When I’d left home, I’d asked my mom if I could spend the night at Adam’s house, even though it was a school night. Adam and I had talked about it when we’d planned this and he’d invited me then, thinking we’d want to talk about it afterwards. So I’d asked Mom, expecting her to say yes. As I got all A’s and never got in any trouble, I was cut a lot of slack at home. There was always the tacit understanding that the slack would tighten up if the A’s stopped being all, as it would if the ‘no’ trouble became any other kind of trouble. Mom had tried to act like she was really considering the matter and there was some doubt she’d give me permission, but I knew it was an act. She’d finally said it was okay, I could spend the night. I’d grinned at her when I’d thanked her, even though it had been a nervous grin. I’d been thinking about what we were about to do.
The four of us didn’t wait around for the girls. We still had deniability if no one saw us there. We’d technically committed a crime, tying Dale up, and I suppose with the beating, too, though that didn’t feel like a crime, it felt justified. But tie someone up and then beat the shit out of them, yeah, I guess that’s stepping over the legality line. So we didn’t want to be seen. The phone call I’d made had been to Susan, but it’d been arranged that she’d just say she got an anonymous call telling her to bring her friends to the baseball diamond at school for a fun surprise, and so, being an inquisitive and adventurous young girl, she did. She’d say she had no idea who the call came from. We were very sure, however, that that would not be an issue here. Dale wasn’t about to go to the cops. He had more to lose than we did.
I would have enjoyed being there to see what happened when a bunch of girls arrived and found a naked Dale tied to the backstop, when they started eyeing his nakedness, but thought we’d had enough excitement for the night.
The four of us stopped at a diner kids frequently hung out at near the school. It was nighttime and after the dinner hour so there were only a few people there. We took a booth as far away from anyone else as we could get. The waitress quickly came and got our orders, which were just French fries and cokes.
“Wow, that was awesome,” said Tim. “I can’t believe it came off just as we planned it. In all the running around and fighting and everything, I was sure there’d be things we hadn’t anticipated, but it went like clockwork. You were great, Steve.”
Steve looked bashful for the first time since I’d met him. “Ah, actually we were all great. We all did just what we were supposed to, we were a great team, and it worked. It worked so well, and he gave up so quickly, I almost started to feel sorry for him, but then when he started listing all the things he’s done to kids who had had no way to fight back, I had no more problems feeling that way. That guy’s a sick puppy and got less than what was really coming to him. I sure hope he got the message.”
“I’m sure he did,” I replied. “He was defeated. Completely. If he comes back to school tomorrow, I think we need to stare him down, act really contemptuously towards him. Don’t act scared of him at all. We do that, he’ll just shrink away from us. He won’t have any comeback left, knowing how we degraded him, how we left him naked, how we forced a confession out of him, how we have his signed confession. The last thing he wants is us telling people about this. It’ll be all over the school that the girls all found him tied up naked, but not who did it. People will be talking about that, wondering who did it, and I’m sure Dale will hope people will think a bunch of older guys got him, not us. The fact it was us who pulled this off will make him think he looks even worse, if the truth ever got out. No, I think he’ll just try to stay as far from us as he can."
Adam cleared his throat. “You know guys, I thought I’d feel really happy about this. But I don’t. I feel a little dirty. He needed what he got, and we gave it to him. But even though it seems like something we had to do and then did, it still doesn't feel like something to celebrate. Any of you feel that way too?”
Steve and Tim just looked at each other. I spoke up. “Yeah, actually I sort of feel that way too. I thought I’d be a mile high if we could pull this off. I’m not. I have a sense of accomplishment, I feel what we did a necessary thing, I think we’ve helped protect other kids, but I don’t feel any great pleasure in it. Maybe the revenge business isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
We all felt the same way. We ate our food and drank our cokes, but it wasn’t a festive meal. It wasn’t unhappy or uncomfortable, either. We were just together, friends, guys who’d done something successfully and were sitting together afterwards talking about it. What there was was a very real feeling of camaraderie present. We all felt very close to each other that night.
When we were done, we said our goodbyes and said we’d see each other tomorrow. Tim and Steve both went their separate ways, and Adam and I headed for his house.
“You don’t think Dale will ever try to retaliate then?” Adam asked me.
