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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.
SUMMER BOYS, SUMMER DREAMS
Somehow I managed to drag myself to the game the next day. Not that I really wanted to, but I had an obligation to my teammates now more than ever. With the end of September rapidly approaching, we were down to the last ten days of the season. The Warriors were still clinging to a two game lead in the Eastern Division race, but everyone knew those last ten games would determine whether we made the playoffs.
Unlike some of the other teams still in the race, we could decide our own fate just by winning. But it was up to us to do that and we didn’t win the next day, reducing our lead to one game. Tired, I hadn’t played very well. I had been up most of the night thinking about Riley; and although no one on the team had played very good, I blamed myself for the loss.
Doc Howard seemed to share that opinion. He was all over my case, letting me know I needed to step it up. I played better the next day and we did win that one. But going back to my place after the games was hard. It was empty and I didn’t really want to be there.
I missed Riley. He had been perfect for me, but like everything else in my life I had managed to screw things up once again. As the days passed, I found myself growing depressed and angry. I was tired of living this way; always hiding, always worried someone would find out I was gay. I was sick of it.
It was another morning without Riley just like the rest although we would be playing Atlanta that night and couldn’t afford to lose. That alone was enough to make me irritable. I hated those guys.
I had been sitting there alone in bed going over the same ground I had been over a million times before. My iPhone began to buzz and I remember being angry about being interrupted like that so early in the morning.
Picking it up, I didn’t recognize the number. I suppose that explains my heated response.
“Who is it?” I demanded to know in a voice that made it clear I wasn’t a happy camper.
“Uh, well, it’s me, Ethan; D.W.,” the voice on the other end of the phone responded. “D.W. Pierson; I don’t know if you remember me, but . . .”
“Of course I remember you, D.W.,” I said, immediately recognizing a familiar voice I hadn’t heard in years.
“You’re only one of my very best friends. Why would you think I didn’t remember you?”
“I dunno,” he said. “I mean, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen one another. And then the Blues traded you to Washington and guys stopped talking about you. What with everything that’s been going on, I thought maybe you wouldn’t recall me.”
“Well you thought wrong,” I replied. “You’re right about a lot of stuff happening since the last time I saw you. With all the changes these last couple of years, I haven’t had time to stay in touch with any of my real friends. I’m sorry about that, D.W.; I apologize. There aren’t many people I’ve missed more than you, Brady and Mark.”
“You don’t have to apologize, Ethan,” he said. “I can’t begin to imagine how hectic things must be for you what with that pennant race you guys are in.”
“Where are you calling from, D.W.?” I asked. “Are you still over in Shoreham?”
“No,” he responded. “Actually I’m here in Washington, across the street from Warriors Stadium. I was on my way back to Asheville this morning and I got to Washington and I thought, heck, I’m in Washington. Maybe I should take in a ball game. You know? Just so I could tell people I saw you play before you became a big star.”
I remember laughing at that.
“Look, D.W., I’m never going to be a big star. But, yeah, you should definitely take in the game tonight. I’ll call down to the stadium and arrange to have a ticket left for you. Are you alone? And what do you mean you were on your way back to Asheville? Did something happen? I hope it isn’t bad news that’s sending you home.”
“No,” he replied. “It isn’t. I’m just, well, I dunno; it’s hard to explain I guess.”
“You don’t have to explain anything,” I said, “but the game isn’t until 7:05 p.m. this evening. I would love to see you before then. It’s only 8 a.m. now so you must have left Shoreham incredibly early. Why don’t you park your car in one of the lots at the stadium and take a taxi over to my place? I’ll reimburse you for the taxi. It’s the least I can do to have a chance to spend some time with one of my very best friends.”
“Um, well, are you sure, Ethan?” he asked. “I don’t want to bother you or anything. I know you’re under incredible pressure given how tight things are in the Eastern Division and how important every game is at this point. I just thought maybe I could see you for a couple of minutes before or after the game just to say hi. You know? I just wanted to say hi, not to bother you or anything.”
“Would you please stop?” I responded. “There’s no way you’re bothering me; and there’s no way you’re going to get away with only spending a couple of minutes with me either, D.W., at least if I have my way. We have a lot of catching up to do and the sooner the better.”
With that I gave him the address to my place and told him to hurry over. He said he would and hung up the phone. I remember being elated.
This is exactly what you need, Ethan, I said to myself.
D.W. calling out of the blue; it’s unbelievable.
