He was wearing skater jeans, and a black shirt and red and black sneakers. Comfortable. with him and he knew that if his dad saw him, he’d be brought to task and asked, in no uncertain terms, what on the hell are wearing, going out in public dressed like that. If Brian had his way, he’d go to class in a shirt and tie. But not with Gus not here, not now, no way.
He had twenty minutes till class.
He looked up, slightly surprised. “Yes?” he was semi-pretty whoever he was. If he was in one of his classes, he’d never noticed him.
Hi. I’ve been watching you and, um…I, he trailed off, stammering.
“Did you want something?” He said it kindly.
“Um, yeah. I mean yes. I was wondering if you’d…maybe…” The rest came out in a rush. “I’m in Photography 251 and I have this assignment to do life study, body study, figure studies and I was wondering of you’d mind, I mean, I was hoping that maybe you’d let me photograph you.” he took a needed breath. “My name is Tom.” he dug in the pocket of his jeans. “Here.”
He took the crunched piece of paper. It was a note of explanation from a professor, saying that there was an assignment for his students to find someone to agree to pose for life study photos. There was no requirement that anyone agree; though if they did, they would be expected to fulfill their agreement and not leave the student in the until it was done. There would be no recompense and the subjects would be required to sign releases. Nudity was not required. The assignment was due in next week.
Tom could have made this all up and printed it on his computer, but he thought it was real. And it wasn’t like he’d never sat through a photo shoot before because he is a hot guy.
“When would you like to do this?”
“Um, soon? I have to have time to play with pictures and stuff. Um…maybe later today if its ok?”
“I have two classes this afternoon, I won’t be done much before four. Is that too late?”
He looked disappointed. “Um, the light will be going by then…”
Tom seemed to have trouble finishing sentences. “There must be a place we could use. Do you have an idea about what kind of pictures you’d like?”
“Um, I guess…do you do any sports?”
“Gymnastics. I’m not on the school team, but I can do some tricks if you’d like to try something in the gym “You’d probably have to get permission from the coach.”
You’ll do it?” he was slightly stunned he’d made a score, but who knew how many people he’d asked. just like that? All I had to do was ask?”
“Sure, as long as it doesn’t take all night.”
He managed a slightly crooked smile. wow, um…that’s great. thank you.”
“No problem. Call me when you have time for the gym and I’ll meet you there, okay?” he nodded. “Dick?.”
“Huh?”he was blushing the color of a beet is your name Dick?.
“NO NO My name Gus Dick is Robin i like Robin he started to laugh. Here’s my number. So you can call me.” He glanced at his watch, time to go. “I have a class I’ll see you later, okay?” he nodded and watched him go. God, he’d just asked him on kind of a whim because he looked like he had a pretty good body but—he was gorgeous and he was even nice!
Around four fifteen, Gus’s cell rang, playing ‘sexy boy’ by the hall of famer HBK his idea of a sexy boy assholes deal with it. “Yes?…Seven-thirty? That’d be fine. I’ll see you then. Is there you want me to bring?…Okay. No problem. See you there.”
A seven-thirty on the dot he walked into the gym, headed for the workout room number five, the one used by the gymnastics. Tom was there setting up with the gymnastics team starting their evening workout and wondering what was going on. Gus changed into a sleeveless singlet under gym shorts and waited for his direction.
Okay. Maybe we could start with um can you maybe do a handstand on the double bars for me?”
“The parallels? Sure.” He did one, Tom below him taking pictures looking up and then close-ups of his arms, muscles showing his power.
“Um, maybe, can you do one of those T-things on those hanging rings please?”
“An iron cross? ok.” More pictures, this time concentrating on his arms and shoulders and the tendons in his neck. She also seemed to like the way his hands and fingers gripped the leather rings, covered in chalk and wearing grips.
“Do you want any moving pictures of me?”
“Um, like what?”
“Like maybe throwing some tricks—flips. you know, moving. If you set up a time exposure you might get a nice effect”
“Um, sure. I guess.”
If he said ‘um’ once more time he’d have trouble keeping a straight face. “Okay, how about I try a couple of tumbling passes on the floor. If you stand at this corner I’ll come straight at you and if you stand over there you can get some side shots.”
“Um, okay.” he stood at the far corner, a few feet back from the guidelines. He warmed up with a few simple tricks and then let loose, flying across the mats with a series of impossibly high and fast twisting roundoffs, flipflops, and ending with a double twisting, double layout to with a perfect Robin like stick. The gymnastics team members pretended that they weren’t watching but he was doing great stuff stuff they couldn’t do not that any of them would admit it. Whoever this guy was, he could be a ringer the Coach had brought in to keep them in line.
“Um, could you maybe do that again so I can get some shots from the side?”
Next they moved over to the high bar. “Um, would you really mind if you took off your shirt? This is, um, supposed to be, you know, um, like a figure study.”
“Sure.” Gus went into the locker room, emerging minus the singlet but still wearing the shorts. He is a sexy boy, not the Gus didn't mind. He was used to being stared at since he was five years old.
They moved over to the pommel horse, Gus throwing Thomas Flairs while Tom clicked away. By now the gymnastics team looked like a few of them were getting annoyed at being shown up by some stranger who’d walked in, photographer in tow and made them all look like a bunch of ten year olds starting at a beginner’s class. Gus could hear some muttering, he couldn’t make out words, but the tone was pretty obvious. Well, shit, was it his fault he was a better gymnast? Practice, guys.
“Um, maybe you could try the—what’s that called? Um, when you know—run at that big thing over there and jump over it?”
“The vaulting table. ok.”
“Um, yeah, I guess.”
