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SUMMARY: Two boys from dissimilar backgrounds, one trying to stay out of jail, the other privileged and seemingly destined for greatness. Thrown together by chance and only imperfectly aware of just how much they need one another, the boys struggle to connect across the many divides that separate them and slowly begin to recognize they may share more in common than they could have ever imagined. And yet whether they’ll be able to overcome their fears, doubts and insecurities and open up to each other remains to be seen. 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. Unless otherwise noted, all of the characters in the story are fictional; any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. While some of the places described or mentioned in the story are fictional as well, others may be real. However, some liberties may have been taken with the truth to enhance the story. 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 you are fully capable of understanding and legally consenting to reading a work of adult fiction.
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NOTES: Please check these notes every week. If there’s something I want to alert you to as I post each chapter, this is where I will I do so.
THE OPENED DOOR
I would have been angry with Tony if it had been an ordinary morning. But as I walked the Square hawking papers and magazines, I had other things on my mind. In particular, I wanted to check my cell phone. When I was finally able to do so, I wasn’t surprised to find a ton of messages waiting for me.
Still more came in over the course of the next three hours.
I had been planning to make a bunch of deliveries the previous evening before my little run in with campus security and now everyone was trying to find out why I had never showed up. I did my best to explain what had happened, but not one of my customers seemed to care how close I had come to ending up in jail.
The only thing they wanted to know was when I planned to get their marijuana to them. I promised to do so later that evening, but the whole thing left me shaking my head.
I mean, sure, I was in the business to make money, but I had convinced myself by now that at least some of these dudes were more than just customers. They were always joking with me; telling me how much they appreciated the service I was providing and how the pot was the only thing that made getting through Harvard possible.
A couple had even invited me to smoke with them.
I had never actually done that because I wasn’t into the stuff that much. It also seemed unprofessional to me; I thought it best to keep everything on a business footing. Still, I had fooled myself into thinking some of the dudes actually liked me; perhaps even considered me a friend. By 10:00 a.m. I realized that wasn’t the case.
It was all about them; about how the little bastards had been counting on me and I had let them down. And even after I explained the circumstances, it didn’t change very much. The only thing they were concerned about was finding a convenient time for making a delivery.
It was an eye opening experience, that’s for sure.
Realizing I’d have to make my regular deliveries that evening as well, I used my hour break to work out a revised delivery schedule that accommodated everyone. It was going to take longer than usual and that meant I’d be getting home later as well. Knowing my mother would be concerned about where I had been the previous evening, I thought about calling her.
But she’d keep me on the phone forever grilling me about where I had been and why I hadn’t called and making me feel bad for all the worry I had caused her. Realizing that would make me late for work and knowing Kevin was in class, I decided to leave a message for him instead.
“Kev, it’s me, Sean. Sorry about not getting home last night, but I’m okay. I got tied up watching that Red Sox game with my friend and then he invited me to sleep over. I was going to call Mom to let her know, but I forgot.”
“If I call this morning, she’ll probably think I was sleeping with some girl last night and you know how she can be about stuff like that. She’ll keep me on the phone forever questioning me about where I was, but I need to get to work.”
“Do me a favor, little brother; call her between classes and let her know I’m okay. You know how much she worries.”
“Tell her I’ll be home tonight; probably a little later than usual, but she can count on it.”
“Thanks, Kev; I’ll owe you big time if you do this for me.”
Hanging up, I remember shaking my head.
How can Mom still be so clueless?
I mean, I loved my mother a lot and had never told her I was gay so I couldn’t blame her for not knowing. But there were times when I wondered whether she would even understand what being gay meant if I had let her know. When it came to things like that, she was pretty naive.
But I had never gone on many dates with girls; never brought home a special girl for her and Pop to meet. Hell, I had even skipped my Senior Prom the previous year. When she pressed me about that, I told her it would cost too much and I wanted to save the money for college instead.
That wasn’t a lie either; and yet the woman still didn’t have a clue, which was probably part of the reason I loved her so much. She may have been clueless, but I knew she would love me no matter what. She wasn’t a hater like my father.
