Wishing Jar, The
|Ian walked to campus nervously. He studied his reflection in the store windows along King Street to make sure nothing had changed. He noticed people staring at him as he passed. Whenever he returned the stare, people either quickly looked away or gave him a smile. An attractive girl was coming towards him quickly writing something on a piece of paper. She stopped in front of him, looked up into his eyes. “Hi, I’m Sara. Call me”. She held up the paper with her phone number and name on it for Ian to see in one hand. She then ran her fingertips over Ian’s chest and down his arm, stopping momentarily to squeeze his bicep with the other. Ian reached for the paper causing his arm to bulge. Sara cooed her approval as she squeezed harder, unable to dent the formidable muscle. She stepped around Ian scanning his body while licking her lips before continuing along her way. Ian watched her leave. Then a car passed with the young man hanging out the passenger side window. The guy yelled, “You are so fucking hot”. Ian turned and saw the man staring directly at him. Ian just smiled and the guy howled like a wolf. Ian continued his way to the campus more confident that his plan might work with every step. He started to hum a cheerful tune as his pace quickened.
When he reached the quad he didn’t see Jared, but he did see two sorority girls that often hung around him and his friends. They sat on a large, wheeled ice cooler and looked as if they were waiting for someone. Ian walked up behind them and said hello. The girls turned around and quickly scanned the hunk before them. They smiled brightly when their eyes finally met Ian’s. “It’s a beautiful day today isn’t it, ladies”, Ian said putting his hands on his hips, feeling a little uncomfortable with the girls checking him out so unashamedly The girls eagerly responded and soon the threesome were engaged in small talk. Megan was a pretty brunette and Katy was a similarly featured red-head. As he chatted Ian kept looking around for Jared, but all he saw was six of his friends approaching.
“Hey guys, we have someone we would like you to meet”, the girls said each caressing one of Ian’s arms. “This is Brock”, the girls continued using the pseudonym Ian gave them. The jocks reacted to Brock immediately. Most straightened their posture to look taller and puffed out their chests to appear bigger. Ian shook each of their hands firmly. Most of the men lowered their eyes after saying their names to show Ian he was the dominate one. Only one of them, Randy, tired to overpower Brock by tightening his grip as they shook hands. Randy was the shortest of the group but had the most muscular physique. “We thought maybe Brock could join in your game today”, the girls remarked, their hands never leaving Brock’s arms.
The guys looked at each other and shrugged their well toned shoulders. “Fine, okay” the men mumbled. “Sure thing, Brick”, Randy said purposely getting the name wrong, “when Jared gets here that will make eight of us; four to a team. But you should know sometimes the game gets a little intense”.
“Oh I think he can handle it, Randy”, Megan said pulling herself closer to Ian as if to make the other man jealous. “And his name is Brock. It’s easy to remember, just think of his body: Big and rock-hard.”
“Whatever”, Randy said not hiding his anger over the girl’s behavior very well. Ian was trying to figure out what was going on between the two when his attention was distracted by the loud greeting for Jared as he appeared.
Jared was all smiles as a couple of his friends ran over to greet him, tossing him the football. One man jumped onto his back playfully and Jared carried him back to the group. The smile left Jared’s face when he saw Ian. He looked uncomfortable standing next to Ian and only looked into his eyes for a second before averting his gaze. Ian thought even Jared was intimidated by his new appearance. One of the girls introduced Brock to Jared. “Brock?”, Jared asked.
“Yeah, Brock” Randy said with a mocking tone.
“He’s going to play with us so we have an even number of men”, one of the other athletes said.
“You play football?” Jared asked again with the same strange expression.
“Doesn’t he look like he plays football?”, Katy remarked moving her other hand to Brock’s chest. Megan followed the other girl’s lead and put her hand on Brock’s other protruding pec. Both girls giggled.
“Sure, I guess so”, Jared answered. By the expressing on his face, Ian could see the gears in Jared’s brain working. He squeezed the football in his hands nervously. Then his posture opened up and the smile returned to his lips. “That’s great; you can be on my team.”
“Hey that’s not fair. The two of you on the same team”, another man said in protest. The other men shook their heads in agreement. Jared didn’t understand their concern.
“No, that’s fine. I’ll take Darin, Zach, and Linc” Randy said before removing his shirt. He flexed his torso and clapped his hands indicating he wanted Jared to throw him the ball. Randy started to walk backwards to the far side of the grassy field.
