of the Wicked Boys
He stood in the wings, watching Prince Andrei dancing his argument with his mother the Queen. In just a moment, it would be time for him to make his appearance, as soon as the Queen had departed to the other side. And, then his dream would be fulfilled, to perform the “Dance of the Friends” from Koronov’s The Ice Prince on stage in New York, with the Ballet of America, with Rafael Colon. Finally, he, Jeremy Fenwick, after years of work, years of training, years of dreams and effort, he, Jeremy Fenwick would perform the Dance of the Friends with his hero, Rafael Colon.
Prince Andrei stands proudly in the center of the stage, his hands firmly on his hips as he denies his mother’s demand that he give up his friendship with Sasha. The Prince looks down his nose as the Queen turns and angrily marches off stage. His moment has arrived. Jeremy/Sasha leaps on stage and then sneaks up behind Andrei, tapping playfully on one shoulder and then disappearing behind the other as Andrei looks in the first direction. Repeating the action with the other shoulder as Andrei looks in the other direction, he then jumps in front of his friend, the Crown Prince and the two happily hold hands and gives each other masculine hugs before they joyously begin the Dance of the Friends. Leaping, gliding, running, spinning about the stage, it was an energetic and difficult dance that declared the friendship and love the two boys felt for each other. The audience was amazed at the grace and precision and energy of the two dancers. Never had any Koronov ballet been performed with such elegance and perfection on a New York stage! Rafael was magnificent and Jeremy basked in his friend’s glory as he, too, danced better than he had ever danced before. Rafael brought out the best in Jeremy and the two floated in glorious Grand Jetés En Tournant opposite each other in a great circle around the stage, their arms and legs extended parallel as they spun about and then soared again and again, over and over. The audience was ecstatic! Rafael and Jeremy were ecstatic! It was the greatest moment in Jeremy’s life! And, then, it was over. They met at center stage, their clasped hands held high as they faced the audience, desperate for breath, but controlling their breathing as they gazed out with pride and...
“What are you doing?”
Jeremy looked around him in surprise as stood in the center of his uncle’s garage, his left arm held high, his right extended, his feet turned out, one before the other, as he desperately gasped for breath. He wore not the tights and costume of a young Russian nobleman, but a pair of denim shorts, a red-and-white striped pullover, and a pair of blue P. F. Fliers with white socks. He looked at his uncle as the man glared at him from the side door of the garage.
“Were you dancing?” the man demanded.
Jeremy stood breathing heavily as the man waited with growing anger and impatience for an answer.
“Answer me!” the man yelled. “We’re you disobeying me? Were you bringing Satan into my home?”
“No,” Jeremy replied between breaths. “I was not bringing Satan into your home. I was doing what God put me on earth to do!”
“Blasphemy!” his uncle declared as he strode forward with his right hand raised. Furiously, he struck Jeremy’s face with the back of his hand. The boy fell to the oil-stained concrete in shock and pain. Holding his cheek with his hand, he looked up through tears of pain, anger, and humiliation at his uncle as the man looked down at him with the same contempt as someone gazing at an animal’s excrement.
“My father never once hit me,” Jeremy declared with a quivering voice.
“Maybe he should have,” his uncle replied. “Then you wouldn’t be controlled by your wicked lusts and desires!”
Jeremy clenched his teeth together as he stared up at the man. Pastor Jimmy Dale McCoy, his stomach overhanging his large, brass belt buckle, his short-sleeved white shirt stained with perspiration under the arms, his wide, orange tie stained with barbecue sauce, stared down at him, breathing hard from his anger.
“You know that dancing leads to lust. You know that. And, ballet dancing is the worst. God never intended men or boys to prance around in such disgusting ways and being so suggestive and filthy and... and disgusting. You know that. I’ve told you a hundred times.”
“Then why did God give me the talent and the ability he did?” Jeremy demanded.
“God didn’t,” Jimmy Dale replied. “Satan did. And, I won’t tolerate you doing the devil’s work in my home.”
Jeremy looked away and Jimmy Dale knelt down beside the boy as he said in a softer voice, “Jeremy, I know you don’t believe me and I know the love of our Lord hasn’t entered your heart. I know that you don’t understand. I know that underneath, Jeremy, you’re a good boy. I know you want to be good. I know you don’t lie or steal or cheat. I know that. I know you’re a good boy. But, the devil is sneaky. You were raised as one of those Piscopalians instead of as a Christian and you...”
