Castle Roland

The Least Of These

by Josh


Chapter 13b

Posted: N/A

Author's Introductory Notes:

As usual, I retain all rights, but am more than glad for anyone wishing to offer this story to others at no charge to do so with my gratitude and permission. Josh.

CHAPTER 13b -- Out cont.

It took me a second to remember where I was – on the couch, on the front porch, spooned to Davey under a blanket. I kissed behind his ear and shook his shoulder. "Better wake up, Davey; sun's up."

He moaned and wiggled his butt back against me. I hugged him and blew a light raspberry behind his ear. "Don't," he fussed.

"Mom will skin us alive if she finds you here," I said.

He groaned and rolled over, wrapping his arms around me and burying his face against my neck. I gently stroked his bare back and kissed the side of his head. He let me stroke his back for a while, before finally stirring.

I watched him blink his blue eyes awake and kissed him once they were open. "Thanks for keeping me company," I said.

He grinned and kissed me back, pressing his morning wood into my crotch.

"Dammit, Davey," I complained. "We broke our promise last night. Let's get back on it today. Besides, we don't have time. Mom would catch us for sure. And how would she feel, seeing her poor little boy getting fucked on the front porch by the sexy neighborhood stud.

Davey laughed and gave my butt a squeeze before sitting up. I covered up with the blanket when he walked off the side of the porch and took a piss in the bushes. He gave me a parting kiss before he left, and I dozed off.

It wasn't long before I heard Mom stirring. I sat up on the couch and waited until she saw me through the front windows. I heard the click when she unlocked the door.

Retrieving the Sunday paper from the front lawn, I took it inside as a peace offering. In the end, I just left it on the kitchen table because she kept her back to me the whole time she was working at the stove. By the time I'd showered and dressed, Mom was on the front porch with a cup of coffee and the paper. In the kitchen, she'd left me cold eggs and bacon.

Davey called before I was finished cleaning up from breakfast to let me know that Chase and Hunter had arrived at his house.

As I left the porch, I reminded Mom I would be at Davey's for landscaping. She nodded, but didn't say a word. She didn't even turn around to look at me.

Ed had helped Davey and me set up our own checking accounts, and he funded them each with five hundred dollars. I think Davey would have blown all his money at the nursery if I hadn't insisted on paying for anything we bought for my house. As it was, we hit both accounts pretty hard.

By the afternoon, we'd all worked up a pretty good sweat and stripped to just our shorts and shoes. I couldn't help but admire both Chase and Hunter. Hunter had hit a growth spurt and was developing a fine body. He had a long, lean torso and small hips, over which his shorts hung low. His slender legs were hairless and his brown hair shone with golden highlights from the summer sun. Hunter's face was thinner than Chase's, and he was already better looking, with delicate features and long eyelashes. I caught myself staring at him, remembered where I was, and quickly went back to work. Damn, I thought, watching him from the corner of my eye as he laughed at something Davey said. _He might actually turn out to be a knock out. _

But for some reason, the further Hunter got into puberty, the shyer he seemed to become. I had trouble getting him to talk sometimes, but I never really pushed. After all, Hunter was Davey's friend, not one that Davey had inherited from me or from our mutual friendship, and it seemed important to leave it that way.

Nevertheless, when we all ended up working on the same stone path at the side of Davey's house, I tried to strike up a conversation with Hunter.

"So, ah… any girlfriends yet, Hunter?" I asked, looking up at his long, sweat-covered torso.

He shrugged and looked away.

Chase leaned down to me. "A girl in his class lives down the street from us… Letty Valadez," he said in a stage whisper. "I think she's kinda sweet on him." He grinned and picked up his shovel. "I think she's been givin' him kissing lessons."

"Fuck off, Chase," Hunter grumbled, then stood up and walked away. "I'm goin' for more stones."

I watched him trudge back to the Suburban. "He doesn't talk much these days, does he?" I asked, watching Hunter's back.

Chase shook his head. "Usually he does. But he always seems kinda shy around you for some reason," he observed. "I think he sorta looks up to you."

"Really?" I asked, surprised. "You could've fooled me."

Later, when Hunter and Davey worked alone together, Hunter was his old self again. From their smiles and chatter, their friendship was obvious. I was grateful for Hunter; it was clear he liked Davey of his own accord.

Chase joined me at preparing a small ornamental bed in front of the porch, and spent the whole time complaining to me about how Janie was becoming a total bitch. "She just gets mad all the time for no reason," he said, shaking his head. "She's like, on the rag, every day! I've had it, Bent. If you want a new girlfriend, you're welcome to her."

"Have you guys broken up?" I asked as I worked in a bag of humus.

He shrugged. "We're about to. And we both know it, too."

I wiped a trickle of sweat off my forehead. "I'm sorry, man," I said. "I know you really liked her."

Chase looked up from his shovel. "You know, I really did. But I sure the fuck don't any more. And when the feelings are gone, they're gone. Once school starts, I'm findin' somebody else. Anybody else."

Maggie walked out onto the porch with glasses of sweetened ice tea. We all dropped our shovels and headed for the drinks. Chase and Hunter went up first, and I enjoyed watching their shorts covered butts as they ascended the steps. Then I caught Davey watching me out of the corner of my eye.

I smiled apologetically and shrugged. His look was hard to read. Uh-oh, I thought. Better watch my eyes around our friends. Davey wasn't smiling.

By the end of the day, we'd done a pretty good job with the landscaping, even though we didn't get around to doing any work at my house. We finished up by placing all the plants we'd bought into Davey's garden beds. I felt pretty good that night, even if Mom was still giving me the silent treatment.

Grandpa Bentolli called about nine o'clock. I braced myself for the worst, and he didn't waste any time getting to the point.

"I talked to your mom earlier today, Michael."


"Yes, and she told me about you and Davey."

I didn't say anything.

"Michael," he said patiently, "I'm not going to preach at you. I just want you to think, OK?"

"I have been thinking, Grandpa. I never stopped thinking."

"I know, Michael. But now I want you to think ahead. You're a good chess player — you can think several moves ahead. I want you to do that now. I want you to think ahead to the kind of life you'll have if you go down this path."

"I have been thinking ahead, Grandpa. It's not like I have a choice!"

"We always have a choice, Michael," he insisted. "Some of our choices have results that last a long, long time. You know what you have to look forward to as a homosexual? You either live a double, hidden life, or you let your homosexuality be known and you wind up living at the edge of society, almost like an outcast. And at the end of it all, instead of being an old man like me, with children and grandchildren and the respect of my community, you end up a lonely old man, estranged even from God."

"I'm sorry Grandpa, but you're no expert on this. I'm a gay kid who is going to have a child, and that, by the way, makes you a great-grandfather. And there've been plenty of famous people who were gay — tons of people with plenty of respect."

"How many with happy endings, Michael?"

"Hell, I don't know. How many straight people wind up with happy endings? Besides, the world is changing, Grandpa. People are more accepting of gays."

"No, Michael," he said wearily. "I don't think that's true at all. Do your own friends know that you are gay? Will they treat you the same if and when they find out?"

I sighed. "I hope so," I said. "I have good friends, Grandpa. A couple of them know, and it's not a problem. And I'm sorry. I really don't have a choice about who I am. I know you love me, Grandpa, but I'm afraid you can't really help me with this. You have no idea what it's like."

There was a long silence at the other end of the line before Grandpa said anything. "You have no idea, Michael, what I might or might not understand. Just weigh my advice for what it is worth and decide for yourself whether it sounds wise."

I thought. "If you really want to give me some advice, Grandpa, I could sure use some help on how to deal with Mom."

He was silent a moment. I got the impression he didn't want to surrender the argument so quickly. Then I heard him take a deep breath. "Well, you hit her pretty hard, Michael. Finding your son kissing another boy isn't the easiest way to discover these things. You need to… well, give her some time."

"I'm trying, Grandpa," I said. "But things only seem to be getting worse."

"Don't give up so quickly, Michael. I gave her some advice today, too. She's trying to cope."

I was surprised. "What did you tell her?" I asked.

"The same thing you should remember," he said. "I told her that you were her only son, and that she shouldn't do anything to damage that relationship. Someday, you'll need each other. And that's good advice for you, too. Don't do anything you'll regret later."

"I'll try, Grandpa."

When I hung up, I was relieved. He seemed to take it all better than Mom had.

Ruth Jamison was true to her word. Ed called on Tuesday to say that she had a couple of interested venture capitalists lined up.

That afternoon, Dr. Meyers, Davey, and I trooped down to see Ed at his office. He closed the door and sat down opposite us at his desk.

"It's time to fish or cut bait, gentlemen," he said, leaning forward. "This gal the boys met in California is very, very serious." He looked at me. "I don't know what you guys said to her, but she thinks you're about to lead the next computer revolution."

Dr. Meyers nodded. "I've talked to Ruth, too. She could be a godsend, gentlemen. If we want to act on the boys' ideas, time is of the essence. Venture capital would allow us to hire programmers, support staff, maybe even marketing personnel."

Ed nodded. "She's almost talking as if we have a blank checkbook. But unfortunately, she's dropping some hints that the money would be more forthcoming if she was the one running the company. I get the strong impression she'd like to be your company CEO, Michael." Ed looked at me, waiting for my reaction.

"I had someone else in mind for that," I said. "You, Ed."

An ironic smile danced across his mouth. "You know," he said. "I've even thought about it." He grinned at us and spread his hands. "I have an awfully good job right now. But… on the other hand, I like our little Carlson-Bentolli family. And I like the potential." He looked me in the eye. "Stock ownership potential. And Harold here ought to consider the possibilities, too."

"Oh, I have," he said, laughing. "Since the beginning."

Ed nodded. "First things first: we need to develop a business plan — pro forma, timetable, etc. And Ruth can help with some of that. Her background's financial, another CPA. And she knows the industry. If I don't come on board with you guys, you need to consider her," he said, seriously.

"No, I don't want her running the company," I said. "She's smart, and I'm sure she's good. But she strikes me as a lieutenant, not a general."

Ed grinned and shook his head. "You and Chase and your war games. But I think you're right."

He looked from me, to Dr. Meyers, to Davey, then back to Dr. Meyers. "It depends on how much guts we have. But I think if we want to be serious about this, we have to go all out." He turned to Davey and me. "That means you boys have to get these ideas all finalized and working, ASAP." Then he turned to Dr. Meyers, "And we need to be serious, too."

Dr. Meyers nodded.

Ed rubbed his chin. "You know, I have been thinking about it, Michael. And what I thought was that I'd like to be your Chief Executive Officer, and I think Harold here ought to be your Chief Technical Officer, in charge of development. We can still consider Ruth Jamison at some point. I'd recommend we let her handle the financial side, as the CFO. But we need to see what kind of noncompetitive agreements she may have signed with NBase."

