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|Along one wall of the room 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 continued. “The ones way over on the left over there are from the first month I started working out and I just grow from there. 17 sections for each of the 17 months I‘ve officially been working out.” He pointed to one of the corners of the room. Over there were pictures of JP with the other guys in his neighborhood, some of them with his shirt off, looking very much how I remembered him at the beginning of his freshman year. Along the ceiling and above all the pictures were months and years, 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 on the first of every month,” JP explained. “He wanted to show me how well I was progressing.” Sure enough, under each passing month, the little kid in the picture slowly began to grow into a Greek god. “All the pictures are arranged under the corresponding month when they were taken.” 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 took me through the months, 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. He looked just like one of 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 was adamant that I 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 do arm curls with a 5-pound dumbbell 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 laughed out loud 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 seen 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 and even surpassed a few of them. That little mound was growing into real muscle. As the winter months progressed, the weights on the bars gradually became heavier and JP’s physique became more defined. “I had to watch my weight because it was the middle 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. 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. Both of their six-packs were highlighted beautifully by the sun. JP muscles were how I remembered them to be when I saw them in the dressing room that month and Ryan was only a little bit smaller than he was now. 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 I think 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 luscious 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. I think I still have that shirt somewhere.” 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 actually pulling at the clip in front. By the time wrestling season started again, JP’s chest and upper arms had begun swelling with muscle at the same time his shoulders continued to broaden. Not to mention, his thighs were beginning to get massive. 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 was absolutely huge standing right in my face flexing his muscles. 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 rose my hands to his little pythons. They were harder and more dense then I could ever imagine. At that moment, we happened to look into each others 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, lunged 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. Finally, after what seemed like a heavenly eternity, JP pulled away, rose his hand to his mouth and apologized. “I’m sorry, Matt.” Both of us were breathing heavily now. Apparently, it shocked him as much as it shocked me. “I didn’t mean to do that,” his eyes were darting around the room, probably in an attempt not to meet mine again. I was speechless and didn’t move. “Sorry,” JP said again. “I don’t know what got into me.” 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’m gay.” I didn’t know what to think. At first, I was happy because he was gay too and my dreams to tell him I liked 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. “Well, I’m gay, too.” There, I had finally told him, but it wasn’t exactly how I 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 into 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, leaning against the wall, him crying into 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 happened so fast. Just a few minutes ago, he was all macho, showing off his incredible physique and now he was crying on me. What had happened to JP‘s egotism and pompousness? “I’ll help you get through this.” “But,” JP protested through sniffles. “You’re the first person I ever told. If my family found out, my dad would disown me, my brother would beat me up.” 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. Your secret is safe with me. If you don’t want your family to find out, then we’ll keep hiding it until your ready.” “Thanks, Matt,” JP whispered. He kissed my cheek and placed his arms around my body. The strength of his sculpted limbs filled me warmth. I didn’t need him to say thank you, his arms said it all. “Now get up off the floor,” I told him. “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 getting 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. From that night on, my life changed forever. |
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