Eric beefs up
|While Mike wasn't happy with his training, Justin and I had incredible training sessions. Every day Justin was waiting for me at his school, and off we'd go together to train. He had an old bike that was probably a K-Mart special. He was always after me to let him try my bike. I was getting tired of his badgering, so I finally agreed to switch with him.
"Dude, this is great. It hardly takes any effort at all!" He was having a great time. I was surprised how much effort it took to move his bike. I was almost out of breath by the time we got home. School had been going for about a month now. Justin and I were actually training with the same weights. I was into the routine, so he'd stopped being my personal trainer and went back to being my lifting partner.
I was totally thrilled by how my body was changing. My arms were bigger and more defined. I was even a little uncomfortable in my t-shirts. At least that's what I told myself as I was cutting the arms off most of them. What I really wanted was to show off in school. Pants were another matter. My jeans really were getting uncomfortable and I couldn't find any that would fit me right. I started wearing shorts and parachute pants like Justin did. I was a lot more comfortable. I even started training in spandex shorts, just like Justin. I loved watching my muscles in those shorts!
We were totally intense, but we had fun playing around too. We'd try to impress each other with feats of strength while we were training. One day Justin came up behind me with a broom. He had it behind his back with his arms hooked around it. "Hey bro, did you say you needed this broom?" he asked. I told him I didn't as I turned to look at him. "Good!." he said, as he sort of blinked his eyes and flexed his arms. BAM, the broom handle broke across his back. ".because I think it's broken!" He did it again a while later with a shovel. He almost hurt himself with the handle splintered.
A week later, I came up behind him with two pieces of rebar. I'd practiced a little the night before and found, much to my surprise, that I could actually bend two of them. I grabbed the ends and started working on bending the bars. It took all I had, but I actually managed to do it. He watched in total amazement and checked the bars for cuts after I was done. "Wow, no cuts huh, bro? This one is going to be tough to beat."
The following week, he was ready for his next demonstration. He grabbed a cinder block and started tossing it up and down. "Watch closely." he said. He kept tossing higher and higher so that it was almost hitting the twelve-foot ceiling. It really didn't seem that impressive to me, but I kept watching. Finally he threw it so that it was coming down at his face rather than back in front of him. As it started to fall back toward him, he wound up and hit the block with the palm of his hand. It blew apart in a cloud of dust, two big pieces and dozen or so little ones. The two pieces fell on either side of him.
"Wow, Ninja boy. I'm not trying that one." I was impressed to say the least. "Yeah, don't." he said as he looked at his hand. It was bright red and a few bits of the cinder block were stuck in his skin. "That one kinda hurt." I got a tweezer and helped him pick the bits rock out of his hand.
We'd lift for about two hours and then stretch out. He'd show me wrestling moves and we'd try them on each other. We'd see if we could break the holds and stuff like that. We were both surprised that I could actually break a few of his and that he couldn't break a few of mine.
After our workouts, we'd eat dinner with Mike and then do homework. By the day Mike's class was over, I had gained 24 solid pounds and was a half-inch taller. At 190 and 5'10", I couldn't believe what I was seeing in the mirror. I was now more than ten pounds heavier than Mike and still a half in shorter. With Justin's help I'd gone from a well built typical high school kid to being a real teen bodybuilder! I loved it. I was becoming a big show-off at school. My friends were impressed, and I loved impressing them. I was definitely a lot more cocky than I'd ever been. I wondered though, how I would break it to Mike that I was actually lifting a lot more than we'd told him. I'd have to figure it out soon, because he'd be lifting with us again.
Mike and I were training together on the Saturday after Mike's last driver's ed class. He told me how happy he was to be done with the class. His birthday wasn't for another month, so that's when he'd actually go for his driving test. As it turned out, our birthdays were all pretty close together. Justin's was the coming week on November 3rd. Mike's was at the end of the month on November 27th. Mine was January 3rd.
"So," Mike said grinning at me, "looks like you will have to go through that driver's ed hell starting next week, huh?"
