The Sailor's Stories

2064 Chapter eighteen – Book II

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For mid April, the sun that day was intense, blisteringly hot and beating down mercilessly on the tarmac in front of him. Slow wispy tendrils of haze drifted up towards the heavens, and he felt himself get somewhat lost within them. Although the heat itself was bordering on oppressive, weather wise, it was a pretty decent day. So good in fact, that it went a long way towards signaling the start of summer. It definitely was the hottest it had been for the last few weeks, even though a slight cool breeze, generated by the speed in which he was pedaling his bike helped a little to stave off the heat, but only a little. Regardless of where it came from though, he was certainly grateful for it, but as far as he was concerned, even that one small mercy did little to brighten his current mood. Lately, that was about all he’d been able to be grateful for, the whole move thing hadn’t worked out quite as well for him as he’d wanted it to.

At first, he thought it would be easy, that he’d just slot right in and everything would be fine. The plan was simple and should have been that way, but what he didn’t count on, was the complete lack of time he had available to put it into place. Instead of taking that last month off and enrolling at the highschool the following year as a freshman, like he thought they would, he’d found himself showing up at another middle school at the very end of his last year. If that wasn’t bad enough in and of itself, it also meant that he was forced to try and fit in with kids who were already in well established peer groups, while at the same time, trying desperately not to look too out of place. With just that one month available to him, he was too late to join any sports teams, in fact, he was pretty much too late to do anything but show up. The school itself wasn’t too bad, neat and tidy, even the teachers were ok. Corey’s only real problem so far was that, even two weeks in, while he found the kids there to be relatively friendly and somewhat accepting, he still hadn’t made any real connections. He knew he had a lot to offer, both as a friend and even just as a person, the trouble was, the kids who lived there didn’t.

Twin Lakes was for all intents and purposes a city in it’s own right, as well as being the current seat of power for the county, having wrested that honor from it’s poorer and much larger neighbour some twenty miles to the south east. However, in reality, it was more of a small college town, being devoid of any types of industry that makes a city populous. There were no wood mills, which were common in the area, or even any mills at all for that matter. No manufacturing plants either, that was all the domain of it’s neighbour. Twin Lakes only had two industries, both of which it did very well at.

The first was the college, large prosperous and popular with exceptional sports programs garnering a great deal of prestige. The second was tourism, with two very beautiful lakes right on it’s doorstep, it was a very popular holiday destination, attracting the more lucrative kind of visitor. Chic little Cafés, bars and restaurants did very well out of both the college and tourists clienteles, not to mention the boutique stores, specializing in anything from antiques to books to clothing. Twin Lakes was a trendy little Mecca of a city and the local kids reflected that in every way, but it was still a small city and because of it, an even smaller community.

Small communities weren’t very big on outsiders he’d discovered and that’s exactly what he was. It’s not that he had any trouble ‘keeping up with the Jones’, he had all the right toys and the like, he just wasn’t a local. By that same token though, he was also pretty sure by the time they got to high school, that would change. Fortunately, moving elementary schools as a small boy and then going on to middle school a few years later, had helped him the learn way of, if not making new friends, then at least being able to talk to people. Corey was a boisterous, outspoken young man on the whole, he was certainly never afraid of making his mind known. Yet at the same time, he had a friendly, caring demeanor and usually, once his peers got to know him they liked him. But coming in new to a school from the very start, like he hoped, was totally different from having to fit into a small town and a closed group at the end of a school year.

Just one more day to go, he thought to himself, pushing his legs harder as he rode home from school. He was somewhat happy about that, because at least then it was the weekend and his last month ever of junior high would be halfway over. He didn’t regret the move, knowing how necessary it was for both of his brother’s safety, that’s how he thought of Carl now, as a brother. He wasn’t overly happy about it though, especially since he felt like he was all on his own, not being as lucky as his brothers, who at least had each other to help them through it. Corey was coping, even if it was only just, he knew in his heart, that if he could make just one friend that he could have lunch with at school, then he’d be happy. Like many teenagers, Corey’s emotions were greatly conflicted, his head feeling like it was part of a runaway rollercoaster half the time. He was happy that his brothers were safe, happy that they’d found each other, but even then, Corey’s happiness was short lived, when thoughts of his current predicament reared their ugly heads.

