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SUMMARY: Two boys growing up together in an idyllic beachfront community share a passion for baseball. One excels at the game and plays it with reckless abandon; the other, less talented, studies the game and those who play it, hoping someday to share what he learns with others. Best friends since childhood, the two have seen how baseball can bring them closer together. Now, having just graduated from high school, it’s about to show them a crueler side of the game. Baseball is about to separate them even though neither wants that to happen. You can find a longer synopsis of the entire story here. Please note that italics are typically used to indicate what a character is thinking or saying to himself.
WARNING: This story is a work of adult fiction and intended for mature audiences only. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Unless otherwise indicated by context, all of the characters, leagues, stadiums, teams and clubs portrayed or mentioned in this story are fictional, not depictions of real people, leagues, stadiums, teams and clubs. Please note that the story may describe, depict or otherwise include graphic portrayals of relationships between men and/or adolescent boys that are homosexual in nature. If you do not like or approve of such discussions or it is illegal for you to read such material, consider yourself warned. If you continue to read this story, you are asserting that you are fully capable of understanding and legally consenting to reading a work of adult fiction.
NOTICE: This story is my property and protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. It may not be reproduced in any form without my written permission. You may download a single copy to read offline and to share with others as long as you credit me as the author. However, you may not use this work for commercial purposes or to profit from it in any way. You may not use any of the characters, leagues, stadiums, teams, clubs, or other fictional locations described in the story in your own work without my explicit permission. Nor may you use, alter, transform, or build upon the story in any way. If you share this story with others, you must make clear the terms under which it is licensed to them. The best way to do that is by linking to this web page.
NOTES: Please check these notes every week. If there is something I want to alert you to as I post each chapter, this is where I will I do so. October 21: Help me spread the word about Summer Boys, Summer Dreams. Download and print out this flyer and then post it on community bulletin boards that serve the LGBT community; or just forward the flyer to friends who you think might enjoy the story. Thanks!
After meeting with Professor Guerin, I spent most of the afternoon wandering my usual haunts on campus; and then, tired, I bought the things I needed to get and headed back to the apartment. Later, after taking a nap, I walked up the street to the nearest grocery store. Picking up enough frozen dinners to keep me fed for the next couple of days, I headed back home and put everything away.
My roommate had already beaten me to the task and the food he had stocked the refrigerator with was more appealing than mine and fresh as well. But it was his after all, not mine; and unlike some roommates I had previously had, I wasn’t about to steal his food. Instead, I popped one of the frozen entrées I had bought into the microwave. It wasn’t the greatest meal in the world, but I didn’t need a lot either since I had pretty much filled up at Taverna at lunch.
Cameron still wasn’t back by the time I finished so I grabbed a book and settled down in one of the chairs he had brought. It was comfortable, certainly a lot more comfortable than most of the chairs in the dorms; and being comfortable like that made the reading easier.
He never got back until sometime after 9 p.m. that evening. We exchanged greetings and then he went to his room. Within a few minutes he reemerged and I remember being a little surprised. He was wearing cutoff jeans and an old sweatshirt with a couple of holes. I had never seen him dressed down like that before and remember wondering what my mother would think if she could see him now.
He settled himself into the chair across from mine and began reading as well; and that’s what the two of us did for the next hour or so. We sat there reading our books without exchanging a word.
Finally, exhausted from all the reading, I put the book down in my lap and looked over at Cameron. He was still absorbed in his book and I hesitated about interrupting him. But by now I was bored and figured a little conversation would do both of us good.
“So, Cameron, can I ask you a question?” I said.
“Sure,” he replied, looking up from the book that had been absorbing his attention.
“Um, well, I know I shouldn’t ask something like this and you don’t have to answer, of course. But my mother said this furniture is expensive, Stuckley or something, and I was wondering whether you’re rich like my mom was telling me you are? Because if you’re rich, I figured you could help pay for that daily keg of beer my mother seems to think I have delivered here every day.”
“Stickley,” he responded, laughing.
He had understood I was just kidding and taken my question the right way.
