The Dance

of the Wicked Boys

by FreeThinker


Chapter Eight 

Supper in the McCoy house was quiet that evening. Hardly a word was spoken Benji offered thanks. Jimmy Dale seldom looked up from his plate. Aunt Jane nervously picked at her food. Jeremy ate and though the pork chops, spinach, and fried potatoes were good, he ate slowly.

“Me and Jeremy mowed the lawn, Daddy,” Benji said tentatively.

Jimmy Dale glanced up at his son and then turned his attention back to the pork chops. Jane softly said, “I think you two did a very nice job.”

Benji smiled nervously at his mother. Jeremy said nothing as he ate. He simply kept his eyes on his plate as he slid his fork into his fried potatoes. Jane glanced uncertainly at her husband and asked, “How’s Mrs. Harp?”

Jimmy Dale shrugged as he ate and then took a huge bite of spinach and potatoes before answering, “The same. I’m going to the hospital to see her after service tonight.”

Jeremy’s eyes rose at this and, for just a fraction of a second, he looked at his uncle before glancing over at his cousin. Benji frowned and took another bite.

“What hospital is she in?” Jane asked. “I like to go with you.”

“What is this? Twenty questions?” Jimmy Dale demanded, potato falling from his mouth and landing on his tie.

“No,” Jane responded quickly. “I just thought I could go with you. I baked a cake today and I thought, maybe I could take a piece to her.”

Jimmy Dale chewed for a moment and after swallowing, while cutting a bite of pork chop, said, “I don’t think, after today, Jane, that you’re in the proper Christian frame of mind. I don’t want you with me tonight.”

His wife bite her lower lip and Jeremy saw tears in her eyes, which she lowered as she took a small bite of spinach. Jeremy could see that Benji, too, was upset by the way he stopped chewing the bite in his mouth and simply stared at his plate.

Suddenly, Jimmy Dale pushed his plate back, picked up the pork chop with his fingers and declared as he walked from the kitchen, “I’m gonna go get ready for the service.”

He banged the back door as he left the house and Aunt Jane dabbed her eyes with her napkin.

“I’m so sorry for causing all this trouble, Aunt Jane,” Jeremy said quietly. “I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. I’ll... I’ll just accept what’s happened. I don’t want you and Benji to pay for me being so unhappy.”

Benji said nothing and kept his eyes on his plate. Aunt Jane smiled sadly at Jeremy and replied, “It’s not your fault, Jeremy. It’s just... I think the pressures of the church are getting to Jimmy Dale. There just isn’t enough money to cover all the expenses and all our expenses and... well, I think it’s just making everything hard for Jimmy Dale.”

Jeremy frowned as he asked, “But, aren’t y’all getting a check every month from Mr. Harrison from my parents’ estate? Doesn’t that help?”

“Oh, I’m sure it’s a big help, Jeremy,” Aunt Jane replied, “but Jimmy Dale handles all that. I don’t know how much it is, but I’m sure it’s a big help.”

Benji glanced over at Jeremy with a frown, but said nothing and resumed eating his supper. Jeremy nodded to himself, as if another piece of the puzzle had been found, and resumed eating, as well.

After supper, in their bedroom, before walking over to the church for the Wednesday evening service, Jeremy and Benji sat on their respective beds. Benji was distressed and he looked at Jeremy with a mix of fear and anger.

“Everything was okay here before you came, Jeremy,” he said quietly. “Momma and Daddy got along. I didn’t have no temptations, everything was okay. I wish you’d never have come.”

“I do, too,” Jeremy replied, “but, it’s not my fault my parents died. Besides, your dad’s lying. He’s lying to your mother and you and he lying to Rafael’s mother and Mr. Harrison.”

“Daddy doesn’t lie!” Benji replied angrily.

“He does and you know it,” Jeremy replied. “I saw it in your eyes at the table. You know he’s lying about going to see Mrs. Harp. You know it. And, he was lying to the Rafael’s mother when he said they couldn’t buy my soul. He told me in his office... he’s just using me to get money out of them.”

“You’re a liar!” Benji replied angrily.

Jeremy shook his head and said, “And, he hit me, Benji. He hit me twice in the hallway outside his office and he almost hit me again in the office. You watched him hit me in the garage yesterday, so you know I’m telling the truth. He said I’m already going to Hell, so he’s going to use me to get all the money he can from Rafael’s mother and from my parents’ estate. You know it’s true, Benji. Tell me. Where’s all the money going to he gets from Mr. Harrison every month for taking care of me? He’s getting hundreds of dollars a month. Where’s it going? I don’t cost y’all that much. Where is it going?”

