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|The back room of JP’s basement was amazing. Along one wall were countless pictures of JP, each one showing off his body at various stages in his muscular development. There were nearly a hundred photos exhibiting JP’s body in some way. Action shots of him wrestling were situated next to ones of him hanging around with friends, which were pinned adjacent to ones from Boy Scout activities. In every single photo, at least some of JP’s muscles were showing in some form or another.
“Pretty cool, huh?” JP said, glowing. I was breathless, if it’s possible to be more breathless than I was just a minute before. “It’s basically in chronological order,” he explained, pointing to one of the corners of the room. “The ones way over on the left are from the first month I started working out and I just grow from there. Sixteen sections for each of the 16 months I‘ve officially been working out.”
In the early sections were pictures of JP with his shirt off, looking very much how I remembered him at the beginning of his freshman year: skinny and lanky. Along the ceiling and above all the pictures were months, under each of which there was one picture of JP, wearing only boxers, standing in front of a mirror facing the camera along with additional shots of him working out.
“Ryan took those pictures about the first of every month,” JP explained. “He wanted to show me how I was progressing.” Sure enough, under each passing month, the little kid in the picture slowly began to morph into a Greek god. JP smiled at me. “Do you want a tour?”
“I guess so,” I said, almost too excitedly. “This is kinda cool.” Month by month, JP led me through his gains, explaining what each picture was and which muscles were visible. I was impressed. The first section, from the August before his freshman year, displayed a couple of pictures of JP with his shirt off playing baseball with some neighborhood friends. He looked just like the other guys his age. There were a few shots of him and his brother, except JP was a skinny little nerd and Ryan wasn’t quite as big as he was now (after all, it was nearly two years ago). You could even see JP’s ribs in the mirror picture at the top and in some of the workout pictures, he was only benching the bar.
“Those are the embarrassing ones,” he said, blushing. “But my brother says it’s all part of getting big.” There wasn’t much difference in JP’s musculature in the first few months. He had stayed fairly skinny and not much muscle was developing yet. “I started off really slow,” he explained. “I almost quit, too, but Ryan persuaded me to continue.” He led me over to a picture under November of him flexing a very small bicep. The smile on his face was huge and I could tell he was really excited.
“This is funny,” JP started, laughing. “I was doing arm curls in my bedroom one night when I noticed this little mound of muscle. I was so excited, I ran into Ryan’s room and made him take a picture of it. I was so proud.” I started laughing, too. “I was like, ‘Look, Ryan, look, I’m getting muscles like you!’” I cracked up at his impersonation of himself when he was smaller. “That’s when I really started working: when I saw results. I started coming down here all the time, even without my brother.”
Sure enough, in only the next month, JP’s shoulders had broadened and a very faint six-pack was visible. Here, the wrestling pictures become more and more prominent: a posed one like ones in yearbooks, action photos with muscles straining, candid shots of him with teammates, usually flexing. At first, JP’s biceps were dwarfed by the others’, but as the wall progressed, he eventually started catching up. That little mound was growing into real muscle.
As the winter months moved on, the weights on the bars increasingly became heavier and JP’s physique gradually became more defined. “I had to watch my weight because it was the middle of wrestling season and I couldn’t go above 103,” he told me. “It helped actually, since it made me concentrate on keeping my body fat down, preparing my muscles to grow again once wrestling season ended.”
At February, the mirror picture showed a set of well-defined abs, a slight V-shape to his torso and a widening neck – the beginnings of the little god he would become. Under that same month, there was a photo of JP wearing a white T-shirt with one sleeve lifted up, showing off a small bulging bicep. He pulled it off the wall, saying, “I’ll show you something a little later.”
In March and April, he explained that he filled out only a little bit and then started to plateau. “I got a little frustrated when I wasn’t seeing the gains I was before, but Ryan said that that was normal.” But by the time summer started, it was a different story. Under June of that year, there was a hot picture of JP and his brother lying wet in lounging chairs by a pool in swimming trunks, their six-packs highlighted beautifully by the sun. JP muscles were how I remembered them to be when I saw them after graduation that month.
Through the summer, the mirror pictures showed the greatest growth of muscle. This was where JP did most of his bulking up. The number of weights in the workout pictures started increasing rapidly as evidence of JP’s sudden growth in strength. Here, again, were pictures of him playing baseball wearing a wife-beater, although this time, he dwarfed his friends. One kid seemed to be looking at him with amazement. Next to that, was the funniest picture on that wall. It was taken during a Boy Scout activity in the woods. JP was sitting, wearing only his Scout shorts and a red bandana wound his head, on a “throne” made of sticks. Four smaller boys were struggling to carry JP and his throne, while JP was calmly lounging there, arms behind his head and smiling satisfyingly. His biceps bulged and his toned chest and abs glistened in the warm sun.