By now I was already tired. It was going to be a long day. Walking inside Fat Boys, I pulled on my apron and took my position behind the counter. Within a minute Devin opened the door and the customers began flooding in. Soon enough the first of the sandwiches arrived.
“I don’t want any lettuce on that,” the dude said. “How many times do I have to tell you bozos that?”
I wanted to shove the thing in his face, but ignored him.
“There you go, sir,” I said, handing him the finished product. “Have a nice day.”
When you work dead end jobs like me, your mind tends to drift off. Now, tired from the previous evening and a morning that had been much too busy, I found myself thinking about Holden.
Why did he open his door and let you in, Sean?
He had said he needed a pot dealer, but I doubted that was the reason. For one thing, he had also said a lot of the kids he knew smoked pot and had their own dealers. Finding a dealer wouldn’t have been hard if he really wanted to.
And why did he hide you from campus security?
He was taking a risk by doing it and there didn’t seem to be anything in it for him. He said he wanted to be friends, but that didn’t make any sense either.
Why would he want to be friends with you, dude? The two of you have nothing in common.
I could understand if he wanted me to sell him some pot. That made sense. But he was a smart kid; he went to Harvard after all and I had told him upfront we didn’t need to be friends for him to buy weed from me.
Not just smart, Sean; good-looking too. Why would someone as cute as that have the slightest interest in you?
I mean, it was hard to know what to make of the dude.
Being honest, I had to admit I was kind of jealous of him. He seemed to have the perfect life, the kind I used to dream about when I was younger and didn’t know any better.
His parents were wealthy. He admitted himself they had given him everything he wanted. They lived in a big house in some ritzy community near Washington; had sent him to the best private schools; and when he applied to the best college in America and got in, they had sent him there as well.
Money wasn’t a problem for them.
That’s what made it so confusing. Here he was, living the perfect life, but he didn’t seem very happy about it.
It was hard to know why
Given the opportunity, I would have changed places with Holden in a minute. But somehow he seemed to think my life was more interesting than his; better than his.
There were no obvious signs he was crazy, but what else could it be? And yet there was more to it than that.
He was the kind of kid my friends were always bitching about; some rich, snotty, brat who looked down on people like us.
And yet he had surprised me; he wasn’t like that. He had done me a favor even though there was nothing in it for him from what I could tell. I didn’t know why he opened the door, but I was grateful. I would have been in jail except for Holden.
But even beyond the favor, he seemed nice. You could tell he was smart, but he didn’t really flaunt it like he could have. He wore the best clothes, but didn’t seem bothered by what I was wearing. And he was cute after all; that was what struck me the most.
Not just cute, to be honest; he was hot and by now I was willing to admit I was attracted to him. I would have been even without the rest of it; the money, the clothes, the best of everything, even Harvard.
None of it mattered.
I would have been attracted to him no matter what and that surprised me.
You’re gay, dude. You’re supposed to be attracted to cuties like Holden.
Why does that surprise you?
I guess the main reason was because I had never experienced something like that before in my life; I mean, being aroused just by looking at another dude. I had known for a long time I was gay, but I was still a virgin and that frustrated the hell out of me.
But I had never been attracted to anyone exactly the way I had been attracted to Holden the previous evening.
Yeah, sure, I used to sneak peeks at the other boys in their Speedos during our swim meets in high school. I liked touching them when we wrestled although you had to put that out of your mind if you wanted to win your match. I knew I preferred spending time with boys more than girls, but I had never really focused on any particular boy.
But last night had been different. Last night I had been attracted to Holden and that was confusing at so many levels.
If things had been different, maybe I would have pursued it. I mean, he had said and done enough to make me wonder whether he might be gay. But Holden and I were from different worlds and doing something like that didn’t seem to make very much sense.
And he was a smart dude after all. He had probably figured out I was gay and was just leading me on so he could make a fool of me if I came on to him; and even if he was gay for that matter, there was no way in hell he would be interested in someone like me.
I mean, sure, I was different from him and they say opposites attract. Maybe that’s what it was for Holden; maybe I intrigued him in some way I didn’t understand. But it wouldn’t take much to change his mind.