"What… what about us?" asked Davey.

"Not to worry, guys," Ed said reassuringly. "Until you're twenty-one, it will be best to have your moms or a trustee on the board of directors. But at least until we decide whether or not to go public, you will retain majority ownership of the stock – you're the owners. You'll still call the shots. How about this, you two will split the office of president — Michael over operations, and David over R&D."

"President…" Davey said, and looked at me with a bemused expression.

Dr. Meyers leaned back in his chair and scratched his head. "Can they afford all of us?" he asked.

"Depends," Ed said, "on how long it takes to generate income. If we can begin getting contracts within the year, then yes — there'll be plenty of venture capital for that. We might need to tighten our belt on our own salaries, but that could be compensated for with some stock options and other incentives." He looked at me. "What do you think?"

"If we have people who can help with programming," I said, "we can have a great database product in a few months. But what we can have even quicker is encryption software. We can license the encryption software to anyone writing programs."

"I've been thinking about that," Dr. Meyers said, nodding. "The government and military will be interested in good encryption software. I've been making contacts; one with the NSA. They want to know more."

"Good!" Ed said, decisively. "It sounds like we all know what we need to do. Harold, you can work on your contacts and help the boys get their software ready for a team of programmers. I'll put together a business plan for Ruth to look at. And Michael, Davey, I have a lawyer I want you to talk to. He's well respected in contract law and can handle your end of any negotiations with Ed, Ruth, or myself."

Ed's brow furrowed. "It's not easy to think about leaving a good job. Michael," he asked. "Are you sure you guys are really going to have something we can sell?"

I shrugged, returning his gaze. "You and Dr. Meyers know a lot more about this sort of thing than I do. But the database schemas and the encryption protocols we're developing are as good as anything I've seen, and I've been checking around. So has Dr. Meyers."

Dr. Meyers nodded. "The boys are genuinely gifted at design, Ed. Some of their work looks elegantly simple, but that's part of the genius. They have an incredible ability to design for speed, and I think that's what is going to blow the socks off everybody."

"I just hope we can impress Ruth and her investors when they come by," Ed said. He looked at Davey and me. "Are you boys prepared to dazzle her?"

"Demos," Davey said, nodding wisely. "We can do… some demos."

We all stared at him, slightly surprised. He was absolutely right, of course. "Yeah," I said agreeing. "But only if they sign nondisclosure agreements first. We'll show them the surface ideas…"

"… but not the underlying mechanisms," finished Dr. Meyers. "I'll work with you two over the next month and get some mock-ups to demonstrate the two primary technologies. We'll put on a show that will blow their minds."

I nodded. "Just not enough that they can figure out how to reverse-engineer it."

Ed chuckled. "Excellent, Mr. Co-President." He smiled at Davey. "You too, Mr. Co-President."

I laughed. "Well you can handle running things, Mr. CEO," I said. "Just leave Davey and me to work in the backroom churning out designs."

"Deal," he said, standing up. And with smiles and congratulations, we shook hands all around.

"Hey, Old Man," Davey whispered, putting an arm over my shoulder as we left. "Let's go find a back room… and churn… like you said."

"Cool it," I said, elbowing his ribs. "We got a lot of work to do."

The last two weeks before school started, we worked hard. I let Davey stay home a few times, but often dragged him in to the office to help me work out some last minute design issues. In my heart, I had absolutely no doubt that we'd come up with two excellent products. Our progress was good, and Carlson-Bentolli prepared to file for over two dozen patents.

Mom began to loosen up a bit, maybe because it became obvious that Davey and I were working so hard that we weren't getting much chance to be intimate. Whenever I thought about it, I got horny and was a little put out with Davey for not acting hornier himself. But then I figured he was jerking off at night as much as I was.

I worked late on the last Friday before school and slept in the next morning. I'd told Davey I'd be at the University working all day that Saturday, but now I didn't feel like it. I'd made good progress the night before. And besides, I woke up damned horny. I thought about jacking off again, but the more I thought about it, the more I decided that Davey and I had given Mom and Maggie long enough. We had promised to hold off on sex for up to a couple of weeks, and it would be three solid weeks on Sunday.

I figured that Davey had probably slept in, so I decided I'd walk over and see if I could surprise him. If I was lucky, Maggie wouldn't be home and I'd be able to sneak into Davey's bed to wake him 'properly'.

When I didn't see her car in the drive, my pulse quickened. I quietly let myself in the front door with my key, and tiptoed back towards Davey's room. But, before I could put my hand on the doorknob, I could faintly hear his bed springs squeaking. I smiled to myself. Davey must be jacking off morning wood! Perfect.

I put my hand quietly on the doorknob. It was locked. But it was the kind of lock you could turn with a coin. I fished a dime out of my pocket and turned the knob, opening the door.

On the bed, Hunter was naked on all fours, moaning softly. Davey was on his knees behind him, hands on Hunter's hips pumping away. They froze in mid-stroke and we stared at each other.

I backed out quietly and closed the door, my heart racing. I walked out of Davey's house and back towards mine in a daze. My hands started shaking and it became hard to breathe. Dammit! I will not be weak! I might want to die, but I was not going to be weak!

At my house, I quickly changed into running clothes. I needed to run. I needed to breathe. I needed to think.

I stumbled more than ran for several blocks. It was hard to see because my eyes were full of tears. Not that I paid that much attention to where I was headed. Cars honked at me when I crossed Hildebrand. Somebody yelled out, and I heard a screech of brakes to my right. I picked up the pace and kept going.

There was a war going on in my mind as I fought to come to terms with what I had seen. Everything seemed unreal. It all seemed like some kind of strange dream. It was almost as if I was outside my own body, watching myself running along the road.

Thoughts raced through my mind. Davey needed breathing room… It's not that big a deal… Sooner or later, this was bound to happen, right?... I mean, we're sixteen, it's not like we're married for life.

My eyes were so filled with tears that I could barely see. _Why the hell does it hurt so damn much? _

I stopped in an alley, leaned against a fence, and cried. After a long while, I was able to choke back my sobs and catch my breath. And then I became angry.

When two kids on bikes entered the alley from the other end of the block, I wiped my eyes and returned to the road. The August sun had risen high and I could feel the heat off the pavement as I resumed my run. When I entered Alamo Heights, the shade of the tall trees was a relief. I ran lightly, ignoring a friendly German Shepherd that came out to run alongside. With each step, my resolve increased — I would be strong. I would toughen up.

I came out of the trees at the edge of the bluff and stood there, looking down on the quarry below for a long time while catching my breath. When I stepped back from the edge, it was with the determination to stay in charge of my life.

Following the bluff, I came to where a tree grew close to the edge and sat under it; then wrapping my arms around my knees, I tried to decide what parts of my future still made sense.

In the east, a lone thundercloud rose like a mountain above the south Texas plain and I watched it grow slowly higher. I felt a cooler, comforting breeze come from its direction. And with it, came a thought — I decided that no matter what, I knew that Davey loved me. He couldn't have been faking that. I knew him too well. He loved me, and I would hang on to that thought.

I had just about decided to head back when I heard footsteps behind me, and glanced over my shoulder to see Davey approaching. I turned away from him and looked back out over the quarry.

He sat down a couple of feet away.

I picked up a stone and threw it over the edge of the bluff. "How'd you know I'd be here?" I asked.

He shrugged. "You didn't have… the car. I've been looking… everywhere we run."

"Did you run up here?"

"No. I drove."

I tossed another rock. "I guess I've been really stupid, huh?"

Davey remained quiet.

"Your sleepovers with Hunter," I said. "All those times you disappeared with him on Sunday afternoons. The way he doesn't look me in the eye anymore. The way you aren't always interested in sex."

"It's not like that," Davey said quietly.

"How long has it been going on? Since Colorado?"


"How long then?" I demanded.

"Since when I was… going with… Geoff."

That caught me by surprise. "Geez."

"But only… sometimes."

"When he slept over?"

He picked up a stick and drew on the ground between his legs. "Or when," he said quietly, "you had guitar lessons."

"And Sunday afternoons at their house?"

"Only… once. In the shed. But, Mickey — we hardly ever… since you and me… since we've been… back together."

I snorted. "Doesn't sound like 'hardly ever' to me. And you certainly haven't stopped."

"It was hard… to stop. And… you've been busy… and summer's almost… over." He threw his stick hard toward the edge of the bluff. "Mickey," he said, irritated. "It's just Hunter. All we do is just mess around."

"Yeah, some messing around!" I snapped, turning on him. "You were fucking the shit out of him!"

"It was just messing around," Davey repeated quietly.

My throat tightened, and it took me a moment before I could speak. I looked away from him and tossed another rock over the side. "You know what, Davey?" I said. "I've read that excuse before in novels. That's what a lover says when he's been caught cheating — 'it's just sex'. You want to know something? That's bullshit! Pure bullshit. You're supposed to belong to me, just like I'm supposed to belong to you!"

He didn't say anything.

"Look, Davey," I said, pausing while I tried to think how I could explain to Davey what I wasn't even sure I could put into words for myself.

I took a breath and tried. "When it was just you and me, Davey, it was never just 'sex'. Back when it was only you and me, 'sex' was the most exciting thing I'd ever done. Your body was the most exciting thing I'd ever touched. And you… you touched me in places and ways no one had ever touched me. Our 'private' parts were private – just between us. And when we pressed our 'private' parts together… those first few times, Davey, it was so incredible, I could barely breathe. It was never just 'sex' – I loved you."

He picked up another twig. "I know," he said. "But, Mickey… don't worry! It's not like that with… Hunter. It can't ever be like that… with anyone else."

I looked at him sadly. "But if we keep messing around, what's between us won't be special any more." I turned away with a sigh. "I know you and Geoff did other guys. You told me. But I'm different, Davey. I want us to be different."

"We are," Davey said. "I love… you." He reached out his hand to my shoulder. "Nobody else."

I shrugged him off and stood up to pace in front of him, there, at the edge of the cliff. "Then why didn't you tell me about Hunter?"

It was several seconds before he cleared his throat and answered. "Because," he said, "it was never… the right time. You were mad… about Geoff. I was afraid you'd be mad about… Hunter."

"But we've gotten past Geoff. Why haven't you told me since then?"

He shrugged. "It was too late."

"It would have been better if you had told me, Davey, than for me to find out this way."

Davey kept his head down. "If you want," he said softly, "I won't see… Hunter… anymore."

