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  2. PRICK Perfect, Rick is coolly kissing SIMON
  3. Thanks, flesco, and this is indeed a fantasy world. If only reality could mimic a positive fantasy. Until it does, stories like this will have to suffice in giving others hope and a mental and emotional escape for short periods of time. Maybe some day the real world will get better.
  4. I am surprised somesloth didn't lose an arm. I can't wait for more. I suddenly want one of these fictional animals. I'm trying to imagine them running and it kinda intrigues me, like a train wreck.
  5. Will Hawkins

    Chapter 3

    The origin of the expression "Doosey": The brothers Duesenberg, beginning before WWI, set out to build a truly luxurious automobile. The brothers were engineering geniuses, but unfortunately did not know how to market their dream car and went bankrupt. The name s well as their engineering ability was purchased by a man named Cord, who did have the marketing ability and many models of the car were sold even through the depression in 1929. Each one was considered a perfect 'gentleman's automobile', but because of the hand-made engineering, was so expensive they fitted only into that restricted niche market. "Its a Doosey" became an expression to be applied to anything that was the ultimate in beauty and mechanical perfection. Cord was interested in racing and developed the Duesenberg into an Indianapolis-style race card which set many land-speed records, developing such automotive improvements as a supercharged engine until one of the brothers crashed in a downhill race in 1937 and the automotive market started to move toward smaller, cheaper, mass-produced cars and Ford and General Motors took over the market.
  6. robbvt


    Thank you, Carlos, for sharing CJ's story with us. I've been enjoying it since you posted the first chapter and it has remained my favorite since the beginning. I won't begrudge you a little time to take a good long ride or three but encourage you to continue writing for us. Something new and different might be nice but a look into CJ's and Owen's lives 10 or 20 years from now might also be interesting. Whatever you decide to write, I promise I'll read with great appreciation. Regards, Robb
  7. Thanks, B. Yeah, I miss my grandmother too, but I feel lucky I had her for many years. You're right about Hugh, he's had luck in his family, his job and now his love life.
  8. Justin, eyes alight, was on deck as soon as the ferry’s Tannoy warned of their imminent docking. ‘Amsterdam innit!’ ‘No, Justy,’ Nathan reminded him for the third time, ‘it’s Rotterdam Europort.’ ‘Same difference.’ ‘Not really. One’s full of containers, and the other is full of sex workers and drug dealers.’ ‘Which is this one?’ ‘Look around.’ ‘Fuck. Boxes everywhere. When am I ever gonna get to see the capital of skunk and porn?’ Nathan sighed. ‘Whoever said travel broadens the mind obviously hadn’t met you.’ Henry was creasing himself. He came up to Justin, whom he loved dearly, kissed him lightly on the cheek and hugged his arm as he leant at the rail. ‘We’ll be at Skunkopolis for lunch, Justy.’ Justin kissed Henry back and brightened. ‘What, really?’ ‘Yeah. I think we’re going to stop off there for Terry to brief his people.’ ‘And do you fink we’re gonna have time to do adventurous stuff?’ Nathan raised his eyebrows. ‘As if what we’re already doing isn’t adventurous enough, Justy. It’s the call of the sleaze, ain’t it, animal babe?’ ‘Look, Nate me mate. You’ve known me long enuff now. I’ve got me natural level … pretty basic as it happens. I can’t go to a place and not live low life to the full. Have I ever gotten you into any real trouble?’ Nathan’s jaw hung slack as he stared at his partner. ‘You’re kiddin’ me! Your previous adventures have got me drugged, drunk out of my mind, signed up with a gay porn studio and nearly date-raped! Henry, can you believe this guy?’ Henry, by then incoherent with laughter, staggered off to find Ed. All the boys assembled on the car deck, demurely dressed in Medwardine school uniforms and looking as clean and deceptively innocent a party of late teens as ever could be. ‘Yer doin’ me proud, lads,’ smiled Terry, unlocking the doors to the van. They piled in, Henry snuggling next to Ed, who peered at him. ‘Henry babe, you need a shave.’ ‘Really?’ ‘You’re getting hairier, y’know. There’re black wisps appearing round your sweet little nips, and I’m gonna have to take a razor to your bum. You can borrow my gear tonight to do your face.’ ‘Is it that bad?’ ‘No, you’re still soft rather than bristly, but there’s no doubt my little Henry is a man … and your dick’s bigger too.’ Henry laughed. ‘Maturity, here I come!’ David was sitting in front of Henry. Henry leaned over the seat to give him a quick kiss on the cheek. With a big grin, David asked, ‘What’s that for?’ ‘For coming out, you sweetheart. Did you get much sleep?’ ‘Not much. Mostly we talked. Terry says he barely sleeps at all nowadays. He’s so sad, but he can still be funny too. The things he told me about his sex life when he was our age … it was a real education.’ Henry was intrigued; he’d never got that close to Terry. ‘It’s a good thing he’s talking to someone, Davey. You’re doing him a real favour. From what I hear, he was never given a chance to grieve properly for his Ramon.’ ‘I guessed that.’ David twisted his head closer to Henry’s ear and whispered, ‘He was crying in the night when he thought I was asleep … sort of dry sobbing. I lay quiet. He seems the kind of bloke who would think it weak to be seen like that.’ ‘Oh jeez, poor guy.’ Terry was however fully in control that morning, driving skilfully on the busy autoroute north to Amsterdam. ‘Henry,’ he called out, ‘slip in the front here. Will says you’re brilliant at map reading.’ ‘Henry the Navigator, that’s me!’ Henry replied, squirming over to take the empty front passenger seat next to Terry. He found the maps and city plans, quickly located himself and began briefing Terry on the route ahead. He showed an unerring instinct for which lane the van needed to be in. As the flat countryside sped past, Terry was soon smiling. ‘How long’s your mate Davey been out, Henry babe?’ ‘I’ve known he was gay since last year. We sort of do stuff we shouldn’t. I figured that out because Ed spanked me when I told him.’ Terry guffawed. ‘Do David’s parents know?’ ‘No. In fact, nobody does apart from the people in this minibus. I’m not sure he’s ready to come out fully yet, though there’s no doubt he’s gay. He’s awfully nice.’ ‘Why Henry, you fancy him!’ Henry blushed. ‘Yes, well, maybe I do a bit. But it’s complicated.’ Terry chuckled. ‘It’s complicated because you’re a kid with a moral outlook … not like me, I’m afraid. Poor Ramon had a lot to put up with …’ The remark was followed by a long silence. The Hague sped by. ‘Terry, what’re we going to do when we get to Amsterdam?’ ‘I’m not entirely sure, sweet babe. We may have to spend the night there. Jenna’s made a booking in the name of King Edward VI Medwardine in a cheapish hotel that’s well-known for taking school parties.’ ‘That’s good news for Justy then. He wants to be dissolute so bad.’ Terry laughed again. ‘You do cheer me up, you kids. You’re the best medicine I could have hoped for.’ ‘Terry, Andy told me you’d retired from security work. What brought you back?’ ‘Difficult one.’ Terry paused a long while. Henry began to think he wasn’t going to answer, but finally he did. ‘When Ramon died, nothing I was doing seemed worth a tinker’s cuss any more – I was going to say “worth a fuck”, but, hey, you’re a kid. Without him by my side, I didn’t want to be on the boards or in the chorus. I just couldn’t face New York, so I came back to the UK, which was better because Ramon had not been there much with me. I did nothing but doss around at my parents’, or climb mountains, or work out at gyms. Then two weeks ago, Mark – Jenna’s husband – rang me to say that a big thing was in the air at PeacherCorp, and would I help out. ‘As soon as I strapped on my gun, I felt better. I wish I knew why. Life … began to sort of tingle once more. Not knowing what was going to happen next, I was on the edge again. Maybe I’m even looking forward to serious danger … hell, death would be one way out.’ Suddenly Terry became contrite. ‘Sorry little babe, I shouldna said that last thing. There’s no way I would deliberately lead you kids into a situation where you were in serious danger.’ Henry stared at him solemnly. ‘Death is one way out, of course. But I don’t think Ramon will be too pleased with you if you turn up before you’re scheduled to. He’ll be waiting happily and patiently for you in an amazing place.’ Terry’s eyes snapped to Henry so quickly the van swerved slightly. ‘What did you say?’ ‘Only what I know to be true.’ Terry’s cheeks were suddenly streaked with tears. Eyes still fixed on the road, he said quietly, ‘Yeah, Matt told me what happened to you and Ed last year. I didn’t believe him – but it was true, wasn’t it?’ ‘Oh yes, and Ed can tell you too. We had a glimpse of the other side. You can take it from me that you will one day be with Ramon again in a place beyond your dreams. He can wait. So can you.’ ‘You really are a vicar’s kid, you’ve got that way of talking. Thanks, little babe.’ He pulled Henry up against him, and kissed the top of his head. Henry got a whiff of tobacco smoke. ‘Smoking is a form of suicide, y’know,’ he chided in a scolding voice. ‘Hah … tell Justy. I cadged the ciggies off him.’ Henry looked back. ‘You still smoking, Justy?’ Justin sniggered. ‘Oh yeah. Giving it up’s easy. I’ve done it dozens of times now.’ *** The hotel in Amsterdam near the Central Station was pretty basic, but clean. Terry checked them in. They were careful to call him ‘sir’ whenever they talked to him, keeping up the masquerade. Ed and Henry were put in a long room with Justin and Nathan. David and Rudi had a double, and Terry was in a single. After making a few mobile calls, he told them the rest of the day and the evening were theirs. They were to change into casuals. ‘Sir,’ he warned Rudi, ‘I must ask you to stay with me. I’m sorry. I know you’d rather be with your friends, but we can’t assume we’ve crossed to the Continent unobserved. I know we weren’t followed from Rotterdam, but that’s neither here nor there. If we were spotted on the ferry, they would have called ahead to alert agents here.’ ‘I’ll stay with you and Rudi, Terry, and keep him company,’ offered David. ‘You’re a good lad,’ Terry complimented him, and David beamed. ‘Now, I’ve got a wad of euros here to spread around between you other four. Take it from me, though, that you will be searched before you get back on the minibus. I don’t want no problems at the Rothenian border. They’re really hot against drugs. ‘And another thing. I ain’t really your teacher, as a result of which if you get into any serious trouble it’s okay for me to shoot you in the kneecaps. Remember that, favourite babes.’ They laughed and went thundering up to their room to change, then came thundering back down and out on to the streets with a whoop. ‘Do your magic, Henry,’ commanded Ed. ‘Dam Square is this way, guys!’ Amsterdam was warm, though it was not yet Easter, and the midday sun was a watery yellow in a humid, faintly hazy sky. The four boys were just one amongst many wandering groups of young males. They sat and talked with other British lads in the square and were tipped off as to a cannabis café that wasn’t too particular. Justin grinned. ‘You gonna tell on us, Henry?’ ‘Nope. Though I’m not going to smoke. These places gotta serve coffee too, haven’t they? Or they wouldn’t be cafés.’ Henry surprised himself by his coolness in following the others into the dingy sink of iniquity they found off a small side street near the city museum. He wondered why. He decided it was probably because he was with Justin, who seemed unfazed and unaffected by any wild situation, and also because he was in the shelter of two big blokes like Nathan and Ed. While the others took a table and got drinks, Justin haggled by the counter and came back with some papers and a small packet. Soon he had a spliff and was sucking away, adding to the ambience of oily smoke. When Henry’s nose began to tickle in the vegetable stink, he wondered whether he was getting high. Realising he didn’t know what to look for, he shrugged off the idea and sipped at his double espresso, which he hoped would cancel the effect of the weed. Justin grinned and twitched his eyebrows. ‘Thass ambition number one achieved. You wanna know the next one?’ Ed gave him a hard look. ‘Let me guess … live sex show?’ Justin’s grin widened. ‘Live gay sex show.’ ‘You’re on your own mate,’ Ed informed him. ‘Sorry, but no,’ Henry agreed. ‘I think I’ll do something more cultural.’ Justin suddenly looked alarmed. ‘Aw, come on. How ’bout you, Nate? Yer knows what this means to me.’ ‘You and public sex, you sad little git,’ Nathan scolded. ‘Why should I pander to your perversions?’ Justin cuddled against his lover. He tried and failed to put on an appealing puppy-dog face as he looked up. ‘Iss cos you love me, innit.’ ‘Give me that, chavvy babe.’ Nathan snatched the spliff and took a deep drag. ‘Okay, I’ll go with you, but only to keep you out of trouble. It’s eleven-thirty now. How about we meet you guys at the Oude Kerk at three? You can do the Rembrandt House and pick up a nice lunch, and as you do, remember my sacrifice. They say the shop windows round the church are worth goggling at, even if you’re gay.’ Justin was bouncing in his seat, ready to move on. His twitchiness was probably enhanced by the marijuana. Henry and Ed surreptitiously watched their fellow customers for a while, then took their leave. ‘I hope they’ll be okay,’ Henry worried. ‘Justin’s like a cat, little babe. Throw him in the air and he’ll always fall on his feet. And our Nate is a big strong guy. Anyway, I hope Justy does get into a club where he can wank off till he’s stupefied. Don’t forget we’re in the same room as that sack of hormones tonight.’ *** They were still waiting at three-thirty at the Oude Kerk, and the limited charm of the prostitutes in the shop fronts had long worn off. Neither of them could raise Nathan or Justin on their mobiles. Ed had just suggested they head back to the hotel when the other two finally appeared round a corner, bickering. Justin was very disgruntled. ‘Fuckin’ total waste of money! Didn’t see any penetration. He was going bald and in his thirties … “Fresh Twinkie Sex” my fuckin’ arse. His mate was a real screaming queen too. Couldn’t even get it up as he minced across the stage.’ ‘You saw one guy jerk off.’ ‘You think! I saw him lift his bum and squeak. That was that.’ ‘Guys,’ Nathan sighed, turning to the others, ‘your caution about following sleaze-boy here was perfectly justified. The price to get in and the cost of the drinks more or less cleaned us out, and it was, as Justy has eloquently explained, a total waste of time and money. How was your afternoon?’ ‘Rather enjoyable as it happens.’ ‘As I feared,’ grumbled Nathan. ‘The wages of sin are acute boredom.’ Henry chirped up with a smile. ‘Never mind, Nate, we got some compensation for you … we found a sweet little gay bar for young people at the nicer end of the Warmoesstraat. Let’s go wave the rainbow flag and be upfront queers for a bit.’ Justin was still grumbling when they got their drinks and found a table in a clean and well-appointed bar full principally of gay and lesbian students. He eyed up the next table as Nathan got him an Indonesian beer. ‘Maybe I should shave me head and get some new piercings.’ ‘Your hair is gorgeous … Matt spends a fortune on it. Shaving it would be a major cultural tragedy. Also, I’d have nothing to hold on to when I take you from … oops, sorry lads, you probably think that’s too much information.’ ‘I hold Henry under the armpits myself, but I go in low and hard. You take Justy with his bum high I imagine.’ Nate looked shyly lecherous, an odd expression, but that’s the only way to describe it. ‘Yeah … I do. Even thinking about it’s getting me hard. No dark room here, eh Justy babe?’ Justin’s face cleared and he laughed. They stayed in the bar eyeing up the Dutch boys and being eyed back for a whole ninety minutes, before they had to rush up the street to keep their dinner appointment with Terry and the others. Terry was quite cheerful when they arrived, although David and Rudi gave off a distinctly bored air. Terry led them on foot to the dock of a low canal cruiser that offered dinner. ‘I booked a table here, babes. It’s probably not the best food in Amsterdam, but the local Peacher guys say it’s not bad. For me, though, the point is that it’ll be difficult to bug our conversation.’ ‘Is that likely?’ Rudi queried. ‘No sir,’ replied Terry, ‘but after so many years in this game you get to assume automatically that someone is after you – occupational paranoia.’ They took their time over the meal, which was a pretty passable Italian. The only excitement about it was the scene when Justin tried to sneak garlic bread past the vigilant gaze of Nathan. ‘No, you little sod … give it here.’ ‘No! Iss mine, you bastard.’ There was a subdued wrestling match under the table. ‘Stop it, the pair of you,’ Terry growled. ‘You’re rocking the fucking boat. Whass going on?’ Nathan finally wrenched most of the bread out of Justin’s hands, leaving him with a small portion which he defiantly chewed and swallowed. ‘It’s Justin’s digestive plumbing. If any garlic gets in it, he produces vast quantities of gas. You’ll know it tomorrow, you guys,’ he added, glancing significantly at Ed and Henry. At the end of the meal, Terry looked out on the converging perspective of the darkening canal and the long lines of gabled frontages they were chugging past. ‘Just a few things to say, lads. Firstly, so far as my people can tell, we’re undetected. There may be agents here in Amsterdam, but if so, they’re not on the lookout for you, sir. ‘And sir, Oskar asked me to pass on a message from your mum. She said she was praying for you, and that you were to remember Rudolf V, how he lived and died. What does that mean?’ ‘It’s something known only to the Rassendylls and Tarlenheims,’ Rudi replied, his eyes literally blazing. There was silence. Terry resumed. ‘Back in Rothenia, the election will be on Monday, and tomorrow the blackout on election broadcasts begins. Tonight there’s a very special feature on Eastnet and the commercial channels about a monarchist solution. With that the Elphberg restoration will hit the mainstream. Will Vincent says the online petition has now passed a million signatures and all the political parties are waking up to the vote potential. The key thing is that President Maritz brokered a secret meeting this morning with Helmut Trachtenberg of the Unity Party. Rather than risk the CDP’s taking the balance of power, Trachtenberg has agreed to form a coalition with the remnants of Maritz’s Social Democrats after the election, and set up a constitutional convention to dismantle the Third Republic. This all depends, of course, on quite how badly the election savages Maritz. It is very possible that the Social Democrats and Unity Party will fail to raise a majority between them. The desperate last throw is that Trachtenberg has agreed to give a broadcast tonight proposing the monarchist solution, as if it came from him. It won’t do his core vote any harm – quite the opposite – and it may sway a lot of voters away from the CDP and the Communists. ‘Now boys, it’s eight o’clock and the boat is about to dock. Just down the street is an Internet café, which Jenna rented for the evening so we could set up a big screen to show the Eastnet feature and phone-in. We would have done it in the comfort of the PeacherCorp offices, but if anywhere’s likely to be watched, it’s there.’ In a subdued mood, Terry and the six boys walked down along the canal side to the café, which had posted a notice on the door saying it was closed. Jenna and two men were awaiting them. When Rudi entered, they automatically covered him as if he were the US president. Henry thought how this might be his future now, although Rudi didn’t seem too fazed by it. There was no sign of a proprietor and it was two other security men who served them soft drinks. The big wall screen was already playing the streamed Eastnet channel, which was showing a live broadcast from the Rodolferplaz in Strelzen. Eastnet journalists were interviewing people in the street, where it was pretty evident that Will Vincent’s Internet campaign had produced dividends. Elphberg banners were everywhere. Some young people were even wearing red lion masks. Henry was pleased to find he could follow most of the interviews. He was particularly riveted when one middle-class lady said that, as far as she was concerned, you couldn’t trust politicians with the future. Only the monarchy had ever worked, as it saw itself holding the kingdom in trust for future generations. A guy in the background shouted out, ‘We want the Elphbergs!’ When some members of the crowd responded that they were dead and gone, three or four others came back to contradict them, shouting that they wanted the ‘Prinz Angliske’. The reporter looked confused at that point, and moved elsewhere in the crowd. Nonetheless, as the programme ended, calls for ‘the English prince’ were still echoing in the great square, along with much flourishing of red-and-gold banners. Henry whispered summaries of what was going on to Nate and Ed. Justin had got himself a beer and was apparently zoned out. Terry looked at Rudi, who was translating the comments for him. ‘Couldn’t be better, sir. Will’s campaign is coming together. Though I wonder whether Oskar had those guys planted in the crowd. One of them looked suspiciously like a Falkefilm model.’ After a few adverts, which got Justin interested again, the feature began. It was presented by the Strelsenermedia director of news and information, Oskar’s old university friend, Tomas Weissman. The present crisis was briskly outlined, and the state of the parties summarised. It looked on the face of things as if the CDP was headed for victory if the Maritz coalition came apart and the fragments moved to the right. Doubting that interpretation, Henry did some quick maths. If the Social Democrat vote held up and the Unity Party performed to its best, then a Maritz-Trachtenberg coalition would easily overshadow the rest. Although the programme didn’t mention this as an option, it did give a powerful diagnosis of the failures of the Third Republic, and heavily pushed the idea of reform. Henry noticed Rudi go tense at that point, and sit forward in his chair. Tomas began a lead into a recorded portion with clips from Matt White’s influential documentary on the Elphberg dynasty. He continued by discussing the 1880 crisis and the disastrous accession of the Thuringians. Then he recalled the suppressed claims of the Burlesdon Elphbergs, disappointed in 1880 and again in 1919. There were shots of Rudi’s home in Suffolk, where the camera mounted a grand staircase focussing on portraits of successive earls from the sixth to the thirteenth, Rudi’s dad. Tomas was waiting at the top of the stairs to lead the way along a great gallery and through tall double doors. Henry prodded a tense Rudi in the back. ‘Nice pad you got there, mate.’ Tension made Rudi giggle. ‘Watch the next bit,’ he hissed. And there he was, standing at a marble fireplace in a well-cut suit, looking rather handsome if not so tall as in person. He shook Tomas’s hand and greeted him in perfect Rothenian. They took facing chairs in the classic celebrity interview style. ‘Sir,’ Tomas began in Rothenian, ‘many of our viewers will know little about you.’ An amazingly relaxed Rudi smiled warmly. ‘I am the Elphberg heir, Herr Weissman, Rudolf Robert Maxim Elphberg-Rassendyll, direct descendant in the male line of King Rudolf III. I’m seventeen and finishing school in England, despite which I know Rothenia intimately. In fact, I hold dual citizenship, and I am count of Hentzau as well as earl of Burlesdon here in England.’ ‘Your Rothenian is very good, sir,’ continued Tomas. ‘I can’t tell it isn’t your first language.’ ‘My grandmother is of the family of Vinodol-Kesarstejne. She had me speaking Rothenian from the time I was a baby, and I have spent several summers in the country, where I am landowner.’ ‘There’s a lot of interest at the moment, sir, in a restoration of the monarchy. Your ancestor of the same name was excluded from succession by the illegitimacy of his descent from Rudolf III.’ ‘That was 1880, Mr Weissman. In 1910 Rothenia accepted Maxim Elphberg, brother of the eleventh earl, as king. That removed any obstacle for a claim to succession by an illegitimate descendant.’ ‘Do I take it from that, sir, that you consider yourself a claimant to the ancient throne of Ruritania?’ ‘I do. There is nothing I would like better than to be the next Elphberg king. It’s something I have been preparing for all my life: to restore the great tradition of tolerance that my ancestors blessed their kingdom with. I want to be a new focus for unity in a troubled country, the way the Bourbons have been in Spain and the house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in Belgium. Of course, the future of Rothenia is for the people to decide. But with a king in place above the squabbles of the Parlementplaz they will at least be able to rally to one national figurehead.’ ‘Sir, how do you feel about the present crisis in Rothenia?’ ‘I know ethnic divisions are opening up which could be closed by a touch of Elphberg glue. Although my family was once German, it came to express all that is best about Rothenia – the warmth, the passion and the courage that are at the heart of my people: warmth of brotherly love, passion for justice, and courage to grasp a neighbour’s hand. The idea that there may be some who think Rothenia would be a better place if it were turned into another Bosnia is insanity … I know what Rudolf V and Flavia would have thought of such an absurd notion.’ ‘And I imagine we know what Henry the Lion would have done about it?’ Rudi gave a polite laugh. ‘Rothenia has earned its right to be ranked with the great European democracies. It was Rudolf V who promoted parliament within the old constitution. My people now have a choice before them. If they choose to recall my family, I will be honoured to answer their call.’ Tomas thanked Rudi, and turned to the camera. ‘So there he is, ladies and gentlemen, the man who would be King Rudolf VI.’ The broadcast returned to the studio, where Tomas kicked off a marathon call-in with a panel of constitutional experts. The phone lines were jammed. Halfway through, he responded to breaking news he was hearing by announcing that they were switching over to Rechtenberg city hall, where Helmut Trachtenberg was making a statement. Appearing at a podium ranked with mics, he began by reading a carefully prepared declaration to which he said his party’s central office had just agreed. The Unity Party was fully committing itself to constitutional reform as the only possible way to hold the country together. In furtherance of that reform, it would support the restoration of the monarchy. Cameras flashed and there was a tumult of shouting. When the programme finally got back to the call-in, a poll was establishing that over three-quarters of the callers wanted reform and two-thirds wanted the monarchy back. The petition site had crashed from the number of hits on it. ‘Either that,’ reflected Terry, ‘or that git Hendrik has taken it down.’ It was as the news came on that Will Vincent engineered a cunning ambush on the CDP. When Eastnet journalists flat-footed Bermann by telling him of the Unity Party’s announcement, he went into a frantic and ugly tirade that left little doubt about the nature of the government he would head, and was guaranteed to turn off any floating voters. It was broadcast regularly every fifteen minutes thereafter on the rolling news. To cap it all, President Maritz, when likewise challenged, gave a measured and statesmanlike response that he would by no means rule out a constitutional convention or a referendum as possible avenues of future unity. ‘Like clockwork, boys, like clockwork,’ Terry chortled as they got up to leave. ‘Will and Oskar have done a brilliant job … but now it’s up to the voters, who’ll have their own ideas, I don’t doubt.’ ‘Hey Rudi, when did you do that interview?’ asked Ed. Rudi looked a little shy. ‘Oh, er … Eastnet came and filmed it at exeat. I had to find a way of getting the grandparents out of the house, which wasn’t easy.’ ‘No wonder you were so tense,’ Ed went on. ‘Did you think up all that yourself?’ ‘Actually yes, I did, though I tried it out on Oskar first.’ ‘Cool,’ decided Henry. ‘When we get back, you can do the next sixth-form assembly.’ *** The boys were drained intellectually by the time they returned to their modest hotel, but physically they were humming. Ed and Henry followed Nathan and Justin up to their room, where they arranged the beds into two doubles and then sat on them. ‘How do we do this?’ Ed asked a little nervously. Justin grinned suggestively at the question but it was Nathan who answered. ‘Guys, I’m sorry but I’ve got to have my little mate’s arse and now.’ Justin smiled and nodded. Nathan continued, ‘If you want to be modest, then you’d better give us half an hour. But I rather hope …’ Ed looked at Henry and then they too nodded. Ed closed with Henry and began kissing him while stripping him, and Nathan did the same to Justin. Soon the smaller boys were naked, and Justin was grinning lasciviously at Henry over Nathan’s shoulder as his lover kissed and sucked at the hollow space in his neck. Nathan broke off and shed his own clothes, followed not long after by Ed. Lying on their adjacent beds, the couples began a protracted session of foreplay, heightened amazingly by each watching the other. Soon it went beyond voyeurism as Henry was given his chance. He and Justin left Ed and Nate and began making out big time, their lips around each other’s cocks, while the bigger men sat masturbating each other watching their respective mates engaged in an erotic frenzy of sucking, stroking and fingering. Justin’s passion was a revelation to Henry; he squirmed like an eel on heat and made small moans of passion as Henry’s fingers and lips aroused him. At one point his head dived between Henry’s buttocks, his tongue easily penetrating his open anus and searching around inside him till Henry lost it, groaned and looked down as his cock leaked cum on to the sheets below him. Nathan eventually could wait no more. He hauled Henry off Justin, put Justin on all fours, and began rimming him patiently and persistently. Ed took Justin’s place and did the same with Henry. Henry laid his head down on his arms and smiled across at Justin, who made kissing actions with his lips. Henry was soon moaning again. After ten minutes, Nathan began preparing Justin with his fingers. Henry felt his own lover’s fingers do the same, followed by the cool drip of lube on his hole. The bigger boys entered their lovers simultaneously, Henry and Justin both up on fours with their backs arching as they were penetrated. For a while Ed matched Nathan, who had covered Justin and was pushing into him slowly and patiently. Henry loved watching Justin’s beautiful cock swaying between his legs with the thrusts. Ed soon pressed Henry down flatter into the bed and reached up under his arms. Henry loved this part as Ed possessed him totally, burying himself deeper and deeper until he was as far in as he could go, then rotating his hips and reaming Henry with his length. The further stimulation to Henry’s already stimulated prostate was awesome, making him groan and bit the sheets. Noticing Justin’s lustful eyes fixed on his, Henry reached across the gap in the beds and ran his hand up and down Justin’s arm. Justin caught the hand, kissed it and sucked Henry’s fingers. Both Nathan and Ed now began pumping hard into their lovers. Ed lost it first, almost crushing Henry as he tensed and shot deep inside him. They both collapsed, still connected, while Nathan finished off Justin, pulling him up from the bed and gripping him round the waist as he did the final thrusts hard up into the slim kneeling boy clasped to him. Then they too fell forward. They all lay dazed, until Justin rose on his elbows and crowed, ‘So I got my live sex show after all … and man, was it fucking hot!’
