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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. 

Life Goes On - 12. Chapter 12


Dressed and ready to get the day in motion, Mike and Derrick stopped at the guest room doorway. With a bit of enthusiasm, Mike laughed, "Let's get some food in this house, dudes."

Still wrapped in Keith's arms, I grinned, "Oh, I thought we were waiting 'til after Keith went to work?"

"If we've gotta suffer then so does he," Mike flatly stated.

Letting go of me, Keith teased, "Bet ya don't even know what to get, huh?" Keith reached for my hand and we followed Derrick and Mike towards the front door.

Rush hurried to the door, but I held up my other hand commanding, "Rush stay. We'll be back soon, hound dog."

Reaching for the door knob, Derrick chanted, "Bacon, eggs, milk, hamburger buns and cheese."

Following Derrick out of the house, Mike added, "There's only a few burgers left, not even enough for us to make 'em for dinner tonight. We've only got two bottles of Coke left too; that's enough for the two of us, but not enough for all of us over the next two or three days." Mike locked the door behind us and followed to the 442.

I wondered, "Can we fit everything in your trunk D?" then suggested, "Why don't we just take my truck?"

"That's cool," Derrick nodded and I unlocked the doors. Soon we were all buckled up and I pulled away asking, "The Safeway over at the corner of Kanan?"

In the rear view mirror I saw Derrick nod and answer, "That's the one."

Keith turned the radio on to find Pink Floyd's Young Lust playing. He turned slightly and said, "So far we've got a pretty small list. What else do we need?"

Mike scowled in thought and rattled off another short list. "Sandwich bread, some cold cuts, we're out of French fries too." He turned to Derrick, "Anything else D?"

Scratching the back of his head, Derrick said, "We could use hot dogs and buns, there aren't many of those either."

"What about snacks or something for dessert?" I wondered.

"We haven't bothered with that stuff," Derrick replied. "We can save a few bucks and we don't really need it."

I stopped at the traffic light and, sounding surprised, Keith asked, "Not even granola bars or Wheat Thins?"

Smiling widely into the rear view mirror, I said, "Sometimes we need an after sex midnight snack consisting of real food." Mike and Derrick snickered. As I started gaily forward again, I suggested, "I'll get a few extra odds and ends since we'll be around often enough. How about some ice cream for dessert tonight?"

Obviously liking the idea, Mike quickly and hopefully asked, "Chocolate, pleeeazzze?"

Pulling into the shopping center parking lot I chuckled, "You got it, bud."

While I parked, Derrick teased, "You're a chocolate fanatic, Mike."

"I can't help it!" Mike playfully whined and fell against Derrick. Laughing, Keith shook his head.

We all got out of the car and started across the parking lot, grabbing a cart on the way into the store. The quickest, least congested path was through the fresh fruit and vegetables. Derrick said, "Since we're getting cold cuts for sandwiches, we'll need some lettuce and tomatoes too." He led the way and quickly bagged a head of green leaf lettuce. Then we went to the display of tomatoes. Derrick hummed, "Three to a pack for a buck ninety-nine or loose for a buck forty-nine per pound."

Stepping forward Keith smiled, "Get the loose ones, dude." My lover then showed Mike and Derrick how to check the tomatoes explaining, "Too hard or green and we'll have to wait a few days. Too soft and they'll rot in the fridge in no time."

"We'll prob'ly only need two anyway," Mike offered.

Smiling widely, Derrick turned to me and nodded at Mike and Keith. Unable to control myself, I began laughing. Keith only glanced back at me and grinned, but Mike glared accusingly.

Before I cracked up, I turned to Derrick and asked, "How about some cantaloupe for tomorrow's breakfast?"

"That would be awesome!" Derrick cheered. He and I went to go check them out. Just as we found a decent sized one that looked ready to slice up, Keith and Mike came with the cart. "This reminds me," Derrick said as he put the cantaloupe in the cart, "we need coffee too."

Keith began rubbing his chin. I asked, "What's wrong, babe?"

"I was just considering making a fruit salad for breakfast," Keith softly said.

Wide-eyed, Derrick asked, "You know how?"

"Oh dude!" Mike laughed, "Keith's mom makes an awesome fruit salad!"

"What do we need?" Derrick queried.

"It's easy dude," Keith began. "We've already got cantaloupe. Get some strawberries, grapes, an apple, one or two tangerines and a pint of heavy cream. It's a meal all by itself, right, Mike?"

"Omigod!" Mike gasped. He then softly chuckled, "I'm gettin' a stiffie just thinkin' about it!" We all cracked up and several customers turned to us.

Derrick nodded and chuckled, "If it's that good, let's do it!"

"We'll also need vanilla extract," Keith remembered, "just a teaspoon though."

Turning to Mike, Derrick wondered, "Is that in the pantry, dude?"

We started walking again and Mike shrugged. Pushing our cart, Keith then said, "One time my mom made it with vanilla pudding. It was different, but every bit as good. We wouldn't need the heavy cream, just milk and instant pudding mix."

"We'll need milk any way," Derrick said. "Let's just get the pudding mix." We separated and got all the fixings then went to the back of the store. In the dairy department, we got a gallon of milk and found cartons of eighteen eggs on sale for less than the cartons of a dozen surrounding them. Noticing we had already been in the store half an hour, we split up. Mike and Derrick took care of the soda and various meats we needed. Keith and I gathered American cheese, pudding mix, chocolate ice cream, bread, hamburger and hot dog buns.

Meeting at the rear of the store again, we reviewed the memorized list. Mike said, "We'll bring the burgers and hot dogs camping tomorrow. We're having chicken tonight. Now we just gotta decide what kind."

I noticed a large package of boneless chicky-tits in the cart already and thought aloud. "We could bread 'em and fry 'em up, which is a big mess, or make Doug's chicken dish?"

"That was really good," Keith enthusiastically recalled.

"What do we need?" Derrick asked.

"A big can of tomato sauce, peas and potatoes."

"How much work is it?" Mike suspiciously asked.

"One pan in the oven, dude," I remembered. "It'll take a while to cook, about two hours so we need to start it early."

"You won't regret it," Keith playfully grinned. "I wish I could be around for dinner."

"We'll save ya some babe," I said. "Just pop the plate in the microwave."

Derrick nodded, "You know what we need, Prez. Lead the way."

Quickly we hurried through the store. I got a thirty-two ounce can of tomato sauce; a twelve ounce bag of frozen peas then went back to where we began and chose ten red potatoes. Then we went to checkout. Instead of the four of us waiting in line, I remained with Derrick while Mike and Keith loitered around the front of the store. I noticed them checking out rental videos while Derrick and I began unloading our stuff onto the conveyer belt. The cashier began ringing our groceries up and I could not believe how fast the subtotal was incrementing higher and higher. Pulling out my wallet, I handed Derrick forty dollars.

"Dude!" Derrick began to object.

"Keith and I added a shit load to a small list," I insisted. "Besides, I worked last night and have the money. I may not next time."

Derrick reluctantly took the cash and sighed, "Okay, but remember Prez, this is my dad's money not mine. I got it next time." I nodded and thanked him. A few minutes later, when the grand total of over a hundred bucks was declared by the cashier, Derrick smiled and thanked me.

I pushed the cart past the end of the aisle and paused as we looked around for our missing partners. They were looking at the store bulletin board strangely enough. "What the hell are they doin'?" Derrick softly complained. "Hey!" Derrick hollered and waved for them to join us.

"We better get this ice cream home soon or it's gonna be chocolate soup!" I snickered.

Keith and Mike hurried towards us, bouncing off each other, but avoiding other customers. Once they were close enough, Mike happily said, "We got a gig, dudes!" The first thing I did was look into Keith's eyes.

We started for the exit and my lover nodded, "It's okay baby. I called Jessy and she's cool with it."

"And I called Shaun at work," Mike assured. "All we gotta do is show up for the audition."

"Wait a minute, slow down!" Derrick chuckled. "What's the gig?"

"A Labor Day community party here in Agoura Hills," Keith explained. "It's that Saturday, the fifth, right across the street in the park. It's from noon until eight."

Bouncing along in apparent ecstasy, Mike added, "The auditions are August twenty-second between eight in the morning and six that night. We're there at eight sharp, first on the list!"

Keith snickered at Mike's lively step. "Four bands, each get's an hour and fifteen minutes," Keith recited.

We stopped at my 4Runner and I unlocked it then grinned at Derrick. "What did you say in the shower?" I grinned.

Derrick quickly remembered and loudly laughed, "Can't leave 'em alone for a fucking minute!" Keith and Mike cracked up!

We started loading groceries into the back cargo area. I asked, "What gear do we need for this shindig?"

"I've got the number," Mike said. "I tried to call, but no one answered. I left a message though."

"What if we need our own PA?" Derrick wondered.

Mike shrugged, "If we do, Doug and Brian will be back before the audition. I'll ask if we can borrow theirs." He paused then loudly giggled, "Forget asking; I'll beg!"

Keith laughed and I smiled, "On yer knees again, Mike?"

"Whatever it takes," Mike joked. Derrick only shook his head, but at least he was smiling and seemed to take the joke well.

Finished loading the groceries, I closed the tailgate and we climbed in. As soon as they were in the backseat, Mike leaned over and gave Derrick a soulful kiss. I waited for them to finish so I could back out safely, but they weren't stopping! Then I figured what the hell; I just got the whole picture in the shower. Looking back and around I backed out then started the short trip to Doug and Brian's.

"Holy shit!" Keith gasped. He pointed at the clock in the dashboard. "It's after two already?"

"Aw shit!" I sadly drawled. "We'll get the food out of the car and put away then you'll have to go to work," I frowned.

Keith hummed, "They've been letting me leave early anyway. I'll be back soon baby."

"I know," I whimpered, "it just sucks." Mike and Derrick were making out in the backseat, I noticed. I loudly complained, "Some people kept us awake all damn night!"

Mike made a crooked smirk and Derrick turned the tables on me. "Seems that bed didn't squeak as bad when Brian and Pete were using it!"

"Good one and very true," Mike grinned. "We'll keep ya busy working on another Zeppelin tune tonight, Prez."


"The Rover," Mike said. "It's got a funky groove and a great guitar part. I think you'll like it enough to sing it, Keith."

"Tell ya what," Keith began, "I'll sing it without even knowing what I'll be singing on one condition."

"Spit it out," Mike smiled.

"You dudes take care of the groceries while I take care of Prez for ten or fifteen minutes."

"Done!" Derrick and Mike chanted simultaneously as I pulled in front of the house.

Needless to say, I had the tailgate opened in no time flat. Keith and I each grabbed a few sacks, but left them on the table. I tossed my keys to Derrick then Keith led me to the guest room. "I don't want you to go, it's too soon," I sadly admitted.

Keith lay on the bed on his side and had me come lay down with him, his front to my back. My lover held me and we were silent the whole time except for a few soft sighs from both of us. Before we had to move Keith whispered, "Just visualize me holding you like this Prez." He squeezed me tighter for a few moments and assured, "I know you'll feel me and I'm sure I'll feel you too. We're that attached baby; we love each other that much. It won't be our imaginations; it'll be real and just as peaceful."

With tears welling up in my eyes, I nodded, "I love you too Keith. It'll work simply because we both want it to." The clock said two-thirty, but I couldn't make myself move. Keith had to though. He sat up, took his T-shirt off then found his Blockbuster polo shirt. While he slipped it over his head I got up and went to him for another hug and a tender kiss. My brain spun and I felt weak.

"See ya later, baby," Keith sadly said and then opened the bedroom door. He didn't say another word before walking out the front door. I turned to the bed we had just been laying on. It was such a great day and I already missed him. Stepping forward, I picked up the pillow he was laying on and inhaled my lovers scent. As hard as I could, I concentrated on holding him. For a few moments I could feel his arms around my waist and breathing on my neck. It was so real I turned to see... nothing. I carefully placed his pillow back where I got it, sighed and walked out of the room.


Meanwhile, back in Woodland Hills at the Seaver home, Corey's mom had taken the day off work and slept in until almost noon, recovering from her wine induced hang-over. Although she had completely recovered, she was still in a fabulous mood. Sitting outside while Corey and Drew swam around in the pool, she drank coffee and read a magazine. When the boys got out of the pool and dried off, Mrs. Seaver gave both Drew and Corey the first tight hugs and kisses of the day.

Rolling his eyes, Corey chuckled, "Mom, please? You're embarrassing both of us."

Drew softly agreed, "Sooner or later you'll find out we're still the same."

"Can I please just enjoy it for a while?" Mrs. Seaver pleaded. "I've been a basket case for so long... I just can't help myself." Releasing them, she warmly smiled.

"I'm fine, mom," Corey insisted. "I'll get better in time, I promise."

"Did you both have breakfast?" Mrs. Seaver wondered.

Corey said, "I had a protein shake, an apple and a few spoonfuls of Drew's Cheerios."

Drew nodded, confirming that they had both eaten.

Mrs. Seaver asked, "There were no problems keeping everything down?"

Drew answered, "No problems last night or this morning."

"Can I fix you lunch?" Mrs. Seaver desperately pleaded.

"Mom," Corey sincerely said, "I understand how you feel, but really, we're cool. You're normally at work this time of day. Drew and me can manage just fine."

Smiling, Drew nodded, "You're taking the day off so... take the day off."

"We're just gonna grab a bite to eat then get changed and go over Drew's house," Corey explained.

"I already asked my parents if Corey could come over and spend the night tonight," Drew added.

Exaggerating a frown, Mrs. Seaver quickly wore them down. "Oh okay," Corey sighed.

"What would you like for lunch?" Mrs. Seaver happily asked as she started inside.

Following his mother into the house, Corey explained, "I was just gonna pop the ravioli in the microwave mom. We were gonna share it."

"And we were gonna have small side salads," Drew said as he closed the back door.

"That's fine," Mrs Seaver pleasantly said.

"We'll go get changed and be back in a few minutes," Drew suggested.

Corey nodded, "Yeah, we'll be right back mom."

Quickly the two boys hurried to Corey's bedroom. Corey closed the bedroom door.

Trying to remain quiet, Drew excitedly chuckled, "Dude! Your mom's completely outta control!"

"You're tellin' me!" Corey giggled and he began untying his swimming shorts. "We have to find some excuse to escape... quickly!"

Slipping his trunks off, Drew snickered, "I like hugs and all but... jeez!"

Toweling off his privates, Corey joked, "It's all your fault! Did you think I was kidding when I said I love you almost as much as my folks?"

"And I'm supposed to call them by their first names now?" Drew giggled as he toweled off. He paused, looked at Corey and spoke deeply;"Hi Bill, how about a beer?" Corey cracked up and Drew added, "Lanna, would you like more wine?" Trying to get into his boxers, Corey staggered around. "You think that's funny, imagine me calling your parents by their first names around my parents!" Drew snickered as he pulled clean boxers out of his backpack. "You'll be fine... I'll be dead!"

"Here lies Drew Hundser... killed for lack of proper respect by his mom's death rays!" Corey howled.

"Exactly!" Drew roared. "Either that or from your mom's constant hugs."

Snickering and giggling at the insane turn of events, they finished dressing then brushed their hair. When finished, Corey smiled into the mirror. "Drew? I love you."

"I love you too, Cor," Drew widely smiled. "I hope John's not home. It's my turn, ya know?"

Certain that Drew meant more than he was actually saying, Corey nodded, "Are you looking forward to it?"

Drew blushed and nodded, "A lot; it kinda surprises me."

