When we returned from Aunt Susan’s, in late August of 1978, we arrived at a house that hadn’t been lived in for almost three months. Our neighbors checked on things for us and watered Mom’s plants, and we had a service to mow the lawn, but other than that, the house sat dormant. So Erin and I, Mom and Dad, engaged in several whirlwind days of cleaning, shopping, and dealing with mundane things.
I suppose the routine was what I needed, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I missed Susan more in those first few days than I thought I could miss anyone. I’d had some time, and some separation, from Gina, Kendall, and Stacy, which had blunted some of my sense of loss. But Susan was still fresh in my memory. While I didn’t exactly mope around the house, I certainly didn’t have a lot of enthusiasm for anything I did.
The stack of letters from Gina was the one bright spot in our return home. She’d written. A lot. The first few days after her family’s return from camp, she wrote me two, and sometimes three letters a day. I started sorting the letters by their postmarks, but after the first few, she started sequentially numbering the envelopes, which made things much easier.
At first, she mostly talked about how much she missed me, and how much she loved me. As I read them, I thought about how much I missed her as well, and how much I loved her. She also had about a million questions: about me, about what we did after her family left camp, about school, about our house, about just about everything in the world. I guess it must have been hard on her, writing all those letters, without the hope of a reply from me for at least a month.
As soon as I had the chance, I sat down and started writing her a letter. I read through her letters again, and started picking out the questions. When I found one, I’d turn to my own letter, tell her what she’d asked me about, then answer her. I guess I must have been a little bit of a writer even then, because I quickly had sixteen pages of college-rule paper filled with my response.
I told her about what we did after she left, and about how cool Erin was, helping me deal with being a little depressed. I told her that Kendall had been a really good friend, and that I could tell that Kendall really respected her. I didn’t want to talk about Kendall too much, but I did want Gina to know some of the details. I didn’t come right out and write that Kendall liked me but that nothing had happened, but I did try to write about what Kendall and I had talked about—the everyday stuff at least.
I also wrote a lot about my life, ordinary stuff like what my room was like, what our house was like, and stuff like that. Finally, I decided that it was more than enough for a first letter. By the time I was done, I had almost twenty-two pages! Mom helped me hunt down an envelope large enough to mail it in, and we dropped it off at the Post Office. (Neither of us knew how much postage it would take to send it, so we couldn’t just drop it in our mailbox.)
After that first rush of letters, Mom, Erin, and I had a lot to do to get ready for school. We had new clothes to shop for (something I hated, nothing ever fit me well), new shoes to buy, and school supplies to purchase. Those tasks occupied more than a week of our time, and it seemed that every day, the three of us had to head out to a different store. Each day, we’d come home laden with shopping bags.
Finally, the day after Labor Day, school started. I saw friends that I hadn’t seen over the summer, and that was nice, but I also came home with an armload of books and lots of homework! On the first day of school! I could tell that school had started for Gina as well, since I didn’t get a letter from her for almost a week.
She was taking as many Honors classes as she could, and had a lot of homework and reading to do. Most of my classes were just regular classes, but at the end of my freshman year, Mom had talked me into taking an Honors English class. I’d regretted it at the time, but as I started reading and writing for class, I realized that I was enjoying myself.
Things finally settled down into a routine. Gina and I wrote three or four letters a week, fewer when we were both busy, and more when we had some free time. After the rush of emotion and longing in the first few weeks, we quickly started talking about our lives, friends, and school.
Gina eventually admitted to me that she’d told her best friend, Lisa, about everything that had happened over the summer. And I mean everything. I was shocked nearly to the point of apoplexy. It seemed that Lisa had decided that I was a guy worthy of her best friend, so I calmed down a little. Lisa also knew that Gina’s family was nudist, and I guess if she could be trusted with that information, Gina could trust her about us.
I didn’t have a best friend, per se, but there was a group of us who hung out together. Our group was mostly guys who I’d met at the end of eighth grade, when we’d first moved to Atlanta. I spent most of my free time, before school and at lunch, with Scott Anderson, Tony Malone, Scotty Taylor, and Kelly Duchesne.
None of them knew about where our family spent our summer vacations, though I did eventually tell them that I had a girlfriend. When I couldn’t produce Gina for inspection, or any pictures of her, most of the guys decided she was just a figment of my imagination. For a little while, I argued with them about it. But I steadfastly refused to show them any of Gina’s letters, even though they would have easily proven her existence. I guess I didn’t want any of those guys reading what Gina and I had to say to each other.
The funny thing is, I used to think that they were all getting lucky with girls, and that I was the only one who was missing out. After all that I’d learned the previous summer, I started listening to their banter, and I quickly realized that most of them had no clue about girls, much less about sex itself.
The one exception was Scott. He’d had a steady girlfriend since I’d known him, a girl named Shannon Ellsworth. He never talked about what he did with her, and whenever any of the other guys teased him about it, he’d say that he and Shannon hadn’t done anything more than fool around a little.
But as the other guys would talk about their “experiences” with girls, he’d roll his eyes the same times that I did. I wondered why I hadn’t noticed it before. He quickly figured out that I wasn’t buying into the other guys’ bullshit like I had when we were freshmen. Tony, Scotty, and Kelly never noticed, however, that Scott and I didn’t talk much about our experiences with girls. But he knew, and I knew, and we both kept our mouths shut.
Another thing that changed for me was that I discovered I could talk to girls, and that it didn’t make me tongue-tied or nervous. A year before, I’d have been way too shy to do more than shuffle my feet if confronted by a girl. I guess that’s why most of my friends were guys. After all that I’d been through, and all that I’d learned, I guess I realized that girls were mostly as scared and nervous as guys were. And when you know the girl is as nervous as you are, it gets easier to talk to them.
I think another thing that helped was that whenever I talked to a girl, I wasn’t really interested in getting into her pants. I don’t know how, but girls have a kind of Distant Early Warning system to detect guys who’re putting the moves on them, no matter how subtle the guy thinks he’s being. It’s like they can smell desperation or something. I don’t know what it is, but it’s uncanny.
