Mental Games

Hero or Mortal?

Since Adam had seen the boy and knew what he looked like, he kept an eye out for him while he was moving around campus.  One day Adam spotted him over at the Bloomberg Center, so he watched the boy for a while to see who he was hanging around with.  Once Adam identified a few people, he waited until one of the girls walked away before he stopped her to ask a question. 

"Hey, that guy you were just talking to looks familiar and I think I might know him somehow.  Would you please tell me his name?" he asked while trying to look and act sincere.  This time he was using his power of persuasion by asking the girl the question directly. 

"That was Roger Sweeney," the girl responded.  "Does his name sound familiar?" 

"Not exactly.  What's his major?  Maybe that's why he looks familiar.  Maybe we've had a class together or something," Adam replied, while trying to wheedle a little more information about the boy. 

"He's a nursing major, the same as me.  Does that help?" she asked in return. 

"Not really, since I'm a med student, but I have a feeling I know him from somewhere.  I guess I'll just have to think about it some more until I figure this out," Adam stated and then he thanked the girl for her help and went on his way.  He was satisfied that he now had enough additional details so he could do some more investigating. 

Adam then managed to talk to a few other students and a couple of graduate assistants who knew or worked with him.  Adam also did a little research online and checked out Roger's Facebook page until he felt he had learned enough about him to make his next move.  After putting all of this information together, Adam came up with an idea and was ready to test out his theory to see if this strategy might actually prove to be effective.  He then called Lisa again so he could get some more information from her before he put his new plan into motion.

"Hi, Lisa.  I think I've come up with another way to handle this boy, so I'll just need to know where you are going to be for the next few days," Adam told her.  "I think this time I should be able to end the problem you're having with him for good."

After Lisa sent him a copy of her schedule for the upcoming week, Adam set out to look for his next opportunity to confront the boy.  He got it on Friday, while he was observing Lisa at the Johns Hopkins Club when she went there to eat.  This time when Roger approached her, Adam gave the young man a mental warning that he shouldn’t be able to ignore. 

‘You were warned to leave Lisa alone, but you’ve failed to do it,’ Adam thought as he concentrated on Roger.  ‘Your actions have been recorded on video, so if you don’t stop bothering her and every other co-ed on campus, you will be expelled.  Not only will you lose all of the academic credits you've accumulated so far, but you will not earn your degree either.  You will also be prohibited from getting any professional licenses in the future, so you will never be able to accomplish the goal you set by coming here to study.’ 

This time the boy’s body stiffened and the blood seemed to drain from his cheeks.  He quickly turned around and walked away from Lisa without saying a word, before eventually exiting the dining hall.  This left Lisa slightly confused again, but she was just happy that Roger had left her alone. 

Although Adam had made up most of the things he’d just told Roger, it didn’t matter.  The important thing was that Roger believed what he’d heard.  If he was afraid that he'd never be able to graduate, get his nursing license or possibly be able to become a P.A. (physician's assistant) later, which Roger had mentioned on his Facebook wall, then he shouldn’t bother her again.  Now, all Adam could do was to wait and see if this strategy had been effective. 

Adam didn’t hear from Lisa again for the rest of the semester, which he took as a good sign.  He would have appreciated it and preferred that she'd taken the time to let him know whether or not he had been effective, but she hadn’t done that.  Therefore, he merely assumed his approach had worked and the problem was solved.  He wouldn't do anything more unless he heard from Lisa again or saw Roger bothering her or another co-ed. 

Since he and Mike were finishing up at about the same time for Christmas break, Adam drove over to D.C. to pick him up before heading home.  They were going to spend Christmas with Adam’s parents this year and would travel to Mike's house a few days later so they could celebrate the New Year with Mike’s parents.  The boys had agreed they would split the holidays up from now on and would alternate spending Christmas and New Year's with each other's family, so next year they would spend Christmas with Dave and Judy and New Year's Eve with George and Rita.