Corey draped his arms over Drew's shoulders and whispered, "I'm gonna do exactly what you did to me yesterday." Drew felt a shiver of anticipation race up and down his spine.

From beyond the bedroom door, Mrs. Seaver said, "Lunch is ready."

Turning to the door, Corey loudly answered, "We'll be right there, mom." Facing Drew again, Corey received one of Drew's patented kisses before he was ready for it and melted.

Holding up some of Corey's weight, Drew broke the kiss and watched as Corey's eyes opened again. "Was it really that good?" Drew asked.

"Omigod," Corey sighed, "you have no idea."

Blushing fiercely, Drew giggled, "Let's go eat and get outta here before we get hugged to death." Drew led Corey by the hand out of the bedroom.

Regaining his senses, Corey said, "We'll tell her the new Hanson CD is coming out."

"We have to get to the mall then!" Drew snickered. He then asked, "When is that live CD coming out?"

"Later this year," Corey answered, "before Christmas. It's already on your list."

"Oh kewl!" Drew cheered. On the hallway walls were photos of Corey as an infant, a toddler, and each of his yearly school pictures. There had to be fourteen framed pictures, one for every year of Corey's life.

Before entering the kitchen, Corey slowed their pace and whispered, "Betchya I can get you a new PC for your birthday."

Snapping his head to Corey, Drew excitedly said, "Dude! You're kidding?"

Shaking his head, Corey howled, "Betchya?"

"Omigod!" Drew giggled.

As they turned the corner, the boys found themselves again embraced by Mrs. Seaver. Suddenly surprised, Drew's eyes almost shot of their sockets. Corey laughed hysterically and heaved, "Betchya?"

"No bet!" Drew giggled.

"What are you betting over?" Mrs Seaver wondered as she released them.

"The new Hanson CD," Corey quickly and convincingly said as he sat at the table.

"Umm... yeah," Drew stammered, "we think it came out today." He then sat beside Corey.

"Oh. Would you like a ride to the mall?" Mrs. Seaver offered.

"We can walk," Drew said.

"Don't be silly," Mrs. Seaver said. "It's hot out and not too far away. Then I'll drop you off at the Hundser's before going to the market."

Snickering uncontrollably, Corey couldn't manage to cut off a piece of ravioli! Giving up, Corey went for the salad instead.

Drew appreciatively smiled, "Thanks, that'd be great."

"It's no problem," Mrs. Seaver said and turned to her son. "What's so funny?"

"Just a case of the giggles, mom," Corey sputtered.

Shaking her head sadly and believing it was some inside lover's joke, Mrs. Seaver sighed, "Well, don't choke on your lunch please. While you boys eat, I'll get myself fixed up and ready to leave."

"Okay, thank you," Drew nodded. As soon as Mrs. Seaver left the room, Drew glanced over at Corey and softly chuckled, "Omigod! What've I done?"

Corey leaned over and whispered, "And for your sweet sixteenth, I'll get them to buy you a car!"

"DUDE!" Drew loudly laughed, "Now that's going too far!"

"Just be a good boy," Corey teased.

Drew wasn't sure anymore where the limit might be. The Seaver's had a nice home with really nice furnishings. Corey always got exactly what he wanted for Christmas and his birthday. But would they really buy him a PC or a car? "I dunno, Cor," Drew said between mouthfuls of salad.

"Don't know what? Corey smiled.

Drew sighed, "All I did was bitch you out." Corey saw that Drew was serious and slowly shook his head. Drew softly admitted, "It hurt, Corey, both of us. I'm being killed with kindness for being a jerk."

Corey swallowed and said, "First of all, I was the jerk complaining about your family. Second, you were special to my folks as soon as we became boyfriends. When we broke up, it was my mom that took your package of journal entries out of the trash. Thirdly, those pages told me what you were really thinking... inside. If I didn't already know all that then believe me, I would've walked Friday night and not even gone to your room. You and your family have shown me a different kind of love; a kind I try to see in my family. I'm used to overprotective love, where my grandparents influence my parents and they do the same to me; it's 'safe' love more than 'happy and safe' love. When I say I love you it's not just a little bit, it's a lot; every part of me loves you. I love the way you think, the way you dress, the way you blush, the way your hand feels in mine, even the way you play baseball is great. Some dudes get so carried away that they get tossed for unsportsmanlike conduct. Not you though; you know it’s a game, it’s just fun. To top it all off, to me you're cuter than any dude in our entire school... and don't deny it! It's my opinion and you can't change it. So there!" Corey then resumed eating with a knowing smirk.

Drew continued eating and chewed on what Corey had said. The pages Drew had scanned from his diary only outlined how he felt about Corey before and after they broke up in January. Some pages included stuff that had nothing to do with Corey only because Drew wasn't writing much at the time. They ate in silence because Drew could find nothing to say, but he felt warmer, more confident and more aware of everything around him. Even the ticking of the wall clock, which he never noticed during daylight hours, seemed to clank like a hammer against an anvil.

Corey had been considering Drew's words and actions all weekend. He finally had told Drew some of what he had been thinking and there was nothing more to say. All Corey was thinking of, was how Drew would take what he had said. He knew Drew wouldn't be angry, but how happy would he feel and how long would it take for Drew to say something? When they finished eating, they took their plates, utensils and glasses to the kitchen. Corey loaded everything into the dishwasher as Drew handed him each item. Corey closed the dishwasher and turned around smiling.

Still somewhat awestruck, Drew whispered, "You really love me?"

Corey nodded, "Very much; at least as much as you love me, maybe more so."

In the blink of an eye, they were wrapped around each other and kissing passionately. Drew hummed and Corey whimpered but they never let go.

"Oh!" Mrs. Seaver gasped as she stopped at the edge of the room. She had never seen them kiss before. Even if she had, it wouldn't have been a kiss quite like this. To get their attention, Mrs. Seaver loudly coughed.

Still holding each other tight, they broke the kiss, but were cheek-to-cheek when Drew smiled, "Mrs. Seaver... I need to tell you some things."

"Yes, Drew?"

"Your husband told me to address you by your first name. I can't do it."

"Why not?"

"I'd rather call you mom and him dad, if that's okay?"

"I see."

"No, you probably don't, because I didn't see it until about five minutes ago. Corey just told me why he loves me and... well... I thought it was puppy love... my first attempt... our first attempts at a real relationship. It's not puppy love, is it, Corey?"

"Not anymore, about as far from it as it can be."

Mrs. Seaver nodded and smiled, "Is there anything else?"

"You tell her, Cor."

"We don't really need to go to the mall."

Surprised and a little disappointed, Mrs. Seaver queried, "Oh?"

Corey said, "I can't make myself let go of Drew right now. You can go to the market without us mom."

Drew smiled, "We'll probably be more willing to talk when you get back, but right now..."

Corey chimed in with Drew. "We'd like to be alone."

"Oh!" Mrs. Seaver giggled. "I'll be gone about an hour."

"Thanks, mom," Corey and Drew said in unison.

Turning around and in a mild state of shock, Mrs. Seaver softly wondered, "Where are my purse and keys?"

"In the living room, on the coffee table," Corey and Drew simultaneously reminded.

"Thank you!" Mrs. Seaver loudly replied then hurried out of the house.

Pulling back only a little to look Corey in the eyes, Drew snickered, "I can't believe what we just told your mom!"

Corey smiled widely, "I can believe it. Since waking up with you Sunday morning, I've felt way more attached to you."

"You kissed me awake," Drew softly remembered, then kissed Corey's hand. "It was great, Cor. It was the very best way to wake up."

Starting for his bedroom and still holding Drew's hand, Corey grinned, "I thought you were looking forward to playing with the dildo?"

"I am," Drew easily admitted. "It's not going anywhere."

"Is there something else you'd like me to do?"

Shaking his head, Drew responded, "Anything you'd like."

"Anything? What if I just want to lay down with you?"

Drew walked into the bedroom saying, "Actually, that sounds really good."

Closing and locking the door, Corey nodded, "We'll take our clothes off, just in case... for quicker cleanup."

"Can I help you... take your clothes off? I've never done it before."

"Sure; I'd like that, very much, if I can take yours off too."

Raising Corey's arms, Drew softly admitted, "I feel like I'm dreaming."

"Me too... it's weird cos I know I'm not."

Nodding, Drew slid his hands under Corey's T-shirt. He wasn't really concentrating on the shirt, but the warmth of Corey's flesh as he slowly raised the shirt. "Awesome," Drew absently whispered as the shirt lifted above Corey's head. Drew carefully folded the shirt then put it on the desk chair.

"What's awesome?" Corey wondered.

Drew shrugged, "You; your blond hair, your tiny little nips, how warm and smooth your skin feels."

"Really? Let me take your shirt off too."

Drew nodded and raised his arms. Corey raised Drew's shirt the same way, letting his hands glide effortlessly against Drew's torso while his wrists and arms actually did most of the work to lift the shirt. Drew leaned forward so Corey could finish the task. Corey folded Drew's shirt and lifted it to his face, inhaling deeply. Corey expected the shirt to smell like chlorine from the pool or maybe like the canvas backpack it had been packed in. Swooning, Corey smiled, "Now that's awesome. You even smell good."

Drew moved closer to Corey and began placing soft baby kisses along Corey's top lip. When the top lip was finished, Drew started again on the bottom lip, moving in the opposite direction.

"Oh," Corey desperately moaned. Finishing the bottom lip, Drew pulled back and tilted his head curiously. "You are such a great kisser!" Corey giggled.

Drew smiled, "I'm beginning to believe it."

Reaching for Drew's shorts, Corey nervously fumbled with the button and wondered, "Are you hard?" Drew shook his head. "Me neither," Corey admitted.

"Figures," Drew smirked as Corey lowered the zipper on his shorts. "Hundreds of unwanted school day boners and now they decide to nap."

"I haven't seen your dick soft often enough," Corey smiled as he slowly lowered Drew's shorts and boxers the same way as he lifted Drew's shirt. Corey took the time to notice Drew's dick in its normal state then stood. Looking deeply into Drew's eyes, Corey said, "When we dressed before... I didn't really notice your dick at all."

"Neither did I, but we were too busy goofin' on your mom," Drew said as he stepped away from his clothes on the floor. "Ya know what though?"


"I can barely wait to see it now," Drew playfully grinned as he took hold of the button on Corey's shorts.

Drew started to move in for another kiss, but Corey backed away giggling, "You wanna see it soft, don't you?" Drew nodded and Corey said, "Another kiss is all it will take for it to change."

"Oh!" Drew squeaked. While unbuttoning and lowering the zipper on Corey's shorts, Drew softly said, "Keith and Prez have noticed how I kiss you and I need to ask you something."

"Go ahead, ask away," Corey prodded as Drew lowered the shorts and boxers to the floor.

Taking note of Corey's cute uncut dick and his awesome blond pubes, Drew then looked Corey in the eyes and asked, "When I kiss you, how do you really feel?"


Drew nodded, "Definitely, the real truth."

"Like paradise must feel. It's the way you kiss, Drew. Your mouth is just barely open and your tongue is barely brushing my lips at first. Those kisses are awesome enough, but then, if you really feel it, you open just a little wider and move your tongue just beyond my lips. It makes me feel... well... I really only feel you holding and kissing me. If we're standing, I've lost feeling in my feet. If we're lying down, I can't feel the bed or whatever I'm laying on. I can't hear, see or think either."

Drew grinned. "The kiss in the kitchen just a few minutes ago kinda made me feel that way; all I really noticed was you pressed against me."

Corey took two steps back and glanced up and down the length of Drew's body. Drew noticed, put his arms out and slowly turned around in place. "You have an awesome bod!" Corey excitedly cheered.

Drew smiled, "I'm liking what I see a lot too; you're simply beautiful, Cor." Corey blushed crimson red and covered his face. "Hey!" Drew chuckled, "That's like the fourth time you've covered your face since yesterday. You never used to do it."

"Can't help it," Corey giggled.

Drew stepped closer and pulled Corey's hands down a little softly pleading, "Please don't cover your eyes. I love your blue eyes."

The sincerity in Drew's words obvious, Corey recovered, lowered his hands then softly asked, "Would you lay on top of me?" He quickly added, "I promise you won't hurt me. That's what I've always really wanted to feel; all of you on top of me and holding me."

Drew nodded. Corey took Drew's hand and led the way up onto his bed. Drew carefully centered himself over Corey and gently lowered himself down.

"Mmm," Corey contentedly purred as he held onto Drew's back, "this is the best feeling, better than I imagined."

"Your heart's beating so fast," Drew noticed.

"So is yours."

"Cos I'm getting hard," Drew breathed.

"Me too. Kiss me, Drew."

Drew whispered, "I really love you Corey," then slid his mouth over Corey's and kissed him. Drew squeezed tighter and Corey's body involuntarily convulsed, pushing up hard against Drew while pulling down at the same time. Releasing the kiss only to breathe again, Drew softly admitted, "We should've done this a long time ago."

"Push up for just a sec, my dick needs to move," Corey whispered. Drew pushed up and Corey reached down, adjusting his and Drew's dick. "Come back down again," Corey pleaded. Drew lowered himself down and Corey moaned, "Your pubes feel like velvet. It's so good Drew."

"What I needed is what you said during lunch. I'm sorry for being dense, Cor. I can't explain why I've waited so long."

Running his fingers through Drew's hair, Corey softly wished, "I hope I don't disappoint you, Drew."

"Disappoint me? Is it the anorexia that's worrying you?"


"It's only been a day, Corey. You haven't overeaten or got sick. Have you felt sick?"

"No, just full."

"Even if you do happen to over-do it, as long as you keep trying, that's all that matters. Just let me know what's goin' on, Cor. Whatever it might be; nausea, scared, sad, angry... anything at all, okay?"

Corey squeezed Drew as hard as he could and happily revealed, "With you watching out for me, I feel so much better. When we're separated for just a few minutes I start feeling bad... nervous, lonely... my head and stomach hurt."

"I know you love me as much as I love you. At some point I'm gonna catch a cold or something and I know you'll be there watching over me." They were quietly enjoying the contact for a few minutes before Drew thought aloud;"What are we gonna tell your mom?"

"I'm tellin' her that I refuse to spend another day without you. Minutes or hours are as much as I can deal with."

"Cool. I know what I need to tell my folks."

"What's that?"

"They've asked me what I want for my birthday. I couldn't really give them any decent ideas before."

"What do you want?"

Drew smirked, "My own room and a bigger bed."

"Can that happen?"

"Sure. My parents have a really big bedroom. The desk and bookcase would fit in there. If I have my way, the den's gonna be my room by the end of the week. John will love having his own room too."

"Wow!" Corey droned.


"I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'll miss it a little, but I like the idea too." Corey paused then asked, "Saturday, why did you choose the den?"

"I thought we'd all be more comfortable there; the living room or dining room just didn't feel right."

"It was perfect."

"Ya think?"

"It was, believe me. For a while there, I couldn't look at you or anything else."

"I'm really sorry, Cor."

"Don't be; I'm really happy now."

"I hope we won't have to go through anything like that ever again. I love you so much, Corey."

"Love you too, Drew. Remember in Pete's car, on the way to Magic Mountain, we heard that song, Magic Man?"

Drew nodded then smirked, "Don't you say it!"

"What?" Corey insanely giggled. "I'm gonna say it anyway! Since then, you're my magic man."

Drew loudly groaned then kissed Corey and abruptly rolled over, pulling Corey with him and causing Corey to giggle into the kiss. "What?" Drew chuckled, "You had to be getting uncomfortable."

