The Rainboy’s Family
By Ruwen Rouhs
Chapter Four: Pete’s Secret or Pete+Tru-e
Hey Broder, do you remember the Giant Story-Mouse Tale? No? Think twice! You surely remember the picture book featuring the redhead giant Bartolo, sitting under a big tree in the woods during a thunderstorm with chattering teeth! No?
Don’t you remember the fearless tiny mouse with its yellow-brown coat and dark long stripe along the spine? The clumsy giant is about three-thousand-times bigger than the small mouse. When the tiny mouse approaches the giant fearlessly, looking for a friend, the timid giant panics. But in the end, both become friends and fall asleep peacefully, the small mouse cuddling in the big palm of the giant.
Sure Adam, I recall the tale. It’s a fairy tale and fairy tales hardly ever come true in real life. Broder, it can happen! It happened; it just happened in my own school. Remember the super-jock, the ace of the football team, Pete? I told you about big Pete and I also told you about the midget Tru, the smallest freshman of the school, acting as herald between the jocks and chicks? Sure, I do, Adam. I remembered, you told me about your two schoolmates. You were enthusiastic about Pete’s skill and powerful game as the quarterback of his team and you were tickled pink because of Tru’s job as a Cupid.
Yes, Pete is the best football player of our school. He is sure about his role in a match with its definite rules. But big Pete falters, as soon as a situation arises, he has to solve by his own rules. In a situation like this he is like the timid giant Bartolo. The midget Tru, on the other hand, attacks a new situation by his own means. He is like the fearless mouse.
Events remembered by Adam, have the heading ‘ADAM’, those remembered by Broder, are headed ‘BRODER’.
“Hey, who’s that? Let me down!” Adam shouted surprised, as two strong arms took hold of him from behind and lifted him up. Adam was on tiptoes trying to fetch a book from the uppermost shelf of the book rack in the darkest corner of school library. The unknown helper did not utter a peep. He just lifted Adam till he finally was able to read the faded golden letters on the he back of the small volume William Shakespeare- The Complete Sonnets and fetch it.
At last Adam was holding the book in his hands which Vic had told him about so enthusiastically. Looking back to his unknown helper, he was surprised. It was Pete, Pete the Pest, as smaller students called him behind his back.
Pete, the king of the jocks and the ace of the football team, towered over Adam by more than a head. Blushing he asked shyly, “Did I scare you, Adam? Sorry for that, I didn’t intent to. Since Monday I have wanted to talk to you alone. And now it’s already Wednesday and about high time. I had to ambush you.”
Adam looked at Pete squinting nervously. What the heck does he want? Before he could pose the question, Pete went on desperately, “I have to talk to you, urgently. Remember last Friday, the invitation to my birthday party this weekend? You still haven’t accepted! I will be sixteen on Friday. My rents allowed me to invite fifteen guests. Twelve have accepted already, you are the thirteenth.”
Adam sighted with relieve. “I accept!” he smiled, but then he went on in a formal voice, “I am honored by your invitation, Pete, but I will come only if Vic is invited to attend also! Remember you asked me to bring along a friend!”
“Why in the world he—-?” Pete looked surprised. “Why him? Do you know him well enough?”
“We are friends since last weekend! Why do you object?” Adam asked surprised.
“No I don’t, ….. not exactly! But—-” showing his uneasiness by shifting from one foot to the other, “I had in mind to ask you to bring along someone else, someone very special to me!” Pete sighed and suddenly looked as if all his hopes were ruined. He turned on the spot to leave.
Seizing Pete by the arm, “But Pete, Vic and I are number thirteen and fourteen on your guest list, thus invitation number fifteen still can be issued!” Winking at Pete, Adam asked conspiratorially, “Who is she, what’s her name? I invite her to come along with me and Vic and if she objects, I highjack her!”
Pete blushed and tried to wrestle free. But Adam didn’t let him go and insisted. “Tell me her name, Pete, don’t be afraid, I will never blow it to others, I promise!” When Pete didn’t answer, he asserted, “I will not tell her you asked me to bring her along! I swear!”
Pete remained silent. His face mirrored a desperate fight. Staring at his toecaps he finally muttered with his crackling teen-voice, “It’s not a girl! …… It’s Tru! I wanted to beg you to bring along Trewin! I do not dare to ask him myself!”
Adam stared at Pete in utter surprise. Could he trust his ears? But Pete sounded serious! Pete, the big Pete, the ace of the football team, the super jock, did Pete have a crush on Tru? Pete, the head of the jocks which always were talking about laying girls; which were always boasting about their success with girls! Pete had asked him to bring along a boy? Not just any boy, not at all, Tru the cutest boy of the class. In Adams eyes, Tru was even the cutest kid of the all the students in Oakville High! He couldn’t believe this news at the first moment. Then it sank in. To Adam’s knowledge, Pete was the only jock who had never bragged about having made out with girls, made a girl!
Studying Pete’s face carefully, Adam said with firm voice “I will ask Tru to come along with me and Vic. Ok? Don’t fret, I will not tell Tru, that you asked me to bring him along! I really like to bring him along! He is the nicest kid in school! I like him also!”
Pete’s chest heaved with a sigh of relief. He was ashamed to be in love with a boy, but on the same time proud to have overcome his “angst” and confessed it to Adam. Relieved he took Adam in a bear hug, nearly killing his new friend. Then he left the library head over heels, whistling “Somebody told me…!”
Broder folded his grey business suit into the suitcase. He was waiting impatiently for Adam. Vic and Adam were out to support Zach’s football team at the town tournament. It was half past ten already and dark outside. Not the falling night made Broder nervous; because he was sure three boys would be able to defend themselves when attacked. No, it was the fact that he had to leave Adam alone for three days after just one and a half weeks in his new home in a new town. Then there was the book he had found open on Adam’s desk when he had looked for him after coming home from work. Broder wondered; how in heaven would a teen like Adam take an interest in Shakespeare’s sonnets and especially in lines like these:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d; .
