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Mentor and Mini-Me by Armando94


(back with some more typical haircut stories. Have a few other new ones I'm currently working on and thinking up...and might be returning to a few favorites that have been requested. Stay tuned... and thanks for those who appreciated my last attempt the other week)



Mentor and Mini-Me


The Marshall P. Creek High School track team had shifted from their cold indoor season into the wet and sometimes-sunny spring season. During this time of year they also gained a few more athletes who maybe played a different winter sport, but most of the same boys remained the same and had gotten to know each other, or at least, for a freshman’s case, they got to understand what the upperclassmen were like and who it was okay to talk to, and those others when it was okay to interact with them. But the coaching staff decided that this year they would try to enforce a sort-of buddy system, or mentoring program between the seniors and the freshman. Most of the athletes would be lined up with someone that competed in the same events, or at least something similar. The one thing to both sets of boys’ dismays were the coaches decided who to partner everyone up with. Perhaps this was better than freshman flocking for safety or seniors suspecting weak links and taking them for their own.

One of the captains, Randy, was lined up with a freshman named Carson. Randy recognized Carson from the season before and in the fall during cross country. It was good to see that some kids were sticking to it. That was always the problem with freshman and even sophomore athletes, who was going to stick around for the long run or who was just doing it because they were told to sign up or thought it would be like middle school athletics where everyone was the "star". Not that it mattered if you were a "star" at all. Randy was an incredible athlete, came from a long line of them. But, his lack of worth ethic in the classroom may have been the reason why he couldn’t go D1 that coming fall. Didn’t mean he couldn’t run for a competitive D3 program, but still, would have been nice if he put in more work into the homework the last four years.

This kid Carson seemed like he focused on his studies, was fairly quiet but would speak when spoken to. Seemed decently respectable and never was the kind of athlete that tried to put themselves into every possible conversation. And if he was to continue improving on his times, he could really be a decent asset to the team in the future. Maybe he wasn’t looking to go pro or even run for a team in college, but at least he seemed to be actively interested in the high school program and wanted to make the most of it. So, even if Randy got stuck with the quiet kid, at least it wasn’t that bad.

Besides, maybe it was actually better…he wouldn’t put up a fight.

The pairings were announced on a Friday afternoon as practice was drawing to a close so that the freshmen and seniors could link up. Randy started to stride over to where Carson was, but the freshman also made his way over to him. Carson not wanting to seem like he thought he was so important, and respecting his elders. 1 for Randy, 0 for Carson, the senior thought to himself and suppressed a grin. "Hey," Carson said, a mix between a pip squeal and trying to lower the octaves of your voice as you are going through puberty.

"Looks like I’m your mentor," Randy said. "Do you need a ride to practice tomorrow morning?"

"No…my mom usually drops me off on her way to run errands…but thanks."

"Okay, but how about we hang out after practice? Breakfast or something? My treat."

"Oh," Carson was stunned a bit. "Yeah, sure, that’s fine."

"You have plans or something?"

"No—not at all. Thank you, that’s…nice," Carson fumbled with words.

Randy fluttered his eyes just so that the freshman couldn’t see him rolling them. This kid needed to loosen up a bit, boy did Randy have his work cut out for him. "Don’t mention it, besides, if I am supposed to be your mentor, might as well do something other than see each other at practice time, right?"

"Yeah, that makes sense," Carson nodded.

"Alright, see you tomorrow," Randy lightly shoulder checked into Carson, turning around to look at the freshman and wink back at him so that he made it clear it was a joke. Carson was a bit nervous at first when they said he would be paired up with Randy. He definitely would be good with helping him train for the different events on the team, and if Carson ever got good. Randy definitely had some pointers up his sleeve (or tank top when it came to actual meets). But compared to Carson’s almost soft-boy-like appearance, Randy was a lot harder. His skin had a slight tan to it even at this time of year (must have a bit of Mediterranean in him), he had a sharp nose and jaw, his eyes really focused in on you giving you all the attention in the world, and then…there was his hair. He seemed to have a standard buzzcut, that grew out a tad, and then was shorn down again. Not bald! But definitely short, Carson was so unfamiliar with all that. He’d never had a super short haircut like that…although, he’d always dreamt of one. He was the type of kid that could go a couple months without a haircut, and then show up to school on a Monday and it was obvious what he had been up to on his Saturday.

