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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 28: While I should have known, I just discovered by accident that sometimes things may not appear exactly right in the text if you don’t have the fonts I’m using, especially the Segoe Script font. I apologize for any inconvenience.
In the weeks that followed Cameron and I got to know one another better and the two of us became the best of friends. We rarely saw each other during the day, which I usually spent on campus attending class, studying at the library, working for Dr. Guerin, or hanging out at the University Center.
Being a freshman, Cameron spent a lot of time trying to figure out what he wanted from the University, academically and otherwise. He had tons of questions and I think he appreciated my efforts to help him navigate the difficult waters that make up freshman year.
Usually both of us made it back to the place by late afternoon, often sharing dinner together; and soon enough we fell into a routine where each of us sat in one of the chairs and did our assignments there. At some point during the evening one of us would say something and then we would put down the books and talk for a while.
Sometimes we talked about stuff happening on campus or some problem or issue he was facing as a freshman. Other times we talked about things more generally. Often I filled him in on how Ethan was doing wherever he was playing ball. I was surprised to discover Cameron was as interested in sports as me.
By then I was spending a lot of my time working for Dr. Guerin. I was putting in at least the minimum fifteen hours every week and sometimes more. Every Friday afternoon I would stop by her office and provide her with a summary of what I had accomplished that week. She had been right. The work was tedious and at first I found myself double-checking things quite a bit.
I wanted to do the job right and there were times when I found myself going over some of the pages two or three times to make sure I did things correctly. Through a process of trial and error, I soon discovered that an hour was about the limit of my endurance for reading hearings or the Congressional Record at any one sitting. After an hour my mind would begin to wander and mistakes begin to multiply.
I needed to take breaks, but I didn’t feel like I should count the breaks as part of the job. As a result, my three hour stint five days a week ended up being more like four hours a day. But in some ways I felt I was being compensated for the extra time I was putting in as a result of my meetings with Nicole. Like I said, I was meeting with her at the end of the day every Friday.
Addressing her by her first name was awkward and embarrassing at first. It just didn’t feel right; but slowly I became more comfortable with the whole thing as we got to know one another better. She wasn’t that much older than me; and while she dressed conservatively in the classroom when she was teaching, she didn’t have any classes on Friday and dressed more casually that day
At first our sessions together were focused almost solely on the work at hand. But later she would start inquiring how things were going for me and eventually she became a source of advice and support. I appreciated that.
I was settled back into my campus routines by now. I knew what it took to handle my courses and I was spending more of my time trying to figure out what would come next in my life. A long time ago Ethan and I had talked about me becoming his agent someday. By now I realized something like that was out of the question, but I was having trouble figuring out exactly what I did want to do.
Those Friday afternoon sessions with Nicole soon became a sounding board for a lot of my fears and anxieties about what would happen when I graduated. She listened sympathetically, but didn’t comment much at first. Gradually, as I became more comfortable opening up to her, she would offer an opinion and I found her advice helpful.
“I’m getting really worried, Nicole,” I volunteered one Friday afternoon late in October.
“Almost everyone I know is beginning to send out résumés to different companies, but I’m still having trouble even deciding what I want to do. I don’t even have a résumé yet. If I don’t start making some decisions pretty soon, I’m going to end up selling pencils outside the University Center next year.”
She laughed when I said it.
“I don’t know whether the campus police would let you do something like that, but I do know people get stymied sometimes overthinking things. What is it you like doing the most? Be honest, Hunter. Don’t try to impress me, your parents, or anyone else by giving us an answer you think we would like hearing. It has to be something important to you. Forget whatever expectations others may have and just tell me what it is you like doing.”
She was right. I knew that; and even though I recall thinking I was going to embarrass myself, I finally summoned the courage to tell her.
