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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

The Beard - 9. Chapter 9

“Just a few more, please.” The man on the other side of camera said and Dale let out a sigh. Cole was tense against him, but murmured compliance. “Good, good, now why don’t you two look at each other like you were about to kiss.”

“I told you…” Cole started to argue, but the man cut him off.

“Yeah, yeah, no kissing, no fondling each other and the clothes stay on.” The photographer grumbled. “I just want to catch the look you give each other when you are about to kiss.”

“Alright, but this is it.” Dale said louder, and Cole nodded. The man had gotten Cole to undo the top two buttons on his white silk shirt, showing the thin trail of hair that was growing there, and Dale had actually liked running his hand over it for the poses the man wanted. The sweater he was wearing was not something from his own closet. It had been a ‘gift’ from Aunt Trish for this photo shoot, along with the designer jeans and expensive loafers. She’d even had him at a beauty salon to get his hair done before the shoot started.

“Okay, lean into each other, just tilt your heads back and then look at each other.” The man gave his directions and Dale tried to follow them. Looking up at Cole was always something nice, and no matter this was all a charade, the smile on his face was genuine as his eyes met those beautiful green eyes looking down at him. Part of him said the look of fondness in them was Cole acting, but another part hoped it was real to some extent. When they leaned forwards, their lips slowly gravitating towards each other as the man gave them direction, and the cameras flashing, Dale almost forgot that this was an act and that he wasn’t really about to kiss a man who had taken over his dreams at night.

“Your acne is almost all gone now.” Dale whispered to Cole as their lips held a position just an inch away from each other. “You look good.”

“You do too.” Dale whispered back. He was about to say something more but Dale’s body shifted slightly, bringing them closer, and their lips suddenly met. Dale’s first reaction was to not move a muscle, but Cole’s lips were moving, not away from his lips, but against his, and he stifled a little moan as Cole made it clear he was doing this on purpose. Dale was quite aware of the clicking of the camera and the flashes. None of that mattered as his entire body began to shake with his reaction to this wonderful kiss. He could feel Cole’s tongue entering his mouth in a gentle probe, and he moaned again as his tongue rose to meet it.

“Damn.” The photographer’s voice broke their kiss, and Dale knew he had a silly look on his face as he and Cole stepped apart. “I ran out of room on the memory card.”

“Too bad.” Cole said with a similar silly grin on his face and not one little bit of shame.

“I got most of that kiss.” The man said and he was frowning. “You aren’t going to demand I not include those in the proofs?”

“Not if I get a couple eight by tens and five by sevens in return.” Cole stated and Dale frowned. People were not going to be happy about this – especially Aunt Trish. His one little interview had turned in a blizzard of stories and requests for interviews. Now here they were being interviewed by the Advocate and doing this photo shoot for its cover.

His grandparents seemed to be handling things fairly well, overall. It was like watching two people caught between a rock and a hard place. They actually liked Cole, and his father, and they loved Dale, but having the ‘dirty laundry’ (as they called it) aired in public made them uneasy. It didn’t help that Dale reminded them how much they enjoyed reading these types of stories when it was someone else’s dirty laundry.

His mother had explained it a slightly different way the day before. According to her, they were still coming to terms with their grandson being in a gay relationship, something they had always viewed as ‘wrong’, and yet they liked the changes in Dale over the last few weeks, they liked the boyfriend, and now they were feeling proud that their grandson was being given credit for having made a major change on a national issue.

“Done.” The photographer said instantly. Cole shook his hand, and led the way away from where they’d done the shoot. One of the campaign staffers was nearby and immediately came up to them while still on the phone.

“We’re done here, right.” The woman said into the phone. She was just out of college, and dressed in a smart-looking dark suit. “Trish wants me to make sure those clothes get back to the campaign.”

“I know, I know.” Dale said with a sigh. They were ‘campaign’ clothes, so they belonged to the campaign and he had to give them back as soon as he could. “You want me to strip them off here and now?”

