Reorientation by Colin Kelly

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?

Chapter 30 Tennis and Swimming Get-Together      Story Index >>

Jason and Ron finished with the pool heater and cover by the time Betty returned with the ice, had the tennis court swept in another ten minutes, and had the tables and chairs moved out and arranged in another twenty minutes. They had finished by nine forty-five.

“Do you want to put on your swimsuit now?” Jason asked.

“I’ve got it on under my cargo shorts.”

“Well, come on upstairs and I’ll put mine on,” Jason wiggled his eyebrows.

That made Ron laugh. “Now that sounds like a plan to me!” he responded.

Jason closed the door after they entered his bedroom. “Lemme see your swimsuit so I can figure out what to wear,” he asked.

Ron pulled down his cargo shorts. He wore a pair of dark blue jammers that had a two-inch-wide white stripe from the waist all the way down the front of the left leg.

“Man, those look so cool on you, Ron. You’re very sexy in them. They’re new, aren’t they.”

“Yeah, I got them last week, and this is the first time I’ve been able to wear them. I love the way they hug my legs to just above my knees.” He pulled up his cargo shorts. “What are you going to wear?”

“They’re a surprise. I’m going to put them on, but I want you to close your eyes until I tell you, okay?”

“You mean I don’t get to see your magnificent nakedness?”

“Yes, you do. But then you have to close your eyes when I tell you, and I’ll get my swimsuit out of my dresser and put it on. Then I’ll tell you that you can open your eyes. Agreed?”

“Sure. Now, how about me seeing your magnificent nakedness?”

Jason got undressed, taking off his boxer briefs last of all. He pirouetted to show off a bit for Ron’s sake, then said, “Okay, close your eyes.”

Ron did as he’d been told, and Jason got his new Speedo Rapid Spliced Swim Briefs and pulled them on. Once he’d adjusted everything, he stood facing Ron.

“Okay, you can open your eyes.”

Ron did that, and stared at Jason. “Oh. My. God. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! You’re so beautiful in those briefs. I love those colors on you, black with a maroon stripe down the front of each hip. They’re perfect. They look so fantastic on you.”

“They’re Speedo Rapid Spliced Swim Briefs. I love that name, ‘Speedo Rapid Spliced Swim Briefs’. And I don’t even know what the ’Rapid’ and ‘Spliced’ parts mean. Anyway, for some reason I think that sounds really funny.”

“Those Speedo briefs aren’t funny, they’re fantastic on your bod, Jase.”

“Yours are fantastic on you too, Ron,” Jason said, looking at his boyfriend and smiling.

Ron walked up to Jason and pulled him into a hug. They kissed, then kissed again.

“We gotta stop, Jase. I won’t be able to go downstairs if we don’t.”

Jason pulled away and saw what Ron meant, and started laughing. “Me too,” and he pointed to himself.

“Do you have flip-flops?” he asked Ron.

“Yeah. I brought a gym bag with some stuff including my flip-flops, my racquet, a can of tennis balls, a beach towel, suntan lotion, a couple T’s, a lightweight fleecy, my sunglasses, and some underwear for when I get dressed to go home. It also has my twelve-pack of Cokes, in cans. I gotta get that into the cooler chest so they get cold.”

“Sounds like having everything in a gym bag is a good idea. I’ll put my stuff in one right now. We can store them in the pool house.” Jason got his stuff together and put it in an empty gym bag. “Let’s head outside. It’s ten thirty and the guys should start arriving about now.”

As if Jason had predicted it, the doorbell rang.

“I’ll get it, Mom!” he shouted as he rushed, but not ran, downstairs closely followed by Ron. He dropped his gym bag on the floor and opened the front door.

“Hey, guys!” he greeted Leshawn and Kevin and let them in. “Welcome to our tennis and pool get-together.”

“Whoa, dude!” Kevin exclaimed. “Those are some great Speedos.” He kept eying Jason. “You didn’t wear those to Leshawn’s pool party.”

“No, they’re new. I got them at Sports City a couple days ago.”

Leshawn and Ron were talking about Ron’s jammers, and Kevin and Jason joined in the conversation as they walked through the house to go outside to the back yard.

“Did Leshawn bring the same Speedos he wore at his pool party?” Jason asked.

“Did you think he’d wear anything else?” Kevin said. The two boys started laughing.

