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Coach Spencer walked up to the pastor and said hello right away. He was well aware that people were staring at him. He knew exactly why, too. He drove a vintage Camaro with dual exhaust system, in short a hot rod. He had bought the car brand new and it had served him well over the years. He had been very popular with the ladies and the guys thanks to his muscle car. It was a car that suited him well he thought, but he was nonetheless well aware of other's reactions.
"I'm sorry, Pastor," he apologized right away. "I've been meaning to get that muffler fixed, but I just never seem to have enough time in the day."
"Well, I will thank you to remember that as you carry young people in that machine, you have all the more responsibility to care for it properly," Brad's father told him. "Personally I never saw the need to use a loud flashy car to atone for my inadequacies. Perhaps it is a sign of inhibited maturity."
"Dude, did your dad just say what I think he said?" Chris whispered into Brad's ear.
"What do you think he said?" Brad returned.
"I don't know for sure, but it sounded like he just said that the coach has a little dick," Chris replied, barely containing his giggles.
"Father would never talk like that," Brad said quickly. "You must have misunderstood." The coach walked back over to where the boys were standing then.
"I've just been dissed by a preacher," the man mumbled to himself, ignoring the boys completely. "I know he did not just tell me that I drive this car to make up for having a little dick. He couldn't have meant that."
"See, I told you," Chris said with a self satisfied smirk.
"Bradley, see that your companion knows the rules of the house of God, and then show him to the young people's room for lessons tonight," the pastor called out. "Mr. Spencer, please join us in the sanctuary for God's Word."
"Well, the firing squad is upon us, lads," Coach Spencer whispered to the boys. "We knew the deals we made; now it's time for us to live up to them."
"You don't have to make it sound like we're going to get shot or something," Chris complained.
"They probably won't even make you handle the snakes on your first visit," Brad told them. Man and boy both turned on him with wide eyes. Brad burst into laughter. "You guys are so gullible," he gasped through his giggles.
"And you are so dead when you get to my class tomorrow," Coach Spencer warned. "I'll have you running laps till you puke."
"I was just kidding," Brad gasped out as he paled from fear.
"Gotcha!" The coach was laughing now. He walked away to the front entrance of the church.
"What rules do I have to know?" Chris asked Brad.
"Basically, don't have fun, don't look like you're having fun, don't sound like it, but you should act like you are," Brad replied with a tired sound to his voice.
"Aren't you little miss sunshine, Juliet?" Chris asked with a mischievous grin.
"I told you not to call me that," Brad growled.
"Well, look who's here; it's Romeo and Julio." Brad looked up to see the loudmouth kid from school standing in the youth meeting room.
"He's a member of your church?" Chris asked with disappointment.
"I guess so," Brad shrugged. "This is my first service here too."
"Does your father know what role you're playing in class?" Big Mouth asked Brad. "I'll bet he's real proud of his daughter."
"I don't have a sister," Brad corrected.
"I never said you did, Julie," the teaser laughed.
"Children, it's time for class," Brad's mom called out. "Sister Jenkins is running late tonight, so I've been asked to fill in until she arrives. I'm afraid I had no time to get a lesson prepared, so I thought we could just spend tonight getting to know one another. I'll start," she offered.
After introducing herself, she looked at her son. Brad grimaced, but stood and did his thing, followed by Chris. As they went around the room, Brad recognized most of the kids from school. Not that any of them had spoken to him other than Ronnie Tasick, the boy who had teased him about being Juliet.
As it turned out, Ronnie's father was the chairman of deacons in the church. He had also headed the committee that had approached Brad's father with the offer to move to this town. Brad couldn't help but notice that everything Ronnie was saying about himself was actually about his father. Until he got to the last statement.
"I'm playing Paris in English class," the boy said, looking directly at Brad as he did.
"Brad, that reminds me," Mom announced, much to Brad's dismay. "You haven't told me which role the teacher gave you."
"I'm one of the Montague's, Mom," Brad told her.
"That's wonderful, dear," she smiled.
"Yes, ma'am it is," Ronnie added with an obviously fake smile. "We all look forward to his performance in class tomorrow."
"Which scene are you doing tomorrow?" Mrs. Daniels asked the youngsters.
"We're doing the party scene where Romeo and Juliet first meet," Ronnie answered. "And first kiss," he added with emphasis.
"They do not," Brad denied.
"Bradley, I thought you were going to Chris' this afternoon to study," his mother confronted him.
"I did," the boy answered.
"Well, either you didn't study properly or you are lying to me on purpose then," Mom came back. "In the scene where Romeo and Juliet first meet at the party in her home, they do indeed kiss, twice in fact."
"Romeo and Julio sitting in a tree," Ronnie whispered. Brad and Chris both glared at him.
"In fact through the entire play, Romeo and Juliet kiss five times," Mrs. Daniels continued. "Juliet actually has one other kissing scene though. She has to kiss Paris after he tells her of their intended marriage."
"WHAT?!" Ronnie gasped.
"Some of us look so forward to your performance, Ronnie," Chris teased.
