Subject: Off Limits Chapter 5 HAPPY FATHER’S DAY Y’ALL!! As always, THANK YOU for all your messages of support. It’s so appreciated. Finally, its here. The chapter you all have been waiting for. I’m not saying anything more 😉 I hope you guys will keep getting in touch with me!! If you wanna have a chat, my email is [email protected] Peace and love, Ryan OFF LIMITS CHAPTER FIVE I have never, in my life, seen two kids, or teenagers rather, consume so much food. We were at Spur restaurant, a nationwide known steak house in South Africa. Both Max and JJ had ordered the maximum amount of ribs on offer and they didn’t seem in any haste to slow down. That’s AFTER they had demolished a starter course of crumbed mushrooms and spicy nachos. I was hoping it wasn’t a sort of celebration where JJ was concerned, but rather in celebrating the end of something that was toxic in his young life for several years. The day before, Tiffany, my best friend since kindergarten and her scumbag of a husband, Preston, battled it out in court for a much-needed divorce. Since they were married in Community of Property, they had to arrange a amicable settlement which was deemed acceptable by both parties. If not, everything they owned had to be sold and the money and their assets would be divided equally between both of them. Since Tiffany had rock solid evidence that Preston had been cheating on her, the case was simple, clear and quick, and perhaps even painless. Tiffany walked out of that court room with a golden handshake, so to speak. She got the house, half of every single dime Preston had EVER accumulated and of course, sole custody of JJ. Her son. Max’s best friend. The very same JJ, that both me and Max were hopelessly in love with. A week ago, Max and I dared to go where we really shouldn’t have. Both of us were gay, and knew it about the other, both of us were in pain because we couldn’t have JJ, who was unfortunately as straight as an arrow…or so he claimed. What happened that afternoon, well, neither myself, nor Max had any regrets, but we knew we wouldn’t do it again, nor did we have any need or lust to. We just needed to blow off some much needed sexual steam, which we did. Now, eight days later, and me and Tiff were enjoying our modest steaks, with fries and onion rings, watching the boys strip off every single piece of meat they possibly could from their bottomless ribs they had decided to share. Remind me to never have kids. By the time our very, sexy, youngish waiter offered us the dessert menu, I think both boys knew they had bitten off more than they could chew…pun intended. Their stomachs were bulging, if that was at all possible. Top that off with the fizz that came within the two large Cokes they both had wolfed down, and you had some problems keeping your food down, never mind ordering dessert. Max complained that even sitting down was hurting his stomach. I knew every ridge of his toned six pack all too well. My tongue and fingers glided over it more than once. Me and Tiff, who hadn’t had NEARLY as much as the boys did to eat and drink decided on a Don Pedro for Tiffany whilst I ordered a cheese cake. We were making small talk around the table, both boys still holding their stomachs, as if that would solve their fullness, when it happened. Our waiter was called Dante, as I said, his name fitted his description to a tee. He was Afrikaans, spoke English as if its was his first language, and more than satisfied our needs. Not THAT need. 😉 Anyhow, he placed the desserts we ordered before Tiff and myself, before he directed his attention towards Max and JJ. “Can I get you boys anything? Anything at all?” Now, I didn’t see what exactly had happened. I didn’t think I needed to. I was busy tucking into my cheese cake and enjoying the restaurant vibe. The next moment JJ totally flipped. “What the fuck? Are you flirting with me?” Suddenly the restaurant was deathly quiet. Everyone around us stopped eating and was looking over at our table. Yeeaah. Awks. JJ had a look in his eyes that I have never seen before. Poor Dante didn’t know where to cast his eyes…on us, or on everyone now watching this spectacle. “I…I’m sorry, I thought…” “You thought wrong, dude! Get outta here, and tell your manager or whatever we want another waiter! I ain’t getting served by no faggot!” Feeling physically sick from the inside at those words, I carefully downed my spoon I was using to eat my cheese cake. The whole restaurant had heard JJ. The manager on duty came marching over to our table and fiercely placed his hand on Dante’s shoulder. “In my office, now.” Dante looked like a puppy dog that had been kicked and rejected by its favourite owner. His shoulders slumping, the young man was careful not to look anyone in the eye, before making his way to the office, at the back of the restaurant as fast as he could, given the circumstances. “People! I’m sorry about that. Complimentary