The Perks Of Loving You
by Camilo Mott

 

Chapter 1

“OK, Case, this is it. The final 50 Yards so go out and do your very best. Screw that, this is the most important meet of the season against Greenwich and I have to win it. But, damn it, I’m getting tired and I don’t know if I’ll have enough strength….”

ARGHH. I don’t know if I’ll have enough stamina to win this event. This is the last event of the meet and we’re tied with Greenwich. In order to stay undefeated for the 3rd year in a row, I need to finish in first place. Yeah, so there’s a lot of pressure, especially because we are up against Greenwich which is also undefeated. Just to make things worse this is at home and so the stands are packed with guys cheering. Even through the water I can hear them chanting “Hail Woolsey, Hail Woolsey, Hail Greenwich…Hell No!”

“Focus you have to win this for yourself, for the school, and to rub it in Luca’s face.” I kept on telling myself this over and over again as I headed toward the last 50 yards in the 200 Individual Medley.

As I kicked into the freestyle part of the I.M., I could feel the adrenaline rushing through my body. I have to win this. I just have to. So I started to kick even harder and to make my strokes longer and more powerful. As I swim, I can see out of the corner of my eye that I’m head to head with a kid from the next lane. Damn. This isn’t good, he is keeping up with me. He is actually as good as me – well what could one expect from another undefeated team.

As I was reaching my final turn, I knew I had to do something to get an edge; I had to make this turn fast and powerful. When I approached the wall, I placed all my strength into my legs and pushed off as fast as I could.

Yes, Fuck Yeah! I finally got an edge, small but still something. I’m working my ass off but I’m finally getting ahead of this kid. I need to go all out now that I’m on the final stretch. I began to kick and pull like there was no tomorrow. I’m going to be the one to keep our undefeated season.

My lungs are about to collapse from the lack of oxygen, my legs are burning from all the lactic acid, and my arms are about to fall off, but I can’t stop! Not till I reach that damn wall. This is by far the longest lap I have ever swum. The wall just seems like miles away. ARGHH!!! Then his face came to mind.

I know he is in the stands cheering for our team and watching my performance. I can just see the smirk of his face if I lose. Like the many times he defeated me at something or the many times I lost, an evil satisfied grin would form on his lips. He would cross his arms and stand there, just looking at me with those ice blue eyes.

NO! I will not have him look at me with that face again. I won’t give him the satisfaction to rub it in my face. I will win and prove that I’m better than him. With one final push I reached the wall and immediately took off my goggles to see the score board.

FUCK YEAH!!! Lane 4, Place 1, 1:50.09, Yeas, yeas, yeas. I did it! I got first place! I felt like I was floating. There’s nothing like the feeling of victory.

As soon as I calmed down, I turned toward the crowd and scanned it for Luca.

There he was, surrounded by all his friends and some of our communal friends, looking at me. I started pointing at him and at the scoreboard, telling him that I was better than him. I even started jumping up and down in the pool.  When I stopped and looked toward the stands our eyes met. Like always he was standing tall and composed with a certain aura of confidence that made him stand out. Damn it I hate him so much, but now it was my turn to rub it in his face by employing my own satisfied grin. My lips slowly formed into a huge grin. I could see that he knew what I was implying. He looked at me with a face of content and then a small smile crept into his expression.  With that, he turned and left the stands.

This is just like him! He never lets me see him defeated or humiliated. He always gives me that contented expression with that small smile and then leaves. Luca, you’re such an asshole! Stay here and let me rub it in your face!

“Casey, my boy! Get out of the pool so that I can give you a hug.” I was taken out of my frame of thought by Coach’s congratulatory statement, more of a scream, but Coach Ryan would never admit it. I didn’t even get a chance to get out of the pool on my own. I was yanked out by my best friend Eric and Coach. I was then given the most painful bear hugs by my coach, followed by a stampede of guys trying to grab me.

“Casey, you did it!” Mike yelled. ” ‘Cause of you we beat those soulless bastards and we’re undefeated.”

“Yeah, Case. This was your best time by far this whole season!” Eric added to the many roars and praises directed at me. What can I say, I earned it and I really enjoy it when people feed my ego. If only Luca were the one dumbfounded by my performance. I would pay anything to see him praise me and admit that I’m a damn good athlete…even better than him. But unfortunately that’ll never happen.

