After getting motivation from some unexpected places, William is now more determined than ever to get his best friend back. His plan fails miserable when John doesn't show up for school. He finds something else to do after reading the school paper, and an idea on how to solve the mystery behind Johnson Masters.
This is a series originally posted on Nifty by a friend of mine. On his behalf (because for some reason, he couldn't get an account here), I'm posting it here. He reckons people who read here might like it too. The tags for this story aren't specific to any one chapter, but are general for the entire series. It's a work in progress, with currently 8 chapters and counting. Chapter 1 serves as a prologue. Chapter 2 is the actual start of the story, with Chapter 3-8 containing the real meat of the story.
I will be posting each chapter exactly as it is found on nifty sans my friend's author's notes. He highly appreciates feedback, criticism and encourages people to spot any typos or errors and if you wish to email him he's at:
William James was not unlike most boys his age. He woke up that Friday morning expecting a repeat of the usual weekday routine, all leading up to another ordinarily bland and boring school day. If there was anything to be excited about, it was the enactment of his well-prepared plan to get his best friend back.
William went about his morning preparations with unusual haste. He was already dressed for school and down the stairs for breakfast in the time it usually took him to force himself out of bed on any other day. He poured himself some cereal as he wondered where his mother was. She was usually up earlier than him and already going about the kitchen already dressed for work. He wondered about her conspicuous absence from the kitchen and mused if the sudden break in routine represented some ill omen.
It was only after he had finished his breakfast when his mother came in, dressed for work, although her hair was still unruly and she still had her slippers on. She was busily chatting away on the phone and seemed genuinely surprised that William was there at all.
“…and of course. Now hold for a second, dear, William’s up. “
“Hey, mom. Who’s that?”
“It’s your dad. Why are you up early? I rather thought you’d still be dragging yourself across your bedroom trying to wake up.”
“Well, uhm, I just had a good night’s sleep?” William replied sheepishly, suddenly remembering that he indeed had a great orgasm last night that helped him fall asleep.
“Just as well, I’ve been meaning to call you down. Your dad wants to talk to you,” said Mrs. James in her characteristically crisp manner. William couldn’t help noticing that she was eyeing him strangely as she handed him the phone.
“Hey, dad. “
“Hey there, sport!” said Mr. James jovially.
“Hey. It’s great to hear from you. But, uhm, why did you call just now? I mean, I’ll be going to school in half an hour and it’s gotta be like, what, midnight over there. I mean, not that I’m not glad you called or anything…”
“Yes, well, some things are urgent enough for bad timing, haha!” Mr. James said. What William liked about his father was that he had an easy-going personality despite any situation that would require him to act otherwise. He was the kind of person who would be gravely serious while talking to co-workers, and then at a moment’s notice switch to his informal ‘chill’ personality when talking with William. He was such a great father in William’s eyes that the only thing missing was for him to actually be at home more than twice a month. As part of an elite cadre of UN diplomats, Mr. James was expected to frequently travel abroad.
“Well, okay. So what’s up?”
“Look, sport, I want to be honest with you. It’s a lot harder for the both of us -well more for you anyway-if I beat around the bush so I’ll get right to the point, that okay with you?” Mr. James said without losing his warmth.
“Well, okay, dad, though I still don’t get what you mean…” William replied with apparent confusion.
“A couple of days ago, your mom got a strange call. She told me about it and I decided that I’d call you the next chance I get and talk to you about it. You see, William, that call was about you.”
“About me? What? Was it from school? Wait, don’t tell me I got an award for something?” William suggested to his father while grinning.
“Haha! I would like for nothing more, believe me. Why, if that were the case, I’d quit my job and fly back there as fast as I could just to pat your back!” Mr. James laughed heartily.
“Well, since you haven’t, I guess it’s not the case, huh?” William asked still grinning.
“Nope. And I found it really strange to say the least. You see, sport, Mr. Watson was the one who called your mom and he uh…to put it simply he warned us to keep you away from his son because he said you were a…‘homosexual influence’,” Mr. James said delicately.
“What...” came William’s flat and dumbfounded reply.
“Well, that’s the gist of what he said anyway. What he said was a bit longer. He was…very creative in his choice of words. Not to mention a bit loud and agitated. “
William didn’t reply. His heart was throbbing and his knees were starting to shake. It appeared that John’s parents found out about them. And now, his parents knew too.
“William, are you still there?”
“From what I understand here, you’ve been…well, playing more…uh, mature games with his son. If I remember correctly he’s your best friend. His father is concerned that you two have been…becoming a lot closer than best friends though…am I right?”
William gulped audibly. He tried to reply but his fear reduced his words to incoherent mutters.