“Tonight will be soon enough.” She said with a little bit of a sniff. She worked for Aunt Trish in Sacramento and had made it very clear she hated having to be up here for the last week.

“They’ll be at the house.” Cole said with a hint of anger in his voice.

“Good.” She nodded as her phone rang again and while she was talking to someone on the phone, Cole took Dale by the arm and led the way outside. They had ridden in Cole’s car over here, and that was where they went now.

“I’m so sorry about all this.” Cole said as they got in the car and buckled their seatbelts. The car’s top was up today, even though it was beautiful outside.

“It’s okay.” Dale told him with a sigh. “Are you sure they’ll airbrush my face?”

“Yes.” Cole laughed. “No spots on a national figure like you, although they could get you some acne cream endorsements if you wanted. I had no idea it’d blow up like this.”

“Yeah, well, you’re the one who came up with this whole idea.” Dale said, and a little bit of the bitterness he was feeling slipped into his voice.

“You were the one who spouted off those lines that’s got everyone’s attention.” Cole retorted with a little chuckle. “They hit just the right note, and people are responding well to them, especially now that Dad’s picked them up and is using them. He’s at least giving you full credit.”

“I almost wish he didn’t.” Dale murmured softly. The news interviews had gone well the week before, and Dale had answered the questions well, almost too well. Something he’d said in responding to a question about his discussions with the Congressman had been picked up and was now stirring a national debate, something he’d never expected. It was awe-inspiring, and he was scared of the expectations that they seemed to place on him.

“You’re the one who came up with the whole ‘pushing their religion on the rest of us’ thing.” Cole was still chuckling, and Dale frowned right up until Cole reached over and took his hand, giving it a squeeze. “It’s a good argument, and something a lot of people feel but have been too chicken to actually state. You did that. Did you see that blowhard from the AFA on last night’s talk show?”

“No.” Dale frowned. “I was working, remember? Things are really moving now for the campaign and we’re picking up more support in the gay districts than before.”

“Yes.” Cole smiled, again showing off his perfect teeth. “Dad’s really becoming the hero now for ‘telling it like it is’, all after your interview. Anyway, the newscaster was interviewing that preacher, Bill Copeland, the new talking head for the AFA and asked him what the guy thought about your point.”

“What did he say?” Dale asked, not wanting to know but something in him demanded he find out.

“He told the audience that it didn’t matter if they were pushing their religion on other people.” Cole answered with another chuckle and a shake of his head. “The guy actually said that people should be following what he preaches and that it would be better for them. Every time they walk right into that trap you set, they lose and they don’t even seem to realize it at all.”

“It wasn’t a trap.” Dale sighed. “It was just an observation.”

“To you it was an observation that you made over dinner with your boyfriend’s father, but to everyone else it’s more than that.” Cole argued. “Then you repeated it in that interview and it’s taken on a life of its own from there.”

“I’m just a kid.” Dale sighed. “A few months ago I worked in a fast food restaurant making minimum wage.”

“Now you’ve reshaped American policy, and the entire argument on a gay rights bill to be about freedom of religion and First Amendment rights.” Cole pointed out as he made a turn.

“Don’t remind me.” Dale groaned. “So really, what happens now? It looks like your father will get easily re-elected. He’s pulling in the votes he needs and all he has to do is hold onto them until the election in less than two months. Then we break up and it all goes away, right?”

“I don’t want to think that far ahead.” Cole said with a blank look on his face and he took his hand out of Dale’s, putting it back on the steering wheel. “Let’s just stay focused on this minute, okay?”

“Do you think this is too much for the district?” Dale asked. “Isn’t there a possibility the gay rights issue might win the primary but lose the general election?”

“It’s possible, but I doubt it.” Cole answered returning his hand to hold Dale’s.

“Why not?” Dale asked with real curiosity. He’d heard Howie and two of the volunteers discussing it the other night. They seemed convinced Congressman Pritchard was in danger of going too far to the left for his district.

