Jason announces to his family that he’s gay.
His sisters and his father tell him that it doesn’t make any difference,
they love him regardless of whether he’s gay or straight or whatever.
But what about his mother? Can she come to accept that her son is gay?
This chapter includes discussions of gay and straight sex, and when and why it’s a bad idea for young teens.
The Tennis and Swimming Get-Together started to wind down around five o’clock, and people started getting ready to head home. Marcus was the first. He walked up to where Jason and Ron were standing.
“Hey, guys, I’m gonna truck. I have to do some chores at home, mainly watering the plants. My mom thinks using drip irrigation isn’t as good as doing it by hand. Thing is, I don’t really know what I’m doing so I just give them all enough water that the dirt or planting mix or whatever looks wet. I guess it works, I haven’t killed any plants yet. So, I’m gonna change and walk home. It’s not that far from here, and the weather is fantastic. If I don’t see you when I leave, I want to tell you what a great time I’ve had. On my way out I’ll say thanks to your moms and the other moms who are here.”
“Thanks, Marcus,” Jason responded. “I’m glad you were able to come over today. And it looks like you and Leshawn are becoming friends.” All three guys grinned.
“I think you set this up so Leshawn and I could get together. And even if that wasn’t the reason, thanks for doing it. I really like Leshawn, and he seems to really like me, too. I’m going to spend my walk home thinking about him, and smiling the entire time.” Marcus smiled. “I’ve never smiled so much in my life!” he said as he left.
A few minutes later Leshawn and Kevin walked up. They said their goodbyes and thanked Jason for hosting the Get-Together. “I think you and Kev planned this whole thing to get me and Marcus talking and discover that we’d like each other, right?”
Jason pretended to zip his lips, then he started to laugh. “I’m just a little matchmaker, me!” he said in a singsong voice, “and Kev, too. I’m glad you and Marcus seem to hit it off.”
“Man, we really did. He’s so easy to talk to, and he’s such an interesting guy. I can see that we’re going to be best friends and more.”
“I had a great time too, guys,” Kevin told them. “I wish I lived down here permanently.”
“We wish you lived here permanently too, Kev,” Ron told him. “You two should work on it. Kev can work on convincing his folks that he can’t switch schools, and Leshawn can work on convincing his folks that Kev should stay here and live with them.”
“That sounds like a plan,” Leshawn said. “All I have to do is convince Kev to do his part.”
“You don’t have to convince me of anything, cuz. I’ve already started talking up how good the teachers are at Hillcrest High compared to Beaverton High to my folks, and how it’s helped my grades improve.”
“Have your grades improved?” Jason asked.
“Absolutely. I’m going to have mostly A’s this semester. I was mostly a C student in Beaverton. And it’s not because the classes are easier here. I think they’re as tough or tougher than Beaverton.”
“My mom’s waving at us, Kev,” Leshawn said. “Let’s get our stuff before she starts yelling at us.”
With that the cousins said goodbye to Jason and Ron and left.
The twins were the last to leave. They were almost jumping up and down about how much tennis they were able to play compared to getting on the courts at Alhambra High on weekends.
“Oh, man, what a great tennis court!” Larry told Jason. “It’s a lot more fun to play a few matches without the pressure of other people staring us down because they want to use the court.”
“I can’t blame them,” Art added, “we do the same thing when someone else is on the courts and they play more than one match.”
Steve walked up and joined them, and Larry continued, “The best thing was meeting up with Steve. We haven’t seen each other since elementary school, and we were best friends back then. Now we’re going to be able to see each other more often.”
The twins had their gym bags with them, and they went into the house to find their mother. That left Steve, Jason, and Ron standing together.
“Let’s get this stuff put away,” Steve suggested.
“Thanks for volunteering,” Jason told him. “Why don’t you bring the chairs to the pool house and stack them inside. Ron, you and I can bring the leftover food inside and get the tables cleaned off. Then we can fold the legs and put them inside the pool house. Then the three of us can walk around the yard and see if anything was left out here by accident.”
They got started. There was little food left over, but that there was anything left surprised Jason. He and Ron got it inside where Jason’s mom took care of getting it into the refrigerator. When Steve finished with the chairs he checked the two cooler chests. There were a few cans of soda left, so he set those aside.
“Jase, where should I dump the ice and water out of these chests?” he asked.
“There’s a deep sink in the laundry room. Let me give you a hand.”
They had the cooler chests emptied, dried, and put back in the garage. While they did that, Ron had the tables broken down and ready to carry into the pool house. He and Steve did that, and Jason moved the lounge chairs back to where they were usually kept at one end of the pool.
Jason turned off the pool heater and returned the pool cover to its closed position.
The ‘walk-about’ — which is what Ron called the walk around the yard — found a few minor pieces of trash and one empty soda can. “The guys kept the yard neat and clean,” Jason commented when they walked into the house.