This is exactly what you need to stop feeling depressed; some quality time with one of your very best friends.
I hadn’t seen D.W. since Grady’s funeral and that meeting had hardly been the happiest one for any of us who were there.
I remember wondering if Grady was looking down on me from somewhere upstairs and what he would think of my big league career so far if he was. On the other hand, if he was aware of that, he would probably know about the rest of the shit going on in my life. I wondered whether he would be disappointed with me.
I don’t know why exactly, but it bothered me I might be disappointing Grady. I guess I loved the man more than I realized.
Hopping out of bed, I quickly showered and shaved.
I wanted to spend the whole day with D.W. It would be good for me and help take my mind off of everything that had been racing around inside my head lately.
I would be able to catch up on everything that was happening back in Shoreham; what Mark and Brady and the rest of the guys were up to. I knew the Blues had named Mark a player-manager after Grady died and then promoted him to the job time full time after the season ended.
He had apparently taken well to managing from everything I heard. Younger than Grady, he could relate to the guys better. The Heat were winning now and Mark was as responsible for that as anyone. He had even persuaded his girlfriend to marry him and she had apparently adjusted well to life in a small community.
I guess it was about thirty minutes later when I heard a knock on the door.
Opening it, I embraced D.W. in a way I had never embraced a teammate before.
“D.W.,” I said. “You look great. I’m so glad to see you, buddy. Come in.”
“How much was the taxi?” I asked. “I want to reimburse you for that and for whatever it’s going to cost you to park near the stadium.”
“You don’t have to do that, Ethan,” he said. “I know you make more money than me, but I can pay my own way.”
“I know you can, D.W.,” I said. “But I want to do it. I mean, I can’t believe how lucky I am to see you again after all these years. You couldn’t have picked a better time and there’s no reason you should pay when I can afford to do that.”
“No; I don’t want you to,” he said. “Let’s not talk about it anymore.”
“Okay,” I responded. “But I’m definitely taking you out to lunch today and it’s going to be my treat. There’s no two ways about that. Understood?”
“Sure,” he replied. “If you want to; that’s fine.”
We just stood there looking at one another for a moment and suddenly I didn’t know what to say. There was so much I wanted to say and yet I didn’t know where to begin.
“Look, let me show you around my place,” I finally volunteered.
And that’s what I did. I showed him around the house. I had forgotten about the picture of Riley in the bedroom and D.W. commented on it when he saw it.
“Nice looking guy, Ethan. Is he a friend or a teammate?”
“A little of both,” I replied, “but he’s gone now.”
When we were done with the tour, D.W. expressed awe at what he had seen.
“This place is unbelievable,” he said. “I’ve never been in any place as nice as this. You hear what major league players make all the time and the money seems so incredible; and then you see a place like this and you realize this is what you can have if you make it all the way to the top.”
“I’m happy for you, Ethan. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.”
“Thanks,” I replied. “And, yeah, you’re right; the money is definitely good. But you know what they say, D.W.; money can’t buy happiness.”
I don’t know why I said that exactly, but it brought everything home for me. I was playing major league ball. I had a nice house, a sporty car, and all the money I needed, but I was unhappy. I was sleeping by myself. I didn’t have any close friends in Washington except Gina and Marie and I felt like a fifth wheel spending so much time with the two of them now.
“Yeah, but if you have to be miserable, I sure as heck would prefer to do it on what you’re making rather than on what I’m making; or at least what I was making,” D.W. responded, pulling me back from the abyss that had just opened before my eyes again.
“Was making?” I asked. “Um, well, I don’t mean to pry, but I sure hope you haven’t been released or anything, D.W. The Heat would be crazy to release someone as talented as you. If they did, I know some people who might be able to help you land somewhere else. I would be happy to talk to them about you.”
“No, they didn’t release me, Ethan,” he said, “at least not yet. Give it another year or two and they’ll probably do that to make room for someone younger and faster; someone with better hands, sharper eyes, and especially someone with a better bat. No doubt about that.”
“That’s crazy talk, D.W.,” I responded, even though I knew he wasn’t that far off the mark.
Teams constantly need to find roster slots for the players they draft every year and they could be ruthless getting rid of older prospects who hadn’t panned out. Both of us knew that.
And yet if D.W. wasn’t going to make the case for himself, I was.