The better he got to know me, the more he would realize just how little we had in common; and once he realized that, he wouldn’t be interested anymore.
It isn’t worth it, Sean.
If you let yourself get attracted to someone like that, he’ll break your heart. Better to keep your eye on the prize. Work hard. Go to college. Try to make something of yourself. Once you’ve done all of that, then you can think about finding someone to love.
For now, you need to stay focused on getting the money for college.
That settled it for me.
No matter how good looking he was or how much I was attracted to him, there was no way I was going to pursue it. I had more important things to do than to make a fool of myself chasing after some dude who would never be interested in me even if he was gay; which was ridiculous the more I thought about it.
You need to stop fantasizing about dudes like Holden, Sean. Try jerking off more; otherwise you’ll drive yourself crazy and fry the few remaining brain cells you have.
Maybe it was all the daydreaming, but for some reason the afternoon seemed to pass quicker than usual. Finishing up a little after 7:00 p.m., I hung up my apron and stepped outside. I was glad to be finished and out of the place.
Just don’t get too excited about it, dude. You still have a long night ahead of you.
In addition to my regulars, I’d have to make deliveries to those I had missed the previous night. That meant I’d have to put up with a second round of bitching from them about how disappointed they were and how they needed someone they could rely on; someone who’d be there for them at the agreed upon time.
It was all about them. What they wanted was the only thing that mattered. But, then again, the customer is always right; at least that’s what Warren would have told me.
Pulling my cell phone out of my pocket, I stared at the thing disgustedly. Unlike Holden’s iPhone, mine was a $20 special from TracFone that came with triple minutes and a monthly value plan. It was a necessity given the business I was in, but I avoided using it as much as I could.
I dialed the number Holden had given me and he answered immediately.
“Hi, this is Holden. Who am I speaking to?”
“It’s me; Sean,” I said. “I want to come over and pick up my stuff. Will you be there if I stop by?”
“I will,” he replied.
And that’s another thing I recall thinking as I headed up Massachusetts Avenue.
Why the hell did he give you a key to his entrance way?
None of your other customers ever did that before.
It only took a couple of minutes to get to Wigglesworth and Holden greeted me warmly when I did. But the first thing I spotted when I entered his room was my backpack on the floor.
It was empty.
“What the fuck is this?” I asked, picking it up angrily and pointing it at him.
He reached over to a chair and handed me another backpack.
“I thought it best to move your pot to one of my backpacks,” he said. “You can have it; it’s a spare. And don’t worry; I didn’t steal any. But I figured I should do that because the police still have a description of yours; and while they may not be looking for you anymore, why take the risk?”
Smart, Sean; this dude is smart and he’s even trying to help. Give him a break.
“Okay,” I responded, realizing he was right. “And, uh, well, thanks for keeping it here today. I appreciate it; and thanks again for helping last night. I’m sorry I snapped at you, but I’m tired. I’ve been working my ass off all day and still have a ton of deliveries to make this evening.”
“I could help if you want,” he said.
“Is that right,” I replied. “How?’
“I don’t know,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.
“Maybe I could carry the backpack for you. That way campus security might be less suspicious if they saw the two of us together; and if they stopped us for some reason, I have a Harvard ID I could show them and you could just say you left yours back at your room. I’d vouch for you. That might help.”
“Unbelievable,” I responded, shaking my head. “You’re too much, Holden. Why you would risk getting your ass tossed in jail is beyond me. This isn’t some kind of play date we’re talking about, dude. In case you don’t know, it’s against the law to possess marijuana; let alone sell it. I take the risk for the money. Why someone like you would take that kind of risk is beyond me.”
“Like I said, I want us to be friends and that’s what friends do; they help one another,” he said.
Then he grinned at me and again I felt the beginning of movement in my groin, only this time a bit more insistent.
Stop doing that dude, will you?
For Christ’s sake, I’m getting a fucking hard on just looking at you.