So while I did talk to a lot more girls, I didn’t have a girlfriend. I still masturbated like a fiend, at night and in the mornings, but I wanted to stay faithful to Gina. I couldn’t really explain it, but it’s what felt right. So I wasn’t after any of the girls at school.
The odd thing that I noticed was that at parties, football games, or school dances, I had more girls around me than almost all of my friends put together. I quickly got the idea that several of them would even say yes if I asked them out.
Shannon, Scott’s girlfriend, got me alone one night at a school football game and asked me about it. She wanted to know if I was interested in one of her friends. She hinted pretty strongly that her friend Amy Lassiter might be interested in me. She also dropped hints that a few of her other friends might be interested in me as well, if maybe I didn’t like Amy.
I was more than a little shocked, so I told her about Gina. Shannon asked me where Gina lived, what she was like, how I’d met her, and a dozen other questions. I told her the truth. What I could tell of it, that is. Unlike the guys, Shannon immediately realized that Gina was real, that I was telling the truth, and that I was serious about being faithful.
When the word got out, I figured it would deter most of the girls who might be interested in me. The crazy thing is, it only seemed to make me more of a target for female attention. I was bewildered by the entire phenomenon. I liked the attention, don’t get me wrong, but I really did just want to be friends with the girls that I knew.
Shannon seemed to understand, and so did her friend Amy. Scott had seen the difference in me as well. That, coupled with his girlfriend’s quiet assurance, seemed to settle things between us.
I did think Amy was really cute, though. She was petite, maybe an inch over five feet tall, and waiflike. Her breasts were very small, and she had narrow hips, but she also had a smile that lit up a room, and her hair was a natural honey-blonde. Under other circumstances, I’d have loved to maybe take her to a dance or something, but she understood that the two of us could only be friends.
One of the big changes in my life was because of Scott. His dad flew for the same airline mine did, so he knew what it was like to have a father with a pretty irregular schedule. Scott’s father had been a pilot in the Air Force, and his family had lived in Germany for two years. When they returned to the States, Scott ended up repeating second grade. He was actually a really smart guy; he’d simply been held back because he hadn’t begun school in the US school system. I thought that it was tremendously unfair, but Scott was mostly okay with it. The one thing it did mean was that while the rest of us were fifteen, Scott was sixteen. That meant that he could drive.
The problem was, Shannon’s parents wouldn’t let her car date alone with Scott until she was sixteen. The easy solution was to bring Amy along. Amy didn’t want to be the third wheel, so they quickly recruited me. Amy knew I was serious about Gina, so we went on our double dates as friends. Although I suspected that Amy was subtly trying to lure me away from Gina, she was never overt about it, and we became pretty close friends. For a girl, I guess it’s nice having a guy friend who’s not constantly being a jerk and trying to score. But I also suspected that Amy would happily welcome more from me, if I chose to pursue her.
The other big thing that changed in my life was once again due to Scott. He was on the school wrestling team and he started encouraging me to try out for the squad. The 167-pound wrestler from the year before had been a senior and had graduated; the team needed a guy in that weight class. Scott wrestled in the 145-pound weight class, and there was no way (or so he said) that he could “bulk up” to 167.
I actually weighed 155 pounds, but that weight class had a senior, a junior, and probably at least two freshmen in it. Except for the senior, the other guys were “light” and were working their way up from the 145-pound weight class. So Scott figured I could maybe put on a little muscle and fill the 167-pound bracket. I wasn’t so sure. I was already pretty self-conscious about my weight, and the idea of putting on more weight was not something I relished.
I’d never been much into sports, but after two weeks of his subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle pressure, I finally relented. I thought I’d try out just to shut Scott up, but I quickly realized that I liked wrestling. The practices for the first week were a major shock, but I liked the wrestling part of them so much that I gritted my teeth and kept with it.
What I discovered I liked almost as much as wrestling itself, much to my surprise, was lifting weights. I wasn’t exactly a 98-pound weakling, but I did have a lot of work to do to get into shape. Wrestling practice began in early November, and we worked out hard. Scott introduced me to most of the rest of the guys on the team, and I quickly found that I liked them. Coach Simmons was a good coach and really looked after us, making sure we practiced hard, but also making sure that we kept up with our schoolwork.
Each day, practice began right after school. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we ran laps around the gym to warm up and then worked on wrestling moves: take-downs, reverses, escapes, and a myriad of other moves. After that, we did spins and bridges (put your feet on the ground and arch backwards until you’re supporting yourself with your head and neck, and feet). Finally, we hit the weight room and worked on strength training. One of the older guys, a senior named Bruce Bollinger, who was our Varsity 185-pounder, took me under his wing and showed me how to build different muscle groups.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we used rope climbing, jump ropes, and the peg board (it’s hard to describe one of these unless you’ve seen it, but you use the pegs to climb up the wall using only your arms) to warm up before we actually hit the mats. After we worked on whatever moves we were focusing on for the day, we did monkey rolls, partner sit-ups, and a lot of an exercise that involved mostly running in place. Mostly. We’d run hard and then Coach Simmons would blow his whistle and we’d all sprawl (throw your arms and legs straight out and fall on your chest, you’ll get the idea pretty quickly). As soon as we hit the mat, we had to jump back up and start running in place again. After that, we’d do spins and bridges, and then run wind sprints for the length of the gym.
On Saturdays, we all came to school at eleven in the morning and ran laps, and then hit the weight room. Saturdays were only supposed to be two-hour workouts, but I quickly discovered that a number of the guys stayed later, to work on more advanced wrestling moves. Bruce and Scott were both part of that group, and I found myself naturally drawn into their extra practice. Bruce almost always worked out with me, teaching me things that we didn’t cover in regular practice. He was twenty pounds heavier than me and had made it to the State finals the year before, so he was quite a bit more skilled than I was. I worked hard to learn from him, though, and he was a pretty good natural instructor.