I stopped pacing and looked out over the quarry. In my mind, I repeated to myself: I will not be weak. I will not be… needy! And I shook my head. "No," I said. "Hunter's your friend; I won't ask you not to see him."

We were both quiet then, thinking. It was hot, even in the shade. Sweat ran down from my armpits so I pulled off my shirt to wipe myself down.

"I almost lost you once, Davey," I said, "trying too hard to hang on to you. I'm not going to do that again."

Davey's voice came quietly from behind. "It's just… I have a stronger… sex drive than you."

My jaw dropped and I turned on him. "You what?"

He looked down at the ground. "Some guys," he said, "have stronger… sex drives."

"Where'd you get that shit?"

He kept his eyes averted.

Realization set in. "Damn," I said, shaking my head. "Geoff — right? He told you that you had a stronger sex drive than me, right? So that made it alright to screw around."

His silence was answer enough.

"I'm Italian, you asshole!" I snapped. "Trust me — you aren't going to have a stronger sex drive than me." I knelt by Davey and took his hands in mine.

"Davey," I said, squeezing his hands and trying to think once more how to explain how I felt, "I've had opportunities, like with Hudson. One time he and I both wanted to do it, really bad. But I didn't. And afterwards, I felt good, really good — like I had a gift to bring to you, Davey — my faithfulness that day. No one else had held me. No one else had kissed me. And no one else had touched me where only you could touch me. That was just for you. I saved me for you. Davey, my faithfulness, my body, and… my heart were gifts that I wanted to bring to you every day."

I squeezed his hands in mine and he looked up at me. "Davey," I said quietly, "that's what two people do when they really love each other. Like when married people give their vows and say, 'forsaking all others'. It means they leave everyone else for each other."

"Someday," I said very softly and without thinking, "I was hoping we could make a promise like that, to each other."

He looked away. My heart sank, and I let his hands go. I'd gone too far. A tremor ran through my hands and I tucked them under my arms.

Still refusing to look at me, he cleared his throat. "You taught me," he said. "Don't make promises… you can't… keep."

I stood up, and fought the hurt, fought the anger, fought the trembling in my hands. "Can't or won't keep?" I asked turning back toward the bluff.

"Don't be… pushy," he said, with a tremor in his voice.

I sighed. He was right. I didn't want to bully him into anything. "I'm sorry Davey," I said, taking a deep breath. "I won't be pushy."

"But it's ok," he said, "if you're… mad at me."

"Gee, thanks," I chuckled mirthlessly. I looked at the cliff below and suddenly felt something in common with that vast, empty hole. "Are you doing it with anyone else besides Hunter?"

He answered quietly behind me. "No." I heard him get to his feet and come up behind me. Once more he tried to put his hand on my shoulder.

And once more, I shook it off.

"I'm just curious," I asked angrily, "if you were doing all this with Hunter, where the hell did you come off asking me to break things off with Brandon?"

"Brandon was different," Davey protested.

"I'd sure like to know how you figured that one out."

"It was different," he said. "You know… it was different. You were boyfriends… with Brandon… you fell in love… with him."

As true as that was, it didn't excuse Hunter, but I didn't feel like arguing the point. "Well," I sighed, "you don't need to worry about me falling in love with anybody else. I'm getting a lot smarter now, thank you."

Davey tried once more to put an arm over my shoulder. I shied away from him.

"Dammit, Davey," I said. "You've just been screwing Hunter! Stay away from me!" I backed from him. "Look, Davey. I'm sorry," I said, my throat suddenly tight. "I just need time, OK?"

Before he could answer, I turned and sprinted back toward the road.

"Don't you want a ride?" I heard him cry out behind me, but I kept running.

Even though it was downhill, I ran slowly back to my neighborhood, taking a route that I knew he couldn't follow by car. I wanted to run back alone. When I reached my house, I could see Davey further down the street, working in his front yard. I didn't turn in at my house, but continued down to his.

He was on his knees, weeding one of the new beds. I knelt beside him and began to work with him. Davey glanced at me, but I didn't look at him. Since he was shirtless, I pulled my shirt off as well, and let our bare shoulders brush as we worked.

We worked silently until we finished that bed. And I followed Davey on to the next. We worked through all the beds without saying a word to each other. But I smiled at him when we finished, and he thanked me.

I went home and showered up for family dinner. That night, Mom and Maggie were almost back to normal. It was Davey and me who were quiet. Maggie kept studying us as if she knew something was wrong, and after supper, she talked us all into a card game.

I'd never thought of cards as therapy for relationships, but it was that night, for all of our relationships. I partnered with Maggie and Davey partnered with Mom, and the play was cutthroat. Davey sat to my right and when our knees touched, we left them touching.

Mom laughed that night for the first time in a long time. Davey smiled for the first time all day. And I began to feel better as I pushed all the sad thoughts to the back of my mind — thoughts of dreams that might be dying. I simply tried to have fun with my family — our crazy, dysfunctional family.

Afterwards, Davey and I sat together on the front porch steps. We didn't speak, but Davey laid his head on my shoulder and put an arm around me. I let him.

Maggie came out on her way home. She stopped to look at us, and in the pale light emanating from our windows, I could see her sad smile. "Don't stay too late, Davey," she said, bending to kiss his cheek. Then she kissed my forehead.

When she was gone Davey rubbed my back without lifting his head from my shoulder. "I love you… Mickey. You know that, don't you?" In the dark, his voice sounded surprisingly deep.

"Yeah," I answered quietly. "I know." I put my hand on his leg and squeezed. "But I think I've been loving you too hard, Davey. I've been thinking all day — maybe I need to lighten up. I don't want to smother you. I don't want you to feel like I'm a drag on you."

He lifted his head from my shoulders and put both arms around me. "I like being smothered by you," he said slowly, resting his forehead on mine. "I'm sorry, Mickey."

"Sorry enough that you won't keep any more secrets like Hunter?"

"No, I promise, no more secrets."

I rubbed his leg. "Davey, I've always liked Hunter. And I've always been glad he's your friend. But you need to be careful. He's really young."

"About like us, when we… started rubbing."

I felt a stab of pain as I thought about Hunter sharing his own special time of discovery with my lover.

I took my hand from his leg. "Davey, I'll give you 'breathing room' but don't take it too far, OK? And don't ever expect me to like it."

Davey frowned. "He started it," Davey said quietly. "Hunter started it."

"Oh, yeah — sure," I said, rolling my eyes. "Like a kid seduced you."

"But he did start it," Davey said softly, taking his arms from around my shoulders. "He liked what we did… in the hot tub… in Colorado two years ago. Remember? Hunter always wanted to… do it again." He cast his eyes downward. "When I was with… Geoff… Hunter slept over one night. I woke up and he was… playing with… my cock. I was all hard, Mickey… and that was when you were hardly… talking to me… then… and, well… we messed around."

"Calm down, Davey," I said, not wanting to remember that time. I patted his leg. "Just think a second — what if someone wants to start something with me sometime?" I asked.

Davey didn't answer.

"Do you love him?" I asked quietly.

"He's my friend," Davey said and then pulled my thigh against his. "Not like us." His eyes rose to mine. "We can mess with Hunter… together… if you wanna."

"No," I said, irritated and leaned away from him. "He's a kid, Davey. Besides I'd never be able to look Ed in the eye again." I studied his face. "Are you just trying to ease a guilty conscience, by getting me to do Hunter, too?"

"No!" Davey said angrily. "You said it was different… if we did it… together! Besides, Hunter wants to. He wanted the three of us to… for a long… time."

"You're kidding!" I said, with a snort. "He won't even look at me these days. He acts like he's afraid of me."

"Because," Davey said, "you're my boyfriend."

I shook my head. "I wish he'd thought of that before."

Davey stood up. "I'm goin' home."

I stood up, too. "'Night, Davey."

He stared at me for a moment. Then he said "'Bye," and left.

I went inside. Mom was still up. I decided to let her lock up and went on to bed. I was still awake when she shut the house down for the night. There was no way I could sleep.

Getting up quietly from bed, I pulled on some shorts and slid my window open, and then closed it after I'd crawled out. I trotted over to Davey's house and tapped lightly on his window.

Almost instantly, Davey was there and opened it. He knelt down inside so that we were almost at eye level.

"You not sleeping either?" I asked in a whisper.

He shook his head.

"I was thinking, Davey," I whispered. "It just sorta seemed important, you know, that we, well… spend tonight in the same bed."

His whole face lit up, and he moved back from the window. I pulled myself up and in, and then Davey closed the window behind me. I pulled off my shorts and we crawled into bed.

We lay there, on our backs, staring at the ceiling. I found his hand, took it, and listened to our breathing synchronize. Finally, Davey rolled towards me, throwing a leg over my middle and an arm over my chest. His lips came close to my ear.

"Do you still… belong to me?" he whispered, his eyes challenging.

Whatever the implications, I had only one answer. "Yes"

He nodded slowly, and then kissed my mouth lightly… once, twice. And then Davey licked down my neck and kissed my chest. His kisses and his mouth moved down my body, until finally, he buried his face in my scrotum.

I thought about what he was doing in this bed that very morning. The memory of Davey kneeling behind Hunter's slender body hurt, and yet, undeniably excited me — but I didn't want that memory to excite me. A flash of anger arose, and I didn't want to be angry. I ran my hands into Davey's hair as his mouth closed over my cock and I tried not to think at all, but only to feel.

Davey worked on me slowly and lovingly until I came.

Then he slid up beside me. We kissed and I tasted saltiness in his mouth.

"Can you sleep now?" he asked with a smile.

I nodded. "Can you?"

He smiled and nodded back, snuggling up to me. When he threw an arm and a leg over me this time, I felt his hard cock against my hip. When it didn't go soft after a minute or so, I rolled him to his back, and lovingly returned the favor.

I woke up depressed. Normally a night of sleep has the opposite effect. But not this morning — my dreams were sad dreams and my thoughts weighed heavily on my mind. And to top it all off, I woke late.

It had been comfortable sleeping with Davey again, and I slept harder than usual. And before going to sleep, I had forgotten to set all those mental alarm clocks I normally did when I wanted to be home before Mom awoke. Maybe I didn't care as much any more.

Davey's room was full of daylight. His back was to me, and I admired the smooth slope of his side down from his shoulders to his butt. I was struck by the thought that waking to find his back to me was somehow symbolic.

There are few things in everyday life as sad as the death of a dream. My dream had always been that Davey and I would be together, forever. In the past, when the dream was safe, I built a mountain cabin somewhere in my imagination and Davey and I lived there. I built a house at the beach for us, and imagined a high-rise apartment in Chicago. Sometimes, I imagined us in public, and pictured how everyone would envy the love we had for each other.

