Castle Roland

Mountain Magic

by Sequoyah


Chapter 8

Posted: N/A

When we got back to the house I guess it was obvious something had changed. When we came downstairs after changing into work clothes before taking care of evening chores, Grandmom said, "I don't know what you two found in the woods, but you sure look happier than you did when you got up this morning."

"I'm sure we do, Grandmom"--Jason had asked about calling my grandparents Grandmom and Granddad as I did after he became a part of the family, and both told him they'd be honored. "It's good to have a friend to talk things over with."

"Sure is," I agreed.

When we finished with the chores and had supper, we both went upstairs to hit the books. Neither of us had done very much homework over the weekend and we now had to pay for it. We kept looking up from what we were doing, smiling at each other and blowing kisses until Jason finally said, "I'm not getting anything done."

"Neither am I but I have a shitload of work to do. Since I don't need the computer, I think I best go to my room and leave you here so we both can get our work done."

An hour later, I was deeply involved in a calculus problem and didn't hear Jason when he walked into my room. The first I knew of his presence was when he kissed the back of my neck. When I turned to look up at him, he kissed my forehead.

"Snack time," he said as I stood up.

Jason wrapped me in his arms and we immediately fell into a passionate kiss, our tongues doing battle, our breathing becoming heavy. I'm sure we had a lot to learn about being in love but, if our kiss was any indication, we were fast learners!

"Thought it was snack time," I laughed when we broke our kiss.

"Right, and you are my favorite snack!" After another much tamer kiss, we walked downstairs hand-in-hand, dropping hands only when we reached the bottom of the stairs.

Granddad and Grandmom joined us for a snack. We talked about what had to be done around the farm next week--very little beyond the daily chores--and what we faced in school.

"We'll have an easy weekend, I'm sure," Jason said, "because of homecoming."

"You have dates with the same girls you dated last night?" Grandmom asked.

"Yes, ma'am," Jason replied.

"Anything serious there?" Granddad asked with a smile.

"That's a problem," Jason said. "See...."

I was ready to bolt out of the house! What was Jason thinking about???

"... Doug and I were talking about that earlier. We have fun with them, enjoy being with them, but that's it. Kinda like we want to be friends and I think maybe they want more. Any wisdom?"

My heart had started beating in regular rhythm again. "Yeah, Granddad, how did you handle women who wanted your bod?" I laughed.

"Very well," Grandmom said. "He handled them very well, and he had a whole string of women after him."

"So how did you end up with him?" Jason asked. "Maybe it will help me escape."

"Don't you know the way to a man's heart is through his stomach?" Grandmom answered.

"I know we are joking, at least a bit," Granddad said, "but your concern is a serious one. Very often, I suspect, one person gets very interested in another who does not return the level of interest, the depth of feeling. I'm afraid it is seldom possible for friendship to survive when one wants to be friends and the other wants more. It does happen, but seldom I think."

"Wisdom?" Grandmom asked, her voice serious. "Sons, just be honest and above board. You can't determine how a girl feels about you, but I would hope you wouldn't pretend you think more of her than you do or that you feel differently from what you do. You can hope you can be friends but, as your granddad says, that's not easy if she wants more--feels more. So just be sure the young lady knows how you feel. Be honest and it will be up to her to decide whether she wants to be friends or not. She may be hurt, but not nearly as hurt as she will be if you pretended you were serious about her--in love I guess--when you were not."

We talked more about how we liked Sandra and Janie and why; how much we enjoyed being with them, but we were only interested in being friends. Nothing was added to our earlier conversation. Nonetheless both Jason and I told the grandparents how much we appreciated their talking with us. "I guess to you all this is just a foolish teenage problem," Jason said. Both grandparents assured us it was a problem at any age.

Just before we were ready to go upstairs, Jason asked Granddad about Mr. Duncan. Grandmom had told us how upset he was that a bully had been allowed to continue harassing people after he had been reported to the principal. And while we knew Granddad had met with him several times after the fight, little had been said about the outcome.

