Castle Roland

The Concord

by Sequoyah


Chapter 10

Published: 8 Apr 14

ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Ten--Mary Kathryn

"What do you mean you won't be available? What's happened? What are you doing?" It was obvious I was on edge as I panicked a bit, not knowing what was going on.

"Just calm yourself. Nothing major for you, I suspect, but pretty major for Jens and me. We have the lake house for the weekend and we're leaving work early Friday and will be back late Sunday night. I've made arrangements for you to stay with the Greywolfs. Think you can stay out of trouble?"

"I'm sure I can," I replied. When I glanced at Linda, she gave me the ok sign and winked. I blushed and hoped Mom didn't notice.

Thursday was a beautiful fall day, bright blue skies and warm, very warm for October. At lunch the whole gang decided we should go to the falls after school. It would probably be too cold for swimming, but we could just enjoy being outside after being cooped up in school all day. There was a small produce stand beside the road on the way home, and we stopped and got a bunch of apples which we munched on as we drove into the country. Bill and his carload stopped at the Greywolfs' and Michael and our carload went on to his place and got towels in case it was warm enough for swimming.

When we got to the falls, Linda and Bill, Jacob and Susan and Jack were waiting for us--sitting on a blanket Bill had taken from his car. Keith and Christopher were with our group. As soon as we arrived, Linda asked, "Who's going to test the water?".

There was a mad rush as Bill, Michael and Jacob started stripping. Christopher asked, "You guys going in the nude?".

"Yea, we're members of the world skinny-dipping team," Bill laughed. Christopher was hesitant, as was Jack, but it didn't take them long to get undressed and all five hit the water.

"How's the water?" Linda shouted to the guys.

"Water's fine," Michael answered, but I think his teeth were chattering. Linda and I quickly undressed and, while she was in no rush, Susan finally joined us. I dived in and the water was fine, I guess, but it sure wasn't warm! We swam awhile nonetheless, but finally all climbed out when we started turning blue. We quickly dried ourselves and got dressed. It was not warm enough to sit around naked.

Michael had brought a blanket too, so we spread it out and all of us flopped down. The sun felt good after the cold water. "Have you guys thought about costumes for the Halloween party?" Michael asked. "Douglas wanted us to wear costumes and, given what he's putting into this, it's the least we can do."

"Did you tell Dan he's to wear a costume?" Michael asked Christopher.

"No, I didn't."

"Will you be talking to him anytime soon?"

I swear, Christopher blushed and half-stammered, "I suspect I will. I talk to him every night. He's really a great guy, you know."

"Yea, we know. We also knew him when he was not such a great guy and that makes who he is now even more remarkable," Bill said. "Anyway, what have you come up with, Michael?"

"Thought I might go as a Lakota medicine man. Got all the stuff for that."

"I'll say you have, and it works," Christopher said. "Man, it really works."

"I guess that means I have to go as your Lakota woman," I said.

"You have to go as my woman, regardless of how you dress!" Michael said, and gave me a great kiss.

"Hey, no making out now. Christopher and Keith are without partners," Linda said.

"Maybe you two should be a couple," Jacob laughed. "That's what happened with me and Paula."

"Don't think so," Keith said, "but he is a nice one, if a little skinny."

"Yea, Christopher, we need to get to work and get you in shape," Bill said. "You eating enough these days?"

"Like a horse, but it all seems to be settling about my middle."

"Tomorrow, after school, we all meet in the weight room and get you started on a workout program. But what are the rest of you wearing?"

"I thought about digging out my great-granddad's Greek soldier's dress uniform, if Granddad would permit it," Christopher said. "It's a nifty outfit--knee socks, shirt with huge sleeves under an embroidered vest, and a pleated skirt. Told Granddad it looked like something a girl would wear and he told me never to say that to a Greek. 'Your great-granddad was a brave soldier and people know what kind of fighters the Greeks are.' It really would be great if he will let me wear it."

"Linda and I are working on something, but we want to keep it for a surprise," Bill said.