“Oh gosh, Nicole, you’ll probably laugh, but the thing I’ve enjoyed the most these past three years is heading back home to Rehoboth Beach every summer and being the assistant coach of our entry in the Peninsula Baseball League. That’s a youth baseball league for boys fourteen to eighteen year old. The job doesn’t pay very much, but I like having the chance to help the kids improve their baseball skills and become better people in the process.”
“What’s wrong with that, Hunter?” she asked. “If that’s something you really enjoy, why not embrace it?”
“Jeez, I don’t know,” I replied. “It’s just a small summer league sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Commissions in the local communities down there. It’s not like it’s something I could do all year.”
“Why not?” she asked, pressing me. “Maybe the baseball only lasts until the end of the summer, but I can’t imagine the Parks and Recreation Commission itself closes down when it ends. There have to be some people who work for it year round. They may not be working directly with young boys all the time. But I imagine there are a lot of other things they’re busy doing. Perhaps you could talk with someone about job opportunities there?”
“Well, yeah, that’s a possibility, I suppose,” I replied. “I’m only the assistant coach. The fellow who coaches the team works for the Commission full-time. I’ve never really thought about asking him what he does the rest of the year, but I suppose I could the next time I’m down there.”
“Well, there you go,” she said. “You see. It isn’t really that hard if you give free rein to your imagination and don’t let others shackle your dreams. That’s the problem with so many people. They let others define who they should be and what they should hope for.”
“I guess,” I responded. “Still, it’s a pretty small operation, especially in the off-season. I mean, they do most of their hiring come Memorial Day; lifeguards to man the Rehoboth Beach Patrol, people to help keep the beaches clean, lots of people like that. But in the off-season, well, I just don’t know. I think it’s probably a small crew and I kind of doubt they’re looking to hire anyone new.”
“Think negative and that’s what you’ll get,” she responded. “You should call and talk with that coach friend of yours. Even if the Commission isn’t hiring right now, he might know of some other community that is; or possibly he might be aware of some related job that neither of us has even thought of.”
“For that matter, you could do the kind of work you talk about if you went into teaching at the high school level. You could combine teaching history, which you like, with coaching some of the athletic teams at the school.”
“Do you really think so?” I asked.
I had already thought about teaching as a possible career, but hadn’t really connected it to my interest in coaching.
“Why not?” she responded; “you’re a very bright and talented person, Hunter. I don’t know anything about what coaching involves, but I think the sky’s the limit for you if decide to go into teaching. I think you would be very good at it. You need to get a résumé together and begin sending it out. Why don’t you work on that in the next week or two and we can go over it together.”
That pretty much exhausted our conversation that day, but I did follow up with Coach Lodge as Nicole suggested. And while the Rehoboth Beach Parks and Recreation Commission wasn’t hiring at the moment, he had heard there were some openings over in Ocean City. In addition, he knew for sure that a couple of the local high schools were looking for new teachers for the following fall. He encouraged me to send in my résumé as soon as possible.
After that I busted my butt to pull together a résumé that week. I looked at some others and tried to incorporate what seemed like the best features of each; but never having written one before, I wasn’t at all certain what I had produced was very good.
I left a message for Nicole on her answering machine that I was looking forward to seeing her on Friday. I mentioned I wanted to bounce some ideas off of her and would be bringing my résumé along for her to look at. But when I got to her office that Friday afternoon, she wasn’t there. Instead, there was an envelope with my name stuck to her door. Inside was a note from Nicole.
I have a faculty committee meeting I have to attend today so I won’t be able to meet with you at the usual time. This meeting is expected to run until at least 7 p.m. Please give me a call at home later this evening; or, better still, drop by my place around 8 p.m. and we can go over your weekly report and résumé at that time.
She had enclosed her card with her name, address and telephone number. I was disappointed she wasn’t there, but didn’t have plans for the evening so I decided it would be okay to stop by and see her later. In fact, I was anxious to do that because I didn’t want another week to pass before I had the chance to talk to her again.
