The Fall

My fingers are numb. So are my toes. I wiggle them and cringe as I feel shots of pain shoot through me. I take a deep breath and let it out, watching my breath shine white in the air in front of me. It is cold and I am frozen. And I am late.

I crunch through the mounds of snow, slipping and sliding on the sidewalk. I know I have to get home so I skate on the frozen earth as quick as I can. I pump my legs and my arms but I can't move fast enough.


I didn't see the ice ball coming. Bursts of ice hot pain splinter from my temple to cover the side of my head. I fall.

Enveloped in piles of white, cold comfort, I see your laughing face across the street. Your face is flushed and your bent over holding your stomach, laughing so hard you look like you're about to cry. Your friends snicker at me. My eyes meet your cool blue ones and I feel my heart sink to my shoes. Your self-satisfied smirk haunts me.

The Beginning

We are six. My hands are sticky and I hold an opened fruit roll-up in my hand. You are eating chocolate chip cookies. You are as blonde as the sun and have dirt streaked across your cheeks like tears. You are the only kid that is by yourself. I go up to you. "I'll trade you my fruit roll-up for a cookie."

You stare wide eyed at me but hand me the cookie.

I happily take it and smash it into my mouth, celebrating with crumbs flying every which way, enjoying the mash of chocolate and sugary goodness. "Mf Shmf"

You tilt your head. I swallow and repeat, "I'm Shawn."

"I'm Jacob," you announce happily. Your smile is sweet and friendly. I take a seat next to you.

The Comfort

I am on my roof, lying on my back. It's the peak of the Perseids and there is a downpour of magnificent stars over my head. I see a shadow down the street, running, running, running… towards me. I slide back through my window as silent as the shooting stars. I stealthily make my way downstairs and sneak out the door. The figure approaches, runs and runs straight into my arms.

"Jakey, what's wrong?" I ask quietly, my voice shaking.

You only let go and look at me sadly, your blue eyes a dark, moody gray in the dark. Tears streak down your cheeks.

I pull you back into my arms and hold you against me tight. We stand there, underneath the falling stars, and feel the darkness all around us. But I'd never let you fall into it. Never.

The Desire


I fall onto the hard ground and you land on top of me. Ever since you've started football you've hulked up and the impact makes me grunt. "Dude, get up now before I turn into a pile of squished Shawn goo on the ground. My parents will know who to blame for that one, you know."

You stay where you are, putting your full weight on me so I can't breathe. I feel dizzy from lack of air. You grin at me, your blue eyes bright and playful. "Make me."

"I thought we were playing football, not wrestling," I choke out, gasping for breath.

You lean in closer, your shaggy blonde hair falling in front of your eyes. You're leering at me triumphantly, knowing there's no way I could move you right now. My scrawny ass body and skinny arms have nothing against you. I squirm underneath you, attempting to at least get the pressure off my chest. You just snicker and grab my arms, pinning me against the dirt. I roll my eyes. "Yes, Jake, we get it, you're stronger than me. Now can you please let me up?"

It's late fall and chilly and so the ground is of course rock hard. It digs into my back painfully and the cold seeps through my jacket. I shiver. You move even closer and our jackets make noise as they rub together. "Aww come on, Shawny boy, you're not even putting up a fight. You're no fun."

You lick your lips and suddenly I feel like I need to get out from underneath you right this second. I grit my teeth and wrap my strong legs tight around you and use them to flip you onto your back, a move I learned when I took wrestling for that one month many years ago. You only laugh and take me with you, using our momentum to roll me back onto my back. I grimace, of course the great Jacob wins again.

I sigh and roll my eyes, giving up the fight and going limp under you. You only cock your head and stare at me. I am annoyed now, "What?"

The playfulness goes out of your eyes for a moment. In fact you look deadly serious. My eyes lock on yours and I feel my breath quicken. There's something in your eyes I don't understand. "Jake…?"

You don't answer me. Never answer me. You just get up and leave and the chill creeps back over my body from where your body heat once was.

The Betrayal

I am running late, of course. I sprint up the steps to my high school. Crap, crap, crap… I internally reprimand myself for staying up late last night playing Halo. I slap myself on the head as I remember along with not sleeping I didn't finish the problem set I was supposed to finish for Calc. Fuck fuck fuck…

I bang through the doors and thank God when I see students still filling the hallways and hear lockers banging shut. Still have at least two minutes to sprint to the other side of the school and grab my books and make it to class. Come on, Shawn, you can do this.

