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Chapter 23: Breaking The News
Daniel was late getting up on Sunday morning. He hadn’t slept very well
and, as a result, he was feeling tired and irritable when he finally
managed to drag himself from his bed and make his way downstairs to get
himself some breakfast.
“I thought you were intending to stay in bed all day,” the boy’s mother
observed as he entered the kitchen. She gave him a smile and went back
to cleaning the cooker.
Daniel didn’t reply. He scratched his head, yawned and pulled open the
fridge to look for something to eat.
“Don’t use all that milk,” said his mother, without looking around. “If
you do, you’ll have to go round to the shop for some more.”
“I won’t use it all,” Daniel snapped, grumpily, his tone causing his
mother to glance round at him and frown. He lowered his eyes, knowing
that he was on dodgy ground and busied himself putting some cornflakes
into a bowl and adding the bare minimum of milk. Then he took a spoon
from the drawer and sat down at the kitchen table, his head in his
hands, staring at the bowl. He wasn’t hungry after all.
After several minutes of just sitting there, he suddenly became aware
that his mother had stopped her cleaning and was standing watching him.
He glared at her. “What?”
She shook her head and sighed. “You really are in a mood this morning,
aren’t you? Have you been fighting with Jason again?”
“No.” Daniel held her gaze for a moment and then looked down at the
soggy cornflakes, stirring them around the bowl with the spoon. “Not
yet,” he added, softly.
“Is it something you want to talk about?” the woman’s voice had
Daniel gave his mother a grateful smile. “No. It’ll be OK. I need to
talk to Jason; talking to anyone else won’t really help.”
The boy’s mother nodded, understandingly. “Well, whatever it is, I’m
sure it will work out alright in the end. I don’t think there’s much
that can keep you and Jason apart for long.”
“Yeah, I guess.” Daniel gave a sigh and forced himself to take a
mouthful of the breakfast cereal. He hoped that his mother was right.
After eventually giving up on his breakfast, the young teen returned to
his room to try to find something to pass the time. The previous evening
he had given Jason a call and arranged to go over and see the boy on
Sunday afternoon. Jason was feeling much better, having just about
recovered from his stomach bug, and was now more bored than anything.
His mother had told him that he had to take things easy for another day
or so and that he wasn’t allowed out of the house. After making
arrangements to go round and see Jason, Daniel had given Dean a call.
Dean had a coaching session Sunday morning, but he said that he had the
entire afternoon free. Daniel decided that the best course of action was
to see Dean immediately after lunch, and then, having got that out of
the way, he would go straight from Dean’s house to sort things out with
The remainder of the morning passed slowly, and by the time lunch-time
arrived, Daniel had worked himself up into such a state that he really
couldn’t face trying to eat. He excused himself from the table, leaving
an almost full plate, and answering his mother’s worried looks with a
simple statement that he wasn’t hungry.
The relatively short walk round to Dean’s house seemed to take twice as
long as it usually did. As he walked, Daniel tried to work out what he
was going to say when he arrived. He was pretty sure that Dean would
understand, since the boy was generally cool and laid back about things.
And besides, the stuff they had done together had just been a bit of
fun. Well, mostly just fun. There had been that kiss. That had come
right out of the blue. Out of all of the things that he had done with
Dean, it was the kiss that had bothered Daniel the most. The kiss seemed
to signify something a bit more serious than ‘playing around’. It had
been as though Dean had attempted to shift things up a notch.
Dean answered the door within seconds of Daniel ringing the doorbell. He
wore a huge grin of welcome, and he waited for Daniel to remove his
shoes before they both headed up the stairs to Dean’s bedroom.
“I’m glad you came over today,” said Dean, excitedly. “I haven’t been
able to stop thinking about what we did on Wednesday. That was so good.”
He giggled. “Every time I think about it I get a boner. I’ve almost made
my dick sore through jacking off.”
“Wednesday was good,” Daniel agreed.
“So you want to do it again?” asked Dean. “You could examine me again.
There’s loads more stuff in the bag that we didn’t use last time. Or, if
you want, I could examine you. Or if you don’t want to play doctor,
there’s other stuff we can do.” He giggled again. “I don’t mind what we
do as long as we get naked.”
“I need to talk to you,” said Daniel, nervously.
“Talk?” Dean’s happy expression wavered. “That sounds ominous.” He
forced a smile. “We don’t have to do anything weird if you don’t want.”
