Jake, come on. Get up. You're going to be late for school. You forgot to set your alarm, Jake's mother was trying to wake him, but it was one of those mornings that Jake really didn't feel like getting up.
Ok mom, I'm up, said Jake as he was fighting to shake off his sleepiness.
It was early October. Jake and Chris were now in the 7th grade and still 12 years old, and both still getting used to their new school; junior high school.
Jake and Chris had become such great friends, when Chris' family had moved into town last spring, and the two boys were on the same Little League baseball team. Chris hoped that his dad's work wouldn't have them moving again. They had moved fairly often.
Jake and Chris are both great looking boys. I guess you could say that Chris is more of a heartbreaker; gorgeous blond hair, toned muscles, great athlete, about 5'5. With brown hair, a little thinner, about three inches shorter, and as not as athletic as Chris, Jake was a really cute kid and very handsome. However, Chris was the one who seriously had the girls turning their heads!
During a sleep over on summer vacation, when Chris found out that Jake was tickling his feet while he was sleeping, Jake felt trapped and thought his life was over. He cried so hard, and begged Chris not to think he was weird and not to tell anyone. At that moment, when Chris got Jake some tissues to dry his tears, and was understanding toward Jake was when the boys seemed to become really close.
Jake couldn't believe how awesome Chris was; letting Jake tickle his feet practically anytime he wanted, making bets and having so much fun with it. Jake loved tickling so much, especially feet. He loved tickling boys. However, being an only child, and very shy and insecure, Jake always felt that if he tickled other boys, they would think he was weird.
For Jake, becoming best friends with Chris and having Chris understand his thing for tickling boys' feet was almost indescribable. I mean, ever since they met last spring, Jake had never wanted to tickle anyone's feet as badly as he wanted to tickle Chris', and Chris had awesome feet!
Chris was adjusting to the new school much better than Jake. Jake was shy, lacked confidence, and had trouble making friends, while Chris really didn't even try to be popular, but his looks, personality, and athletic ability lent itself to it. To make it worse, Jake and Chris weren't in any of the same classes together, and Chris was on the soccer team, and was very busy with that. As much as Chris' friendship had done for Jake, he now felt like he was in no man's land. It was junior high and Jake felt so out of place for some reason. Jake had been barely good enough to play Little League baseball, and now that he was too old for that, there really weren't any sports that he was good enough to play, especially competitively on a team. And he and Chris had hardly seen each other or spoken since the first week of September.
Jake saw his blond friend in the cafeteria at lunch going back to his seat after getting some food, and tentatively approached him. Jake said, Hey, Chris. How are you doing?
Chris looked happy to see his best friend and he said, Hey, Jake. I'm doing good. I've been busy with a lot of stuff, though.
Do you want to sleep over this weekend? Maybe we can do some stuff together? Jake said, really hopeful.
I'm sorry, Jake, replied Chris. Randy asked if me and Mark could sleep over his house Friday night.
Jake had this awful feeling in the pit of his stomach. He didn't even know who Randy and Mark were. Both were on Chris' soccer team. Randy was about Chris' height. He had light brown hair, a great personality, and was very good looking, as was Mark. The only difference was that Mark had black hair and was about an inch shorter than Chris and Randy.
Jake looked at Chris dejectedly and said, Well, maybe we can do something next weekend.
Chris said, Maybe. I think I may have a soccer game, but we'll see.
As Jake went back to his seat, he felt like crying. He felt like he was loosing his best friend. Jake had wanted to call Chris, but didn't really know what to say, and Chris hadn't called Jake since the first week of school.
That Friday night was awful. Jake sat in his room feeling sorry for himself. He knew that Chris and Mark were probably over Randy's right now. Jake still had this terrible feeling in the pit of his stomach, and he kept wondering if the boys were tickling each other's feet. Jake knew it was ridiculous to be like this, but he couldn't get the thought out of his mind.
Jake's dad went into his son's room. Jake was lying on the bed, thinking. Dad sat next to his son and said, Jake. How are you doing these days? Are you ok? You don't seem to be yourself. How come you haven't hung out with Chris, lately?
Jake shrugged his shoulders.
Dad said, Have you talked to him at school?
Jake sat up a little. Not really. I don't like this new school. It's way too big, and Chris has all these new friends now.
Dad understood. Jake, give it a little more time. Is anyone giving you a hard time?
No, not really, said Jake. Some kids aren't too nice, but it's ok.
Why don't you call Chris? Maybe he can stay over tomorrow night, asked dad.
Jake looked down and he said, I asked Chris but he's sleeping over somebody else's house.
Jake's dad really didn't know what to say. Then he said, Do you want to go to a movie?