Broder knew it was the most famous sonnet of Shakespeare. But what the hell tempted a boy to read poems suspected to be homoerotic?
There was no time to brood longer about this question; because the street door burst open with a bang and Zach’s high-pitched boy’s voice filled the corridor, “Hey Broder! Believe me or not! Our team came off only second best in the football tournament! However, we were the top team! The referee cheated us! He denied us two goals! He always claimed Lilek had scored in offside position! Ask Adam and Vic!”
That was Zach! Typically, Zach! The seven-grader, soaked with sweat and dirty from head to toe, charged into Broder’s room demanding attention and consolation. Adam, his arm across Vic shoulders, followed grinning, “I guess the referee wasn’t that blind, Zach. Judging from my position, Lilek was offside!” “You are stupid, Adam!” Zach accused Adam full of contempt, gave him one full in the stomach and left outraged for home.
“I better try to console Zach.” Vic grinned, “In a state like this he will likely play havoc and burn down the house!” He left, not without giving Adam a peck on the cheek.
Adam blushed, looking at Broder he muttered “It is not the way you may guess! In our class anyone does it!” “I am not guessing anything. I just like what I saw!”
This made Adam blush even more. Sitting down on Broder’s bed beside the open bag, he complained, “You are a terrible father, you are leaving me just when I need your help!” “You didn’t complain when we talked about my trip yesterday and anyway, I am sure you know a nice way to spend the time.” grinning maliciously, “Vic will sure watch over your sleep!”
“It’s not that! I am not afraid to stay alone.” Adam pouted, “Didn’t I tell you about Pete’s birthday party, already? He asked me again today. I accepted to bring along Vic and Tru; remember Tru, the Cupid?”
“That’s just impossible! I can’t drive you to Pete’s father’s farm on Friday, and since I am away till Sunday, I can’t get you back on Saturday either! Couldn’t Vic’s father give you a ride?”
“Bad luck, he is away already until Sunday! Please get us there, please Dad!” Adam tried hard to persuade Broder, “Please Dad can’t you postpone the trip, I promised Pete I would come. I am sure he will be heartbroken if we do not show up!”
Broder looked surprised. He had met Pete last year, when he supervised the installation of a system for groundwater extraction at the farm of Pete’s father. This hunky boy looked like he was eighteen and sure not like a freshman. “Hey Adam, don’t exaggerate. Pete? Getting heartbroken because of you or Vic or Tru? Are you pulling my leg?” “I’m not supposed to tell you! I promised Pete to bring Tru along and it’s not your business to know why!”
Broder was in a dilemma, he had to solve Adam’s problem. His boy looked just too disappointed. He looked as if he would start crying. “I know Pete’s father pretty well. I call him and ask if you three could stay there till I pick you up on Sunday. But you have to go to the farm by bus!”
A little later, “Hi Mr. Tyler, I am Broder Ryder. Do you remember me?” Switching on the loudspeaker of the phone, Adam was able to follow the conversation: “Sure I do, your companies did a perfect job last year. The water well just runs perfect. Now we have ample drinking water for us and our animals, clean, fresh and tasty. You want to give the system a check-up?” “No, I am glad you are happy with our system. Today it’s something personal! Your son Pete is giving birthday party on Friday, right?”
“Right, did that crazy boy invite you also? He has invited nearly all his school mates. For day’s now he is jumpy like a virgin on her bridal night. I didn’t expect he will invite the whole town!” “No Mr. Tyler! But he has invited my son Adam and his friends Vic and Tru.”
“I thought you are not married Broder! My wife told me last year: Such a nice man and not married. You know how women are! They just can’t see a happy man. Now what’s the problem?”
“I am out of town this weekend. The boys can take the afternoon-bus to come to you, but I can’t pick up the boys after the party, neither can the parents of the other boys. Can they stay in one of your cottages? I’ll pay for it!”
“Ah, no problem, holiday season is over anyway, and the cabins are not needed. They can stay here for nothing, till you can pick the boys up. They are welcome! Pete needs the company of boys of his age. He is kind of looking distressed lately. He needs friends and his brothers are much older than he! On Friday afternoon, Johnny, my oldest son, will take care of the transport to the farm. He is in town anyway and can pick the boys up after school.”
Broder got a big smile from Adam and he surprised him once more. He picked up the second receiver before Broder was able to thank Pete’s father, “Hi, I am Adam Chas Ryder. Thanks Mr. Tyler. You are so generous. I am really happy to be Pete’s guest and tell him I will bring two friends. I will bring along Vic and Tru! Tell Pete Tru is coming also!”
On Friday Pete missed classes. His mother told the school office that Pete was sick and later called up his friends telling them that the party would take place in any case. For Adam the message was, to wait with his friends at the bus stop for Pete’s big brother Johnny.
Waiting impatiently with Adam and Vic, Tru asked “Adam, is it Johnny or Paul, who will pick us up?” “Do you know Pete’s brothers?” Adam asked back curiously, because he had had such a hard time convincing Tru to come along. His behavior had suggested that he was afraid of meeting Pete at the farm. Only after telling him, I don’t intend to bring you to the slaughter house like an innocent lamb, it just to Pete’s and he really wants you around! He wants you at his birthday! Finally, Tru agreed. These last words broke the ice. Tru gave up his resistance and began to smile like a baby getting a lollipop.
“Well yes, I know all his five brothers. Three are in college, but Johnny and Paul are at home and run the farm!”
Tru couldn’t elaborate further, because a beat-up SUV stopped and a bear-like man opened the side door hollering happily, “Hi Trewin, where have you been all the time? Little Billy is asking for you nearly every day! Where is Tru, I want my big friend back! …. Why didn’t you show up for several months, Trewin?” Loading their backpacks into the trunk, he asked, pointing at Vic, “And you are Adam I guess, the new guy in class?” “Can’t you remember me Johnny? I am Vic! We met at Pete’s birthday party last year. That’s Adam, Broder’s son! ”
After Tru had settled down on the front passenger seat, Johnny tousled his hair and then put an arm around his shoulder, “Are you and Pete on brotherly terms again, Trewin? My little brother was grief-stricken because you kept away from him!” Huddling together in the back seat, Adam breathed into Vic’s ear, “What the hell happened between Pete and Tru? Do you know the story?”