“Dad’s walking a fine line here, and doing it well.” Cole said with a shrug. “He’ll probably tone things down a bit after the primaries and draw back anyone from the middle that strayed away. His biggest support among the Republican side comes from their more moderate members, who actually control a lot of the purse strings for campaign donations. They’ve always been more moderate on social issues and their current front-runner is a hard-right guy. Those folks will move to us after the hard-right guy seals up the nomination on their end.”

“Sometimes I get dizzy trying to follow all these maneuverings.” Dale said with a sigh, this time it was he who squeezed Cole’s hand. It felt odd. Here they were where no one could see them and Cole was showing physical affection. These little moments were confusing for him, and were the moments that he would miss the most when the whole charade ended.

“You’ll get used to them after a while.” Cole assured him. “I’ve been doing this stuff with my father for years, so after a few years, I figure you’ll fit right in.”

“Um, Cole, years?” Dale asked with a raised eyebrow. To his surprise, the handsome congressman’s son blushed as he drove up the hill towards his family’s home.

“Well, you do want to be my friend after this, right?” Cole answered after a rather long pause.

“Of course.” Dale said with a sigh. “I imagine that’ll look good, your ex-boyfriend standing next to you on the day you wed some woman.”

“Oh, you did not just go there.” Cole groaned with a rueful chuckle.

“You know that’s what the press would say, or at least the tabloids.” Dale pointed out to him.

“We’ll just cross that bridge when we get there.” Cole suggested. “Now you should be concentrating on your muscles and getting ready for a workout.”

“Cole!” Dale protested. “You’ve had me working out twice this week already!”

“You know today was your scheduled workout day at school and skipping school doesn’t get you out of weight-lifting.” Cole pushed. “If you’re going to throw a sixty-yard pass without it losing steam at thirty, you’re going to have to build up those skinny arms of yours.”

“I still don’t understand how Coach got them to change my Study hour to PE three times a week.” Dale grumbled. “I feel like I’m only doing this because people keep pushing me.”

“Oh come on.” Cole grumbled right back. “You enjoy it as much as the rest of the guys.”

“You mean they enjoy watching me flub it.” Dale pointed out miserably.

“You have to admit, that time you missed Jeremy’s hike and he pounded himself in the balls was classic.” Cole laughed, and after a moment Dale did too. It served Jeremy right for the comment about Dale not tickling his balls enough.

It was against the rules for the football team to actually practice football during this part of the off-season, but there were always ways around the rules, at least according to Ben King and Cole Pritchard. Coach Miller gave them the option twice a week of choosing their own game, and they always chose football on those two days. The Coaches rounded out the other three days of the week with other sports activities. Therefore Mondays and Fridays were always football scrimmages. Wednesday was usually soccer, oddly enough to Dale’s thinking until the Coach explained it built stamina and lower muscle strength. After school, on Mondays, Wednesday and Thursdays, the team would use the weight-training room and Coach had Dale on a very strict routine and monitored him closely.

In fact, he’d warned Dale not to work out on his own, not to use any ‘enhancer’ in any form, and to only work out on their schedule. Cole knew all that, and had most likely cleared this little planned workout with the Coach. In fact, a quick question proved that to be true.

“He can’t do too much directly ‘cause of all the rules to prevent cheating.” Cole told Dale when he asked about the Coach’s hands-off approach. “The state passed the Fink-March Act a couple years ago after that scandal down in Trellis.”

For the rest of the drive to the house, and even as they walked in and up to Cole’s room they kept talking about the different laws that had been enacted over cheating in high school sports. It probably would have been an odd conversation for most people their age, but it was typical for them. Dale was so relaxed that when they entered Cole’s spacious room and started to change out of their clothes, he almost failed to notice that he was standing there, wearing nothing but his boxers while Cole was wearing only a pair of green bikini briefs that hid very little.

“You like?” Cole’s voice was filled with humor as he struck a pose when he noticed Dale staring at his body.

“One of the perks, I guess.” Dale tried not to blush, but failed as he felt his cheeks burn a little. Cole’s body really was an impressive piece of work. He was lean, but had strong, firm muscles from his workouts.

