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Nick (Sequel to JP)
Looking for Answers
|The house was eerily silent as Erin snuck into her brother�s bedroom. JP would kill her if he found out she was doing this, but she had to. She had to figure out for sure if her brother was gay. Not that it really mattered, she would still look up to him whether he was or not, but it was bugging her.
It had been almost a month since Erin had overheard that phone conversation with Matt Andersson and she hadn�t told anyone about it, not even Kim. She, of all people, knew how quickly news like that spread and she was certain that it would tarnish JP�s reputation. He was the star athlete of the high school and the most popular guy in town and he had worked hard to get where he was. She would never dream of destroying that.
So, there she was, standing in the middle of JP�s room, surrounded by the trophies and sports posters of a teenage jock. The place smelled of his sweat, the musty stench of a top athlete. It made Erin crinkle her nose. What was she doing here, she asked herself, glancing around. Nothing was going to be in plain view, so she began opening drawers and searching through clothes, looking for something � what, she didn�t know � that would tip her off as to what was the truth. But all she could find were things you would expect to find � jerseys, gym shorts, jockstraps, uniforms�nothing unusual.
She moved to JP�s desk, littered with textbooks and photos of friends and family�including one of him and Matt with their arms around each other. She picked that one up gingerly, staring at the two smiling faces, but their posture was only one of friendship and nothing more. Maybe she had been hearing things. Maybe JP had said something different. Exasperated, she laid her arm onto his desktop computer.
Oh, shit, she thought, the only place he could hide anything safely was on his computer. With newfound energy, Erin sat down and deactivated the screensaver. A box popped up asking for the password. Fuck! Racking her brain for every conceivable possibility, she began typing in words: wrestling, spartans, centralhigh, usnavy. Each one was denied.
Erin sighed, placing her face in her hands. How was she going to guess what it was? It could be anything. Then, her eyes landed on that picture of JP and Matt. Her mouth dropped open. Of course, his password would be something no one would guess. Maybe! On a whim, she typed matthew�.
Bing! The home screen loaded and Erin went directly for her brother�s e-mail. If there was anything, it would be there. Carefully scrolling through the read messages, she searched for something that looked promising, but nothing looked like Matt�s address�until she came to Jerseyboy18. Wait, wasn�t Matt�s family from New Jersey? Her heart beating wildly, she clicked on the e-mail and read it:
Hey, JP: Last night was awesome. I missed you so much over Christmas that I couldn�t stop thinking about you. I wanted to hold you again and feel you surround me. My grandmother loved that Ohio State sweatshirt you got me, though she said she wished it was Minnesota instead. Anyway, I thought you�d like to see the pictures of us from the other night. You�re so unbelievably hot, I can�t keep my hands off of you. Love, Matt
Well, that was it. JP was gay�and not only was he dating a guy, he was apparently intimately involved with him. It should have grossed her out, picturing her own brother having sex with another guy, but it somehow made her feel warm � they obviously loved each other.
But what kind of pictures was Matt talking about? She saw the attachment at the bottom of the e-mail. She shouldn�t�but Matt was pretty cute and she always wondered what he, you know, looked like. Her mouth dry, she clicked on the icon.
Instantly, another window came up with about a dozen picture files. Erin opened the first one: a rather artsy shot of JP and Matt�s faces against a pillow staring fondly at each other, their lips only inches apart � they must�ve had the camera on remote or something. The serenity of the scene made her relaxed. Matt�s eyes were so beautiful as they gazed at her brother�s that she almost couldn�t stop looking at them. She exited out of box and opened the next photo. In this one, Matt was lying on JP�s bed shirtless, staring up at the camera. He had a half-smile on his face and his eyes were sparkling. Wow, Erin thought, the guy is gorgeous. He was nowhere near as big as JP, but his body was near-perfect. His abs were tensed just right and his chest was round and smooth. He should be a model, she thought.