"Not at all," Corey assured. "It was warm. My back's feeling cold now." Corey then pulled Drew back over to their original position.

"Oh no," Drew giggled and tried to pull Corey with him again, but Corey simply released Drew and laughed as Drew wound up beside him with one arm trapped beneath his back.

Corey howled, "Smarter than the average blond gay boy!"

Shaking his head and giggling uncontrollably, Drew heaved, "I want you to top for me too, remember?" Corey snickered and crawled over, straddling Drew's thighs. Drew playfully wondered, "What're you doin'?"

"I wanna try something," Corey smiled as he took hold of Drew's cock. Corey pointed Drew's penis at his own then pushed his foreskin over the head of Drew's cock.

Trembling at the incredible new sensation, Drew hollered, "Omigod!"

Corey giggled, "Feels good, huh?" then pulled his foreskin back and pushed it forward again.

"Hell yeah!" Drew loudly proclaimed.

"That's what I feel every time I get a stiffy," Corey grinned and continued pulling and pushing his foreskin.

"Jeez! It's totally wicked! I'd lose it without touching myself!"

Corey snickered, "We can do it anytime you want."

"Why didn't you ever do this before?" Drew wondered.

Corey shrugged, "Didn't think you'd want me to."

Feeling an orgasm rising too quickly, Drew softly said, "Umm... Cor? You'd better stop now."

"Why?" Corey grinned.

Holding Corey's arm still, Drew reminded, "Your mom will be back soon. Let's save it for later, okay?"

"Okay," Corey whispered then lay down on top of Drew.

"Whew!" Drew gasped, "That was too good."

Hugging Drew firmly, Corey whispered, "I love you so much."

"I feel it too; we can't ever be separated again."

"We won't be," Corey confidently promised. "As soon as my mom gets home, I'll tell her."

After only a few more quiet minutes, they heard the front door open and sighed. Pushing up off Drew, Corey rolled off the bed. They began to dress again and Drew softly admitted, "For some reason, I'm not scared at all. Are you?"

Corey thought for a few moments as he pulled up his boxers and shorts at once. "No... more like anxious to finally say what I've always wanted to say."

Pulling his shirt over his head Drew smiled widely. Glancing in the mirror, Drew fixed his hair with his hands then turned to Corey and fixed his hair too. "Ready?"

Corey nodded and reached his hand out. Drew took Corey's hand and they left the bedroom. Entering the kitchen where Mrs. Seaver was loading groceries into the refrigerator, Corey said, "Mom, we need to talk."

"We will, but I need to get things put in the fridge before they thaw," Mrs. Seaver explained.

Drew suggested, "Let's go unload the car." Corey nodded and they hurried outside.

"Do you think she knows?" Corey wondered as he began picking up plastic sacks from the trunk of the car.

Grabbing a few sacks, Drew said, "What? We didn't really do anything."

"No, I mean... she doesn't seem to be shocked or upset in any way; like she knows what we're about to tell her."

They started for the front door and Drew shrugged, "You know her better than I do."

Humming thoughtfully, Corey opened the door and they walked inside. Mrs. Seaver walked past and went back outside to retrieve the few remaining sacks.

Putting the sacks down on the counter, Drew asked, "Should we put stuff away?"

Shaking his head, Corey explained, "She has her own way of organizing things. When me or my dad try, she only moves things around or tells us to stop."

"Oh!" Drew smiled, "Whatever."

"I know," Corey giggled. "Let's just sit at the table while she goes into white tornado mode."

Wide-eyed, Drew laughed and followed Corey. They sat and watched as Mrs. Seaver came inside.

"That's everything," Mrs. Seaver said. She glanced at her son and Drew only briefly then asked, "What's on your mind?" She then began scurrying around to put the groceries away.

Corey wondered, "Mom, what are we planning for Christmas this year? Are we staying home or flying back East again?"

"We haven't really decided," Mrs. Seaver replied. "Until yesterday, we thought we'd have to stay home. Why do you ask?"

Corey clarified, "Because, I don't want to leave Drew alone again. Not even for a day, never mind a whole week."

"Oh, well that's not too much of a problem," Mrs. Seaver said. "We could stay home and have your grandparents fly out here, or invite Drew to come with us."

Surprised, Drew asked, "You'd want me to go with you?"

"Of course," Mrs Seaver answered. "Corey only talked about you the whole time last year. The rest of the time, he mostly sat alone watching television and sulked."

Turning to Corey, Drew smiled, "You did?"

Rapidly nodding, Corey admitted, "I think I started falling in love with you the first time you spoke to me at lunch that day. It was the sound of your voice at first. I know you were lost last Christmas without me around too."

Amazed and thrilled beyond words, Drew smiled and took Corey's hand. Corey remembered exactly when Drew first sat down across from him in their school's cafeteria.

Mrs. Seaver noticed and giggled, "You two are too cute together."

"Mom!" Corey incredulously squealed.

Pausing briefly, Mrs. Seaver sighed, "You both must think adults are brain damaged." Returning to the groceries, she then explained, "You've been together almost every day and night since school ended. True?" Corey and Drew nodded. "Point two; when you were in the hospital, Drew was there every day. He didn't even want to leave when visiting hours were over. Correct?"

Smiling, Drew nodded and hummed affirmatively.

"Point three," Mrs. Seaver continued, "the events of this past weekend that led to yesterday's celebration. And still, through all that you stayed together the entire weekend. We saw how sad Drew became just talking about it. We saw how Corey tried to assure you Drew. We saw you sharing food. We heard you finishing each other’s sentences. Point four; you lied to get me out of the way so you could be alone before finally admitting that's what you really wanted." Shaking her head sadly she finished by saying;"A person would have to be a complete imbecile to not see you're in love. I'm not a tse-tse fly, you know. There are a few brain cells firing under this blond hair!" Returning to storing the groceries she then said, "The question now is, what are we going to do about it?"

"I'm asking my parents for my own room as soon as they get home tonight," Drew happily offered.

"That's probably a smart idea," Mrs. Seaver said. Finished with the groceries, she leaned against the counter and smiled, "I called and spoke with your father last night, Drew."

"You did?"

Mrs. Seaver nodded, "I told him I wanted to adopt you."

Drew started laughing and wondered, "What did he say?"

"I don't remember," Mrs. Seaver scowled. Corey and Drew roared laughing. "This is not funny!" Mrs. Seaver loudly giggled. "It's embarrassing, that's what it is!"

After a minute of hysterical laughing, Corey smiled, "What're we going to do when school starts?"

Mrs. Seaver quietly thought before responding, "What I would consider, and I have to check this with Drew's parents, is one week here, one week there."

"REALLY?" Corey excitedly hollered.

Mrs. Seaver nodded, "It would make our lives easier than a night or two here or there. All six of us would eventually need to sit down and discuss it."

Stunned beyond the capacity to absorb it all, Drew widely smiled, "It's all happening so fast."

"It's not reality yet boys," Mrs Seaver warned.

Turning to Drew, Corey giggled, "We have to go to your house and start buttering up your parents."

"No," Mrs. Seaver softly insisted, "this is for us parents to decide. Be patient and you might have what you both obviously need and want. Act like children and you'll be treated as such."

Corey and Drew stared longingly at each other. "We want this," Drew then admitted.

"I can see that," Mrs. Seaver smiled. "In case you haven't already figured it out, you're moving into a whole new arena, going from friends to boyfriends to an adult relationship. It's not always easy."

Drew nodded, "I know, Keith and Prez talk for hours on end sometimes. I can't always hear what they're saying, but I know that's what they do."

"All adults have to do it," Mrs. Seaver explained. "Otherwise misunderstandings creep in and make things more difficult than they need to be. There's much more than just your happiness to be considered. We have to talk about school, what your grades have been like; how each family will cope with a new member; what we'll do if one of you becomes seriously ill, like your doctor appointments Corey, amongst other things." She then sighed, "I have to at least call and apologize for last night so we could begin then, I suppose."

"Apologize?" Corey wondered.

Rolling her eyes and shaking her head, Mrs. Seaver asked, "Have you ever known me to drink, Corey?"

Corey giggled, "Nope, never."

"That's the bad thing about alcohol; it impairs judgment. I was so happy after the doctor appointment yesterday. I became even happier watching you two at the restaurant. One glass of wine led to two, then three, then more when we returned home. I paid the price for it this morning. Then I heard you outside in the pool. I woke up not only to be sure you were safe, but to just watch you two together." She paused then softly said, "As a mother, I expected I'd be cranky or moody when it came time to sever the umbilical cord. I'm not though, I'm honestly very happy watching you both."

"You've never talked to me like this before," Corey realized.

"Congratulations!" Mrs. Seaver smiled. "You're a young man now. And I'm human... not just your mother, but a real person. Mrs. Seaver admitted, "You can thank your dad; he made me watch you both more closely, not as a mother, but as any innocent by-stander might."

Thrilled, Corey let go of Drew and hurried over to hug his mother. "Thanks mom," Corey sweetly said.

"Come over here, Drew," Mrs. Seaver beckoned. Drew went to her and actively participated in the three way hug. "I've now got two sons," Mrs. Seaver deliriously sighed and kissed each boy on the forehead. Then she asked, "Would you like a ride over the Hundser's?"

Corey nodded, "We just need to get our stuff together."

"We'll be right back," Drew smiled. Together Corey and Drew hurried down the hall and into the bedroom. "Oh shit!" Drew whispered as he picked up his backpack. "Do you wanna go camping tomorrow, Cor? Keith and Prez invited us. Mike and Derrick might come too."

"Definitely!" Corey excitedly answered as he shoved clothes into his backpack. "Lemme just check with my mom."

"Our mom!" Drew smirked, and joined Corey at his dresser.

Nodding, Corey snickered, "Two moms each; as if one's not enough!"

"I'll finish here," Drew suggested. "Go get your stuff from the bathroom."

Corey raced down the hall to get his travel toothbrush and deodorant then ran back to his room.

Drew said, "Two of everything, Cor; enough for tomorrow and Thursday."

"Sweet!" Corey chirped. "Let's go!" As they hurried down the hall again, Corey loudly called, "Mom?"

Mrs. Seaver knew that sound all too well. "Yes!" she sweetly answered.

Coming around the corner into the kitchen, Corey plaintively asked, "Can I go camping with Drew, Keith and Prez?"

Mrs. Seaver groaned. Four teenage boys camping alone, she silently considered. It must be time for more wine... perhaps a pack of cigarettes.

Corey and Drew simultaneously pleaded, "Ple-e-ase."

"It's only overnight at the Angeles National Forest," Drew explained. "We'll probably be back around lunch time Thursday."

"Core-e-y!" Mrs. Seaver whimpered as both boys looked up with those hopeful boyish expressions. Turning around, she picked up the new box of Pepto Bismol tablets she had just purchased at the market. Handing it to Corey, she nodded, "Okay, you can go. Those are in case of emergencies. You be sure to eat!"

Corey assured, "No problem," and put the box in his backpack. From the pantry, he retrieved two packages of the protein shake mix. He then grabbed apples and oranges off the counter and stuffed them all in the backpack.

Mrs. Seaver then turned to Drew and firmly instructed, "You be sure to watch him, Drew."

"You know I will mom," Drew smiled, "he'll never be outta my sight."

Shaking her head, Mrs. Seaver softly smirked, "I don't doubt it for a second. You boys have driven to me to drink!"

Corey and Drew laughed and raced to the front door. Mrs. Seaver grabbed her purse and hurried to keep up with them. For the entire ride to Drew's house, they listened to Mrs. Seaver rattle off all the things already jammed into Corey's backpack, assuring that he had everything needed. She got kissed goodbye by Corey and then Drew and watched as they hurried to the front door. They waved from inside the entryway and watched as she drove away then Drew closed the door.

"Hello? John?" Drew hollered as he went towards the kitchen, waiting for a reply.

Corey softly said, "The TV's not on, Drew. I think we're alone."

"You don't know John like I do," Drew smirked and looked out into the backyard. "He'll just not answer and pop out when we least expect it. Check down the hall and our bedroom Cor. If the bathroom door is closed, knock. I'll check the garage and my parent's room."

Corey hurried down the hall, pushed the bathroom door open then went to Drew and John's bedroom where he left his backpack before returning to the living room. Drew walked out of his parent's bedroom rubbing his crotch. Thinking Drew was exceptionally horny, Corey giggled, "Can I take care of that for ya?"

"Oh, dude," Drew groaned. "My nuts started hurting just as I bent down to get in your mom's car. I felt every bump in the road all the way here. The last few minutes... it's getting really bad." As Drew slowly approached, Corey saw a light film of perspiration on Drew's forehead and his eyes looked puffy, like he might cry.

Corey knew that Drew checked himself for testicular cancer regularly, every Sunday when he showered in the morning. They were together the prior Sunday morning and gingerly double checked each other. If it wasn't cancer, there was only one other possibility and Corey felt it was partially his fault that Drew was in pain. Wide-eyed and concerned, Corey gasped, "Oh shit, Drew!" Taking Drew by the hand, Corey led him back to the den saying, "I knew I shoulda just finished you off."

"I didn't know," Drew croaked, "it's never happened before. I thought it was just some bullshit story."

Closing and locking the den door, Corey said, "Obviously not when you're that close." Turning to face Drew, Corey instructed, "Don't even think about bending over or sitting down. Just let me take care of everything."

Corey knelt down and was extremely careful unbuttoning and unzipping Drew's shorts. Once they were on the floor, Corey pulled the elastic waistband forward as far it would go and kept it away from Drew's scrotum as he tugged his boxers down. "I'm sorry Cor," Drew sighed, "We both wanted way more than this."

"Don't you dare worry about it," Corey honestly assured. "This time it's an emergency. Later tonight, we can make love the way we really want."

"Cor?" Drew pleaded, "Let me at least kiss you so I don't feel like a total numbskull."

Corey took a few extra seconds checking out Drew's dick and scrotum. Nothing appeared too different from the norm; Drew's dick wasn't completely hard, but was chubby and his scrotum wasn't discolored or swollen. Standing Corey reminded, "Neither of us knew. We just won't go so far and then stop like we did. Better to have to clean up than have this happen. I feel so bad for you."

"Yeah, but this is totally uncool. I really do love you, ya know?" Drew sadly said before tenderly kissing Corey.

Corey sighed, "I know. You've shown it over and over. Now it's my turn."

Drew softly pleaded, "Cor, just jack me off?"

Vigorously shaking his head, Corey replied, "Not when your nuts hurt. Besides, I got you worked up and I want to suck you off."

"You're the greatest, Cor. I'll pay ya back dude... anytime, just say when."

Corey grinned, "Do it when I least expect it," then knelt down.


Mike and Derrick were still putting the last of the groceries away when they noticed me walking out of the bedroom. Derrick inquired, "You okay bro?"

I nodded and sighed. "Ya know what's amazing to me?" Without waiting for an answer, I tried to explain how I felt. "Yesterday was great in so many ways. Today's been great too; I enjoyed grocery shopping almost as much as a blow job in the shower. I'm divided every time we have to separate, but sometimes it's just way more difficult. We've only been awake a little while, maybe that's part of the reason I feel the way I do."

Nodding understandingly, Derrick suggested, "You need something to do, something else to concentrate on. Let's get dinner started." Derrick turned to Mike saying, "Find some upbeat music and crank it dude. Make sure it's nothing that Keith's ever sang."

Mike grunted, scratched the side of his head and sarcastically smirked, "Oh, this is real easy!"