"Ummm, well, not exactly." This was the part of being a rich kid that was a little awkward. "I'm not taking driver's ed at the school, my Dad arranged for private lessons on the weekend."
"No way! You totally suck." Mike couldn't believe I wouldn't have to endure the terrible waste of time he'd just finished. He jumped on me and we started wrestling. We did it fairly often. We weren't serious about it; we usually just had fun beating on each other. It always ended the same way. He'd get me on my back and would ask if I'd had enough. I'd smile and give in to him. I don't know what got into me, but I decided it was time for me to win. We wrestled harder and harder. I could tell that I was going to be able to pin him without too much trouble. I kind of surprised myself; I was really enjoying being able to overpower Mike. I even used one of the nastier holds that Justin had taught me.
Mike was totally twisted around onto his back. "OK, OK, Eric. Stop it bro! You're hurting me! Take it easy!" I let him go and got to my knees. We were both shirtless and I was wearing my spandex shorts. I hit a double bicep pose for him, and proceeded to gloat about my victory. I wasn't paying attention to him, but he didn't like the display.
He sat up and put his arms on his knees. "Shut the fuck up, will you?" He had my attention now. He never sounded like this. "I don't know what's gotten into you, Eric. First you turn into a total clone of my brother, then you start strutting around school like a cocky asshole. Now you seem intent on beating the shit out of me. You've been spending too much time with Justin. Sometimes I think you'd rather be with him than with me."
Whoa, that hurt. I could handle being told I was too cocky. I guess I knew inside that I wasn't really acting like me. And I knew he was right about my being a Justin clone - it was pretty stupid, really. I didn't think, however, that I'd given him any reason to think I wanted to be with Justin more than him. So I protested. "I've never done anything that should make you think I'd rather be with Justin. Take that back."
"Oh really? I'll take it back if you can explain a few things to me" he said looking up at me. "How about we start with you two lying to me."
"What? We've never lied to you."
"Is that so, bro? So tell me. Just how much can you bench press. or squat. or curl. or deadlift? You two have been lying to me since school started. I'm not stupid; I can see you are getting big and I can feel that muscles are harder. You have to be stronger than you've been telling me. Why'd you lie to me?"
I wanted to go crawl in a hole and die. I'd never intended to hurt him, but I should have known better. I tried to explain to him how we thought he'd feel bad since he was having trouble getting past his plateau. Even as I said it, I wasn't buying the explanation, and neither was Mike. What had we been thinking?
"So let me see if I have this right", he started. "You figured that since I was feeling frustrated, you'd keep your accomplishments to yourself. You figured that I wasn't enough in love with you to find pleasure in your success if wasn't having success myself. You figured you basically rob me of enjoying your joy because you thought I was too self-centered to really appreciate you getting what you've always wanted when I was struggling. Well bro, you were wrong."
Wow. He was letting me have it with both barrels. I was really sorry. I also realized I was very lucky that he was as understanding as he was. Most guys probably would have just walked away from me, but not Mike. He could see that I was sorry too. We hugged and I asked him to forgive me for being a total asshole. He joked that he could probably find it in his heart to forgive me. "And besides," he said kind of loudly, considering we were hugging, "I'll get past this plateau and when I do, you and Justin will be the little boys again and I'll be top dog as usual." He paused for a second, still hugging me, and then continued. "Isn't that right, J-boy?"
Sure enough, Justin had walked in at some point and must have heard most of Mike what said to me. He walked over and put out his hand to Mike. Mike took Justin's hand and Justin pulled him to his feet. Justin told him that he was sorry, and that everything was mostly his fault. I corrected Justin saying that it was really mostly my fault. Without missing a beat, Justin and I started arguing back and forth about who was most to blame until finally Mike broke it up.
"Don't you two ever stop competing? If you're going to do it, let's at least get something out of it. Let's how strong you two have gotten behind my back." Justin and I looked at each other and yelled, "Lift off!" in unison.
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