I don't really feel like it right now. I'm sorry, Jake said as he laid down on his side with his head on the pillow.
Dad gave Jake a rub on his shoulder and left his son's room.
When dad got into the kitchen, he said to Jake's mom, I'm worried about Jake again. He was doing great, but I think he and Chris are drifting apart. I think Jake's having a hard time with it.
I don't know why he has so much trouble making friends. I wish he were more outgoing. Chris was really bringing him out of his shell. I feel terrible for him, Jake's mom said, almost in tears.
Jake's dad said, I know what you're thinking. No, we can't call Chris' mom. If they're going to be friends, they have to work it out. Parents can't force it. Jake has to start having more confidence in himself and learn to make friends. He has a lot to offer.
Jake was lying in bed with tears rolling down his cheeks. Just a few months ago, Chris was his best friend, and Jake could freely talk about tickling his best friend's feet, which was unbelievable. Now, Jake wouldn't dare bring it up, even if he saw Chris. Chris seemed like a stranger now. Jake never feared that Chris would tell anyone, though. He trusted him.
Jake lay in bed doing what he did best; thinking way too much. Then he got up, took a hard cover book and a piece of paper and a pen off his desk, sat up in his bed and began writing a note to Chris. He had no idea what the note would say, but he was determined to write it and give it to Chris on Monday.
Monday, in school, Jake was a nervous wreck. All day, he thought about not giving Chris the note. However, just before dismissal, he went out of his way to find Chris. He was in luck. Chris was standing alone by his locker. Jake felt like he was walking in quicksand, but he went over to Chris, handed him the note, and walked away.
Chris got his books together, than stood at his locker reading the note. It said:
I wish we were still friends, but I don't blame you for not wanting to be my friend anymore. I'm sorry about all that stuff about tickling your feet. I'm so weird and a loser. I'm really sorry. Jake.
Chris put the note in the front cover of his textbook. As soon as he read it, he felt awful. Chris was having so much fun in this new school, with sports and friends, that he didn't even realize really that he had basically abandoned Jake. Chris asked himself how he could do such a thing.
When Jake got home, he went straight to his room, hoping and hoping that Chris would call him, and not think that he was even more of a weirdo for giving him that note. About a half hour after Jake got home the phone rang. Jake's mom knocked on her son's door.
With excitement in her voice, she said, Jake, Chris is on the phone.
Jake jumped out of bed, opened the door and took the phone. Thanks, mom, he said.
Hey, Jake, it's Chris. I can't talk right now but I was wondering if you can come over after supper, and hang out for a while.
Jake said with excitement, Ok, hold on. I'll ask!
Jake went into the kitchen. Mom, can I go to Chris' house after supper, till about 8:00, please!
Jake's mom hadn't seen her son this excited in weeks. Sure. I'll drive you over there. Is your homework done?
Jake said, I only have a little. I'll do it right now!
Jake got back on the phone. Chris, I can come over in about an hour and stay till about 8:00. Is that ok?
Chris agreed. Yea, that's great! See ya.
Jake said, Bye. And he hung up the phone.
At about 6:00, there was a knock on Chris' front door. Chris' mom opened the door. She was so happy to see Jake. Hi, Jake! Come in! It's great to see you. I was going to ask Chris why we haven't seen you. I know Chris has been really busy. Chris is in his room. Why don't you go in there? We can talk later.
Jake opened Chris' door and walked in his room. Chris was sitting at his desk finishing some homework. Hey, Jake, What's up?
Jake sat on Chris' bed. Not too much. Thanks for inviting me over.
Chris turned and looked at Jake. Jake, I read that note. Please don't feel like that. I'm wicked sorry for treating you like this. I didn't even realize it. I've been so busy with stuff.
Jake looked at Chris wanting to cry. It's not your fault. I just thought you didn't want to be around me anymore and I didn't know what to say.
Chris said back, Jake, I want me and you to be best friends again. Believe me. I like hanging out with you a lot.
Chris got up from his desk chair and walked over and stood in front of Jake, who was sitting on the bed. Chris pointed down. He smiled and said, Look.
When Jake looked down, he saw Chris' bare feet. Jake was so embarrassed, but his stomach was in knots.
Chris said, Do you still want to tickle my feet?
Jake looked at Chris. Really?! Chris, you're so awesome. I'm sorry about that note.
Jake, I'm really sorry, Chris said. I told you before. If something's bothering you, just talk to me. We're best friends.
I knew you had other friends and I thought you liked them better, Jake said.
Chris said, Especially Randy and Mark have been good friends, lately, but that's no excuse.
Jake was feeling so much better right now and he said, Chris, this is going to sound really weird, but when you said that you and Mark were sleeping over Randy's house, I kept thinking that you guys were tickling each other's feet.
