Expectation is the mother of all frustration.
~ Antonio Banderas
I think it’d be safe to say I over analyze, like everything. So you can imagine the head-time I contributed to the upcoming gala at the old A-frame. I looked at this party from every angle. Walked through every scenario I could think of. Paid attention to every little detail. I was aiming for seamless and smooth. A night to remember. Yet, none of my planning could have predicted what would eventually happen. To that effect, years later, I still don’t know everything that went down. Being the host created another level of stress for me. I’ve always been short on friends, and I had my three most important friends coming to my house. On one hand, I was doing backflips with excitement. On the other hand, I was terrified. I wanted this thing to go down perfect.
I woke up early on New Years Eve. Prepping food and snacks. Cleaning the house like my mom would if she was hosting a party. I had my sister drive me to town so I could stock up on pop and junk food. I got noisemakers and cupcakes. DVDs. I even got us a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne.
I had twin crockpots working in the kitchen. One held a wicked beef stew. The other had a spicy queso dip. Both bubbling in anticipation. The last thing I had to do was stir the caramel into my homemade chex mix.
Mark and Adam came over in the early afternoon. The plan was to play some hockey for a few hours, and reward ourselves with a warm meal. Kayla even agreed to play with us. She’s been threatening to skate circles around us up for the last few months, so here was her chance to back it up.
It was a fairly warm day. Right around the freezing point. Bright, sunny skies. Perfect weather for outdoor hockey. The skating was awesome and Kayla was a damn good player, but Adam and I beat Kayla and Mark five times in a row. We were an unstoppable force. Kayla and Mark seemed to be getting along really good, which was nice to see. I was a little worried about bringing them both over after what Mark had told me. How they quit sitting together in lunch and didn’t really talk anymore. Seeing them today, it didn’t look like they had bad feelings at all.
As we walked back up toward the house, Mark and Adam started lobbing snowballs at each other. It quickly escalated into a playful wresting match, as they rolled off trail, laughing and swearing. Kayla and I walked on, giggling at the two brothers.
“Adam is too cute. Oh my god. He’s gonna break some hearts,” Kayla offered, as a conversation starter.
“Yeah. He’s a cool kid.”
“He lo-oves you.”
“Oh come on Daniel. He worships the ground you walk on. It’s so obvious.”
“Really? Guess I didn’t noticed.”
“Figures…boys. Well, that boy definitely has more than a little crush on you, hehe. He can’t peel his eyes off you.”
“No way! I mean, I think he looks up to me or whatever, but nothing like that. We’re friends. You know.”
“Mmm…eyes don’t lie. Anyway. It’s kind of cute. You guys would make an adorable couple.”
“Hey!” I protested, giving her a gentle shove.
“Ah ha. Lighten up. I’m gonna run home and shower.” She leaned in for a quick kiss on my lips and said, “see ya soon,” before she trotted down a side trail that led to her house.
When we got back in the house, Mark and Adam raided the fridge for a couple Mountain Dews. My mom spotted us from the laundry room and called me over.
“Daniel, you’re father and I will be leaving soon. As I told you, we’ll be staying the night in Minneapolis, so it’s just you and your sister. She’s going out with some friends, but she’ll be home later. I trust you and your friends will behave when she’s gone and when she gets back. If you have any problems, call me. Have fun and be good.”
With that taken care of, we all headed upstairs to clean up and change into nicer clothes. I offered that it would be cool if we all dressed up a little for the party, and everyone agreed to it. When we crossed the front of the bathroom on our way to my room, I could see Kari standing in front of the mirror, putting on her face.
As we entered my room, Mark looked at me and whispered, “dude, your sister is hot.”
I responded in kind, with a shot to his arm, protesting, “dude! Shut up man.”
Mark rubbed the spot on his arm I punched and apologized between fits of laughter. Unknown to me and Mark, Kari came in behind us, waiting for one of us to notice her. Adam cleared his throat and directed his eyes over my shoulder. I turned to see what he was getting at, and there was Kari. The half smile on her face told me she heard what he had said. I, of course, played dumb.