Having said all that though, the simple knowledge of middle school being almost over forever, was more than enough to greatly excite him that afternoon. Summer was on it’s way, he could feel it, could smell the scent of it in the trees, in the grass, even the air had a certain feel to it that was so distinctly summer. Corey was definitely looking forward to exploring all the surrounding wood with his brothers, the camping they had planned and all the campers that had booked into the ground. Not that he’d admit it, but he was desperately hoping he might find someone to spend some time with, someone that might just give him the opportunity to forget he was all alone. If he was totally honest with himself though, what he was really excited about, was the realization that he was finally going to start high school and everything else that that would entail. Of course, leaving behind the oppressive shackles of early adolescence, which he felt was solely brought on by junior high, was in his mind, just a bonus. Middle school sucked, as far as Corey was concerned, you were never old enough to do anything of real value, but at the same time, you weren’t a kid anymore either, it was like purgatory and he would be glad to be rid of it.

So enthralled by his own musings was he, time and distance that afternoon seemed to just completely disappear. Funny how that happens sometimes, he thought, because for Corey it appeared to have been just moments ago that he’d left the school gates, then like a blink of an eye later, he’d found himself dumping his bike on the front lawn of his new house. Not that he really cared though, he decided, while walking up the front steps and making his way inside, he was home now and that’s all that mattered. What he did care about right then, was getting out of his sticky, sweaty wet uniform and getting something to eat. The order of which that happened, didn’t really bother him, but Corey being Corey, his first stop on any given day was usually the kitchen anyway. On that particular afternoon, however, he’d heard the voices of Danny and his uncle in there. They sounded happy to Corey and happy wasn’t really what he needed, primarily because he wasn’t feeling like he’d be good company, so instead he backed away and tore up the stairs to his room.

Like any other day, he just threw his bag into a far away corner, never to be seen again. Well that is, not until he knew he’d have to get his homework done, but only because he couldn’t put it off any longer. Of course, being only two weeks until to the end of school, at that point, homework was really just a formality and to be fair, one he could certainly live without. Corey knew he was doing ok in school, knew he had enough credits to graduate and move on. But, even then and although he wasn’t the type of bookworm the other two were, he still felt a little pang of guilt for always leaving it so late. Those pangs were very short lived though, as they usually were and he soon found himself completely forgetting all about it, as he rummaged through his closet and dresser, desperately searching for something clean to change into. Try as he might though, he didn’t find anything and once again, looking at it in disgust, he made a mental note to take the overflowing hamper down to the laundry room.

Resolving himself to his fate once again, he made a quick search through the ‘mostly presentable’ pile and managed to find a pair of shorts and a t-shirt that didn’t smell too bad. Wishing he had listened to his uncle’s call for laundry that morning, he pulled the shorts on over the boxers he hadn’t bothered to change and in the process, completely forgot about the hamper once more. Then slipping his feet into a pair of his favorite skate shoes, over his off white ankle socks that he again hadn’t changed and while pulling the shirt on, for some unknown reason he stopped completely in his tracks. Having caught a brief glimpse of something out of his bedroom window, that’s where his dresser was, so he’d been standing there, while he changed out of his uniform. The one which just like his bag, was discarded lazily, but at least this time he’d made an effort to throw them into the forgotten hamper by the far wall.

With all that had happened, moving and then settling in, he’d never actually paid too much attention to what was out there before. Sure, he did know what was out there, the lake and trees and whatnot, but what he saw that afternoon through the large pane of glass, near took his breath away. The sun strike off of the lake was dazzlingly bright, yet the water was still somehow crystal clear, its own reflection and that of the hills and trees surrounding it displayed in an almost perfect mirror image. Try as he might, he just couldn’t think of a more beautiful vision, not in his memory anyway. It gave him an interesting but eerily strange feeling of hope. A hope that something was going to be different, that something just might change.

