For the rest of the summer Colin seemed to be keeping his promise. He didn’t always have smokes anymore, and he didn’t always have pop, chips, & such. Just like any normal kid he hung around at the arcade without necessarily having money to spend on the games. All was good. I was actually starting to become fond of him as a friend, and, perhaps out of desperation, I almost felt that there might be a little bit more than friendship blooming as well. After all, he was good looking, and I was a young, hormonally charged gay teenager. I suppressed those thoughts, though, and was content with just having a friend. We became inseparable.
Summer wound down into Fall, school started up again, and as it started getting colder out our focus changed from fishing to just hanging around at the mall. At school I noticed a few people staring at Colin and I, and some people would shy away, but I supposed that most people had known about Colin’s past, at least a little bit about it, and they were just being wary.
As we were spending more time at the malls I started noticing something else, and it began to bother me. Every store we went into the employees would be staring at us. Often I would notice the plainclothes security guards (“Floorwalkers”, Colin called them) following us everywhere we went. I should say Colin noticed: He knew who all of them were and would point them out to me. He was amused, but I was embarrassed. I had always prided myself in being trustworthy and now I had security following my every move. I mentioned this to Colin, and he said “Don’t worry about it. They’re just watching me, they don’t care about you.”
He was wrong, though. One time I was at the K-Mart by myself and noticed one of the floorwalkers following me. I was getting mad, so I deliberately walked down an aisle, then quickly skipped over to the adjacent aisle and doubled back. As I came back out of this aisle I saw the floorwalker kind of hiding at the end, peeking down the aisle I had disappeared down. I quietly walked up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder.
“Looking for someone?”
He jumped and spun around with a half terrified look on his face, but quickly recovered. A sly look came across his face.
“Why yes, I’m looking for you, in fact.”
“Any reason why you’re following me around this store? What, are you looking to molest me or something?”
That wiped the grin off his face. “Don’t get smart”, he said. “You know why I’m following you. That buddy of yours is a thief, and if you hang around with him you’re probably a thief too. Now that you know you’re being watched, just remember that. Everywhere you go in this store, you’re being watched.”
I glared at him.
“Now, are you here to buy anything, or are you here to fuck around?”
“I’m here to eat”, I said, which was true. The K-Mart cafeteria was a popular place with teens – their fries and gravy were cheap but tasty.
“Interesting. The cafeteria is on the other end of the store. What are you doing at this end?”
The truth was I came to this end because I wanted to trip him up and catch him spying on me. I didn’t want to say that to him, though, so I said something that was pretty much guaranteed to make me look suspicious:
“I’m just looking around.”
“Yeah, right. Sure you are. Just get your ass to that cafeteria. And remember. We’re watching you.”
I started walking to the cafeteria, and when I turned around I saw that he was following me. He wasn’t even trying to hide it anymore. When I got to the cafeteria and sat down he gave me a final nod and wandered off into the store. I got my french fries and sat down. The whole time I was eating I could see him loitering around the area in front of the cafeteria. I also noticed some other “customers” suspiciously hanging around the area. I was growing uncomfortable. Was this going to be my new life, now? Was I doomed to be distrusted and looked upon as a thief, just because of my friend?
Apparently I was. I finished my fries, took my tray to the trash, and left the cafeteria. As soon as I did the floorwalker and the other two “customers” zoned in on me like buzzards circling a carcass in the desert. They essentially escorted me out of the store, then broke off and disappeared back inside as soon as my ass passed through the doors and out into the mall. As I was walking home I started thinking. ‘Is this even worth it? Is his friendship worth having if everyone think I’m a thief?’
It was then that I started thinking about something Carman had told me, about how if I came out I had to prepared to be an outcast just because even people who didn’t have a problem with me would not stand up for me because they’d be afraid of being questioned themselves. Guilt by association. People wouldn’t want to be seen sympathizing with me because that might cause people to think that they, too, were gay. Here I was thinking pretty much the same thing with Colin, but with theft instead of sexuality. I decided I was not going to be like those people. To hell with what others thought. I was not going to abandon Colin. He was making an effort to better himself, so I wasn’t going to punish him.
Fall turned to winter and things were still going well. Colin had showed no signs of relapsing into his old habits and we were getting along fine. I was finding myself becoming more attracted to him, but I still kept those feelings down. I was pretty sure he didn’t feel the same way about me, and he never did anything to make me think otherwise. Still, I had also noticed that, like me, he was showing absolutely no interest in girls or dating. That kept a little flicker of hope alive, but I was not going to ruin things by acting on my feelings.
Then one day something happened that ignited that flicker of hope into a full blown inferno.
I was at his house (he was getting along fairly well now with his
adopted parents) and we were playing video games. His parents were
out somewhere and his brother was out playing with his friends. Colin
pulled out his pack of smokes and lit one up – he was actually
allowed to smoke at home!
“Gimme one of those”, I said.
“No way. I’ve only got a few left.”
“Come on. I’ll pay you back when I get a pack tomorrow”, I begged.
He said “Nope. You can go without.”
“Dick”, I said. Then I started to sulk.
Colin grinned at me, then stuck the pack of smokes down the front of his pants and said “Fight me for one.”
