Hugging Joey

By Zipman

I still don’t think it was Joey’s fault. It’s just the way his personality is, naturally. Or at least that’s the way he is now. He’s gotten into that jock mentality, so he can be a bit aggressive at times. But in no way is he a bad guy. I still like him a lot. I’d give anything to be more like him, actually. Maybe that was the problem.

The first day back at school was when it began — our first day in the eighth grade. The four of us were best friends at school. I knew Tony as far back as I can remember. We grew up on the same block. We both met Wes and Joey in the fifth grade.

I was talking to Wes before class when Joey came up from behind and surprised him with a hug. You know, the kind of surprise attack designed to scare the crap out of your friend. The victim laughs and curses, and you squeeze him hard for about two seconds and let go. Only Joey didn’t let go. He had his arms wrapped around Wes’ body from behind, pinning his arms and squeezing his chest. And he kept squeezing.

“Hey! Cut it out, fuck-face!” Wes complained. His mom didn’t let him swear at home, so Wes made up for it when he was away.

“Try and get free!” Joey said. He had a wicked smile on his face and was clearly enjoying himself.

“Let go of me, shit-head!” Wes yelled, thrashing from side to side.

“Come on, let’s see how tough you are!” Joey taunted. “You didn’t spend all summer on your fat ass playing video games, did ya? Don’t be a wimp — fight back like a man! Show me some muscle, dude!”

Wes was bigger than Joey, about fifteen pounds I would guess, but Joey was wiry and fully of energy. And we found out later he had spent the summer lifting weights because he wanted to be on the wrestling team. So he was really strong. None of our group had ever lifted weights before — at least, not seriously. I guess we had all tried it off and on like boys our age do, and Tony even had a dumbbell set at home, but Joey was the first one to really get dedicated and go all out. So Joey came back to school with a newly buff bod and an attitude, and he wanted to show us all how strong he was. As luck would have it, Wes was his first target.

Wes grabbed Joey’s wrists and tried to pry them apart. Nothing happened. Joey jerked him around like he was in complete control. Wes was spewing his expletives non-stop: “Cocksuckin’-asshole-motherfucker!” We laughed and Joey just squeezed tighter. He was calling Wes a big baby. Wes was turning red-faced and angry. He looked at me with pleading eyes.

“Hey, man, how about some help here!” he said, between pain-filled grunts. “The little fucker has gone mad! He’s like a pit bull!”

I put my arm around Tony. “Sorry, Wes — we’re too busy laughing. I guess the little guy is more than you can handle.”

I was making fun of him, but Wes was actually looking pretty bad. His face went from red to purple and Tony and I began to wonder how long this was going to go on. Finally, Joey let go but also gave Wes a shove that sent him to his knees. It looked a little harsh, but Joey seemed to be making a statement that he wouldn’t be picked on anymore. Wes was still wheezing as he got to his feet.

“You’re so totally out of shape, Wesley!” Joey sneered. “Too many potato chips and not enough exercise. We’re gonna have to start callin’ you ‘Cartman.’ I could feel the blubber through your clothes.”

“Shut up, Joey!” Wes sputtered. “You surprised me, that’s all.”

“Oh yeah? Wanna try it again? I’ll let you grab me first this time.”

“Naw, you’d just figure out a way to trick me again, asshole,” Wes said, brushing off his clothes.

“What a chicken!” Joey complained. “Come on, you guys — I’ll take either one of you on!”

Tony and I looked at each other and laughed. “What’s got into you, Joy-boy?” Tony said. “You never picked a fight before.”

“This is the new me!” Joey said with a big smile. He faked a couple of martial arts moves. “I’ve been working out all summer. Don’t try to mess with me anymore!” He thrust out his chest and a couple of surprisingly well-shaped pecs bulged under his tee shirt. Joey was changing, all right.