“Okay, so Dave and Nathan are with us”. Jared responded to Randy’s request and passed the ball to him with a solid, flawless throw. “You can have possession first”. The men pulled off their shirts and tossed them on the ground, along with their wallets, cell phones and keys. The decided upon teams went their separate ways. They girls waited for Ian to take of his shirt. After removing his peripherals, Ian pulled the covering over his head, slowly lowering his arms to prolong the girl’s pleasure of seeing his thick pecs fall into place. Megan bit her lip and Katy purred at the sight. Ian smiled and turned to join his team on the field. When he turned he saw Jared standing there enjoying the show too. Jared gave Ian a fast once over with no expression on his face, then turned and jogged to where the rest of the team waited. Ian took a deep breath and followed behind.
The game progressed and Ian proved to be an agile, strong player. It made it easier that the other men were afraid of his perceived larger size. He noticed when he joined the team huddle the other men gave him a wide berth. His team decided to switch positions at the end of each quarter. It was Jared’s idea, saying every member of the team is of equal importance. Even though it was obvious he was the best natural athlete on the field, he never took himself or the game too serious. He kept the team morale high and jovial, telling jokes and praising everyone’s play. Ian was becoming even more enamored with each passing minute. Jared was the quarterback in the first quarter. Ian found it difficult to focus on Jared’s plays as he drew them because he used his own torso as the field diagram. Ian stared as Jared’s long fingers traced the moves over his well muscled, sweat covered body. He ached to feel the slick, hard contours for himself.
At the end of the first half, Ian’s team was leading by a touchdown. During halftime the guys took a break, eagerly gulping down the sport drinks the girls had brought in the cooler. Megan spent the entire time at Ian’s side telling him what a strong and gifted athlete he was. Ian noticed she grew more affectionate whenever Randy was near. Randy said nothing but the anger in his glare was obvious.
The men returned to the field for the second half. Randy was yelling at his team mates to get their head in the game and stop goofing off. It was decided that Ian would be the quarterback. One of his team mates commented, “With guns like that, he shouldn’t have any problem throwing the ball into the end zone”. Ian nervously drew out his play, using the ground as his canvas instead of his chest. The team grunted as they broke out of the huddle and went into position. The ball was snapped, and Ian moved back looking for an open player. Randy blind-sided Ian, throwing his entire hydrant-like physique into Ian’s exposed flank. Ian was lifted off his feet by the force of Randy’s attack. He landed shoulder first into the ground, the extra weight of Randy’s body compounding the force of the impact. Ian felt excruciating pain then his arm went limp. Randy stood up and looked down at Ian. He smiled seeing the amount of pain the bigger man was experiencing.
Jared ran to Ian’s side, “Are you okay?”
Ian sat up, breathing through clenched teeth trying to cope with the pain. “I don’t know. I can’t move my arm, I think it’s broken”. Jared started running his hands over Ian’s arm and shoulder trying not to cause Ian more pain.
“Don’t worry Brock, Jared knows what he’s doing” Nathan said kneeling down on the opposite side of Ian. “His father’s an orthopedic surgeon and his mother’s a chiropractor. He’s fixed us guys more times than the team doctor.”
“I don’t feel any broken bones, I think you’ve just dislocated your shoulder”, Jared said in deep thought.
“Linc dislocated his shoulder at a game once” Nathan commented and looked up at Linc.
Linc nodded affirmatively, “Jared snapped it back into place before the medics showed up. Didn’t you Jared?”
Jared looked at the crowd, then Ian. “Yes, but I think it’s wise for you to go to a doctor. I don’t want to cause any more damage to your shoulder.” Ian could see the deep concern in Jared’s eyes.
“It’s okay, I trust you” Ian said still looking into Jared’s aqua eyes.
Jared held the stare for what seemed like an eternity before realizing ever one was staring at him. Jared grabbed Ian’s arm and stood up. “Nathan get behind him and support his back.” He looked at Ian, “Brace yourself, this is going to hurt like a son of a bitch.” With a deep breath, Jared pulled on Ian’s arm in a swift, forceful jerk. Ian let out a agonizing groan, then gasped for air. Jared let go of Ian’s arm and felt around his shoulder once more. Ian could feel the pain fading from his battered joint. Jared walked over to the pile of t-shirts on the ground and grabbed his own. He took some ice from the cooler and wrapped in the garment. He placed it on Ian’s shoulder, “This should keep the swelling down”. He motioned to Nathan to hold the ice bag in place. Jared stood and turned to face Randy. “What’s the matter with you? This is supposed to be a friendly game not the fucking Super Bowl”.
Randy stiffened his body, puffing out his chest in a defensive posture. “It’s not my fault if G.I.Joe here can’t take a hit. Maybe he should have been paying more attention to game instead of the girls on the sidelines.”
“You’re such an asshole. You’re the one worried about who the girls are watching” Jared yelled.
