Finding Tim

by Charlie

Episode 188

Delightful

What does it tell you when you have to wait 188 episodes before you're invited to write one? I won't answer that, except to say that I'm not the first COG to be invited, but one of a very few. Who am I? Gary Oldfield, eldest child of Amy, Andy, Jim and Kara. I accept my birth certificate as evidence that my mother was Amy Oldfield, but the testimony of all four is that nobody knows whether Jim or Andy is my biological father, but the birth certificate say Andy Oldfield. My siblings are Louise (a month younger), Cam (about three years younger) and Shel (either ten years older or six years younger, depending on how you figure).

This story begins in the summer of 1998. Joan Phipps had come to Grand Forks and joined the Fred almost immediately after she graduated from Alpena Community college. She enrolled for a couple of summer courses at UND so that she could move into a dormitory, but she spent most of her time at the Fred except when she was in class or studying. Shel noted her skating, but he really didn't become acquainted with her until he and Brian had been to a dinner in the fall at Dakota House, which Tim had arranged for Joan and her roommate, Doris. On the way home Shel had decided that Joan was the perfect match for his unattached older brother.

I first became aware of any of this at dinner a few nights later. Shel was a junior in high school and ostensibly lived at home. However, if you actually counted he lived more at The Lighthouse with Brian than he did at home with his parents and me. Louise had moved into The Hideout with Junior, and they would be married at the end of November. Cam was living in a UND dorm. So the night in question only Shel, our parents, and me were at the dinner table. I'm not sure why Brian wasn't there–usually he and Shel were inseparable, but that night he had some other obligation–probably organized by Shel.

We were just beginning to eat when Shel said, "Gary, I've met your wife and she is one spectacular woman. Come by the Fred tomorrow afternoon and I'll introduce you."

Well, consider the source. I don't know anyone else on earth that could've gotten away with that, but with Shel it simply seemed natural. Shel had never tried to be a matchmaker for me, so I had to assume that whomever he was talking about must truly be delightful.

Jim responded to Shel first, by saying, "If I were Gary I'd be considering just how far I could throw you without getting prosecuted for assault."

Kara said, "Shel, I think you're pushing your luck."

I said, "Ignore them, Shel, and tell me about this girl." If I'd learned anything living with Shel for sixteen years, it was that you needed to take him seriously.

Shel said, "I've said all I should. Come by the Fred tomorrow afternoon and meet your future wife. I'll be pleased to introduce you. And, no, I haven't told her that I've picked out her future husband. That's your job."

The next afternoon I did drop by the Fred, eagerly anticipating what I might find there. I was pretty confident of Shel's intent–he didn't joke around in things like that–except perhaps for a first of April or two, but this was October. Shel's judgement of people was uncanny, so I was eager to meet the girl he'd picked out for me. I walked into the Fred, and Shel and a girl skater that I didn't recognize were racing around the long track together. They were going very fast, but didn't appear to be racing. In fact, the girl stayed in the outside lane all the time, which meant that she was going farther, and thus faster, than Shel.

The two were similarly built–Shel, I knew, was well over six feet, and the girl was just a tad under. Both were slender, and in the tight outfits they were wearing it was quite clear that they were as strong as they were tall and slender. The girl had flowing blonde hair; if she weren't speeding around the track it would've fallen to just shoulder length, but I couldn't be sure until she slowed. After one circuit Shel saw me, pointed me out to the girl, and they headed into a final lap, ending at the edge of the ice where I was standing.

Shel and the girl both spoke at once, and, amazingly, she stood her verbal ground and Shel fell silent. "You must be Shel's brother Gary. He's told me about you and said that you'd be dropping by this afternoon. I'm Joan Phipps–long track speed skater as you can clearly see. Thanks for coming by."

"Hello, Joan. I'm really glad to meet you. Shel tells me that you're quite a lady as well as quite a skater. To get that kind of a recommendation from Shel you have to really be something."

"Except for the skating part, and the lady part; he's told me much the same about you. I understand you work for Fred's Sports, as some kind of a troubleshooter."

"That's right. Why don't we tell Shel to go over there with Brian and work on his figure eights while we go over to those bleachers and sit and talk a little?"

"I know when I'm not wanted."

"Shel, ever since you were about four years old you were very perceptive. You still are. Brian is waiting."