"Same here," Jacob said. "Susan and I have been thinking of wild outfits and I think we have it."

Keith said, "I haven't given it a lot of thought. I guess I still can't believe we are going to Lexington and climb on a plane to fly to Ohio for a party. It sounds like something a rock star would do."

"Hey, that's it, Keith... Keith Bad Man Lewis, rock star!" Susan said.

We talked about that a bit longer then the talk turned to all that had been going on in the fall. "To tell the truth, I am more than ready for a break," Michael said. "We have had more school work than most, since all of us except Christopher have at least one AP class and Christopher missed a bunch of school before and after he was dumped in the shit. How's school coming, Christopher?"

"Great. With Bill and Jack tutoring me in math and chemistry, I'm doing pretty well. Hell, I'm doing better than pretty well; I'm doing great and it sure feels good."

"Well, with school and peer counseling... Christopher, I think you should join that group next semester. We're having a training session during Christmas break."

"After all the trouble I've caused? I doubt that I would be accepted."

"Hey, you've been there and got back. That's what's important. You can tell some kid where they are headed and make it stick because you're been there," Keith said. "I planned to asked to join. I've seen what a word can do. If I hadn't spoken to that young kid, he'd been in Rocky's clutches and taken a long time to escape. It took me one hell of a long time to wake up."

That provoked a round of talking about people who stay with partners who abuse them. Everyone said they couldn't see how anyone could let it happen and Keith said, "Yea, I know. Now I look back and can't believe I let it happen to me, but I did. I know it doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense to me, but at the time I guess I wanted to be wanted by anyone who would have me, even if it was to abuse me. I really can't explain it because I don't understand it myself. But I did learn one thing: I'll never let it happen again."

"I thought it was a very rare thing," Linda said, "but I'd say half the girls I talk to, especially those who are not pretty and popular, are abused to one degree or another by their boyfriends. Bill, you ever try that and you'll go to your grave childless because I'll rip your balls off," she said, as she gave him one of her patented slugs on the arm.

"How about women abusing men?" he asked as he rubbed his arm, pretending to be in great pain.

"Don't laugh," Jacob said. "I had a kid come to talk to me last week and he wanted to know if women were supposed to beat up on their boyfriends. It happens both ways. Of course I wondered what girl could beat up on him as he was a pretty good-sized fellow, then I saw his girlfriend. She should be on the football team," he laughed.

We lay in the sun for a good while longer, talking about school and what we planned to do in the next semester, and other things which were not important, just teen chatter.

ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Ten--Keith

I enjoyed being with the Fellowship, as they called themselves. I guess that really should be 'we call ourselves' because I have definitely become a part of that group. They were an honest, straight-shooting bunch. Once they knew my terrible secret, it made no difference. They accepted me just as I was and appreciated who I was. When the guys started stripping, I wondered just what was up and I was thunderstruck when it all seemed very natural to them. No-one was embarrassed or shy, no-one made fun of anyone. I'm sure that in ordinary circumstances there would have been a lot of "Mine's bigger than yours" kind of joking, but not here.

I also really appreciated how concerned they were for each other, for the school and all that. They were a real caring crowd. I was surprised when someone suggested Christopher and I could be a couple. I must admit I found the idea attractive, but I saw how Christopher reacted when he was asked if he would be talking with Danny anytime soon. You want a couple? There was a couple whether they knew it yet or not. Jack was also attractive, but I was sure he was as straight as they came. But I was not in a rush to get coupled up with anyone after my experience with Rocky.

After we left the falls, Michael took me and Christopher home. Going home was a lot more relaxed these days. Once I told Dad I was gay, I didn't feel as if I was hiding something which he might find out and do I didn't know what. We talked lots about what being gay meant in terms of relationships, society's reactions, problems in school, all those sorts of things. He made sure I realized that, while he wished I wasn't been gay because of all the flack I would catch, he didn't feel any different towards me, or maybe he did. He was, particularly after I told him about Rocky, more protective. He was all for me going to the party in Ohio. "You'll see two gay couples there who seem to have it all together. I think that will be of benefit to you. Whatever you need to go, let me know," he had said.