He didn’t have to ask twice. There was nothing off about this - we wrestled like this all the time, just like any young boys might do. I was thirteen but would be fourteen in a few weeks, he was fifteen, and we were both full of energy. There was nothing sexual about it, usually. Something different happened this time.
Once I pounced on him he put up a brief but fierce struggle, but I had the advantage of size and weight so I soon had him pinned on his back, me holding his legs down with mine and holding his hands down with my hands. I was holding him down and looking him straight in the face, both of us panting like crazy. I could almost feel a spark jump from his eyes to mine. It would have been the perfect time for a surprise kiss, but I was nowhere brave enough to do that. Instead I just held him there and stared at him while he stared back.
Finally I broke the silence. “Now, about that cigarette.” The whole wrestling match had lasted only about 30 seconds.
He smiled at me. “You want one? You’re gonna have to dig it out yourself!”
“Oh, you think I won’t? You obviously don’t know how much I need a smoke!”
With that I pulled his left hand down and pinned it under my knee so I could free up my right hand. I then reached down, unbuttoned his pants, and zipped down his fly. While I was doing this I kept looking him in the eye, and noticed that he did not struggle. I looked down and saw the top of the cigarette pack sticking out. I said “Yoink!” and grabbed it, then rolled off of him and collapsed into the couch. When I grabbed the cigarettes I had made it a point to not touch or brush anything, but I could still not stop thinking about the fact that I had just unbuttoned and unzipped Colin's pants and that even more remarkably, he did not resist or protest. I opened the pack up, took a cigarette out, and tossed the rest of the pack back to him.
He muttered “You fucker”, pulled himself up into a seated position, then did something very strange: He sat very close and draped his left leg over my right leg so that it was in between my legs. My heart stopped. We both just sat there, panting like dogs after our little wrestling match, with me wondering what the hell was happening here. I looked at the cigarette I was holding, desperately looking for a distraction but not wanting this moment to end.
“You gonna light that?”
“Oh, uh, yeah. I guess so,” I mumbled.
I remembered my lighter in my right pants pocket. This pocket was essentially right up against Colin’s ass. I hesitated, then reached into this pocket for my lighter. As I was doing so I could feel the back of my hand rubbing against his ass, but still he made no effort to move. I lit my smoke, took a few puffs, then wondered what I was going to do with the lighter. I settled on the only logical thing, and stuffed it back into that pocket. Then I decided to try something really bold and rested my hand on his thigh. Again, no reaction. I sat there with my smoke burning wondering what was going on. I was just about to ask him when suddenly he jolted and said “My smoke!”
He got up and walked over to the ash tray where his cigarette was still burning. He picked it up, knocked the long ash off, took a deep haul, then returned to the couch and sat down in the exact same position, his leg draped over mine. When he was walking back toward me I noticed that his fly was still open, and I could definitely see a prominent bulge there showing his arousal.
Ok, this was definitely something that was happening. Without hesitating I placed my hand back on his thigh up near his knee, but this time I started rubbing gently. Again, he did not react or move. My heart pounding, I had just made the decision to work my way up his inner thigh into the promised zone when we heard the front door open. His brother had just came home. Colin pulled his leg away from mine and quick as lightning was at the other end of the couch with his fly up.
SHIT! Why did his brother have to come home?
Shortly after his brother came home so did his parents, so I decided I’d head home. The moment had definitely passed. But there had been a moment! There had definitely, most certainly, been a moment! There was no way that what had happened could be misinterpreted, could there?
While walking home I started thinking, and as I was thinking, I started having second thoughts and the doubts started. Had it really been a moment, or was my judgement being clouded by my stupid hormones? It certainly seemed like something significant had happened but could I have been misinterpreting things? I couldn’t see how this could possibly be misinterpreted, but now the doubt was there.
Suddenly I wasn’t so sure anymore, and suddenly I was very
afraid. What if it was just me hoping for something so bad that I was
seeing something that wasn’t there? What if I’d actually followed
through with my thought to head for the home stretch and Colin wasn’t
into it? I started to feel stupid and ashamed, but I caught myself.
I thought to myself, "Don’t be stupid. There was definitely something happening there. But I’m not going to push it or mention it. If it happens again it’ll be Colin that makes it happen.” By the time I got home my brain was working normally again, for better or for worse. I had supper, watched some TV, and went to bed. That night I had some very lurid dreams indeed.
When I saw Colin again it was as though nothing had happened. He was acting normally and made no reference at all to our little wrestling match or the aftermath. I resolved to do the same, but I couldn’t help but look at him in a new light. He had gone from friend to object of desire. That feeling would never go away, but I was determined that I’d make no mention of it, and I would try to avoid looking at him in any sexual way, lest he be creeped out.
Christmas was rapidly approaching now, and
finally Christmas break was here. We were spending nearly all of our
time at the malls now. They were always busy with shoppers, and it
was fun to window-shop and dream about the stuff we’d like to have.
Even the floorwalkers in the K-Mart weren’t quite as determined to
follow us anymore – perhaps it was because they were tiring of
following us and having nothing happen, or maybe it was just too busy
in the stores and they were spread too thin watching everyone. I
didn’t know, and I didn’t care. I was feeling good about life.