"I think my job here is done."

"Indeed it is."

Joan slipped blade guards onto her skates, and we walked over to the front row of the bleachers that surrounded the long track. When we were seated she pointed to Shel and said, "I think he's matchmaking. How often does he try to do that for you?"

"Honestly, never before. I get kidded a lot about needing to find a partner, but Shel's never played matchmaker. He obviously thinks you're pretty special, or he never would've set us up like this."

"Gary, I'm torn. I want to continue this conversation, but I also need to get back on the rink. How about a late dinner, and then I won't come back to the rink afterwards?"

"Sounds good to me. What time shall I pick you up?"

"How about eight?"

"Eight it is. I'll see you then."

I'm going to move pretty quickly through the next month or so. I took her to the Dakota Steak House that evening, and our talk was mostly autobiographical. Two things weren't included: more than basic information about the Gang and nothing about Shel's and my uncertain parentage. Shel was right, Joan was quite a girl. She was intelligent, diligent (as evidence by her skating practice routine), charming, and clearly as interested in me as I was becoming in her. I titled this episode Delightful in her honor. Was it love at first sight? Nah, I'll leave that for romantics like Tim and Shel. Was love blossoming? Indeed it was. Did it bother us that our partnership was of Shel's making? Not me; I was used to Shel. Not Joan, either. She was more inclined to thank Shel than to resent his interfering.

Well, a central part of this story is about sex. For the first few weeks there wasn't any, and there wasn't even any discussion of it. As we moved on toward Christmas, I realized that it was time to move the relationship forward, and in the Gang that meant talking first. Much to my own amazement, I found myself shy and hesitant to bring up the subject. I guess I sort of hoped that Joan would initiate some kind of conversation, but she seemed willing to leave it to me. Or, perhaps she wanted to avoid the subject, which could either mean avoiding sex, or ignoring the talk first rule. Shit, I simply wasn't sure.

Part of my problem was that once I'd started dating Joan, I'd felt that having sex with other COGs was betraying Joan–since it would've been behind her back. That left masturbation, and while I didn't hesitate about that, it is somewhat limiting. In particular I missed spending the night with two or three of the Gang couples. Mary, in particular, liked to watch Nels and me go at it–it didn't seem to matter to her what we did, as long as we did it first, let her watch, and then made giving her an orgasm a joint effort, by whatever means we preferred.

So I decided that it was time to talk. I invited her to dinner at Jerry's, where I knew I could get a table in a private location. Jerry seated us in his private little corner; the waitress took our order; soup arrived; and I realized that it was now or never.

Joan spoke first. "It seems you have something on your mind. Are you going to share?"

"Sure."

She gave me a little time and then continued, "Well, I'm all ears."

"I certainly can understand why parents have such a difficult time talking to their children about the birds and the bees. That's my subject for the evening, and I'm having a difficult time even saying the word sex."

"Well, you just said it. You don't need to be embarrassed; I'm not. Keep going."

"You know, I grew up in an environment in which talking about sex was very common and easy. Shel and I could talk to each other, our friends, our parents, very easily about just about anything. But opening this conversation with you has me tongue-tied. I'll get over it. I guess where I'm going is that I'm ready to ask you if you're ready to move our relationship into some kind of sexual realm."

"What? Was that English? I don't think so. How about, 'Are you ready for sex with me?'"

"OK, that's better. Do you want to answer that?"

"Not until you ask it."

"Are you ready for sex with me?"

"Yes."

"Joan, I really don't understand why I was so fearful of this conversation. I've been active sexually, and have talked about sex with friends, family, parents, any number of people, with no problem. That's the way I was brought up. I guess I was fearful of pushing too far and too fast and losing you. Losing you would be the end of the world for me. I really mean that."

"Oh, Gary, it's wonderful to hear you say that. I would be just as fearful of losing you. I guess that's why I waited for you to bring up the beautiful, but also ugly, word sex. I didn't want you to reach wrong conclusions about me."

"I never would."

"So where do we go from here?"

"How much do you know about a group here in Grand Forks called the Gang?"

"Almost nothing, though I've heard Shel and a few others mention it. What is the Gang?"

"It's a long story, and one that you need to hear before our relationship goes much further. It'll take a while to tell. Are you ready?"

