like it.”
Betty grinned. “If those compliments are being given so you can get a second helping —”
“A third helping,” Jason interjected.
“— of spaghetti, there’s plenty and you can have all you want. And Jase, don’t interrupt when others are talking.”
“So Ron, how are your classes?” Betty asked.
“Good. I had some trouble with my Algebra problems, then Marcus and I got together Saturday and helped each other. Actually, Marcus helped me by showing me some tricks so I understood how to solve the problems.”
“Marcus seems like a nice kid,” Tim Phillips said.
“Yeah, he is,” Ron replied.
“Are you doing your homework while Jase is working on his poster?” Betty asked.
“I finished my homework at school today. We’re doing solo recital in Chorus today and tomorrow. If you’re not the one giving recital there’s nothing to do. Of course, you can sit and listen, but we’ve heard each other all year so there’s nothing new. I got a permission slip from Ms. Libera and went to the library and finished all of my homework. I have PE following Chorus and then Algebra. Ms. Waring assigned a set of problems for tonight’s homework, and I’ll finish them in the library during Chorus tomorrow and have them done and ready to turn in during seventh period.”
“When do you have your solo recital?” Jen asked.
“I had it on Friday. In fact, I gave mine first of all. I’m glad that I got it over with right away. That way I didn’t have any time to get nervous about singing my solo.”
“What did you sing?” Thea asked.
“I sang ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’ from Les Miserables.”
“Wow! That’s a complex song with a very wide range, as I remember it,” Tim commented. “I’m impressed. That’s an amazing accomplishment for a fourteen-year-old.”
Ron blushed and smiled. The song was difficult, and he’d been challenged to learn to navigate it successfully.
“Ms. Libera is recording our solo recitals and we’ll be able to download our performance from Blackboard. I’ll copy the file and send it to Jase and if you’re interested you can listen to it.”
“I’m more than interested, Ron. Jase, be sure to let us know when Ron has sent you the file.”
“Will do, Dad.”
“How about you, Jase. You’re working on your photography project. What about your other homework?” Tim asked.
“We’re reading and commenting on the last stories we wrote for Creative Writing, I don’t have any homework in English, I did my Algebra homework during Photography when Mr. Hunter talked to each of us individually to review our project status. As usual World History and Geography is just Mrs. Tepper lecturing to us, I’ve already talked about Photography, and we’re doing readings in Spanish. So I have nothing to do tonight except work on my Photography project.”
Jen and Thea were then subjected to the third-degree and they each said they would complete their homework after dinner.
Ron sat on Jasons bed leaning against the headboard watching Jason select and insert each of the headshot images onto the ten inch by sixteen-inch poster one at a time. He’d look at the overall poster image every few minutes, moving around some of the headshots where they formed a pattern he didn’t like. After a half hour Jason stretched and rolled his shoulders then leaned back.
“You had enough, Jase?”
“Enough for a while. Copying all of these images is really boring.”
“But you’ve gotta admit that my idea is perfect, right?” Ron asked.
“Yeah, I admit it is the best way for me to build my poster from all those pix I took. I’ll just be glad when I’m finished.”
“You too? You’ve been sitting there on your butt for the last couple of hours. I’m the one who’s been slaving over a hot mouse and keyboard and getting carpal tunnel whatever in my right index finger and squinting at the display. My finger and wrist both ache and I think I’m about to go blind.”
“And don’t think I don’t appreciate that you’re doing all the work, Jase. And yes, I can hardly wait until you’re finished.”
“So I can grab you and we can have hot, torrid sex.”
Jason grinned. “Hot, torrid sex?”
“Absolutely.” Ron wiggled his eyebrows and grinned. That sent Jason over the edge and he started laughing, which got Ron going as well.
Jason stood up and stuck his hands out like claws. “I’ll show you hot, torrid sex!”
With that he jumped on top of Ron and tickled him. Ron tried to wiggle out from underneath, but Jason’s surprise attack had gained him the advantage because he straddled him and used his legs to block Ron’s arms tight between his body and the bed. “So, how’s this for hot and torrid?”
“It’s supposed to be hot and torrid sex!” Ron shouted through his laughter, “Not tickling!”
“Hey, guys! Keep it down.” Jen was standing in the doorway, leaning against the jamb, grinning at her brother and his best friend.
“Jen!” Jason shouted, “What are you doing here?”
“Well… why don’t you try ‘because I live here’ for a very good reason.”
Jason climbed off of Ron and stood by the side of the bed. He glared at Jen.
“That’s not what I meant. I mean here, in my bedroom. I closed my bedroom door when we came upstairs. What gives you the right to open it and come in without knocking and getting my okay?”
“You guys were making so much noise that you never heard me knocking. Besides, I didn’t actually come inside. I’m standing in the doorway.”
“After you opened the door without asking.”
“So maybe we would have been doing something that you wouldn’t have wanted to see.”
Jen’s eyes got big and she blushed. “You wouldn’t have!”