But, in the harsh reality of sixteen-year-old male sexuality, my dream looked stupidly romantic, and tragically unrealistic. At least for now, Davey wanted to make no promises. If he wouldn't, I wouldn't. I thought of Hudson.

I hadn't struggled with 'the sadness' for a long time, but it was heavy on me that morning. Maybe I would go running; that could help. I climbed from the bed, careful to not wake Davey. After I pulled on my shorts, I stopped to look back at him.

Though still slender, he was slightly broader in the shoulders than me now. He was muscled like the athlete he had become, and in rest had that easy grace of a strong young man. As I looked at his beautiful face, I had to smile. His mouth was wide open on his pillow. There was a wet spot on the pillowcase where he'd drooled. Davey was human after all.

I bent over him and lightly kissed his cheek before I crawled out of his window. Two little boys in underwear were playing at the side of the house next door, and watched me, wide-eyed, as I quietly closed the window and headed for the street. I grinned and whispered, "Good Morning." Their wide eyes made me feel better.

Mom was on the porch when I got home; reading the Sunday paper while drinking coffee. I braced myself and headed for the front door.

"Don't tell me you went running barefoot," she said.

I looked down at my bare feet, and shrugged. "It feels good to run barefoot," I told her and quickly went into the house. None are so blind, I remembered the saying, as those who will not see.

Our ear studs would've been bigger news the first day back at school, if we had been the only ones to have them. But a couple of other guys had gotten them over the summer. Nevertheless, we were the only ones to get them in our left ears. Art, one of our fellow nerds, kidded us about being too stupid to know that we were supposed to get them in our right ears.

Ed had worked with the school to get work-study schedules for Davey and me, so that we would be off by one thirty every afternoon and still get school credit. The only thing that anyone at school knew though, was that we worked for a local software company part time.

That first day, Geoff and I crossed paths several times in the hallway. I did not return his friendly waves or happy smiles.

It wasn't until Wednesday that he caught me walking by myself in the hall. "Hey, Bent," he said, coming up alongside. "Good summer?"

I glanced at him. "Yeah. In fact it was great, Geoff."

Before I could tell him why it was such a great summer, he told me about his, or at least as much of it as he could, as he followed me to my next class. Evidently, he discovered another gay counselor at camp and they became buddies. "We taught a few of those campers how to really enjoy the outdoors," he said, with a wink. "Maybe I'll tell ya about it sometime." And then he was gone.

I found the first note in my locker that Friday. It had been shoved in through a ventilation slit. "Have a good weekend!" was all it said. It wasn't Davey's writing.

Saturday morning, Davey's phone call at ten o'clock, found me still in bed. I'd worked late the night before.

"Mom just left," he said. "For a couple of hours." I had been noticing lately that Davey was speaking more slowly, but without as many pauses in his speech as he used to have. This morning, he really sounded good. The speech therapist was evidently helping. "Come on over," he said. "I want to practice… massaging."

I rubbed my cock through my shorts. It was heavy this morning. And I was tired and sore from staring at computer monitors for the last few days. "I'll be right there."

Mom was at the office. So, after brushing my teeth and eating an apple for breakfast, I locked up and headed for Davey's.

He was naked and pounced on me the moment I closed the door. Taking me into his arms, he kissed me full on the mouth. "Apple," he said, smiling, and then pulled my shirt off.

I leaned back against the door as he sucked each of my nipples in turn and then pulled at my baby chest hairs with his teeth. "Needs more fertilizer," he said with a chuckle.

"You're sure in a mood this morning," I said, laughing. "Fertilizer, huh? Got real horny reading those gardening books?"

He laughed and led me by the hand back to his bed, which was still unmade. As we kissed again, he pulled my shorts down and I kicked my shoes off. "Damn, Davey," I said, breathlessly, "Are you sure you want to do relaxation techniques? I'm not sure we can make it that long."

He laughed and playfully sucked in my bottom lip. Both of our cocks were semi-hard and we pressed them between our bodies.

"Assume the position," he commanded with a grin. I climbed onto the bed and lay on my stomach.

Davey sat down astride me, with his cock lying on my crack and his balls in the hollow at the top of my legs. "Now close your eyes and relax."

Davey took his time and worked down my body carefully. He really did relax me, but before turning me over, he added a new twist. "Keep your eyes closed," he said. "Don't spoil the mood. I want to… try something. Spread your legs."

I did. And Davey crawled up between them.

"No peeking!" he warned.

I nodded.

Without touching me, he blew a stream of air down my crack, and then, down between my legs and onto the back of my scrotum. Then his fingers lightly tickled the insides of my legs and up to my perineum and my balls. It was relaxing alright, but my cock became rock hard.

"Keep your eyes closed and roll over," he told me, and I did. Then I felt his fingers lightly trail up the inside of my legs and over my balls and cock, several times. And then he climbed up on the bed and straddled me. His balls pressed down on mine and he took our two cocks and held them together in his hands, rocking his hips so that his cock rubbed on mine.

It felt really good, but something wasn't right. I opened my eyes to find that it was not Davey, but Hunter sitting on me. Davey smiled at me from over Hunter's shoulder. "Surprise!" he said.

"Damn, Davey!" I said, starting to protest, but then Hunter laid down on me, his chest down on mine, and grabbing my shoulders, he ground his cock against mine.

He looked down at me with a mischievous grin as he swiveled his hips. "Please, Michael," he pleaded enticingly.

Though he had little pubic hair, his cock had become man-sized, almost as big as his older brother's. And his long, slim body and smooth, young skin felt incredible. I placed my hands on his sides and they slid naturally down to his rounded butt. I gasped as Davey reached down and rubbed firmly behind my balls.

"Oh, dammit, Davey!" I said, while my body said, go for it. I ground back up against Hunter while Davey played with both of our balls.

Hunter kissed me, almost clumsily. And then he tried again, this time with more success.

Davey was up to something at the other end, and I realized he was lubing Hunter. I started to object, but then, my hands were on that butt, and it was a fine butt.

Hunter smiled and lifted himself. Davey helped him back down on to me, and I sighed as I felt the tight ring of his sphincter slide down my cock part way as his warmth enveloped my cockhead. I grabbed his hips and he paused for a moment, and then he began to ride up and down, going lower and lower, gradually taking more and more of me in.

I arched my head back. I shouldn't be doing this. I should be pissed. But I was mindless with the sensations of it all. And when Hunter's ass finally made it down to my belly, I pulled him down to me and rolled us over so that he was under me. I looked down into his face. He was tense, his face twisted uncomfortably.

I kissed him, and then wrapped his body in mine. I would take it slowly.

His skin was smooth and there was a softness to his lean body that felt good in my arms. His butt was round, fleshy — but without a trace of fat, and it flattened to my thrusts. And he smelled good, more like a boy than a man; his mouth tasted fresh.

Keeping my belly hard, I pressed it against the underside of his cock as I rocked in and out of him using only my hips. He moaned appreciatively.

Hunter's legs spread wider for me, and I paused long enough to cram a pillow under his butt. Then I lay down fully on him, belly to belly, chest to chest, my pubic bone pressing his perineum. He moaned and wrapped his arms over my back while I wrapped mine under his shoulders. Our cheeks pressed together and he whimpered softly into my ear each time I ground into him.

"Damn, Hunter," I whispered. "You're good."

"So are you," he whispered back.

Then Davey was there, straddling my butt and rubbing his hard cock up and down my crack. I felt his hand, cool with lube, slide into my butt crack, and his fingers quickly found my hole. He slowly pushed in a fingertip and ran lube around inside my sphincter while I continued moving in Hunter. When Davey grabbed my hips, I stopped long enough for him to push in, and then I let him do most of the thrusting while I just ground in little circles and gave Hunter more kissing lessons. He learned quickly.

I came first, pressing hard against Hunter's soft butt, his sphincter tight around the base of my cock. I felt it strain with each throb of my cock as I squirted. And my own butt clamped down on Davey's cock as his thrusts massaged out all my cum. I never really felt the orgasm end; it simply faded away to a pleasant buzz, and I closed my eyes and let everything sink in.

Sometimes you do some really clear thinking while waiting for sex partners to finish. Feeling Hunter moving under me, it came home to me that he was three years younger than us. And then, feeling Davey move in me, it was easy to imagine that this was just sex — that he was not making love to me, but simply fucking my butt.

I should've been angry; in fact, it might've been better if I had been angry. But something had started to die inside me when I'd caught Davey with Hunter that first time. And now I felt it even more — or rather, didn't feel it. My 'in-love-with-Davey' feelings had begun to burn pretty low, giving way to more 'practical' considerations. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to be fuck buddies if that's the way Davey wanted it. The truth was, I was beginning not to care.

After all, warm feelings are only that, I reasoned. Davey might have some affection for me, but didn't want to commit beyond that. Fine. Let's just enjoy sex then, right?

Suddenly, the old sadness tried to rear its head. Right there, sandwiched between Hunter and Davey, I felt a wave of sorrow wash over me. I resisted it. I won't have it! I'm going to be strong! And then Davey was about to cum and that took my mind off being sad.

He pumped fast and frantically into me, stopping only at the end for the last pulsing squirt, and then he collapsed, kissed the back of my neck and rolled off.

Well, one good turn deserves another and I was already lubed. I scooted up on Hunter, grabbed his cock and backed on to it. I had barely settled down when he came, driving up into me, hands clutching my thighs. The kid really was good looking, even with his young face all screwed up in ecstasy. But dammit, he was a kid! And he was Davey's friend. Worse than that, he was Ed's son. And I had just fucked him.

Hunter opened his eyes and smiled at me with a well-satisfied expression. I mussed his hair.

"Was I OK?" he asked, dreamily.

"You were… incredible," I said, smiling. I gave him a couple of playful squeezes with my butt, and then rose off him. I almost felt sorry for Hunter. I guess in a way, Davey had screwed both of us.

When Hunter slipped out of me, I sat back down onto his lap, pinning his cock, and I smiled down at him. "I like you, Hunter. I always have. And I'm glad you and Davey are friends."

Then I frowned down at Davey, lying next to Hunter, and I got up from the bed. He raised his eyebrows. "Are you mad?" he asked. "Didn't you like our surprise?"

I stood looking down at him. "I can't help feeling like I've been manipulated, Davey."

Grabbing a towel, I wiped my cock and butt, and ignored Davey's angry look. "Don't worry," I said, pulling on my shorts. "I'm not mad. Maybe I'm coming around to your way of thinking after all. I mean, it could be fun to do other guys sometimes, couldn't it? Like Hudson." I took a perverse pleasure in Davey's more deeply furrowed brow. "So what's up today? Gardening?"