As beautiful and captivating as that image was however, it wasn’t quite enough to break through Corey’s mood, nor was that weird feeling he’d gotten, so he didn’t stay there very long. His mood was all too common lately and because of it, all too often these days he’d wound up feeling an irrepressible urge to leave the house almost as soon as he’d arrived. It’s not like he felt he didn’t belong there and certainly didn’t feel unloved, or unwanted in any way. It’s just that over the last few months or so, he had started to feel like a fifth wheel, His uncle had Danny, Dale had Carl and he felt like the odd man out. What it all boiled down to, all his sullenness and moody behavior was simple, Corey was lonely. He was sick of having to do everything, including eating lunch with his brother and Carl, because there was no one else to sit with. He would have gladly done it, if he’d had another option, but the fact that he didn’t, was really getting him down.

Now standing in front of his large wall mirror, to fix his hair under his cap, Corey sighed deeply and not for the first time that day. He stared for a long time at his own reflection. looking hard at the boy in front of him and all he could wonder, was what the hell was wrong with him. He was still athletically slim, with some muscle definition just starting to show nicely and he’d even finally started to grow a little bit taller. His skin was blissfully clear of any blemishes and the pale blue t-shirt he’d chosen, complemented his silky dirty blond locks and deep green eyes very well. Why he noticed that he wasn’t sure, but in doing so, he remembered just how much Sam had loved that shirt. Then of course, because he was thinking about Sam, a slow tear started to fall down the soft clear skin of his face, his chest got suddenly tight and his stomach felt like it had just dropped through the floor. He hadn’t thought about Sam in a couple of weeks, so much so, he thought he was finally over her. But right then he realized he wasn’t and when that realization hit, his loneliness blossomed into something he wasn’t quite sure he was fully equipped to handle.

Corey had to do something, anything to get his mind off of how he was feeling, because he knew that if he didn’t, his insides would tear themselves apart all over again. He also still had that pressing need to get out of the house, so because he was already thinking about Sam, he figured skating might be a good idea. Skating was something he and Sam had loved to do together, so he hadn’t done it much lately, only because it reminded him of her, but this time he thought it might just ease the pain some. Even then, he sort of knew he was fooling himself, but he couldn’t think of anything else at the time. Grabbing his deck, wallet, keys, phone and mp3 player, he ran down the stairs, yelling out to his uncle where he was going. Corey didn’t wait for a response, before slamming the front door behind him, ironically he just wanted to be alone.

Simply put, Corey was having one of those days, he decided, pumping his foot harder and harder against the solid concrete sidewalk to get more speed. The ones where you know beyond any shadow of a doubt, that you should have just stayed in bed that morning. Though to be fair, what with the way he’d been feeling lately and with everything that had happened, it was more like he was having one of those years! The truly annoying thing about thinking that way, well for him at least, was that none of it was his fault, of that he was sure. To his mind it simply felt like he was being swept up by events and taken along for the ride. When he thought seriously about it all, like he was doing now, it’s not that he resented what was going on, but he did feel resentment at the situation. For the most part, a good deal of what had happened, had been family issues and he loved his family dearly. Corey was one of those rare beings that would do absolutely anything for their loved ones, that’s why for the moment at least, he was putting up with it all. That didn’t mean he had to like it though.

Corey had always been the strong one, had always looked out for his brother. His was the shoulder that Dale cried on the most, when their parents died, but now Dale had Carl. Although Corey didn’t begrudge them their relationship, he did feel as though his brother no longer needed him and that hurt him, a hurt far greater than he cared to admit, even to himself. Then there was his uncle and the whole emotional instability over the last year, he’d been there for that too, had tried his best to be a rock that his uncle could cling too, even though he knew he wasn’t strong enough. Once again though, fate decided to supplant him, because along came Danny and through him, that situation seemed to have resolved itself lately. Corey was very grateful for everything that Danny had done, because up until he showed up on their doorstep, he was becoming very unsure of his uncle’s capacity to go on. Very unsure and very worried, but once again, he was no longer needed and he felt lost, as if completely adrift without a purpose.