Benji pressed his lips together. It was clear to Jeremy that Benji couldn’t answer. He wanted to, but he knew Jeremy was telling the truth.

“You know I’m not a liar, Benji,” Jeremy added. “You know that I don’t lie.”

Benji lowered his head and nodded. His eyes moist, he whispered, “Jeremy, he’s my Daddy. He’s my Daddy.”

“I know,” Jeremy said as he rose from the cot and sat down beside his cousin. He put his arms around Benji and hugged him tightly. “Sometimes, the people we love let us down. My brother hates me because he thinks I’m a fag because I’m a dancer. My parents hated that I was a dancer. They let me train and they paid for it and they were going to send me to New York, but they still hated that I was a dancer and they never really approved of it. No matter how good I was, it just didn’t matter to them. They never said to me they were proud of me. Never. Ever. I know it’s not the same, but I know it hurts, Benji. I know it hurts. But, I’m your cousin. I’m your blood brother. If anything happens, you can always talk to me. I promise you, Benji, I don’t want to cause trouble here. I really don’t. I just don’t know what to do. If I stay, it makes this rough. If I go, it’ll make things rough. I just don’t know what to do. I love you and Aunt Jane.”

“I know,” Benji replied as he leaned his head on Jeremy’s shoulder.

From behind them came a sniffle. Jeremy looked over Benji’s head and saw Aunt Jane in the doorway, dabbing the running mascara from her cheeks.

“You’re not causin’ trouble, Jeremy,” she said with a painful smile, “and we both love you, too. God loves you, too, Jeremy.”

Jeremy smiled at her and she added, “I have to go play the piano, now. You boys come along before the service starts. All right?”

“We’ll be along in a minute,” Jeremy replied.

“Yes, Momma,” Benji replied as he looked up at his mother with red eyes.

She stepped forward and kissed both boys on the cheeks before turning and leaving. When Jeremy heard the screen door in the living room close, he said, “Benji, you go on. I have to call Rafael, then I’ll be along, okay?”

Benji nodded and stood as he asked, “You aren’t gonna tell him Daddy hit you, are you?”

“It’s not about that,” Jeremy replied, not directly answering the question. “It’s about something else.”

Benji nodded and Jeremy accompanied him to the living room. He stood and watched his cousin leave with slumped shoulders and he felt heartbroken for the pain the boy was feeling. It had to be terrible, he thought to himself, to discover your father is a vicious liar and to witness discord between your parents. Only rarely had Jeremy seen his parents argue and he had never heard his father lie about anything except the usual ones about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. He couldn’t imagine what it must be like for Benji. Then again, Benji couldn’t imagine what it must be like to lose one’s parents, either.

He turned and walked to the kitchen, where he picked up the receiver from the wall-mounted telephone and dialed, Magnolia 3-1212. A Negro woman answered by saying, “Good Evening, this is the Hampton Residence.”

“Yes, ma’am, this is Jeremy Fenwick,” he replied. “May I please speak with Rafael?”

“Oh, course you can, honey. Just a minute,” the woman replied warmly. Jeremy realized that she must know about him. She sounded sweet and he felt a sudden rush of affection and longing for the Fenwicks’ housekeeper, Delores. He missed the way Delores hugged him and told him every so often, “You just keep dancin’, Jermy. The Lord gave you this gift to bring beauty to the world. You just keep dancin’.”

He sniffed as he was overcome by a rush of emotion, just as Rafael’s voice came on the phone.

“Hey, Jeremy! You okay?”

“Yeah. I’m fine,” Jeremy replied, though he quickly added, “Well, not really. Listen, I can’t talk but a minute. Everyone’s over at the church and I have to hurry over there. There’s something you need to know about Jimmy Dale.”

“Yeah?” Rafael replied suspiciously.

“He took me into his office after y’all left,” Jeremy said. “He... he hit me twice and he said the only reason he didn’t beat me with his belt was that he didn’t want to leave any welts and bruises.”

“That son-of-a-bitch!” Rafael replied furiously. “I’m on my way!”

“No! NO! That’s not why I called!” Jeremy said. “It’s this. Two things. First, he admitted to me that he just wants to use me to get money out of your mother and from Mr. Harrison. He’s going to hold out for lots of money.”

“Yeah, that’s what we figured,” Rafael replied, still angry. “We know. But, listen Jeremy. There may be something else I can do. Do you know when your uncle usually goes out at night?”

