One morning in the bathroom after my shower, I stood looking at my skinny body. I seemed to be growing taller without filling out. God, I wish I had a body like Mark's! I thought, and wondered whether maybe, if I kept working and swimming all summer, I'd fill out a little. I did have a nice tan though, I thought, patting myself on the back.
After swimming, Mark and I usually talked about reading. He was getting interested in Jules Verne, while I was continuing with the Tolkien books. I told him what I was enjoying about them and that I was even beginning to dream about them.
He looked at me, astonished. "I did the same thing. They're the only books where the descriptions and action are so vivid that I dreamt about them. Are you in the dreams or just watching?"
"Oh yes, I've actually become a Hobbit."
"You're lucky. I never got to that point. I just watched them, like movies in my head. What's it like?"
"Well, sometimes we, I mean the Hobbits, smoke our pipes and joke and laugh. Other times things get downright scary. Last night I was dreaming that we were walking along the edge of a cliff, and I looked down and started to fall. That's when I woke up in a sweat so bad I had to change my pajamas and put a towel on the bed the way I used to when I peed in bed. In the morning, Tim asked me straight out if I had wet the bed and Joey laughed. I was embarrassed, and they wouldn't believe me when I told them what actually happened, until Joey smelled my PJs and said they didn't smell of pee."
"Ah yes, the old smell test. But I wonder what would happen if you actually died in a dream. What would it be like? Would you remember it when you woke up? I don't think I've ever met a person who did that."
"I haven't either. I sure hope I don't die in a dream. I'm having too much fun."
A few days later Mrs. Russell invited me to go swimming on Friday when I wasn't working and stay for dinner so I could meet Mr. Russell. I accepted gladly and Grandma gave her approval.
On Friday, after we finished swimming and were sitting on the patio snacking, I said, "Can I ask you a question? You don't have to answer unless you want to."
"Are Peter and Christian gay?"
He chortled a little. "Did you just figure that out?"
"No," I replied defensively. "I've actually thought it from the first time I met them. I've wondered because, before I ever came over here, Peter said that you were 'a lovely boy,' which I thought was a little odd."
He laughed. "That was a little odd, wasn't it? Yes, they are most certainly gay."
"Have they ever tried to do anything with or to you?"
"Definitely not, even though they know that I'm gay."
"Wait a minute. Let me finish this thought first. They've told me how they met and how they became lovers when they were about our age. None of the parents approved, and the boys had a difficult time convincing them that their love was real and permanent. Eventually their parents gave their consent and, when they were eighteen, they had a commitment ceremony and have been together ever since. When it became legal in Massachusetts, they married. Unfortunately, it was long after their parents and most of their friends had died, but it still meant a lot to them.
"Richard," he continued, "they are not interested in boys. We're probably safer with them than we would be with a lot of women."
"OK. So, are you really gay?"
"Yes. I've known ever since I was quite young, although I didn't have words to describe it until I was about eleven. My parents both know and they're fine with it. Mostly, they just want me to be happy and to be careful so I don't get hurt, either emotionally or physically."
I looked at Mark with awe. I couldn't believe my good fortune. "Mark, I've never said this to anybody before. I'm gay and I'm scared. The kids in my school are pretty homophobic and they tease and sometimes beat on kids they think are gay."
"Richard, you're always safe with me and you will be with my parents too when you want to tell them. Most of the kids at my school are pretty accepting and the few that aren't have to be careful because of all the ones that are."
We just looked at each other for a long time, each of us, I'm sure, thinking about the possibilities. Finally, Mark said, "C'mon, we should get a shower before dinner."
This was the first time I had been inside his house, and, if I hadn't been so busy thinking about what I had just learned, I would have looked at it more closely. I do remember that my first impression was of large, uncluttered rooms, fine furniture, and deep, soft carpets. We went up the stairs to Mark's bedroom, which must have been almost as big as our whole apartment. It even had its own bathroom, so Mark didn't have to share like I did.
"Why don't you shower first?" he suggested.
It was then that I realized I had worn my bathing suit to his house under my shorts and I didn't have any underwear. When I told him, he laughed and loaned me a pair. I took a wonderful, warm shower, and, thinking about him, sprung a huge boner. I turned on the cold water to try to get rid of it, but even that didn't work. I dried off and pulled on the underpants, which were a little big but would do. Nevertheless, my dick poked out in front of me like a bowsprit. I held my towel in front of me, and went into the bedroom.
Mark was waiting on his bed in just his underwear, and clearly, he had a huge boner too. He looked at me and I looked at him, and then we both burst into gales of laughter.
Mark said, giggling still, "Why don't we go in the bathroom together, jerk off, and see who can shoot the farthest?"
That was a new idea to me, and I thought it wonderful. We both took off our underwear and went into the bathroom where first we looked at each other's equipment. Mark was a little more developed than I, but, along with the height I had begun to put on, my dick had begun to put on length, so we were fairly equal. Then, without saying anything, we stood side by side at one end of the bathroom and pumped eagerly. It certainly didn't take long! We both came at the same time, two streams of cum shooting out across the bathroom and splattering on the floor within an inch of each other.
We looked at each other and smiled. This was the first time that I really saw what I came to think of as Mark's 'sly smile', with which he showed that he was sharing a big, fun secret with me. Grabbing toilet paper we cleaned ourselves and the floor.
Mark asked, "Do you know what the British call jerking off?"
"No. Is this another joke?"
Smiling, he replied, "No. They call it wanking."
"I like the sound of that. How did you find out?"
"From the internet. "
After that, Mark took his shower while I dressed. While I was waiting for him, I saw a gold medal on a red, white, and blue ribbon hung from the light on his desk. I picked it up to look at it. It was inscribed on one side, "Mark Stanley Russell, State Champion," and on the other side it said, "First Place Under 16 100 Meter Freestyle."
I heard the door open and, without turning around, I said, "This is terrific Mark. When did you win this?"
"At the state meet in early June. I think it's probably my most prized possession."
I turned around and there was Mark standing behind me, buck naked. Even so, I gave him a hug, our first, and told him I thought it was fabulous. Then I realized I was feeling some action in my groin again, but we knew we had to prepare for dinner. "Next time," he suggested, as he hugged me back with his sly smile in full operation, "let's wank each other and see what it's like."
"OK!" I happily agreed, and we finished dressing and went down to dinner.
In the dining room, Mark introduced me to his father whose huge hand engulfed mine as he said in a hearty voice, "I've been hearing so much about you, Richard. I'm glad to finally meet you."
"Don't believe everything you hear, Dad," Mark said, and we laughed as we sat down.
The Russells had a formal dining room with a large table and highly polished, cushioned, comfortable chairs. On the table there was real silverware. There were real crystal glasses and chinaware, too. There was a linen table cloth with fresh linen napkins. I was so used to the plastic and paper we used at home that I hardly dared touch any of it.
Dinner went very well. The food was delicious and everybody seemed to want me to feel at ease, so I soon did, but still felt a little shy sharing some things with them, like my family and where I lived. They didn't seem to notice and carried on the conversation which ranged from books, of course—they were all avid readers—to work and school and swimming and heaven knows what else.
After dessert we were sitting at the table, still talking, when the door bell rang. Mark went to answer it and came back with Grandma. I hadn't realized how much time had gone by.
"Why is it," I asked everybody, "that when you're having a good time, the hours seem to fly by, but when you're not having a good time, the clock never seems to move?"
They all agreed that was so. Later in our relationship, I was to return to that idea. For the moment I thanked them again and again, and went home, as my Grandma would say, "a very happy camper."