“No, I don’t. I think we’ll see a different Dale from now on. I think he’ll be low key, stay in the background, and just try to finish school and disappear. I think we should all keep an eye on him just for safety’s sake, but I’m sure we won’t have a problem. If he says anything at all, or does anything to any of us, he’s facing Juvenile Hall for a long time. He’s hurt a couple kids badly, and it was intentional. That isn’t just minor kid stuff. He has to know that.”
We kept chatting as we walked. It took us some time to reach Adam’s house. When we did, all the windows in front were lit up, making the house stand out in the relatively dark neighborhood.
“Are you having company? Is there a party or something?” I asked.
“Nope.” Adam grinned. “My father likes things to look a certain way. All the lights are on every night till eleven, then they all go off except the ones that are needed. He keeps talking about image, as though that were important. I think it’s wasting money, but with my father it’s best to just let him have his own way. He’ll get it one way or the other, and avoiding an argument when I can seems sensible to me.”
I was expecting us to go in the front door, but evidently Adam didn’t do that. We walked around to the back and entered through the same door we’d used the other times I’d been here.
I’d brought my book bag and another bag with clothes and toiletries for tomorrow. We walked through the kitchen and exited through a different door than usual to a set of back stairs and on up without meeting anyone. Adam said his father was usually in his office in the evening and his mother spent time either there with him or in the entertainment room or upstairs in her bedroom suite.
We went to his room. I put my bags down. He asked what I wanted to do as we still had some time before bedtime. I asked him the same question, and we discussed it and decided on a video game.
“Do you mind if I take a shower first,” asked Adam. “Or, if you want one, you can go first. I’d like to clean myself up after all that activity tonight.”
“That’s actually a great idea. I want a shower, too. You go first. I’ll practice with this game.”
Adam walked over to his closet and took a bathrobe out, then got a clean pair of boxers out of his dresser. He then walked into his bathroom and closed the door.
I began playing the game and listened for the shower. Very faintly I heard it go on. He was gone for about 15 minutes. When he came back, he was wearing his robe and smelled of shampoo and toothpaste.
“All yours. Do you want to borrow a robe? I’ve got another one.”
“Thanks. That’d be great.”
He got one from his closet and handed it to me. I’d followed his lead and got a pair of fresh boxers and my toiletry kit from my bag while he’d been in the shower. I took them and the robe and walked into the bathroom. It was still steamy from his shower. I quickly stripped down and turned the water on. From watching Adam walk around in his robe, his hair wet and just brushed and combed, smelling clean and looking cuter than ever, I was half hard. I thought of maybe sleeping with him in his bed in a few minutes and that took care of the other half. I got in the shower and soaped myself up. I was wondering if I should or shouldn’t take care of my excitement. I thought I’d better. If I were going to sleep in his bed, with him, I was going to have a problem even if I did, but it would be worse if I didn’t.
So I did, and it only took a moment as I was thinking about Adam, remembering him as he was only a couple minutes ago, clean and smelling good and wearing a robe, his naked chest showing through the lapels of the robe, his bare legs protruding from the bottom hem. Then I shampooed using his shampoo, finished up and got out and dried myself. I then did what he’d done, brushing my teeth and fixing my hair. I put on the boxers I’d brought, slipped into the robe and went back into his room.
He was on his bed reading a book and looked up at me as I came in. He then slid off the bed and walked over to the TV set where the game console was ready. I walked over and sat down next to him. I felt a slight tension I hadn’t felt before with him. He seemed just slightly nervous, and Adam was not a nervous kid. Then he started the game, we began playing, and I decided I was just transferring the emotions I was feeling to him. It was all in my imagination.
When the game was over an hour later, he’d trounced me decidedly and enjoyed it greatly. We decided it was time for bed.
“I guess I’ll just sleep here by the TV set,” I said.
He looked at me, and I thought I saw disappointment. “Really? There’s lots of room in the bed. I mean, I don’t have people over much, you’re the first one to do this in maybe three years, but, I just sort of thought we’d both share my bed. No, huh?”
“Hey, I’ll be happy to! I just thought, well, I don’t know what I thought. But not sleeping on the floor is good in my book.” I grinned at him, and he returned the favor.
“Which side is yours,” I asked.
“I usually sleep on the right side, away from the door. But it doesn’t make any difference.”
“Sure it does. I’ll take the left side.”