The boys actually arrived at the house before Adam's mom and dad got home from work, so they took all of their things inside and carried everything up to Adam’s room so they could get settled in.  When Adam's parents showed up a little while later, the boys greeted them enthusiastically and then talked about how the semester had gone for each of them.  During dinner, George and Rita told the boys they had a little surprise for them. 

“We remembered how you boys went out and got donations last year that you used at the homeless shelter,” Rita began, “so we thought we’d do something similar this year.  After doing this, I don't know how you two managed to collect as much money as you did, but we weren’t able to get nearly as much.  We did come up with enough so it will allow the shelter to provide a nice meal for those in need on Christmas Eve and another one on Christmas Day, but that's all.  There wasn't enough left over for presents or for meals to celebrate the New Year.  We also told the staff that we’d like to help serve the food again, that is if you boys are interested.” 

“Of course we are,” Mike quickly agreed after looking at Adam and getting his lover's silent approval.  “I think we all really enjoyed doing that last year, so it should be just as much fun and just as rewarding to do it again this year.” 

“Yes, I think it’s a great idea too,” Adam added as soon as Mike finished speaking.  “I’m curious to see how many of the same people are still there, and I don’t mean the staff either.  Hopefully, we’ll see an altogether different group this year, because I’m praying most of those we met last year are doing better now.” 

“I hope you’re not too disappointed then, because you might see some of the same faces again,” his father explained.  “When I went down to arrange for this to happen, I ran into a few people there that I recognized from last year.” 

“Damn, I really hate to think that some of them are still homeless and in the same situation,” Adam replied.  "I was hoping they would all have moved on and be doing much better now."

“I know, but sometimes it takes years to come back from something like they've gone through,” George pointed out.  “Just don’t show your feelings and look disappointed when you see them, because we’re doing this to make them feel a little better for the holidays, not make it worse by letting them think we're disappointed in them.” 

“I know and I’ll do my best to look cheerful and not ruin this,” Adam promised.  “I just wish there was some way we could help them a little more, although I'm not sure exactly what else we could do for them.” 

“I know,” his father agreed, “but we can only do so much, even when we wish we could do more.” 

Before it was time for them to go serve the meals, Mike and Adam spent as much time with Adam's parents as they could.  They also went out and did some Christmas shopping when George and Rita were at work, so they felt they were pretty well set for celebrating with both families as Christmas approached. 

When the four of them went to the homeless shelter to serve the meal on Christmas Eve, Adam spotted several faces that he recognized from the previous year.  Most of those people greeted him and the others warmly, and they also thanked them for what they were doing to help out.  Adam appreciated their kind words, but he also felt as if he needed to apologize. 

“I’m sorry we couldn’t do more for you this year, like we did last year,” he told them because he felt guilty.  “I was away at college and didn’t have a chance to get back in time to help collect as much money as we did last year.” 

Those Adam spoke with quickly told him it was ok and they appreciated what Adam and the others were doing for them now.  This made Adam feel a little better, but he still wished he could have done more. 

That night Adam and Mike weren't exactly as upbeat and in as great a mood as they were the previous year, so their love making session was a little less energetic as well.  They went through the motions and both enjoyed their release, but their hearts weren't really into it.  They were both too busy thinking about whether they might still be able to do something more for the people at the shelter before they left to be with Mike's parents. 

After getting up the next morning and exchanging gifts with each other at home first, Adam, Mike, George and Rita went back to serve Christmas dinner.  It was nice, but nothing special, although they did their best to make the homeless feel special.  After they finished up there, the boys spent the rest of the day at the house with George and Rita and watched a couple of movies with them. 

Mike and Adam enjoyed the time spent with Adam’s parents and wished they could stay longer, but their time there was coming to an end much too quickly.  The boys spent a couple more days with the Washburns and didn't leave until December 28, and then they drove to Mike's house so they could spend the rest of their vacation with his parents. 