I grinned as Mike walked by with Derrick on his heels. The next thing I knew I was sandwiched between the two of them in a three way hug. "It's not the same, but it's the best we can do," Derrick whispered from behind me.

Mike nodded, "We both know that divided feeling dude. It sucks in the worst way."

"I'd just like someone to explain to me how grocery shopping can be fun," I sighed. "I've run errands for my mom dozens of times, here and in Texas. It was never fun until I started going with Keith."

"It's never fun unless you go with someone you love," Derrick corrected.

"Most things are more fun that way," Mike smiled.

Glancing at Mike and behind me at Derrick I asked, "How'd you know I needed this? Did Keith say something?"

"Keith left without saying anything. We felt him and you," Mike answered.

Derrick added, "Once Keith noticed the time, the feeling in the 4Runner changed."

"You were making out," I reminded.

Derrick quipped, "So? When the senses are already maxed out, it's even easier."

Mike suggested, "Stop thinking Prez, just now and then pause; feel what's flowing."

"Do it now," Derrick said, "close your eyes and feel."

Since it couldn't hurt, I did as I was told. I felt warm and safe immediately.

"Keep your eyes closed Prez," Derrick whispered.

"Find Rush Prez," Mike said, "he's here but where?"

It took me a while before answering, "Out back, laying on the patio, looking in at us."

"Open your eyes now," Derrick said.

I turned and looked outside the glass doors. Rush was there, curled up with his head on his front paws looking inside pitifully. I grinned, "Pretty cool," and Rush sat up.

Mike nodded, "You just smiled for the first time since we got here and Rush feels it."

"Did you even think of him when you got here?" Derrick asked. I shook my head and Derrick explained, "He felt both you and Keith and kept back. He came to us when we came in though."

"If you wanna learn how to feel, take a lesson or two from your dog," Mike said. "I've never owned a dog in my life, but I can understand him easier than most people."

Derrick added, "We heard nothing from the bedroom and knew you were both bummed out."

I nodded and Mike guessed, "You were both lying down, just soaking in some extra affection, right?"

"How'd you know?"

"It's what we would've done," Mike answered.

"And now you want to get your dog," Derrick simply stated.

"Damn!" I chuckled, "You're both good!"

"You're between us," Mike reminded. "If we were any closer, we'd all be wearing the same clothes."

"You helped us last night bro," Derrick also reminded. "Payback time just ended." He and Mike dropped their arms on one side of me and released me.

I didn't move, but smiled, "That was intense!"

Mike grinned, "Ya wanna feel something more intense?" I nodded and he let go of Derrick. Mike closed his eyes and raised his hands so one was over the other, but about ten inches apart. Without opening his eyes, Mike said, "Slowly reach and feel what's between my hands." He then opened his eyes.

There was nothing between his hands, only air I thought as I reached with my left palm open. Remarkably, I did feel something... fuzzy, like the buzzing you might feel from an almost dead nine-volt battery. I was so amazed; I lifted my right hand and felt the same thing from the opposite side. Derrick giggled at my surprised reaction. "Pretty wild, huh?"

"That's amazing!" I excitedly gushed. "How'd you do that?"

"I put a little bit of thought into heating the air," Mike explained. "What you feel is like bouncing air molecules. When you heat something in a microwave it's exciting molecules, just like this, but with more energy."

Derrick grinned, "Remember Memorial Day, when Brian made that cloud appear then disappear?" I nodded and he explained, "Mike pestered and bothered Brian and Doug until they started showing us... teaching us a few things along the way."

I dropped my hands and Mike closed his eyes again for about five seconds, slowly letting his hands drop to his sides. "Show him what you can do D," Mike prompted.

Derrick took a deep breath and turned slightly then closed his eyes. After about ten seconds, Derrick raised his left hand about six inches away from the wall. As he passed the light switch it moved into the on position! I couldn't believe my eyes! Derrick lowered his hand and the light switch moved back to the off position.

"Oh my God!" I loudly chuckled.

Derrick opened his eyes and Mike said, "D can push stuff. He's been doing it on and off most of his life. He's bent silverware in our house without touching it or even knowing that he had done it. We didn't understand how or why... until a few weeks ago. Back when his dad beat him up, he couldn't sit next to me and I couldn't sit next him either. D wouldn't let me, but not by telling me with words, just with thought energy. If I tried and he wasn't ready, I'd get dizzy, once even bad enough to make me nauseous. He built a bubble around himself without even knowing it."

"That's trippy!" I loudly chuckled.

"We're pretty sure you've been doin' stuff too, Prez," Derrick smiled. "You're talking silently with Keith? That's telepathy."

"How'd you know?" I nervously asked.

Mike said, "Keith told me and I eventually told D."

"We've learned from Brian and Doug that God is way more than the big guy in the sky," Derrick relayed. "God is The Force, the invisible power that guides everything; stuff we can sense and some we can’t."

"We're only just beginning to learn," Mike confidently assured. "I can only make that energized ball about as big as I showed you. Just an inch or two larger takes a lot longer, like a couple of minutes."

At that instant, I felt another tight hug and loudly sighed. Mike and Derrick curiously looked at each other while I gathered all my love for Keith and attempted to send him a hug. I smiled and, with tears in my eyes, cheered "it’s working!" Noticing their confused expressions, I rubbed my eyes then said, "It's more than coincidental that we're talking about this stuff. Before Keith left, he said that he would be sending me hugs. I just felt one. Can I use the phone? I think he's at Blockbuster now and I have to check."

"Go ahead dude," Mike giggled. I took a few steps to the phone and Mike said, "You don't even have to ask either, unless it's long distance."

Dialing the number, I nodded then added, "I'll always ask anyway."

After two rings, the phone was answered. "Blockbuster Video, this is Karen."

"Hi Karen," I began, "this is Preston. Can I speak with Keith please?"

She said, "He just walked in and is in the back clocking in. Can you hold?"

I told her I would and, as soon as I heard the click, I turned to Mike and Derrick smiling, "He just got there! He probably gave me that hug while walking across the parking lot."

Mike and Derrick simultaneously hollered, "Yes!" and high-fived each other then hugged.

The phone clicked again and Keith said, "Prez?"

"I felt you twice!" I excitedly gushed, "Once right after you left and again just a minute ago."

Keith laughed then whispered, "I felt you for most of the trip here. It was almost confining."

Stunned for a few seconds, I answered, "I don't think that was me, babe. When I came out of the bedroom, Mike and Derrick both hugged me. I was sandwiched between them."

"Really?" Keith giggled.

I nodded, "Uh huh. The four of us have a lot to talk about when you get back later." I chortled, "Wait till you see what they can do?"

My stupid dick began to harden while Keith chuckled on the other end of the phone. He then nervously said, "I'd better go."

I grinned, "I know, I'm gettin' a boner." Mike and Derrick cracked up.

"Me too!" Keith excitedly said. He then softly reminded, "I'll see you soon," then he breathed, "I love you, baby."

"I love you too!" I loudly assured.


I said, "Buh-bye," then hung up the phone. I went to Mike and Derrick then wrapped my arms around both of them, picturing Keith as part of the hug. "We need to jam," I happily tried to instigate.

Throwing his head back, Mike roared laughing.

Derrick chuckled, but shook his head. "If we want to eat by six, we need to get dinner started." Turning to me, he asked, "About two hours in the oven, right?"

Mike groaned and I rubbed his back, saying, "We can jam while dinner cooks."

"Alright," Mike whined impatiently. Starting for the kitchen, Mike asked, "What do we need to do?"

"First we need the large baking pan," I explained. "Then we need to slice the chicken into reasonably sized strips and cut the potatoes in half or maybe into quarters. Doug used regular russet potatoes, but we got reds. I'm thinking cut in half cos I know they'll get soft while they cook. We don't want them falling apart completely. Then we toss the bag of peas in and the can of tomato sauce with a little bit of water. Set the oven to three-seventy-five and two hours later, we're eating." Then I remembered, "We should've gotten some French bread too," and sighed.

Derrick said, "You two start cuttin' up the chicken. I'll run over to Safeway and get French bread. I'll be back in ten minutes."

"Cool," Mike nodded. He then began searching for the baking pan. I went to get the chicken out of the fridge and heard Derrick walk out the front door. Mike pulled out two baking pans, one only three inches deep and the other longer, wider and about four inches deep. He asked which one and I chose the larger, believing it was the same one Doug had used. Putting the chicken package in the sink, I tore open the plastic then ran cold water over it. When I turned around again, Mike had found a large plastic cutting board. Rush was pawing at the door so I hurried to let him in. Praising my hound for a minute, I then returned to the kitchen.

Mike had shut off the water and was slicing the first chicken breast. There was a second breast and knife waiting for me. Together we had about two pounds of chicken sliced into strips by the time Derrick returned with the French bread. Mike and I washed our hands in the kitchen sink. Derrick retrieved the sack of potatoes from the table and asked, “What can I do bro?”

I thought for a moment then suggested, “Dump the chicken into the pan. Get the peas and throw them in there too. Then open the can of tomato sauce and pour it over the chicken and peas. Rinse the can with water, about half way, and pour it into the pan too.”

While Mike and I dried our hands I recommended, “Just slice the potatoes in half bud. I’ll see what kind of spices are around. I hope they have some oregano or Italian seasoning.”

In the pantry I found both spices as well as garlic powder and crushed red pepper. Then I asked, “Where’s the aluminum foil?” I explained, “We should probably keep the pan covered in case of boil-over.”

“Between the fridge and the sink, second drawer down,” Derrick directed as he spread the chicken out along the bottom of the pan. Once I got the aluminum foil out, I ripped the plastic bag of peas open. When Derrick was finished with the chicken, I poured the peas out in a layer. Then Mike came over with the potatoes and added them to the pan. Finally, Derrick poured out the tomato sauce and added water. The last thing I did was add oregano, Italian seasoning, hot pepper and a tiny bit of garlic powder. Mike covered the pan with aluminum foil and slid it into the preheated oven then set the timer for two hours.

Derrick smiled, “Twenty minutes prep time.”

“We’ll be eating around five thirty,” Mike figured.

I suggested, “We could turn the French bread into garlic bread, if you want?” then felt another warm embrace from the other side of the valley. I sent Keith a return hug.

Immediately, Derrick pulled a stick of butter out of the refrigerator and grinned, “Keith’ll walk in and we’ll already be stinkin' up the place!” Mike and I cracked up!

Crowded around the kitchen sink the three of us tried to wash our hands at once. I could feel the mood changing and grabbed the towel. Derrick took a few paper towels and Mike used his T-shirt to dry his hands. All at once, we hurried out of the kitchen and hurried to the studio.

Mike powered up his amp and picked up the Les Paul. I powered up the mixer and bass amp then slipped the sweet Warwick five string bass over my head. Derrick went behind the drums and put his headset on. Before I could ask what we were going to play, Derrick began hitting drums and his hi-hat. In a few seconds, Mike began playing the opening to The Rover. I had heard the song a few times on the radio, but had never actually played it before. But I could see Mike's position on the guitar and figured it was in the key of E minor so I just improvised from there.

Derrick sang:

I've been to London, seen seven wonders. I know to trip is just to fall
I used to rock it, sometimes I'd roll it. I always knew what it was for.
There can be no denyin' that the wind 'll shake 'em down
And the flat world's flyin'. There's a new plague on the land
If we could just join hands, If we could just join hands, If we could just join

Traversed the planet when heaven sent me. I saw the kings who rule them all
Still by the firelight and purple moonlight. I hear the rested rivers call
And the wind is crying, from a love that won't grow cold
My lover she is lying, on the dark side of the globe
If we could just join hands, If we could just join hands, If we could just join hands

You got me rockin' when I ought to be a-rollin'
Darlin' tell me, darlin' which way to go
You keep me rockin' baby, then you keep me stolen
Won't you tell me, darlin', which way to go... that's right

Mike played the solo note-for- note effortlessly, like he had been playing it all his life.

Oh how I wonder, oh how I worry and I would dearly like to know
I've all this wonder of earthly plunder, will it leave us anything to show?
And our time is flyin' see the candle burnin' low
Is the new world rising, from the shambles of the old?
If we could just join hands, If we could just join hands, If we could just, If we could just, If we could just, If we could just, If we could just join hands

We improvised a great ending then finished with a thunderous explosion of sound. Glancing around the room at each other, we then started laughing and congratulating each other.

I hollered, “Fan-damn-tastic lead vocals, bro! If Keith doesn’t want to, you’ve got the gig!”

He laughed, “Your bass part just kept on drivin’, pumpin’ and shovin’ us along!”

Then we both turned to Mike telling him he played the tune as good as Jimmy Page.

We were all flying about as high as we could and began jamming to Mike’s off-beat reggae rhythm. That flowed into Roxanne before we took another short breather.

I loudly chortled, “My friggin’ brain is tingling!”

“You’re feelin’ it now, dude,” Mike happily insisted.

Before we knew it, two hours had passed; during which I felt a few more hugs from Keith. At a break we heard the stove timer beeping angrily from the kitchen. Mike and I hurried to the kitchen while Derrick powered the gear down. Rush had taken station keeping in the kitchen near the stove. Grinning at my hound dog, I waved him away. “It smells awesome, Prez,” Mike said and opened the oven.

“It’s Doug’s recipe,” I reminded as I prepared to slice the French bread into four big pieces for each of us. “I only hope I remembered everything right and it tastes as good as it smells.”

Mike put pot holders on both hands, slid the rack out then lifted the pan to the top of the stove.

Derrick came into the kitchen humming hungrily. While I buttered the bread I said, “We need to toast this fast; I'm starving again. Slide the top oven rack to its highest position, please?”

Keeping the pot holders on, Mike carefully pulled the aluminum foil off the pan. He giggled, “Oh, dudes! It looks awesome too!”

Derrick peaked over and said, “It’s boilin’ though, dude.”

“It’ll cool a bit while the garlic bread toasts,” I softly reminded.

Patting my back, Derrick smiled, “Too bad we don’t have a checkered table cloth, for the real Italian restaurant scene.”

I thanked him and put the sliced garlic bread onto the oven rack. Grabbing one of the pot holders, I slid the rack in and cranked the oven to broil. Mike whimpered, "I can't wait, I gotta taste a little bit." Derrick and I chuckled as Mike found a small plate. He spooned a small sample onto the plate. A lot of steam billowed. Mike waved his hand and gently blew to cool it off. Rush whined, reminding me to feed him.

Grinning madly, Derrick playfully warned, "If you burn your tongue, don't bitch to me." Mike giggled and stuck his tongue out. "Show me that tongue again," Derrick teased and went after Mike! I laughed as Derrick backed Mike into the far corner of the kitchen and peaked in the oven. The butter was melted, but it was nowhere near toasted yet. When I looked up again, Derrick had Mike's tongue in his mouth.

Leaning against the counter, I hummed and joked, "Seems butter ain't the only thing meltin' in here." Since my joke didn't break their kiss, I got a fork and sampled a little piece of the chicken Mike had set aside. It was definitely cooked completely and tasted really good. Mike was now hanging off Derrick so I cut the potato in half and tried that too. A lot of the oregano was on the potato and I hoped I hadn't gone overboard with the spices as I sampled a small bite. I hummed and moaned, "Oh, man! You guys need to break it up and taste this!"

"What're you doin', O'Brian?" Mike blithely threatened.

Handing over the fork, I smiled, "Taste this, bud."

Suspiciously, Mike cut a small piece of chicken then popped into his mouth. He smiled as he chewed and gave the fork to Derrick who sampled the last small piece of chicken. He then hungrily chopped a piece of potato and stuffed it in his mouth. Obviously pleased, Derrick handed the fork to Mike. Derrick then came over to me, still chewing and gave me a quick hug.