"I don't think bullying will be allowed again," he said. "In fact, the chairman of the school board and the superintendent of schools attended a workshop on school bullies this summer and wanted to do in-service training for teachers and staff. The board and principals wouldn't back them, saying bullying wasn't a problem in any of 'our' schools. The two officials didn't push it, but that head-in-the-sand attitude is about to change. The in-service will be held now and, since I was promised that would be done, I have held back pushing anything further--for the time being. If the in-service doesn't happen? Well, we'll see."

Jason and I then said goodnight and went upstairs. I told Jason I had one more problem in calculus to work through before I could go to bed. He went to the bathroom and got ready for bed while I finished.When I finished in the bathroom and was ready for bed, Jason stepped out into the hall, smiled and walked with me. When we reached my room and had stepped inside, he closed the door quietly and took me in his arms. "Want a goodnight kiss?" he asked, his eyes sparkling, his funny little Jason smile on his face.

"Right now, more than anything else in the world."

His lips covered mind and I just about melted in his arms. The kiss was long, passionate yet tender.

When we finally broke it, Jason said, "I can understand Hank needing a jacket to hide behind after a hot make-out session. Guess it's all about who you are with, and I am definitely with the right person."

The hardness I felt between us not only affirmed the truth of his statement about himself, but also its truth so far as I was concerned. Jason kissed me once again and said, "Goodnight, Doug, I love you."

"Goodnight, Jason," I responded, "I love you."

During the next week the weather decided to remind us that it was November and no longer fall. The trees were bare, the days were gray and there was an almost constant drizzle. It was enough to depress anyone, even two young men who were discovering the delights of being in love--delights in spite of the fact that all we did was kiss and hold each other.

We did an awful lot of talking about our situation, about what being gay meant, and about love-making. We also spent time on the internet learning about the same things. Just as I had found the information confusing when I was searching for answers for myself, the two of us had the same problem. That was especially true when we tried to learn about love-making, about having sex--I mean more than just stroking each other. Finally I said, "Jason, the best advise we have found is to do nothing your partner doesn't want to do. That makes a lot of sense to me." Jason nodded his agreement.

We also talked about our relationship with Sandra and Janie. I was surprised when I realized that I was really looking forward to homecoming. I didn't know why and mentioned it to Jason. "I feel the same way," he said. "I guess it's because this gray, drizzly weather is getting under my skin and those two women are always so upbeat. I know it's not because I'll get to kiss a girl. There's not a girl in the world who can compare with you," he smiled.

Tuesday evening we were downstairs with my grandparents. I had played for my usual hour's practice and then some more popular music for Jason's enjoyment--at least he said he enjoyed hearing me play--then we went into the den where our grandparents were sitting. Jason and I had made it a point to spend time with them. I mean it wasn't something I dreaded, actually I liked it, but it was so easy to get caught up in school work and in what was going on with us that we forgot about them.

They were very interested in how we were doing in school--which was great. They were very generous in their praise for both of us, but especially so for Jason since his school background wasn't nearly as good as mine. He had to work harder than I did, but he was willing to do so and his grades reflected that.

From time to time, something said would trigger Jason's thinking about his family. At first he would just clam up, but Granddad had taken him aside and told him what he talked about was his decision. "We don't have to know about your past, especially if it's painful for you to talk about it. At the same time, we are here to listen if you need to talk about it. What's best for Jason is what you do." After Granddad had talked to him, Jason started talking about his past and it would just gush out. No-one asked a question or made a judgment.

That evening, which started out as a nice, easy evening, continued with Jason spewing out feelings and emotions resulting from his mistreatment by his parents and later by his mom's boyfriend. He ended up sitting in the floor, crying uncontrollably. I was surprised when Granddad got up, walked over, knelt beside him and put his arm around him. He lifted Jason to his feet and, with his arm around him, returned to his chair. He sat down and actually held Jason on his lap and rocked back and forth as he stroked Jason's back.

Both Grandmom and I got a smile on our face looking at Granddad holding Jason, who was a full two, three inches taller. He was quite a lapful because he was very solid, quite stocky, and I guess weighed about two hundred pounds. It looked even funnier when Jason kinda curled up in Granddad's lap, his arms around Granddad's neck. Of course, it really wasn't funny at all. Jason was hurting, suffering deep pain, and Granddad had chosen to comfort him in the best way he knew how. Which, it seemed, was the best way, period. After that evening, Jason seemed much more at ease with himself and his past.

