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Old July 22nd, 2009, 11:21 AM
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The Summer of 1981, Part 18: Limelight

For those of you who would like to catch up, here are links to the earlier chapters:

Part 1: The Best of Times
Part 2: Wasn't That A Party
Part 3: The Boy From New York City
Part 4: The Voice
Part 5: Feels So Right
Part 6: Sausalito Summernight
Part 7: The Waiting
Part 8: All I Have To Do Is Dream
Part 9: Urgent
Part 10: The Theme From The Greatest American Hero
Part 11: Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through
Part 12: Life of Illusion
Part 13: America
Part 14: Deep Inside My Heart
Part 15: Mister Sandman
Part 16: Hard To Say
Part 17: Bette Davis Eyes

Any feedback is very much appreciated - I would love to hear from those of you who have been reading. Or if you just want to reminisce about some of your favorite music or memories from 1981, please feel free to share. Thanks!!


Living in the limelight
The universal dream
For those who wish to seem
Those who wish to be
Must put aside the alienation
Get on with the fascination
The real relation
The underlying theme

Tug stood in the basement of Ben’s aunt’s house, about to begin a workout. Today he was going to start with his arms.

Gotta get them bigger.

He took off his t-shirt to reveal his torso – not yet that of an experienced athlete, but a far cry from when he first started lifting. He walked over to the mirror and flexed his biceps, watching the muscles bulge up. Their size and definition was increasing every day, thanks to his special protein diet and intense exercise program.

Very nice!

After spending more than twenty seconds lovingly gazing at his body, Tug dropped his arms and picked up the barbell on the floor next to him. He was about to begin curling when a male voice called out.


“Down here!” responded Tug. As he waited to see who was calling, he began pumping out the reps.


Tug saw a pair of feet wearing old sandals, then a pair of bare calves, descending the steps. They were followed by a pair of thighs in khaki shorts, and then a small but well-built torso and a toned set of arms in a red tank top. Finally, the handsome face of Jessie Coe appeared. “Hey there, Tug. The door was open, so I let myself in.”

“Hey,” responded Tug.


“Is Ben here?” asked Jessie. “I was hoping to work out with him, you know, so he could teach me to get a set of muscles like he has.” Jessie hit a most muscular pose to emphasize his desire to grow.

“Haven’t seen him,” replied Tug, showing no interest in the interloper.


“OK. Well, do you mind if I wait? I want to get started as soon as possible.”



Jessie continued to watch Tug move the heavy barbell up and down. “Hey, I didn’t get a chance to tell you last night, but you are looking very good these days. How much weight have you lost?”

Tug stopped curling and looked at Jessie with a smile. “Thanks. About thirty pounds.”

“It really shows. Your waist has gotten so tiny.”

Tug set the bar down and flexed his stomach. No abdominal muscles were yet visible, but it was clearly tighter and more toned than the last time Jessie had seen it in the locker room after PE class. “I have been working pretty hard. It’s nice that someone noticed.”

Jessie took a small step forward so that he was only about 18 inches away from Tug. “Are you kidding? Kitty definitely noticed, too. She said you looked just like your older brother.”


“Yeah, and check out your arms,” said Jessie as he interlocked his fingers around Tug’s left bicep. “You’re probably bigger than most guys who’ve been working out for years.”

Tug flexed his arm and watched as his growing muscle force Jessie’s fingers apart. “I have been getting pretty massive. And strong.”

Jessie’s face showed more than just a little elation, and he began rubbing the powerful muscles under his fingers. “Dang, it’s rock solid, Tug. You’re turning into a real hunk. Maybe I should have asked you for workout tips?”

“I could teach you a few things. Try out my pecs,” suggested Tug.

Jessie took his hands off of the bicep and placed them on Tug’s chest. “Nice and firm. No more saggy boobs for you.”

“Exactly. I'm getting to be big and hard all over. Someday they’ll be even bigger than Ben’s, and you’ll wish you looked like me instead.”

“That would be so cool,” said Jessie, as he stepped a little closer to Tug and continued to rub around his nipples. “I bet you could be Mr. America someday.”

“I bet I could, too,” replied Tug with a dreamy far-off look. “Think of how big I will be after a few years of lifting – I’ll dwarf everyone else on the stage. I bet I could be the biggest Mr. America of all time.”

“Yeah, everyone would love you.”


“Oh, definitely.” Jessie slid his hands off of Tug’s chest and let them wander down to Tug’s obliques. “Some girls may say they don’t like big muscles, but I think deep down everyone thinks men look better with a huge set of arms and a hard chest and a ripped stomach. Bodybuilders get all kind of attention from all kinds of people.”

Tug smiled, thinking what the future held for him.

Big muscles, lots of money, living in the limelight, millions of fans… but there's still something missing…

“Everybody is fascinated with bodybuilders,” cooed Jessie. “I mean, some people will do anything for them.”