“William, I know that right now you must be scared, since your secret’s apparently out. But please, be open with me, son. I need to hear this from you. Is what Mr. Watson said true?”
“Y-yeah…it’s all true dad…” and before Mr. James could reply, William added a hasty “I’m sorry dad!”
“Sport, listen to me.” Mr. James said. “I’ll admit that I was surprised. But well, I’m not angry with you, really.”
“W-why not? John’s dad seemed really angry…and I thought you’d be too…” William said morosely.
“But I’m not his dad. I’m yours. We both think differently. And I really don’t think I’m in the position to get angry at you for the things you did, not that I would.”
“You almost sound like you WANT me to get angry at you,” Mr. James said with a laugh. “Well, let’s see. I’m almost never home, I almost never get to spend time with you and do normal father and son things. I don’t really have the right to judge you because I haven’t been there to supervise your growth as much as I should have. I haven’t had much of a hand in how you think, act and do things these days. I mean, I doubt I’d be winning any ‘best dad’ awards anytime soon.”
“Well, you would in my book!” William said.
“Thanks for saying that, sport. But the fact remains that I’m not there enough for you. I haven’t even done the birds and bees talk to you and I was hoping your school might do it for me. You already know about puberty and all those things, right?”
“Well, sort of, yeah…” said William, embarrassed.
“That’s great. Saves us all the awkward questions doesn’t it? Haha! But still…it’s those things that I should have done as a father to you. In fact, I really think I’m doing a really bad job at being a father.”
“No, you’re not!”
“Thank you ,William, that means a lot. But I still wasn’t there to raise you myself. Sure your mom is there too, but she’s as busy as me these days. You know, we were hoping you just learned a bit from all we taught you when you were younger and sort of… grow up along those lines eventually even if we weren’t there to help you most of the time. I can never be sorry enough for not spending enough time with you.”
William was silent though evidently listening, so Mr. James continued. “Since I’m not really there to be your dad most of the time, I don’t have the right to judge your actions because I wasn’t there to guide you in the first place. I’m not saying that I would’ve stopped you from being who you are, but as your dad, I should’ve at least been there for you to help you grow up. To me honestly, it doesn’t matter what you become as long as you become someone you can be proud of.
“In any case, I’m confident that I’ve taught you enough about right and wrong and I trust you to do and decide what’s right. That’s all I can ever do for you now, son, trust you.”
“So…I don’t want to have to ask you now, but well I just want to say that if you ARE gay, just swear to me that you’ll be a good son…or well, daughter, whatever the case.”
“Dad, I’m still a boy!” William said, now slightly smiling.
“Right. So that means I don’t have to buy you dresses now? Great! Kidding aside, William, I wish Mr. Watson would see things my way and take this all calmly, but since he doesn’t, stay out of his business for a while. I wouldn’t want to fight with another parent over how to raise children. I must be the worst possible person for an argument like that in any case, though if it comes to that I won’t back down and let another man put my son down. Whatever happens, be a good boy to your mother, alright? I love you, William. Stay safe.”
And with a promise to talk more about the issue when he got home, Mr. James bade his son goodbye. William then noticed that his mother wasn’t in the kitchen again, instead finding her in the living room casually sitting down while supposedly fixing her bag (although she just looked like she was pretending). He just realized that his mother tactfully retreated so that he and his father would have some privacy in their talk. Mrs. James looked up when he entered the living room and gave him a smile. She walked with him outside the door as they both prepared to leave. Unexpectedly, Mrs. James hugged William from behind before they left the porch.
“You know, William, I tried giving you most of the things you wanted, like your games, because I thought it was a good way to make up for the time we couldn’t spend together. But I guess, it’s no excuse for what I’ve been lacking as a parent. I hoped you would understand but I still cannot justify not paying enough attention to you. I still don’t really know how to react to all this, ‘gay’ business…but I suppose all I could ever ask for is for you is to be a good son,” Mrs. James said in a business-like manner, though there was unmistakable empathy in her tone.
“Thanks, mom,” said William as he gave his mother a goodbye kiss and went on his way to school.
Though he was feeling immensely cheerful, his thoughts were troubled. He now knew what happened to John, and he understood why his best friend had been acting so differently. It seems John’s parents found out about their budding relationship…and took it very badly.
William arrived at school without much incident. As he gathered his things from his locker and sat in the classroom, nothing of great importance happened to him and no significant conversations or people of interest interacted with him. All this annoyed the twelve year-old greatly, because his master plan to get John back seemed to unravel already from step one as evidenced by the conspicuous lack of John Watson on the chair next to him.
“Where the heck is John?!” William couldn’t help but mutter out loud after first period Science.
