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Justin comes out
|It was a Sunday, as was typical, my parents were out with their friends - I think they were on a boat somewhere near Catalina. It didn't really matter, because I was happy to have the house to myself along with Mike and Justin. We made ourselves some lunch and took it into the den. What my parents called a den was really media room. On the front wall was a plasma HDTV along with every video and audio toy known to man. Two chairs and large sofa were about two thirds of the way back in the room and on the coffee table sat a remote control that required a four year degree in computer science to run. Essentially my Dad and I were the only ones who had managed to master it - us and the guy who'd sold it to my Dad that is.
I'd recorded the Junior National Bodybuilding competition, but had never bothered to watch it. After our day of training with the big boys, I figured we were ready to watch some of 'em strut around on stage. We had a better time watching it than I thought we would. I mean, I knew we all admired big guys, but we also had fun commenting on their faces and trying to guess who was doing whom. For all we knew, they were all straight, but in our minds, they were all paired up with someone else on stage.
Mike started the game out. "Hey J-boy, did you see the blond guy, third from the end? He grabbed the fifth guy's ass as they came out on stage! Eric, rewind that, I'm sure he did." We rewound the scene and watched it five times. They all swung their arms as they came on stage and it honestly looked like one guy jumped a little just as one of the guys behind him had his hand by the guy's butt. "See? See! I told you - those two are in love, they have to be!"
Mike was laughing as he lay back on top of me. I put my free arm around his neck resting my hand on the top of his abs. My other hand held the mammoth remote, and it was my duty as the sole male member of my family in the house not to let go of it. "You are such a dork sometimes Mikey! Not every cool guy you see is a gayboy like you." I kissed his neck as I finished teasing him.
We went on like that through the hour-long show. None of us agreed with the final winner of the contest. It was a heavy weight guy who just totally freaky out of proportion. Any resemblance between that guy and humans in general was a mere coincidence. Justin had chosen the light heavyweight as his favorite early on, and Mike and I both agreed that in the final decision, Justin's guy should have won. After rewinding the tape to make fun of the winner a few times, we were ready to eat some more.
Mike and Justin went out to the kitchen while I surfed around to see if there was anything else remotely interesting to watch. They came back with protein smoothies and chocolate ice cream. Justin was grinning from ear to ear. "The ice cream was my idea."
Mike smacked him in the back of the head. "Not putting it in the smoothies was mine - dork boy!" It was all good-natured. Mike plopped down next to me on the sofa and Justin very slowly sat down in one of the overstuffed chairs. "What's the matter, J-boy?" Mike had noticed Justin sitting so carefully. "You aren't still sore, are you superboy?"
"Fuck you Mike. Of course I'm sore - you'd be dead if Carl made you lift what I did." It was probably true. Carl somehow instinctively knew that the drill sergeant mentality was perfect for Justin. He'd probably lifted more yesterday than all three of us had in our last leg workout. I figured it was time to come to Justin's defense, so I poked Mike hard between his pec and deltoid with my index finger. I knew from experience that when you were sore from a chest workout, nothing hurt quite as bad a good poke in that spot.
"Geeeeeeeezus Eric! Damn that hurt!" Mike was whining like a five year old.
"Wassamatter Mikey, did I hurt you? You want me to kiss it and make it all better?" I was mocking him as best I could.
"Well yeah I want you to kiss it. You big meany. Kiss it and don't stop until I say to." He was sort of frowning and smiling at the same time. I had to admit to myself, it was really good comeback. I did as I was told and crawled over him and kissed the spot where I poked him. Then I slowly worked my way up his neck and toward his mouth. Just before I got to his mouth Justin interrupted.
"OK you two - I'm still here you know! Remember me, the one who beat the crap of both of you at once? Either teach me to work that nuclear plant control panel you call a remote, or find us a good movie to watch." Justin had finished his ice cream and was half way through mine. I figured he'd probably start beating on us if I didn't find him something to watch before he finished my bowl.
"Don't worry J-boy. We have a perk of having a parent in the entertainment industry. My Dad brought home a DVD of Lord Of The Rings. You guys haven't seen it right? You wanna watch it?" They hadn't and we did.
We were all totally immersed in the story. The fellowship of the rings in a way hit very close to home. The three of us were really tight and even though no one said anything about it, I think we all imagined ourselves on the journey. By the end of the movie Mike and I were holding each other tightly as we watched. Justin was over in the chair curled up in a little ball.
I turned up the lights in the room and Mike and I started to talk about the movie. We loved it. The journey against all odds aspect of it hit us both. Unfortunately, it had hit Justin too, but not in a good way. He was fighting back tears as he sat there balled up sideways watching the screen.
I was turned toward him and so I noticed him first. "J-boy? Are you OK?" I sat up as I said it, and Mike turned and saw him too.