So maybe having this tougher, rougher, older brother figure might be a good thing for Carson…at least he was hoping it was a good thing…

-----

Saturday morning practices weren’t such a bad thing, besides being to school early in the morning. But maybe that was better and it wasn’t stuck in the middle of your day and ruining any weekend plans. And usually they didn’t have any hardcore workouts, it was a recovery day for the most part. So after an eight mile tempo run in the March weather, they could stretch out and then head home. Luckily, the mentor program didn’t require the athletes to have to run with their senior partners. Carson wasn’t too sure if he could keep up for that long of a distance with some of those senior guys. At least Randy knew that wasn’t possible for Carson…at least not at the moment, but in time, that could all change.

When it was all done, Carson and the other underclassmen went back to the locker room to get their things and leave. He took a seat on one of the benches outside the gymnasium door parking lot. One of his teammates saying, "You need a ride, Carson?"

"No, I’m good," he shook his head, eyes blinded a bit by the sun. "I’m waiting for Randy."

"He’s driving you?!" a different kid asked.

"Yeah, well…we’re going out for breakfast," Carson added. "You know, the mentor-buddy-thing."

"Damn," another kid echoed. "Maybe he’s looking to fill you up with protein and then surprise you with a workout at the gym after."

"I don’t know," Carson shook it off, and then waved off his teammates as he waited for Randy to come outside. The seniors always took their time, why not? They drove here so they were in no rush or had a parent waiting to get them. Carson’s parents were pleasantly surprised when he told them he didn’t need a ride home and what was happening. They both agreed that it was a nice gesture and seemed like the right thing on the senior’s part.

Eventually Randy came out with a few of the other captains, and saw Carson waiting on the bench, and said, "Ready?"

Carson stood at attention and grabbed his gym bag, nodding his head and followed his mentor to his 2012 Sedan. "You can sit shotgun, obviously," Randy joked as they got into the car.

Randy took Carson to one of the bagel shops nearby that also had a fair amount of seating for those who wanted to sit down and relax. They both ordered bagel sandwiches, Randy offering to pay even though Carson tried to fight it but realized maybe he shouldn’t, it was a losing battle. Then they sat down and dug right into business, Randy asking Carson some of his goals for the track season. Carson said he wasn’t too sure, but they talked about what his times were like during the indoor season. "Well they’ll improve when you run outdoor in the spring, so let’s plan around that. Do you think you can go sub five for the 1600 meter race this year?"

"I don’t know…that seems like a huge jump," Carson declared. "I think if I can get close to that, somewhere in the 5-5:15 range, maybe. What do you think?"

"That’s totally possible, based off the times you just said from indoor," Randy confirmed. "And as long as you keep training at practice and keeping yourself healthy."

This made Carson think about the earlier comment from a teammate about Randy working out besides at track practice. "Do you suggest me hitting up the gym or something?"

"It wouldn’t hurt," Randy shrugged. "I’m not saying you have to go out and get a gym membership, but if you have some free weights at home, I would say start putting some effort and work in with them. Just begin to tone yourself, no one is asking you get ripped, your still young as hell."

"That’s true," Carson nodded. "Did you used to do that? As a freshman?"