“Look, in the first place, there isn’t a better third baseman in the field than you, D.W.” I said, launching my defense. “And I’m not just saying that because you’re my friend. I’ve bumped around a lot more places in the minors than you have. I’ve seen a ton of third basemen; and I’ve seen the dude that plays third base for the Warriors and he’s an All Star.”
“You’re definitely as good as any of them in the field, D.W. Truth be told, you’re a lot better than most of them. So that’s point number one.”
“Point number two is that you’re a team player. You’re a great mentor for the younger guys just starting out. You’re a positive influence on and off the field; and all your intangibles – working with the young guys, always projecting optimism, helping keep things cool in the clubhouse – all those things make you a lot more valuable than most guys. You’re one of the clubhouse leaders and everyone knows that.”
“That stuff is important, D.W.,” I continued. “You know how it is down there. There’re a million dudes in the minor leagues who would slit their mother’s throat to get a base hit, let alone to move up to the next level. They’re always rooting for other guys to fail because they think they’ll look better as a result; look at Dylan.”
“You’re not like that, D.W. You bring positive energy to the clubhouse and the coaches and management know that; at least they should. I’m sure Mark knows that.”
“And what about my hitting, Ethan; what are going to say about my hitting?” he asked.
Hitting had always been D.W.’s Achilles heel. It had been the thing that held him back and I knew he wouldn’t accept any bullshit from me.
“It’s a problem, D.W., no doubt about it,” I responded. “Both of us know that. I’m not going to kid you. But, the thing is, I’ve seen a ton of guys blossom as hitters later in their careers. You’re still at the beginning of yours. You can’t get discouraged. You just need to keep working at it.”
“I mean, after this season is over, let’s get together and see where we stand regarding the hitting. I know some guys who’ve forgotten more about hitting than you or I will ever know. I can put you in touch with them. They can help. I know they can.”
“The biggest battles are the ones you fight with yourself, D.W.,” I added. “They can be killers if you let them be. I know it can be hard sometimes, but you need to stay positive. It’s going to happen for you; maybe not exactly the way you expect. But it’s going to happen. I know it. Sometimes it just takes longer for some guys, but then it’s all the sweeter when it happens.”
I didn’t really believe all of that. Deep down inside I knew D.W. was never going to make it to the big leagues and he knew it as well. But I still considered him a great player, a great human being. He was on my personal list of all stars and he was my friend and I wanted to stay positive for him and help him become the best he could be.
Yeah; and while you’re at it, how about showing some of the same attitude when it comes to yourself, Ethan, I recall thinking. You need to start staying positive about yourself for a change.
“Thanks, Ethan,” D.W. replied. “You always get the most out of whatever you have to work with. You stay positive. I guess that’s why I’ve always admired you so much. But, look, I’m a realist. I know the score. I’m never going to make it to the big dance. I guess I probably knew that from day one, but it didn’t matter. I was having fun. I figured I would play as long as they let me and then find some other job to keep me occupied until I died.”
“But, um, well . . .”
And now he hesitated and I could tell there was something troubling him.
“I just think now is probably the time to pack it in, Ethan,” he finally said, his voice quivering.
“Why?” I said. “Why is now the time, D.W.?”
I wasn’t ready to accept that. D.W. loved playing ball; even if he never made it all the way to the top, he still had a lot of game left and plenty of time to enjoy playing the game.
“Why is now the time to pack it in?” I asked again. “You love playing baseball. You’re having fun. Everyone on the team likes and respects you, especially Mark and Brady. Why give it all up to become a used car salesman in some two-bit town?”
D.W. looked over at me and for the first time I could see the pain in his eyes. He was struggling to control himself and was barely able to keep things together by now.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “I feel like you’re not telling me something. I’m your friend, D.W.; I really am. I haven’t been the best friend in the world. I know that. This freaking game drains everything out of you and you never have time for the other stuff; the stuff that’s more important like your friends.”
“It’s a pretty poor excuse and I know I haven’t been the best friend, but I would like to help if I can. There isn’t anybody in the game I like or admire more than you, D.W.”
“Do you really?” he said, looking over at me.
“I mean, do you really admire me? I know you like me and I know we’re friends. But no one’s ever said they admire me.”
“I do, D.W.,” I said; “more than just about anyone.”
He looked at me again and then he lowered his head and began crying.
I couldn’t believe it.
I had never seen D.W. like this before in my life. I had seen him happy and angry and everything in between, but I had never seen him cry. Whatever was bothering him, it was obviously something serious.