That alone would have been enough for any fourteen year old boy, but as if to add insult to injury, there was also the gay thing between his brother and his long term friend. At first, Dale’s ‘coming out’ to him, had been very hard to accept, but only because he never saw it coming and at the same time, he felt like he’d been lied to his entire life. Corey and his brother were identical in every way, which is why he couldn’t understand, how one twin was straight, while the other wasn’t. He’d spent that entire first day, after Dale’s revelation, just riding around thinking about it from every angle. When the shock had worn off, the hurt once again crept in, as Corey realized this was just one more thing he couldn’t share with his brother and he felt that wedge that had grown between them get driven a little deeper. In the end though, he decided that he didn’t need to understand it, because if he was ever to rebuild what they had, then he just needed to love his brother and let nature take it’s course.

Corey never did quite figure it out either, but what he did learn through the various books and web articles he’d read since that fateful day, was that all the evidence pointed towards the fact that gay, straight, or somewhere in-between, if that’s what you were, then that’s what you were always supposed to be. All in all though, he still felt kind of cheated, because after his uncle came out as well, it was like he was some how living life in a complete role reversal. After all, being the only straight guy, in a house full of gay ones, can be very trying at times. The whole mess at their last school had proven that fact well and truly to him, he was targeted by the same people that wanted to hurt his brothers, just as much as they were. He’d lost many friends because of it, but he never let it get to him at the time, because if he did, then it would mean that he resented what his brother was and he couldn’t allow himself to think like that.

For the second time that day, time and distance had melted away and Corey found himself rolling up to the edge of the large bowl, at the skate park that wasn’t far from his home. Being a mid Thursday afternoon, there weren’t as many kids there as he thought there might have been, but he was still cautious. Corey had known from the very first day that the park was there, it was on the way to his house and being that there was only one road that led there, you certainly couldn’t miss it. He’d never been to it though and just like school, he didn’t know anyone. The one upshot to that, was that if he fucked anything up, then it wouldn’t embarrass him too much. Of course being a small town, the further into the crowd he went, the more kids he recognized from school. His awkwardness of the moment and his fears of being seen as a loner, started to get to him after a while, so he slowly drifted over to a seemingly unused ledge to sit and watch for a bit. Several minutes went by, while he assessed the abilities of the local crowd and he soon found himself pretty unimpressed. Corey was no professional skater, or at least, that’s how he felt about himself, but after seeing what the local stock had to offer, he decided he was more than they could handle, so stood up to drop into the pattern.

In this world, as far as Corey was concerned, there are very few feelings better, than the rush you get when you first kick off the ledge. It’s kind of like fear, but it’s different, because you know it can be easily mastered, or at least you hope it can. You know it’s coming when you step up, it starts in your hand first, when you wedge the lip between the axle and the board, forcing one foot against the back edge to hold it in place. Then it moves to your feet, starting in your toes, just before it begins to slowly but steadily creep up your body, as you take your first step out into nothingness. You’ve got to make sure that you keep your weight all the way back with your back foot, while you prepare yourself, or you’ll launch prematurely and that can very bad, not to mention painful. Corey knew that, he’d been there before and had the scars to prove it. Never stopped him from going back though, once you taste it for the first time, nothing can stop you from wanting that awesome feeling you get. Then you lean forward into an almost free fall towards the bottom, before shifting your weight on the upside, catching some air, only to glide back in and do it all over again.

Corey’s opinion of himself aside, he was in actual fact, more of decent skater than he let on to most people. If truth be told, even at his age, he could have probably gone pro if that was what he wanted, but it wasn’t, he was just in it for the fun. And fun was exactly what he had that afternoon, within only a few minutes of him dropping into the bowl, what few kids were there, cleared out just to watch him. Getting big air to go along with several grabs kicks grinds and fakeys, all tricks he’d mastered over the years, were more than enough to keep them all entertained. Corey was rusty though and even the heavy pop punk music he had blasting through his ear-buds, wasn’t enough to keep him from getting hot and tired. He desperately needed to go for a pee, get a drink and find some shade to cool off, so he pulled some more air and grounded out, effortlessly exiting out of the bowl. Once clear, he pulled his shirt off, to wipe away the sweat, then tucking it into the waistband of his shorts, he headed across the road to a convenience store he’d spotted.

