I, honestly, don’t know what Jared’s problem is this Summer. I mean, are we best friends or not?

Ever since the seventh grade, he’s gotten increasingly…’weird’ on me. Not all the time, but…in general, things just seemed to go a different way for some reason. Then we started high school, and now he’s prone to moments where it feels like he couldn’t be more distant from me if he tried. There were actually times when I started to wonder if we were even best friends anymore. Or friends at all, for that matter. Like…why won’t he call me? Why won’t he spend time with me? Sometimes, it’s almost like he’s mad at me for something that I didn’t even do. And I can’t understand it for the life of me.

Jared lived across the street from me since we were little, but we didn’t officially meet each other until we both joined the same Cub Scout group at our local church. Everything about him was so amazing. And he would swear that everything about ME was equally as amazing. Jared and Dylan. Dylan and Jared. We were a team. I mean, after our third scout meeting, we were already laughing hysterically at each other’s jokes, texting well into the late hours, playing co-op video games online almost every night, and getting together to hang out almost three or four times a week…homework, be damned. We were just a natural fit for one another. It was like ‘magic’ how we got along so well so fast. You know?

But that was a year or two ago, and I guess we’ve grown up a bit more. We’re Boy Scouts now…leaving the baby cubs behind. Learning new stuff, going on camp outs further away from home…it’s just a more mature experience, I suppose. I still felt this really close connection with him…but I felt like his connection with me was quickly beginning to fade. It’s just this gut instinct of mine that tells me that he’s not all that into me anymore. Which sucks, because…truth be told…I always thought that Jared was kind of cute.

Hell, the whole reason that I approached him to be friends in the first place was because I had developed this instant crush on him. I don’t think I was aware of it at the time, but…thinking back on it? Yeah. I fell hard for him the moment that I looked into those deep light brown eyes and saw the glimmer of his silver braces reflecting the halogen lights in the basement of that old church. I didn’t realize how hard my heart was beating for him until it actually became too hard for me to breathe. I didn’t realize how infatuated I was until it became nearly impossible to speak to him directly without feeling dizzy in the head. Or…how urgently I’d have to stop wrestling with him once I started getting hard. Having him on top of me and holding and humping and grinding and rolling around…yeah, I could only take about thirty seconds of that before I started to worry that I’d have an accident. That would make for a huge wet spot that I doubt I’d be able to explain without losing him forever.

But my boners are a little bit more under control these days, right? I mean…I can hold it. I think. Well, better than I could at 12 or 13, that’s for sure.

Yeah…Jared is as close as I’ve ever been to true love at this point in my life.

Which makes this ‘at arm’s length’ treatment from him hurt even more than it probably should. Especially out here at Summer camp.

Enter…the enemy.

Ugh! Jonah Morris joined Troop 96 about three weeks ago…and don’t think that I didn’t notice his boy model good looks from the second he stepped foot into that basement with the rest of us. He’s like…too good to be true. I hate him. I really do. And it’s not like he’s a bad person. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. He’s like…one of those upper class suburban boy beauties that fits the typical definition of the upper class suburban boy beauty! The kind of boy that your girlfriend or boyfriend fantasizes about while they’re kissing you on the mouth. Young, beautiful, smart…the boy that everybody wants to be friends with. Everything that he does and everything that he says gets just a LITTLE more attention from the rest of the world than anybody else could ever hope for. Just because he’s super cute. With his longish blond hair flopping all over his pretty face like that. It’s so not FAIR that he gets to be…’special’ because of his looks. You know? He was just born special.

What sucks most of all is that Jared seems to have been greatly affected by Jonah’s black magic glamour spell, and it feels like he now enjoys his company more than he does mine. WHY??? It’s not like I did anything wrong. And it’s not like Jonah did anything right. Jared just seems to gravitate towards him more and more whenever they’re together. And now…we’re on this Summer camp adventure together…and while I thought that Jared and I would, naturally, get a tent together this Summer…he decided to get a tent with Jonah instead.