It was nice to see Mike’s mother and father again and the boys were greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm.  In fact, the Bermans were thrilled to announce they had made special plans for all of them on New Year’s Eve, as a reward for the understanding and help Mike and Adam had shown them the previous summer.  Once Mike and Adam got over the mild shock that Dave and Judy had made special plans for them, the next thing they did was to exchange presents with Mike's mom and dad.

Even though Mike and Adam had enjoyed all of their time with Dave and Judy, New Year’s Eve turned out to be even more special than they could have hoped for.  First, the Bermans took them out to a very elegant restaurant for a wonderful meal, and then after they finished up there, Dave took all of them to a club he belonged to.  The organization was throwing an elaborate New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with a band and some other special activities to make the evening memorable. 

“There will be a mixture of people there, from all age groups,” Dave informed the boys prior to going inside.  “Before we decided whether or not we were going to do this, I first checked to make sure there wouldn’t be a problem about you two being a couple.  Everyone I spoke to was fine with the idea, so you'll be able to dance with each other and even share a New Year’s kiss if you want.  There will be no problems and no one will say a negative word to you.” 

This announcement stunned both boys, but they were grateful that Mike’s father had taken the initiative to check this out for them.  Now, they would be able to enjoy themselves without any worries and have a great time. 

Mike and Adam thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening.  They were able to dance with each other the entire time and even received some very lovely comments from the other guests.  When midnight finally approached, they were all urged to step outside so they could watch the fireworks display that was also planned.  As everyone counted down the final ten seconds before midnight, Mike and Adam kissed as the fireworks began to flash and boom overhead. 

When they got back to Mike’s room later, the pair quickly engaged in a very passionate embrace.  They also began to kiss one another and were busy running their hands up, down and over each other’s body.  As they did this, their lust grew, so before long they had moved to the next level and began making love.  Before the night ended, each one had experienced a fireworks display of his own, as they shared the love they felt for one another. 

After sleeping in late the next morning, the boys eventually stumbled downstairs to join Mike's parents.  Dave and Judy had been up for a while and already had their breakfast, but Judy eagerly prepared something for the boys too.  Then, the three of them went into the other room and watched the end of the parade with Dave, before they all started watching the college football games together.  Later, both Mike and Adam went out to the kitchen at different times and offered to give Judy a hand preparing dinner, since they didn't want her to have to do it all by herself.  Although they weren't able to do very much, she was still grateful for their help and enjoyed chatting with them while they were together. 

Unfortunately, Mike and Adam had to cut their day short, because they had to pack all of their belongings up and get ready to leave the next morning.  Johns Hopkins would be starting classes in a couple of days, so they got up early on the morning of January 2nd and headed back to Baltimore before noon. 

Georgetown wasn’t scheduled to begin for another week, but Mike planned to spend the time in between at Johns Hopkins with Adam.  He figured he wouldn’t be able to get into his room at Georgetown this early, so there was no sense in going there just yet, but he didn't want to have to find another ride back to campus either.  At least if he was with Adam in Baltimore he’d have a bed to sleep in and a roof over his head, as well as his lover to snuggle with at night.  Even though they wouldn’t be spending very much time together during the day, because Adam was going to be busy with his classes and studying, but it was better than the alternative.  

Mike did pretty much the same things as he had done when he'd stayed with Adam the last time, so he didn't have a problem with not being with Adam for most of the day.  They just used the time they had together to their advantage and made the most of it.  This included a couple more very passionate love making sessions, so they were both satisfied when their time together eventually came to an end. 

As soon as Adam was done with his last class on Friday, he drove Mike over to D.C., because Mike’s classes would begin on Monday.  Adam would need to get back by Sunday though, so he'd be able to finish his required reading in time.  Once they reached D.C., the boys decided to stop at the mall first so they could grab a bite to eat and then they were planning to catch a movie at one of the theaters there.  As they were pulling into the parking area, they discovered it was packed already.  They had actually expected it to be this way, since it was the start of the weekend, so they began cruising around as they looked for a place to park. 

