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This story deals with many areas of teenage mental health which go deep into the reality of depression; thoughts and attempts at suicide and death. These topics are a reality of growing up for some gay teens. I draw from my experiences to explain this difficult time of life but accept these topics are not for everyone so I just want to add this note to let folks know before you start this book. Many thanks, James

For Everything You Are - 8. Fast Feelings

Nevada, US, 10:48am Local Time
4 days after arrival


"We're getting there," Alan said to Jake, wiping his brow. He had just finished putting together Jake's new bed. Since the room was so much bigger, Jake had asked if he could have a double. Sure enough, it had arrived along with most of the other bedroom furniture the previous day.

"You want a cold drink, Dad?" Jake asked as he finished setting up his computer on the 'also new' desk.

"That would be swell, son, thanks." Jake headed downstairs to the kitchen and pulled a bottle of orange juice from the fridge. While taking a glass from the cupboard near the window, he almost fell over when he saw Ethen stripped down to just a pair of shiny blue knee-length shorts and white Nike trainers. Ethen had agreed to mow the Stevens' lawn while they concentrated on the house, and he was out standing next to a petrol mower talking to Jenny. His tall, tightly toned body glistened in the morning sun, his six-pack so defined they even looked as if they cast their own shadows. Ethen was hot; there were no other words to describe him. Everything was defined, nothing too bulky, just toned muscle. His chest was smooth, while his legs were dusted in a thick layer of dark hair that complemented his manly body. It was also the first time Jake had seen him without some kind of cap on; his hair was dark brown, very short, with just a slither of extra length on top. Jake went into deep thought mode about Ethen's hair. He studied it thoroughly, thinking. Usually, a haircut like that would look plain on most people, but on Ethen's ever so handsome face and set back brown eyes, well, Jake didn't think so. Ethen's plump pink lips moved in slow motion as Jake watched him talk to Jenny. He had a very slight Latino look, Jake thought. Nothing immediately notable, but his skin was naturally olive and his eyes ever so slightly tilted at the ends.

Jake's dick was aching as he watched Ethen's various muscles twitch as he moved around the lawnmower, still talking. As he got up, he said something to Jenny, and then his eyes suddenly fixed on the window and Jake's eyes. Ethen smiled at him and waved.

In a moment of panic, Jake pushed off from the work surface and away from the window, helplessly looking at the empty glass as it fell from his hand and shattered on the ceramic floor.

"Shit," he barked at himself.

Outside, Jenny looked towards the window where Ethen had just waved but saw nothing. "Someone there?" she asked, looking back at Ethen and creasing her forehead.

"Just your son," he replied, smiling. "I think I startled him somehow." Jenny just smiled. She knew full well Jake had probably been staring due to the clothes, or lack of, Ethen was wearing.

"I'll go see if he's okay, and thanks for doing the lawn, Ethen; we're very grateful." Jenny touched his arm and left him in the garden, coming through to the kitchen to find Jake on his hands and knees, clearing up the broken glass. "Something out there make you drop that, by any chance?" she teased, getting down to help him. Jake went a shade of crimson.

"I...I was just getting Dad a drink of OJ, and the glass slipped out of my hand," he replied, refusing to meet her eyes. There was silence for a moment as they both collected the glass.

"You like him, don't you?" she quietly asked, picking up the remaining fragments.

"I don't know what you're talking about", he replied defensively, making Jenny smile.

"Jake, he's a good looking boy, very angelic, actually, so I can see why you do."

"I never said I did," Jake snapped, the heat coming back into his cheeks.

"If you say so," she replied, taking the glass away and putting it in the trash.

"I really don't think it's cool to talk about this stuff to you, Mum; it's embarrassing, and besides, he's… oh, never mind." Jenny was really laughing now as she watched Jake getting very hot under the collar, squirming as he tried to have a conversation with her. She found it quite sweet that her son had a crush. Most mothers in her situation might very well take a different view when her son happened to have a crush on another guy, but not Jenny. The fact that she put her son's happiness above all else made her accept things about him pretty quickly, and not only accept, but support even. He was her miracle child because she thought the stork that flew was never meant to visit her house, and when it did, she knew that he would be loved, supported, and cherished by her for as long as she lived.