Tuesdays and Thursdays nearly killed me for the first month. My body is not built for running, and I hated it. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays were hard enough, but I always looked forward to the weight room. No matter how tired I was, I attacked the weights with something close to glee. Bruce was astounded that I had so much enthusiasm for lifting, but he cheerfully piled on more weight, spotting me conscientiously and making sure that I didn’t hurt myself. But it was Saturdays that I really lived for. I learned a tremendous amount in that first month of Saturdays, and even though practices began with running laps, I thoroughly enjoyed them.
I wasn’t a great wrestler at first, but I picked things up quickly. Coach Simmons told me that I’d make a fine wrestler if I practiced hard. At first, I think he was saying that because he really did need a wrestler in the 167-pound weight class. But after he saw that I was improving, and that I was serious about wrestling, he began to spend more time with me, teaching me more than just the basics.
There were no other wrestlers on our team who were in the 167-pound weight class, so I was a de facto member of the Varsity team. For our first meet, a tournament hosted by our school for five other schools in the area, I was excited and nervous and a little scared. Coach Simmons talked to me before my first match and tried to settle me down, but I was too high on adrenaline, and he knew it. He smiled at me reassuringly, straightened my headgear, and sent me into the ring for my first official match.
Scott and Bruce were both on the benches to the side of the mat, and I saw Shannon and Amy in the stands watching me. Both my mom and dad had come to the school gym to see me wrestle, and Erin was there as well. Even though she made a big show of not wanting to come, I think she was almost as excited as I was.
I was wrestling a junior from our rival high school. His name was Emmett Carstairs, and I’ll never forget him. When the referee blew the whistle for us to begin, I didn’t know what hit me. I literally spent the next two minutes—an eternity when you’re in a wrestling ring, trust me—fighting for my very life. It seemed like I spent the entire round staring at the lights on the gym ceiling, straining and grunting and trying to escape from the eight-armed monster that seemed to be everywhere at once.
I’m sure the crowd was as noisy as it had been for any of the other matches I’d watched, but I heard three and only three things: the referee as he called out points for Emmett; Coach Simmons as he yelled encouragement and move suggestions; and Emmett, that arrogant prick, as he told me what he was going to do to me next, and then as he gloated when he did it. It was only because I recognized half the things he told me he was going to do to me that I survived as long as I did. When he told me he was going to do something, and I didn’t recognize the move, I knew I was in trouble.
Midway through the second round, Emmett tired of toying with me. He locked me into a cradle—a nifty little hold where he tried to introduce my kneecap to my forehead—put his knee in the small of my back to hold me in place, and neatly rolled me onto my shoulders. A three-count later, the referee slapped the mat and blew his whistle.
In retrospect, I’m actually profoundly happy that Emmett finally pinned me. They don’t record the points if the match is decided by a pin, and I didn’t particularly want my first official match to be recorded as a 13–0 loss. Except for the initial take-down points, Emmett got all the rest of them from near-falls. Losing by thirteen points would’ve meant I really, really lost the match. I had that little gem in my memory, did I really need it in the official scorebooks as well?
The rest of the two-day tournament went okay for me. I went 2–1 after that first match with Emmett Carstairs. I won one match by a pin, one by points (7–2), and lost one by points (5–6). I discovered two very important things during our first meet. The first was that I needed to work on my strength training. Both Emmett and the other guy I’d lost to had muscled me around the mat. The second thing I learned was that I hated to lose. Hated it. H-A-T-E-D, hated it.
I had always been fairly competitive, but I hadn’t realized how much of a competitive streak I really had. I’d played volleyball at camp, and been on the losing team. But that was losing as a team. I’d played games of cards, or Monopoly, or any number of other games where I had lost, but most of those games involved some element of luck. I couldn’t be lucky all the time, so I had accepted losing.
Wrestling was different. On the wrestling mat, there’s very little luck involved. Nor is there a team to share the blame if you lose your match. Losing a wrestling match meant one and only one thing: I hadn’t been good enough. I could accept that there were better wrestlers than me, and there were a lot of them. But I couldn’t stand losing because of something that I could fix, like being strong enough, skilled enough, or well-conditioned.
When practice resumed on the following Monday, I went about things with a fierce determination. I stayed late and worked out in the weight room, and I even began running an extra lap or two around the gym. Saturday practices, I was almost always one of the last to leave, which meant that I kept Scott late as well, since I rode with him. He began to get a little peeved, and even tried to talk to me about it a few times. When I blew him off, I ended up getting Mom to drive me to and from Saturday practice.
I thought I was doing well. I won my first two Varsity matches after the tournament meet. One was by a pin, and the other was a hard-fought match where I eventually won by points. I could tell that I was getting stronger as well, since Bruce kept adding a little weight with each strength training session. I was dead tired when I got home most nights. After dinner, I’d do my homework and then collapse. I wrote to Gina less, but she seemed to understand that wrestling was important to me.
I kept working out, and practicing, and eventually, things started to fall apart. At the time, I thought things were just fine, that I was doing well. When I got my semester report card, after the Christmas break, my parents were not pleased. I’d been working out and practicing so much that I’d let my schoolwork slide. I’d called Gina a couple of times, but I only took the time to write to her about once a week. I could tell she was getting a little upset about it (okay, maybe a lot upset), but if I wanted to be a good wrestler, I had to be serious about it. But it was my grades that put a match to the powder keg I’d turned my life into.
Coach Simmons called me into his office one day after practice. I’d been winning most of my matches, and I’d even had to start watching my diet to stay below the two-pound-over limit for my 167-pound weight class, so I knew I was putting on muscle. I couldn’t imagine what he was going to tell me, but I never imagined it’d be bad.
“Sit down, son,” he said, as soon as I’d shut the door. When I did, he looked at me seriously. “What in the hell do you think you’re doing?!”