At the falls that day we had talked about what we needed to take: regular clothing and toiletries, of course--and Christopher, who had lived up north, reminded us we each needed a warm coat--and a costume. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of going as a rock star. I'd pick up some temporary tattoos. I had black leather pants--tight!--and a black leather vest which I wore when I was DJ at the club in Lexington. I had an ear pierced with a stud, but needed to find a more obvious earring, I thought a silver ring. I laughed when I thought about going out and finding one. I was sure Christopher had a bunch from which I could choose. He was wearing about half of what he had been at the beginning of school.

Friday, when I got to the tables--two tables had long ago been pushed together to hold the group--where the Fellowship sat, there was a new girl there. She was as red-headed as Jacob, with fair complexion and startling green eyes. While I was not into women, I knew she was a looker. She was kinda short--I guess about five three or four--and had a fantastic figure. I noticed Jack was so taken with her that he missed his mouth a couple times when he was shoveling food into it. "Who's this new girl who has Jack all a-goo-goo?" I asked as I sat down. "I'm Keith," I said as I held out my hand.

She took it and Jacob said, "This is my cousin Rachel. She's new here as of today. Her mom and dad have split and her mother works nights so she asked her brother, my dad, if Rachel could live with him for a while--probably at least until school is out. Now ain't that weird? My dad threw me out of the house because I dated a Jewish girl, but takes in a cousin. Makes no never-mind to me, I have a real family--Bill's. Rachel will be treated like a princess to show me what I'm missing. She knows all about me being kicked out so she will play it cool."

"She will be making the trip to Ohio with us, won't she?" I asked.

"Hell, I hadn't thought about that. I'm not sure whether Dad will let her go or not. I know he wouldn't if he knew where we were going," Jacob said.

"Guess we need to think about this one and come up with something," Bill said. "Like a school trip or something. She sure needs to go."

"Gives us another problem to solve," Mary Kathryn said. "We have a planeload Thursday night and Friday evening as well."

"I forgot," Linda said. "My parents can't go. Dad is going on a business convention that weekend and Mom had planned to go with him. I guess Rachel can come up Friday with the adults. Probably not what you would choose, Rachel, but they really are a grand bunch of people."

Rachel had been sitting quietly, but I was sure her head would be spinning. "Rachel, has anyone bothered to tell you what they are planning for your life?" I laughed. "I guess you will learn quickly to speak up for yourself or your entire life will be planned for you and you'll not have the slightest idea of what's going on."

"He's right, Rachel. Don't be shy around this bunch or you'll be left out in the cold. Not that we mean to, but we just race along most of the time assuming everyone is keeping up," Jack said. "We have been invited to a Halloween party in Ohio. Mary Kathryn's brother and his partner, two other guys who are partners, and Jacob's former girlfriend, are in college at Oberlin. They own a house on Lake Erie which, from what I understand, was made for a Halloween party. A couple from the Sarasota School of Art decided to have a Halloween party there and are flying us all up. We'll leave Thursday after school and get back sometime Wednesday. You, of course, are now invited."

"If my head wasn't spinning before, it certainly is now," Rachel laughed. "A plane is carrying you to a party? In Ohio?"

"Yea, seems Douglas--he's the guy from Sarasota--has a friend whose father has a private jet which costs as much on the ground as in the air, except for fuel. Douglas is picking up the tab for the fuel. All we have to do is pack what we need, including a costume, and we're off to a party," Bill explained.

"Since Linda's parents can't make it, one of us should stay here and come Friday with Rachel," I said. "After all, we are all strangers to her and she will be coming with the adults."

"I guess I need to do that," Jacob said, but it was obvious his heart wasn't in it.

"Why don't I do it?" Jack asked quickly. "Bill, if you can give me the use of your car, I could pick her up, meet Jacob's dad and explain that I am picking her up for a school trip. We'll probably need an official-looking letter to throw him off track."