“Wow guys, you’re crushing me,” I finally had to say in order to get them off me.

“It wasn’t only me that swam; you guys also did your best and allowed us to win. So stop giving me all the credit, although………… if you all bow to my greatness that would also be cool,” I said with my chin held high, trying to hide the smile and the approaching laughter that would soon come.

“Yeah, right, Mr. Perfect, you’re good but not that good!” Eric said and then we all started laughing.

“Boys, let’s go shake hands and then we’ll go get changed,” Coach said trying to tone down the laughter.

So the handshake procession, as I like to call it, began. Since I was one of the captains, I had to go to the end of the line. We started to shake hands with the Greenwich kids. They were all pretty composed despite their butts being kicked by the Jesuits. It always amuses me that kids shake hands differently. Some actually give you a proper handshake and are good loser/winners, but some are just eager to get it over with as soon as possible. And that is where I get my thrills from. As soon as I see that a guy’s a quick shaker, I purposely grab his hand even tighter with a huge smile plastered over my face. The reactions I get are entertaining, especially when we’re the winners and they’re the losers. Some kids just return a weak smile, others try to pull their hand out of the shake – to no result since I only hold tighter.  And then there are my favorites. As I hold their hands they get this pissed off look and start to murmur either “asshole” or “jerk” just low enough for me to hear – music to my ears.

I admit it, I can be an asshole sometimes but I’m really a nice person. This time, I didn’t grab onto people like I usually do, no evil smile on my face this time and I congratulated the other captains. See, I am a nice person, that and the fact that the last swim took all my energy…but mostly me being a good boy, hehehe. I always feel so good after I swim. I don’t know why, but I just do.

As the procession ended, we all started to head toward the locker rooms, or at least that’s what I thought. Suddenly, my teammates grabbed me and started to lift me up.

“NOOO! Don’t even think about it!” I yelled as I soon realized what was happening.

“You know we have to so don’t try to stop us,” Eric yelled.

“You know it’s a tradition, Casey,” Coach added. Sure, even he was encouraging them.

“But guys, I’m already dry and I’m cold and the water is cold and I’ll be even colder. Please. Besides we don’t have to do it right now,” I pleaded.

“Stop being a pussy, Case, you know you have to,” Eric said, followed by Ohh’s and Ahh’s from the rest of the guys.

Splash.  That was the last thing I heard before I was thrown into the water followed by my teammates who also jumped in. They were all jumping around and laughing in excitement.

After a while in the pool horsing around, I finally asked, “So guys, what are we doing to do to celebrate?”

“Party! Party! Party!” they all chanted in unison and I had to agree since I also wanted to party.

“So where are we partying?” I asked.

“Not my house! My mom’s still pissed about the last ‘celebration’ we had,” Eric said, followed by a whole bunch of excuses from my friends: “Don’t look at me”, “My house’s too small”, “My parents are too strict”, “I got guests at home”.

“You guys are such losers. Fine, you guys can come over to my house…BUT you have to help me clean up this time. I swear if you leave like you did last time I’m going to rip you each a new asshole and I’m not kidding,” I warned them.

“Yeah, yeah we promise,” they all said.

We had enough of the pool so we headed toward the locker room. It was cold as usual – Damn Southern U for making their locker rooms so cold. It’s like you come in from a warm pool and you’re all wet and then you enter a cold room to get changed. It’s like the worst because you’re shaking and you’re putting on your underwear and you’re still wet and they stick to you and it feels weird and eww! Anyway, I digress.

So me, I just take everything off when we enter the locker room and wander butt-naked through the room. I just don’t get why the other guys don’t do the same. I mean, we all have the same equipment it’s not like they’re exposing something new for the whole group to examine. Then again, I am an exhibitionist and like to show off. Now before you make up your mind about me, I’m not some egotistic jock who’s a jerk to everyone… that’s Luca. It’s just, I’ve worked so hard for this body – those endless laps, the morning practices, the running, and the gym…. I deserve to show it off don’t you think? Hell yeah, I got a nice bod and I want everyone to see it. Life is awesome don’t you think?