"I guess so. You aren't going to tell me about some group criminal conspiracy, like the Dillinger Gang, are you?"

"No, we all stay on the right side of the law, unless you count some of the very prudish sexual laws found in some areas of America, or the sodomy laws still on the books in some states, but not, thanks goodness, in North Dakota."

"I sense a long conversation coming. I also need to tell you that I have my own story to tell, and you need to hear it before this whole thing goes much further."

"Wow, now you have me curious."

"But I'm going to hear about this Gang of yours before I start on true confessions."

"Fair enough; let's finish our dinner and go over to The Hideout. We can talk there all evening."

"The Hideout? Gang's have hideouts, don't they? Any connection?"

"Certainly. That's going to be part of the story."

Well, Reader. If you want to sit in on that conversation and hear my story, I suggest that you go back to Charlie's Episode One and start reading. I didn't tell it in quite that much detail that evening–and on two subsequent evenings to which we adjourned the conversation–but I tried not to leave out anything important. By then I was quite certain that I was in love with Joan, and she seemed to be with me. That meant that she would soon be a member of the Gang and I didn't think any of it's story should be withheld. Well, telling about Gangland was forbidden at this stage!

Joan absorbed the story with few questions. When I was finished she said, "That explains a lot. Shel, you, Brian, the Fred, where the money comes from, even some things at the university. I think I could get used to this group quite easily. I guess now it's my turn, but at 11:30 p.m. I think that had better wait until tomorrow. How about a steak at the Dakota as a beginning?"

"I'll pick you up at the Fred at eight." I kissed her goodnight–goodnight kisses were as far as we'd gotten thus far–and walked her back to her university dormitory.

Her story didn't have as many characters as that of the Gang and so wasn't so complex, but it was very interesting in its own way. I'm not going to try to quote her telling it. Rather I'll just tell it in my own words as I understood it.

At Alpena High School the sixties sexual revolution arrived late, but by the nineties, when Joan attended, it had arrived big time. Joan found that most boys just assumed that dates ended either in bed or in the back seat of a parked car, and most had figured out where to get access to a bed. She told me, "Hey, I'm not a prude, but fucking everything in pants, or more specifically without pants, just wasn't my thing." That attitude didn't get her second dates, and the word moved pretty fast that she wouldn't "put out" and therefore wasn't worth dating.

One day in her junior year of high school a boy named Roy Windsor asked her if she'd like to go with him to the basketball game that evening. The Alpena Wildcats were playing the Blue Devils from the Sault Area High School up at Sault Ste. Marie. The junior varsity would play at 6:00 p.m. and the varsity at 7:30. I have to note the insanity of such a schedule. With good luck the game would be over by nine and the boys would be ready to travel by 9:15 or 9:30. It's almost a three-hour drive back to Sault Ste. Marie, and basketball is played in the winter, so there's no assurance that the roads will be clear enough to allow the bus to make that good a time. And they're supposed to be in school the next day. They play about two games a week, and Sault Ste. Marie isn't near anything!

But I've gotten off track. Joan was a skater, but liked basketball, and was glad to have someone to go with, but she had her usual misgivings about what might be on Roy's mind after the game.

It turned out that pizza was all that was on his mind, and he dropped her at home after pizza, walking her to her door but not even hinting that he wanted to kiss her. She was delighted, but a little surprised.

Over pizza he'd asked about her interests and took note of her skating, asking where and when she practiced. A few days after the basketball game he showed up at her rink and watched her skate. He asked if she'd like to go skating with him that Friday evening at "the lake" where kids keep the snow off of a rink area and shine car lights for evening skating. It turned out that Roy was a pretty good skater, but not nearly in Joan's league. But they enjoyed skating together, and they frequented "the lake" often until the weather broke and the lake was marked as dangerous for skating.

By the spring they'd gotten to know each other pretty well, but the closest they'd come to sex were Roy's fairly brief goodnight kisses at her door. Joan'd had a hard time persuading her parents that Roy hadn't pushed her for sex, but they believed her and were glad that he wasn't "that kind" of boy. From their conversations with Joan and other parents, they believed, correctly, that most high school boys in Alpena were "that kind" and they didn't like it.

