I awoke the next morning only to see my bedmate keeping his hands to himself. I rolled onto my side and just admired his true beauty. His peaceful sleeping form. The blankets were bunched up around his waist, exposing his entire upper half. I took time to look at his every perfect curve and detail. My infatuation for him ran 
so deep, that my soul actually ached for him. If I dwelled on it much longer, I’m certain I could have driven myself to tears. 
I thought a lot about the two times I woke up during the night, and the invasive placement of his hands. As much as I wanted to believe that Mark shared a similar secret to the one I own, I had serious doubts that it could be true. It was more likely pure coincidence that his hands fell where they had. It’s going to take a few more sleepovers before I can allow myself to get too excited about his nature and motivations. 
I laid there a little while longer, until the inevitable morning pee started to bang on my bladder. I quietly crawled out of the bed and went into the bathroom. Upon my return, Mark was awake, with his hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling. 
“Good morning.”
“Morning. How’d you sleep?”
“Really good. Your bed is super comfy.”
“Yeah. I slept like a log.”
I crawled in next to him again and we just laid there in silence for a little while. 
“I could lay here all day.”
“Me too.”
“I bet my mom is up there making a big breakfast. Pancakes. Bacon…”
“Dude stop!  You’re making me hungry just thinking about it.”
“Haha. Well let’s go up there and check it out” he said, as he ripped the blankets off of us and leapt out of bed. 
“Be right back. Gotta pee.”
He strolled out of the room, clad in only his tight boxer briefs, and my eyes were glued to him. God he’s beautiful. I jumped out of bed and put on a t-shirt and some soccer shorts. Mark came back and got dressed as well. 
I could smell the delicious aroma creeping out of the kitchen as we arrived to the ground floor. I looked up and saw Adam laying on the couch, watching tv with a heavy blanket drawn up to his chin. When he spotted me, his face lit up into a big smile, as he said “hey Danny. Good morning,” completely ignoring his own brother. 
I had to laugh, thinking about what Mark told me last night. I walked up to him,  ruffled his hair and said “good morning Adam.”  I sat on the other couch next to him, to watch whatever it was, he had on the tv. 
It’s funny how much younger he seemed to me, when it was only a mere two years. There’s just such a big difference between being ten, in fifth grade, and being twelve, in seventh grade.  It’s certainly a transition from the free spirited ways of youth, to a sudden change of mindset, where you are trusted with new responsibilities, and expected to act more mature. I think the fact that I treated Adam like an equal yesterday, instead of talking down to him, made him appreciate me, and maybe even like me. Not ‘like me’, but like how I treated him. 
As I sat there with Adam, while he watched some anime show, I had never seen before, I could hear Mark and his mom in the kitchen arguing. It was too muffled to pick out any details, but I could tell Mark was upset about something. 
A minute later, Mark stormed into the room, muttering something to himself. 
“What’s wrong?” I asked. 
“My mom. She pisses me off sometimes. I was going to ask you to hang out and sleep over again tonight, but my mom said no. She’s gonna make us go to some bullshit party tonight. I don’t know why me and Adam can’t stay home, and you stay too.”
“Awe dude. That’s alright. I mean whatever. We can do a sleepover next weekend or something.”
“I know, but I really don’t want to go tonight.”
A minute later, his mom walked in to announce breakfast was ready. We all stood up and assembled in the kitchen to devour whatever she put on our plates. Mark pouted most of his way through the meal, but eventually came back around to his normal cheerful self. 
As we finished, and were about to sprawl out on the couches in the family-room, and let the food coma take its effect, Mark’s mom told us she was going to run some errands, but she’d be back in a few hours to run me home. I thanked her for the meal and taxi service. Mark sulked a bit more. Realizing she wasn’t going to change her mind about tonight. 
We worked our way to the living room. Mark plopped down on a big, pillowy chair, so I grabbed the couch right next to him. I figured Adam would go back to the couch he was on when we came up earlier. Instead, he snatched his pillow and blanket and hopped on the couch I was sitting on. I giggled and Mark rolled his eyes. Just like Mark had done last night, Adam laid across the couch, and I sat on the other end with my foot propped up on the coffee table. Mark flipped through the channels for a while, before proclaiming there was nothing good on. Truth is, he was right. We ended up finding some 80’s music video show, and we all laughed at the music and fashion of the 80’s. It was actually pretty funny. When it ended, Mark stood up and said “I’m gonna go downstairs and take a shower. You can take one too, if you want to Danny.”
“Ok…cool. Maybe I’ll take one in a little while.”