They both stared at me as I started to leave the room. I stopped. "Oh, and thanks." Then I walked out.

In the kitchen, I decided to raid the fridge while I waited for the two of them to come out. When I reached in to move the milk out of the way, my hand was shaking. I closed the door and leaned my forehead against it. A shudder ran through me. I decided that I didn't need to eat, and went out to the yard to begin weeding a bed.

When they came outside, Hunter seemed uncomfortable and was about to leave. I stopped him. "Stay, Hunter. I'm sorry if I was a jerk." I put my hand on his shoulder. "What we did this morning was really special, Hunter. I'm sorry that I was an asshole about it."

He looked at me doubtfully, and I felt like even more of an asshole. But I felt even madder at Davey.

We worked on Davey's landscape plan. I kept a smile and pretended that all was right with the world. But I barely talked to Davey. He kept giving me looks like, _who are you and what did you do with the real Mickey? _

For his sake, I did try to talk to Hunter because I felt bad that my actions had spoiled the experience for him, and it wasn't his fault. But he would barely talk to me, and I could hardly blame him.

The sun rose higher and the heat was oppressive. I pulled off my shirt and turned on the hose, running water over my head, chest, and back.

Hunter watched me and looked envious, so I squirted him. He tried to grab for the water hose and we quickly became all entangled, trying to wrestle for control of the spraying water. Davey disappeared, only to return with the hose from the back yard, water running. He mercilessly squirted both of us. The cool water was great, and the resulting water fight lasted for over half an hour.

When we finally tired out, Davey returned the second hose back behind the house. When he did, I put my arm over Hunter's bare shoulders. He grinned up at me and I grinned back. "You really are a cool dude, Hunter," I told him and then whispered into his ear, "and you really were incredible this morning."

He grinned wider.

"Just take it easy though," I smiled, squeezing his shoulder. "You're still a kid. You don't have to become a sex fiend all at once."

He shrugged under my arm. "I haven't done anything except with Davey… and now you."

"What about the girl that Chase said is training you how to kiss?"

He grinned. "I'm training her."

I laughed, relieved that Ed's son might still like girls.

"Hunter," I said. "You're a nice kid. Take it real slow, OK?"

He grinned slyly. "You mean like today?"

"Yeah, well… treasure the memory. We won't be doing that again soon."

"Why not?" he asked, clearly disappointed.

"Oh, I may want to," I said. "But deep down, I know I really shouldn't. You'll still be my friend, though. Right?"

He nodded. "But Davey and I can still mess around, right?"

He was a cute kid, but there were limits. "Davey makes his own decisions," I said with a shrug. "Knowing him, he'll probably want to keep messing around."

I got rid of the frown as Davey came back around the corner of the house.

We played cards with our moms again that night after family dinner, and it was late when we were done. Davey wanted to sit out on the porch, but I told him I was too tired.

He disappeared and came back with my guitar and his recorder. He held the guitar out toward me, hopefully.

I sighed and took it.

We sat on the porch swing and played while our moms sat on the porch couch and talked. It was one in the morning when we finally finished and I went to bed.

Davey came over early the next morning and we began landscaping the yard at my house. It was fun work and I was having a good time until Davey began rubbing my butt when we were working down the side of the house. I moved away from him.

That evening he used my butt for a pillow while we watched TV, but we didn't talk much. I just wasn't interested. As far as I was concerned, it wouldn't hurt us to give sex a rest for a while.

That night, there was a tapping at my window. I pulled open the shutters to find Davey on the other side. I was tired, and still feeling pretty empty. My first inclination was to tell him to go home, but I knew that might end up creating even more serious problems.

When I opened the window, he motioned for me to come out, so I pulled on my shorts and stepped through the window.

Davey was only in shorts too, and the faint light from the street glimmered off his skin. His slender form moved closer and he ran his hand up and down my bare arm. "I'm sorry, Mickey," he whispered.

He wrapped his arms around my shoulders and put his cheek to mine. "Mickey," he whispered. "I said I was sorry."

I laid my head on his shoulder. "I know, Davey," I said quietly. "I'm sorry, too. But that doesn't mean things are going to be magically alright again."

He nuzzled the side of my head with his nose and I heard him take a deep breath through his nostrils. "Everything feels alright again," he whispered.

"No," I said softly. "It doesn't. Not on the inside."

"You won't forgive… me?"

I crossed my arms behind his back and squeezed. "I forgive you, Davey. I can't imagine ever not forgiving you. But I still feel empty inside."

"I feel… sad inside," he said.

"Yeah. Me, too."

He rocked me in his arms. I pressed my hands to the smooth skin of his back and felt the hardness of his muscles beneath. Davey laid his head over on mine. Down the street, a cat howled and we both jumped, and then chuckled.



"Can I sleep with you tonight?"

"Yeah," I answered. We continued to stand, pressed together, swinging gently back and forth. "Do you want to make love?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said, and rubbed his cheek on the back of my head. "But the old way. Just holding each other and putting our… rubbing spots together. You know… frotting." He pressed his crotch to mine.

I smiled. "I'd like that way too." I lifted my head from his shoulder and in the dark, moved my mouth to his. Our lips touched softly and we breathed into each other's mouths. Then I pressed my lips more firmly to his and ran my fingers up into the hair on both sides of his head. "Have I ever told you," I whispered into his mouth, "that you're the most beautiful guy I've ever seen in my life?"

He laughed, softly. "You haven't looked… in the mirror."

I grinned and took his hand, leading him in through my window. Inside, we pulled off each other's shorts and then stepped nose to nose. Our hands brushed lightly over each other's shoulders and backs and butts, then our chests and bellies, as our eyes met.

We had been lovers for a long time, and friends for almost two-thirds of our lives. There were things we could say simply through our eyes — things that others would never be able to say — about love, about possession, and about desire.

Our erections rose between us and we pressed them together. Davey grabbed my head and pushed his tongue into my mouth. When I pushed my tongue into his, his mouth was hot and wet, and all mine.

He backed to the bed while kissing me, and pulled me down on top of him. Our legs wrapped around each other and our hands moved to shoulders and butts. We took our time. I knew I'd regret it when it was time for school in the morning, but this was important. We were healing each other, and that sort of thing can't be rushed.

Later, when we were done and Davey's head lay on my chest, I combed his hair with my fingers. "I'm not doing Hunter again," I said quietly.

"I know."

I chuckled. "You always know. Pretty soon, I'm not going to have to tell you anything."

He let out a long sigh. His hair was soft and thick. Thin shafts of light came in from the street through the shutters leaving little spots of light across his face and shoulder.

"Don't do Hunter too much, Davey," I said. "He's a kid, and he still likes girls."

Davey squirmed uncomfortably, and then moved up so that his head was on the pillow beside mine. He put a leg over my middle and laid his hand on my chest. "Can we afford an apartment yet? So we can spend every night… together."

I laid my hand on his and smiled at him. "Our moms won't let us and you know it. Not while we're still in high school."

"It's gonna be forever," he sighed.

"Someday," I said.

We lay there together and listened to the crickets chirping outside in the night, and I thought of our future — if there was a future. I hoped there would be a 'someday' but wondered if I could ever really trust Davey?

Tuesday morning, there was another note in my locker. "Still the hottest ass in school," was all it said. I tore it up and tossed it.

Wednesday afternoon, Davey and I left school early, with permission. We told them that we were required to attend a special meeting, which was true. Ruth Jamison had flown into San Antonio with Teddy Silverman, who represented a group of prospective investors. Teddy was a good-looking man in his mid-to-late forties. Other than his salt and pepper hair and a few wrinkles around his eyes, he could have easily passed for younger.

Ed and Dr. Meyers took the afternoon off, and arranged for the use of a boardroom at the offices of the law firm that handled our patent filings. The four of us had debated whether Mom and Maggie should be there, but in the end, with our moms' agreement, we decided it would be good for Davey and me to be there on our own. We could summarize for our moms later.

Ed sat at the end of the table, with me, Davey, and Dr. Meyers down one side of the table. Across from us sat Ms. Jamison and Mr. Silverman.

After introductions, Ed passed around copies of our business plan. "You've already seen our demos and our software presentation," he began. "This afternoon, I'd like to start with a quick overview of our best-case scenario, and then we can go into each facet in more detail.

"First, we've located a proposed office site in a complex in Round Rock, just outside Austin. It has the security we need, it's in the Texas 'silicon valley', and is close enough to UT that we'd have a large pool of educated professionals to hire from. It's a bit of a commute from San Antonio, but initially that will not be a problem."

"Harold and I," Ed continued, "would immediately begin full-time employment with Carlson-Bentolli. He'll work on marketing and I'll work on administration and operations. We already have one young man working for us, Arturo Rodriquez. He's decided to stay on as our lead programmer. And..." — here he paused and looked at Ruth — "if and when Ms. Jamison decides to join us, provided there is sufficient funding, she would be our Chief Financial Officer, heading up finance and HR. You've seen all of our resumes, but I've included them again, in your packets with your copy of our business plan."

He passed out additional folders. "Inside these, you'll find diagrams and pictures of the offices in Round Rock, as well as a picture and diagram of an office we would like to set up for the boys here in San Antonio. It's close by, and in a secure office tower."

I looked up at Ed in surprise. He winked. "It's on the tenth floor," he continued, so we might have to keep Michael away from the windows — I've gotten the impression he likes heights. Anyway, we'll set up a high-speed connection to the offices in Round Rock. That way, the boys can work here in San Antonio most of the time and only come up to Austin when necessary."

"Our plan," he said, leaning back, "will be to hire ten programmers for the database project and six for the encryption software project. With the latter, we're targeting the government and military first, since Harold has already made numerous contacts there. In fact, the Army is just about ready to sign, based simply on the performance of the prototype and our plans for implementation."

"Truth is," Ed said, "if it was our preference, we could get all the venture capital we need just from our initial sales to the military." He paused dramatically to let that sink in. "But we'd rather work with your investors for a number of reasons."

I was still trying to get over a tenth floor office for Davey and me, and barely paid attention as Ed began to lead everyone into more detail through the plan which we had already discussed and approved days earlier.

We worked through the afternoon, and on into a working supper at a nearby Italian restaurant. I'd never tell Mom, but their cooking wasn't half bad.

The next afternoon, Teddy Silverman began the meeting with the announcement that the plan was not only approved by the investors, with whom he had been in discussion, but that they also insisted on additional funding for a more aggressive approach to development, security, and marketing.

Silverman reached for his cup of coffee and took a sip. "One of the investors wanted me to remind you that at some point, you'll need to get government security clearances for your people. Keep that in mind as you hire. He also has a couple of contacts in the government he has given me to pass on to you."