Standing up, I walked over to the couch where he was sitting and sat down next to him. I wasn’t sure how he would react, but I didn’t care anymore. I embraced him; I took him into my arms and held his head tightly against my chest while the tears rolled down his cheeks and on to my shirt.
I could feel the sobs wracking his body and it upset me. He was the last person in the world I wanted to see in pain like this.
“Hey, what’s this all about?” I whispered. “What’s the matter, D.W.? What can I do to help?”
“Nothing,” he said, struggling to get control of himself again as he pulled away from me.
He was embarrassed he had cried in front of me and I remember wondering who decided guys can never cry.
“There’s nothing you or anyone can do,” he continued.
“And you wouldn’t admire me either if you knew,” he said. “You would hate me.”
“I would never hate you, D.W.,” I responded. “Never in a million years. And nothing you could say would ever make me feel differently about you either. I know you like the back of my hand. You’re a terrific guy, D.W. Trust me; there’s nothing you can say that’ll change my opinion of you. You need to tell me what this is all about.”
He took a couple of deep breaths and then got up and started pacing back and forth across the room as if trying to decide what to do next. Finally, he looked over at me and sat down on the couch again.
“I decided to go back home for a couple of reasons,” he said. “I need some time to sort things out and I think it’s best to do that someplace other than Shoreham.”
“Does Mark know you’ve left?” I asked. “Does Brady know?”
“I left a note in his office for Mark,” he said. “And I left one for Brady too.”
“I don’t know what to say, D.W.,” I replied. “I don’t know how Mark will react, but Brady will be devastated, that’s for sure. It must be something pretty serious for you to pack up and leave him alone like that.”
D.W. looked at me. His eyes were watery and his lips were quivering and I could see he was struggling to hold back a new round of tears.
“This whole thing is about Brady,” he finally said. “Um, I’m not going to tell you exactly, but I did something wrong and it’s ruined our friendship.”
“I don’t know what you could have done wrong, D.W.,” I replied, “but nothing you did would ever damage your friendship with Brady. That boy loves you.”
In retrospect, it was probably the wrong thing to say because it triggered another round of tears and sobs and I remember embracing him again and holding him tightly.
Tell me, D.W., I said to myself. I can’t help make it get better unless you tell me.
Finally, he regained control.
“Um, well, you know that Brady and I’ve been living together for the last couple of years,” D.W. said. “And, well, it was his birthday yesterday and I don’t know. I was busy and forgot about it and then at the last minute I suddenly remembered last evening. I told him I was sorry, but I had forgotten to get him a gift.”
“He said he understood and he didn’t need a gift, that just living with me and spending time with me was his gift, especially after his Dad died. And then he looked at me and he said, um . . . well, he said, ah . . . he said that he loved me and he knew we were best friends but he wanted us to be more than just best friends.”
“I didn’t understand at first. I was clueless. But he just kept saying he loved me over and over and that it would be the greatest gift he could ever receive if I would just let him love me.”
“And then he said he hoped I wouldn’t be mad at him, but he couldn’t hold it in any longer; that he loved me and wanted us to be more than just best friends. And finally it dawned on me what he was saying and what he was asking from me and, well, you’re going to hate me, Ethan, but I let him. I let him, um . . . I let him do that to me. You know?”
At that he started crying again and now I was glad for a pause in the words because I was having trouble processing what I was hearing from him.
Omigod, I remember thinking. D.W. is really gay after all? That’s what he was always hiding; and Brady’s gay too?
I mean, yeah, sure he was always saying he liked boys, but everyone knew he wasn’t talking about liking them that way. It was just his way of saying things and everyone thought it was cute; but gay?
Who would have believed it?
“And it was so beautiful, Ethan,” he finally continued, “it was so beautiful when he was doing it; and that’s when I realized I loved Brady too. But it’s wrong. I know it. I know what I let him do to me was wrong and that I was being a terrible influence on him, a terrible example.”
“I don’t know. The last couple of years, especially after Grady died, I’ve felt like I was Brady’s protector. I wanted to be someone he could look up to, someone he could admire; someone who would protect him and love him in the right way and take care of him.”
“And I felt that even more powerfully after Grady died. I mean, he was devastated when Grady died. You know that, Ethan. He had no one. His mother loved him, but she couldn’t take care of him anymore and she told me she was counting on me to take care of her little boy and I had promised her I would.”
“And now look what I’ve done? I’ve screwed up everything, Ethan; the one thing that made me feel like I wasn’t such a horrible person and I screwed it up.”