Adam peeled back the covers and told me to get in while he got the lights. I took off my robe, dropped it on the floor and got onto the bed. Adam looked back at me, then switched off the lights. He came back to the other side of the bed, dropped his robe, got into bed and pulled the covers up over both of us. We were about a foot apart.
We were silent for a moment. Then, “Were you scared tonight, Greg,” he asked.
“It was funny. I was scared, but also excited. I really didn’t think he was going to be able to hurt me. I thought our plan was pretty good, and we’d be able to overpower him. But I was a little scared too. It added to the excitement. Were you scared?”
“While waiting in the dugout, I was. When he walked up and started talking to you, saying what he was saying, his tone of voice, so sure of himself, yeah, I was scared. Then, when everything started happening, I wasn’t. If was strange. When I tied him up, and when I slapped him, I’ve never felt like that before. I felt it in my gut. It’s hard to describe. I felt sort of wild, primitive maybe. There was this hate, this savagery inside me I’d never known I had. There was a coppery taste in my mouth I’ve never tasted before. My feelings scared me a little, but they felt good too, in a way. I’m going to have to think about it. It was just, different.”
“Did it upset you? Are you feeling all right?”
“Actually, Greg, well, can I ask you something? This is going to sound funny. No, forget it. I shouldn't have said anything.”
“Adam! You can ask me anything. That’s what good friends do. They talk about what they’re feeling and don’t feel weird about it. They get things off their chests that way. Adam, you’re a really good friend. Talk to me. What do you want to ask.”
“You’ll get the wrong idea. I can’t. I want to, but I can’t.”
“C’mon. Nothing you say is going to bother me. I want to be there for you! Tell me.”
He was silent for a moment. I could feel him fighting with himself. Finally, a resigned note in his voice, he said, “Well, OK, but you’re going to freak.”
“No. I won’t. If I can help you, I want to. Anything. Now, what is it.
Tell me. Adam, trust me.”
My heart leaped. I could actually feel it bump in my chest. I so wanted to wrap my arms around Adam. Mostly naked Adam. That sounded like the best thing in the world right how. I rolled onto my side so I was facing him, then moved closer to him. He saw me, and rolled over on his side, facing away from me. I scrunched over farther till I was up against him. I wrapped my top arm around his chest and pulled him closer to me.
He snuggled back into me. My bottom arm was lying over my head against the headboard. I bent my elbow and brought my hand down so I could rest it on the top of his head, my fingers in his hair, my palm cupping the curvature of the back of his head. I squeezed him against my chest with my other arm, not too tightly, but firmly. The feeling of his bare back against my bare chest was overwhelming.
He sighed, shuddering slightly and briefly. “Thanks, Greg. I can’t tell you how good this feels. I’m not even sure why I’m upset. But I think it’s remembering the way he was. You told us what we wanted to do was to hurt him physically, humiliate him and scare him. You said doing those things at the same time would mentally unhinge him, take away all his bravado and confidence. Well, we got him naked and humiliated him. We beat on him and then slapped him. We scared the shit out of him when we were talking about killing him. I could see it in his eyes. He believed us and was terrified. And you were right. We totally killed his spirit. But, watching it happen, watching him shrivel up, watching the hatred in his eyes become fear and then just fade to, I don’t know what, maybe resignation or just no emotion at all, well, it just got to me. It bothered me. It was like we were sucking the life out of him. I knew I was one of the ones doing that. And that, coupled with how I felt when I slapped him, the way I told you about, that bothered me too. I didn’t know I had feelings like that in me.”
I continued to softly stroke his hair. I was having a problem, the one you can easily guess. Even though this situation was anything but sexual for him, I couldn’t say the same. I had, in my arms and mostly naked, a boy I’d come to have very strong feelings for. Before I got to know him, I was very attracted to him. Now, knowing him, knowing his nature and personality, he was still cute but now he was lovable, too. Wait a minute. Did I really mean that? Yes, I did. I had to admit it. And I did. I had to admit it to myself. I’d fallen in love with him.
But he wasn’t gay, and I had a problem. He wanted, he needed, some comfort and had turned trustingly to a friend. And I had an erection to end all erections rigidly reaching toward the butt that was, by my estimate, about one eighth inch away from it. One wiggle, one slight readjustment of his position, and the game was over.
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