“Well, that’s the second thing I wanted to tell you,” Jeremy replied. “He’s going out tonight. He told Aunt Jane at dinner that he’s going to go see some lady named Mrs. Harp at the hospital, but when Aunt Jane asked which hospital and if she could come along, he got upset and wouldn’t tell her or let her come along.”

Jeremy could hear Rafael snort over the phone line. The older boy asked, “You know when he’s going?”

“Well, service starts at seven-thirty and it’ll be over like at eight-thirty or eight-forty-five. I guess he’ll leave after that.”

“Can you call me when he does?”

Jeremy thought for a moment and then said, “Maybe. Yeah. I don’t think Aunt Jane will mind. She’s on our side, so I don’t think she’ll mind if I call. I’ll tell her that I just want to talk. So what are you doing? Are y’all going to follow him?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Rafael replied. “It’s best if I don’t say anything to you so you won’t have to lie about it later.”

Jeremy felt a rush of excitement and danger. “I want to help!”

Rafael chuckled and replied, “You are, man. You’re my eyes and ears over there. You just keep me informed about everything. So, are you okay? Did he hurt you badly when he hit you? How did he hit you?”

“You had just left and he came out of the church and wanted to drag me in, but I jerked away and said I could walk in myself.”

“Good for you!”

“Then when we got in the side door, he grabbed my shirt and hit my face with the back of his hand. Then he did it again and then he dragged me into his office and that’s when he told me everything.”

“The son-of-a-bitch is going to pay for this,” Rafael replied. “Don’t worry. If this all works out, you’ll be free tomorrow, Jeremy. And, maybe, so will Jane and Benji.”

Jeremy took a deep breath and bit his lower lip.

“Rafael, I don’t want to hurt Aunt Jane or Benji.”

He heard Rafael slowly inhale before the older boy replied, “It might be something we can’t avoid, Jeremy, but in the long-run it’ll be for the best.”

Jeremy sighed and said, “You know that Aunt Jane won’t get a divorce. She doesn’t believe in it. She’ll stick with Uncle Jimmy no matter what because of her wedding vows.”

“Jesus,” Rafael muttered.


There was a long pause before Rafael said, “Look, Jeremy, I need to go. I have a few phone calls to make. You go on over to the church. I don’t want you to do anything suspicious or say anything or get in trouble. Everything is normal. Got it?”

“Got it. I’ll call you, though, when Uncle Jimmy leaves.”

“Cool,” Rafael replied, adding, “Jeremy...”

“Yes?” the younger boy replied breathlessly.

“Take care of yourself. I... well... Take care of yourself.”

Jeremy smiled at the unspoken words.

“You, too,” he said in reply to both the spoken and unspoken.



Jeremy hung up the phone and turned toward the front door. It was only then that he realized he was hard, ferociously hard. He stopped by the hallway, thought for a moment, fought with himself, then decided, no, he was not going to bathroom. Instead, he shoved his hands guiltily into his pockets and left the house.

The church was less than half full as he entered. Aunt Jane was softly playing a hymn as he walked up to the pew in which Benji was sitting with several of his friends. Jeremy joined then, forgetting and then stopping himself from genuflecting before he entered the pew.

Uncle Jimmy seemed less than his usual self that evening. He seemed preoccupied to Jeremy and the congregation was not responding to his less than impassioned words with their usual fervor. Even the hymns Aunt Jane played on the piano seemed to lack spirit. Nonetheless, as they stood and sang, Benji elbowed Jeremy a couple of times as he had started swaying and moving his body to the beat of the music. Jeremy had explained to Benji after the first service in which he had done that, days after he had come to live with the McCoys, that he couldn’t help it. He loved music, he loved rhythm, he loved moving to the music. Benji had argued that he was dancing. Jeremy said he was just swaying to the music like a lot of the congregation was doing. This particular evening, however, even Benji’s elbow seemed less energetic.

Jeremy noticed that only once during the service, as the choir was singing and Uncle Jimmy was sitting near the piano, did the man look at the boy. Their eyes met and Jeremy refused to look away. It was Jimmy Dale who looked away.

When the service was over, Benji didn’t hang around to talk with his buddies the way he usually did. He told one of them, the boy he had been playing catch with that afternoon, that he was tired and wanted to go to bed, which surprised the friend. Jeremy followed him to the front porch and the two sat down on the small square of concrete as the evening dusk faded to dark. The cicadas sang, the lightning bugs darted about the decrepit lawn, and the frogs and crickets starting croaking and chirping as the boys sat silently looking about.

