PAIN III, Chapter 2: Nerves Are Tested, by Pete


This chapter opens with Glenn making another entry in his journal…

Dear Invisible Friend,

This is great news!  Mike and I were introduced to another gay guy yesterday!  His name is Ethan Cruz, he’s 16 and a junior.  We’ve only seen him at lunch and only twice, so we don’t really know much about him.  I’m sure more will follow.

Stopping by Jason’s house yesterday was fantastic!  I can’t believe that Mike and I did that again!  I mean, we go off every day after lunch just so we can talk a bit more freely and without having to worry about who sees us, but going skinny dipping with Mike and Jason and Alex is just so… I don’t know… exhilarating?  Yeah.  Exhilarating.  Neither Mike nor I would consider ourselves exhibitionists, but after a few minutes, being nude in the pool just seemed so… so normal.  Jason offered to let Mike and me shower the chlorine off, but I think both Mike and I thought that might lead to more…  So we decided to just get dressed and leave.

Jason and Alex seem to be falling deeper and deeper in love.  Yeah, I know, just like Mike and me.  Speaking of Mike, today is his birthday.  I talked with Mom and she said she’d be happy to get him a present, since I really suck at buying gifts.  I mean, how can I be gay and not have a shopping or gift-giving gene?  I know, right?  I’m going to take Mike to the mall today, like we did on my birthday, and I’ll buy his lunch, just like Mike did for me, but after that, I’m not sure.

Well, that’s all for now, Invisible Friend.  I’ll write more soon.

Glenn closed his notebook and put it all the way back on the top shelf in his closet, hopefully away from prying eyes.  When that was done, he stripped and walked to his shower to wash for the day.  After showering, toothbrushing and hair combing, he walked back to his bedroom to dress.  It had been years since his father walked in on him and now he always remembers to lock the door to his basement ‘apartment’ as soon as he enters.  At least it was Dad who walked in on him… and he wasn’t doing anything.  He was just on his way to the shower and when his dad saw him, he averted his eyes until Glenn wrapped his towel around his waist.  Glenn smiles about it now, but at the time, it was the worst thing that had ever happened to him.  When he got upstairs to the kitchen, Glenn’s dad was eating his breakfast.

“Glenn,” he said, “I told you that we were going to have guests coming in next month.  Some of the plans have changed.”

“Oh?  Can’t they make it?” Glenn asked.

“No, they’ll be here, but now they’ll be staying with us.”

“Do we have the room for three visitors?”

“Sure,” his dad said.  “Pete will be staying in the guest room and the boys will be sleeping on the foldout couch in your living room.  You’re all guys, so that should be fine.”

“But Dad, what about my privacy?” Glenn implored.

“You’ll be fine.  You still have the door on your room.  If anyone should complain, it should be Mike and Tim.  They have to sleep out in the open on a foldout bed.”

As Glenn tried to make his case for his privacy, his dad got up and stood behind him, rubbing his neck.  Suddenly, Glenn could see his father’s point.  He apologized for complaining.  Glenn’s dad was always able to convince people to do things his way.


= = =


Glenn showed up at Mike’s house at the ungodly hour of eight in the morning.

“Good morning, Ms Whalen, is Mike up yet?”

Maggie shakes her head.  “You think that Mike would be up at eight on a Saturday morning?  And your parents told me that you don’t do drugs.  He’s still sleeping.  Don’t break anything or I’ll sue.”

“Haha!  We’ll be good.”  And he quietly climbed the stairs.  When he entered Mike’s room, Mike was facing away from him in a fetal position.  He stealthily crept to Mike’s bed and, after taking off his shoes, he climbed in with him.  As he wrapped his arm around Mike, he went for the prize.  Mike was sporting wood.  Glenn stroked it a few time and Mike woke up.

“Happy birthday, Mike,” he whispered in his ear.  Then they kissed.

“Glenn, I love what you’re doing to me, but if I don’t get to the john in a hurry, we’re both gonna get wet.”  And with that, Glenn jumped back and Mike rolled out of bed and grabbed his robe to cover his nakedness for the walk to the bathroom.  In a few minutes he returned and Glenn took him in his arms again and gave him another birthday kiss and grope.

“Mike, go take a shower while I let your mom feed me.  I’ll meet you downstairs in twenty minutes.”

With a final kiss, Mike walked back to the bathroom and closed the door.  Glenn put his shoes back on and he heard the shower running as he went down the stairs.

“Hey, Ms Whelan, what’s for breakfast?”

“Pigs in a blanket and fried eggs.  You take your eggs over easy, right?”