“The furniture company is called Stickley; and as for being rich, no, my parents are rich, but I’m not. I’m paying my way through college myself, at least that’s my plan; and since I don’t have a lot of money, I’m going to have to keep myself on a pretty tight leash financially. But I might be able to help you kill off that daily keg, at least if I can drink for free.”
Having seen him pick up on my initial banter, I decided to try to keep it going.
“Damn,” I said, frowning. “I guess I’ll have to cancel that keg order if you’re going to be cheap like that. Moochers aren’t allowed in this apartment. That’s why I didn’t eat any of that food of yours even though it sure looked tastier than the crap I bought.”
“I meant to talk to you about that, Hunter,” he responded, this time more seriously.
“The thing is, I love cooking and I know how to stretch a budget when it comes to food. I was thinking maybe we could share the expense and I could cook for the two of us some evenings. It’s really hard to get yourself psyched for cooking when all you’re doing is cooking for yourself. But if I had someone to share a meal with, I think it would be fun.”
“We wouldn’t have to do it all the time, of course. We could decide a week in advance and then pool our money.”
“The only downside I can see for you is that I’m in into healthy eating. I’m not a vegan or anything like that. It’s like Aristotle used to say; everything in moderation. But you wouldn’t be getting a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mac and cheese, or hot dogs, at least the nights I cooked. What do you think?”
I thought it was a fine idea. Getting food into my stomach was the last thing I liked spending time thinking about and I was still eating too many hot dogs over at the University Center.
“That sounds good to me, Cameron,” I responded. “If you’re going to be doing more of the work, maybe I should put up more of the money?”
“Or you could do the cleaning up and we could split the cost fifty-fifty. You’ll probably end up saving some money because I’m a pretty good shopper.”
“Okay, that’s fine,” I replied. “Cleaning up for two shouldn’t be that big a deal. I’m not making any promises though; if I think your cooking sucks, I may want to revisit the issue. But it’ll be interesting to find out just how good a cook you are. Are you good enough to bake an apple pie?”
“I make a great apple pie,” he said. “That’ll be one of the first things I make.”
“Well, you may want to think about that,” I responded. “My friend Ethan’s Mom makes an apple pie that’s just about the best apple pie in the world. I haven’t had any in a long time, but I still dream about it. So you’ll be up against some pretty stiff competition.”
“I’ll take the chance,” he said, grinning. “But you better not be too critical because you could end up with that pie in your face if you are.”
“I’ll try not to gag,” I replied.
“Look, not to be nosey or anything, but I’m curious,” I continued. “If you’re not rich, how do you explain this furniture? My mother said it’s real expensive.”
“All of this comes from my grandmother,” he responded. “She’s in an assisted living facility now, but she’s the love of my life. When I was home last week, I spent a couple of days visiting with her and mentioned how sparsely this place was furnished. She told me she had put all of her own furniture in storage before she moved into the facility thinking I might need it someday.”
“It came as a surprise. I thought maybe she had sold it all off, but she hadn’t and she insisted I take whatever I wanted. She knew the problems I was having with my parents and she loves me as much as I love her. She made me drive her over to the place where she had stored her stuff and rent a truck. Then she helped me decide what to take.”
“She kept saying take this, take that, and before you knew it the truck was half filled with stuff, all of it nice; and then she gave me a check and insisted I buy curtains for the place. She was insistent that any place I lived had to have nice curtains. She wasn’t going to have her favorite grandson living in a place without curtains.”
“She’s been just about everything to me over the years and I know it makes her happy just thinking about me having her stuff.”
“She sounds like a real angel to me,” I responded. “I think the last thing my mother bought for me was a slip cover for my bed.”
We continued in that vein for a while, sharing personal observations and competing with one another as to which of us had it worst with our parents. But then I asked the question that pretty much settled that issue.
“What I don’t understand is this, Cameron. If your parents are rich, why are you here at the University of Delaware?” I asked. “I mean, I’m not putting the school down or anything, but we’re not talking Harvard or Stanford here. You seem pretty smart to me. How did you end up here?”