  9. drpaladin

    Chapter 13

    SThis is likely the closest to normal Julian has been in many years.
  10. Today
  11. I remember my father working n his sermons, handwritten on those large yellow legal pads. Later he bought an Apple PowerBook 100 when it was being cleared out at Costco (I later added RAM for him and I still have the now-non-functional laptop that was designed and built by Sony for Apple). He had regular office hours every weekday, plus he attended almost every meeting that was held in the evening (prayer meetings, Board meetings, Deacon’s meetings, etc), and Sunday services. And then there were meetings associated with the denomination and other organizations that he attended as the church's representative. Add in hospital and home visits and random phone calls at any time of the day and you bering to realize how consuming his profession was. But it was a life he chose. On the other hand, I had no choice in his decision, yet I was forced to suffer anyway. People expected more of PKs than they did of any other of my peers. In a pre-answering machine world, I learned to take very detailed messages at an early age, including a contact number and the time of the call. Children should not be seen as special because of who their parents are (either positively or negatively) – all children should be expected to be well-behaved and polite to everyone, but they shouldn’t be expected to be more perfect than any other child.
  12. How did I miss this? Fantastic news! Well done, Tim. You truly deserve this.
  13. chris191070

    An Arrangement

    Wow what a chapter. So Nate went with Christopher and Tad knows and his happy for them, interesting situation. I’m glad Kent and Nate made up. Markus home life is terrible, hopefully things will get better for him.
  14. I love Grandslather. The sluppies sound cute , with there two hearts. Poor Larry unexpectedly fisted by the doctor.
  15. quttzik


    I think I mentioned before I started this Series or rather I should say EPIC SAGA on nifty I read at least the first 2 or 3 books from there then somehow lost track of the postings. When I found the GA site I saw there were way more books then I had read and for a while I avoided reading because I knew I was going to have to reread to pick back up on them. Well needless to say I eventually picked back up re-read from the beginning and loved the SAGA from beginning to end just now. These are some of my most favorite characters and its always sad to see a story like this reach its end however everything has an end eventually. I do have to say the title of this book kinda scared me as someone else mentioned "Goodnight My Angel" I swore someone most likely a main character was dying in this book. I am happy that didn't happen of course. I started to figure the title out as I picked up the hints as to what was going on involving Owens sister. Looking forward to any and all new CJ shorts or new book if it ever happens and any new writings you decide. I know you said this was your first fictional story and the first few chapters showed that, however I did see an improvement in your writing over time I never would have thought even from the first couple chapters that this was a new venture for you. Its been one great job from the beginning in my book. Thanks Carlos for sharing your talent with me and the rest of the readers here on GA and anywhere else your stories are found. You are able to give a much needed break for a while out of reality when we really need it. Q
  16. Luno The three strangers pull Tobias into a room. They are most likely going to plan out how to get that necklace. I am not entirely sure how a necklace is supposed to help us bring back all the humans, but if the Mother Goddess says it will, then we had better get it. While they brainstorm over all of that, I am left wondering why the Mother Goddess did not bring the necklace herself. Nor did she say why we needed the necklace. Surely she would have told someone how it works. Now that I think about it, why did Drulai bring herself here? Mother used to say that the Goddess keeps to herself. That she never speaks with anyone. Why is she speaking to humans of all things? It is strange. I am not sure how I feel about that. Not only is that whole situation weird in on itself, the family tree that Vlad’s family was trying to show us brought strange memories. This...Laneer feels familiar. Just the name on my tongue feels as if I have said it plenty of times before. It is just...I know for a fact that I have never even seen or heard that name before in my life. Yet, I feel as though I have met him. Frowning, I stare at the letters placed into the family tree made of stone. This man died over a thousand years ago. I was never born back then. I am barely over three hundred years old! I am just standing there staring at the name in confusion but then someone speaks behind me. “Your friend is not very friendly,” Vlad says behind me with a laugh. “He must have taken a liking to you. That, or he is a very loyal bodyguard.” I turn to him and raise an eyebrow. “Well,” I say. “People have made their threats against him for if he were to fail. I personally hope I am not making it hard on him. He really is a nice guy! You just have to get to know him better!” Vlad nods in thought and juts his chin to Laneer’s name. “You find Laneer’s ending confusing as well,” he says more than asks. “For all we know, he could have started another line of family. There could be more with the Bancroft blood out there.” I tilt my head in confusion. “Why is your family so obsessed with your blood? It makes you all sound full of yourselves.” He shrugs. “Trust me, it was not our decision. If anything, we were hoping to change our ways with that. Unfortunately, so many of the common folk are still in love with Violette.” “Why?” I ask. “It is quite strange in all honesty.” Vlad laughs and nods. “You’re not wrong. My guess is that it has something to do with how she unified the kingdoms to defeat many evil forces. She took over in the Serendian war, the war with the Hollowed, and a war against Demons.” I frown. “Hollowed? What is that? And Demons? Why?” “Well, the Hollowed are a strange beings who are created by raw magic. They are pretty much as smart as a walking corpse, but their numbers were massive once upon a time. Nobody is sure where they came from.” “And the Demons?” I ask. He actually looks a little uncomfortable with this topic. “The Demons were teaming with the Serendians,” He says. “When the Serendians lost, the Demons were angry. So many of their contracts had ended against their will. They chose to attack us in retaliation.” “In the end we won,” He grins. I can only frown at how he says that with enthusiasm. You should never be happy that war has or had taken place. “Is this all you humans know,” I ask. “War? Pain? Even against your own kind, you still bring more of the two. Why? Why must you do such things? You act as if the Serendians were so different from you, when really, they simply lived further away.” Vlad actually looks sympathetic in my small outburst. He almost acts like he understands. “Your guess is as good as mine,” he gives a sad smile. “Believe me, I wish it never had to happen. My cousins are not as open minded about it, but they also agree that sometimes, it just is not worth questioning it. I imagine like yourself, the Gods look down at us with a crease in their brow.” I shrug. “I guess so. Did Raiyo not say that was a thing? I imagine he did. He tends to say a lot of things. That is what I have gathered recently.” At the mention of Raiyo, Vlad’s face becomes a bit grim. “What is it like,” He asks. “Working for him. Is he as cruel as the stories say? The only time he ever seems peaceful or kind is when it comes to the truly underprivileged people.” I can only shrug again. “In all honesty,” I say. “It can never tell. I have only just met him recently, but I can tell that it is more of a guessing game with him. I thought he was nice, but then I did not for a time. Now after what you have just told me about Halehigh, I do not find him nice in the slightest.” Vlad gives a sad smile. “Yeah. I figured it would be somewhat complicated on your end. Did he really send you both here to bring us back? Forgive me if I find that hard to believe.” I nod. “He really did. That was not a lie. We were pretty much ordered by him to bring everyone back to life.” He hums and pinches his chin in thought. “Do you think he is planning something?” He asks. “Surely there is something he is planning with all of us.” “I think so,” I say. “I think Tobias does as well. He told me that he was seriously doubting the leadership he brings over the Demons.” Vlad looks surprised by that. “Really? A Demon is questioning his master? My, the world really has gone crazy, hasn't it?” He chuckles. Another shrug from me. What else do I say to that? I still blame a lot of the people, but the Gods are definitely making it worse, even if they probably think otherwise. “Would you like to join me in the war room?” He asks while holding a hand towards the doors that Tobias and the other King and Queens entered. The last thing I want to do is enter a place called ‘The War Room’. It sounds awful in there. Do they make mini versions of their armies fight one another? Yes, I would rather not go in there today or ever. Shaking my head, I glance over my shoulder to the entrance of this room, ready to leave. “Sorry, but I need to feed my friends. I promise to be back in an hour or so.” Vlad looks a bit confused but in the end, he bows to me and walks through the War Room doors. ~~~ The city is so strange. It feels empty. I get that it is cold, but there is not a single soul out here. Sure, every now and then there is a guard, but I mainly find them close to the little bonfires that are littered across the city. I do not want to be here. I want to be back out in the woods where it is safe. In here, I feel trapped. Unfortunately, it is freezing right now. When did it ever get so cold? With a loud whistle, I look up the skies, hoping for Enfi to come down. I could use her warmth. It would be perfect honestly. Instantly, a bundle of red feathers can be seen flying my way. I smile at how majestic she looks in the sky. Enfi flies down and lands on my shoulder. She chirps and rubs her face against my cheek. “Thank you, pretty bird,” I smile and make her a strawberry out of thin air. A gasp to my right grabs mine and Enfi’s attention. At first I think it is nothing but an empty house, but when I look closer, I see that there is a small child standing behind the window. She is trying to hide behind