In August, he pointed out another picture of him wearing a white T-shirt, except this time, it was very tight on him. He held up the T-shirt photo from February and I realized that it was the same shirt. It was now extremely tight around his neck and shoulders, the sleeves only concealed half of his upper arm, his chest stretched the fabric out a bit and the bottom of the shirt was just able to reach the top of pants. “I put this shirt on one day,” he told me, “and had to show Ryan. Over the summer, I had gotten taller and I started filling out.”
As September and October approached, JP’s frame in the mirror pictures continued to grow. Here, there was one picture of him wearing a tuxedo, the same tux worn for the previous Spring Band Concert. The collar was choking him so much that his neck was pulling at the clip in front. By the time wrestling season started again, JP’s chest and upper arms returned to their ripped definition at the same time his shoulders continued to broaden. Not to mention, his thighs had become the little concrete pylons they were now. His sophomore wrestling pictures showed him as twice the size he was his freshman year…and twice the cuteness too.
“And now,” JP suddenly stood in front of me and did a double-biceps flex, “we’re in January!” My best friend looked absolutely huge flexing his muscles in my face. I had even more respect for him now that I had seen how he had grown over the last year and a half. “Go on,” he urged. “Feel my biceps.” I almost too eagerly raised my hands to his little pythons. They were harder and denser then I could ever imagine.
At that moment, we happened to look into each other’s eyes. My right hand was still on his left bicep and the hardness of that muscle contrasting with the softness in his eyes made me melt once again. Was it me, or were his eyes growing even softer? Something was happening that I couldn’t explain. Suddenly, JP reached his arms around my body, thrust me into his chest and started kissing me. I had no choice but to kiss back. Both our tongues were strong from years of playing trumpet, but his was almost over-powering. For a fleeting moment, I felt like I had just melted into his sculpted body. It was unlike any other feeling I had felt in my entire life.
After what seemed like a heavenly eternity, JP pulled away, raised his hand to his mouth and apologized. “I’m sorry, Matt.” Both of us were breathing heavily now. Apparently, it had shocked him as much as it had shocked me. “I didn’t mean to do that.” His eyes were darting around the room, in an attempt to avoid mine. I was speechless and didn’t move. We both stood, trying not to look in each other’s direction for a few long moments, not knowing what to say. JP was the first to break the silence.
I didn’t know what to think. At first, I was happy because he was gay too and my dreams to tell him I loved him could come true, but then I caught a worried expression on his face. “What’s wrong?” I asked, stepping toward him, my arm out-reached.
“Nothing,” JP answered, taking a step back, trying hard to keep his stoicism.
“Well, I’m gay, too.” There, I had finally told him, but it wasn’t exactly how I had expected to break it to him.
“I know you are,” JP said sternly, looking at my face for the first time since the kiss. “I could see it in your eyes. You love me as much as I love you.” He paused. “I couldn’t help but kiss you.”
I stammered to find the words. “Well, if we…I guess…love each other, then why are you so worried?”
“Look at my life,” he said immediately, pointing at the wall behind him. “I’m a wrestler, I’m a Boy Scout – an Eagle Scout for Christ’s sake – and I want to go to the Naval Academy.” Tears were starting to well up in his eyes now. “My life is not allowing me to be gay.” His voice was really beginning to quaver. “You’re going into music. It’s no big deal for you to be gay.” I put my arm around his broad shoulders and guided him to the floor. We both sat there for a few minutes against the wall, him leaning against my shoulder, me rubbing his wide back to comfort him.
“It’ll be ok,” I told him, still not sure what to make of it all. It had happened so fast. Just a few minutes ago, he was all macho, showing off his incredible physique and now he was practically crying on me. What had happened to JP’s egotism and pompousness? “I’ll help you get through this.”
“But,” JP protested, “you’re the first person I’ve ever told. If my family found out, my parents would disown me, my brother would never talk to me again.”
I closed my eyes and thought for a moment. I lifted his head off my shoulder so that I could look directly into his eyes. “Don’t worry. This will stay between the two of us. If you don’t want your family to find out, then we’ll keep hiding it until you’re ready.”
“Thanks, Matt,” JP whispered. He kissed my cheek and placed his arms around my body. The strength of his sculpted limbs filled me with warmth. I didn’t need him to say thank you, his arms said it all.
That’s when it hit me that my life was going to be completely different from then on. True, I still had a secret that I would be keeping from the world, but at least now I knew I wasn’t alone. JP had the same secret and I knew he’d always be there for me as I would for him. As long as we had each other, nothing would seem overwhelming. The thought of that almost brought me to tears.
“Now get up off the floor,” I joked in an attempt to keep my composure. “You’re not wearing a shirt, for heaven’s sake.” He smiled at me. Somehow, I had a feeling everything was going to be alright.