Jeremy shook his head with disgust and staggered to his feet. Jimmy Dale rose and grabbed the boys shoulders.
“Jeremy, I’ve prayed for you. I’ve tried to be understanding. I’ve cut you all the slack I’m going to. You will obey me, Jeremy. You will. Maybe you won’t let the Lord into your heart, but you will not sin in my house. You hear me? I won’t tolerate this anymore. If I have to start whipping you, boy, I will. I will save your soul, Jeremy. I will and someday, you will thank me.”
Jeremy stared into his uncle’s eyes with hatred as the man added, “Until that day, though, Jeremy, I promise you, before God, if you ever disobey me again, I will whip you. I will whip you so hard you will never disobey me again. You hear me? I don’t make idle threats, boy. I will whip the rebellion out of you. Now, get out of here and wash up for supper.”
Breathing hard from his fury and outrage as much as from his earlier physical exertion, Jeremy walked past the man without another word and without looking at him. He froze when he saw the frightened face of his twelve year-old cousin, Benji, in the doorway. He looked away and then walked past the nervous boy and across the crab grass and henbit of the backyard to the back door of the small, yellow, cracker box house.
As he walked through the kitchen, his aunt watched him with fear as she set a platter of fried chicken on the table. In a nervous voice, she asked, “Jeremy? Are you all right?”
“No,” he replied in a voice shaking with emotion as he walked from the kitchen to the living room and the hallway. He entered the bathroom and closed the door behind him before standing in front of the sink. He looked into the mirror at his strawberry hair, uncombed and falling over his forehead, and at the moist, red eyes that looked back at him and he felt a welling of disgust for himself and the ignorant man who was making his life so miserable. Uncle Jimmy Dale was wrong; dancing was not sinful, wicked, or satanic, but why did he find it so important, Jeremy wondered. Why couldn’t he be just as passionate about baseball? He could have been. If his parents had never taken him to the ballet, if his father and he had gone to see a Greensburg Rebels baseball game earlier in the fall, or that spring or summer, would Jeremy have been this passionate about a finely executed play, stealing a base, hitting a home run, catching an impossible hit?
No. He knew that he wouldn’t have. There was something about ballet, something different from baseball that spoke to him, that excited him, that awakened something deep inside him that baseball couldn’t. Was it because he was queer? He was sure his father thought so, and everyone else who knew him. No matter how tough Jeremy had acted, no matter how much he practiced, no matter how strong he was, people assumed because he was a dancer, because he loved ballet, he was queer. It wasn’t fair! It wasn’t fair! He wasn’t queer! He wasn’t!
He turned on the cold water and washed his face before adding hot water and washing his hands. There was a knock on the bathroom door and he softly responded, “Come in,” as he dried his hands. The door opened and his cousin, Benji, appeared. He softly asked, “Are you okay, Jeremy?”
He looked at Benji, at his hair, even redder than Jeremy’s, at the sunburned face so free of the freckles that Jeremy so hated about his own face, at the kindness and worry in Benji’s eyes and felt an overwhelming desire to hug him. Instead, he looked down at the broken linoleum on the bathroom floor and replied, “I’m okay. I... I’m okay.”
He walked past his cousin and returned to the kitchen, where Uncle Jimmy Dale was standing at the round table, his eyes cold and piercing as they bore into Jeremy. The boy stood behind the chair opposite his uncle and waited as Aunt Jane set glasses of iced tea at the four places. When Benji arrived the four took their seats and held hands as Jeremy looked down at his lap.
“Jeremy,” his uncle said in his deep, commanding voice, “I think you need to say the blessing.”
Jeremy looked up fearfully and started to protest until he saw the look in his uncle’s eyes. He knew he couldn’t dissent. With a sigh he looked down. He couldn’t think and immediately began with, “Bless, oh Lord, this food to our use and we to thy loving service...”
“Enough!” Jimmy Dale roared as Jane and Benji jumped in shock. “The man’s eyes blazed with fury as he declared, “You know I won’t allow those Piscopalian prayers in this house! I want a good Christian prayer, a prayer from your heart, not some memorized, ritual prayer! You know that! You’re being a rebel and I won’t take it! Get up! Get out of here! You can do without dinner tonight! I won’t have this rebellion!”
“Jimmy,” Aunt Jane muttered in almost a whisper.
“No!” Jimmy Dale bellowed as his eyes burned into her.