His tone was becoming more uncertain as though he sensed that something
wasn’t quite right but wasn’t going to give in without putting up a
fight. “If you prefer we can just get naked and jack off together. We
don’t even have to touch each other. Hell, we don’t even have to get
Daniel reached out and put his hand on top of Dean’s. He hadn’t expected
this to be easy, but it was turning out to be harder than he had
anticipated. Dean certainly wasn’t helping. “What we did last time was
great. I loved it, all of it. And I really like you. You’re a great
friend, and you’re one of the hottest guys around.”
Dean pushed Daniel’s hand away and waved his own hand as though
dismissing the complement. He was now definitely looking worried. “So
what’s the problem?”
Daniel lowered his head. “Jason.”
“Jason?” Dean sounded slightly incredulous. “Why is Jason a problem?”
“Because I feel guilty going behind his back.”
“Jason won’t find out. Not unless you tell him. I’m certainly not going
to say anything.”
“That won’t stop me feeling guilty.”
Dean gave a helpless shrug. “So where does that leave us: me and you?”
Daniel swallowed hard. This was so painful. He forced himself to meet
Dean’s eyes and slowly shook his head.
“I thought you liked me,” said Dean, desperately. “I really like you.”
“I do like you,” Daniel replied. He could see how upset Dean was
becoming and he could feel a growing lump in his own throat. “I like you
such a lot. But with Jason it’s different. I can’t explain it. I like
you both, but with Jason it something, I dunno… special.”
Dean got suddenly to his feet. He stood facing towards the door, his
arms tense at his sides, his fists clenched. Then he turned around to
glare at Daniel. “So you’re saying that me and you aren’t ‘special’?” He
spat, raising his voice. “How can what you have with Jason be special
when Jason’s not even gay? You keep saying yourself that he’s not gay.”
“And you said that you thought that I was wrong and that Jason might be
gay,” said Daniel heatedly, also getting to his feet.
“So you’re gonna keep hanging around waiting forever, just in case?”
Daniel was taken aback by the level of Dean’s anger and hurt. He drew in
a deep, shuddering breath to try to calm himself. “I’ll wait as long as
I have to.”
There was long a long silence as the two of them glared at each other.
Daniel’s heart was pounding. This hadn’t gone at all like he had
expected. He desperately tried to think of a way to salvage the
situation. “That first time I was here, I told you how I felt about
Jason,” he said, trying to keep his voice calm. “And you promised not to
do anything that would cause problems between us.”
Slowly, the anger ebbed from Dean’s face to be replaced by something
else. He suddenly looked frightened and vulnerable. “Please Daniel,” he
begged. Tears spilled from his eyes and ran down his cheeks. He quickly
raised his arm and wiped his face with his sleeve and then turned away,
breathing heavily. After a moment he walked slowly over to the wall,
where he stood looking at the certificates and awards that he’d obtained
through his karate and kickboxing.
Daniel hesitated a moment and then walked over to join the boy. He saw
that Dean was staring at the photograph that he had pointed out to
Daniel during Daniel’s first visit here. It showed Dean with Nick
Wainwright, the county kick-boxing champion.
Dean gave a deep sigh. “My dads’ right,” he said, his voice sad and
resigned. “I’ll only ever be good enough to come in second place.”
Without thinking, Daniel put his hand on Dean’s shoulder and gave it a
squeeze. Dean spun around and suddenly his arms were around Daniel in a
tight hug. Daniel returned the hug.
“We can still be friends, can’t we?” Dean begged, through his tears.
“Please say that we can still be friends.”
“Yeah, course we can,” said Daniel, unable to hold back his own tears.
They held each other for a few moments and then Dean pulled away. He
wiped his eyes again. “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice cracking. “I
thought I had finally found someone that I could share things with. Now
I’m going to be on my own again.”
“I’m not saying that we can never see each other or anything like that,”
said Daniel. “We can still hang around together. Just that we should
cool it with the sex stuff.”
Dean nodded. “Yeah, I can live with that,” he said, as though trying to
convince himself. He forced a smile. “I guess I’m going to have to.”
Daniel felt totally drained as he left Dean’s house. Talking to Dean had
turned out to be far more emotional than he had expected. Dean had
obviously been pretty cut up, and now Daniel was feeling incredibly
guilty about everything. Not only had he badly underestimated the level
of Dean’s feelings for him, he had also underestimated his own feelings
for Dean. He’d obviously become much closer to Dean than he had
realised, and seeing the boy so upset was like a knife in Daniel’s
stomach. “Jason, I hope you’re bloody worth it,” he muttered to himself.
He steeled himself as he walked up the path towards Jason’s front door.