My mouth went dry and I was suddenly at a loss for words.
“Son, I just got a look at your grades for the last six-weeks, and they are the sorriest things I think I’ve seen in a long time.” He picked up a copy of my grades and brandished them in my direction. “One B minus, two Cs, one C minus, and two Ds. What in the hell is this about?”
“Don’t ‘um, sir’ me, Hughes! The six-weeks before this, you had,” he looked at my grades, “an A, three Bs, a B minus, and a C plus! Son, you’re no good to me if you don’t meet your academic requirements. Do you have an explanation for this?” Once again, he brandished the grades like a weapon.
“Coach… I’ve been practicing a lot, and working out. And I’ve been winning my matches…” It was feeble, but it was the best I had. I thought it would be enough.
“You’ve been winning your matches?!” He imitated me nearly perfectly. “Son, don’t get me wrong, I like that you’re winning, but I don’t give shit number one about your record if you flunk off the team.”
“Hughes, have I ever told you to practice more and not pay attention to school?”
“Haven’t I always told you that school’s more important than wrestling?”
“Were you listening when I told you that?!”
“Um… yes, sir?”
“Well it doesn’t look like it!” He leaned over the desk and almost hit me in the face with my grades. A large vein on his forehead looked like it would burst at any minute. At my terrified look, he calmed down, somewhat. “Jesus Christ and a handbag, son. You’ve got to have balance.”
“Balance, son. Like a hip toss.”
He looked at me, but I only stared back blankly, completely confused.
“You know you can’t lift the other guy, but you can get him in the air and take him down. You balance him on the point of your hip and you use leverage, son. You know. A hip toss.”
Finally, I understood, sort of. I swallowed hard and nodded, not trusting myself to speak.
“Life is like that, son. You’ve got to have balance, or you’ll never get the guy on the mat. You understand me?”
“I think so, Coach,” I said, swallowing hard and wishing I had some moisture in my mouth.
“You think so?! Listen here. What’s your father do?”
“He’s an airline pilot.”
“And your friend Scott Anderson, if he’s still your friend, that is. What’s his father do?”
“He’s a pilot too, sir.”
“And that girlfriend of yours, what’s her father do?”
“He’s a television producer,” I answered automatically, thinking of Gina. And then I realized that Coach wasn’t talking about Gina. “Oh, you mean Amy?”
“Yeah, cute little slip of a blonde thing. What’s her daddy do?” he asked gruffly.
“He owns his own construction company.”
“Are any of ’em professional wrestlers?”
“Coach?” I was a little confused, to say the least.
“Are any of your friends’ fathers professional wrestlers?”
“I didn’t think so! Hell, son, even I’m not a professional wrestler. I’m a history teacher. The only reason I’m your coach is that I went to Nebraska on a wrestling scholarship. But I got my degree in history.” He started pacing behind his desk, and then fixed me with a steely glare. “My point, Mr. Hughes, in case you missed it…”
Indeed I had.
“My point is that wrestling is a good sport; it’ll teach you a lot of the things you’ll need to be successful in life, but you need an education if you wanna be something someday. And haven’t I always made that clear to you boys?” He glared at me as if daring me to deny the truth.
I nodded quickly.
“Then get your shit together, son. I won’t tell you how to run your life, that’s your business. But I will tell you the results I expect you to achieve if you want to remain a member of this team,” he growled.
At the thought of being kicked off the team, I nearly stopped breathing.
“I expect you to get your grades back to where they used to be. Better, in fact. I expect you to practice as much as anyone else on this team, no more, no less. I expect you to have a little balance, son. Are you willing to meet my expectations?”
I swallowed hard and stared at him wide-eyed. Finally, I nodded.
“Son, I’m proud of you and how much you’ve improved on the mat. I couldn’t ask for a better wrestler. But now you need to make me proud of you as a man. I know you can do it. Now go hit the showers.”
I walked out of Coach Simmons office visibly shaken. When I shut the door behind me, I looked up and saw the last person I’d expected to see. Scott.
“You get your head handed to you?” he asked.
“How’d you know?”
“I had the same talk with him last year. Well, I expect it was the same. I didn’t get my head as far up my ass as you did, but I was pretty intense.”
“Yeah?” I couldn’t imagine Scott intense about anything. He was one of the most laid-back guys I knew.
“Yeah,” he said with assurance. “But having Coach hand you your head on a platter has one extra benefit.”
“It does?” I couldn’t imagine what it could be.
“Yep,” he said, grinning. “It got it out of your ass.”
He laughed all the way to the showers. I didn’t think it was particularly funny, but at least Scott was talking to me again. The rest of the team had already showered and left, so Scott and I pretty much had the place to ourselves while we cleaned up from a hard practice. He gave me a ride home and that was that. I never realized what a good friend Scott was until that moment. I was still incredibly shaken by my conversation with Coach Simmons, but at least I still had Scott.
Gina was another matter entirely. I had really screwed things up with her. I hadn’t written her in two weeks, and the last time she had called, I’d been doing pushups in my room and hadn’t talked to her. Mom knew what was going on, but I guess she had decided that I’d have to learn things the hard way. In a way, I guess that kind of helped me. If she’d simply told me what I was doing wrong, I wouldn’t have listened. Having Gina pissed at me, having my grades take a nosedive, and then having Coach Simmons put things into perspective really drove the point home.
Unfortunately, my parents were still extremely upset, and while I wasn’t really grounded, per se, I was under very close scrutiny. I had a lot of things I had to change in my life, but I really had no idea where to begin. For the first time in many months, I missed Susan. She always seemed to know what to do. This time, however, I’d have to figure things out on my own.
The one bright spot in my whole life was Amy. She had been to all of my wrestling matches, and had still talked to me, even when I blew her off. Once Scott had started talking to me again, the possibility of double dates returned. Unfortunately, my parents wouldn’t let me out of the house after dinner, even on weekends.
