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benchpress and more
|We were on to the bench competition. The rules were easy - no shirts, keep you butt on the bench, touch the weight to your chest and then lift it back up. Spotting was done from the side. We kept our order the same. Mike would go first, then me and then Justin. We decided to start at 225, which we all got easily. Then we went to 255 and then 275. We weren't playing the same mind games that we did with squats, for some reason, I think we all knew that Mike was having trouble with how things were going. At 275 he was having trouble and we all knew he used to do that weight easily.
Silently, we changed the weights to 295. Mike got under it and lifted it off the rack. Justin and I looked at each other and we saw concern in each other's eyes. We wanted him to get this more than we wanted to win the competition ourselves. Mike lowered the bar to his chest and started pushing it up. He got it to that sticking point that everyone who's ever benched knows only too well. Softly but intently, I encouraged him. "Come on Mikey, you can do this bro. You can do it." Justin spoke with equal concern. "Bro come on, push it, just do it Mike!" He couldn't. The weight started heading back down toward his chest. Justin and I grabbed the bar before it hit his chest. We silently racked it and Mike sat up. "Fuck! What the hell is the matter with me? You two are getting fucking huge and I can barely do weights I did two months ago."
Justin and I didn't say anything. What could we say? He was beating himself up and anything we added would have only made things worse. Mike finally stood up and looked at me. "OK, Eric. Show me how it's done." I honestly wanted to stop the competition right then. I hated to see Mike feeling so bad. Apparently, my feelings were all too obvious. He looked at me and smiled, "drop the long face boy. I want to see how you can do against my genetic freak of a brother."
Cool, I thought - a challenge. He told me with just those few words that he was at least content enough to see the competition through. I took my place on the bench and pushed the weight up pretty easily. Justin took his turn and lifted the weight too. Now it was on to 315. This was getting near my limit, so I took a second to psych myself up. As I rested in place on the bench, Mike decided he had to push me a little. "Come on Eric, lift this one and guarantee you the most amazing evening you've ever had." I looked at him and grinned. I had no idea what he had in mind, but I sure wanted to find out. I lifted the weight off the rack and lowered it to my chest. I started pushing it up and slowly - oh sooo slowly it went up. Honestly, it was harder than I thought. I guess I was still spent from doing squats, but I was pretty sure that this was the end of the competition for me.
As I locked out my arms, Justin and Mike grabbed the weight. Mike was so happy for me, "all right Eric! You are the muscleman today. Tough bro, totally tough." I had gotten up and bumped fists with Mike. The look we exchanged totally reaffirmed how much in love we were. Though it was a bittersweet moment for both of us, it also brought us closer together. I didn't really realize it at the time, but we'd passed a milestone in our relationship. Celebrating a victory for the other had just become more important to us than dwelling on a failure ourselves. Over the next few days or so, I kept coming back to this moment and finally figured out the lesson. I've never forgotten it either. But it was Justin's turn and he was dying to show what he could do. He got under the weight and pressed it easily.
"Fuck, yes! That felt good, damn I'm pumped!" He was grinning ear to ear as his head flopped back and forth as he looked at both of us. He continued excitedly, "so, how much weight to you want to go up, bro? You ready for 335?" He was dying for me to try it, and even though I knew I couldn't do it, I nodded my agreement. Mike and I changed the weights, and I assumed my position on the bench. I got the weight off the rack and lowered it slowly to my chest. I started pushing up, but honestly I don't know that moved more than an inch or two. Mike and Justin were both encouraging me, but I didn't hear them. It wasn't going to happen and I knew it. They took the bar from me and put it back on the rack. "Maybe next time, buds but it isn't going to happen for me today."
I stood up and walked over to where Justin had been spotting. He looked at weight. "Hmmm, let's throw another 10 on each side, OK?" Mike and I were a little shocked, but we tried not to show it. We added the weight and announced that we were ready. "OK J-boy. It's 355. Let's see what you've got. Embarrass me good." Justin lay back on bench and closed his eyes. When he opened them, he had that incredibly intense look on his face. He put his hands in position and lifted weight off the rack. Mike and I were both totally silent. We knew that he wouldn't have heard a thing we said. He lowered the weight own and then started pushing it up. Mike and I both stood stunned as Justin lifted the weight apparently easily. He sat up and flexed his biceps, "whoa that was easier than I expected!'