"Jake, I might be your mother, but I do remember what it was like to be young, you know," she remarked, sweeping the floor, making sure to get every bit of glass up. Before Jake could reply, Alan walked into the kitchen.

"Jake, there is orange juice in the fridge; I didn't need you to call Spain and have some imported. What's taking so long?"

"Sorry, Dad, I had a little accident."

"Yeah, it was Ethen's fault," Jenny said, bursting into laughter again.


"Ethen's fault," Alan said, looking confused.

"Never mind, Dad. Look, here is your orange juice. Let's go, work to do," Jake said, quickly dragging his father from the kitchen before his mother embarrassed him any more with her loose mouth. They just left Jenny cracking up in the kitchen.




Outside, Ethen was attacking the lawn with the mower, his tall frame making easy work of the long grass. He had his headphones on, bopping away as he pushed. As he turned the mower round to come back towards the house, he spotted Jake holding two glasses of OJ.

"Thought you could use this," Jake shouted above the noise. Ethen smiled and switched off the mower, walking over to where Jake was standing. He had never been so close to such naked beauty before as he passed the cool ice-filled glass to his newfound crush.

"What?" Asked Ethen. "Sorry, the mower," he added, pointing to it.

"I said, I thought you could use this?"

"Thanks," Ethen said, taking the glass from him, their fingers momentarily touching. "How are you settling in?"

"Um, yeah, good, I'm a bit nervous about school since I won't know anybody, but things here are great, but I really did think it would be kinda warmer.

"School will be fine, the guys who live around here are really nice, you'll make friends. And the weather, you wait? Come talk to me about that in July. But hey, you'll get used to it eventually," Ethen replied, smiling. "I'll take you over to the Underwood's place later, if you like, and introduce you to Ed and Luke since you'll be going to school with them each morning."

"Yeah, okay, I'd like that," Jake replied, eager to see what other hunks occupied the area. He was also trying to subtly adjust his pants, hoping Ethen's eyes remained level with his.

"Cool. I'll come by later, after I've eaten, say, around seven?"

"Yeah, sounds fine, thanks. So, um, d-do you have a girlfriend or best friend at least? I don't see you around many people." Jake asked nervously, but deciding to be brave, nonetheless.

"No, I, um… no, I don't. I see Ed and Luke quite often, but I pretty much keep to myself. I spend a lot of time up at the base," Ethen replied, somewhat sheepishly, and Jake immediately noticed it was the first time Ethen didn't seem confident with an answer. "What about you? I mean, back home, did you have one back in the UK?"

"Uh, no."

"Cool," Ethen said, gulping down the last of his juice.

Cool, what the hell does that mean? It's cool; why is it cool? Is he pleased or something? Shut up, Jake! "Well, I'll let you get back to it, then," Jake said, his courage faltering.

"Yeah, better," Ethen replied, almost shy. Jake watched as the Adonis returned to the mower and pulled the cord. Jake's cock was now leaking pre-cum down his leg. He was just about to go back in when the mower stopped, and he heard Ethen call out,

"Jake, come over here for a second, will you?" Jake did as he was told, not about to be asked twice.

Ethen gestured that he come in close like someone would if they were just about to announce something important and secret. He leaned down, so his lips were close to Jake's ear while Jake just looked on, taking a swig of orange juice, waiting for him to speak.

"You know, Jake," he whispered, "If you're into me, you could just say so, rather than trying pretty badly to conceal the boner you got when I walked over." Jake didn't say a word; he just spat the entire contents of his mouth over the grass and stood there frozen. Ethen just smiled before dealing the final blow. "Oh, and before you run off like a headless chicken, which I can see you're dying to do, I just thought I'd mention, you're pretty hot yourself!"

Jake couldn't stand it anymore; with butterflies in his stomach, the overwhelming urge to vomit or pass out, whichever came first, he marched back towards the house, speechless.

"I'll come get you at seven," Ethen called as if nothing had been said.

Jake came through the house like a man on a mission and quickly went into the bathroom. He slammed and locked the door, turning around, leaning on it while taking heaving breaths. He didn't know whether to laugh, cry, vomit, or just choke. He pushed himself off the door and went to the sink, quickly splashing cold water on his face, hoping it would compose him. Fuck, Fuck, FUCK, he screamed inside his head. He could hear the mower back in action and got annoyed that Ethen could just drop those few choice words and then go back to mowing the FUCKING LAWN!

