I awoke when Tyler shifted his position next to me and realized I needed to take a piss something fierce. He was using the crook of my shoulder as a pillow, and I didn’t want to disturb him, but saw no way out of it. Slowly, carefully, I pulled myself away from him. He woke up, rolling over in bed to look at me.
“What’s happening?” he mumbled, almost incoherently.
“Nothing, Ty,” I whispered, “I just need to go use the bathroom. Go back to sleep.”
He nestled back into bed and I tip toed into the bathroom, closing the door before I flipped on the light. The relief of emptying my over-filled bladder washed over me as I aimed the stream at its target. Afterward, I washed my hands and looked at myself in the mirror. A lot had changed overnight.
I was still too angry about Grady’s deception to think about him, but it was a problem I knew I needed to confront sooner rather than later. How could he blatantly lie to me about our relationship status? I mean, we started out with no strings attached, so why change what we had for a commitment knowing full well he wouldn’t keep his end of that commitment? It just didn’t make any sense, and that was what bothered me the most.
The worst part was that I felt guilty about having sex with Tyler. Before I discovered that Grady had broken our commitment of monogamy, I would have never allowed anything to happen with Tyler. I would have turned off the light, told him to mind his own business, and finished jacking off. It was only after I learned that Grady had betrayed me from the beginning with Amy, and again with Tyler, that I realized our relationship- or whatever it was- was dead in the water. If Grady wasn’t committed to us, there wasn’t one damn reason why I should remain faithful to his lying, cheating ass. And yet, I still felt guilty.
Sex with Tyler was enjoyable, but it didn’t compare to how I felt when I was with Grady. Sex with Grady felt easy and natural. It was exploratory and playful. It was fun. With Tyler, I felt like I was trying to prove myself, like I was auditioning to be the better of his lovers. I was deeply in love with Grady, plain and simple. As I stood there facing myself in the mirror, I knew what I wanted most in this world was to be with the one man who was probably not as into me as I was him.
I flipped the light off and walked through the darkness to return to my own bed, leaving Tyler to spend the rest of the night alone.
We were awakened with a loud knocking at the door. I jumped out of bed and made for the door, trying to get my boxers on as I did. It was Mr. Tanner making the morning round-up, informing us we had an hour before we left. I took a quick shower, dressed, and then packed up my stuff while I waited as Tyler showered and got ready to leave. There was very little conversation between us. I didn’t know where we stood, and I was becoming growingly concerned that I might have fucked everything up with my relationship. Even while I believed there was little doubt that I had lost him, I still feared losing him. Lost in my ever cluttering thoughts, silence dominated the morning.
We stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast, where a couple of the guys who were present when I had my snack machine tirade sat with us. I tensed up, certain there would be another confrontation, or there would be some humiliating insults directed at me for my defense of Tyler. They mostly engaged Tyler in conversation about the coming baseball season because they knew Tyler played on the church’s team, The Christian Devils. It was a pleasant conversation, with no mention of the rumors considering Tyler’s outing. By the end of our meal, Tyler was animated and back to being the Tyler I knew before he was outed. I relaxed, a little less concerned my confrontation would cause him, or me, any further anxiety.
Tyler sat with me on the bus, and stayed close during the tour of the Capitol building. It was clear that he was still feeling vulnerable. Not that I blamed him. Just because I managed to get through to a couple of our fellow students didn’t mean that there weren’t others not as easily persuaded.
Throughout the tour, my mind kept wandering, thinking about Grady. Here I was, finally spending some quality one on one time with my fantasy man and all I thought about was Grady. I missed him and wished I was with him, despite all I had learned the night before.
At lunch, we sat alone and the silence between us was finally broken.
“You know, I was secretly in love you for the longest time.” I confessed.
“Why?” he asked, dipping a french fry into ketchup before popping it into his mouth.”
“Because you’re beautiful and mysterious, I guess. Even after I learned more about you, there seemed to always be something else I didn’t know about you.” So much more than I realized, as it turned out.
“I’m not beautiful,” he countered, an obvious blush spreading across his pale face, “But what I meant is why secretly?”
“Because I was too big a wuss to talk canlı bahis to you about it directly.” I took a sip of my cola, suddenly feeling thirsty.
