Trailing behind his mum and Tiberius as the doctor escorted them back to the foyer, Luke found it hard to believe it was over. A few final words and Tiberius left them.
The waiting area had emptied, but to him it still felt as if every eye followed him as he passed through. Self-consciously, he tried not to make his gating walk too obvious, and discreetly carried his school jacket in a way that shielded his groin. As he passed, he glanced towards the reception desk, but Ella wasn’t there.
Outside, the dodgy weather had passed to be replaced by a glorious bright afternoon and they re-crossed the parking lot in warm sunshine. He climbed in with more care than normal and buckled up, wondering how long his mum hold out. The pulled out across the highway and back in the direction of the 285, and he smirked as his she finally kicked into action.
Luke returned a blank expression. “Well…what?”
“Don’t ‘well what’ me, young man! One of these days, you’ll have children of your own.” Her eyes flicked back across giving him one of her looks, though she sounded more bemused than tetchy. “Then you’ll know what an awfully long hour that was! I don't know about you, but I need a coffee!”
A hundred yards further up the road, she turned into a Dunkin Donuts that had fortuitously appeared on their right. She pulled into the drive-thru, and they both ordered.
“So what took so long?” she asked as they waited by the delivery window watching the girl fill a coffee followed by a vanilla smoothie. Luke couldn't help but smirk as the order was passed through the window. His mum was definitely edgy!
“I dunno. It took a while just talking about it first, even before we went into the theatre.”
“A theatre?” Consternation widened her eyes as she pulled away. “A surgical theatre, you mean? I thought it was—”
“Don’t worry, mum, it was just a local anaesthetic.” He grinned as he interrupted her. It had been a bit of a shock to him too at the time—as well as hurting like hell—but that was all past now.
Drinks safely stashed in the cup holders and a maple frosted donut in his hand, they pulled back onto the highway off again. As they drove, he started from the beginning. He knew he should tell her something—even if just the basics. But, relieved it was over, the more he went on, the more gushy and detailed he got. He even told her there was an assisting nurse, but left off that she was young and pretty.
For her part she seemed happy to listen as he babbled. By the time he finished, they were up onto the 400, heading north.
"Well, I'm glad I didn't know that before you went in!" She pulled a face, but seemed partially satisfied anyway.
"Honestly mum, it wasn't that bad. It sounds worse than it was. Actually, I found it really interesting." Which was true. He'd never really thought about it before, but maybe it wouldn't do any harm to find out what kind of grades were needed for medical school. He could quite see himself being some dashing doctor!
"Even so, you need to take it easy for the next couple of days sweetheart,“ his mum continued. “I know Doctor Tiberius thinks you should be feeling fine by Monday for school, but if it's still a bit sore, just say—we can always keep you off an extra day or so."
"Yeah, maybe..." He knew she meant well, but he was already determined that there was no way he was missing school. “Let's see how it goes—hopefully it won't be needed."
Twenty minutes later, they were home.
Over dinner that night, it was like ‘20 questions’, and Luke found himself besieged on all sides as the three of them ganged up on him. You'd have thought he’d just survived major, open-heart bypass surgery the way they went on. Even his dad!
Of course, there were lots of jokes about being ‘a cut above the rest' and stuff like that, but he didn’t mind. Now the operation was done, it was a weight off his shoulders and he felt quite relaxed as they bantered. As a result, they sat around the kitchen table much longer than normal, and by the end of the meal, the anesthetic had finally begun to wear off. He felt a growing throbbing. It was way past time for some painkillers, and he winced a little as he stood. His mum saw the signs immediately and came to his aid.
"Come on, you lot." She stood and started bustling around. "Luke needs to lie still for a bit. Can you two,” she pointed to Simon and Geoff, “clear the table and clean everything up?" Both of them realized they weren’t being given a choice, but set about it willingly, anyway.
"What say I run you a nice hot bath, sweetheart? And would you like some Tylenol?"
Luke nodded. Both sounded a good idea to him. He took the tablets first and then lay quietly on his bed whilst she ran the water.
A few minutes later, she popped her head around the door. "Okay, it's ready!"
Standing carefully, he passed her at the door to the bathroom. She kissed him on the forehead. "I was proud of you today. You know that, don't you?"
He put it down to tiredness and the stresses of that unusual day, but he felt quite choked up as he stopprd to hug her. "Thanks, Mum...for everything."