Johnny stopped at the vacation cottages, a quarter of a mile from the farm. The five cabins were arranged in a half circle around a fireplace and faced a small creek. He unlocked the smallest cabin ordering, “Leave your backpack in the main-room. You can sleep in the backroom.” Noticing their astonished expression, he teased, “Each of the two beds is wide enough to accommodate at least two boys of your size.”
At the farm they were welcomed by Johnny’s son, little Billy. The rascal jumped excitedly at Tru, “Pete hurry up!” he shouted “Tru has arrived, my big friend Tru!” Then he took Tru by the hand and dragged him to a small enclosure on the lawn, “Look! You haven’t seen my bunnies! They have babies now! Nine babies! Look at the black one with the white ears. Do you like it? I give it to you; you can keep it! They are so soft to touch.”
Meanwhile Pete came running. First, he did high-fives with Adam and Vic, after that he looked slyly at Tru and pleaded, “I have to show you something, Tru! Would you come along? Please!” Neglecting the protests of little Billy, Pete abducted Tru to the barn.
After a long time, Pete and Tru came back to the enclosure with the bunnies, holding hands, red-faced and smiling all over. Adam and Vic asked in unison, “Reconciled?” Neither of them did answer, not Pete nor Tru. But Adam and Vic were sure everything was on a good path now.
Pete’s parents, his brothers Johnny with his wife, little Billy and a baby, then Pete’s other brother Paul and his fifteen schoolmates had rallied around Pete and the table with the birthday cake. “One, two, three….” It rang out in the patio. Their voices rising more and more they counted on, “……ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen and gooooo!” and the birthday kid began to blow out the sixteen candles on the cream cake with a single puff. With a reddened face, gasping for air, big Pete collapsed in the arms of four of his schoolmates, who now struggled to throw their heavy friend into the air, while all others started roared: “Happy Birthday, dear Pete! Happy Birthday to you!”
Then the gifts were presented. First, the four girls invited handed Pete a t-shirt with the emblem of Oakville High School and the CD “HOT FUSS” by the Killers. Presenting the CD, they kissed him one after the other while singing Pete’s favorite:
Somebody told me
You had a boyfriend
Who looked like a girlfriend
That I had in February of last year…..
The jocks started to giggle when Pete unpacked the second gift, neatly wrapped in foil decorated with red roses. It was the favorite, but ill-famed teen-book “Doing it”. In class it was passed only underhandedly. Pete turned red after reading the title and tried to hide it from his mother, Mrs. Tyler. But in vain! “Oh, what a nice book, what a proper present for a sixteen-year-old scholar!” she exclaimed smiling proudly. Pete’s and his friends were lucky, because she hadn’t read the furious review of it in the local parish magazine, The Holy Week.
The next two gifts were passed underhand to Pete. “Don’t show it to your rents. Open it later!” one of Pete’s team mates whispered. When Pete opened it next morning in presence of Tru, he grinned craftily like a cartload of monkeys “Not one of my sport mates guessed our secret, I bet! Look Tru, they presented me half a dozen of rubbers and a tube of lube. What a waste. I never will need these.” Then he turned purple, “I only love you!”
The present of Adam and Vic was the novel “Funny Boy”. Before deciding on that gift, Adam had asked Vic, “Do you really think he will like this book? It’s a coming-out book!” However, Vic reassured him, “I don’t think he will hate us because of this present! I love the book. I read it in only one night!”
In the end only two presents were not given, the one from his family and the one from Tru. When Pete looked expectantly to his parents, his father told him. “The big surprise is waiting at the playground down by the Holiday Cabins! But first cut the birthday cake. Your guests are nearly starved, and their mouths are already watering.”
Proud to be sixteen, Pete took the knife to cut the cream cake. “I want the first piece, please, please, please Uncle Petee!” little Billy screamed claiming the first piece. Soothing little Billy, his granny protested “Today the birthday kid will get the first slice and that’s Pete!”
But it was not Pete who allotted himself the first slice. Looking around in the circle, he fixed Tru with a big smile and turning beet red, he handed him the first piece, a super-sized slice of cream cake “That’s for you, my dear Tru!” Neither Pete’s family, members nor his schoolmates paid much attention to this gesture. Only Johnny, his favorite brother Johnny, got the significance and smiled approvingly.
Pete arrived at the playing field midst of his curious guests. He didn’t believe his eyes. For months he had only two dreams. When Adam had asked Pete, what he would like best as a birthday present, he had told him: “I have two big wishes, but I am afraid neither of them will come true!”
Adam reflected over the answer some moments and then told Pete, “My wish for a long, long time was to find a person I could trust, a person, who loves me unconditionally. I never thought my wish would come true! And now, now I have Broder. He found me, a disheartened boy, dirt covered, in filthy clothes, close to dead after an accident. He accepted me like I was, and he made me his son without setting a single condition.” Then smiling up to Pete and punching him, “Your wishes will come true, Petee! Believe me!”
Pete’s hope had risen tremendously since his talk with Tru in the barn, after his arrival. He was sure that his biggest wish could come true if he only would accept his fate full heartedly. He knew it was on his own to take his future in both hands.
The fulfillment of the second biggest wish did depend on his parents. And now, arriving at the sports ground, Pete realized that his parents had granted him this wish. At the sideline of the playing field on a high pole a bright yellow flag was flying in the evening breeze with the emblem of a fire-spitting dragon in blue and green. It was the image of a Varanus komodoensis, the awe-inspiring Komodo Dragon, the emblem of the team still to be founded, his Jugger Team, the Weird Varans.
A year ago, Pete had attended the science fiction film “The Blood of Heroes” in the obscurest little movie theater of Dartsborough. His mind was so stirred up by the post-apocalyptic saga of some rotten heroes, fighting their deadly matches for bread and butter in a barren country in a long-forgotten time. “I have to get a copy of that movie! It’s X-rated, but it’s not a sex movie. Please get it for me!” Pete tortured his big brothers for weeks and weeks.
