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|"So," the doctor said, "tell me what happens."
Andy sighed. "Oh, you know, at first, there's not much. But after a while, my throat dries up, and it gets harder to breathe. Then, I get slightly dizzy, and everything starts to hurt. The pains not that bad, actually, more like being a little sore all over your body."
"I see. And that's after how much?"
"Oh, it only takes a little. Obviously, I always stopped as soon as the pain started. I mean, even as a kid, because I immediately felt bad."
Doctor White nodded. "Yes, of course, and that's very fortunate for you. So there's the dry throat, the breathing problem, and the pain. Anything else?"
Andy shook his head.
"Well then, thank you, Andy. We have -"
"Sorry to interrupt, doctor. There's one thing I forgot. I'm sorry, but it's been so long... Anyway, afterwards, my fingers were always slightly swollen for a day or two. Not a big problem, you see, but maybe..."
"Yes of course. That's quite common, Andy. It's typical for all kinds of allergic reactions, in fact. And as long as you stay away from the stuff, there will be no problem. You are a healthy young man." Doctor Smith stood up and, with a beaming smile, announced: "Almost perfectly normal."
In the evening, Andy was up in his room, lying on the bed, and trying to get the echo of Doctor Smith's words out of his head.
Almost perfectly normal.
Andy had never worried about his allergies, as nobody else seemed to have a problem with them. It didn't matter that some of them were rare, or that they could be quite dangerous for Andy - everybody accepted the fact and treated him just like anybody else. Just like a normal person.
What worried Andy was not a potential allergic reaction, but the fact that he had fallen in love with his best friend. Although this was not rare, and definitely not dangerous, Andy knew that there were many people who thought it was unnatural, something disgusting and sick. There was no way, Andy thought, that they would simply accept him as a normal person. Not even almost.
Andy shut his eyes, angry and confused, frustrated that these people's opinions managed to make him doubt his feelings for Gabriel, that they made him wonder whether his love might be something bad instead of the best thing that had ever happened to him.
"Brilliant," Andy thought. How could this be the best thing that had ever happened to him? What was so great about falling in love with your best friend if there was no way he would ever return your feelings? What was so great about it if it meant that you would lose him?
The phone ran, and Andy picked it up immediately, glad to be distracted from the thoughts which would probably occupy his mind for the rest of his senior year in high school. The moment of happiness passed quickly, however, and the voice on the phone brought him back to where he had been a few seconds ago.
"Hey Andy, what's up?"
"Oh. Hi Gabriel. What's up?"
"Is this a bad time to call? You sound pissed off."
"No, I'm sorry, it's fine. I'm just a little out of it. Thinking too much."
"That sounds just like you. Well, maybe you have time to stop pondering... whatever it is your pondering, and tell me whether I can come over tonight."
That sounded good. "This sounds good. Sure. Sounds great. I mean, come over. If you want, I mean. Sounds great." It did sound good.
Luke chuckled: "Okay, alright. Don't get too excited, man. It's not that I have any big surprises in store for you. I'll just come over, so we can hang around a bit, and talk."
"Sure, sounds... I mean, yeah. In half an hour?"
"Mmm... I think I need at least thirty minutes."
"Asshole. See you then."
"Sure, you too."
"Okay now, tell me what's been bothering you those last few weeks."
Andy had been looking at Gabriel, who was his best friend since they were little kids, but whom, it seemed now, Andy had only really got to know a few weeks ago. How was it possible that, in all those years, he had never realized how beautiful Gabriel was? Only recently, Andy had become aware of how great Gabriel's body was, although it should not have come as a surprise that one of the school's top athletes should sport a nicely toned biceps, or hide a well-defined eight-pack under his suggestively tight shirt. Andy had always loved to talk to Gabriel, but now, apart from listening to what Gabriel said, he also savored the sound of his friend's voice, and followed every movement of his full, sensuous lips. Andy was almost afraid of looking at Gabriel's face, and of drowning in his deep, dark-brown eyes.
Gabriel gave Andy a little shove. "Hey, Andy! Wake up!"
"Oh, I'm sorry, I was-"
"Just thinking, I know. You really are out of it. Now stop thinking for a second and answer my question. Jesus - you have no clue what I just said, right? Okay, listen: While you were staring at who knows what, I asked you what was bothering you. - What's been bothering you?"
Andy looked at the floor.
"Andy, I'm your best friend, God damn it. I know that something's wrong, so why don't you trust me? We've always been honest - always - and I need to know what's wrong with you now. What good is our friendship if we can't be there for each other when something's wrong?"