Randy laughed. "Look, maybe you won’t believe it, but I didn’t always look this way. I still had braces freshman year but thank god they were gone before the end of school. I was still a little scrawny kid who liked to run and then eventually was able to fill out to where I am now. It takes time though of course. I was no great looker like maybe people see me on the track and field now. Trust me, you don’t just wake up one day changed. You start working away at it. That was me taking care of my health when I was in season, what I was eating and doing, if I wanted to work out what was I doing and how would that enhance my performance on the track. Every little thing, from the running shoes on my feet to the hair on top of my head," Randy rubbed his noggin, and Carson could hear the slightest audible noise of friction from fingers to bristles.

"Oh, I see," Carson looked down at his half-eaten sandwich, now even wondering if it was okay to eat. Must have been, the senior across from him got the same thing. Even though the other guys were teasing him before, maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to allow Randy to influence him a little, allow himself to be taken under the captain’s wing. "Yeah, I’d really like to get better. I don’t think I’ll be pro or something, but I’d like to make varsity."

"We can work on that," Randy sunk back into his chair and eyed up Carson for all he was, inspecting ever bit of him. "We can definitely work on that, boy."

Eventually they wrapped up and Randy dropped Carson off at home. When he was there, Carson went down into the basement to see if he could find any free weights sitting in dust being unused. He found a couple of ten and fifteen pounders. He’d start with the ten, like Randy said, just tone himself. Little by little, doing movements and small workouts with them each day in the morning when he woke up for school and then when he’d get home from practice. Carson knew it wasn’t going to be a week long and then he’d see dramatic changes, it would take time. But hopefully it would all be worth it. He felt like it was going to be.

-----

The next few weeks went by and not too much had changed other than Carson’s changing lifestyle. He was still keeping up with the weights and was using the fifteen pound ones in the morning and then ten pounds at night. It wasn’t a lot, but he was still laying the ground work. He was planning on buying new sets of weights in the coming months when he felt it would be appropriate to. The workouts on the track had also gotten more intense, but he was pushing through them and feeling good about himself. Glad that he had ran the fall season and winter season and didn’t take a break, it was paying off. And staying mentally focused on the prize of improving his times. He was also eating healthier, not that he hadn’t already been, but being more conscious of what he ate than he had before. There were even a couple times in the last few weeks where Randy stopped by his table at lunch to bug him, or Carson went over to his table and he was actually allowed to sit down with the senior athletes for a few minutes. Carson was slowly becoming comfortable with them, working and feeling into it. Randy was totally fine with this, he saw the younger boy was improving both physically and socially. He could shape this kid into the kinder version of himself. And shape him he would, there was still some time, and certainly other things to do…

The first scrimmage was coming up that Friday, and the coaches read off who was attending it. It was an away meet so if you weren’t going to be competing there was no need for you to come along. To Carson’s surprise, he was included on the list. That hadn’t happened so much during the indoor season, so he was grateful and glad that whatever work he had been putting in was showing itself. He quickly shot a look at Randy who looked back knowingly at him, but didn’t act happy nor surprised. He just played it off subtly, which maybe was for the best.

As they were all walking back up to the school at the end of practice, Randy sidled in beside Carson and said, "Way to go, bud. Nice work."

"Thanks," Carson mumbled but with a smile. "I was surprised."

"I wasn’t," Randy smirked. "Don’t worry, I didn’t pull strings. Only you did, by that I mean you’ve been putting in the work consistently and have showed improvement. For that you are being rewarded. Simple as that. Don’t stress about this race, it is only a scrimmage after all, but also make sure you still give it your all. Remember, you’re only running that one event, and then you’re done for the rest of the race."

"Right," Carson said.

"Don’t worry, I’ll pump you up and get you more ready ahead of Friday," Randy clapped Carson on the back and then mussed around with the top of his head, then walking a little ahead, staring back at the freshman as he now stroked the top of his head. Carson noticed that Randy’s buzzcut had definitely grown out, was still looking like a longer buzzcut, but hadn’t been attended to. Carson had a strange feeling he knew what this getting "read" for Friday might mean, more than just amping up weights or what to eat…

-----

No pasta party on the Thursday before the race, apparently only the girls really did that. The boys team might do one pasta party every season ahead of one of the bigger or more important races, but not for every freakin race. The one thing about Thursdays was Randy had been helping Carson out and driving him home after practice on these days. He’d offered for other days too, but Carson was usually good, but also if needed knew he could hitch a ride with the senior. So this Thursday was not different than the last few. As they both got into the car, Randy said, "Mind if I run an errand or two? I don’t want to hold you up if you have something though."