Cameron was out when I got back to the place that afternoon. There was still plenty of the salad he had made for dinner the previous evening so I had some of that and then took a shower and changed into a new pair of shorts and a t-shirt. I had already decided I would walk to her place rather than catching a bus. Knowing that would take about thirty minutes, I left the apartment about 7:30 p.m.
The building she lived in was one of the better ones in town, one of those places where you had to buzz up to be let in. I pressed the button for her apartment and waited for a moment.
“Yes?” the voice on the other end responded.
“Oh, hi, Nicole, it’s me, Hunter. Your note said I should drop by and fill you in on what I accomplished this week; and there are a couple of other things I wanted to discuss, including my résumé.”
She didn‘t say anything, just buzzed me in. I took the elevator up to the fourth floor and located her apartment. When she answered the doorbell, I was a little surprised. Like me, she was wearing a pair of shorts and a loose fitting top. I mean, there was really nothing wrong with the outfit. It’s just that you get used to seeing the people who teach you dressed a certain way and students dressed an entirely different way.
But that evening Nicole was dressed like a student and she looked younger than her actual age. I could see why so many of the guys in her classes had the hots for her. Unlike some of her colleagues on the faculty, however, there were no rumors floating around the campus about Nicole. She may have been young and small, but she was firm in keeping young men at a distance and in the proper relationship with her.
She invited me in and led me over to the couch. Her place was nicely furnished, a little sparse, perhaps, but the furniture she had was tasteful, as was the artwork on the walls.
“Could I get you a glass of wine, Hunter?” she asked.
“Um, sure, that would be fine,” I replied.
“White or red?” she asked.
“Oh, I’m not really an expert when it comes to wine. Whatever you’re having is fine with me.”
With that she headed off to the kitchen.
For being a college student, I have to confess I wasn’t much of a drinker and usually I only drank beer when I had anything at all. But even then beer was something I wasn’t technically entitled to be drinking. Legally, you had to be twenty-one to drink and that was still a couple of months off.
But Newark was a college town after all and there was beer everywhere. A lot of the students couldn’t handle it and that caused a bunch of problems every year. I had never had a problem myself with drinking, mainly because I did so little of it.
Drinking wine was something I had only done once or twice, but I didn’t want to come across as the unsophisticated bozo from the southern reaches of the state that I was so I took the glass of red wine she handed me when she finally returned from the kitchen.
“Thanks,” I said. “How did your meeting go?”
“Oh, god, don’t even mention it, Hunter. Those meetings are so boring. They go on and on and nothing is ever accomplished. It didn’t get over until 7:30 p.m. and I didn’t get back here until ten minutes ago. I just threw on this outfit to get out of that suit I was wearing and was starting to get something to eat when you buzzed up.”
“Meetings like those leave me hungry. I was just finishing up putting together some munchies; some cheese, crackers and other things. They’ll go good with the wine. Let me bring them out for the two of us to nibble on while we talk.”
That’s what she did; and once she was back, I launched into my little summary of what I had done that week and what I had discovered along the way. She had a couple of questions, nothing all that important; and finally, when I felt like we had exhausted the topic, I began to fill her in on my conversation with Coach Lodge and to ask for her advice on what I should do next.
She had a bunch of good suggestions.
All this time she had been refilling my glass with wine. I wasn’t used to drinking wine; and having worked up a bit of thirst on the walk over to her place I was gulping it down like soda. It seemed like a good enough wine, smooth, and it was going down easily enough. At one point she asked whether I had brought my résumé along for her to look at.
I had completely forgotten about that for some reason, but retrieved it from the folder I had brought along that evening and handed it to her. She took a look at it for a few moments while I waited to see what she thought.
“This is actually pretty good, Hunter,” she said, putting it down. “I think with just a few changes it’s pretty much ready to go. Let me get a pen.”
With that she stood up and walked over to a small desk. Retrieving a pen, she walked back, picked up the résumé, and sat down on the couch next to me.