"Jake, are you okay in there?" his mother called, constantly paranoid when Jake rushed to the bathroom.

"Yeah, be out in a minute," he called back, drying his face on a towel, sighing. He thought he would feel happier about the whole thing; after all, the hottest thing to walk into his life since…ever…had just revealed he was gay AND that he thought Jake was… hot. He did say that, right? But any excitement that should have filled his hormone raging body had been replaced by utter shock, and for Jake, it felt like the shock from a bad car accident – In other words, he felt like shit!




The evening was approaching far too quickly for Jake. Sitting at the table with his parents, he just picked at his food, nervous, his leg tapping, the sound of the kitchen clock starting to intrude in his mind, tick tock tick tock. Fucking clock, he thought, as Alan spoke.

"Hey, I know I'm not as good at cooking as your mother, but you could at least do me the honour of trying it," Alan said, grinning.

"That clock is driving me nuts," Jake blurted, letting out a sigh. "Sorry, Dad, the food is fine. I'm just not that hungry."

"Not hungry, at your age?" he said, incredulously. Jenny, sitting opposite Alan, drew one hand up to the side of her lips and mouthed something at him, causing him to cock his head, not really understanding.

"Would you mind if I went and took a shower? I kinda stink." Jake said, pushing his plate away.

"Sure, honey, you better hurry though; don't you have Ethen coming round for you at seven?"

"Don't remind me," he muttered, pushing his chair back, causing it to screech loudly on the floor. Jake skulked off upstairs, leaving Jenny grinning and Alan confused.

"It's definitely a badass crush," Jenny said, trying to stifle her giggles. Alan just shook his head and frowned.

"You're actually enjoying this, aren't you?" he asked, a small smile developing.

"Oh, I think it's quite sweet, you know, watching him squirm."

"Jen, I have to work with that boy's father soon. I really don't want to get into a conversation about how my son is foaming at the mouth and has, by the looks of things, stopped eating over his son."

"Oh, Alan, it's just a crush. It will pass once he's at school and has other things to occupy his mind." Alan just shook his head again.

Now out of the shower, Jake pulled on a pair of 501 jeans and a tight black sweater that complemented his own defined body as he checked himself out in the mirror. He went back into the bathroom and softened some hair gel in his hands before moulding his now sun-bleached, light brown hair into a quiff and spiking up the back. Then, taking his dad's aftershave, he splashed some on, absent of any sting, because he had not started shaving yet. He admired himself in the mirror again for a few moments, just because he wanted to look his best - firstly for Ethen, but also for his yet-to-be-met neighbours. Just in time, he thought, as the doorbell chimed and a wave of anxiety pulsed through him.

"Ethen, come in, sweetheart," Jenny said, regarding the handsome boy standing before her in a white basketball t-shirt and shorts. "Have you eaten tonight, Ethen? We have extra leftovers if you're hungry."

"Thanks, Jenny, but I'm fine. I had some chicken and rice before I came out. Gotta watch the figure, ya know," he said, grinning, pulling at the waistband on his pants.

"Well, if you're sure, I know how much boys your age eat, especially as I have one of my own," she remarked, looking at Jake as he appeared in the hallway.

"Hey, Jake, ready?" asked Ethen, winking at him, making him cringe slightly.

"Uh, yeah, sure, let's go." He kissed his mother on the cheek after she pushed the side of her face out just before he walked past her. "Urgh, Mum!" he said, noticing Ethen had smiled when he had kissed her.

They stepped out into the cool air of the evening, and Ethen took in a deep breath, smelling the air. "Someone has a barbecue going," he said as they both heard the front door close behind them.

"It's dark, and it's January," Jake remarked, pulling a face at Ethen.

Ethen chuckled, "Hey, you need to forget your old life, my friend. Out here, barbecues are all year round, and in the Nevada desert, you'll rather not have one in the middle of July."

"Back home in the UK, January is usually really cold, and often we have snow. In the north you're pretty much guaranteed it. Have you ever seen snow?" Jake asked, turning to Ethen as they walked, stones crunching under their feet.

"In the mountains, but have I ever felt it? No," he replied, staring into the distance. "You look nice tonight, by the way." Jake blushed slightly.

"Just something I threw on," Jake replied, shrugging. He lied!