After his big brother Johnny had gotten him the movie, he unnerved his parents by viewing it over and over again. Pete not only tormented all his family members, but his classmates also. Then happily enough, he found out about a sport called Jugger, tailored according to the apocalyptic match and even about the existence of a Jugger-League in the neighboring main town. Since that time, he harassed his parents “I want to create the first Jugger team of Dartsborough. Please, please buy me the equipment! Please Daddy, please Mommy!”
Pete’s rubbed his eyes in disbelief. Not only was the banner flying in the breeze, no, all the equipment needed for a team, for His team, was piled up on the octagonal playground of roughly 20 to 40 m. Besides the flying banner a scoreboard was placed and at the opposite wide side of the field the big gong for counting the time, measured in stones. At the halfway-line a heap of dangerous objects were lined up, the weapons: a pair of long pole arms, a pair of long swords, the flails, two pairs of short swords and the corresponding shields and a pair of long chains with a red ball on one end. The shields and the gong also were decorated with the emblem of the Weird Varans. In the center of the assembled weaponry there were two dog skulls, the Juggs. These were not real dogs’ skulls, dripping with blood like in the movie, just skulls made of rubber foam. These were the balls which had to be downed in the stakes close to the end of each narrow side of the field.
All the other classmates on the football team had been afflicted by his obsession for Jugger. Now they saw the weapons the first time in reality. While Pete danced for joy in front of his parents, kissed his mother and even tried to lift her up in the air, classmates stormed the sports ground and scrambled for the weapons. They were taken by surprise, because the weapons were light-weight only, despite looking as if wrought of steel. Immediately the teens began to fight each other for fun. The pole arms and swords were easy to handle, and hot fights commenced. The chains were much more difficult to handle. When two of them tried to fight each other with these long-ranging weapons, they entangled in the chains and fell to the ground laughing. While the boys tested out the weapons, the girls used the skulls for a ball game.
Pete gave it a try to organize a game, “Stop it all! I have to explain the rules of the game.” He shouted at the top of his voice, but in vain, he couldn’t stop the fighting. He tried again, “Don’t hit each other! You are only supposed to touch your opponent and then he has to freeze for five stones!” In vain again! The chaotic contest went on and he wasn’t able to make his voice heard.
Luckily his brothers Johnny and Paul turned up on the sideline in the approaching dusk. They announced beating the gong “Barbecue is ready down at the cottages! Hurry up, if you want meat and not charcoal! Hurry up!” That did it. Twelve starved freshmen dropped their weapons and sprinted to the fireplace to be the first to get a steak. Chitchatting, the four girls ambled down to the cottages also, outdoing each other in ridiculing their pimply class mates.
The wooden benches were arranged in a half-circle around the fireplace in front of the five cottages. The open side of the circle faced a swift creek hidden by willow trees and shrubs. Between the cottages chains of lights glowing in red, yellow and blue were arranged. In the beginning dusk they separated the softly lit space around the fireplace from the dense, dark wooden area in the background.
Pete, as the kingpin, had to occupy the seat of honor framed by the members of the football team. Adam and Vic had their seats far to the left while the four girls clucked together on the far right. After the first rush for the steaks, burgers and sausages had subsided, Pete switched on the light illuminating a small dance platform in front of the cottages and hot tunes invited to groove.
Vic had brought his notebook along, integrated it into the audio equipment and immediately the song selected by Adam and himself cast a spell over the birthday party. Their selection did not only comprise the latest hits by Drake, Ariana Grande, Troye Sivan and Billie Eilish but also songs from back in the 80th and 90th of the past century, of the Rolling Stones, Creedance Clearwater and Queen.
At first only girls danced with girls. But not long afterwards Tru’s big time as Cupid arrived. He began to cruise the different groups conveying messages to and fro between the boys and the girls. Soon the four most daring boys danced with the girls’ cheek by cheek. Others did the hip-hop and later two even challenged each other by break dancing. When the dawn slowly closed in the music turned to Vic’s favorites like Troye Sivan or Ryan Cassata.
So far big Pete had been standing at the dance floor envying Tru because of his high jumps, feather-like turns and even more because his graceful movements. Pete envied his small friend and would had loved nothing more to join in on the dance floor however he was afraid to show his affection, his love to Tru, in front of his classmates and especially his football team. Tru however wanted to be close to Pete, wanted Pete to enjoy the dance like he did. When suddenly The Kinks old song L-O-L-A Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola blasted through the night and everybody shouted at the top of their lungs:
Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls
It’s a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world
Except for Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola
Tru sprinted over to Pete, took him by the hand and didn’t even let go as the last Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola drifted away. While Vic’s selection turned to Troy Sivan’s “Lucky Strike” and with its chorus “Tell me all the ways to love you” Pete got braver than ever in his life. Nestled close together the two boys danced till the night closed in and one cuddling pair after the other skived off into the dark, envied by the ones remaining single.
Around half past nine, the parents turned up one after the other, wishing Pete well for the next year of life and leaving with their offspring. Soon Adam and Vic were the only ones left back at the fireplace. They switched off the illumination of the dance floor and the string of lights between the cabins and cuddled silently under a warm quilt close to the extinguishing fire.
Soon Pete and Tru joined them at the fireplace. Imitating the others, Pete picked up a blanket and invited Tru to slip under the cover with him. Held tight by Vic, the scarcely audible voices of Pete and Tru lulled Adam into a light sleep.
Adam woke up suddenly, missing the low voices. He aroused the crashed-out Vic, “Pete and Tru are gone! Let’s go to bed! I miss a soft mattress.” “Me too, I am getting cold and my back is getting stiff already!” Vic answered with a yawn, “But let’s put out the fire first.” Standing side by side they extinguished the fire by relieving their full bladders.
The bedding was cold and damp. Adam was first in bed and pulled the bed spread over his head. He curled up like a baby, but could not keep from shivering. “Hey Vic! Why do you need that long? Come please, before I am freeze to death!”
