Discovering Love

Written by Rick Beck

Chapter 16

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

Kent called me Thursday night after getting my number from Doug. He wanted me to spend the weekend while his father and mother flew to Denver for a pilot's convention. I told him I'd told Doug I would go to the mountains with him and Timmy. He asked me to get out of it but I couldn't. We agreed to meet Monday after school if I came back alive. I assured him I would if for no other reason than to see him.

It was Friday before I knew it. Nothing much happened and I walked straight home to get the stuff I'd packed for the trip the night before.

I showed up at Doug's at four o'clock and they were loading a green pickup truck that I'd never seen. It had a camper shell on the back and was half full.

"Put your stuff in the back," Doug said as I walked up the horseshoe driveway. "What did you bring."

"Two pairs of jeans, cutoffs, a swim suit, and a few T-shirts and extra socks and underwear."

"Swim suit," Timmy said, as he brought out a box full of food.

"Yeah, Doug said they swim in the river."

"Not in a swim suit," Timmy said, shaking his head.

"What do you swim in?" I asked like an idiot.

"Your birthday suit, dummy. It's in the mountains," Timmy said. "Swim suit!"

"He can swim in a swim suit if he wants," Greg's mother said as she carefully placed a box in the truck. "Kent swims in a swim suit as I recall. Why doesn't he come with you any more?"

"I told you he doesn't get along with Greg, and he wears the swim suit so he don't bruise his knees is all," Doug said.

"Cut it out, Douglas," Greg's mother said as she started back up the stairs toward the kitchen.

"I can't help if it's true."

"What's true?" I asked, feeling like my head was on a swivel.

"You'll find out," Doug said.

"You know Kent?" Timmy asked.

"Yeah, I met him the other day. He's cool."

"I live right behind him," Timmy said.

"And Herbie," Doug said.

"They are brother's, Doug," Timmy said.

"He said there is a club house and horseshoes and stuff," I said, going back to work on the swimsuit thing.

"Yeah, there is but we swim down behind the house mostly. It's a mile from anyone else," Doug said. "We have it all to ourselves. Pop's owns fifty acres."

"You missed Greg," Greg's mother said to me. "He went with his father in the limo so they could get set up for us."

"You're going with me, remember," Doug insisted. "Forget about Greg. You're with me and Timmy this weekend. Tell him Greg's a moron, Mom."

"Yeah, Martin, Doug's a better friend. Greg's somewhat self-absorbed these days?" Greg's mother said. "He could use a friend like you though. I don't know why he hangs around with that immature group of boys."

"Mother! He's my friend. Greg can get his own, okay."

"I'm his friend," I said to no one in particular as Doug and his mother eyeballed each other.

"Of course you are," she said in a calming voice. "You boys riding in the back."

"I can ride up front with you mom," Doug offered.

"I'm going to listen to opera, Dougie," she explained.

"Yes, we're riding in the back, Mom," Doug said.

"Good. You boys don't eat all the food before we get there. It's thirty miles to the market and we've got to make it through Sunday."

"We wouldn't do that," Timmy said.

"Right!" she said. "The chips, pretzels, and peanuts are in the last box I gave you to load. We'll stop half way to stock back up and get you boys cold drinks."

"Yes, ma'am," Doug said, hopping up on the tailgate and sliding in until he reached the pile of bedding up against the cab. "You got a sleeping bag, Martin?"

"No, you didn't say I needed one," I said. "I don't do much camping."

"Cool, we got a dozen down there. Greg gets one bedroom and my parents get the other. We sleep downstairs. It's cool. We can sneak out. Stay up all night if we want."

"Camping?" Timmy said. "They got a two story house they built from scratch. Can you imagine that? Every body else got an A frame or a tent."

"It gets hot during the day but it still gets chilly at night this time of year. You need a sleeping bag if you aren't in one of the beds," Doug advised.

"Maybe Greg will need some company and I can get to sleep in the bed," Timmy said.

"Timmy!" Doug said. "You're going with me."

"I just said...."

"I know you," Doug said.

We settled down as the truck lurched forward and turned out of the driveway. Doug was in the pretzels and Timmy was in the Ruffles before we turned onto Old Highway. I sat in between them and alternated between the two bags. I realized how stupid that was when I started looking for something to drink.