the curtain. I smile and walk closer. “Hello,” I wave to her. “I’m Luno!” She stares wide-eyed at Enfi. “Oh don’t be afraid,” I say. “She is harmless! She might try to cuddle with you honestly.” Shrugging her off my shoulder, I make Enfi drop onto the window. She shrinks down a bit more to make herself not seem like a threat to the little girl. Her idea works! The little girl slowly peeks out and stares at Enfi. She looks up at me as if she needs permission. I only nod with a smile. “Go on,” I say. “She won’t bite.” Hesitantly, the girl holds her hand out to Enfi. At first, she backs away when Enfi looks up at her, but eventually the girl is able to have her hand rubbed on by Enfi. She giggles and looks up at me with a smile that shines in her eyes. Okay. So maybe the Humans are not that bad. It has just been awhile since I have met some nice ones. A long, long time. Not wanting to stay here any longer, I wave goodbye to the girl before whistling for Enfi to get on my shoulder. Doubling checking that Kulu is alright, I walk back the way that I got into this city. Don’t get me wrong, the little girl was nice, but she feels like only a small light in this city full of war and violence. I can practically feel the tension on the walls of each of the homes. It is not right. To be fair, their anger is most likely towards what has been happening to their people. It is just strange that even with something as awful as that is happening, they still continue to have wars with one another. The day that Tobias met me on that cove, I was fixing the damage from one of those human wars. Was it really worth killing all that life for some stupid problems that can be solved without such violence? With a sigh, I push open the gates and walk out onto the road for a few minutes. I only want to put some distance between me and Halehigh. After awhile, I walk off course and trudge my way through the snowy woods. It is pretty out here. I will admit that. The snow is nice and bright, the trees are tall and covered up in the white sheets. The green pine needles smell especially good right now. Not a lot of creatures out here right now. That is...until I look behind me. A small family of moose are following me. Two adults and one baby. They are rather silent and when I notice them, they bow their heads. The father’s antlers are especially big. Smiling, I make small piles of catkins for each of them to eat. Maybe they were following me for food? Best to give them some just to be sure. A small rush of air comes up behind me. At first I get scared than an Angel is about to attack me, but then I feel the familiar vibration that Mother gives off. Recently, I learned that Raiyo does the same. I guess that means that I can sense all of the Gods? Or maybe just those two? I turn to her with a small smile. It is nice to smile right? “Hello, Mother,” I say. “It has been a long time.” “Yes, yes it has,” She says with a sigh. It is moments like this where I wish I could see her. I can’t quite tell how she is feeling at the moment. She sounds...sad? Bored? Angry? Maybe a little happy? I do not know. If I were to see her face, maybe I would have been able to tell. With a flick of my finger, a drop of light falls into the snow-covered ground. A sapling begins to grow at an astonishing rate. It grows green and then as it thickens, it turns brown. It’s hard bark twists around until it makes a small bench. One for me and Mother to us. That is, if she wants to use it. She could always just fly. That is what I assume she does. Or maybe she floats? I sit on the bench and hug myself. Enfi sits next to me, providing warmth from the fires of her wings. “How do we even begin this talk?” I ask. “There are so many things to ask. I don't even know where to start!” Mother sighs again. Her energy becomes stronger in the empty space next to me. Surprisingly, a warmth can be felt on my shoulder. “I know,” She says. “I never should have kept so many things from you. I just-...I never wanted you to experience the dark, twisted ways of the world. You are so innocent and kind. I did not want you to lose that about yourself.” Shaking my head, I stare hard at the ground. “That was never your decision! Let me choose who or what I want to be!” A small pause from her. “I will not stop you now, Luno. You can do whatever you want. I only wish I had done so sooner. Forgive me and my...harsh rules. I only wanted what was best for you.” Now it is my turn to sigh. “Mother,” I say. “You were harsh at times, but I knew you cared for me. Do not think I am completely angry with you. You taught me so many things. You taught me how to be careful and also how to keep my magic under control! I only wish you did not have to keep so many secrets from me. For instance, I finally learned what I am! Unfortunately, I learned it from another God.” At that, Mother scoffs. I guess I should have known bringing up Raiyo would bring her attitude out, but it is true! He did tell me these things. “Yes, you are a Star,” She says. “A Star that my...husband...had brought down from the skies. I am sorry that happened to you, Luno. You did not deserve this life filled with so many things to taint your purity. You should be up there. Not here where all the filth beckons for you.” I tilt my head. “Why did Morgoren bring me down here?” I ask. “What did he want to use me for?” Mother’s energy seems to vibrate at a faster pace now. That usually happens when she becomes angry or agitated. “He wanted to use you as a way to replicate what he lost,” She says. I frown. What he lost? What does that mean...he lost Raiyo? That does not really make sense to me. “Morgoren was going to use you as his champion,” Mother continues. “Raiyo was originally his champion, but things had changed. Most likely because of me. You were to be Raiyo replacement. Morgoren tried to make you as close to Raiyo’s resemblance as possible. Raiyo was his favorite after all.” She clears her throat. “You were to do all that he wished. He tried to taint you with the vilest of spells, but I happened to come across his experiments.” A shiver runs down my spine at that. This makes me more scared of Morgoren. “When I saw your face, I thought you were Raiyo. I wanted to kill you right then and there, but then I looked closer and saw that you were not an Archdemon, but a Star. A Star that was carved to look like Morgoren’s whore.” Well...hearing that does not exactly make me feel better, but I guess it is good to know why I am here. “In a way to keep you from harm, I brought you to the Sanctuary,” She says, her vibrations calming down. “There, you awoke for the first time. I hated you. I hated you with every fiber of my being. I wanted to kill you myself so many times, I lost count.” I hug myself a little tighter, not exactly liking this talk anymore. “But then,” She says after a time. “I realized that you were so different from any other being I know. You were genuinely kind and caring. Never doing things to gain from it like so many others do. It amazed me just how different you were. How much you were the opposite of what Morgoren wanted.” A warmth wraps around me in a small squeeze. Mother is hugging me. “I grew from hating you to loving you,” She says. “I know I was harsh, but I just wanted you to stay safe. You were so carefree, I was only a bit worried for your safety.” I would argue that I would have been fine without her worrying, but that is not entirely true. I had learned that I was not ready long ago. “Thank you for everything,” I say. “For giving me a home. For sparing me. For loving me. Even for teaching me how to control my magic. That night, back in Varen. It still haunts me from time to time. I wish you had taught me how to control it back then. Maybe Viktor and Monie would have lived.” “Oh Luno,” Mother’s voice trembles. “I have kept another thing from you.” I am not entirely surprised about that. I have been with her for quite a long time. “On that night in Varen,” She says. At that I sit up and look in her direction. She continues. “You never burned down that home. You never did anything wrong. You did not kill the two Humans. You have never lost control before that night. The only time that you have was when you let your anger get the better of you.” Not really able to keep sitting, I stand and pace back and forth in front of the bench. “Morgoren was there,” She says. “He knew you were staying in that village because we did not know we were supposed to hide back then. He started the fire. He made the river drown the little girl. He spread whispers through the people that you were doing magic and that you were a demon. It was all him.” I shake my head while walking back and forth. This...this cannot be true! I was so sad and angry with Moni’s death that I started the fire in my sleep. I had to be me! I never even felt Morgoren’s presence. I did not feel anything. I start breathing too fast and I cover my eyes. Anything to not think about those images. The darkness should help me forget. “I’m sorry, Luno,” Mother says, her warmth surrounding me again. “I truly am. I never should have kept this from you.” All these years, I have been trying my best to ‘perfect’ my magic, when really, I never lost control? I never killed Viktor and Monie? I have felt guilty for two hundred and fifty years for nothing? “Is there...is there anything else?” I ask, my voice shaking. Mother is silent for a few moments. No doubt thinking over her lies. “No,” She says. “That is all. I am afraid I must also leave as well, my child.” Frowning, I look up at where she should be standing. She has never called me her child. “Just know,” She says, almost as if she is about to cry. “I have loved you more than anything in this world. You were a beckon of love for me. I can never thank you enough for that.” For some reason, hearing that makes tears start to fall. Maybe it is because she has never told me she loved me until today. Maybe it is because she has called me her child. Either way, it leaves me so incredibly happy, that I can’t help but cry. A portal opens in the air. It has a pretty white glow that does not blind me. I feel Mother’s presence slipping away into the portal. Just as she passes through, I forget how to breathe. There, on the other side of the portal, stands a woman. Her skin does not have one color, but thousands. Strands of colors that I have never even seen before dance across her skin and hair. Her eyes are a solid blue color that glow. Behind her is a set of great wings that are both color and see-through, they remind me of stained glass. All too soon, Mother and her portal disappear. Why...why has she allowed me to see her true form?