With each picture � some of JP, some of Matt, some of both of them in each other�s arms � Erin could sense the love and security between the two and she almost started tearing up. While she was still in shock about her brother�s true sexuality, she felt happy for him. He had found a guy with whom he could give everything to, whom he could love and feel safe with. That was something Erin and Kim always talked about finding, but never thought would come true. Now, after just looking at these pictures of JP and Matt, she knew that such a person existed. And she knew that one day, she�d find hers.
�What�s been up with you lately, dude?� Nick remarked suddenly one day during lunch. Ian looked up from his food, which he had barely touched.
�What do you mean?� he asked. He had to wait for an answer; Nick was busy chewing a chicken sandwich. The guy just didn�t stop eating. He must eat twice as much as I do, Ian thought.
�You have this�I don�t know�this attitude about you,� Nick said after finally swallowing. �You haven�t talked much since we came back to school.� Ian shrugged his thin shoulders. How could he tell his best friend what he was thinking? How could he say how jealous he was that Nick was getting muscles and he wasn�t?
�It�s nothing,� Ian replied sullenly, gesturing to end the conversation, though he could tell in Nick�s eyes that it already had.
Why was Nick asking him about his attitude? Nick was the one whose attitude had changed since Christmas break. Ever since he had come back from Florida, he seemed different, he walked different, even talked different. He seemed more sure of himself � almost cocky, sort of � and there was this gleam, this sparkle, in his eyes that Ian was sure hadn�t been there before. Maybe it was the fact that he was 5�4� now � a whole three inches taller than Ian � and looked bigger than ever�or maybe it wasn�t. Every time a girl passed them in the hallway, Nick would look at her with a Cheshire grin. I mean, the girls always liked Nick � mainly because of his dimples and his eyes � but this was different.
�Nick, that�s, like, your third sandwich!� Billy interrupted his thoughts, a disgusting wad of applesauce dripping out of the corner of his mouth. Ian�s lip curled at the sight of him. It was bad enough that Nick was beginning to grow up, but now Billy was entering a growth spurt, too. He had sprouted a couple of inches and had apparently put on some weight. He looked huskier than he used to. It was almost too much for Ian to bear.
�I�m always starving,� Nick smiled at Billy, motioning for him to wipe his mouth. Billy realized and grabbed a napkin, blushing. �I�m a growing boy!�
�Yeah, man, you�re getting huge!� Billy gushed.
�Yo,� Nick deepened his voice humorously, �you got tickets to the gun show?� And with that, he pulled up his right shirt sleeve and flexed his golf ball-sized biceps. Yep, that�s right, golf balls! Billy laughed hysterically, but Ian only turned his mouth up slightly. The sight of his best friend�s bulging biceps when he had none made Ian sick to his stomach.
�Nick, show us your abs, too!� Billy bumbled.
Nick rolled his eyes � as if he really hated doing this all the time � and lifted the bottom of his shirt to show-off his cut six-pack. Billy gasped. The kid looked like a model from a fitness magazine. His stomach, as bronzed as the rest of him, was a frickin� washboard and what were those lines slashing down toward his crotch? None of the other guys in their class had those, even the athletic ones.
�You almost look like JP,� Billy whooped.
�You bet!� Nick beamed his perfect smile at the boy. Ian looked away, depressed.
�I wish I had muscles like that,� he mumbled. Nick looked at him with furrowed eyebrows.
�Ian,� he chuckled, �what are you talking about? You do have muscles.�
�Maybe,� Ian suddenly burst, his voice hoarse with emotion, �but I can�t see them like yours. I don�t have arms like yours, or, or abs like yours. Have you noticed that all the girls look at you? And ignore me?�
�Ian,� It was obvious Nick was taken aback by his friend�s outburst. �Remember when JP told us we were born athletes?� � Ian couldn�t remember � �He was saying that to both of us, not just me. Ian, you�ll get your muscles, trust me. Maybe I�m just an early bloomer or something. The gym teachers always say that you�re a fast runner, right?� Ian gave Nick a weak smile, which was apparently the reaction Nick was looking for. �Great,� he continued. �I guess I�ll see you later. I promised Billy I�d help him study for his geography test, so I gotta go before the period ends. Seeya!�
�Bye,� Ian murmured, waving feebly after the boy as he left. Those words he said should have been a comfort to Ian, but they weren�t. There was something about the way he smirked that ruined them, like he really didn�t mean what he was saying.