I giggled, "What was that for?"

"For suggesting this dude," Derrick smiled, "it's awesome."

Mike hummed and nodded then swallowed. Facing Derrick, he grinned, "When we get back home in September, we'll make this for my mom and sister one night. Then they'll know this summer wasn't just playtime for the boys." Mike then turned to me and asked, "Are you sure you're not Italian?"

I smiled and nodded, "At least ninety percent Irish. My father's grandfather was part Scottish, I think."

Derrick chuckled then checked the bread in the oven. Quickly, he turned the oven off, grabbed a pot holder and slid the rack out. The bread was toasted perfectly with just some very small black areas around parts of the edges.

Pulling plates from the cupboard, Mike then began spooning our masterpiece onto the dishes. Derrick went to the fridge for a bottle of Coke and asked me to get three glasses. Soon we were all gathered at the table and enjoying a great meal. I considered it better than what Doug had originally made for Keith and me. The little bit of hot pepper I added made it slightly tangy but, since we were all gobbling it up, I didn't say anything. Even Rush made it known that he wanted some by impatiently growling from behind me. One by one we all finished eating. There were three relatively spotless plates remaining on the table.

Feeling yet another squeeze from Keith, I stood and explained, "I'm gonna fix a plate for Keith." On the way, I concentrated on sending my lover a warm hug. When I got to the kitchen and looked in the pan I was surprised. "There's a bunch left over here!" I loudly reminded my friends. As I was preparing Keith's dinner, Derrick and Mike appeared behind me, plates in hand, ready for seconds! I laughed, "Let me load up for Keith. Save me some too!"


John Hundser was returning home from another day at his friend Tommy's house. He had been swimming in Tommy's pool with his younger brother Sammy and they were alone until just after lunch. That's when John's girlfriend Kim came over; joined by two of her friends, Rose and Gianna. John recalled how Sammy got disgusted when the girls showed up. Only nine years old, Sammy knew the fun times were over, as far as he was concerned. Now his big brother Tommy was going to start paying attention to Rose while John spent his time with Kim. Kim had gotten a new swimsuit. It was the first time John had seen her in a bikini.

Unlocking the front door, John walked inside to find Corey and Drew watching the Angels baseball game on TV. "What's the score?" John queried as he tossed his damp towel on the loveseat.

Corey answered, "Its top of the seventh, no score."

Taking a seat beside Drew on the sofa, John confirmed, "Against the Yankees?"

Drew nodded, "Yep, they're both playin' good defensive ball." Drew turned and asked, "How's Tommy doin'?"

John smirked, "Still makin' no time with Rose."

Drew hummed then wondered, "How's Kim?"

John sighed, "She got a new red bikini. You shoulda seen her, bro." Drew and Corey both began snickering. Smiling at the memory, John relayed, "She took off her robe and asked me if I liked it. Course, I said that she made it look totally rad. She kissed me, bro." Drew and Corey cracked up. John loudly admitted, "She hardly ever kisses me! I gotta put moves on her and even then, it's a fifty-fifty shot. I acted like the kiss knocked me backwards about four steps then fell in the pool."

"It's a good day, huh?" Drew giggled.

"Awesome!" John hissed. They all became silent and watched a high fly ball head for the wall, but go foul. John asked, "What've you dudes been doin'?"

Drew turned and smiled at John. Returning his attention to the game, Drew said, "We went to the Olive Garden last night."

"Sweet!" John chirped.

Drew nodded, "It really was; it was a celebration, for Corey and me." John turned and scanned Drew then Corey. Drew proudly said, "Corey told the doc everything yesterday." The Angels popped out and commercials began. Drew picked up the remote and pressed the mute button. He then asked, "How would you like your own room, John?"

John shrugged at first then said, "I could prob'ly get used to that."

Drew nodded, "Cool. That's what I'm gonna ask mom and dad for my birthday."

"So ya want me to move across the hall into the den?" John wondered.

"I was thinkin' I'd take the den," Drew answered.

Shaking his head vigorously, John grunted, "Uh-uh, I'll take the den. Maybe I can get some sleep for a change."

Corey began giggling. Drew grinned and reminded, "It's a smaller room though bro."

"It's big enough for me and my stuff," John insisted. "You can deal with Keith and Prez!"

Suspicious, Drew droned, "Yeah... and?"

"And what?" John snickered.

"What's it gonna cost me John?"

John laughed, "SLEEP!" Corey howled. John snickered, "You two always wake up early. Keith and Prez never go to sleep. Lately, I'm stuck getting five or six hours... if I'm lucky!"

"Things are changin', bro," Drew smiled.

John nodded, "I know," then looked around Drew at Corey. "I heard the fight Friday night," John honestly reminded. "For me it was way weird. Part of me was thinkin' maybe you guys might break up. It would suck for Drew, but for me it would be good."

Corey asked, "You don't like me very much, do you?"

"Oh, I like ya," John quickly said. "I just worry... ya know?"

"Two gay brothers," Drew softly reminded Corey.

John nodded, "I can't really understand it at all. Growin' up together... seeing each other naked... dicks don't do it for me." John paused then smiled and growled, "Bikinis on the other hand." Corey roared and Drew laughed too, but rubbed his forehead, thinking. John said, "We all walk in and out of the bathroom wearing towels. The three of us really like baseball, football and most sports. I'm really not seein' it, bro... like how or why?"

Drew sighed, "Okay... yeah, we like sports, but that don't mean we wanna have sex with all the dudes on the team. Corey and me... we're not interested in anyone else; we didn't have any sex of any kind Friday, Saturday or Sunday. For me it was the other things I liked about Corey that let me consider sex with him. And even then, it took a lot of thinking. You're comparing dick to tits, John. It's not Corey's dick I'm after, it’s all the other stuff we do together; little league, tennis, video games, movies, just hangin' out watchin' TV and talking."

"Okay," John softly considered, "so you're not like Keith and Prez?"

"Well yeah, in some ways we are, but we're different too," Drew said. "They're musicians, we're more athletes. I'm sure we talk about different stuff too. It's like... sex is just a really tiny reason why I love Corey. Friday and Saturday we were too emotional to go there. Sunday night, we were just too tired. But Keith and Prez are older. I can't say if Corey and me will become like them; maybe we will, maybe we won't.

"I'm surprised I still need to explain this to ya, bro," Drew frowned. "You've been hangin' with Kim almost a year and have your own list of reasons why you like her... besides how she looks in a bikini!" John snickered evilly. Drew then turned the table on John. "You want to know how or why. How and why do you prefer tits over dicks? Let's face it, some dicks and tits aren't very attractive at all. The only thing that makes either worth noticing is the people they're attached to."

"Ya know what I love most about Drew?" Corey chimed in. John shrugged and Corey explained, "He cares. He cares about you and Keith and Prez and me and even other people; people that are just acquaintances in school or on our little league team and just about everywhere."

John realized that they weren't saying that they liked each other anymore. They both said that they loved the other.

Corey continued;"Drew did something this weekend that an expensive psychologist couldn't do. For almost three months, I've been listening to that doctor ramble on and on... for an hour every Monday. Your brother made me see it as a disease... not a part of me that I wanted to keep, but a part of me that I really don't want. Maybe it's because I never liked that doctor and I'd do anything for Drew. Does that make sense?"

John nodded, "Yeah a little, but for me it's different. Drew's my brother. The way he is... well... it's just the way he is! It's nothing that special. It's not the way I am... or Keith or even my dad."

Drew asked, "Remember when I told you about dad's sliding scale." John scowled for a while then suddenly nodded. Drew explained, "I'm right down the middle ninety percent of the time for ninety-nine percent of people. Even when I'm with Corey, that scale is still flat and even. The only time it changes is when we're alone and he kisses me or tells me that he loves me. That's when the scale starts to tip."

The boys were so involved in their conversation, they didn't hear Mr. Hundser pull in the driveway or close his car door.

"I understand all this, bro," John excitedly said. "It's just that I worry. I worry about some asshole pullin' a knife on you like one did to Prez. I get angry when I hear some dudes crackin' jokes about fags or suckin' dick. I'm like, 'Hey, numb-nuts! That's my fuckin' brothers you're talkin' shit about!' I wanna kick their fuckin' asses, every one of 'em that says that shit. The only reason I haven't done it yet is because they haven't said that shit about you or Keith or Prez... or even you Corey. The day someone does though... they'd better knock me out because I'll just keep swingin'."

Standing outside the front door with his keys in his hand, Mr. Hundser had heard John and waited.

Seeing how annoyed John really was, Drew loudly said, "Chill bro! That hasn't happened and I'll bet it never does. Keith's known he's gay for like two years. No one's ever said a word specifically about him. It's just general bullshit that's gettin' to you."

John sighed then asked, "How can you take that general bullshit though?" He paused then said, "There's a word for it... I just can't think of it. Like mom doesn't think there's ever any reason to fight. What's that word?"

"Pacifist." Corey said.

"Yeah, that's it!" John loudly agreed. "Well, there are reasons to fight. Like the Civil War... or Hitler and World War Two. Fighting against those jack-offs is totally justified. Tommy's my best friend... African American! Kim's my girlfriend... Chinese American! My brothers are gay! Hello? Give me an excuse dudes, I'll start World War Three to shut them fuckers up, once and for all!"

The front door opened and Mr. Hundser stepped inside. He looked at the three boys on the sofa and grinned knowingly. Without a word, he turned and went into the den.

"Shit!" John whispered. "Dad heard me. I'm in trouble now."

Shaking his head sadly, Drew huffed, "I love ya, bro, but when are you ever gonna learn? You just need to chill, talk a little softer. There's no reason to get so cranked up, ya know?"

Mr. Hundser scanned his bookshelf and pulled out books. The first hardbound was titled 'Gandhi An Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With Truth'. The second was a paperback titled 'Civil Disobedience' by Henry David Thoreau. The third was another paperback for Drew and Corey titled 'One' by Richard Bach, and finally, he chose 'The Measure of a Man' by Martin Luther King Jr.

As he gathered the books into a neat pile on the desk, John stepped into the doorway. "Dad?"

Turning around, Mr. Hundser saw his youngest son with his hands in his pockets and shuffling his feet uncomfortably. "Come in, John," he pleasantly said.

Slowly moving forward to face the inevitable, John said, "I'm sorry, dad."

"For what?" Mr. Hundser asked.

"For bein' loud and angry and... well, I just can't help myself sometimes."

Sitting down in his chair, Mr. Hundser flatly said, "Have a seat and let me try to explain something." John sat on the sofa-sleeper and Mr. Hundser began, "You're right, some wars are necessary. Do you know why we had to fight the Civil War?"

Uncertainly, John answered, "Umm... because some people thought African people were slaves?"

"That's partially correct, but it didn't happen overnight," Mr. Hundser explained. "When our country was just beginning to form as united colonies, there were debates about the phrase 'All men are created equal'. For the Southern States, slavery was a matter of economic survival. There were people in the Northern States that didn't fully agree with it either. But back then there was a need to fight a common foe. If we couldn't combine as one country to fight England, then there would've been no revolution; it would've failed before it ever really began. So the issue of slavery was put aside to deal with the more immediate concern.

"It was a very different world then. Imagine it; no electricity, no television or radio or Internet, rooms lit by fireplaces and candles, no airplanes, no cars, only horse drawn carriages. Even with twenty-twenty hindsight, can anyone definitively say it would've been better to grant slaves full rights? We can see now how we believe it should have been, but considering the circumstances of that time, it's still an extremely difficult decision. The American Revolution lasted eight long years with united colonies and France's help. Eighty years and four generations later, those slavery compromises caused the Civil War. Another four long years and hundreds of thousands killed. It's still considered the bloodiest war in our history. And even after that war, people of African descent still weren't considered equal. Another hundred years passed before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed. My generation watched the civil rights struggle almost every night on the evening news. It wasn't a war, but there were riots and many innocent people died. 'All men are created equal' is the ideal this country was founded upon. We're still struggling to meet that ideal."

Seeing that John was paying attention and trying to understand, Mr. Hundser paused then picked up three of the books saying, "These are for you to read."

"Am I being punished?" John asked.

"No, not at all; consider it education. I'd really like you to know about these men. You've heard of Doctor Martin Luther King Junior?"

John nodded, "The Civil Rights 'I have a dream' guy."

Handing John 'The Measure Of A Man', Mr. Hundser said, "That's right, he wrote this book and I'd like you to read it. These other two are also very good. One's about Gandhi, the man that helped India gain independence from Britain and the other is by a man that gave Gandhi some of his ideas.

"What I'd like for you to understand is very simple. Sometimes two people fight, but that's usually after all else fails. It's the same for two countries or any two opposing points of view. You don't have to fight every one that disagrees with what we as a family believe. You someday may, but only after words fail and avoidance becomes impossible. These books will show you that not every fight becomes a bloody war. There are other means. It's much better to argue your point, debate it intelligently rather than physically fight about it. You know how our family feels because it's how you were raised. What I'd like is for you to be able to debate your point intelligently before fighting. Choose a book and concentrate on just that book. Read a little at a time before bed. I'm sure you'll learn to appreciate these men for their accomplishments."

"No time limit?" John wondered.

Mr. Hundser grinned and shook his head. "Just discussion with me, your mom or your brothers; I'm sure Tommy and his family would love to talk about Doctor King too."

John hummed thoughtfully, still somewhat surprised that he wasn't in any trouble. "Okay, cool."

"I'd like to talk with Drew and Corey privately next," Mr. Hundser said.

John stood and started to leave, but paused then turned around. "Thanks, dad," John smiled.

"Any time. Send Drew and Corey in please?"

John hurried out of the den and into the living room happily cheering, "Your turn!"

Corey and Drew turned to each other briefly. Having no reason to worry, they shrugged because they didn't know what to expect. "Dad gave you books?" Drew asked as he stood.

John smiled, nodded and hummed affirmatively. "I think there's one in there for you too," John giggled.

Drew scowled and hummed uncertainly then led Corey to the den. They stepped into the room and Drew asked, "What's up, dad?"

Smiling widely, Mr. Hundser rubbed his hands together and wondered, "Let's see, where I should start?" Noticing the two boys holding hands, but standing, he said, "Oh, have a seat." Corey and Drew sat down on the sofa-sleeper. Playfully, Mr. Hundser began, "So Drew, I understand you're being adopted."

Knowing better than to say a word about what Corey's mom was planning on discussing, Drew grinned, "That's news to me!"

"That's not what Corey's mother said to me," Mr. Hundser teased, "but let's move on anyway. What happened with the doctor yesterday, Corey?"

Corey answered, "I told him that I can't tell if I'm too fat or too thin... just like we talked about the other night. Then I told him a little about Drew."

"Obviously your mom was very happy," Mr. Hundser grinned.

"Oh, yeah," Corey giggled, "she got a little drunk."

Mr. Hundser chuckled, "That much I already knew. You're doing well?"

Corey nodded, "So far, so good."

"Very good, I'm glad to hear it." Mr. Hundser nodded. "So tell me what the updated situation is."

Smiling at his dad suspiciously, Drew chuckled, "Why do I always feel like you know what I'm gonna say before I say it?"

Innocently, Mr. Hundser laughed, "I don't know what you mean?"

"Come on, dad," Drew smirked, "Did John tell you I want my own room?"

Leaning back on the verge of hysterics, Mr. Hundser answered, "No, he didn't, but that's a first step towards what I'm expecting to hear."

