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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. November 11: This is another one of those chapters where some of the text may not render correctly unless you have the right fonts, Segoe Script and Calibri to be precise.
The weeks that followed were among the very best of my college experience. Cameron introduced me to a lot of his friends and to some of the different gay organizations on campus they were involved with. Everyone liked him and his friends were incredibly welcoming. I felt like I finally belonged, that I had found myself and the people I wanted to spend time with.
That made me wonder what college would have been like if I had made my decision as a freshman or perhaps even sooner. I had missed out on a lot that would have made the college experience better for me. But Cameron helped keep me focused on what was to come, not what was past.
The two of us never had sex after that one incredible night together. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to or didn’t try. I did. I had never experienced something like that before and it was the kind of experience I wanted more of. There were times when I would joke with Cameron about it; how it was like his cooking and I needed more than one taste.
I never pushed him about it, however. I understood why he had done it and was incredibly grateful, but I knew his heart was elsewhere and I respected that. We never talked about whether he had told William; if he had, it hadn’t put a dent in their relationship, at least as far as I could tell.
They continued to talk most evenings, sometimes for hours at a time. I remember feeling bad that Ethan and I hadn’t done more to stay in touch over the years, but I was happy for Cameron.
It was a couple of weeks later when he asked the question and it didn’t really come as a surprise.
“Are you planning to tell your parents anytime soon?”
It wasn’t like the thought hadn’t crossed my mind.
I mean, the truth is I didn’t mind being out on campus at last. No one really cared very much and the whole thing was a lot easier than I thought it would be; and yet because I was spending a lot of my time in Newark and not going back home very much, it was easy to postpone thinking about whether to tell my parents.
I knew Cameron was right, that it was something I needed to do. So I was glad when he raised it that evening.
“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that off and on,” I replied. “I’m thinking maybe I’ll go home this weekend and tell them.”
“How do you think they’ll react?” he asked.
“Oh, I dunno,” I said, “pretty much like they always do, I suppose; not especially well.”
“I’ll tell my father first. He won’t be happy about it, but he’ll survive. I imagine he’ll mostly be anxious about how the whole thing will play with his friends and business associates. If I tell him I’m not planning to walk around town in a dress or on hanging a gay liberation flag out the window at home, that’ll probably be enough to satisfy him.”
“I mean, he definitely wouldn’t like having a public spectacle for a son and I won’t be that. So it should work out just fine with him after he gets over the initial disappointment of having a fag as his son.”
“My mother? That will probably be harder. But the truth is she’ll react pretty much the way she does to everything I do. She’ll be disappointed with me. I hear a lot about how disappointed she is with me. But as long as I sit there and take it like a dutiful son without complaining too much, she’ll get over it eventually.”
“I mean, acknowledging what a disappointment I am as a son works really well with her. It always has so it’s hard to imagine this will be very much different.”
Cameron just laughed when I said that.
“I don’t know, Hunter. Did you ever think of pushing back really hard; telling her how wrong she is? That far from being a disappointment as a son, you turned out a hell of a lot better than you should have given all the beating downs she’s administered over the years?”
“Not really,” I said. “I mean, there’ve been a couple times when I thought about strangling her and I do push back occasionally. But pushing back hard? No; I’ve never considered that as an option. The thing is, when you finally wake up and realize your mother is wrong, it can be very liberating. In a weird kind of way, I’m actually looking forward to telling her I’m gay.”
“Adding something new to her repertoire to bitch about will actually make things a little easier for me, a little less boring. It’s so freaking annoying having to sit there listening to the same old rants over and over all the time.”
“You are too much, Hunter,” he said, laughing; “but good luck. I’ll be thinking about you the whole weekend.”
And that’s pretty much how it went down, just like I told Cameron. My dad wasn’t a happy camper when I broke the news to him Saturday morning. But it didn’t really change very much. He still headed off for his usual round of golf with his friends. He didn’t see the point of spending a lot of time discussing it since he knew it wasn’t something he could change.
Like I had said, both of us understood the outlines of the accommodation that was going to be needed for the two of us to coexist. He wouldn’t get on my case about the whole thing as long as I didn’t bring any friends around to the house or try to talk about it with him. In turn, I wouldn’t be the public spectacle that would bring shame and disgrace on the man.
My mother reacted stronger than I thought she would. I had forgotten about the grandkids. She wanted some of those a lot more than I realized and she let me know just how displeased she was in no uncertain terms that day; and although I briefly tried to placate her with the notion that maybe I would adopt kids someday, it was quickly apparent that adopted kids wouldn’t fill the expectations she had been entertaining all these years.