I’d have guessed Joey would have been the last one of us to turn into a jock. He was always the smallest, and although he had lots of energy I never figured he would steer it toward athletics. I would have given him the Most-Likely-To-Be-Picked-On-All-His-Life award. Joey had both Latin and Italian heritage, with black curly hair and a dark complexion. He always had a killer smile, and was the “cute” one in our group. When Joey announced he was trying out for the wrestling team, I didn’t know whether to laugh or if he was serious. Joey approached Coach Snyder and told him he wanted to learn how to wrestle. The coach made time for some lessons and told him he had a chance if he worked out extra hard until wrestling season. I could hardly believe it.

Tony, Wes and I didn’t see too much of Joey after that. He lifted weights before school, did laps around the track during lunch hour, and worked out with some of the other members of the wrestling team after school. I guess you had to admire his dedication, but the three of us felt kind of ignored. By the time the season started, Joey surprised us all by earning himself a spot on the wrestling team.

Because of his lack of experience Joey didn’t win much, but we cheered him on anyway. He didn’t seem to care about the outcome, he just loved to wrestle. After he won his first match, the four of us went out and celebrated. Everybody had double cheeseburgers except Joey. He had a grilled chicken salad. When we made fun of him, he told us he was eating healthy now to stay a lean, mean muscle machine. Tony couldn’t stand the “new” Joey any longer. He threw a french fry in his face and told him he was full of it. Joey responded by putting his right elbow on the table and staring at Tony, issuing an arm-wrestling challenge. Tony wasn’t ready to admit he was weaker than “little” Joey. He was the biggest of all four of us and probably had twenty-five pounds on Joey. When they locked hands to arm-wrestle Tony was smiling and confident.

Wes started them and Joey got the slight advantage right away. He kept up a steady pressure and slowly moved Tony’s arm down inch by inch. You could tell by the look in Tony’s eyes that he was stunned. Joey was wearing a long-sleeved tee shirt but you could still see his biceps muscle bulging up the sleeve. Tony’s arm was not skinny but was comparatively shapeless. He was clearly shocked by the strength he felt in Joey’s arm. Tony’s face turned red and he seemed to be holding his breath, putting everything he had into reversing the momentum. Joey looked calm by comparison. He easily controlled Tony’s arm and took his time moving it down. When it was about half-way, Joey showed his domination by forcing their hands sideways, steering them toward Tony’s food. Tony saw what he was doing and fought back extra hard, but it was no use. Joey was in total control and there was nothing Tony could do about it. Joey actually laughed at Tony’s futile attempts to stop him. With a final burst of effort, he smashed Tony’s hand into his cheeseburger and proceeded to grind it firmly down into the table. Wes and I groaned with laughter as Joey moved Tony’s hand around in the mess and made sure that the burger was totally destroyed. Joey held Tony’s arm down, keeping the pressure on long enough to make it humiliating. When Joey finally let go, he sat back in his seat with a self-satisfied smirk of victory and calmly took another bite of his salad. Tony grabbed all our napkins and started wiping the ketchup and gooey cheese of the back of his hand. We tried to keep from laughing too much, but it was funny. Tony shoved Wes out of the booth and headed off to the restroom looking pretty angry. Joey made a joke about it, but everything seemed to change that night.

Tony never seemed to forgive Joey for making him look foolish and weak, even though it was his own fault if you ask me. Wes started talking to me about Joey behind his back, which was easier now that Joey was so busy with athletics. When we saw Joey enter the cafeteria and start glad-handing the other jocks, Wes pointed out to me the differences in Joey. He walked with a swagger now. He wore more revealing clothing. He took a more casual attitude toward schoolwork and even talked back to teachers sometimes. Joey made friends with the other athletes and hung out with them. I could tell Wes was siding with Tony and losing interest in staying friends with Joey. But I thought Joey was cool.