Well, fuck it, he said to himself as he watched Nick and Billy stride out of the cafeteria. There had to be some way he could catch up to them. He was sick of waiting, biding his time while his friends grew up around him. It was time Ian Antoncelli took matters into his own hands.
�Billy! How�s it goin�, man!� the behemoth that was Tyler Backton greeted Billy as he came up the hill toward the high school. The middle school was only around the corner, so it was easy for him to meet up with his hero after school.
�Good!� he beamed, clasping Tyler�s hand � and almost falling over in the process. The guy was so strong! �I got a B on that geography test Nick helped me study for.�
�Good job!� Tyler grinned, obviously proud of him. �How�s he been doing?�
�Dude, he�s looking beast! You should see his muscles. And he told me he weighs 118 pounds now!� Tyler�s eyebrows went up in surprise.
�Wow! That kid is growing by the day.� Then, he glanced down at Billy. �How much are you tippin� the scales at these days?�
�I weighed 120 this morning,� Billy answered grandly, puffing out his chest as much as he could. �And I�m 5 feet, 2 inches.� Tyler grinned appreciatively. �I�ve been eating fruits and veggies and chicken and prutein��
�You mean protein?�
�Yeah, pro�teen,� Billy repeated slowly to himself. If he wanted to get big like Tyler, he had to know all this stuff, but it was so much. It confused him all the time.
�Hey, Billy,� Tyler smirked, �you see that Honda Civic over there.� Billy looked at where he was pointing and nodded. �You think I could pick that thing up?� Billy�s eyes grew wide.
�Can you?� he breathed.
�Well, let�s find out,� and he strutted over to the car and bent down under the back bumper to inspect. When he stood up again, he pulled his Spartan Football shirt over his head. �Hold this,� he said, handing it to Billy. �I don�t want to rip it.� Reverently, Billy took the shirt, but his eyes were still on Tyler�s enormous body. Everything about him was gigantic, from his bull neck and heavy pecs to his hulking arms and thick mid-section. Billy could only imagine how much power was behind all of that bulk.
�Stand back,� Tyler warned as he squatted down behind the car, firmly gripping the bumper with his strong fingers. Then, with a primal grunt, he began lifting the car. Billy watched in utter amazement as Tyler�s back muscles pulsed and flexed, his lats expanding to a ridiculous width. His eyes were squeezed shut, his face in a grimace of determination. He looked like he was in pain, but slowly, the tires began rising off the ground a couple of inches. When Tyler was about halfway up, his huge muscles started shaking and a roar escaped from his mouth. Suddenly, the bumper slipped from his fingers and the car fell back down, landing with a heavy thud and bouncing on its suspensions a couple of times.
�That was awesome!� Billy exclaimed.
�You think so?� Tyler replied, rubbing his colossal arms, which were covered in sweat. Billy looked up at his hero glistening in the sun. �I coulda lifted it a bit higher, but it slipped,� he went on.
�How much does that thing weigh?�
�I don�t know�maybe 2,500 pounds?� Billy nearly fell over. �But I was only lifting the back end, which is lighter, so it was probably a lot less.� Still, Billy could never dream of performing a feat like that. �I can deadlift over 600 pounds easy, so maybe close to 1,000?� Billy gasped. That was a lot of weight!
�When will I get as strong as you?� he asked Tyler, handing him back his shirt. The high school jock smiled broadly as he shoved it over his head and massive torso.
�Hey, guess what?� he bent down slightly and lowered his voice. �I�m on my way to CVS. I need to pick up a few things. You wanna come along?� Billy�s face lit up. Oh boy, would he!