“Well, if it ain’t painfully obvious already dude, he’s absent,” chuckled Carl Rogers as he passed William on the way to his seat.
William grabbed Carl’s sleeve and tugged him nearer to his seat, causing Carl to nearly trip over. “Hey, what gives, dude?” Carl exclaimed.
“Do you know why John’s absent?” asked William.
“You actually expect me to know? What, am I his mom now or something?” Carl replied as he smirked and pried William’s hands off his sleeve. “Though if you must know, he’s out sick. Fever or something,”
“Hey, so you do know!”
“Maybe I just happened to overhear Nurse Joy talking to the teach’ about John’s mom calling while I went out to piss,” shrugged Carl. “For future reference, attempting to tear off a piece of someone’s shirt isn’t a good way to get info.”
“Hey. You knew, so it was totally justified,” William said with a mischievous grin.
“Bastard,” replied Carl, sporting a grin of his own.
Before both boys could continue their good-natured bickering, their English teacher and class advisor Ms Granger came in and asked them all to settle down. She was carrying with her several bundles of paper, which she began passing along to the class.
“Well class, you’ll be excited to know that the educational excursion trip is pushing through next week Friday. It’s the field trip, for those who didn’t get what I just said,” Ms Granger said as she rolled her eyes amid delayed cheers from the students.
“We’ll cover several locations, but apart from the Rowling publishing house, the destinations are the same ones outlined in last week’s bulletin. Now, pass along those forms; they’re the permission slips for your parents. Remember, no parental consent, no trip,” she said, rather tiredly. She began arranging her books on the table in a harried manner, with all the air of a woman having too many things to do.
“Ma’am, will we be going in Route 66?” asked one of the students.
“You mean ‘on’, Heffley, unless you want to be buried there,” Ms Granger answered nonchalantly as the class sniggered at the red-faced Heffley. “Which reminds me, we’ll be doing preposition exercises today. Seriously, you’re almost in the seventh grade; I would’ve thought you mastered these things already.”
“Ma’am, there’s an extra permit left.”
“Oh? I thought I had it all accounted for. Who’s not here today…let me see…where’s Watson?”
“He’s out sick today, Ma’am,” said Carl Rogers.
“I see. Who can volunteer to give this to Watson?”
“I will, Ms Granger,” William volunteered as he raised his hand.
“Very well, James. I will hold you responsible. And before we start this day’s lesson, I’d like you all to know that a classmate of yours received an award for having one of the best essays in an interschool writing competition.”
The class was staring around; it was clear this was news to them. Ms Granger sighed exasperatedly.
“I would’ve thought that you told them. Well? Stand up, Masters, and let your classmates appreciate the honor you’ve brought our school.”
Johnson Masters hesitantly stood up and looked straight at the blackboard, seemingly to avoid eye contact. An awkward smattering of applause followed, with Carl Rogers noticeably clapping harder than the rest.
“I’m sure the school paper will come out later today and tell you all about it. But really, I expected you to be more proud of your classmate. Anyway please take out your text books…”
William had a quick lunch and afterwards found himself wandering the halls aimlessly. There was still a bit of time before the bell rang to signal the end of the break and he couldn’t wait for it. He just wanted all the rest of his classes to finish so that he could go over to John’s house after school. He wanted to make sure his best friend was alright.
He passed by the first floor staircase and found a knot of students excitedly chatting nearby. They were all reading the newly released issue of the school paper, a freshly printed stack of which was left at the foot of the stairs for the benefit of interested students. Every time the school paper was published, which was a quarterly event, students would excitedly flip through its pages mostly for only one reason: to see if their names were on it. Girls would frantically scan the literary pages to see if their latest romantic poem submissions made it in. Boys, on the other hand, either looked to see if their varsity team pictures included them or looked forward to the comically drawn full-page collage at the back of each issue, where there was a ‘find it’ challenge involving small innocuous objects drawn in the background.
William picked one up and began flipping through the pages until he found the section dedicated to competitions. True enough, he saw Johnson Masters in his very own article along with a matching photograph of him looking straight at the camera. To William, it almost seemed like Johnson had half a grimace. He also noticed that the photo was credited to Peter McMahon, and the article also had Peter as one of the contributing authors. If William had any doubts about Peter’s claims before about being in the school paper, they were instantly dispelled. On the next page, he saw an article about the school swimmers qualifying for the interstate championships. The article went on to list the names of the swimmers, with Peter McMahon as one of them. William felt like he was looking at an uncanny coincidence, seeing both Peter and Johnson in the school paper, since for a time, he had this inkling that both of them knew each other.
William flipped back to Johnson’s article and read it with a mingled sense of intrigue and curiosity.