“You know me too well.  Hehe.  Do we have to save any for Mike?”

“Normally, no, but since this is his birthday, he can have some.  Glenn, would you set the table please?”

“No problem.”  And he set three places at the kitchen table.  “Ms Whalen, I see you have coffee.  Would you like a glass of milk too?”

“No thank you, Glenn.”

In a matter of minutes, the table was set, two glasses of milk were poured and Glenn was sitting at the table drooling.

Ten more minutes passed and as Glenn was finishing his first helping, Mike came bounding down the stairs and into the kitchen.

“Happy birthday, Mikey.”

“Thanks, Mom.”  And he hugged his mother as she kissed his cheek.

When Mike sat at his place, Maggie served him a double helping of pancakes, pork sausages and eggs.  Glenn got his second helping as well.

“What are your plans for today, guys?”

Glenn answered.  “We’re going down to the mall to wish our parents were millionaires.”

“Glenn, you and Mike need to wish a bit harder… it’s not working yet.”

“OK, Ms Whalen, we’ll see what we can do.”

“Glenn, ‘Ms Whalen’ sounds so formal.  Why don’t you call me ‘Maggie’?”

“Are you kidding?  Dad would have me kneeling on broken glass as my penance if he ever heard me call an adult by their first name!”

“Hehe!  Well, what if you called me ‘Aunt Maggie’?”

“Aunt Maggie?  I think I like it!  I don’t have any aunts or uncles.  Mom and Dad were only children.  I’d like that, Aunt Maggie.  Now let’s hope that my folks like it too.”

“Don’t worry about them.  It’ll be fine.  Have fun at the mall… but I don’t want any calls from Carlos.”

“Yes ma’am,” they said in unison.

As they rode their bikes to the mall, Glenn was telling Mike about his unexpected guests.

“I’d be ticked off if my mom brought in strangers from out of town.  Is there any way you can get him to change his mind, Glenn?”

“But Mike, why is it a problem?  They’re only going to be here for a week.  Assuming they’re straight, they’ll have it a lot worse having to sleep in the same bed.”

“Nah.  You and I slept in the same bed a lot of times and it didn’t bother us.”

When they arrived at the mall, they locked their bikes and went inside.

“Mike, how did you figure out what to get me for my birthday last January?”

“It was simple.  I told my mom I couldn’t think of anything and she got your present.”

Glenn went into a laughing fit.  “Mike… last week I asked Mom if she could think of anything to get you.  She told me not to worry and said that she’d get with your mom and figure something out.  Now’s your chance to score big in the gift department.  Drop some hints to your mom.”

“Hahahaha!!!  Why the heck didn’t you tell me this last week?  I wondered why Mom was so curious!”

They check in at the food court to see who’s there, and as they’re walking up to get a Coke, someone calls them.  As they turn, they see their new friend.

“Hey, Ethan!” Glenn calls out.

“What’s up, Ethan?” Mike asks.

“Not much, I’m just waiting for a few friends to show up.  Get your stuff and come join me.”

The boys get their order and walk over to Ethan’s table.  They notice that Ethan seems a bit nervous.  “Ethan, who are you waiting for, a bill collector or something?” Mike asks.

“Haha.  I wish is was that easy!  Actually, after meeting you guys and Jason and Alex, I decided that I really should find someone too.”

“Oh?” Glenn says.

“Yeah.  I’ve been chatting online with some gay guys for a little over a month now, and I found a few guys who said they were in the Tucson area, so I suggested that we meet up here at around noon.  Three of the guys said they could do it, so now I’m waiting for them.”

“Gay guys, you say?” Glenn asks.

“Yes.  Do you guys want to stay and wait with me?”

“Sure, it’s only 11:30 now, so the guys still have time to make it.  Is that why you’re so nervous?”

“Not really, Mike.  I found out that one of the guys who said he’d like to meet me is Ryan.  He’s the guy I had an argument with a couple of days ago.  We were all using screen names and I didn’t know until we sent pictures and our first names to the chat room that it was him.  Then he PMed me and said he’d be here for sure.  Now I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.”

“Whoa!  That sucks.  Did you have a chance to back out of the meeting?”

“I think I did, Glenn, but when Ryan said he would be here, I didn’t want to seem like I was chickening out.  I just hope the other two guys show up as well.  At least this is public enough.”

“Well, do you want us to leave or something?”

“Mike, I think I’d rather have a known friendly face here for a while.  What’s been going on in your lives lately?”

“Today is Mike’s birthday.”

“Happy birthday, Mike!”