That was like a knife in the heart to me, to be honest. Why him? Fuck! I mean, going all goofy over the sexy blond boy with the flawlesss body and undeserved charismatic punch…it all just seems so damn CLICHE to me! How could Jared fall for something like that? It’s so lame that he likes him so much.

I felt like our friendship was breaking apart. The first time? We were assigned tent mates so we could all get to know each other. But this is the third time that he chose to share a tent with Jonah over me…and it just sends a clear message that he’d rather be friends with the popular kid than he would with me. I swear, this is the last time I plan to bother. I can find other friends too.

So…what now? Do I just…ignore this dreaded feeling of us being pulled apart? Is he moving on to a new friendship? Should I find someone else to spend time with? Or eat lunch in the cafeteria with? Or just…sigh over before I go to sleep at night?

Honestly…am I supposed to just develop a crush on someone else now before he leaves me behind to break my fall? To soften the blow?

I’m not exactly sure how this sort of thing works.

I probably never had a chance anyway. Jared doesn’t seem even remotely gay to me. He never did. I knew that he’d be interested in girls, but my heart wouldn’t listen to logic. I wanted him anyway. Jared was all I thought about, day and night. I’ll bet Jonah doesn’t gaze longingly into his eyes during an extended conversation. I’ll bet Jonah can resist the uncontrollable urge to stare at Jared’s butt every time he thinks he can do it without getting caught. They probably talk about girls all the time…and that’s something that Jared and I will never have in common. How am I supposed to compete with that? What can I do to relate to a boy who likes girls when I just…can’t share in the excitement?

I almost wish that I didn’t like him so much, just so I could be closer to him without falling apart. Then again…I don’t know if I want to let go of the love I have for him, or trade it for something less fascinating. A big part of me likes recognizing the beauty of his smile. The sight of his long, lanky, legs in a pair of shorts. Of the way he blushes sometimes when he stumbles over his own words. Hehehe…who would I be if I had to give up this intense infatuation for the boy of my dreams? And yet…if I don’t give it up…I remain distant. Discarded. Alone in the dark without a shining light to bring me hope.

You never think that love is going to be this difficult to figure out until it happens to you. Then…you’re just kind of on your own.

Some of our younger scouts were learning how to use the kindling we picked up around the trees to start a fire for lunch, and those of us who had been around for a while were basically free to do whatever we wanted in the meantime. Sure, we were supposed to be picking up and keeping the campsite area clean, but let’s be honest…we’re in the woods. As long as we aren’t littering the ground with soda cans and candy wrappers…this is about as clean as it’s going to get.

I see Jonah and Jared sort of standing at the edge of the camp…all to themselves. They’re giggling at one another, but I can’t hear what they’re talking about. See…this would be easier to take if Jonah was one of those boys with a pretty face, but turned out to be an awful person on the inside. Or if he was dumb as a rock. Or if he was a Grade A narcissist with no personality to speak of. But, of course, I wasn’t that lucky. Jonah was actually witty, and fun, and he had a good heart. I can’t tell you how much it turns my stomach to have to say ‘thank you’ to that guy several times a day for having him help me out or be nice to me in some random way. It’s frustrating! I don’t want to THANK him! I want to clobber him over the head with a shovel and bury him out in the woods somewhere so I can have my Jared back! That’s what I want.

And what are they laughing about NOW??? What’s so funny? I’d seriously like to know what Jared seems so tickled about.

I couldn’t quite find the strength to ignore it. Instead, I pretended to casually ‘wander’ over to where they were goofing around with one another…and I sort of put this fake grin on my face to see if maybe they’d be willing to let me in on the big joke, you know? Jared and Jonah saw me getting close, and they grinned at me. “Hey, guys…” I mumbled nervously.

“Hey, Dylan!” Jonah said, cheerfully. Psh! As if I was even talking to you!

“What’s going on? It looks like you guys were having fun.”

Jonah said, “We were just cracking a few jokes, that’s all. Killing the time.” Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP!!!

“S’up, Jared?” I said, specifically to him this time.

“S’up?” He smiled. Awww, he has such a cute smile. Braces and all. If anything, I almost don’t ever want him to get his braces off. He’s one of those boys that just looks cuter with them on. You know the type.