“The recently held Pendleton Ward Interschool Writing Competition ended with Elizabeth Seton Academy’s very own Johnson Masters winning second place in the non-thematic essay writing division. Masters impressed the judges with his essay titled “Of Love and Lust”. Sources claimed that the judges were amazed a sixth-grader could have written such a mature piece and considered him for first place. An excerpt of the piece was requested to be published in recognition of Masters’ achievement for the school.
‘It is undoubtedly fierce, burning passion that gives humankind its greatest strength and, curiously enough, its greatest weakness. From time immemorial, the course of our lives has been driven by our relentless efforts to pursue our passions. The greatest and worst of our prowess is made known by those boundless pursuits of passion. To what lengths then, can we uphold our difference from mere beasts if our lives are driven by that burning desire in our eyes? These same beasts, too, have passion; the simple will to survive. They pursue it to no end. Similar to us, no? Wrong. If there was ever one thing that separated our will to live from an animal’s need to survive, it is our conscious intent. That makes all the difference between man and beast, love and lust.’”
William read the excerpt, and despite his outward animosity towards Johnson Masters, he couldn’t help but be a little bit amazed at the latter’s apparent talent.
“Hmm, it could use a bit of fixing though, sure he used big words…but the meaning is all scattered like…” William found himself saying out loud. Nobody paid attention to him and he was glad none did. He wasn’t exactly an authority in literary criticism. Still, he found it amusing how he could actually understand Johnson’s work while at the same time identifying its weak points.
“That’s it,” William thought to himself. An idea just popped into his head, an idea so great that William felt like congratulating himself. It wasn’t such a random, inconsequential coincidence that he read Johnson’s article. By reading it, he had unwittingly acquired the best excuse to talk to Johnson and fulfill his promise to Carl.
“And PE is last period too…this is perfect,” He further thought. Because of John’s absence, William’s enthusiasm and daring had been unsatisfied, as if left hanging after an anti-climactic ending. The prospect of now settling things with Johnson Masters, learning his secrets and treading on possibly volatile social territory positively filled William with the sort of thrill he lost earlier. As the bell rang for afternoon classes, William headed back to the classroom, excited and nervous. In about a few hours’ time, he was about to have an unbelievably awkward heart to heart talk with his least favourite person in school.
“You’ve all done some great throws today. I’m proud of you all. You boys might actually have that Olympian spirit in you,” exclaimed an extremely contented Coach Piaget. That day’s PE lesson was just about over, with the coach having taught the class classical discus throwing.
“Of course we do, sir! We really like throwing lethally heavy Frisbees at each other. In fact, sir, just to get in the spirit, why don’t we all do it naked like the Greeks?” chided one of the boys, hoping his sarcasm would be shared by his peers.
“That sounds like an excellent idea, Shada. I’ll pitch it to the faculty and if they agree, your classmates will have you to thank for it,” replied Coach Piaget smoothly, instantly turning the tables on the flustered Shada, who was now enduring jeers and glares from the other boys.
William was too focused on his mission to take part in the jibes. He was quietly standing among the throng of boys, eyeing Johnson Masters all that time. Johnson didn’t seem to be in a mood to laugh either. At the moment, William was internally panicking as he realized his plan hit a snag. He hadn’t thought of how he would actually approach Johnson, seeing as direct conversation seemed too awkward, suspicious and out of the blue. While William now had something to talk about with Johnson, he still needed an excuse to actually approach him and he had none. He was starting to seriously panic when Coach Piaget unwittingly came to his aid.
“Before I dismiss the class, this week’s assigned cleaners, please put the discuses back in the storage room. That’ll be…Masters and Sanchez.”
With a groan from the boy called Sanchez, he went over to the scattered discs and started collecting them. Johnson Masters did the same, though in a much more stoic manner. William hung back and seeing his chance, approached Sanchez.
“Hey, Ethan. I can tell you’d rather be home right now than doing that, so tell you what. I’m in a good mood today and I was thinking maybe you want me to do that for you,” said William, who thought he was sounding stupid, not to mention suspicious.
Despite his unconvincing reason, Ethan Sanchez gave him a big smile and said, “Be my guest, Will, thanks bro!” as he sprinted off.
William felt immensely relieved and couldn’t help but feel that heaven agreed with his plans, because despite some planning issues everything seemed to be going his way. He saw Johnson heading to the storage room with around half the discuses, so he picked up the rest, including the ones Ethan had unceremoniously dropped to the floor and headed to the storage room himself.
He was just in time: Johnson was just about to get out of the room when William blocked his way. “Will, what the heck are you doing here?” asked Johnson acidly.
“Getting these damned things cleaned up. Now, do you mind helping me? My arms are just about to break off.”