I pump my arms faster and cringe as I sideswipe a few girls. They just giggle at me and I sneak a glance at my reflection. Blood shot eyes and messy hair look back at me. Oh and I forgot to shower this morning… whoops… ah well I wasn't on the hunt for any sexy coeds anyway. At least not today. I adjust my glasses and messenger bag and continue to dash through the hallways, this time narrowly missing a teacher and only grazing a pack of freshmen walking by.

I sigh in relief as I make it to my locker. I gasp for breath as I quickly put in my combination. The breath is sucked right back out of me, though, as someone slams me into the lockers. I shout, "What the fuck?!"

I turn around ready to spew some choice words but I stop. Looming over me was some of our school's most hulk-like star athletes, with the thickest necks and their biceps making up for their brain size. You're standing on the far left with an indiscernible look on your face. I expect you to tell them to back off but you don't say a word.

Their "leader" - the dumbest and most hulk-like of them all - gets in my face, "Hey Shawny boy, we've been hearing some interesting things lately."

I turn away from them while rolling my eyes and finish throwing my books in my bag. "Oh and what would those be?"

Hulk Boy laughs at me and pushes me back into the lockers; this time my head hits the metal with a bang. I ignore how the pain brings tears to my eyes for a second and try to shove past them. I have thirty seconds to make it up the stairs and to my class. Otherwise detention for me for being tardy… again.

Surprisingly the jocks follow me into the stairwell. Hulk Boy grabs my bag. "Come 'ere cocksucker!"

I raise an eyebrow as he tosses my books on the floor. He laughs, "You don't need these to get the grade. I'm sure if you offer to suck Mr. Cardellini's dick he'll give you an A! Unless that's what you've been doing all along."

I look at you and can't believe you're just standing there. "Come on, Jake, call off your friends so I can go to class please."

You just stare at me. One of the jocks sneers, "Yeah Jakey save your boyfriend."

You just look at me. "Why would I help that faggot?"

I can't believe it. My jaw drops as I hear that and I can feel betrayal squeeze my heart painfully. I keep my face stony though. "You're one to talk."

I hear the high pitched tone of the bell announcing my doom and my heart jumps. Oh great. I run to pick up my books. "Fuckin dumbasses, now I'm late."

The other football players just laugh at me and run to get to their classes but you stay behind. You look lost. I hate that look on your face and I feel adrenaline from the encounter boiling my blood. I go up to you and push you hard into the wall. You barely snap out of it. "Don't ever fucking talk to me again, you sonofabitch. I can't believe you. You think those apes are your friends? You think they'll be the ones standing behind you no matter what, be there for you? Let you cry into their letter jackets. Fuck that, I hope you're happy. I'm gone."

I let go of you and go to turn away but I feel arms pull me back and my arms are restricted as I'm held tight. You don't say a word. My arms are pinned at my sides as I'm held from behind. I try to squirm my way out but I'm stuck. I feel your hot breath against my neck. I wonder what the hell has happened to you and why you're playing this Jekyll and Hyde shit.

You whisper into my ear, your voice shaky, "I don't know what to do…"

I take the moment to elbow you in the gut and escape from your grip. I push you into the wall and shout into your crying face, "Fucking grow up, man."

You start to say something but I'm gone, taking the stairs two at a time. Running until my legs burn.

The Mistake

You collapse onto the bed, laughing. It's September but as hot as ever and we're both dripping sweat, our t-shirts soaked and our hair spiked every which way. I'm still panting from playing a round of basketball in ninety degree heat. You barely seem tired though, getting up on the bed and jumping on it, gesturing madly at me. "In your FACE! I totally destroyed you, man!"

I roll my eyes and take off my soaked shirt. It was true. You won. Surprise surprise.

You look like a mad man jumping on my bed, a huge smile plastered on your face, hair wild and face red from exertion. I'm so intent on thinking how crazy you are I don't notice as you slip and fly off the bed. Suddenly a one hundred eighty pound seventeen year old is aimed directly at me. You land on me hard and we both tumble to the floor.

I groan and wonder at what I put up with to be your best friend. Constantly being berated, beaten in every sport known to man, and for some reason, constantly being tackled.

You mumble into my chest, "Sorry…"

I laugh, "S'okay, I'm used to it."

I expect you to get up but you stay where you are, your cheek plastered against my chest and our limbs tangled together. You crawl up my body and our sweaty skin slides together. Your eyes are cautious. Your entire body is along mine but this time at least you hold yourself up by your elbows, letting me breathe. You chuckle, "We seem to find ourselves in this position a lot."

I laugh, disbelieving. "That's because you tackle me a lot, dumbass."

You just smile at me and your eyes light up. "You're fun to tackle."