Mike and I both congratulated him. We were amazed and humbled, but mostly we were happy for him. He wasn't done though. "OK, ladies. You won't mind if I try for 365 will you?" Mike and I started to add a five on each side, but Justin stopped us. "Umm, would you guys mind taking off the little weights and putting on 25s? We both frowned a little at him and then took the tens off and put the 25s on. "Better?" Mike asked. "Much!" Justin replied.
He went through the same ritual - his eyes closed and when he opened them, he was in total concentration. I lifted the bar off the rack and lowered it. He started up and just briefly stopped at his sticking point, but as suddenly as he'd stopped, the weight started moving up again and before we knew it, he had locked out his arms. We grabbed the bar and racked it. Justin jumped up off the bench and hit a double bicep pose. "Yeah boys! Take a look, cuz these are the arms that pushed up MORE THAN DOUBLE MY WEIGHT!" He was grinning, looking at us and looking at his own flexed arms. "Come on boys, feel 'em. I know you want to. It's ok - touch 'em. I promise I won't hurt you!" He was chiding us, but he did look totally awesome. Mike grabbed one arm and then I grabbed the other.
"Oh J-boy!" Mike started, "you're body is so amazing!" He turned to me and winked, and we started lifting Justin by his flexed arms. I followed Mike's lead and grabbed his leg as well. We turned him upside down, with all three of us laughing as we did. Mike laughed, "OK, J-boy I guess you'll have to learn a little humility or Eric and I are going to drop you on your big fat muscle-bound head."
"I'm sorry. You girls are the best honest!" Justin was laughing. Mike and I set him down and we all smacked fists. "You're da man, J-boy. That was fucking impressive." I was being honest in my praise. The kid was amazing and there was no reason for me not to recognize him. "So, you boys want to eat over here tonight?"
"Oh yeah!" Justin was all for it.
"Umm, OK" Mike said, "but after dinner you gotta head home, OK J-boy?"
Justin agreed as he winked at me. "OK, but don't let muscleboy Eric over here hurt you!"
I'd never seen Mike blush before, but he was at this moment. "We'll see about that J-boy."
Justin and I looked at each other and didn't say a word. We weren't sure what Mike was talking about, but we knew better than to ask.
We ate and joked. We talked about school and about lifting and about friends at school and - precisely at 8:00, Mike dismissed Justin and told me that it was time for the two of us to head up to my bedroom.
I hugged Justin and Mike smacked him in the back of the head. He headed out the door, turned back, and looked at me. "Be kind to my brother, big boy."
Mike and I headed up silently to my room. We went in and shut the door. He hugged me and pulled me in tight to him. OK, bro. I want you to do everything I ask tonight - OK? He was smiling, but his expression told me that he really needed me to do whatever he asked - without question. "OK, Mikey. You don't ever have to ask, I'll always trust you."
"Good. Shower time, muscles." We went into the shower, and he made me just stand there. I started to understand what he wanted. He was all about paying attention to me. This was his way of recognizing what I'd accomplished, and to my good fortune, the recognition was going to take a while. He carefully cleaned every inch of body - I think he did a few spots two or three times. It felt so good, I couldn't help but grin.
After our shower, I stepped out into the bathroom. Mike got a towel and dried me off, and then led me back into the bedroom. We were both naked. Mike sat on the floor with his back against my bed. "Flex for me" he said. I looked at him and frowned a little. This seemed a little strange to me, it was almost like worship, and we'd never even talked about anything like this, let alone acted it out. "Really, bro?" I asked. He nodded.
So, I started flexing for him. He'd tell me what pose to do and I'd do it. After a few minutes he went from sitting to kneeling. Then he started stroking and squeezing my muscles. Finally he made me lay down on the bed and started massaging me. It was amazing. I'd never had anyone even come close to paying this sort of attention to me. I loved every second of it.
Through the whole thing, he was very careful never to touch my raging hard on. Finally, after massaging every inch of my body, he laid down on top of me. He looked me in the eye and so softly said, "I want you to fuck me tonight."
"You want me to. what?"
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