“You’re not too bad yourself.” Cole replied with a little smile that made the blush on Dale’s cheek deepen.

“I’m the gay one, remember?” Dale said with embarrassment as he made an effort to get the sweats he’d left here earlier in the day.

“Yeah, but I’m the boyfriend.” Cole laughed easily as he also began to get dressed in an old pair of red sweatpants.

“I’m the beard, you’re just playing.” Dale retorted and was surprised to see a blush begin to appear on Cole’s face.

“Don’t say that.” Cole said softly, pausing with one leg in the sweatpants, one out.

“Don’t say what?” Dale asked, struggling to remember to put his legs into the gray sweatpants. They were actually fairly new, a gift from Jeremy the week before.

“Beard.” Cole clarified as he resumed putting on his sweatpants. “It’s an ugly term.”

“It’s what I am.” Dale shrugged. “I’m your gay beard after all. Sure, I get little perks like looking at you when we’re changing, and a kiss every now and then in public, but it’s important for me to remember that it’s just for show.”

“I still don’t like it.” Cole shrugged. “I mean, I appreciate you agreeing to do this for me, for my dad, but I don’t like thinking that I’m using you.”

“Don’t worry, I’m getting plenty out of it.” Dale forced himself to chuckle after that. “I’m going to be on the cover of a national gay magazine, my grandparents are on the way to being okay with me being gay, and I’ve got a far better job, even if it is over with the election. I’m sure if your dad gives me a good reference I can get another good job.”

“He’s been talking to Senator Lewis.” Cole said as he put on an old gray t-shirt.

“The State Senator?” Dale asked.

“Yeah, Lewis owes him a favor from the last election cycle.” Cole said. “He wants to keep it as a surprise for you.”

“Should you be ruining it for him?” Dale asked as he got his arms into the white t-shirt he’d packed.

“If it makes you feel better, yes.” Cole stated. “I want you to know you’re not going to get screwed in this after all you’ve done for us. Dad doesn’t know still, I mean that we’re not really a couple, and I hope he never does.”

“He won’t hear it from me.” Dale assured him.

“I know, which is why I want to make sure you’re taken care of after everything’s over.” Cole said gently. “Lewis might be able to offer you a part-time job in his district office after the election cycle’s over. If you want it, that is.”

“Hell yes.” Dale said firmly. “I’ll take working in an office over working over a fryer vat any day.”

“Yeah, well, Dad endorsed Lewis during the contested primary he had two years ago, and Lewis is endorsing Dad now, but he still owes dad.” Cole said.

“That’s politics, isn’t it?” Dale asked with a shrug. “It’s all about the favors someone owes someone.”

“That’s part of it.” Cole agreed as he put on his tennis shoes. “Just leave the clothes here on the bed and I’ll make sure they get back to Aunt Trish.”

“Why did they buy these things?” Dale said with a sigh. “You’d think after that clothing issue during the ’08 race they’d not do that.”

“They do it for me too.” Cole sighed. “It’s just for photo shoots and crap like that. You use them and they go back to the campaign which usually just returns them and puts the money back in the campaign account. It’s better than buying new clothes every time you need to do pictures.”

“You always buy new clothes.” Dale pointed out.

“Yeah, but the clothes I wore today were bought just like yours.” Cole said as he began to fold the clothes he’d just removed. “She didn’t say anything about them because I know the routine.”

“Oh.” Dale said with a frown. It was weird, and he felt somewhat dirty, but if that’s what they did, that’s what they did.

“Look, is it right to expect you or me to go out and buy clothes just for a photo shoot?” Cole asked with a slightly exasperated look. “Do you think models go out and by their own clothes?”

“No, they have like wardrobe designers and all that.” Dale said, not really sure how that actually worked, but he did know models didn’t buy their own clothes.

“Exactly.” Cole said with a gesture towards the clothes. “Those were our wardrobe today and we were the models.”

“Oh.” Dale said with a frown.

“Besides, you make enough money now you can buy new clothes if you want.” Cole said firmly.