I could see a frown cross his face momentarily and wondered whether I had pushed the envelope a little too far.
“Just kidding,” I quickly added. “You don’t have to answer that. I’m becoming just like my mother; too nosey.”
“I don’t mind answering,” he said. “It’s just that it brings back some bad memories.”
He paused momentarily and then continued.
“I think I mentioned to you I have a boyfriend. His name is William. When William and I graduated from high school, we had pretty much decided both of us wanted to go to the west coast to get away from our parents. To say my parents didn’t approve of our relationship is kind of an understatement. William’s parents were a little better, but not by much.”
“Like I said, we wanted to get away from all of that and we had settled on Stanford as our first choice. Eventually both of us got in and William accepted immediately. My father wanted me to go to Harvard so I felt I should wait until I heard from all of the schools I had applied to before telling him I had decided on Stanford.”
“I knew my parents wouldn’t be happy about that, but they hadn’t forbidden me from applying to Stanford either. But after both of us got admitted and I heard from the rest of the schools, my father suddenly announced he wouldn’t pay for me to go to Stanford because he didn’t want his son shacking up with a fruitcake.”
“That’s the word he used, Hunter; fruitcake. Do you believe that?”
I was beginning to feel uncomfortable now for raising the whole thing. I could see how much talking about it bothered Cameron and I told him again we could drop the subject. But he pressed on nonetheless.
“I guess my father is pretty old school,” he said. “He was in the military and doesn’t think much of homos, as he liked to call William and me. Not that he was all that different from my mother. She wasn’t very keen on the idea either. In any event, my father was insistent. He would pay for me to go to Harvard or Dartmouth, both of which had accepted me. But he wasn’t going to pay for Stanford because that’s where William was going and William was a fruitcake.”
“Way back in the fall, when I was applying to colleges, I had also applied to Delaware as my safe school. And after learning my father had no intention of paying to send me to Stanford, that’s where I decided to go. Like I told you, my father was willing to pay to send me to Harvard or Dartmouth, not because of the fine education they would provide, of course, but just for the bragging rights it would give him.”
“He’s a partner at the most prestigious law firm up in Wilmington; and having his son attend a school like those would have been still another feather in his cap.”
“I decided to attend Delaware instead, partly because I knew how much that would annoy him and my mother, but mostly because I would be able to pay my own way through college. I had saved enough money to do that, at least to pay for the first year; and my grandmother was also willing to help. She detested my father for pulling the rug out from beneath William and me like that.”
“So, no, Delaware may not be the same as some of the other schools, but I like the idea of being able to stand on my own two feet and not being dependent on someone who would do something like that to me. And UD is a terrific school; except for missing William a lot, I’m actually glad I chose it now that I’m here.”
When he had finished telling the story, I just sat there staring at him for a moment.
“Okay, that’s it, Cameron,” I replied. “You win. My mother annoys me a lot, but I can’t beat that story you just told so I guess you win the competition. You definitely have the most annoying parents.”
“Yes,” he shouted jumping up from his chair; “how about them apples, pappy!”
“The gay boy beats the straight boy for the national bitching championship,” he added grinning. “How often does that happen in the world of competitive sports?”
It made me laugh and I stood up and gave him a high five.
“And here’s what you get for winning,” I said, struggling to get it out.
But it was only after a strenuous effort that I was able to fart and it was a pretty small one at that.
“Oh, that is pathetic, Hunter,” he said.
Straining as hard as he could, he brought forth his challenge, which was equally anemic; and that caused the two of us to spend the next fifteen minutes arguing about which of us had won our little fart competition.
Eventually, exhausted by laughing, we retreated to our respective bedrooms and called it a night. I remember thinking again I had lucked out in my choice of a roommate.
The first week back in college can be hard. You’re trying to get yourself into the routine of things that will carry you through the semester. Some people would disagree, I suppose, but I think a semester is a long time to stay focused; and I know I had developed routines over the course of my first three years in college to help me get through the semester.