Ron smirked. “And why not? Didn’t you hear me tell Jase what we were going to do?”
“I… you guys are incorrigible! Mom should lock you in the basement and throw away the key.”
“Hard to do, Jen. There’s no basement in this house. I think what I’m going to do instead is ask Dad to put a lock on my bedroom door so you can’t barge in any time you want. How’s that for a solution?”
“Just keep it down and I won’t have a reason to come barging in to yell at you.” Jen turned and stormed out of Jason’s room, closing the door as she left.
Jason looked at Ron and started to laugh. He put his hand over his mouth to stifle his laughter as he walked to his bedroom door and closed it. Then he flopped on his bed and clasped his hands behind his head.
“She didn’t say anything about ‘hot and torrid sex’. I guess she didn’t hear you. Or she ignored it.”
“Yeah. We’re lucky. Say, I thought her bedroom was at the other end of the hall.”
“It is. The bathroom and Thea’s bedroom are in between my room and Jen’s, and my folk’s bedroom and bathroom are across the hall.”
“How did Jen hear us from that far away? We weren’t that loud, especially with your bedroom door closed.”
“Maybe she was walking down the hall, or was in the bathroom.”
“So maybe all she heard was you tickling me and me laughing.”
“That’s a big relief if that’s all it was. Ron, my folks don’t know about us and I have to keep it that way. My guess is that Mom has just barely accepted that I’m gay. I don’t think she’s ready to find out that I have a boyfriend.”
“I think you’d better add your dad and Jen to that list. And probably Thea, too.”
“Yeah. Better safe than sorry. Let’s keep it down, and gag the ‘hot and torrid’ stuff.”
“Good idea, Jase. I’m sorry that I almost got us, and especially you, in deep doo-doo.”
“No harm, no foul. Reminds me of Thea’s Rules. We can call our being careful rules the J and R Rules, J and R for Jason and Ron. How’s that sound?”
“Cool. You want to get back to your project?”
“No, not yet. My eyes got bleary from staring at all those little headshot images. I’ve copied about half of them anyway, so another couple hours and I think I’ll be done. Right now all I want to do is lie here and rest and talk about other stuff until I’m relaxed. Then I’ll get back to my project, and I’ll be able to finish it tonight.”
“Okay, that works for me. So what sort of other stuff do you want to talk about?”
“How about tell me how it worked out when you and Marcus did your Algebra homework together Saturday.”
“It worked out really well. I’m a kind of slam-bam sort of guy when I do my homework, and maybe there’s some attention to detail that I could improve on. At least that’s what Ms. Waring says about the stupid mistakes I make on my Algebra homework. On the other hand, Marcus is a kind of ‘take the time to make sure it’s right before going on to the next problem’ and check your problems again after theyre all finished kind of guy, and thats a lot different than me.
“So I’m blasting through the problems and finished real quick, and Marcus is still working on his problems, spending time to make sure his answers are right. When he finally finished with his problems he checked mine and I checked his. He found a lot more errors in mine than I found in his. That’s sort of embarrassing, his was like ninety-nine percent correct and mine maybe seventy percent. Anyway, we each went back and redid what we had wrong. We didn’t copy each other’s solutions. We came up with our own answers to the problems ourselves. We turned in our homework today and should get it back tomorrow or Wednesday.
“Thing is, I don’t know if I helped him, but he sure helped me. I think I learned how problems can be solved and some tricks that helped me figure out the right answers. Whatever, we’ll get together again this Saturday to do our Algebra homework.”
“So you’ve decided that Marcus isn’t a dick after all?”
“You got it. I learned a lesson from that, too. Don’t jump to conclusions about whether someone’s a dick or not.” Ron grinned. “You need to learn that lesson too, Jase.”
“What? Me? You gotta be kidding.”
“I am so absolutely not kidding. Think about how you reacted to Tom, Jen’s boyfriend. And to Thea’s friend Darryl. You act like your sisters’ father, not their brother. It’s like you suspect their guy friends of being badasses. Then you freaked out about Thea walking from Lomita to Hillcrest. You’ve gotta ease up, Jase. Be your sisters’ brother, not their father.”
Jason was shocked. “I’m really that way?”
Ron shook his head and rolled his eyes. “The last person to know that they’re nuts is the lunatic. Of course you’re really that way.”
“I see what you mean. I guess I was a little harsh when I met Darryl.”
“And don’t forget how you reacted to Tom.”
“Alright, alright! Give me a signal when I do it in the future, okay?”
“Come on, Jase, you said ‘when I do it’ and it should be ‘if I do it’. You need to take ownership of your problem and agree to fix it.”
“Take ownership? Good grief, you sound like you’re one of the counselors at school.”
“That’s where I got it, from Mr. McCrearity. He’s my guidance counselor, and thats what he told me when he was bugging me about my mid-term grades last semester. I did take ownership and I worked my butt off and I came out of the semester with a B-plus average.”