Wednesday evening before homecoming, we were all downstairs watching a TV show. Granddad said he thought he'd head for bed just as the eleven o'clock news started. He stopped and turned toward the TV when the news opened with a bulletin about the weather. Seems we were in the path of a storm which might bring snow. Later, when the weatherman gave his full forecast, he added very little and concluded with the announcement that the station would carry bulletins, beginning at 5:00 am, of school closings if the storm did bring snow.Jason and I went upstairs, got ready for bed, kissed each other goodnight and went to bed.

When Granddad called us from downstairs in the morning he said, "Delayed school opening today. You have until ten to get to school." In the bathroom, Jason and I performed our morning ritual which now included a great good morning kiss after we had gotten rid of dragon mouth. When we finished, we went downstairs for a leisurely breakfast. "There isn't a lot of snow," Granddad said, "but I guess in some of the higher elevations it is deep enough to pose a danger to buses."

After breakfast, I called Hank and asked if he'd like for us to pick him up. I was sure he wouldn't be riding a bicycle in the snow. We left about an hour after our usual time, which allowed extra time should we need it because of the snow. There was still a little snow on the road but we made good time.

As we pulled up to the stop sign where Deep Cove Road dead-ends into Clarksville Highway, the main road into Coldsprings, Jason said, "Ho, Doug, there's something in the ditch." I backed up and out of the road, and the three of us got out of the Jeep. The "something" in the ditch turned out to be "someone".

Lying in the ditch was a young man. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt, over which he had a very light windbreaker. "He has to be nearly frozen," Hank said. "Let's get him in the Jeep and to the emergency room." Jason reached down and lifted the kid, holding him in his arms. Hank ran round to the opposite side of the Jeep, opened the door and reached through to help Jason get him inside. They laid him on the seat, his head in Hank's lap. I handed Hank a blanket to cover him. As soon as Hank was settled, Jason hopped in and turned the heater up full blast.There was practically no snow on the main road, but I did have to watch the bridges and overpasses as they were still icy. Nonetheless, we reached the emergency room in record time I think. As I backed up to the ramp, Jason hopped out, ran to the door and pushed the emergency button.

"We have a kid we found in a ditch," he told the male nurse who answered the bell. "He's breathing--barely--and probably has frostbite." As Jason was talking, another nurse wheeled a gurney through the doors and Hank got out of the Jeep. The two nurses got the kid out and on the gurney where he was covered with blankets. We followed them into the emergency room.

As the nurses wheeled the kid into a treatment bay, a woman came up and asked us to come with her.

She was the admissions clerk and, when we got to her office, she wanted all sorts of information which we couldn't provide. She seemed to be unable to accept the fact that we had just picked the kid up out of a ditch and brought him in.

Finally Jason said, obviously irritated, "Look, Ma'am, we were on our way to school when we spotted something in a ditch. We found a half-frozen kid. He was unconscious so we brought him here. We might have seen him at school, but none of us remember him if we have. That's all we know. Anything else, you'll have to wait until the kid can talk or someone comes to see about him."

We finally convinced her we didn't know any more than what we had told her and she sent us to the waiting room with, "Well, I guess you'll just have him be known as John Doe." How can you respond to a statement like that?

We had been waiting for over half an hour when a doctor came out to talk to us. "I'm Dr. Alexander," she said and started asking questions. We had to convince her that we didn't know the kid, but she accepted that we had found him in a ditch and had brought him in. And that we didn't know him.

"Well, I guess you'd like to know something about him," the doctor said. "Since you brought him in I can tell you he has no identification, but I assume he is local. Probably thirteen or fourteen and I would guess a student at Coldsprings middle or high school. Not more than a freshman, I think. You sure you don't know him? You do go to Coldsprings, right?"

We nodded and Hank said, "Must be in middle school. I don't remember seeing him before." Jason and I agreed.

"Well, not only does he have problems caused by exposure, but also from a beating he received before he put on his jacket. Sure you know nothing about that?"