Reluctantly, Johnson heaved the remaining discs into his own arms and dumped them with the rest. William felt slightly annoyed that Johnson didn’t seem out of breath as he was, that and the look Johnson gave him seemed to mock him for his lack of physical prowess. For the sake of his mission, William had to suppress the urge to make a rude hand gesture.
“What happened to Ethan?” asked Johnson, still rooted to the spot and eyeing William cautiously. William was currently leaning on the wall trying to catch his breath, and he couldn’t help but notice that Johnson’s hands were already balled into fists.
“I…owed him a favour and he asked if I could take his load this week,” said William, who tried hard not to break eye contact with Johnson in case his eyes exposed his lie. He was internally berating himself for sucking at lying.
“His…load, eh?” Johnson replied as he smirked. William had to summon all his self-control lest he give Johnson another impromptu nose job. He couldn’t see what was so funny and was sure Johnson was making fun of him.
Johnson turned to leave, but William stopped him. “Hey, Jim, wait up…”
“What do you want? Isn’t it enough that you broke my nose while I was completely defenceless? Isn’t it enough that you made me the fall guy for a fight you started? What do you want, William James?” asked Johnson, not entirely successful at sounding calm. William thought Johnson’s bitterness was childish considering the nose-breaking incident was already a month ago. Then again, he supposed that having a perfectly unbroken nose forfeited his right to judge Johnson’s temperament.
“Well I…uh, read the school paper. They had a piece of your essay there; I thought it was cool…”
“Oh. You’re the last person I expected to compliment me,” Johnson said. His tone was still weary but his hands had relaxed.
“No, not really. I didn’t expect you to at all.”
“Well…I really thought you did good on it anyway. Easily up for first place,” William said, his self-control strained to the limit. He was finding out first hand that one of Johnson’s many talents was how to be an infuriating jerk.
“Well I didn’t get it.”
“Yeah but you could have.”
“But of course, you’re one of the esteemed judges in a prestigious writing competition, so your opinion matters so much,” sneered Johnson, his sarcasm speaking volumes of contempt.
“Damnit, Jim. Why can’t you say thank you like a normal person? I’m congratulating you!” William retorted, his patience snapping.
“Pft. Fine, Thanks, I guess.” Johnson said. William noticed that Johnson chose that moment to become very interested in the bucket near the adjacent wall. If it wasn’t for the poor lighting, William could’ve sworn that Johnson might have been slightly blushing.
“Okay, well, I read it and it’s cool you know a lot of deep words and all…but I think maybe you should’ve toned them down. If you used simpler words maybe you could’ve focused on the meaning,” William continued hesitantly.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you sounded vague. I know you were trying to mean that there’s a difference between love and lust, but you seem like your focus was scattered. Like the meaning was jumping from one to the next without warning…” William said, trying to be very careful about his wording.
“Oh, so you’re a literary critic now?” Johnson said, a scowl etched in his face.
“No! I mean, that’s just what I think…”
“And since when were you a prize-winning writer, Will? How many competitions have you joined? I’m so dreadfully sorry if my apparent lack of experience has offended your clearly more superior conquests.” Johnson said, his tone trying its hardest to turn sarcasm into pure loathing.
William was at a loss. He was infuriating Johnson with the supposedly brilliant plan he had come up with. He felt like he had already failed and was expecting Johnson to leave or beat him up or both, but instead, Johnson was staring at him intently. Johnson was eyeing William as if sizing him up, or trying to figure out his intentions.
“I guess a doofus like you deserves a little bit of credit sometimes. You actually have a point.”
“Way to show me how much you don’t deserve recognition, Will,” Johnson sneered again. “I wasn’t really trying my best that day. I just thought I’d put in a few nice words and they’ll eat it right up. That way, I still get a medal without too much effort and mom can still brag about it all she wants without me caring.”
“Oh…okay…” William didn’t know how to respond. He didn’t know if that hint of resentment in Johnson’s voice was intentional or not.
“I can see you tried to plan this out, Will. The careful flattery, the choice of topic, the timing…but the fact is you’re too obvious. If you’ve read as many books as I have, you’ll realize it’s a pathetically cliché method to ask someone for something. Well? What is it? What do you want from me?” Johnson demanded.
William didn’t think Johnson could have him totally figured out, but before he could think of what to say next, Johnson interrupted him.
“Oh, I get it now. No. You faggot bastard. You’re not satisfied with last time are you?” Johnson said, his face livid. “You still want me to show you my dick don’t you? You think that a few compliments are gonna get me to drop my pants? You bastard!”
