Indulge Yourself

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Unnecessary Roughness

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Book: Unnecessary Roughness

Two hours later, coated in sweat and black and blue from getting blocked with careless whacking of the lacrosse sticks, Kyle followed Connor into the locker.
Connor hadn't said a word to him during the scrimmage. After a long solemn moment, Connor met Kyle's eyes. They were filled with liquid as if Connor was about to cry.
Watching Connor carefully, trying to figure out what could be wrong, Kyle hurried after him. When he entered the dim echoing chamber of the changing room, he found Connor seated in front of his locker with his head in his hands.
Staring down at him, Kyle asked quietly, "Connor...what is it?"
"Nothing. Leave me alone."
"I don't get it. You were awesome out there." Kyle began removing his gear.
"Awesome?" Connor snarled in rage.
The intensity of the anger startled Kyle. "What am I missing? You scored three goals? For Christ's sake, you should be patting yourself on the back. Are you insane?"
As if he were enduring something painful, Connor covered his face again.
Completely confused by this show of emotion, Kyle knelt in front of him and rubbed his legs gently. "You have to tell me why you're upset. I can't help you if I don't know."
Very slowly Connor lowered his hands. His eyes were red and watery. In a low, hoarse voice he whispered, "Didn't you see it?"
Taken aback by Connor's pure fury, Kyle felt a wave of dizziness. "See what?"
Connor gazed around first, before he snarled, "Ross fucking body-checked me in the fucking groin." Connor cupped his crotch. "And when I shoved him back, I got called out for fucking pushing and hit with the penalty."
Kyle strained to think of when the attack occurred. "I didn't even see you react from the hit."
"Kyle, believe me. I was hit hard. And the douche-bag did it on purpose." Connor gave the immediate area another quick scan.
"Jesus. You should have at least doubled over in pain to let the refs know. How did you stand it, Connor?"
Connor didn't reply at first, then through clenched teeth, he snarled, "I'm the fucking ‘captain' now. I gotta set an example, don't I?"
"Not when ya get hit in the nuts with a lacrosse stick, ya don't." Kyle grew angry. "You should have told Coach Banks. And if you won't I will."
When Kyle went to stand, Connor gripped his arm and yanked him back down. "Don't."
"Because. I don't need any shit, Kyle. Let me just recover a minute. Stay here."
Judging by the look of apprehension on Connor's face, Kyle knew he needed to just be there for Connor. He sat on the bench next to his friend and whispered, "When? I swear I didn't see it."
"Last five minutes." Connor cringed as he tried to sit straight.
Suddenly remembering the referee calling the penalty on Connor, Kyle did think it was odd for Connor to push Ross from behind the way he did, but he didn't give it a second thought. Connor was the captain and best player on the team. It certainly wasn't up to Kyle to judge his actions.
Kyle glanced over his shoulder. Ross Cartman was standing at the end of the row of lockers, a towel around his waist, a sneer of contempt on his lips.
"What the fuck are you lookin' at?" Kyle challenged.
Connor instantly spun around to Ross.
"Two faggots." Ross's top lip curled in revulsion.
"What?" Kyle felt his skin go icy at the terrifying accusation. He flew to his feet with revenge on his mind.
A hand on his arm held him back.
"Fuck off, Cartman," Connor yelled. "Haven't you done enough damage to me already?"
"Good, ya fucking cock-sucker."
Kyle whipped his head back and forth between his roommate's emotional and physical pain to the callus accusation and Ross vanishing behind the row of lockers.
"What the fuck?" Kyle began blowing out air like a bellows as his fury rose.
Reluctantly, Connor stood up, and began removing his uniform and pads.
Knowing an intentional illegal slash of the stick had nailed him right in the groin, Kyle cringed at seeing how uncomfortable his friend was.
When Connor got to the point where he removed his jockstrap and cup, they both seemed to hold their breath.
A reddish bruise had begun to emerge around the edges of where the plastic had protected Connor's crotch. But Kyle knew how painful a powerful strike between the legs could be, even with the cup.
"How could no one see it?" Kyle moaned. "Coach would have chewed out his ass. It was obviously intentional." He smoothed his hand over Connor's back gently.
Connor flinched at Kyle's affectionate caress and spun around as if checking they were not spied.
Then Kyle remembered the labeling. Fags? What on earth had they done to make Ross think they were gay? Jesus? He'd just arrived on campus two weeks ago, and other than his long hair, Connor was Mr. Macho. It didn't make sense.