When wrestling season was over I started hanging out with Joey at lunch, even when he wanted to hang with the jocks. Tony and Wes usually didn’t join us. They didn’t like the crowd. They said Joey’s whole personality was different, and I agreed. Tony and Wes thought he was stuck-up but I thought he was just becoming more outgoing and popular. He liked being around people and was totally into athletics. Joey liked to talk about his workouts and enjoyed being complimented on his body. He was never shy about flexing if anyone asked. I wanted to feel his arm but it was a hopeless situation for me. I was too embarrassed to feel Joey’s arm in a crowd, and too self-conscious to ask him to flex for me when we were alone. Instead, I let him know how cool it was to see him totally dominate Tony at arm wrestling. He offered to arm-wrestle me but when I hesitated he laughed it off and said he was just kidding. I guess I could have been insulted by the way he dismissed me, but I wasn’t. His attitude was something I admired.

One day I went to the cafeteria for lunch and Joey was waiting for me. He put his arm around my shoulders and told me to come with him. We went to the gymnasium and down the stairs to the boy’s locker room in the basement. Joey led me past the coach’s offices to a short hallway where I’d never been before. There was a big “KEEP OUT” sign on the furnace room door, which was locked. The door at the end of the hall was unmarked. Joey used a key to open it and flicked on the light switch.

It was an old wrestling practice room. Probably not used much anymore since they built the new gym annex. The room was kind of small, but one wall was covered with mirrors, which made it look larger. Old, worn-out wrestling mats filled the room, the cracks repaired and held together with plenty of duct tape. The air was stuffy and warm, probably because it had no windows and was right next to the furnace room. You could hear the low rumble of the machinery next door. The air was heavy and it felt hard to breathe, but you got used to it. I inhaled deeply through my nose and noticed the musky smell. At first I didn’t know what it was, then I realized it must be the scent from the accumulated sweat of all the teenage wrestlers who had used this room over the years. It had permanently soaked into the old mats and probably even penetrated the walls. Nothing was ever going to get rid of it now. The room was always going to smell like this. I took another deep breath and even started to like the scent. It was kid of cool to think of all the teen jocks that had sweated it out in this old room — their straining bodies pumping out perspiration until it ran down their sleek muscles and dripped off their smooth skin. They probably ended up rolling around in it, mixing it together and smearing the mingled sweat all over their bodies. The baptism of the jock world.

Joey closed the door and looked me in the eye with a strange little smile. Without saying a word he put his hand in the middle of my chest and gently but firmly pushed me back against the wall. I was surprised and a little confused.

“What are you doing?” I said. My voice cracked a bit, which made me sound more nervous than I was.

Joey laughed. “I’m not gonna beat you up and take your lunch money, if that’s what you think,” he said. Just the thought of him saying that to me a year ago would have made me laugh. Now I looked at the sleek, muscular body in front of me and realized he could probably have me completely at his mercy in about two seconds. Joey dropped his hand from my chest and stood in front of me an arm’s length away. Lately he had been wearing the kind of sleeveless tee shirts called “muscle shirts,” that left his lean-muscled arms completely bare. The black one he had on today was his favorite. It was especially sexy-looking, just tight enough to show off his ever-thickening pecs, but not as snug as the tank top he sometimes wore that showed every bumpy ripple of his washboard abs. “Relax,” he said, soothingly. “I just wanna talk to you, that’s all.”

Joey had only flipped one switch to turn on some of the lights in the ceiling. The bulbs were the old, incandescent type that gave the room a mellow, warm glow. There was something a little creepy about it — the dim light and the fact that there were no windows and it was so isolated. With the door closed, the deadening effect of the mats plus the rumble of the furnace meant you could probably scream your guts out in this room and not be heard.

“Look at me!” Joey said, suddenly. I stopped glancing around the room and looked him straight in the eye. Joey still had that funny little smirk on his face. His eyes had a strange twinkle. I was a little uncomfortable because I didn’t know what he was going to do. He took his time studying my face before he spoke again. “Look at my arms, man!” he said, in a low, husky voice.

