Rough Edges

Chapter Six: Best Friends

Welcome back. In this chapter, Phil finds out how special having a best friend can be. As far as Andy is concerned, Phil can do no wrong. The two boys learn what loyalty and love among friends is about.

I love to hear from my readers. Write me at

[Phil Miller]

The bus pulled away from Mayfield High School right when we said it would. Larry loves it when things go as planned, but he also has the wherewithal to deal with things when those plans go awry. Larry and his assistant, Coach Hart, sat together in the front seat on the right side of the bus, while I had a seat to myself on the left side.

I was an assistant in a sense; I coached the summer league team and helped out during the school season when I could, but Coach Hart taught at the high school, coached the junior varsity, and was an integral part of the school baseball program.

The atmosphere on the bus was one of confidence. The Mayfield baseball program, with two consecutive state championships a couple of years ago, as well as three other post season teams in Larry’s five years at the helm, was becoming one of the most respected small school baseball programs in the state. Larry had brought it from the brink of disaster when two head coaches were fired in the same year, one of them before he’d even coached a single varsity game.

The first coach to go was Coach Collins, who lost his coaching job (but not his teaching job) because of his misappropriating funds acquired from boosters and local businesses who purchased advertising on the outfield fence. Coach Gardner was let go when he was caught by the principal and the athletic director sitting at his desk with his penis in the mouth of a sophomore girl.

Things were pretty low when Larry found himself promoted from the middle school JV coach to the high school varsity coach. Coach Collins had many good ol’ boy friends in town who wanted to see Larry fail. There were also those who wanted to see him fail because he was openly gay. His first season found him dealing with senior rebellion and a lot of other negativity. But, for the most part, the community was behind him. Those in the know, like Seth McCall, Nick and Noah’s father, George Bednarzyk, and other community leader, were staunch supporters, which was a big boost to his program.

It didn’t hurt that he had an exceptional group of freshmen when he took over. That group, led by Noah, Eric Simmons, the Corcoran twins, as well as some exceptional sophomores, had as much or more to do with the success of Mayfield Mustang baseball than any adult. When they were in the sixth grade that freshman group had decided they were good enough to win two straight state championships by the time they got to high school and vowed to do whatever it took to do it. Their story is too long to relate here, but suffice it to say they fulfilled that dream with a combination of talent, hard work, a smidgen of luck, along with poise and maturity beyond their years. Larry loved that group and always will. The feeling is mutual.

The year before I met Larry I learned some things about myself and about being a friend. I’d never had to be a friend to anyone. I’d rather punch someone out and show how tough I was than do what was needed to be a friend. Knowing Andy helped mellow me out some, but it also had the effect in the end of making me angrier with the world than I had been before I became friends with Andy, and it was Larry who took the brunt of that anger through no fault of his own.

But all of that was a year away. Right now, I wanted to have Andy as my friend and was willing to do anything to make that happen. I’d spent one afternoon and evening at his house, and on Friday I’d be spending the night with him.

I’d never spent the night at a friend’s house, but that was probably true of a lot of ten-year-olds; we were just getting to the age where overnights would become a big part of growing up. I was excited and Troy noticed it.

“It’s an overnight, bro, everybody does it,” Troy said.

“Well, I’ve never done it. You were, like, eleven when you did your first one, right?”

“Yeah, I went on a friend’s eleventh birthday. There were four of us there. It was about us going crazy and driving his mother nuts.”

“Andy and I aren’t gonna go crazy.”

“Not like we did. We weren’t bad or nothing, but we stayed up late and were pretty noisy.”

“Keegan never did overnights until last year,” I noted.

“That’s because Keegan is an asshole half the time and nobody likes him. Besides, now he goes to places where he can get drunk and stoned and wasted on drugs. It sure isn’t because he’s staying with friends.”

“You went to parties and got drunk.”

“I don’t now. I’ve been with my friends from football who follow the rules like me and don’t drink and use drugs.”

“I’m never going to do any of that,” I said.

“You’ve had some beers with me and Keegan, and even a couple with dad.”

“That’s because you’re my family, I’m not going to go out and do shit like Keegan does or you did.”

“I hope you’re right bro…I hope you’re right.”

That night, I didn’t even bother getting into my own bed. I got naked and went into Troy’s bed instead. I needed to cuddle up to my big brother and talk with him some more.