"Well, I'm not so sure I do," Brad thought quietly. "I don't want to kiss a jerk like Ronnie, but Chris is different." He looked over at Chris and was shocked at himself. He had just thought positively about kissing another boy. He caught Ronnie looking at him with a nasty smirk. The boy lowered his gaze from Brad's face and Brad followed Ronnie's line of sight to his own crotch, his tented crotch. "May I be excused please?" he asked his mom, but didn't wait for her answer before nearly running from the room.
Chris stared after his friend wondering what had gotten into him. He had seemed upset a couple of times over the afternoon. Maybe he was embarrassed that they hadn't gotten to the studies in time to find out about the kissing. He wanted to go after Brad, but a hand on his shoulder stopped him. Thinking it was Mrs. Daniels, he turned to face the person only to see the grinning face of Ronnie.
"That must have been some study session this afternoon," Ronnie sneered. "Your little girlfriend is still blushing from it. Of course maybe it was that hardon that he ran out of here to hide from his mommy."
"What are you talking about, Ronnie?"
"I knew you were queer, Chris," the other boy answered. "I never dreamed you would find a boyfriend in the preacher's son, though."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Chris snapped. He turned to look at Brad's mom. "I need to be excused as well, ma'am. Could you tell me which way the boy's room is?"
"I could show you," Ronnie offered. "I'll take you right to him, I mean it," he added with a grin.
"That won't be necessary, Ronald," Mrs. Daniels announced. "The rest rooms are at the end of this hall by the exit to the parking lot."
Chris ran down the hall to the men's room and burst into the room. He had hoped to find Brad, but was disappointed. He did hear sniffling coming from under the window outside, though. He rushed out of the building and found his friend sitting on the ground behind the azaleas. It looked as if Brad had been crying.
"Dude, what's the matter?" Chris asked as he slid down the wall next to Brad. "Please tell me."
"I can't tell you," Brad sobbed. "I can't tell anyone."
"Do you like me?" Chris pressed. He felt Brad tense beside him. "You do don't you? You like me more than friends."
"Yes," Brad admitted. "You can go ahead and hit me now. I deserve it. I'm sick and disgusting and evil… and…."
"You are not," Chris corrected firmly. "You are not sick or evil or disgusting. You are smart, funny, talented, and cute."
"I'm not," Brad protested. "I told you I'm not smart at…. Did you just say I'm cute?"
"It was a slip of the tongue," Chris tried to backtrack. "I didn't mean it that way. I meant…" His voice faded as he looked into Brad's face. He saw hope and something more in the face of the boy beside him, but as he kept talking it had faded and hidden. He realized that he would do anything to see it again. "Who am I kidding?" he confessed. "I did mean it that way. I think you're way beyond cute."
"You do?" Brad whispered.
"That first day I saw you, I thought you were the hottest guy I had ever seen in my life," Chris continued his confessional. "Today when we showered together at my house, I knew you were. I was so hard and so excited about being naked with you in my shower that when you brushed my butt as I was trying to get out of your way, I shot off."
"You did not!" Brad gasped. "Did you?" he asked quietly. "I made you shoot just by taking a shower with you?"
"You make me hard just by talking to me," Chris told him.
"I can't believe the cutest guy in school thinks I'm hot," Brad mumbled.
"I can't believe the hottest guy in school just called me the cutest guy in school," Chris laughed softly. "We have to be careful though. Ronnie is on to us. He said you had a boner when you ran out of the room just now."
"I did," Brad told him. "I was thinking about kissing you for the play."
"You got hard from thinking about kissing me?" Chris asked. "I wonder what would happen if we really did?" he said as he leaned closer to Brad. Their eyes met for a moment, and then in slow motion, their lips followed. It wasn't the hard passionate French kissing that guys talk about for their first. This was the timid, shaky, wet first kiss of reality.
"Oh my god," Brad whispered as they pulled away from each other.
"Wow!" Chris breathed. "That was… I never thought…. I mean I never even dreamed…."
"Me either," Brad admitted. "We'd better get back to the room before someone looks for us."
"Yeah," Chris agreed. They stood up and his eyes went straight for Brad's crotch. "Wow, did I make that?"
"Yeah," Brad blushed. "I like the one I made too," he added pointing at Chris' own tent. "We'd better get rid of these before we go back."
"You mean you want to play around some?" Chris asked him wide eyed.
"Yes, I do, but not at church," Brad smiled. "I meant we should go to the bathroom and let them go down. You said it already, we have to be careful." The two boys walked into the men's room and splashed cold water on their faces and washed their hands as a diversion until their tent poles lowered. Just as they were about to walk out of the bathroom, though, Brad smiled and said one more thing. "I think we're going to need to spend a lot more time studying our English homework from now on, Romeo."
"You know it, Jules," Chris replied. He quickly grinned at the glare from his boyfriend. "I didn't say Juliet."
"Boys, I think we need to talk," Mrs. Daniels said as they opened the door. She was standing in the hallway waiting for them. "You will both come with me now."