drinks for anyone, on the house. And please, enjoy the rest of your stay,” the manager beamed and made his own way towards the office. There was no doubt…free drinks for everyone? Dante is surely gonna be sacked. “Dude, he wasn’t even flirting…” Max whispered as the restaurant slowly regained its vibe and cosiness. People were talking and eating once more, no doubt gossiping over what just happened. “Shut up! He winked at me. Didn’t you see that? I’m not gay, Max! Not now, not ever,” JJ hissed back. Taking a huge sip of his remaining Coke, he seemed to be so angry that it totally went down the wrong way. He started to choke, his eyes gleaming and tears forming in the corners. One big slap from Max and it was down his gullet. JJ was still coughing though and I saw Max’s hand caressing his buddy’s back. What…the FUCK…just happened? Where was the bright young boy that I had fallen in love with? The energetic footballer with a passion for swimming, life and his friends? The one who WINKED AT ME a few weeks back and told me I was the best thing to happen to him and his mom in years? Most importantly…where was the guy that I saw, allowing Max to give him a blowjob up in his room? And now, that SAME boy izmit escort made a homophobic remark in a restaurant PACKED with people and probably ended the career of a young waiter. This wasn’t JJ. He wasn’t usually this angry nor was he this vindictive. He knew Max and I was gay. He didn’t just tolerate us, like majority straight people, he actually valued us. He and Max were close, we all could see their friendship was a beautiful creation. Me and JJ were tight as well, especially because I was the closest thing he had to an adult male in his life after Preston had split. This wasn’t him! I had no desire to eat my cheese cake any further, but I didn’t wanna allow Tiff to sense me being this uncomfortable. I felt a hand on my leg. Tiffany’s. I looked to my right hand side. Expecting to see her looking at me or even perhaps, to say something, anything, to justify what her son had just done. There was no emotion, no reaction. She drank her Don Pedro, whilst keeping her hand on my leg. Then, I looked down. More closely. It wasn’t her entire hand on my leg. It was her fist. And her index finger was stretched out. Immediately I knew what she wanted to tell me, and not in words. I placed my hand next to the hers, under the table, and our index fingers joined together. That’s the symbol we always used when we were kids. That was our special commodity we had, to show each other we loved and trusted each other. Without her son knowing, she wanted ME to know, that she was sorry. I guess Tiffany finally managed to grow up and become an adult in every sense of the word. The old Tiffany would probably have had made a scene and forced JJ to apologise to me and Max. We all know that would’ve made everything worse. And now, so did she apparently. On the ride back home, Max was quiet, as you might have expected. So was JJ. Only me and Tiff kept any sort of conversation going. The boys was going to have a sleepover tonight whilst I had some research to do before my big interview in two days time. Curro Academic, the very same school were I had first met JJ as a teenager months ago, was interested in my services. After what JJ had said in the restaurant about gay people, I didn’t know if I still wanted the job. I’ll be honest, part of me wanted the job with everything I had because it gave me another valid reason to be around the boy I loved, but after what was said…finding out with a shudder and a slight terror, what JJ really thought about gays…now I didn’t know what to do. Was he faking our friendship the whole time? Was he even taking Max for a fool? Pretending he was fine with having a gay best friend? Max told me, that fateful day we got it on in my bedroom, that he was being bullied because he was gay. That JJ was being bulled as well, because of him. Because of their friendship. Did the bullying go too far? Was JJ tired of being labelled as something he was not, and had enough, and just snapped? “Aunt Tiff, can you drop me at my house, please? It won’t be any extra trouble, would it?” A blind man could have seen the emotion on Max’s face and heard the cracking in his teenage voice. “Dude, I thought you were sleeping…” “Please Aunt Tiff?” Max interrupted, all whilst looking out of the window. I sat in front, and I could see his face in the rear view mirror. A tear rolled down his cheek and he quickly wipe it away. If only he knew, I was feeling EXACTLY what he was. Hearing those despicable words from the boy I had feelings for. Tiffany arrived at Max’s home and before she could even properly stop the moving car, Max scrambled out and was walking back to his home. JJ looked as if he wanted desperately to say something but in the end, he kept quiet, kept his head down, his eyes darting across his knees. Tiffany honked