I looked down at his arms, which were just hanging there at his sides. Even completely relaxed, Joey now had great-looking arms. They weren’t huge yet, but unlike mine, you could clearly see all the lean muscle in them. There were even veins that showed through his skin although he wasn’t flexing at all. As I stared at his arms, Joey slowly curled his fingers, balling his hands into fists. I could see the tension in his arms building as he did this, until the defined muscles were standing out more sharply under his paper-thin skin. The big veins, which had been just barely visible, were popping out all over and smaller ones appeared as he clenched his fists tighter. Without moving at all, Joey had slowly transformed his nicely-toned arms into pure, hard-sculpted muscle right before my eyes. I took a short little gasping breath, then involuntarily licked my lips. Joey noticed my reaction and let his smile grow a little bigger.

“I was right — you like looking at my arms, don’t ya?” Joey said. The tone of his voice surprised me. I felt my heart beat a little faster. “It’s okay, you can admit it,” he said. “I tend to notice things like that about other people — the ones who like looking at my body, I mean. It makes me feel good, actually.”

I felt trapped, and I didn’t know what to say. My shoulders were already pressed back against the wall, and Joey was standing uncomfortably close. I swallowed hard and licked my lips again.

“Don’t be so uptight, man,” Joey said with a smile. “I brought you here so we could be alone. I wanted to tell you everything’s cool, okay? I dig having other guys look at my arms, especially ’cause I’ve never been one of the bigger guys around — know what I mean? I really enjoy being the guy who gets all the admiring looks now. It makes me feel special.” I took a deep breath to help me relax. I still didn’t understand why Joey brought me here. It was a little unsettling to hear him talk as if he could somehow sense my secret desires.

“Anyway, you’re my bud so I thought maybe I could do something for you,” Joey said. “Something we might both like. Here, check it out.”

He raised his right arm in front of my face and flexed it. The shock of seeing his defined arm muscles bulge up into a hard ball right in front of my nose was breathtaking! Joey’s biceps was as round and solid as a billiard ball. Seeing it up this close made it look huge. The peak it made when it was fully flexed was amazing! His equally-hard triceps filled out his upper arm and made it look twice the size of mine. I never would have guessed that Joey would become a muscular hunk. Joey and I were almost the same age, but it didn’t feel like it anymore. I was nearly fourteen and my voice was just starting to crack but I could still be mistaken for a twelve-year-old. Joey had just turned fourteen and had a smooth, low-pitched voice and the mature muscular build of a high-school athlete. He was still a bit smaller than me, but there was no doubt who the man was in this room. The transformation of his body over the last year had let the dominant side of Joey’s ego come out. You could tell he loved his new muscles — he loved how they felt when he touched them and he loved how they moved when he flexed them. And of course, he loved the strong body he had now. He loved everything about his muscles, and he wanted me to share that feeling with him.

Joey held his arm flexed for a long time and stared at it proudly before he looked at me. “Go ahead — feel it!” he said impatiently, letting me know that was the purpose of the display. I placed my hand over that bulging mass and tightened my grip around his steel-hard ball of muscle until my fingers ached. The look of shock on my face must have been amusing to Joey. His smile of confidence was almost as much of a turn-on as his rock-like biceps. Now that he had discovered he had the genetic gift for building muscle, he could afford to be confident. He also knew I could probably work out for the next five years and never get a perfect peak like that. Last year I probably could have crushed Joey’s arm down to the bone with my fingers. Now I couldn’t make a dent in his flexing muscle. You can’t build dense, hard muscle that quickly if you don’t have the genetics. Joey was lucky and I was envious. The impact his transformation had on me was still a little hard for me to comprehend, though.

“Who’s the stud now, huh?” Joey said, as he lowered his arm. I smiled at him and shook my head in amazement.

“You’ve really changed,” I said. “We always used to pick on you just because we knew you couldn’t do anything to stop it.”

“Those days are gone, buddy,” Joey said firmly. He bent over and grabbed the back of his shirt, peeling it off over his head. When he stood up he balled the shirt between his hands, flexing his pecs. “From now on I’m the one who decides who gets picked on.”