The big problem is that summer break. You fall out of the routines that sustained you through two semesters. You find yourself spending more time outdoors in the sun, less in the appropriately climate controlled but somewhat sterile environment known as the campus library. Maybe you go to bed earlier or later; get up at different time than you were used to on campus. Maybe the work is more or less challenging, but it’s definitely different, that’s for sure.
The truth is, summer break brings its own unique routines, different from those at school and to me a lot more interesting most of the time because I enjoyed working with Coach Lodge and the boys every summer. But then you head back to campus and you spend that first week trying to reestablish some of the old routines.
By the end of the week I was glad it was over. I wasn’t all the way there yet in terms of reestablishing the old routines, but I had made some progress and was looking forward to the weekend. Only one thing remained to be done.
It was late Friday afternoon and I was on my way back to Smith Hall for my 4 p.m. meeting with Professor Guerin about the job. It was a terrific afternoon, warm but not humid, and I was still hoping I would land that job because I really needed the money. When I finally got to her office, two other dudes were already waiting; and then a couple of minutes later another two showed up as well.
So there were five of us when Professor Guerin finally made her appearance. She didn’t say anything, just led us down the stairs to the floor below and into a small conference room. She turned on the lights and I could see a bunch of documents sitting on the table. There were also five chairs surrounding the table set at a distance such that you knew no one would be cheating whatever this experiment involved.
She motioned the five of us to take a seat and we made our way to the different chairs. Once we were seated, she spelled out what was about to happen.
“Thank you for coming back this afternoon, gentlemen, and for agreeing to participate in my little experiment. I’ve interviewed each of you and quite a few others, but I only have one job to offer and I think this will help me decide among the five of you.”
“Sitting in front of each of you is the hearing record for the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas. In addition, each of you also has a copy of the Congressional Record that contains the floor debate before the vote confirming Justice Thomas to the Supreme Court. Finally, there is also a pen and a card with a list of words and phrases. Please write your name, address and telephone number on the back of the card now.”
It still wasn’t clear to me what was about to happen, but I wrote my name, Hunter Allen, and the rest of the information on the card as she had told us to do. When we had finished, she resumed speaking.
“I want each of you to turn to page 47 of the hearing record before you. That’s the thicker of the two documents. When I tell you, I want each of you to begin reading at the top of page 47 and to continue reading until you reach the bottom of page 70. As you’re reading, please place a checkmark next to any word or phrase on that card I’ve given you each time you come across that particular word or phrase in the hearing record.”
“When you’re finished reading, please hold up your card and I’ll take it from you. Then you can wait until the rest of the group finishes.”
“Do you have any questions?”
No one did and the next thing you knew she told us we could begin.
You would have thought the whole thing was pretty easy and I’m not saying it was rocket science. But the type in that hearing record was small and the questions asked and the answers being given weren’t exactly the most riveting stuff I had ever read.
A couple of the guys had apparently decided that speed was probably going to be a factor in her decision and they seemed to race ahead as fast as they could. I wasn’t sure they were wrong about that, but I also wasn’t certain they were right either. I figured it was more important to try to read carefully than quickly.
My mother would have been proud of me because I was the third one finished with the task we had been assigned.
“As always, just average, Hunter,” I could hear her whispering.
“I wouldn’t want to disappoint you, mother,” I could hear myself silently replying.
When the last of the other dudes had finished, I figured there might be one more experiment with the other document, the Congressional Record. But I was wrong about. Dr. Guerin handed each of us a new set of cards and had us sign our name and the rest of the information she wanted on the back again. Then she asked us to move forward to page 164 of the hearing record and do the exact same thing as before, only this time stopping at page 190.
That second go through proved even more tedious than the first and it was followed by two others. I remember thinking the whole thing was kind of interesting in a weird kind of way; and it was even more interesting to see how each of us responded.
The dude who had finished fourth the first round apparently became convinced that speed was a factor and so the second and third times around he tried to pick up his pace. That meant I finished fourth in both of those rounds. By the final round I had dropped from fourth to fifth in terms of finishing.