Betty greeted them on their way through the kitchen. “Hi, boys.”

“Hi, Mrs. Phillips,” they greeted her in return.

“You’re Leshawn, and you’re Kevin. Am I right?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Leshawn replied. “Thanks for having us over today.”

“I’m sure you’ll have a good time. You can put your sodas in this cooler chest. I’ll add ice and Jase and Ron can bring it outside.”

“Thanks!” Kevin replied, and they put their six-packs in the cooler chest on their way outside.

“You can change in the pool house,” Jason told them. “We don’t have lockers, but there are shelves where you can put your gym bags. Ron and I are going to store ours there too. We’ll keep the cooler chest in there because it’s out of the sun. Lemme show you.”

After they stowed their gym bags, Jason and Ron brought the two ice-filled cooler chests from the kitchen and set them just inside the door of the pool house where they would stay out of the sun.

“I’m gonna head back inside so I can be official greeter for the rest of the guys as they arrive,” Jason said, and he returned to the house.

 “Nice pool,” Leshawn said. “That’s gonna feel real good later on this afternoon when it gets hot.”

Ron showed Kevin and Leshawn the tennis court. “Either of you want to play?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’m up for that,” Kevin said.

“I’ll sit in one of these lounge chairs and watch you amateurs,” Leshawn said.

“Since we’re such amateurs, you can shag balls for us,” Ron responded.

“Is that an invitation?” Leshawn asked with a wicked grin, then he added, “Oh, you mean tennis balls, don’t you!”

The boys laughed.

Ron and Kevin returned to the pool house, and he and Kevin got their racquets and a can of tennis balls each. When they got back to the court Leshawn was lying on a lounge chair wearing mirrored sunglasses.

“I’d call your line shots but this is too comfortable,” Leshawn said. “You’re on your own, so don’t cheat.”

“Cheat?” Kevin exclaimed. “I don’t cheat. Ron doesn’t cheat either. Right, Ron?”

“Absolutely right. I don’t even know what the word ‘cheat’ means. Neither does Kevin. But sometimes it’s hard to see where the ball hits if it’s near the sideline or a baseline. That’s the job of the line judge. That’s all we’re asking of you, to stand at one side and call where the ball hits.”

“You’re just lazy, Ron. You can call your own hits. I’ll just lie here and catch some rays.”

“Who’s lazy?” Kevin asked Ron.

“Looks to me that it’s the guy who’s lounging around over there.” Ron pointed at Leshawn. “But since we’re not going to get any help from him, let’s get going on our match while we’ve got the court to ourselves.”

“Let’s do it,” Kevin agreed.

Back in the house Jason had let Marcus in.

“Hey, Marcus. Welcome!” Jason said.

“Hi, Jase. Is anyone else here yet?”

“Ron, Kevin, and Leshawn are out at the tennis court, I think. You can put your gym bag on one of the shelves in the pool house, and put your sodas in one of the cooler chests that’s just inside the door. The pool’s ready to go. I turned on the pool heater about an hour ago, but you might check the temp to make sure it’s warm enough.”

“Okay, thanks.”

Jason had noticed that Marcus grinned and blushed when he mentioned Leshawn’s name. Maybe this matchmaking thing would be easier than he thought.

Steve arrived next.

“Hi, Steve.”

“Hi, Jase. Thanks for inviting me. I’m looking forward to getting in your pool. Uh, this is my mom, Linda Graff. Mom, this is Jason Phillips.”

“I’m glad to meet you Jason. Steven has been telling us how excited he is about being here today.”

“Let me take you to the kitchen so you can meet my mom.”

Jason did the introductions, and when the doorbell rang he left Steve and his mom talking to Betty Phillips.

The only ones left were Art and Larry Grant, and they were the ones at the door.

“Hi, guys. Welcome! Come on in.”

They were followed by a woman Jason assumed to be their mother.

Art confirmed that assumption. “Mom, this is Jason Phillips. Jase, this is our mom, Deidra Grant.”

“Nice to meet you, Mrs. Grant.” They shook hands.

“It’s nice to meet you too, Jason. Art and Larry are so excited about having a tennis court where they can actually play a match without having to wait hours.”

“I’m glad they’re able to come today. Come on into the kitchen and meet my mom. There are some others there too.” Jason grinned.