“Glenn, please don’t embarrass me.”

“OK… What else is happening?”

“The same old stuff.  We just wanted to get out of the house for a while.  It’s kinda hard to talk freely at home, even though our parents know that we’re gay.”

“I’m sure that straight or closeted guys have it just as bad, Glenn.  I don’t think any guy wants to speak freely while his parents are within earshot.”

“Yeah, I suppose you’re right.  Oh.  Ethan.  Here come a couple of guys now.  Could they be on your waiting list?”

Mike saw a couple of guys walking towards the food court and they seemed a bit nervous.  Ethan glanced that way, making sure he appeared to do so nonchalantly.

“Yeah… that’s Travis and Jake, two down and one to go.”  Then Ethan turned towards the guys and waved them over.

After quick introductions, Glenn and Mike again asked Ethan if they should leave.  Ethan looked over to the other two and they both shrugged.

“It looks like you guys are still welcome.”  Then looking towards Jake and Travis he asked, “What’s up for this summer?  I think my folks are driving to Disneyland, but I have to get a job if I want to have money for college.  Dad is paying my tuition, but I’ll need a few bucks for room and board if I go to ASU.”

“Why did you pick ASU instead of the University of Arizona?” Mike asked.

The three older guys started to chuckle.  “Mike, when you go to college, it’s best experienced away from Mom and Dad.  So even though the U of A is right here, most of your classmates will opt out of going there.  Phoenix is close enough that you can go home to get clean laundry, but far enough away to discourage Mom and Dad from visiting.  Hehe.”

“Oh!  I never thought about that.”

“Neither did I,” Glenn added.

Travis spoke next.  “I think the ‘rents are going to Cancun.  They already told me that I have to stay home and take care of my brother and sister.  At least I’m getting paid for it.  My brother and sister are old enough to take care of themselves, so all I really have to do is make sure there are no wild parties and that nothing expensive gets broken.  Oh yeah… and I have to make sure that the house doesn’t burn down.  Hehe.”

“How old is your brother?” Jake asked.

“Haha!  Don’t even think about it, you pervert!  Tommy is straight and fourteen.  He also takes Karate lessons.  He’ll be a freshman in September.  Lisa is twelve.  She’ll be going into seventh grade.  Part of the babysitting job is making sure that they don’t lose their virginity… or at least make sure no one gets pregnant.  Haha.”

Now it was Jake’s turn.  “Mom said she was going to ship me off to visit Dad this summer, but Dad is always traveling, so that might not be too bad.  I’ve been with him in London, Paris, Munich, Berlin, Moscow, Beijing, Auckland and Sydney so far.  I wish he’d get sent to Hawaii pretty soon.  Hehe.”

“That’s sweet!” Mike said.  “Your passport must not have any empty pages left!”

“It’s getting there.  What about you guys?  What are you doing this summer?”

“For me that’s pretty easy to answer,” said Mike.  “Mom said we can go to Disneyland and Hollywood in early August.  I guess that beats the heck out of staying here for that week.  Hehe.”

“No kidding, Mike.  That’s one of the hottest months here,” said Ethan.  “What about you, Glenn?”

“Well, this year, vacation is coming to us.  A friend of my dad’s is coming with his two sons.  I’ve never met them, but Dad said I’ll like ‘em.  The sons are around our age, so at least that part is good.  I don’t think I could take having to babysit for a couple of ten-year-olds.  Hehe.”

“That sounds great!  Now if only they could be gay.  Haha!  But what are the chances of that happening?” Jake asked.

“If we can believe what they say, it’s about a one in ten chance,” Travis answered.  “That’s way better than the odds for the lottery.”

“Hey, everybody!  Call off the search party; I made it!”

Everyone turned towards the new voice and saw that Ryan had arrived.

“Ryan!  Welcome, dude!  I think you know everyone except Glenn and Mike,” said Travis.

“Hi, Ryan, I’m Glenn.”

“And I’m Mike.”

“Oh sure… I’ve seen you guys around school.  And Ethan, I really owe you an apology.  I can’t believe what an ass I’ve been.”

“What’s this all about?” Jake asked.

“It’s nothing, I think it’s been taken care of already,” Ethan said.

“Thanks, Ethan, but it really is not ‘nothing’.  I was a total jerk.  Guys, I suspected that Ethan was one of the guys from the chat room and I teased him and called him ‘homo’ and ‘fag’ and worse.  The problem was that only I knew I was kidding and every time I said something to him, it had to bother him.  I wasn’t aware that he didn’t know I was from the chat room too.”