She wanted grandchildren by blood; and even though my older sister would probably end up having kids someday, she wanted the name passed along as well. Like I said, the whole thing didn’t go down well with her; not at all.
To be honest, I didn’t give a shit what she wanted by then. There was even a part of me that took a guilty pleasure in depriving her of what she wanted. I comforted myself with the notion that I was doing all those grandchildren she wanted a favor. If she was as big a bitch with them as she had been with me, I probably would end up strangling her and then my kids would lose a father as well as a grandmother. They’d be orphans.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. I was the dutiful son. I sat there listening to her drone on endlessly about the whole thing; and then finally when I figured I had given her more than her fair share of time to belittle me, I just got up and told her I was going for a walk on the boardwalk. And that was the end of that.
I thought about telling Ethan as well that weekend. I figured I owed him that much and I would have told him if he had been around. But spring training was already underway by then so he wasn’t home; and I knew this wasn’t something I could tell him over the phone or by e-mail.
The truth is we weren’t even in touch that much anymore. The older you are, the more you have to deal with. As the years had passed, each of us had become increasingly busy and drifted apart. The feelings were still there, at least for me they were. But coming out to him was something I needed to do in person.
Back on campus, time seemed to speed up exponentially. With graduation impending, I became more focused on finding a job and getting my house in order. By then I knew I definitely wanted to coach at some level. Although I was less certain I wanted to teach, I realized the two things went together pretty closely in some ways; and since I didn’t have any other idea what I wanted to do once I graduated, I committed myself to try teaching for at least a year or two before taking another look at the whole thing.
I’m not exactly sure when, but at some point Coach Lodge sent me a little notice from the local paper announcing that the Parks and Recreation Commission was looking for a new baseball coach for our summer league team. The note that accompanied it made no promises. Several others candidates had expressed interest apparently, including the assistant baseball coach at the high school. But Coach Lodge indicated I would be given consideration if I was interested in applying.
The whole thing came as a surprise. Coach Lodge had been doing that job for years and it was hard to conceive of anyone ever taking his place. I knew I would be working a couple of jobs that summer just like I always did. But even with the additional work that would come from being the head coach, not just the assistant, I was pretty sure I would have enough time to take on coaching the team.
Not that I was confident I would get the job; based on what Coach Lodge had said in his note, I was likely to be the youngest candidate, the least credentialed in some ways. But even though I didn’t really expect to be hired to fill the vacancy, I thought it was worth submitting a résumé and going through the interview process. It would be a good experience. You can never do too many interviews, I figured; if nothing else, it would help me get used to them.
March was the worst month of the year. It was the month Cameron got the letter from William. I had come home late one afternoon and he was just sitting there on the couch, bawling his eyes out. This was a side of Cameron I had never seen before. To me he was always the happiest and most optimistic person in the world. But now it was apparent something terrible had happened. I remember sitting down and embracing him, trying to comfort him somehow, to make everything better. He just handed me the letter.
How are you? I’m sitting here at my desk staring out the window and it’s a beautiful day here in California. But, then again, to me all of the days in California are beautiful.
I guess that’s one of the reasons I’ve made a decision to stay in California this summer rather than coming back east. I just love this state so much and the thought of returning home to Delaware simply has no appeal to me. I’ve already taken a summer job on campus doing research for one of my professors.
There’s another reason why I’ve decided to stay here and it isn’t an easy one to share with you. I’ve been trying to write this letter for several days now, without success. But if nothing else, the two of us have always been totally honest with one another over the years. I think that’s a big part of why I was always so attracted to you. You were honest.
And now I have to be honest with you and tell you I’ve met someone else. I won’t go into all of the details other than to say I’ve never felt this way before in my life. Looking at these last few words, I suppose they may seem cruel. I don’t mean them to be, Cameron. You’re a terrific person and a wonderful friend and I still love you very much. I always will.
Thinking back on all of the wonderful times we shared together, I know these are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. You’ll always be a big part of my life, Cameron; you were the first real friend I ever had and nothing will ever change that.
Being apart has been hard for me, just as I suspect it must have been hard for you as well. I didn’t go looking for someone, Cameron. I want you to know that. It just happened. But having happened, I can’t deny what I feel.
I’ll understand if you’re disappointed or mad with me. I hope you won’t be too much because I still consider you one of my very best friends. I’ve tried to pick up the phone a million times to tell you this in person, but I’ll admit I’m a coward and don’t have the courage to do that.
I’m pretty certain how you’ll react and I can’t bear the thought of the pain I must be inflicting on you.