“Casey, come on. Wear a towel! You could at least have some modesty,” Eric said while we were walking toward the showers.

“Eric. Modesty is for people who worry too much. There’s nothing wrong with showing what you got. Besides, if you got a nice ass like me…,” I said smacking my ass, “…then you have to show it off.”

“You’re so weird, you know that don’t you?”

“Yeah, I do and you love me for it don’t you?” I said laughing as we showered.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah enjoy your laughter while it lasts. Just wait till you’re drunk and need some guidance,” he said with an evil smirk on his face.

“You wouldn’t do that to your best friend especially after he won the meet, would you? That wouldn’t be proper, would it?” I said giggling as water fell all over my face.

“Whatever, Case.”

“Eric, you’re the only one who still calls me Case…,” I playfully said and then added, “…well you and Luca…by the way did you see the look on his face when I finished in first place! Score one for Casey!”

“Yeah, he had the same look that you had when he scored the winning goal during state hockey championship.”

“I didn’t look that bad,” I said in my defense as I attempted to get rid of the chlorine in my hair. That’s why my hair’s so shaggy. The chlorine just makes it impossible for me to comb it straight.

“You’re right, you looked worse!” he laughed. “You were twice as pissed off!”

“Whatever,” I responded.

“You know, you guys have been my best friends since pre-K and still are, even if you guys can’t stand each other. I don’t know why you hate each other so much.”

“Easy, he’s an egotistic asshole who thinks he’s better than everyone else. I have no idea why you’re still friends with him.”

“Umm… and this coming from Mr. Ego himself, ironic isn’t it?”

“What, me! I’m nothing like that jerk. I’m caring and nice,” I said sticking out my tongue at him.

“Oh please! You and him have been competing with each other ever since we started middle school. Everything you do is a competition against Luca.”

“So I’m a jerk???” I asked with hostility.

“Case, I’m not saying you’re a jerk…it’s just that…whenever you’re near Luca you turn into this competitive person just like him.”

“So! At least I’m not an asshole 24/7 like he is!”

“Case, he’s not an asshole. He’s really the same Luca. When we hang out he’s a completely different person than when he’s competing with you. He’s fun, outgoing, and has a great sense of humor. And yeah, I have lots of fun with him, just like I do with you.”

“Whatever…Ery.”

“Ery? You haven’t called me that in years.”

“Well since you’re all ‘Oh let’s remember the good times’ I thought I might remind you of it.”

“Yeah…those were some good times. I remember when we met on the playground and we gave each other nicknames. You called Lucas Luca ‘cause you liked the name so much. Then Luca called you Case and for some reason you wanted everyone to call you Case from then on. Then you assholes decided to call me Ery. Ery! It doesn’t even sound like Eric.”

“Well you were so cute that we had to give you a cute nickname.”

“Shut up, you jerk. By the way, did you ask your mom for permission yet?”

“Permission for what?”

“To have a party.”

“Oh that, no, not yet, but she’ll say yes so that’s not a problem.”

“Your mom is so chilled. My mom would have a heart attack if I told her that we were having a party without asking for permission.”

“I know, you’ve told me that a hundred times already.”

By the time our conversation was over, we were finished showering and dressing. Even the horrible task of putting on underwear was done. So I took out my phone and started dialing my mom.

“Hello?” she answered.

“Hello, pretty lady.”

“Oh hi, Love, how was the meet? I assume you won.”

“Of course, Mom. It came to the last race and I won it for the team,” I enthusiastically said.

“Well that’s good. Now what are you doing to celebrate?”

“I was thinking about having a small get together at home,” I said trying to be coy.

“Well, well mister, I assume you have already told all your friends that you’re having a party and that your mom was o.k. with it.”

“No, Helen. I would never do something like that.”

“Love, I know you like the back of my hand. And yes you can have the party.”

“Thanks, Mom, you’re awesome. It’ll be a small party I promise and it won’t get that wild.”

“Casey, you know I give you a lot of freedom ‘cause I trust in you. BUT I’m still your mother so I have to warn you about stuff. So bear with me and listen. There’s some alcohol in the basement if you guys are going to drink. I would rather provide the alcohol than have some kid bring in cheap alcohol. Do you understand, Love?”