“Hey…” I said…again. Why did I greet him again? That was dumb. Jared makes me so DUMB!

“Hehehe, you feeling ok?” Jared asked.

“Oh. Yeah. Sure. I’m a little tired, that’s all. I don’t think I slept too well last night. My tent partner, Steven, snores like a wounded pig at a tractor pull, so…” Both Jared and Jonah laughed at the coment, and I thought, ‘YES!!! SCORE!!!’

But it wasn’t meant to last.

Jonah, with his energetic glow, said, “Hey, I’m gonna run to the cooler and grab a Coke or something. Do you guys want one?”

Jared was quick to say, “Heck ya! The Sun out here is roasting me alive.”

“Sweet. How about you, Dylan?” Jonah asked. I felt conflicted. He’s being ‘nice’ to me again. And when I didn’t answer right away, I noticed that Jared turned to look at me too. “Come on, dude…I know you want one. Ice cold cola on a sunny Summer day? Whaddyasay?”

“Yeah. Sounds good.” I said, my brainwashed manners adding, “Thanks, Jonah.” Arrrgh! I HATE him soooooo MUCH sometimes!

And that’s when he left to go back to the center of camp where the cooler was. I couldn’t help but to look at his butt. I don’t know, it’s sort of become this weird habit of mine. If you’ve got a really cute face, then I’m curious to see if your butt will match. And…sighhh…it does. It totally does. I know that there’s got to be something wrong with that kid, I just haven’t found out what it is yet.

Jared and I were left alone for the time being, and you’d think that it would provide the perfect opportunity for us to reconnect without Jonah’s blinding spotlight stealing his attention away from me every ten seconds. But, if I had to be honest…it was one of the most awkward moments of my life. I fidgeted, and I stared off into space, and I was silently praying for Jonah to come running back to us to take the pressure off. All this time, Jared and I have been as close as two boys could possibly be…and now, there’s this weird barrier between us. I mean…WHY CAN’T I THINK OF ANYTHING TO SAY?!?!?!

“You know, that mac n’ cheese that they made in the mess hall for the meeting was pretty good. Right?” I said, attempting to break the silence.

Jared nodded. “Yeah. Pretty decent. Though I’m pretty sure it’s just that stuff from out of the box though.”

“Oh…right.”

“I doubt they have a gourmet chef in the mess hall trying to whip up special meals for the rest of us. Heh…” It was a short chuckle that he gave me. Almost out of pity from the sound of it.

“Doesn’t mean it’s not any good.” I smiled.

“Very true…” He replied. Then…back to silence. Ugh! C’mon, Dylan! You’re more interesting than this! Say something else. Ummm….um um ummm….

“Say, you remember that assassin movie that we used to watch on DVD a few years back? That one with the badass guy with the crossbow?”

Jared smiled again, the sunlight reflected in that stunning metallic display. “Oh yeah. I remember that. What was it called? It was, like…’Ashes to Ashes’ or something like that?”

“Yeah! Something like that.” I said, excited to get him talking again.

Then he asked, “What about it?”

Shit. I guess I should have thought of a way to follow up a fun memory with a conversation of actual substance, huh?

“Oh…well, nothing.” I said. But tried to recover by saying, “I just…I was thinking about it, and I was hoping to find another cool movie like that. Maybe we could get together one of these weekends before the Summer is over and find something good.”

It looked like his interest was already waning. In fact, he sort of looked away from me, and he said, “Yeah. Maybe. I’m sure there’s gotta be some good ones out there.”

“Of course. You know…somewhere.” I said. But as Jared lifted his head a bit, seemingly searching for a reason to avoid indulging me while simultaneously looking for Jonah to come back to us…my heart just seemed to sink down into my stomach. The painful beat of it making me nauseous from within.

Jonah came back to us, and it was like the light had returned to Jared’s face all over again. I really had lost him, hadn’t I?

“Here you go, Dylan. I made sure to get these from the bottom of the ice. Extra cold.” Jonah smiled, handing me one of the coldest soda cans I think I’ve ever felt before.

“Thanks, Jonah…” Arrghhh!!!