Johnson made to leave but William grabbed his wrist. Johnson instinctively tried to swing at William with his left fist, but William grabbed it with his free hand as well, stopping Johnson from punching him any further. William then pushed Johnson as hard as he could, causing the latter to fall on a pile of rubber mats. To Johnson’s surprise, William’s hand was outstretched, seemingly offering to help him stand up. Confused, Johnson took it and William helped him back to his feet. The instant he was upright, Johnson pulled at William’s outstretched arm and threw him to the ground. With Johnson’s stronger physique, William hit the ground hard, his head hitting the floor audibly.
“Oh shit!” Johnson exclaimed. His earlier fierce expression evaporated into panic. He grabbed William’s shoulders and tried to have him sit up, leaning on the wall. “Damn, you’re not dead are you?”
“Ugh…I’m a bit dizzy but, no, sorry to disappoint,” William replied slowly, clutching his head. A few drops of blood oozed from his temple.
“Shit. This is your fault! You’re trying to frame me for this aren’t you? Just like last time!”
“Getting the crap beat out of me doesn’t sound much of a plan, in my opinion.”
“Can you stand? I’ll take you to the infirmary. Shit, they’ll think I did it again…” Johnson muttered, swearing a bit more.
“Well, you did. But no, I’ll be fine. Sit down.” William said, trying his best to remain focused despite the throbbing in his head.
Whether out of fear or worry or curiosity, William couldn’t tell which, Johnson sat down opposite him. “What is your deal, William?” Johnson asked.
“I should be asking you that. What’s wrong with you, Jim? I know you’re a jerk but lately you’ve been an angry ballistic jerk.”
“I don’t see why you should pretend you care. You’re not really my friend, Will, I’ll be blunt with you.”
“I appreciate that you’re honest, and it’s okay. I’m not pretending. Though it would help if you told me what’s gotten you so worked up that you’re often late in class and every time we talked something like this happens,” William said, pointing to the blood dripping from his head.
“You don’t need to know, we don’t have any reason to talk to each other anyway.”
“You’re really not gonna tell me?”
“I don’t want to waste my time.”
“Jim, you used to be such a good ass…” William said, remembering what Carl Rogers told him to say in case Johnson became stubborn. He regretted it almost immediately after seeing the murderous look in Johnson’s eyes. After a moment though, Johnson’s face relaxed as if he just remembered something.
“Carl put you up to this.”
“Yeah. Can we get the first thing out of the way though? What the hell did he mean? He didn’t tell me,” said William.
“Well…when Carl comes over to my place…never mind, forget about it…it just means Carl trusts you,” Johnson replied, blushing deeply.
“Oh. Okay…?” William said quizzically.
“I told Carl never to tell anyone. He told me he only would if it was an extreme emergency. I didn’t think he was serious. I mean, I didn’t think he’d tell anybody,” Johnson muttered, his face getting angry again.
“Jim, Carl’s really worried about you. He told me how you wouldn’t even tell him anything about what you’re on about. I know we’re not really friends, but I know how much it sucks when your best friend is hurting but he won’t say anything about it,” William said gently, wondering why he was making a lot of sense all of a sudden.
“What do you mean?” Johnson questioned, looking at William intently again.
“John and I had a fight. Turns out he had a big problem, but he never told me what it was. He wouldn’t talk to me and it was all messed up…” William continued, trying his best to sound eloquent. “John’s my best friend, Jim. I’d do anything in the world for him. But there he is facing God knows what and I’m helpless to do anything because he won’t say anything.”
“What’s that got to do with me? I didn’t even notice you guys had a row.”
“How much I care about John is the same as how Carl cares about you. Carl’s your best friend ain’t he? I know you have your issues, but think about what it’s like for Carl. You know, Jim, it sucks so much when you see your friend in trouble and you can’t help. In fact, it hurts. That’s what I feel with John, and that’s what Carl feels with you.”
Johnson sighed. His gaze drifted from William to the floor then back to William again. “You know how awkward it is, having you guilt-trip me after I just bashed your head in?”
“No. But there’s one other thing too. I’m really sorry about…you know…that time. I know my apology is like a month late, but, I just don’t want us to be at each other’s throats. I’m really sorry about punching you and…well, pulling down your shorts…” William trailed off blushing further still.
“Maybe I’ll forgive you if you tell me why you did that.”
“You mean, pull down your shorts?” William asked uncomfortably.
“Yes,” Johnson focused his gaze on William again.
“I just wanted to compare…that’s all.”
“Why the interest all of a sudden? Also, you’re not the kind to start fights, but you looked like you were ready to rip anybody who looked at you to shreds. You even had the balls to punch me. Something was upsetting you and I want to know what that is. ”
“Do I have to?”
“You want me to forgive you don’t you?”