“Yes, Helen.”

“Next, now there’s a pack of condoms in the downstairs’ bathroom. Just remember if you’re going to stick your dick into something make sure it’s covered.”

“Mom, I get it, you don’t have to tell me all of this.”

“Love, stop being ashamed of it. It’s just sex, get over it. Besides, make sure that all your friends use a condom too… especially if you invite those girls from Lyle Hall. I don’t want to have to deal with angry parents.”

“Mom, we’re having a small party not an orgy.”

“Okay Love, I won’t be home for your party because some of the girls and me are going dancing and guess who’s coming along with me, Jim from accounting. The cute blond who kept giving me those sexy looks.”

“Mom, you don’t have to tell me all of this.”

“Of course I do. You’re my best friend, besides your mother is a beautiful woman even at 38.” I had to give it to her, she was still extremely beautiful and looked youthful like she was twenty-something.

“Love, if something happens to me remember that I was with Jim from accounting, the one with the blond hair, blue eyes, and tight ass.”

“Okay, Mom, but nothing is going to happen to you and if he does something to you, he’s going to regret it.”

“Okay, bye Casey, I love you very much and be sure to invite Lucas to your party…Ciao.” And then she hung up on me.

I swear she has this weird obsession over Luca. She’s always asking me where he is, if we’re still close friends, if we’re talking to each other. I always tell her that I hate him and that he’s no longer my friend, but to no avail.  It only makes things worse because she’ll continue praising him.

After I was finished with my phone call, I went over to my car, my baby, a black Z4 BMW convertible. I know you’re thinking that I’m a spoiled brat, but this is the only luxury that I have, that and not having to pay the insurance. It was a gift from my father for my 16th birthday. I was so happy about it that I couldn’t even breathe. Whoever said that you can’t buy happiness was wrong. At that moment I was thrilled and so happy. I really do love my dad even past all his short comings and even though he was never there for me nor is he now and …because he got me a new BMW.

So I got into my car and turned it on. I never get tired of hearing the motor roar as I start it. I backed away from the parking lot and started to drive home to get everything ready. I was driving silently – a rare occasion for me. When I drive I like to listen to music and sing along and bob my head to the rhythm. I have a different taste in music than most of my friends. Instead of listening to Dave Matthews, I like to listen to reggae, pop sometimes, reggaeton, R&B and Jazz when I’m relaxed and content. Weird isn’t it? People are amused when they see a blond guy with shagged hair driving a BMW convertible with reggae booming through the speakers.

Damn it, I’m getting distracted again. So I was driving silently and I started to think about my life in general and school and stuff…and even Luca. Oh boy! So here is the beef on Casey Lock.

As I should have mentioned earlier, my name is Casey Lock and I’m 17 years old. I have honey-hazel eyes, blond shagged but short hair, 6 feet tall, 160 lbs and all muscle, hehehe. People say that I look like a surfer because I have a tan, but I don’t even know how to surf. I live with my mother, Helen Lock, in a house in Fairfield, CT. As you might have already figured out, I attend Woolsey College Preparatory School founded by the Jesuits in 1942. I have to tell you more about Prep ‘cause I just love that school.

Okay, so Woolsey Prep is an all-boys school inside of Southern University. To me, it looks like a small castle inside of a college campus. The buildings were built using a gothic style so they look like castles and they even have stained-glass windows. The students come from all over southwestern Connecticut and neighboring New York. So it’s not like a normal high school where everyone lives close to each other. Also, it’s not normal because there aren’t any girls to distract us or cause drama. There’s no gossip or cat-fights or any of that stuff. This may sound corny, but we treat each other like we’re brothers and there’s a communal feeling at Prep. To me it’s not High School; it’s like hanging out with your friends and learning stuff. Okay so some of my friends might not agree with my idealized view of Prep, but you know what, that’s how I see it.

So Prep is part of Southern U. and because of that we have access to all of the campus. Because of this, there are always things to do after school like sports and clubs. As you already know I swim, but I also play soccer and Lax, but I’m not a Lax Bro, well maybe just a little. And now for the mysterious Luca…Lucas St. Knit to be precise.