“I can’t find my pajamas. I have to turn my backpack topsy-turvy again! Just one second more!” “Forget about your pajamas, hurry up! I haven’t got any either!”
Slipping into the bed, Vic searched for Adam under the cover, “Hey, where do you hide. ….. Ha, I got you!” Pulling Adam into a hug, he muttered “You are really cold. Your back feels like ice and your butt too.” Realizing that Adam was as naked as his mother bore him, Vic asked, “Are you sleeping in the nude?” Taking Vic in a tight embrace, Adam whispered, “I thought you would like it. Don’t you?” Vic simple answer was, to slip out of his boxers.
Holding Adam tight, he began to growl like a young cat, rubbed Adam’s back and poked his nose in Adam’s ruffled mane. Then he sighted with pleasure. “You smell so great. I like the scent of smoke on your skin and in your hair.” Adam’s only answer was kisses. He turned and started the kisses at Vic’s forehead, went to his eyes and finally tasted his lips. With his fingertips he traced Vic’s spine down to the crack between the small cheeks. Then he cupped Vic’s butt-cheeks with both hands and started grinding. Softly he asked “Do you like it? It feels so good. Your skin is so smooth!” adding a deep sigh, “It so great to be close to you!”
Vic just increased his growling, snuggled closer. First Vic tickled Adam allover and then switched to nibble his friend’s earlobes. Adam wasn’t lazy either and roamed Vic’s body, not leaving one single part unexplored. Middle of their necking, both froze, because the cabin door opened with a screech. Anxiously they listened for the noises penetrating the dark. They had expected only one person to enter. They had expected Tru only, but now two people had slipped into the cottage. Adam and Vic froze. Had burglars broken into the cottage?
“Got a flashlight, Petee?” they relaxed it was Tru’s voice. “They are already sleeping. Don’t turn on the lights!” “Hush, my Tru-love! I will light the candle on the table. That’s enough light for us to undress and find the bed.” Pete tried to breathe his words, but was unable to dampen his husky voice.
A lighter was flicked on in the main room and the light of a small candle seeped through the open door into the bedroom. Shortly afterwards padding feet approached in the bedroom and a candle’s flame bathed it in soft light. Pete had entered the bedroom and placed the candle on the night stand. A moment later Tru materialized on tiptoes in front of Adam and Vic, spying closely. “Don’t fake, Adam!” he whispered, “Your fluttering eyelids betray you. You are still awake! Is Vic also?”
Clearing his throat Tru addressed Pete, who tried to hide behind him “Pete, you wanted to tell Adam and Vic something very important!” Waiting in vain for a word, he turned around to face big friend, “Pete, you promised to tell Adam and Vic our secret. Please do it! Try at least!” …. Waiting a moment, he continued, “It’s a practice for tomorrow. It will be much harder to confess our secret to your parents, Petee, please try!”
Pete still didn’t speak up. Instead he put his arms around Tru from behind and breathed, “Please to do it for me, Tru, for us. Please, tell our secret to Adam and Vic!”
These words made Adam and Vic wide awake. Wrapped in the duvet up to their necks and spooning tightly, they eyed the pair in front of the bed full of expectance.
Talking in a whisper Tru began, “Pete loves me for two years now. At our first sleep over on his fourteenth birthday, he fell in love with me. But he didn’t tell me for more than a year. Then at our last sleepover at Easter he confessed his love to me.” Looking back over his shoulder to Pete and searching his eyes, Tru continued, “I liked my Pete even for longer than that, since we met in Junior High. At first, I didn’t know it was love and then, in High School didn’t dare to tell him. He was the big jock. He was always with the big guys who were bragging how many girls they had laid already. He was always with the jocks who scoffed about gays. I couldn’t tell him! I didn’t dare.” Silence spread and only the noises of the night were heard. “When Pete told me this spring, he loves me, I just didn’t want to believe him. I was sure he wanted to make fun of me. I suspected Pete wanted to extract a confession and then despise me, beat me up and trample me to death. I thought he was homophobic.”
Now it was for Pete to speak up. In his hoarse voice, he defended himself “Tru was wrong, he did me wrong. Tru thought a big guy like me, the star of the football team, had to be straight, would enjoy kicking smaller kids in the ass, would be a homophobe. He did me wrong! Even before I was sure about my feelings towards Tru, I adored him, I offered him my friendship, I showed him my affection, always!”
“The day Pete finally told me about his love, I suspected he wanted to put me on, he wanted to unmask me and then throw me to the wolves.” Tru seem to falter in the flickering candle light, but then accused himself, “I had no faith in him. I panicked. I was terrified to death! I demanded a terrible toll. I demanded his coming out. I had been out to my parents for a year. Knowing this, I issued an ultimatum to Pete: You have to tell your parents! You have to come out to your schoolmates! You have to come out to the football team, to the whole school.”
Tru nearly collapsed, but Pete tightened his grip around him, steadied him, “Everything is alright now Tru, my Tru! Don’t cry, please!” and began to brush his friend’s tears away.
“No, I have to tell Adam and Vic how vain I was.” Tru sobbed, “Pete was upset; he was desperate. He swore: I can’t tell this to my parents! Never, never will they accept me being gay!”
“I panicked! I didn’t even become aware, when Trewin braced together and offered to expose himself to my parents too and told me: I’ll do it with you, Pete! We will come out together. I love you!” Holding each other, Pete and Tru were standing in the dark quivering with emotion.
After a long time, Pete addressed Adam his voice getting steadier and steadier, “You are special Adam. Your performance in school plucked up my courage. I became sure that Tru and I belong together when I realized how proudly you announced your new name, unafraid of the gossip about your adoption by an unmarried man. You rose in my esteem, when you showed your affection to Vic openly in school. Your self-confidence convinced me that my love for Tru is worth my coming out.”
These words made Adam feel uncomfortable; he felt his blood rushing into the face. That can’t be true, he thought, I am not self-confident at all.