William sighed. He definitely didn’t want to put up with this, but if it made Johnson talk, he was obliged to endure. Also, his fatigue and pain didn’t allow him to thoroughly question his determination. “Fine. I sort of met someone…and well that certain someone sort of…made me conscious about dick sizes and stuff…”
“So you showed someone your dick, and that someone told you it looked great, but you still wanted to know if your dick was good enough compared to other boys.”
“I...well, yeah. Wow, you’re really good at guessing.”
“I’m not guessing, I’m inferring. There’s a difference. So why were you all upset?”
“Because I felt like I was doing something wrong. I showed someone who was practically a stranger my dick and I enjoyed it. But it felt wrong too I didn’t know what to feel.”
“You were doing something that made you feel good, but it felt like you were doing something bad inside. It was ripping at your conscience because you liked doing something you knew was wrong, and you couldn’t stop. You were jerking off for someone online who gave you something you wanted even though you felt guilty afterward,” Johnson said without skipping a beat.
“I h-how did y-you…” William muttered in shock.
“Let me tell you something, Will. Boys our age start to get horny all the time. You know this from our health classes. What you don’t know is what some people will do to get their rocks off. Some people might want to see things they don’t normally get to see, and go to all the wrong places and all the wrong people just to see that thing. They know it’s wrong, but like you, it’s a guilty pleasure. Then the things they see start to make them ask who they really are inside. It gets even more complicated when they meet the wrong people face to face and they can’t escape doing things over and over again with the wrong people, because it feels good even if you feel like it’s wrong inside,” Johnson said profoundly.
“Jim…I…are you saying you too…?”
“One more thing. That day you were in the bathroom on the third floor corridor, you were with John in there, weren’t you?” Johnson asked, his face starting to relax and a grin forming on his face.
“You knew it was me?” William replied, his tone becoming panicked.
“Only an idiot would think it wasn’t you. You don’t make a good Batman impression. So, John was in there in the same stall you were in, wasn’t he?”
“Well?” Johnson insisted.
“Yeah, but it isn’t-!”
“Thanks, Will. That’s all I wanted to know,” Johnson said, cutting across William’s excuse. William wondered why Johnson didn’t ask him what he and John had been up to in the same cubicle, since it seemed like the most logical thing to ask.
Johnson stood up and said, “I’m sorry I pushed you, Will.”
“Let me help you up,” Johnson said as he grasped William’s outstretched hand.
After Johnson was sure William could stand up without falling over, he hooked both of his thumbs in the elastic waistband of his PE shorts and tugged them down together with his underwear. He gave William an unobstructed view of his flaccid, three and a half inch cut dick. William could only gape as Johnson started to fondle his dick until it reached its full four-inch length. William did not fail to notice the dark curly strands of hair above Johnson’s noticeably thicker appendage.
After flicking his dick to make sure it was hard, Johnson reached for William’s shorts. William was too dumbfounded to even try to resist as Johnson removed his shorts and underwear, and started to stroke his dick. Despite the absurdity of being manhandled by the boy who was for the most part his enemy, not to mention the one who just gave him a head injury, William got to his full length of three and a half inches. William supposed that it felt good, but he was too distracted by the fact that Johnson Masters, of all people, was stroking his dick. William privately thought that Johnson’s ministrations were rather skilled, as if he was used to doing this to other boys.
“You have a nice dick, Will, but well,” Johnson said as he looked at his dick twitch. “Mine’s longer.”
Both boys smiled. It can be said that the inevitable consequence of willingly showing someone your most private of possessions would be a firm friendship.
It was already 6PM when William arrived at the front porch of the Watson residence. He was about to ring the doorbell when he remembered that this was supposed to be a covert operation and that he shouldn’t be seen. Then again, he didn’t exactly have any experience in entering houses in any other way except the front door. He went around to the Watsons’ back yard and tried to peer at John’s bedroom window. William knew that John’s window had a very simple latch that even a child could open. This was good because William was a child. The problem was that it was twelve feet above him, on the second story. Even standing on tiptoes, he couldn’t reach the point where he’d have to stand if he wanted to reach the point to open the latch. Any age was a difficult age for someone needing to get through that window.
As he was pondering his dilemma, the backdoor opened and Sharon Watson came out with a broom in her hands.
“Oh crap,” William managed to say. He had all the appearance of a thief caught red handed.
“William! I didn’t expect you here…not in the back yard at least…” Sharon said, lowering the broom she was carrying. It had just occurred to William that Mrs. Watson was just about ready to swat his head off with the broom had she not recognized him. William rather thought he didn’t need any more head injuries.
“Oh…uhm…hi, Mrs. Watson…” William started awkwardly. Indeed, he found it difficult to say anything to a woman who most probably knew he was sexually involved with her son.