Those four rounds were followed by two more, this time using the Congressional Record where, to me at least, the type seemed even smaller although the debate was a bit more interesting. I learned a lot about Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill and about the Senators themselves in the process. The whole thing didn’t paint the prettiest picture of our government I had ever seen and I was glad when the experiment was finally over.
At the end, Professor Guerin thanked us for taking the time to participate in her experiment; and then she promised to post the name of the person she had selected on her office door first thing Monday morning. It was the kind of thing you walked away from without a real clue as to how you had done or even how the whole thing was being graded.
Did speed count? If so, I was in trouble; no doubt about it. Or was accuracy more important? And how was accuracy being judged exactly? I mean, sometimes a couple of words from a phrase she had given us would appear on a page, but not all of them; not the exact phrase. Did they count or didn’t they? I wasn’t sure, but had decided to follow her instructions as literally as possible.
In any event, like I said, I was glad the whole thing was over and looking forward to the weekend.
The weekend passed a lot quicker than I would have liked. I spent most of Saturday afternoon taking in our game against Delaware State, our traditional Route 1 rival. We ended up crushing them, 38-14, which meant that the evening lasted a bit longer and the students were a tad louder than usual on campus that night. It was a traditional rivalry and you know how those things go.
When I got home that evening, it seemed to me Cameron must have taken it in as well because he and a couple of other dudes were jabbering about it a lot. He made the introductions and I was pretty certain both of them were gay as well. I don’t know why I felt that way exactly. It just seemed liked they were, but it didn’t bother me either.
Sunday morning Cameron told me he was going to bake an apple pie that day; and he wondered whether I would be around if he made dinner for the two of us that evening. I told him that I didn’t have any plans for the evening and was looking forward to finally seeing whether there was any truth to all the bragging he had been putting on me about his cooking.
I also added I would be spending the afternoon checking out a couple of the local stores to see whether they carried stomach pumps. He tossed a pillow in my direction, but I was able to deflect it. I slipped out later that morning and headed over to the University Center where I just lounged around doing nothing for most of the day.
When I got back to the apartment around 5 p.m., the place smelled really good. Cameron had been hard at work and I could see his apple pie sitting on the window sill being warmed by the afternoon sun. I tried to snatch a small piece of apple that had bubbled up in one spot, but he rapped my knuckles with a spoon he was using at that moment to prepare something else.
“That pie is dessert, Hunter,” he warned. “You only get a piece if you eat everything else I’m preparing, including your vegetables.”
“Thank you, Momma,” I responded. “I’ll be sure to do that, but that pie had better be good or there’ll be hell to pay.”
The surprising thing is the meal turned out to even better than I was hoping for; not just some of the dishes, all of them. The mashed potatoes were fluffy, not lumpy; the stir fried vegetables were cooked exactly right, firm but just enough to bring out the taste; and the main course, salmon, was incredible. I had never had salmon before, but he had cooked it in some kind of special sauce he had prepared that really brought out the flavor.
“Wow,” I confessed when the two of us finished up. “You really do know how to cook, Cameron. I haven’t had a meal that good in a long time. Do I get to taste the pie now?”
“Nope, you have to clean up the dishes first. But thanks for the compliment. Cooking is one of three things I enjoy doing because they help me relax.”
“What are the other two?” I asked.
“Ballet and yoga,” he responded.
“Oh, good grief, Cameron,” I replied as I started clearing the table. “Ballet? Don’t you think you risk becoming some kind of stereotype or something?”
“You can say whatever you want, Hunter, but I bet I’m a lot more flexible than you and I attribute a big part of that to ballet and yoga. Let’s see which one of us can bend over backward the furthest without falling on his ass.”
Challenged, I responded and soon enough the two of us were side by side bending backward.
It wasn’t even close. It was only a matter of moments before I was flat on my back peering up at Cameron who was staring down at me still bent over like some kind of pretzel and still headed lower.
“What does that prove?” I said. “I’m taller than you and heavier as well.”
