Mutual Attraction

Disclaimer: I don't own OffBeat.



Tory Blake and Colin Stephens were sitting side by side one another on the bus, heading back from the library to their neighborhood. Tory had been tutoring Colin in physics on Saturdays, though sometimes they skipped any work they had to do and just hung out.

Tory sighed in the silence. He only got so much time to spend with Colin, so much time to find out more about the mysterious boy, and whenever they got together he was too shy to say anything. Noticing the sigh, Colin looked up towards Tory.

"Something on your mind?" he asked.

"Not really," Tory said. Colin kept looking at him. "What?"

"Nothing," said Colin, keeping his still gaze on the redhead, a wily smirk peeling across his face. Tory blushed and looked out the window of the bus.

Why does he make me so nervous? Tory wondered. Determined to steer the situation away from the present awkwardness, Tory broke the ice with an actual question instead of just a sigh.

"So…" he began. "how's…school?" Smooth, Tory. Smooth.

"Well, I'm doing slightly better in physics," Colin chuckled. Tory half-smiled and grunted out a bit of a laugh.

"Yeah…you're not too good in math and stuff are you?"

"I never said that," said Colin.

"You didn't have to. I mean, if you were good in math you'd do better in physics," Tory teased, hoping not to have offended Colin.

"Maybe, maybe not."

Why does he have to be so hard to read? Does he do this to torture me?

"What about you, Tory?" asked Colin. "You can't possibly be a genius in everything."

"Uh, thanks…I think," said Tory. "Um, well, I suck at all things athletic," he admitted.

"Yeah. Too bad you have gym then, huh?" said Colin, smirking at Tory again.

"How come you don't have to have gym?" Tory asked.

"I have my reasons," said Colin, looking away from Tory.

"Such as…?" Colin just looked at Tory, smiled, and looked away again. He didn't answer, and Tory knew it was pointless to ask again, as Colin always seemed to avoid his most pressing inquiries. "Whatever," Tory muttered.

"I mean, I do get exercise," said Colin. Tory looked up. Was Colin really coming forward with something without having even been asked?

"How?" asked Tory.

"I go to a gym on the weekends. I mean, I haven't been able to lately, for obvious reasons, but when I can, I do," said Colin.

"Oh yeah…the gym," Tory said, just to keep the conversation going.

"Want to come with?" asked Colin, looking Tory in the eye again.


"Next Saturday. Do you want to come with me to work out?" Colin said again.

"Uh, sure. Why the hell not?" agreed Tory. "I'll call you that day." Colin just nodded and went back to looking away from Tory.

Neither if the two boys said anything for the rest of the ride home until they got off the bus and muttered "bye" to one another. Tory was strangely exited.

One week later, Tory got up around nine, figuring he and Colin would probably spend more than a few hours at the gym, and therefore should get there early. He called Colin, who picked up on the first ring.


"Hey, it's me," said Tory.

"Oh hey. You ready?"

"Uh, yeah. So…I'll meet you out front in five?"


"Cool. Uh, bye." Tory hung up and heaved a great sigh. He was exited and nervous at the same time. Quickly changing into his school gym clothes, he packed an extra outfit (to change back into after working out) into a duffle bag, slung it over his shoulder and went outside to meet Colin.

Tory stood outside, waiting for at least a whole minute before Colin appeared. Under any other circumstance, Tory would be recording the exact time it took for Colin to meet up with him, but today he was too preoccupied with the day's future events to remember to record any data. He didn't even notice that he wasn't even bothering to write any of it down.

Finally, Colin emerged from his apartment with a gym bag slung over his shoulder as well. He shuffled down the steps and walked into the street where Tory was waiting.

"Hey," he said.

"Hey," Tory reciprocated.

"Shall we?" asked Colin.

"Lead the way," agreed Tory. And they waked to the gym in an awkward silence.

When they got there, Colin just flashed his membership card while Tory had to sign in. Colin got a bit ahead of him while Tory was signing the paperwork, and when Tory finally caught up with Colin, he was intrigued to find him in the upper body room, lifting weights. Tory had never thought of Colin as the type to lift weights. He always perceived Colin as frail, sickly and weak. He was glad that Colin had his back turned towards him so he wouldn't notice Tory looking at his shoulder blades flex and contract with each lift as he brought his arm up to a horizontal position, then back down to his side (he was only doing one arm at a time). Tory also noticed, with an unusual interest, that Colin was merely wearing a wife-beater and jogging pants.

Hesitantly, Tory found some wimpy four-pound weights and started lifting them slowly. He wasn't really paying attention to what he was doing, though. He was too busy staring at Colin, and smiling.