I looked back at Jared for a brief moment, and then I just sort of shrugged my shoulders…making some weird excuse about being tired or whatever…and I walked away to leave them to their little two-man party. I could even hear them talking and giggling again before I was even fully out of ear shot.

What is Jonah doing that I’m not capable of doing? What the heck are they talking about? Why is he so cool and I’m just so…boring all of a sudden?

It was something that bothered me for the rest of the night. Through the late night campfire, and our dinner at the mess hall, and all the way up until the troop was ushered off to bed for the evening. I, honestly, stopped even tying to be a part of whatever it was those two had going on as friends. I just stayed away from them. Making no contact at all. Not only because it seemed to be utterly pointless, trying to wedge a crowbar between them with my mindnumbingly mundane social skills…but because, deep down, I was hoping that Jared would notice my absence. I was hoping that he’d look over and see how miserable and alone I felt, and he’d invite me to come join them for a while. Or maybe…maybe I just wanted to ‘punish’ him by ignoring him the way I felt like he was ignoring me.

Butt you know what?

Neither one of those things happened.

Jared and Jonah kept laughing and joking around and never gave me a second thought. The most I got from Jared was a few seconds of mistaken eye contact from the other side of the campfire. And it made me ache inside like you wouldn’t believe. I’m not even enjoying this Summer camp anymore. I just want to go home.

When I went back to my tent that night, Steven tried talking to me a bit more, but…as nice a guy as he was, our personalities didn’t really mesh, you know? Or maybe I was just in a shitty mood. Who knows? Luckily for me…or perhaps unluckily for me…Steven had been worn out from the trail hike we took this morning after breakfast, and he’s one of those people who can fall into a deep sleep in the blink of an eye. So…the snoring started up again, and I was left in my sleeping bag, staring up at the ceiling of my tent…trying to swat away the hurt with thoughts of anything else outside of what Jared and Jonah must be doing to entertain each other tonight.

I’ll just bet that they’re not anywhere near being asleep yet. Jared and I used to stay up until the middle of the night all the time. Even when we had that first sleepover at my house, my mom had to actually get mad at us before we agreed to call it a night. And even then…we stayed up for another hour or two anyway.

I tossed and I turned. I ached and I moaned quietly to myself as my stomach folded itself over and over again…wishing that I could understand what made Jonah so much more appealing to my favorite boy than I was. And when the pain got to be too much for me to handle, I unzipped my sleeping bag, put on some shorts and a black t-shirt, and pulled my shoes on with no socks. I just…I HAD to know what they were talking about. I had to know what made Jonah so goddamn special. Maybe I can find out how to get Jared to think about me again.

I would say that I carefully crept out of my tent so as not to be heard…but lets be honest…Steven’s snoring sounded like ten death metal CDs all playing at once at full volume…so what’s the point of being sneaky?

Jared and Jonah chose a little spot a bit further back in the woods than the rest of us. Our Scoutmaster said that it was fine as long as all tents were visible from the fire pit. It’s sort of a rule. But I knew where it was, and I could easily find it in the dark. So I made my way across the campsite and I was careful not to let anyone hear my footsteps as I got closer to their tent.

The moon was half full tonight, but without the city lights blocking out its brilliance, it provided me with enough of a night light to navigate easily through the tree roots and fallen twigs beneath my feet. I don’t know why I felt so nervous about this, but as I heard a few quiet giggles coming from their direction…the butterflies in my stomach went wild. It made it a little hard to breathe, honestly. But I was extra cautious as I moved to get closer. What are they giggling about? Seriously. This is bothering me.

I could see the dim illumination of Jared’s flashlight on one side of the tent, and I got about as close to them as I thought I could without being heard.

They were talking in low whispers, so I couldn’t make out every word, but I did hear Jonah say, “You want another Twizzler? These are so good. I think they made this particular package better than the rest. I swear.”

Jared answered, “No! Hehehe! And I wish you’d finish that one. I don’t wanna be tasting Twizzler gummies all night.”

“What are you bitching about? You’re not even undressed yet.” Jonah said, making my ears perk up. Then there were a few other whispers that I couldn’t hear, followed by a few more boyish giggles and what sounded like a little wrestling between them.