But, before cuddling and talking there was sexing. I gave my big brother the best blow job I could. His cock was growing fast and I had difficulty getting my mouth around it. I could maybe handle half of its length. But, I knew enough to fondle his balls and jerk him off while I sucked him. I was also good at taking and swallowing his thickening young teen cum.

“You give better BJs than any girl I know, bro. Thanks, that was great. Give me a couple of minutes and I’ll return the favor.”

“Okay, but I need to talk to you,” I said, as if talking to my brother was more important than having him get me off. At ten years old it probably was. I tried to relax as he changed positions and placed my dick in his mouth. The sex between my brother and me was all about getting off; we weren’t much for foreplay.

Of course, having my little cock in my brother’s hot wet mouth relaxed me in a hurry. With a little extra effort he was able to get my cock and my balls into his mouth at the same time. I loved it when he did that—it felt so fucking good. It felt even better when he reached under me, placing his index finger against my grommet. I let out a long moan, my high-pitched voice almost squeaking at the end.

“Feels good, huh little bro?” Troy asked.

“You’ve never done that to me before,” I said, referring to his rubbing my asshole.

“I did it to Keegan a couple of times, but he didn’t like it.” I didn’t understand how he couldn’t like the feeling I was getting from my brother’s finger.

It didn’t last long because I quickly shuddered, squeaked, shoved my cocklet into my brother’s mouth as deeply as I could, and had a very intense dry cum. After a minute or so, Troy removed my cock from his mouth, a line of saliva stretching from his mouth to my crotch.

“Having sex with you almost makes me wish I was gay…almost,” he said with a laugh.

“We were having sex?” I asked somewhat naively. “I thought we were just messing around.”

Troy laughed out loud and ruffled my hair. “Oh man, I love you little bro.”

“You used to be mean to me.”

“I know, but being mean to you made you tough. You’re a real demon when you’re pissed off. I can be mean to you again if you piss me off.”

“Can I ask you something now?”

“Go for it.”

“Is there a way to wash my underpants so they look really white?”

Troy laughed again. “Shit, bro, what brought that up?”

“I saw Andy in his underpants and his are all white. They looked like they were new or something, but I knew they weren’t.”

“And you’re worried when you get undressed for bed you’re gonna be embarrassed because yours are grayish.”

“Uh huh.”

“I guess you could wash them and pour a gallon of bleach in, but I don’t know if that would work. Hell, bro, just wear a pair of boxers.”

“I don’t like boxers.”

“So, like them for the weekend.”

“I don’t got any clean ones.”

“So wash them. You were all set to wash your briefs, so wash your boxers.”

“You’re mean.”

Troy laughed at me, but it didn’t take long for him to laugh with me instead. In my mind, my older brother was the greatest brother in the world. I look back at him now and am still amazed as to how our relationship changed. But there was more to it than just the relationship between us. Somewhere as we grew up he quit being an asshole, which was not an easy thing when you were living with our dad and with Keegan.

We slept together that night, his strong teen body tight to mine, his arm draped around me. With all of the anger I had inside of me at times, I am forever grateful that I had Troy as my brother. He was one of many people who influenced me through tough times and we continue to have a great relationship.

I came up with my own solution to the underwear problem. I raided my piggy bank and rode my bike to Target where I bought a package of brand new glossy white Fruit of the Looms. Why I had an aversion to boxers at that time is long gone from my memory. For the most part I am now a boxer briefs guy, but I wear every manner of underpants depending on my mood and what I have planned for the day.

Andy and I shared our excitement for our overnight every day at school right up to Friday dismissal. I had everything I needed packed in my gym bag, leaving room for my books and school stuff in my backpack. We literally skipped all of the way to Andy’s house without being bothered by any punks. I think word had gotten out that I was more than willing to kick the crap out of anybody who bothered me or Andy.

We changed out of our school clothes, graduating from jeans to sweats. We made sure to look at each other dressed in just our underpants, but we maintained the image of dressing as we did so. We didn’t mess around after arriving at Andy’s house. Games and TV amused us until his mother came home from work. By silent agreement, we were both willing to save the naughty part of the visit until nighttime.

Andy’s mother had to calm us down more than once; we were quite the pair of antsy, giggling boys anticipating something strange and naughty with each other. I know from experience that had we been a pair of thirteen-year-olds, our behavior would have been much different. There would have been a sophistication about us, albeit a rather crude sophistication, that we didn’t have as ten-year-olds. At age thirteen we would have known we’d be engaging in sex, while at age ten we were going to mess around with our new found toys.