“Yeah, thanks for that.” Dale said sullenly. For some reason he felt bad about all the good things that had come his way since he’d agreed to do this for Cole. He wasn’t doing it for the money.

“You don’t have to accept them if they make you feel bad.” Cole said firmly and there was a frown on his face. Were they actually fighting? Dale wasn’t sure how to feel about that.

“Let’s go work out.” Dale said instead of continuing the conversation. Cole took a deep breath and the irritated look bled out of his handsome face. Dale had to fight down the urge to kiss that face again. Those urges were becoming stronger the longer they continued this charade, and it had him worried along with everything else. This was just an act, and he didn’t want to fall in love with Cole when he knew there was no hope for anything beyond friendship after the election. That would be plain stupid.

“Yes.” Cole agreed aloud, and led the way although by now Dale knew it as well as he did. He followed Cole’s instructions for warming up, and the conversation shifted to harmless gossip about the different people they both knew. The latest scandal involved a cheerleader and Derrick Thomas, a player on the basketball team.

“You really think he’s the father?” Dale asked as they moved to begin lifting weights. He always went first because he could only lift a third of what Cole lifted, so it was easier to just add the extra weight when he was done.

“You know she’s the slut of the cheerleader squad.” Cole laughed lightly as he positioned himself at the head of the bench. It was distracting to lift the weights and look up to see the red sweatpants that Cole wore. They were tight, mostly because Cole had wore them for years and years, and showed off his package very nicely. Cole had a body that was a gay guy’s dream, or a straight woman’s for that matter. Whoever he eventually ended up with was going to be very, very happy. “I know for a fact that Brentley was screwing her around the same time.”

“So why is she saying it’s Thomas’s?” Dale asked with a grunt as he struggled to finish his reps.

“Brentley’s family isn’t as rich as Thomas’s.” Cole answered, and Dale didn’t have to see his face to know he was frowning.

“No wonder you never bothered to sleep with girls.” Dale said with a light laugh and he could see Cole’s legs shift slightly.

“Yeah, well that’s one of the reasons.” Cole said glumly. “Did you hear about Mr. Wilson’s breakdown last week?”

“Uh huh.” Dale said as he let the weight bar rest in its holder before beginning his last repetition. “I hear Jenny Wilson provoked it, but it’s been coming for a while. The guy just can’t handle the freshmen.”

“No, he can’t, but it’s still sad, don’t you think?” Cole asked.

“Yeah, it’s sad, but you know, if he can’t handle the kids, he shouldn’t be a teacher.” Dale said firmly, reaching up to take the bar again and begin the last round of repetitions. He was sweating, and his arms already ached, but he pushed just the way Cole wanted him to push.

“That’s a little cruel, don’t you think?” Cole asked him. “I mean, he’s a teacher, and he’s a human being with feelings like the rest of us.”

“Kids are the cruelest animals in the universe.” Dale grunted as he pushed the weights up to full extension. It hurt, and he hated working out as much as he had before. Only the view of Crotch made the whole thing worth it, and even as he looked he swore he could see a little twitch up there. “Um, Cole, you getting excited talking about this or what?”

“Shut up.” Cole’s voice sounded embarrassed. “You don’t have to prove your point that way. I know kids are cruel. That’s why they have to be socialized from an early age or they grow up to be monsters.”

“God you are such a liberal.” Dale grunted finishing the last rep and putting the bar back on its holder. He didn’t get up though, instead he concentrated on slowing his breathing and letting his aching arms rest. “I hate this you know.”

“I know, but everyone appreciates you doing this.” Cole said with a smile forming in his voice.

“I only do it so I can watch your crotch while I’m doing it.” Dale said, surprising himself with his forwardness, and his honesty. Cole had started to lean on the bar, but he jerked back with Dale’s words.

“You pervert.” Cole laughed that light little laugh showing he was amused, but Dale could still see his crotch and there was definitely something growing there. He didn’t make too much of it, but he knew Cole was a guy like any other, and he also knew that his own dick still had a mind of its own at times. Still, this was going to be fun.