We stopped for sodas and ice in Middleburg after Doug told his mother I was thirsty. In another hour we were winding our way up a narrow gravel road with trees brushing the top and sides of the truck on each curve. Luckily we didn't pass any vehicles coming in the opposite direction.

When we pulled up in front of a cinderblock house with the huge picture windows all around, I caught sight of Greg wielding an ax on a slope off to the right of the house. Wood chips flew as he whacked away on what I was told would be the weekend wood supply. His muscles both bulged and glistened as he went about his chore.

We carried the provisions into the kitchen and I stumbled onto the living room as I looked around. The walls were only sheetrock but there was an impressive stone fireplace at the far end of the room. After examining it, I stopped at the picture window that dominated the living room. It overlooked the river that was maybe two hundred yards away and three terraces below where the house stood. That picture window seemed to tower above the river when you were standing in it. The window looked very small from down there, but the world looked incredibly large as I stood there looking out that first time. I'd never seen a view that equaled it.

Just below the window was a patio of brick surrounded by grass. On the level below that was a garden full of freshly-turned black soil. On the level below that was a small field that might have measure fifty yards by fifty yards and was great for playing ball, being bordered by a forest on both sides. From there it dropped off into the river another fifty or seventy feet down to where it ran past the property. The leaves had yet to fill the trees and a good view of the rushing river was relatively unobstructed.

I would learn that there was a rope placed on a huge oak tree at the corner of the property, which made it possible to repel from the last level onto the river edge. Later I'd find the foot holes that had been dug out of the clay like earth, leading up from the river. By using the roots that stuck out from the hill you could easily negotiate back up the cliff without using the rope and all your strength. There were only two ways to get down to the river, use the rope or fall off the cliff. The rope struck me as being the best option, although I was told stories about some of Greg's drunken buddies who had taken the dive and lived to tell about it.

"Hey, one of you guys," Greg yelled, wiping his forearm across his wet forehead. "Put one of the comforters and a couple of those pillows in the back bedroom."

"Yes, sir," Timmy said obediently, flipping him the bird as he went back to the truck.

"Hi, Martin," Greg said in a too-friendly greeting. "I didn't think you were the outdoorsy-type."

"Hi, Greg. I'll try anything once," I said, stopping with my arms full of blankets to watch him wield the ax.

"This way, Martin," Doug said, leading me by the arm to the door.

"I could use a drink," Greg said.

"The kitchen's over here," Doug said. "Lots of good stuff in it."

"What do you want?" I asked.

Greg stopped chopping and wiped his forehead again. He looked me over carefully for a minute before he spoke. "Water would be good. Sodas too sweet while I'm working. Lots of ice. It'll melt fast," he said.

Greg's mom was busy putting away food and getting things ready for a meal. We each grabbed a bologna and cheese sandwich off a platter on the corner of the table and headed out the door. I stopped to pump some water into a glass full of ice. I took a sandwich and the water to Greg. He smiled and guzzled the water, which cascaded down his chin and onto his chest. He sat the glass down on a stone, opened the sandwich, threw the lettuce and onion on the ground, and ate the rest in three bites. I watched him chewing and he watched me watching.

"Martin!" Doug said from the gravel road just behind the truck.

"The peanut gallery calls. When you get tired of playing with the little boys I'm in the back bedroom. I didn't ask anyone else, Martin and you know why," he said before picking up the ax and starting to work again.

"That an invitation?" I asked.

"Whatever," he said, dismissing me.

I had to think about it as I walked up to where Doug and Timmy stood waiting for me to join them. Greg went back to his chopping chores. It didn't take long for us to be exploring the mountain settlement. As we skipped down the narrow gravel road Doug regaled us with stories that gave us some of the local flavor. We were almost to the clubhouse when we passed the first A-frame, which sat back ten feet from the road. There were also a few sites with tents and one had elaborate decks around the tent and a wide cleared path behind that I imagined led to the river.

The fading daylight made it difficult to see details but there was still enough light for us to check out the clubhouse area once we arrived. It too was an A-frame, albeit a large one with the very front and rear being all glass. This allowed the lighting to escape and light up the immediate area even on the darkest nights. Two large street lamps marked the front of the property and joined with the other lighting to illuminate the picnic tables and cooking pits that were scattered around the A-frame for campers to use during gatherings. There were several vehicles and tents very near the A-frame and very young kids were running around screaming and acting like little crumb snatchers.