Then…things got quiet.

Really quiet.

No movement. No whispers. No giggles. Nothing.

Then…a few smacking noises. Like…licking your fingers or something. Or like…like…

I took a few secretive paces forward, now leaning against a tree just outside of their tent. This was about as close as I was going to get. Any closer, and they’d hear me for sure.

And that’s when I heard another smacking sound or two, and Jonah whispered, “I bet you like the taste of that Twizzler now, don’t ya? Hehehe!”

Were they…???

Were they kissing each other???

I heard Jared giggle in a way that I had never heard before. And then the smacking noises continued. This time, the sound was unmistakable…especially when I heard some more movement, and a tiny moan from the back of Jared’s throat.

And that was it. The ultimate heartbreak. A complete and utter decimation of my entire emotional state as I knew it. They were kissing. Jonah and Jared…they were kissing. I couldn’t see them. I couldn’t see anything! But the sounds that I overheard coming from inside that tent were enough to devastate me on a level that I had never been prepared to protect until it was too late.

Why Jonah??? Why??? Oh God! This hurts so much! I couldn’t even CRY, it hurt so much!

Their lips parted, and Jared whispered, “Are we just gonna make out all night or are you gonna get naked already?”

“Don’t get bossy with me, Mister.” Jonah answered, and they both started giggling sweetly at each other, sharing another kiss before I heard more shuffling from inside the confines of their tent. I could hear belts being undone, zippers being unzipped, and the slide of clothing as it was pulled down their coltish legs and tossed to the front of the tent where they wouldn’t be in the way.

Jonah was naked in there.

My Jared was naked in there.

And I was stuck out in the darkness of the woods…all alone…wondering if I’d have the will power to survive the crushing blow that this whole situation was dealing to me at that moment. If Jared liked boys…why not ME? I would have gotten naked and made out with him in a tent all Summer long if he thought I was worthy. Instead…he chose Jonah.

Oh god…there they are. The tears are coming now. Hold it together, Dylan. You’ve got to be strong right now.

“Come here…” Jonah whispered, and they went back to quietly kissing one another. I could barely hear them this time. It must have been really slow. Really intimate. A lover’s kiss. Except, now they were naked, so I could only imagine how hard and excited they were. I knew they had to be rolling over one another. I think Jared liked being on the bottom, because I would hear the cutest little whimper from him whenever it sounded like Jonah was on top. I’ll bet he had both hands on that perfect butt of his. I’ll bet his squeezing it and kneading it and pulling his boner against his as they humped each other on top of his sleeping bag.

It might have only been a few minutes, but it seemed like an eternity to me. The kissing, the moans of pleasure, the sliding of Jonah’s smooth, flawless, skin against my Jared…the touching…the rubbing…the grinding…every second of it made me want to vomit up puddles of pure hurt and betrayal. But I was too close for me to leave now. Even though I wanted to shut my ears and stop listening…even though I wanted to run away into the night and throw myself off of the highest hill that I could find, drown myself in the nearest creek, or…at least find a decent place to bawl my eyes out in private…I couldn’t move. If I tried to leave, they’d hear me. And something tells me that getting caught…catching them…would be more humiliating than anything in the world right now.

So I was stuck. Stuck listening to my best friend, the first and only boy that I’ve ever loved, kissing another boy naked. Can you even imagine what a sledgehammer to the chest that is? I never felt so low.

I had to wipe a stray tear away from my cheek, but it only led to more…and it caused me to sniffle quietly to myself.

Suddenly, Jared whispered, “Shhhh! Wait…did you hear that?” I held my breath, wiping my nose off on my shirt.

“No. I didn’t hear anything.” Jonah whispered back.

“Ok…” Then I heard Jared say, “I’m gonna suck you now, k?”

“Oooh, baby. Ain’t you sweet?” Jonah snickered, and Jonah laughed right along with him.

More movement. A naked teen body re-positioning itself on the slick surface of a sleeping bag, and then silence. Then very subtle sucking noises. Then a light groan from Jonah as he enjoyed the sensual seduction of my best friend’s lips sliding up and down on his rigid shaft. They’ve obviously done this before. More than once. They were in sync with one another in a way that just screamed that they were practically a ‘couple’ at this point.