After relieving his full bladder and purchasing an apple juice, he was on his way back across the street, when he spotted the other attraction that a skate park holds. Corey wasn’t stupid or naïve, he knew exactly why a kid and an old guy would sneak behind some convenient bushes. He’d never done that himself, having never felt the need to get off that badly and he always had money, so that particular piece of excitement hadn’t ever been an attraction for him. He did however, understand why it was for others and certainly never made a big deal about it, though he had been worried for the friends that had gone with strangers. Just before the kid followed the guy in, he looked back to see if anyone had seen them, but Corey was too far away to be noticed. Corey though, had seen who the kid was and again, recognized him from school. Although his name escaped him, he did know that the kid, like Corey, seemed pretty sad all the time and tended to eat by himself in the lunchroom.

The kid didn’t seem to have many friends and Corey was struck wondering, if there was anyone looking out for him that afternoon. He took a look around, when he got back across the street, but didn’t see anyone paying attention that way. So he decided, like he had done with his own friends back home, to sit and watch, in case anything bad happened. The old guy was either really bad at it, in Corey’s opinion, or just really excited, because it wasn’t long before he saw him rushing out of the bushes while fixing up his clothes, before jumping in his car and speeding off. Corey took a quick note of what the guy looked like and what his car and registration was though, just in case, but he didn’t do anything else for the moment. It wasn’t until he’d finished his juice about fifteen minutes later, when he realized that he still hadn’t seen the boy come out, so getting a little worried, he went over to investigate.

Moving quietly through the bushes, Corey stepped into an area underneath the half-pipe, an area he wouldn’t have thought would be as big as it was. That was when he saw the kid, he looked to be about the same age as him and up close, he was certainly a bit of a looker, even if he was a boy. But by the same token, he was also looking pretty pathetic the way he was cuddled up against himself, sobbing quietly. Funnily enough, this was one of those rare moments where Corey decided it was best to keep his mouth shut, so he just squatted down and waited for the other kid to notice him. And notice him he did…

“What the fuck do you want?!”

“Whoa dude… calm down… I don’t want anything… I was just checking if you were ok…?”

“That’s bullshit!… but I’m fine… so you can fuck off now…” The kid said, staring daggers Corey’s way.

“You know what…” Corey replied, giving them straight back, but in a non threatening manner. “I think I probably should, but I’m not going too… dude I don’t care about what you were doing, I get it… trust me… but I do care about how you were doing it… you gotta have someone watching your back dude and you didn’t… I kinda figured you just needed a friend… you know?”

“Well I don’t.. so you can leave now…”

“Nope… I don’t buy that shit… I’ve seen you at school… seen how you eat alone all the time… don’t you have any friends at all?”

The slight tenseness in the kids body almost escaped Corey’s acute awareness of his surroundings, almost, but he caught it and knew what he said was true. What the kid was going to do with his question though, that was a real mystery. Corey knew the attitude was a defense mechanism, he’d done something similar after the boat incident, what he didn’t know, was why.

“No…” Was all the answer he got.

“You do now… if you want one that is…” Corey said, as he turned and sat down beside the kid. “If it makes you feel any better… I don’t either… except for my brother and his boyfriend that is.”

“You don’t want to be my friend… no one does… wait… what?!”

“You heard right dude… and that doesn’t matter to me either, so do you get now why I don’t care what you do?”

“Um… yeah… I guess… is your brother really gay?”

“Yup… and I still love him anyway… so what’s your name?”

“Tyler… what’s yours?”

“Corey…” as he said his name, Corey put his hand out and Tyler hesitantly took it.