Randy looked at everyone gathered around for support. No one said a word; he was alone in this fight. “Why are you getting so upset anyway Jared. Is he your boyfriend or something?’
Jared walked up to Randy. Randy prepared himself for an attack. His muscles flexing as he tensed them. But Jared just grabbed Randy’s thick upper arm and pulled him away from the crowd. They walked about 15 yards before Jared released his grip. Randy rubbed his arm where Jared held him as Jared talked to him visibly angrier than he was before. The two men were far enough away that their words could not be clearly heard.
Ian, like everyone else, watched the two powerful athletes interact. Ian used his other hand to hold the ice bag as Nathan helped him to his feet. “The entire baseball team is full of egomaniacs, but Randy’s got a real Napoleon complex. Usually Jared lets him think he’s the BMOC. That kind of stuff never mattered to Jared. But it looks like what Randy did to you was the breaking point. Jared’s finally going to put him in his rightful place”, Nathan said with glee.
Randy stood there listening for a long time trying not to appear frightened by the larger man yelling at him. Then suddenly he started to yell back, raising his hand and pointing a finger into Jared’s face. Jared grabbed Randy’s wrist and forced his arm down; both men’s muscular bodies flexing in the contest of strength. Once Jared had Randy’s hand down by his side showing who the dominate male was, he let go and started to walk back to the watching crowd. Randy screamed out “wus”, Jared just ignored him. Randy turned and walked away in the opposite direction.
“Game’s over guys. Let’s call it day”, Jared said in a calm voice. Ian thought he looked a little embarrassed by what had just happened. Jared looked at Ian, “Why don’t you come with us to the House? I want to check your shoulder again”. The men picked up their belongings. Jared grabbed Ian’s stuff. Megan got Randy’s. They said goodbye to the girls and walked the short distance to the Frat house. Ian followed Jared upstairs to his room still holding the impromptu ice bag in place. Jared took his ice filled shirt from Ian’s hand. “I’m gong to dump this ice into the sink, I’ll be right back. Make yourself at home”. Jared walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.
Ian looked about the small, but neatly kept room. He saw a collection of athletic trophies high on the top shelf above a desk. There were two framed items hung at eye level when seated. Ian walked over to get a better look. One was a picture of Jared with two people Ian assumed were his parents. Ian thought they were as beautiful as their son. The other was a certificate indicating Jared made the Dean’s list last semester. Ian thought it was very poignant that it was the certificate Jared placed so prominently, while the trophies were put up high, out of the way. Ian found one of Jared’s bathing suits drying on the back of the desk’s chair. Ian picked up the slightly damp Speedo and placed it under his nose. He inhaled deeply. The scent of chlorine and Jared caused the image of him in the suit to appear in Ian’s mind. He held the skimpy piece of clothing and couldn’t believe it was capable to containing a man like Jared. Ian could feel his cock swelling. Just then Jared returned, closing the door again. Ian quickly put the suit back on the chair and sat down at the foot of Jared’s bed.
“How’s the shoulder feeling?” He asked as he stood in front of Ian still without a shirt.
Ian was leaning forward to hide his slightly inflated rod. He realized he was also half naked and sitting on Jared’s bed. He became uncomfortable and couldn’t look at Jared. “It’s feeling much better. I’m sure I’ll be back to normal in a couple of days.”
“I’m sure you’re right, but you should still see a doctor”, Jared said in a serious tone. He walked to his nightstand and pulled out a tube of ointment. “I’m going to apply some of this heat rub into the shoulder to improve the circulation, which will help it heal faster. You can take this home with you and use it yourself. Alternating hot and cold is the best thing for an injury.” Ian shook his head to show he understood. Jared kicked off his shoes and kneeled on the bed behind Ian. He applied the gel and massaged it into Ian’s shoulder, upper back and arm. Ian had never had another person touch him like this.
“I’m sorry I caused you and your friend to argue” Ian said trying to take his mind off the sensations he was feeling.
“Randy and I aren’t what you call friends. I don’t think Randy can be another man’s friend. He sees us only as rivals.” Jared commented while continuing to work on Ian’s sore muscles. “I do regret going off on him like that. I don’t know why I got so angry. He’s an asshole, but it wasn’t totally his fault. Megan was using you to make him jealous. They used to date, then Randy cheated on her, she got mad and let the mind games begin.” Jared’s strong fingers kneaded all the tension out of Ian’s body. Ian found Jared’s voice as soothing as his touch. Jared moved his left hand to Ian’s left shoulder and began to massage his neck, his thumbs going high into Ian’s hair line. Ian had never felt so relaxed. He started to hum the song, Sympathy-Tenderness from the Broadway show Jekyll and Hyde. “That’s a nice song”, Jared said with a slight laugh.