"Done," Linda said. "I will pick up some school letterhead when I work in the library this afternoon, and we can get a letter composed and ready. What kind of trip is it? Where are we going? How can she be contacted?"

"Well, obviously it's a sociology trip for social studies. She will be studying some interesting people and situations. Not many houses have two gay couples living with a straight man and woman--the woman the former girlfriend of one of the participants. We are going to an outpost of Oberlin College," Michael said. "You have the Oberlin Five's number don't you?"

"Yea, and that sounds good," Linda said. "I'll get the letter ready tonight."

"What do you think of all this, Rachel?" Jack asked. "It sounds kinda strange to me."

"Sure sounds strange to me. I've never done anything like this. Cut school I mean. I don't know what Uncle Ab will say."

"He'll say nothing except he's glad you are adjusting to school," Jacob said. "Of course if he finds out what you really did, he'll probably ground you for life, but I think we can cover for you and, if not, sneak you out of the house once in a while. One question, Bill, Michael, how will Jonesy deal with this?"

"I think we can handle it, don't you, Michael?"

"I think so. She was very easy about us going and I think she will let Rachel go as well. Bill and I will take care of that."

"And I'm to stay over and come up with Rachel Friday, right?" Jack asked. I took a look at him again and it was clear to me that guy could have creamed his jeans more than once during this lunch period!

"Yea, that's right, Jack, provided you can get yourself under control," I laughed.

"Man, I am under control," he said.

I leaned over and whispered to him, "Maybe now that you have shot off in your drawers a couple times but, man, you've got the hots big time."

He looked at me, grinned and whispered, "Damn right! I'm not about to let this one escape!"

On that note, the bell rang and the group broke up for Friday afternoon classes.

ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Ten--Michael

After school, we all met in the weight room and got Christopher started on an exercise program. We told him one of us would meet him after school each day.

As we were leaving school, Bill called to me. When I went to his car, he opened the glove compartment, took out a package and handed it to me. "The cash register receipt is inside. You can pay me when you like," he said.

I opened the package, took out the receipt and saw I had enough money, so I paid Bill. "Thanks a million, Bill. I really appreciate you doing this for me."

"Always ready to help a brother in the Fellowship, he said. "By the way, don't you think the new members need to be told about the rings? I was thinking last night that they were pretty important when we started and they are a good symbol. What do you think?"

"I think you are right on target. We'll bring it up Monday at lunch. And thanks again for these," I said as I lifted the package. "Mary Kathryn's parents are away for the weekend and I hope I have a need for one or two--maybe more."

"Hey, remember they are disposable, so don't try to hang on to one for a second round. Clean up and start over."

"That doesn't sound like much fun," I replied.

"Lot more fun than being called daddy," Bill said, and I saw he was only half-joking. "Mary Kathryn staying at her place?"

"Nope, at the Greywolfs'."

"Best I recall, Luke and Matt made great use of the trellis. Maybe you can as well. See you Sunday, if not before." Bill got in his car, kissed Linda and drove off.

I walked to the Tracker and when Mary Kathryn asked what that was all about, I tossed her the package. "Don't know about you, Wild Woman, but I plan to put some of those to use this weekend."

"I better be involved or you're a dead man, Michael Andrews!" she said as she pulled me to herself for a kiss. I managed to escape being impaled this time. Maybe I'd learn how to make out in the Tracker yet.

I took Mary Kathryn to her place to get what she needed for the weekend at the Greywolfs'. While she was gathering up things, I couldn't keep my eyes off of her. This new girl, Rachel, was a beauty sho' 'nuff and I could understand Jack getting that sick-calf look every time he looked at her but, man, she couldn't hold a candle to Mary Kathryn. I was lying on her bed as she packed things and when she finished, I grabbed her around the waist and pulled her on top of me. We both were very playful. I guess there was a lot of lust there somewhere, but I didn't feel lustful--I just felt great and, well, playful. We played around for a while before I became really aroused, But when Mary Kathryn crawled on me, took my shirt off and started nipping a nipple, I registered just a notch below diamond on the hardness scale.