Chris burst out laughing, and slapped Jake across the head. You buffoon! You are weird! We didn't tickle each other's feet! No one's even tickled my feet since you did over the summer.
Jake couldn't believe that no one had been asking to tickle Chris' feet. Jake kind of laughed and he said, I'm the only one who's ever asked to tickle your feet?
Chris laughed again and smiled and looked directly at Jake and said, Yes!
Chris then said, I'll be right back.
Chris walked out of his room and came back a few seconds later. When Chris walked back in the room, Jake was standing up.
Chris closed the door behind him and locked it and he said, My sisters aren't home and my parents are in the other room watching TV. It should be ok. Chris laid down on his bed with his bare feet slightly off the edge. Jake's stomach felt like somebody was stomping on it.
Chris was smiling and said to his friend, Well, come on. We don't have all night.
Jake was thoroughly embarrassed. He almost couldn't do it.
Chris said, Come on, Jake. Please. It's ok. Don't worry about it.
Jake went over to the foot of the bed and sat down on the floor. Jake hadn't even seen Chris' bare feet in almost two months. Chris' feet were as awesome as ever. Jake noticed, though, that Chris had a few rough spots on his feet and a couple of red marks. He also had a small bruise on the instep of his right foot.
Jake said, How did you get that bruise, and some of these rough spots?
Chris laughed. It comes from playing soccer. It can be pretty rough on your feet.
Jake was getting more comfortable. You're feet are still awesome, though!
Chris laughed again, Are they really? Cool! People don't exactly go around telling me that my feet are awesome and asking if they can tickle them.
That made Jake even more embarrassed. He said to Chris, Are your feet still ticklish?
Chris laughed again. He said, Well, there's only one way to find out.
Jake thought this was incredible. With his fingers, he very lightly tickled the bottom of Chris right foot. Chris giggled and moved his foot.
Jake said, You're ticklish!
Chris couldn't help but laugh. He said to Jake. You goof. You know my feet are ticklish!
Jake started lightly tickling both of Chris' feet. Chris was trying not to laugh, but it really did tickle. Jake could hear Chris lightly giggling, but he was holding his feet pretty still.
Chris was kind of giggling and he said, Are you done? It tickles.
Jake wanted to tickle harder and try to get Chris really laughing like he used to.
Jake said, Close your eyes. I want to try something.
Chris laughed and closed his eyes. He said, What are you gonna do?
Jake said, Just don't move.
Chris was just laying back and smiling. Jake dug his index finger inside of Chris' big toe and second toe.
Aaahhhhhheeeeee Chris laughed and pulled his feet back immediately.
Jake thought this was so cool. Man, you still have that wicked ticklish spot!
Chris laughed. He said, That is brutal!
Jake didn't want to press his luck, but he asked Chris, Can I just see your feet one more time. Please?
Chris smiled and rolled his eyes. Boy, you can't get enough of my feet. Only once more, ok. I don't want my parents to come knocking on the door.
Jake couldn't contain his excitement. Chris put his bare feet back out there. Jake sat on the edge of the bed, quickly grabbed Chris' right ankle in his right arm and began raking his fingers on the bottom of Chris' foot. Chris didn't even have time to brace himself.
Chris went wild. Ahhhhhhh! Heeheeehaahaahaa! Chris couldn't stop laughing and was trying to get Jake to let go. Jake held on with everything he had until Chris grabbed him, and pulled him onto the bed. Jake refused to let go until Chris started massively tickling Jake's ribs.
Jake went wild. Jake immediately let go, and got off the bed.
Still laughing Jake said, Chris, you're the best. I hope I didn't make you feel guilty before.
Chris said, No. I told you. It really was my fault. I'm sorry.
Jake said, Your feet have some rough spots, but they're still wicked ticklish.
Chris laughed, Yea. I hope after the soccer season these bruises heal. Soccer's been tough on my feet.
Before they went out into the kitchen Chris said, Jake, Friday night, Randy and Mark are staying over here. I want you to stay over, too, and you can go to my soccer game with us. Is that ok?
Jake looked at Chris, Sure!! Do you think your friends will like me?
Chris said, Well, they better like you if they want to like me. We're best friends, remember.
Jake smiled. He said, Best friends? Really?
Chris got Jake in a headlock and gave him some nuggies and said, Yes, you little goof! We're best friends!
Jake was laughing and screaming at the same time, Ok! Stop! We're best friends!!
Chris let go of Jake and both boys walked out into the kitchen. They were horsing around. Both completely forgot about the note that Jake had given to Chris, which was still just inside the front cover of Chris' Science book, which was resting on his desk.
To be continued