However bad talking Dean had been, he fully expected talking to Jason to
be far worse. Not for the first time, he wondered whether he was doing
the right thing in coming clean and telling Jason what had been going
on. Maybe it would be better to keep quite after all. He toyed briefly
with this idea and then dismissed it. Far better that Jason find out
now, than have him discover it by accident at some point in the future.
As Daniel approached the front door, it opened and Billy and Ben came
“Hi, Daniel.” Billy smiled, almost shyly.
Ben looked as his friend, rolled his eyes and gave a snort of disgust.
“Why don’t you just ask him if you can lick his shoes?”
“I was only saying hello,” Billy responded, frowning.
“Yeah, but it’s the way you were doing it. ‘Hi Daniel.’” Ben raised the
pitch of his voice in a comic imitation of the other boy.
“Hi, Billy,” said Daniel. “Hello Ben. Nasty as ever, I see.”
Ben scowled, and then, to Daniel’s surprise, the scowl suddenly turned
into a smile. “I’ve got to look after my rep,” he grinned. “Besides,
Billy loves it when I treat him mean.”
This time it was Billy who gave the snort of disgust. “Oh yeah. I really
love it,” he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
Ben giggled. “I suppose you’ve come to see misery guts,” he said to
Daniel. “He’s up in his bedroom sulking ‘cos I’m allowed to go out and
he’s not.” He turned and shouted back into the house, “Mum, Daniel’s
here. Should I send him up to Jason?”
“Yes, tell him he can go straight up,” came the reply.
Ben stepped out of the way and waved towards the door. “Mum says to go
“Bye, Daniel,” said Billy.
“Bye, Daniel,” mocked Ben, giggling as he ducked to avoid a swipe from
Daniel smiled to himself as he went into the house and removed his
shoes. His short encounter with the two younger boys had been a welcome
distraction from his worries about what might happen in the next few
minutes. He hurried up the stairs, gave a quick, light tap on Jason’s
partially open bedroom door, and went in.
It was immediately apparent that Jason was in far from the best off
moods. He lay back on his bed, propped up on a pillow, with his arms
behind his head and a deep scowl on his face. “It’s not fair,” he
grumbled, as soon as he saw Daniel. “Ben’s allowed to go out with his
bum-chum, and I’m stuck here. Mum says I’ve got to ‘take it easy’ today
to make sure I’m alright for school tomorrow. Why do I have to take it
easy and he doesn’t?”
Daniel shrugged. “He did get ill before you did, so he’s had an extra
day to get better.”
“Well I’m better as well,” moaned Jason. “I don’t need any more time. I
haven’t puked since Friday. OK, so it’s still a bit runny when I go to
the loo, but at least it’s not blasting out like a water canon anymore.”
Daniel grimaced. “To much information,” he laughed. He went over and sat
down on the bed.
“Has your mum said anything?” asked Jason.
“About me being, you know,” Jason lowered his eyes, “naked.”
“No, she hasn’t even mentioned it. She won’t say anything. She’s pretty
cool most of the time. She doesn’t mind embarrassing me, but I don’t
think she would deliberately embarrass anyone else.”
Jason frowned. “I can’t believe she saw me naked. You could at least
have put the towel over me before you shouted her.”
“I guess I sort of panicked,” said Daniel. “I was worried about you.”
“Well next time, worry about whether I’ve got any clothes on before you
worry about anything else.”
“OK, I’ll try.” Daniel smiled. He was relieved to see that Jason
appeared to be lightening up a bit.
“So how did you get on this weekend?” asked Jason. He scratched absently
at his thigh through his jeans. “You have a good time?”
“Yeah, really good. We played games, used the hot-tub, talked, watched a
DVD. It was great. It would have been even better if you’d been there.
Craig says we can go any time, so maybe can have another sleepover
“OK, sounds good.” Jason stretched and yawned, then swung his legs down
to the floor, so that he was sitting up next to Daniel. “These last few
days have been so boring.”
“Oh well. At least you’re feeling better now.”
“Yeah, I’ve got to be on top form, ready to start my kickboxing
lessons.” Jason stood up, raised his fists in front of him and then
suddenly kicked out with one his feet. He staggered and almost fell
over, just managing to catch his balance. Laughing, he sat down again.
“Learning kickboxing is going to be so cool. I might even get to be as
good as Dean, and then McBride will really be sorry if he messes with
Mention of Dean reminded Daniel of the main reason that he was there,
and he felt his stomach turn over. How was Jason going to react when he
discovered that his best friend had been playing around with the boy
that he looked up to? There was only one way to find out. Putting it off
sure wasn’t going to make it any easier. Daniel took a deep breath and
let it out slowly. “There’s something that I need to tell you.”