We passed on shooting pool and the video games even though they were free. It seemed a bit much to go camping and then do the things you do when you are at home. I did imagine Greg and the local boys shooting strip pool while everyone gathered to cheer them on. I decided that was a bit far out. We walked down to the pier to get my first close up of the river. We used the light to look up and down the calm placid waters. It had seemed to run a lot faster from the window of the house. It was still warm although you could feel the temperature starting to fall.

There came an angry scream from the direction of the A-frame and suddenly the children fell silent. As we came around the corner of the "boathouse" there were some people sitting at a table that I ignored. Timmy came to a screeching halt as I dodged around him so I could follow Doug who also ignored the people at the table.

"What the fuck you staring at?" A masculine voice inquired.

"Come on, Timmy," Doug ordered without looking at the speaker. Timmy stood perfectly still as we moved away from him.

"Nothing," Timmy said, still standing fast.

"You want something or other?"

The boy was in jeans and a red flannel shirt. There was another much younger boy, sitting on the opposite side of the table. Seated on the older boy's lap was a girl. She had her arms around his neck and broke off from a kiss to give us a dismissive look from over her shoulder as she held herself tight to him.

"B, we gotta go. We're already late. You want the old man should come down here looking for us?" The boy said. "He'd skin us all."

"I don't want no trouble with nobody's old man," the older boy said.

"Oh, he won't care," B answered. "Can you meet me tomorrow, Augie? Please."

"Tomorrow, I'm here tonight, baby. Can't you sneak out or something? You won't be sorry and we only got 'til Sunday."

"I know, but we all sleep in the same tent. I can't get out. My old man stays up half the night and he's up before dawn."

"Suit yourself, hot pants," he said. "You got me all worked up and now you just take off. When you want it you know where I am," he said, standing up and letting her down on the ground beside the table. They kissed for another minute before she walked off with the younger boy. Timmy still stood staring at the boy.

The light from the poles lit up all our faces once they were standing out of the shadow. He was a walking contradiction when I looked at him closely. He had coal black hair and dark piercing eyes that drilled into Timmy, only his face was the face of a boy. He must have stood six foot tall but his features were delicate and non-threatening. His skin was smooth and I'm sure no hair had grown upon it. His thin black eyebrows arched artistically over each eye with the right cut completely in half by a scar that ran two inches down his forehead. His right front tooth was chipped off from the middle and slanting to the right side. He looked both tough and tender and his voice was deep but the tone said he was not a pit-bull looking to strike. He more reminded me of a poodle looking for respect.

"What the fuck is your problem," he said in that deep man's voice. He closed the distance between himself and Timmy in two steps as Timmy looked him up and down. He was half a head taller than Timmy and looked down at his eyes to prove his superiority. It just wasn't something a bully had to do. He was posturing to keep us off balance and yet he just didn't look all that dangerous. I didn't think he'd hit Timmy. I didn't know what it was he hoped to prove.

"I wouldn't figure a guy that looks like you would need to mess with a little girl like that, that's all," Timmy said deliberately as he stood fast and looked into the dark eyes that were on him.

"You two this kid's keeper? He shouldn't be out alone."

Once against he didn't sound or look threatening, although he kept his position over Timmy when he turned his head to speak to Doug and me. It was obvious he wasn't going to back away.

"Yeah, come on Timmy. We got to get home for dinner," Doug ordered. "Sorry mister, we just washed him and we can't do a thing with him."

This brought Augie and I into a laughing mode. Timmy stayed planted as Doug moved a little further along toward the road.

"How old are you?" Timmy asked.

"Sixteen, what's it to you," the boy said, sounding hostile.

"I bet," Timmy said. "You're eighteen if you're a day. She's what, twelve?"

"She's fourteen. So what if I'm maybe seventeen? You the pecker police or what? If she's giving it out I'm getting' in line, okay? That a problem for you?"

"I'm just saying someone like you shouldn't be with a little girls."

"What do you mean someone like me? I'm like every other boy I know."

"Timmy, don't start. We aren't at home. I don't know him."

"I know," Timmy said. "I just asked. Sorry if if I'm the curious type. You want to come to dinner with us? They won't notice one more. Can he have dinner with us, Doug."