“Oh…hi Kari. What’s up,?” I asked.
“Have you talked to mom yet?”
“Yeah. Just now.”
“Ok. I need a favor. I am NOT coming home tonight. I’m sure she told you I was, but no way, not tonight. Can you…you know, not let her know that I didn’t come home?”
“Sure. No problem…but you know she’ll call.”
“Shit. You’re right. Just tell her I’m not home yet, and if it’s really late, tell her I’m asleep already.”
“Just don’t…burn the house down or whatever.”
“We’ll try not to.”
As she turned to walk away, she stopped and asked one more question. “So boys, how do I look?” She really dressed it up with a little pirouette and a curtsy.
It was fun to watch Mark stammer. Unable to find appropriate words to answer with. His normally confident face took on a nice shade of Crimson. Being the good friend I am, I saved his ass by saying, “you look really nice Kari.”
“Thank you sweetie,” she beamed. “I’m done in the bathroom now, too. It’s all yours boys.”
“Why don’t you guys go first. I mean, if you were gonna shower or clean up.”
“Yeah. Cool. I’ll go first,” Mark said, quickly grabbing one of the towels my mom set out on my bed for us. As he darted toward my door, I asked, “hey dude? What’s the hurry?”
Almost as soon as I said it, I regretted it. Now it was my turn to turn red with embarrassment. “Ewe! Gross dude,!” I protested, launching a pillow toward my now empty doorway.
“What the,?” Adam quizzed, until a few seconds later, when his lightbulb lit up over his head. He giggled as his hand formed the international signal for ‘jacking off.’
“Not you too,!” I pleaded, launching my only other pillow toward him.
Adam got up and took a very close look around my room. It wasn’t invasive or anything. Just thorough. He asked a few questions about my drawings and some of my books. He mentioned more than once how thankful he was that I invited him over for the night. He’s a very thoughtful boy.
It’s a funny thing about perception. To Mark, I invited Adam over because he had to watch his little brother tonight, no matter what. I assured Adam that was not the case. I invited him over because I wanted him there. It’s ironic that I get defensive about Mark crushing on my sister, when I’m doing the same thing over his brother. Albeit, in private. I guess it’s just human instinct, to protect your siblings.
When there was nothing left to look at in my room, Adam sat at the side of my bed and pulled off his wool socks. He started rubbing his toes and said, “my toes are still frozen. I wish Mark would hurry up.”
“Seriously? You’re feet got that cold?”
“Yeah. Pretty much.”
“Let me see,” I said, grabbing ahold of one of his feet. “Wow! They are cold.”
I started to rub his slender foot, to try and bring some warmth back to it. Before long, I was rubbing both of his feet back to life. Neither of us said anything, but occasionally our eyes would meet, and Adam would flash an appreciative smile. After a few minutes, my hands got sore, so I let his feet go.
“Better,?” I asked.
“Yeah. Thanks Daniel. That’s a lot better.”
Mark returned a little later, wrapped in only a towel, as is his typical way. Adam took his place in the bathroom, while Mark rifled through his backpack to find his change of clothes. As Mark was laying out his outfit at the foot of my bed, a brilliant idea crossed my mind. I waited until he dropped his towel, and modestly turned his nakedness away from me, before saying, “where’s my damn phone? I need Kari to come in here for a minute.”
“Dude! No way! Stop! Stop! Wait,” rattled off a very nervous Mark. I think he must have broken some kind of ‘pulling up your underwear record.’
“Ah haha. I got you, sucker.”
“That’s what you were afraid she was gonna see, huh?”
“Shut up, meanie.”
“You don’t think I’d really do that to you, do you? Anyway, I filmed your naked ass with my phone. I’ll just play it for her later…or Kayla. Hell, I’ll show both of them.”