As they approached the Underwood's, Jake could see smoke appearing from beyond the roof, illuminated by what looked to be a floodlight coming from the back yard.

"Looks like Trent is cooking up a treat," Ethen said, smelling the air as a whiff of beef invaded his nostrils.

"Trent?" Jake replied, confused.

"Yeah, remember, Luke and Edward's dad?" But, unfortunately, Jake had forgotten the first names, having not visited them as yet.

"Sorry, I remember now, and Jackie, right?" Jake asked, remembering the mini-tour Ethen gave them, having just arrived in Beale.

They arrived at the front door, Jake as nervous as hell. He had felt fine up until the point where Ethen was just about to knock. His mind had been on other things or other body parts. He had watched Ethen as much as he could while they were walking, his clothes stretching and pulling against his tight muscular body every stride he took. The way his beautiful tanned face sat upon his broad shoulders and the way Jake could see the dark hair creeping from his armpits.

Ethen knocked on the door loudly, making Jake flinch. He could hear muffled sounds coming from the other side getting nearer until there was a click and the door opened. Standing before them was a topless male wearing an unbranded pair of plain blue shorts, barefoot, and a baseball cap. Jake could not tell what colour his hair was because it was short, and the light was not helping, but looking down at his hairy manly legs, which were coated in a light wire wool texture, he guessed the kid must have been a fair or dirty blond.

"Oh my god, Ethen, good to see you," said the kid, smiling. He had a baby face that screamed innocence and purity, but his shorts told a different story. Jake noticed a slight natural bulge, which gave the boy a hint of manliness, along with his hairy legs.

"Hey, Luke, you're looking hot tonight!" said Ethen, almost causing Jake to collapse in the doorway. Ethen was out to this guy? he thought. The young male stud just giggled.

"Ethen, not in front of your guest!" he remarked, looking into Jake's eyes. Jake just smiled uncomfortably.

"This guest is Jake, Luke. I brought him over here to introduce him to you. He's new to the neighbourhood and will be attending school with you and your brother." Jake was expecting a handshake or a nod, but when Luke stepped forward quickly and threw his arms around him in a hug, he tensed up, slightly shocked.

"Hey, Jake, it's good to meet you, man. I have noticed you a couple of times out front of your house, but you looked real busy, and my dad said I should let you and your family settle in first. But I was planning to come say hello," he said, patting him on the back and then pulling back again. Their eyes met, and Jake held out his hand, which Luke shook, being slightly more conservative.

"It's good to meet you, Luke," Jake said, trying to sound as enthusiastic.

"Sorry, guys, did you want to come in? Dad's got the grill going, as Mom is out with the girlfriends tonight. So there is plenty to go around." Ethen smiled as Luke stepped to the side, letting them both through before shutting the door. Luke led them out to the backyard and approached a large table, complete with an umbrella that was double the size of the table. Sitting at one of the chairs was Ed, while his father was tending to the barbecue with surgical accuracy.

"Ed, this is Jake. You know, the new guy I was telling you about?" Ed raised a hand while keeping his wrist on the table. He smiled.

"Good to meet you, Jake," came the very masculine voice. "And Ethen, nice to see you after your absence." Ethen just chuckled while Jake smiled back, raising a hand up to greet his new acquaintance.

"Yeah, sorry, Ed, I've been helping the Stevens here settle in. My dad is going to be working with Alan, Jake's dad. I wanted to help them." Luke circled Ethen as he listened to Ed. He placed a light grip on Ethen's arm to get his attention.

"I missed you, Ethen," Luke said, a glazed look coming over his eyes as he smiled. Jake could not help feeling a little jealous of the contract; after all, he had spent a lot of time with Ethen all to himself for some days, and this new feeling was making him frown.

"Luke! God, man, stop drooling over him," Ed sighed, shaking his head, causing Ethen to look at Luke and grin. Jake was gobsmacked but tried not to let it show. Here he was, fresh from England, a large town with not one gay person ever to be found... well, there was David from the youth club, but he was just a mummy's boy, he reasoned... and here he was in a tiny, desolate piece of land with five houses and already he's met two... gays?. Yeah, and not to mention two gays that are apparently out and proud, he thought, taking in the situation.

The tall man who had been poking at the barbecue suddenly approached the table, carrying a large plate of various meats, placing it down. "Hey, Ethen... and new friend, I see."