In May of that year Roy took her for dinner at Culver's. Culver's is an ice cream and hamburger place where you order at a counter and they bring your food to you. It's a step up from "fast food" but just a little. It is, however, quite popular in the upper Midwest, and both Joan and Roy liked to eat there. That evening Roy seated them in a corner booth where they could talk and not be overheard. He told her that he was glad to have gotten to know her that year, and that he felt he could trust her completely. It was time to share something that he'd never shared before. Roy told her that he was in love with John Froelich, another boy in their high school class.

He was quiet for a while, seemingly letting that sink it. Joan's mind was running wild: Just what did this mean? What did it say about her relationship with Roy? Were they breaking up? So that's why he's never tried to get into my pants. You can add a lot more to that list.

After a while Roy went on. He and John had been friends forever. They'd been in the same school and class since kindergarten. Joan had, of course, known about Roy's friendship with John. She liked John, and the three of them had done a few things together: skating, baseball games, pizza–the usual things that high school kids do. Sometimes John had a friend with him, sometimes a boy and sometimes a girl–not a regular person. Joan liked John, but the idea of his being in love with Roy was something new, and something that it would take a while for her to wrap her head around.

Roy went on. It'd only been in the last couple of months that he and John had begun to discover that their friendship was more than a friendship. And in the last few weeks they'd found themselves expressing a love for each other that had been unexpressed for years. It was leading to sex. It was at that point that Roy had realized that he either had to break things off with Joan, or at least tell her the whole story and see what happened. He told her, "I didn't think it was fair to simply break up with you and not tell you what was going on."

Joan had replied, "That raises two questions, Roy. First, do we have something going that needs to be broken up? We have never made any kind of commitment to each other."

"And the second thing?"

"Do you feel you have to break up with me, or are you hoping that some kind of relationship can continue?"

"Are you suggesting that it could continue?"

"Roy, I don't know. I'll bet you don't know. If this is new for you, you can bet everything that it's new for me. But, for now, I don't want to break up with you. I think we both have known that this was a high school affair, not a life-long affair. You aren't my true love, and I'm not yours. And that isn't new information tonight. I enjoy being with you, and that isn't going to change all of a sudden. But it is, you'll have to admit, a little sudden. One doesn't usually expect to go out on a date and have the boy tell her that he's gay. That's what you're telling me, right?"

"John and I are just getting comfortable with the idea that we're gay. But, yes, we are, and that's what I'm telling you."

"Tomorrow night let's the three of us, you, me, and John, go to the steak house for dinner. You two boys can buy me a nice steak. Let's talk. And no holding back."

The next night at dinner they did talk–a lot. Joan had thought about her situation and figured that it hadn't really changed. She and Roy hadn't been either sexually or romantically involved, and neither had pushed for such involvement. And, in fact, Joan had been happy that Roy hadn't pushed. Now she knew why. Did that change anything? She didn't see why it did. She asked the two boys, "Are you two planning to be in the closet, or is some grand coming out on the horizon?"

John was the one to answer: "In Alpena? You have to be kidding. Roy was afraid to tell you, but he figured that you could be trusted, and that it wasn't fair not to tell you. Most of Alpena High School would be very hostile, I fear."

"I think you're right. That means that for Roy to continue to date me is pretty good cover for the two of you. And it also means that I don't have to be branded as the class prude because I won't let my dates get their hands, or their dicks, into my pants. I'm sure that most of our friends assume that Roy gets his jollies with me on a regular basis. I think it works for all of us. And, John, you've joined us often, and I think I'd like that to continue."

Roy looked amazed and asked, "You mean that? You'd be comfortable dating a gay boy who was in love with another boy?"

"I think that's what I just said. But there is one caveat."

Roy asked, "What's that?"

"We haven't had secrets from each other, and I don't want to start now. You can't have your private world with John, and a separate public world with me. Your life with John can be in the closet, but you have to be willing to talk to me about it. Fair deal?"

They both agreed.

Joan said, "OK, let's start right now. Just how far have you two gone. I mean physically?"

"Wow, you weren't kidding," answered John. He continued: "OK, we've kissed pretty passionately. Remember, we've been naked together since we were little kids, sleeping over, skinning dipping, sharing locker rooms and showers at school. But just this week we've started exploring touching each other. I think things are going to move pretty fast, but we'll see. Is that a fair answer?"

Joan asked, "Roy, do you think that's a fair answer?"

"Yes, I do."

"Then so do I."

