Read Something Like Summer Online

Authors: Jay Bell

Tags: #romance, #love, #coming of age, #texas, #gay, #relationships, #homosexual, #sexuality, #mm, #coming out, #lgbt youth, #lgbt fiction, #lgbt romance, #tasteful

Something Like Summer

 

Something Like Summer © 2010
Jay Bell

Published by Jay Bell at Smashwords

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This
book may not be reproduced in whole or in part without
permission.

 

Warning: The unauthorized
reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal.
Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without
monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up
to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. If you do
steal this book, at least have the decency to leave a nice review
or recommend it to a friend with more cash to spare. ;)

This book is a work of fiction and
any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or events is purely
coincidental. They are productions of the author's fevered
imagination and used fictitiously.

 

Cover art by Andreas
Bell

 

Also available in paperback
format:

ISBN-13:
978-1453875049

ISBN-10:
1453875042

 

 

Acknowledgements:

 

A very special thanks to my
editor, Linda Anderson, for being so generous with her time and her
talent. And of course my friends and family for being so supportive
in this endeavor.

 

To Andreas - my guiding
star, my happy thought, and my dream come true. I love you,
baby!

 

 

Something Like
Summer

 

By Jay Bell

 

 

__________

 

 

Part One:

Houston, 1996

 

 

__________

 

 

Chapter 1

 

This is not a coming-out story. I
put all that behind me two years ago, at the tender young age of
fourteen. I’d known I was gay since I was twelve and my best friend
Kevin moved away to Utah. I was heartbroken, which I suppose is
considered normal behavior for most kids. After he’d been gone for
two weeks I decided to take a Greyhound bus to see him. The guy at
the counter wouldn’t sell me a ticket so I tried passing myself off
as the kid of a boarding passenger. That didn’t go well. The bus
driver made me get off and the station manager called my parents.
Their reaction to my little plan is what tipped me off that my
feelings for Kevin went way beyond the norm. Well, that and how I
got a hard-on every time I thought of him.

Ben’s fingers hesitated
above the keyboard of his laptop as he reread what he had just
written. He took a deep breath, the ozone smell of the slowly
overheating machine filling his nose before he sighed. Why did it
always sound so trite when he tried to write about his life? He
wanted to write something that was different and real, but it
always ended up sounding like the porn stories in his small stash
of magazines.

Next time he swore to write
with old fashioned pen and paper. At least then he could enjoy
crumpling the displeasing results before throwing them in a little
metal trashcan, like they always did on TV. The most Ben could do
was to carefully save his document, close the program, and drag the
file to the recycle bin. As he right-clicked to empty the bin, he
wondered if the problem wasn’t that he couldn’t write, but that the
porn stories in his magazines were just really well-written. He was
beginning to wish he hadn’t deleted it when the clock in the bottom
right-hand corner caught his eye. Ten minutes until seven. Almost
time for Mr. Blue Shoes to go jogging.

Ben struggled with himself
for a moment. Part of him recognized just how creepy his behavior
was. He wasn’t sure if it qualified as stalking, but it was
dangerously close. But what else was there to do? Writing hadn’t
worked and there was nothing on TV but summer reruns. What harm was
there in an innocent stroll through the neighborhood, and if he
happened to see Mr. Blue Shoes, then so be it.

Switching off his laptop,
Ben tried to remember the last time he had done this. Was it
yesterday? Surely it was the day before. How many times this week
already? Since they appeared to be about the same age, Ben was sure
that Mr. Blue Shoes would be attending his high school and he
didn’t want to be obvious. Being out at school led to enough
taunting without the added ridicule of being criminally
desperate.

Ben slipped on his shoes
and quietly closed his bedroom door behind him. The sound of
MTV’s
Mega Summer Beach Party
or whatever they were calling it this year
drifted from the direction of his sister’s room. For once she
wasn’t hogging the bathroom. Ben rushed across the hall and flipped
on the light, knowing that time was running out, that he only had a
brief moment to check his appearance.

His blond hair was due for
a cut but was still passable, he decided as he tried to smooth it
into shape. His chestnut brown eyes regarded themselves
momentarily, making him wish that his parents had bought him the
colored contacts he had asked for last Christmas. Green, blue,
purple, anything but brown. At least the braces were off now. He
smiled wickedly, scanning for any sign of the spinach soufflé his
mother had served for dinner. If there were more time he would have
brushed his teeth. Just in case life played out like one of those
porn stories. If only.

He was happy to see some
remnants of sun on his face from camping last weekend, but not as
pleased to note the dopey Smashing Pumpkins T-shirt he was wearing,
which wasn’t his kind of music at all. The shirt had mysteriously
turned up in a stack of fresh laundry one day. His sister’s
boyfriend had left it during one of his nocturnal visits, and once
Ben figured that out, he wore it just to torture her. This wearable
blackmail was a few sizes too large for him and draped off his
ramrod-thin frame like a tent. Ben bit his lip and decided against
digging through the hamper for something better. At least this
shirt was clean.