“I’ll tell you what,” I responded, turning around. “You want to be friends? You want to help? Why don’t you stay here and monitor that scanner of yours to see whether campus security is still looking for me. I’m going to be visiting a bunch of the dorms making deliveries tonight. It would help to know if the cops become suspicious. Do you think you can do that for me?”
“Sure,” he said. “No problem. There hasn’t been anything about you on the scanner since this morning, at least when I’ve checked. But I’ll be happy to do that.”
“Okay,” I replied. “I just need to get out of these clothes and change into mine.”
“I hope you don’t mind, but I washed your clothes this afternoon,” he said. “They’re on my bed if you want to change. If it was me though, I wouldn’t change until after you made all your deliveries.”
“And why’s that, preppy boy?” I responded.
“Because you actually look like a Harvard student in those clothes,” he said. “They call less attention to you as an outsider. In other words, you’re not as suspicious.”
“Uh-huh; is that right?”
“It is,” he said. “You see; I could be an excellent criminal like you if you’d give me a chance. But do whatever you want.”
He was right, of course; I knew it immediately. By now it was kind of amusing, him always being right like that.
“Um, well, maybe that’s a good idea,” I responded. “You seem to have an annoying habit of always being right, Holden.”
“I know,” he said, smiling at me. “That’s why it would be smart to be friends with me.”
“Sure,” I replied. “We can talk about that later when I come back to pick up my clothes. For now, just keep your ears tuned to that scanner.”
“And here’s my cell number,” I added, writing it down. “Give me a call if you hear anything suspicious.”
I had debated whether I should give him my number, but by now I was pretty certain he could be trusted. He wasn’t planning to turn me into the cops and he would need the number no matter what if he was going to be one of my customers; at least that’s what I told myself at the time.
While I pulled on the new backpack, he picked up some of his assigned reading and settled down in the chair next to the scanner.
A couple hours later I was done. I had made all my deliveries. Ordinarily I would have been on my way home, but I was still wearing Holden’s clothes and needed to change.
“Finished,” I said when he opened the door and let me in, “at least for tonight. Some of your classmates weren’t entirely happy with me for missing my deliveries last evening, but what else is new? They seem to enjoy whining a lot. Did you hear anything on that scanner while I was wandering around?”
“No; it was quiet. There wasn’t a peep about you, Sean.”
“Good,” I said. “I’m going to change clothes now and take off.”
“Uh, well, what’s the big rush?” he asked. “You’re welcome to stay. You must be tired after the day you’ve had. You could rest for a little while and we could talk; you know, get to know one another better. And, um, we could smoke again. I got some money out of the ATM today so I can buy some pot from you.”
He was right again, at least about me being tired. There was really no reason to stay and yet he wanted me to stay and for some reason I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave. It wasn’t that late after all; besides, the sooner I got home, the more nagging I’d have to put up with from Mom.
It made sense to stay for a little while.
Liar, liar, pants on fire; you don’t want to leave because you’re attracted to him, Sean. Admit it. That’s the reason you’re thinking of staying. You think he’s hot.
“That has nothing to do with it,” I responded. “It’s not like I’m trying to get into his pants or something.”
Are you sure about that Sean? Are you sure that isn’t what this is all about?
“Yeah, I’m sure; besides, even if he was gay, it’s not like he would be interested in someone like me.”
“Okay,” I responded. “Maybe I’ll stay a little while; twenty or thirty minutes. But I’ll have to leave after that.”
“Great,” he said, walking over to the couch and sitting down.
He pointed to the chair opposite the couch. I took off the backpack he had given me and sat down.
“Um, so tell me about your day, Sean?” he asked. “What was it like?”
“Why don’t you tell me about your day instead?” I countered. “You’re the student here. You must have had a more interesting day than me. All I did was sell papers, dirty magazines, and sandwiches. It’d be more interesting to know what your day was like.”
“Mine? It was boring, Sean,” he said. “I can’t think of anything worth mentioning.”
“Then just start at the beginning,” I said. “What did you do after I left?”
“Okay,” he sighed. “If you really want to know, let’s see. Well the first thing I did was get dressed and then I gathered up some things I planned on washing, including the clothes you left here. I even stripped the sheets off the bed and decided to wash them for some reason. I don’t know why exactly.”