“Brady was next to me in bed and I was thinking about all of this after he fell asleep and that’s when I decided to leave. I got up around 4 a.m. this morning and left after writing Brady a note and dropping one off at the stadium for Mark. And I was passing through Washington on my way to I-95 South and was driving by the stadium and, um, I don’t know . . . I just decided to stop for whatever reason. I don’t know why.”
“I just sat there in my car looking at the stadium and remembering how you and I and Brady had so much fun together years ago and how I had screwed everything up.”
“And then I got into my head to call so I just sat there and waited until the sun came up and I called you. And I’m glad I did because I think Brady may need someone to help him understand why what I let him do was wrong; someone who can help him find a decent roommate to help cover the expense of that place we share.”
“Look, I know you hate me and I don’t blame you for that. But you love Brady too and I thought maybe you could help explain it all to him because he doesn’t mean any harm, Ethan. He doesn’t understand why something like that would be wrong. You can help him understand. I know you can. And I promise I won’t ever go near him again or call him or write to him or bother him in any way. But he’s the one who deserves your help, Ethan; not me, but Brady.”
I couldn’t believe what I had just heard from D.W. and I remember thinking this wasn’t going to be easy; to get him to calm down and understand he hadn’t done anything wrong.
“Um, well, you’ve pretty much explained everything,” I said, “except for one thing.”
“What?” he asked.
“You haven’t explained what the problem is or why you think what the two of you did is a problem, that’s what?”
D.W. looked at me as if he didn’t understand what I had just said.
“Were you listening to anything I just told you, Ethan?” he replied. “Did you hear what I said?”
“Yes, I heard,” I responded.
“Did I not make myself clear enough? I mean, if it wasn’t clear, I let Brady . . . I let him . . . I mean, I let Brady sodomize me, Ethan. Is that clear enough for you? Do you understand now?”
“I understood the first time, D.W.,” I said. “And, you know what? It’s interesting; sodomize is kind of an old fashioned word. It sounds like one of those words you might have heard growing up from that, quote, “religious wacko”, unquote, father of yours. That was your term if I recall correctly, D.W., not mine. But it doesn’t answer the question I have. Did Brady like doing it?”
“That’s the worst of it; he did,” D.W. replied. “I’ve never seen that boy happier than when he had finished rutting me. I don’t envy you having to explain why it was wrong to him.”
“How about you, D.W.; did you like it?” I asked.
“Whether I liked it or not doesn’t make any difference, Ethan. It’s wrong. Why would liking it or not liking it make any difference?”
“So I take it that means you liked it, but don’t want me to feel happy for you; you want me to tell you you’re a pervert and I hate you and you’re going to burn in hell forever for corrupting that cute, innocent, little boy who was smart enough to finally get himself a piece of ass? Is that it, D.W.?”
“Why would I hate you?” I continued. “You let Brady do something he wanted to do very much and you did it for the right reason; because you love him. He liked it. You liked it. I hate to tell you this, D.W., but it isn’t a sin and it isn’t a crime. It’s the way gay men love one another and it sounds like both you and Brady are gay.”
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being gay. I mean, I’m gay myself for crying out loud. So, if you’re worried about burning in hell forever alone, you don’t have to be. I’ll be right there with you, but we’re going to have to take turns doing the rutting, as you put it. If you expect me to do all the rutting, you’ve got another think coming.”
There was a moment of silence as my confession began to sink in. And yet, having heard me say it, now it was D.W. who was having a hard time understanding what he had just heard.
“You’re kidding me, Ethan. Aren’t you?”
“I mean, you’re either kidding me or you’re telling me that so I won’t feel so bad about what I did.”
“No, I’m not kidding you, D.W.,” I replied. “And I’m not spinning some kind of tale to make you feel better either. You and Brady aren’t the only two gay people in the world you know. There are a few others and I’m one of them.”
I could see he was still having trouble processing the idea I could be gay.
“And that picture you saw up in my bedroom? Before he left town, that dude was doing exactly the same thing to me that Brady did to you last night; and he was doing it quite a lot and I liked letting him do it to me.”
“But . . . but . . . that can’t be,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense. It just doesn’t. I mean, you’re so masculine, Ethan. How . . . how could . . . I mean, why would you let that guy do something like that to you?”