Jeremy was looking up at the sky as a bright star moved across the firmament from northwest to southeast. He nudged Benji and pointed, quietly saying, “Look. A satellite.”

Benji watched until it disappeared beneath the tree-line and then said, “Daddy says the space program’s a hoax. He says the moon walk was filmed in a studio in California.”

“That’s stupid,” Jeremy replied.

“Daddy says that the scientists just want to destroy our faith in God with stuff like that.”

“That’s... not right. God gave us brains and curiosity.”

“Daddy says that space travel’s impossible because everything circles the earth.”

“What?” Jeremy exclaimed. “Copernicus and Galileo proved that wrong hundreds of years ago! You don’t really think the sun orbits the earth, do you?”

Benji looked down and muttered, “I don’t know what to believe anymore.”

Jeremy put his arm around his cousin. Neither said anything. They simply sat on the porch and watched the darkness grow. Soon, Aunt Jane came across the lawn from the church and as they moved out of the way for her to enter the house, she said, “You two don’t stay out here too late now.”

“We won’t, Momma,” Benji replied.

However, a few minutes later, Jimmy Dale appeared at the side of the house and walked toward the door of his old Ford. He paused as he looked over at the boys on the porch.

“You boys git inside!” he yelled.

“Yes, Daddy,” Benji replied as he obediently rose.

Jeremy remained seated just long enough to declare his independence, but rose before the man could yell again. He followed Benji inside, but remained at the screen door and watched his uncle pull out of the driveway and head up Vicksburg Avenue toward the Texaco station and Jeff Davis Blvd. When the car was out of sight, he turned.

Aunt Jane was sitting on the couch, reading her Bible and listening to gospel music on the radio. Benji had already gone to the bedroom. Jeremy paused for a moment and then softly asked, “Aunt Jane, would you mind if I called Rafael?”

“No, honey. I won’t mind. You go ahead and call your friend. It’s not too late is it? You don’t think his momma would object this late?”

Jeremy smiled and replied, “I don’t think they’ll mind.”

Jane nodded and said, “You go ahead.”

Jeremy walked into the kitchen and called. When Rafael answered the phone, Jeremy softly said, “It’s me. Uncle Jimmy just left.”

“All right,” Rafael said. “I got to go now. Jeremy, just relax.  I got it now. You watch TV or something and take it easy. Everything’s going to be just fine.”

“We can’t watch TV this late,” Jeremy said. “I’ll go out to the garage while Uncle Jimmy’s gone and work out. I’ve been eating fried foods all summer and I haven’t been able to work out as much as I would like.”

“You’ve still been practicing?” Rafael asked. “I’m impressed.”

“I have to, Rafael. I... just have to. I don’t get to do it enough because I have to do it in secret, but...”

“I understand. God, Jeremy, I can’t... I’ll be so glad when we’re in New York and we can work out. I’m going to get us a room at the Academy and we’ll work every day. Man, we’re going to have so much fun.”

Jeremy felt his heart quicken and a smile came to his face as he replied, “I can hardly wait. I can hardly believe this is happening and I can hardly believe that you, that Rafael Colon, Rafael Colon, is helping me.”

There was silence on the other end until Rafael finally said, “Jeremy, I have to go. Don’t call back tonight because I don’t know when I’ll be back, unless there’s an emergency or something.”

“All right,” Jeremy replied. “Rafael...”


“Be careful.”

“I will.”

Jeremy hung up the phone and then stepped to the door into the living room and said, Aunt Jane, I’ll be out in the back yard.”

She looked at him curiously and then nodded. “All right, sweetie.”

He walked out the back door and into the dark back yard. He looked up at the moonless sky and the stars overhead and felt a sudden elation. He was going to live. He was going to dance. He was going to be free.

He wanted to start dancing right then, but he followed the strict regimen with which he had been trained by Madame Pulchova. He began by stretching. Of course, he wasn’t in dance shoes and he wasn’t on a proper dance floor with a proper barre, but he could make do with what little he had.

He lost track of time as he leapt about the back lawn, hearing the music in his head, seeing the audience in his imagination, feeling Rafael beside him. He didn’t try anything dangerous, aware of the dangers of sneakers and grass, but he did things, nonetheless, that challenged him and made him feel joyous and free. He paused for a moment and looked toward the back door, where he saw the silhouette of his cousin, standing in his pajama shorts, in the back door watching him. He grinned and waved. Benji waved back as Jeremy walked toward him.