Over the course of the next half hour or so, the two boys sat together, chatting in a companionable way, just getting to know each other. Tyler was pretty open about his past, but he didn’t get into a great deal about his current situation. He had said enough though, that Corey was able to fill in most of the blanks, or at least, he thought he was able to anyway. Talking that way, so freely, seemed to be almost cathartic for both boys, as if they were finally able to lance their inner boil like loneliness.

After awhile, Corey noticed that Tyler was becoming more and more comfortable with not only him, but the whole situation. It felt to Corey, that just like himself, Tyler had been yearning for the companionship that he was offering for so long, but was too afraid to go out and look for it. Now that it was here, it was like he was holding on for dear life. He was pretty cool though, Corey decided, once you got past the attitude, smart and funny, kinda like his brother. So much so, Corey soon found that he was liking him more and more. He could also see that Tyler was liking him as well, but sadly not just as a friend, if the every now and again stares towards his body were anything to go by.

For Tyler’s part, he too felt there was a strong connection building between them and for him, it certainly helped that Corey was good looking. In fact, he couldn’t help but stare at the boy’s slim firm athletic and still hairless torso, not to mention the way his shorts were sitting so nicely. It was when his own jeans started to tent out a little, that he built up the courage to ask…

“So… um… are you gay too?”

He knew it was coming, how could he not, but with that question, Corey was in a quandary. He felt like he’d finally made a friend, but at the same time, he didn’t want him to get the wrong idea. He also didn’t want to upset or hurt Tyler by his answer, but knowing that any good relationship is built on honesty and trust, he couldn’t lie to him, so he simply said…

“I think after this afternoon, the guys out there are going to think I am… but no dude… I’m not gay…” Looking across at Tyler, Corey looked deep into the other boy’s eyes, hoping against hope that he hadn’t just made a huge mistake. “I really hope that doesn’t change anything between us though… I really like you… but just as friends… you know?… are we cool?”

“Yeah I figured as much… all the good ones are either taken already… or straight…” He laughed and Corey found it almost infectious, it was so sweet sounding. “We’re cool dude… but I gotta go… I um… have somewhere I need to be…”

“You’re not going because of what I said are you…?”

“Nah dude… I gotta job I need to do at home… but I’ll see you at school tomorrow.”

“Ok sure… so you wanna have lunch with me and my brothers?.. well my bro and his boyfriend I mean?”

“Sure… that’d be cool… I’ll see you in homeroom.” Tyler said, as he got up and left with a slight wave behind his back.

Corey was elated, he’d finally made his first friend, not exactly in the way he’d wanted, but there was something about Tyler that had just drawn him in. He didn’t care about the looks he got when he left and he certainly didn’t feel the road against his wheels, as he skated home, that was the kind of high he was on. In fact, his euphoria lasted almost through dinner that night, almost.

But then, seated with his uncle, Danny, Reggie and his brothers, he began to worry. Tyler was a broken boy, broken in all the worst ways, he’d gotten that sense from him pretty much straight away. After all, it takes one to know one as they say, but what he hadn’t thought about until right then, was what was he going to do about it. Could he fix him, did he even want to fix him, then of course what if Tyler didn’t want to be fixed in the first place? If they were going to be friends, was Tyler going to eventually freak out on him and if he did, would he still be his friend, what would his family think if that happened. That thought alone scared him a great deal, because they’d all been through so much that year already. After a while, he found his food was suddenly unappetizing and realized that he’d only been moving it around on his plate for the last however long any way. Everyone around the table was looking at him very strangely and he knew why, he’d never missed a meal in his life, but in a very rare move, he excused himself and took his plate to the sink, before going outside to sit on the back porch.

He stayed there most of the night, just thinking, getting up every now and again pacing, trying to seek some answer to the current riddle in his head. Finally around nine thirty or so, he was sitting with his back against the main veranda support, looking out across the lake, as the very last of the sun drifted slowly behind the mountain. Though he still hadn’t come to any real conclusions, the simple beauty laid out in front of him captured his mind so totally, that it suddenly went quiet for the first time that day. It was also the first time he noticed the glowing ember, not too far away from him and then the worried face of his uncle behind it…

“Holy shit Uncle Cam!… how long have you been there?” Corey said, a little startled.