* * *
Extract from Luke’s notes:
I can’t remember the last time Mum had run a bath for me, but she’d put bubble bath in the water, and it did look nice and soapy and inviting.
First, I tested it with my hand. It wasn’t too hot, so I guessed it should be fine.
Next, knowing that Simon would be on the prowl, I made sure I locked both the doors. He would want to talk, whereas I was all talked-out!
Then I undressed—extremely carefully, mind you—and gave a long careful examination of the SmartKlamp that was now firmly attached to me, lifting it carefully to view it from all angles. Most of the loose skin of the shaft had been pulled forward and past the place where the device was gripped and locked tight. Inside the tube, my recently uncovered head nestled safely. There was no blood, but I was still covered with the remains of the evil, yellow liquid. That couldn't wash off soon enough!
Next, I needed a pee; something I’d been putting it off for a while for good reason. When Tiberius had plunged that agonising needle into the base of my dick, it felt like it had gone straight through the middle—right into the place where pee came through! Even though he’d said that everything should be fine, it seemed impossible that he hadn't skewered something important. I expected the worst and had held back releasing a stream for as long as I could.
Now, I stood over the loo with some trepidation, waiting for the flow to come, yet still holding it back at the same time. Finally, it wouldn't be denied and I had to let it go—and sighed with a massive relief. Other than a light stinging for the first few seconds, everything flowed fine and looked the right colour. I tore off a strip of toilet paper to wipe the drips from the end as usual, but was foiled as I realised I couldn't so easily get at the end, now.
That was going to be a problem!
I don’t know about you, but if I ever have a bath (and it’s infrequent, as I prefer the shower), I like it full. Full—like brimming! I mean what’s the point in just dipping your ass in a couple of inches? But, on that day, Mum hadn't filled it much, and this time I didn't mind. The truth was, I’d already begun to get some first hand experience of what Tiberius had meant by ‘altered sensations’!
I knelt in the water at first, unwilling to get my bits wet. But that became uncomfortable within a pretty short time, so I sat back, holding my tackle above the waterline before gently lowering it through the bubbles under the waves.
It was utterly and unbearably shocking!
My eyes watered, and it was all I could do to not squeal as stinging bees consumed my wanger! As the hot water played over my open glans, to say it was a bit sensitive was a fucking understatement! You can bet I sat up quick!
FOR HEAVENS SAKE! I gritted my teeth as, far too slowly, the bees left me alone. With all the booklets and detailed post-op instructions, couldn’t someone have written SOMETHING about the importance of turning on the cold tap a bit more?
I put more cold water in the tub before daring to try it again. It was still quite sensitive, but I bore it, and after a few moments, the discomfort eased and I relaxed back in the tub in relief. After another few minutes, I risked adding some hot water, gradually raising the temperature bit by bit to a comfortable level.
I must have been tired. It HAD been quite a day, and I hadn't slept well the night before, and I drifted off.
* * *
Some time later, Luke's eyes blinked open, surfacing from heavy sleep at the sound of tapping, and of his mum's voice calling through the bathroom door.
"Are you okay, sweetheart?" There was an edgy concern in her tone. How long he'd been out while he lay there, he didn't know, but the water had gone cold.
"Oh...yep, I’m fine." He yawned and tried to find his bearings. The throbbing had subsided, for which I was grateful. "It’s okay, I'm just getting out."
"That’s fine...just checking..." She sounded satisfied he hadn't passed away.
Carefully, he climbed out of the tub, and then let out the remains of the now tepid water. He shivered as he wrapped himself carefully in a towel, then headed into his room and dried off before pulling on some PJs and crawling under his duvet. A few minutes later, he was just dropping off again, when his mum came in with a mug of hot chocolate and a couple of medicine bottles.
"This stuff is like the 'Night Nurse' we had in England," she said, shaking the bottle and unscrewing the lid. She poured a generous measure onto a dessert spoon. “It's for colds, but has painkillers in it, and also stuff that helps you sleep."
Luke nodded as she dosed him up, though he didn’t think sleep would be a problem. He was knackered!
She took out two Tylenol and put them on his table. "I'll leave these here for the night in case you need them. And the hot chocolate is your favourite double packet because I love you! Sleep well, sweetheart—call me if you need me." She kissed his forehead and left.