We finally said good-night to Andy’s mother and retired to Andy’s bedroom. I had a boner that was so hard it felt like it would burst if I didn’t remove it from my briefs. I was almost wishing I’d heeded Troy’s advice and worn boxers. But, I had also felt a momentary flash of pride when Andy and I had changed into our sweats and I knew he’d seen me in my new Fruits, their flashy whiteness outshining Andy’s briefs.

We were both nervous and embarrassed. This was almost like being on a first date. On the one hand, we were full of lustful feelings beyond what we’ve ever felt before. We knew what we wanted to do now; we’d wanted to do it since we set up this overnight. But, we were too young, naïve, and inexperienced to know how to go about doing it. Andy was accustomed to being shy, but I wasn’t, so I was probably even more uncomfortable than he was.

I finally decided to take charge, or who knows how long we might have stood in his room looking at each other and giggling like a couple of girls. I yanked off my sweats, happy that I had nothing to be embarrassed about in the underwear department; nor in the cock department, for that matter. My boner was pushing out my new pair of briefs.

I could see Andy’s little boner tenting his briefs, at least until his hand started tugging on it. I knew my dick grew to three inches hard; I estimated Andy’s to be maybe two inches. We looked at each other, tugging on our cocks, knowing exactly where this was going, but wondering how to get the final phase started.

It was just a few days ago that I had offered to suck Andy’s cock and show him the pleasure he could get from it. I wanted him to know why the bullies had turned him into their slave. I wanted him to know that getting sucked to an orgasm felt really good. Carlos and his cronies were assholes and worse, but in my own muddled ten-year-old way I wanted Andy to know that a blow job could be a good thing.

“Do you remember what I said the other day when I was here?” I asked.

“Yep.” Andy gave me a nervous grin.

“Do you still want to do it?” Andy nodded. “Who’s getting naked first?”

Andy’s answer to that question was to yank off his briefs, revealing his beautiful pink dick, his smooth, tight balls, and his naked body that affected me in ways I didn’t understand at the time. I followed Andy’s lead and shed my briefs, tossing them across the room. We giggled anxiously as we surveyed each other’s naked bodies and checked out the rock hard evidence of our lust.

“Sit on the edge of your bed,” I instructed. He did so and then spread his legs when I gave him his next instruction. I got on my knees and placed myself between his smooth, thin legs.

His cock looked different from Troy’s or Keegan’s. I don’t mean because it was smaller and less mature; the difference was more one of perception. It was not the cock of one of my brothers—it was the cock of my first ever best friend. I was literally drooling at the thought of having it in my mouth.

I sidled a bit closer to Andy and cupped his balls with my left hand. He let out a little squeak and half-closed his eyes. I ran my index finger up his little shaft, causing him to emit another squeaky groan.

“Are you ready?” I croaked.

“It feels so awesomely good,” was all he could say.

I took a deep breath. I knew, instinctively, that as soon as I placed his cock into my mouth things between us would be much different. I didn’t know how things would change, just that they would. I licked his shaft like Troy often did to me. He shook and moaned. I licked the head of his cocklet and he grabbed my head. “That feels so good,” he said. I can still hear the timbre of that erotic little boy whisper.

His cock slid into my mouth like it was meant to be there. “Oh, fuck, Phil, oh, fuuuuuuuuck.” I knew right then that I had him. I knew I had put him into boy heaven. I knew we were connected in more ways than between his cock and my mouth.

It was time to take him even deeper into his feelings. I started sucking and licking and licking and sucking. I loved his cock in my mouth as much as he loved having it in there. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was a little gay boy doing what comes naturally. At the time I thought I was like Troy, a regular boy who had learned how much fun messing around with another guy could be.

Andy moaned and I sucked. Andy groaned and I licked. Andy shook and I took him down to his smooth, totally hairless pubic area. I sucked him and rubbed his balls and he pushed his hips up, held my head tighter, and tried to shove his cock right through my head as he experienced his first orgasm—dry, intense, and unforgettable.

Remembering how sensitive Troy and Keegan were after cumming, I eased back and let his still hard cock slip from my mouth. I could hear his raspy breaths as he recovered from his experience.

“That was so amazingly awesome. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

I eased him back so he was supine on the bed, his legs still hanging from the side. I got on top of him and slid my cock between his legs. I started fucking between his legs, so turned on by what I’d done that I had my own dry orgasm within seconds. I had learned the difference between sex and messing around, even if I didn’t know how to attach the terminology to the actions and emotions. I knew that while messing around with my brother, Troy, was great, doing what I’d done with Andy had sent me right to boy heaven along with my friend.

