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“…And protect us from evil, Lord, whatever form it takes,” Mr. Carpenter said with his head bowed and eyes closed.
Sid looked around the table. His father at one end, brothers and sisters, a few aunts, uncles, and cousins, and Zach, his best friend. They were all bowing their heads and holding their hands as his father prayed over the Thanksgiving dinner.
Sid looked down at Zach’s hand. It was soft and delicate. He had a sudden urge to slide his thumb across Zach’s fingers but ignored it. He glanced up and saw Zach looking at him. He rolled his eyes and they both smiled. Or maybe Zach had been smiling at him when he looked up? He ignored that, too. They were both just waiting for the ending.
Sid bowed his head again before his father finished the prayer so no one at the table would notice. He wasn’t religious like his father was, but he didn’t feel the need to be rude about it. He would go through the motions and his father would be happy and everybody would get along.
Zach wasn’t technically part of the family, but he and Sid had been best friends for as long as either of them could remember. Sid knew Zach’s family was broken but never really asked all the details. He knew Zach lived with his mom in a run-down house a few blocks away. Zach’s father occasionally came into town but Zach did his best to avoid him.
Sid and Zach had gone to the same schools growing up. When they were kids, they would sleep over at each other’s houses almost every week. When they were older, Zach would ride his bike over to Sid’s house and they would hang out. They would play video games and listen to music in Sid’s bedroom. Or, if Sid wanted to get away from his family’s stringent rules, they would head to Zach’s house. Sid’s mother hadn’t liked him going over to Zach’s house at first but she relented over time and now didn’t bother saying anything about it. Since Sid’s family was better off than Zach’s, they spent most of their time at Sid’s house, anyway.
Since he was over so often, the Carpenter’s tended to treat him like family and had invited him to their Thanksgiving meal. Zach’s dad was in town, and his mom wasn’t much of a cook, so it all worked out.
“Amen,” Mr. Carpenter said.
The rest of the family echoed him and then dove into the huge meal they had all helped prepare. The room was full of talking and laughing as the family got caught up with one another. It was the first time they had all gotten together in recent years. Once his older siblings had started getting into college it had become harder to get everyone together but they had all managed to take the time this Thanksgiving.
“Sid! Zach!” one of Sid’s uncles yelled over the din, “You boys got any girlfriends, yet?” He chuckled along with several others but Sid’s father just looked at them silently from across the table.
“No, sir. Not yet,” Sid said with a smile. He wanted a girlfriend. Just as much as the next high school senior. But he couldn’t imagine trying to go out with anyone while he was living at home. His dad was way too uptight.
“Ha, when I was your age, I had a girlfriend in every class! I had to write down their names to remember them!” He laughed and some of the cousins laughed but Sid’s father didn’t look amused.
Sid’s parents were born about fifty years too late. They were alright most of the time, and he loved them, but they were definitely out of touch, especially about girls. Sid’s father was always going on about the clothes women wore on TV as if they should be wearing dresses that went down to their ankles. And that was when the TV wasn’t on some old preacher talking about people going to hell.
“What about you, Zach?”
“Oh, no, not me,” Zach chuckled, looking down at his plate.
“Not even one?” the uncle asked.
Zach chuckled, again. A light, beautiful laugh. “No,” he said, “Well… there was someone, but I don’t think they know it.”
Sid hadn’t realized Zach was into anyone. Zach had never said anything about it even though Sid had often told Zach about the girls he liked or fantasized about. Now that he thought about it, he couldn’t remember any time Zach had talked about any girl like that. Sid thought it was strange, considering how popular Zach was. He had always assumed Zach had a lot more experience with girls than he did. Maybe Zach just didn’t like talking about it? Sid glanced over to find Zach staring back at him. Sid swallowed as he looked at Zach’s deep brown eyes. Their gaze lingered for a second before they both looked away.
Sid’s uncle was laughing again and boasting about his accomplishments from decades ago while Sid kept his head down and hoped no one would notice him for a moment. He had gotten a boner and his stiff cock was pushing against his underwear and dress slacks. He tried not to think about it so that it would go away. He glanced around the table so that it would seem like he was paying attention to the conversation but tried not to make eye contact with anyone. When he looked at his father, though, casino oyna Mr. Carpenter was frowning at him grimly.
He was looking back down at his plate of food when Zach nudged him.
“Dude, did you see that trailer for Lord of the Rings?” Zach said.