"And there are a couple of final issues," he added. "We want to increase your funding sufficiently to pay Ruth's salary for the next two years at whatever level and terms you and she agree to. And secondly, we want you to appoint a board of seven directors. We appoint three and have right of refusal on the other four. And we have to approve any increase to the number of directors."

Ed frowned and looked at Dr. Meyers, who shrugged. An uncomfortable silence fell upon the table.

"My people are putting up a lot of money, gentlemen," Teddy said. "This isn't too much to ask."

Ed rubbed his chin, and then opened his mouth to say something, but I beat him to it.

"Who was the investor who made the suggestions about security clearances and contacts within the government?" I asked. "Would he be willing to serve on the board?"

Teddy nodded slowly. "He, ah… wants his identity secret for now, Michael. He's pretty big in the industry. But, yes — he might be willing to serve."

I looked at Ed before going on. He gave me a half-smile and a wave forward, so I continued. "We hire Ruth, provided she agrees to our terms. And you choose two board members and have right of refusal over two seats. That gives you effective control over a majority of directors."

Teddy started to say something, but I wasn't finished. "You may be putting up the money Mr. Silverman, but you're going to be making money. We're putting up our ideas and our sweat and blood. It's our company and it's our future we're putting on the line."

Teddy studied me a moment. "Three directors and right of refusal over a fourth seat," he countered.

"We get right of refusal over your three?" I asked.

"Two," he countered.

I looked at Ed. "How would that sound?" I asked.

He laughed. "It sounds fine, Michael." The he looked at Teddy and leaned back in his chair. "I think," Ed said, "this is going to be an interesting afternoon."

And it was. After several calls to the West Coast, and hours of discussion, it was finally settled: Carlson-Bentolli was going to be fully funded! For up to ten million dollars over the next three years.

After a brief discussion of the terms of her employment, Ruth decided to come on board, too. The rest of the afternoon was spent hammering out the terms of the funding. That night, our moms joined us for a celebration supper.

And I kept thinking about our own tenth floor office.

The note in my locker Thursday was slightly longer. "I said I'd do whatever it takes to win you over, Bent. And I will."

There was only the slightest tremor in my hands as I tore the note up and threw it away.

Hudson, the student guitarist I had met a few months earlier, called Sunday night after Davey had already left. Knox had told Hudson that I had opted out of guitar lessons for the fall.

"I'm supposed to seduce you," Hudson said, and he chuckled a little even though it didn't exactly sound like he was joking, "and lure you back to Knox's fold."

I lowered my voice so that Mom wouldn't hear. "I see. Speaking of which, have you been with a guy yet?" I asked, curious as to whether he'd been able to find anyone. "I mean… are you seeing anybody right now."

"No," Hudson answered ruefully. "Not yet. I guess you'll have to show me how to seduce you." I could hear the nervousness in his voice. "Seriously, can we get together to play?"

"You mean play as in…"

"No," he interrupted. "I mean… can you and Davey come over tomorrow night and bring your guitar and recorder?"

"How about Tuesday?" I asked. "Davey has a La Maze class tomorrow night." The sexual banter was fun, but made me think it would be easier to behave if I took Davey with me.

"Tomorrow's best for me. What's La Maze?"

"A natural childbirth method," I explained. "Davey's helping a friend out."

"Geez," Hudson said quietly, "just how much did he help your friend out."

"It's not what you're thinking," I said. And then I made a snap decision. Davey, with his recorder, couldn't always keep up with Hudson and me when we played anyway. "I'll come over tomorrow night," I told him.

Hudson lived in an older ranch style home, behind North Star Mall. The house had freshly painted wood trim, a well-kept yard, and a three-car garage. As soon as I walked in the door, I found out why Mondays worked better for him: nobody else was home. Hudson led the way back to his bedroom.

I watched his backside as he walked ahead. If ever there was a perfect bubble-butt… I thought, watching said butt through his tight shorts. I wondered if it was soft like Hunter's. Hudson's slender frame had a gentle sway as he walked, and I imagined that his entire little body was probably soft. Neither of us said anything, but the closer we got to his bedroom, the more I felt my own tension rise.

We got out our guitars and faced each other from opposite ends of his twin bed. His room was small like mine, and where there was space, the walls were covered with concert posters. The room also held an older desk and chair, a chest-of-drawers, and a large closet.

As soon as we began tuning up, the sexual tension died down. And once we got going, I had fun, just getting into the music with Hudson. After an hour, he volunteered to bring us a couple of Cokes, and I followed him to the kitchen. That's when I felt the temperature rise again.

As he moved from the cabinet for glasses, to the refrigerator for ice, to the pantry for soda, it was obvious that Hudson had an erection, a nice one, pointed off towards his right hip. It was tempting to want to touch it. My own cock was getting hard and I saw Hudson glance at it.

"So, uh," he asked, clearing his throat, "are you and Davey still boyfriends?"

I watched him pour the soda over ice and leaned back against his kitchen table. "Yeah, sure."

Hudson turned and came toward me with a drink in either hand. He stopped in front of me. "Does Davey ever loan you out?" His face was serious — hungry.

"We've talked about it," I said casually, which was sort of true.

I knew I should leave, or at least back away, but Hudson's face was so pretty and his body was so close. Davey's the one who didn't want commitments, I told myself. He wanted us to fool around with other people, right?

He set a drink down on either side of me and slowly, tentatively, moved forward between my legs until our noses almost touched. Timidly, he leaned forward and kissed me. I kissed him back.

I stood up and his arms went around me. Putting my arms around his shoulders, I brushed my lips over his. His mouth opened hungrily to mine and I plunged in with my tongue. Hudson moaned and pressed his crotch against the top of my thigh.

I know, I know. I should have left his house as soon as I found out no one else was there. But I honestly believe that the whole thing with Hunter, and Davey's overall attitude, left me without much resolve. Davey didn't want promises; he wanted his freedom. And that meant freedom for me, too: freedom standing open and inviting, and pressed hotly to me; freedom with red hair.

Hudson wrapped his arms tighter around me and pressed his cock against me hard as we kissed. I pressed hard back and we lightly rubbed our crotches on each other. Suddenly his body stiffened and he gripped me tightly in his arms. Pulling his mouth from mine, he gasped. "No! No!"

I felt his cock throbbing against my leg and knew immediately what had happened. With his head hanging, he slowly backed away from me. There was a growing wet spot on the front of his pants, and his face was a deep red.

"I'm sorry," he said with a choke and turned toward the door. "I'm so sorry." And then he was gone, back towards his bedroom.

I sighed. Grabbing up the Cokes, I followed. He had closed his door, so I tapped with my foot. "Hudson, I need you to open the door — I'm holding our drinks, and I only have two hands."

He opened the door and walked quickly back to his desk, flopping dejectedly into his chair. I kicked the door closed and brought the two drinks to his desk. Then I knelt before him and took his hands in mine.

"Hey, dude," I said smiling. "Did I really make you cum in your pants? That was so cool. I'm not sure I ever did that to anyone before."

"Don't patronize me, Michael," he said, turning away. But he left his hands in mine.

"OK, I won't patronize you," I said, squeezing his hands. "The truth is, I really am flattered. Besides, what guy hasn't gone off when he didn't intend to? We're cool, Hudson."

With his eyes still averted, he sighed. "I had really hoped to lose my fucked-up virginity tonight."

I smiled and squeezed his hands. "I wish it had been a little more fucked-up. But only in a good way."

He looked back at me. "I really did want to seduce you."

"Maybe it worked out for the best," I said, and patted his thigh as I stood up. "Davey and I are still working through some things."

He looked at me sadly and I felt sorry for him. Poor guy. What a start to a sex life, I thought.

"Look," I said, putting a hand on his shoulder and giving a squeeze, "maybe we still could still…"

"No," he shook his head. "I spoiled it." Then he looked up into my eyes. "I want my first time to be special."

Smiling, I gave his shoulder a final squeeze. "Maybe I better go."

He nodded.

I bent over, draping my arms over his shoulders, and put my cheek next to his. "You really are hot, Hudson — damned hot. It won't be long. You'll see." I kissed his cheek and hugged his neck before retrieving my guitar and seeing myself out.

But as I got into our Camaro, I began to feel resentful. Evidently Davey didn't have trouble messing around with other guys. Why did I?

I had difficulty sleeping that night. I thought about not telling Davey about Hudson — after all, we didn't actually do anything. But I had wanted to. And we did kiss. After recalling what happened when we weren't honest with each other the last time, I decided that for better or worse, I would tell Davey.

So as he drove us to school the next morning, I told him about Hudson. "So that's what happened," I said with a sigh. "Or at least, what _didn't _happen. I'm sorry, Davey."

He didn't answer. It was hard to read his face. We walked to our homerooms without saying a word.

Geoff's notes were appearing in my locker virtually every other day now. They had moved on from wishes for a 'happy weekend' to voicing appreciation for a different part of my anatomy each time. There was another in my locker that morning and I'd had enough. I cornered Geoff in the hall and told him to quit leaving me notes.

When I turned to leave, he grabbed me by the arm. "Michael," he said, "Look, I'm sorry we got off to a bad start…"

"Bad start?" I snapped.

"Dammit," he said, frowning. "I told you how it was. I got totally worked up, hoping all day it would be you, thinkin' about what we could do together. And when you tried to leave…" he made a helpless gesture and his eyes softened. "I'm sorry. I just… got a little crazy, is all. I've said I'm sorry a million times now." He looked at me with sad eyes. "Michael," he said, "I want to be friends. Honestly."

I jerked my arm away. "You forget that you took Davey from me! You forget all those things you said to me down in the basement! You're an asshole, Geoff. I don't trust you. I don't want to have anything to do with you." I turned to walk away.

Geoff grabbed me tightly by the arm again and swung me back around. A couple of kids passing us turned to look, so he stepped closer, his face inches away from mine. I could feel his hot breath on my face. "You want the truth, Bentolli?" he hissed. "You lost Davey because you treated him like you owned him — like he was your private property. He just wanted to have some fun, and you tried to keep him all tied up for yourself, like some kinda house pet. The truth is, Davey's a fun guy and he wants to have fun. I showed him a good time. You didn't."

I tried to turn away, but he held my arm tightly.

"Look," he said, trying to smile, "I know I said some mean things to you that day, but dammit, I was pissed at you." His brow furrowed and he lowered his voice. "You're a fantastic-looking guy, Bentolli. And you don't take shit from anybody. I liked you from the day you stood up to Brandon in the hall. And if I got rough in the basement, it's because I knew you were tough. It's part of what makes you so damn hot."