I kept up with wrestling practice and my workouts, but I didn’t do all the extra things I’d been doing before. I still stayed for the extra Saturday practices, but that was it. I started paying attention to my classes and homework again, and slowly saw my grades begin to make a comeback. I’d had good grades the first two six-weeks of the fall semester, and I thought I could pull things out if I got good grades all three six-weeks of the spring semester.
I won most of my wrestling matches, too. The only losses were to the State runner-up in my weight class and a blind wrestler from the Georgia School for the Deaf and Blind. (Don’t laugh, the blind guy was one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever gone up against; he knew where I was going before I did, it seemed, because he could feel it.)
Wrestling season ended and our school had a winning record. My personal record was 11–4, and I was pretty happy with it. I would try harder the following year, but I would also keep things balanced. I had put on quite a bit of weight, but I wasn’t much worried about it, since I needed it to stay in my weight bracket. Once I stopped working out six days a week, and shifted to an off-season three times a week, I stopped eating as much. I’d also grown an inch and half since my last birthday, and I was now a touch taller than 5’9”. In retrospect, I realize that my body was taking care of itself nicely. I was still worried about being too pudgy, but with the routine of school, I guess I forgot to worry about it sometimes.
When I got my report card for the first six-weeks of the spring semester, my grades were considerably better. I was back up to an A, two Bs, a B minus, and two Cs. Not great, but an improvement. Mom and Dad talked to me, to make sure that the improvement wasn’t a temporary thing, and let up on some of their restrictions. I guess I should have been happy, but I wasn’t.
I even started writing to Gina again, but things had cooled between us, and I didn’t know how to fix them. We still wrote to each other about once a week, but the letters were shorter, and there seemed to be less of a connection. Once again, I found myself wishing that I could talk to Susan about it. I couldn’t, though, and I felt lost and confused. I couldn’t even talk to Amy about it, but she could see that I was depressed.
In addition, I was a little down about Mom. Despite our night at Susan’s house, and then afterward on our cabin porch, she never gave me any indication that there would be a repeat. I’d been so wrapped up in wrestling and working out (and letting my grades slip), that I hadn’t thought about it much. But as I got some focus, and some balance, I started thinking about her. I guess it was a combination of things that kept anything from happening, but Mom and I never even talked about sex, between us or anyone else.
So I was a little depressed about Gina, and a little confused about Mom. Scott noticed that I wasn’t in the greatest spirits, and started “planning a surprise” for me. I had no idea what he was up to, but Shannon and Amy were clearly in on it.
Scott’s parents were going out of town the weekend before Easter and he got permission to let me stay at his house, until they returned. He was an only child, so both our parents thought it would be better if someone were at the house with him. Both of us were pretty responsible, and our mothers got together and agreed that we could watch out for ourselves for the weekend, as long as we let my parents know what we were doing, and checked in on a regular basis. I guess Mom and Dad were also letting me have a little more freedom, because of all the improvements I’d made in my grades.
Whatever the reason was, I figured Scott and I could do pretty much what we wanted for the whole weekend: sit around and watch TV, listen to records as loud as we wanted to, eat whatever we wanted to, and stuff like that. The one rule his parents were firm about was that we could have no one over to the house. If we wanted to see our friends, we’d have to do it somewhere else. That was just fine by me.
What I didn’t realize was that Scott was planning a bit more than he let on. His parents left on Friday morning and we arrived home to his empty house shortly after school. Scott’s family had a covered porch behind their house, complete with a Jacuzzi whirlpool, and when we got home, he turned on the heater and gave me a conspiratorial wink. He wouldn’t tell me what was up, however. All he would tell me was, “wait and see.”
It was getting toward dinnertime, so Scott and I headed to our favorite pizzeria to pick up something to eat. When he ordered two pizzas, I looked at him questioningly. He grinned and winked at me again. After we got our pizzas, I figured we’d head home and stuff ourselves, but instead, we detoured to the park near his house. We parked the car and waited. While we were waiting, I wanted to have a slice of pizza (the aroma filled the car, and I was really starting to get hungry), but Scott wouldn’t let me, nor would he tell me what we were waiting for.
When the door behind me opened, I turned around in surprise, ready to fend off a psycho-killer. Instead of the proverbial deranged madman, I was greeted by the smiling face of Shannon. Amy quickly climbed in behind her. With growing comprehension, I noticed that they both had small overnight bags. The girls ducked out of sight without a word, and Scott started the car. We drove back to his house in silence. I’d begun to figure out what was going on, but Scott resolutely refused to respond to any of my pointed looks. Finally, we got to Scott’s house and I couldn’t contain myself any longer.
“Okay, will someone please explain what’s going on here,” I demanded as we walked inside.
Shannon hugged Scott’s arm (the one not carrying the pizzas) and looked at me with artful innocence. “You needed a break, and a little cheering up, so we figured a party was in order.”
“So we’re gonna have a bunch of people here tonight?” I asked.
“Nope,” said Shannon. “Just a little party. Just the four of us.”
“Just the four of us?” I swallowed hard and Amy blushed deeper still.
Scott and Shannon nodded simultaneously, and we all headed into the house. Before we did anything, I shushed everyone and called my parents. I told them that Scott and I had gotten pizza for dinner, and we were going to hang out and maybe watch some TV or listen to records. After I had dutifully told them what Scott and I were up to for the night (mostly the truth), we set about getting ready to eat. Shannon got plates and napkins while Scott put an Abba album on the turntable. Amy fixed the drinks, and we were soon sitting around the two pizzas, drinking Cokes and listening to the music.
“How are you two getting away with this?” I asked the girls, around a mouthful of pizza.
“Simple,” Shannon said with a grin. “We’re supposed to be at Becky Leonardi’s house for a sleepover. Her mom never really pays attention when Becky has a bunch of us over, so we told her we wanted her to cover for us. Our folks,” she nodded to Amy, “think we’re gonna be at Becky’s until tomorrow afternoon.”