Sid looked at Zach again. His friend was grinning and Sid felt like he had just been rescued. He glanced around and saw his father talking to one of his aunts and his uncle was doing lame magic tricks for some of the younger cousins.
“Yes! Oh man, just a few more months!” Sid laughed excitedly and Zach joined him.
They slipped into a familiar conversation about video games, action movies, and fantasy books.
*** *** ***
Sid leaned back in the old office chair in his room as the green Xbox menu popped up on the screen and he selected the Music tab. He scrolled through the handful of CDs he had ripped onto it and chose Century Child by Nightwish. He punched the volume on the TV till it was a good level and then turned his chair back around to his desk. He pushed the power button on his old Compaq and dialed into the internet.
“Geez, man, when are you gonna get rid of that thing?” Zach asked him.
“When I can afford a new one,” Sid said, turning to his friend and laughing. “My dad won’t even get cable internet so there’s not much of a point anyway. Teachers shouldn’t be allowed to assign homework the first day after winter break.”
“For real,” Zach agreed.
Zach was laying on Sid’s bed reading a fantasy novel. He was on his side, propping himself up on one elbow. His t-shirt had gotten pulled a little and exposed his hip. The edge of his snug, red briefs showed just above the waistband of his jeans. A lock of his dark hair had fallen across his face but he didn’t seem to care.
That lock of hair annoyed Sid. He didn’t know why. He knew he wouldn’t want his hair falling in front of his eyes all the time, and he assumed Zach would feel the same way, but Zach just laid there with his pretty hair hanging over his pretty face. He supposed it didn’t make much sense to be annoyed at Zach’s hair. He supposed Zach could choose to fix it if he wanted. Still, the more Sid looked at it the more he wanted to get up, walk over, and brush the lock of hair away from Zach’s face.
Zach was lucky. When they were younger Sid had always assumed he had a better life than Zach. He lived in a nicer house and both his parents were around and nobody was drunk or high or anything like that. Now, Sid felt like Zach was the lucky one. Zach was pretty and smart and funny. Sid wished he looked like Zach. Or that he was as cool or as popular as Zach. If he was in Zach’s place he knew that he would have had a girlfriend by now. And he probably wouldn’t have been a virgin.
Zach didn’t seem to like any of the girls at school. He didn’t even talk to Sid about girls even though they all seemed to get along with him. He just hung out with his little circle of friends, Sid most of all, and that was it.
Sid sighed. He couldn’t stay annoyed with Zach. Zach was his favorite person. Even if he let his stupid hair fall all over his face. Maybe because if it. It was cute. Like, girls would think it was cute, he told himself. Girls would swoon over Zach if he ever gave them a reason to think he was interested.
Sid’s tongue was sticking out of his mouth. It wasn’t on purpose. He sometimes ran his tongue over his front teeth when he was concentrating. At the moment he was concentrating on the game he was playing.
“No, no, no!” he said.
Zach laughed beside him, “I’ve got you…”
“No… no… you don’t,” Sid said tapping buttons on the controller as quickly as he could.
Despite the flurry of action, Sid lost the game, much to Zach’s amusement.
“I told you,” Zach said.
“So close,” Sid growled, shaking his controller in mock anger.
“Not really!” Zach grinned, leaning over and poking Sid in the ribs.
“Ah!” Sid cried, trying to bend away from Zach’s finger.
He looked over and Zach was kind of leering at him. Sid shook his head and held up his hands defensively but Zach kept grinning.
Zach dropped his controller and lunged at Sid with both hands outstretched. Sid squealed, tossed his own controller aside, and tried to fend off Zach’s fingers or to counter with jabs of his own aimed at Zach’s stomach. They laughed and traded half a dozen strikes but Zach quickly gained the upper hand. Zach was grabbing Sid’s ribs and side and hip and Sid was laughing so hard he could barely breathe and holding his arms to his chest, trying to cover himself against Zach’s onslaught.
Sid had been sitting cross-legged and trying to lean away from Zach’s stabbing fingers. Soon, he stretched so far over that he lost his balance and tipped on to his side. He found himself curled up on the floor with Zach looming over him, ready to continue the assault.
“No more,” Sid said between gasps and put his hand on Zach’s shoulder to hold him back.
Zach canlı casino growled and made one last threatening gesture before relenting. He dropped to his hands and knees above Sid and they both laughed. They stayed like that a moment, catching their breath.