Andy closed his eyes and swallowed hard: "I wish I could tell you, Gabriel. Really, I do. But it's... it's not that simple. I... I don't know what to do or say anymore, and I feel so alone, and it's true, I don't trust you, and I hate myself for it, and I... I just don't know what to do." Andy opened his eyes and looked at his friend. His heart swelled with longing and love when he saw the worried expression on Gabriel's face.
"I don't understand you, Andy. I mean, I always have, or at least thought I did. But now I don't."
"I don't, either, you see. I don't. I don't know why I feel this way. I don't know why I keep thinking and thinking and thinking until I feel my head will burst. I don't know why I am so afraid that I can't tell you, you of all people, my best friend, why I can't tell you of all people, when you're the only one... the only one..." Andy tried to swallow the tears, but he couldn't, everything burst out of him, he started crying and couldn't stop, he cried and cried and he felt Gabriel's arms around him, he wanted to hold him tight but he was so afraid, he cried, resting his head on his friend's shoulder, so close, his friend, his best friend, who had always been there for him, who was full of kindness, his beautiful friend, whom he desired and loved, and whom he feared, feared because he needed him so much, and because he knew he would lose him.
"Shhh, Andy, it's alright. It's going to be alright. Don't cry, please. Or maybe cry if it helps, only don't worry. I'm here, Andy. I'm here. Everything will be alright."
"No, nothing will be alright, Gabriel, nothing. How can it be alright if I lose you? How can I be alright if I cannot be with you, if I cannot hold you close when I want to?" Andy straightened himself up, dried his tears, and looked directly at his friend. "How can anything be alright if I cannot tell you that I love you?"
At Andy's words, Gabriel turned pale. Then, after a while, he got up, turned around, and left the room without saying a word. Andy stayed where he was, in the dimming light of a late summer evening, sitting on the floor in his room, perfectly still, and completely alone.
In the kitchen, in front of the open refrigerator, Andy paused. He knew that Gabriel was gone, and nothing else seemed to matter anymore. How ridiculous to worry about anything else, about school, or about his parents' divorce, or about those stupid allergies. He almost wished he had not felt the pain as a kid, when he drank that gulp of milk. Then, he would have gone on, he would have emptied the glass and died, and would have been spared the pain of a life without love.
Without thinking, Andy took the gallon of milk from the fridge, opened it, and started to drink.
Gabriel stood panting on the front yard of Andy's house, a million thoughts rushing through his head. For years, he had been in love with his best friend, but he had decided long ago that he could never tell him, that it would only hurt him, and that a true lover could never hurt the one he loved. He had resigned himself to having Andy as a friend, which, in a way, was more than he could have hoped for. He had started to build a wall around his feelings, knowing the danger of choking one's heart, but unwilling to put his one needs before those of his friend. But now, with three words, Andy had destroyed the wall, it had crumbled to dust in a matter of seconds. Gabriel had panicked, and fled.
The evening air, however, had begun to soothe him, and he suddenly realized what Andy's words meant. Against all odds, violating all laws of probability, Andy had fallen in love with him, too. Like in one of those corny shows on TV which Gabriel hated so much, the two people who were obviously supposed to fall in love did so, predictably, before anybody could start to have serious doubts about it. It was a fantasy world, which had nothing to do with real life, where even if two people fall in love, life does not just stop, but goes on, with all its problems and difficulties. Andy loved him - but how would they be able to live as lovers? What would his the guys from the soccer team think?
Gabriel brushed aside his doubts, angry at himself for letting them get in the way. He knew it would not be easy, but love, perhaps, never was. Love did not last for ever. It did not conquer death. Love could hurt, and love could die, but that only made it more important to hold on to it as long as it was there. Why should he feel passionate about something which he could taken for granted? Love was not everyone's due, but it was a luxury, a special gift, and he was wrong to hesitate now that he was offered such a present.
Gabriel turned around, and rushed back towards Andy's house.
Andy ignored the pain after the first few gulps of milk and continued to drink. He had never swallowed so much milk before, and the pain increased with every second. Despite the liquid pouring down his throat, he felt dry, as if his body was withering, and soon he had to stop drinking, gasping for air. His breathing was thick and heavy, and something seemed to rattle in his chest. Andy put the milk back and tried to hold on to the refrigerator door, but he slipped and fell to the floor. He tried to get up, but couldn't, and, lying on his stomach, the thought crossed his mind that, perhaps, he would die. Slowly, painfully, Andy managed to turn himself on his back. He tried to focus, breathe in, breathe out, but it was so hard, and he felt dizzy.