As they walked into the kitchen Steve turned around. He saw the twins and grinned. “Hi, Art. Hi, Larry.”

“Oh my god!” Art exclaimed. “Larry, it’s Steve, Steve Graff!” The twins rushed Steve and wrapped him in a three-way hug. They started talking non-stop, asking what they had been doing since they last saw each other in elementary school.

“Mom, I’m going to escort these guys outside. Everyone’s here now. If the doorbell rings it oughta be the pizza and wings.”

“Okay Jase. You guys have fun.”

With some difficulty Jason got Steve, Art, and Larry outside, got their gym bags stowed away, got their sodas into the cooler chests, and Steve said ‘hi’ to Ron, Kevin, Leshawn, and Marcus.

Jason watched Leshawn and Marcus pull two lounge chairs together, then they sat talking and joking with each other. He grinned, and Kevin came over and stood next to him.

“Looks like our little matchmaking plan is working great,” Kevin told Jason.

“I don’t think we had to do much on the Marcus side. He looked like a kid in an ice cream parlor when he saw Leshawn. How do you think Leshawn is reacting to Marcus?”

“Same-as,” Kevin replied. “I really think it’s a done deal. And I still think that we’re responsible for making it happen, you and me. By the way, that Steve kid is majorly cute. If I lived here I think I’d make some serious moves on him. I chatted him up, and he seems shy.”

“He is shy,” Jason said. “But once he gets to know you he’ll open up. He’s gay, and is out to his folks but he’s been totally in the closet otherwise. He’s sort of freaked about coming out to anyone at school. Ron and I are going to talk to him after our get-together about what it’s like being out.”

“Sounds like a good idea. Then you can talk to me about the same thing.”

“But I thought…”

“Nope,” Kevin interrupted, knowing what Jason was about to say. “I’m not out to anyone at school except Leshawn and his folks, you and Ron, and the other guys at the twin’s birthday party.”

“Oh, I didn’t remember that. I think I might have outed you to Steve. I told him everyone who’d be here was gay except Art and Larry, and that I thought they were the only guys here who are straight. Sorry about that.”

“I don’t think it’s a problem. I’m a long way from home, and like they say, what happens in Walnut Creek stays in Walnut Creek, right?” Kevin grinned.

“Right, for me and for Ron too. It probably won’t come up here this afternoon. If Steve says anything to you, though, you’ll have to decide how to answer him.”

Kevin smiled. “Maybe I should just walk up to Steve and start a conversation, and tell him that I’m gay. He is really cute, and who knows what might happen.”

“I don’t know,” Jason said. “How long are you going to be here?”

“I talked to my folks last night. I’ll be here through the summer. They think we’ll all be back in Beaverton by the time fall semester starts.”

“As long as Steve’s interested and you tell him you’re moving away from here in August it should be okay.”

“You’re worried about him, Jase. I can tell.”

“Yeah. I want to help him figure out that being gay is okay. His dad talked to me and Ron on Wednesday. He’s worried about Steve not having many friends because he’s so afraid of kids figuring out he’s gay.”

“That’s too bad, but I can understand it. Maybe I can help by becoming his friend. After that, maybe more. But that’ll be up to him. And me.”

“That’s cool,” Jason said. “I think he needs friends, and we need to get with him and start becoming his friends.”

“He’s been sticking to Art and Larry. I’m going to rescue him and spend some time talking to him.”

“Sounds like a plan, Kev. Tell you what, Art and Larry wanted to come today to play tennis. I’m going to pry them away from Steve and get them on the court, while you pry Steve away from them to chat him up.”

Art and Larry seemed excited about playing tennis, and they challenged Jason and Ron to a doubles match. That let Kevin sit down with Steve and begin talking to him. Jason saw from the smiles that they were becoming friends. He put on a pair of board shorts and his tennis shoes and got his racquet and he and Ron walked onto the court to play a doubles match against Art and Larry.

At eleven thirty Betty, with the assistance of Linda Graff and Deidra Grant, got bowls of salsa and chips onto the table and announced that if anyone wanted a snack it was ready. All eight boys descended on the table and soon the chips and salsa had disappeared.