Well, he drives me nuts and everything he does makes me either angry or jealous. We both attend Prep, just like most of my friends. I compete against him in everything imaginable– school, sports, eating, walking, staring…you name it. If he’s near me, you can bet we’re competing against each other. We have been competing with each other ever since middle school and I won’t stop till he admits that I’m better than him. People say that we’re pretty much equals, but that’s just bullshit. Sure Luca may be really handsome and smart and charming and confident…but he’s still Luca.

I must admit, he’s pretty cute. Arghhh. He’s about the same height as me. He has perfectly smooth dark brown hair which sharply contrasts with his icy blue eyes making them seem like two moons. Okay, so he looks like a model with his chiseled chin and defined facial features. On top of that, he plays hockey and baseball and rugby, giving him that perfect chiseled yet smooth body. Sigh. And he’s agile too, I actually have to put out a good amount of effort to keep up with him.

To add insult to injury, he’s like one of the smartest kids at school. I have to actually study my ass off just to be in the same level. I swear sometimes I just feel like giving up this whole competition especially when it comes to literature. I hate English with a passion and yet Luca seems to fly by it without even breaking a sweat; it’s like he gets all the stuff the first time through. Damn it! I have to re-read a poem at least three times before I get it. I’m even being secretly tutored by Eric so that I can pretend to know what I’m doing. Sigh. I really do hate him for making me work so hard.

Now back to the whole incident with Luca during the meet. Luca and I have this thing where we have to prove that we’re the best and most valuable athlete at Prep. So by winning the meet, I proved that I’m more valuable than him and thus the most valuable player at Prep. Logical, isn’t it?

So I arrived home to get everything ready. I removed some of the fragile stuff, hid some embarrassing stuff, got out the booze, typical party stuff. I got the living room ready and I stopped and looked at the corner of the room. There was a tall table holding some picture frames of my family and friends. I gave a cursory glance over them, but my eyes stopped when I reached the picture of David. God, I miss him so much. I was interrupted by knocks on my front door. I open the door to see my first guest. People started to slowly arrive at first and then after about an hour my house was packed with people all having fun. I was wandering around greeting people and making sure there was enough food.

“Casey!!!” Suddenly someone came running towards me at full force with their arms wide open and jumped into my arms. I couldn’t tell who it was until she was wrapped around me.

“Mel!!” I said excitedly as I returned her hug and twirled her around. “You made it.”

“I couldn’t miss hanging out with my best friend could I?”

“Yeah…I guess not,” I said giggling

“Well aren’t we happy today? Wait, scratch that, you’re always happy,” she laughed

“I’m just glad we’re still undefeated,” I said and then added, “By the way, how did you get here?”

“Luca drove me. He should be around here, you should go and say hi.”

“Why would I do that?”

“Because you’ve known each other for more than ten twelve years and he’s your guest.”

“Well, I didn’t invite him,” I said quietly

“Whatever. Just go and say hi and then come back we have lots to do.”

“Okay,” I said and then left to look for Luca. I found him surrounded by a group of giggling girls and some of our communal friends.

“Look it’s Casey,” one of them said. Now I actually have to say hi. Sigh.

“Hey guys,” I said as I looked at Luca.

They all responded with “hi” or “hey”…all except Luca who smiled and said, “Hello, Case. Very nice party you have here.”

“I try my best,” I responded and moved away from him and headed back to Mel.

“How did it go?” she asked.

“Okay….so what are we doing?”

“Drinking, dancing, and more drinking of course.” She said and pulled me toward the middle of the room. We started to dance and move around through the crowd. This is why I love her so much. She knows how to enjoy herself so I can go all out and not worry about the other person not enjoying it. After a few songs I told her I had to go and check things out.

For a party, everything was going pretty good. The alcohol was already half gone, people were making out, the condom box was no longer full, and the music was good. Everything was going smooth until I saw Mike.

He was in a corner rolling joints for himself and some kids that I didn’t know that well. He was using one of the portrait frames from a nearby table to roll out the joints. He had no regard for the picture frame and for what it meant to me. For him it was just something to help him get high. Out of all the picture frames available, he had to choose the one that contained the picture of David. When I saw weed covering David’s face I just completely lost it.

“WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?” I roared at the top of my lungs, causing everyone to stare in my direction. I quickly grabbed Mike by his shirt and slammed him against the wall.

“You piece of shit, how dare you bring that into my house!” I yelled as I confronted him face-to-face.

“Dude, relax it’s just a little bit of weed,” he said, trying to get me to relax but I was far gone. I lifted him from the wall and shoved him to the floor.

“Get the fuck out of my house NOW. I don’t ever want to see your face ever again. Don’t talk to me, don’t look at me, don’t even mention my name. To me, you no longer exist. NOW GET THE FUCK OUT!” I screamed.

“Dude, what’s your problem?” he said with a tone of hostility. What the fuck was my problem? When I heard that, I just saw red and launched forward. I swear I was about to rip this kid to shreds. I was going to make him regret ever coming. I could see the fear in his eyes as I launched forward, but something stopped me halfway. It was Luca.

He was holding me back. He had his arms around me as he tightly grabbed me and pushed me back. I squirmed and pushed trying to break his hold. The more I struggled the tighter he hugged me.

“Let me go, Luca!” I screamed still trying to escape; however, he simply answered “No” in a small calming whisper. He then called Eric and Mel over.

“Eric, hold him down while I solve this. Mel, try to put some reason into his head,” he said calmingly and then looked at Mike and his friends.

“Come with me NOW!” he told them in an assertive tone and they followed him immediately as he left the house.

Eric held me until I started to calm down while Mel told me that they were gone and that everything was okay. As I started to calm down, Eric released me and stood up to make an announcement to the people who were still at the party.

“Guys, could you please go home now? Casey isn’t feeling good so can you guys go home? Don’t worry about him, he’ll be fine, so just go home and we’ll talk about this some other day,” he said and then helped me upstairs to my room. When we reached my room, I flopped onto the bed exhausted.

“Casey, are you okay?” Mel asked

Sigh.   “…Yeah, I’m okay,” I said looking at the ceiling.

“What was that all about?” Mel asked

“Nothing, just some emotions coming to the surface that’s all. Besides you know I don’t like drugs,” I said still looking at the ceiling.

“Some emotions! Casey! You completely lost it! You could have just asked him to leave or to get rid of it like you usually do. Not jump him!” Eric said sounding skeptical.

“I’m sorry, okay?  It’s never going to happen again. I’m fine guys. You don’t have to worry about me,” I said trying to defend myself.

“Of course we’re worried about you. We’re your friends and we care about you. Is there something going on?” Mel said in a pleading voice.

“I’m fine guys.” I said. “It’s just that he was using a photo frame to roll joints and I didn’t like it. So I over reacted.”

“What picture frame?” Eric asked

I sat up on the edge of the bed and then looked at my feet. “Umm…it was the picture of…David,” I whispered just loud enough for them to hear.

They were all silent as I continued to look at the floor. Then we heard a knock on the door and Luca came in.

“Guys, everyone’s gone and the place is cleaned up,” he said

“Thanks, Lucas,” Mel said. “We were too busy to make sure they were gone.”

I raised my stare and looked him in the eyes. “Um…th…thanks,” I softly said while looking into his eyes.

“No problem,” he quietly said and then kept looking at me with a concerned look on his face. It was like his eyes could penetrate my soul and see what had happened.

“Lucas, you can go without me. I’m sleeping over,” Mel said interrupting our stare.

“Okay…bye guys,” he said and then left.

“I’ll go now since we have everything cleared up,” Eric said as he stood up from his seat.

“Case, remember that I’m here for you if you need to talk,” he said giving me a goodbye hug.

“Thanks, Eric,” I said and he left.

“Mel, could you go downstairs and check that all the windows and doors are closed?” I said, trying to change the subject.

“Okay, I’ll be right back,” she said and headed downstairs.

When she was finally gone, I went into my bathroom and looked into the mirror.

“Okay, that was just a burst of emotion, no biggie. It won’t happen again so relax. It’s in the past now so there’s no need to worry about it. Just continue to be yourself and have fun with Mel..,” I said to myself and then washed my face with cold water. I left the room and realized that I had to change my clothes since they reeked of sweat and alcohol. Mel came in and told me that everything was closed.