Mary Kathryn leaned forward, pressed her lips to mine and her tongue started doing things to the inside of my mouth. Her hair, not nearly as curly as Luke's, fell forward, a cloud of gold around my face. And the fragrance! "God, Mary Kathryn, what is that fantastic fragrance? I have never smelled it before."

"I don't remember its name. One of Mom's cousins sent it to her for Christmas last year. She didn't like it and put it aside. Last week, when she was straightening up their bedroom, she called and asked me if I liked it. I did and she gave it to me."

"Mary Kathryn, I love it. It smells like... well, like... kinda like... I know, tuberoses and ferns. Think that's what it smells like and I love it!" We started playing around again and, this time, Mary Kathryn unzipped my pants and pulled them down my legs after she removed my shoes and socks. I lay, spreadeagle on her bed, in my briefs which were straining hard to hold my tool inside. I reached up and pulled Mary Kathryn's shirt over her head, unsnapped her bra and tossed it aside. I buried my face between her breasts and then started washing one with my tongue, stopping to suck on it gently from time to time.

I hooked my thumbs in the waistband of Mary Kathryn's pants and panties and slid them down her beautiful legs. She was all over me, kissing my nipples, nipping an earlobe, and then she moved down and gave my rock-hard cock a tease with her hair. She finally moved back up my body and whispered, "Michael, I am ready. I want you right now!"

"You may be ready, but I'm not."

She raised up, looked me in the eye and said, "That's a hell of a note! Get me hot as a firecracker and then say you're not ready. What's wrong with you, Boy?"

"Toss me my pants and I'll show you."

"You want what? You want your pants? What kind of joke is this?"

"Just toss me my pants, Woman," I answered.

Toss them she did, right in my face. I reached in a pocket and took out one of the condoms I had put there, hoping we'd end up at her house before the Greywolfs got home.

When she saw the condom, she laughed and said, "No, you're not ready. I guess I'll have to dress you." She took the condom from my hand, opened it with her teeth and took it out of the packet. When she saw it she laughed and held it where I could see it. "Leave it to Bill," she said as we both looked at a bright pink condom. She moved down my body, kissed the head of my cock, then rolled the condom on it.

"You did that like you have had practice," I said.

"No practice, but Linda told me she liked putting one on Bill and told me how. Nothing very complicated about it." She kissed my condom-covered cock, moved up my body and really started working on my nipples. I knew I was more than ready and was about to do something about it when she reached down and guided me into herself.

She had her first orgasm almost as soon as I was inside. I started moving in and out slowly, but gradually moved faster and faster as my wild woman urged me on. I guess it was the difference the condom made, but I didn't reach a climax as quickly as I had the last time we'd made love. When it did hit, I caught my breath and think I kinda blacked out for a second. Damn, it felt wonderful.

We lay in each other's arms, exchanging angel kisses until I was completely limp. Bill had given me very strict instructions about being careful when I withdrew, in order not to spill any seed. "You don't want to be planting anything," he had laughed.

I withdrew, picked up the condom cover and gave it and the used condom to Mary Kathryn so I could pick her up and carry her to the shower. After she flushed the "love peelings", we got in the shower together and had a wonderful time. We dried each other and dressed and drove to the Greywolfs' minutes before they got home from school.

I took Mary Kathryn's things upstairs to the guest room while Mary Kathryn stayed downstairs talking to Yong Jin and Greywolf.

When I came down, Yong Jin asked if I'd like some cookies and milk. "I seem to always have an abundance of cookies and milk these days," she said. "I guess I can't get used to not having Matt and Luke around all the time and I seem never to see you two. What's going on these days? I mean other than school. I know what you and the Fellowship are doing there. You two should be very proud of what you have brought about at school. I have never been so pleased with students as I am this year. But I'm rattling on. What's up with you two?"