Mark exited, and Adam and I started watching a similar show, but this one was the 90’s. It was almost as funny as the 80’s one. 
“That sucks you can’t stay tonight too. Maybe you can stay next weekend. Do you want to?”
“Are you inviting me?”
“Well yeah!…I mean…I know Mark would want you to stay too.”
I smiled. He was too cute, and too honest. “Yeah. That’d be cool to stay next weekend. Do you have any friends to invite over too?”
Adam kind of looked away, his mood changed to one of sadness. “I…not really. I don’t really know anybody too good.”
“Well you’re still the new kid. Don’t worry. Before long you’ll have friends lining up to stay over with you. You’re a cool kid. You’ll see.”
“You think?”
“Hell yeah! I think.  Know what else?”
“The ladies. You’ll be fighting them back with a baseball bat. There’ll be too many for you to kiss.”
Adam turned an bright shade of red. Giggling uncontrollably. “Yeah right.”
“You think I’m kidding?  Just wait. Trust me.”
Mark came back up, his hair a damp mess, wearing only a pair of silver Adidas soccer shorts. I literally had to force myself not to rudely stare at him. He just stood there with a towel, scrubbing it on his wet head, right behind the couch Adam and I were sitting on. Adam looked at me and gave me the ‘shhh’ signal with his finger over his mouth, as he silently slipped off the couch onto the floor. He crawled around the side of the couch and snuck his way behind his brother. Mark looked at the piled up blanket and asked “where did Adam go?”  Just then Adam sprung into the air, landing on Mark’s back, screaming “bonsai!”  The force knocked Mark right over the back of the couch, onto the soft cushions next to me. They spent the next ten minutes, laughing and wresting on the couch, as I sat there laughing with them. I was too scared to participate because of my foot, but I did a lot of blocking and grabbing, as the fight occasionally drifted toward me. It was hilarious watching and listening to these two brothers go at it. It made me kind of sad as well. I always wanted a brother to share these times with. At one point, they decided to double team me. I screamed “no fair!  I’m the gimp here,” but it didn’t stop them. Mark ran behind the couch and grabbed my arms, locking them over my head. 
“Adam. Danny here is probably the most ticklish person I’ve ever known. Do your specialty.”
“No way!  Come on. This is so not fair. Two on one. Don’t you dare Adam!  I will kill you. Come on!  We’re friends right?  Get Mark. Kick his ass.”
My pleas were pointless. They had me dead to rights. Mark had my arms locked with ease, and Adam placed his knees on the couch, on both sides of me. He sat back on my thighs, taking my legs away, as a secondary form of defense. Then the little bastard teased me. Moving his fingers slowly toward my armpits, then withdrawing them. “Oooohhh oooohhh” he would say. After a few of these false-alarms, he came in full blast. Assaulting my poor armpits with expert precision. I was instantly laughing like a wild animal, trying desperately to wiggle myself free. He moved one hand to the bottom of my neck, adding another level of insanity. He tickled from my pits to my waist relentlessly. All of my insides were hurting from laughing so hard. I was sweating. Completely out of breath. Babbling incoherently. I only had one trick left to try. It was the final resort. The moment of utter desperation. 
“Stop!  Stop!  Stop!  I’m gonna piss my pants. Piss on your moms couch. Sssstttooopppp!!!”
Just like that, it was over. Mark let my arms go, and Adam stopped his assault. He just sat there on me with this shit-eating grin. I pulled his head into me and gave him a knuckle-sandwich, promising him someday, I would have my revenge. He slid off of me laughing and talking trash. I stood up and gave Mark my evil face. He busted his gut from laughing so hard. I made him a similar promise to the one I gave Adam. 
“I’m going to take a shower, if that’s ok?”
“I told you it was. Towels are in the bathroom.”
As I made it to the railing at the top of the stairs, I turned to them and said “you are a couple of suckers. I didn’t have to pee.”
They turned to me, shock on their faces, as they tried to assemble in pursuit. I was already one step ahead of them. I hopped down the steps as fast as I dared on one foot and locked the bathroom door, just as they arrived. They turned the knob and pounded in the door. 
“You can’t stay in there forever, ya’ pussy. You thought you got it bad before, just you wait.”
“Go to Hell ya’ losers!”
They taunted and I defended until I turned on the shower. I stepped in, smiling, thankful for good friends like this. I got out and realized I didn’t have a change of clothes with me. I wrapped a towel around me, hoping to Hell, they weren’t out there, waiting to ambush me. I quickly opened the door and dashed as fast as I could to Mark’s bedroom. I shut the door and exhaled. When I turned back around, I saw Mark lying on his bed, laughing quietly. 
“Little jumpy aren’t we?”
“I…uhhh…thought you guys might have set a trap for me…or something.”
“Haha!  Nah dude. Truce.”
I stood with my back to the door, wearing just this towel, and a panic came over me. How am I supposed to get dressed with him in here?  Should I bring the bag with me back to the bathroom?  Or do I just get naked and dressed in here. It really shouldn’t be a big deal. I’ve known Mark almost my entire life, but I couldn’t help myself from being nervous. I decided to strategically change in his bedroom. I would just keep my back to him. That should work, and it did. I changed and managed to keep my boy bits hidden from him. I’m sure I was making a lot bigger deal about it in my head, than I needed to. I have issues. What can I say. 
A while later, Mark’s mom came home and we loaded up in her SUV and headed back to my house. We pulled into my driveway and I immediately looked into the open garage, to take inventory. My dad’s truck was there. My Mom’s car was not. I felt a hot flash of panic take me over, as I climbed out. I was supposed to be exchanging ‘thank you’s’ and ‘goodbyes’, but I didn’t even hear what was being said inside the car. In my mind, I was going through a series of scenarios. Maybe both my parents were out with one car. But they would have shut the garage. Maybe Kari is home. Maybe after Mark’s mom pulls out, I can go down the sidewalk. 
“Dude!  Are you ok?” Mark asked, concern swept across his face. 
I pulled my eyes from the garage, put on a fake smile, and said “yeah…yeah. I’m fine. Umm thank you all for having me and the ride.”
When I looked back to the garage, I heard the distant sound of some bullshit talk radio. Then I saw the telltale crystal glass, sitting on a bench. Filled halfway with some liquid that resembled gasoline, three ice cubes floating on top. Then I saw my father peak around the corner. Smiling toward Mark’s mom behind her steering wheel. Waving goodbye. I took a few cautious steps toward the garage, realizing I was probably walking right into a trap.