I swallowed hard. “What’re you gonna do until then?” I asked. I already knew the answer to that one, but I didn’t dare believe it.
“We’ll think of something,” Shannon said slyly. Amy blushed again, and I felt my face and ears heating up as well.
When Scott got up to flip the record, he detoured through his parent’s wet bar on the way back. He produced a bottle of Bacardi rum when he sat down, and Shannon grinned. Amy and I both shifted nervously, but neither of us wanted to seem un-cool.
“A little lubrication,” Scott said as he began to add rum to our Cokes.
Scott and Shannon drank theirs, and Amy and I followed suit. In short order, we were feeling pretty mellow.
“Listen, y’all. This is cool,” I said, tinkling the ice in my Rum & Coke for emphasis. “But nothing else, right? No weed, okay?”
“No way, man,” Scott said quickly. “What d’you think we are, stoners?”
I shook my head. “I’m just making sure. I mean, I’m cool with people smoking it, but I don’t want any myself.”
We all knew a lot of kids at school who smoked pot, but it was always something I’d stayed away from. I don’t know why, I guess I just didn’t want to end up like a lot of the stoners I knew. Evidently, neither did Scott, Shannon, or Amy.
“Hey, babe,” Scott said to Shannon a little while later. “Did you two bring your suits?”
She nodded, and then she and Amy shared a covert glance.
I quickly realized that Scott was talking about bathing suits. “I don’t have a suit.”
“No problem, man. You can wear one of mine. I think your waist is the same size as mine, it’s just your chest and shoulders that are bigger,” he said as he stood up.
That seemed to be an unspoken signal, and we all stood. The girls picked up their overnight bags and headed for the hall bathroom. Scott and I headed to his room. He rummaged in one of his bottom drawers and pulled out two pairs of swim trunks. He threw one to me and started taking off his shoes. We had seen each other naked in the showers many times, and my family was nudist, but it was still weird to see Scott simply taking off his clothes outside of a locker room. I shrugged off the feeling and quickly stripped off my clothes.
Clad only in our bathing suits, Scott and I opened the door to the hall. Just as we did, Shannon and Amy emerged from the bathroom. Shannon was wearing a two-piece bikini with yellow and pink flowers. She looked really good, but it was Amy who nearly blew me away.
She had on a fairly conservative two-piece suit made of bright yellow fabric, but it couldn’t hide her round breasts and firm, compact figure. The way she normally dressed, I hadn’t realized that her breasts were as big as they were. They weren’t very large, by any means, but she was far from flat chested. On her small body, her breasts were nearly perfect. I guess I was staring, probably open-mouthed, because Shannon giggled and looked at Amy.
“See,” Shannon said. “I told ya he’d like it.”
Amy’s blush spread to her chest and I finally shut my mouth. Scott pulled four towels from the hall closet and we headed back through the living room. Scott picked up the bottle of Bacardi and Shannon grabbed the remainder of our six-pack. We each picked up our glasses, refilled them with ice from the kitchen, and then headed to the back porch. It was starting to get cold, and I was glad that Scott had turned the Jacuzzi on, earlier in the day; it would be nice and warm when we slipped into it.
The water was indeed warm, and I soon had Amy snuggled up next to me, her chin nearly at a level with the bubbling water. Shannon held our glasses while Scott added rum and Coke to each one. When we each had a full drink, he leaned back against the edge of the hot tub and put his arm around Shannon. She giggled again and snuggled closer to him. It wasn’t long before our drinks were mostly finished and we were all feeling no pain.
A little while later, Shannon gave Amy a pointed look and arched her eyebrow. Amy stiffened slightly, and then nodded. I watched the whole exchange with a detached curiosity, until Shannon leaned forward.
“I want to get more comfortable. How about you, Amy?”
As I soaked in the warmth of the tub and enjoyed the bubbles, I wondered how in the world she could want to be more comfortable. If I’d been less buzzed, I probably would have noticed that Shannon’s statement sounded a little rehearsed. As it was, I didn’t notice a thing. Amy sat forward immediately and nodded, as if on cue.
“Do you guys mind if we get a little more comfortable?” Shannon asked.
Scott smiled, winked at me, and shook his head. “Go ahead, girls. Get comfortable.”
Was I the only one who didn’t know what was going on? It certainly seemed that way.
When Shannon reached around behind her back and her bikini top floated free, my eyes must have bugged out. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Amy’s conservative top drift into the center of the Jacuzzi. When I looked at her, still wide-eyed, she blushed and smiled shyly. The girls each retrieved the floating tops and flung them onto the deck. They landed with wet plops. When Amy snuggled up against me, I felt a very pointed nipple pressing against my side.
I turned to Amy and she closed her eyes and tilted her head back expectantly. I knew what I wanted to do, and I knew what I should do. But when I looked at her angelic face with its cute-as-a-button nose and pale pink lips, parted in anticipation, what I should do went right out the window. I leaned down and kissed her, my tongue parting her lips and tentatively exploring. My penis went from semi-erect to fully erect in less than a second.
Amy pressed herself against me and hesitantly ran her hand up my hairless chest. I pulled her to me and put my hand on the small of her back to hold her in place. When we finally broke the kiss, I opened my eyes and looked down at her beautiful face. She blinked and stared at me dreamily for a moment, before slowly focusing on me. When she did, I was rewarded with one of her heart-breaking smiles.
I was suddenly conscious that we weren’t alone, and looked at Scott and Shannon. Scott was smiling munificently and Shannon looked like the cat that ate the canary.
“Don’t mind us,” Shannon said, as she straddled Scott’s legs. She winked at Amy and then held Scott’s face in both hands as she began to kiss him soundly.
I turned back to Amy and looked at her questioningly. She watched Scott and Shannon for a moment and then swallowed hard. When she looked back at me, she smiled shyly and blushed, casting her eyes down and away. I lifted her chin with my finger and kissed her again, gently. When she didn’t pull away, I put my hands on her sides and easily lifted her to straddle my hips.