“A while…” Cam replied, flicking the butt out onto the lawn with one hand, taking a swig of beer with the other. “You ok kiddo?… everyone’s worried about you…”

“Yeah… I guess.. just a lot of things to think about lately… is one of those for me?” Corey said, pointing to the two bottles beside his uncle.

“You must be spaced out if you think I’m gonna give you a beer kid… but you can have that coke beside you.” Cam replied with a wink, so that Corey knew he wasn’t mad at the question. “We haven’t had much time to talk lately… you and me… that’s my fault and I’m sorry… but if you want to talk about it, I’m here for you… you know that, right?”

“I know… it’s ok… you’ve got enough to deal with… you don’t need my problems as well…” Corey stated, matter of factly, as he popped the tab and took a long pull from the can of coke.

Cam watched as his boy did so, then when the can came away from his nephew’s lips, he reached over and pulled the young man against him, letting his arm drop casually but lovingly across his shoulders. He knew it had been far too long, since they’d done this, just sat and talked. Cam had seen how everything lately had affected Corey, but like the boy said, he’d had a lot to deal with and had never found the time, he was certainly regretting that now. Corey giving up on his dinner, had been the true telling factor that something was really wrong, and he was kicking himself for not doing this sooner.

“Your problems are my problems Corey… always have been, always will be… that’s how this thing works… you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to… but, I do want to help you and will any way I can…”

Sitting tightly against his uncle, with his always strong arm wrapped lovingly around him, Corey suddenly felt like he was eight years old again. He felt comfortable, but more than anything else, he felt safe, like there was nothing in this world that could harm him, while his uncle was around. The fact that he knew that was absolutely true and had seen it first hand, was also rather comforting. For all his teen fueled bravado, Corey was an exceptionally affectionate boy, he loved hugs, both giving and receiving. So not wanting this one to end too quickly, he slid his own arm around his uncle’s back and pulled himself in tighter.

“I made a friend today… I think…” He said.

“Well that’s good news… right?… what’s she like?”

Corey looked up in surprise at his uncle, who was looking back with comically raised eyebrows and a mirth filled grin, A slow smile broke out across his youthful face, he knew his uncle didn’t mean anything by it and was only teasing, but being the only straight boy around, he also knew the statement had some merit. A girlfriend would be nice, but Corey knew that was the last thing he needed right now. Besides, he figured because he still wasn’t over Sam, that it wouldn’t be fair to any girl he might want to date anyway. For a brief moment though, he did wonder how fun it would be, not to disillusion his uncle of that fact. At his heart though, as mischievous as he was, Corey was nothing if not truthful…

“Would be nice to get my end away… OW!” Corey squealed, as Cam pinched him just above the elbow, scowling down at him. Cam couldn’t hold it though, he was a boy once too. The conspiratorial smile, which quickly emerged to replace the scowl, was enough evidence of that. “Nope… sorry Uncle Cam… not that kind of friend… just a friend friend… a boy named Tyler…”

“A boy huh?” Cam replied, winking again just before he took another pull on his beer.

“God… I swear you gay guys are all pervs!…” Corey shot straight back, knowing that his uncle wouldn’t take it the wrong way. He smiled briefly and so did Cam, but Corey’s didn’t last and Cam saw his face darken a little with sadness, as he continued. “I’m really worried about him though…”

“Wanna tell me why…?”

The answer to that question from Corey’s point of view was an absolute and emphatic no, but he did it anyway, knowing that he could trust his uncle with anything. So much so, that the next time he looked at his watch, it was well gone eleven. Other than a few questions here and there, Cam had said nothing, just letting Corey get it all out and get it out he did. He told his uncle everything, how he’d been feeling right up until he met Tyler, then he told his uncle what little he knew about the other boy. Corey’s tale was like a splash of cold water to the face, as far as Cam was Concerned. He knew his boy hadn’t been happy for a while, but he had no idea as to the extent of it. To be fair it really angered him, what pissed him off the most however, was that he hadn’t seen it, hadn’t been there for his boy. One simple fact stared him straight in the face though, there was nothing he could do to change the past, but he could try to make the present and maybe even the future, just that little bit better for him…

“I’m so sorry kiddo… I never saw it… you always just seem so strong… but I promise it will get better and as a start… why don’t you see if Tyler can stay over this weekend… that’ll give you guys a real opportunity to get to know each other… what do ya say?”