By one thirty all of the guys were in the pool splashing each other after playing Marco Polo, pool volleyball, and a not very successful attempt at water polo. The pizzas and wings had been delivered, so Betty, Linda, Tammy, and Deidra put them and the do-it-yourself salad fixings and announced that lunch was on. It didn’t take the guys more than five minutes to load up their plates and pick chairs where they could sit down to eat.

“Man, I haven’t had this much fun in like, forever!” Steve announced.

Jason grinned, glad that Steve had come out of the shell that he wore at school and seemed at ease with the other guys. He also noticed that Leshawn and Marcus seemed to be attached at their hips all day. Even at lunch they were sitting next to each other, and seemed to be grinning and blushing whenever they looked at each other.

“It worked, Jase,” Kevin said as he sat next to Jason. “Have you been watching the lovebirds?”

“I have. I love the way they’re blushing so much.”

“You can tell when Leshawn’s blushing? He claims he’s too dark for anyone to tell.”

“Look at his cheeks just under his eyes, and his ears. They get red, especially his ears, when he blushes. Look, it’s happening right now!”

“I know; I can tell because I’m living with him. I didn’t know anyone else could tell.”

“How are you and Steve getting along?”

Now Kevin blushed, and with his latte-colored skin Jason had no trouble seeing it. He laughed.

“Well, I guess you can tell. I really like him. We’re going to a movie tomorrow morning, we’ll have lunch, then we’re going to the Cathedral basketball game.”

“Oh my god! You’re going on a date?” Jason whispered.

“Uh huh.”

“You asked him or he asked you?”

“I asked him, and he said yes without even thinking about it.”

“That’s cool, Kev. I think it’s good for both of you. You gonna see some really dark movie and sit in the back row so you can hold hands?”

“Like my grandma says, ‘That’s for me to know and you to find out!’”

“That’s what I’m trying to do, to find out.”

“You’ll have to come see the same movie.”

“What are you seeing?”

Kevin grinned and shook his head, then moved his fingers across his lips zipping them closed.

Jason laughed. “I’m just joking with you. You guys have a fun time. Ron and I will see you two at the game.”

“Steve said he’s staying over with you tonight. What’s that about?”

“We’re just going to talk. You know, to become friends. Except neither Ron nor I will be asking him out on a date!”

“Very funny, Jase. Just remember, hands off!”

“No worries. I already have my personal squeeze.”

“You and Ron are lucky. How’d you meet?”

Jason told the brief history of how he and Ron met, became best friends, then became boyfriends.

“Your folks are okay that you’re boyfriends?”

“Ron’s folks were fine with it right from the beginning, when we were in middle school. My mom is heavy-duty Catholic, so I didn’t tell them until last month. At first she wasn’t happy about it at all, but she’s come around and everything is fine.”

“Are you, uh, you know, uh…”

“Doing it?” Jason interrupted. “We promised Ron’s folks that we’d wait until we were in college.”

“And how’s that working out?”

“Let’s say we’ve had a couple of times when we strayed from that path.” Jason blushed and grinned.

“Like me and Leshawn, I guess.”

“And how’s that working out?” Jason asked.

“Let’s say it’s very, very good. We sleep in Leshawn’s bed every night. You can figure it out from there.”

“And his folks are okay with that?”

“His dad is totally okay with it. His mom ignores it, maybe she pretends it’s not happening. I have my own room, but the only time I used it was the first couple weeks after I moved in with Leshawn, Uncle Joe, and Aunt Donna, and then a couple days when Leshawn had a cold.”

“Say, if Leshawn and Marcus become boyfriends is that going to end you sleeping with Leshawn every night?”

“I don’t know. I’m going to have to talk to Leshawn about that. That’s really up to him.”

Jason grinned and wiggled his eyebrows. “Maybe you and Steve?”

“There is no me and Steve yet, so there’s no way to answer that question. That’s really up to Steve.”

“Sounds like you’re going to be twisting in the wind for a while.”

“Yeah, just me and Mister Right.”

Jason busted up laughing.

“Later, Jase. I’m going over to get some more food and sit down with Steve and the twins.”

Jason went to the food table and seeing the do-it-yourself salad fixings were starting to run out, he prepared a big plateful and loaded it with everything, especially the artichoke pieces and avocado, then topped it with a little blue cheese dressing. He looked around and saw Ron sitting near the pool with Leshawn and Marcus. He walked over, grabbed a chair, and sat down.