Betty looked out the kitchen window. “It looks great, guys, just like there hadn’t been anything going on out there today. Thanks for cleaning it up so thoroughly.”
Linda Graff, Steve’s mom was there, sitting at the kitchen table.
“Steven, let’s go into the living room and have a little chat about your sleepover, okay?”
Jason saw Steve’s expression. He didn’t seem happy about this ‘little chat’ his mother wanted to have. They left the room, and he and Ron sat down at the kitchen table.
“Are you two going to want anything to eat tonight? It seems that you had a lot to eat today. Aren’t you full?”
“Aw, mom, that was early when we ate. I’ll be ready for dinner like normal and I think Ron and Steve will, too.”
Ron nodded his agreement. “Besides,” he said, “we’ve been playing tennis and swimming, then we packed up everything and stored it away, then we cleaned up the yard. So that exercise used up our lunch.”
“I think the do-it-yourself salad was a success,” Betty remarked.
“It sure was,” Jason replied. “There was almost nothing left.”
Betty chuckled. “I noticed that as I put the leftovers in the refrigerator.”
“What was left?”
“Some wings, which surprised me, and a little of the salad fixings, mostly olives and cherry tomatoes. But there wasn’t any of the pizza left, and no avocado either.”
“It was great,” Ron said, “did you get to try it?”
“No, unfortunately. But we can get pizza anytime we want it.”
“Did you have lunch, mom?”
“Yes, I had a salad, the lettuce and some of the fixings that we had too much of like olives and tomatoes, and some artichoke hearts and avocado. It was very good. Do you think your friends enjoyed themselves?”
“Absolutely!” Steve said as he walked into the kitchen. “I know that I totally enjoyed myself. And all the other guys did too, and I know that because I asked them.” He looked at Jason and grinned.
Steve’s mom had followed him into the kitchen. “I hope you’re not planning a big dinner, Betty. Are you?” she asked.
“Well, I queried Jase and Ron and they said they’ll be ready for a regular dinner tonight.”
“Where do they put it? My mother would always say boys have a hollow leg. I believe that now that I have a son of my own,” Linda said.
“Well, don’t think it limited to boys. My daughter Jen has a bigger appetite than Jase,” Betty countered. “I suppose it’s because she’s on the tennis and cross country teams. She needs to replenish her fuel, especially during cross country season.”
“Steve likes to swim and play tennis, but he isn’t on any teams.”
“Is Steve a fussy eater?” Betty asked.
“Mom!” Jason interrupted. “You’re doing it again, talking about us when we’re right here. Just ask Steve himself what he likes and doesn’t like to eat.”
“Sorry! That’s not very courteous of me. Steve, we’re having a tri-tip roast for dinner. Is that okay?”
“Sure! Mom used to get tri-tip at a meat market near where we lived in Sacramento. I love beef. I like it on the rare side of medium rare.”
“The market Steven’s talking about is Repler’s. It’s a chain headquartered in Santa Maria, the home of tri-tip roasts. Theirs is wonderful, and I’ve been looking for a market around here where they barbeque tri-tip.”
“Mom, we’re going to go upstairs.”
“Okay, I’ll call you when dinner’s ready.” She turned to Linda. “Lunardi’s Market roasts tri-tip on a huge outside grill just like they do in Santa Maria. But I cook my own….”
The sound of his mother’s conversation faded as they walked upstairs, and ceased when Jason closed his bedroom door. “Parents! We need ‘em, but man, sometimes!” he commented.
“I’m surprised your mom didn’t yell at you for interrupting her,” Steve said.
“Back when I was in sixth grade my mom would talk about me when I was right there in the room and it bugged me. So one day I told her how I thought it was impolite for her to do that. She agreed, and said when she did it I can interrupt her. She normally remembers not to do it, but sometimes she does do it so if it bugs me I interrupt her, like today.”
“My mom would never let me do something like that in front of others. She’s very much into protocol. How about you, Ron?”
“My mom would never do it. She’s a child psychologist, so she’s very sensitive to stuff like that.”
“I’m going to take a shower and change,” Jason announced.
“Me too,” Ron added. “How about you, Steve?”
“Okay. I feel kind of grimy from playing tennis.”
Jason and Ron both started undressing, but Steve stood there, his eyes opened wide, like a deer caught in headlights.
“Are you going to shower together?”
“No,” Jason replied, “but we’ll all go into the bathroom together and shower one after the other. That way we can talk about, whatever.”
“Uh… I don’t know, we’ll be naked?”
“Well, yeah, unless you shower with your clothes on. Come on, you shouldn’t be embarrassed by seeing other guys naked. You see it every day when you shower in PE.”
“But that’s different.”
“Exactly how is that different?” Of course, Jason knew exactly why this was different for Steve. It was part of his plan to make Steve more at ease about being gay and increasing his self-confidence.
Steve was blushing. “But… what if I get, you know… embarrassed.”