Ian woke out of his meditative state embarrassed by his reaction to Jared’s massage. “Uhmm, thanks. It’s from a show I saw in New York with my father.” Ian couldn’t stop talking. He was suddenly filled with nervous energy. “We used to go to plays and museums all the time when he was alive. On that trip, I think we saw three different shows. But that was my favorite.”
“Are you a big fan of the great white way?” Jared asked making his way down Ian’s lower back.
“Definitely, sometimes I wish real life was like a musical. We could all sing and dance our way through life. Our emotions explained in thoughtful lyrics and beautiful orchestrations. And when we fall in love; the music crescendos and dazzling lights, like fireworks, surround us as we embrace in a passionate kiss.” Ian realized he had slipped into geek mode again. “Listen to me, how cliché. A faggot you likes show tunes”. Ian froze. What did he just say? He had never admitted to anyone, not even himself, that he was gay. He realized that Jared had stopped his massage. Ian didn’t breathe trying to think of some way out of this. Suddenly he felt Jared’s hands on his shoulder again.
“When you saw the show, which one did you identify with Jekyll or Hyde?” Jared asked.
Ian finally exhaled relieved the awkward silence had passed, “Jekyll of course”. After a pause, Ian felt compelled to explain. “He was the good one, but I understand the appeal of being some one else for awhile. It can be so freeing, allowing you to do things you would never dare in your own skin and not worry about the consequences”, Ian thought about his own transformation. “Being able to fool others and even yourself into thinking you’re something you’re not.”
“But did Hyde really fool the person that really counted”, Jared stopped massaging Ian and sat at the edge of the bed next to Ian, their naked thighs touching. “Didn’t Lisa see Jekyll when she looked at Hyde? You can’t hide who you really are from the people who love you.” Jared talked excitedly, almost like he was on a debating team. Ian had never seen this side of him before. He was so much more than just a pretty face.
“That’s a good point. I never thought about it like that before. Of course Hyde was a part of Jekyll’s real persona..” Ian stopped and looked at Jared. “How did you know the song was from Jekyll and Hyde? I never said that.”
“You’re not the only one who loves show tunes” Jared answered. He slowly leaned over and kissed Ian gently on the lips. Ian did not react, just stared into Jared’s eyes. Jared then reached around Ian placing one hand on his back and the other on his opposite hip and gently lowered Ian onto the bed. Ian felt the weight of Jared’s hard body on his, its warmth melting away any apprehension. Their eyes never leaving each others; Jared lowered his mouth to meet Ian’s once more. This time the kiss was more forceful and passionate; Ian could feel Jared’s tongue graze his own. Ian’s cock was as rigid as a flag pole. Jared’s hand moved from Ian’s hip slipping underneath the waist band of Ian’s shorts while still kissing him. Jared squeezed Ian’s balls and began to stroke his shaft. Ian’s body was in sensual overload, this was want he had long dreamed about. Ian’s body exploded, he came in Jared’s hand. Jared leaned to one side, lifting his body off of Ian. He pulled his hand out of Ian’s shorts. “That was fast” Jared said looking at his cum covered fingers.
“I’m sorry” was all that Ian could think to say.
“No, it’s okay. I was excited too.” Jared rolled over onto his back and wiped his hand onto his shorts.
Ian swallowed the accumulating salvia in his mouth with a powerful gulp, “You don’t have to stop if you don’t want to”. Ian kicked off his sneakers and removed his shorts before rolling onto his stomach, arching his back to lift his ass. Ian wasn’t sure if he looked sexy or like a baboon offering itself to the dominate male. Ian soon got his answer as he felt Jared hand caressing his ass cheeks. Jared leaned over Ian and pulled a condom out of the nightstand drawer. He asked Ian if he wanted to put it on him. Ian shook his head no and buried his head into the pillow. After a moment, Ian felt Jared grab on to his hips and reposition his body. Ian felt like a model being manipulated by an artist. Ian felt something cool and wet between his ass cheeks. Jared was spreading lubricate around Ian’s hole, his fingers entering virgin territory. Jared removed his fingers and then Ian felt something larger invading him. Ian gasped for air. He heard Jared whisper, “Relax, if you want me to stop just let me know and I will.” Ian did his best to release his muscles, fighting every natural instinct to clench. Ian kept breathing in the deeper Jared went. Ian couldn’t exhale his body was racked with unknown pain and pleasure. He could hear Jared’s soft moans. Just when Ian couldn’t take anymore, Jared stopped and withdrew slightly. Ian finally released his lungs, the hot air caught in the pillow making his face sweat. Jared thrust forward, then withdrew and advanced again, this time faster. The movements were increasing. Ian felt Jared’s hands caressing the sides of his torso and back. His breathing was becoming louder as were his moans. Then Jared stopped moving and Ian could feel his cock spasm inside him. Jared was silent for about twenty seconds before he exhaled and pulled out of Ian. Jared fell onto his back next to Ian in the bed. Ian looked at Jared’s face; it was flushed and sweaty too. He fought to catch his breath. Jared turned to look at Ian and smiled. He put his arm up over Ian’s head and pulled him closer. Ian moved his body next to Jared resting his head on Jared’s shoulder. “Give me a minute and you can have a go. I’ve got another condom in the drawer.” Jared said as he pulled the latex cover off his rod and wrapped it in his shorts. He used the shorts to squeeze the remnant cum out of his shrinking tool before throwing them onto the floor.