"You’re not, we won’t be eating dinner until later."

"Perfect," Randy grinned and turned on his car as they drove out of the school lot.

They were headed in the direction towards where Randy lived, and so about ten or so minutes later, they pulled into a strip mall and parked. A few of the storefronts were still open, but Carson’s eyes were blinded by the red and white pole moving up and down that they had just parked in front of. Carson couldn’t believe he had fell for this…it was definitely half a set-up. It made sense, they always drove together on Thursdays, nothing seemed weird about that. Randy played it off he needed to run an errand…well this certainly qualified.

"Let’s go," Randy said as he unbuckled his seat and got out of the car. Carson knew he better too.

The senior led the freshman into the barbershop as if they were brothers. Well maybe by the time they left here tonight they would look that way to strangers. There were quite a few barbers working away at clients in their chairs, all of the barbers very young men, possibly only in their twenties and thirties, but not more than that. Randy brought them over to some benches that were across from a few of the barbers working. One of the barbers was sitting in his chair on his phone until he caught the sight of Randy and Carson and got up and gave Randy one of those bro-hug and handshake deals. "Dally, this is Carson."

Carson felt obliged and had no choice but to greet the barber Dally in the same way his mentor had just done. Then Randy told him he could wait on the bench as Randy took to the barber chair. Carson couldn’t help himself but look around at the whole place, trying to distract himself from what he felt in his bones was inevitably going to happen.

"So the usual my man?" Dally asked Randy.

"You know it," Randy confirmed. "Have our first scrimmage tomorrow."

"Nice," Dally caped him up. "Is the kid over there a track star?"

"We’re gonna try and make him one, if you can help out too," Randy winked.

"Not a problem my friend," Dally said as he fired up the clippers and began to proceed over the top of Randy’s head with the #2, cutting away at the bit of hair that had grown itself out in the last few weeks. If Randy ever let it go longer, he’d look like one of those freakin chia pets you grew as a kid. And most times when his hair was already this long, most people thought it was short enough! No, you could always go shorter he’d say, and he did. He was honest with Carson a few weeks ago that he didn’t always look this way (or this good). He had been a good athlete freshman year, better than Carson, and kept steadily improving sophomore year, but then his cockiness was starting to show a bit and he couldn’t help it. It was also between the summer of sophomore and junior year that he buzzed his head and never looked back. He used to be part of that skater/surfer boy look, but those days were long gone. And he had since always wore a fresh cut, which was great for all of the season he ran in. Much easier to maintain too. And his hair this short really played with whether his hair looked brunette or blonde or both given an angle, and up against his skin which had a touch of olive-tone to it. He wondered if Carson could ever tan up in the summer, or if was the kind of pale kid that had to burn before he tanned. Not that that mattered.

Randy and Dally carried on with their usual conversations, the barber being about five or so years older than the high school athlete. They got along well and was also one of the many reasons too why Randy continued to stick with the buzz cut look, gave him a friend he saw every few weeks to catch up with on life.

When Dally was cleaning up the edges of Randy’s back and sides and the sideburns, he said to him, "So you’re sure about this? Does the kid know he’s next?"

Randy smirked. "I haven’t told him, but I’m sure he knows its coming."

"Ahh, I see."

"Trust me," Randy stated. "I think he’s gonna like it."

Eventually he was released from the cape and barber chair and walked over to where Carson was trying to occupy himself by his phone. His appearance and movement caught the freshman’s attention who looked up at him, didn’t say anything, not calling attention it. Although, Randy could tell that Carson was clearly glued to his newly shorn crop. This was going to be good. Randy traced a free hand across the top of his head and said, "You ready?"