  17. chris191070

    Chapter 13

    Awesome chapter. That’s the least violent sex they have had. It will be interesting them living together.
  18. Monday came far too early for Kent. But he rolled out of bed, showered, put himself together, and walked to the bookstore. Luckily, he lived in Eureka, and though it was a long walk, he could manage to do it in a half hour. His car was still in the shop and would be until a little after lunch. Liz said she'd take him there on her lunch break, and then he'd have wheels again. He would miss one of his afternoon classes at Humboldt State today, but a single absence wasn't going to hurt him too much. He was a good student and kept up on his courses. Stanley had taken him home yesterday in the early afternoon. They had spent the morning together, and they got lunch in Eureka before the blue-eyed man grudgingly took Kent home. "I really liked having you over." Stanley's eyes took in Kent's features, an enigmatic smile on his face. "Can we meet up tomorrow night? After you pick up your car? I should be home a little after six." Of course, Kent had agreed. Stanley was something utterly new to him. He allowed Kent to explore his tastes, desires, and he was so patient. Stanley made Kent feel strong, powerful, and masculine. Everything about their time together gave Kent confidence he had never possessed. Kent timed things well for his arrival at work. He walked up to the bookstore right as Liz was opening. She smiled at him through the glass of the doors, and the bolt scraped back as she turned it from inside. "Hi, Kent." She pushed the door and he helped prop it open. "Hi, Liz. Good morning." Kent felt good, and he was happy to have his job at the bookstore. He only worked part time around his school schedule, but it was great to earn his own money and support himself as he worked his way through his first semester at HSU. That also kept his student loans to a manageable level. He entered with her about five minutes before his starting time of nine a.m. A couple of minutes later Nate came in. Nate put his bag down behind the counter and nodded in greeting at Kent. Kent debated, then he walked over. "Hey, good morning, Nate." Nate seemed to be in a better mood compared to the last time he was in the store. Though it would be hard for him to be in a worse one. Still, Kent was happy to see Nate more positive. Nate seemed pleasantly surprised that Kent spoke to him. "Hi, good morning, Kent." His smile spread a bit. "How are you?" Kent smiled back at him. "I'm pretty good. Thanks for asking." Nate nodded while he eyed Kent. Then he sighed. "Kent, I'm sorry." He shook his head. "I've given some thought to how things went between us, and I could have been a better friend." He grimaced. "I never meant to hurt you, at all. I just wasn't being very empathetic." Hearing Nate apologize gave Kent pause. He had no idea the man even had an awareness of what he had done. Kent smiled in happy surprise. "You know, it's okay." Kent said the words, and he internalized them at the same time. He really was fine with Nate, now that the guy showed some remorse for his callousness. Kent patted Nate's back. "Thanks. I accept your apology." "You're welcome." Nate smiled, and he looked more carefully at Kent. "You doing all right? You seem a little different." Kent wasn't sure what he meant. "Uh, yeah. I'm fine." Then he grinned. "I'm actually great. Thanks for asking." Nate grinned back at him, then he looked across the store. Liz stood, her hands on her hips, and a big smile on her face as she saw the guys interact. Nate rolled his eyes and snorted a laugh. Kent snickered and they got their day started. He had a feeling that it was going to be a good one. ∞ It was lunchtime, and Nate drove to Tad's apartment. He was taking his whole hour today to hang out and just be with his dark-haired boyfriend. He also had designs on maybe tempting his lover into a little bit of fun after they ate the sandwiches Tad planned to make for them. He tried the door to the place and found it unlocked. Nate pushed it open. "Hey, Tad?" "Come in, Nate!" Tad's voice came from around the partition between the living room and the kitchen. Nate stepped inside, and Kali met him with a rub around his ankles. He grinned as he reached down to stroke her sleek, black little body. She loved on him for a bit, then she was off again, padding into the apartment. Nate followed her inside. He entered the kitchen to find Tad putting a couple of thick, meaty sandwiches together. He caught a glimpse of pepper-jack, avocado, spinach, tomato, onion, roast beef, and stone ground mustard before Tad put the bread on. "Hey, Nate." Tad turned with the sandwiches on a plate. He smiled as Nate stepped close. "How has your day been so far?" Nate leaned in, careful to avoid knocking the plate out of his hands. They kissed. It was short, but it carried the promise of what Nate wanted out of his time with Tad today. "Mmm. It's better now." Nate grinned. Tad chuckled. "Okay, loverboy." He nodded at the small kitchen table against the wall. "Let's eat. And I need to talk to you about something too." "All right." Nate pulled out chairs for them, Tad put the plate with their food on the table and they both sat. "Man, that looks good." Nate picked up the nearest one and looked at the thick stack of fillings in the middle. "Jeez, it's like a Dagwood sandwich or something!" Tad laughed. "Dagwood?" He smiled affectionately at Nate. "I've not heard that name in a while. You're going back for that pop culture reference." Nate took a bite, and he shrugged. He chewed, made an appreciative sound, then he swallowed. "Yep. That's me. A throwback to the eighties and nineties." He sighed. "I was born thirty years too late." Tad chuckled and looked knowingly at Nate. "They didn't have Grindr thirty years ago." Nate guffawed. He shook his head. "Fine," he acquiesced. He looked at Tad, then pulled out his phone. Tad watched with a quizzical expression as Nate unlocked the device. Then he selected Grindr. "Annnnd, uninstalled." Nate put the phone on the table and looked up at Tad. He shrugged. "I don't really need that anymore." Tad's face shifted. Now he looked at Nate with a completely unguarded, bittersweet smile. "Well, I appreciate the display." He stood up, and he took Nate's hand. "I need to show you something. Unfortunately, it's nothing sweet." Nate got up, and he let the dark-haired man lead him into the kitchen. Tad swallowed nervously, then he nodded at a sticky note on the fridge. "So, this is pretty important." He watched Nate's face as the man began to read. "It's a list of symptoms to watch for. Some are things I might not recognize myself. My sister has one too." Tad watched as Nate's smile melted. "I'm sorry. I know it's a little bit of a buzzkill." 'Headache, Temperature Fluctuations, Nausea, Drowsiness, Vision Problems, Personality Changes, Seizures, Breathing Pattern Changes.' Nate read through it then set his jaw. He couldn't entirely hide his dread. "So, once any of these starts then it means you don't have much time left?" Tad nodded. "Yeah. It could be as short as a few weeks to as long as a year and a half." He shrugged. "I try not to think too much about it. I can't. I just, I just live. Every day." He pulled Nate close. "I'm so sorry to do this to you, but I'm glad I'm not alone. I know it makes me a terrible person, but I can't help it." Nate began to speak, but Tad continued, "I love you, Nate. I know I do." Nate squeezed Tad, and he cleared his tight throat. "I love you. And you're not terrible. You're," Nate closed his eyes as he held on, "you're wonderful." Their food lay forgotten on the plate, and the two men clung to one another as they stood in Tad's little kitchen. ∞ Markus helped Victoria Cooper set the table. He had been invited over for an evening barbecue to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather. His father, Tony, was outside at the grill, and his uncles and aunts were on the way as well. There would be a pile of Coopers in the house soon, each bearing some side dish to go along with the chicken and flank steak Tony grilled. Victoria brushed by her son as she set plates out. "Mom?" Markus put the last set of silverware down in its place on the long, wooden table. Colorful, cloth napkins lay folded carefully under the utensils. He rubbed his sweaty palms on his pants. "Mom, can I talk to you?" She glanced at him, then checked his work at setting out the silverware. It met with her approval and she nodded once. "Sure." Victoria went back to prettying up the table, primping the flowers in the vase in the center. Markus knew she wanted everything to be perfect for the family. Her husband's kin always judged Victoria with a harsher eye than most. She was Hispanic, while Tony was white. So, growing up, Markus watched his mother rise to meet the challenge with a tremendous effort to always meet with their approval; even if it meant putting on a happy face. Markus took a breath and fought against a maddening fear. "Mom, I ah," Markus struggled to get the words to come out of his mouth, "I have to tell you something." She frowned in impatience. "Okay, well, it'll have to be quick." The graying, heavyset woman finally stopped moving and turned to him. "What is it? They'll be here soon." Markus nodded. "Yeah, I know." He blinked and tried hard to get it out. He didn't know of a way to soften the words, so they just blurted from him. "I'm gay." His mother's countenance shifted. There was a subtle narrowing of eyes, and her jaw tightened. Markus's stomach dropped as she stepped close. "Don't you ever say that again." She stared up at him, her brown eyes hard. She slowly shook her head. "Don't ever say