“You’re a really good dancer, Jeremy,” Benji said.

Jeremy climbed the wooden steps to the door and said, “Thanks, but I really couldn’t do what I’m good at without my dance shoes and a real dance floor.”

He entered the door and closed it behind him and explained, “I didn’t want to injure a muscle or a tendon or ligament before I get to really start dancing again.”

Benji nodded. “But, you looked so happy out there.”

Jeremy grinned and said, “It’s like someone just let me out of prison.”

Benji looked down in embarrassment as they crossed the kitchen. Jeremy saw his face and stopped. He stood in front of his cousin and said, “I didn’t mean to make you feel bad, Benji. I don’t blame you or Aunt Jane.”

Benji smiled sadly at him and said, “I know. I just feel bad for you.”

“Don’t,” Jeremy replied. “it’s all going to work out.”

“I hope,” Benji replied.

Aunt Jane was already in her bedroom as the boys walked through the darkened house to their bedroom. Benji closed the door behind them and Jeremy pulled off his t-shirt.

“I need another shower,” he said softly as he sat on his cot and untied his sneakers.

“Why? You had one after you mowed,” Benji asked as he watched Jeremy.

“I got hot and sweaty dancing back there,” Jeremy replied with a grin.

Benji watched and then said, “Don’t.”

Jeremy looked up curiously and asked, “Why not? Don’t I stink?”

“No,” Benji replied. He was blushing in the faint light of the little lamp beside his bed. Jeremy raised an eyebrow and then realized why Benji didn’t want him to shower.

“Benji,” he said looking down, “I’m not queer and... I don’t want to do anything with you tonight if it’s going to make you feel bad.”

Benji turned away and lay down on his bed with his back to Jeremy. Jeremy stood and pulled his shorts off. He wore only his briefs, which were partially distended from the half-erection he had gotten during the last minute or so. He looked at his cousin and softly said, “Benji...”

“I like you that way, Jeremy,” Benji said softly before he rolled over. The boy was already hard and his erection tented the front of his pajama shorts.

“You said last night that you like Rafael because he was man-like and girl-like, because he was strong and powerful and because he was pretty. Well, today, when I saw him, I understood why you have a crush on him. He is beautiful, but... I realized that... well, so are you. I mean, you’re better, I think, because you’re strong and cute. You’re not man-like and girl-like. You’re man-like. And, I like that. I... I guess... I guess I’m queer. You make me hard, Jeremy. You always have. I think you look so nice with your strong arms and your strong legs and your dick is so wonderful when its big and hard and I freaked out last night because I realized I really am queer. You make me... horny, Jeremy. I want you to hold me. I want to feel your muscles, Jeremy. I want to feel your strong body. You’re so hot.”

Jeremy stood before Benji in complete amazement. These were the last words he expected to hear out of Benji’s mouth, especially after the previous night and Benji’s reaction this morning.

“Don’t you get hard thinking about girls?” Jeremy asked.

“Do you?”

Jeremy shrugged and replied, “Sometimes. Some of the girls at GBS made me hard sometimes, but... I never thought about them when I beat off. I was always thinking about Tim or Rafael or some guy.”

“I’ve never thought about a girl,” Benji replied. “I know the Bible says it’s a sin, but I’m starting to wonder about stuff now. I mean, the way Daddy’s acting now, and what he says about space and the earth and... if he’s wrong about science, maybe he’s wrong about other stuff. Would God really hate me for beatin’ off? Would he hate me for liking another boy? I mean the Bible says it’s a sin. There in Romans and Leviticus. But, it also says other stuff is a sin that we don’t think of as sins now.”

Jeremy shrugged and said, “I guess so.”

Benji stood up and his erection popped out the fly of his pajama shorts. He reached over to the lamp and turned it off before turning to face Jeremy again.

“ I like the way you smell when you’re hot and sweaty,” he whispered. “You’re like really sexy like that.”

“I can’t believe I’m hearing you saying this stuff,” Jeremy exclaimed.

“I’ve been thinking it all summer but last night was the first time I had the courage to say anything.”

Jeremy frowned and said, “If we mess around, are you going to freak out again?”

Benji looked down in embarrassment and said, “I don’t think so. Besides, I want you to hold me. I’ve always wanted you to hold me. I think it would feel so good to have you hold me.”

Jeremy smiled and hooked his thumbs inside the elastic band of his briefs and shoved them down, freeing his now rigid erection. Benji stared at it hungrily and whispered, “Hug me.”

