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TalonRider

My Jump Off

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My Jump Off by Nick

Chapter Nine

"You've what?" my dad said, sitting back against the couch, looking at me incredulously. In response, all I could do was sigh and put my face in my hands so I could hide my face while I cried.

"Jarred," my mom said softly, sounding shocked. "Please tell me it's not true."

I looked up from my hands at her, then over at my dad, who looked shocked, then my shoulders slumped and I sighed. My head was throbbing and all I wanted to do was go back to bed.

"I want to know who," my dad said with a forceful tone. This was it. I knew I had to come clean. If my life wasn't over before this little tidbit had slipped, it was about to be.

"Jarred, I want an answer, and I want it right now," my dad said, still keeping his composure. I looked one more time at my mom, who had an expectant look on her face, and I knew I had no choice.

That's when I spilled my gut's. It all came out in a flurry, too. As if I had no control of my mouth, I sang like a bird. I started from the beginning, where I met Andrew selling popcorn, and I ended with the day we finally went all the way. Of course, I didn't get into the details of everything we did, but I did confess to topping him, and then I begged my parent's not to tell Phillip. I made sure that I told them about how I didn't ever want to see Andrew again, and about how hurt I had felt when I thought he was pushing me away.

I won't say that my parent's took all of this in stride. In fact, if anything, they seemed to be utterly horrified at my confession. The look on my mom's face had me feeling uneasy about making eye contact with her. My dad simply sat still, looking dumbfounded.

I for one felt a little relieved. I mean, yeah, it was more than a little awkward at the moment. But I had a feeling that I couldn't explain, even to myself. As if someone had just taken a hundred pound weight off my shoulders, it seemed like I could see light at the end of a once never-ending tunnel.

When I finished, I sat quietly, waiting for someone else to speak. My mom and dad were exchanging glances, quietly communicating in their own way. I wondered what they were saying between themselves, but I didn't dare speak, for fear of inciting the wrong response. Finally, my dad spoke.

"Son, did you ever stop to think about right and wrong before you pursued this other boy?" was all he asked, and I actually had to stop and mull that question over for a moment. When Andrew and I first met, it seemed like I had. I was getting tired of Phillip, and we were fighting all the time. The time I spent with Andrew was relaxing, more than anything. We could spend hours together, just hanging out and we never had an argument. In fact, there was no drama at all.

We kissed, we cuddled, and we talked. But we never talked about relationships, especially the relationship we were building. We were more like friends than lovers, at least in my mind. I didn't bother to tell him about Phillip because when I was with Andrew, I felt like I was in a world separate from the one I was living in on a day to day basis. When I looked back, though, I was able to see how silly the idea was.

"You should have just broken up with Phillip," my mom said quietly. "He didn't deserve that from you."

Wait. From me? What about the nagging and the drama I got from him? Obviously, my parent's didn't know the whole situation, or they wouldn't feel that way. If they knew about the Easter fight we had over the phone when Phillip had called me and gone off on me for no reason, what would they have thought? I bet they wouldn't have been so quick to jump to his defense.

There were times when it took every ounce of patience I had to put up with Phillip's moodiness. Like a girl who went through a monthly menstrual cycle, he had moments of sheer intolerableness. If I so much as breathed the wrong way, he was apt to go off on me. My parent's had just never seen that side of him before.

But, as usual, I knew they were right. I should have just leveled with him at the time. I don't really know why I wanted to hold on to him. Maybe it was because deep down, I knew I was in love. Perhaps somewhere in my mind, I already knew that he was the one I wanted. I wanted to have my cake and I wanted to be able to eat it too.

I sighed loudly, resigned to the fact that I was in the wrong. The fact that I seemed to be in this position a lot with my folks over the last twelve hours wasn't lost on me, either. I just didn't know what to do to reverse the trend. Then again, maybe I wasn't supposed to be able to do that. Maybe this was karma's way of letting me know that I was going to get everything I had ever dealt out, and I was getting it all back in spades.

But this time, the stakes were higher than I could afford. The truth was, I loved Phillip more than I knew. Faced with the possibility of him finding out about Andrew, I now had a feeling of urgency that I had never experienced.

I didn't want to lose him.

"Son, you know the difference between right and wrong," my dad said in a sad voice. "I'm not even going to ask you why you went back to this boy's house and did what you did even after we told you that sex was out of the question. It's too late to change what happened."

That fact wasn't lost on me, either. I realized how late it was when Andrew and I went all the way and I started to experience feelings that made me uncomfortable. First rejection, then regret. I hated that I had let things go that far, but in the same breath, I could say that I was proud of myself for keeping my word, even if it was only to myself. I swore that I wasn't going to see Andrew again, and I hadn't. That had to count for something.

By the time our conversation was over, I knew what I had to do. I had to break things off for good with Andrew. Now, I knew I could've just not called him again, and I could've just ignored his calls. But that would have been shitty of me. Even shittier than stepping to him in the first place. Even shittier than sharing our first kiss together. Even shittier than sleeping with him.

My dilemma was Phillip. My parent's were both very vague about what the right thing to do would be. I didn't just want to stay together with him. I wanted to be with him. I wanted us to spend the rest of our lives together. I wanted to be able to count on his touch. On his kiss. On his trust.

The trust I violated when I slept with Andrew behind his back. The trust I violated when I didn't tell him that things weren't so good between us. The trust I didn't deserve anymore. The trust I needed to be able to feel like a whole person again.

When I first met Andrew, I couldn't see the future with Phillip. We fought non-stop, and it seemed like the harder I tried, the harder he made it. At one point, I was disgusted at the site of him. The sound of his voice made me cringe. I looked forward to the out of town trips he made with his choir class.