that again in this house. We didn't raise you that way." "Mom, I, I can't help it." Markus hung his head. "I've tried. I can't help it." "I always wondered." The disappointed tone in her words was almost too much for Markus to bear. "God help me, I don't know what I did to deserve this." Markus began to say something when his father opened the back door. Victoria grabbed his arm, her grip like steel. "Don't say anything to your father." She shook him and her voice dropped to a mutter. "Do you understand me?" Tony frowned at them as Victoria stepped back. His green eyes were suspicious. "Everything all right?" "Oh, yes. Everything's fine." The facade of happiness presented by Victoria almost sickened Markus. She looked at her son. "Isn't it, Markus?" It was everything he could do to keep his voice level and smile at his father. "Of course. Everything's fine, Dad." ∞ Christopher was in the middle of his Monday night dinner prep. He hadn't had a chance to do much more than preheat his oven when he heard the slightest knock on his door. He frowned and moved into the living room. Chris checked the peephole, and his face fell. He opened the door and Nate leaned forward with both of his hands on the doorframe. His head was down and he exhaled. Chris quietly put an arm around his shoulders, and he straightened with the redhead. "Come on." He led Nate over to the futon and helped the deeply emotional man sit. He put a hand on Nate's shoulder. "Talk to me. What's going on?" Nate's expression was one of lost desolation. "I, ah..." He cleared his throat. "Tad showed me the list. The symptoms." His eyes were so far away as he stared at imagined horrors. "I just, it's just so real now. I want to save him. I want to help him, and I can't." Chris felt his own emotions twist in agony. Everything Nate experienced, he had too. He knew how the blue-eyed man hurt, and how impotent he felt. "You can't focus on that. You have to understand, Tad doesn't want you to save him. He just wants you to love him." Nate blinked, and he looked up at Chris. "That's what he wanted from you, too." Chris felt as if he'd been punched in the face. He stared at Nate. He wasn't angry, or even upset with Nate. Instead, his mind struggled. 'He's right. Oh god. I left him. I left him alone when all he needed was for me to hold him.' While Chris fought with his own thoughts, Nate dropped his eyes back to his hands. "I don't know if I can do this." Nate shook his head and blew out a forlorn, shaky breath. "I thought I could. But the closer I get to him, the scarier it becomes." He put his head in his hands. "God, this is so fucking hard, Chris." Christopher looked down at Nate where he sat on the futon. He hadn't had a chance to wash up, so he remained filthy from work, and he still wore his mechanic jumper. But that wasn't the priority right now. He sat beside the struggling man. "How can I help, Nate?" He put an arm over Nate's shoulders and pulled the smaller guy close. "Tell me what you need." "This," Nate whispered, and he pressed his body against Chris's. "Just, let me be here for a while." Christopher couldn't help how his body reacted to Nate. Something about the redhead turned all of his desires into overdrive. Add to that his growing regard for him as a person, and it meant that Nate rang all kinds of alarms. It took more and more willpower to avoid seeing him as a potential sexual partner. He hated his weakness but also enjoyed Nate in his arms. "Okay." They sat together awkwardly on the futon. Then, after a few minutes, Chris grimaced as his back began to complain. He shifted, and Nate sat up. Then Nate stood. "I'm sorry." He turned to the door. "It's getting late. I'll let you get back to your dinner." Chris could feel Nate's distress and his desolation. He couldn't let him leave that way. "No. Wait." He stepped into Nate, and the men hugged. Chris's hand was on the back of Nate's neck and his face was down against the smaller man's cheek. They both stood and breathed together. Chris swallowed, then he let his lips scrape the tender skin of Nate's neck. "You," the tall, brown-haired man breathed Nate's scent, "you smell like Tad." The words were hushed and his voice wavered. Nate raised his face, and their lips barely brushed. Christopher's breath grew ragged. He struggled for control and nearly conquered the instinct to pull Nate to him. Then Nate kissed him. It was a slow-motion study in desire, emotions held in check for too long, and the raw need for comfort. 'No, no, no.' Chris's mind thrashed as his tongue entered Nate's mouth. 'You can't. It's not right. No.' His body was not listening. And his strong hands rubbed down Nate's spine to grip his perfect, firm rear. Nate gasped, and then he stepped back and peeled off his shirt. Chris unzipped his jumper and stepped out of it. He wore only his underwear beneath, and he helped Nate take off his jeans. There were only two thin layers between their bodies now. As Nate's blue, needful eyes stared, he rubbed his hand over Christopher's barely-contained dick. Christopher groaned. Then he pulled Nate's underwear from his hips. While he stood and appreciated the sight of Nate's fiery pubes and his cut cock, the redhead stripped Chris's underwear as well. They embraced again, this time all of their skin touching. Christopher's long, thick penis was as hard as it had ever been, and he rubbed his bearded face against Nate's neck. The smaller man sat on the futon and pulled Chris down with him. Nate lay back, and it felt so natural as Chris knelt between his legs and pulled him into position. A generous dose of lube out of the nightstand drawer went on Chris's cock, and then he rubbed some on Nate's opening. Chris pulled Nate toward himself, and he leaned over. He pressed forward, and Nate's mouth opened as Chris's bare, wet organ began to enter him. His head slid inside, and Nate exhaled. Chris leaned into him. The kiss was one of hunger - greed, desire, almost pure lust. Chris's hips began to slowly move forward. The warmth and pressure of Nate's body felt amazing around him and Chris moaned as he finally bottomed out. Nate's cock streamed a continual flow of precome, and he made incoherent noises as Chris started to move his pelvis. As he continued to slide into and out of Nate, Chris took Nate's hard, wet dick and began to stroke the writhing man. Chris felt his own finish approach, which was just as well because Nate's eyes rolled back and he tensed up. The redhead's cock spasmed in Christopher's grip and a shot of come landed in a streak up his body. He continued to twitch and moan in the throes of the moment, right as Christopher began his own. He exhaled his breath in a rush, and Christopher pushed himself deep into Nate. He held there, speared as far as he could reach inside Nate's body, then grunted as he unloaded. He continued pumping in time to his releases. Finally, they were still. Sweat ran down Chris's furry body and they both panted. Each stared at the other. Each wore an expression of disbelief and shame. Nate broke their silence. "Oh my god." He shook his head as he looked up at Christopher. "What have we done?" ∞ Christopher paced in his apartment, and Nate bit his lip as he watched the brown-haired man. "What are we gonna do?" Chris rubbed his face. Some of the engine grease on his fingers left a black mark on his cheek. They had both put their underwear back on, and now they flailed about, trying to come up with a plan. "Fuck, what, what is wrong with me?" Nate sat on the couch and hung his head. He set his jaw, slowly nodding. "This is my fault. I kissed you." Chris had stopped moving, and he stared at Nate from his spot a few feet away. "It wasn't all you. I knew better. I let it happen." "Doesn't matter." Nate closed his eyes. "God, I've wrecked everything. I've wrecked everything." "No. No, everything's still fine." Nate heard the insistent tone in Christopher's voice. "Nothing is wrecked. You can still be with Tad. Everything's fine." His voice shifted and almost sounded panicked. "I can't have fucked this up. It has to be fine." Nate looked up at him. "What? We're going to lie to him? I'm going to lie to a dying…" he felt a spear of intense self-hatred, and he grimaced. "I can't. He just told me he loves me. He told me today." Christopher audibly groaned. His hands hung at his sides, and his shoulders slumped. "Fuck." "Yeah." Nate lay back and looked up at the ceiling. "And, Jesus, I let you fuck me bare." Chris flinched. "I don't have anything," Christopher said. "You're the only one, ah, since Tad." Nate nodded. "Well, that's good. I'm clear too. And that's the first time I've ever been screwed without a condom." They were both quiet for some time as each man's mind turned madly. Christopher sat beside Nate on the couch and cleared his throat. "What are you going to tell him?" Nate's jaw moved as he clenched it. "I'm not going to lie to him. If he ever has a reason to ask, if he ever wonders, I'm going to come clean." Christopher processed that, then nodded. "Okay." Nate forced the next words out of his mouth. "I don't think I should come here anymore, Chris." He felt as if he had swallowed a block of ice when he thought about not seeing Christopher again. The tall man took a moment, then he reached. He put a warm hand on Nate's back. Nate hated that he liked it, but he did. "If that's what it'll take, then okay. But I know this is hard for you - being with Tad. I would rather you come see me, as a friend, if it will keep you with him." Christopher let out a big breath. "I, ah, we'll just not do this again." He nodded, reaffirming his decision. "Yeah. I mean, we're not slaves to our hormones. We'll just be friends, and that's that." Nate closed his