“You mean if you get a boner?” Ron asked. “Shit, I get them all the time. Don’t worry about them and eventually you won’t get them unless you’re in a situation where you want to get one.”
“Me too. We’re guys. We’re wired that way. So don’t sweat it,” Jason added.
Jason, now naked, got clean boxer-briefs, a T, and board shorts out of his dresser. Ron, similarly attired, got a similar set of clothes out of his gym bag.
Steve continued to stand there, just looking, blushing so much that Jason thought he could glow in the dark. Finally, he shook his head.
“Screw it, if you can’t fight ‘em, join ‘em. My dad says that.” With that he stripped naked, got a similar set of clothes out of his gym bag, and stood waiting for whatever would happen next, holding his clothes in front of him.
“The bathroom’s right across the hall. It’s big, and there’s a shower and a Jacuzzi tub and the rest of the stuff that’s standard in a bathroom. Let’s go.”
Once they were in the bathroom, with the door locked, Jason looked at Steve.
“You’re the guest, you can shower first. Or you can use the Jacuzzi if you want.”
“I’ll shower if it’s okay.”
“Of course it’s okay. You’re first.”
Steve was greatly relieved. This way he would be able to be dressed, at least in what he brought in the bathroom with him. That meant he’d be able to view Jason and Ron au naturel without becoming noticeably embarrassed, though he realized that would be hard to control. He stepped into the shower and found the hot water felt great and was good for cleaning, but when he turned it to cold water afterward it helped improve his control problem.
After they were all showered and dressed they decided to play a video game. Jason had an Xbox 360 with three controllers and a big flat screen TV.
“How about Forza 4?”
“I’ve never played that. What is it?” Steve asked.
“Car racing, but not a shoot-em-up car racing game, a realistic racing game with fantastic cars. I have three sterring wheel controllers. We can start in one of the easy modes since you’ve never played it before. That’ll let you get a feel for the track. It’s a blast.”
They went through a couple of learning cycles for Steve. First, how to play the game. Second, how to use the steering wheel controller that made the game easier to play and much more realistic.
About an hour later they were interrupted by Jason’s dad who called them to dinner.
“Okay, let’s shut down and put this stuff away,” Jason told Steve and Ron. “We have to talk about being a gay guy at Hillcrest High after dinner. Maybe we can play again next weekend.”
“How about tomorrow morning?” Ron asked.
“Sorry, I can’t,” Steve replied. “I have stuff to do in the morning, then I’m going to the game in the afternoon. And I’m rooting for Hillcrest.”
“Oh, that’s right, you went to the eighth grade at Cathedral, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, for about one semester. I hated it, a bunch of cliques and homophobes. At the end of eighth grade I transferred to Hillcrest. I’ll be glad to root for Hillcrest and against Cathedral. I hope I see some of the kids from Cathedral so I can rub it in just a little bit when we wipe the court with them.”
“Remind me to never get you mad at me!” Ron said, feigning fright.
That made Steve laugh. “As if!” he retorted.
They boxed up the controllers and the DVDs for the game and Jason put them away.
“If you didn’t already guess it, Jase is a neat freak,” Ron stage whispered to Steve.
“So am I,” Steve stage whispered to Ron. That made Jason laugh out loud.
“Okay, let’s head downstairs and have dinner,” Jason announced. “Oh, I’ve gotta warn you, Steve. You’re going to get the third-degree inquisition from my folks. It’s something that parents do. It sucks, but there’s nada that we can do about it.”
“No problema. My folks do the same thing, so based on experience I’ve learned the right responses.”
Because it was a warm evening, Tim decided they’d eat on the patio. Steve looked at the table and saw it had already been set for dinner. He nudged Jason’s arm.
“Shouldn’t we have offered to help set the table?”
“No, Jen and Thea set the table and helped Mom get dinner ready. We get to clean up after,” Jason replied.
They sat down and Tim said grace, and they passed the food. Tim had cut the tri-tip roast into half-inch thick slices, and there was enough for everyone to have what they wanted, with four left over. There were also baked potatoes, carrots and green beans, and a green salad.
While they ate their meal the promised inquisition got underway. Betty started the questioning.
“So, Steve, what do you like to do when you’re not busy with schoolwork?”
“When we lived in Sacramento I used to go hiking a lot. My dad and I went backpacking in Yosemite and Lassen National Parks. That was fantastic. I read a lot. I have a tablet and use the Kindle app and download free science fiction books.”
“How do you like living here?”
“It’s nice. Not as hot as Sacramento which is a really good thing. And no Tule Fog.”
“What’s Tule Fog?” Thea asked.
“It’s a dense ground fog that we had during the winter. It’s not very thick, maybe twenty feet from the ground up, sometimes less. But when you’re in it in the daytime the sun shines into it and it’s so bright you really can’t see something that’s right in front of you. There are accidents with like a hundred cars. It’s what I hated the most about living in Sacramento. The school bus would be late because of the fog and we’d still get yelled at for being late to Homeroom or first period.”