Tears streaming down his face and his jaw clenched to keep it from trembling, Jeremy rose from the table and walked out of the kitchen. Struggling to keep his anger from exploding, he carefully walked across the living room to the aluminum screen door. He paused and looked out across the weeds and the crab grass of the front lawn before he slowly, cautiously opened the door and stepped out onto the small, square, concrete porch. The cicadas were singing in the trees and a huge flock of starlings was passing overhead. Across the street, he could hear a baby crying in one of the many small, cheap houses along the street and an argument in the next house to the left between a man and woman. A beaten-up, old Chevy Bel-Aire rumbled past with the window down and Porter Waggoner singing on the radio within. The car swerved to avoid the fishing boat and trailer parked in the street in front the house next door. He looked up and down the street. All the lawns were the same, browning in the mid-summer heat. All the houses were the same, with torn screens and crooked TV antennae atop the cheaply-tiled roofs. Everyone was inside eating dinner—no, supper. He was alone.
Never had the desire been so great to go into the bedroom he shared with Benji and grab his father’s Boy Scout knife. In fact...
He turned and reentered the house. He walked past the kitchen and into the hallway, past the bathroom and into the bedroom. There was a cardboard box in the corner with the most important of his possessions, among them a framed photograph of him age the age of five with his parents. His father looked so handsome with his Ivy League suit and his perfect haircut, his mother so beautiful with her hair perfect and a corsage on her blouse. Jeremy would have looked sweet in his red vest and red bow-tie were it not for his red hair and freckles. He felt his eyes moisten again as he held the picture. Beneath it was his Bible, the Bible his grandparents had given him for Christmas when he was seven, the Christmas he had gone to The Nutcracker. He picked it up, as well. Beneath it was his father’s Boy Scout knife. He picked it up and held it. Yes, it was time. He couldn’t take it anymore. Nothing was ever going to change. Nothing. Ever.
He rose, holding his Bible, his picture of him and his parents... and the knife, and walked out of the room.
No one spoke as he walked past the kitchen and through the living room. The smell of Aunt Jane’s fried chicken and mashed potatoes would normally have made Jeremy hungry. That evening, it would have made him sick to eat. He walked out the screen door and down the concrete steps to the “lawn.”
He didn’t remember much of the walk to the park just two blocks away. But, he soon realized he was standing on the banks of the Magnolia River, the divide between east and west Greensburg. He sat down on a bench overlooking the river, holding the picture and his grandparents’ Bible against his chest, the Boy Scout knife clutched firmly in his right hand as he gazed out across the river.
Various insects were darting about above the water and every few seconds, fish would break through the surface and snap at them. Beyond, on the opposite bank of the river, was the corresponding park, a much nicer, cleaner, and better maintained park as befitting the city’s attitude toward the people who lived in West Greensburg. To the left was the Jeff Davis Bridge across the river and he could hear the soft, muffled roar of the late rush-hour/ early evening traffic as it crossed from one side of the river to the other. Beyond rose the four tall buildings of downtown Greensburg—two banks, an insurance company, and the hotel—along with the spires of several churches. To the right of downtown, he could see the tops of the buildings of the University of Greensburg. His brother lived over there and he almost felt guilty about how what he was going to do would hurt Brian. Almost, but not quite. Brian wouldn’t be affected that much. Brian had no use for Jeremy. He never had. There were just too many years between the two and Brian was so “normal” and masculine and... No, Brian didn’t give a crap about Jeremy. He’d be happy that the entire inheritance would now be his.
To the right, in front of him, were the thick, verdant trees of Hampton Park, the neighborhood in which he had lived for his entire life. His house was over there, his school, his life, his memories...
Why did ballet have to be the only thing that drove Jeremy? Why couldn’t it have been baseball or cars or music or... something, anything his family would have been proud of? Something that Uncle Jimmy Dale wouldn’t consider satanic, something that people wouldn’t laugh at and make fun of him for loving? Why couldn’t God have blessed him with a gift for perfect pitch or a gift for numbers or the perfect fast ball? Why did He have to make him a dancer? Why did He have to plant inside him that burning desire to be the best dancer possible, that need, that hunger to express himself through dance? Why did Jeremy only feel complete, free, himself when he was dancing? Why couldn’t a beautiful mathematical equation or the sight of Jupiter’s moons or Saturn’s rings through a telescope or an elegantly worded piece of prose have that same effect on him? Why did it have to be ballet?
And, why did he have to fall in love with Rafael Colon?
No! He wasn’t queer! He wasn’t in love with Rafael Colon! He wasn’t!