Timmy turned away and started toward Doug before turning back to give Augie the once over as he walked backwards away from him. I was doing exactly the same thing but standing still while I was doing it. Augie shook his head but he smiled for the first time.

"Jesus, you two cut it out," Doug said as I smiled back at the lovely boy.

"I don't care you're curious. Too bad she had to go is all. I'm going to nail me a little of that before she leaves. I'm August Moon." He put his hand out for shaking.

"I'm Timmy Bradford. This is Doug and Martin, my best friends. They're cool too," Timmy said as he moved back to shake the boy's hand. "You can have dinner with us if you want. Can't he, Doug?" Timmy waited for his answer.

"Timmy!" Doug said. "He's probably got stuff to do."

"They call me Augie," the boy said, pushing his hand at Doug and then me after shaking Timmy's hand. "I actually don't know anybody here. My boss still ain't come to pay me. I could use some food if it's okay. I don't know when he'll show."

Doug checked his face carefully as he shook his hand.

"He's right, you know. You're way too old to be trying to get with that little girl. People around here are red necks. You can't just be getting with a girl that young just because she's a wanting to be got with."

"Who says who can get with who? I been too long without to turn her down."

"You always work with an audience?" Doug asked, and I remembered the boy who went off with B.

"When that's the only way to get some. What's with you guys? Boys chase girls. It's nothing new. Believe me. I been at it since I was eleven."

"That boy will be telling his father all about you by now," Doug said. "You got to be careful up here."

"I don't think so. He set us up. Said she puts out for his friends after school. Said he had to stay with her. I said he could do what he wanted if he introduced us."

"What's he getting out a the deal besides cheap thrills," Timmy asked cynically after considering what Augie said.

Augie gave Timmy a funny glare.

"Where you staying?" Doug asked.

"Pitman's. Up on top!" He said, using his head to indicate up above the clubhouse. "I got to clear the property for them on account I stole their car and got arrested. That's part of the deal so I could get out."

"Hungry?" Doug asked, not asking any of the questions I suddenly had.

"Starved. Old man Pitman was supposed to bring me supplies and pay me this afternoon. He ain't showed yet."

"You can tag along if you want. My parents wouldn't let anyone go hungry, but maybe you shouldn't mention the car deal in front of them," Doug said.

"I don't lie. I done what I done. I did my time. I'm a free man now."

"You went to jail," Timmy blurted out.

"Seven months worth. Been out a week."

"What's it like?" Timmy asked.

"You don't want to know, stud."

"Yeah, I do," Timmy said. "Is it like they say?"

"It ain't like nothing." Augie said sounding severe.

"You definitely shouldn't mention that," Doug said.

"Maybe I shouldn't eat with you. I'm up top in the green tent just over the crest on the right. You might could bring me a sandwich later on if it ain't too much trouble. I could pay you later on when he comes."

"I don't run no delivery service. You're welcome to come eat with us. I'm just saying it would be better for all of us if my parents didn't know about the jail thing. That's all I'm saying. Why mess up a good thing if you don't need to?"

"Yeah, I guess that's cool. You brothers?"

"God, not even," Timmy spoke up. "Tell me about when you was in jail."

"Timmy!" Doug said.

"Long story, stud" Augie said, walking between Doug and me as Timmy walked behind the three of us and leaned close to Augie's shoulder when he talked to him.

"You the strong silent type," Augie said to me.

"No!" I said.

"Oh!" He replied. "I don't bite. I'm just not used to being out yet."

"I know," I said as our arms pressed together.

The light was on near the kitchen door, and there was a big light on the corner of the house near the patio. We strolled down the hill toward the smoke that announced dinner preparations were underway. Augie and I were introduced to Greg's father and Augie met Greg's mother when she brought down some food for the picnic table.

Greg's father was a good size man with a dark complexion. He wasn't black, more the color of dark red clay after it had been glazed. His hair was black but now gray had started to its purity. He was an intense man who went about cooking, staying focused on that at first. Greg brought stuff out and stacked wood beside the grill. The odor of food made the night air smell wonderful. I don't ever remember being so hungry as I suddenly was.

A sweetness in the night air mingled easily with the smell of the food. I'd never experienced anything like it before. I was sure I could smell the rich black soil that I'd noticed from the window above earlier in the day. Then there was the river. The sound of the rolling waters below us was hardly audible. I don't know I'd have been aware of it if I didn't feel it in the ground where I sat. It was difficult to pick the sound out with the crackling of the fire, the conversations that broke out, and the usual night sounds that surrounded us.