“You guys having a good time?”

“Oh, yeah!” Leshawn exclaimed. “Marcus and I are getting to know each other.”

Marcus blushed, looked at Jason and saw him grinning, and blushed even more.

“Why are you blushing, Marcus?” Jason asked.

“I’m not blushing!”

“Yes you are!” Jason, Ron, and Leshawn said simultaneously. All four guys laughed.

“It’s just… I don’t know… oh, shit! I really like Leshawn, and I think he really likes me too.”

“Which I do,” Leshawn interjected.

“This is the first time I’ve ever talked with someone I know is gay and… and who I like a lot.”

“And who likes you a lot,” Leshawn interjected, again.

“I asked Leshawn to go out with me on Sunday. We’re going to the mall and hang out, and pick a movie to see, and grab something to eat.”

“And I’m going to hold hands with him in the movie,” Leshawn added.

“We’re going to pick a movie that no one else is interested in seeing. No action flick, no chick-flick, no vampires or zombies, something adult that no kids would want to see,” Marcus said.

“We’ll sit in the back row so we can hold hands,” Leshawn added, again.

“Why Sunday?” Ron asked.

“I’ll be completely tied up with the basketball game on Saturday,” Marcus said. “I’m going to the pre-game meeting in the morning and interview all of the players and plan my column for next week’s Eagles Lair. Then I’ll be at the game and after I’ll write up and submit the article about the game for Sunday’s Times and the one for the Eagles Lair.”

“What are you going to do on Saturday, Leshawn?” Jason asked.

“Well, unfortunately on Monday spring break will be over and school starts again. I have a book report to finish for English, and I know Mr. Brockton will have a quiz for us so I’ll go through the last couple chapters in my Algebra book. I’m going to the game Saturday afternoon. I’ll hang with Kevin since Marcus is going to be tied up with his articles.”

“Don’t forget we’ll have a vocabulary test in Spanish,” Ron reminded Leshawn.

“I’m okay for that. I seem to be able to remember Spanish words and grammar better than I can remember algebra formulas.”

“How ‘bout you guys,” Marcus asked, pointing in turn to Ron and Jason.

“We’re going to the game Saturday afternoon,” Ron replied. “We don’t have anything else planned for the weekend.”

“Except I’m going to church with my mom and sisters Sunday morning,” Jason added. “We’re trying out a new church, St. Stephens. I decided that I’m not going to St. Mary’s any more. The priests there are homophobic.”

“If it’s not too personal, do any of you go to church?” Ron asked.

“My folks do,” Leshawn replied, “but I don’t any more. They go to Creedence Community Church. Dad says they go for the lunch, and Mom says he’s exaggerating. I think he’s right. It is a pretty awesome lunch. But if I went I’d have to join the youth ministry and no way I’d do that because the youth ministry pastor is very homophobic. That’s why I don’t go any more.”

“No to going to church,” Marcus said. “My mom was Jewish, my dad’s agnostic, so they decided that joining or going to a church isn’t necessary, that we can believe in God or not. They told me if I want to go to a church that’s okay, but I don’t see a reason to go. I’m not big on organized religion. It’s what’s in here,” Marcus pointed to his heart, “that counts.”

“My folks grew up going to church,” Ron said, “but they just stopped. So when I was a little kid I asked about it and they took me to, I don’t remember, like three or four churches to show me what it’s like. I decided to be like my folks, and I don’t go to church.”

“Sounds like you’re the only one who goes to church, Jase,” Marcus said. “Do you go because of your mother?”

“St. Stephens has at least two priests who are gay-friendly,” Jason replied. “I met with one of them last Saturday, and I enjoyed talking to him and telling him my point of view about religion and being gay and listening to what he had to say to me. I suppose you could say I go to church because of my mother, but I actually like it. Going to Mass can be fulfilling, and the sermons can be interesting and make me think about things. It all depends on the priests, of course. The ones at St. Mary’s are very homophobic and seem to want to control my life instead of preaching about goodness and kindness and why God loves everyone. Anyway, I’ll get my first look at St. Stephens this Sunday and decide if I want to continue going there.”

“That’s cool, since it seems to be your thing,” Marcus said. “My thing is sleeping late on Sundays.”