“They wouldn’t give you a late pass?” Ron asked.
“Yeah, but we’d get yelled at anyway when we gave the late pass to the teacher. They said we could see if it was foggy and we should leave home earlier. As if there was an earlier bus, which there wasn’t. That was totally unfair.”
“Man, I sure agree with that,” Jason said, shaking his head.
“I wonder what they’d do at Hillcrest,” Ron commented.
“I know already,” Steve said. “I take the county transit bus to school when my mom or dad can’t take me. The bus broke down, and the driver gave the kids on the bus late passes. When I got to school I went to the office and showed my late pass. They stamped it and said to give it to my first period class since I’d missed Homeroom. I went into Spanish 2 and handed Ms. Grimbauer my late slip and took my seat. No problems.”
“What’s your toughest class?” Ron asked.
“Biology. Part of it being tough is that I have it seventh period. By seventh period I think I’m half asleep.”
Jen sat up and stared at Steve. “You have seventh period Biology?”
“With Mr. Carter?”
Jen glared at Steve. “I hate you!”
Steve looked partly confused and partly scared. Jason didn’t blame him. Jen could be very scary.
“Uh… why? What did I do?”
“I have Ms. Mateo for Biology. Seventh period. I couldn’t get into Mr. Carter’s class because it was full. You are in the seat in Mr. Carter’s class that I should have been in!”
Steve looked across the table at Jason. Jason was obviously trying hard to suppress a grin. “What’s going on, Jase?” Steve asked.
“Okay, let me tell the story,” Jason replied. “Jen had Biology seventh period. She had Ms. Mateo who’s a terrible teacher…”
Jen interrupted, “She’s not a teacher. She’s a witch. Go on, tell the story, Jase.”
“So anyway, Jen tried to drop Ms. Mateo’s class and get into Mr. Carter’s class but it was full. So she’s going to drop Biology and she’s going to take it at the Community College this summer and get both high school and college credit. Right, Jen?”
“Jen,” Tim interrupted, “I think you owe Steve an apology. I think you scared him.”
“I’m sorry, Steve. I didn’t mean to scare you. But I still hate that you’re in the Biology class that I wanted.”
“Don’t forget, Jen,” Betty told her daughter, “by taking the class at Community College you’re going to get college credit as well as high school credit. By doing that you won’t have to take a biological science course once you go to college, you’ll have your 5 units already.”
“Shhh!” Jen stage whispered to her mom, “Don’t let Steve know that I’m better off doing it this way.”
“Jase, is your sister always like this?” Steve asked.
“Nope. Sometimes she’s mean.”
“I’ll get you for that, Jase!” Jen growled, then she started laughing. “I don’t really hate you, Steve. It’s just that I should have been smart enough to find out about Ms. Mateo and what a terrible teacher she is in advance.” Jen continued to tell Steve and her parents what it was like taking Biology from Ms. Mateo, and her approach to not teaching the subject.
“Why don’t they just fire her?” Steve asked.
“They can’t,” Jen replied. “She has tenure. One of the students, Gary Larson, got signatures from all but two students in her classes, and those two didn't sign because they were out sick. The petition asked that a new teacher be assigned to take over her classes, but Mr. Brockton said there wasn’t anything he could do this late in the semester. Gary asked if a teacher’s assistant could be assigned to her classes to watch what was going on, and Mr. Brockton said there wasn’t any budget for that. Gary said he’d talk to his dad. He’s on the school board. Even that didn’t faze Mr. Brockton. So we were screwed.”
“Jen, language,” Betty admonished her daughter.
“Sorry, but I’m calling it as we all see it.”
“Let me ask my dad if there’s anything he can suggest,” Ron offered. “He knows some of the administrators at the school district office. I’ll let you know what I find out.”
Jen smiled at Ron. “Thanks! You got me hooked up for the summer session Biology class, maybe you can do something to get Mateo off her fat behind and actually teach, or even better send her out to pasture early and get someone who knows how to teach biology take over her classes.”
Steve was pleased that all of this discussion had terminated his inquisition and more and potentially embarrassing questions. No one else seemed to notice, and that was just fine with him.
Three slices of tri-tip is a lot of meat, but the three boys and Jen each polished off their three slices. Tim had two slices, and Betty and Thea each had one. That left four slices.
“Uh, Mom, is it okay if I have another slice?” Jason asked.
“Certainly. How about you, Ron? And Steve?”
Both boys grinned and nodded. That left one slice which Jen stabbed with her fork and transferred it to her plate. She smiled sweetly, and said, “Me too!”
After dinner the three boys cleared the table and the kitchen. They put the dishes in the dishwasher and hand-washed and dried the pans since they didn’t fit in the dishwasher. After they finished Jason turned on the dishwasher and they went upstairs.