He lightened his grip on my arm. "I was frustrated, Michael," he said softly. "I liked you a lot and you wouldn't have anything to do with me. You're still stuck up. But dammit, I still like you. You totally turn me on, y'know?"

I put a shaking hand on his and pulled it from my arm. "You don't rape someone you like, Geoff." Then I turned and walked away.

I was still shaken by my encounter with Geoff when Dr. Meyers took us to our new office later that afternoon. The building was twelve stories of dark brick and glass, located beside the McAllister Freeway, just south of Loop 410.

Dr. Meyers showed us our parking spot in the covered garage and explained about building access rules, nighttime security, and free membership to the sports club next door.

Inside, the lobby had a water fountain, a brick floor, and plants; lots of plants. As we walked towards the elevator, Davey leaned towards me. "What about potted plants… on our front porches?" he asked happily.

Our office had a small reception area, behind which ran an interior hallway. On the same side of the hallway as the reception area were a small supply room and a break area with a sink, refrigerator, and microwave. There was also a private executive washroom even though there were public restrooms close to the elevators that serviced the entire floor.

"Not much of a bathroom," Dr. Meyers said. "But if you ever need to shower up for a meeting, just remember the sports club downstairs. The first time you go, they're going to give you each a pack with some complimentary toiletries. Just keep some work out gear handy, and maybe a clean shirt and underwear in case you have to attend a meeting."

Davey wriggled his eyebrows at me from over Dr. Meyer's shoulder and I was afraid he'd say out loud whatever it was he was thinking. So I quickly frowned at him and let Dr. Meyers lead the way out of the bathroom. When I turned to follow him, Davey goosed me.

"You'll pay later," I hissed over my shoulder.

He goosed me again.

The main office was across from the reception area. It wasn't a corner office, but the two, large floor-to-ceiling tenth-floor windows gave a great view of downtown. The office was much larger than our living room at home. It had been outfitted with two desks, one at either end. There were also side tables, bookshelves, phones, high back leather chairs in front of each desk, a wide leather couch on the wall between the two windows and another on the opposite wall, and a table with four chairs in the center of the room. On a counter in the corner of the room stood a copier and a fax.

There were two computer terminals, one behind each desk. "The high-speed connection to our Round Rock office won't be in until Monday," Dr. Meyers said, apologetically. "And then we still have to wait for the computers to be set up over there. But what do you think?"

"I like it," Davey said, while I walked to the window.

"I love it," I said, looking out towards downtown, impressed by the dramatic view.

"You'll have to buy supplies, of course," Dr. Meyers was saying. "Paper, paper clips, snacks — things like that. Ed is getting each of you credit cards, but in the meantime, Ed said to give you this." He handed over an envelope. "There's a couple hundred dollars in there, but if you need any more, write a check and we'll repay your account. Someday, when we're making money and you guys are more full time, we'll get you a secretary who can do all that."

"Davey and I will get the supplies," I said, looking around the office. "Are you sure we need a secretary?" I liked the idea of just Davey and me here.

"You'll love having a secretary," he said. "Help get you organized, keep track of messages."

I watched Davey looking over the office, and the couches caught my eye. "Dr. Meyers," I asked. "Are there rules against sleeping over if we work late?"

Davey was examining one of the desks, but suddenly looked up at me wide-eyed, and a smile spread across his face, just out of Dr. Meyers' line of vision.

Dr. Meyers shrugged. "No, I guess not. You just need to tell the nighttime security guard because he checks people in and out." He looked over the room. "Fix it up however you like," he said. "Just remember to actually do some work. And bring any work you have at home here. It'll be a lot safer."

As soon as he left, Davey started hopping up and down with excitement. "Our own place! Our own place!"

"It's an office," I said laughing. "Not an apartment."

He took me into a bear hug and lifted me up, swinging me around. "But it's our own… private place!"

He set me down, his eyes dancing. Then turned serious. "I'm gonna fuck you."

I laughed and pushed him back. "Not yet, you doofus! We've got things to do."

We called Maggie first and talked her into letting us sleep over in the new office. Mom was a harder sell and only gave in when I was about to say I'd do it anyway. We promised them both a tour on the weekend.

When I hung up, Davey tackled me onto the couch. Burying his face in my neck, he growled and began pulling up my shirt.

"Wait, wait," I pleaded, pushing him away. "We gotta go buy supplies."

He rolled off me in frustration and harrumphed.

I got up, and pulled him to his feet. "Tonight — I promise," I said. "You can screw me on every couch and chair we've got."

He looked around the room and began counting chairs. I slapped his butt.

We headed to the new Wal-Mart to buy our office supplies, which I decided also needed to include some blankets and pillows. Davey had other ideas and disappeared down an aisle, returning with a basket overflowing with heavy foam nerf balls and two nerf basketball nets. He grinned mischievously and I shook my head. "At least they aren't water balloons," I said.

"One net for each end of the… office," he explained.

Next we hit the grocery store to buy food for the refrigerator. When Davey tossed a tube of KY into the shopping cart, he winked, and I was sure I'd been forgiven about Hudson. That, or Davey was so excited, he just plain forgot.

Our last stop was for pizza and sodas.

We ate at the office table, talking about various plans to decorate the office. While I cleaned away the pizzas, Davey distributed nerf balls equally to each desk, filling the drawers.

"OK," he said when he was done. "Pick a desk."

I walked to the far desk and by the time I was there, the first nerf ball flew past my head. Quickly, I ducked behind the desk and returned fire. Seconds later, nerf balls were bouncing over every square inch of our office.

Later, after I surrendered, we turned out the lights and pulled up a couch to the window. I leaned back against the arm of the couch and Davey settled back into my arms. We were silent as we watched twilight settle over the city.

"It's pretty after dark," Davey said, looking out at the tall buildings downtown, and all the lights of the city.

"Yeah," I said. "I think I want to sleep right here by the window."

'Can we sleep here all the time?" Davey asked.

"Probably not all the time," I said. "That might be stretching the building's policies. And I can guess what our Moms would say."

Davey was quiet a moment, then he rubbed my leg. "Mickey?"


He turned to sit across my lap and put an arm over my shoulder. "I've been thinkin'…"

I smiled. "You do it well."

He grinned. "I think about you… a lot."

"See!" I said with a laugh.

He grew quiet. "I've been thinking about… promises. What if we do make a… promise?" he asked slowly. "What if we promise to try to be faithful to each other?"

"Davey," I said with a sigh, smoothing the hair back off his forehead. "I tried last night with Hudson. Promising to try is like promising to fail. If we promise, we need to just promise."

"'Do or do not; there is no try," Davey said, in a fair impression of Yoda. Something I had quoted to him once.

I nodded and gave him a squeeze.

He bit his lip and ran his fingers lightly over my cheek. "What if we promise," he asked, "for a while… like you did with Brandon?"

"You mean like promise a week or two at a time?"

He nodded.

"Davey," I asked. "Are you bringing up promises because of what almost happened with Hudson?"

He paused a moment, and then nodded. "But if we promise," he said. "I promise about Hunter, too."

"You won't do anything with Hunter?" I asked surprised.

He nodded.

I studied his eyes. He was sincere. "When do you want to do make the promise?" I asked.


I took a deep breath and looked out the window. "Someone told me," I said. "That you're a fun guy. And they made me think that I should let you have your fun. Maybe I shouldn't make you promise."

He turned my chin back with his hand. "We'll have fun," he said, looking into my eyes. "You'll be my fun.

I put my arms around his shoulders and held his gaze. "You really mean it?"

He smiled and put his forehead to mine. "Yes."

"Want to do two weeks?" I asked.


Keeping my forehead pressed to his, I took one of his hands. "Alright," I said. "Then I promise you, Davey — for the next two weeks, I will stay faithful to you. No sex with anyone else."

"I promise, too, Mickey," he said, squeezing my hand. "I will stay faithful to you. For two weeks, you will be all my fun."

He softly kissed my lips.

"No Hunter?" I asked.

"No Hunter," he said. "No Hudson?"

"No Hudson," I answered.

He smiled and slowly unbuttoned my shirt. "I bought KY," he said.

And so that night, Davey and I made love on our couch at our own place, even if it was just an office. We did it while looking out over the lights of the city and in the security of shared promises — even if the promises were only for two weeks.

I woke during the night when Davey turned in his sleep, and pulling the blanket higher, I snuggled closer, spooning him. Looking out past his shoulders, I could see lightning in the sky over the city, and shortly, I heard the low rumble of thunder. Davey's back swelled against my chest as he breathed and I was reluctant to get up, but I was fascinated by the city and the storm.

Carefully, I climbed over Davey so that I could stand at the window and watch. Raindrops splashed against the large glass wall, and I reached my hand out to trace the trickles as they fell. A flash of lightning brilliantly lit all of the downtown buildings, followed almost immediately by a loud clap of thunder. The power was spectacular.

I heard Davey get up from the couch. He came up behind me, still wearing the blanket, and circled his arm over my shoulders, bringing me into the blanket with him. I grabbed the ends of the blanket lower down and pulled it tightly around us, backing me into Davey. He nuzzled the back of my head.

"Davey," I said thoughtfully, "you ever wonder about fate? You ever wonder if there's some god directing our paths?"

"There is," he said quietly.

"Oh, you know?" I chuckled.

I knew he was going to say it and said it at the same time. "I know," we said, and I laughed.

He squeezed me in his arms, and I laid my head back against his.

"It just seems to me, Davey," I said, "that a lot of really good things are happening to us. I wonder if there are good things we're supposed to do in turn."

"Maybe," he said quietly.

"You help me, Davey," I said. "You're a lot better at spotting people who need help. You help us do good things, OK?"

He kissed my neck. "I'm proud of you, Mickey."

There was another bright flash of lightning, followed quickly by the boom of thunder. We both jumped.

"It's pretty," I said looking down on the freeway, the Olmos Basin, and the city beyond. Off to the left was the quarry bluff, occasionally lit by the storm.

"And a little scary," Davey said, laying his head on my shoulder.

"You tired?" I asked.


I turned inside the blanket and put my arms around his back. Davey hung on me, all naked and tired. "Davey," I whispered. "Thanks for promising me the next two weeks."

Davey was quiet.



I smiled and backed him to the couch. After I laid him down, I lay down next to him and covered him with the blanket, and an arm and a leg.

I awoke the next morning to find Davey spooned to my back, gnawing my neck, his hard cock rubbing in my crack. "Dammit, Davey. Are you trying to turn me into a total bottom? You fucked me twice last night and you're trying for it again this morning! I'm going to be walking funny all day."

He chuckled. "I'm happy about our office," he said and hugged me hard.