“I really do know how to end a party don’t I?” I said, laughing and giggling as I started to strip in front of Mel.

“Yeah! You should have seen the look on that kid’s face. It was priceless. I kind of feel sorry for him, though,” she said.

“Why?” I asked as I removed my shirt.

“You’re going to give him the silent treatment.”

“The silent treatment? Since when do I have a silent treatment?” I asked puzzled.

“You know what I mean, Casey. You’re going to ignore him forever. He’ll never be your friend, you’ll never acknowledge his presence ever again and because of that neither will most kids. Kind of feel sorry for him.”

“Oh stop it, Mel. It’s not like a death sentence. He’s not my friend anymore so what, he still has lots of friends. You know I’ll never talk bad about him,” I said as I removed my boxers.

I started to jump up and down to loosen up and then I started to do some stretches.

“You do know that I’m still in the room,” she said.

“You also want to strip and stretch?” I said with a grin.

“Modest much?”

“What’s there to be modest about? You’ve already seen me naked like a thousand times plus we’ve had sex a whole bunch of times. So what’s the big deal?” I said nonchalantly.

“You really are something,” she said while laughing and started to strip as well. “So what are we doing tonight?”

“I don’t know. We can watch a movie and cuddle together on the couch or something.”

“Cuddling with Casey Lock, my favorite hobby,” she said while smiling.

I grabbed a t-shirt and a pair of shorts from my closet and put them on.

“What am I going to wear?” she asked

“I thought you were going au naturel,” I said and then she threw a pillow at me.

“Just give me one of your t-shirts,” she said and I had to give her one of my undershirts.

We went downstairs where we put on a mystery movie and sat down on the couch. I stayed seated while she laid her head on my lap. I stroked her hair while we watched the movie.

“You know you should probably thank Luca for all he did,” she said without taking her eyes off the screen.

Sigh. “I know,” I quietly said.

“I don’t know why you guys hate each other so much. You’re both pretty similar in my opinion,” she said still looking at the TV screen.

“We’re not that similar!” I quickly added. “Besides how would you know?”

She giggled and then said, “‘Cause I’ve known the two of you all my life and I dated both of you.”

“Right, you dated him. That most have been awful. How long did it last?” I said trying to fake disgust; however, for some reason I felt a little bit jealous.

“Shut up, I dated you for one long and painful year,” she said finally taking her eyes off the screen and looking at me. “I’m sure you remember. I dated him for about four months after we broke up and during those four months you kept on begging me to dump him,” she added and then returned her gaze to the TV screen.

“So, who was better in bed? Me or Luca?” I plainly asked still looking at the TV screen.

She turned around, looked at me and then grabbed a throw pillow and threw it at me.

“What was that for?” I asked trying to be surprised.

“Only you would ask that,” she said and then turned toward the TV again.

After a few minutes she turned and looked at me.

“Casey, can I tell you the truth?” she asked in a low worried voice.

“Yeah Mel, you know you can tell me anything.”

“That was the reason I broke up with you.”

“What reason? … you broke up with me because the sex was…bad?” I asked still in shock.

“No Casey, the sex was really great and I enjoyed it, but there was something missing.”

“Missing?”

“Yeah. When we had sex it was amazing, but you didn’t seem to be one hundred percent into it. You lacked passion and forceful lust. It was really beautiful for me because you were always gentle and really cared for me, but… you didn’t genuinely desire me. It was the same with kissing, you enjoyed it but it wasn’t something that would drive you crazy with pleasure. To tell you the truth, I actually didn’t see you as my boyfriend as much as I saw you as brother or best friend. That’s why I wanted to break up. I wanted you as my best friend rather than my boyfriend.”

There was a pause while I thought about it. I guess she’s right. I never did feel an immense passion for her or for any girl. The sex was good but I didn’t experience that passion that people talk about. I’ve always thought that it was because I was young and I wasn’t in love. This is just too confusing. Oh boy. I’ll just bury this little thought. It’s not important now.

“I guess you’re right. I see you more as a sister than as a girlfriend,” I finally said.

“Thanks Casey, for understanding and not freaking out,” she said.  “Can I tell you something else?”