Unable to wipe a satisfied smile off his face, Luke sat up and sipped the drink with enjoyment, reliving the highlights and surprises of the day. It was then that Simon made an appearance. A cheeky look on his face, he stuck his head in the door.
"Come on then," he goaded. "Let's see it!"
"Yeah...right..." Si always wanted details. Luke sipped more of his drink and ignored him—it wasn't going to happen! He put down the still half-full mug of hot chocolate. "I'm going to bed. Feel free to shut the door on the way out."
Simon studied the mug, and didn’t seem put off. "Are you going to drink that?"
"Nope." Greedy git! "I gobbed in it, though."
Simon shrugged, unimpressed. "So did I, when I made it." Sniggering, he scooped up the mug and, thankfully, left Luke alone.
He turned off his bedside light and lay down. Despite the sleep, he felt whacked! If anyone had come in a couple of minutes later he wouldn't have known.
Hours later in the middle of the night, he woke feeling disorientated in the darkness, heavy-eyed from medicine-induced sleep. The snug warmness of his bedding was disturbed by a penetrating urgency; the desperate need to pee. With it, an accompanying hard, and quite painful erection.
His groin throbbed badly and it took several moments to figure out why that was. Then, memories awoke and he shifted slightly, pushing back the sheets to evaluate his predicament. What if Tiberius had got it wrong after all? What if the SmartKlamp had slipped, or even broken? What if, even now, Luke was bleeding all over his sheets. With the terrible throbbing, it felt impossible that something wasn’t really bad and he fretted. What should he do. Should he call his mum like she’d said? Would he need to be rushed to the hospital?
The SmartKlamp was trapped under his leg, and he eased its position to release the constraint. It was the first erection he’d had since being cut, and the throbbing pain and uncomfortable tightness made him begin to doubt the doctor’s prescription that there would be nothing to worry about.
Increasingly concerned and needing to investigate, he slid gingerly out of bed and stepped carefully towards the bathroom. Turning on the light, he peeled down his PJ bottoms…and breathed again in relief. His worries were unfounded. There was no blood. In fact there was nothing that didn't indicate that—like Tiberius had promised—the contraption was coping admirably, even with his boners! And with what he was looking at, there was no way his mum was getting anywhere near it!
But, shit it was tight!
The next thing that was apparent was that being unhooded didn't change the way his stiffened shaft leaned nicely forward when he got aroused. However, the strain he seemed to be putting on the mechanism felt enormous, and inside it, his dick appeared fat and inflamed. Despite it, the SmartKlamp was hanging on grimly to the skin of the shaft, pulling everything agonisingly tight as it did its job. The bad news was, in this state, he realized it was going to be almost impossible to pee straight!
Normally, with the hope of peeing into the loo rather than onto the seat, he would have grabbed a woody and force it down to at least a horizontal position—their mum got upset if they peed on the seat! But, with the doctor’s dire warnings about damage and illegal touching, there was no way right then he was going to risk roughly grabbing hold of this unusual device.
With a flash of inspiration, he compromised by locking both doors. Stripping naked, he stood in the bathtub and let go, spraying everywhere! Afterwards he ran the showerhead to rinse off and wash down the tub, and dried himself off. And if anyone asked why he'd taken a shower in the middle of the night? Well, he'd think of something!
Relieving his bladder seemed to help settle the boner, though it still throbbed. To deal with that, he took two Tylenol washed down with a glass of water, all of which had mysteriously replaced the half-full mug of chocolate that Simon scoffed.
With that, Luke curled up and went back to sleep.
* * *
Several hours later, Luke yawned and stretched. Light was seeping through the blinds, announcing another day. He was comfortable, and other than getting up that once in the middle of the night, had slept solidly—heavily enough that it took another few moments to remember that it was Saturday. This time yesterday he’d been looking forward, instead of thinking back!
The house was quiet and his bedroom looked comfortingly familiar, belying the fact that something had changed. Lifting the sheets, he touched his groin gently, confirming the existence of the unfamiliar equipment and the circumcision it was protecting. Carefully he peeked under the waistband of his PJ's to double check it really was there.
No doubt about it, there it lay, nestling down to one side.
Pulling the summer duvet over himself again, he noticed the fresh glass of water and two more Tylenol on the bedside drawers, bringing the obvious question.