Neither teen said anything for about thirty seconds. Jessie continued to look at the object of his admiration, and noting the smile on his face and the dreamy look, took it as a cue he should continue checking out if Tug was indeed big and hard all over. He moved his hands inward until he reached the button on Tug’s shorts and gently began to undo them.


A noise came from across the room. The sound was soft, but in the dead silence, it felt louder than it had actually been. Both Tug and Jessie turned their heads to see what it was.

They waited about 15 seconds, and when it didn’t recur, they turned their heads back toward one another. “Now where were we?” asked Tug.


The noise was a little louder this time. Tug pulled away from Jessie to investigate, just as Jessie had gotten his shorts undone. “I’m sure it’s nothing, Tug. Let’s just keep having fun.”

Tug didn’t respond. He scanned the wall to see if he could discover the source of the sound. Jessie, now standing behind him, slid his hands into the back of Tug's unbuttoned shorts and began to feel his butt muscles. They were hard like his biceps, and Jessie instantly craved more. He began rubbing them more vigorously, hoping that it would bring Tug's attention back to him.

About ten seconds later, the sound was louder than ever.



Tug awoke with a start, as he usually did after these episodes. He was pretty sure he had had another wet dream, but when he checked his boxers, they were still dry. He looked over at is clock and saw that it was 1:04am.

So why did I wake up? Was my dream just too exciting?


The noise from his dream occurred again, but this time it was actually coming from somewhere across the room. He sat up and looked at the far wall, but in the darkness it was hard to tell if anything was out of place.

Tug continued to stare for another few seconds, but then thinking that he had still been dreaming, lay his head back down on his pillow.

Twenty seconds later, Tug was almost back to sleep when the noise came again.


It came from the window!

Tug pushed up his covers and climbed up out of bed. He stealthily walked across the floor, inching his way to the window, unsure of what he would find. He arrived just in time to see a small pebble fly up and hit the glass.


He looked out the window onto the lawn below – it was dark, but he could still see because of the light from the moon. Standing next to the open gate to their backyard was Ben, looking back up at him. We he saw Tug’s face, he smiled and dropped the rest of the pebbles in his hand.

Tug opened his window and craned his head outside. “Ben, what are you doing here?” he said in a voice louder than a whisper, but lower than his normal speaking level.

“Are you OK?” Ben asked, in the same voice that Tug had just used.


“Can you come down?”


Ben smirked. “No, in twenty minutes. Of course now, silly.”

Tug nodded and pulled his head back inside. He didn’t bother to put on the shirt or pants they he had thrown on the floor, but rather left his room just wearing his boxer shorts and socks. He gently tiptoed down the hallway and staircase, and then made his way through the dark hallway and kitchen. Ten seconds later he was out the door and standing on the back porch next to Ben, who was dressed in the same outfit he had worn to the movies.

“What happened to you tonight, Tug? Why didn’t you come to the house?”

“I didn’t think you guys would miss me.”

“Well, it took me a while to figure out you weren’t there, but yeah, I did miss you. Allie followed me inside, but everyone else stayed out of the lawn. I just assumed you were with them.”

Tug rolled his eyes at Allie’s name. “Did you and Miss ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ have fun?”

Ben laughed. “Well, other than all the kissing and the sex, it was pretty uneventful.”

Tug lowered his head.

Why do I care so much?

Ben noted Tug’s reaction and quickly put his hands on his friend’s shoulders. “Tug, Tug, I was kidding!”

Tug lifted his head back up and looked at Ben, who continued with his story. “Allie spent the whole night telling me how pretty everyone thought she was, and I was so-o-o-o bored. I finally went outside and found Jessie and Kitty arguing because Pat had taken her car and hadn’t come back. When I realized you weren’t there, and the nobody had seen you since the ferry parking lot, I sent them all away and came right over here to make sure you were okay.”

Tug finally smiled. “You were worried?”

“Of course I was worried!” exclaimed Ben, this time in a slightly louder voice. “You said you were coming and didn’t show up. I had no idea what happened.”

“I’m sorry about that, Ben. I just didn’t think I was connecting well with the group. You’ve probably figured out that Kitty wasn’t really a close friend of mine.”

“I figured. Is she the one who had planned to marry me by Labor Day?”

Tug’s smile grew a little. “Yeah, she’s the one.”

“Look, Tug, you should have said something when we first met up with them. You don’t need to hide your feelings around me. You can always tell me anything you want – and I promise to do the same around you. OK?”

“Fair enough,” responded Tug. “I do have two things I’d like to know.”

Ben straightened up a little. “Ask me anything.”

“Well, first, why did you invite Jessie and Pat to work out with us? I mean, I thought it was our…I mean…you know…”

Ben interrupted before Tug could continue. “You must not have heard everything I said. I told them I would be glad to work out with them only when you were gone on your camping trip with Jay and Jim. Other than that week, I didn’t have time to take on new workout partners.”

“Oh, OK.”

“What was the second thing you wanted to ask?”