He sniffed and opened his grandparents’ Bible to, of all books, Leviticus, and withdrew a newspaper clipping. It was a photograph of Rafael, now fifteen, in tights and a leotard with a brocaded vest, his leg extended and his foot pointing downward, his arms extended gracefully, his face looking proudly outward. He was so beautiful in the picture, with his muscled dancer’s legs, his elegant, lithe body, those dark, lush curls, his dark eyes. So beautiful. So damnably beautiful.
The caption beneath the picture read, “Rafael Colon, 15, son of Mrs. Gloria Hampton of 2121 Somerset Drive, has been selected for the Summer Program of the Royal Ballet School in London. Rafael trained at the Greensburg Ballet School for four years before entering training at the prestigious Ballet Academy of America in New York. He has performed in The Nutcracker, twice with the Greensburg Ballet and twice with Ballet of America. He has also appeared in Ballet of America’s production of Coppélia.”
Tears came to Jeremy’s eyes as he read the words. This picture could have been of him in three years and those very words could have been written for him. He had been in Nutcracker twice. He was to have gone to New York to train at Ballet Academy of America. All those words could have been used to describe him, Jeremy Fenwick.
He looked away and cried softly, “Oh, God,” a cry of despair from deep within. He couldn’t take it anymore. He was queer. He was a dancer. And, he would never, ever fulfill either desire.
Crying, he replaced the picture in his Bible and closed it. He gazed at the picture of his parents as he opened his father’s Boy Scout knife.
“I’m sorry, Daddy,” he wailed. “I’m sorry! I wanted to be a good boy! I did! I wanted you to be proud of me! I did. I’m sorry!”
He held the knife out before him, the blade pointed toward his heart.
Startled, Jeremy turned his head to the right and saw Benji running frantically toward him, arms outstretched and a look of horror on his face. His cousin grabbed the outstretched arm and knocked the knife away, causing Jeremy to drop the family photograph and the Bible.
“What are you doing?” Benji demanded. “Jeremy! What are you doing?”
Jeremy looked at his terrified cousin. Tears streamed down both boys faces as Jeremy sobbed, “I can’t take it anymore, Benji! I can’t take it!”
Benji sat down on the bench and held his cousin tightly. “You can’t kill yourself, Jeremy! It’s a sin! You’ll go to Hell!”
“I don’t care!” Jeremy wailed. “I want to die! I can’t take it!”
He looked down in anguish and repeated in a softer voice, “I can’t take it.”
“Yes, you can. The Lord doesn’t give you more than you can handle. It just makes you stronger.”
Jeremy snorted and shook his head. “That’s what Nietzsche said. That which does not kill you makes you stronger.”
“Was he a Christian?” Benji asked.
“Hardly,” Jeremy replied. “Benji, your dad is so hateful and closed-minded and... he doesn’t understand me. I was so happy when my parents were alive and now, I’m so miserable and he just doesn’t seem to care.”
“He prays for you every night, Jeremy,” his cousin replied. “He told me.”
Jeremy dubiously looked at Benji and asked, “Let me guess. Uncle Jimmy Dale went out again tonight, didn’t he.”
“Another sick member of the congregation?”
Benji frowned and asked, “What are you sayin’?”
“I’m saying that it’s pretty strange that he’s got so many sick people in his congregation. I’m saying I don’t believe everything he says.”
“Dad’s not a liar,” Benji retorted.
“He’s your dad, Benji,” Jeremy said. “You want to believe the best about your dad.”
“You’re just mad at him. You’re just sayin’ stuff ‘cause you’re mad at him. It’s the devil talkin.’”
Jeremy looked down at the grass under his feet. He didn’t respond. After several seconds, Benji pulled away and softly said, “Momma saved your supper. It’s in the oven keepin’ warm.”
The boy rose and looked down at Jeremy, waited a moment, and then extended his hand. “Come on.”
With a heavy sigh, Jeremy wiped his eyes and nose with the back of his wrist and rose to his feet. Benji turned and Jeremy followed him across the park, through the neighborhood, and back to the house. He could hear a piano playing inside the cinder block church next door to the house. Benji looked over and said, “Momma’s practicing for Wednesday night service tomorrow.”
Jeremy nodded and climbed the concrete steps to the small porch and entered the house. Benji took a potholder from the counter and removed Jeremy’s plate from inside the oven. He set it back at Jeremy’s place at the table. He poured a new glass of iced tea for his cousin and then sat down beside him.
“You mind if I keep you company?” he asked.
Jeremy smiled ruefully and said, “Don’t worry. I won’t kill myself tonight.”