"Justin, what's the matter, bro? That was an awesome movie!" Mike tried to cheer him up, but something was really bothering him. "Come on, J-boy. What's up?"
He turned his face away from us, "Nothing, it's stupid." Lots of kids got dramatic like this when they felt left out or wanted something, but I'd never seen Justin do it, and Mike hadn't seen him do it for years. If he was acting like this, there really was something bothering him.
I looked at Mike and without speaking we decided that it might be better for me to tackle this one alone for a second. Mike picked up some of the dishes and headed out toward the kitchen. I got up and went over to Justin. "Come on J-boy. Maybe you don't want to tell the two of us, and maybe you don't want to tell your brother, but you can tell me. I'm still your best friend. I hope." I was sitting on the edge of the chair and he was still facing away from me. He turned and looked at me. His face was wet with tears. My expression must have told him that I didn't care how stupid his problem seemed, I just wanted to know about it.
"Eric, I feel so stupid, but as watched that movie, I thought of the three of us. You were Frodo, Mike was Sam and." he trailed off and started to cry to himself again.
"And what?" I asked, still trying to figure out what freaked him so badly.
"And I don't know who I was, but it didn't matter. In the end, Sam and Frodo went off together. It's stupid I know, but you two have each other - and I know you both care about me, but I don't want to be alone." He was really scared about this. I still didn't understand, but if it freaked him out this badly, I was willing to stay until I did understand.
"So why would you think that Mike and I would ever leave you alone?"
"Because you already have." He waited a minute trying to collect himself. I just looked at him trying to understand what he was telling me. "Before we met you, Mike and I did everything together, now it's mostly just you two, or sometimes the three of us. For a while, you and I spent some great time together, but now we don't as much. I sort of realized it over the past couple of weeks, I'm sorry, I'm not explaining this right." He started to cry again.
"No, it's OK J-boy, I think I know what you mean. Mike and I have been spending more time together and we've sort of left you out sometimes. We sort of have a different relationship though, you know that right?" I was pleading with him more than explaining to him.
"Well, that's what I've been thinking about." He looked at me in the saddest way I'd ever seen him look. "I realized over the past couple of weeks that I'm definitely gay too, and I'm afraid of being alone. I'll never find anyone cool - like Mike found you. Eric, I think I'm in love with you and I don't want you to leave me."
As weird as the whole conversation was, I understood what he was talking about. I remembered when I first figured out that I was gay. I hated myself and I had convinced myself that everyone who was gay was a girly cross-dressing neurotic freak. I spent the better part of the previous year feeling the way Justin had just described and honestly it wasn't until I met Mike that I believed it was OK to be gay. Justin had Mike and me as friends and role models, but he didn't have us in the way he wanted. Of course he was sad. I wanted to grab and hold him and tell him that he had it all wrong, but I knew that wouldn't work - but I still had to hold him.
I moved over to him and put my arms around his chest. "Whoa, J-boy. You've been going through some serious shit, haven't you?" He nodded. "I can't tell you that it will be all right. I don't think it is that simple. I can tell you about how I've been feeling over the past year or so. I had all the same feelings as you. I felt totally alone. I only knew of two guys at school who were gay, and it scared the hell out of me to think of myself in the same group as them. They were both big girls, and I knew I wasn't, but I also knew I was constantly fantasizing about guys. When you guys moved in, I had been working out by myself because I wanted to prove to myself that I was tough, not like those guys. I was damn lonely too. I knew I'd never meet anyone who felt the same way I did. The way I saw it, I was just as much of a freak as the two gay guys I hated." We sat there silent for a second. Then we heard Mike start to talk behind us.
"Then he met me, J-boy. I was trying so hard to be cool and act like I knew everything about what I was doing. From the second I saw Eric, I knew I wanted him. I prayed he was gay and that if I just acted confident and opened up to him, he'd open up to me. I was so scared Justin, but it paid off better than I ever could have dreamed." He walked over and climbed in the chair with the two of us. "Dude, trust me, your Eric is out there. Just trust yourself to find him."
Fuck, now we were all crying - and laughing - and holding each other. The bond between us was as tight as it could be. Probably it's that way with a lot of gay guys. Whether spoken or not, there is a world of self-doubt and fear that we all have to go through. It's the tie that should bind us. As we sat there quietly holding each other, I thought about it. I owed something to a couple guys at school. They'd never be my close friends, we just weren't the same in too many ways, but I had gone out of my way a few times to not be their friend and they definitely deserved better than that.
Mike and I were now both more or less on top of Justin, since he'd been the first one in the chair. He was getting uncomfortable. "Ummmm, guys." he said really quietly, "I really don't want to break this up, because you both really helped me, but my legs are really killing me from yesterday. Would you mind if we moved somewhere?"
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