I still remember that orgasm. It was amazing, my cock between his sweaty legs, rubbing on his soft skin, sending me over the top. I had a major boy crush on my best friend, Andy. Was I in love with him? Maybe, but not in the way I’d fall in love with another boy. But right then there was no way I could ever get enough of Andy.

We became best friends and little lovers. We seemed to always be together. My behavior in school improved as my grades shot up. Mr. Snyder told my parents that he always knew I was capable of doing well and was pleased I was finally working up to my potential.

I almost got into trouble in late November when Skyler, who wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, accosted Andy on a day I stayed after school for being late to class after lunch. I said my behavior got better, not that it was perfect. I had chased down one of our class’s playground balls when nobody else would, so at least my intentions were good. I took my ten-minute punishment with good grace when a couple of weeks before I would have screamed about the unfairness of it all. I knew Andy would be waiting for me after I was dismissed.

When I went out of the front door I was elated to see Andy waiting on the lawn, but quickly became angered when I saw Skyler standing next to him. Andy looked a little shook.

“What the fuck are you doing, Skyler?” I asked. Troy and Keegan had been my mentors in the art of cussing.

“Nothin’, just talking to your girlfriend. There’s no law against talking, right Andy?” Skyler had been held back a grade and the difference in maturity between Skyler and us was apparent.

“What was he saying to you?” I asked Andy, although I had a pretty good idea.

Andy was petrified with fear and said nothing.

“See, I told you I didn’t say nothin’,” Skyler sneered. “You said I couldn’t say something to him.”

Whether he said something or said nothing, it made no difference to me. He was bugging my best friend, so I did what I threatened to do and socked him right in the kisser. Like I said, I’d learned from my early fights with Troy and Keegan to hit first and ask questions later.

Skyler crumbled to the lawn. “Fucker!” he screamed.

“I told you to fucking leave Andy alone and I meant it.” Other than some minor incidents, that altercation ended the tormenting of Andy and my fights with the trio of bullies.

As I walked Andy home, he told me that Skyler had threatened to beat him up unless he agreed to give him a blow job sometime in the future. It really made me mad that somebody like Skyler could turn something as fun as sex into something dirty, especially with somebody as awesome as Andy. I was ready to go find him and punch him a few more times.

When we got to Andy’s house, we stripped down to our underpants, as usual. We both had our tighty-whiteys on. We agreed that we looked good wearing them and rarely wore anything else on a day we planned to be together, which was almost every day.

We were talking about whether I was going to suck him off in his bedroom or in the living room, when the phone rang. The phone was located in the kitchen and Andy ran to answer it. It was Andy’s mother, telling us she would be an hour or so late getting home from work. She asked Andy if I was there, then told him she’d bring pizza home with her since she wouldn’t have time to cook dinner. When she asked to speak to me, Andy handed me the phone.

“You and Andrew be good now,” she told me. She was the only person who called him Andrew.

“We’re always good,” I told her.

“I know. You are both very good boys, but I’m a mother and the code of motherhood obligates me to tell you boys these things.” She’d been telling me a lot more than my mother had been telling me over the last year or so, and had become almost like a mother to me over the last couple of months.

I handed the phone back to Andy, she told him to be good and that she loved him, and then he hung up the phone. “We have time to really have some fun,” Andy said, giving me his first signature grin since I’d rescued him from Skyler.

“What do you want to do?”

“You know,” he said with a touch of shyness.

“Uh, uh,” I teased, “you have to tell me.”

“You want me to suck your dick,” he whispered, shyly. I was more eager in getting things going than I was in teasing my friend. Since that first night I’d spent with Andy, our “sexual experimentation” had consisted of me sucking off Andy, the two of us masturbating each other, or us kissing and rubbing our cocks together as we dry humped each other.

But, Andy had yet to give me a blow job. I asked him a few times, but he simply said he couldn’t do it. I wanted to tell him he’d done it to other guys, but before I got stupid and said that, I recalled that Troy had pointed out to my dim little brain that Andy had said he couldn’t do it, not that he wouldn’t do it. I then realized that Andy was bothered by what he’d been forced to do by Carlos and his cronies, and I quit bringing it up. Troy said Andy would be ready to do it when he was ready to do it and I should forget about it.

“Keep doing it to him,” he’d said. “You both like it.”