She came willingly, and was soon kissing me with increasing passion. I ran my hands over her back as we hungrily explored each other’s mouths. Soon, my hands were resting comfortably on her hips, right above her ass. She wiggled her hips against me and my fingertips brushed across the waistband of her bikini bottoms. Without thinking, I pressed my fingers under the elastic and slid my hands over her taut buttocks. She flinched, but didn’t pull away, so I let them stay there and started gently kneading her firm flesh.
When she finally pulled her lips away from me, she was panting slightly and smiling. I looked over her shoulder to see Scott and Shannon still kissing. Shannon humped against Scott, her body sending ripples through the bubbling water. Amy turned to look as well. As we watched, Shannon lifted out of the water to let Scott suck on her nipples.
Amy turned to look at me with wide eyes, eyes so blue that I wanted to dive into them. She licked her lips nervously and seemed to come to a decision.
“We could do that too,” she said in a small voice. “If you want to.”
“I want to,” I said quietly.
I felt her body trembling as I pulled my hands from inside her bikini bottoms. She was shaking like a leaf, despite the heat of the Jacuzzi, when I put my hands on her hips and lifted her partially out of the water. I came face to face with her bare breasts for the first time, and held my breath, completely enraptured. They were incredible, firm and smooth and about the size of half an orange. Each was topped with a rock-hard pink nipple. On her small frame, they looked perfect.
When my brain ran out of oxygen, I gasped. Amy looked at me with panic-filled eyes and started to pull away.
“They’re beautiful,” I said, trying to soothe her.
She stopped moving completely. When I looked up at her face, she was a little calmer, but not much. I couldn’t think of a thing to say, so I did the only thing I knew would take her mind off her anxiety: I captured one hard pink nipple with my lips and sucked gently. Amy whimpered and clutched at my head.
I ran my tongue over her puckered areola and then flicked the tip against her nipple itself. With my lips clamped firmly over her, I could feel all the little bumps of her aroused nipple, and I ran my tongue over them, teasing her. She whimpered again and I switched to her other breast.
I was busily lavishing attention on her sensitive nipples when we were startled by a plop from Scott and Shannon’s direction. I pulled back and both of us turned to look. Scott had worked Shannon’s bikini bottoms off, and had tossed them next to her top. Amy turned to look at me, eyes wide. She swallowed hard and turned back to Scott and Shannon.
Shannon looked over at us and made eye contact with Amy. Once again, Amy nodded almost imperceptibly when Shannon arched an eyebrow at her, and I began to realize that the girls might have planned more of this than I’d thought.
“Y’all are over-dressed,” Shannon said almost casually.
She slid from Scott’s lap and stood in the center of the Jacuzzi. I got my first good look at her breasts when she did. They were average-sized, firm (I haven’t seen many fifteen-year-old girls who didn’t have firm breasts), and capped by large areolas. She looked expectantly at Scott, who shrugged and began to shimmy out of his bathing suit. With a louder plop, it soon joined Shannon’s discarded bikini.
Amy turned to look at me and licked her lips in anticipation. “We could do that too. If you want to.”
I smiled at her and nodded.
When she reached for her bikini bottoms, I put my hands on hers. “Let me,” I said.
She looked uncertain for a moment, like she wanted to turn and ask Shannon what to do, but she eventually nodded apprehensively. She trembled when my hands moved over her hips and into the waistband of her bottoms. I slid them over her ass and then down her legs. She had to slip off my lap before I could get them completely off, but in a moment, she was nude before me. I couldn’t see much, except her breasts, but the mere thought of her nudity made my already hard cock swell further.
Amy looked at me with a mixture of anticipation and fear as I stood up and untied the drawstring on my own bathing suit. The water only came to my waist, so when I lowered the shorts over my straining erection, it sprang up and out of the water, splashing her. She giggled at first, but then her eyes dropped to my penis and she put her hand to her mouth to stifle a gasp. I grinned to myself and sat back in the water, pulling her with me.
When Amy settled on my lap, my hard-on brushed against her pussy and she drew back. I pulled her down and kissed her, hard, which seemed to take her mind off my cock rubbing her pussy. She responded eagerly as I gently probed her mouth with my tongue.
In the back of my mind, I knew what I was doing was wrong, that I was betraying Gina, but I didn’t care. It had been so long since I’d kissed a girl, or held one in my arms, and all I could think about was how good it felt. I didn’t want to think of Gina; all I wanted was Amy, here and now, naked and aroused and willing.
We kissed for a while, and I luxuriated in the feeling of the bubbles around us and Amy’s tight little body pressed against me. Once again, however, we were interrupted by a sound from the other side of the hot tub. We both looked over to see that Scott had lifted himself out of the tub and was sitting on the edge. Shannon had moved between his legs and her head was slowly bobbing up and down in his lap.
Amy looked back at me, swallowed hard, and licked her lips. “We could do that too,” she said, her voice almost a whisper. “If you want to.”
I lifted her chin and held her eyes. “Do you want to?” I asked.
She averted her eyes at first, and then I felt her trembling. When she looked back at me, she nodded, her expression scared and lustful at once.
“Are you sure?”
I felt two hands, two feminine hands, grip my cock and squeeze. It was the first time she’d consciously touched my manhood, and the feeling was electric. When she nodded again, there was no longer any doubt.
I kissed her tenderly and her hands fluttered against my erection. They never lost contact with me as I lifted myself onto the edge of the Jacuzzi. Amy stared at my erection with wide, wondering eyes, and I almost came from her expression alone. Her hand barely fit around my girth, but she stroked my member tenderly and with growing confidence.
“It’s so hard,” she whispered. “And so soft.”
I tried to think of something witty to say, but alcohol numbed my mind. It was probably for the best, because Amy lowered her lips and tentatively kissed the crown of my dick. It jerked at the contact and she giggled, looking up at me with big, round eyes.