“Yeah,” I replied curious to know what else she had to say.

“But you’ll never tell anyone, right, especially Luca?”

“Luca??? What does he have to do with this?”

“You promise?”

“Sure. I won’t tell anyone I promise.”

“After we broke up, I wanted to look for someone that desired me – no offense, Casey. And so I started to date Lucas.”

“You’re telling me that Luca gave you what I couldn’t!” I looked at her with amazement.

“Not exactly,” she shook her head.

“What do you mean?”

“Dating Lucas was like dating you all over again.”

“Like me?” I said, thinking that this was just too weird.

“Yeah… I felt the same sensation with him as with you. When we were having sex, he was great in bed, but he also lacked that desire.”

We both remained quiet for a few minutes until Mel spoke up. “Do you see why I say that you’re both very similar?”

I didn’t say anything and we continued to watch the movie. I tried to focus on it but my mind kept going back to what Mel said. She said that Luca lacked that same desire. I don’t get what she means. Does she mean that he wasn’t in love like me or was he just not into her? Sigh. Thinking only makes things worst. I should just forget about it. As they say, water under the bridge.

When the movie was over, we both got up and went into the kitchen for a snack.

“What do you want to eat, Mel?” I asked

“Anything’s fine with me.”

“Pop Tarts it is!”

“Pop Tarts? Casey it’s one in the morning.”

“You said that anything was fine.”

“Do you at least have some Toaster Strudel instead of this stuff?” she said pointing at the box of Pop Tarts.

“What’s wrong with them?” I asked as I took the milk out of the fridge.

“They’re cold and stale.”

“That’s what the toaster is for.”

“That only makes it worst.”

“Mel, stop being so picky. We’re having Pop Tarts and that’s final.”

“Fine,” she said and stuck her tongue out at me.

I just laughed at her expression. She looked so cute with a pouty face. She really is a beautiful girl. She has soft peach skin with strawberry hair. Her hazel eyes are framed by a beautiful face whose soft complexion makes her look innocent. From her appearance you would think that she was delicate and sweet as a flower and not the girl I’ve come to know.

A few minutes after she agreed to eat them, we heard the door open and heard my mom. After saying goodbye to her friends she came into the kitchen.

“Hi Love…and hi Melissa,” she said

“Hi, Helen.”

“How are you?”

“I’m well, thanks. How are you?”

“I’m wiped out from all that dancing and partying,” she said and Mel giggled. “Are you staying over Mel?”

“Yes, I’m keeping Casey company for the night.”

My mom stopped what she was doing and then looked at me. “What happened Casey?” She always knew when something was wrong.

“Nothing important, Mom. We had an unwelcomed guest and we kicked him out. Trust me, nothing to worry about,” I reassured her.

“Okay, Love, if you need to talk I’m all ears,” she said with a concerned look on her face and then returned to what she was doing.

“You and Melissa have a good time and remember to use protection,” my mom said as she was taking out a carton of orange juice.

Mel turned a bright shade of red when she heard my mother’s comment and I laughed a little and then said, “Mom, not that kind of company.”

“Okay, Love.” She smiled.

After we finished eating we said our good nights and Mel and I went into my room. After I closed the door, I started laughing.

“What’s so funny?” she asked.

“You should’ve seen your face. You were as red as a tomato.”

“Shut up. I was just caught off guard by your mom. I forgot she was this direct.”

‘Well, what other conclusion could she come up with?  I mean, two teenagers spending the night together in the same bed.”

“Oh God. If my mom knew that we were sleeping in the same bed she would freak out.”

“Don’t worry, my mom won’t tell her. Besides, you’re safe with me. The worst thing I could do is cuddle you to death,” I said while lifting the comforter for her.

“That would be some death,” she giggled as she got into bed with me.

“Thank you Mel, for being so honest with me,” I told her.

“Thank you too for allowing me to talk to you honestly.”

I hugged her and then whispered, “You know what. This is probably better than us being a couple. Thank you for being in my life, Mel. I really do love you.”

“I love you too Casey, now let me get some beauty sleep,” she whispered back.

“Goodnight, Mel.”

“Goodnight, Casey.”

 

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