Vic began to hug Adam more tightly. After a moment of silence, he echoed Pete, “Yes, Adam you are special! I agree with Pete,” and then with firm voice, “But Broder is special too. Neither is Broder Adam’s old man, nor is Adam his boy-toy. I know Broder well; he doesn’t make out with boys.”
Silence filled the room. Then Adam asked Pete in the wavering light of the dying candle, “When you came out to me and Vic tonight, was it your own decision, Pete?” “Yes, it was my decision. Tru withdrew his ultimatum today. He was brokenhearted; he didn’t want to go on, knowing he had hurt my feelings by his request.”
Now Tru spoke up with hardly audible voice, “Already the day after issuing my ultimatum to Pete, I realized how deeply I had wounded him. However, I was too ashamed to ask for his forgiveness. I thought he hated me. I was sure Pete would never want me as his friend again. At home I cried every night but in school I acted as if nothing had happened, I had to! I play-acted!”
The candle had died away. The moon had risen over the wood and its silvery rays seeped through the small window. “No need for crying anymore, my truelove. You shall never again cry out of pain, only out of joy. I will take care of it. I promise!” Pete picked up Tru like a baby and carried him to their bed.
When Tru’s uncontrollable sobbing had subsided, Vic called over, “Thanks for coming out to us first! Thanks for being so brave, both of you” “It was the easiest part of our coming out. Thanks to you both, my thanks and Pete’s!”
“I never came out to anyone!” Adam giggled, “Not even to Vic!” “Aren’t you gay?” Vic sniggered, “Am I your seducer?” “I don’t care! I know I love you and you love me! That’s all I need to know! I don’t care if people brand me a gay or a straight or a bi! I don’t care what people call me! I just know: I am as I am!” Adam replied.
After some moment of silence Adam asked, trying to pierce the dark, “Pete, are you sure you want to come out to your parents tomorrow?” Pete’s voice hinted his insecurity “I have to, I have sworn to myself to see it through to the finish!” “Are you sure they will accept your revelation without being shocked? Are you sure they will love you as unconditionally as they did before? Are you sure they will accept Tru as their son also? Are you sure they will love Tru the way they like you?”
Silence spread through the room. Then Tru’s soft voice pervaded the darkness, “Please don’t do it Pete; please don’t do it now. I am not worth the breakup between you and your parents!” “But you are my Tru-e-love!” hesitating a moment, Pete asked, “Weren’t you scared of coming out to your parents?”
“I was sure my parents wouldn’t object! I was kind of out to my parents anyway, because of all the pictures of you in my room. One stormy evening more than a year ago my father asked when he tucked me in: “Is this the photo of your boyfriend, you are using as a screensaver on your PC?” Looking behind my bed, “His photos are everywhere in your room. Is this Pete, the captain of the football team?” Then my father smiled at me. “Pete looks like a nice boy. I like him already without knowing him.”
Silence fell, only the rustle of the leaves in the wood behind the cottage filled the dark. Then Vic addressed Pete, “Don’t rush it, Pete. Your parents have to be ready for the new phase in your life and in their lives. You and they need to work together during this time of your life. You need somebody to mediate the changes!” Silence spread again, till Adam brought forth, “I know the person who can act as a mediator, Pete. It’s Johnny, your big brother, he loves you and he loves Tru. You can trust Johnny. Tell him, I am sure he knows what to do!”
For the next minutes Adam and Vic relaxed, exhausted by the stirring events of the day. Cuddling each other, they soon got excited again and continued the exploration of each other’s body. When Adam listened to Vic’s heartbeat by resting his head on his friend’s chest, he witnessed Pete’s sweet words, “Watch out Tru, my Tru-e-love! Watch out my babe. The bed is so small, and I am so big! I may crush you to death.” Then the mattress squeaked and after some squirming, “Hmm …… Tru, I like to have you on top of me, I love to rock you like a baby.”
In the morning Adam couldn’t remember what happened later during this special night. But he felt refreshed and happy in a way he had never felt before. Buried halfway under Vic, he began to tickle his friend. When he traced Vic’s chest, his finger nearly got stuck to skin. Smelling his at fingertips, he noticed a nutty scent. Instantly it did dawn on Adam, what had happened, and he chuckled to himself. This aroused Vic. When he began to stir and yawned with still closed eyes, Adam breathed in his ear, “Wake up, Vic! Sun is out! I have to pee!” Shoving him away, he pleaded, “Move or do you want me to wet the bed?” Vic purred like a content kitten, let go of Adam, stretched and relaxed with closed eyes.
Only minutes later he joined Adam in the shower. Giggling like mad they cleaned each other in the small shower using ample amounts of baby-shampoo to rinse off the traces of their nightly fun.
Their horsing around woke up Tru. “Where is Pete, did he slip away secretly?” he asked bleary-eyed waiting in front of the shower. “Poor Tru-e-love,” Vic teased him, “Did Pete desert you already after the bridal night? Poor Tru! Deflowered and thrown to the garbage!”
When Adam opened the shower door to pull Tru inside, the school’s cupid pouted and stuck his tongue to Vic. Soaping Tru up carefully Adam bantered “A bride needs to be clean when she is introduced to her parents in law! Come let your bridesmaids clean you!” Tru started laughing from the heart, “You better ask Pete who’s the bride and who’s the groom. I may be smaller, but I definitely am able to keep up with him!”
Meanwhile Pete looked for his brother Johnny. He was nervous, as he had decided to confide his secret to his favorite brother. Johnny will understand, he told himself over and over again. Johnny is the one who knows right a way to tell it father and mother. While he was looking for Johnny all over the house, the barn and the stables a song of Sam Smith crossed his mind and gave him confidence:
Holy Father, we need to talk
I have a secret that I can’t keep
I’m not the boy that you thought you wanted
Please don’t get angry, have faith in me.