Jason closed his bedroom door. “I don’t want anyone interrupting us,” he said.
“Can’t you lock it?” Steve asked.
“No, there aren’t any locks on the bedroom doors except for my folk’s. But when any of our doors are closed that means ‘Do Not Disturb’ and even my folks won’t open the door and come in without knocking.”
“Same in my house,” Ron added.
“Oh. My bedroom has a lock, but my folks have a key,” Steve told them.
“We have three places to sit. My desk chair, the side chair, and my bed. Steve, why don’t you take the bed? Just take your shoes off first.”
“Okay.” He slipped his shoes off and put them on the floor next to the bed. Ron took the side chair, leaving the desk chair for Jason.
“We’re going to talk about being gay. No sex talk, this is more about what it’s been like for me and Ron, and for other kids we know about. You can ask any questions you want. We won’t answer questions about sex, though.”
“Humph,” Ron uttered.
“That means you too, Ron.”
“How’s he going to learn about that sort of thing, Jase?” Ron asked.
Steve laughed. “I already know about that part of being gay. And no, I haven’t done any of it with anyone else, but I do have a computer and I do go on the internet and I do go on gay porn sites. So we don’t need to get into the mechanics of how to do gay sex.”
“Rats! This isn’t going to be very interesting, then,” Ron muttered.
“Maybe not for you,” Steve responded, “but it’s going to be very interesting for me.”
“Why don’t we start by having you ask us questions,” Jason suggested.
“Okay.” Steve started laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Jason asked him.
Steve bit his bottom lip and shook his head. “I can’t tell you.”
“Why not?” Ron asked. “This is supposed to be an open discussion, nothing held back. Except sex stuff.”
“It’s something that just came into my head. We were saying that we wouldn’t talk about sex, and…” Steve giggled, “I wanted to ask you how to do a… you know…” He put his thumb in his mouth. “It was supposed to be a joke, because of how you said we wouldn’t talk about sex, and maybe not a very good joke. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it after everything we said, and it made me laugh.”
“See, this is going to be about gay sex!” Ron exclaimed.
“No it isn’t!” Steve and Jason said simultaneously.
All three boys laughed about the taboo subject. After they calmed down, Jason said, “Okay, we’ve had our bit of humor to break the ice. Let’s start talking about Steve and being gay and looking for a gay guy to be friends with and being less shy and have more self-confidence. Okay?”
Steve and Ron agreed, and they got started.
“First,” Jason said, “let’s talk about why you don’t believe that you look straight. Why do you think that way, Steve?”
“Look at me! I look like I’m twelve years old, I look like a little kid. That makes me look gay.”
“How old are you?” Jason asked.
“Hmm. Steve, stand up and turn around, slowly,” Ron asked.
Steve stood and slowly turned all the way around.
“Do you see what I see, Jase?” Ron asked.
“Uh, what do you see?”
“I’ll show you. Hang on a minute.” Ron slid open Jason’s closet door and stepped inside. He pulled out a pair of jeans and a gray denim short-sleeve shirt. Then he went to Jason’s dresser and pulled out a black T with an abstract pattern on the front in cyan.
“Okay, Steve. Time to strip to your boxers.”
“You heard me, strip to your boxers. I’m going to do a makeover in the way you dress. You and Jase are close to the same size, you’re just an inch or so shorter, so his stuff should fit you okay.”
Steve unbuttoned his plaid shirt, slipped off his Rockport shoes, and pulled off his tan khakis. “Okay, what’s next?”
“Here, put on this black T, then Jase’s jeans, then this shirt, but don’t tuck in or button the shirt.”
Steve did as Ron directed. When he was finished Ron looked at him and smiled. He slid the mirrored closet door closed.
“Turn around and look at yourself in the mirror,” Ron directed.
“Wow,” Jason said looking at Steve, first his front view in the mirror then his rear view where he stood. “You look great, Steve.”
“I don’t believe it. I like it. I look older, don’t I?”
“That you do, my man, that you do!” Ron told him. “No offense intended, but you were dressed like a nerd. Khakis, a white T, a plaid shirt tucked into your pants, and you’re nerd city. And I forgot those Rockport’s and plaid socks. Now, let’s see if a pair of Jase’s shoes will fit you. That will complete your new look. Those Rockport’s are fine for more formal stuff like visiting your grandparents, but they don’t cut it for school. Those plaid socks aren’t ever good. You need solid color socks, but never white ones when you’re wearing those Rockports.”
Ron returned to Jason’s closet and rooted around looking for a pair of shoes. He pulled out a pair of Nike Flex Trainers in black with black laces and a cyan blue toe kick, interior, and collar.
“Here, put these on. Oh, wait.” He went to Jason’s dresser once again and brought out a pair of gray Nike socks. “Take off those plaid socks and put these on instead, then see if you can get into Jase’s trainers.”