He got up from the concrete floor and walked back into the gym. I followed him. “Well, that was awkward,” he said, reaching his arm into a closet and pulling out that green Packer shirt he always used to wear to band camp. “But I’m glad I got that out of my system.”
He pulled on the shirt, which was a little tight in his shoulders, but hung loosely at his waist. He gently held my wrists in his hands and brought them up to feel his chest. The warmth of his pecs emanated through the fabric and I immediately felt at ease. JP gazed longingly into my eyes. “I’ll have you now,” he said.
Then, he embraced tightly, pressing himself into me, his rock-hard biceps nudging against my sides. I had never felt safer than I did at that moment, standing there just looking into JP’s eyes. They were so beautiful, so strong. Suddenly, as if he could read my mind, JP reached up and gave me another, longer, more passionate kiss. Any awkwardness that was left in us was now totally gone as our lips interlocked, our tongues delicately playing with each other. His hands drifted down to my butt and brought my body even closer into his, his erect cock warmly rubbing up against mine. I closed my eyes, taking in every sensation.
When he finally released me, I felt like I was flying, hovering above the ground. Dreamily lifting my eyelids, I struggled to summon my throat to speak. “Wow,” I sighed. I leaned against the wall dazed, my mind lost in fog. I barely heard JP’s voice.
“When did you figure out you were gay?”
I slowly turned my head toward him. He was looking at me, his face expressing a look of complete calm. Taking in a few deep breaths, I looked down at the floor, searching for the words.
“It was at the eighth-grade pool party,” I began. I had told the story over and over in my head, but this was the first time it ever left my mouth. “You know that guy in middle school, the one who sort of grows up before all the other guys? Well, it was the first time I ever saw him with his shirt off. He had the pecs, the abs, the biceps – you know, the whole deal.” I smiled at the absurdity of my words; the “whole deal” was standing right in front of me. “I had a helluva time hiding that erection,” I laughed. At the time, I had been horrified, but the scene seemed almost silly to me now.
“I’m sure you did,” JP responded merrily, glancing down at my crotch with obvious connotation. “You seem pretty big down there.”
My jaw dropped slightly. “You’ve never seen it. How do you know if I’m big,” I stammered.
“Oh please,” he sniggered. “I noticed the bulge the whole time I was showing you the wall in there.” He cocked his head toward the back room door. I blushed, which made him laugh even harder. “Come on,” he continued once he calmed down, “I know you’ve seen mine, so we’re even.”
I never imagined having a conversation like this with JP and it should have been awkward, but somehow, he made me feel comfortable. Nonetheless, I quickly brought the subject back on track.
“When did you figure it out?”
JP suddenly got serious. He leaned against the wall next to me and began speaking in a lower tone, like he only wanted me to hear it.
“I was in seventh grade,” he started, his eyes staring straight ahead. I immediately knew this wasn’t going to be a funny story. “My brother had a few of his football buddies over – he was a freshman at the time – and they were hanging out down here.” He looked about the room sullenly as if he were picturing the moment being replayed right in front of him. His voice stopped, temporarily unable to continue. I shifted closer to him.
“Go on,” I encouraged.
“They were just joking around – you know, arm wrestling, comparing muscles, that kind of stuff. I came down – I don’t remember why anymore – and they sort of brought me into their game.” JP’s voice started getting hoarse, his throat choking up, but he pushed on. “They wanted to see whose biceps were harder, so they had me feeling them. At first, it just started with the arms. Then I had to feel their shoulders, and then their chests, and then their abs. Imagine, the nerdy little brother feeling up his jock brother’s friends.” He stopped. That wasn’t it.
“I don’t know what came over me, but all of a sudden I had this urge to just jump on them and – I don’t know what. It was like I wanted to become some kind of animal.” JP’s voice was beginning to waver. “I ran out of the room and upstairs as fast as I could. I could hear them laughing at me.” He paused again and I wrapped my arm around him to comfort him.
“It wasn’t until I got up to my room that I realized I had jizzed in my pants,” he whispered. “Thank god they didn’t notice it.”
I moved my body in front of his so that I could look straight at him. He raised his eyes to mine and smiled, trying to tell me that he was alright.
“What?” I asked. “What is it?”
“It’s just,” he stuttered. “It’s just that I felt the same way the first time I saw you. I mean, I got this feeling like I wanted to jump you.” I raised my eyebrows, flattered. “This may sound sappy, but I knew right away that you were the one I was supposed to be with.”
“Yeah,” he nodded, smiling for real now. “I had this pit feeling down in my stomach, like I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breath.” My mouth opened as I heard JP describe the exact same symptoms that I experienced whenever I looked at him. “I knew immediately that I loved you.”
“You know what,” I smirked. “I felt the same way.”
“I know you did,” he smiled. The two of us just stood there, looking at each other again. God, he was perfect!
“So,” I joked, “do you still want to jump me?”
JP snickered. “We’ll save that for later,” he suggested.
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