Benji looked down and said, “I know. I just want to talk. I like you, Jeremy. I know when you first came to live with us, I was pretty mean to you, but I like you. You’re a nice guy. I mean, you’d never lie or steal or cheat. You’re a good guy.”
Jeremy snorted again and remarked with a mouth full of mashed potatoes and chicken gravy, “That’s exactly what your dad said a while ago in the garage.”
“Well, it’s true. We all know you’re a good guy. It’s just that the devil is sneaky and uses all sorts of ways to sneak in and offer temptations. Like, he tempts me all the time.”
Jeremy looked up and their eyes met. Benji was blushing and Jeremy softly asked, “You mean...”
Jeremy looked away and said, “That’s not my fault. I didn’t start it. I just woke up one night and you were doing it over there. I didn’t start doing it at the same time as you until a week later. And, I’ve never tried to do anything with you. I’m not that way. You can’t blame me.”
“I know,” Benji replied. “I don’t.”
He paused a moment and then whispered, “But, it makes it nicer when I do it to know you’re doing it, too.”
Despite his desire not to, Jeremy smiled as he took a bite of chicken and nodded.
“Yeah. It does.”
Neither said anything for several minutes as Jeremy ate his dinner until Benji finally asked, as Jeremy was taking a drink of iced tea, “Jeremy, why do love ballet so much?”
“Have you ever seen a ballet?”
Benji shook his head. “No way. I’m not lettin’ the devil inside me.”
Jeremy grinned and said, “Ballet is beautiful. You have men and women who are strong and powerful doing incredible things. It’s magnificent and perfect and beautiful. The men are so powerful and muscled, and yet they’re so graceful and precise and... The music is beautiful, the scenery is spectacular, the dancing is amazing. It all comes together and creates this wonderful world of beauty and magnificence and...”
He sighed and stared at his place.
“The first time I ever saw a ballet, except for stuff on TV, was when I was seven and Daddy took us to The Nutcracker. The men had these huge, muscled legs and strong arms and they were powerful and, yet, they were so delicate and elegant. There was this boy. I was seven and he was eleven. Rafael Colon. He played Fritz, the brother of Clara, who’s the Governor’s daughter in the story. Uncle Drosselmeyer brings a toy nutcracker that looks like a soldier and Fritz is a brat and breaks it. Well, it comes to life in Clara’s dream... anyway, this kid, Rafael, was Fritz and he was beautiful. He had this wonderful, dark, curly hair and he had muscled legs, too, but not like the men’s legs. Anyway, he also played one of the toy soldiers later and he was an incredible dancer. He was better at his little roles than some of the adults were in their big roles. I knew as I watched him that I wanted to do that. I wanted to be part of that. I wanted to be up on that stage and do wondrous things and be part of the magic. Afterward, we went to the reception and he was there and he told me how rough and hard it was going to be and then he told me how wonderful dancing is. Well, I knew from that night what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
Benji was listening with rapt attention. Jeremy smiled at him and said, “It is hard work. Harder than you can imagine. It’s like football practice all year long, every day, sometimes twice as long as football practice each day. You’ve seen how big my legs are. I’m an athlete, or at least, I was. I still exercise in secret, but I can feel my body dissolving away. It makes me sick.”
“You really love it,” Benji whispered.
Jeremy nodded and said, “It’s me. It’s who I am. It’s what I am. It’s part of me. I can’t live without it.”
Tears came to Jeremy’s eyes again and he looked back at his plate as he added, “I’m hoping that maybe your dad will get so tired of me that he’ll put me up for adoption and my new family will let me train, or maybe Brian will decide he doesn’t hate me anymore and will take me. But, I’ve really given up hope.”
Benji reached across and squeezed Jeremy’s arm, but suddenly jerked his hand away until he saw it was his mother coming in the front door. Benji smiled at her as she entered the kitchen and said, “I heard you practicin’, Momma. You were real pretty.”
Aunt Jane kissed his forehead and then kissed Jeremy’s.
“I know it’s rough, Jeremy, but Benji and me are gonna try to make it easier for you. Just be patient, sweetie.”
Jeremy nodded and attempted a smile.
It was dark and warm as summer night breeze blew gently through the thin curtains over the two open windows in the bedroom Jeremy shared with his cousin. He was stretched out on his cot a few feet from Benji, who lay atop his bed. Both boys had their covers kicked down past their feet. Both wore only thin, cotton pajama shorts in the warm, night air. Aunt Jane had just closed the door after wishing the two boys a good night. Uncle Jimmy Dale still hadn’t returned home. The room was dark, except for the lonely, silver-blue glow of the street light at the corner past the church next door.