“Because it feels good and he was good at it and both of us liked doing it, that’s why,” I responded. “And I was lonely and needed someone just like Brady needs you; and if you feel like you’re some kind of horrible person for letting Brady do that, well, I guess you must think I’m a horrible person too.”
“I dunno,” D.W. said, wringing his head with his hands. “I don’t know what to think. I mean, you’re right in one way. As much as I try to forget everything my father preached, as much as I recognize what a wacko he was, it’s hard not to think that maybe there’s something wrong with it. You know, the Bible says . . .”
“The Bible says lots of things, D.W.,” I said, cutting him off, “including some things that are downright ridiculous. You know that, just like I think you know Jesus never said anything about the subject. And you also know most people have never read the Bible all the way through so they rely on people like your father to explain it to them; people who twist it to mean whatever they want because they love playing God themselves.”
“Seriously, D.W., do you honestly think that man is in touch with God after the way he treated you and your little brother?”
“What you’re saying is what you heard from your father and he was a wacko. You know that. What does your heart tell you, D.W.?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “I mean, I love Brady so much and I don’t want to lead him down the wrong path. I spent half the night awake going over this stuff in my head again and again; and the other half in a car driving up here to Washington and sitting around in a darkened car across the street from the stadium.”
“I don’t know what to think anymore.”
“You can think whatever you want, D.W.,” I said, “but here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re doing it. First, and most importantly, Brady loves you as much as you love him; and if you abandon him now because of some idiotic notion of right and wrong you learned from that nutcase father of yours, you’re not only going to lose my respect for you. You really are going to do something terrible to Brady.”
“You’re going to make him believe that what the two of you did was wrong when there was nothing wrong about it at all; something beautiful and you’re going to make him believe it was bad? Do you really want to be responsible for doing that to Brady; for doing to him what your father did to you and your little brother?”
“I dunno, Ethan,” he said. “I’m so freaking tired. I haven’t slept in 24 hours and don’t think I can keep it together much longer.”
“I tell you what,” I replied. “Why don’t you go to bed upstairs and try to get some sleep before the game tonight? I’ll wake you up in plenty of time and we can have a late lunch together and then head over to the stadium in my car. And then you can spend the night here and we can talk about it some more tomorrow. You’re in no shape to be driving anywhere right now. Can we do that, D.W.?”
“Yeah, I guess that makes sense,” he said. “I need to get some sleep.”
I led him upstairs to my bedroom and he was asleep almost from the moment his head touched the bed. I had already decided by then what I was going to do next. I went back downstairs, picked up the phone and dialed the number stored on my phone.
“Brady here,” the voice on the other end of the receiver said, “but be quick about it. I’m about to catch a bus to North Carolina.”
“Brady, it’s me, Ethan Williams,” I said. “How are you doing?”
“I’m doing pretty terrible right now, Ethan,” he said. “It’s great to hear from you and I’d love to talk, but I have to catch a bus to Asheville in about 20 minutes.”
“Does it pass through Washington?” I asked.
“Yeah, it does. Why?”
“Because I want you to get off the bus in Washington and call me when you get here,” I replied. “D.W.’s at my place. He’s asleep right now. But he told me the whole story and, well, I’m really happy for the two of you. Maybe between you and me we can talk some sense into D.W. He thinks he’s done something terrible to you, but I know he hasn’t.”
“Unbelievable,” Brady said. “D.W.’s there; at your place?”
“Well then you can count on it,” he said. “I’ll definitely get off the bus and call when I get to Washington. It should be around 2 p.m. Will you still be at this number, Ethan?”
“I will,” I said. “And by that time maybe D.W. will be waking up and the three of us can have lunch together before my game tonight. D.W. is already planning to attend and I want you there as well; and then the two of you can spend the night at my place before heading back to Shoreham tomorrow.”
“That sounds awesome, Ethan.”
“Okay, see you in a couple of hours then,” I said.
“Yeah; and Ethan?”
“What?” I responded.
“Thanks for calling. I’ve been going crazy with D.W. not around. I love him so much. Make sure he doesn’t get away before I get there.”
“I’ll make sure,” I said. “I’ll tie him to the bed if I have to.”
I could hear Brady giggling and that made me feel good.
“Oh, that’s even better,” he said. “You do that, Ethan. Tie him to the bed for me.”
I remember smiling.
I had never thought of Brady as a little perv before, but that giggle suddenly made everything clear to me.
“See you soon, Ethan; love you.”
“I love you too, Brady,” I replied.