It had been a while since Xander had seen his friends. He’d been away traveling for two years. Xander had worked every night since he was 15 at The Full Moon pub collecting glasses and washing up. He had saved up every last penny from work, birthdays and Christmases, so that as soon as he’d left college and finally turned 18 he could leave. His parents had given him £1000 as his 18th birthday present and so had his grandparents so he was set! Xander visited countries all across the world, but now he was back. He ran a hand through his dirty blond hair, as he assessed the building in front of him. Xander’s hair was styled into an undercut, the top of which stuck up at awkward angles, no matter what he did, so he never really bothered much with styling it, styling it into an undercut was the easiest way to deal with it and still look good at the same time. He smiled to himself and took a deep breath.
When Xander arrived at judo he gazed at the familiar red brick building which looked like it had just been cleaned and redecorated, with spotless white window panes. Xander took a second deep breath and strode into the dojo, through the always empty waiting area which had cream walls and a wooden floor, as well as a number of judo and motivational posters which scattered the walls. There was also a desk with a computer and printer that looked like it hadn’t been switched on in a few months, with a thin layer of dust covering the surface. In front of the desk was a few of soft chairs which surrounded a coffee table and in the corner of the room sat a drinks machine. He walked into the main hall. He took off his ray-bans (fake from a market in China) and looked around the large room, the club had invested in some new blue and yellow mats while he’d been away, but the room was still the same, benches lined the outside, while four mat areas took up the majority of the space in the center. Across the room was a red wooden door which Xander knew led to male and female changing rooms as well as the toilets.
Here we go. Smiling he bowed, looking up through his hair. “Hi, guys.” He called out, his smile spreading into a grin. He saw all his old judo buddies and took in their faces. He hadn’t told them he was back, as he only flew in from France yesterday. In fact, he'd hardly heard from any of them, only exchanging a brief Facebook message here and there. Xander enjoyed the shocked but happy faces looking up as he walked in. They all waved or came up to him embracing him, welcoming him back.
“Xander, your back!” Harry announced, striding toward him, he had a presence about him and carried a lot of respect among everyone there. Harry hadn’t changed much since Xander had left, he still had dark hair although there was a significant amount more steely greys mixed in with the sooty black than a couple of years ago, which reminded Xander a bit of a silverback gorilla. Harry was still well built and when he shook Xander’s hand, he could tell that even though the guy was getting on a bit he hadn’t lost any strength. He stood at 6’2” so was shorter than Xander but he still respected the guy and looked up to him, so to speak.
“I am, flew in yesterday, thought I’d come and surprise you all,” Xander said grinning. Picking up his bag which he had dropped on the floor while his friends had said hello to him. “I actually haven’t done any judo at all since I left!” Xander admitted feeling a little guilty. He’d just had so much more to do while he’d been away and he didn’t really come across any judo clubs, not that he’d actually looked for them though, his conscience supplied.
“Well, that’s just not good enough Xander.” Harry smiled back, slapping Xander playfully on the shoulder. “Go get changed and we’ll see just how much you’ve forgotten.” Harry teased. Xander nodded chuckling as he walked towards the changing rooms. Feels good to be back. He thought as he pushed the door open.
Carter jogged into the dojo bowed and carried on jogging to the changing room. He wasn’t late yet but if he slowed down at all he would be. He glanced around the room, nodded to a few of his friends and noticed that Harry had a smug look plastered across his face. Carter made a mental note to ask him about it later. He pushed open the door and there stood in the middle of the changing room was a bronze-skinned man, who must have been about 6’5” tall, standing in his tight navy blue boxer shorts. Carter had never been attracted to guys before but he felt a strange pull towards this one and he hadn’t even seen his face. Carter felt his eye linger across the man’s defined back muscles. Mentally shaking himself he walked over to the bench. What’s wrong with you, your straight you don't like men?
“Oh, sorry dude.” He managed before setting his own bag down on the bench, looking down, focusing on opening his bag and pulling out his kit and belt.
“Carter?!” Carter glanced up and took in the man’s face, a light spattering of freckles covering a Grecian nose, defined cheekbones and a slight stubble covering his jaw. It wasn’t until Carter looked at the guy’s eyes, one was deep emerald green and the other a bright crystal blue that he realized the guy he had just been admiring was his oldest and best friend Xander, who had been around the world traveling.
“Xander! Oh my god!” Carter exclaimed, feeling the blood rise to his cheeks. Xander pulled him into a tight hug and then held him at arm’s length, taking in and studying Carters face.
“It’s so good to see you mate, I really missed you…” Xander said dropping his arms and turning back to his bag. Carter was certain he saw a slight blush on Xander’s olive tone cheeks and he felt relief wash over him as he realized that his best friend actually missed him while he was away.
“I missed you too buddy.” He smiled. “You look great.” He said gesturing to Xander’s body before he could stop himself. Xander laughed and looked him up and down which made Carter blush even more.
“You’re not looking so bad yourself,” Xander replied another slight blush tainting his cheeks. Carter had been working out a lot more since Xander had gone away, his acne had cleared up and he’d gotten rid of his stupid long hair cut and opted for a crew cut. He was even about the same height as Xander but nowhere near as tanned. “So how have you been?” Xander asked glancing up at Carter through his hair with his breath-takingly piercing eyes, which took him back a little. Carter struggled to get the words out.