I'm endlessly confused by this entire encounter and need to get some air bad. Your body is torturously hot against my already steaming skin. I feel like I'm on fire with all this heat. Plus a sweaty seventeen year old on top of me isn't exactly the best feeling… or smell. "Dude you reek, get off me."

"Shawny boy, why do you always want me to get off you when you're oh so comfy to lie on?" You say while stretching out on top of me.

"Why am I your friend again?" I ask sarcastically.

You just straddle me and grin wildly. "Cuz you love me."

I roll my eyes, not having an argument against that. I've known this kid for a decade; he was like family to me. And I'm willing to put up with a few eccentricities because of that… even if one of them is to tackle me all the time…

You pin me to the floor and lean in close, "Come on, Shawny, admit you love me."

I scoff, "Yes, I love you. Does that mean you'll let me go?"

Suddenly I feel a pair of lips on my own. Lips smash against lips and teeth nip at me while your tongue worms its way into my mouth. You taste salty and I can only lie there in shock as you shove your tongue into my mouth, trying to wrestle mine. What the fuck?

I pause for a minute before moving my tongue a little and jumping when you moan in reaction. I don't know what to do. This is nothing like the kisses I've had before: chaste kisses on the lips with the few short-term girlfriends I've had. This is raw and hungry and powerful and demanding.

I never think to try to get you to stop. It seems rude to not kiss back. So I kiss back. I cautiously massage my lips against yours, thinking that your lips are way too soft to belong to a guy. To belong to you. In fact, with my eyes closed, I can almost pretend I'm kissing a girl. For a moment I think that instead of kissing my best friend I am actually being mouth raped by Samantha Saunders, the hot girl in my Chem class. I open my eyes after awhile and am shocked that it is in fact a boy lying on top of me. A boy's lips I'm kissing. A boy running his hand through my hair, down my face, along my chest and stomach and oh….

I close my eyes again, desperate to block out what is happening but at the same time not wanting the sensation to end. Blood pools in my groin and I feel myself get harder. Fuck. I want the motions to stop and not stop at the same time. Never stop…

I open my eyes and you stare into my soul and consume me with your dark, lust filled eyes. I feel outside of myself and watch as you rip off your shirt and shorts and then grab at mine. I watch as I lift my hips to let you pull my last remaining piece of clothing off of me.

You kiss your way down my neck and chest and I feel like the entire world is spinning around us. This isn't supposed to be happening. Inside I'm freaking out and telling myself to move, get you off of me, stop this insanity, but outwardly I do nothing but lie there. Your kisses scald my already burning skin.

I stare at you, naked above me. Your cock looks different than I thought it would. Not that I'd thought of your cock before. It's not overly huge but it's thick and looks odd compared to my long and skinny length. As I'm thinking this you thrust against me and I gasp. I can't deny it, it feels freaking awesome. And after a lifetime of not getting any I need this. Human contact feels way too good to me right now. So I turn off my brain and let myself think with my dick. May not be the smartest idea but I'm a teenage guy and there's someone giving me attention and who am I to stop that?

I stare as you lower your lips around my cock. You take me all the way in and pleasure shoots through me. I desperately want you to move your mouth but you're just staring at me, my cock in your mouth, with a confused expression your face. It's adorable. I can't take it anymore and thrust into your mouth a little, needing friction but feeling bad when you gag slightly. You then start to move, sucking sloppily while jerking me off with one hand in rhythm with your mouth. I feel the world spinning around me. My mind turns completely off and all I can do is feel. Feel the wet warmth of your mouth and the pressure building up inside of me. I can't take it anymore and I explode. Hot pleasure spikes through me and I bite my lip to keep from screaming. Fucking hell you're amazing at that, something I would have never thought. Although you are good at everything else of course, why not this?

I feel my muscles locking and then as they relax I open my eyes. You're sitting on your knees and there's a tiny bit of cum dripping from the corner of your mouth. You look dazed.

"Fuck," you exclaim thoughtfully.

I sit up and quickly put my shorts back on, "Yeah…"

You suddenly look panicked and my stomach drops. I can see the thoughts running through your head. Oh, Jake, you've always been so easy to read. I look on sadly as you begin to freak out. I notice your once throbbing dick start to go limp. You stand quickly and put your clothes back on. Your shirt is on inside out but you don't seem to care. You stumble over your words, "I… I gotta go…"

I just look on sadly. "Bye…"

As you walk out I feel like our friendship leaves with you.

The Apology

You stand at my car as I walk out to the parking lot. I had to stay after so mine is the only car left. You must have had to stand out there awhile. You don't notice me approaching at first and I take the chance to examine you. You're facing the car, seeming to be staring into your reflection. Then I watch as you bang your head into the side of my car a few times. I mentally scold you; you could be denting my lovely car after all.