Things didn't really change very much for Joan–though it certainly did for Roy and John. It was soon summer break, and Joan was working on her skating at the local rink every minute that the rink was open for speed skating practice, but that wasn't as many hours as Joan would've liked–hockey and figure skating took precedence because of the greater numbers of participants. Joan continued to date Roy, and John often tagged along. Joan routinely asked about what they did with each other, never offering an opinion, but always demanding details. They boys soon learned that they'd better tell all right from the beginning, rather than face a million questions that didn't stop till all the details were on the table. They accused her of being a voyeur. To that she replied, "No, check the dictionary. A voyeur gets pleasure from watching, not from hearing stories. But essentially you're right. I get my jollies hearing your stories. There are other ways that you could give me my jollies, would you like to try?"

"We'll keep talking."

Summer turned to fall, and things didn't change much. All three seemed happy in their roles, and Joan had enjoyed hearing their stories of early explorations with their hands, then oral sex, then the discovery of the prostate. That soon led to a discussion among the three of them as to whether the boys had lost their virginity when they fucked each other. Roy stood on having to fuck a girl to lose his virginity, and John was convinced that they both had ceased to be virgins. Joan's offer–none of the three were sure if she was serious–to let them clinch the matter with her some night was not accepted.

Then one Saturday as they were eating pizza in a local park–probably the last time the weather would allow it that season–Joan hit the boys with: "I got out my dictionary last night, and I was right. A voyeur gets sexual pleasure from watching, not hearing about. I want to be a voyeur."

"What? You want to watch us have sex?"

"Exactly."

"You can't be serious." That was John.

Roy said, "I can tell from her look that she's very serious."

"That's right. Just make up your minds that you're going to have an audience. I wouldn't dream of blackmailing you, but if you think about it, this relationship is one-sided. We do things together, and then you two go off on your own. I want to go with you."

Roy glanced at John and shrugged. The shrug acknowledged that Joan was ultimately going to win this, so why fight it. John answered Joan with "OK, I guess we're game." Then he added: "But here's the deal. If you want to watch, that's OK, but you have to be as naked as we are. I'm not going to go romping around on Roy's sofa naked with you sitting there with all your clothes on. Is that a deal?"

Joan hadn't expected that, but after thinking about it a while she decided that it was fair and said a somewhat hesitant, "Yes."

Roy had come out to his parents. It was done with some fear, but he felt that he needed to be open and honest with them. To his surprise, they were neither surprised nor upset. They had, of course, known John and his family for as long as Roy had. They liked John, and had suspected a romantic involvement even before it had actually developed. They had a family room in the basement that they seldom used, because his mother had had difficulty with stairs since a knee operation when Roy was in junior high school. It was agreed that the basement could be "off limits" for parents. In return Roy had promised to keep it neat and clean.

Joan had become a common visitor at Roy's house, sometimes with John and sometimes alone with Roy. There was a TV and VCR in the basement family room, so it wasn't uncommon for Roy to be in the basement with either John, Joan, or both. With what Roy's parents knew about his relationship to John, they never dreamed that Joan would be involved with either of them sexually. The stage was set.

Joan made it clear that she wasn't talking about some abstract future date, but that afternoon or evening. Perhaps afternoon AND evening. So the two boys somewhat reluctantly and hesitantly led the way back to Roy's house and down the basement. The walk back from the park had given Joan a chance to think, and she'd come to two firm conclusions. First, If she was going to strip, then she was going to strip–no hesitation, no shyness, just take the clothes off. Having made up her mind in advance, she was sure she could do it. Second, she wasn't going to play any silly game of I'll take mine off when you take yours off, or some other silliness. If the boys were going to have sex with her present, and they wanted her to be naked, then she would simply strip.

Well, they got down the basement, and the first thing that Joan thought was, "Well, there are two resolutions out the window." But then she realized that they'd been the right resolutions, and her mental strength returned. So the first thing that she said was, "OK, are we going to socialize, or get right into it?"

Roy answered, "That's up to you."

"OK, lets get right into it." She hadn't even sat down at that point, so she immediately began to remove her clothes. Soon she was naked to the waist, sat down and removed her shoes and socks, and then stood up and slipped down her slacks and panties in one motion. She stood and faced the boys, and then sat down in the arm chair near the sofa, making no attempt to hide any part of her while she sat. "OK, let's see what you've been telling me about these last weeks."