That moved the conversation to how much or how little sleep the guys were getting. While that went on Jason ate his salad and watched Steve and the twins. They sat on the edge of the pool and talked. Then the twins left to get more food. This gave Jason the opportunity to chat with Steve. He got up and walked over to the pool and sat down next to him.

“Having a good time?” Jason asked.

“This is fantastic, Jase.” He put his hand on Jason’s shoulder and smiled. “Thanks so much for inviting me. You can see from my expression that I am enjoying myself. I haven’t been this happy around other guys since I went to elementary school.”

“I’m glad. Can we talk, in private, for a few minutes? I want to talk about what we’re going to do after the rest of the guys head home.”

“Okay. Why don’t we sit in the two chairs over there, under the trees on the other side of the tennis court?”

“Sounds like a plan.”

They got up and moved to those chairs, and Steve moved his around so he and Jason were facing each other.

“I assume that you’re going to stay for dinner. Can you spend the night too?” Jason asked.

“Yeah, my mom said it would be okay.”

“Ron’s going to stay over as well. Is that okay with you?”

“Sure. What I understood is the two of you are going to talk about your experiences being gay and out at school and being boyfriends and how that happened. I’m really interested in all of those things. And more, things I’ll ask you about.”

‘Uh oh,’ Jason thought, ‘that could get more detailed than Ron and I might want. Well, maybe not more detailed than Ron would want but sure more than I would want to talk about.’

“Okay, if we can answer your questions we will.” Jason felt that was ambiguous enough to let him and Ron squirm out of any embarrassing questions.

Jason looked at Steve. All he had on was a small Speedo swim brief. It was bright yellow, and was sexy as hell. Jason grinned.

“What?” Steve asked, grinning himself.

“That yellow Speedo you’re wearing is… really small.”

“I know. I need to buy a larger size, but I haven’t had a chance so it’s the only thing I had to wear today. Your Speedo is great. I love the color, and how the black contrasts with your tan. It’s sexy, too.”

“You haven’t seen sexy until you see Leshawn get out of the pool with his white Speedo all wet. It shows everything, and I mean everything! That’s what I meant when I told you there’d be a surprise here today.”

“Oh. I thought you meant your Speedo. I think it’s mega-sexy on you. I’ve been watching you walk in it, and, well, ‘nuff said!”

“With that small Speedo you’re really hot, Steve.” Jason laughed. “Isn’t it fun to be able to look at other guys and talk about and to them about how sexy they look?”

“I’ve never been able to do that before, ever. It’s… I don’t know…”

“Liberating?” Jason interjected.

“Yeah, that’s it exactly! It’s liberating. I can be me. I am being me. The real me. This is the first time ever.”

“So, do you still think all of us look straight?”

“Yes. Absolutely.”

“Well, that’s something Ron and I want to talk to you about. We want to convince you that you look straight too.”

 “But how can I look straight in this too-small suit I’m wearing? It shows everything.”

“Do you think mine shows everything?” Jason asked. Steve stared at Jason’s Speedo, blushed, and nodded, then Jason continued, “So, what’s the difference?”

“I don’t know. It’s just the way I think about myself I guess. I’m always embarrassed when anyone can see me and… well, you know, my stuff. I don’t measure up.”

“You do measure up, Steve. This is something we’ll talk about tonight. Maybe it’s the most important thing for us to talk about. You need to have more self-confidence, and Ron and I are going to help you get that.”

“Good luck with that!” Steve exclaimed.

“Thanks!” Jason said, and he laughed and Steve joined in.

“You’re so easy to talk to. The same as the other guys.”

“I noticed you haven’t talked to the other guys much. You’ve stuck pretty close to Art and Larry. I’m going to give you an assignment. The rest of this afternoon I want you to make sure that you talk to everyone here, find out something about them and tell them something about yourself. We’ll talk about that tonight. Okay?”

Steve laughed. “I thought we were on spring break. And here you’re giving me a project to do today. Okay, I’ll do it. I’m sort of shy about walking up to people I don’t know, but I’ve met everyone here so that’ll make it easier. Do you want the report of my results to be written?”

“No, verbal will be just fine.” Jason grinned. So, let’s start with me. Let’s say you’d just walked up and sat down across from me. What’s the first thing you’d say to me?”

Steve thought for a moment, then said, “This is a great house, Jase. How long have you and your folks lived here?”