Sid turned his shoulders so that he could face his friend. He looked up at Zach’s beautiful brown eyes and rosy lips and smiled. He was happy. He didn’t ever want to stop being happy. He and Zach had made plans to go to the same college in the fall. They wanted to share a dorm and maybe get an apartment off campus the year after. That seemed perfect to him.
His hand was on Zach’s shoulder and he stretched his fingers out he could feel Zach’s body. Zach was breathing deeply and looking into his eyes. Sid felt Zach touch his hip. He felt Zach’s hand slid up his side to his ribs and gently squeeze. Sid felt his penis stir. It swelled in his pants, growing longer and thicker, aroused by the sensual touch. Sid scowled.
Zach saw the look on Sid’s face immediately. He quickly crawled off his friend and sat back down on the carpet a few feet away. He picked up the controllers and offered one to Sid.
“Another round?” he asked, “Or do you want to do something else?”
Sid sat up and looked at his friend. Zach was smiling a little, but trying to avoid eye contact and Sid could feel the tension between them. He hadn’t wanted Zach to notice him getting hard but he didn’t want Zach to think he was angry about them horsing around.
“Yeah,” he said, taking the controller and scooting closer to his friend. “But, I’m gonna get you this time,” Sid said, leaning over and bumping Zach’s shoulder with his own. He looked at Zach and saw the worry in his friend’s eyes disappear.
“No, you won’t,” Zach said with a smile, nudging Sid with his elbow.
They laughed away the tension, at least for now, and got back into the game. They were best friends and it would take a lot to drive them apart. But Sid knew that there was something unspoken between them. Something they both knew but were afraid to admit because of what it might mean for their friendship. Actually, Sid knew what it would mean. He knew he needed to talk to Zach about it. He needed to show Zach that he would stick around no matter what.
“Zach, are you gay?” Sid asked his best friend later that evening after they had played games and eaten dinner and started a movie. He glanced over but then turned his face back to the TV. From the corner of his eye, he could see Zach looking at him. He could sense that Zach was nervous and tried to look as relaxed as possible.
Zach turned to look at the TV, as well. “Yeah,” he said quietly.
“That’s cool,” Sid said with a shrug. He wasn’t surprised. He knew what it meant when a guy wasn’t interested in girls. He also didn’t think it mattered. His dad was always going on about some sinful thing or another that people did but Sid thought that people should be able to do what they wanted. It’s not like being gay or lesbian or whatever was hurting anybody. People should mind their own business.
“Um… what about you?” Zach asked him.
“Me? No way, my dad would kill me,” Sid chuckled. He wondered why Zach had even asked, Sid talked about the girls at school all the time. Zach knew he wasn’t… like that. “I like girls,” he added, deciding the matter was settled once and for all.
“Oh,” Zach said
Zach quietly went back to watching the movie. Sid glanced over at his friend, again. He had felt the tension growing between them the last few years. Especially the last few months. Once he had realized Zach was probably gay it made sense to him but it had still been there. Now, it was out in the open. They understood each other and didn’t have to be awkward around each other anymore. Sid felt proud of himself.
*** *** ***
“Hey, dad,” Sid asked his father between mouthfuls of meatloaf, “Can I go to Zach’s house this weekend?”
“Mmm?” Mr. Carpenter mumbled without looking up from the book he had laying next to his plate.
“Can I go to Zach’s house this weekend?”
“That’s fine. Just be home by 11.”
“No,” Sid sighed, “Can I spent the night? Friday night?”
Mr. Carpenter looked up from his book and with a frown.
“Is his mother going to be there?” Mr. Carpenter asked.
“Yes,” Sid answered. His heart was racing and he had to focus to keep breathing at a normal pace. He looked down at his food and hoped he didn’t look suspicious.
“Will his father be there?”
“No,” Sid said.
“What will you be doing?”
“Just playing some games. Then going to the beach in the morning,” Sid said. At least that part wasn’t a lie.
“Do you have any homework?” Mr. Carpenter asked, looking back down at his book. Sid sighed, relieved. He knew his father would say yes as long as there were no other surprises.
“Only a little. I can do it Saturday, it’s no big deal.”
“When will you be home?” Mr. Carpenter asked.
“Saturday afternoon. kaçak casino No later than 3:00.”
“Alright. Well, don’t stay up too late and be sure to call if anything changes.”
“I will!” Sid said, beaming. He finished his supper quickly and went to call Zach to tell him.