And yet, although it’s too easy to say, I’m convinced this is the best thing for both of us.
With affection and my very best wishes
I didn’t know what to say or do or how to react exactly. Cameron was devastated. That much was obvious; and at some level I realized nothing I said or did at that moment could change any of that. No one can ever experience the pain in exactly the same way or make the pain go away. Finally, uncertain what to do, I led him back to his bedroom and lay down on the bed with him.
I’ve never claimed I was a saint. That first experience with Cameron had been an awakening and yet one followed by a very long drought. I hadn’t met anyone yet who did things for me like Ethan or even Cameron for that matter. I wanted to experience what Cameron and I had shared that first evening together again and I sensed he wouldn’t resist if I acted boldly and tried to make it happen. So I thought about taking advantage of the opportunity.
But there was something in his eyes that made me decide not to. Perhaps it was just the tears. Like I said, I don’t think he would have resisted. But right then what he needed more than anything else was a friend to comfort him; and so I did my best to do that. I wrapped him in my arms and the two of us just lay there like that for hours without ever exchanging a word.
And then finally around midnight he stirred. I sensed he was tired of just lying there and needed something else, but what?
“Um, well, sometimes when one of us was feeling down, Ethan and I would go for a walk,” I told him. “Do you think just walking around campus would help, Cameron?”
“Yeah,” he croaked, his voice breaking. “That would be nice.”
So that’s what we did. The two of us got up and walked over to campus and just walked and walked and walked. From the moment we left the apartment I had taken his hand in mine; and I never let go of it the whole time that evening, even when one or two people shot us a dirty look.
Fuck you, asshole, I recall staring them down. He’s my friend. He did everything for me when I needed a friend and I’m going to do whatever I can to repay the favor tonight.
Fortunately, it was only a couple of people and even they didn’t make an issue of it except with their frowns.
I was glad. The last thing Cameron needed was to see me duking it out with some bigot. I would have done it if I had to; and I didn’t let go of his hand when they frowned. But I was glad I didn’t get into it with anyone that evening. It was more important to just be there for Cameron.
I’m not sure exactly when the two of us finally made it back to the apartment. The sun was coming up and both of us were exhausted by then. I knew he would be able to sleep so I led him into the bedroom and helped him undress. Then I did the same thing and the two of us climbed into bed.
Wrapping him into my arms, I held him tightly.
“Everything’s going to be okay,” I whispered into his ear. “Trust me, Cameron. Everything is going to be okay.”
And with that the two of us fell asleep.
It was painful, even frightening at times, and the recovery didn’t happen all at once. But eventually, as the flowers came alive and began to bloom that spring, Cameron slowly recovered from what I think had been the most painful experience of his life.
I came home one afternoon and he was sitting there reading a book.
He looked up and smiled.
“There’s a letter for you on the kitchen table,” he said.
I retreated to my bedroom, tossed my books aside, and changed into something more comfortable. Walking into the kitchen, I opened a bottle of water, picked up the letter and retreated to my usual spot across from Cameron.
The letter was from the Parks and Recreation Commission back in Rehoboth Beach.
Dear Mr. Allen:
We are in receipt of your résumé and your application for the vacant coaching position we recently advertised. We would be delighted to interview you for the position at a mutually convenient time.
While a question was raised whether you meet the residency requirement for this position, it is our understanding you are still a student at the University of Delaware but have applied for a teaching position at Cape Henlopen High School this fall. Assuming you plan to live in Rehoboth Beach this summer, the Search Committee is satisfied you meet the residency test.
Please call us at your convenience so we can schedule an interview with you.
Logan Thompson, Chairman
The Search Committee
“What do you think?’ I said, handing the letter to Cameron. “Should I go for the interview?”
“Why not?” he responded; “you keep talking about wanting to coach and you would be good at it. What have you got to lose?”
“Well, you know, that raises a question in my mind,” I responded. “What are you planning to do this summer, Cameron?”
He turned away and stared out the window for a moment, then looked back over at me.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” he said. “Before he went off to college, William was planning to come back to Delaware this summer. We had talked about the two of us getting jobs together somewhere and even sharing a place to reduce the expense. But now I don’t know. I’ve had so many things on my mind I just haven’t focused on it.”
“What about coming back to Rehoboth Beach with me for the summer?” I asked. “I mean, there are a ton of jobs in a beach community during the summer. It’s not like you’ll have trouble finding one or two or however many you want to take on.”
“And when you’re not working, there’s no better place to be in the summer than Rehoboth Beach, at least I don’t think so. It’s just a lot of fun. And there are lots of gay people there too. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet someone you like.”