This implied there was really no option, no asking Did Carson want a haircut? How did he feel about it? No, it was ready or not, here it comes. Carson spotted the barber Dally shake out the cape in the air, making a huge cracking noise, as he stared over at the two of them.

But was this all part of it? The transformation that Carson was secretly hoping for? Was this just another hurdle on the track? And was it also something that maybe…maybe…deep down…Carson had been secretly thinking and wondering about? A small desire suppressed because he didn’t know what it really would mean?

The ten or so steps it legitimately took to walk from the bench, gently nudged in the shoulder by Randy’s grasp, to get to Dally’s throne felt more like ten of the longest seconds of Carson’s life. But then, he found himself seated in that tan leather cushion, comfortable, giving in to the temptation and the situation at hand. Dally whisking the cape around Carson and attaching a tissue wrap around his neck before spinning the chair around so he could face the mirror and see Randy and Dally standing behind him.

"Ever had a buzzcut before, Carson?" Dally asked.

Carson took a beat before saying, "No, I haven’t," but he tried not to sound upset, to sound like he wasn’t giving in, because he was seated there and certainly had given in.

And he sort of wanted to now, looking at Randy in the mirror.

"Well I can take care of that," Dally said, grabbing for a pair of clippers, and placing the #2 guard back on them. But then, he looked at Randy and said, "Actually, do you want the first honors?"

Randy was taken by surprise, but totally happy with the offer. "Give ‘em here," Randy took the clippers out of the barber’s hand and roared them to life, staring down at Carson’s head as he brought the fast-feeding clippers to the front and center of the boy’s hairline.

Randy didn’t look at Carson’s facial reaction as he slowly purred the clippers across the boy’s head, leaving room for a short pelt. And Dally was inspecting Randy’s job on the haircut. But Carson was feeling it all right now. The cold blades hit the top of his head and then were slowly dragged back, leaving the signature short bristles Randy had in its wake. So much so, that as this act was going on, Carson could feel the blades chewing away at Carson’s dirty blonde locks that were no match for them. The sensation and vibration that the clippers gave off as they hacked down to a quarter of an inch buzz across the top of Carson’s head like he’d never had before.

It felt so good. He felt…free!

After the first swipe by the track captain had been committed, he passed the clippers back to the professional and let him carry on with the rest of his cut as he went to go take a seat on the vacant bench. Dally got right to work, continuing to clear off all the medium-length hair on top of Carson’s head, reducing it down. And he was trying to get to know his new client, because Carson knew that this was going to be the first of many for at least the rest of the track season, and then it would be up to him to keep it up after Randy was gone. The barber brought the clippers across the center of the head again, and then a little more to the right, widening up the strip of buzzed hair. Growing larger and larger with each swipe, making Carson’s hair look more fair than it already had. He wasn’t even considering if this was going to show if he had a weird head shape or if his ears stuck out or something. He was taking it all in.

Dally continued with the rest of the top of his head as he got to know Carson and his life better, before he turned off the clippers briefly and removed the blade, switching it to the guard and adjustments so it would be a 1 ½ blade for the sides and back. He didn’t even ask Carson if that was okay or not, and Carson wasn’t going to stop him, especially not after the sensation and feeling he got at the first strike against the back of Carson’s head right through the occipital bone. If he hadn’t already been feeling hot and bothered, he really had to suppress this moment of glee has the clipper work cleared away at a few months of grown hair that probably hadn’t been attended to since Christmas time. Carson had to try not to leave his mouth a little ajar as these motions were happening, to try and make sure the barber wasn’t so keep to his true emotions. But every barber knows, it doesn’t work that way. Especially when Dally could tell how there was absolutely not tension in Carson’s neck and shoulders.