Drew giggled, "Well, I talked to John. I wanted this room at first, but John said he wants this room."

"So he can get some sleep!" Corey cackled.

Holding his index finger up to signal a pause, Mr. Hundser smiled, "A few parental observations. My son and his boyfriend have two arguments, two days in a row. The third day they go out with friends to an amusement park. They return holding hands, which by itself is uncharacteristic enough. The boyfriend's drunken mother calls me the very next evening..." Drew and Corey cracked up laughing as Mr. Hundser continued. "…and wants to adopt my son! On the fifth day, today, I call the son and his boyfriend aside and they're still holding hands! Finally, I learn that the son and his younger brother have conspired to obtain their own bedrooms!" Mr. Hundser paused to scratch the stubble on his jaw thoughtfully. By this point, Drew and Corey were rolling on the sofa-sleeper and holding onto each other for dear life. Over their combined laughter, Mr. Hundser loudly wondered, "Please tell me, what is wrong with this picture?"

Drew tried to sit up and giggled, "Umm..." then cracked up laughing again at his dad's perplexed expression.

"I'm going to get changed out of my suit," Mr. Hundser loudly informed Drew and Corey. "When I return, I expect some plausible explanation to this absurd turn of events!"

When Drew and Corey managed to compose themselves, they found John standing there in the den smiling at them. "So much for keeping it a secret," John teased then ran out of the room.

Corey snickered, "Your dad is so cool. Why don't we just tell him?"

"Because," Drew chuckled, "he already knows! He knew before he even called us in here!"

Outside the den, Drew and Corey heard Mr. Hundser say, "John, get this towel off the loveseat before those books become punishment. I'm thinking one per week."

"Oops!" John squealed. "Sorry, dad."

A moment later, Mr. Hundser walked into the den wearing more comfortable clothes. He stood before the boys on the sofa, patiently waiting.

"Dad," Drew began, "Corey and me really love each other. We don't ever want to spend another day apart."

"That's all I wanted to hear," Mr. Hundser smiled. "Congratulations, you want your own room, you've got it. We'll start moving furniture later."

"Excellent!" Corey softly cheered.

Getting up and hugging his dad, Drew looked his dad in the eyes and grinned, "There's a few other little things we need to talk about."

"What kind of little things?" Mr. Hundser suspiciously wondered.

"I know what I want for my birthday," Drew smiled.

"Oh, this is a tough one," Mr. Hundser teased. "A bigger bed, right?" Drew nodded and hummed affirmatively. "Anything else?"

"Not for my birthday," Drew said, "just permission to go camping with Keith and Prez tomorrow."


"Same place as last time. Mom said it had to be close."

"Just the four of you?"

"Maybe Mike and Derrick too. I'll call them later to find out what the deal is."

"Your mom will be happier with six of you together and close by. Make sure to bring everything, including the First Aid kit, just in case."

Corey reminded, "John said that you have a book for us to read?"

"It's on my desk, Corey."

Drew asked, "What's it about?"

Mr. Hundser said, "It's a love story, but it's so much more than that. I'm sure you'll both enjoy reading it."

"Is it a gay love story?" Corey wondered.

"No, but that's really irrelevant; love is love, no matter if it's straight or gay," Mr. Hundser said. He then asked, "Is there some reason you're not with us, Corey?"

Corey grinned, "Sorry, I'm kinda hugged out. Even sober, my mom's still celebrating."

"Give me a hug anyway?" Mr. Hundser pleaded. Corey joined Drew and Mr. Hundser. Squeezing both boys firmly, he grinned, "Let's start moving things around before your mom gets home."

"What about dinner dad?" Drew wondered.

Leading the boys out of the den, he answered, "There's nothing defrosting in the refrigerator. We'll have Chinese food and pizzas delivered and I'll toss a salad"

Following his dad, Drew turned to Corey and shared a meaningful glance. Drew suggested, "Plain cheese pizzas please?"

Corey added, "And Chow Mien?"

"Go ahead and make the calls," Mr. Hundser nodded. While Drew and Corey hurried to the kitchen, he turned to John and asked, "Help me move furniture around in my bedroom please?"

"We're doin' that tonight?" John excitedly asked as he stood.

Mr. Hundser replied, "We can at least get things started. Hopefully, between the four of us, we can get enough done where you'll be sleeping in your own rooms tonight."

"Sweet!" John chuckled.

Pausing in the kitchen, Mr. Hundser noticed Drew on the phone. Mr. Hundser softly told Corey;"When Drew's finished, you two can begin boxing books in the den."

Corey smiled and nodded, "Sure dad."

Taken aback, Mr. Hundser grinned, "Dad, huh?"

Nodding, Corey giggled then hummed affirmatively.


Stuffed to the gills, we slowly loaded the dishwasher and cleaned up. I even added a small spoonful of peas and sauce to Rush's kibble. A few minutes before seven, we gathered in the living room. Mike flipped through the channels, but couldn't find anything to watch. He grinned devilishly at Derrick. Seconds later, the TV screen flickered and was filled with some guy's cock fucking another guy's hairless ass! It was my first porno flick. Rolling to one side, I laughed, "We just ate! This is not my idea of entertainment right now!"

"You're not looking away though," Mike giggled.

"Dude's got a big fuckin' bone," Derrick teased.

I hollered, "KEITH! They're tryin' to get me randy, babe!"

Mike chuckled, "Wait dude, you gotta see this!"

"See what?" I teased, "This morning I saw four cocks and three asses!"

"You'll see," Derrick melodically snickered.

Rolling my eyes, I kicked back and watched for another few minutes. The guy getting fucked was definitely enjoying it as was the other dude doing the fucking. Other than that, it was actually kind of boring. Then the latter dude pulled out, ripped off his condom and blew his load all over the other guy's back. Seconds later, it was the same two dudes, the same orgasm only from a different camera angle. Unbelievably, they showed a third angle of the same thing! I cracked up and loudly wondered, "What the hell was the purpose of that? Three fucking times?"

Laughing hysterically at my reaction, Derrick tried to answer, "I don't have a clue! I can only guess... it's for dudes jackin' off. If they miss the first cum shot they get two more chances!"

Waving my arms, I about slid off the couch laughing my ass off! Rush hurried over to me and I hugged my hound dog, still laughing. When I finally controlled myself, thankfully Mike had stopped the tape.

Still smiling widely, I said, "I have never fucked Keith then pulled out and jacked off on his ass! Neither has Keith when he's fucked me!"

Derrick could only nod and between chuckles attempt to say, "Neither have we!"

Mike beamed, "If I wanna see D cum, I'll jack him off and watch."

Shaking my head, I smirked, "That's about the most stupid thing I've ever seen!"

Mike snickered, "I rewound it so we can watch Keith's reaction."

Exhausted from the overabundance of food and laughing so hard, I yawned, "He'll find it just as ridiculous, guaranteed."

Derrick smiled, "They've got others that are worse than this. The cameraman must've been wasted cos every scene is extremely overexposed. It’s just white blurs."

Mike nodded, "But they've also got BelAmi flicks. 'Frisky Summer' is back there. It's filmed well and doesn't have any cheesy repetitive cum shots."

I smirked, "Then why didn't you show me that?"

"Just because this one is so funny and it seems to be the norm for a lot of eighties gay porn," Derrick cheerfully explained.

Shaking my head sadly, I said, "It was unrealistic. I'll check out the BelAmi flicks sometime, but if they aren't realistic either, I'll lose interest."

It had been a while since I felt anything from Keith so I concentrated on sending him another hug. Sadly, I had lost count of how many hugs I had received and sent. The numbers really didn't matter to me; I only wanted him to know that I had felt him and hoped that he had felt me. Noticing the time on the Beatles Yellow Submarine clock in the dining area, I realized there would be at least two hours before Keith got out of work and returned to Agoura Hills. Involuntarily, I sighed and both my friends noticed.

"Sorry," I began, "I'm just missing Keith a bit again. And I ate so much I'm starting to feel a little woozy too."

"Take a nap if ya want, bro," Derrick suggested.

Mike added, "Or we could record some tracks for The Rover, if you need somethin' to do?"

Rush began wagging his tail and watching me. "Would you mind if I took the hound over to the park for a while? You guys can watch TV or make out, whatever."

Derrick and Mike shared a meaningful glance. "Ya want some company?" Mike asked. With the remote control, he turned the television off. Nodding in agreement, Derrick and Mike stood.

Smiling as I stood, I explained, "I just thought you might appreciate some time alone." Looking down I saw that Rush was already standing and seemed to be expecting something. Just as a test I thought, "Wanna go for a walk hound dog?"

Rush spun around happily then hurried to the front door. I smiled, "This is too much! Dogs are telepathic; I never would've guessed."

Since we hadn't moved fast enough, Rush trotted back far enough beyond the entryway to see us. "Are you coming; what's the hold-up?" Rush clearly relayed.

Walking out of the living room, I grinned, "We're comin', Rush. Where's your leash?" Putting his nose down, Rush sniffed around.

Behind me, Mike softly wondered, "Did you see that... that shadow?"

Derrick replied, "What shadow, where?" as I went into the guest room to get my dog's leash and collar.

"That was weird," Mike said. "The sun's going down; there's not enough light for any shadows."

I felt my spine tingle as I prepared Rush. Returning to the entryway where Mike and Derrick were waiting I asked, "What's goin' on?"

Shaking his head uncertainly, Mike explained, "There was a shadow against the wall in the living room, behind the couch. There aren't light's on in here and the sun will be down in about an hour. It couldn't have been from us."

Derrick nervously grinned, "You're creepin' me out dude. Let's go over to the park."

I smiled at their antics, opened the door and led Rush outside. Simply being outside, I felt way more awake. It was warm but with a pleasant breeze. Waiting for them to lock-up, I teased, "Mikey needs to play on the swings."

"Stop calling me Mikey!" he loudly complained.

"Okay... Lick!" I joshed, knowing it would instigate a reaction.

"Fucker!" Mike grumbled and tore after me. Laughing my ass off, I raced across the street and into Chumash park. In no time, Rush was running faster than I could and he took the lead. Less than a minute later, Rush and I were beyond the kiddie park and picnic tables. Derrick and Mike were a ways distant yet and only jogging in my direction. Slowing down, I called, "Easy boy, slow down." Rush obliged and I went to release the leash from the collar. From the first time I visited Doug and Brian, I've loved this park. There were no major streets around and Rush couldn't be safer. Waving him away, I said, "Go be good," and Rush happily trotted off to inspect the place and leave his mark for other dogs.

"Feelin' better now, Prez?" Derrick hollered from about twenty yards away.

I loudly answered, "Guess I did need to move around."

"I'll get yer ass movin' around!" Mike playfully threatened.

Using a Louisiana deep southern drawl, I joked, "Howz ya 'ntendin' to make me dance wit'out music? Ya ain't got no geetar wit' ya!"

Derrick cracked up and Mike ran towards me, but I bolted away. Seeing that Mike stopped after only a handful of steps, I walked back towards him, but he started running like a charging bull at me again! I ran away and Rush ran up to me playfully jumping up and around in circles. While I played with my dog, Mike got much closer and I started to quickly back away. Even though Mike and I were only playing, it seemed that Rush considered Mike a threat. Rush directly challenged Mike. The hair on Rush's back went up; he growled menacingly and barked like mad.

Coming to an abrupt halt, Mike shouted, "WHOA!"

Hurrying to get Rush under control, I noticed he was actually baring his teeth at Mike. Rush had never done this before. "No!" I hollered. He only turned to me, but was still in protecting mode. "Don't move a muscle, Mike," I softly said. Then I stood between Rush and Mike and again commanded "No! Down!" several times. Once Rush's hair was lying flat and he was only growling, I told him, "Sit!" Thankfully, Rush obeyed and stopped growling, but he was still keeping a watchful eye on Mike, shifting to and fro to see behind me. Keeping both eyes on Rush, I backed up, stood beside Mike and wrapped an arm around my friend's shoulders.

"Holy shit!" Mike excitedly gasped.

"He needs to learn we were playing," I softly said. "I'm sorry Mike. It never occurred to me Rush might do this; he's never done it before. You've been around him all his life."

Warily approaching us, Derrick reminded, "But we're only visitors at the Hundser's."

I wrapped my other arm around Derrick and whispered, "He will learn you guys are friends, and he'll learn it now, not later." I paused, gathered my thoughts then softly told both my buds, "Don't make eye contact with him. That's a challenge to dogs. Watch me instead of him." To make certain Rush wouldn't get up and go into guard dog mode again, I commanded, "Rush! Lay down!" He didn't obey and I had to tell him twice more before he did as I said. Still holding on to both my friends, I commanded, "Flat!" which means for him to lie down on his side. Rush groaned at first. More forcefully, I commanded "FLAT! NOW!" and he finally lay on his side. Relieved, I said, "Okay, now we're going to walk over to him. If he moves, I'll take care of it, but do not run away. I really don't want to find out if he's capable of more than warning barks; and especially not with you two."

Derrick whimpered and begged, "Don't let him bite either of us, bro."

"You better believe I won't," I confidently assured. "I'll shove my arm into his open mouth first."

Mike whispered, "He seems better."

"Just don't make eye contact with him," I reminded. Then I confidently led both Mike and Derrick towards Rush. When we were only a foot or two away Rush groaned again. Letting go of them, I knelt down and said, "Easy, hound dog." Finally, Rush began wagging his tail. After only ten seconds, he rolled over onto his back for belly rubs, which I gave him. Looking up I asked both my buds to join me so Rush would learn that they were friends and could also give belly rubs.

"I think I need to use the toidy," Derrick grinned as he slowly pet Rush.

Mike apprehensively stroked the dog admitting;"I need to change my shorts!"

I suddenly recalled, "Remember that hug you both gave me earlier today? He was outside at the time. Maybe he didn't like seeing that." I then suggested, "While he's down, let's stand and do that again, just so Rush can see and feel it."

"I'm a friggin' nervous wreck, Prez," Mike softly objected.

"Okay, we'll stay here giving him belly rubs until you're both ready. When you are, just stand up and I'll move between you, like we were this afternoon." It took them a while, close to several minutes, during which time Rush got belly rubs and pets, before they agreed it was time to give it a shot. We stood only a yard from Rush's face so he could easily see us together. After a minute or so, I patted my thigh and commanded, "Rush! Heel!" Mike and Derrick both whimpered, holding on tightly to me and each other.

In an instant, Rush was sitting at my side, contentedly panting. I grinned, "You rascally hound. Go ahead, go be good," and Rush trotted off like there was never any problem.

With heavy sighs, Mike and Derrick released me. Glancing to my right at Derrick and then to my left at Mike, I playfully wondered, "What's that smell?"

Making a crooked smirk, Mike then loudly replied, "Probably the load in my boxers!"

"Relax!" I giggled. Then I honestly and sympathetically added, "He's never done this before and what did I do? I stood between the dog and you. He would've had to get past me to get to you and that would not have happened. I'm still trying to figure out why he did it. You two watched him when he was a pup; when you watched the house back in December. It's not like either of you are strangers; he's seen you several times every week all his life."

"Ya wanna know what I think?" Derrick asked. Mike and I both turned to him and he said, "You ran away from Mike, bro. Maybe the way you dudes started fuckin' around put the dog into that protective state?"

I walked in the direction Rush was heading and nodded, "You may very well be right. But he needs to understand the difference between friend and foe. If you'll trust me to control the hound, you dudes are the best choices to help him learn what play is and what's an attack."