“It’s time for you to start thinking about stuff like that again,” I added, smirking at him.
“Is that a leer I detected?” he asked, smiling at me.
“What can I say, Cameron?” I replied. “I’m 21 and I’m horny. Like someone famous once said, I’m not a monk. But, no, I understand you’re not interested in me and I’m fine with that. Still, that’s not a reason for you not to be looking and what better place to look than a beach community?”
“I like you, Hunter,” he responded. “I like you very much. I consider you my best friend now. But you’re in love with Ethan and there’s no way in hell I’m going to risk becoming involved with someone whose heart is elsewhere.”
“You keep saying I’m in love with Ethan,” I said; “and, yeah, maybe I even was at one time long ago. I can admit that to myself now. But times change, circumstances change. Ethan has moved on and I have to move on as well, just like you had to do after getting that letter from William.”
“Look, I know it’s not easy. I saw just how devastating that could be. But I would never hurt you like that, Cameron. I like you. I like you a lot.”
He looked at me and sighed.
“I like you too, Hunter. You’re like the older brother I never had; and I would even be willing to have sex with you as well as long as you understand we’re never going to be anything except friends. But you need to talk to Ethan and put that to rest one way or the other.”
I had sensed this all along. I knew what he was saying and it hurt. But there was a part of me that knew he was right. Deep down inside I was still pining for Ethan. I don’t know why. It didn’t make any sense. It was almost four years exactly since we had spent any serious time together.
They had moved him up to AAA ball a while back. He should have been playing major league ball by now given how well he was doing, at least I thought so. But the Blues already had a very good shortstop. And even though he was close to making it all the way to the top, so freaking close even I could almost taste it, the closer he got, the further we seemed to drift apart.
It was an all-consuming kind of quest he was engaged in; and knowing what was involved, I also knew in my head it was never going to happen for the two of us even if Ethan was gay, which he wasn’t, of course.
And yet as much as I tried to convince myself of what I already knew, I still had feelings for him. They were strong and powerful and uncontrollable.
Will I ever be over him?
Is this the way I’m going to feel the rest of my life?
Cameron was right. I needed to talk to Ethan, but it wasn’t something I could do over the phone. I needed to see his eyes when I told him, his face; I needed to see how his body reacted to hearing I was gay. Ethan was a nice guy. I was sure he would never do anything to put me down or belittle me. The guy didn’t have a prejudiced bone in his body. But as much as I wished he was, that didn’t make him gay.
I just needed to hear it directly from him if I was ever going to put Ethan behind me.
“Okay,” I sighed. “I hear you, Cameron; and maybe you’re even right. But we’re still friends; and being your friend, I think spending the summer in Rehoboth Beach would be good for you. Besides, if I ever got that job coaching our Peninsula Baseball League team, I would need an assistant. You would be perfect for the job.”
“Now I know you really are delusional, Hunter,” he responded. “Yoga? Yes. Ballet? Yes. Baseball? You’re out of your mind, dude; I know nothing about baseball. I mean, I played in the Little League for a couple of years, but that’s the extent of it.”
“Oh, give me a break,” I replied. “Even the biggest drag queen in the world knows something about baseball. I’ll get you a book or whatever. And it’s not like it would interfere with your work or what I’m sure will become an active social life. Come on, Cameron; this would be good for you and it’ll be fun too. Think about it. Please?”
“Okay, I’ll think about it if you promise to think about where I would live because I don’t think your mother or father would be happy having me stay at their place now that they know about you; and what’s the point of working a couple of jobs if I have to spend everything I earn on a place to stay for the summer?”
“Don’t worry about that,” I replied, grinning. “I’ll take you for a walk around Poodle Beach and they’ll be plenty of dudes only too happy to put you up free for the summer.”
“What the hell is Poodle Beach?” he asked.
“Poodle Beach is the local gay beach. Believe me, you’ll be a sensation with all the men down there.”
“What do you think I am,” he asked, grinning; “a slut or something?”
“Not at the moment,” I replied. “But I would be only too happy to spend the next couple of months helping you become one so you would be ready by the time you get to Poodle Beach.”
“You are a horny one, aren’t you?” he said. “Well, why not? I don’t think I’m cut out to be Miss Chastity either. As long as you understand we’re just talking sex, mindless sex.”
“Terrific,” I replied. “I do mindless pretty damn well.”
But in the end it didn’t happen. Both of us had second thoughts; and I had unfinished business that needed to be taken care of. In the end, we settled for just cuddling up and falling asleep together like that.