Placing the résumé on the coffee table in front of us, she leaned over and started making a few changes. As much as I tried not to do it, I found myself staring down her blouse as she made them. She wasn’t wearing a bra and I could see her boobs as she wrote. They were small and hard and jiggling a little.
“What do you think of this?” she said
I leaned over next to her to see what she had done and the next thing I knew she placed her hand on my thigh.
I wasn’t certain what to do at that point, but I guess Nicole knew what she wanted to do because soon enough the two of us were embracing, hugging one another, then kissing; and finally she took my hand in hers, stuffed it under her top, and placed it on her breast.
By now my head was beginning to spin from all of the wine and the confusion about what Nicole expected from me. I was feeling her breast with my hand and she was using her hand to keep mine in place even though I wanted to pull it away.
“I shouldn’t have done that, Professor Guerin,” I finally stammered, breaking loose from her kiss. “I apologize.”
“Nicole, Hunter, please; and you shouldn’t have done what?” she asked.
“I shouldn’t have kissed you,” I said. “I shouldn’t be touching you like this. It must be the wine or something. I’m feeling a little dizzy.”
She laughed softly.
“I’m afraid you’re confused, Hunter, you poor boy,” she said. “You didn’t kiss me. I kissed you.”
“Like this,” she added, leaning over and resuming the kiss we had been sharing.
By then she had crawled on top of me and was rubbing my groin with one hand; and she was using her other hand to move one of mine back and forth between her breasts while she was doing that.
I guess all of that must have gone on for a while. But it wasn’t too long before she stood up and led me into her bedroom.
The place was mostly dark except for a candle that was shimmering on an end table nearby and providing just enough light to see what was happening.
Standing by the side of her bed, she began undressing me and that didn’t take much time at all given how I had dressed for the evening. I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t resist because I didn’t know what to say or do exactly. The whole thing was embarrassing.
When she had finished undressing me, she placed her hand on my chest and toppled me on to the bed. Climbing on top of me, she picked up where she had left off.
By now my head was spinning even more than before. At some point she must have taken off her clothes as well because she was lying on top of me, naked. I was naked too so it wasn’t like she was alone that way.
She kissed me some more and continued to rub my groin. But no matter how much she did it or how hard, it just wasn’t responding for whatever reason.
It was just lying there kind of limp. But Nicole seemed pretty determined and eventually her mouth found its way to the thing. She began licking it and it felt kind of funny and for a moment it twitched to life briefly, only to die again.
I had been embarrassed from the very beginning, but now I was really beginning to feel ashamed of myself. I didn’t know what to do and I guess by that time she wasn’t certain what to do either.
“Is there something wrong, Hunter? You don’t seem to be enjoying any of this. Is it something I’ve done? Do you not find me attractive?”
“No, of course not, Nicole,” I responded. “You’re very attractive. I think maybe I had more of that wine than I should have. I don’t really drink a lot and usually I only drink beer. I had a lot of that wine and I think maybe it’s affecting my, um, you know, maybe it’s making it harder for me to get aroused.”
“I see,” she said. “I’ve never run into that before with guys who’ve been drinking, but I suppose that could be one possibility. What do you think we should do, Hunter?”
I didn’t have a clue what she wanted to do at that point, but I knew what I wanted to do.
“Um, well, I think maybe I should leave now and go back to my place. I’m kind of embarrassed about all of this to be honest and my head is spinning something wicked. I think maybe walking back to my place would help clear my head.”
“I’m sorry, Nicole. I do like you. I hope you know that. But I’m just not sure what we’re doing is right, at least for me.”
“Great,” she responded, “just great; a million guys on this campus and I pick you. But never mind. If you want to go back to your place, you can leave. I’m not going to force you to stay here. I’m sorry you didn’t have a good time. I think most of the boys in my classes would have. But, then again, everyone is different and hopefully we can deal with this like adults. Obviously, it’s something we need to keep between the two of us and I hope it’ll stay that way.”
“Absolutely,” I promised. “You’ve done so much for me, Nicole; I mean, Professor Guerin. I would never say anything about this to anyone.”