“But you said we should be equal in what we do,” I had protested.

“Yeah, except when you’re not.” That chat is still one of many reasons I continue to look up to my older brother, even in adulthood.

Now that time of decision for Andy may have arrived. “Well?” I said when Andy looked shyly at the floor. “What you want is a BJ, right?”

Andy giggled, peeled off his underpants, and ran into the living room. I chased after him. He flopped on the couch, his hairless boner staring right at me. I got on my knees and started to move in between his legs. He quickly covered his cocklet with his hands.

“Nope, today is different. You got to sit on the couch like me.”

I shrugged, stood up, and then flopped on the couch, legs spread.

“You’re not like me,” he said.

“Yes, I am.”

“You still got your underpants on.”

I giggled and pulled them off, tossing them onto the overstuffed chair that was perpendicular to the couch. As soon as I pulled them off, Andy was on his knees between my legs. “What are you doing?” I asked, as if I didn’t know.

“It’s my turn,” was all he said as he placed his lips around the head of my cock, sending a gigantic shiver through my body. He went to work on me with his lips, mouth, and tongue, making sure his teeth didn’t irritate me. He sucked my cock like he’d been doing it for years. Needless to say, I was surprised by his action, and I was totally turned on as well. His mouth was so warm, and wet, and wonderful; I was so turned on my body shook again within a couple of minutes, only this time the tremors were violent, my squeals of delight were loud and out of control, and I came with a dry orgasm that said everything about how much I had enjoyed what Andy had just done.

Before I could say anything, he stood up and placed his warm, steel boy rod in my face. I knew exactly what to do with it. I put my mouth around it and returned the favor. For the first time ever we were sucking each other, and it was wonderful. He stood between my legs, his face full of lust, his mouth hanging open and his eyes half closed and he fucked my mouth with all of his energy. I didn’t have to do much of anything as he pistoned his cock in and out of my mouth. I let my tongue do what it could, held onto his sweet little ass with both hands, and enjoyed the ride.

“Ohhh, Phil, it feels so good,” he squeaked and rasped at the same time. Lust had filled him more than at any time since our first sex together. He grabbed my head, I held his ass, he shoved his two inches in me, his tight, smooth balls against my chin, and had a wild orgasm, his ass muscles clenching beneath my kneading hands.

I could feel him quiver and he fell on top of me, pushing against the back of the couch. He lay with his head on my chest and his torso on my lap as he fought to regain control of his breathing. He finally came around, saying, “That was the best ever.”

“You sucked my cock,” I said, just in case he didn’t remember having done it.

“After you kicked Skyler’s ass I had to do it.”

“Why? I didn’t care. You don’t gotta feel like you have to do anything. That’s not right.”

“We weren’t being equal, like you told me way back when we started. Those assholes were telling me what to do, and it was like they were telling me what I shouldn’t do. I didn’t suck you because of them. I kept wanting to and I kept remembering how I hated it and then I decided I couldn’t hate doing anything with you and it was time to give you a blow job.” Andy had expended almost as much energy explaining his blow job as he had giving it.

“You did an awesome job,” I told him. He grinned and kissed me on the lips. Before we knew it we were side by side on the couch kissing like crazy and dry humping each other to our second orgasms of the afternoon with our lips locked and our smooth, sweaty bodies almost glued together. I am sure that at that moment, I was madly in love with Andy.

That night I slept with Troy. I told him all about Andy giving me a blow job, and he was genuinely interested. He didn’t even ask me to give him one, but I did let him wrap around me from behind and fuck me between my legs. When he finished I returned to my bed, not bothering to remove his sticky cum. I always loved the feel of my brother’s warm, creamy emission on my body.

Andy and I enjoyed more great times together, and by great times I mean more than just sex. We truly liked each other, and there were nights when our young bodies just weren’t into having sex. Sometimes it was one or the other of us who wasn’t in the mood, although when that happened it wasn’t rare for whoever was horny to get the other one going. When we didn’t do anything sexual it was usually because we got involved in something else that was fun, or we spent a lot of time on our schoolwork. Before we could do anything it was time for me to go home or we simply ran out of gas and crashed in Andy’s bed.