Eventually, the boys spotted a woman walking through the parking lot and she appeared to be heading toward a fairly new Toyota Corolla.  They quickly decided to wait for her to pull out so they could take her spot.  She had just slid into the driver’s seat and placed the key in the ignition when a guy suddenly raced over, opened the car door and grabbed the woman by the arm before he yanked her out of her seat.  He then shoved her out of the way and roughly knocked her to the ground.  Without hesitation, he jumped into the driver’s seat and took her place.  It was obvious he was attempting to steal her car. 

“Call 9-1-1,” Adam shouted to Mike, as he pulled his car directly behind the other vehicle and blocked it in. 

The lady hurriedly scrambled to her feet and began to scream for help, as Mike reported the incident over the phone.  He gave the dispatcher their approximate location in the parking lot and noted a few nearby landmarks to her that he thought would assist the police in finding them. 

‘You, the guy trying to steal the Toyota!  Turn off the engine and slowly get out of the vehicle,’ Adam thought, hoping it would be enough to defuse the situation.  It didn't seem to work though and the guy merely started to honk the horn, as if he thought it would be enough to get Adam to move out of the way.  For that reason, Adam felt he must not have concentrated enough and addressed the man again. 

‘I said, turn off the engine,’ Adam thought more forcefully this time.  ‘Then get out of the car and wait.  The police will be here for you shortly.’ 

Nothing more happened for a few seconds, but then Adam saw the backup lights go off, meaning the car was no longer in reverse, and then the engine of the other vehicle suddenly stopped running.  The guy didn’t do anything else at that point and just sat there, because at about the same time two police cars came screeching to a halt, one in front and one in back of Adam's car.  The officers then jumped out of their vehicles and raced over in response to the woman’s screams.  As the officers approached the vehicle, they began shouting at the man and instructing him at the same time, but the carjacker wasn’t responding.  When Adam noticed that the man wasn't immediately following the police officers' commands, he started to offer the guy his own set of suggestions. 

‘Slowly open the door, extend your arms outside so they can see your hands and then surrender to the police,’ Adam projected.  ‘Don’t resist or try anything foolish either.’ 

Within a few seconds, the man did as Adam had ordered him.  As soon as the car door opened, two officers raced forward, grabbed the guy, pushed him to the ground and quickly handcuffed his hands behind his back.  Once the man had been restrained, the officers searched him and then placed him in the back of one of the patrol cars and shut the door, as they stood on either side to make sure he didn't attempt to escape. 

While all of that had been happening, another officer went over to the woman and began to question her.  Once he had her statement, he came over to speak with Adam and Mike next, since it was clear they had witnessed everything that had happened.  Once the officer had the information he needed from them, he advised the woman to drive over to the police station so she could swear out a complaint.  Now that she was ready to leave, Adam backed up his vehicle, since the police car behind him had driven off with the carjacker.  He then let the woman back out of the parking space, so he could pull into the vacant spot after she left. 

“Adam to the rescue again,” Mike quipped, as soon as Adam turned off the engine.  "That was a nice move blocking him in while I was calling 9-1-1."

“It just seemed like the right thing to do.  I just did it without thinking, but I probably would have done everything the same way, even if I didn't have this ability,” Adam acknowledged.  "You probably would have too, if you had been in the driver's seat instead of me."

“Maybe, but the guy probably wouldn’t have given up quite as easily,” Mike countered.  “He may have even tried to ram us with her car, in an attempt to get us to move out of his way.  He could have also jumped out of her vehicle and then tried to steal your car instead or he might have had a gun.  Once the cops got here, he could have even tried to run from them, but you made sure none of that went down.  No, having your power made things go a whole lot better.” 

“Yeah, I guess,” was all Adam responded as they got out of the car and walked into the mall. 