“Damn, Joey! Look at you, dude!” I couldn’t believe the amount of muscle he had packed onto his frame over the past several months. They way the muscles popped out all over his torso when he flexed made me gasp. The detailed definition in his physique was astonishing to me. I also envied his washboard stomach muscles. Joey’s sexy abs were deeply chiseled. His body was even more ripped than I remembered during wrestling season. He was doing bodybuilding exercises now instead of endurance and strength training. The payoff was a bigger and more mature-looking body. Joey tossed his shirt aside and spread his arms.

“What do you think?” he said with another smile. He tensed his pecs and tightened his stomach muscles again, then curled both arms up into a double-biceps pose. The effect it had on me was hard to describe. It was as if he were letting me know that we weren’t equal buddies anymore — that he had become something superior, someone who had already made the transition from boy to man. Maybe it was the small, dimly-lit room and the musky smell, but as he flexed his muscles up close he seemed to be projecting an overpowering masculine aura that was making me feel light-headed. His change to a dominant personality was seductive, and the pride Joey took in his body was very sexy. I reached out tentatively with my hand to touch his chest. Joey held his pose and kept smiling as he watched me do this. I let my fingers run over his smooth, hard pecs and ripple down his cobblestone abs. He was clearly enjoying it.

When I withdrew my hand Joey dropped his arms and made his meaty pecs bounce a few times, with a chuckle. “You ought to come to the weight room with me in the mornings, before class. We could be workout partners.”

“I’d just slow you down.”

“Everybody’s got to start somewhere,” he shrugged. “Let’s see what you got.” Before I could protest, Joey grabbed the bottom of my tee shirt and yanked it up over my head. I was too surprised to be embarrassed as he roughly grabbed my upper arm. “Yeah, you could definitely use the exercise, buddy,” he smirked, as he pinched my pliable arm with his strong fingers. I yanked my arm away and told him it hurt. Joey suddenly grabbed for my ribs to see if I was ticklish and I jumped back laughing, pulling in my elbows for protection.

When we stopped laughing there was several seconds of awkward silence, as if neither one of us knew what to say. Joey glanced down at the floor, then looked up at me with a changed expression. “You ever been bear hugged before?” he asked. “Y’know, really bear hugged?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean like this,” Joey said. He walked up to me, then moved his hands around my ribs and wrapped his arms around my torso. Our bare chests made contact as he began to hug me. The squeezing was gentle at first, but he kept increasing the force. It quickly got uncomfortably tight.

“Hey, cut it out,” I said, squirming in his arms. Instead of letting go he increased the pressure to reduce my movements.

“Come on, we’re just getting started,” Joey said. “Let me show you what it’s like. Relax and get into the feeling.”

I didn’t know what he was talking about. My arms were free, so when he squeezed me again I started pounding on his shoulders with my fists. Joey didn’t even flinch.

“That’s the spirit,” he laughed. “I like a guy who puts up a fight.”

I gave up hitting him and simply gripped his big shoulders, feeling the tension and power in them. He tightened his arms again and I coughed, then found it hard to take a small breath. “Stop — it hurts,” I complained.

“It’s supposed to hurt a little,” Joey said. “That’s part of it. Also, it’s cool just feeling the direct contact of flesh against flesh. Here — check this out.”

He held me very tightly and seemed to be very still. I didn’t understand what he was trying to show me. Gradually I realized he was tensing his pecs very slowly, letting me feel the slight movements of his chest muscles as they expanded and hardened. The sensation was very erotic, feeling his growing pecs slowly, relentlessly crushing into my own, softer chest. His body seemed to be radiating heat and energy. I felt like he was leaving the imprint of his muscles on my yielding flesh, branding me with the hard ripples of his defined pecs and abs. For a little while I didn’t even notice the pain.

“Isn’t that cool?” Joey said softly. His fully tensed pecs were mashed hard against my ribcage. I didn’t want to tell him that a part of me was enjoying it, so I just grunted a little. Joey responded by ratcheting his arms a notch tighter. I felt my breath leave me as my spine was pulled harder toward his rock-solid torso. The body contact was intense. It was both electrifying and alarming. The mixture of sensations was confusing. The pain grew, but at the same time I felt myself getting hard. I tried to take a breath and got almost nothing. I was getting frightened.