I stayed at Andy’s house, but he never stayed at mine. His mother never pushed that issue. She was a great lady. I think from talking with my parents, from overhearing snippets of conversation between Andy and me, or from putting together little facts from things I told her, she knew that things weren’t all that great at my house. I don’t know if she knew my father was an alcoholic, or that he and my twelve-year-old brother, Keegan, were drinking buddies who often got wasted together in the living room, or that Keegan was a pothead when he wasn’t drinking with dad, or that my mother was a prescription drug addict. The only thing that kept me coming home was Troy, but, like me, he found a lot of reasons to sleep at a friend’s house rather than at home.

The holidays said a lot about the deteriorating condition of the Miller family. School let out for the holidays on December 21, which was a Friday. I spent Friday and Saturday nights at Andy’s house, not coming home until around two on Sunday afternoon. I didn’t even want to go then, but mom called telling me to be home for Sunday dinner.

Andy and I lost track of our orgasms as we sucked and humped and humped and sucked and kissed in between all of that. We were certain that we’d invented sex and that nobody, especially any other ten-year-olds, was having the kind of fun we were having in Andy’s bed. We stayed naked in his room as much as we could.

Andy’s mom took us Christmas shopping. Andy and I split up for a while after we got to the mall. We both knew why we were going our own way—we wanted to shop for each other.

I had never shopped for anybody other than my brothers, and I had a list of what they wanted. I had no clue what to get Andy and was afraid I was going to get him the wrong thing. But then I saw a Seattle Mariners t-shirt in the sporting goods store at the mall that looked perfect. I bought it, but I couldn’t help but be afraid that it wasn’t the right thing—that he wouldn’t like it.

I saw that he had a bag with something in it, too, and wondered what it was. I knew that whatever it was, I would like it.

When I got home on Sunday I ran my package to my room and placed it on my bed to be wrapped later. The stuff I’d purchased for my family was already under the tree.

The Sunday dinner wasn’t pleasant. Dad was in a pissy mood, giving me a ton of shit for being away for two days so close to Christmas.

“Your own family ain’t good enough? Is that the problem? You can’t spend time here with us? Is that kid your boyfriend or something?” The questions came at me rapid fire.

“How come I finally get me a best friend and you have to say stuff like that?” I yelled at him. “I know Troy spent a night someplace too!”

“Don’t give me shit young man, or I’ll beat the crap out of you. You’re getting way too full of yourself. You’re not as damned important as you think you are.” Dad looked at Troy and turned his rant on him. “You could have spent Friday night here instead of fucking around at some queer’s house. Keegan was happy enough to stay at home.”

“Sure, because he gets as much beer as he can drink,” Troy said.

“Yeah, you bribe him to stay home,” I piped in, which was a big mistake.

Dad jumped up, knocking his chair over behind him, and stepped toward me, his face red with anger. I’m sure he would have grabbed me and slugged me if Troy hadn’t stepped in his way. At fourteen, Troy wasn’t as big as dad, but he was strong, coordinated, and fearless.

“You stay out of this!” dad commanded, but Troy didn’t budge. For the first time I was afraid of my father, especially since this wasn’t one of his drunken rages—he was completely sober. “Since when have you two been buddy-buddy?” dad asked.

“For a long time, as if you’d ever take the time to notice.”

Mom caught our attention when she got up and left the room in tears. As soon as she was gone, dad looked back at me. “You’re not seeing your little asshole friend the rest of your vacation, got it?”

“Fuck you, I’ll see him when I want.” I obviously had issues knowing when to keep my mouth shut. I might have only been ten, but I had the adolescent role down pat.

After some more back and forth, Troy managed to get dad and me to back down some. It was good that dad wasn’t drunk, because he would never have backed down if he was. It was finally agreed I could see Andy, but there were to be no overnights for the rest of winter break. The way Troy was able to negotiate his way through our family gave him good training for his career in law—or maybe he went into law because he saw where his skills lie. Whatever, he defused a nasty situation that night and allowed us to have a Christmas that actually bordered on being happy.

And that was how the Sunday dinner went. Keegan said nothing through the entire affair. I suspect he was stoned, had the munchies, and didn’t give a rat’s ass about the arguments.

Andy loved the Mariners’ shirt I bought him. He gave me two presents. One was a Mariners hoodie, and the other one, although it wasn’t new, was very special.

“Mom’s boyfriend got me a new baseball mitt” he said, “but my old one is still good. I could use it for another year while I break in my new mitt, or you can have my old one and we can play catch and break in my new one together.” Andy couldn’t have given me a more personal present.

The mitt would foreshadow two huge changes in my life—in both of our lives—over the next eight months. One change would be positive, and, at the time, the other change threatened to ruin my life.


Next: Life’s Lessons