So was he sore or not?
He gently wiggled a bit.
Maybe not sore, and certainly not the throbbing discomfort of the previous night, he decided. Perhaps 'jumpy' was a better word—from anything brushing even slightly against the top of the glans of his dick as it rested in the tube. He reached for the glass and took the tablets anyway.
Lifting back the bedding once more, he teased open his waistband and stared at the SmartKlamp and the promise of a new future that it now protected. He could look at it all day! On the other hand, he decided as he glanced briefly at the clock that the day didn’t need to start quite yet. Even though it was nearly none in the morning, he felt he deserved another half an hour, so rolled comfortably onto his side and dropped back to sleep.
Just another half an hour....
* * *
It was well after 11AM before he surfaced again, by which time he really needed to pee. And his dick was extremely stiff.
He pushed back the duvet at last, and the full daylight revealed a large and rather strange looking lump that magnified the shape of his woody, pushing out of the top of his PJ's. Similar to the previous night—though by no means as painful—the renewed erection was accompanied by a tight throbbing.
He got up and headed to the bathroom.
Leaning over the bowl more confidently this time, and without pressing on the mechanism, he tried to pee. It came out in a rush, and pushing instead right at the base of his wanger, he fought to keep the stream down. A stream which, for some reason, had also split and was squirting in two directions!
Gradually the flow subsided, as did his woody. Washing his hands, through the mirror, he saw Simon come in from his side. Clearly he’d heard noises and come to investigate. Ignoring him, Luke brushed his teeth
"Lazy sod! I’ve been up for ages—and I hope you're gonna wipe that up?" Simon sniggered, clearly enjoying himself as he spotted the mess on the seat. "You could always sit down and do it like a girl?"
Luke bit back a retort and smirked to himself. Laugh it up and enjoy whilst you can little man, your time is coming...you just don't know it yet!
"Bog off!" He spat out the toothpaste and returned the brush to the glass they shared.
Simon seemed unoffended, and his tone became leery as he said, "Stacey called this morning...."
That got Luke's attention as, from his vantage point in the doorway, Simon smirked again, aware he'd scored another point.
"What do you mean, she called?” Phone? Door? Luke tried to sound offhand. “What did she want?"
"You!" Simon sniggered and leered. "And how did she get our number?"
"No idea!" Luke lied. "Now, out! I want a shower."
Before his brother could ask any more difficult questions, Luke shoved him past the doorway on his side of the bathroom, and then locked it. Then, knowing that his mum did not take kindly to anyone missing, he first wiped the toilet seat, before hitting the shower. Peeling off PJ bottoms and tee, he set the temperature to something reasonable and carefully stepped into the bathtub to edge under the lukewarm water.
More than anything, he was totally fascinated by his glans, trying to make up for the sixteen years head start that most his age had in experiencing theirs!
It seemed to appreciate the interest.
As the refuelled erection began pulling everything tight, the end of his dick seemed huge. Growing to fill the whole tube, it peeked out of the end. Tentatively, he reached in and touched it—and yelped with surprise!
HOLY SHIT! That was going to take some getting used to!
The mushroom shaped glans looked quite red and angry. Not surprising really, he decided. Anyone would be angry if they’d been dragged out of a sixteen-year womb, and then poked! Sensibly choosing to leave it alone, Luke took his time washing, in no hurry to go anywhere. Drying off, he dressed simply, ready for a day of sitting around doing very little. A few minutes later, he wandered downstairs.
“Morning, sunshine!" His mum and dad both stopped what they were doing and swivelled to appraise him as he stepped into the kitchen. "Sleep well?" added his dad, raising his eyebrows not so subtly.
Luke grunted a reply, still glad to see them despite his dad's attempt at being solicitous. He hoped they weren’t going to be weird. Yesterday had been fun bantering with them, but it was time to move on—and they certainly did NOT need to be given details of what was happening between his legs!
'"Yep, pretty good, thanks." He left it at that, easing himself carefully onto a seat. They didn't push it and his dad just ruffled his hair as he passed. He watched them both as they busied themselves around the kitchen.
His mum was getting packets and tins out of the food cupboard. "I'm just about to start lunch sweetheart. Soup and rolls. Can you wait?"
Luke nodded. Soup sounded good.