"Yeah, Hi, Um, I'd like you to meet Jake Stevens. Jake, this is Trent Underwood, Ed and Luke's father.

Hello, Mr Underwood," Jake said, stretching his arm out.

"British?" He eyed Jake.

"That's right, sir, my dad has taken a job here at Beale Air force Base; he'll be working with Ethen's dad," said Jake, as if the last bit of this statement would gain him quicker acceptance. Trent regarded Jake with a serious face before it softened, and he smiled.

"Well, son, it's very nice to meet you, and you tell your mom and dad that they are welcome to pop in any time. It's nice to have a family back in the old ranch again, now that old Sam has passed on." Jake just grinned, already feeling more at ease. He felt slightly intimidated by Trent at first, with his thick western accent and the way he swigged on his Budweiser while never unlocking his eyes from him. It had made him feel like an intruder, but that was fading quickly.

"Thank you, sir," Jake replied, shifting his feet in the freshly cut grass.

"Well, I'm gonna go make up the salad and bring the bread rolls out. Ed, you want a beer, son?"

"I'm good, thanks, Dad."

"I'll have one," said Luke, trying his luck.

"Sorry, Luke, did you say Coke?" his dad said, eyeing him wryly. Luke's head dropped.

"So, Jake, how are you liking Beale?" Ed asked, putting his feet up on the table and stretching out, revealing his abs, absent of hair, apart from a fluffy blond treasure trail that led down to his scarlet Adidas shorts.

"It's a lot different than where I come from, you know, like, all the open space", Jake replied. Ethen laughed.

"Yeah, he's struggling with the space," Ethen said, grinning at Ed and cupping Jake's neck, drawing a glance from Luke.

"Yeah, thanks for pointing that out, Ethen," Jake added, flapping his vest as if to acknowledge Ethen was right, anyway.




As the boys continued to talk, Jake telling them about how he ended up here and what his dad did for a living, Trent came out with a big bowl of salad and a bag of bread rolls. "Okay, guys, dig in! There are burgers, sausages and chicken."

"Help yourself, Jake," Ed said, noticing Jake had not moved from his spot.

"I kinda feel like I'm gate-crashing," Jake replied, looking at the food.

"Nonsense, Jake, dig in, I'd be offended if you didn't," stated Trent.

Luke, Ethen and Trent were devouring into the chunks of dead animal while Ed was casually regarding Jake, every now and again looking at Ethen. He looked like he was trying to analyse something. It had not gone unnoticed by Ethen, who was taking deep bites out of his burger in a bun.

Trent went back to the barbecue and tossed some more chicken on, and Luke disappeared into the house after notifying everyone that he needed a piss. Jake had asked to go with him, as he needed to go, too. Ethen moved closer towards Ed, glancing towards the barbecue and then back at the house.

"I'm not fucking him, you know, this one is... different." Ethen sighed at Ed.

"Yeah, but you're not," Ed replied, slipping the last bit of a sausage into his mouth.

"It's not like that, Ed. He's new here and...and I actually like him, respect him, you know?"

"Ethen, Ethen," Ed sat shaking his head, "Last time I checked, you were still the guy who gives blow jobs to lonely truck drivers on empty desert roads for fifty bucks, and you're the same guy if I recall, who fucked that Mormon who knocked at your door when your parents were out. Oh, and there was that guy from the gas station, oh, and my favourite one was...."

"Fuck off, Ed; I'm not that person anymore. It was just.... a rebellious thing!"

"You mean, you were a virgin, and then when your dad found out you were gay, you decided to make a move on anything with a dick, and what's worse, occasionally, for cash." Ed bellowed out a deep laugh, mocking Ethen intensely.

"You know, Ed, the only reason I ever told you those things about my personal life and some of my most personal stuff is that you're a good friend, and I trust you. If all you're going to do is laugh, make fun of me, and use that knowledge as a weapon, then maybe I won't in the future." Ethen looked hurt. Ed noticed, and a serious look came over his face.

"Ethen, I'm sorry. I was only teasing. It's just when you said it's different with Jake, it just sounded like a little bit of a cliché, that's all. It just feels like he's the new arrival on the menu and soon he'll be another Luke." Ed regarded Ethen once more, seeing he was still looking a little hurt, and he sighed. "Look, I dunno what the deal is with you two, but you obviously care..."