In the kitchen of the farm a huge table was waiting with twelve place settings for the breakfast, consisting each of a big coffee mug, a small wooden cutting board and a knife. Adam got wide-eyed. He never had seen such amounts of dark and white bread, of the dishes with butter and cheese, of plates full of sausages of all kind and sliced smoked ham, of pots of honey and home-made jam. Choosing places side by side, Tru introduced Adam and Vic to the breakfast habits on the farm. “Help yourself! There is coffee and milk. Take just what you like.”
Vic marveled “No wonder that Pete and his brothers are such hunks.” And then japed “You better keep Pete on a diet Tru; otherwise he will crush you to death one night!” “You are just envious about me Vic, because Adam is nothing but skin and bone!” “I thought you checked me out in the shower this morning, didn’t you?” Adam retorted, poking Tru, “Don’t you remember the magic wand, Tru? It’s pure meat! Ask Vic!”
They were still teasing each other when the kitchen door swung open and Johnny entered followed by Pete. Johnny was frowning and Pete smiled anxiously, “Come here by me, Trewin!” Johnny commanded sternly. Tru went pale, but obeyed. Pete big brother was suddenly all smiles. He took the small teen in a bear hug and hollered, “A hearty welcome to you Tru, my little Brother. Pete confessed everything to me and I am glad he did.” turning to Pete, “No need to be in low spirits anymore, big boy! The sun is shining again!” Integrating Adam and Vic in the circle of friendship, he affirmed, “All problems will be solved in due time, I will take care of that.”
Just then little Billy came in, shouting excitedly “Grandpa got a new colt last night! Have you seen it Uncle Pete?” jumping into Tru’s arms, “Come with me to the stable, Tru, please! You will like it, its coal black!”
Wagging his finger at little Billy, Johnny told his son: “From now on, he’s Uncle Tru to you Billy, remember! From now on Tru belongs to our family.”
After breakfast, the four teens went down to the cabins to clean up the place. Having collected all the rubbish from the birthday party yesterday, Adam and Vic went on to the creek to look for trout, while Pete and Tru stayed behind.
Relaxing lazily in the late September sun, Tru suddenly began to frantically search his pockets. “Need a hanky my Tru-love?” Pete asked considerate. “No!” Tru blushed then pulled out a small box wrapped in purple paper and tied up with a blue ribbon. With a slight bow he handed it Pete, “My birthday present for you, Pete! Yesterday I didn’t dare to give it to you! But today I know you will not laugh at me!”
Pete removed the blue ribbon and the red wrapping, and then he opened the box. Inside, placed on a white cushion were two bracelets made from silvery beads and letters in two shades of blue. Both bracelets read be true, written in a very individual way: Pete+Tru-e .
The congress “Men and Environment” was the biggest meeting of scientists and companies studying the human impact on the environment and devising solutions for problems threatening the health and welfare of mankind. Broder’s company, the pWpS limited (pure Water pure Soil limited) belonged to the small, but ambitious group of privately-owned enterprises developing innovative systems for ground water treatment and soil remediation. Broder’s assignment at the congress was to present a novel, very complex system of treating polluted ground waters to a group of specialists. He had to give his presentation during one of the Friday afternoon sessions.
The whole Friday morning Broder was present at the company booth sporting the ambitious slogan –pWpS-your partner for a better world-. His assignment was to introduce interested visitors from communal authorities and industrial companies to pWpS‘s new systems.
In the afternoon he rehearsed his presentation, because he hated to talk in front of big audiences despite his expertise as an engineer. The presentation went well after he had overcome his initial stage fright. After the speech he had to answer many questions of he interested participants of the session. Back at the company booth, the CEO of pWpS congratulated Broder, “You did really great. It will be to your merit if the company flourishes.” and after a slight pause he added with a grin, “You deserve an increase of your salary, but you will get it only if you raise your son’s allowance, too. Living with Adam has changed you a lot! You are a lot more relaxed and communicative since you have adopted Adam.”
The CEO had invited Broder to join him, his wife and some friends for a formal dinner in a first-rate restaurant. Arriving too early at the reserved table, Broder tried to call up Adam on the cell phone. But the connection was dead, and he left a message in the phone box. He wasn’t alarmed at all, guessing correctly that at eight pm the birthday party was still in full swing.
Watching the arriving guests, he was startled up by a tap on the shoulder and an unknown voice, “Hey Broder, old boy! How are you, we haven’t seen each other for more than fifteen years now.” Turning around Broder’s eyes fell upon a massive man with a balding forehead in flashy clothes. “Don’t you remember me? I am Earl, I was with you at pWpS!” Now Broder remembered him. He was the nice looking, slender guy trying in vain to introduce him to the gay scene.
“Yea, sure I remember you now! You have changed a lot Earl!” “You too! I have heard you have been quite successful lately, not only in your profession, but also in your private matters!” Earl said with a smirk. Broder stared at this former colleague in surprise, “I am afraid I don’t get what you are hinting at! Private matters?” “The rumor is you got a nice little boy friend now, a boy-toy. Back then, I didn’t know you are into boys!”
Broder rose angrily and was about to hit the insolent guy, when the soft voice of a woman said firmly, “Calm down Mr. Ryder and you, you shameless fellow better leave our table, quick.” Turning around, Broder faced a middle-aged woman looking faintly familiar to him. “My husband and I are guests of pWpS limited too. My husband is running Earth-Tec. I am sure you know each other.” “Right, we did some projects together! But what do you know of my private life and of Adam? I do not remember having met you before!” “You did! I met you and your nice son about ten days ago at his first-day-of-school-day dinner! My older sister and I shared a table with you! She still raves about that perfect father and son team. Don’t worry about a fellow like this, he is a disgrace to mankind!”
Adam called back but not until noon the next day. “It was a great party, Dad. I am so glad you arranged the sleep over at Pete’s father’s cabins.” Adam was talking his head off, “Pete got the equipment for his own Jugger Team! You do not know Jugger—–”
Finally, Broder was able to stop Adam, “And how about Tru and Pete, are they friends again?” “More than that, they are boyfriends now and Pete’s big brother Johnny appointed Tru as his honorary brother and little Billy’s Uncle!”