When my dad caught us in bed together, something changed. Maybe it was the fact that we were in it together, and he didn't abandon me. He came over, and he faced my parents the next day. He stuck by my side when he would've been totally justified in high tailing it. Hell, I might have done just that if Mr. Cassiante had caught us.

Not Phillip, though. He wanted to be there for me because he loved me. He obviously didn't love me because I was considerate or because I took him seriously. Half the time he talked, I rolled my eyes and acted put out. It goes without saying that I was a terrible boyfriend.

Maybe he had a right to b****. Hell, maybe he saw the same thing my parents saw. Maybe he thought I was immature.

My parents were very clear about what they wanted me to do in regards to Andrew, though. I was to come clean to him. They didn't suggest it, either. It was a directive, and I didn't argue. As far as I was concerned, it was time for me to start acting like an adult. That wasn't going to make what I had to do any easier.

I couldn't decide what to do about Phillip, though. Breaking up was out of the question. There was no two ways about it. My conflict was actually stemming from the internal battle my conscious was waging with my sense of logic. I knew that if I told Phillip, he'd most likely never want to see me again.

At best, life with him would be hell if he found out. He'd never trust me again, and things would just go back to how they were between us. Then, at some point, we'd break up anyway. He'd never be able to get past it, and I knew it.

At the same time, having this secret was going to be hard too. The loving look he had in his eyes the night before when he was walking backwards up his driveway was still with me as I pondered my next move. If I didn't tell him, how could I honestly face him? How could I expect to have a healthy relationship with him if there were secrets between us?

What I needed was time. I needed time to think. Time to formulate a plan. Not a plan of deception, either. A plan of redemption. I needed to come up with a way to break the truth gently to Andrew while at the same time making it clear that we could no longer see each other. Then, from there, I had to find a way to make this right with Phillip. If at all possible, I needed to make this right with him without him ever finding out about Andrew and what we did.

I guess if anything good came out of my confession to my parents, it was the fact that I wasn't grounded. My parents weren't lying to me when they told me things were going to be okay. I was sure that I was a** out as far as they were concerned, but it didn't go down like that after all. Considering that I needed time to clear my head, that was a good thing.

"Is it okay if I ride my bike down to the oceanfront?" I asked . If anything, I needed to be somewhere neutral. Somewhere without my cell phone. Somewhere that Phillip couldn't call me. Somewhere that Andrew wouldn't be able to get a hold of me, either.

I deliberately left my phone on its charger and took off on my bike. I rode down to the oceanfront, where I took a side street down to Atlantic Avenue. When I got down to the fishing pier, I cut through the parking lot to the boardwalk, where I simply rode my bike slowly along the pavement, enjoying the feel of the cool ocean air in my face. As I neared the end of the boardwalk, I took a quick left and moved back up toward Atlantic Avenue, following it to the stoplight, where it intersected with Pacific. I was at a crossroad, and I knew it. Not just geographically, either. I could either turn left and head home, or I could turn right and be at Andrews house in a matter of five minutes.

I admit that I didn't give much thought to what I was going to say to him when I got there. Hell, to be honest, I didn't even know what I was going to tell him when I got there, or if he'd even be home. What I did know, though, was that I had to do this. I had to do it for Andrew, I had to do it for Phillip and I had to do it for myself.

When I rode up, his driveway was empty. That was usually a sign that his parents were gone, and that he was alone. I laid my bike down and rang the doorbell, feeling pensive as I waited for an answer. A million thoughts were running through my mind as I stood on his front porch.

How was this going to turn out? Was he going to cry? Would he throw me out? Would he be violent with me? Only time would tell.

I knew that despite my fears, I had to go through with it. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but at this point, I had already rang his doorbell. I nervously clasped my hands together as I pondered his possible reaction to my revelation. My palms were sweating, so I lifted them to my mouth and lightly blew into them, creating a slight flow of air that moved through them as if it were traveling through an air tunnel, cooling them slightly.

Suddenly it dawned on me that no one had answered. I breathed a sigh of relief, turned and got on my bike. As I coasted down his driveway, back to the street, his voice snapped me out of my relaxed state.

I turned and looked back just in time to catch a glimpse of one of the most beautiful sites I had ever witnessed. Andrew was standing in his driveway, and he looked like an angel. He had the most hopeful look in his eyes as he looked at me, and I realized that what I had to do was going to be even more difficult and heartbreaking than I thought. Still, I turned around and rode back up the driveway as Andrew's smile broadened.

"Hey dude," he said sweetly. "I'm glad you came over."

"How have you been?" I asked, feeling unsure about how to proceed. I figured the best thing to do was relax, then let things flow naturally.

"I've missed you," he said with a shy grin. "Do you want to go inside?"

I shrugged and got off my bike, walking it up his driveway and to his front porch. He opened the door wide enough for me to bring my bike inside, then, once we were in, he closed the door. Out of the blue, I found myself standing there, soaking in all of his natural beauty. The way his cargo pants hung from his hips, showing off his bubble butt, was astounding. His dark red shirt seemed to accent his perfect frame, and his stringy brown hair had grown much longer. Before I realized what was happening, I found myself trapped in the smile he was giving me. We stood face to face for a moment, trading goofy grins, just like the last time we were alone. I was about to snap myself out of the trance like state I was in when I heard him sigh blissfully. His eye's drifted away from mine, moving down my body as I studied the growing bulge in his cargo pants. That was the point that he let loose with a giggle and moved menacingly toward me with his arms out and his full, pouty lips puckered.

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