It was clear to Joan that she'd gotten one up on the boys. She was sure that they'd expected more discussion, at least of who was going to go first. Now the ball was clearly in their court.

She prompted, "If you can, just pretend I'm not here."

"Oh, that's real easy."

That'd been John, and Roys response was, "Yeah, I think it is." With that he grabbed John in a bear hug; they flopped onto the sofa, hugging and kissing with some abandon. As they hugged and roughhoused, pieces of clothing were slowly removed and flung around the room. Before long they were naked–except for one of John's socks–and they were more centered on kissing dicks and balls than other body parts. It didn't take long for orgasms to follow, and they lay back on the sofa, dicks limp, looking at Joan. Roy asked, "Happy now?"

Joan said, "Sure, for now. I'm not going to tell you that you shouldn't have any kind of sex unless I'm around. But if I am around, I want to be invited. Fair enough?"

John said, "Fair enough," and Roy nodded.

On her third such visit, the boys got into fucking. As Joan told me the story later, she realized that watching the boys was really arousing. They were gay, and her naked body didn't seem to turn them on very much. (She was wrong, as she would find out soon enough.) But their naked bodies and obvious orgasms sure turned her on. She got so hot and moist that she had to hurry home to jill off (her phrase) and calm herself down.

It was on the fourth visit that she made her first request. Would they use their hands so that she could actually see them ejaculate. Thus far all of their ejaculations had been in mouths or asses, and therefore out of sight. "Remember the definition of being a voyeur; the key is watching."

As she watched she got hotter and hotter. Then John shot his load way up on his chest and Roy licked it up. As John started on Roy, Joan found her hand down on her clitoris, rubbing as hard as John was. As Roy shot his load her finger jabbed into her vagina and she had what she described as the most fantastic orgasm she'd ever had. She couldn't hide it from the boys, and didn't try to. They all sat, sexually spent, until Roy tossed out the obvious question, "Wow. Where do we go from here?"

Joan didn't say anthing, but got up, went into the bathroom and cleaned herself up, came back and got dressed, and said, "I'm not sure. I need to think a little, and I'll bet you two need to talk a little. I'm going to sleep in tomorrow and eat lunch with Mom and Dad. Pick me up about 1:30. Roy, would you walk me home?"

Not much was said as they walked, but not much needed to be. Roy did say, "I'm not unhappy that things are moving as they are. I hope you're not."

She'd replied, "I'm not unhappy. But I really need to think." Their goodnight kiss was deeper and longer than usual.

Her thoughts that night were along the line of, "What the Hell? Everybody thinks I'm having sex with Roy, even my parents. I don't think it's evil, and I'm ready. I'm years behind most of my peers. I think we should just not worry about it and see what happens."

At this point, a diffent story comes into play. As Joan had said, Alpena high school students were very sexually active. Joan's parents were very aware of that. While they'd found talking to Joan about sex to be difficult they'd managed to accomplish three things. Her mother had successfully managed to get her through her first period, and prepare her for a life as a post-pubescent woman. Second, with the help of a couple of books, and a not-too-bad sex education course in ninth grade, they'd made sure that she had a good understanding of the biology of sex, pregnancy, and STDs. Third, they'd made it clear to Joan, and to her pediatrician, that when she was ready for the pill, she should call the doctor and get a prescription. While the law made this her right, they made it clear that they supported that. What was utterly lacking was any kind of moral guidance, any discussion of whether she should be involved in sex. And, nothing about what to me (Gary) is one of the most important things that teens need to understand about sex: the fact that you can have a lot of sex, and good sexual gratification, without fucking. Joan proved to have a good head on her shoulders, as you've already read, and handled puberty pretty well. Now she realized that she needed to make that call to her pediatrician.

The next day down in what she liked to call the orgy room she told the boys, "OK, let's not try to make rules or talk this situation to death. Let's just see what happens, and not get upset. I have no idea where things are going to lead, but you need to know one thing. I'll get a prescription for the birth contol pill and will start taking it. There'll be no fucking until my doctor tells me I'm safe."

John had said, "I don't think two gay boys need that lecture."

"It wasn't a lecture, and don't underestimate your libidos. I did, and yesterday's orgasm was the result. It was a little embarrassing."