"I do," Ethen said, interrupting abruptly. "I do care for him, and I'm growing really fond of him. Just...Just don't tar me with that brush you like to use, Ed, and don't say stuff about me around him, okay? He's kinda.... more sensitive than you and me, and I don't want him to think I'm some kind of ass. I'll tell him about my... past when I'm ready." Ed nodded firmly, pursing his lips, convincing Ethen that he was sorry and the topic could be dropped.

"But just one more thing, Ethen?"

"Yeah, I know… Luke." Ethen said quietly. "Could you, you know, talk to him?"

"I can try, but…."

"Just try, okay?" Ethen said, cutting him off.

Luke and Jake appeared from the house moments after, laughing and chatting as they did. Ethen was glad Jake had found a friend already and turned back to Ed, who was also smiling.

"They hit it off okay," Ed said, looking at his brother but talking to Ethen.

"Yeah, I'm glad," agreed Ethen. "I Just hope it'll always be like that." Ethen looked up as Jake approached the table.

"Hey, Ethen, Luke says there is an old cemetery out in the woods behind our house., Is that true?" Jake asked, calling over. Ethen moved towards Luke and Jake, who were standing by the patio doors to the house.

"Yeah, Jake, it's nothing spectacular, just a few gravestones covered in weeds and dust."

"We should go check it out," Jake blurted excitedly to Ethen.

"It's nothing exciting, Jake, I promise."

"For you, maybe, but I haven't seen it, have I?"

"Well, I'll take you there one day, okay?"


"Well, I suppose we better get going. I have to call my dad tonight, guys." Ethen then walked over to the barbecue, where Trent sat in a deck chair, watching his chicken slowly grill. "We're off now, Mr Underwood. Thanks for the awesome food."

"Hey, you're welcome, son."

"Goodbye, Mr Underwood; nice to meet you again," Jake called from the table. Luke once again hugged Jake and placed his hand on Jake's ass innocently, causing Jake to flinch at the contact. After that, Luke just giggled and let go.

"Gotta love that!" Luke scoffed, more to himself.

"What?" Jake said, looking confused by the comment.

"You straight guys, always so nervous," Ethen heard but said nothing. He was sure Ed would be telling his brother just how straight Jake was when they both left. Besides, it wasn't his place to say. Jake just looked at Luke, revealing nothing, as he and Ethen made their way to the side gate.

"Bye, Ed", Jake said, giving a small wave.

"Yeah, see ya, Jake. Nice to finally meet you." He winked.

Ethen and Jake left the Underwood's property and made their way back up the dirt track.

"I wanna see it now," Jake said, turning to Ethen.

"See what?" replied Ethen, raising a brow.

"The cemetery," he exclaimed. "It would be kinda spooky, don't you think?" he added, blinking his eyes at Ethen.

"What, now, really?" Ethen sighed, not really feeling enthusiastic about heading into the woods in the pitch black. "It's kinda getting late, Jake, and I do need to call my dad before eleven."

"Ethen, it's only just gone nine. C'mon, are you scared or something?" Jake teased, hoping it would spur Ethen on to say yes.

"No, not scared, just don't want to step on any snakes or spiders," he countered, hoping that would spur Jake on to change his mind. But to no effect.

"Pfft, snakes and spiders, indeed!"

"Okay, you win, I'll take you there, but I doubt you will see much in the dark. If you really wanna go, then we will."

"Cool... so how do we get there?" Jake asked, getting excited, ignoring Ethen's negative about the dark.

"There's a passage down the side of your house that will take you to it' follow me." Ethen led Jake up the dirt track until they were at his house. It was fenced in, but to the side, another smaller track headed down towards a blanket of trees. As they continued towards the mini forest, it seemed to get darker until Ethen pulled out his cell phone and used the flash as a torch.

"Kinda eery, don't you think?" Jake remarked, watching the thin beam of light cast long shadows that danced around as they walked.

"You wanted to go; too late to chicken out now," Ethen whispered. They continued into the shrubbery amongst a few tall trees, stepping over rotten branches. The dry weather made it a miracle the forest even survived at all Jake was thinking. Then, all of a sudden, Ethen stopped.

"Ethen, what's wrong?" Jake asked, trying to look where Ethen was looking.