“Well, if it makes you feel any better, I have always thought you were hot, but you were so involved with the church I thought there was never a chance at anything between us.” I started laughing, choking on my drink. “What’s so funny?”
“I was only involved with the church so I could spend more time around you.” He joined me in my continued laughter. “It’s true. I’ve wanted to be your boyfriend since I first laid eyes on you.”
“Well then, it’s probably a good thing you kept your secret. I’m not boyfriend material.” He started playing with his ketchup, drawing circles in it with one of his fries. “I learned that the hard way, with Mark. I have too many wild oats I want to sow. Mark tried to reconcile that with a more open relationship, but in the end it was just too much for him. When I was outed, there wasn’t any real foundation for our relationship and he got away from me like I was contagious. In a way, I suppose I am.”
“So, does your father know you’re gay?”
“Does it look like I’ve been burned at the stake for heresy?” He paused, eyeing my closely. “No, he doesn’t know, and he better not find out either or you and your boyfriend will be burning right next to me.” My hands clenched into fists at the threat leveled against Grady. I looked out the big dining room window, trying to pull my anger into control. He knew about me and Grady, I realized, how could he possibly know about us?
“What about your grandmother?” He asked before I could question him about Grady, “Does she know you’re gay?”
“Yeah, she knows. She always has. She took me in when I came out to my parents when I was twelve.”
“How does she reconcile your sexuality with her religious beliefs?”
“She’s a new covenant Christian and doesn’t put much stock in the old covenant, which was made specifically with the Jews, according to her. She’s a firm believer that ‘Thou shalt not judge’ is a commandment given directly from Jesus, ranking right up there with ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself. She doesn’t approve, but she doesn’t think it’s any of her business either. It’s one of those things that’s just between me and God, and He understands me better than she does.”
“I wish my father was more like your grandmother.”
“I wish mine was too. His reaction to my coming out was very much like what your father’s probably would be, and I know my grandmother didn’t raise him to think like that. Are you concerned your dad will find out now that you’ve been outed?”
“I probably should be more concerned than I am, but my best friend has dirt on everyone in town. Amy doesn’t just dish the dirt, she controls it.” He smiled slyly.
“Yeah, I suppose that’s helpful.”
Mr. Tanner called to us, letting us know we needed to get underway. We headed back to the bus, and Tyler sat with a group of girls near the front of the bus. I watched from my seat, just in case their conversation went south, but it all seemed fine, and my thoughts once again returned to the growing anxiety and confusion I had concerning my relationship with Grady. Once again I toyed with the thought that Grady’s cheating on me didn’t make any sense, and came to the conclusion that I would not know any of the right answers until I had the chance to hear Grady’s side. It was a really long bus ride.
We arrived back at the school parking lot about supper time. Amy Hashaw was there to pick up Tyler, which was prearranged with his parents, who were busy with church business. Tyler walked over to her, smiling and happy. Her look of surprise and dismay didn’t escape my attention. It also seemed to confirm for me something I had begun to suspect during my conversation with Tyler the night before. I approached her as a few of the other students went out of their way to say good bye to Tyler before they departed.
Amy was a full-bodied girl with an hour glass figure and long blond hair. If it were the 1950s, she could have given Marilyn Monroe a run for her money.
“Can I have a moment of your time, Amy?” The two of them looked at me quizzically. “Alone.”
“Yeah, sure,” Amy smiled, “Ty, how about you wait in the car. I’m sure this won’t take long.” We walked a few feet away from Tyler, who watched us from the passenger side window with a suspicious look on his face. “What’s this about, Carter?”
“Why did you out Tyler?” I was blunt and to the point. No point in beating around the bush about it. I wanted answers, and I wanted them now.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She almost sounded angry at the accusation.
“You’re the queen of gossip, according to Tyler, but you couldn’t find out who outed him? That sounds more like the-girl-who-knows-everything not wanting her best friend to know who it was she who betrayed him.” She considered me for a long moment before answering.
“I can see the simple logic in your argument, bahis siteleri but your conclusion is wrong. Tyler is my best friend. Why would I out him?”
“I don’t know, maybe because you found out he was messing around with your boyfriend?”