Augie sat on the very corner of the cinderblock wall that kept the side of the hill that took you up to the kitchen door off the patio. That put him behind and several feet to the right of the grill. He stared at Greg's father for a long time, watching him attending the grill but seeming to see more. My mouth watered as we sat silently scattered around the patio. It was like all the energy had run out of us all at once.

"Blackfoot," Greg's father said without looking at Augie, but somehow he knew the question that was lingering in his mind. Both Greg and Doug looked up at their father at the same instant.

"Yeah," Augie said. "I'm Choctaw. My grandma was a German lady."

"The boy's mother is Irish. That a close match."

"Doug?" Augie inquired.

"Doug and Greg are mine. The rest are strays. I'm never quite sure which ones are with us and which ones just find us. You are welcome here, Augie."

"August Moon," Augie said proudly. Greg's father smiled as he worked the grill.

Augie stared at Greg each time he brought something to the grill. Augie's skin was darker but it wasn't like Greg's. Greg was golden, Doug somewhat less so, and Augie was red, now I know that isn't correct, but as light as he was, his skin had a reddish tint that darkened it just enough to make him look exciting to me. I wasn't the only one. Timmy sat next to him throughout the meal.

Greg's father was a never-ending source of food and he insisted we all eat our fill and then some. He was an unpretentious man who laughed easily and seemed to be alive to serve us while we were there. His eyes were dark brown and they were on you when he talked to you. He seemed like a very smart man without talking like he was smart. The wisdom of his years impressed me but not as much as I was impressed by the way he treated us.

I spent from Friday until Sunday in his environment. I came to enjoy his company and I felt comfortable with him one on one when I didn't feel comfortable with any adult one on one. He had simple taste, enjoyed life, and never once treated me like I was anything but his equal. He amazed me with stories that were always at the ready. He never explained them or went into great detail about why the stories were special to him, but in the stories he told us about the very essence of his life as he'd discovered it. Much of it was attached to his heritage.

Many times over the next few years, I'd pull myself out of my sleeping bag shortly after first light, and I knew there was a black cup of coffee waiting for me. He'd shove into my hand as I stumbled out onto the patio with a blanket over my shoulders no matter what month it was. Soon we'd be talking and a story would unfold. Then the chuckle that would lead to the infectious laugh that never failed to get me going. I'd end up laughing with him, at him, and at the tales he loved to tell. It became our time because everyone else slept well beyond sun up. Even now I rise with the sun and immediately go for the coffee, and some morning I think I can still hear his laugh.

August Moon left shortly after dinner so he could be back when his employer came to check on him. Timmy walked him to the gravel road while Greg's mom was bringing out cake and Kool Aide laced with fresh lemons squeezed generously into the beverage. I don't know what it was about being up there with them but I found myself devouring everything that was put before me. I never ate much of anything at home but I sure learned to pack it away on the side of that hill. I often wondered why everything seemed so appealing to me up there.

All evening we sat around the fire and listened to the tales as Greg's father spun them out to us. He told us about the world as he'd known it, when he was growing up on an Indian reservation far from civilization. I was sure Greg and Doug had heard it all before and yet they sat with the newcomers, hanging on every word with us. Neither seemed anxious to break the trance that had been spun around a grand crackling bonfire that turned the night orange. Only the fire and the frogs and crickets competed with his voice except when someone else would take the floor for a few minutes while he took a break.

Greg's mother was the first to wander back into the house and when I took some dishes up to the kitchen I could see her seated in a chair by that picture window that overlooked the river. She was reading her book by the light of the fireplace.

"Where you going tonight, Pop?" Greg asked after the silence took hold for a spell.

"Up into the meadows," he answered, shoving another marshmallow in over the dancing flames.


"I saw signs of rabbit earlier today. Maybe coon. You want to come along, son?"

"Nah, I think I'll sack out tonight. Maybe tomorrow night, Pops."

"There may not be a lot of tomorrow nights left for us, son," Greg's father said thoughtfully looking into the flames.

"I know, Pop's. Just not in the mood. I got a lot of wood to cut in the morning. I want to get us stocked up so I can have some fun."