“I have Ms. Collier. All she ever says is ‘You’re doing well, Jason’ and she doesn’t give me any advice about what more I need to do so I can be absolutely sure that I’ll be able to get into Cal.”
“Maybe she thinks that it’s not a big deal ‘cause you’re a freshman. Whatever, just ask her about it. Don’t expect her to read your mind.”
“That’s a good idea. When I have another appointment with her I’ll remember that.”
“Jase, you better get back to your project or it won’t be done by Friday.”
“You’re right.” Jason got up off the bed and sat down at his desk and went to work on his headshots project.
Ron got up and browsed through Jason’s bookcase to find something short to read. He found a book titled Wool. That title was bizarre, the book was very thin at only sixty-eight pages, and the back cover said that it was science fiction. The perfect combination, so he took it and laid back on Jason’s bed and began reading.
An hour and a half later Ron was asleep, snoring quietly. Jason had finished inserting about two thirds of the headshots onto his poster and was pleased with what he’d accomplished so far. He saved the poster file and decided to look at the sculpture pictures he took at the library. He opened the image that he considered the best of those he’d taken and saved it in Photoshop format so it would be easier to manipulate. Then he cropped and resized it so it would fit the exact height of his poster image, sixteen-inches. Because he’d taken the picture from the second floor balcony, the sides of the sculpture narrowed down toward the bottom of the image. He’d never played with the Photoshop transformation options, but discovered that he could easily warp the image to straighten the sides so they were parallel. Next he erased everything in the image except the sculpture itself and overlaid it on top of the headshots in his poster image. The sculpture covered the headshots behind it so they were no longer visible. He changed the opacity of the sculpture layer until the headshots underneath it were visible, then he moved it to the exact center of the poster. He played with the opacity setting some more until he found the exact value that he wanted, thirty-six percent. The sculpture was barely visible, and all of the headshots underneath were perfectly visible. The effect was fantastic.
Jason grinned. Mr. Hunter would be blown away when he saw his poster. At least that’s what he hoped. He still had about a third of the headshots to add, and then the title, and that wouldn’t be a big deal but he was tired. So he saved the images and decided to finish up Tuesday night. He looked at the clock. Almost ten forty-five. It was late and definitely time for bed. Jason shut down his PC then stretched and yawned. He looked at Ron and grinned. He was so cute when he slept.
Jason got up and went to the bathroom and got ready for bed. He returned and undressed, except for his T and briefs. He walked to the side of the bed closest to where Ron was lying.
“Ron, it’s time to get ready for bed,” he said. The only thing from Ron was the same as he’d been doing when Jason had walked over, sleeping and quietly snoring. “Come on man, you need to wake up and get ready for bed.” He shook Ron’s shoulder and his eyes fluttered open, then he yawned.
“Wha’ time’s it?”
“A couple minutes before eleven. Time for you to wake up and get ready for bed. We have school tomorrow.”
Ron stretched, then looked up grinning. “Okay, okay. Shoo. Gimme room to get out of bed.”
Jason moved aside and Ron got up and headed for the bathroom where Thea was just exiting.
“Hi, Ron. G’nite, Ron.”
“Good night, Thea,” he replied as he walked into the bathroom. He finished up and returned to Jason’s bedroom.
Jason was already in bed, tightly holding the sheet and blanket under his chin.
“What are you doing that…” Ron’s eyes opened wide when he noticed Jason’s T and briefs on the floor next to the bed.
“You’re not… are you?”
“That’s for you to find out, Mr. Cantham,” Jason answered, grinning.
“Oh my god!” Ron made sure the bedroom door was tightly closed, switched off the ceiling light, and walked around to the far side of the bed, the side across from Jason. He pulled off his T as Jason switched off the lamp on his nightstand. After a few seconds with some rustling noises and fumbling in the dark, Ron got in bed and pulled up the sheet and blanket on his side. He turned onto his right side and felt under the covers for his boyfriend.
“You asshole!” he yelped in a loud whisper as he felt Jason’s T. He groped downward and felt that he was wearing his briefs as well. “Here you got me all excited and it was a freakin’ JOKE?”
Jason rolled on his left side and felt Ron’s bare torso, then felt lower until he encountered Ron’s boxers. He started to laugh.
“So I’m the asshole?” he whispered. “What if I had been naked? What would you have done about these?” he said, pulling the front of the boxer’s elastic waistband and letting it snap back on Ron’s stomach.
“Ouch! I would have slipped them off. At least I’m naked above the waist. You’re like totally covered.”
“No, my arms and hands and legs and feet are all naked.”
“That doesn’t count! I’ll show you!” Ron rolled onto his back, lifted his butt and pulled off his boxers. He pulled them out from under the covers and, rolling back to his side, rubbed them over Jason’s head.
“Oh no! You did it?” Jason squealed. His hand moved down Ron’s side. “Oh my god, you did do it!”
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This story and the included images are Copyright © 2011-2013 by Colin Kelly (colinian). They cannot be reproduced without express written consent. Codey's World web site has written permission to publish this story. No other rights are granted.
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