Neither boy spoke. Neither ever spoke when they went to bed. Jeremy didn’t feel like the normal routine that night. He glanced over at Benji, as he always did, and watched the thin cloth of Benji’s fly slowly rise before the tip of his circumcised penis emerged through the flap, lengthening and thickening as it pointed toward the boy’s face. Once it was completely erect, however, Jeremy rolled over on his side, his back to Benji. This was not part of the routine. Usually, Benji watched as Jeremy’s erection grew and then the two boys, without speaking, grasped their penises and began to quietly masturbate. Sometimes one of them would do it directly to climax, though usually one would stop before then, signaling for the other to do so, as well, then resume once their lust had subsided enough to insure they wouldn’t orgasm too soon. Tonight was different.
“Jeremy,” Benji whispered.
“Aren’t ya gonna do it?”
“Don’t feel like it.”
This was a lie. Jeremy was as rigidly hard as he always was when they went to bed, though he was honest in saying he didn’t feel like following their usual routine. He closed his eyes, but he wasn’t sleepy. He was too keyed up and nervous to be sleepy.
“Can we talk?” Benji asked.
Jeremy rolled back over. Benji’s penis was still rigidly bobbing above his tummy as Jeremy glanced over. He looked upward at the ceiling and waited.
“Jeremy, you’re my favorite cousin.”
“I’m you’re only cousin.”
“On, Momma’s side. But, on Daddy’s side, I got a bunch of cousins down in Claiborne and Bedford. They’re all dumb as dirt, though, and they always laugh at me and call me ‘Momma’s Boy.’ You don’t think I’m a momma’s boy do you, Jeremy?”
“No way!” Jeremy replied. “I think you’re pretty cool. I mean, for a preacher’s kid and all.”
He could hear Benji sigh heavily before his cousin said, “So, anyway, Jeremy, since you’re livin’ with us and you’re my favorite cousin, you’re almost like a brother to me. In fact, you are like a brother to me.”
“That’s why I was so upset when I saw you with the knife tonight. I mean... I... I love you like a brother, Jeremy.”
Jeremy turned his head in surprise and saw Benji looking over at him. Jeremy was moved by his cousin’s admission.
“I love you, too, Benji,” he replied, realizing for the first time that he meant it.
Benji nodded and looked back up at the ceiling. After a moment of silence, during which Jeremy looked back up, Benji, whispered, “Brothers always have secrets between them that they never, ever tell anyone else. So, if you have anything you want to tell me, I swear I will never, ever tell another soul. I wouldn’t even tell Momma and Daddy.”
“Cool,” Jeremy replied. “Same here. You can trust me, Benji. We’re cousins, but we’re blood brothers.”
After another long silence, during which Jeremy decided he knew what was coming, Benji asked, “Jeremy?”
“Can I ask you something?”
There was a long pause and then Benji asked, “Are ballet dancing boys all queer?”
Jeremy smiled at the expected question. He replied, “No.”
“Naw. A lot are, but a lot like girls. Some like boys and girls.”
Another pause as Jeremy wondered what he should say in answer to the next question, what he would say.
“Which do you like?”
Jeremy said nothing. He knew what he should say, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell the truth. He had never admitted this to anyone, not Brian, not Tim—the other boy with whom he had trained at GBS—not anyone.
“Benji, you swear to God you won’t tell anyone?”
“I can’t swear to God, Jeremy. It’s a sin, but I promise you with all my heart, as your cousin, as your blood brother, I will never tell a living soul unless you tell me to.”
Jeremy swallowed and took a deep breath. He couldn’t believe he was saying this.
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” Benji asked with surprise.
Jeremy sighed again and said, “There’s this guy. He’s three years older than me.”
“The beautiful guy from the ballet?” Benji asked. “The one with the curly hair?”
“Yeah. Rafael Colon. He’s part Spanish. He’s so... strong and beautiful. I mean, in some ways, he looks handsome like a man, and in other ways, he looks beautiful like a woman. His nickname at the Ballet Academy of America is The Gazelle.”
“What’s that mean?”
“A gazelle is this animal from Africa who’s sleek and slim, but runs faster than anything and is pretty like a deer but has long, straight horns. Rafael’s like this really powerful and energetic dancer and he’s sleek and slim and strong and...”