the hooter as a way of saying good bye and off we were. It was a tense, awkward silence until we had reached my apartment. I unlocked my seat belt and turned towards Tiff. “Thanks, Stone Eater. I’ll let you know how the interview went.” She lunged forward and hugged me tight. She gave me a kiss on my cheek before letting go. Her eyes was swimming in unshed tears. She of all people knew how much what her son had said, had hurt me. Against my better judgement, I stretched out my fist towards JJ. “I’ll see ya, bud,” I said, offering him some kind of olive branch. Nada. Nothing. He just sat there. Quiet. Not speaking. His eyes were dark and stormy. I faintly saw a shaking of his knee. Like he was doing his best from keeping his emotions under control. After a few seconds I withdrew my hand and got out of the car. I waved them off as they drove away. I entered my apartment and sunk into the nearest sofa. The tears that had threatened to spill across my god damn face all afternoon, had no where to hide anymore. Why would he call someone a faggot knowing there were TWO GAY people with him at the table? Why did he make SUCH a fucking scene? And why, why, had I seemingly fallen in love with an asshole and a homophobe? Later that night, just before I got into bed, my mobile peeped. A message from JJ. Only one single word. “Sorry.” Not knowing what to respond to that I placed my phone on the bed side table, got into bed and closed my eyes. Maybe it was better this way. If I could lose some respect for JJ, I would hopefully fall out of love with him. I felt guilty and dirty as hell already, feeling for him exactly what I did. Maybe, finally, this whole saga can come to an end. And it’s gonna break me. ** I had gotten the position at Curro. I was officially a working, employed, high school teacher. And just as my damn luck would have it, I was responsible for teaching the Grade 9’s English class. That meant I would be teaching both JJ and Max at the same time. There is a God. And he hates me. I didn’t have any sort of contact with JJ since that afternoon in the restaurant. Tiffany must have sensed my feelings somehow because after initially calling twice in two days for the two of us to meet up, and me declining both, she must have gotten the message. No peep from her in almost two weeks. JJ was a model student, if his grades were anything to go by. Out of all the yahya kaptan escort Grade nine kids, he was third in his year, clever, funny and smart. Not to mention how good looking he was. The girls absolutely loved him. The guys wanted to be him, or to be his friend. He was a very popular student, which comes with being a hero on the soccer field and with his stunning good looks. As I closed his file, I noticed that it was his birthday in three days. JJ would be turning sixteen. He’d be legal to have sex with. OMG did THAT thought just cross my mind? I placed his file down and looked out of the window. I could see JJ chilling out with some kids underneath a tree on the playground. They were typically, shooting the shit in their recess. But as I concentrated on JJ alone, I could’ve been mistaken…but he seemed…sad. Lonely. Sure, he laughed and interacted with the others. But, sure enough, when he thought no one was looking, he sunk back into his sad state. I did notice that Max wasn’t with them. Then again, given the circumstances, why would he be? Why didn’t Tiffany say anything about JJ turning sixteen in three days time? Did she think I was still angry over what happened? Man…I could’ve handled this better. But…and this was the difficult part, how was I supposed to pretend JJ didn’t call someone a faggot and cause him to lose his job? The words every gay man and woman knew and detested. FAGGOT. He said it. The last class that the Grade Nine’s had that day was English. I noticed Max was the first kid to enter the classroom, and he picked a spot right near the door. He waved at me, but that was it. He looked like death. As the other kids was starting to stream inside, I noticed that they were making a point not to sit close to Max. JJ and another boy entered the room just as I wanted to start the lesson. The little shits took their time to look for a spot away from Max, but all the seats were taken, apart from those next to, and behind Max. Fuck this shit. “There are two perfectly good seats over there next to Max. Sit down and open your Shakespeare bundles. Now, JJ!” I didn’t wanna come across like a bastard but this was my job. And if I really had misread that kid, then it was on me. But having been bullied in school myself, there was no way I was gonna allow it to happen now. And definitely not to Max. During the lesson, whilst facing away from the students, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. The boy behind Max leaned forward and clipped Max’s ear. I ignored it and went on with my lecture. Fifteen minutes or so later I heard a slight `thump’. I still, ignored it and went on with analysing Hamlet. Whilst writing on the board, I noticed the cupboard, where all my files were kept, had glass windows and that I could see behind me as I was teaching. Some big lump of a boy actually stood UP and threw a piece of rolled up newspaper at Max. It hit him on the side of his cheek. That fully explained the `thump’ of a few minutes back. As I explained Hamlet’s questionable insanity, I saw the boy rise from his desk yet again. In his hand, a plastic rubber. Just as he was getting ready to throw it towards Max, I turned around. He was literally caught red handed. “Detention, Mr Watson. You too, Mr Jackson. Get out of my class.” The fat lump and the ear clipper stared at me as if they were seeing me for the first time. “Did you hear what I said? GET OUT!” I shouted, my chest heaving with anger. Both boys got up, took their backpacks and quietly left the classroom. “Anyone else intending of bullying people in my class, can join those two. Understood?” A murmur or `yes sir’ trembled through the class. As the bell rang, I quickly intercepted a certain rushing teenage boy. “JJ. A word please.” He looked dejected. He obviously knew what was coming. We had avoided each other for weeks now. We were gonna solve this, right here, right now. I loved him way too much to leave things as they were. “Look, this is about what happened at Spur. I said I was sorry. What more can I do?” JJ said softly, nervously pacing up and down the class. “You can stand still and look me in the eyes for a start.” He stopped right in his tracks. His eyes met mine. God. They were still as emerald green as always. I could understand why he was so popular. Wow…he was still as beautiful even after a long ass day at school. My heart yearned to be close to him. To touch him. To hold him in my arms, to feel two souls becoming one. He was gripping his backpack tight. His knuckles tensed. He was nervous. Scared, perhaps? “JJ, by now, I couldn’t really care less what was said in Spur that day. What I do have an issue with, is how Max is being treated.” “It wasn’t me that threw him with stuff!” “Oh please, JJ. You came into the class, late mind you, and refused to sit next to him or near him. Why?” His eyes flickered towards the door. “Because of…you know…” “Calling that waiter a faggot knowing that two people with you at the table are gay themselves?” No comment. “JJ, do you have any idea how much people think of you here? You’re so popular, people actually hang on your every word. If you would simply ask these bullies to leave Max alone, they probably would! I’m sure of it! Why don’t you stand up for him? You’re best friends, for God’s sake!” “Don’t you think I’m sick and tired of being made fun of? You think I’m popular? Tell that to Watson and Jackson! They and their possy have it in for me and Max. Max, because his gay. Me, because I’m friends with him. I’m tired, Ryan! I can’t do this anymore!” He sped towards the door, but this time, I was quicker. I pulled him away from the door and shoved him towards my desk. “You’re not getting away that easily. I don’t care who hears me. Something is up with you. Have been for weeks. You’re gonna tell me RIGHT NOW what’s going on. Come on JJ, speak up! You’re not leaving here before you do!” “You can’t keep me here! My mom is waiting for me…” “Oh I’m sure she is. You want me to tell her how you didn’t stand up for your best friend against bullies?” He allowed his backpack to slip through his gebze escort fingers. It fell on the floor with a thud. It looked like JJ…defeated. He was close to tears. He was breathing heavily and sweating. His hands were shaking. That was as much as I could take. I walked over to him and pulled him towards me. I gently lifted up his face with my fingers. His green eyes once more meeting mine. He was in such pain. Something inside him was hurting him to such an extent that this popular, nearly sixteen year old muscular soccer stud was reduced to the blubbering mess before me. I slowly pulled his body towards me. With a cry from deep inside his chest and throat he hugged me back. He hung onto me like I was the last person left on planet Earth. His crying was evident now, my shirt was getting drenched in his tears. I just kept caressing this beautiful boy with all the love I had for him inside my heart. “I’m here. I am not going anywhere. I’m always gonna be here…” I whispered as I lowered my head onto his, holding him even tighter. He continued to pour out his emotional demons, the palms of his hands on my back twisting into iron fists. I continued to hold him as he continued to bare his soul. Finally, he managed to semi, calm down. I gently released him and lovingly wiped away his tears. He watched my eyes as I continued to resurrect his own beautiful eyes with my thumb, careful, not to hurt him. “I don’t…I don’t wanna be…” he whispered, never taking his eyes