“Stop,” I managed to squeak. The feeling of panic was growing. I moved my hands up and down his body, pushing weakly against his hard flesh. He brought his head close to mine until his chin was on my shoulder.

“Not yet,” he said softly. “Not quite yet.”

I could feel the small twitches in the rippling muscles of his arms as they continued to squeeze tighter around my torso. Every time I thought he couldn’t squeeze any harder, his muscles tightened again and I crossed over another threshold of pain. At this point the pleasure-to-pain ratio was turning against me. My breathing was almost totally cut off. Unable to speak anymore, I panicked and frantically slapped him on the side of his head. Joey understood and decreased the pressure of his bear hug smoothly, saving me the shock of sudden release. He made low comforting sounds, letting me know it was over and everything was all right. As he stepped back his lips brushed against my neck. Was it a kiss?

I bent over and put my hands on my knees, taking deep breaths. Joey gave me time to recover without saying anything. I looked up at him with a mixture of emotions. “Why did you do that?” I said, between gulps of air.

The look of concern on his face was oddly reassuring. “I thought you’d like it,” he said. “I wanted you to feel the way I feel when I do it.” When I arched my back to stretch he was able to see one of the effects it had on me. “I thought I felt something down there,” he smiled, eyeing my crotch. I stood up straight and felt my cheeks flush.

“Yeah, well… I felt something from you, too,” I said, nodding back at him.

“Okay, your turn,” Joey said, spreading his arms. “Squeeze away.”

I shook my head. “Are you kidding? My ribs are still aching. I’m spent, man. You took everything out of me.”

“Come on,” he said with a smile, “I know you’re tougher than that. Besides, I owe it to you. You were a good sport. I deserve to have it done to me now.”

“Yeah, you do,” I agreed. He looked so smug standing there I couldn’t resist. I rushed him playfully and wrapped my arms around his chest. I gave him a hard squeeze, but my bear hug wasn’t having anywhere near the same effect.

“Go ahead, do it as hard as you can. You can’t hurt me, y’know.”

“That’s the problem,” I grunted. “I AM squeezing as hard as I can.” His solid body was taking all I could deliver without much, if any, discomfort. I could feel the way his lats swelled naturally on either side of his torso, protecting his ribs from my bear hug. It was a difference in body structure that was striking. His athletic body felt so solid under my arms.

Joey kept encouraging me to try harder. I made several attempts to clamp down tighter on my bear hug, sometimes growling like a bear to try and get my adrenaline going. My technique needed a lot of practice. The mood was too comical for us to enjoy the physical contact like we had before. I released Joey and shook my head.

“All I need is about twenty more pounds of muscle and then I’ll make you beg for mercy,” I joked, flexing my sadly shapeless arm.

“Okay, let’s try something else,” Joey said. He stood in front of me holding his arms at his sides. “Wrap your arms around mine this time. It increases the feeling of being trapped. It’s kind of cool.”

“That’s not going to change anything,” I said. “I can’t squeeze like you can. I’m not strong enough.”

“I’m going to show you something else this time. All you have to do is hold on as tight as you can and try to keep your arms locked around my body. Grab your wrist to get the best grip.”

My arms were just long enough to do as he asked. Joey told me to hang on tight no matter what happened. As I squeezed, I felt him slowly taking in air to inflate his chest. His flexing chest and expanding lats were growing too fast.

“My grip is slipping already,” I complained.

“Okay, okay,” Joey said. I felt his chest relax as he blew out some air. “Let me try another way. Get your best grip and squeeze me as hard as you can. Try not to let go no matter what.”