“Whatever. I’ll get you back.”
We exchanged a few more good natured insults, as Mark started to get dressed. He looked pretty sharp in a nice pair of khakis and an expensive looking navy blue sweater. It was nice to see his glorious ass on full display, hugged nicely in his perfect fitting pants, without some long shirt covering half of it up.
“Thanks for dressing up Mark. You look very nice. Classy.”
“It was a cool idea and thanks.”
Adam returned from the bathroom next, the same way his older brother had. Must be the way they do things at their house. Seeing Adam without his shirt was really shocking to me. For his young age, his body was quite mature. Already sprouting musculature across his chest and abdomen. He easily looks as developed as me and Mark with his budding, athletic body. He grabbed his backpack and set it on my desk to find his things, when Mark reached over and tugged his towel down. He didn’t even flinch. He just stood there completely naked, like nothing happened. I’m not sure what Mark and I were laughing at more. Adam’s little white moon, or his reaction, or lack there of, to being pantsed. I just hope I wasn’t too obvious with the fact that my eyes never drifted off his naked body. He truly was a slightly smaller version of his older brother. These two were blessed with beautiful bodies and neither of them seemed to mind showing them off. I’m certainly not going to complain.
When Adam got around to getting dressed, he put on a nice pair of black dress pants with a burgundy button-up shirt, tucked into the waist. Something about that color combination really brought out the permanently bronzed tone of his skin, and the icy blue hue of his big puppy eyes. He looked spectacular.
I took my turn in the bathroom next. I was admittedly a bit worked up after the last half hour in my room, with the two boys. When I was finished in the shower, I decided to head back to my room wrapped in a towel, like my guests before me. I usually just bring boxers with me to the bathroom, or make a mad dash in the nude, but I figured I might as well do what they do. I walked in and immediately knew something was up. It was too quiet, and Adam was struggling to hide his smile. I walked to my closet and started to pull my outfit off its hanger, when “whoosh” my towel went missing. No surprise there. I tried to go the Adam route, and proceed business as usual, but the whistling and comments, made that hard to do. Still I soldiered on, cracking up only a few times.
I pulled my boxer briefs up amid a series of boos’ and hisses, and when I turned around, I was surprised to see it was Adam holding my towel, and not Mark. It gave me butterflies. I started to put my outfit on soon after. Unlike these two, I am a bit self-conscious about my body, especially if I’m the only one nearly naked.
I settled on a pair of woolen, charcoal dress pants and a black, button-up shirt. I accented it with a burgundy tie, as a nod to Adam’s outfit. When we were all satisfied with our clothes and hair, we headed downstairs to eat a few snacks until Kayla’s return. By this time, the house was completely empty, and would remain that way until the next day. Not that I expected us to get up to anything really bad, but it was cool to think that we could do whatever we wanted. Real freedom. On New Years, no less!
We stood around the kitchen island, dipping tortilla chips into some queso, drinking caffeinated sodas, when there was a knock at the door.
We all shouted, “come in,” and Kayla emerged from the entryway. She looked like a punk rock, vampire goddess, dressed in a sleek, black dress and sexy black boots. Her hair was midnight blue and her make-up was a stark contrast of both light and dark. Her entire get-up was pretty intimidating, unless of course, you knew her. When she walked in, she set down two large duffle bags and a loose pillow.
“I can stay here tonight, right?”
“Yeah. Sure. The house is all ours until tomorrow.”
“Wicked,” she said in response, wearing a devilish smile.
She crouched down to unzip one of the bags and pulled out two huge bottles of champagne.
“I already got one of those,” I said.
“Oh honey. These are real ones,” she responded while looking at my sparkling grape juice on the counter. “Nobody has to drink any of this, but it’s my last night here, and I’m going to catch a little buzz. If anybody wants to join me, cool. If not, whatevs…no big deal.”
I had a plan for this. Let’s be honest. We’re talking about Mark and Kayla here, so of course I had a plan.