Jared probably looked at Jonah the same way I looked at him when I first met him in Scouts. He’s probably feeling all of the things for Jonah that I feel for him. And if he had the courage to actually go for it, while I hesitated and hid my feelings, afraid to tell him how I feel…how can I be angry at him? If Jared wasn’t the love of my life, and Jonah had secretly offered me his incredibly hot body every night at Summer camp…would I have the strength to turn him down? Somehow, I doubt it.

God….I fucking HATE that guy!!!

“Ackkk! Dude! You’re braces!” Jonah gasped.

“Oh. Sorry.” Jared went back to sucking him, and I could hear every heartbreaking slurp of him pleasing his number one dream boy.

A minute or two later, Jonah twitched again. And then a third time. “DUDE! Hehehe!”

WHAT???”

“Be careful with that twisted metal, Jared!”

They both grinned at each other, and Jared said, “I’m trying. They’re kind of ‘attached’ to my teeth, you know? Hehehe!”

“Well, don’t get so excited. Take it easy. That’s my dick you’ve got in your mouth! Not a stick of beef jerky from the corner store!”

They like it. They both like it.

I wanted to leave. I wanted to go back to my tent a cry myself to sleep. But my legs felt weak. My heart felt weak And WHY was I hard as a rock? Was I actually turned on by this? What kind of sadistic, self loathing, emotions do I have running through me right now. I don’t understand this at all. This is killing me!

As tears were now drenching my cheeks, I held back from sniffling anymore for fear of being heard. So I just had to keep wiping my nose on my shirt and trying to resist the urge to sob out loud.

“Here, let me do you too. You put your head down that way, and I’ll be up here.” Jonah whisered, and I heard a great deal more movement as they swiveled around into a different position again. “Do you want to be on top, or do you want me to be on top?”

“Ummm…you, this time.” Jared whispered back.

I knew they had done this more than once. Ugh! My heart!

“Ok, just…remember to warn me when you’re about to shoot.” Jonah said.

“I will.” But then Jared said, “But…like…don’t warn me this time. When you’re gonna blow.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. I just…I wanna be surprised. I think it’ll be hot. I wanna see what it feels like.”

“If you say so…” Jonah agreed, and then I heard heated bodies moving around again…no doubt with Jonah on top of Jared in a 69 position, his smooth scout boy thighs on either side of his head, while lowering his soft lips on Jared’s throbbing inches…sucking it as far into his wet vacuum as he possibly could while feeling the ultimate pleasure between his legs att he same time.

My senses were overwhelmed. And as much as it hurt me…I wish that I could have seen what was going on in that tent. I wish I could see them naked, lost in the throes of passion, moving in this sexually rhythmic tangle of boy flesh and smooth skin covered in a thin sheen of sweat and fragrant pheromones as their most uninhibited, lustful, cravings were being satisfied. I’d give ANYTHING to see a look of ecstasy on my cute Jared’s face! Just once! You know?

Suddenly, the breathing got heavier. I saw the walls of the tent move slightly as their motions got more passionate. More erratic. And then the hushed whispers that they were using before were almost broken with the stifled squeals of a teen boy on the verge of orgasm.

Jonah was first, and I swear I could hear Jared swallowing his heavy load with whimpers of joy and accomplishment.

To me…that was the final nail in the coffin. Swallowing another boy’s load? If that’s not an abandonment of the rest of the world to love one boy forever…I don’t know what is?

Jonah let Jared’s, still hard, erection slip out of his lips, craning his neck around and saying, “Whoah. That was intense. Are you ok?”

“Mmm hmm…” Jared said.

“What’s it taste like?”

“Ummm, I don’t know. Kinda slimy.” He said, licking his lips. “Like warm, melted, butter. It was a lot more than I thought it would be.”

Jonah giggled, “Sorry. I was kinda hot and bothered by the idea of you wanting to take it all like that. I cum buckets when I’m turned on.”