Flipping the light switch,
he took the stairs two at a time, landing at the bottom with a thud
that was sure to trigger a yell from his mother. He paused but the
only sound he heard was prerecorded studio laughter. Thank god for
the hypnotizing properties of television! Ben slipped out the front
door, undetected by all but Wilford, the family dog.

The August evening was
still bright, but not as much as it had been last month. Ben
pondered the symbolism of the earth growing darker with the
approach of a new school year as he jogged down the street toward
the end of the block. Behind the row of houses here were woods that
connected with a large public park. He chose the yard whose owner
was least likely to complain and crossed it. With the house and
unfenced backyard behind him, he was faced with one of the finest
forests in modern suburbia.

The mix of pine and cedar
trees was disturbed only by a single dirt path that disappeared
into their midst. The trail, eternally marred by the crisscrossing
grooves left by countless bike riders, snaked back and forth
through the trees, causing ten acres of woods to feel like a
limitless wilderness.

Ben turned to the right and
walked up a slope toward a more civilized path, one paved and
dotted with benches and trashcans as it wound its way around a
small man-made lake. He scanned the horizon for his quarry. At
first he saw no one except for a middle-aged couple walking hand in
hand, but then the thump, thump, thump sound of running attracted
his attention.

There he was. Mr. Blue
Shoes. He could more aptly be named Mr. Neon Electric Blue Shoes.
Oh, how Ben had searched for a pair of those shoes after seeing
them for the first time. Not only did he think they looked awesome,
but they would have been a potential conversation starter.
Hey, you have the same crazy shoes that I
do!
Despite tagging along on all of his
mother’s shopping trips, he never found them. Ben wasn’t even sure
what brand they were. Some sort of exotic Italian brand that Mr.
Blue Shoes had preferred before moving here to the States, he
fantasized. Not that he was necessarily from Italy, of course, but
it would explain the deeply tanned skin and jet black
hair.

Ben snapped out of his
reverie and realized that the object of his desire was jogging
directly toward him, and all the while he had been standing there
staring. Usually Ben made at least some attempt to act like he was
out for some exercise. His muscles froze as he tried to decide what
to do. He should probably turn to the right and walk away, so as
not to appear obvious. He started to do this until he realized that
he wouldn’t be able to get a look at Mr. Blue Shoes, and so Ben
turned back to the front. Unfortunately his confused brain didn’t
trigger the muscles needed to actually begin walking. Ben was left
standing, just as he had been before, except now he was facing Mr.
Blue Shoes and it was too late to do anything but stare.

Lust brushed away any
remaining self-consciousness. Ben looked up from the oddly colored
shoes, his eyes taking in the black hairs on the finely muscled
legs before darting up to check out the package bouncing away
behind maroon gym shorts. Not wishing to press his luck he
continued upward to the considerable pecs. The evening wasn’t hot
enough that he was running shirtless, but the grey tank top was
minimal enough to reveal muscular arms with a sexy swirl of black
hair under the armpits. Ben looked up at the handsome face,
ignoring the sweaty strands of dark hair stuck to the broad
forehead or the well-defined cheekbones, choosing instead to look
into the silver-grey eyes that haunted his fantasies.

He noted, with a mix of
relief and abhorrence, that those eyes were locked onto his
T-shirt. His blatant gawking had probably gone unnoticed, but at
the price of Mr. Blue Shoes noticing the worst thing about his
appearance today. As he jogged past Ben, the silver eyes rose to
meet his. Mr. Blue Shoes raised his eyebrows and nodded in a way
that unmistakably said “Cool!” before flashing a smile.

And then he was gone,
followed a second later by a blast of sweaty, musky air. Ben
inhaled this scent and, after a dramatic moment of euphoria, found
the strength to continue walking. He sauntered around the park
before heading home, feeling as if he just gotten back from a dream
date. He realized it was probably pathetic, but he didn’t care at
this point. The hottest guy in the world had just acknowledged him
and all because of some band Ben had never bothered listening too.
He made a mental note to ask his sister to borrow one of their CDs
that night, but not before locking himself in his room and beating
off furiously while thinking about that smile.

* * * * *

Shopping with Allison! Was
there anything better? Not only did she understand the glory of the
shopping mall and share his reverence for it, but she knew all
manner of back-street stores that carried things you wouldn’t find
anywhere outside of the weird shops in downtown Houston. Ben didn’t
know how she found these places. Sometimes he wondered if she
hadn’t gone downtown and talked the owners into moving their stores
north to the suburbs of The Woodlands, where Ben and Allison
lived.


Home?” Allison asked,
peering into the visor’s small cracked mirror. Her expressive eyes
tracked the glossy coat of plum-colored lipstick as she applied it
to her lips, the shade a perfect compliment against her ebony skin.
Then she pressed her lips together, flipped the visor up, and
turned to Ben. “We can always hit more shops tomorrow. I think we
did well for ourselves today.”

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