Jason grinned. “Good one, Steve. We moved here the summer before I started middle school, the sixth grade. We lived north of here and it was in a different school district. That house was too small for our family. My sisters had to share a bedroom, and that created a lot of hassles. As long as we were going to move, my folks looked for a house with a pool. This house had the pool and the tennis court, and four bedrooms and an office. So here we are. How about you? How long have you been where you live now?”

“We moved here from Sacramento two years ago. My dad is an attorney, and he got an offer to become a partner in a firm here. My mom works for Banana Republic. I like it here. I’ve made a few friends, and some more today.”

“If you lived in Sacramento, how did you meet Art and Larry?”

“We lived in Alcosta when I went to elementary school, and that’s how I met them. Then we moved to Sacramento. What’s your dad do?”

“He works for Caltrans managing highway projects. He’s been working in Davis for the past few months, so he’s been away from home a lot. My mom is a housewife. She volunteers to do transcribing of books into Braille for the blind. She had to go to something like six months of classes, one morning a week, to learn Braille. I told you that I have two sisters. Jen is fifteen and goes to Hillcrest. She’s a sophomore. Thea is twelve and is in the eighth grade at Lomita. Did you go to Lomita for the eighth grade? I don’t remember seeing you there.”

“No, I went to Cathedral. You probably think of it as a high school, but they have elementary and middle school too. When I was in Sacramento I went to St. Mary School, that’s not the same St. Mary as the one here, and we moved here halfway through eighth grade. I transferred to Cathedral to finish the eighth grade.”

“You realize that Hillcrest is playing Cathedral tomorrow. Which school are you going to root for?” Jason tried to look mean, but Steve must have thought he looked more funny than anything else because he laughed.

“I never got into the Cathedral social stuff. It’s very clique oriented. I told my folks I wanted to switch to Hillcrest for the ninth grade.” He thought for a few seconds, then continued. “Another problem at Cathedral is it’s very homophobic. There’s no GSA, and kids that are considered gay are hassled or bullied and don’t get any support from the teachers or administration.”

“Okay,” Jason said, “now go pick someone else and start up a conversation. I suggest that you pick some other topics, and do that with the next guy, and so on. I think you’ll find it more interesting if you do it that way. If you ask the same questions of everyone it’ll probably get boring for you and you’ll start to forget most of what guys told you.”

“But I won’t know the things about them that I asked you,” Steve protested.

“That means you’ll be able to talk to them at school starting on Monday. You’ll be able to ask them about things that you didn’t find out from them today.”

“Okay, I’ll give it a try. See you later, Jase. Oh, and thanks for chatting with me!”

Ron joined Jason and they bumped shoulders. Jason grinned as he watched Steve walk up to Marcus.

“So what’s amusing, Jase?”

“Steve’s been spending all his time with Art and Larry, so I gave him an assignment.” He then explained what he asked Steve to do. “He’s supposed to tell us what he found out from the guys tonight after dinner.”

“Say, how’s that going to work. We’re having dinner with your folks, then getting together with Steve to tell him about gay sex, or something like that.”

Jason gave Ron a light shove. “Dufus! We’re not going to tell him about gay sex. This isn’t ‘The Talk’ like our dads gave us. We’re going to talk about what it’s like to be a gay kid, and how you and I got together and why.”

“Why? I’m not sure what you mean by the ‘why’.”

“The ‘why’ is like how hot I thought you were when we met in middle school. And how I was practically drooling when I’d see you. And how I thought about you all the time. And how I’d dream about you. And how we became friends then best friends then boyfriends.”

“That’s what I said! We’re going to tell him about gay sex!”

“We’re not going to tell him about gay sex! We’re not going to tell him what to do and how to do it.”

“Aww, that’s gonna make it a very boring evening then. I figured we be talking about the interesting stuff.”

“We are going to tell him about the interesting stuff…”

Ron interrupted. “Just like I been saying, gay sex!” Ron grinned, then started to chuckle.

“You’re incorrigible, Ron. Totally and completely incorrigible.”

“That’s one of the reasons why you love me, Jase.”

“That’s what we’re going to tell Steve, how we met and became friends and then fell in love and the reasons that we love each other. And we’re going to convince him that he looks straight. So there!”

“So it is about gay sex, Jase. So there!


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