“And I won’t either,” she said. “It would certainly be embarrassing for both of us if it came out. You know what I mean?”
It wasn’t exactly a threat, but I had the sense Nicole was not buying the excuse I had offered. I didn’t want to get into an argument with her about it so I just rolled out of bed, pulled on my clothes, and left.
I spent the next couple of hours walking around campus trying to clear my head; and when the dizziness was finally replaced by a dull, throbbing, pain, I made my way back to the apartment, took a couple of aspirin, and went to bed.
I thought about what happened the next day. I thought about it a lot. Was it the alcohol or was it something else? The alcohol had provided a convenient excuse for Professor Guerin, but it was hard not to think something else may have played a role in my inability to perform. For years I had gone back and forth; sometimes thinking I was bisexual, sometimes gay, occasionally straight.
The uncertainty made things simpler in some ways. I could be whatever I wanted to be and I could be nothing at all because of the uncertainty. As so often in the past when I had conversations like this with myself, it was just easier to stop thinking about it entirely and pretend it had never happened.
Professor Guerin had apparently come to the same conclusion because the next thing I knew she had left a voice message for me indicating I should just write up my reports and leave them at the front office in the future. After that we didn’t really see much of one another and I guess that was for the best.
Whatever else might be true, Nicole’s encouragement had helped me to figure some other things out. It seemed to me that teaching might indeed offer an opportunity to combine the best of all worlds. Most high school coaches I knew taught as well, sometimes just physical education; and while I didn’t think I would like just teaching phys ed, I thought I might be able to teach history and combine that with coaching back in Rehoboth Beach.
Soon enough my résumé was on the way to several of the local school systems in southern Delaware. Most sent me application forms and I tried to send those off as quickly as I could as well. For the time being, on the job front at least, it was going to be a waiting game.
One evening I was in my room back at the apartment following a webcast of one of Ethan’s games. I had done that more in previous years, but still tried to follow his career as best I could even now. He was playing in some winter league down south and the team he was playing for was winning that evening, but the game was boring. Eventually, having nothing better to do, I wandered out to the living room and sat down in my chair.
“Listening to the game?” Cameron piped up.
“Yeah, but it’s a little boring, a real pitchers’ duel so not a lot of action.”
“Do you miss him?” Cameron asked; “I mean, your friend, Ethan. It’s none of my business, I suppose, but I know I miss William a lot.”
“I hear you,” I said. “I guess it’s not really the same, but it’s funny. It’s going on four years now and I still miss him as much as that first summer he left town. We use to do everything together growing up; swimming, exploring the town and the surrounding area, playing on different teams, everything. And I miss all of that. I guess it’s not really funny, is it?”
“I can understand,” he responded. “William and I were the same way.”
“I shouldn’t ask,” I continued, “but how did, um, well, I mean, how did the two of you figure out you wanted to be more than just best friends?”
“If that’s too personal, I apologize,” I quickly added. “Obviously, you don’t have to answer that if you don’t want.”
“It isn’t a problem,” Cameron responded. “I mean, I had figured out at some point I was gay and that I liked William. There were times when I wondered whether he might be gay as well, but I didn’t think I should raise it with him. And then one afternoon we were studying over at his place and he just looked up at one point and asked what I thought we should do about it.”
“Do about what?” I asked him, confused.
“About the fact both of us are gay and like one another,” he responded.
“And that was pretty much that. I mean, we both knew what we wanted to do and that afternoon we did it. The harder thing we faced was whether to let everyone else in school know we were gay. I mean, we talked about that a lot and I guess I was probably the one more reluctant to do it. I mean, William knew his parents would be at least somewhat supportive. Mine? I knew they wouldn’t be.”
“And then finally one night I was just lying in bed and decided I didn’t want to spend any more time sneaking around and hiding it from my parents. I knew they wouldn’t be very happy when I told them, but being gay was who I was and it wasn’t something I wanted to change to please them even if I could; because I liked William too much.”