Jason must have picked up on his friend’s nervousness. He raised a
questioning eyebrow. “Is this something I’m not going to like? Has
someone said something at school? McBride?”
“No, it’s nothing to do with McBride. It’s about Dean. Me and Dean.”
“You and Dean?”
“Yeah.” Daniel swallowed hard. His heart was pounding and he felt sick.
“I’ve been over to Dean’s house a couple of time, and… Well, there’s
something you should know.” He hesitated for a moment, wondering how
best to continue. “Look, this is something that no one else knows, so I
hope you can keep it to yourself.”
“For fuck’s sake, tell me,” said Jason, impatiently.
“Dean is gay.”
Jason’s eyes widened in like saucers, and then a grin slowly spread
across his face. “Yeah, sure. No way is Dean gay.” He started to laugh.
“You should have told me McBride is gay. I might have believed that.”
Daniel simply sat and waited.
Jason’s laughter slowly ebbed away and his expression became worried.
“You are kidding, right?”
Daniel shook his head. “No, I’m not kidding. Dean is gay.”
“And there’s something else. Me and Dean, we’ve… We’ve messed around
together a couple of times.”
It seemed to take a moment for this to sink in. “Messed around
together?” There was no longer any trace of humour in Jason’s tone. His
eyes had narrowed as he stared directly at Daniel. “What do you mean
you’ve messed around together?”
Daniel swallowed again. He put out his hand as though to put it on top
of Jason’s, then thought better of it and drew back. “We done stuff. Sex
Jason’s mouth twitched in the beginnings of a disbelieving grin, which
faded as fast as it had appeared. He blinked and then shook his head.
“You and Dean?” He got to his feet and walked away from the bed. He
turned to look at Daniel. “You mean you jacked off together. Like we did
“Yeah, we jacked off together. But we did other stuff as well. We
touched each other. I jacked Dean and Dean… he sucked me.” Daniel forced
out the words. At least the worst of it was now out of the way.
Jason laughed, but there was no humour in the sound. He turned away
again, breathing unsteadily. When he turned back there were tears in his
eyes. “You and Dean?” He seemed to be struggling to get his head round
“I’m sorry,” said Daniel. Unable to meet the hurt look in Jason’s eyes
he instead looked down at his own hands, which were clenched in his lap.
“I went round to see Dean before I came here. I told him that we
couldn’t do anything any more. I told him that we could be friends, but
no more sex stuff.”
“Why did you tell him that you had to stop? If you’d both had fun
messing around together and feeling each other up and playing with each
other dicks, why stop doing it now?” Jason sounded both bitter and hurt.
Daniel raised his eyes to look at his friend. “Because of me and you,”
he said. “Because I didn’t want to hurt you. Because… because I want
you, not Dean.”
Jason closed his eyes and tilted his head back. Tears escaped from under
his eyelids to run down his cheeks. He angrily wiped them away with an
“I don’t feel the same about Dean as I feel about you,” said Daniel,
giving in and letting his own tears flow. “You’re my best friend. You’re
more than my best friend. I think about you all the time. It’s like
there’s something special between us.”
“Stop it!” The words came out through clenched teeth. Jason’s
tear-filled eyes flashed angrily. “Just stop it! I don’t want to hear
any more. I don’t want to hear about you and Dean, and I don’t want to
hear about you and me. I’m not gay. You know I’m not gay. I don’t want
to be gay. We’re friends. Just friends. Got that?”
“Just friends,” Jason repeated. He hung his head. “Just friends,” he
said for a third time, his voice little more than a murmur. He was
silent for a long moment and then he sniffed and wiped his sleeve across
his face. When he looked up, the hurt was still there in his eyes, but
he somehow managed to force a smile. “You want to listen to some music?”
he asked, a slight tremor in his voice. He didn’t wait for a response.
He picked up a CD case and, his hands shaking, he removed the CD and put
it into the player. He set it going and turned up the volume. “Mum hates
this one,” he said, almost having to shout to be heard over the music.
“Especially when I play it loud. Let’s see how long it takes her to come
up and moan about it.”
Daniel just sat and looked at his friend, the tears drying on his
cheeks, as he tried to make sense of this situation. Jason had
definitely been both hurt and angry, Daniel was sure of that. So why was
he now behaving as though the past few minutes hadn’t happened? Jason
stood in the middle of the room, nodding his head in time to the beat of
the music. He looked at Daniel and smiled. What was going on?
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