Ian watched intently, he had never seen another man’s naked body this close up before. Ian heard Jared’s breathing return to normal. He felt Jared’s fingers trace small circles on his back. Ian’s nose rested close to Jared’s nipple. He inhaled deeply relishing Jared’s scent. It felt so natural lying next to this man. Ian felt warm and protected, like he was home. He then brought his hand onto Jared’s chest. Jared grabbed it with his free hand and kissed Ian’s palm before placing it back onto his hard chest. Jared moved his hand to brush the hair away from his face and Ian moved is hand down to Jared’s abs. Ian followed the groove between the muscles that stood in high relief, the muscles becoming more defined with each breath. He had never felt anything so amazing before. He moved his hand down to the deep wells over Jared’s hip bones and down to his pelvis. The lines of Jared’s body were so beautiful he understood why great artists love recreating the human male form. It had to be nature’s greatest work of art. Ian cautiously lowered his hand to Jared’s cock; the length and size still impressive in its flaccid state. He gently held it between his fingers, thinking while it looked so much bigger than his own equipment; it didn’t feel that much bigger when in his hand. He looked at Jared’s face before continuing. Jared had his eyes closed and appeared to be enjoying Ian’s touch. Ian continued his exploration by cupping Jared’s ball sack in his hand. This definitely felt bigger. Ian rolled the large balls in his fingers and squeezed them.
Jared’s body shuddered, “Hey go easy there. They’re attached to me and I’ll like to keep it that way”.
“Sorry” Ian said.
“It’s okay. It’s usually women I have to remind how sensitive a man’s balls are” Jared joked as he hugged Ian tighter.
“Have you been with a lot of women?” Ian asked.
“A few”, Jared answered.
“A few more”, Jared said coyly. “But I’m not the campus Casanova some people think I am. How about you?”
Ian hesitated. “This is my first time with anyone.”
Now it was Jared who hesitated. “Well then, it makes it even more special for me too. Is there something you want to do to me or want me to do to you? I want you to see those fireworks you talked about earlier.”
“No, I just want to lay here in your arms” Ian pulled his body closer to Jared’s so he was almost lying on top of him. “You are so incredibly beautiful. And as Keats wrote A thing of beauty is a joy forever, and you make me very joyous”. Ian could feel Jared’s body tense as he let out a sigh.
“But wasn’t it Wadsworth who said, The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor touched. They must be felt with the heart”.
“Actually it was HelenKeller. Even a blind woman would know you’re beautiful if she could touch what I’m feeling right now”. Ian turned his head to look at Jared who had a frustrated expression. “Don’t worry, no one expects a man who looks like you to be smart too”.
With that Jared pushed Ian off him and got out of bed. He walked to the dresser at the foot of the bed. “I may not be some kind of a genius and maybe athletics come easier to me than academics, but I’m not a dumb jock. I work my ass off in the class”, He stopped for a moment trying to control his temper, he pointed to the certificate hanging above is desk. “I was on the Dean’s List last semester and will be again this semester. And I’m not taking some joke, muscle-head classes either. I’m going to graduate with a business degree and hopefully go to Wharton for my MBA”.
Ian could see Jared was really upset. Ian got out of bed and stood in front of him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean what I said. It was a really poor attempt at humor. I’m the dumb one in this room. When I look at you I do see a gorgeous athlete, but not a dumb jock. You don’t need a certificate to proof you are intelligent. You’re gentle, kind and considerate. I admire you more than you will ever know”.