“It’s ok. I kinda liked it. It was just a little weird. First times and all. Hehehe!” Then Jared asked, “Do you wanna try mine?”

“No thanks. Hehehe! That’s more your thing than it is mine.” Jonah said. “But I’ll finish you off though.”

“Ok. I’ll let you know when I’m ready.”

“K…” He said, and I heard more sucking noises. Deep ones.

“You know…you have a really cute ass. It looks hot from this angle.” Jared said, and they both snickered so loud that I thought someone else in camp might hear them and come investigating what was going on here.

More tears. More mucous. And more heartbreak as I listened to Jonah please my special boy in a way that I may never get the chance to. Ever.

“I’m close…” Jared said, heaving breath as I heard his legs squirming around in the tent. “Shit…ok…I’m gonna shoot!”

Jonah pulled off of him and I heard hand movements that made me guess that he was jacking him off. “Get your shirt.”

“I got it…” Jared said, breathlessly. “Here it comes…ooohhh…ungggh….”

I could hear the popping of Jared’s legs, or maybe his toes curling, as a thunderous climax shot through his body and caused him to cum hard into the fabric of whatever shirt he grabbed to hide in his duffel bag before morning. And then…back to silence.

Then back to shuffling positions.

Back to kissing. Lots of kissing.

I just wanted the sounds to stop so I could walk away. The game was over. I lost. What else was there to do but to wish them both all the happiness in the world. I mean, it’s not like I could ever train myself to hate Jared for going after a hottie like Jonah. I would. I just wish I hadn’t gotten my emotions all tangled up in his beauty to begin with. And when I say ‘beauty’, I’m not just talking bright eyes, long legs, and braces. I’m talking about…the way he smiles when you give him shit and take a cheap shot, or deliver an unexpected burn. I’m talking about the way he hums his favorite song to himself when he gets it stuck in his head, and taps his fingers on the lunch table. I’m talking about the way he just…makes your whole life feel like it has purpose and meaning…just by being around.

All things that I should have told him when I had the chance.

“You came an awful lot yourself tonight, loverboy. Hehehe!” Jonah whispered.

“Yeah…” Jared answered. “I guess I was feeling pretty hot and bothered myself.”

There was a pause, and Jonah said, “You were thinking about him again, weren’t you?”

“NO!” Jared chuckled.

“Dude…why even bother lying to me at this point? You were super horny tonight.”

“Whatever…” Jared smiled. “…I can’t help it, ok? He was being extra cute today.”

Jonah giggled again. “You are so whipped, and you don’t even know it. Why don’t you just take your shot and tell him already?”

“I can’t…”

“Why not?”

“Because I can’t, ok? He’s my best friend. Things are…complicated.”

Jonah said, “If anything, I would think that would help to UN-complicate things.”

“Yeah, well…it doesn’t.” Jared sighed. “I get around him and I start getting light headed and tongue tied…it’s like I don’t have anything to talk about anymore. I can’t talk to my best friend anymore. All I can think about is kissing him and hopefully getting the opportunity to run away while he’s vomiting in the street and can’t slug me in the gut for it.”

“You are SO dramatic! You know that?” Jonah told him. “Look at you. You’re blushing right now! You can barely say his name without looking like you’re about to pass the fuck out. Hehehe!”

“Don’t tease me! It’s not funny, hehehe!”

“So say it then.”

“What?”

“Fine. I’ll say it then…” Jonah said. “Dylan, Dylan, Dylan! Mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah!”

What??? Wait…what is he talking about???

“Stop it! Shhhh!” Jared whispered aggressively, lunging forward to cover Jonah’s mouth with his hand.

“You are really crushing on him, aren’t you?”

With a heavy sigh, I heard Jared quietly say, “I don’t know. I’m not sure how I feel. I just…I need to stay away from him for a bit longer until I figure things out. I miss spending time with him, but…how am I supposed to snuggle up beside him in a tent during Summer camp without losing my damn MIND, you know? I just…I don’t think I can handle that.”