“I think he likes you,” I said.
She smiled from ear to ear and nodded.
When she wrapped her lips around the tip and sucked gently, I almost went out of my mind. It was the first time I’d had a pair of lips on my cock since August, and it felt won-der-ful. I groaned and Amy opened her lips wider, so she could engulf the entire head. I hissed in pleasure when she did. She looked up at me and tried to smile. I stroked her cheek with my finger and she returned her attention to my manhood.
When she started sucking, I groaned and tried to keep from coming too soon, using every trick I’d learned with Susan, the summer before. Although Amy’s teeth scraped me several times, it didn’t really slow things down. It had simply been too long since I’d had my cock in a girl’s mouth, and I was entirely too worked up to last more than a few minutes. I vaguely heard Scott groan as he shot his load in Shannon’s mouth, and I wasn’t far behind.
“Amy, I’m gonna come,” I said.
When she continued sucking, I stroked her cheek again and repeated myself. She looked up at me, her expression full of determination and desire, mingled with a little doubt. I smiled at her and nodded.
“You’re doing great, kitten,” I said, trying to sound as reassuring as possible.
Evidently, it worked. She turned her attention back to my hard-on and redoubled her efforts. When she ran her tongue over the bottom of my glans, I finally lost it. It was the first orgasm I’d had in more than seven months that I hadn’t personally been responsible for, and I was lost in a haze of pleasure.
The first spurt caught her by surprise, and she squeaked when it hit the back of her throat. She kept moving her hands along my shaft, however, and I kept coming over her tongue, groaning into the night. When my orgasm subsided, she pulled back and coughed a few times. She looked up at me with an expression of uncertainty, her lips deliciously red and shiny.
I quickly slipped into the water and drew her into my arms. When I went to kiss her, she turned her head at the last moment. I pulled back and looked at her.
“What’s the matter, kitten?” I asked.
“I’ve… I’ve still got some of… your stuff… in my mouth.”
“If it’s good enough for you to swallow, kitten, it’s good enough for me to taste a little.”
With that, I kissed her. She resisted at first, but then gave in and kissed me in return. When we finally separated, we were greeted by muted applause from Scott and Shannon.
“That was so hot,” Shannon said.
Scott just grinned at me and waggled his eyebrows. Amy and I both blushed. Then Scott stood up, unashamed of his nudity. His dick was still semi-erect, and I absently noted that it was about as long as mine, but thinner. Amy noticed too, and I felt her hands reaching for my erection, under the cover of the bubbling water. She captured it and seemed to size things up in her head, grinning shyly at me as she did. I grinned in return and her blush deepened.
“Listen, you crazy kids,” Scott said. “Shannon and I are gonna go take a shower and then go to bed. You guys can take the guest bedroom. Okay?”
I’d been planning on sleeping in the guest bedroom anyway, but when I’d woken up that morning, I’d had no idea that I’d possibly have company.
Amy blushed and averted her eyes. “If you want me to… I mean… I could… you know,” she said timidly.
“I want you with me, kitten,” I said softly. “Would you like that?”
She rewarded me with one of her smiles, and my world lit up.
“We could do… other things… too,” she said, casting her eyes downward. “If you want to.”
My cock swelled in her hands and she looked up at me suddenly. I pulled her close and whispered in her ear. “I want to.”
Scott and Shannon were grinning insufferably when we returned our attention to them. Shannon had a towel wrapped around her chest and Scott was wrapping his around his waist. I stood up and pulled Amy with me. We stepped out of the hot tub and Amy looked a little self-conscious at having Scott see her naked. I picked up a towel and wrapped her in it, pulling her to my chest as I did.
Scott turned off the hot tub and with a wave, he and Shannon headed into the house. I could almost wrap the towel around Amy twice, and she grinned at me as I tucked the loose end between her beautiful breasts. I picked up my own towel, my erection bouncing as I stood, and slung it around my neck. When I stepped close to her, Amy’s eyes were glued to my semi-hard penis.
“Let’s go shower, kitten,” I said gently.
She licked her lips and nodded.
We took a shower together, but Amy seemed disappointed at its brevity. I explained that with two showers going, we were bound to run out of hot water pretty quickly. Anyway, our fingertips were wrinkled from being in the hot tub so long, so neither of us was really all that enthusiastic about taking a long shower. I guess she thought I might be rushing things because I didn’t want to shower with her. On the contrary, I didn’t want to take a cold shower with her, and that’s what we would have had, if we’d tarried.
We dried off, grinning at each other and enjoying looking at one another in the light. When we were mostly dry, she wrapped her towel around her chest, and I gave her my towel to wrap around her hair. She picked up her overnight bag, which she and Shannon had left in the bathroom when they’d changed into their bikinis, and we opened the door.
I picked up Shannon’s bag and followed Amy out of the bathroom. Amy turned left, toward the guest bedroom, and I turned right, headed for Scott’s room. I met him coming out of his parents’ room, at the end of the hall. He had a towel wrapped around him, and grinned at me as I approached, still nude.
“Feeling better?” he asked, sounding insufferably smug.
“Yeah. Thanks. I really needed to relax.”
“And get laid,” he said with a wink.
“Well, I dunno if…”
“Yeah,” he said, cutting me off. “Ya do.”
We shared a knowing grin and I held out Shannon’s bag. He took it and pressed something into my palm. When I pulled my hand back and looked at what he’d given me, I saw two foil-wrapped rubbers.
“Sorry it’s only two, man,” he said quietly. “I only had five left.”
“So you get three and I get two?”
He grinned at me. “Beggars can’t be choosers.”
I nodded and thanked him quietly.
“See you in the morning, man,” he said.
When I turned back to the guest bedroom, Amy was waiting for me at the door.
“What was that about?” she asked softly.
“You’ll see,” I said.
I could already feel my erection growing.