"You boys better get some sleep then. It's getting late. Be morning before you kids know it," he said.

"Yes, sir," Doug said. "I'm beat. Nothing like fresh mountain air for a good nights sleep."

He lit a Coleman lamp before leading us away from the fire. Greg's father toyed with it until the flames no longer leaped at the night. He pulled the fire apart and onto the bare earth that looked like it had been cooked a hundred times before. He wouldn't leave it until he was sure.

We entered the bottom floor from the opposite side where you went into the upper floor. Doug tossed a sleeping bag at me, hitting me unexpectedly in the chest. Once I'd settled in he arranged his sleeping bag in-between Timmy and me. We had the same view as their mother only one floor lower. The glowing embers from the departed campfire the only source of light after the lamp was out.

We talked about our day for about fifteen minutes before Greg came down to visit. He brought four beers and we each took one as he stood by the door in his boxers drinking his. We made small talk and made plans for the following day. We were like old friends just thinking about what there was to do next. He was casual and seemed different from the intense Greg that ruled the rec room and everything in it. I warned myself he couldn't be trusted.

"Someone want to sleep upstairs in a nice comfortable bed," he said after the beers were all drunk.

"Greg, they're with me," Doug protested. "You should have asked someone if you didn't want to be alone."

"I'd have asked Martin but you beat me to it, brother of mine," Greg said sounding sad. "You always ask the good ones."

"What?" I said, surprised he would admit that in front of me.

"Come here," he said. "I'll explain what I meant."

Not trusting him was trumped by my being curious about what he might say.

"Martin!" Doug said firmly, letting me know he didn't approve of me consorting with the enemy.

"I'll be back in a minute, Doug. We're only going to talk."

"You do what you want," Doug said, sounding like I couldn't.

I went to the doorway where Greg stood. He was only a shadow and heat I could feel.

"I was going to ask you Tuesday but Doug had already asked you. You know we didn't finish. That damn Herbie. I could kill him some times."

"I came with him, Greg. How would you feel if I came with you and went off with Doug? I can't do that," I said. "We can get together when you say. Not here. Not now."

"Yeah, sure. Just remember I asked," he said, suddenly toughening up again.

"I can't," I said.

He shifted his weight on the doorway and I sure he was going to leave it at that. His usual superiority attack that let you knew he was in control and he'd call for me when he wanted me. Instead the front of his boxers ended up pressed against my hip. The heat surged into my face and I knew what was just on the other side of that flimsy material. I wanted to reach out and feel him. I wanted to get closer. I knew what he was trying to do to me. I wasn't going to fall for it. Oh, how I wanted to.

"Maybe tomorrow, huh? We can go canoeing if you want. Do you like canoeing? I can show you some great places. Nothing like the view from the river."

"I don't know. I like water. I've never been canoeing."

"You want to go with me tomorrow while they're doing something together?"

"Sure," I said. "That would be cool. I just can't tonight."

"See you in the morning," he said and his hand touched my stomach just before he left the door, disappearing around the side of the house and then walking past the window in front of where we were to sleep.

I settled back into my sleeping bag feeling a bit guilty for talking to Greg. My eyes adjusted to the dark, and then I heard the crickets, the frogs, and a number of sounds I wasn't sure about. I could see stars through the picture window at my feet. They were visible just above the tops of the trees I knew were there but couldn't see. There was a small space that I knew ran out across the river and it was filled with the brilliant uninterrupted starlight.

"God, that's beautiful," I said.

"What?" Timmy said.

"The sky," Doug said. "I bet there are a billion million stars."

"At least," I said amazed.

"He was beautiful," Timmy said in a dreamy tone. "What a body. His pants were unzipped when he stood up. I wonder what we interrupted?"

"Cut it out?" Doug said.

"August Moon," Timmy sighed.

"Timmy!" Doug said. "Don't start. He likes girls."

"Can he come over tomorrow?"

"I don't care," Doug said. "Sure! He's a nice guy. Don't say anything about him being in jail."

"We could go to see him," Timmy said. "Your dad won't be back for hours and your mom never comes down here."

"I don't know where he lives."

"He told me exactly where," Timmy said. "He let me hold his hand."

"You what?" Doug protested. "One of these days someone's going to bust you in the mouth."