Jared saw the sincerity in Ian’s eyes as he spoke. He grabbed him and kissed him, putting his hands on Ian’s shoulders. “You know my favorite song from Jekyll and Hyde comes right after the one you hummed earlier.” Both men smiled then sang together poorly, “Nothing would ever be the same”. They chuckled, and Jared wrapped his arms around Ian and hugged him tightly. “I think I love you” Jared whispered in Ian’s ear. Ian heard the words he had wished for. He opened his eyes and saw the reflection in the mirror above the dresser. Jared wasn’t holding Ian in his arms, it was Brock. Suddenly Jared’s words lost all meaning. He let go of Jared. Jared dropped his arms to look into his lover’s face. Jared happy expression disappeared as he saw the pain in his eyes. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s getting late. I have to go” Ian said as he reached down for his shorts and pulled them on.
“Okay, I understand Remember to see a doctor and alternate hot and cold.” Jared instructed as he watched Ian get dressed. “When can we see each other again?”
“I don’t know. Soon”, Ian said as he quickly walked out the door. He left the campus ignoring the stares and comments of his admirers. He took side streets and alleys to get home, avoiding the busier streets. Arriving home, Ian walked through the backyard gate startled to see his mother sitting at the patio with her back toward him. Ian remembered the change to his appearance and started to back out of the yard. He didn’t want to frighten the lady of the house. “Where are you going, Ian?” she asked without turning around. Ian didn’t respond. She turned and looked directly at him. “I asked where you were going.”
Ian did not see any confusion on her face, just anger. “No where”, he mumbled.
“I’ve been waiting to talk to you. I found this in your room while I was putting away your laundry”, his mother said as she stood and turned to face her son. She was holding the wishing jar. “Who is Jared and why would you want him to love you?” She said with disgust in her voice.
“You have no right invading my privacy like that” Ian barked back, his anger overcoming his embarrassment.
“I have every right in my house; especially when my son is playing with the tools of the devil. He took your father away from me and I’m not going to let him take you too.” She raised the jar high above her head and threw it onto the concrete patio. The jar disintegrated into dust on impact. Ian screamed “no” and dropped to his knees in front jar’s remains.
A sudden breeze created a whirlwind lifting the paper strips high into the air. Ian watched them scatter. Defeated he dropped his head. He saw a single piece of paper being held down by the jar’s cork top. Ian picked it up. It was the one his father wrote about him. As Ian read it, his father’s chimes rang out. Ian looked up at his mother and asked “Why? All I wanted was to be loved”.
“You are loved Ian, by God and me”, she bent down and grabbed his shoulders, helping her son to his feet. “And our love will save your soul. Come with me to church right now. We’ll pray for God’s forgiveness.”
“Why do I need to be forgiven?” Ian continued trying to make his mother understand, “If you met Jared you would see he is a good and kind person”.
“You need to repent for your sins. You are going against God’s wishes.” his mother yelled defiantly.
Ian looked into his mother’s tear filled eyes. “You’ve always told me we are all God’s children. And a parent’s love is unconditional. I would think that both God and my mother could love me, the real me.” Ian’s mother just shook her head no. Ian backed away, then turned and left through the back gate. As he ran down the alley, he heard his mother screaming his name. He just quickened his pace to escape her calls.
Ian looked into the window of the occult shop. He caught his real reflection in the glass. The jar’s magic must have ended when it was destroyed. In one day his life had been changed forever. He had no regrets, but felt so alone. He needed to feel safe again, if not in his mother’s home, then in Jared’s arms. If he loved Brock, then Ian would be Brock again. He needed another wishing jar. The bell attached to the store’s door rang when Ian entered. The occult shop was dimly lit and overstuffed with odds and ends. The middle-aged man behind the counter greeted Ian and asked if he could help him find something. “I’m looking for Amber”
“I sent her home. A pretty, young girl needs time to prepare for tonight’s romantic festivities”, the man said with a big smile. “Is there something I could help you with?”
“Yes, I’m looking for a wishing jar” Ian answered.
“Oh, we have a good selection of vessels you can use for wishing jars.” The shop owner moved from behind the counter and walked to a shelf in the center of the store. Ian followed closely behind. “They range from $8 for the smallest to $32 for the largest.” The man handed one of the larger jars to Ian. He looked at Ian and squinted. He reached for his glasses and put them on. “You look just like someone I used to know. Are you related to MalcolmIves?”
“I’m his son” Ian said proudly.
“My goodness, you’re Ian?” Ian shook his head yes. “I remember you when you were just a little boy. I’m BenAtkins. I was a friend of your father’s. You have grown in to such a fine young man. Your father would be so proud of you following in his foot steps. He was a powerful witch; he had a real gift for the craft.”
“My father was a witch?” Ian was dumbfounded.
“Yes and your mother too; but I understand she gave it up after your father died. She blamed the coven for his death.” The older man continued.