“Does he make your dick hard?”
Jeremy was stunned to hear those words come out of Benji’s mouth. He paused a moment and then replied, “Yeah. He does.”
“Do you think about him sometimes when you beat off?”
Jeremy paused, ashamed, yet powerfully excited, before whispering, “Yeah.”
“What about when we’re beating off at night?”
Jeremy sensed disappointment in Benji’s whispered response. He added, honestly, “Sometimes I think about you, too.”
“Really?” Benji asked.
“Yeah. I like watching you beat off when I beat off.”
Jeremy looked over and saw Benji watching him with a smile. He smiled back and then reached down with his hands and unfastened the snap on his pajama shorts. He looked back up at Benji and grinned as he pushed them down his strong legs.
“Is the devil tempting you now, Benji?”
His cousin grinned as he pushed his own shorts down and whispered, “Big time, but I’ll pray about it later.”
Jeremy grasped his erection and began to slowly stroke it, more just fondling than actual stroking. Benji did the same, slowly, deliberately, as he watched Jeremy’s hand.
“Have you ever done anything with another guy?” he asked.
Jeremy shook his head and whispered, “No. You?”
“Of course, not!” Benji responded adamantly.
“You ever think about it?” Jeremy asked.
Benji took a breath as he gently fondled his erection. After a moment, he admitted, “Yeah.”
Benji paused again and said, “This guy at school. He’s a ninth grader this fall. He’s got red hair like you and me and his dick is gigantic. He’s got like all this red hair around it and he isn’t circumcised, you know, like normal guys.”
Jeremy chuckled as he said, “Actually, not being circumcised is what’s normal. So, what’s this guy’s dick like? Do you like it?”
“What do you want to do to it?” Jeremy asked with a leer.
Jeremy had been so nervous, so upset, so unhappy for so long that he suddenly felt wildly excited. He had never spoken to another boy about anything, never done anything, and now, as he lay there slowly masturbating with Benji across the room, talking about sex and dicks and doing things, he had never felt more aroused, more nasty, more wicked, more alive in his life. It was like dancing, only sinful!
“I want to feel it,” Benji whispered. “I want to run my hands all over it. I want pull the skin back and run my hands all over his dick and his balls.”
Jeremy smiled as he watched Benji’s hand begin to stroke himself faster. Benji was no longer just touching himself. He was getting into it.
“What do you want to do with Rafael?” Benji asked.
Jeremy felt a rush of excitement as he looked up and grinned broadly, replying, “I want to kiss him!”
“Kiss?” Benji asked with surprise. He actually stopped masturbating and leaned up on his arm as he looked down at Jeremy. “You mean it? You’d kiss him? He’s a guy!”
“So?” Jeremy replied, feeling exhibitionistic. He wanted to shock Benji. He wanted to show off. He wanted to be nasty. He wanted to be wild, to be free. For years, he had been so restricted, so disciplined, so in control. He suddenly wanted to be out of control. He grinned and sat up, spreading his legs wide as he continued to slowly stroke his erection.
“I want to kiss him long and slow and I want to stick my tongue in his mouth. Rafael is the sexiest guy in the world. He has the prettiest face and the most beautiful lips and I want to kiss him so hard. I want to tongue-kiss him!”
Benji was shocked, but not so shocked that he stopped masturbating.
“Wow, that sounds so dirty,” he whispered.
“Yeah,” Jeremy replied with a grin. “Doesn’t it? And I want to feel his dick, too. I bet Rafael’s uncircumcised like your friend, too. What’s your friend’s name?”
“Danny,” Benji replied in a whisper quivering with lust.
“Yeah. Wouldn’t it be great if you were feeling Danny’s dick and I was feeling Rafael’s?”
“Yeah,” Benji replied with mounting excitement. “Stop, Jeremy!”
Jeremy grinned as he released his erection. He watched as Benji looked around and then climbed off his bed. He crept over to the window, his stiffness pointing outward before him. He looked over at the driveway and whispered, “Dad’s still gone.”
Jeremy watched as his cousin then tiptoed to the door, quietly opened it and looked around in the hallway and listened. Benji then closed the door and as he turned around, Jeremy stood up and faced his cousin. Benji stepped forward and the two naked boys stood before each other, their erections almost touching. Both boys were trembling with forbidden excitement as they looked down at each other’s hard boyhoods. Jeremy looked up and met Benji’s eyes as his cousin whispered, “I’ve been wanting to do something with you all summer. I think you’re the coolest guy in the world, Jeremy.”