“So I told them and they weren’t happy campers, but what could they do after all? They’re not especially religious and they’re intelligent. From their point of view, the big issue was how others might react; how it might play in their social circle. But once I told my parents, it was a lot easier for me and William to tell everyone else.”
“Telling the first person is the hardest, I think; after that, things start to get easier.”
“That’s nice,” I replied. “I mean, I admire you for having the guts to do that. But let me ask this; and again, you don’t have to answer. But do you ever worry that, um, well, I probably shouldn’t say it, but do you ever worry William might meet someone else while he’s out there in California?”
“I wouldn’t say I worry about it,” he responded. “I mean, I think about it. I think about it a fair amount actually; and it’s not like the two of us didn’t talk about it before he left for California. We talked about it together and I think we were pretty honest about it too.”
“I mean, we’re eighteen, Hunter,” he continued. “We’re not monks. You know what it’s like to be eighteen. I’m sure you must have thought about sex once or twice in your life.”
I giggled when he said that.
“Maybe once or twice,” I said, producing the same reaction from him.
“What William and I decided was that if we met someone we liked and the stars aligned just right and we were in the mood, we would go with what we were feeling. I suppose that makes us sound like a couple of sluts, but I don’t think we are. I mean, it’s not like I’m running around this campus jumping in bed with every boy I see and I don’t think William is either.”
“I’ve had some chances. I didn’t pursue them. But I’m not a saint. I look; sometimes I look more than once. But then I’ll think about William and decide not to do anything even though I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t hate me if I did.”
“I don’t know. It’s hard to explain I suppose. The thing is, I want what’s best for William and think he feels the same about me. In a perfect world, I suppose we would be true to one another for four years and then live happily ever after.”
“But, like I said before, we’re not monks. So I pretty much just take things day by day and I think William probably does the same thing.”
“I’m being real nosey here, Cameron,” I said, “but I have to ask. What if you got a call from William one day and he said he had met someone else?”
“I don’t know,” he responded. “It would be hard. I love him so much. But I’ve thought about that too and I keep coming back to the fact that I want the best for William; and if he ever decided being with someone else was the best thing for him, well, like I said, it would be hard. But I would still want what’s best for him.”
“I mean, don’t get me wrong. I think I’m the best thing for William and I think he would be making a mistake if he decided to break up with me. But that’s the way things are. Two people have to want the same thing. You can’t make something work if only one person wants it.”
“That’s incredible,” I said. “You have to be the most unselfish person I’ve ever met, Cameron. I could never be that way.”
“Oh, but you already are, aren’t you, Hunter?” he replied.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You’ve told me about that friend of yours, Ethan, and how much the two of you wanted to go to college together and be roommates. But at some point you figured out that playing baseball was the best thing for him and probably what he really wanted to do; and then you encouraged and supported his decision to enter the draft. You didn’t try to persuade him not to do it or to undercut him. You were supportive of him even though it meant the two of you would never go to college together.”
“You really underestimate yourself, Hunter, always talking about how average you are. Maybe that comes from being beaten down so much by your mother, but it isn’t true. You’re not average at all. You’re a pretty excellent human being and you need to start recognizing that.”
It wasn’t really true, but I appreciated him saying it.
“Well, I don’t know, Cameron,” I responded. “I don’t agree with that, but it’s nice to know someone thinks I’m okay.”
“You’re a lot more than okay, Hunter,” he responded. “You’re amazing to be able to do something like that for your best friend. But you definitely have self-esteem issues you need to address; and while you’ve had a lot of questions for me tonight, I have just one for you. Can I ask it?”
“Of course,” I said. “How fair would it be for you to answer my questions and for me not to answer yours?”
“It isn’t a question of fairness, Hunter. Everyone’s different. I’m very open to communicating. I know you’re a more private person and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
“So what’s the question,” I asked.
“Are you gay, Hunter?”