“He died when we were celebrating the summer solstice upcountry, near Table Rock. We were in such a remote area; it took forever to get him to a hospital after his heart attack.” Ben said with regret. “it was such a shame. Your father was a good man and a good friend.” Ian didn’t say anything; he stared at the jar in his hand trying to comprehend this new information. “Do you have everything you need to inculcate the jar?”
“Inculcate?” Ian asked.
“It takes repeated rituals to infuse the jar with magic. The more rites the more powerful it becomes. And it binds the jar to its owner, so it works only for him…or his direct descendants” The store owner could see the confused look on Ian’s face. “Have you not been practicing long, Ian?”
“No, not long” Ian answered. “Do you have anything that I can use that will work today?”
“I have many potions and amulets that can assist you. What kind of spell are you casting?
“To make someone fall in love with me” Ian answered softly.
Ben laughed, “Oh, the power of St. Valentine’s Day. Everyone’s thoughts turn to love. Sadly, there’s no such thing as a real love potion. This time of year I sell dozens of love candles to the general public, but they do nothing but give hope. You can make someone want you, obey you, or worship you; but not love you. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. No witch or wizard can conjure up true love.”
“How about changing my appearance to make someone fall in love with me?” Ian inquired.
“Sure it’s relatively easy for a powerful witch to change his physical appearance, but the irony is when the person you are trying to attract falls in love with you, the illusion is broken. And then they feel you tricked them into loving you. Deception is not a good way to start a relationship. You can’t hide who you really are from the people who truly love you” the store owner informed Ian.
“Just like in Jekyll and Hyde” Ian said under his breath. Now he understood why his mother saw through his illusion earlier. Regardless of what she said when upset, Ian knew she really did love him.
“Why would such a good looking guy want to change his appearance? If you’re anything like your father, you have all the ladies chasing after you. I was happy when he got engaged to your mother. When he was off the market, it gave me rest of us a chance.” Ben said slapping Ian on the back.
“Yeah, well thanks for your help. It was nice meeting you…again” Ian said deep in thought.
“My pleasure, please stop by again and say hello to your mother for me.” Ben said waving goodbye.
Ian left the store walking absent mindedly down the street. He decided he needed to go home and settle things with his mother. He better understood her reaction to the jar now after talking with Ben. Ian’s cell phone started to vibrate. It had gone off several times since he left his mother. He ignored it not wanting to talk to her. But now he saw he had a text message. Ian knew his mother didn’t know how to send a text message. He took the phone off his waist band and read the message. “You, let’s have dinner tonight and talk, Me”. Ian hit the delete button. Obviously it was sent to him in error.
He was about a block from his house when he stopped by the coffee shop to get a shot of caffeine before the big maternal showdown. Ian ordered a double espresso and waited for his name to be called. He saw two college aged girls at a nearby table checking him out as he waited. He realized he was still wearing the form fitting clothes from earlier. He was becoming uncomfortable. The girls whispered to each other and giggled, then looked at Ian seductively. Ian didn’t expect that. His name was called; he took his drink and walked out the door.
After taking a sip of coffee, he looked up and saw Jared approaching down the street. Ian panicked and ran down the adjoining alley that led to his backyard. He ducked into the recessed opening of the first gate he found. He stood with his back up against the gate, his heart racing. After a moment, he thought to himself. “Why am I hiding? He doesn’t care about me. I don’t look like Brock anymore. I’m just the art geek from class to him.” Ian relaxed and took another sip of his drink. He started his slow walk back to his house at the other end of the block. “Ian. Ian”, someone was calling his name. Ian stopped in his tracks. He didn’t turn around, he knew from the voice it was Jared. Ian heard Jared walking up behind him. Ian turned to face his pursuer. Jared had a big smile on his face, “Here you are. I’ve been looking all over for you. I hope you haven’t been avoiding me”.
“Why would I be avoiding you?” Ian said nervously tightly clutching his coffee with both hands. “Can I help you with something?”
“Can you help me?” Jared asked with a puzzled expression. “You left in such a hurry earlier. I thought we could have dinner tonight to discuss things. Didn’t you get any of my voice mail or text messages?”
“You’re me and I’m you? I mean the text message was from you?”
“Yeah, I know it’s corny. But my parents used to call each other you and me. As in You are the only one for Me. I think they’re better pet names than snooky bear or sugar lips.” Ian couldn’t believe Jared was talking to him like this. “When they used to leave notes for each other, they would just simply address it to Y and sign it M. I know we are just starting, but I want to be your Y one day” Jared said as he brushed the hair away from Ian’s stunned face.