“Are you getting a hard-on looking at me working out?” Dale made sure Cole could hear the teasing in his voice. Unfortunately the words seemed to have a kind of effect on his dick, and it began to tingle with excitement.

“You are kind of cute, for a skinny geek.” Cole said, suddenly leaning forward. This disconcerted Dale a bit. If he got the nerve up to tease Cole like this, the handsome guy usually backed off a bit. He didn’t lean over the weight bar so his crotch was clearly visible, and he was looking down at Dale so that he had a difficult time deciding to look at Cole’s crotch or Cole’s face. “Put some more muscle on you and you might be downright handsome.”

“I thought I was fine looking the way I am.” Dale countered. Cole had said that over dinner one night when Dale made a self-critical comment about looking like a geek.

“You are.” Cole said, brazenly reaching down to adjust his crotch. “See what you do to me? I can’t help it if I want my boyfriend to look better, though. You have to look good hanging on my arm at fundraisers.”

“Oh, that’s what this is all about, making me look good hanging on your arm.” Dale said in that same light, teasing tone. He barely noticed he was reaching down to adjust the erection that was still growing in his sweatpants. He’d finally decided on looking at Cole’s face, and the guy was licking his lips in a way that drove Dale crazy.

“Well, that too.” Cole teased him.

“You know, you are one heck of a cruel man.” Dale said with a sigh. “You’ve gone and made me horny. If you were a real boyfriend you’d be helping me out about now.”

“I’m saving myself for Mr. Right, remember?” Cole laughed easily. He shifted his stance and Dale looked back up again as he felt Cole’s legs brush his hair. This time he gulped as he saw just how big Cole really was because it was outlined perfectly in Cole’s sweatpants. This teasing was more than they’d ever done before, and he was suddenly nervous.

“How do you know I’m not Mr. Right if you don’t ever try?” Dale’s voice trembled as he spoke.

“Well, there is that point.” Cole said thoughtfully, and Dale nearly jumped as Cole’s hand touched his cheeks gently. “Your face is clearing up so nicely now that you’re not working at that place.”

“Um, Cole, you need to stop.” Dale said after taking a deep breath.

“Um, aren’t you the gay one?” Cole asked with that same teasing tone.

“Yes, and that’s the problem.” Dale said with a sigh, pushing himself off the bench and moving to a standing position well out of arm’s reach. His face was blushing fiercely, and he had a hard time looking Cole in the face. “You see, you are fucking handsome, and I am gay even if you’re not. I’m going to be in the bathroom so I don’t make a fool of myself.”

“Dale, wait.” Cole’s voice caught Dale just as he reached the exit to the workout room.

“What?” Dale said with frustration in his voice as he turned to look at Cole. The look of sadness on Cole’s face made him pause before he said something in anger.

“I’m sorry, sometimes I get carried away too.” Cole said with a sigh. “I’ll be in the other bathroom myself.”

“Not helping with that.” Dale squeaked as he turned and raced out of the room. Cole’s comment, and the image of the guy standing there in his tight sweats and t-shirt filled his thoughts as he sought to relieve himself in the bathroom.

This was so not cool…

Copyright © 2012 dkstories; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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DAmn, that was hot. I don't know which is probably the most miserable after that workout. lol

I was so excited to see more chapter up this afternoon.

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Cole was telling the truth when he told his dad he was bi, but how is he going to get Dale to realize that?

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Yeah I agree, very hot - and I wish they would admit how attracted they really are to each other. But I guess this is where the whole beard thing will mess up their relationship. Oh, well at least they got some nice pictures out of the first session.

And cool with the whole media thing, such a clever argument and just what I think too. More tolerance seems to be lacking in the world - and especially when mixed up with religion. I find it deeply ironic that (US) Christian zealots have homophobia in common with Muslims who are otherwise their arch enemies.

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Some of the Muslim punishments for 'deviant behavior' are a little more severe than the Christian ones. I have not heard of anyone being stoned to death in the Christian churches for sleeping with a boyfriend, and in some of the Christian denominations, gay marriage is, while not approved, at least tolerated.

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