Suddenly, somebody was kneeling next to him, saying something to him. Andy knew the voice, but he couldn't concentrate, and he felt his mind slipping away. The voice was fading, and all he heard were distant fragments, absurd, without meaning.
"...have to ...wrong ... tell me ... wrong ... don't ... my love..."
Gabriel tried to keep Andy awake, but he realized that he was losing him. Although he did not know what was wrong, he realized that Andy might be dying. His life, which only a few moments ago had looked like a cheap romance, now assumed the look of a melodrama. He had thought that he might be happy, but now it was too late, and soon, all that would be left would be memories and regret and the emptiness of a life without Andy.
Gabriel leaned forward, kissed Andy, who had been writhing in pain but was now lying almost perfectly still, and said: "I love you."
"I love you."
A light appeared in the darkness, and Andy moved towards the light. He was almost there now, he reached out to touch the light, and suddenly the light was inside of him. The light filled him with life, it rushed through his body and gave him strength. He opened his eyes and saw Gabriel's face, and noticed that his friend had tears in his eyes.
"I... feel... like I'm bursting."
"Andy! Are you okay? I thought you were dead."
"I think I'm alright, but..." Andy clutched his stomach with his hands, and felt that his fingers were all swollen. "Help me up."
Gabriel took Andy's right arm and put it over his shoulder in order to support his friend. Then, they stood up.
"Whew, I'm still shaky, but I think the worst part is over."
As soon as Andy had said this, he doubled over, clutching his stomach again. When he straightened back up, he had a strange look on his face. Gabriel watched his friend, who suddenly lifted his shirt and started to feel his stomach with his left hand. Gabriel was about to say something when he realized that, slowly, Andy's abs were becoming more defined.
"Andy... what's happening...?"
Andy looked at his friend and shook his head, giving a shrug with his shoulders to indicate that he had no clue.
"I have no clue. Honestly, I have no idea."
Andy continued to stroke his increasingly muscular stomach, while Gabriel notice that the abs were not the only part of his friend's body which were changing. Andy's shoulders seemed to be broadening, and his pecs were definitely pushing outwards, making the shirt increasingly tight on his growing frame.
"I love you, Gabriel." Andy had stopped feeling his stomach and was looking at Gabriel now. "I love you so much."
Gabriel stepped forward, ran his right hand through his friend's hair, put his left on Andy's butt - and pulled him close. Gabriel barely registered that his lover's butt was pushing outwards, and that the previously loose pants were being filled up more with every second. All he felt was Andy's lips on his, one tongue caressing the other. He pressed his hips forward, meeting with a considerable hard-on and a pair of incredibly powerful quads, ballooning outwards and threatening to tear apart his lover's jeans. Two hips pressed against each other, two tongues moved back and forth, hands felt back shoulders biceps lats pecs pushing growing swelling, ears heard heavy breathing and splitting-of-seams as the muscles burst through the fabric of Andy's shirt. Gabriel felt himself lifted off the floor, locked in a forceful and tender embrace, savoring the sweetness of an endless kiss, feeling muscles growing and pushing against him. Gabriel pressed his hips forward, his erection straining in his pants. More seems gave way as Andy's jeans could no longer contain his ballooning quads. Andy's biceps pushed against his forearms, his lats pushed against his tricpes, his pecs pressed against each other. Andy adjusted his stance to make room for his growing quads, still holding on to Gabriel, adjusting his grip so he would not have to break the kiss despite his chest which was growing outwards, pecs increasing in size, pressing downwards towards his ten-pack. Breathing, pressing against each other, Andy and Gabriel caressed each others tongues, rubbed their hands across each others body, the one gorgeously lean and athletic, the other pulsing with orgasmically growing muscles. Pushing, growing, growing and pushing, they both came, still kissing each other while waves of pleasure wash over them, still holding on and feeling the incredible growth. Their tongues still move back and forth after this first orgasm has subsided, and neither of them wants to let go of his lover, who might have been lost, this lover who is also a fantasy come true. They hold on for their life, almost afraid to let go, locked in an eternal kiss, Andy, strong enough now to no longer be afraid, and Gabriel, feeling quads swelling, biceps bulging against him, pecs pushing and pushing, and wondering whether there might ever be enough of Andy to love.
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