Corey couldn’t help but smile, he wasn’t angry at his uncle, wasn’t angry at anyone, but he’d known right from the very start how his uncle would react to what he’d told him. Knew for a fact, that he would blame himself for how he was feeling, because that’s how his uncle worked. That’s not why Corey did it though, that was just a known outcome as far as he was concerned, but he did love his uncle all the more for it.

“That’s a really good idea Uncle Cam… I’ll ask, but I don’t know if he’ll go for it…”

“No harm in trying, eh?… but for right now, it’s getting late and you still have school tomorrow… so get to bed and don’t forget to brush those teeth either… ok?” Cam said with a small chuckle.

Corey didn’t reply, he didn’t have to, instead he just held on tight to his uncle for a minute longer, then got up to go inside. His heart swelled when he went into the kitchen on his way upstairs, everyone was still there, waiting patiently for him with worried smiles and he all of a sudden didn’t feel like he was so alone anymore. He should have realized he never was and when he thought about it briefly, as he stood there looking at all the people that loved him, he kinda did know deep down. Still not saying a word, he made his way around the table, hugging each person there in turn, before heading up to his room. On the way he kissed Reggie, because he felt that she would have smacked his butt if he didn’t, but he kissed his brother on the cheek as well. He knew he didn’t have to, he wanted to, but only so that his brother knew he loved him dearly.

When he got up to his room, he decided to take a quick shower, because he reeked from all the sweaty exercise that day. He lathered up well and in the process gave himself a much needed firm handshake, before rinsing off and stepping out. After toweling dry, he did brush his teeth, not that he’d really intended too. Then, using the end of the towel that was still draped over his shoulder, he wiped some of the steam from the mirror and looked at the face he saw there. For the first time in a long time, he actually recognized who he was looking at and couldn’t contain the small smile that crept across his face. Moments later, he pulled on some boxers, that he’d found by his bed and slid under the covers, almost content with how the day had gone. As he drifted off to sleep that night, his book bag was still in that far off corner and his homework was still forgotten.

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Written by bigct/Octavius

April 30, 2011 at 20:11

7 Responses

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  1. Another fine piece of work, CT! I am curious though, the pic you chose for Tyler. Please, please, please, post a pic!

    Rick

    April 30, 2011 at 23:40

  2. A very interesting turn of events CT – am still enjoying this story very much but I suppose we all seem to be suffering from the slack bug.
    Take care
    Stef.

    Stef

    May 1, 2011 at 14:59

  3. Hey Octavius.

    I really enjoy the chapters from Corey’s point of view. I don’t know why, but they seem to give a perspective that we don’t get to see very often. It’s refreshing. Not that the other characters are boring. You know what I mean. I hope.

    I’ll shut up now.

    Keep it up!

    Hope you’re well.

    _Kevin

    Kevin

    May 4, 2011 at 21:11

  4. I’m still here too. You survive the tornado? Oh, Iremember the angst of making friends in a new town. I can see another rescue on the horizon? Cheers, mate.

    Dawngreeter

    May 5, 2011 at 11:55

    • What tornado?!?!? I didn’t read anything about a tornado?

      Rick

      May 6, 2011 at 16:33

      • Aukland New Zealand had a tornado last week, Rick.

        Dawngreeter

        May 7, 2011 at 00:15

  5. Yes they did indeed… Nothing but rain down here though, so i’m all good. Thanks for commenting guys, just for Rick, i’ll post that pic i was talking about when i get home tonite.

    Hope all you guys are doing well, especially you Dawngreeter, haven’t talked to you for so long!

    bigct/Octavius

    May 9, 2011 at 12:42


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