Jonah sat up in the tent, and he says, “Well, think of it this way…you might actually have a shot at getting together with somebody that you really have feelings for. Real feelings. I mean…don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome fooling around and all…you and me and whatever ‘this’ is when we go to camp…but I can’t be your boyfriend, Jared. Releasing a litle tension between friends is one thing, but…you know that I’m going to find myself a girlfriend eventually. What then? You can’t just spend the rest of your life trying to find boys to be a temporary substitute for the guy you really want. If Dylan is the one that’s the closest to your heart…then you should go for him. All the cute boys in the world aren’t going to take his place. You know that, right?”

“I know…” Jared said. “…Just…give me some time. I’ll tell him before the end of the Summer. Promise. It’s just…it’s hard to do when I can’t look him in the eye and put a solid sentence together.”

Jonah snickered and said, “Well, how about this for a plan? I’LL fool around with Dylan next camp out…and then you can walk in like, ‘what the fuck’, and then we’ll have a threesome! Hehehe, then I’ll sneak out in the morning and you two can take things from there!”

They both laughed out loud at the idea, and I have to admit, even with salted streams of dried tears on my face, it kind of made me smile too.

Jared playfully whined, “Noooooo! Don’t you DARE put your grubby hands on my future husband!”

“Awww, you’re no fun!”

“Sorry. It’s just…Dylan is, like…’mine’, you know? No sharing.”

“Whatever. You’re a hopeless romantic. No way I can compete with that.” Jonah said. No way that he can compete with ME? Really? That might have been the hottest, most orgasmic, string of words that I’ve ever heard in my entire life. “Say…you wanna go again? I’m still a little hard.”

But Jared said, “Nah. Not tonight. If you don’t mind…I think I’m a little distracted right now. I kinda just want to drift off.”

“Suit yourself, loverboy.” Jonah said, and after I heard them remain silent for about five minutes or so, I found the strength to actually move my feet again, and walk back to my tent without making too much noise. Right back into the wall of noise cause by Steven’s Titan worthy ruckus of snoring. And I found myself staring up at the ceiling of our tent again. Still tossing and turning. Still restless. But this time…without the ache. Just a smile as wide as Texas on my face!

The next morning, we were all awakened by our leaders and given a few chores to finish before starting off our day. I saw Jared and Jonah hanging out together just as they had the day before. Joking around in private, as though nobody else mattered. But it didn’t hurt as much this time. Not now that I was able to see things from a different perspective. A better perspective.

It’s still hard to wrap my head around it. Does Jared really think of ME when he’s with a superstar like Jonah, naked in a Summer camp tent with nobody watching? Wow….that blows my MIND! Hehehe! It really DOES!

Naturally, I’m still extremely JEALOUS that Jonah got his hands on my Jared before I did…and it’s still not fair, especially considering that he’s not even GAY! But…all that aside, I don’t think anything could possibly upset me today. The whole world was pink with glitter and sparkles, and my heart finally felt whole again. All the way whole.

At one point, I saw Jared sitting on a bench, using a rag to brush some dirt and stuff off of his sneakers. Hehehe, he always took much better care of his sneakers than I did. And while I have been really uptight and nervous about talking to him before, I felt a bit more courageous this time. So I walked over…and I sat right next to him.

Like, close enough to where our legs were touching.

There was still a hint of that awkward interaction that we had before, but I think I understood it now. And the feeling was mutual.

“S’up?” I said.

A little blush rose up in Jared’s cheeks, and I was flashed with the shiny silver glare of those super cute braces of his. “S’up?” He replied.

I don’t know what it was, but I let my gaze linger for a bit longer than usual. Our eyes connected, and I felt so bubbly and ticklish inside that I started to giggle to myself right in front of him.

“Hehehe, what’s so funny?” He asked.

“Nothing.”

“So…why are you laughing?”

“No reason.” I said. “I just…I have a feeling that it’s gonna be a great rest of the Summer. That’s all.”

I don’t think he got it, but as Jonah sort of looked at us sitting together on that bench from the other side of the campsite…he seemed to smirk with a sense of acknowledgement that his talk with Jared might have done some good. And who knows? Maybe it did.

So…thanks again, Jonah….

ARRRGGGHHHH!!!!

Published July 15, 2019