After about ten minutes, Colin returned the weights to the shelf and nodded 'hello' to Tory as he passed him, just politely acknowledging his presence. Tory nodded back. He felt kind-of silly, lifting four-pound weights while Colin, he noticed, had just finished with eight-pound weights.

OK, this is kind-of freaking me out. I mean…he's…in a tank-top for crying out loud. Why can't I stop staring at him. Oh crap, if I keep this up he's going to catch on and think that I'm like…checking him out or something. thought Tory. I've got to get away from here. Even for a few minutes. Tory looked around and saw a sign at the back of the room with an arrow on it and that said TO RUNNING TRACK.

"Uh, I'm going to go jog for a bit," he said to Colin, who was getting a drink from the water fountain. Colin swallowed, water dripping from his chin and splattering onto his chest. Now that he was facing him, Tory could see that Colin had quite the toned chest. Colin nodded, indicating that he had heard Tory.

He's pretty muscular… Tory observed silently. Then, he turned and ran up the stairs to the track.

Much to Tory's relief, the track had three lanes; one for running, one for jogging and one for walking. Tory, not used to exercising, ran around once, got tired, and resigned to walking for the next fifteen minutes. The track, Tory also noticed, looked down on the rest of the gym. He walked slowly around, trying to find Colin in the maze of apparatuses below.

Alright, Tory, he thought to himself. You may as well admit it; you like Colin and you're starting to find him pretty attractive. Tory could feel himself blush and begin to get butterflies in his stomach. He didn't even notice, until it was too late and Colin had already found him, that he had been gazing directly at the raven-haired boy, and Colin could totally see him. Colin had been stretching, and when he bent over backwards to crack his spine, he saw the redheaded boy staring down at him. He grinned calmly and waved, as if to a little kid. The kind of 'Hiiiii! I seeeeee you,' condescending sort of wave.

Aw crap! He saw me! Tory thought to himself. Feeling the need to exert himself in some way, he hopped into the fast lane and started running like crazy.

Tory was out of shape as heck. He ran around twice before nearly collapsing with exhaustion. He desperately needed water, and staggered down the stairs into the lower level of the gym. He gulped from the stream of ice-cold water flowing from the fountain, and dunked his forehead into the stream to cool the sweat from his brow.

"Ah, that's better," he said in a breath. Running a hand through his soaking locks, he turned and bumped smack into Colin.

"Tired?" he asked sarcastically.

"Yeah," huffed Tory. Colin looked down and shook his head, chuckling to himself.

"I usually stay here for an hour or two, but I think we'd better quit right now, for your sake," he said. Tory, still catching his breath, just nodded. His eyes kept drifting from Colin's eyes to his chest. Colin noticed, to say the least, but didn't say anything. "Come on, let's hit the showers."

For some reason, the thought of showering hadn't even occurred to Tory, even though he'd brought a change of clothes. He was relieved to see that the shower stalls had doors on them, and walls of tile blocks separating each area. The doors were about one foot off the floor and cut off at the same height as the wall. Basically, Colin and Tory could see each other, but not all of each other. They boys each got in a stall, one across from the other, closed the doors and began to undress.

Colin, as if he had done this a million times, casually pulled of his tank-top and pants and just flung them onto a hook on the outside of the stall door. Tory was much more hesitant and nervous, and turned his back to Colin before taking off his clothes. Tory's ears caught the loud hissing of the shower as Colin started the water. Tory did the same, and kept his back turned to Colin as he let the warm water flood his hair and trickle down his sore body.

Tory was about to kick himself for forgetting to bring soap of any kind, but then noticed that there were built-in soap dispensers attached to the walls of the showers. Unfortunately, his dispenser just happened to be empty.

"Ah, crud," he muttered under his breath. Colin turned around.

"Here, catch," he said, tossing Tory his bottle of shower gel. Tory caught it but it slipped out of his hands and clattered on the floor. Embarrassed, Tory picked it up and looked over at Colin, dreading what he suspected would be a smirk of pity on the other boy's face. But to Tory's relief, Colin wasn't smiling or laughing at him. In fact, he had his eyes closed, his head tilted back and was gently scrubbing himself with a washcloth. Tory watched with deep interest as Colin's arms twisted around his body as he brought the cloth over the back of his neck and down his torso.

He's got to be doing this on purpose. Tory thought cynically, yet he couldn't take his eyes off of Colin. Colin ran his hands through his dark hair as the water poured down his head and ran in delicate streams down his chin, neck and chest.

Just then, Colin opened his eyes. Tory quickly turned away, blushing like heck. He squirted a little of the shower gel into his hand and began washing himself. Colin turned his back as well, smirking to himself.