When we assured her we didn't, she continued, "The back of his shirt is stiff with blood but there is little on his jacket. He's suffering from hypothermia and I suspected frostbite but it seems he avoided that, heaven only knows how. He's probably going to be out of it for the rest of the day, maybe longer. That's all I can tell you right now. I have called the sheriff's department and Children's Protective Services, and they will send someone over soon."

"Will you check with the principal at Coldsprings for me? If he can help, have him get in touch with the sheriff." We told her we would. "I suspect the young man who owes you his life would appreciate your dropping by when he's awake," the doctor said as she shook hands with us and left.

We drove to school, getting there after 10:00. Since we were late, we went to the front office and told Mr. Duncan's secretary we had a message for him. He heard us and came out. "Come on in the office, fellows," he said as he motioned for us. I noticed he was definitely friendlier these days. If I had Gerald McElrath pissed at me, I'd sure get very friendly with anyone who might help get that mountain man off my back!

Inside Mr. Duncan's office, we told him about John Doe. He said he didn't know how he could be much help since a lot of students had stayed home because of the snow. "Otherwise we could possibly check the absentee list and spot him if he is a student here. I'll call the middle school, but I suspect the same situation is true there."

"From your description, I'm sure you are aware he could be just about any guy in the freshman or maybe sophomore class. Well, the blonds would be eliminated, but we have more black-headed students than blonds. We are close to Cherokee--well why am I saying that with you two standing in front of me?" he laughed and patted me and Jason on the shoulder. He thanked us for the information, gave us a pass to class and promised he would let us know what he found out about the situation.

Just before our final bell, we got a note from Mr. Duncan asking us to stop by his office before we left school. He poked his head out of his office when he heard us speak to the receptionist and said, "Come on in fellows."

Inside he told us he had learned very little--actually nothing--about the kid, John Doe. "The sheriff has been trying to identify him without luck. I was sure his parents would have found out he was missing and reported that but, when I called a few minutes ago, the dispatcher at the sheriff's office said there had been no report of a missing teenage male of his description anywhere in western North Carolina. Keep in touch if you learn anything more," Mr. Duncan said.

Even though the doctor told us John Doe would probably be unconscious, we decided to check on him on our way to work. Sure enough, he was still out of it and the nurse would tell us nothing more than that he was holding his own. "He's listed in stable but serious condition, upgraded from critical when you brought him in."

"His parents haven't called or anything?"

"No, and we don't know how to contact them," she said.

Of course we told Grandmom and Granddad about our "snow boy". He was, of course, as much a mystery to them as to us. Both were very surprised that neither the sheriff's department nor Children's Protective Services had been able to identify him.

Needless to say, with the homecoming game on tap, little was done at school Friday. Since the three of us had begged off work Friday--and the swim coach knew better than to schedule a practice--we were free after sixth period. We had reservations for dinner in Asheville, then would come back to the game and dance. We were on a tight schedule but I did want to check on John Doe.

As soon as we got out of school, we went to the hospital. When we identified ourselves as having brought John Doe in, we were told he was still under heavy sedation and would most likely be asleep, but we could go up to see him if we liked.

When we reported to the charge nurse, she told us John Doe was doing a bit better than expected but his condition was still serious, "But I guess less serious than it was," she smiled. She then asked if we were family. We told her no and how we knew John Doe. "I was hoping you were family," she said. "It would be good to know who he is and how he came to be beaten and left in the snow. He'll need his family when he wakes up."

We looked in on our "snow boy" but, as the nurse said, he was asleep. His room was very warm, I guess because he was uncovered. He was lying on his stomach, which I thought was odd until I realized his back was bandaged. "I wonder who beat him?" Jason asked. "His whole back has a dressing so he must have really been torn up."

We left the hospital, went by the florist and picked up the girls' flowers, then went home to get ready for our big date. I dropped Jason off at home and took Hank to his place. He was getting his family's van again for the evening and would pick us up.

Dinner was a quiet affair. We had told the girls about John Doe at lunch and they asked about him. We could add little, but we did talk about him and his condition. They said no-one at school seemed to know him. Given that the high school grapevine didn't know anything about him, the girls had decided he must be in middle school. Of course we speculated about how he might have been beaten, and why he was in the ditch, but it was just speculation.

