Following our sparring session in the gym next morning, Kyle was making no attempt to hide his screaming boner in the showers.
"Hey, Kyle, do I do that to you?"
"I must be doing something to you, too," he laughed. My cock was lifting a little, I had to admit, but his was a fucking skin splitter! "I think I'm just gonna jack off here," he said as he wrapped his fist around his hard six inches.
"Fuck off, Kyle, you're not gonna jack off here in the showers. I'll annihilate you!" I meant it, too. Anybody could have walked in and freaked at what was going on. But all Kyle did was crack up. I guessed he was laughing at my paranoia.
"OK, then, would you rather I jack you?"
Well, I couldn't stop the damn thing from getting hard. "I don't even know why I've got a fucking hardon," I insisted. "And, NO, you can't."
"Hey, I know -- you've been rubbing the soap in too hard."
"Hardehar fucking har."
At least I wasn't so embarrassed about cracking a fat in front of Kyle. He had the knack of making a joke out of it -- that it was no biggie -- that it was natural and normal. Normally, I didn't like to shower while other guys were around. I'd wait for the swim team to finish showering before I did. It had nothing to do with feeling physically inferior. Hell, I had a bod that was superior to most, and I was pretty well hung. Maybe that was the problem. Maybe I just didn't like other guys gawking at me. The exception, of course, was Kyle. I was well aware of the fact that he eyed my bod at every available opportunity, but he wasn't threatening despite his smartass cracks. And even if I did feel a little uncomfortable at times, I'd just tell him to fuck off, which he did, then make a joke out of it.
But Kyle wasn't like other guys. There was absolutely nothing wussy about him. When I'd called him a faggot in the school quad some months ago, he reacted by giving me a knuckle sandwich right to the jaw and sent me flat on my ass. And he'd never backed away from a fight, not even if the other guy was bigger. On the other hand, he would crack gay jokes and goof off as though he wasn't afraid of being labeled gay. I guessed the bottom line was that he was content to be himself, and that his mind wasn't plagued by hangups or phobias. And because of that, he was cool to hang with, and to learn from.
I'd often wanted to tell Kyle how much I appreciated his friendship, but could never find the words. The words that did form in my brain I'd reject 'cause they sounded kinda weird -- the kinda thing you might say to a girl. They didn't seem appropriate for the kinda relationship we had -- being macho, sparring, hitting the clubs on Friday nights, being interested in sport. So what was happening to me? Why was I feeling such a deep affection for a guy? The most worrying thing was that I didn't want it to stop. I made me feel good, even though I didn't really understand why.
The sparring sessions were getting better, too. Kyle was hitting a lot harder, as well as being hit less by me. I felt good about that 'cause his improvement was due to my teaching. It meant that we were doing something for each other, and benefiting from a mutually rewarding arrangement. He cracked me totally one day when he told me how he'd described me to one of his email friends. "If you saw him with his gumguard and his headgear in a dark alley, you'd run a mile."
"Do I really look that scary?"
"You already know you do."
"So how come you're not scared of me?"
"'Cause I know you."
"Know as in…?"
"It's a kinda hunch, I guess. You know how you get a feeling about people sometimes? It's a bit like that. I think that the guy behind the mouthguard and the headgear has a softer side."
"Carol was going on about that bullshit the other day, only she said it was my 'feminine' side. If you'd said that, I'd have knocked your fucking block off."
"You should study biology like I do, Mark. There's no such thing as 100% male or female. Your sex isn't even determined until the latter part of pregnancy."
"Yeah? Well, all I know is that there's nothing fucking feminine about me, dude."
"It's not in the way you walk or talk -- it's not something you can see with your eyes. Anyway, have you thought about what we're doing for each other? You're teaching me how to toughen up, and I'm teaching you how to lighten up."
I wasn't prepared to continue the convo 'cause I was getting outa my depth. If he were right, I didn't wanna admit it -- at least, not there and then. Too much was happening too quickly. I needed time to figure out what was happening to me.
One of the good things that had come outa Kyle's and my friendship was that we'd put the bully Alan in his place. Occasionally, we'd see him giving the lighties a hard time, but he'd stop if he saw any of us around. He'd also lost some of his goons, in particular a big, black guy we called Jumbo. I was glad of that 'cause Jumbo was actually a helluva nice guy -- built like a fucking brick shithouse and hung like a horse. He was a popular member of the swim team.
The weekend was cool. Kyle, Steph, Carol and I went clubbing. We probably drank too much, but we did so much dancing that we were pretty straight by the time we hitched a ride home at about 2am. It wasn't until Monday morning at the gym that I saw Kyle again.
"Hey, you fucked Steph yet," I asked as we showered.
"Not yet. We're both still trying to find out about each other."