“You’re cool, too, Benji,” Jeremy whispered.
“Am I as cool as Rafael?”
Jeremy smiled and said, “Sorry. To me, no one else is that cool. I think I’ve got this super crush on Rafael. Of course, he probably doesn’t even remember me. He probably doesn’t even know I’ve been training for the last four years. But, I got some good news for you, Benji. You’re the first person I’ve ever done anything with.”
“You, too,” Benji whispered back. “I’m glad you’re my first.”
They both looked back down at their erections and Jeremy slowly raised his hand. Softly, he grasped Benji penis and his cousin moaned as he thrust his hips forward. “Oh, God,” he whispered, surprising Jeremy with the exclamation.
Jeremy didn’t move his hand. He simply held Benji as the other boy reached up and grasped Jeremy’s erection. Jeremy inhaled sharply and Benji moaned, “Oh, wow.”
“Yeah. Oh, man, Benji, your dick feels so good.”
raised his left hand and cupped Jeremy’s balls. Jeremy moaned softly and began
to fondle Benji’s balls, too. Together, both boys felt each other, fondling
gently. Jeremy leaned forward, as did Benji, and their foreheads touched as they
looked down and watched each other fondling their rigid boyhoods. Their noses
began to touch and then, as their fondling turned to actual stroking, Jeremy
opened his mouth and whispered, “This is so cool.”
“Feels so good,” Benji whispered back into his cousin’s mouth. “Jeremy.”
“God, Benji, I love your dick.”
They were both breathing through their mouths as their lips grew closer. When Jeremy’s lips touched Benji’s, his cousin moaned and pressed his against Jeremy’s. The two boys kissed as they began to frantically stroke each other. Moaning softly, they squirmed and moved their hips about as they worked each other and kissed with growing passion until, suddenly, Benji stiffened and threw his head back before it snapped forward again and he breathed loudly his climax. Jeremy felt his cousin’s penis flexing and pulsing in his hands and Benji’s hips worked around. Benji was too far gone to pay attention what he was doing to Jeremy and his hands simply felt his cousins penis and balls. When Benji’s dry climax was over, he released Jeremy’s genitals as he stood gasping before his cousin.
Jeremy immediately grabbed his own erection and began desperately to masturbate, thrust his hips outward as his eyes moved back and forth between Benji’s still rigid penis and the boy’s cute face.
“Oh, God, Benji,” he whispered passionately as he felt his climax building. “Benji. Benji. Benji!”
Jeremy climaxed hard, his head snapping back and then forward as he widened his feet and thrust his hips forward. It seemed to last much longer than Benji’s as he gazed hungrily at his cousin and madly pumped himself.
When it was over, he sighed heavily and stood gasping for breath before his cousin. He grinned and whispered, “Wow, that was pretty good!”
Benji however, wasn’t smiling. He looked at Jeremy in growing dismay and suddenly moaned, “Oh, my God, what I have done?”
Frantically, he grabbed his pajama shorts and pulled them on before crawling back on the bed and lying down with his back to Jeremy.
“Benji, what’s the matter?”
Benji made no reply. Jeremy stepped over to the bed and whispered, “Benji! Talk to me! Are you okay?”
“Don’t talk to me!” his cousin whispered furiously.
“Benji,” Jeremy whispered urgently as he lay a gentle hand on his cousin’s shoulder.
Benji jerked his body away and Jeremy quickly withdrew his hand.
“Benji, I’m sorry if you’re upset about what happened.”
Benji turned his head around and furiously whispered, “Shut up! Just... shut up.”
Jeremy could see the tears in his cousins eyes as Benji looked up at him and whispered, “You see? You’re my temptation! The devil put you here as my temptation! That’s what your dancing’s done! It’s made you a pervert and now the devil’s trying to turn me into one, too! Leave me alone!”
Jeremy stepped backward as if he had been slapped. He stood for a moment, his erection quickly wilting, as he felt the shame wash over him.
What had he done? What had he done?
He sat down on his cot and pulled his pajama bottoms on. Overwhelmed with disgust for what he had done to his cousin, he lay down and rolled onto his side. Sobbing softly, he said, “I’m sorry, Benji. I’m so sorry.”
Benji said nothing, though Jeremy heard him sniff.
Outside, he heard Uncle Jimmy Dale’s Ford chug into the driveway.
Jeremy closed his eyes in horror and shame. He was a pervert. He was nothing but a pervert. He should have killed himself. He should have. Maybe it wasn’t too late.