from mine. “Don’t wanna be what?” I whispered back. “I’m not gay, Ryan. I can’t be gay. I don’t wanna be gay, Ryan.” “JJ, for the love of God…who said that you were? Why would this even be an issue for you?” I asked, holding his head between my hands. He swallowed. He closed his eyes. He took a deep breath. “Because I wanted to do THIS ever since I met you…” Jesus Christ. His lips were on mine. Hungry, probing, needy, the groans from the back of his throat was telling me how much, how long he had wanted this. This was no dream. This was the beautiful reality. I pushed him away from me and walked over towards the window. I urgently withdrew the curtains so that no soul could see inside of the classroom. JJ was still standing on the same spot where I had left him. It was like, he was literally begging me to touch him. I walked over to the boy I loved, reached out and caressed the side of his face. He leaned into my touch and pulled me close. “Please Ryan, tell me…I wanna hear it…tell me…tell me you love me as much as I love you…” I could only nod. My voice had left me. My heart was beating lightening fast. The relief, the pure pleasure my answer bought to his face was joyous. The pain in both of our beings, all the pretence, was over, at last. “I’m sorry…I’ve been a bitch lately. I didn’t know how to handle what I felt. I was confused, I never felt like this before. And towards a dude. And for my mom’s best friend of all people. You’ve made my life so much better and not seeing you for three whole weeks…it hurts, Ryan. It really hurt. I wanted to call or message you so any times…” “Shhhh. Don’t talk. Its okay. I’m still here, aren’t I? I love you, JJ. I’m so in love with you, I can scream it in front of the whole school. You’re my reason for living. You’re everything I’ve ever wanted in a man. Screw the age difference. I don’t give a damn anymore. I’ve fallen for you so hard I can’t ever get up.” JJ leaned his forehead into mine. We could feel each other’s warm breath. He gently leaned in and placed a single kiss on my lips. Questioningly, asking for permission to do more. I decided to answer for him. I captured his lips between my own and kissed him like I had never kissed anyone before. His lips were surprisingly soft for a fifteen year old boy. He grabbed onto my head and so did I to his. His hair, so floppy, so soft. I deepened the kiss, my tongue making the ultimate search for its mate, located inside his mouth. He immediately reciprocated and suddenly it wasn’t just a kiss anymore. It was love being portrayed in the most urban, rural, primal and ancient way. His lips tasted like grapes. Swapping spit with the boy I loved. I wanted to do more. Loads more. But I didn’t dare make the same mistake I made with Max weeks ago. That was just sex. This…this was my life. JJ gasped for air as I released him. He leaned into me yet again, hungrily wanting more, but I stopped him. “You’re sixteen on Saturday, right? ” “What’s that got to do with…” “You’re gonna be legal then. Please. I wanna do this right. I’ve been hard on myself feeling like this for a minor. I promise we’ll do more, much more, but not now, and not here. Okay?” He touched my chest through my shirt. He could feel my heart beating. He knew exactly how I felt. “Okay. Ryan…I…I mean…I feel…” “I feel the same. Look at me.” He clutched at my shirt as his eyes shone onto mine. “What do you see? Look into my eyes and tell me.” He smiled. He gripped my right hand with his own. I’ve never, ever seen him look this happy. Not even after scoring in that soccer game when we met all those months ago. “I see love, Ryan. I see you loving me,” he beamed. “I do, JJ. Come here.” We embraced as passionately as only two men in love could. The blackness that endorsed both of us in such pain was no more. Life suddenly looked oh so beautiful and pretty. I could even hear the birds chirping outside the window. Rustling from the three branches. Total silence. We had each other. How…how on earth was I gonna explain this to Tiffany? Not to mention Max! I knew I had to. His mother alone was gonna chop my balls off, but I at least owed my best friend the truth. I will man the fuck up and tell her personally on Saturday. God knows how that will end, but I was in love. Best of all, JJ loved me back. I smiled like a horny teenager. God knew, I was holding one in my arms. He was mine. All mine. The door burst open. “Numb Nuts, have you seen…OH MY GOD!” On instinct I pushed JJ away as quick as I could, but it was too late. Way too late. He stumbled onto my desk, but he didn’t care. He knew exactly what I did. Tiffany had seen us. Oh God. She knew. THANKS FOR READING!! Next chapter will be the last in the “Off Limits” saga. I can’t thank you all for the support I have gotten, and all the emails. If you liked Chapter 5 and want to get in touch with me, feel free ail

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