Steve put on the socks and trainers. “The Nike’s are a little loose, but damn, I look so different!”
“You look normal, straight, and hot, my man!” Ron said.
“I agree,” Jason told Steve. “You need to go shopping and get new clothes and shoes. What are you doing Sunday afternoon?”
“Nothing special. We’ll go to church in the morning, then I have the rest of the day to do whatever.”
“You think you can talk to your dad about needing new clothes, and get him to give you his credit card?”
“I don’t need to; I have my own debit card.”
“Does it have a limit?”
“Well, yeah, it’s a debit card. It’s limited to how much is in my account. My dad transfers my allowance into my account each week. I think there’s about five or six hundred.”
“Whoa, that’s a lot of money! We’ll go shopping Sunday. Is that okay with you?” Ron asked.
“Absolutely,” Steve replied. “I’ll need to get my parent’s okay first.”
“How about you, Jase?”
“Anytime Sunday afternoon is good for me. Tell you what, lemme take a couple pix of Steve in my clothes so he can show his folks what he’s going to look like. Let’s go into the hall. The wall is off-white so it’ll make a good backdrop. We can post them on his Facebook page. Is that okay with you, Steve?”
Steve grinned and nodded his agreement.
Jason grabbed his digital camera and they went into the hall. The best way to take the pictures had Jason standing just inside the bathroom and Steve standing at the wall, almost but not actually leaning against it. Jason took about a dozen shots, with front, side, and back views. All three were very pleased. Steve did look hot, and straight, and very today compared to his typical geeky look. Jason could tell that Steve’s self-confidence had already improved, a lot.
Ron got Jen and Thea out of their rooms and they checked out Steve’s new way of dressing.
Jen grinned. “You are very hot, Steve. You’ll have all the girls clamoring to go out with you. And some of the guys will be clamoring to go out with you too.”
“You think?” Steve asked.
“I think,” Jen replied.
“Steve is gay?” Thea asked. “He sure looks straight to me.”
With all this admiration, Steve grinned non-stop.
Ron nudged Jason. “Good start,” he whispered, “you think?”
“I think! You’re a genius!” Jason whispered back, and Ron grinned at the compliment.
“Let’s go down and let your folks see Steve and get their opinion. It’s good to get some adults to approve what we’ve done and his folks to preapprove Steve going shopping on Sunday.”
“You mean get the adults to approve what you did, Ron,” Jason said.
“Whatever. Let’s go downstairs now.”
Betty and Tim listened to Ron’s explanation of the makeover. They agreed that Steve looked very good dressed the new way, and were careful not to make any comments about how he’d looked before.
“I want to go shopping and buy some new clothes Sunday afternoon, and Ron and Jason said they’d go with me. What I need to do is convince my folks that I should dress in jeans and color T’s and wear athletic shoes. Mom buys my clothes, and she doesn’t know much about what kids at school wear. Until this year I went to Catholic schools and we wore sort of a uniform, the same things every day. I think she’s trying to get me clothes that are like what I wore at St. Mary School and at Cathedral High.”
“You’re Catholic?” Betty asked.
“Uh huh. We go to St. Stephens Church.”
“Maybe we’ll see you there Sunday morning. We’re going there to try it out because the Monsignor and priests at St. Mary’s Church are not gay-friendly. They make Jason feel very uncomfortable.”
“Oh, St. Stephens isn’t that way at all,” Steve said. I think you’ll like it. We usually go to the ten o’clock Mass. Which are you going to?”
“We planned to go to the ten o’clock Mass as well. So we will see you there.”
“Maybe you can help me talk my folks into letting me buy clothes like these that Jason wears. Except for the waist of the jeans being a little big and length a little long, I think they look real good on me.”
“Tell you what,” Betty said, “if it’s okay with Jase you can wear what you have on tomorrow morning and when your folks come to pick you up you can show them that what you want to buy is like what you’re wearing.”
“It’s fine with me,” Jason told Steve. “I think I have some jeans in my closet that are a little smaller. They don’t fit me anymore, they’re a little tight in the waist and a little short. If you don’t mind second-hand clothes you can have them.”
“That would be great. I don’t care if they’re used. Once I wear something the first time it’s going to be used anyway.”
Jason grinned. “I want my T and shirt and Nike trainers back, though. You can keep the socks.”
“No problem, Jase. I appreciate what you’re doing loaning me these clothes anyway. We’ll wash them and I’ll give them back to you on Sunday.”
“Jeez, don’t bother washing them. Just give them back. I don’t mind your sweat.” That caused all three boys to burst out laughing. Tim and Betty looked at each other and shook their heads.
“Teens,” Tim said. “Are they always this weird?”
“Absolutely,” Betty replied.
When the three boys got back to Jason’s room and shut the door, Jason held up his camera.
“Steve, let’s put some of these pix on your Facebook page.”