He stopped and smiled at me, as if seeking my approval for changing the sheets on his bed.
“Are you sure you want me to go on?” he asked. “I mean, I’ve just given you the highlight of my day. I told you my life was boring.”
“It already sounds more exciting than mine,” I responded. “Tell me more.”
“Okay; so then I sat down at my computer and wrote an entry for my journal describing everything that happened last evening. I had trouble at first because my mind was fuzzy about exactly what happened. But the longer I sat there thinking about it, the more I seemed to recall. I wrote everything down I could think of. Needless to say, you played a starring role.”
“I’m humbled,” I said. “Are you planning to show it to me?”
“I’ll think about it,” he replied, “but probably not. The point of a journal is to write down stuff you want to keep secret.”
“So it’s like a diary then; is that it?” I asked.
“It isn’t a diary,” he replied, much too emphatically. “Only girls keep diaries; at least that’s what another boy told me once when I made the mistake of telling him what I was doing. We were both eight at the time, but after that he would keep asking me whether I was a girl.”
“I told him I wasn’t, of course, but he kept taunting me about the whole thing and telling the other boys I was girl. I guess I was sensitive about things like that back then. I figured I needed a more masculine term to describe what I was doing. Journal seemed to fit the bill nicely.”
“Diary, journal; whatever floats your boat, Holden,” I said, surprised by his little confession. “So tell me more about this journal. How long have you been keeping it?”
“I started when I was eight and I’m eighteen now so it’s quite large at this point. It’s nothing special really, just a bunch of ordinary Word documents organized by day and date and then encrypted to keep them from prying eyes.”
“When I started, I thought it’d be fun to be able to travel back in time to see what I had written over the years. It has been. And there are secrets in there, of course; things I’ve never told anyone, not even my parents.”
“Like what?” I asked, curious.
“Oh come on, Sean,” he said, rolling his eyes. “They wouldn’t be secrets if I told you, would they?”
“I suppose not,” I replied. “But you’re the one who keeps saying you want to be friends. I thought friends weren’t supposed to keep secrets from one another.”
“You’re very good at this, aren’t you, Sean?” he said. “You seem to have a way of backing me into a corner and then making me feel guilty for not telling you more.”
“I am good at this,” I replied, smirking. “I learned everything from my little brother. He’s even better at it than me. But I don’t mean to pry. You can have all the secrets you want, Holden. I might even have one or two myself for all you know. In any event, what happened after your wrote your journal entry?”
“I had breakfast,” he said. “At least I tried to have breakfast; at Annenberg Hall over on the other side of the Yard. Remind me to take you there sometime. It’s the most beautiful place on campus, at least I think so. I don’t know why exactly, but I was hungrier than usual this morning. I hear smoking pot can do that to you.”
“It can,” I replied. “So how was the food?”
“I can’t really say because I never really got the chance to have breakfast,” he said. “I mean, I filled a plate and found a place off by myself because I hadn’t finished my journal entry at that point and I wanted to think about what happened last night some more. But the next thing I knew Roger was joining me and that was the end of that.”
“Who’s Roger?” I asked.
“He’s a classmate of mine,” Holden responded; “Roger Hancock. He’s from South Carolina and apparently distantly related to John Hancock, most famous for his signature on the Declaration of Independence and later immortalized as an insurance company. Roger’s father is on the Board of Governors here at Harvard. They’re very rich.”
“Roger’s usually a late riser. If I had known he was going to Annenberg so early, I’d never have gone there for breakfast.”
“Why’s that?” I asked.
“Um, well, it’s a long story,” he said, “but suffice it to say that Roger is different from most of the rest of us ordinary mortals. He’s someone best absorbed in small does. Did you ever see that old movie about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?”
“I don’t think so,” I responded. “But I read the book if that helps.”
“Really,” Holden said, looking at me oddly. “I’m not even sure I’ve read the book, but I’ve seen the movie and Roger is kind of like that. One minute he’s up; the next down. One minute he’ll be singing your praises; the next lacerating you with the cruelest of words.”