Jeremy nodded and stepped forward. He realized what Benji wanted, though Benji probably didn’t realize it. Benji wanted to be like the girl in a normal relationship and he wanted Jeremy to be the boy. It sent a sudden surge of excitement through him when he realized that. He stepped forward. Their penises touched and then he wrapped his arms around Benji. The smaller boy sighed and Jeremy whispered into his ear, as their erections pressed into each other’s stomachs, “You’re so sweet, Benji. I think you’re so cute and sweet.”

Benji rested his chin on Jeremy’s shoulder as Jeremy’s hands slowly rubbed up and down Benji’s naked back and over the plump orbs of his butt. “So sweet. I think you’re pretty, Benji. I think you’re real pretty.”

Benji was trembling as he whispered, “I’m not as pretty as Rafael, am I?”

“You’re pretty in a different way,” Jeremy replied.

 Benji said nothing in response and for several minutes the boys simply stood in each other’s embrace, naked, hard, holding each other, Jeremy breathing in the freshly shampooed sent of Benji’s hair and the minty toothpaste scent of his breath as Benji breathed the arousing scent of Jeremy’s sweat.

Benji turned his face to Jeremy’s and whispered, “Can we kiss again?”

Jeremy smiled and closed his eyes as he slowly brought his lips to Benji’s. Here they were, he thought to himself, two twelve year-old boys kissing like boyfriend and girlfriend, doing what he had dreamed of doing with Rafael. Yeah, he was a pervert, but maybe so was Benji. Maybe they couldn’t help themselves. Maybe they were born this way.

Maybe Rafael was a pervert, too. No. Rafael was too suave and cool and sophisticated. He was too much of a “Latin-lover” type. He was the kind of dark haired, dark-eyed guy that girls swooned for, and Holly Hollister had said that Rafael was a sex god. Did she mean that she had done it with Rafael? Oh, my God!

Jeremy suddenly pulled back from Benji as he thought with surprise about Rafael and Holly together. The thought made him sick with jealousy and... fear. Oh, my God. Rafael really was straight. Rafael was one of those tough, macho, Latin men who looked beautiful but were strong and powerful and knew how to woo women. Jeremy had thought about doing it with Rafael and all day, since the moment that morning when Rafael had told him he wanted him to come live with him, that they might end up doing it together. Now, he realized that wasn’t going to happen. Rafael was straight and he’d probably be disgusted with Jeremy if he knew what was going through his head. He’d have to hide the truth from Rafael. He could never let Rafael know. Ever.

Benji smiled at his cousin, unaware that Jeremy had been thinking of Rafael. The smaller boy asked, “You wanna lie down and do stuff?”

Jeremy nodded and Benji turned and crawled onto the bed. Jeremy followed him and the two lay naked, facing each other. They grasped each other and began to slowly stroke.

“Take it slow,” Jeremy whispered.

Benji nodded and for several minutes, they simply stroked each other, their hips shifting and squirming with the good feelings they were giving each other, gazing into each other’s eyes. As the night creatures chirped and croaked outside, the two boys lay on the bed and loved each other until the feelings grew too great and they were no longer able to put off the inevitable. They both timed it so that they could climax together as they whimpered and writhed.

When they were finished, they both smiled.

“Are you okay?” Jeremy whispered.

Benji nodded and whispered back, “Yeah. I’m okay. That was cool. It was great.”

Jeremy looked into his eyes for a moment and asked, “Are you sure?”

Benji nodded.

Jeremy smiled and said, “Okay. I love you, Benji and I don’t want you to be unhappy.”

“I’m not. I’m real happy.”

The bathroom door closed. They looked at each other and Jeremy rolled off the bed. They both pulled their pajama bottoms on and Jeremy sat down on the cot.

“Good night, Jeremy,” Benji whispered.

“Good night, Benji,” Jeremy whispered back.

However, as he lay down, Jeremy did not feel good. He was confused. He was thrilled he was going to dance again, probably, maybe. He was thrilled he was going to New York, especially with his hero, Rafael. But, how was he going to hide the truth about himself if he was living with Rafael? How would Rafael react if he found out? And, what about Benji? He liked Benji. He loved Benji. Because they had just done it and neither was freaking out, did that mean they loved each other that way?

And, what was Rafael doing tonight? Was he spying on Uncle Jimmy?

Jeremy was confused and unsettled and it was several hours before he could finally go to sleep.

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