“Go ahead and sit down at my computer and log on to Facebook. Then let’s take a look where they can be posted and which of your current pix should be removed.”
It took about ten minutes, with some discussion about which pix should be deleted, to finish updating Steve’s Facebook page.
“I like it,” he said. “You know, I really look geeky in those pix that I deleted, don’t I.”
“I’d say nerdy,” Ron responded.
“It doesn’t make any difference what you looked like before, now you look straight and hot. And no arguments, right?” Jason stated.
“Absolutely no arguments,” Steve agreed.
“You know what’s missing?” Jason asked. “A pair of jeans that fit you better.” With that, Jason went into his closet and rummaged around in the back. After a minute or so he returned with three pair of jeans.
“Try these on, Steve. Whichever ones fit you can have.”
All three were a better fit for Steve than the pair he’d put on earlier.
“These are still a little big in the waist and maybe a half-inch too long, but I’ll probably grow into them.”
“Hmm,” Ron said, walking around Steve and staring at the pair he tried on last. “I would have thought they’d be too big in the seat. Ya know, Jase has kind of a big butt. That’s why he can’t wear these anymore.”
Jason jumped Ron and wrestled him onto the bed. He got Ron’s belt open and was trying to pull his cargo shorts off. “Big butt? I’ll show you a big butt!” he shouted.
They rolled around on the bed, and even though Ron was bigger and stronger than Jason, Ron could tell that his cargo shorts were coming off despite his efforts to keep them on.
A loud knock on the door stopped the action.
“Uh, yes?” Jason asked, somewhat out of breath.
“Keep it down in there or we’ll have to separate the three of you!” Tim hollered.
That generated giggling from the three boys as they heard Tim walking downstairs.
“Okay, let’s get on with our discussion about what it means to be a gay guy,” Ron said, hoping to deflect Jason’s successful attempt to remove his cargo shorts and briefs which were now around his knees. It didn’t work for Steve, who enjoyed the view. He’d never been this close to a guy whose dangly bits were on display other than in the showers at school and earlier in the shower here at Jason's house. In fact, since the display was so close he had no reason to stop staring. As a result, Steve started panting and found breathing somewhat difficult.
“Down, boy!” Ron said, pointing at Steve. Then he started laughing, and so did Jason. All Steve could do is blush and become very embarrassed.
Ron pulled his briefs up and adjusted himself, then pulled up his cargo shorts and fastened the belt.
“See, I told you, this is about gay sex!” Ron exclaimed.
Jason whacked Ron on his butt. “Let’s get serious. We planned this to help Steve learn about being a gay guy like you just said.”
“Okay, okay. Where do we start? Steve, what do you want us to start talking about?”
“How do I find a friend who’s gay?”
“Ah, the question of the ages that gay guys ask,” Jason responded.
“Alright, let’s start with some statistics,” Ron announced. “First, I’ve read that ten percent of the male population is gay. I’ve also read that it’s five percent and that it’s fifteen percent and that it's three percent. I don’t think anyone really knows. There’s lots of reasons the numbers are so different. First, how do they know a guy is gay? They have to ask and hope the answers are truthful. Lots of gay guys don’t want anyone to know that they’re gay, and they don’t trust polls, so they lie and say they’re straight. Some straight guys want to mess with the poll so they lie and say they’re gay. Some guys are bi, and in a poll where the only choices are ‘I’m straight’ or ‘I’m gay’ who knows how they answer.”
“And,” Jason continued, “when you’re in middle school just about the last thing you want to do is seem gay. So if you are gay, how do you find someone else who’s gay when everyone is lying or hiding? Use gaydar? No one knows if there’s actually such a thing. But there probably are cues that you can pick up from a guy who’s gay, so that’s probably how the idea about gaydar got started. The thing is, if you misinterpret a cue you might be outed or slugged or laughed at. Maybe all three. So, you’re probably wondering, how did Ron and I figure that we were gay and tell each other?”
“It’s an interesting story,” Ron said, taking over from Jason. “We did it the hard way. We became friends. We had a couple classes together in the seventh grade and I decided I’d like to be his friend. So I chatted him up. You know, sit next to him in class and chat about the class, or whatever sport was on TV then, or about how horrible the lunches were, just whatever. We hit it off right away, and I guess it was what… a week?” Jason nodded his head in agreement, “And we ate lunch together and we planned to go to a movie on the weekend. I really liked Jase, and I think he liked me.”
“I liked Ron and could see him as a best friend. I was positive he was straight. I was positive that he could not be gay. That would have been amazing, but being friends, and maybe best friends, was more important to me than finding someone who was gay. Ron didn’t look gay, didn’t act gay, he was just a really nice guy. We became best friends. We did everything together. Ron’s folks said we were attached at the hip. Then in the eighth grade we were playing some video game and started arguing about it, all in fun, and then we started wrestling and I was on top of Ron and he was so hot I had to kiss him.”