"We're here," he replied, setting his torchlight on a single headstone ahead that looked crusty and brittle.

"Awesome," was all Jake could say as he advanced forward to the stone lit up by Ethen's torchlight. Ethen followed Jake as they made their way into the heart of the small graveyard.

"Hey, Ethen, can I borrow your light? I wanna see what these say."

"Sure." Ethen passed his phone to Jake, who shined it on a gravestone shaped like a cross. He brushed the dry moss away from the partly obscured words on the stone, revealing a name and date.

"Albert Dickinson, eighteen thirty-five to eighteen ninety," Jake said slowly. "Hmm, this is old!"

Ethen got closer and stood behind Jake, reading what he had read. "Yeah, really old," he added. Jake stood there silent, his back to Ethen, reading the rest of the words on the stone; it was a small poem. Suddenly, he felt a warm breath on his neck. Knowing it was Ethen, he closed his eyes and enjoyed the way it made the hairs stand up on the back of it. Ethen leaned in more and softly placed a kiss on Jake's neck. So gentle, so caring. Jake felt it strange that such a delicate display of affection could come from a jock like Ethen. Not that Ethen was really a jock as such, but he was sure of himself.

Moments after the kiss on his neck, Jake felt two arms come around his chest and pull him in. His back felt warm against Ethen's chest as he suddenly noticed the temperature had dropped slightly since they left for the Underwood's.

"You're trembling," Ethen whispered into Jake's ear.

"A little." Jake eased out a small chuckle.

"Do I make you nervous?" he asked, causing Jake to tense up.

"It's just..." Jake let out a sigh, "It's just, you're a little forward, and I find you quite intimidating, that's all." Ethen grinned behind Jake's head. " I mean, what you said earlier today, it...it shocked me, you know...I mean, you were kinda blunt with the whole thing, and it took me off guard, you know, because no one really knew about me, apart from my best friend Cody, and he never said anything like that, and I just think that it was a little bit forward, I mean, don't get me..."

"Shhh," Ethen cut him off by placing his fingers over Jake's mouth.

"Sorry, was I rambling? I mean, I kinda do that when I'm nervous. It's not like I mean to, it's just...it's like I have to explain myself, you know, so there is no misunderstanding, and...."

"Jake, stop already!" Ethen started to laugh. Jake went quiet and relaxed into Ethen's chest again.


"Jake, do you like me?" Ethen asked straight up.

"I think you're cute," Jake replied, leaning his head back and looking up at Ethen's face.

"Yeah, I know that...but do you like me?"

"Oh, yeah," Jake said quickly as he turned and looked into Ethen's big brown eyes shining the torch onto Ethen's face.

"Well, I like you. I mean, a lot, Jake. I love your personality, you're so sweet and kind, and your nervousness actually drives me wild." Ethen rubbed Jake's chest vigorously at that last part. "Not to mention, you have one fucking hot bod!" Jake blushed and hoped, in the torchlight, Ethen would not notice.

"I dunno what to say, Ethen. I'm pretty new to all this. So, when you say you like me, and I've said I like you, does that kinda mean... I mean, are you...you know..."

"Asking you out, Jake?"

"Yeah, that," Jake replied, becoming somewhat nervous again.

"Would you like me to ask you out?"

"I'm not sure; I guess I would, but I'm really not sure why a guy like you would be interested in a shy introvert like me. Plus, maybe it's a bit early?"

"You're not shy, Jake; you just are around me, and for the record, I think I have already explained what I like about you, and the fact that you're shy, as you put it, is actually a positive for me." Jake looked up at Ethen again to gaze at him when Ethen dropped an unexpected light kiss onto Jake's mouth.

"I like it when you kiss me," Jake said rather pathetically.

"Hmm, you like me and my kisses. I'm doing well so far." Ethen grinned.

"I'm sure I'll find out your bad habits soon enough to even things out."



"I know it's probably a bit early but...will you go out with me?"


Ethen squeezed Jake tight into his chest and placed another soft kiss on his smooth neck. Jake took Ethen's hands in his, and they stood there in silence for a few minutes until Ethen spoke again.

"I better get you home; your parents will be worried."

"Yeah, guess you're right. And I know you said it's a bit early, but I probably would have said yes to going out with you the minute you showed up at the airport."