I dared not look at Mary Kathryn and I don't think she looked at me. "Well, we are really excited about the party in Ohio. I still find it hard to believe someone has access to a private jet to haul us all to a party," Mary Kathryn said.

"I feel the same way," Greywolf said as he walked into the kitchen from the library. "I guess what is even stranger is the fact that they are hauling us old folks up as well. I don't think many Halloween parties around here would welcome parents."

"It's a shame they don't," I said. "I think any time we have a real celebration, parents are expected." I laughed as I said, "Don't know why that is".

"I really don't either," Yong Jin said. "I overheard two students talking about it in class today and one said, 'And their parents are going. How dull.' I guess I never thought about it that way."

"Neither do we," Mary Kathryn said. "You have never interfered with our plans if they weren't dangerous. You never spy on us and we just like having you around, most of the time anyway," she said and blushed.

"And we like being around, not as police but as party-goers as well as you all," Greywolf said. "Sorry Margaret and David won't get to go. She is doing ok, isn't she?"

"Yea, after that scare last week, she's behaving herself."

"I see the new girl, Rachel, has been incorporated into the Fellowship," Yong Jin said. "What's her connection with the group?"

"She's Jacob's cousin," Mary Kathryn said, and then told the Greywolfs about why she was starting at Independence.

"I'll never understand parents turning kids out of the house, but there's real irony in that situation," Yong Jin said. "But Jacob seems to be doing ok."

"Yea, he really loves Bill's parents and Bill's dad feels he owes Jacob big time for reminding him he had a son," I said. "Well, I see I have helped reduce the cookie surplus, Yong Jin, so I guess I better run. All right if Mary Kathryn comes to my place to study tonight? We get together just about every night to study. Only way we can both keep our heads above water these days."

"Sure, no problem. You want to come get her or let her walk by herself?" Greywolf asked.

"Mr. Greywolf, Sir, I would never let this beautiful woman risk walking in the dark, tempting dragons, trolls, ghouls and ghosts. I, Sir Michael will arrive on--well, in--my trusty steed Tracker and whisk her away to my castle for loving, AP English and AP math, and personal biology."

"You better watch that personal biology, Sir Knight, or the fearful Danish troll will have your head," Greywolf laughed.

I turned to Mary Kathryn and said, "Til we meet again, fair and beautiful princess," as I bowed deeply. I started a magnificent gesture of departure as I said, "Now I must exit stage right already," in my best Snagglepuss voice. As I did, I stumbled over a kitchen stool and fell, splat, in the middle of the kitchen floor. Mary Kathryn and the Greywolfs started laughing and, after I got over being embarrassed, I joined them.

"Sir Michael, methinks your trusty steed better be more trusty than your not-so-trusty legs," Yong Jin laughed.

"Anyway," I said, as Greywolf extended a hand and helped me up, "I'm out of here. Laters."

ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Ten--Jack

Ok, I admit it, my heart did a complete flip-flop when I saw Rachel. Jacob's dad had dropped her off at school and I was standing in the front hall, waiting for the gang before homeroom sent us in different directions. I said I flipped and I did, but I hesitated going over and speaking to her. I was waiting for the guys and, see, women gave me a real problem.

Don't get me wrong, I was definitely into women, but seldom had a date and never really had a girl. There had been just too many other things to occupy my time and energy. In fact, I was beyond just being a virgin, I'd had only one very hot make-out session. It had been on a science club camping trip when Faye, a girl I had wet dreams about, and I got together. I was madly in love with the woman, but didn't get a chance to ask her for a date until a couple weeks after the camping trip.

I had to get the car and a time my best bud, Curt, and his girl could double date, because I only had a learner's permit, not a full driver's license. Even then I was in such awe of Faye, it took that long for me to get up the nerve to ask her out in spite of the make-out session during the camping trip.