4 responses to “LIVE THROUGH THIS (part 28)

  1. I just think it would be so much better if two people could be immediately honest with each other about their feelings without the worry and fear of what the reaction might be. It’s a shame young people must go through the mental agony that Daniel had to go through with his thoughts about Mark. I guess it must still be the same these days, at least for folks that age.

    That’s a great description of the vast difference between the ages of ten and twelve. I guess we all can recall that. Adam sure did appreciate being treated as an equal by an ‘older’ person.

    Too bad the second successive sleepover night didn’t happen. It might have triggered a needed big breakthrough in the relationship.

    It sure seems funny to hear the 80s spoken of as something ancient, ‘the music and fashion’. To me it was only yesterday.

    Mark and Adam seem to get along good together, a good brotherly relationship. It was nice hearing of their wrestling match. Sure was fun and funny to hear when they double-teamed Daniel with the tickling.

    Sigh… Another great chapter, at least up until the end. The alcoholic dad appears again. What a shame after such joy at Mark and Adam’s house that he has to come home to this. I sure hope nothing bad happened to him. I guess every life has some bad trauma in it. Some people just have even, boring lives. At least Daniel has some great highs but I guess that means some lows must be present too. Now I’m going to be worrying about what his dad had in store for him. – Aof


  2. I can identify with this…confusion over…well…everything…everyone…friends, brothers, DAD…

    As always, the writing is awesome, the storyline is perfect, even if the content is both happy, confusing and disturbing.

    You said “no holds barred”. I think we'll be shocked or scared or outraged rather soon.

    Thank you for being honest. I know this isn't easy. But I hope it's cathartic.

    Peace <3


  3. Hello David
    Such a stroke of light and shade, the carefree 'boys being boys' at Mark's house, then the potential darkness of what Daniel's father might do. All part of what makes your writing so compelling, but also making the heart ache, knowing how autobiographical the story is.
    As to having a little brother – a mixed blessing, in my experience. I get on very well with my brother these days, but when I was 12 and he was 8 – well, not so much, his sole aim in life seemed to be to get me in trouble!

    Love & best wishes
    Sammy B


  4. Such a carefree way to spend a morning. When I was younger I didn't really get along too well with my older brother, it was more like the relationship Daniel has with his father, but we're great friends now. Sometimes I look back and wish we could have been like Mark and Adam, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

    One of my cousin's friends is super ticklish. We found that out one time at our cabin, and I might have been a bit too aggressive. He too had to concede that he was about to pee his pants, but he wasn't faking, it was a close one. Now every time I see him, I threaten to tickle him, and the flinches are hilarious.

    Good chapter!




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