"He told me I was cool. I think he likes me. He didn't want to leave. That's when he told me how to find his tent if I wanted. We could go up there. He's all alone."

"He tolerated you," Doug said. "We all tolerate you. He's all alone except for that little girl."

"Nope, he likes me and that little girl sleeps in a tent with her daddy."

"What would he want with you?"

"He's been locked up seven months. Healthy red-blooded American boy. What do you think he wanted from her?"

"He's a man. You're a kid," Doug said.

"He's all man. Did you see what he had in his pants, God! All man! I almost touched it when we were standing up there talking. He'd have let me."

"Size is how you measure corn flake boxes, not people."

"You measure what you want and I'll measure what's in his pants, okay."

I listened to them argue for awhile as my mind wandered out into the dark. I imagined a million small animals were out there roaming around. I could hear some barking off up above the road. It was a steady sound that was fading in the distance. I watched the stars twinkle and started to drift away from what had turned out to be a great day.

"Timmy," Doug said, waking me back up just as I was drifting off.

When my eyes opened I could see the shadow of Timmy down below Doug's waist. I leaned up on my elbow to get closer, and Doug's back was against my arm as he leaned up on his elbow to see what Timmy was doing to him. They were both on top of their sleeping bags. I could hear a small sound as Timmy's head moved up and down.

"Timmy, I said no," Doug said without convincing me.

In another minute Doug was leaning hard against me after he felt me behind him. My face was next to his face and the heat grew. There was a small sound coming from Doug's mouth as his head lolled back. When his lips parted, his moans were riding on tiny wisps of air that escaped in short sharp gasps that I felt on my face. I found my lips touching his cheek and this caused me to swoon. He was making no attempt to turn his mouth away from mine. In fact his lips were getting closer as his sweet breath caressing my face in a way that hypnotized to him. His moans were becoming more intense as Timmy went on without a break.

When I first touched my lips onto his, I was sure he'd pull away from me. I just didn't expect Doug to want me to kiss him. Instead he leaned even harder against me, never altering the position of his lips, making them more accessible. Until that moment I'd stayed removed from it. As drawn to Doug as I was there was always something that kept distance between us. He'd never said anything or done anything to make me feel it, but it was there until then.

He was helpless and his back dropped flat onto his sleeping bag once I kissed in earnest. My lips stayed on his as his mouth opened wider, inviting me, and I was immediately plunging down into the most incredible bliss I'd never known. He wreathed and his chest heaved under mine. Our skin pressed together and we created more heat. I was sweating and so was he. I could feel him struggling, his hips were twisting and his chest heaved as Timmy kept at him.

The moans became groans and then it was a whimpering sound as his body started to twitch and grind against mine. His tongue plunged into my mouth and I sucked it as fervently as Timmy sucked his cock. His breaths were coming faster and they were shallow. There was this silent shriek that rolled through his chest as he shook. He held me tight and kissed me for all he was worth. Just at the point he was struggling so hard it seemed as though he would escape my grasp, he fell back on the sleeping bag with every bit of fight gone out of him. His kisses became soft and gentle affairs as Timmy scooted up toward us.

I stroked Doug's face as Timmy put his face against ours.

"Damn, you never ever gave it up like that before, dude. You nearly drowned me, you know," Timmy said with a giggle.

"It's no fair two against one," Doug said, as he looked at how I was holding him carefully in my arms. Even in the dark I could see his blue eyes sparkling as he looked up into my face. It was like he was seeing me for the very first time.

"I'm beat now," Timmy said. "You do know how to wear a guy out." Timmy slipped into his sleeping bag, turning away from us. "Nighty-night, you two. Don't do anything I wouldn't do."

He laughed loud.

"Me too," Doug said, pulling off his underwear. "Boy slobbers. These puppies will never dry tonight."

Doug threw his underpants up on the window seal and rolled over toward me. "Move over, will ya," he said, and I scooted to the far side of my sleeping bag so we weren't pressed together any longer. Much to my surprise he lifted the corner of my bag and slid in with me. My erection was stretching the front of my underwear as our front ends rubbed together and our lips met.

"You said you wasn't doin' that stuff any more," Timmy said without rolling over to see what it was we were up to.

"I said I was trying to quit. You started it."

"Someone had to."

We were kissing again without me needing to look for his lips. He was in my arms and I was in his. I'd never felt that comfortable with anyone before.

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