Curt lived way out in the country, as did Faye, but in the opposite direction. He had a steady girlfriend who lived in town. I finally asked Faye for a date and the four of us did a movie and pizza afterward. Curt took his girl home first because she had a definite curfew. Faye didn't. After we were well out into the country, headed for Faye's, Curt called over his shoulder, "Jack, how'd you like to drive? You need the practice." I liked sitting beside Faye, holding hands, but Curt insisted I drive.

Curt stopped the car, got out, and we exchanged seats. Of course he was supposed to be beside me for my learner's permit to count, so I was kinda puzzled when he got in the back seat with Faye. When I glanced in the rearview mirror, they were really going at it! I was steaming! Before I knew what was really happening, a bra came across the seat and landed in my lap, followed in minutes by a pair of panties! I really stepped on it, speeding dangerously on a country road. Minutes later I pulled into Faye's drive, got out, opened the door and she crawled out. I handed her the bra and panties. She said, "Thanks. And thanks for bringing Curt along. He knows how to treat a real woman!" I walked her to her door, turned and left. I was seething.

When I got back to the car, Curt was sitting in the driver's seat. "I don't think you are in any condition to drive," he said. I said nothing. Curt drove slowly for a couple miles. "Jack, I love you like a brother and I hope that we will always be friends but, even if tonight breaks up our friendship, I had to do with I did, Bro, because you are my very best bud. Faye is a slut. I know you are naive and innocent and if I just out-and-out told you that, the way you drool when you're around her, you wouldn't have believed me and I would definitely be on your shit list. This way there can be no doubt in your mind. Jack, you are too important to me to get involved with a tramp."

I said nothing for ages. I felt big tears running down my cheeks. I was in love with Faye--at least I had thought I was. As soon as the car stopped, I said, "Curt, you knew I loved her and you went ahead and did what you did."

"Jack, you only saw Faye at school except for being with her on the science club camping trip. I was there and know that, to your mind, you two made out big time. Why she was willing to stop with some hot kisses and being felt up, I don't know. I don't think she has stopped there with anyone else. You think you're in love, but it's hormones and romanticism. A damn dangerous combination, especially when they involve a woman like Faye."

I had stopped crying and was struggling with what Curt had said. He was right about me only having seen Faye at school and the science club trip. Maybe it was hormones and romanticism, but it felt like love. I mean I guess it felt like love. How did I know? Curt had gone just about as far as he could go without actually sticking it to her and, if I was honest with myself, I'd have to admit it was Curt who had stopped. Faye had said nothing to get him to stop. "Curt, I guess you're right. I mean there's no reason to think you're not being honest with me but, Curt, it still hurts. Man, it hurts like hell."

Curt hugged me and I put my head on his shoulder and I started crying again. Curt held me tight and said, "Jack, I know it hurts. It hurts like hell. Not only did you have to learn that Faye didn't think anything of you, but also that she is a tramp. It's hard, man, I know it's hard. But you'll get over it. Maybe you'll even forgive me. And, Jack, somewhere out there there is a great, wonderful woman who deserves a guy like you. May take a while but, sooner or later, she'll show up and then you'll know you had nothing with Faye. Ok?"

My head was still on Curt's shoulder as I nodded. "Curt, thanks. I know it hurts me but, Bud, I know it hurts you too. I mean, I know you didn't want to hurt me, but you did anyway because it was more important that I know what was going on than for me not to be hurt and you not to hurt me. Thanks, Curt."

"I'm forgiven?" Curt asked.

"Yea, not only are you forgiven, but you have my heartfelt thanks also. Doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, but it would have hurt a lot more if I found it out some other way. I know you were thinking of me. It could have been otherwise."

After that, I got busy doing other things and dating kinda took a back seat. Oh I dated occasionally, and for special occasions, but I never allowed myself to get as involved as I thought I was with Faye. Then it happened! May not be such a thing as love at first sight, but I can tell you I felt something the first time I saw Rachel and every time I see her.

When I got home, I knew I had it bad. Curt had moved away over the summer and I sat down and e-mailed him at once about Rachel.

I made another decision--I was going after this woman before somebody else got his hands on her.

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