"After watching us, how was that embarrassing?"

"Because I was out of control. And if I can get out of control, so can you, but there will be no out of control dicks trying to get inside of my cunt. Agreed?"

"Of course."

Joan said, "OK, John, let's see you jack off Roy."

John did, and Joan came over and helped. The afternoon was filled with a number of "firsts" for each of them. So were the weeks following. Shortly into the new year Joan announced that her doctor had said that following her last period, which had ended the weekend before, she'd be safe. He still recommended using condoms. She tossed a package of condoms to each of them and said, "Some things come and go. But virginity goes only once. And that's going to happen this afternoon for me, and for at least one of you, but better if two of you."

John said, "Roy, everybody thinks you've been fucking her for at least a year. It's time. I'll help you with that condom and then fuck her good. She wants it pretty bad."

Indeed she did, and before the afternoon was over virginity, by whatever definition you liked, had definitely said, "Goodbye," to that threesome. Their times together slowly increased as the school year ended, they all graduated, and had a relatively free summer. Joan continued her skating and both boys had fairly meaningless, but full-time, jobs. Their spare time was mostly spent together, and sex wasn't far from their minds.

Joan was puzzled that the two gay boys seemed to enjoy sex with her so much. The three of them talked about it freely, and the boys both agreed that they liked being sucked more than they liked fucking, and they were divided on whether they preferred fucking a vagina or an anus. As for being sucked, neither seemed to care whether it was a female mouth or a male one. They did agree that when it came to hugging and kissing, they preferred each other to Joan. But they welcomed Joan into their sexual lives, and the three of them got along amazingly well all summer.

It had to end. The boys were going to Michigan Tech in Houghton, in the middle of the Keweenaw Peninsula. It was a long way, but since John wanted to study Chemical Engineering, it was the only choice in the northern part of the state. The only other programs were at Wayne State in Detroit, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Michgain State at East Lansing, or Western Michigan at Kalamazoo. They'd decided that they were northern boys, liked the snow, and preferred heading north to Houghton over heading south, even though Houghton was over a hundred miles further away than East Lansing. Roy also wanted to be an engineer, but wasn't so settled on his field, however, it'd probably be electrical engineering/computer engineering/computer science, which he could study at Michigan Tech. Joan was staying in Alpena at Alpena Community College. She would see them on holidays and vacations.

Each visit the sex returned, raunchier than ever.

All good things come to an end. Their visits became fewer, and as soon as she graduated from Alpena Community College she headed for Grand Forks, the University of North Dakota, and the Fred.

And with both of our stories told, it was time for action. I said to Joan, "Having heard your story, it doesn't sound to me like you want this to begin with me sneaking a few pets in the car, or trying to run my hand up your skirt as I kiss you goodnight."

"Gee, Gary, how did you figure that out? I think the real question isn't what, but when and where?"

"You tell me when. You have two choices regarding where–at least for now. My bedroom at home, or the master bedroom here at The Hideout. I recommend The Hideout–it has a wonderful bed and the most fantastic shower you'll ever see. Sex that starts in that shower often ends before the participants get to the bed. I know that Max lost his virginity on the floor of that shower."

"Though they weren't fooling any parents, no boys in Alpena had the balls to have sex right under their parents' noses. But from your story I gather the Gang is different. You can take me right up to your bedroom, can't you?"

"Sure."

"The Hideout is tempting, but it's too late for me to lose my virginity on the shower floor. I'd like to start in your bedroom. There's something rather nice about the idea that we aren't going behind your parents' backs. As for when; right now."

"What about your parents?"

"They're in Alpena, and I'm quite sure that they think you've been fucking me for quite a while now."

It was now about ten at night, the telling of Joan's story having extended to a second evening. We drove to my house, really my houses, because my parents, Jim, Kara, Andy, and Amy, preserved the public image of living in two houses–a double bungalow (duplex to you non-northern tier folks). In fact, it was the same double bungalow that they'd moved into when they first came to Grand Forks–717 and 719 Arbor Drive. They could've afforded something bigger and grander, but they liked the house, it had pleasant memories for them and the four kids, and there they stayed. I was the only one of their children still living at home: Shel was at The Lighthouse with Brian; Louise and Junior lived in a nice apartment in town, and were hoping to build a house before too long; and Cam lived in the dorm at UND, but bounced in and out of his room at home quite frequently.