Ian felt faint. He dropped his coffee causing it to splatter on the ground. Ian took a step back before moving to a high garden wall to lean against. He put his hand in his back pocket and pulled out the strip of paper he saved from the wishing jar. Ian looked at the wish his father wrote for him, staring at the last incomplete word. “You want to be my Y” Ian mumbled. There was a sudden wind gust. Ian heard the distant sound of his father’s chimes from the garden at the end of the block. He stared in the direction of the garden, his mind and heart racing.
“Are you okay?” Jared asked without moving. Ian didn’t respond, he looked briefly at Jared before returning his gaze toward his home. “I guess I’m not mentally stimulating enough to hold your interest”. Jared remarked sarcastically.
“What?”, Ian asked as he tried to focus on Jared’s words.
“Maybe what happened between us today meant more to me than you. Was I just some kind of conquest for you? Am I a joke to tell your beatnik friends? Fuck the dumb jock and laugh about it over a glass of chardonnay at the gallery.”
“You knew it was me this afternoon when we were together?” Ian asked in a state of shock.
Jared laughed, “You must really think I’m an idiot. Calling yourself Brock was a little strange, but I know you artsy types are a little eccentric. Maybe the other guys were fooled by the tight clothes and the hair off your face; but not me. Of course, they haven’t been following you around like a stalker or worse a love-sick puppy for the past year and a half.” Jared was angered by Ian’s apparent indifference. He began to pace in front of Ian. “What a fool I’ve been. Everyone thinks you are so smart and deep. The tortured, brooding artist who wears only black. I fell for it completely. When I think of all the art classes I’ve taken just be spend time with you. I must have been crazy. My advisor thinks I should minor in Art I have so many credits. And I was afraid to talk to you because I thought I would sound stupid compared to the smart people you hang around. You intimidated the hell out of me.” Jared’s pacing quickened as tirade continued. “Then you show up today and want to play football. I was thrilled. Finally, I can impress you. After all playing sports is the only thing I’m good at; while you excel at writing, art, and every thing else. I mean the works you create will last forever and inspire people for generations. I’ll be forgotten the year after I graduate.” Jared stopped moving and looked directly at Ian. “Well I’ve got another joke to tell your friends. I have such an uncontrollable ego, I hoped the main character in Under the Quiet Surface was based on me. Isn’t that hilarious?” Ian shifted his body and looked away from Jared for the first time during his soliloquy. Ian’s blushing gave away his secret. “Really?” Jared asked.
“Really” Ian replied after a few anguish moments. Jared’s expression softened encouraging Ian to continue, “Don’t worry about being labeled a stalker. I’ve got a sketch pad full of your image and I haven’t missed a match of yours for the last two years. I think the title is mine”.
Jared laughed. “So you meant what you said this afternoon. It wasn’t a cruel joke”
Ian smiled, “No joke. And when you said you loved me, you meant you loved me?”
“Yes. Was there someone else in the room?” Jared asked.
Ian felt like he had been hit in the stomach. He was short of breath and his eyes filled with tears. “But why? You are so extraordinary and I’m so …uneventful”, Ian voice trailing off as looked at his feet.
Jared moved in front of Ian and pushed his chin up to look into his eyes. “Haven’t you heard a thing I’ve said? You had me since freshman year when we had Medieval Art together.” Jared smiled and pressed his body into Ian’s. “And did I mention how incredibly handsome and sexy you are?” Ian laughed and rolled his eyes. Jared could see Ian didn’t believe him. “Ian look at me”, the sternness in Jared’s voice made Ian obey his command. “You are not uneventful. When I look at you I hear the orchestra playing.” Jared lifted himself off of Ian and took several steps back with a strange smile on his face. He crossed his legs and did a quick spin. Then he started to sing slowly and softly, “But… if…. someone like you, found someone like me”. Ian thought Jared’s rough and out of tune voice was the most beautiful thing he ever heard. He couldn’t help but laugh as the tears rolled down his cheeks. “then suddenly nothing would ever be the same”. Ian joined Jared for their favorite line of the song. Jared laughed then continued alone, his voice becoming louder. “My heart would take wing, and I’d feel so alive”. He walked closer to Ian whispering, “If someone like you loved me, loved me”. Jared’s voice slowed until he was talking more than singing “loved me”. He took Ian’s face into his hands, wiping Ian’s cheeks dry with his thumbs. Jared kissed him deeply but gently. Ian’s mind and body was flooded with new feelings. All his nagging insecurities and doubts evaporated. He never felt more alive. It was better than a runner’s high and he was standing still, though his heart was beating a million times a minute. He thought this must be what it feels like to be truly happy and in love. Jared pulled his lips from Ian’s and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day”.
Ian laughed, “It feels more like the Fourth of July”.
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