"Hey," I say as I approach. I'm not going to just stand there and say everything's fine but I'm going to hear you out at least.

You look at me and pain is written across your face. My heart breaks at the sight of it but I try to remain icy as I go around to the driver's side to unlock the door. You follow me. You stand close. "Shawn… I'm so sorry…"

I yank the door open forcefully and it slams into you. You stare at me, shocked. I glare. "Not good enough."

You watch sadly as I get into my car and slam the door behind me. I'm about to drive off when you knock on the window. You have such a pitiful look on your face I decide to roll down the window. You're shaking. "I'm… I'm in love with you, okay?"

I shake my head and put my car into drive. "If that's how you treat those you love then I don't want to see how you treat those you hate."

I drive away without looking back and try to ignore the way my hands are shaking.

The Fallout

Every day you slip farther and farther away. I watch as you walk down the hallways, your football buddies acting as body guards. They circle around you and I barely catch a glimpse of your blonde hair before you've passed me.

Loneliness begins to overwhelm me. I often think about what would have happened if I had said something different in the parking lot that day. But then I hear a yelled faggot as I pass and I get angry all over again. I don't care what those idiots say, I only care what you say and you don't even say anything and that's the worst part.

I attach myself even closer to my other friends but it's not enough. I feel like there's a gaping hole in my life and I find myself falling deeper and deeper.

Winter comes and the frost outside matches the iciness in my heart. My grandmother gets sick and I spend my time taking care of her. My life has become a miserable existence of school, homework, and bringing an old lady to the bathroom.

In January my car slides on ice and smashes into a telephone pole. I have a concussion and am in the hospital for three days. You don't come visit or even ask if I'm alright. I lay in the hospital bed and stare at the white ceiling and bemoan my existence. From then on I have to walk to school.

It's an exceptionally cold day. Recent snow crunches underfoot. I'm late to school again. I see your car drive past me. I scream curses at the trail of your exhaust.

I'm coming back from school. Had to stay late again. I have to feed my grandma and my parents are going to be pissed when they find out I've kept her waiting this long. I run across the icy sidewalks. You and your friends throw balls of ice at me and you only laugh as I fall into the snow.

I wish I could just lie there and freeze to death.

I hate you more than I ever thought I could hate anyone.

The Forgiveness

My grandmother died.

I am dressed in a suit that's too small. The last time I wore it I was twelve. My wrists and forearms stick out of the ends. I look ridiculous but it was all I could do on short notice. And who cares? I doubt she's up there in heaven spiting me over the fact that I don't look my best.

And I definitely don't look my best. I haven't slept in days. My hair and my brush have been having a war since this morning and my hair won. I looked like a hobo who stole a little kid's suit. Great.

All morning I was wondering if you would show up but I figured you wouldn't even though I heard my mom talking to your mom about it. I am surprised when I see you slip in and take a seat in the back corner. You look uncomfortable.

I don't know how I feel about you being here. It seems wrong. It seems fake. Don't pretend to care, Jake. I know you don't give a shit about me.

I sit silently throughout the service. I don't shed a tear. I am beyond breaking down. I am numb, I am nothing. There is not enough emotion left in me to cry.

My mother is bawling on my shoulder and I can feel her tears soaking through my jacket.

I can't do this.

After the funeral we get people together to go to the reception at my house. Our cars are packed up with cousins, aunts, uncles, second cousins, and that one guy who I don't really know how he's related to us. I find that every spot in the car is filled. No space for me. Go figure.

I feel a hand on my shoulder and even before I turn around I know it is you. "I can take you… you know… if you want me to."

You don't meet my eyes and I just shrug. Beats walking.

We get into your car. You drive without saying a word and I reciprocate the silence. But as we approach my street I can't help but panic a little inside. I break the silence. "I can't do this… I can't sit in that house and deal with everyone. I can't deal with watching everyone trying to hold back tears. I need to get out of here…"

Without a response you jerk the wheel around and do an illegal U-turn. I sigh in relief as we drive in the opposite direction of my house. You take us down familiar backroads and up hills. With every mile I feel myself becoming unraveled. It's as if my body has been numb for so long it's beginning to crumble. You turn the radio on and Johnny Cash begins to sing deep and sad and with that I can't take it anymore. I break.

My cheeks are stained with hot salty tears before I even realize I'm crying. I can't get enough air and I heave and sob at the same time. Everything I've been holding in I let out and I can't stop. No matter how hard I try I can't stop, every time I think I'm letting up I start sobbing harder.