"He's not a puppy anymore," Mike reminded. "He's a big white German Shepherd... with big, sharp teeth!"

Derrick agreed, "Before we'll help train him, get Keith to chase you. If we see that happen, then maybe some other day, we'll try."

"I hate to bring this up now, but I feel I need to," I carefully and softly began. "Keith and I are here partly to learn if we can all live together next year. Rush will be with me where-ever I go. You guys have no reason to mistrust him. He's the same puppy just in a bigger body. He still needs to learn stuff. This is one of those things. Imagine Keith and I are at work or school and one or both of you come home. What're ya gonna do, wait outside for us because Rush is playing guard dog?"

Derrick shrugged and Mike rapidly nodded.

Shaking my head, I sighed. Then I called Rush. He looked up and I called for him to come. At a full gallop, Rush came charging across the field, stopped in front of me and sat. For the benefit of my friends, I put Rush through his commands. I had him lie down, lay flat, roll over, sit, shake hands and jump up. "He's a good dog," I proudly praised my hound dog. Then I reminded Derrick and Mike, "Like any kid, he fucks up once in a while; like he did on your birthday Mike. It cost me almost two hundred bucks to replace the bed spread. Today hasn't cost me a dime, but its cost both of you; now you don't trust him, but you really need to. I want you to because I want us to be able to live together next year. Just learn his commands from Keith and me.

"And think about this too... while we're gone for hours every day, Rush'll be there guarding guitars, amps, computers and everything else. Do you think anybody's gonna fuck with a hundred pound German Shepherd?" I thought of telling them that Rush could easily hit one hundred twenty pounds, but left it alone.

Seeing the light, they both finally smiled. Mike chuckled, "I don't think they'd dare. Those big teeth were plenty to make me stop and almost shit myself!"

"When we head back to the house, you guys go in before me and I go in before Rush," I explained. "Keith's dad taught me everything about training a dog. Who enters the house and in what order matters to dogs; pack leaders enter first. You lead me and I lead Rush."

Derrick scowled, "You're his master, Prez. You go in first."

"But you're responsible for watching the house," I argued.

"That don't matter," Mike added, "I want Rush paying attention to you."

Seeing some logic in that argument, I begrudgingly nodded, "Okay." The three of us were near the outfield of baseball field at the far end of the park. Rush was checking out the trees at the edge of the park. I called Rush again, "Come Rush," and as soon as I saw him running, I turned around to begin the walk back to the house. Rush tore past us and I hollered, "Rush! Heel!" Rush ran around us and took his position by my left leg.

Mike grinned, "My sister doesn't know if she wants a cat or a dog. If she gets a dog, I'm having you over to teach her how to train it."

"It's no biggie," I explained. "The first days with a pup, it’s all play time. The master always feeds and waters the hound to build the trust. I thought Rush nibbling on me was cute, but Keith's dad taught me that it wasn't so cute and could be bad." Rush started moving forward so I reminded him to heel. Stopping immediately, he waited for us then looked up at me and continued walking again.

"What were the first things you taught him?" Derrick wondered.

I recalled, "Good boy, no and bad boy."

Surprised, Mike exclaimed, "That basic?"

I nodded, "Yep, he's gotta know what's wrong and right. Once he knew what made me happy or mad, I could housebreak him and move on to basic obedience commands."

"How long did it take you to housebreak him?" Mike asked.

"About a week," I answered. “He only had a few accidents in the house, usually in the kitchen by the sliding glass doors."

Derrick grinned, "Has he ever shit in the house?"

"He started to," I smiled at the memory, "but I picked him up and tossed him out on the patio." They chuckled and I added, "I knew I hadn't moved quickly enough when he squatted. That got me movin' though!" Since we were getting close to the street, I stopped and attached Rush's leash to his collar.

We walked quietly across the street to Doug and Brian's house. Derrick unlocked the door then stepped aside. I went in first followed by Rush. The smell of my mom's perfume hung in the air, but I thought it was simply the diminishing scent of our dinner and dismissed it as my mind playing tricks on me. In the dining room, I took Rush's collar and leash off.

Derrick then softly smiled, "Ya know what you said before, about wanting us to all live together next year?" I nodded and Derrick said, "That was awesome bro."

"We want that too dude, very much," Mike added.

Genuinely happy, I agreed, "If the last day is any indication, we'll be like brothers. Before we went to the market, I told Keith how I felt. I know he wants us to live together too."

The door bell rang and Rush barked only once. I put up my hand silently commanding the hound to stay. Derrick went to answer the door. Swinging it open, Derrick pleasantly cheered, "Ben! Come on in, dude."

"Hey," Ben meekly offered as he stepped inside. Noticing Rush, Ben looked like he had never seen a dog before and took a step back.

"It's okay, Ben," I cheerfully said, "this is my dog, Rush. You don't have to be afraid."

Derrick came over and pet Rush then Mike did too. "It's cool, dude," Mike offered. Getting so much attention, Rush again rolled down and onto his back, his tail wagging a mile a minute.

Taking slow tentative steps forward, Ben uncertainly monitored Rush as he entered the house. He nodded and said, "I saw you walking back from the park. Doug said I could stop by."

"Cool, dude," Mike smiled, "You can come around anytime."

Derrick offered, "If we're in the studio we might not hear the door, so just hang until the music stops."

Nodding, Ben inhaled deeply and blushed. "It smells like Italian food and ladies perfume in here." An ice cold chill ran up and down my spine. Ben wondered, "Did your mom stop by with food?"

Mike's cheerful smile vanished and he softly said, "We cooked our own dinner, but I smell perfume too."

"Me too," Derrick scowled.

I sighed, "My mom's been here. It's her brand of perfume, I'd know it anywhere."

Mike and Derrick both looked at me with concern. Ben grinned, "I knew it was a lady. You dudes don't wear perfume." Looking up at Ben, I realized that he couldn't know about my mom and I sure didn't want to scare him. But Mike and Derrick were still glaring at me, wanting an explanation.

Since I had none to give, I shrugged and changed the subject. "Come on in, Ben," I insisted as I went over to shake his hand. "Would you like a Coke or something?"

Ben's eyes softened noticeably and he widely smiled, "Please." Heading into the kitchen, I asked, "Anyone else want a drink?" It was obvious that Ben still had a crush on me.

Mike mumbled, "I think I'd like something stronger than a Coke, but it'll have to do."

I noticed Derrick nudging Mike, but he also noticed me watching. "I'll give you a hand, bro," Derrick offered.

Rush got up quickly and went to Ben. "Rush, easy hound dog," I commanded as I gathered four glasses from the cupboard.

Ben nervously commented, "He's a really big dog... almost wolf-ish."

"He's just a big cupcake," I assured and began filling a glass with ice. "He's only getting familiar with your scent, Ben."

"So he can eat me?" Ben squealed.

Mike commanded, "Rush down!"

Turning around, I noticed Rush had jumped up on Ben, but had listened to Mike and got down. Putting the glass down on the counter, I quickly went to take control. "Rush!" I loudly said and he looked up at me. "You know better than to jump up," I warned as I crossed the living room. Opening the sliding door, I said, "Go outside, Rush." Without any question, Rush trotted past and went out back. I closed the door and apologized, "Sorry Ben, he's not a year old yet and gets excited like a puppy."

"He's one hell of a big puppy!" Ben shyly smirked.

Chuckling and nodding, I returned to the kitchen to help Derrick with the Cokes.

Mike said to Ben;"Come on, dude, have a seat. Turn the TV on and find something."

"Just don't turn on the VCR," I teased. Realizing that Ben would likely implode if he saw the porno, Mike went and popped the tape out.

"What've ya been doin' lately," Mike asked Ben, and sat down on the couch.

"Nothin' much," Ben softly answered. "I was going to come by over the weekend, but saw you had other guests."

"Oh, Brian and Pete?" Mike said, "They're cool dude. They were just visiting from Portland. You could've come by while they were here."

While I filled the glasses with ice, Derrick got my attention and whispered, "You okay, bro?"

Tilting my head curiously, I softly answered, "Fine, why?" and handed him another glass to fill.

Derrick shrugged, "You think your mom was here?"

I could see nothing but concern in my best friend's eyes and whispered, "It's okay, D. She's made herself known to me before. I'm surprised she was here though. We'll talk later, okay?" Derrick nodded and wiped his eyes. Then he took two glasses of Coke to the living room. By the look on his face, I could tell he was still more concerned than frightened.

Derrick put the glasses down on the coffee table and Ben thanked him. "No sweat, dude," Derrick replied, and then started for the kitchen again. I finished pouring the soda and returned it to the fridge.

"Are you really okay, Prez?" Derrick softly asked.

Nodding, I pulled him closer and whispered, "She's my mom. I'm not afraid of her. Are you?"

Leaning back and looking in my eyes, Derrick shrugged, "Just a little freaked out."

"Don't be," I pleaded, "she's just being a mom, checking up on me."

Picking up a glass of Coke and handing it to me, Derrick smiled, "Great! I can look forward to this someday?"

I softly chuckled, "Can't promise ya, but I guess mine feels there's still mothering to be done."

"What are you two doin'?" Mike suspiciously hollered.

Stepping out of the kitchen, I grinned evilly. "Do you really want to know?"

Mike laughed, "Yes!"

I waited for Derrick and asked, "Should I tell him?"

"We were talking about Prez's mom, if you must know," Derrick said.

"Oh!" Mike smiled. "Understandable."

Glancing at each of us, Ben wondered, "Is there something wrong?"

Mike and Derrick waited for me to answer. In case Ben freaked out, I put my glass down on the coffee table then explained, "My mom was in a car accident, Ben. She passed away last October."

"WHAT?" Ben screamed and quickly stood up. "I gotta go," Ben loudly said as he walked around the coffee table.

Wrapping my arms around him as he tried to pass me, I softly begged, "Please don't go, Ben."

He stammered, "She's... I smelled... omigod!"

Derrick wrapped Ben in his arms and Mike stood and joined us. "Slow down, breathe slowly dude," Derrick softly instructed.

"Let me go," Ben squeaked, "please?"

"Not until you chill out, dude," Mike forcefully said.

"There's no reason to be scared," I assured.

"Oh shit," Derrick groaned, "he's hyperventilating." Releasing us, Derrick quickly got a chair from the dining room table, saying, "Sit him down before he passes out. Lemme find a bag. Push his head down between his knees." He then hurried into the kitchen.

Mike and I got Ben into the chair and pushed his shoulders down. He fought us at first, but Derrick quickly shoved a paper bag over his mouth. Derrick, Mike and I glanced at each other. We knew what we needed to say and do, but we weren't sure if Ben could handle it. Kneeling down around the chair and Ben, we waited. After a minute or two Ben seemed to be recovering.

"Better now?" Derrick softly asked. Ben nodded.

"Listen to us, Ben," I softly said. "There's more to life than what we can pickup with our senses. My mom died, Mike's dad died too. My mom just needs to check up on me now and then."

Mike carefully added, "My dad's been around too."

"It's nothing to be frightened of," Derrick assured, "it's not like horror movies at all."

With his head still hanging between his legs, Ben sobbed but again nodded.

I assured, "You're a really nice guy, we won't hurt you or lie to you."

"Yeah, dude," Mike smiled, "you're safe here."

"You like me?" Ben softly asked.

We couldn't help chuckling. Smiling widely, Derrick insisted, "Of course we do! Just because you're shy don't mean we wouldn't like you."

"Anyone can see it, dude," Mike said, "you're really gentle and people have obviously taken advantage of that."

"We're not gonna do that to you," I agreed. "Just relax and hang out with us, okay?"

"I'm trying," Ben weakly said. "It's just... weird... ghosts? I honestly smelled perfume."

I asked, "You know love is powerful, don't you?" Ben only shrugged. "Come on man," I teased, "your mom and dad must love you."

"What do you think happens to that love when someone dies?" Mike asked.

"It only changes form," Derrick answered.

"I saw an unexplainable shadow before we went to the park," Mike recalled. "I thought it was my dad. He's done it before at my house."

"I didn't see the shadow, but I felt my mom was watching," I admitted.

Surprised, Derrick asked, "You did?"

I nodded, "While I was putting Rush's collar and leash on."

"Why didn't you say something then?" Mike wondered.

I shrugged, "She's my mom. I guess I still need to keep it quiet... personal. Besides, I didn't know what you two were capable of until today."

"We haven't even known very long," Mike chuckled.

Finally sitting upright, Ben sighed. "I feel... different."

"In a good way or a bad way?" Derrick asked.

Considering the question for a few moments, Ben said, "Good, I guess."

Mike melodically asked, "Ya wanna know why?" Ben nodded. Mike stood and moved to stand in front of Ben. "We were all caring for you in our own way," Mike softly said. He then put his hands out in front of Ben and closed his eyes.

Derrick and I smiled up at Mike. Derrick then took hold of Ben's right arm and I took hold of Ben's left arm. "Feel for yourself," Mike said as he opened his eyes. Derrick and I then guided Ben's hands to the energized "ball" between Mike's hands.

"Whoa!" Ben gasped and jerked his hands away. Quickly looking around at each of us, he asked, "What is that?"

Derrick smiled, "The power of love. Ya can't see it, but it’s there."

Nodding at Derrick, I said, "Your turn." Standing, Derrick went over to the kitchen light switch. He flipped it on and off twice without touching it.

"Omigod!" Ben giggled. "What is this; some kind of magic?"

Mike laughed, "It might seem that way, but it's really not."

"Your turn Prez," Derrick said.

"Just a sec," I smiled and concentrated on Keith. In my mind I saw the Agoura high school football field around the corner. "He's almost here," I softly said.

"Who's almost here?" Ben wondered.

"Wait for it," I grinned. Looking up at Derrick, I asked, "Is the front door unlocked bro?"

Derrick went to the entryway and said, "No, it's locked."

"Better unlock it," I said. Derrick unlocked the door. Out back, Rush barked then whined and scratched at the door. Seconds later, the front door opened.

Keith walked in saying, "Hey, wassup? Hi, Ben."

As I stood to greet my lover, Ben gasped, "Jesus! How'd you know that?"

While I kissed Keith, Derrick answered, "Keith and Prez are a little telepathic."

Keith softly asked, "You've been busy the last few hours?"

I nodded, "We've had a little excitement. Mike and I were goofin' around and Rush went into guard dog mode."

"I still need to check my boxers," Mike playfully complained.

"Then my mom decided to visit," I explained.

Surprised, Keith exclaimed, "Here? Really?"

Derrick nodded, "We smelled her perfume."

"And I saw a shadow on the wall," Mike added.

"Guess she really wanted everyone to know it this time," Keith smiled.

"Yeah, but it freaked Ben out a little," I sadly said.

Ben shyly admitted, "I'll probably be sleeping with the lights on tonight."

Understandingly, we all smiled or chuckled a little. "Ready for dinner, babe?" I asked.

"Definitely," Keith smiled, "I went to Taco Bell, but only had one taco and a small soda." Heading to the kitchen, I cranked the oven to toast the garlic bread.

"Wait till you taste it, bro," Mike excitedly said. I got Keith's plate and bread from the refrigerator.

Derrick agreed. "It turned out really good." I slid the bread into the oven and then the plate into the microwave. I set the timer for five minutes and the power level at reheat.

Keith asked, "Did you have some too, Ben?"

Shaking his head, Ben answered, "I've only been here a little while."

"Ya wanna try a little?" Keith offered.

"It's alright," Ben replied, "I had dinner already."

"We pigged out, dude," Mike snickered.