“I may be able to pick you up around eleven, if I leave around seven in the morning Adam. Is this ok with you, son?” “So soon? Can’t you arrive later? Pete’s mother asked us boys to attend Sunday service with the Tyler family and in the afternoon, there will be a Jugger match from two to four.” “I thought you were longing for home and now it looks as if I am uncalled for!” “No Dad! I love you. I just promised Pete to make his parents happy by attending the morning service and join his team in the afternoon! Please attend the game, Dad!” after a moment, “Another thing Dad, dear Dad, I am invited to the turkey hunt at Thanksgiving, about four weeks from now. Can I attend?” “Granted you pest! Both wishes!” Broder laughed in the phone, “I will be at the Tyler’s farm early in the afternoon!”
The first Jugger match of Dartsborough was in full swing at Tyler’s farm when Broder arrived around half past two. The Weird Varans fought their first battle against a team set up from the other members of the football team. The invitation for the match had been spread by Pete and Tru by Facebook and most of his class mates decided spontaneously to join the happening.
Pete, Tru, Adam and Vic belonged to the team of the Weird Varans. The team was filled up by Brad, Sally and Mel. At his arrival at the sports field, Broder as well as most of the other parents, had noted with surprise that both teams were mixed. Becoming aware of the inquiring looks of the adults, Mel, the class representative, announced, “Pete asked all of us to join the teams, because Jugger is a match for girls and boys! And we girls joined gladly, because we advocate for equal rights!”
The Weird Varans wore bright yellow t-shirts with the emblem of the dragon, while their opponents used simple white t-shirts. All the players looked dangerous, because they had painted their faces with different colors like warriors.
The game was in the second of three terms when Broder arrived. The score was 5 to 7 against the Weird Varans, because their opponents were all sturdy players of the football team. Tru was the qwik, the unarmed runner and was the only one allowed to touch the skull. The small teen was just sprinting for his life to sink the skull into the stake. He succeeded, because Pete, one of the three enforcers, defended him vigorously with the pole-arm. The other enforcers were Adam and Vic, while Brad was handling the chain. At nine stones to the end second third, Mel and Sally were waiting on the sideline as substitutes. The Weird Varans lost the second third. Therefore, the teams were even, because the scores were 4 to 3 and 6 to 7. The winner had to be eked out in the third round.
In the break, Adam spotted Broder standing alone at the sideline. He stormed up to him, touched him with his sword and commanded “pinned”. When Broder tried to push away the sword, Adam explained. “Pinned” means you have to wait till I remove my weapon. Then Adam put down his sword, laughed, hugged Broder and gave him a peck on the cheek.
“I didn’t recognize you! You are looking like a dangerous warrior!” Broder told Adam proudly, “You are enjoying yourself, right?” “It’s a great fun! Pete, Vic, Tru and I, we are already attuned well to playing Jugger because we practiced yesterday, nearly all afternoon. Brad, Mel and Sally joined us just today. They need training!”
Meanwhile Mel’s mother joined the two, “Are you Adam’s father, right? Broder Ryder? I am Mel’s mother. I think we should know each other. Did you and your brother attend Oakville High more than 20 years back? Was his first name? Gregg?” “Yes, Gregg is my brother, he is five years my junior. And what’s your first name.” “Melanie. Like my daughter’s! Mel told me about Adam. She likes him, she told me he looks cute and I think she’s right! You got a nice son, Broder!”
She dragged him to where the other parents were chatting and introduced him. Broder felt awkward at first, but the welcome of the Tyler’s and the other parents made Broder feel comfortable on the spot.
The last third finished 5 to 3 for the Weird Varans, mainly because Pete, as the strongest, took the chain and successfully cleared the way for the qwiks, at first for Mel and then for Tru.
Broder had arrived with his beloved but battered pick-up. This posed a problem, because he only could place two people in the passenger seat. When Broder discussed what to do with Mr. Tyler, Pete intervened, “Daddy, why can’t Tru stay over till tomorrow? I want to spend another night with my Tru-lo…!” turning red as a beat, he started again, “Daddy do you mind having Tru over for another night? Remember I missed school on Friday and Tru could show me what I have missed.”
Riding home in the pick-up with Broder, Vic asked Adam, “Did you get that Pete told his father he wants to spend another night with his truelove?” Adam, not wanting to spill the news to Broder pretended to be deaf. But Broder had listened to the conversation and asked, “Pete and Tru are friends again, aren’t they?” “Yes, Tru has buried the hatched! They are friends again!” And Vic explained happily, “More than friends, BOYFRIENDS!
“Probably more than that, Dad, they decided to stay together for ever. But Dad, don’t breathe it to the Tyler’s, please, they are not out yet. Only Vic, Johnny and I know their secret!”
At home Broder questioned Adam, “And you and Vic? Are you boyfriends also? You have only known each other for about a week!” After a long period of silence, Adam asked back, “Would you mind if Vic and I are boyfriends?” When Broder didn’t reply, Adam continued, after reflecting his feelings carefully, “I love Vic, and I know he loves me too. But we both know we are not old enough to decide forever.” and after deliberating the problem again, “Broder would you object to raising a gay son? Please, say you won’t! I want to stay with you, I need you Dad!”
At bedtime Adam called Broder from his room, “You haven’t answered my last question yet, Dad. Would you throw me out, if it turns out I am gay?”
“Don’t you know Adam I need you as much as you need me! I will always love you! You are my son!”
Later in his bed, Broder couldn’t get the chorus of a tune out of his mind, a tune he couldn’t place at first:
Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spend it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on
Straining his head, he recalled it was Lou Reed’s song about dope and addiction. At first, he shook his head because he couldn’t tell why he remembered the song just this evening. But suddenly the truth dawned upon him. He chuckled to himself, repeating over and over, “Adam is my dope! I got addicted to Adam the moment I found him! Oh, it’s such a perfect life!”
I would like to express my special thanks to my friends Bart, Brian, Sean and TSL for improving my writing.
Comments, reviews, questions, and complaints are welcomed. Please send them to Ruwen Rouhs.
And I would like to add, thanks for reading.