"How are you feeling today?” she continued. “Are you still sore down there?"
Luke smiled to himself. Trust her to get straight to the point. He shrugged and kept them at a healthy distance.
"No, not really...it seems to have pretty much worn off now." This wasn't strictly true...he was as sensitive as hell...it’s just he wasn't going to talk about that!
"Well that didn't take too long, did it?" She seemed satisfied that her son would probably survive the day. "Still, why don't you have a quiet day today anyway?"
Luke nodded again, though he would lay odds on EXACTLY what she was thinking…where I can keep an eye on you! Still, that's just what he was planning anyway. Books. Lots of video games. Maybe a movie or two. For now, he picked up the AJC and shuffled out the TV guide.
His mum paused from where she was stirring the soup and frowned. She was looking at the wall colander. "Mmmm—I'd forgotten that."
"Forgotten what, Hon?" Geoff looked across expectantly.
"Well, the Kears are meant to be coming round for dinner tomorrow."
Luke looked up as she flicked her eyes his direction. "It dawned on me yesterday when we were checking my diary for next week's appointment for you, but then I forgot about it. We should probably cancel. I'll—"
"No, don't do that," Luke interrupted her and she studied him, questions in her eyes. “I mean, if I'm meant to be okay for school the next morning, I'm sure I'll be fine by tomorrow. I don't want to make a big deal about it, and anyway, I'd quite like to see Owen."
"Owen Kear?" She frowned. "Why, what's wrong?"
Luke pulled a face. What was right when it came to Owen? "Oh, come on—you've seen him. He's not exactly Mr Happy. I'm trying to help him out a bit, that’s all."
She looked thoughtful. "He certainly needs some friends, that's for sure. Anne is quite worried about him. Well, as long as you're still feeling okay by tonight, we'll not change it." At that, she disappeared in the direction of the garage.
Luke went back to searching the channel listings…until he was interrupted again.
"Stacey called. She was looking for you."
He didn't even need to look up to catch his Dad's knowing smirk. He returned a non-committal grunt. "So I heard."
"Any idea what she wanted?"
God, he was so obvious!
"No idea—you took the call, not me." He flipped the page, hoping his dad would get the idea.
"His body! " A voice called from the hallway.
A warning voice emanated from the garage. "Simon Summers…behave! You're not too old to have your backside tanned, trust me!"
Luke gritted his teeth. Bloody hell! Was everybody listening in to this conversation?
Geoff unsuccessfully tried to smother a grin. "I couldn't figure it out” His tone was casual. “How was it that she get our number?"
"Okay, that's enough, you two." Lucy marched back into the kitchen. "Leave him alone!”
Geoff retreated to the fridge, and she took over. "Sweetheart, she said that she already gave you her number.” She paused long enough on that little revelation to make Luke squirm, before adding, sweetly, “But I wrote it on the pad for you anyway."
For God's sake! He shook his head in despair.
After lunch was done, Simon finally cornered him as Luke was tidying his room. Even the hospitalised didn't get out of that chore in their house! Luke fully expected more course humour, but Simon surprised him.
"So what are you doing today?" Simon asked.
"Mum's left the Hoover on the landing—I was going to do mine. Do you want me to do yours, too?"
Without further ado, his brother got to it and vacuumed both rooms. Afterwards, he took the Hoover downstairs, before returning.
"So...got plans for the afternoon?" Luke assumed he would go up to Toby's.
"Nah..." Simon shrugged and seemed reflective. "I thought I'd keep you company."
Luke brightened, but Simon seemed to have other things in mind other than just Nintendo. "Can I ask you a question first?"
"Sure..." Luke remained cautious.
"What's it like?"
"Getting circumcised, you mean?" Luke shrugged. It wasn't hard to what would be on Simon's mind. "Why do you wanna know?" He had his suspicions their mum would be at the bottom of it.
Simon stretched out on Luke’s bed and stared at the ceiling. "Mum thinks I should have it done too."
Hell fire! Luke was impressed. She was quick! "She did mention something about that," he admitted. "She's right—at least you should have it checked."
His brother looked glum. "That's what she said too. She came to tell me about it last night, after you’d gone to bed."
Through narrowed eyes, Luke studied the horizontal form that had stolen his bed and invaded his personal space. Wasn’t he the one meant to be recuperating?