“Your old man is so strict,” Zach said with a little grunt at the end.
“Yeah, well, I don’t have to deal with it much longer. I just don’t want to get on his bad side before I get to college,” Sid said looking down at his best friend.
Zach grimaced and let out another small grunt.
“Come on, only a little more,” Sid chuckled.
“Nah,” Zach said pushing the barbell up one last time and setting it on the rack above the weight bench, “I’m not trying to break any world records.”
Sid added some weight to the barbell while Zach stood up from the bench and drank some water. He stepped around the rack and lay down on the bench. Zach stepped around behind the rack as Sid lifted the barbell and began his first set.
“I probably shouldn’t even have you spot me,” Sid said. “You probably couldn’t pick up the bar if I let it go.”
“Hey, I could manage. I wouldn’t let my best friend die in his own garage. That would make a terrible obituary,” Zach laughed.
Sid chuckled and kept counting his reps. He glanced up at his friend. Zach was wearing a black A-shirt and a pair of khaki cargo shorts. Even though Zach didn’t push himself as hard as Sid did, they still worked out several times a week. Sid had gotten into it after taking a weight lifting class in 10th grade. He wasn’t into wrestling or other sports but he liked how weight lifting made him look and feel. He wanted to be big and strong and was well on his way two years later. Zach, on the other hand, was smaller and did a lot more running than Sid. The time they spent at the weight bench meant Zach had some good definition even if he was a bit skinny.
Sid tried to focus on his lifting but his eyes were drawn to Zach’s body. Zach’s shirt clung to his chest and abs. He had square shoulders and his waist was a bit narrower than his hips. Sid’s mind wandered and he started thinking about what Zach would look without clothes. Zach’s skin was smooth and tan. His chest would be broad and curved with small dark nipples and no hair at all. His stomach would be flat and his abs would be just barely visible. Below them, Sid began to visualize a dark patch of curly hair just above Zach’s flaccid penis. He thought about his friend’s balls hanging relaxed behind it.
By the time Sid realized his mistake it was too late. He felt his own balls rising closer to his body and his dick started to swell in his basketball shorts. He quickly focused on his work out and tried to will away his coming erection but could feel it climbing, unhindered by his loose-fitting clothing. He pushed the barbell up harder and faster. He hoped the exertion might diminish his arousal but after a few moments, he knew it wasn’t working. His cock must have been clearly visible. He glanced up at Zach and saw his best friend’s eyes were focused on his crotch.
Sid was expecting it to be awkward, but it wasn’t. Instead of embarrassment, he felt excitement. He didn’t know why. He knew he must be straight because he liked girls. But seeing Zach staring at his crotch aroused him. He kept pressing the barbell up even though he had already gone past his usual reps. He watched Zach watching his throbbing erection. Looked at his dark eyes and cute lips. He suddenly pictured those lips wrapped around the end of his dick. His cock twitched and Zach suddenly looked down at him. Suddenly, Sid’s playful excitement was forgotten and all he could think about was escaping.
Sid coughed, quickly put the barbell on the rack, and sat up. He rested a moment, wondering why he had been fantasizing about his friend and why he hadn’t just stopped working out when he started getting horny. He wasn’t sure why he had gotten hard in the first place. He and Zach had just been working out. Nothing exciting about that.
Sid stood and turned to find Zach standing in front of him. Zach’s long hair had fallen across his face again and obscured his eyes. Zach stepped forward and embraced Sid, wrapping his arms around Sid’s waist. Sid could hear his own heart beating as Zach’s body pressed against his chest and stomach. Sid could feel his erect cock between them. The underside of it was pressing against Zach’s groin. It was pulsing with his heartbeat and he was sure they both felt it. He looked down at his best friend and Zach tilted his face up to look into Sid’s eyes. Sid gazed at Zach’s dark brown hair, the low curve of his cheekbones, his round chin, and his full, pink lips. Sid’s emotions were overwhelming. His heart was pounding. Zach closed his eyes and pursed his lips.
“I, uh, need a shower,” Sid said, putting his hands on Zach’s arms and pushing his friend away. Zach crossed his arms and looked at the floor of the garage.
“Yeah, me too,” Zach said with a frown. “I’m gonna head home. I’ll see you later.”
“Do you want me to give you a ride?”
“It’s not a long walk.”
“OK. I’ll see you Friday, right?” Sid asked. He hoped Zach wasn’t mad at him.
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