“Next time, dear, the front door would be best, okay?” Sharon said with a smile.
“Yeah…uhm, is John home? He was absent and they gave out the permission slips for the field trip so…” William said as he frantically searched his bag for the slightly crumpled form.
“Yes, John has the flu I’m afraid. Thanks for bringing it over, dear,” Sharon replied, taking the form from William.
“Oh…I see…” William said still awkwardly.
“What’s that on your head, dear?”
“Oh, this?” William replied as he pointed to Johnson Masters’ handkerchief wrapped around his head like a bandanna. “It’s nothing…I just got a bruise from PE a while ago.”
“Oh…are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine, thanks.”
There was a bit of an awkward silence as William waited for Sharon to reply. This was normally around the time when most people would invite him to their house, but since Sharon didn’t extend so much as a hint of invitation, William decided to go on the offensive. “Look, Mrs. Watson, can I please go up to see John? Just for a little bit? Please?”
“Oh, well…I don’t know…” Sharon said as she bit her lip.
“I…I promise there won’t be any trouble. I’m just worried about him. Please…” William insisted, his determination apparent in his voice.
“I suppose it wouldn’t hurt…” Sharon said, making up her mind.
A while later, they were in John’s room, with William sitting on a chair beside the bed and Sharon standing by the door. John was sound asleep with a wet towel on his forehead.
“It was quite sudden, the way he got sick like that. It was just this morning when he woke up, his temperature went up to a hundred and four degrees…” Sharon said as William fixed his gaze on the sleeping boy beside him. He touched the side of John’s neck and winced as he felt the tell-tale heat caused by the flu.
“He’s been saying for a few days now how he’s been sick. I know that wasn’t true, but I guess now the real thing caught up to him…” William said wistfully.
“What do you mean?” Sharon asked.
“John’s been pretending to be sick to throw people off the fact that he’s not himself.”
“Ah…” Sharon simply said.
“Mrs. Watson, you know my mother always told me that thinking of things that make you sick really does make you literally sick in the end. I’m guessing that’s what happened with John. I only just found out but…he’s been going through a rough time isn’t he?” William said without taking his eyes off John.
“Yes, you could say that…” Sharon said with a hint of hesitation.
William could tell that Sharon was trying her best as a mother to be tactful. To him, her awkwardness and hesitation confirmed his suspicions: Sharon knew about him and John and was uncomfortable with him being there. Knowing that there was nothing left to hide, he held John’s hand.
“You…really are a sweet boy, aren’t you?” Sharon quietly said. William didn’t seem predisposed to reply immediately.
After a few minutes of silence, William said, “Mrs. Watson, do you want me to leave?”
“Well…I’m just worried that my husband-“ and before Sharon could finish, she was interrupted by the sound of a car entering the driveway. Connor Watson had just arrived home.
“Honey, I’m home!” called Connor from below as the sound of a car door closing punctuated the tense silence inside John’s room.
“William, you must leave. John’s father wouldn’t like to see you in the house,” Sharon stressed. She called out to her husband, who was now in the living room, “I’m upstairs with John, Dear!”
“I understand, Mrs. Watson…but how am I going to get out?!” William panicked. The Watsons’ living room had a full view of both the front door and the backdoor, which was in the kitchen.
“The front door,” Sharon thought out loud. “You have to hurry while I distract Connor.”
“I…okay, Mrs. Watson,” William said, his nerves getting the better of him.
The pair went out from John’s bedroom and settled on the stairs. William prepared to dash for his life as Sharon said, “Honey, will you check the stove for me? I’m still with John!”
“But I’m already on the sofa! You know I don’t like to get up when I’m on the sofa!”
“Fiiiine,” Connor Watson said as he slogged from the living room to the kitchen. At the moment, William darted down the stairs and to the front door. He wished he was quieter, but his quick pace only allowed him to be as quiet as a ninja, if ninjas wore extremely heavy lead boots and stomped rather than ran. William didn’t look back to see if Mr. Watson noticed; he opened the door and dashed outside, leaving it open in case the sound of a closing door made his escape all the more obvious.
As he ran away from the Watson residence, he could catch snippets of an increasingly agitated conversation.
“What was that noise?”
“I just hurried down the stairs; I forgot that I used the oven instead of the stove.”
“Why did you make me go here then? And why’s the front door open? I closed that!”
“Maybe you just forgot you didn’t.”
“No I did NOT forget! I’m sure I closed that!”
The last thing William heard from behind him was Connor Watson’s faint voice which sounded like it was saying something along the lines of “Who was that,” along with the sound of a door being slammed shut. As William ran, clutching a stitch in his side, he sincerely hoped he just didn’t make a bad situation worse.