“Move,” he said brusquely. With an abrupt flick of the thumb he cleared the bed. So caught up was Simon with uncomfortable memories, that he complied without complaint. Rolling off the bed, he settled onto the floor with his back to a wall.
"She wanted to know whether the skin around the top of my dick came back properly." Simon said. He bit his lip and shook his head. His face said it all!
"So she already cornered you?" Luke settled onto his bed, lying on his side to keep the SmarKlamp resting comfortably. Damn, she worked fast sometimes!
Simon nodded dolefully.
“I bet she didn't say 'dick' though!" Luke added, relieved it had been his brother that had suffered the indignity and not him!
Simon seemed to brighten up and sniggered. "No....not specifically 'dick', you're right.” He looked thoughtful for a moment and studied one of his nails. "I think she actually said 'dinky'..."
Luke was completely taken in.
"Dinky? You're kidding me! She called it a dinky? That's unbelievable! Does she think your still six?" Then he caught his brother smirking and knew he’d been had. Simon laughed so hard, and he had to laugh too—slaughtered by the vision of their mum casually asking them how their dinkys were doing!
Like all good Englishmen, Simon was classically trained in how the take the piss out of the Irish, the Welsh and the Scottish. He did accents rather well, and put on an Irish brogue. "Mudder...oi tink dere's sometink wrong wid moi dinky!" His affected appearance of sheer panic, was a picture!
Luke’s sides began to hurt as much as his own dinky!
“Actually, she said penis....” Simon admitted finally, shutting his eyes as though to try to block out that humiliating memory. “Oh God – did I really talk to my mother about my dick!!”
He groaned, shaking his head in despair. “Anyway, she talked about foreskins and that fimis thing...or whatever it’s called."
"Whatever." Simon shrugged, hugging his middle. "So, I told her I didn't know and it was probably all fine. I hoped it might be enough to put her off, but you know what she's like—she insisted on checking! I had to...well...crap it was embarrassing!"
“No!” Luke could already see it playing out in his mind’s eye.
Simon grimaced. “She made me try to pull it down...you know, a bit like if you're jerking. It doesn't… pull down, I mean." He seemed to be rambling and Luke recalled the memories and similar feelings he'd had during his first appointment with the specialist.
"She said that it would need fixing if it was like that,” Simon continued, “and I would probably have the same thing as you. She said I should ask you what it was like."
Luke felt for him. After his mum being so impressed with Dr. Tiberius, he didn't see much chance of Simon avoiding his own trip to the clinic. He made a quick decision. "Do you want to see it?"
Simon looked up, brightening hopefully. "Would that be okay? I promise to stay in this afternoon and keep you company...."
Luke sighed. "Fine—but at least go and shut the door!"
Simon rolled his eyes, but at least he went to make sure both doors were closed. As Luke sat down on the edge of his bed. He lowered his loose sweat pants just a little, slipping the item in question carefully past the waistband of his boxers. The sweatpants were old and baggy, and the combination was the loosest most comfortable he could put together.
His brother crouched on the floor, an intent look on his face. In awe, his eyes widened. "Bloody hell...you..." He trailed off and looked up in surprise.
"Sorry," Simon blinked and seemed flustered. "it's just I've never seen...well...I didn't know you shaved..."
Luke shook his head and took it in his stride. "Oh, for heavens sake! If you have to know," he said, feigning patience, "it's just trimmed. I had to do that for the surgery, so don't push it!"
Simon blinked. "Oh..." He looked sheepish and stood up to perch on the bed, too. "Well, come on then, what did they do? And how does that thing work again?"
It took a while, but Luke explained the full procedure that he’d undergone. He suspected that Simon had sneaked more than one look at the booklet anyway, but seeing it in the flesh (so to speak) was quite different.
"If Mum is thinking about getting you done too," he said at last, replacing everything back inside his underwear and slipping up the loose sweatpants once more, "and now you've seen one first hand, what do you think?"
He never got to find out what Simon thought.
Earlier, they'd both heard the distant chime of the phone and ignored it. There was a tap at the door, followed moments later by their mum popping her head in. She held out the cordless. "Luke, it's for you. It's Ryan."
Luke stood to reluctantly take the phone from her, thinking fast. "Hey!" He tried to sound upbeat.
Luke could sense the leading edge of unspoken questions. The silence extended for several seconds, before Ryan continued. "Are you okay?"