The football game was nothing special. As usual, the team picked for homecoming was not the best in the conference and Coldsprings wasn't exactly a powerhouse either. I guess since homecoming had been put off until November, most of the excitement was gone anyway.

The dance was ok. Since I had ballroom dancing, I knew how to slow dance well, something which seemed to be unknown among most of my schoolmates. Every time there was a slow dance, Janie kept getting cut in on by girls who could sorta slow dance and who had dates who couldn't or wouldn't dance with them. The final dance was a long, slow one and I guess the girls thought Janie deserved one whole dance with me so no-one cut in.

Once again Hank managed to get himself in a fix making out with Beth. Jason and I gave the girls a goodnight kiss and that was it. Hank made a lot of comments about us being frigid on the way home. Jason and I tried to laugh it all off.

Finally Jason said, "To tell the truth, Hank, I like Sandra a lot but I can't get involved with her. I am kinda committed but I can't talk about it. Maybe you could say something to Sandra so she won't push for more than I can give, otherwise I'll just have to stop going out with her. I have fun and enjoy being with her, but that's as far as it can go."

I started to say, "Me too," but thought better of it and could have kicked myself for not coming up with some bright scheme to get me off the hook as Jason had done.

When we got home Jason said, "Man, you gotta teach me to slow dance. You are something else. I wanted so bad to go out on that dance floor with you tonight."

"You just wanted to get your hands on my bod," I laughed.

"That too, yeah, that too," he replied. Jason gave me one of his shy smiles and said, "I think I've got it bad."

I walked over to my CD player and dropped in a CD of slow-dance music. As the music started, I smiled and said, "Well, there's nothing to hold you back now." I took Jason in my arms and as I did said, "I think I better lead."

I had noticed Jason had sat out all the slow dances but, with my firm lead, he did very well for a beginner. When the song ended, he had his arms around me and pulled my body to his and placed his lips against mine. Jason was able to do in seconds what Janie hadn't been able to do all evening. I got very hot as his tongue invaded my mouth, as our kiss became more and more passionate.When we finally broke our kiss, Jason said, "Doug, I love you, man, but we gotta talk."

"Jason, there's a time for talk and a time for action. This is a time for action!"

"Action is what I'm afraid of," Jason said as he sat down in the desk chair and I slouched in the other one. As I sat down, he said again, "We really gotta talk."

"What have we gotta talk about?" I asked, more than a little bit impatient.

"Doug, we've been looking and reading on the internet about making love, right."

"Right, and I'm ready to stop reading and start making."

"Man, that's what we've got to talk about. We are both living here because we had no other place to go. I mean I had no place to go and you are here because your grandparents took you in."


"So, do you know what they would do if they knew their grandson was gay, a faggot? Do you know what they would think if they knew I was too, and in love with you? What do you think they would do if they knew we were up here dancing and kissing, much less doing something more? I don't know. Do you?"

"Of course I don't know," I answered.

"Well, I doubt very seriously they would think it was great. So don't you think we are obligated to keep things cool? I mean I don't think they would send you packing, but me? I suspect they would show me the road for seducing their grandson. You haven't been on the street, homeless. I have and I don't ever want to go back there. There is nothing good about it. You are out in all sorts of weather, hungry most of the time and prey for all sorts of bad people."

I had to admit Jason had a point, but I didn't like it. "Look, Jason, we may have a good night kiss, maybe two or three, and call it quits for a while, but how long do you think that can last?"

"That's just it, Doug. I'm willing to spend as much time as we need getting love-making down...." Jason actually blushed, then said, "I mean I don't mind how much practice it takes, but I'm not sure we have a right to even practice. I guess I can see where you might think your grandparents have a responsibility for you. After all, you are their blood kin. I'm no-one to them. They owe me nothing, zilch, nada and I think making love to you would be taking advantage of them. Know what I mean?"

"I think you're wrong, Jason. I think Grandmom and Granddad feel the same toward you as they do me. I don't think it's an obligation they feel, but they are just good people reaching out to help someone. I really do think that they wouldn't make any difference between us."

"Doug, don't you see that makes our situation even harder?"

When Jason said that, I couldn't help it. I burst out laughing. "Well things were getting harder, but not now," I laughed. "As a matter of fact, I wonder if I will ever be able to get it up." "Oh, I don't worry about that," Jason smiled, and proved how right he was as that Jason smile started things stirring again.