Ethen shook his head and chuckled. "I can't believe you're here with me."

"Huh?" Jake said with some confusion at Ethen's last comment.

"Nothing, Jake; it's just bizarre, how I'm standing in the middle of a cemetery with a sexy British guy that I didn't even know two weeks ago, and now we're...sort of together. I just feel kind of lucky, you know? It's like all those people in your town, hell, even your country, you could have ended up with, and you arrive in the most remote of places and find me. It just kinda blows me away, that's all.

"Hey, you're the fit one; I always thought I was probably out of your league."

"Well, you were, Jake, but, hey, I lowered my expectations," Ethen replied, grinning widely, the comment earning him an elbow and growl from Jake. "Kidding," he was quick to add.

"You better be, Mr!"

"C'mon, handsome, let's get back. "

As they walked back through the forest, they held hands and quietly chatted. Then, just before they appeared out of the canopy, Ethen stopped and pulled Jake into their first proper kiss, his tongue pressing against Jake's teeth as Jake opened and let him in, so their tongues could explore new territory. Jake broke the kiss and stared into Ethen's eyes, smiling before going back for dessert. Then, feeling warm and fuzzy inside, he pulled Ethen in deeper before pulling away and reminding him...

"You need to call your dad."

"And you need to get home."

Like a gentleman, Ethen walked Jake to his door and saw the porch light was still on, along with several house lights. He resisted the temptation to reach for another kiss, thinking it would be good to avoid any awkward questions should Jake's mother or father open the door. Instead, Jake put his key in and opened the front door, turning back to see Ethen had slowly made his way down to the gate. He smiled and gave a small wave. Ethen waved back and started his way back to his house. Jake shut the door and went through to the kitchen, where his mother was making bread ready to bake for the morning.

"Hi, Mum," Jake said as he got a glass of water.

"Hi, Jake. Well, you look pleased with yourself; how was your night?" Jenny said, noticing her son was almost glowing, with a big stupid grin on his face.

"My night, Mum, was more than I ever hoped it would be," he said, uncharacteristically confident, as he began to walk out of the kitchen towards the stairs.

"So, you asked him out, then?" Jake stopped momentarily, smiled to himself, and continued walking.

Well, she was almost right. Not bad! He thought.

©Copyright 2021 James Matthews; Mark Baker; All Rights Reserved.')
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This story is a 2020 re-release and re-edit. Some parts have been changed and the 2013 story has been kindly re-formatted to third person with substantial input from my good friend Mark Baker.

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Chapter Comments

Many questions answered about Ethan. I'm glad he's told Jake about his past. There seems to be history between Ethan and Luke, will Luke cause problems when he finds out about Jake.

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"You know, Jake," he whispered, "If you're into me, you could just say so, rather than trying pretty badly to conceal the boner you got when I walked over." Jake didn't say a word; he just spat the entire contents of his mouth over the grass and stood there frozen. Ethen just smiled before dealing the final blow. "Oh, and before you run off like a headless chicken, which I can see you're dying to do, I just thought I'd mention, you're pretty hot yourself!"


@@@ Potential trouble ahead???

"I missed you, Ethen," Luke said, a glazed look coming over his eyes as he smiled. Jake could not help feeling a little jealous of the contract; after all, he had spent a lot of time with Ethen all to himself for some days, and this new feeling was making him frown.

"Luke! God, man, stop drooling over him," Ed sighed



"I'm not fucking him, you know, this one is... different." Ethen sighed at Ed.

"Yeah, but you're not," Ed replied, slipping the last bit of a sausage into his mouth.

"It's not like that, Ed. He's new here and...and I actually like him, respect him, you know?"

"Ethen, Ethen," Ed sat shaking his head, "Last time I checked, you were still the guy who gives blow jobs to lonely truck drivers on empty desert roads for fifty bucks, and you're the same guy if I recall, who fucked that Mormon who knocked at your door when your parents were out. Oh, and there was that guy from the gas station, oh, and my favourite one was...."

"Fuck off, Ed; I'm not that person anymore. It was just.... a rebellious thing!"

"You mean, you were a virgin, and then when your dad found out you were gay, you decided to make a move on anything with a dick, and what's worse, occasionally, for cash." Ed bellowed out a deep laugh, mocking Ethen intensely.

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