Luke tried not to bristle. "Why shouldn't I be?" he replied casually.
"I called last night. Your mom said you were in bed."
Ry had called? She'd forgotten to tell him that. He fretted, wondering what she'd told him.
"And you disappeared after lunch yesterday. Are you sick or something?"
"Oh…that..." Luke tried to sound dismissive. "I had to go to the dentist."
From the bed, Simon glared at him as Luke delivered the lie. He waved him off.
In his mind’s eye, he imagined what it would be like having this conversation face to face with Ryan. Ry was one of those guys that it was difficult to lie to. He could just see his face—dark, intelligent eyes would search him, measuring his words and body language, and see right through him.
"The dentist?" Even then, his friend sounded doubtful. "I thought you had a check-up just after Easter?" It was true, Luke knew. And he'd been given a clean bill of health too.
Simon shook his head and made faces.
"Oh..." Ryan paused, as if judging the matter. Finally he seemed willing to move on. "I was gonna shoot some hoops and go in the pool this afternoon. You wanna come over?"
One-on-one around the basket, and swimming. Neither activity sat well with the newly circumcised. Luke knew he had to be careful with the excuses, though.
“I wish I could, but we’ve got quite a bit of stuff on today, and tomorrow we’re across with the Kears. Sorry…” The best lies always kept close to the truth, and didn’t stray too much into details. He could sense the unseen shrug at the other end of the line.
“Pity. Well, see you Monday, then,” came the reply.
“Aha… See ya…” He disconnected the line.
“You lying git!” squealed Simon, aghast. “Toothache?”
Luke refused to be repentant. “So what?”
“You’re weird! Why don’t you just tell him?”
“’Why? Because it’s private, is why. And anyway, it’s none of his business.” He tossed the phone down on the end of his bed and returned to his comfortable position.
Simon shook his head, clearly still put out by Luke’s choices.
“Look,” Luke said, “I’m not like you…”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
What DID that mean? Luke sighed silently, and he felt uncomfortably guilty. “I don’t find it easy to tell people stuff like this, that’s all. Can’t we just drop it?”
His brother shrugged and didn't seem convinced.
“Listen, I need to call Stacey. Why don’t you get the Wii set up? I’ll be down in a bit.” As Simon left, Luke recovered the phone and the number from where he had it stashed, and started dialling. It was a relief that it was Stacey that answered this time.
"Luke Summers!" she purred. "I wondered when you were going to call back."
There she was—at it again, teasing him with his name. He felt quite guilty speaking to her, because actually he quite liked her—just not in the way he guessed she was hoping. Was it ever possible to have a friendship that wasn't about sex? Those seemed hard to come by!
They chatted for a few minutes. "I just wanted to let you know how things are going with Owen," she said at last, making the guy sound like some school project she was working on.
Which, in some ways, it was!
"Oh, okay...and is he, you know, doing alright?"
"Well, it's early days yet, but I'm planning a party next week and I’ve invited him, to try to get him to socialise a bit more.”
“Wow—that’s great Stacey. When did you say it was?”
“Next Friday evening. The problem is, he didn’t exactly jump at the invitation, so maybe you could encourage him a bit.”
“Yep, I can do that," Luke replied eagerly. "In fact they’re all coming round for dinner to our place tomorrow. I can mention it then.” He had no idea of the trap he was stepping into.
“Great! So you’ll be able to tell him you’re coming too. That should do it!”
Oh crap! Luke backpedalled, fast. "Oh...well, I don't know...I guess I hardly know any of your friends, and I'm not sure what we're doing on Friday..." He stammered, feeling a net closing about him.
She probably already knew she had him, and replied easily. "It’ll be really good for Owen, and if he knows another person there—especially you—you know he’s much more likely to agree to it. Come on, it'll be fun."
"Well, okay then." Luke relented, helplessly realising it was impossible to actually say no considering it was him who had asked for her help in the first place.
"Great!" He could see the bright smile on her face. "It's at my house," she added as he wrote down the date and time and took her address too.
"Anything else I should know?"
"Well it's my birthday party, silly!" Her tinkling laugh spilled out of the handset. "Sweet Sixteen! Don't be late..."
She disconnected, and Luke put down the handset.
Oh hell! How did he get himself into these things?