“Ryan,” Jake said, “What the FUCK were you thinking?  Were you even thinking?  Ethan already told us that he was NOT out and you started calling him names when he had no idea who you were?  Can you imagine how he must have felt?”

“Jake, it’s OK…”

“No, Ethan, it’s NOT OK!  That was idiotic!”

“Jake is right, Ethan.  I wasn’t thinking.  I guess my jock mentality took over and I lost all my common sense.  I don’t know how to make it up to you.  I got here an hour ago, but it took me until now to work up the courage to face you and the others.  If you want, I’ll go.”

“Don’t be silly, Ryan.  Stay,” said Ethan.

Ryan pulled up a chair next to Ethan.


= = =


As Glenn and Mike were riding their bikes home a couple of hours later, they were discussing the events at the food court.

“I still don’t understand how Ryan could have been so stupid as to tease Ethan for being gay when he was gay as well.”

“Mike, I think it really was from his jock mentality, like Ryan said.  Think about all the dumb prank videos we see on YouTube.  Most of them are cruel to the target of the prank, but we still laugh at them.  It gives me a better appreciation for the feelings of others, that’s for sure.”

“When you put it that way, yeah, I think I can understand what Ryan was doing… but he was still an asshole for doing it.”

“No kidding.  Hey, do you think my dad told his visitors about the heat in June?  Hehe.  June and July are the hottest months in Tucson.  I hope these guys aren’t wusses.”

“Why is everything about YOU?!?  This is MY birthday!  Hahaha!”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah… Happy freaken birthday… AGAIN!  But seriously, my sex life will be coming to an end!”

“Glenn, you said ‘coming’.  As for your houseguests, we’ll find out in a month and a half.  Hehe.”

Later that evening, Maggie held a birthday party for Mike, and naturally Glenn and his parents were there.  As the Taylors entered, Dave and Amy said hello to Maggie and Mike, and Glenn said hello to ‘Aunt Maggie’.  Dave raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.  It looked as though he approved of the name.

When the presents were opened, it turned out that Glenn (via Mom) got Mike a Diamondbacks jersey and baseball cap.


= = =


Monday at lunch, the boys found a new person at the lunch table… Ryan was sitting with Ethan and Jason.  Alex showed up a few minutes later.  After they ate their lunch and were getting ready to leave, Ethan and Ryan asked them if they knew of any secluded places where they could walk.  Mike and Glenn smiled and nodded.  The four boys walked out together.

“What the heck is going on, Jason?”

“I think something happened over the weekend.  It looks like Ethan has a boyfriend – Ryan.  I’ll read them tomorrow and let you know what I find out.  What else is going on?”

“Well, finals are coming up, but I’m not worried about them.  How about you?”

“I can’t remember the last time I had trouble on a test.  I think it’s a side effect from being able to sort through the memories that I download.  That might be helping you too.  When I upload memories to you, you seem to be able to sort through them easily enough.  That might be why you do so well on your tests.  Not only do you know the answers, but you know where you stored them, so it’s easier to find them during a test.”

“Interesting theory.  I bet there must be some truth to that.”


= = =


Both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have passed and school is out for the summer.  On the morning of June 19th, Mike arrives at Glenn’s house at 10:30 and is greeted by a very nervous Glenn.

“Glenn, calm down!  You’ll have a heart attack!”

“I can’t help it, Mike.  I keep seeing my life passing before my eyes.”

“Come on, stop being a wuss.  Everything will work out fine.  What time are they arriving?”

“Tim and Mike are due at 12:30.  Their dad won’t be here until tomorrow.  He has some kind of business meeting that he has to go to tomorrow morning, so he’ll fly in after that.”

“Well, that’s kinda good.  We’ll have a day with them before their dad arrives.  You can take the meet-and-greet in smaller doses.  What time are we going to pick the guys up?”

“Dad wants to get there by noon… just in case the plane arrives early.  He was following the flight on line and it seems to be on time.”

“OK, so we’ll leave at eleven?”

“Yeah, probably…

At noon, Dave Taylor, his son Glenn, and Glenn’s boyfriend Mike, walked into the domestic luggage claim area at Tucson International Airport.  They held a sign that said, ‘Welcome Tim and Mike’.  The plane was on time, so they had at least thirty minutes to wait.  The plane landed at 12:32 and within minutes the overhead signs updated with the carousel listed for Mike and Tim’s flight.

When the passengers started entering the luggage claim area, Glenn and Mike held up the sign.  They saw a couple of teens pointing at their sign and broad smiles covered the strangers’ faces…

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