The barber eventually edged out Carson’s neckline and sideburns, the tickling touch this gave him sent shivers down his spine like a little boy. But then before he knew it, the barber was grabbing a handheld mirror and showing him the back of his head so he could see that too in the mirror in front of him.

"Well, what do we think?" Dally asked.

Carson raised his hands up from underneath the cape and started to feel the sides of his head and then climbed the fingertips all the way to the top of his head. He loved it.

"I don’t know why I haven’t done this sooner," Carson said with the confidence he did not know he had, and this made the barber laugh before he released the cape from his body.

Carson walked over to Randy who was now waiting for him. Staring blankly, looking around him, inspecting it from a few inches away as they both stood there waiting. Until he grabbed the freshman from around the back and neck and brought him in to his chest like he was about to choke him, and then rubbed the top of Carson’s newly shorn head with his fist closed in like a brother giving another brother a noogie or something. And then he clapped him on the back and they went up to the front of the shop to pay for the cuts, of which of course, Randy said this first one was on him.

Carson cheekily replied, as he rubbed his head again, "Good, I’m gonna need to save my money if I’m gonna be here again in a few weeks."

"I like the sound of that," Randy nodded in approval as they headed out to his car so that he got drop Carson off after the errand had been completed.

-----

The track athletes were allowed to scoot out early from the last period of the day so they could travel to the away meet. So when Carson walked into the team room and began opening his locker, he turned a few heads who had not seen him earlier in the day. Not gasps like girls, but he could tell the other guys in there all of a sudden put their focus on him as he turned around the lock to its three coded numbers. Maybe he even heard one of the guys go "Woah" exaggerating it out in shock. One was finally brave enough to say "Damn, looks like someone is looking to shave off a few seconds from their P.R." This got a few others to make other light comments about Carson’s haircut, what he was anticipating from everyone in here. His family was surprised by his new look, especially all his sisters, they had never seen him like this. But no one said it was a bad look either, and Carson was glad of that…because he knew it wasn’t. It was really growing on him. Especially by the time he woke up that morning and felt around his head confirming it wasn’t all just a dream. Of course his classmates and friends that weren’t on the team were all surprised to see the new Carson walking the halls or sitting next to him. He shrugged it off and said things like, "Wanted to try something different" or if he really was irritated with them "Does it really look that bad?". Of course, most people didn’t think it looked bad, they were only going to have to adjust to the drastic change in look…and potentially manner.

"Seriously?" Carson said, turning around and eyeing up his teammates. This made a few of them finally turn away and get back to their own businesses.

A couple of the other freshman who were going to the meet made comments about his hair, at least one of two of them complimented it and said it really suited Carson, and the others made jokes about how different he looked and like he was trying to be something he wasn’t. "Maybe some of y’all oughta give it up to the barbershop floor, too. It ain’t all that bad," he rubbed his head to prove it. Carson changed into his uniform and then all the warm-up gear he would need as they would be outside and it could be windy out there at the other school. Maybe next year he would have varsity jacket to go over all of this gear as well and not have to bring along his winter puffer.

He stepped out into the hall and saw the coaching staff waiting out there where they would tell each of them to get on the bus. The head coach eyed up Carson as he came out the team room and said, "Nice cut, Carson. You oughta keep it like that."

"Glad to hear that, coach," Carson said to sound a bit snarky, but his shy boyish being made him also blush so he didn’t come off so harsh.

Carson went outside and got on the bus, looks like a lot of the seniors were already on here. Most likely, they skipped their entire last period to hang out in the team room before they really needed to. Typical seniors he figured. His appearance caught their attention, couple more whistle blows and "Ooooh’s" at the kid with the fresh cut. All fair game at this point, Carson saw it that way.

"Hey," Randy called over to him from the seat he was in, then nodded his head in the direction that meant "Get over here". Carson did as he was told and had a feeling what was coming next.

"Sit," Randy commanded as expected. If anything, Carson was shocked he was giving up having a two-seater to himself, or sitting with another senior. But Carson sat next to him, bags on his knees. "You brought headphones?"