“Grady?” Her surprise concerned me. Her laughter shocked me. “I had no knowledge of Grady and Tyler hooking up.” There was a tone to her voice that sounded almost apologetic. “Look, Carter, if the two of them did anything together, I didn’t know anything about it, and even if I did, it certainly wouldn’t cause me to out my best friend. I’d never do that to him, or any other homosexual. But I will find out who did.” I had clearly upset her. She turned to leave, but then stopped and faced me again. “Look, Carter, being gay may be okay in other parts of the country, but it isn’t okay here. Here, it’s dangerous. I told Tyler he needed to be more discerning about who he had sex with and to lie low until he graduates and puts this town in his rearview mirror. I strongly encourage you to do the same.”
I watched as she returned to her car and the two of them drove away. A hollow feeling of fear swept over me, leaving me feeling exposed and vulnerable. Realizing I was standing in the parking lot, and alone, I nearly ran to my truck and tore out of there as quickly as possible.
I drove past Grady’s house on my way back home. There were no vehicles in the driveway, so I figured he and his family were still in Lake Charles. I went home, ate dinner with Grandma, took a shower and went to bed.
After lunch the following day, Grady knocked on the door and I felt my heart jump into my throat. I knew who it was before I opened the door, despite his not being in church that morning. I stepped onto the front porch with him, pulling the door closed between us and Grandma.
“Let’s take a walk,” I suggested.
“To the Lake House?” he suggested, wiggling his eye brows at me and offering one of his sexy lopsided smiles.
“No. Let’s take a walk in the woods.” Something in my voice must have registered with him. His smile dissolved, replaced with a look of concern.
We crossed the sunny yard into the dark, cool woods that surrounded the house. We walked together in silence of a while, as I tried to figure out how to have this conversation. I was confused, certain I didn’t know everything I needed to know, and very uncertain of where I stood with Grady. I was painfully aware that I was deeply in love with him, and wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to know what I knew I needed to know.
“What’s wrong, Carter,” Grady finally asked, stopping me in mid-step with a hand on my shoulder. I turned to face him. “Is it the field trip? What happened?” His voice was overflowing with concern.
“I ended up sharing a room with Tyler.” His face went dark.
“Did you fuck him?” His question was direct and emotionless.
“Yes,” I answered, turning to resume our walk. He continued on at my side. “After he blew me.”
“I will never understand where you get your stamina from,” he answered, amused, “Not that I’m complaining.” Did he not hear me? Why isn’t he upset? His casual acceptance of my night with Tyler only made my apparent ignorance more apparent. I felt like everyone was in on some big joke and I was the punchline. I was becoming infuriated.
“I also found out about what you and Tyler did together at Amy’s Christmas party.” Grady stopped walking and I followed his lead, looking back at him. His face betrayed his thoughts. He looked confused.
“What did he tell you?” he finally asked with a suspicious look.
“He said he sucked you off in one of her spare bedrooms.” The peel of laughter that followed was unexpected.
“And you believed him?” he asked. I nodded. “Carter, you’re a smart guy, but I really wish you would learn to start thinking with this head…” he touched a finger to my forehead, “Instead of this one.” He grabbed my junk, giving it a little squeeze. “Come on, man! You know how I feel about that guy. I wouldn’t let Tyler Warren suck my dick if he used your mouth to do it.”
“Then why would he tell me that he did?”
“I don’t know,” he huffed, “I got drunk that night, but I wasn’t that drunk. He told me he wanted to show me something and led me to a spare room. As soon as he shut the door behind us, he was all over me, trying to get into my pants. I pushed him off and told him, in no uncertain words, that there was no way anything was going to happen between us. I swear, Carter, he didn’t get any further than loosening my belt. Maybe he doesn’t take rejection well.” He shrugged.
“He also told me that Amy is your girlfriend.” I countered, my voice sounding very small among the towering pines surrounding us.
“That is actually true,” he said with a satisfied smile before starting to look guilty. “Well sort of, anyway. I have a reputation of banging every chick who will let me. You know that. When I stopped carousing the female market and started hanging with bahis şirketleri you, I was concerned that someone might put two and two together. So I changed the equation, explained what was going on to Amy and asked her to pretend to be my girlfriend.”