“N, not much.” He managed. Carter didn’t know what was wrong with himself. Why was he so flustered? He had never remotely been attracted guys and to be frank he was a bit of a flirt with most women. Now that he felt happy and confident about himself. Xander was his best friend, he could talk to him.
“I see!” Xander chuckled raising an eyebrow. “Hurry up mate or you’ll be late,” Xander added while glancing at the clock on the wall. Carter realized he was still in his clothes and had two minutes before the session started. “I’ll see you in there. Oh and I much prefer your hair short!” Xander declared just before he walked out the door. Carter stood there and run a hand through his crew cut smiling. “Hurry up!” He heard Harry call out, making him jump and pulling him out of his trance, scurrying to get ready.
Xander had to get out of there, he hadn’t seen his best friend in such a long time and he really had missed him, but when he saw Carter and how much he had changed, boy was he hot. When Xander had left the country Carter was a weedy nerdy boy with long muddy brown hair and acne, now, however, he was muscular and he no longer had acne, instead, he had a fair splattering of freckles across his straight nose and cheeks, and his new shorter haircut brought out his amber eyes. Carter had a chiseled chin which Xander had never noticed before, probably due to his previous long straggly hair. Xander wasn’t gay, but he wasn’t straight either and he hated the term bisexual. Xander hadn’t really ever had to discuss his sexuality with anyone. He normally just rolled with whatever was going on at the time, and his parents never asked. He’d never been in a long-term relationship because he’d never been in one place for too long. He had had some interesting experiences while away, sure but never anything serious. At college, however, he didn’t really meet anyone who took his fancy. Xander did know though that Carter was straight and not only that but Carter didn’t know Xander was, well whatever he was.
Xander put his bag down, rearranged himself into a more comfortable and less visible position and stepped onto the mat. Xander glanced up at Carter when he walked through the changing room door and into the dojo, but quickly looked down and walked over to the edge of the mat where they all lined up. Xander had got his black belt when he was 17 and when he had left Carter was still a brown belt, but now he’d graded and was also a black belt. Carter jogged over, apologized to Harry, the head coach and lined up next to Xander.
After the warm-up, which Xander had kept up with easily, Harry decided to test Xander to see how much he could remember. Xander had to stand in the middle of the mat while everyone else ran at him and Xander had to throw them all with a different throw. Xander raked his brain, trying to remember all the throws he had learned. Luckily when the first guy ran at him, his body knew what to do. Xander trusted his body and threw man after man onto their back. Not forgetting Sydney, a girl who was the same age as himself, she had long wavy auburn hair, which she wore in a pony-tail, with a couple of tendrils falling out at the front. She had a petite but slightly curvy body and boy was she strong. Xander had never really spent much time with Sydney outside of judo before he had left, as she went to a different college than him, but he thought he wouldn’t mind getting to know the girl now. Sydney smiled at him as he helped her up. “Thanks,” She said jumping to her feet as someone wolf-whistled, she immediately swore at them.
“Your welcome.” Xander smiled back, before turning to the next guy running at him. There were a fair few people on the mat, about 20 including himself, Carter, Harry, and Sydney.
After the session had ended everyone had gone to get changed. Xander took off his gi and trousers and put them back into his bag, he glanced over at Carter and immediately regretted it. Seeing Carter in only his boxers, with sweat gleaming across his lightly tanned and very freckled skin had blood flowing not only to Xander’s cheeks but to another area which made him hurry to pull on his jeans. Xander glanced again and saw that Carter had an eight-pack instead of a six. Xander shook his head, trying to clear it. He found his St. Christopher necklace that his mum had given him before he had left for Australia, the first country he had visited, put it on, then finding his t-shirt and sliding it on before pulling on his converses. He hurriedly left the changing rooms and waited outside in the cool night air.
“So fancy coming out for a drink, we’re all going?” He heard a velvety female voice, Sydney was there looking up at him with large speckled hazel eyes, framed with thick eyelashes and a small smile on her cupids bow lips. Sydney really was beautiful her long hair framed her heart-shaped flawless face.
“Yeah sure, who else is all of us?” Xander inquired smiling back at her.
“Well…” Sydney paused, mocking a thoughtful face. “Harry, Carter, Jules, Luca and Nate, oh and yours truly.” She added gesturing to herself, with a stunning toothy grin.
“Carters going?” He heard himself say.
“Yeah, I did say that didn’t I?” She said glancing around.
“Yeah sorry you did,” Xander muttered looking down at the floor. Just then the rest of the guys came out from the changing room. Most of them said their goodbyes until it was only himself, Luca, Nate, Jules, Carter, and Harry were left. “So where do we go for a drink?” Xander said feeling hopeful.
“Ah, no were fancy Lad, just to the local pub.” Harry piped up in his faded Scottish accent. “Follow us, it’s just up the road, there’s plenty o’ parking.” He added walking towards his car. Xander, however, didn’t have a car, it was something he was planning to do tomorrow. He could drive, He’s passed before he left but didn’t buy a car because it would have just sat around for a couple of years rusting.
“Err I don’t have a car yet guys, would someone be able to give me a lift?” He inquired glancing around at his group of friends.
“Yeah, sure I’ll take you.” Carter volunteered smiling, tapping Xander lightly on the shoulder. “This way.” Damn, he had a sexy smile… Stop it! He had no idea how Carter would react to how open Xander was with regards to his sexuality.
“Thanks, buddy,” Xander said getting into Carters blue Ford Ranger.