I bit my lower lip and gave it my all. My ribs hurt a little, but I was straining so hard that the pain was less noticeable. I felt Joey’s trapped arms rotate as he twisted his wrists back until his palms faced outward at his hips. He balled his hands into fists causing the tension to build in the muscles of his arms. I could feel the ridge of his biceps muscles tighten beneath my own upper arms as they squeezed. When he started to raise his forearms up I realized what he was doing. The pressure of his swelling biceps was forcing my arms outward. My fingers ached as I tried to tighten the grip on my wrist and hold on. Joey drew his fists up an inch at a time, letting me feel every minute change in the size of his biceps as they grew. I was determined not to let him break my grip this easily. I bore down hard, but the slow growth of his hard biceps was relentless. His forearms were not yet parallel to the floor, but his biceps were bulging out powerfully enough to start cutting off the blood flow in my upper arms.

Joey paused with his arms flexed at ninety-degrees. I looked down and saw that Joey’s hands were open and relaxed. All at once he tightened them into fists again and his biceps burst outward into new peaks that broke my grip instantly and completely. Feeling the sudden bulge of his biceps into full hardness was a surprise, but it was a real turn-on. I staggered back a step and gasped for breath, tired from my effort. Joey kept his arms flexed and raised his elbows into another double-biceps pose. He was as turned-on as I was by his escape and loved the feeling of power. I could tell this whole bear-hugging exercise in domination was becoming an erotic experience for him.

Joey dropped his right hand to grab his crotch while he kept his left arm flexed. He stared at his own biceps while he strained to flex it as tight as he could, trying to force the muscle up into an even higher peak. He was lost in his own self-worship while I watched on with a mixture of awe and amazement. Joey raised his elbow high until he could lick his own flexing biceps. He coated the ball of muscle with his saliva and I let out an involuntary moan as I looked on. Joey seemed pleased to notice how I was staring at him with wide eyes and an open mouth. His body looked sexier than ever now that there was a sheen of sweat covering his torso. Joey had a strange look in his eye and he was panting heavily when he walked right up and bumped his chest against mine. Without a word he grabbed me in another bear hug, trapping my arms this time. With a loud grunt he reared back and lifted me off the floor. The crushing pressure he applied was so forceful and immediate that the air rushed out of my lungs with a whoosh. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t speak, and I couldn’t move. There was no way to signal my instant panic to Joey. The pain in my chest was double what it had been before. The heat and stuffiness of the room was getting to me. Joey was grunting like an animal, flexing his whole body and crushing me with such force that I felt like I was close to blacking out. His sweat-slicked chest felt burning hot against my skin. Joey moved one hand to the small of my back, so he could force our hips together while he continued to tighten his powerful squeeze on my body. The contact of his swollen crotch against mine was the final element that sent us both over the edge. The pain and pleasure was growing into one sensation, becoming a single overwhelming explosion in my brain. With a series of grunts, Joey slammed his hips against mine as his arms tightened their grip to maximum. My eyes lost focus and the room seemed to fade away into the distance. As Joey cried out, there was a sudden feeling of warmth in my crotch. It was the last thing I remember before I blacked out.

I woke up in the hospital emergency room with my mom holding my hand. They said I had been mumbling to the ambulance drivers, but I don’t remember that. I must have blacked out due to the combination of skipping lunch and all that bear hugging. I wondered if my mom was around when they peeled off my sticky underwear, and what she thought about it. My ribs were pretty sore, but otherwise I was okay.

Joey got suspended from school for a week. I tried to tell them it wasn’t his fault but no one seems to understand. I guess Joey took all the blame for what happened. I heard he tried to give me mouth-to-mouth when he thought I wasn’t breathing. I’m sorry I missed that.

I spent a day at home before going back to school with my ribs tightly wrapped. The kids think I got injured from trying some wrestling moves with Joey. I want to let Joey know that everything’s okay, but my folks don’t even want me to call him on the phone. I hope he’s not mad at me for wimping out on him and getting him into trouble. I hope he’s spending the time at home lifting weights, making his muscular body even stronger. I can’t wait to see him again.

The day Joey comes back to school, I’m going to give him a really big hug. •

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