Tug hesitated for a second. “Well, what was the deal with you and Allie? I mean, back at the theatre, when she was paying all that attention to you, were you interested in her?”

Ben thought about his answer for about ten seconds before responding. “Tug, I’m not at all interested in having a summer fling – not with Allie, not with anyone – because I’m looking for that one special person who will be with me until the day I die. Yes, people pay attention to me because of how I look, and yes, I do like being in the limelight from time to time. But when it comes to who I date, I’m only interested in someone who pays attention because they really truly know me and love me. ”

Tug was slightly taken aback by Ben’s answer, and all he could get out was, “Really?”

“Really, Tug.” Ben took his hands off Tug’s shoulder and gently chucked his friend on the chin with his left fist.

Tug playfully swung his head to the side after the Ben’s easygoing gesture, and then brought it forward again. “Thanks. And thanks for coming over and checking on me. I’m sorry if I had you worried.”

“I’m just glad you’re OK. Let’s plan to go to see the movie again some other time, just you and me. Or maybe we can wait for your real friends, Jay and Jim, to come back from vacation and we can all go together.”

“I’d like that. And I think they’d like that, too.”

“OK. See you in the morning for our workout?” Ben flexed his biceps as he said the word ‘workout.’

“I’ll be there.”

“Great,” replied Ben as he started to descend the porch steps. Before leaving, he turned to face Tug again. “And by the way, you really did look nice tonight. Those clothes not only fit you well, but also were pretty darn stylish.”

He noticed! He noticed!

The full wattage of Tug’s smile appeared. “I was trying my best to look good.”

“Well, I think you looked great. And I liked your cologne, too. What was it?”

He noticed! He noticed!

Tug tried to calm down before speaking. “It was Brut!" he blurted out. I can’t believe you noticed.”

Ben walked back up the final step so he was on par with Tug. “Of course I noticed. I’ve spent almost every hour with you for the last month – you don’t think I’d notice the first time you were wearing cologne around me.”

“I’m just surprised, that’s all.”

“Tug, I hate to break it to you, but you are an endlessly fascinating person to me, and I notice all kinds of things about you. Like how you won't eat tomatoes but love ketchup, and how you like to sing along to the radio but you hate it when others do it. I know you always eat all of your side items first before eating your main course, I know that it really bothers you when people chew gum with their mouths open, and I know that you love to laugh really loud. So loud that it fills up a room.”

Tug didn’t know how to respond. He just kept his gaze focused on Ben.

“Goodnight, Tug. I’ll see you in the morning. Be ready to lift heavy and hard.” Ben turned and descended the steps again, and then left through the gate, which he closed on his way out.

About twenty seconds later, Tug whispered, “Goodnight, Ben,” and then turned to go back into his house.

Last edited by Padraig; August 9th, 2009 at 07:45 PM.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 11:33 AM
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A little Rush for you readers - here's the song that inspired this chapter. If any rock & roll fans are unaware of their awesome 1981 album, Moving Pictures, I highly recommend it.

I also borrowed the title to one of their most famous songs, Tom Sawyer, for the name of the Assistant Manager at JCPenney's a few chapters back. He was first mentioned in Part 6 ("Sausalito Summernight") and then him brought back, along with selected lyrics from the song, for the dream sequence in Part 8 ("All I Have To Do Is Dream"). Enjoy!

Last edited by Padraig; July 22nd, 2009 at 02:37 PM.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 04:10 PM
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Just a quick FYI - I'll be posting one more chapter before I have to leave town for a week, and I won't have any computer access while I'm away. So Part 19 will be up later tonight or early tomorrow, and then Part 20 will be posted next Thursday or Friday.

But I think Part 19 will keep you happy until 20 arrives. I hope... :-)

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Old July 22nd, 2009, 09:00 PM
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It makes my day when I see another chapter posted. This was one of THE best chapters.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 09:22 PM
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Thanks, TK! I was so grumpy this weekend because of work - not because of what I had to do, but just the fact that it delayed me in posting this chapter for three days. I didn't want any of the readers thinking I purposely wrote a sad part and then left it lingering for a week...

Next chapter will be up most likely tomorrow, but maybe tonight if I can find the time.

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Old July 23rd, 2009, 08:56 AM
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Just checking the system right now. I can't seem to start a new thread, which is preventing me from posting the latest chapter, so I thought I would see if I can post a reply. Hopefully the issue will be resolved soon so I can put up the next part before I leave for the week.

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Old July 23rd, 2009, 09:57 AM
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A great chapter, worth the wait. The limelight theme was very well done, with Allie demanding it and Tug thinking he was totally overlooked, and yet he really was the apple of Ben's eye that night. Sweet as cherry pie.
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 02:31 PM
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Thanks, Michael. I'm glad I started this process early (began writing last January, though I had been thinking about it for years), because it gave me plenty of time to plan out the storyline and integrate all the different songs I wanted to use.

I'm really glad you are enjoying it!

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