Keith came into the kitchen and wrapped his arms around me. "Better than virtual hugs?" he whispered.

"Much better, much warmer," I sighed and went into wet noodle status.

"I'm just happy it worked so well," Keith softly admitted. "I felt you at least six times."

"I lost count," I admitted. "It was great though."

"I love you, Prez."

"I love you too, Keith. Will you help me with something?"

"Sure, anything."

We returned to the dining room where Ben was still sitting on the chair. Mike and Derrick were standing on opposite sides of Ben. I honestly didn't know what I was trying to do, but seemed to be following some instinct. "Are you feeling better, Ben?" I gently asked.

He nodded, "Yeah, I'm okay now."

"I thought so, but just needed to check," I said. Taking hold of Keith's hand I then said, "Mike, hold Keith's and Derrick's hands; Derrick, you hold my hand. We're going to make a circle around Ben."

"Why?" Mike wondered.

I sighed, "Something's telling me to do this. It feels like my mom, but more than only her. Ben needs it and we can only do it together."

Keith, Derrick and Mike shrugged then we encircled Ben and held hands. "Okay, close your eyes. You too, Ben," I instructed from behind Ben. When everyone's eyes were closed, I said, "Mike, visualize that power ball you can make."

"Okay," Mike whispered.

"Ben, you only need to trust us, okay?"

"I do... I am."

"D, visualize pushing the power ball into Ben."

"Doin' it," Derrick softly said.

Keith asked, "What do I need to do?"

I assured, "You're already doing it, babe." All I felt I needed from Keith at that time was his support.

Quieting my mind, I only pictured the four of us surrounding Ben.

"Omigod!" Ben giggled. "What're you doing?" he laughed. Then Ben laughed harder and louder, as if he was being tickled by unseen hands.

Through closed eyes, I started shedding tears. I felt Ben's fears and there were a lot of them; his lack of confidence; his self-hatred; and let it all drip away through my tears. The more Ben laughed the more tears I shed. My hands started feeling almost painfully hot. When I began to feel a head-ache, I stopped concentrating and released my grip on Keith and Derrick then opened my eyes.

"Are you okay, Prez?" Keith asked.

Wiping my eyes, I nodded, "I'm fine, babe."

"What did you do bro?" Derrick wondered.

I shrugged, "Ask Ben."

Squatting down, Mike queried, "How do you feel dude?"

Standing, Ben loudly laughed, "I feel fantastic! I haven't felt this good... ever! Like my whole life's been a joke until now! And I can feel how silly I've always been! Most of my problems were never mine; they were my mom's or my dad's or other people's problems! It's insane! Thank you! Thank you all so much!" Hugging and thanking each of us one at a time, Ben then jumped where he stood, causing us to crack up at the sudden change in personality. "I gotta go home, but I promise, I'll be right back, okay?"

Derrick grinned, "Sure, dude."

"We'll be here," Mike giggled.

Ben practically flew out of the house. The microwave timer went off and I hurried to the kitchen.

Keith incredulously hollered, "Prez!" and followed me. "What did you do?"

Pulling the toasted bread out of the oven and onto a plate I answered, "I have no idea."

At the other side of the kitchen counter, Derrick laughed, "What do you mean you have no idea?"

"You turned him into a spaz!" Mike snickered.

"I didn't do it," I insisted, "we all did it." Opening the microwave, I carefully pulled Keith's dinner out. With the oven mitt still on, I fumbled with the plastic wrap over the hot plate.

"How did you know how to do it?" Keith loudly laughed, and then took hold of me. "Stop fuckin' with my dinner!"

"What?" I chuckled, "I really don't know how I knew to do it or that it would have this kind of effect!" Glancing around at Keith, Derrick and Mike, all watching me with wide, wondering eyes, I shrugged, "How did you know how to say what you did the other night? How did you know I needed that trip to the wild side this morning?" Turning to Mike and Derrick, I asked, "How did you know I needed a three way hug this afternoon?" I then answered, "You felt it. Well, I felt this. Like I said, it was my mom and it was more than my mom. I just went with the flow." Turning to Mike, I asked, "Isn't that what you told me to do?"

"Yeah," Mike melodically laughed.

"But you turned quiet, introverted Ben into a spaz!" Derrick roared.

"I only hoped to make him feel better, just like you've all done for me."

Covering his eyes and laughing, Keith shook his head, dropped his hand from his eyes and smiled, "Well, you went a little too far, don't you think?"

"The dude was bouncing and jumping around!" Mike loudly reminded.

I shrugged, "That's his fault, not ours," then carefully fumbled with the plastic wrap over the plate again.

Leaning against the kitchen wall, Keith broke down laughing.

Smiling at their combined reactions, I faced Keith and asked, "Do you want your dinner, babe?"

Nodding, Keith breathlessly snickered, "And then I have to run out and get that Polaroid!"

Shaking my head, I carried Keith's dinner and garlic bread to the table. Mike came over and started sniffing around. "Hey!" I laughed, "We all had plenty! Keith, you'd better get over here and eat before your dinner vanishes."

Still snickering, but shaking his head, Keith walked over and sat down. I went to get him a glass of Coke. As I returned to the table and sat down with Keith, the phone rang. Getting up again, I answered it.

"Hey Prez," Drew said.

"What's goin' on?" I asked

Drew said, "Are we goin' camping tomorrow? Corey's mom said it's cool so we'll go too."

I told Drew, "Hold on, let me check." Glancing around the room, I asked if we were still going camping. Keith was eating, but nodded. Mike and Derrick both said yes. I then told Drew, "Yup, we're set for tomorrow."

"What time should we be ready?" Drew wondered.

"Early afternoon, after one."

Drew excitedly stated, "Cool, we'll be here at home waiting."

"See ya then," I said. We both said goodbye and I hung up the phone. Sitting down at the table again, I said, "Drew and Corey are coming with us tomorrow. I guess everything went okay with the doctor yesterday."

Keith was still chewing, but he nodded. After he swallowed, he smiled, "This is really good, baby."

"I think it’s better than what Doug made last month," I smiled.

Keith nodded, "It is," and put a piece of potato in his mouth.

"We all worked on it together," I told him as he ate.

After swallowing, Keith smirked, "You all had garlic toast too? Even Mike?" I nodded and Keith teased, "We'll have to open all the windows tonight."

From the living room, Mike smirked, "Shut up you!"

I laughed while watching Derrick roughly shove Mike then lay down on top of him. While they played on the couch, Keith and I chatted about his time at Blockbuster. He spent most of the night unloading boxes of DVDs, preparing them for rental and organizing them on display shelves.

Nearing the end of his dinner, Keith asked, "So you really didn't know what you were doing with Ben?"

I nodded, "The only thing I thought we might be able to do was give him a sense of inclusion, so he wouldn't feel so alone. But then... I don't know... I could feel more from him than I expected. That's what made me leak tears."

Concerned, Keith asked, "Are you really okay, baby?" I nodded and Keith sighed, "You don't need to be doing stuff like this, ya know?"

"If I had known I could do it, I probably wouldn't have," I freely admitted. "For some reason, I sometimes feel bad for him."

Grinning, Keith teased, "Maybe because he likes you?"

"More because he's the way I used to be in Texas," I thought aloud. "Let's hope he doesn't start liking me more now," I grinned. From the living room couch, Mike and Derrick snickered. Accusingly, I asked, "Are you two eavesdropping?"

Derrick looked up and nodded, "Sorry, bro."

Mike also apologized and added, "But it's not like you've said much more than we already knew."

"That's true."

Keith glanced over and smirked, "Concentrate on sucking face instead of us."

"Okay," Derrick smiled devilishly then dove into Mike's neck. Mike giggled uncontrollably.

Finishing his dinner and Coke, Keith then seemed to be fascinated with my face. After a long few moments of this, I blushed, "What's wrong?"

Slowly shaking his head, Keith softly said, "Nothing. It's just... I dunno... since school ended you've been so much happier... peaceful... I can't even find words to explain it. Maybe it was the time you spent with your Aunt; since then you've been different."

"I have felt better since then," I agreed. Leaning forward, I reached for Keith to whisper in his ear so I wouldn't be overheard. "And since seeing my mom during the last camping trip; she was here tonight, we all smelled her perfume... even Ben."

Smiling widely, Keith nodded understandingly then wondered, "Where is Ben; he said he'd be right back?"

Derrick pushed up off Mike, saying, "Something's not right," and then maneuvered off the couch.

Almost in unison, Keith, Mike and I all agreed; something was definitely amiss.

Standing, I quickly got Rush's collar and leash thinking I would take a quick trip outside with my hound to look down the street. I hadn't gotten the collar on Rush before we heard sirens blaring nearby. The four of us glanced at each other and the sirens got louder. From the kitchen window we briefly saw the flashing lights. In an instant, we were all heading out the front door.

Four doors down the street were two police cars and a fire engine. An ambulance sped around the corner and stopped in front of the same house. It seemed everyone from the nearby homes were coming outside to witness the excitement. Another squad car came screeching around the corner.

I asked Mike and Derrick;"Is that Ben's house?"

"I dunno, dude," Mike shrugged.

"I hope not," Derrick added.

Keith recalled, "He told us that he lived only a few doors down."

Many quiet minutes passed before we saw an officer leading a handcuffed middle aged man out of the house. The cop opened the rear door of a squad car and pushed the man's head down, guiding him into the car. Soon thereafter, paramedics rolled a gurney out of the house. Behind them was another policeman and finally Ben.

"Oh fuck!" Derrick growled.

Ben followed the paramedics to the ambulance with the policeman only a step or two behind.

"Ben's not handcuffed," I noticed.

"What the hell happened?" Mike softly wondered.

Keith sighed, "Someone was hurt. It's lookin' really bad."

The ambulance pulled away and, as Ben turned around, he noticed us. Ben looked at the policeman and pointed our way. Ben and the cop began walking towards us. Soon, they stopped before us.

Ben shyly smirked, "Guess I won't make it back tonight. I need to go to the hospital."

"Are you all right, dude?" Derrick excitedly asked.

Nodding, Ben assured, "I'm fine; just shook up." He then sighed, "When I got home I started telling my parents how good I felt and that I was sorry for everything I'd done. Then I told them that I'm gay." He paused and shook his head sadly. "My dad left the room and came back with his gun. He was going to shoot me, but my mom jumped him. He knocked her off of him and down onto the floor. Then he pointed the gun at my mom and I tackled him, but the gun went off. My mom was hit in the left leg. While he stood there in a trance, I sucker-punched him and... well... he was down and out cold." Sighing explosively, Ben smirked, "If it weren't for you dudes, I never would've been able to fight him. I'd probably be dead and so would my mom. Thanks to you, she'll live and so will I. My mom's pressing charges and so am I."

Keith held on to me as I broke down crying. Beyond upset, I softly sobbed, "I'm sorry, Ben. It never would've happened..."

"It would've happened," Ben loudly interrupted, "if not today, then on some other day. He's always suspected I was gay and treated me like shit." Showing us his arms, Ben pointed at the scars on both his wrists and said, "These are from me trying to get away from his shit. Don't feel like you're responsible. You're only responsible for giving me a few minutes happiness and enough peace of mind to stand up to him. I honestly believe that he would've killed me. But my mom fought back and so did I... thanks to you dudes."

Mike stated, "If you need anything, even just a place to crash, just come over."

"We're here for you, dude," Keith reminded.

Derrick nodded, "Let us know as soon as you get back."

Ben nodded and smiled, "I will. Thanks again." Ben then looked at the officer and said, "I'm ready now." The policeman nodded then he and Ben turned and walked away.

Completely blown away, we went back inside. Derrick was infuriated about another berserk father that didn't deserve to have a kid, never mind one as sweet as Ben. I was very upset and shed tears on and off for a while; one minute believing I had caused the family meltdown and the next, happy that we had at least provided Ben the strength he needed to survive his dad's attack. Although it was mentioned as an alternative to vegging in the living room, none of us were interested in jamming or recording.

Keith and I finished cleaning up his dinner, loaded the dishwasher and started it. Then, as we all were kicking back and quietly watching The Tonight Show, Mike let one rip. It was ass-cheek flapping loud and sent the rest of us scurrying away from the living room with various hilariously rude remarks while Mike laughed hysterically. Lying at the edge of the room, Rush began snorting, vigorously shaking his entire head to remove the noxious fumes from his nostrils. "Well, don't just lay there Rush!" I hollered from the kitchen, "Come here, you goofy hound!" With his ears back, looking like he had done something wrong, Rush got up and trotted over to me. "You poisoned my dog, you rank bastard! Have you no shame?"

Mike roared laughing.

Giggling like mad, Keith instructed, "D, shut off the a/c dude. Let's open some windows before the paint peels off the walls."

"Fuck you!" Mike laughed.

Chuckling and shaking his head, Derrick went down the hall and clicked the thermostat off. He then went into the master bedroom to open the window. "Not tonight," Keith roared, "I ain't goin' near your funky ass!" He opened the kitchen window all the way. Turning around, Keith said, "You could at least open the door behind you, Mike." Snickering, Mike stood and slid open the door to the backyard.

Derrick returned and groaned, "Is it getting worse or is it my imagination?" Still alone in the living room, Mike rolled over on the couch and cracked up. "You farted again?" Derrick hollered. "Jesus, give us strength!" D softly prayed. Turning to Keith and I, Derrick pleaded, "See if you can find some air fresheners. I'll go in the garage and try to find a fan." Quickly, Derrick went around the counter through the dining area and into the garage.

Checking under the kitchen sink, I moved several bottles of cleaning liquids around. Keith said, "I'll check the bathrooms, Prez," and hurried off.

"Ah ha!" I shouted, "Jackpot! Lysol Spray!"

"Sweet!" Keith loudly cheered from the other room. As I was leaving the kitchen, Keith walked out of the master bedroom with a can of Glade Air Freshener in his hand. Together, we approached the living room and Mike, holding our cans out like weapons. Keith glanced my way and smiled, "On the count of three, inhale and fire."

"Ready," I giggled.

Keith chanted, "One, two, three, FIRE!" We began spraying from both cans and approached Mike. We started backing away, still spraying the entire room. Derrick came in from the garage carrying a large round fan. He set it on the table, plugged it in and set it on high, blowing into the living room. Keith and I stood on the opposite side of Derrick, in front of the fan, still spraying our cans, letting the fan disperse air freshener throughout the room.

"You'd better get this out of your system now, dude," Derrick warned, "you fart in bed once and you're sleeping on the couch tonight!"

Beet red, Mike chuckled, "Please! You're all exaggerating!"

"No, we're not!" the three of us loudly insisted.

Feeling lower abdominal rumbling, I started down the hall to the guest bathroom, bringing the can of Lysol with me. Time to add insult to injury, I thought.

"Prez?" Keith called after me, "Are you alright, baby?"

Grinning and nodding, I snickered, "Just need to use the toidy." Keith began chuckling.

The last things I heard before closing the bathroom door was Keith hollering at Mike. "Now look what you've started!"

"Oh, but it's alright for Prez!" Mike incredulously screamed.

"Prez has the courtesy to go to the bathroom though!" Keith loudly retaliated.


Copyright © 2013 TheEggman; 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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What is it with the fathers in your story? They are either reincarnated saints, like Mr. Hundser and Mr. Seaver, or they are evil incarnate. But there's very little grey between black and white. Still, I can't imagine someone pulling a gun on his or her own son just because he's gay. If they were dangerous serial killers, maybe. If they were sadistic child molestors, definately! But simply because they're gay ....

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