After grabbing a bite to eat at the food court, they selected a movie, purchased tickets and made their way to the theater.  As soon as the movie ended, they headed back to Mike’s room to spend the night. 

“It sure is interesting being your sidekick,” Mike teased, once they were alone. 

“Sidekick? What the fuck are you talking about?” Adam shot back as he turned toward Mike and scowled. 

“Well many superheroes have a sidekick.  Batman has Robin, the Green Hornet has Kato and the Lone Ranger has Tonto.  Being your sidekick sure keeps life from getting boring,” Mike answered with a grin, while releasing a little chuckle. 

“Very funny,” Adam hissed.  “I keep telling you I’m not a superhero, so you don't have to consider yourself my sidekick.  You're my partner or my boyfriend, but that's it.” 

“You're just kidding yourself.  If others knew what you did or could do, I’m sure you would be the only one that didn’t think you were a superhero,” Mike countered.  “You do stuff us mere humans aren’t capable of and you can correct situations that put others at risk or in harm's way.” 

“I wish you’d just give up and drop this stupid idea,” Adam snapped, mildly irritated.  “Yes, I have an ability that others don’t, but it doesn’t make me a superhero.” 

Although Mike understood that Adam was shy and didn't like to be the center of attention, he was hoping to convince Adam to relent on this issue, but it wasn't going to be easy.  Although Adam had told Mike how he'd been picked on in school for being a science geek and getting good grades, as well as for being different in other ways, Adam hadn't shared all of the details with Mike.  This wasn't because Adam didn't trust him, it was just that Adam thought it was a personal character flaw and he felt uncomfortable admitting it to anyone else, even Mike.  For that reason, he had always kept it to himself and was never willing to mention it to another soul.

Adam had always been embarrassed that he'd had to rely on others to bail him out of uncomfortable situations in high school.  It didn't matter whether that help came from a teachers or another student, it still made Adam feel worthless and undeserving when he needed someone else to step in.  In fact, until he learned he had this new ability, he had still needed help from Mike and the cops to get out of these messes, but now he could act on his own.  It gave him a little more self-confidence, but he still couldn't shake his past. 

Due to his personal experiences, it was the reason Adam had come to the conclusion that a real hero didn't seek personal glory for what he did.  None of those that had helped him ever went around saying 'Hey, look at me' or 'Aren't I great?' for what they did.  Instead, they quickly moved into the background and took satisfaction merely from knowing they had done what was necessary and right. 

Expanding this line of thought, Adam concluded he didn't deserve special attention or credit for an ability that had resulted due to the fact that he had been unable to defend himself.  He, therefore, felt he had a very good reason for not wanting to be thought of as a hero. If Mike was able to understand how Adam truly felt, then Adam might have stood a slightly better chance of accomplishing his goal without any fanfare, but Mike still persisted. 

“What do I have to do to convince you?” Mike wondered as he stood staring at Adam.  When Adam didn’t answer, Mike released a very audible sigh of frustration and gave up. 

A little while later, the boys agreed to turn in for the night.  After sharing a little intimate time together and helping each other get off, the two of them snuggled against one another and prepared to doze off.  Adam fell asleep rather quickly, but Mike still had a lot on his mind and that prevented him from doing the same.  Therefore, while Adam slept, Mike continued to think about what he could do to convince his boyfriend that he was indeed a superhero, even if Adam didn’t want to admit it.  He thought about this for quite a while and then suddenly felt he might have come up with the answer to his problem.  Why hadn't he thought of this before?  He was silently working out all of the details in his head when he eventually drifted off to sleep. 

Even while he slept, Mike's brain was still going over this idea and fleshing it out.  It completely filled his dreams and slowly he was able to work out all of the details in his head.  This might be his one chance to convince Adam that he was indeed a hero, if not a true superhero, so he wasn't about to quit until he got Adam to admit it too.