The two boys walked side-by-side down the block to the local CVS. It must�ve been a funny sight: a massive high school senior, his body practically busting out of his Spartan Football shirt, and a short, chubby seventh grader, hopping along, attempting to mirror his idol�s stride.
The pair sauntered into the pharmacy, Billy following Tyler and gazing awestruck up at the athlete. His back was so wide as he lumbered through the store, he almost took up an entire aisle! Everyone they passed, whether they were customers or employees, stared at him in disbelief. He tugged at Tyler�s shirt. Tyler bent down so that Billy could stand on his tip-toes and whisper into his ear.
�Everyone is looking at you,� he said. Tyler grinned.
�Well, when you�re 6�3� and 275 like me, people tend to notice you,� he answered. It must be awesome to be like him, Billy thought.
Tyler stopped at a display lined with large bottles � it looked like the vitamin aisle � and picked up the largest from the bottom shelf. Billy craned his neck to see what it was. Cray-a-teen, Billy pronounced in his head. And there was a picture of a muscular arm on the label. �What is that for?� he asked.
�It�s creatine,� Tyler explained. �It helps you get bigger, faster.�
�Really?� That sounded awesome to Billy. �Is that why you�re so big?� Tyler chuckled.
�Well, sort of,� he went on. �I work out a lot and eat a lot, too.� He glanced down at Billy again. �Have you been doing all the exercises that JP and I have told you to do?� Billy nodded.
�Oh, yeah, every night,� he nodded emphatically. �My mom and dad got me a chin-up bar for my door and I�ve been trying to do that every night. I have trouble doing more than one or two, though.�
�Don�t worry. That�ll come.� He grabbed a smaller bottle of creatine and handed it to Billy. �Why don�t you try creatine?� he said. �Maybe it�ll help you get bigger.�
�Really?� Billy�s eyes were as wide as saucers. He couldn�t believe it!
�You still have to eat well and do those exercises, but this might give you a little boost.� Billy excitedly heaved the bottle under his arm. Tyler continued: �Just tell your parents to give it to you every day.�
�Then will I get as big as you?� Billy gushed, tripping over his own words.
�Maybe one day, you�ll be a wrestler and a defensive tackle and be able to bench 420 pounds for reps, just like me,� Tyler grinned and flexed his chest, his bulbous pecs heaving impressively underneath the shirt. Billy�s heart almost skipped a beat. He couldn�t wait to look like that.
He followed Tyler to the checkout and plopped his bottle of creatine down next to his. The girl behind the counter was gaping at the teenage giant, obviously amazed at his size.
�Um, how are you paying?� she asked blankly, unable to keep her eyes off of his bulging arms.
�Credit,� Tyler answered in a husky voice that made the girl flush. As she took his card to swipe it, she noticed Billy standing next to him.
�Is the other bottle for you?� Billy nodded, grinning broadly.
�Pretty soon,� Tyler interjected, �he�ll be as big as me.� Then, he leaned over to Billy. �Right?�
�Right!� he replied in the exact same tone.
If Ian hadn�t been sick to his stomach before, he certainly was now. He had followed Billy after school to find out where he was going. When he saw him head straight for the high school, he knew there was only one person he was going to see�and he was right. Curiosity getting the better of him, Ian had trailed the two all the way to the CVS.
He had hid behind the sunglasses display as Tyler and Billy shopped. Ian didn�t know what they were looking at, but it was obvious that it made Billy excited. As soon as the two left, Ian went over to the spot on the shelf�creatine. He had heard of it and knew it was a supplement of some sort, but that was all he needed to know. And it made him shiver. Not only was Nick beginning to become like JP � the most beautiful jock in the whole school � Billy was starting to take after Tyler � the biggest, strongest guy on the football team. And who was Ian going to be? No one. Just the invisible dweeb he had always been. Unless�
He held the bottle of creatine in his hands, its weight feeling heavy. The answer was staring at him in the face. If it�s good enough for a retard like Billy, he said to himself, it�s good enough for me. Grinning, he shoved the bottle under his arm and headed to the checkout.
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