Gus lined himself up for a flip onto the table leading into and setting him up for a double double Tsuk layout. Two twists and two complete layout flips. One of the hardest vaults done, it was Olympic caliber. He stuck it. Walked back up the runway and did it again and again while Tom took endless pictures.
“Um, yeah, that’s pretty, cool.”
By now the coach wanted to talk to this kid.
“Um, okay, I guess, um, is that it? I mean, um, that’s all the stuff you do in here, right?”
“That’s all the equipment, I could throw some different tricks if you like, unless you think you’ve got what you need for your assignment.”
“Oh! Um…” Now he was embarrassed, having kept him too long. “I, um, I guess…”
“Okay, good. Let me know if you need anything else, okay? I’m gonna go but call me if you think of anything else, all right?” Gus headed to the locker room to get his clothes, he changed and was headed for the door when the head coach touched his arm.
“Son, you mind telling me your name and where you learned those moves?”
“Oh, yeah, sorry. Gus kinney, freshman. and he laughed i watch a lot of robin boy wonder stuff I didn’t mean to interrupt your workout. ‘Won’t happen again. I was just helping him out with some assignment he had.”
“No problem. I was wondering; have you thought about trying out for the team? From what I saw just now, you’d have a pretty good shot at being a wonder too.”
Just what he needed. “Thanks, but I don’t really have time.” And what the coach was really saying was ‘please join the team, because you just blew away everyone else in the gym.
“You know, there are scholarships available for athletics around here and if you’d be interested, I’d be happy to put in a good word for you.” He took Gus aside, away from the curious stares and listening ears of the other kids.
“Look, I assume you know as well as I do that you’re the best gymnast I’ve seen in a long time. I’d really like to have you on the team—what would it take to get you to say yes?”
Gus hesitated. He didn’t have time for this, not tonight and not this semester. He was barely keeping his head above water with everything he had going on—between his schoolwork and .....Robin lol he was swamped. “I appreciate the compliment, but I really don’t have time. I’m barely passing a couple of classes as it is.”
“Son, I can arrange for help with your classes, easy as pie. Look, would you do me a favor and have a cup of coffee with me? I’d like to talk about this a little more.”
“Mr. hartle, I don’t want to be rude or anything, but this isn’t gonna happen. I’m sorry, but I’m way the hell overscheduled as it is. There’s no way I can add varsity sports to my to-do list. It’s a non-starter, honest. And I have a test tomorrow I haven’t started studying for, so if you’ll excuse me…”
The coach nodded. He knew when a no meant no and this was one of those times. It killed him, though, this kid was as good as he’d ever seen, he had the chops to take the team all the way but if he wouldn’t play, well then he wouldn’t play. Dammit. ‘Kid walks in off the street, teases him and them walks out. Crap. “Sonnyboy where did you learn those moves? I keep a pretty close eye on the upcoming high school kids and I’d remember you of I’d seen you. You ever compete?”
“No, never competed. I watch robin Oh the hell with playing games with this guy.
“What did you say your name was again?”
“Well, look, you’re still the best gymnast to set foot in that place since I’ve been here. You change your mind, or if you just want to work out, you just show up, okay? In fact, I’d be happy to sign you on as an assistant coach, get you some money, if you’ll consider giving the boys some pointers.”
“Yeah, thanks—I appreciate it, but I don’t think so. I really have to concentrate on my classes Gusk had enough of this, he was ready to leave. As it was he’d have all he could do to get through the chapters the Econ test was on tomorrow.
“Sure, okay, but the door’s open if you ever change your mind.”
A week later Gus got a packet of photos in his mailbox. They were the ones Tom had taken, all close ups and interesting time exposures of the tumbling passes and snippets of routines and combos that he’d thrown for him. They were a lot better than he’d thought they’d be and he was glad to see that he really had concentrated on his muscles and bod—there were no shots of his face at all. The note he’d included thanked him for helping him out and telling him the professor had been complimentary and he’d gotten an A. And to gus kinney the real boy wonder and he didn’t suggest getting together again and he was just as glad he hadn’t gone there.
The same day he also received a note from the Coach, along with a printout of some old reviews and publicity shots from Haley’s and The real life Flying Grayson’s act they happend in new york. They were ones he hadn’t seen and he got a nostalgic kick out of seeing them.
The two sets of photos were an interesting contrast of a seven-year-old turning a quad and him now throwing more standard advanced tricks. It was easy enough to see the progression, at least in his athletics. His form was better, as was to be expected. He’d improved and he idly wondered what he’d be capable of now if he’d continue as a flyer.
He walked through the campus. He’d be likely going to new york to see it playing eight shows a week and on the road.
He’d never considered any other life he might do that one day, because Gus never wanted any other life but to be just like ROBIN.
And sometimes, when he was reminded of it, he wished he was there in his own life, but there were bigger things for him at this time and but he knew he’d become just like Robin one day.
“Brian, have you seen this yet?”
“What’s that, Justin?”
Justin held out the copy of the school’s daily paper. There on page four were a full page of reprints of the winners of the school’s photography contest. The first place pictures were a series featuring a gymnast, a figure study of the angles and planes of the young man’s sweat, muscles and tendons. The lines and planes of the unknown body stood out in clear definition, turning the flesh into a series of abstract angles, shapes and shadows.
“Did he mention this to you?”
Brian shook his head, slightly surprised at the mature look of the figure. There was nothing boyish to be seen here, nothing that would suggest that the anonymous figure was anything but an adult in every sense of the word. He was proud of the way Gus had developed, the result of discipline and hard work, dedication and talent.
He knew it had to happen, but was startled by the maturity of his son’s body. After a moment a second thought struck him, it wasn’t just Gus’s body which had changed.
His son was a man now all he had to do was get a hottie to fuck all the time and his son was set.