The problem Jason brought up was a real one and I knew it. I got up and started pacing the floor, a habit I have when I am trying to sort things out. I finally flopped down on my bed and looked at Jason, hoping he had something positive to offer. He got up, walked over to the bed and flopped down beside me. I raised up, looked into those black, black eyes and slowly bent forward and kissed him softly. I then lay my head on his chest and said, "Ok, Jason, talk."

We talked for half an hour I guess. Both of us really felt that we had an obligation to Grandmom and Granddad, but we weren't very clear what it was. We agreed that sooner or later we had to tell them about us, but both wanted it to be later--much later if possible.

Finally, we had talked all around who and what we were and had to come to some decision. "As much as I hate to suggest it, I think we best keep ourselves under control for the time being. Kisses when it is safe, maybe something else IF we can be sure it is safe, but no more. I really doubt your grandparents would throw you out if we were caught kissing, but I am sure I would be told to hit the road," Jason said.

"I don't think so. I mean I don't think they would throw either one of us out or, if they did, it would be both. But I don't want to find out. I guess kissing in their presence is out, but I certainly see no reason why we can't show some kind of affection in their presence."

"Maybe. We'll just have to see what we can work out. And we both--my little speech will not do the job--have to deal with the girls if we plan to keep going out with them."

"Why does love have to be such a problem?" I asked, raising my head to look into Jason's eyes.

"Because we're special, so there's no manual for us," he smiled.

I lay back on Jason's chest as he ran his fingers through my hair. The next thing I knew I woke up, shivering. Jason and I were still lying on my bed, on top of the cover, and both had drifted off to sleep. I whispered his name until he answered. I don't think he ever got fully awake as I guided him down the hall, into his bed and covered him. I leaned over and kissed his forehead and went back to my own bed.

Jake liked Jason's work so well, he used him a lot of Saturdays. But since there was often no way to know whether he was needed or not, that meant sometimes Jake was disappointed because he needed Jason who had already made other plans. Other times it meant Jason was available to work Saturday and Jake didn't need him, but after the two talked about it they saw no solution other than to continue as they had been--Jake calling Jason if he needed him. Jake made it clear that if Jason had other plans he should feel free to tell him he couldn't work.Since we had homecoming and all Friday night, we hadn't planned on Jason working Saturday--but Saturday morning Jake called. He said he needed Jason to clean an apartment. "I really need it cleaned as soon as possible, and I can tell you it is a real job. I suspect it will take most of a week of after-school work if you can work some today."

Seems an elderly lady had lived in the apartment for a pile of years but had been taken to a nursing home the week before. "She had six cats, so it is a real mess. If you have a couple buddies who can use some work, bring them along too."

Jason told him I'd help after my piano lesson. "I'll see if Hank is needed at the music store and, if not, he might help," he told Jake.

"When's Douglas' lesson?" Jason told him it was at 10:00 in Asheville. "Since Douglas has a lesson, why don't the three of you meet me here about 12:00? Will that give him enough time to get here?" Jason said it would. Jake said, "Good. That will give me time to get things organized."

When the three of us got to the apartment building, Jake said, "Men, I hope you're not allergic to cats. This is a real cat house!" As soon as we walked into the apartment we knew what he meant. The odor of cat piss almost knocked us down.Jake handed us coveralls and suggested we take off our clothes and just wear the coveralls. "You won't want to ride home smelling like tomcats." When we had changed he gave us masks, but they only offered protection from dust, not odor.

The first thing we did was pull up the old carpet and pad. By the time we had ripped up carpet in three rooms and dragged it downstairs to the dumpster, we were dirty and smelling of cat piss. I think the old lady must have had only toms, none of which had been neutered. We were so dirty and smelly, we decided we'd work through without a break and get off early so we could get cleaned up.

Jake brought in a solution which we used to scrub the floors which had been carpeted. It was supposed to get rid of the cat smell. That done, we started cleaning the kitchen. We had scrubbed the floor, the range and refrigerator when Jake came by at 5:30 and said, "You guys have done a day's work already. I mean that. I hadn't expected you to be nearly as far along as you are. I brought some towels and soap if you want to take a shower here, go ahead then go home. Oh, and here's your checks for this week," he said, handing an envelope each to Jason and me.