The car jerks to a halt as you pull off on the side of the road. Before I know it a pair of arms are wrapped around me and you are stroking my hair and rubbing circles in my back and for some reason that only makes me sob harder.

I wish I could cry like a man. You know, that thing that guys do wear they tear up but still manage to look emotionless. Instead I'm sobbing like a baby and I'm getting snot on your suit and I probably look even worse than before. But I cling to you like my life depends on it and it does in a way.

I cry until I collapse, finally relaxing into your embrace. Eventually I notice that your arms are shaking as they hold me tight and as I look at you I realize you have been crying too and that almost gets me worked up again but I don't think I have another tear left in me. I'm all dried up.

We sit there for awhile, in each other's arms. We take turns hiccupping and letting out half sobs, both of us embarrassed but knowing that it is futile to hide now. You look so much like the little kid I first became friends with, with your tear stained cheeks and puffy eyes. You look so lost and I am so lost and I really think we should be lost together. Because together I know we can find our way eventually. But alone we are just broken pieces, missing our other half.

I hiccup. "I love you."

You hiccup back at me and I can see snot running out of your nose but I don't care. "I love you too."

You look like you want to kiss me but I know you won't. We are both scared. We both don't ever want to move from this spot when finally we aren't broken but complete. But we know eventually we are going to have to move and we do.

You drive me back to my house. I give you a hug goodbye and say thank you. I know you have more to say but now is not the time. There's only so much healing to be done in one day.

But I walk in my house feeling like things might be alright. I find my mom sitting on the couch with a dazed expression on her face. Because of you I know I can handle this now and I sit down next to her. She quietly says, "She's really gone…"

I only give her a hug and she cries silently into my shoulder. I know she has had to be in control all day, to have a brave face and to take care of others. Like you were there for me I now am able to be there for her.

And I know that when I'm drained I can come back to you to give me strength again.

The Promise

We are nine years old and have decided to run away. You are carrying a teddy bear, a popsicle, and a plastic bag filled with five dollars in change. I stole my daddy's backpack and have in it pajamas for both of us, a few bags of chips, and juice boxes. Apple, because I know it's your favorite. We are ready for our adventure and to get away from our horrible parents.

When we meet down the street we hug and smile gleefully. We race each other to the woods and you win, of course. I pout as I finally catch up to you. You're halfway up a tree. "Jakey, it's not fair! I have a backpack to carry!"

You just laugh at me from the tree. "Nah, you're just a sore loser. And you know I'm better than you!"

I scowl and stand at the base of the tree. You always win and always rub my face in it. I shout up at you, "Well fine then I'm going to drink your juice box!"

I take it out of my backpack and am about to take a sip when you come flying from the trees like a monkey and tackle me to the ground. I push you off of me and yell, "Jake! Why do you always do that!"

You just giggle and take the juice box and drink it happily. You smile up at me, "We're gonna be bestest friends forever right?"

I can't be mad at you anymore so I just take out another juice box and sit next to you. "Yes! Us against the world! No one's gonna come between us ever. And we are gonna have the awesomest adventures!"

You grin at the idea. "You promise?"

"I promise."

You hold out your pinky and I take it with my own and we pinky swear on it to make it the most sacred of promises. And with that we both know it's settled. Bestest friends. Forever.

The Beginning Again

We're nineteen. I see you coming down my street. I run to meet you and you run to meet me and we mutually tackle each other so we're a tangle of limbs on the sidewalk. You smirk, "Missed me that much hunh?"

I punch you in the arm but grin. "Race you to the forest?"

You laugh but jump up quick and sprint away, leaving me to chase after you. We sprint down familiar streets and I desperately attempt to catch up to you but you're too far gone. I finally reach the forest but I can't find you anywhere. I call out, "Jake?"

I hear a familiar rustling of branches and try to leap out of the way but you're too fast and manage to land on top of me once again. You hold me down and I scowl at you. "Really? You know you're a big dude and that actually hurts."

You just snicker. "Oh come on, you love it."

And with that you kiss me. Hard. Smashing your lips against mine before slowing it down to a gentle, agonizingly soft kiss. I take a deep breath, "Well I do love that."

You roll off of me and sit up, pulling me so I'm sitting up beside you. You look into my eyes and your blue eyes dazzle me. "Hey, can I ask you something?"

I tilt my head, puzzled. "Sure."

You grin wickedly, "We're gonna be bestest friends forever right?"

I kiss you and push you onto the dirt so I can lay on top of you. "Yup. Us against the world."

You sigh contentedly and pull me close. "Promise?"

"I promise."

I kiss you deeply and know I'm going to keep my promise.