I pretended to be grabbing a girl and fucking her lights out. My throbber was at full mast -- but that was cool 'cause I was in control of the situation. "You don't know what you're missing, dude."
"Can we change the subject?"
"Am I embarrassing you?"
"Hey, do those things kinda light up if somebody touches them?"
"Your nads. Can I find out?"
"Hey, go for it. And while you're down there, you can pick up your teeth as well." I didn't mean for my remark to be funny but Kyle cracked up big time. It was just as well, I guessed, 'cause I sensed that he was getting pissed at my questions about Steph. So that was another mysterious side of Kyle. All the guys at school talked about fucking their girlfriends -- or any girl, for that matter. Even the fifteen year olds boasted about their conquests. So why didn't Kyle? Was he a virgin? What seemed incongruous to me was how he could be so uninhibited about flashing his boner around or making jokes in the showers, yet clam up when I'd ask him about fucking girls. Was he gay? Apart from his jokes, he didn't act gay. He seemed far too macho to be gay. But to complicate matters, he was also very honest. He could've lied about his experiences with girls -- he could've told me that he'd fucked a million of them, but he didn't. Anyway, the upside of that was that I could trust him to be honest with me -- and that was a definite plus.
There was a boxing tournament coming up pretty soon, so one morning in the gym I asked Kyle to tape my hands for me. I usually did it myself, but I figured it was something else he could learn. "You should start taping your hands as well," I suggested.
"But it's such a damn hassle. Besides, you're the only dude I spar with."
"How come? I thought you liked sparring and working out."
"I do, but not enough to take it up as a sport. I guess it's the company," he smiled.
OK, so he was telling me that he liked me, and enjoyed my company, but I couldn't respond -- not without sounding kinda weird. So I changed the subject. "The tourny's gonna be cool. It's a club comp, with little guys from nine years up to seniors at nineteen who are gonna compete. You wanna come and watch?"
"Depends. I'd like to."
"Just watch your tongue -- don't go yelling anything stupid when I'm in the ring. OK?"
I'd had such a way cool time at Kyle's house the other day, I decided to visit again. "Hey, buddy," I said on the phone, "is it OK if I come over for a few?" His answer was 'sure' but there was excitement in his voice that caused a smile to spread across my face. He was the kinda dude who couldn't hide his excitement, which was probably the reason why he was so fucking honest. What you saw was what you got. Anyway, there was a spring in my step as I walked over to his house. Yeah, I felt pretty damn good about going to see my bud.
What made my visit even more special was that Kyle's folks were interested in the boxing tourny -- especially Kyle's dad. He was asking me all kinds of questions and seemed to have a knowledge of the sport. And the more we talked, the more I liked him. He was the kinda dude I would have liked to have been my father, and I could easily understand why Kyle thought so much of him. But when I overhead Kyle and his mom talking in the kitchen, I was like whoa! Is this really happening?
"He's going to turn a lot of heads, that one."
"Your friend, Mark."
"Why do you say that?"
"Well, he's pretty good looking, but rough at the same time… a bit like someone else I know."
"You mean dad?"
"Yes, but also like you."
"You think I'm good looking?"
"Haven't any girls told you that?"
"Not like that."
"OK, then, I don't want to give you a swollen head. But you and Mark are not going to carry on looking as handsome as you do now if you keep on boxing. You're older now, and you kids are punching harder, and you will get badly hurt if you carry on. It's time to grow up and -- mmmm -- whats the word? -- chill."
Kyle cracked right up at his mom's advice, which caused me to wanna laugh but I daren't in case they thought I'd been eavesdropping.
There's was also a spring in my step as I walked home. I couldn't believe that people could make such a difference! But there was no denying it. Kyle and his folks had put me on a high that made me feel exhilarated, but in a different way to the kinda exhilaration I'd experience after a sporting accomplishments or whatever. I just felt happy. No! More than happy. I felt elated 'cause people had actually shown a genuine interest in what I was doing. They cared. They asked questions. They made me feel welcome as though I was a part of their… family?
So that's what it felt like to be part of a real family! Hey, I had nothing against my mom, but the kinda atmosphere that existed at Kyle's house was totally different to the one at home. I guessed it wasn't mom's fault, but it explained a lot about why Kyle was such a damn cool dude.
"You always seem so cheerful when you come home from your friend's house," mom commented as I arrived home.
"He's OK, I guess."
"Mark, it's obvious that he's much more than OK. Your father…."
"Do we have to talk about him?"
"Hear me out. Your father was insular, too. He'd keep his feelings to himself. Why? I never found out, but he seemed to think that he would be less of a man if he admitted to having any sort of sensitivity. He felt threatened by affection, as if it would destroy his masculinity."
"Are you saying that's why you guys divorced?"
"Yes, that's what I'm saying. All successful relationships are based on give and take. There has to be a mutual advantage."
"You should tell that to your boyfriend."
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