eyes, debating. He chuckled at his plight. "I don't think I trust myself." "I'll keep you honest." Christopher's voice became more certain. "Yeah, we'll just make sure things stay platonic, from here on." Nate didn't say what he was thinking - that Christopher had failed to keep things platonic when Nate had caved and kissed him. Instead, he nodded. "Okay." Christopher smiled with relief. "Good." Nate stood while Chris looked up at him from the futon. "Shit, what time is it? I have to get home. Tad's coming by tonight." "Ah, hang on." Chris fished his phone out of his mechanic jumper lying on the floor. "Uh, it's almost seven." Nate frowned. "Yeah, definitely gotta go. He's spending the night with me." Chris handed him his clothes and Nate quickly dressed. Nate tied his shoes and stood up. He walked to the door and looked with worried eyes at Christopher. "Wish me luck." Chris nodded and did his best to look confident. "You won't need it, but good luck." Nate smiled slightly in thanks. Then he opened the door, and he headed home. ∞ Tad got to Nate's place around fifteen after seven. He grinned at the redhead when he opened the door. "Hey, boyfriend." A smile flickered on Nate's lips. "Hey, Tad." He stepped aside. "Come in." Tad entered and Nate walked to his kitchen. "Do you need anything? Want any snacks?" Tad stood in the living room, and he debated for a moment. "Do you have popcorn? Can we make some and watch a movie?" He smiled at Nate. "I wanna sit on the couch and snuggle with you." Nate nodded, and he pulled a box from a shelf. He began to unwrap a packet of microwave popcorn. Tad stepped over next to the kitchen counter near him. "How was the rest of your day?" He made a face. "I hope you didn't dwell too much on the whole 'brain tumor' thing." Nate glanced at him. His expression was an odd neutral. "I admit, I thought a lot about it." He put the popcorn into the microwave and set the timer, then turned to Tad again. "I ah, I visited Christopher to talk it through." Tad grinned. "Yeah? That's good. I'm glad you guys have each other." Tad wasn't the jealous type, so Nate's connection with Christopher was something he tried hard to encourage. "Chris really needs someone." He frowned. "Has he been looking for anybody? I mean, to date?" Nate's face didn't change at all. "I, I don't know. I don't think so." Tad felt disappointment, and then, much to his annoyance with himself, he also experienced relief. "Ah, that's too bad. I hope he finds what he is looking for - whatever it is." Nate swallowed, his Adam's apple sliding up and down. "Yeah." Nate turned away again. He seemed to watch the microwave count down. Tad felt something in the air. There was something on Nate's mind. Tad stepped up behind him and let his arms circle the moody redhead. "You're not still upset because of the list, are you?" "Maybe a little." Nate shrugged while Tad held him. "Sorry, I'm not trying to be a downer." Tad raised his face, and he started to speak. Then his nose picked up a faint but familiar odor. 'Engine grease.' Tad's eyes widened just a little, and he drew back to get a look at Nate's head. 'Oh shit.' There was a greasy mark behind Nate's left ear. A big meaty thumb was very clearly outlined there. Tad's intelligent, logical mind went to work on the information. It didn't take long for him to come to a conclusion. Tad still held Nate, and he cleared his throat. His feelings were so complicated. He felt a roiling mess of them, and he forced himself to think before he spoke. The microwave beeped, and Nate opened it. Then he put his hands on Tad's arms that still held him. Nate hung his head. "Tad, I have to tell you…" "Wait." Tad had decided, and he forged forward. "I just wanted to say, Christopher is one of the most important people in my life. And I know that makes me a terrible boyfriend to you, because of all I still feel for him - because of the value I place on his happiness." He squeezed Nate from behind. "But, I want you to be happy too." He turned Nate around. The redhead looked at him, near-panic on his face. "Nate, I just want you to be happy. And Chris. Because those two things? Well, they would make me happy too." Nate stared at him. As he did, tears gathered in his eyes, and the tiny drops gently rolled until they streaked down his face. Nate shook his head. "I, I'm sorry." "Don't be sorry." Tad cried tears of his own and hugged Nate close. "Chris was my last, big worry. The guilt from knowing I would leave him behind, it was," he inhaled, "it was crushing." Tad laughed. "But you're here for me." He pushed back, and the two teary-eyed men looked at each other. "And you're there for him too." Tad had one final fear, and he gave it voice. "I just, I just hope you can find enough room for us both?" Nate's face fell. "Tad, I won't leave you." The black-haired man couldn't help the sob that escaped him. He squeezed Nate tight to his chest. Nate's head was down, and Tad put his chin to rest on the redhead's hair. He breathed, in and out. Tad spoke with a wavering, unsteady voice, "if you ever have to choose, then you choose Christopher." He uttered the words and meant them. Nate answered by squeezing him, then Tad felt him shake his head. Despite Nate's refusal, or perhaps because of it, Tad smiled through his tears.
  19. Been a while since we’ve had an entry in this thread. Hope this video works... https://www.cbsnews.com/live/video/20190615005154-a-colorado-middle-school-teacher-becomes-more-than-a-mentor-for-one-of-his-students/
  20. A great week for GA's newest Signature Author! And if you haven't seen it yet, please check out the collected tributes for the Pulse victims and survivors @Mikiesboyposted for us
  21. GanymedeRex

    UJ Chapter 4

    Okay interesting. I don't see why press would be following these people.
  22. Well this turned out to be a very interesting week here at the GA News Blog. It wasn't planned this way, but it just worked out that 3 of the 4 entries were like the 4 planets lining up with the sun. In this case, the sun is Tim aka @Mikiesboy Monday, Renee shared with us a great review written up by @Cole Matthews: Then, this is where things started to fall in place! Tuesday, Graeme announced our newest Signature Author, @Mikiesboy: Jump ahead a couple of days, and Renee was back with the final announcement of the Spring Anthology. 4 new stories and links to get to the previous 2 announced releases! So I said 3 of 4 entries this week, well what is the 3rd involving Tim? By total coincidence the list I'm using had the below Reader Recommended Story. Any one want to hazard a guess before scrolling down who's story was recommended? Anthologies 2019 Fall Anthology: Fall From Grace - Due November 15th 2019 Fall Anthology: Raincheck - Due November 15th Blog Opportunities Ask An Author: Send your questions for your favorite authors to @Carlos Hazday (no questions = no Ask An Author) Story Recommendations: Open to all GA authors & readers. PM your recommendation and why you recommend it to a Site Admin. Guess the Author: Open to all GA authors. PM @Renee Stevens to participate. 3 Story Promo: Open to all GA Authors. PM @Renee Stevens to participate. Author Interview: Open to all GA Authors. PM @Renee Stevens to participate. Favorite Self-Written Story: Open to all GA authors. PM @Renee Stevens to participate. Story Recommendations: Open to all GA authors & readers. PM @Renee Stevens to participate. Questions & Answers: Open to all GA authors, readers, and editors. Visit the thread and PM @Renee Stevens to participate. Reader Recommended: Recommend a completed Poem/Story/Series for a short blurb at the end of the Weekly Wrap Up and PM @wildone to share your favourite stories. Premium Updates: Heartache & Terror by quokka *Premium* Classic Updates: Henry in High Politics by Mike Arram Reminiscing About the Future by Altimexis The Castaway Hotel: Next Generation Book 3 by Bill W Signature Updates: Adrift by Mann Ramblings Aria Graice by Nephylim Denied by Cia Gone Fishing by Headstall Love Looked at Me and Laughed and other poems by AC Benus; Book 11 of Verse One Hundred and Fifty-Five Sonnets by AC Benus; Book 5 of Verse Reflection: Commemorating PULSE by Mikiesboy Tragic Genius by Cynus Promising Updates: Georgetown: Goodnight, My Angel by Carlos Hazday In My Head by Thorn Wilde Sauna Sunset by Thorn Wilde The Golden City by Aceinthehole **Reader Recommended** Recommended by @Brayon Don't forget.... Read, Write, and REVIEW!!!
  23. wildone

    Chapter 5

    Interesting chapter. First off, for some reason I didn’t figure Jack to be out to his parents. I’m curious if this party is the beginning of the end between Lauren and Jared. If so, what will happen to Derry and Jack?
  24. Excellent chapter! Brandon and Danny’s birthday trip is giving them some time alone as a couple and to recharge and reconnect. All of the other adults stepping up to complete the renovations for Holly’s room, while they attend Elliot’s commencement ceremony and graduation. This family is the ideal so many of those children living in less than favorable conditions dream of finding themselves being taken in by. It’s ashamed that there’s not a network of hotels that can house and give hope to teens who are abused, tossed out for being who their meant to be, runaways and any others who need help and guidance. They would be expensive to run and the religious right would be totally against them. Finding qualified house parents and counselors would be problematic also. Reality sucks and I wish we all could live inside your universe. Thank you for another great chapter and an uplifting story for us all. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️
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