"Yes," Carson said. One of the things that Randy suggested, really commanded.

"Good," the captain stated. "And when the bus gets rolling, don’t leave your bag on your knees, put it on the floor behind you or out in the aisle. Just relax." And so Carson would do as he was told for this meet, and then the next few ones after when he didn’t have to feel obligated or feel like he had to be Randy’s lacky or dog following him around. And then the weather got warmer, and Carson’s times began to improve. More than he thought they would, but Randy hadn’t wanted to tell him that your times from indoor to outdoor track could be pretty dramatic depending on your event. But, even if Carson was allowed a little more freedom, Randy still kept him in check. They’d still occasionally get breakfasts on Saturday’s after breakfasts. Sometimes visit each other during their mutual lunch period or nod to each other in the halls. And of course, the haircuts were a regular bonding experience between the two of them and Dally. All through the track season till the end and when Carson was surprised to be awarded a varsity letter for his performance. A bunch of the other freshman who went to the same amount of meets as him were also pleasantly surprised. But this was good encouragement, to keep them wanting to come back for more and not settle. And Carson knew he would really need to train extra hard this summer. That and Randy still wanted to keep a pulse on him so long as he could before going away to college that fall, which by August left Carson pretty upset, like a brother going away to school rather than a friend. A few states away too so it would have to be seeing each other on breaks. And lone trips to get a haircut from Dally. And no one around to keep him in check on his other workouts and health plans. But that was okay, Randy had really disciplined Carson and kept him on a good regiment. He was a dedicated student-athlete, but also still had that shy and kindness to him before he surrendered his precious locks.

-----

Three years later and it was Carson’s turn to be a captain and senior amongst the rest of track athletes that had stuck it out with him. And the school was wildly different from when they had been freshman. Like really different, even for the stuffy little conservative town that they lived in. The kids of this senior class were wild and liberal in their pursuits, parties on weekends but boy were they dedicated to their sports, and super hard on all their grades, and kids devoted to any extracurriculars like drama or debate, and so on. The teachers sometimes couldn’t keep these kids on a leash when they got wild, but at the same time they knew they’d come around because they were all hard workers. And perhaps even smarter and more talented than some of these teachers…

Cross Country was never really Carson’s thing, but he stuck with it all four years and was still pretty decent at it. But track is where he remained consistent with excelling and working hard each season. Getting some recognition and notice by his junior year when he shot up about four inches that summer (much to his own athletic delight but perhaps mental health dismay, as well as the rest of his family and friends) and really grew into himself, still consistently working on his physique outside of just on the track.

He had a few offers from a lot of great state programs to run track at D1, who would have thought. It never bothered Randy when it came around to this, that it would be the kid who thought he couldn’t that ended up being the man who could. Carson hadn’t decided on where he was going to go, was still thinking about the kind of career and life he wanted to have once he had to finally put the track shoes up after college. His boyfriend was already going to NYU Tisch School, he had been a leading man in the school’s theater program as well as a lot of state theater programs and even awards…plus he was juggling being a model on the side. It was no wonder that him and Carson would link up or really come out together, as they were two of the most attractive guys in the grade, too bad for the ladies. His family learned to accept him for it, and realized that maybe there had always been signs for it. His friends were totally cool with it, he was always nervous about telling Randy until he finally realized he had to. Threw him off a bit, but when he met Carson’s boyfriend, he kind of understood why he took an interest in him. They’d even all double dated in summer with Randy and his girlfriend he had met and been seeing since freshman year of college

But spring track always brought back the mentor and mini-me program that had begun when Carson’s class were the guinea pigs as freshmen. And he was super excited to get paired off with the redheaded Ashton, another kid similar to him who was in the running programs and showed potential but just needed that extra boost. Of course, Carson wouldn’t be so hard on him as maybe Randy had always been. But one thing was for sure, Dally was getting another client soon enough…





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