The three of us went to the bathroom and stripped off the coveralls. The shower was just big enough for one person, so we took turns getting wet, soaping up and rinsing off. Jason and I knew we needed to keep our eyes away from each other's equipment and were doing a pretty good job of it until Hank said, "Jason, man, you're uncut! I don't think I have ever seen someone with an uncut cock. How does it work?"

"Works just fine," Jason said, as he pulled his loose foreskin back revealing the head of his cock.

"Hey, let me do that," Hank said. Jason turned bright red as Hank reached out, took hold of his cock and pulled the skin back. "Neat!" Hank exclaimed as he gave Jason's cock a couple-three strokes. "Hey, you're getting hard," he laughed.

"I suspect you'd get hard too, if I started playing with your cock," Jason answered.

"Probably wouldn't take that much," Hank said. "I STAY half-hard most days."

It was all so easy and relaxed. Just guys doing what I suspect all guys do sooner or later, but Jason looked at me as if to say, "I'm on dangerous ground here."

We finished our showers, put on our clothes, left the house and went to Wendy's for burgers and fries. We were all pretty hungry since all three of us had skipped lunch.

On the way home we decided we'd go by the hospital and check on John Doe. His status had been upgraded again. The charge nurse said he was still under pretty heavy sedation because of his injuries, and sleeping most of the time, but was definitely improving. She also told us he was still listed as John Doe. No-one had come forward asking about him and he had refused to talk to doctors or nurses.

When we looked in on him, he was awake. "Hi, I'm Douglas McElrath, this is Hank Dennison and Jason Talltree," I said, introducing us. "We found you in the ditch and brought you here. Glad to see you're getting better."

John didn't bother to look at us and said, "You should have just left me in the ditch, saved yourselves a lot of trouble," his speech was slurred, obviously from being heavily sedated.

"Whoa, Man, what's with this 'You should have left me in the ditch' crap?" Jason asked.

John had turned his head away as soon as we entered the room, refusing to look at us. He now buried his face in his pillow and muttered, "I don't want to talk about it."

"You're still pretty sick, young man, so you can get by with that, but we'll be back. We thought you were worth dragging out of the ditch and bringing you here, and we still do. Besides, you owe us your life since we saved it. It's ours now. That's the way us Indians think," Hank said.

I had to smother a laugh when I looked at Hank. A more blond human being you were not going to find. Had Jason or I said something about Indian thinking, it would have had some semblance of truth, but Hank? Not on your life! "We'll be back," Hank said as we turned to leave the room.

When we got back to the nurse's station, I asked, "Does anyone know what happened to John Doe? He seems pretty down, hating himself."

"We haven't been able to get anything out of him except that he should have been left in the ditch to die. We're keeping a close watch on him. No-one has told him but, even in his weak and heavily sedated condition, he's on suicide watch. Maybe he'll talk to you guys if you keep coming by." We promised her we would.

When we got home, Hank said he hoped he could get all the cat smell off. Even though we had showered and changed clothes, we still thought we could smell it. "Don't think Beth will like me to show up smelling like a tomcat," he laughed.

"Tomcat now, stud later," Jason said."This is getting pretty serious, Hank, if you are going out with her Friday and Saturday night both."

"Yeah, and church with her in the morning," he added.

"Guess we'll see you then, since Beth and her family go to Grace," I said.

"How about you, Jason? You into this church thing?" Hank asked.

"Kinda, I guess. Never been into it before and still not too sure about it, but right now I think it helps."

"Why don't you two call Janie and Sandra and ask them to go with you? All six of us could go together."

"Don't think so, Hank. We really have to talk to them about that soon," Jason said.

"Yeah, we need to talk," I added.

"Ok, but later. Right now I have to wash the cat off."Hank got out of the Jeep and, as he walked toward his house, Jason and I headed home. "You know what I said is true, don't you?" Jason asked.

"You mean about talking to the girls?"

"Yeah. But before that we are going to have to talk to Hank, tell him something and, man, I don't know what."

"Neither do I."

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