"Thanks," Tory said, tossing back the bottle. He grunted a little in disappointment as Colin swiftly caught the bottle. He had hoped that Colin would drop it clumsily and embarrass himself just as he had, but Colin was calm and collected.

"You done?" Colin asked, shutting off the water.

"I guess," said Tory, shutting off his shower. Colin had hung a towel on the hook along with his clothes, which he now grabbed and wrapped around his waist before opening his stall door. "Uh…" Tory began, realizing he hadn't gotten himself a towel. "Would you mind…"

"Here," said Colin, tossing him a towel. "Come on."

So the two towel-clad boys strolled into the locker room where they'd stored their belongings. Colin, once again completely comfortable in the situation, opened his locker which then became the only thing shielding himself from Tory, dropped his towel and pulled up his boxers and then his slacks. Tory did the same, only nervously and a lot quicker.

Pulling one arm into his t-shirt, Tory felt a sudden twinge in his shoulder. "Ow!" he cringed.

"What is it?" asked Colin, gently.

"Ah, I must've pulled something," Tory said, reaching his left arm over his chest to rub his right shoulder. "It's been a while since I got any exercise…" he muttered. "Got to do it every day, I guess…" he trailed off when he felt Colin's hands messaging his shoulder. It hurt, but at the same time it felt really good, and Tory just melted into the sensation. "Ah…" he sighed. "Yeah, that feels good…"

Colin smirked and slowly moved closer to Tory, and brought his lips against the sore boy's shoulder. Tory's body went all tingly as he felt Colin softly kiss his shoulder. OK! I like where this is going! Tory thought to himself, grinning. Colin wrapped his arms around Tory's waist and kissed the back of his neck and shoulder some more. Lucky for them no one else had come by, or else they would have been pretty embarrassed the way they were; two teenage boys, both wearing pants but no shirts, getting awfully cozy with each other.

"OK, OK, you know what? I feel better now," Tory said hurriedly, pulling himself out of Colin's grasp. "I…I think we'd better be going."

"Sure," said Colin softly. He put on his shirt, which was grayish blue and had a collar and black vertical stripes. Tory watched longingly as Colin buttoned it up, closing it gap by gap over his handsomely toned chest. Tory slipped on his t-shirt and the boys both put their socks and shoes on. Gathering up their bags, they strolled out of the gym and walked back to their houses.

"Hey, uh…" Tory said boldly. "You want to…maybe…come hang out at my house for a while?"

"Sure. Why the hell not?" said Colin, repeating Tory's response to his invitation to join him at the gym. Tory grinned.

They got back to Tory's house, and were glad to find that Tory's mom wasn't home. Tory knew Paul would probably sleep in like crazy, and it was only about eleven. The boys sat down on Tory's couch, both waiting for the other to initiate what they both wanted to happen. Tory figured, that since it was his house and Colin was the guest, he'd better take charge of the situation. He was going to scoot himself closer to Colin when a new twinge of pain stung him in his collarbone. It was to the right, close to his sore shoulder, so he assumed that it was part of the same muscle that had been pulled.

"Ouch," he winced. "Damn, I really damaged myself…" he muttered. The last time he complained of being hurt, Colin responded in a way he REALLY enjoyed. He hoped that it would work a second time.

Really original, Tory. thought Colin. But he nevertheless raised his hands up to Tory's collarbone and began kneading the muscles. Tory kept staring at Colin's chest. It was all locked up behind that darn shirt! Assuming Colin wanted him as much as he wanted Colin, Tory reached his hands up and began unbuttoning Colin's shirt.

Colin just smiled and leaned back against the armrest of the couch, moving his own hands to the back of Tory's neck, messaging the muscles back there. Tory opened the first three buttons of Colin's shirt, exposing the muscles he'd longed to see. He slowly leaned down and kissed Colin's chest, again and again as he kept unbuttoning his shirt.

Colin didn't seem to mind, though he was wondering why Tory was kissing his body and not his lips. "Tory," he said, lifting Tory's chin to make their eyes meet. Tory looked up worriedly.

Oh, crap. What did I do? he thought in a panic. But Colin only pulled Tory's face into his and kissed him on the lips. He ran his hand through Tory's hair and Tory ran his hands up Colin's bare chest. When they pulled apart, Tory was smiling so giddily he thought for sure Colin would laugh at him. But Colin only smiled sweetly back at him.

"I like you," Tory said.

"No, really? I thought you hated my guts," Colin joked.

"Shut up!" laughed Tory, and kissed Colin again.

"I like you too, Tory," Colin whispered against Tory's lips.

"Duh," whispered Tory.



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