“He really is a split personality although the evil Mr. Hyde seems to prevail most of the time with Roger; except when it comes to me, apparently. He likes me for some reason. He’s the fellow who told me I remind him of Marilyn Monroe.”
“I don’t know why,” I replied, still surprised anyone would make a ridiculous comparison like that.
“It’s a long story. Like me, Roger doesn’t really have any friends on campus, but that doesn’t bother him as much as me because he thinks everyone at Harvard is his social and intellectual inferior. And he has an even lower opinion of people who don’t go to school here. Do you know what he told me once, Sean?”
“No; what?” I asked.
“He told me some people are born to be free while others are naturally slaves; that the people he likes to call slugs exist to serve people like me and him and it’s only our sense of shame that makes us deny it.”
“He definitely sounds like a winner to me,” I replied, sarcastically.
“Oh, he is,” Holden said; “definitely. Like I said, I’ll spare you the details, but the point is he came over and sat down with me just as I was starting to have breakfast; and then he said something that irritated me.”
“What?” I asked.
“Oh, I can’t tell you that, Sean. You’d be shocked. All I’ll say is that it was very annoying. In any event, I made an excuse and left so I never got breakfast this morning.”
“Sorry about that,” I responded, suddenly realizing I hadn’t either; or dinner for that matter. “So what happened after that?”
“I walked over to Lamont and spent some time reading and doing some research for a history paper I’m working on. After that I had my history course and then my math course at noon. That was a bummer.”
“Why?” I asked.
I loved math. It had been my favorite subject in school.
“Um, well, I’m ashamed to admit it,” he said, “but that course has me completely frustrated. The truth is I’m on the verge of failing it. I’ve been clinging to a D for weeks. But this latest problem set the professor assigned is about to send me over the precipice.”
“It has me totally baffled and I’m going to flunk the course because of it. It’s very discouraging. I’ve never flunked anything before, but I’m going to flunk this math course. I’m sure of it.”
“That’s a shame, Holden,” I replied. “Maybe I could help. I was pretty good at math in high school.”
“Thanks for the offer,” he responded; “I appreciate it, but I don’t think anyone can help with this problem set. It’s impossible; even the best students in class are bitching about it.”
“In any event, after class I headed down to the Square to have lunch,” he added. “I was thinking about Fat Boys, but finally decided you might be annoyed if I showed up like that out of the blue. So I skipped lunch.”
He was right about that. I would have been annoyed.
“To make a long story short, I got some money from the ATM so I could buy some marijuana from you,” he continued. “And then I came back here and did a bunch of things. I did that washing I mentioned and some reading and switched the pot from your backpack to mine. I skipped dinner because I didn’t want to risk running into Roger again and I was just finishing up my journal entry about last evening when you called.”
“You see. Like I told you, Sean, I live the most boring life in the world.”
“It doesn’t sound that boring to me, Holden,” I said, “but thanks for filling me in. It was interesting to hear what a typical day is like for someone in college.”
“You’re welcome,” he replied. “I don’t know how typical it was, but that was my day.”
“I guess I should be going,” I said, standing up.
“Wait;” he replied, jumping up and grabbing my arm. “You can’t leave now, Sean. You need to tell me about your day.”
“I don’t know, Holden,” I replied. “It’s getting late; how about another time?”
“I would really appreciate hearing about it now,” he said; “besides, I want to buy some marijuana from you. But, uh, I don’t know how to roll the joints and stuff like that so I would need your help to show me how.”
I hesitated momentarily, trying to decide what to do.
“And, um, I’m hungry too,” he continued, pressing his case. “We could have something to eat together. You must be hungry. There’s Qdoba, of course; that’s the closest. Pinocchio’s is further away, but I love their pizzas.”
“How about it, Sean; how about sharing a pizza with me? Like I told you, I haven’t had anything all day and now I have a craving for pizza. I could order one from Pinocchio’s; unless you prefer Otto? I would pay, of course. It’d be my treat, but I’d feel better if you shared it with me. Otherwise some of it will go to waste.”