“Not by all that much,” he responded. “And if it’s more proof you need, I can think of a bunch of other things we could test together that would show you just how much added flexibility you would have if you attended a ballet class with me. I may be gay, but it’s not like I wear a tutu in class; and just so you know, there are a couple of dudes from the different athletic teams who attend the class as well.”
By this time I had pretty much finished clearing things up. After starting the dishwasher, I sat back down at the table while Cameron sliced a piece of the pie and placed it before me.
I had already decided I wouldn’t be critical no matter how bad it tasted. But I remember being delighted when it turned out to be very good.
“This is pretty good apple pie,” I volunteered. “In some ways, it tastes just like the apple pie Ethan’s Mom makes. Thanks. I haven’t had a good piece of apple pie in years. I owe you one.”
Right about then I heard a knock on the door. Cameron was already standing up and he quickly walked over to it.
“Does Hunter Allen live here?” I heard a voice say.
“He does. Please come in. Hunter, it’s for you.”
Stepping from the kitchen into the living room, I was surprised to see Professor Guerin standing there.
“Oh, jeez, I wasn’t expecting you, Professor Guerin,” I said. “This is my roommate, Cameron; Cameron Harper. Cameron, this is Dr. Guerin, the professor I mentioned who’s looking for a research assistant.”
“That’s why I came by this evening, Hunter,” she said, shaking Cameron’s hand. “I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted you to be the first to know that I’ve decided to offer you the job. Are you still interested in it?”
“Absolutely,” I said. “Thanks.”
“You have a very lovely apartment here,” she said, looking around. “This seems so much nicer than some of the other student rentals I’ve seen; and I love the furniture and artwork on the walls. They’re very tasteful.”
“I can claim credit for finding the apartment,” I responded. “But as for the furniture and the artwork, I’ll have to give credit to Cameron for that. This is his stuff. I’m afraid I don’t have his good taste in things like that.”
“You have a habit of putting yourself down, Hunter,” she said. “I noticed that when I was interviewing you. It’s something you need to work on. You’re more talented than you think.”
“Thanks for the compliment,” I replied, “but can I ask something?”
“Of course,” she responded.
“How did you judge that experiment of yours? Did speed count? If not, what did?”
“Speed didn’t count at all,” she responded. “That probably did in most of your competition although I was already fairly certain I was going to hire you based on your interview. I just needed to confirm you could do the work.”
“The point is, I’m really not interested in how fast someone completes a task. Completing it correctly is what counts and you were the most accurate of the five by far. You didn’t get a perfect score, but you came pretty close and I understand anyone is going to miss some of the references. As I told you, it’s tedious work.”
“Well, I hope I’m the right person for you and I’ll do my best,” I said. “I’m pretty good at following instructions; and while I may not be the swiftest, I’m pretty thorough when it comes to completing my assignments.”
“That’s exactly the type of person I’m looking for, Hunter; someone who takes his time and is thorough. I think you’ll do just fine.”
“That’s great,” I said. “When can I start, Professor Guerin?”
“Why don’t you come by my office tomorrow around 4 p.m. and we can talk about it then,” she replied. “And, please, call me Nicole, Hunter. I’m not that much older than you and this is my first year teaching in any event. It’s not like I’m used to being addressed by some title or even want to be. If we’re going to be working together on this project, we should try to be friends, don’t you think?”
“Oh, sure, Professor . . . um, sure, Nicole, that sounds good,” I said. “I’ll stop by tomorrow afternoon around 4 p.m.”
“I’m looking forward to it, Hunter,” she said. “But I suppose I should be on my way. I didn’t realize you have a roommate.”
With that, she turned and left; and Cameron, who had just been standing there eavesdropping on the conversation, smiled at me.
“I think we should try to be friends, Hunter, don’t you think?” he said, smirking and mimicking her tone almost exactly.
“Call me Nicole, Hunter,” he added, twisting his body ever so slightly in a feminine gesture.
“Give it a break, Cameron,” I responded, grinning. “She’s just trying to be nice for crying out loud.”
“Good luck with that, dude,” he said.