“You told the queen of gossip about us?” I was horrified, even as her tidbit of advice about keeping a low profile began to make sense.
“Relax, dude. She may have dirt on everyone in town, but I have dirt on her too, including one mother of a secret she’ll do anything to keep silent.”
“What is it?” I didn’t really need to know, but I was tired of not knowing. Grady looked around at the lush, quiet greens around us, releasing a long sigh. I could tell he was debating trusting me with her secret.
“Okay,” he finally responded, “But what I tell you must stay between us. If this gets out, I’m fucked.”
“I promise.” I swore, automatically raising my hand to indicate my sincerity.
“Amy is a lesbian.” He almost whispered the words to me. “Back when I was still having sex with women, I once got lucky and entered into a three-way with Amy and a girl I won’t divulge the identity of. The other girl was into my dick, but Amy was only interested in the chick.” I was stunned silent, and didn’t know how to proceed.
“Look, as involved in the church as you are, anything short of video evidence of you engaged in a sexual act with another guy would be easily dismissed by just about anyone in town. That’s not true for me. I needed to cover my ass. That’s all there is to me and Amy.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about your arrangement with Amy?”
“Honestly, I didn’t think you needed to know that I was feeling insecure about our relationship. I also didn’t think it would come back to bite me in the ass. Now I realize I should have told you.”
My mind was spinning. I was even more confused now that I had Grady’s side of the story. At first, I wondered who I should believe, while knowing I wanted to believe Grady. That, of course made the situation even worse. Grady’s side of the story freed him from guilt, but it made me guilty of cheating on him with Tyler. I turned away from him, stumbling a few steps and threw up my lunch at the base of a tree.
Grady rushed to my side, placing a comforting hand on my shoulder. I pulled away from him. I didn’t deserve his sympathy and couldn’t handle the touch of his hand. Tears began welling up in my eyes.
“Carter, please don’t pull away from me.”
“I cheated on you,” I sobbed. The tears flowed like a river of remorse. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and my skin grew cold. He took me into his arms and held me for a long time, allowing me to get myself together before speaking again.
“We’re good, dude,” he whispered when my sobs started to subside, “This whole thing with you and Tyler has been hanging over our heads from the beginning. But I’m not stupid. I knew that if you ever had a shot at banging Tyler, you would.”
“That’s not true,” I corrected him, my voice croaking, “If I had known everything, that what he told me wasn’t true, I wouldn’t have been so easily seduced.”
“Really?” he smiled. I nodded. “That’s so sweet. I don’t believe a word of it, but it’s sweet of you to say.” I punched him playfully in the chest, eliciting a short giggle. “Look, when we started out, I had already had sex with lots of girls, and a few older women.”
“Too much information,” I warned.
“Shut up and listen,” he scolded me softly, raising a finger to my lips. “I suggested our gentlemen’s agreement so I could continue having sex with those lucky gals, but then I fell in love with you and realized it was just you I wanted. But you were a virgin when we started fooling around, and there was this guy out there who was your be all and end all of what made you happy to be a gay man.
“When I asked you to be my boyfriend, I knew he was my only real competition for your affections. I also knew that if you felt about me how I feel about you then when you finally had sex with Tyler, you’d come to realize that he’s just another piece of ass. Just as I did with all those who came before you. And I mean that literally.” He gave me a wink.
“So, I resigned myself to give you a free pass with Tyler. A free pass you just cashed in, for your information.” His voice made it clear there were no other free passes coming my way. “Unless your night with Tyler was so mind blowing that you would rather be with him than be with me, we’re good, as far as I’m concerned.”
“Really?” I was having a hard time believing he was really okay with my having sex with Tyler.
“Absolutely. It’s no different to me than it would have been if you had fucked him before we decided to be boyfriends. That was your part of the gentlemen’s agreement. I had hoped you’d get him out of your system before we became exclusive, but better late than never. As long as it’s finally over and done with and you can give your heart completely to me, I’m okay with it.”
“I love you, but we’ve got to get better at telling each other everything.”
“Agreed,” he smiled, then moved in for a kiss. I stopped him.
“You probably shouldn’t do that,” I warned him, “I did just vomit.”