“When Jase kissed me I can remember letting out a big sigh. I’d been dreaming about kissing Jase and here we were, kissing. He pulled back and I was smiling and I took a deep breath and I put my arms around him and pulled him to me and we kissed again and again. I told Jase, ‘I love you’ and he told me ‘I love you too’ and now here we are.”
“That’s all good,” Jason said, “but what do you do to get to that point where you and another guy become boyfriends? What else can you do to find gay guys? Well, how about going to the GSA meetings? Ron and I do that. Probably half the kids there are gay, that’s a guess because we don’t know. You don’t have to tell whether you’re gay or straight and most kids don’t. Anyway, that improves your chances to meet some kids and make some more friends, some who might be gay. Next, how about asking around to find out who’s gay and out? You might hear rumors, and some of them are true, like the rumor about Doug Lin and Mike Nakamura. How about sitting at a table at lunch that has gay kids who are out and straight kids too? Ron and I did that and now we have a bunch of new friends. That’s how we met some of the guys who came to our Get-Together today. You can join in, just look for us. If you can’t see us look for a tall kid with red hair, that’s Todd Brooks. He’s one of the guys that’s part of our lunch group. Next, how about talking to other kids you now know are gay like Kevin and Leshawn and Marcus. Ask them for suggestions about how you can meet other kids, regardless of whether they are gay or straight.”
“Remember this,” Ron added. “Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean that all of your friends have to be gay. Just like they don’t have to be males, either. Some of the gay kids in the GSA are girls. Yes, girls can be gay. They are called lesbians, but the girls we met here hate that word and want to be called gay, just like guys, just like us. And, of course, they could be straight. Remember, it’s the Gay-Straight Alliance.
“Now, about my favorite subject, gay sex.” When Jason started to say something Ron put up his hand with his open palm facing Jason. “What I say to that is: don’t. What I mean is don’t hook up with guys to have sex. I know you want to have sex, but think about it in terms of boy-girl relationships. Regardless of all the lies you hear in the locker room, when a guy goes on a date with a girl, most of the time they’re not going to have sex. Girls don’t want it because of the chance of getting pregnant and getting an STD, a sexually transmitted disease. You can kiss, and once you’ve gone out with a girl for a long time you can even do some petting, you know…”
Steve interrupted Ron, “Yeah, I know what petting is.”
“Okay, and for the same reasons guys shouldn’t want sex the first time they date either. So the question is, ‘when’? Jase and I made a promise to my folks that we wouldn’t have sex until we were in college. It’s been hard, and you can laugh at that but I do mean it both ways. We’ve strayed maybe a couple times. But here’s the answer to my ‘when’ question. First, you and the other guy need to be friends, then best friends, then finally boyfriends. Second, you’re serious about being with each other. You are partners. Finally, you’re old enough to understand the consequences of what you’re doing. So every time that little head in your pants starts pressing you to have sex, kiss your boyfriend and take a cold shower.”
Steve started laughing. When he finally stopped he explained. “I was laughing because when we all showered before dinner I had a problem with my little head and turned the water on cold to see if it would calm things down. I’ve read about cold showers and now I can say, it works, it really works!”
Ron and Jason laughed. “Good experiment.”
“What’s next?” Steve asked. “Can I ask some questions? I have lots of questions!”
“Sure,” Jason replied. “Ask away.”
“Okay. Jase, how are we going to sleep tonight? I mean all in the bed, me in a sleeping bag and you and Ron in your bed, or me and Ron in sleeping bags and you in your bed?”
“That’s a good question. I figured that if everyone is willing we’ll all sleep in my bed. It’ll be a bit crowded, but it’s a queen size bed so it should work. If you’d rather, we do have sleeping bags. Or there’s a guest bedroom down the hall. What do you prefer?”
“The all-in-one solution,” Steve replied. Ron nodded his head enthusiastically.
“Okay, one rule. Briefs or boxers or whatever and PJ bottoms. There will be no sex, capisce?” Jason stated.
Both Ron and Steve replied, “I understand.”
“Okay, now I have a question for you, Steve,” Jason said. “Tell us about the little assignment I had you do this afternoon.”
And that’s how the rest of the evening progressed. Steve told how he found it easier to talk to the other guys at the Get-Together, and learned a lot about being a gay guy at Hillcrest High, the names of some guys who were out who he could talk to, the location of the table where they usually got together for lunch, more about the GSA, information about PFLAG and how it helped Jason’s mom learn how to accept a gay son, and that answer led to Jason telling the story about his mom and going to the counselor, and lots more. It continued after they had dessert downstairs with the Phillips family, then they went back to Jason’s room, got ready for bed, and got into bed. The discovered that three fourteen-year-old teens sleeping together in a queen size bed wasn’t conducive to a restful night’s sleep. But finally all three fell asleep and most likely had interesting and perhaps exciting dreams.
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