"Yeah, I can feel how happy." I put my arms over his and leaned my head back against his. "And I'm happy, too."

"Our promise?" he asked.

"Yeah, silly isn't it. Just two weeks. But it means a lot, Davey, and I'm not sure why."

I felt him rest his forehead in the middle of my back. His breath tickled as it traveled down my spine. Then he grabbed my shoulder and pulled me back so he could look down into my face, and his look was serious.

"It's not silly," he said and rested his chin on my shoulder. "I love you, Mickey," he said quietly. "You're the only one I ever loved. You're the only one I'm ever… gonna love… even if we never… promise." He kissed my shoulder. "I know why you want us to promise… but that's why it's hard." His brow furrowed." I don't want to break a promise… to you."

His face was absolutely sincere, and his eyes, loving. "Damn," I said with a grin, "stick it in me, I'm in love."

He smiled, and without taking his eyes from mine, he licked his fingers, and then rubbed them in my butt. I felt him shift behind me, and then the hard tip of his cock pressed up between my ass cheeks.

"Oh, man," he murmured. "I'm really hard." And then he slid slowly in and I felt the pressure inside as he filled me. He pushed in all the way, pressing his weight onto me, rolling me to my stomach; his legs settling between mine, his balls coming to rest on the back of mine.

He slid his arms up under my shoulders and grabbed on, while I slid mine under the pillow at the end of the couch and let my cock press against the leather of the seat cushions.

The blanket had fallen behind us and in the morning light, I could see our reflection in the window. No one could see up this high though, so I didn't worry; I simply relaxed and enjoyed watching Davey's hips rotate in and out.

Soon Davey began pumping so hard, he was literally pressing my cock into the couch each time. And I decided I really would be walking funny today.

I felt his teeth on the side of my neck and his hands gripped my shoulders more tightly as his thrusts quickened. The feelings inside my butt were incredible and I felt my own orgasm rising. "Damn," I said, panting. "You are gonna make me a bottom."

"Don't cum," He said through clenched teeth. "You can do me next."

"Oh, fine for you to say, 'don't cum' while you're doin' everything you can inside my butt to make me,' I said through clenched teeth as well.

And then he was coming, his loud, "Ah, ah, ah," echoing in our office, pushing me forward and down into the couch. And then as he held me there, at the end of his deepest thrust; while he pulsed out the last of his cum, I came, literally impaled on his hardness — holding onto the end of the couch, I came, hands-free, spilling cum out onto the seat cushion below me.

When I was done, Davey eased back and I relaxed under him. "I like this office," I murmured.

He wrapped his arms under me and ground his still hard cock inside me. "I like our promise," he said.

We stood, dripping on to the bathroom floor, trying to sponge bathe each other before leaving for school. "We've gotta get some wash cloths," Davey said.

"For us and the couch," I said. "Here… in the meantime, use me." And I turned him away from me and began rubbing my soaped up cock and balls over his ass. We both chuckled and I started to get hard.

"Go ahead," Davey said.

"Nah, we'll be late for school," I answered, but I didn't stop rubbing.

Davey turned, and, grabbing my butt, pulled our crotches together. "Let's skip school today," he said, pleadingly, our noses almost touching. "Let's just stay here, in our place."

I chewed my lip.

He smiled. "I'll let you screw me on every chair and couch," he offered.

I looked up toward the ceiling and quietly began to count. "One, two, three…"

Davey threw his head back laughing. Then our eyes met. His pupils dilated, and his smile softened. "I…" he started to say.

"Yeah, me too." I put my arms around his neck and pressed my cheek against his. "I love you too."

The note in my locker the next morning simply said. "I'm sorry."

But I was tired and had too much on my mind to worry about Geoff any more. Besides the new office and the work to be done for C-B, there was school, and household chores, and working out with Davey, not to mention a couple of trips to be made to Round Rock. And, in the near future, Amy was going to have her baby – our baby. They would need time, too.

Geoff had a sad look in his eyes when I saw him right before my fifth period class, but he still looked determined. And over the next few days, he seemed to be just around every corner, stalking me. He tried calling my home, so I bought an answering machine to avoid taking his calls. But still, he was always there. And one night, as I slept alone in my room, I was restless, and kept imagining that I could hear footsteps on the porch.

Another night, when I had snuck in Davey's window to sleep with him, I had a nightmare that Geoff grabbed me at school and was dragging me towards the stage basement again. I cried out and no one would help. Geoff put his hand over my mouth, and I woke up trying to scream, but it was Davey's hand and I was drenched in sweat. I probably would've awakened Maggie had Davey's hand not been over my mouth. He was shushing me, and trying to calm me down.

So I told him about the dream and how Geoff was still stalking me. He rocked me in his arms, and we stayed together like that until my trembling finally stopped, and I drifted back to sleep.

The last Saturday in September, Davey and I grabbed an early breakfast at Denny's and then traveled the hour and a half from San Antonio to Round Rock. Dr. Meyers met us at the gate of the office park to give us our ID's and took us past gate security. The campus was made up of multiple two and three story buildings, tucked among oak and cedar elm trees. In front of one long, two story building was a black sign with gold lettering that read "Carlson-Bentolli Inc."

We had already been briefed that none of the new people knew that there was even a Carlson and a Bentolli — much less who they were. So when we showed the receptionist the IDs Dr. Meyer had given us, her eyes grew wide, especially as she studied us. Then we could see her mind working. She smiled as she evidently filed us away as bosses' sons, and we didn't say or do anything to correct her.

There were offices for Ed, Dr. Meyers, Ruth, and Arturo. There was also, a spare, unlabeled corner office, fully equipped for when Davey and I came up. I could have spent all day in the computer room, but we were there to sit in on interviews for prospective programmers.

That night, Ed took Davey and me out for a barbeque before we returned to San Antonio. He watched us while Davey and I had apple pie for desert. "How do you feel about the programmers you interviewed today?" he asked.

I shrugged. "There were some good ones. I'm not sure what Dr. Meyers thought about my preferences."

"We hired a couple of cute girls," Ed pointed out. "Were those a couple of your preferences?"

"I think all of the ones we hired were my preferences."

Ed laughed and nodded. "I'm not surprised," he said. Then he grew serious. "Just remember, oldest rule in business is don't screw the help."

There was an awkward silence, and then Ed grinned. "Why is it that you call almost everyone by their first name, but you always call Harold, Dr. Meyers?"

I leaned back and thought about it. "I don't know. I guess because he was sorta like a teacher for us. You just don't call teachers by their first names. Do you think I should call him Harold?"

He chuckled. "I don't think it matters. I was just curious."

Davey's foot ran up my leg under the table and I giggled.

Ed looked at me curiously, and I decided to change the subject. "It's a really long drive up here from San Antonio. I didn't realize how long it was. Dr. Meyers… Harold, has already moved up here. What about you?"

Ed shook his head. "I'm not sure. The kids wouldn't want to change schools until the next school year, but by then, Chase will have only one year left until graduation. None of the kids really want to move."

"For now," Ed said, "we're going to leave things like they are and I'll continue to commute. At least," he said, smiling, "until we all make our fortune."

All my efforts to stay away from Geoff failed utterly that next Wednesday afternoon. I'd been in the john between classes and it took longer than I'd expected. When I left the bathroom, I still needed my book for the next class, which forced me to go to my locker. Everyone was already in class and there was no one else around… or so I thought.

Geoff was next to me before I even saw him. I turned to head out from the lockers by the back way, but he grabbed my arm.

"Michael, wait!" he said. He backed me to the lockers, planting a hand against the lockers on either side of me.

Geez, I thought. Will this guy never let up?

"What do I have to do?" he pleaded, looking down into my eyes. "What do I have to do to be friends? Apologize again? I will — I'm sorry."

"Once and for all, Geoff, please leave me alone," I said quietly. "I don't know why you keep insisting that we have to be friends. We're never going to be friends." I tried to duck under his arm and he stopped me, grabbing me with a hand on each bicep.

"Wait, Michael," he said and stepped very close so that our bodies were almost touching. "Don't say that. I'm not going to give up on you… I really… I love you, Bent! I can't stop thinking about you. At night, I remember that time I watched you and Davey, and I remember the feel of your body." He leaned closer. "I want you bad, Bent."

His nose touched my hair and his breath came down my neck. I shuddered.

"I think of the way your thick black hair shines," he said and his legs pressed mine. "I think of your long, graceful neck, your beautiful butt." He nuzzled my hair and took a deep breath. "I wish I was Davey."

I began trembling and couldn't stop myself. Geoff kissed my hair and pressed his body to mine, pinning me to the locker. I could feel his erection. "Look, I…" he began, and reached into his pocket, pulling out a cassette tape. "I got you another Spanish guitar tape."

I looked at it, uncomprehending.

"Take it. It's a present," he said.

Numbly I took the cassette from his hand. When I looked back up at him, he was ready, and pressed his lips to mine. There was nowhere to go. The back of my head pressed hard against the locker as I tried pulling away.

And then we heard a gasp. Geoff turned his head and I followed his gaze. Two senior girls stood open-mouthed at the end of the row of lockers. We all froze.

Then one grabbed the other's hand and they left. Their laughter echoed back down the hall to us.

My heart stopped. I felt completely numb. They'd seen everything!

Geoff looked at me, wide-eyed with panic. His mouth opened and closed without saying a word as reality set in. He grabbed my hand. "C'mon. Let's get outta here."

He tried to drag me with him, but I pulled my hand away and slowly slid down the lockers until I was sitting on the concrete floor. Geoff stared at me, and then took off running.

He'd done it to me again — fucked up my whole life! My hands shook badly as I took the cassette and threw it down the row of lockers.

I could still hear the girls' laughter ringing in my ears. I hugged my knees and cried while I wondered what friends I'd have left by the end of the day, other than Davey and Larice and maybe Amy. What would Chase say when he found out? Or the nerds? Or Mr. Weishamer? Or Ed? Or Dr. Meyers? Would they quit working with us?

My hands began to shake violently; worse than they ever had before. My whole body began to tremble, and it was suddenly hard to breathe. I tried to get control, but my body refused to cooperate and the shaking grew worse. I slid over onto my side, and fought to pull myself back up. I was losing all control and wasn't sure I could even stand.


I looked up to see the Vice-Principal and a secretary standing over me. "Son, are you OK?"

I looked up at him in a daze as my limbs convulsed uncontrollably.

He turned to the secretary. "Call EMS," he barked. "It may be some kind of drug overdose!"

"No!" I tried to say, but only a small cry made it out. I tried to sit up but couldn't. Someone else came and they stood over me, staring. I buried my face in my trembling hands. I didn't want to be seen like this.

Previous ChapterNext Chapter