As we came in Amy, Kara, and Cam were sitting and talking in the 717 living room, that is, on the side of the house which publicly belonged to Andy, Amy, Shel and me. I asked, where are Dad and Pop? Cam started to answer and then hesitated. Amy said, "Go ahead, Cam. Gary's been telling Joan the whole story of the Gang and this family."

Cam said, "They decided they were horny and our moms weren't. They're upstairs."

I said, "Joan and I are horny, and we don't care whether you are or aren't, we're heading upstairs alone."

Cam said, "Party pooper. When do I get my turn?"

"With me? Anytime, little brother. With Joan? When she's ready, and that may be a while."

Joan added, "Maybe sooner than you think."

That really wasn't what I'd been expecting from Joan. She was clearly a fast learner. That put it right in my court. Did I want that fast a learner? Well, clearly anything else was a double standard, and imagining Joan and Cam together was a little arousing!

When we got upstairs I asked Joan, "Shall I invite Cam to join us? You sort of surprised me."

"Well, not tonight. Tonight is for us. But, Gary, Cam's almost as sexy as you are."

If I had any thought that Joan wasn't going to fit into the Gang, or that sex with her was going to be calm and sedate, that evening laid those thoughts to rest. She was naked before I had my shoes off, and quickly helped me with my shirt buttons, belt, fly, and.... Then she was kneeling in front of me sucking my balls. Then I was pushed onto my bed, with her on top of me in sort of a reverse-missionary position. It meant that she was in control and did the thrusting, though I could work in rhythm with her. Before an orgasm could occur she backed off, and, with her leading, our hands and mouths explored every part of each other's body. About the time I simply couldn't stand it any longer she was back on top again, with my dick inside her and thrusting hard. We came, just about simultaneously. She continued to lay on top of me with her full weight on me, until she sort of rolled to the side, pulled up the covers and we slept. Oh, man, life with this girl was going to be a dream.

About a week later she said, "Was Cam serious about joining us? You know, I'm quite used to two boys, but it'd be fun to have two straight boys and not two gay boys." Cam was serious and eagerly joined us. And, yes, Joan proved that she could handle two boys quite well. There is more to the story of Joan and multiple boys, but it all occurred after the Olympics and so will be told in a later episode.

Almost a year later as I was watching Joan skate at the Fred, Shel came over to me and said, "This morning I had the most amazing conversation with Dick Spivey."

"About what, or whom?"

Author's Note: Recently there have been several media comments about the relative pronoun whom. It seems that there is a growing sentiment that the language would be better off without it, and scholars and respected writers are beginning to concur. That may be right, but in this author's world using who when traditional grammar demands whom is still a mark of a lack of education. Hemingway did not write For Who the Bell Tolls.

"Joan, of course. He's almost shocked by the progress that she's made in just over a year."

"And how did you respond?"

"I simply told him to put it down to love and support, with emphasis on the love."

"I think you'd be right."

"The amazing thing is that Spivey thinks so too. He's well aware of your entering into her life, and he thinks it explains her progress. In any case, she's made some amazing progress since she met you, and fell head over heels in love with you. And fucked you. And. And. And. It seems that even brother Cam is helping out."

"There are no secrets in our family, are there?"

"Should there be?"

"Of course not. Joan seems to get a real thrill getting it off with both of us at once. I can't believe how wonderful she is. God, Shel, I owe you a big one for introducing us."

"Her getting a big thrill out of sex with Cam as well as you doesn't bother you?"

"Shel, I can't believe you're asking that question, considering your history with Auggie, Max, Milt and others, while you were supposed to be madly in love with Brian."

"Just asking, big brother. Considering our parents, it would be unexpected to find monogamy running in our gene pool."

"Shel, just how good is Joan as a skater."

"It's easier to estimate a racer than a figure skater; racers have firm times to deal with. But figure skaters have to look at technique, consistency, and a lot of other things that involve subjective judgement. I've talked to Bill Munson, her lead coach. He's as startled by her progress this year as is Dick Spivey. He thinks she has a shot at the coming Olympics–and not just at getting there but at winning a medal at some distance."

"What's Bill Munson's background?"

"You remember, he came here from New Jersey when Fred, Ham, and Tim recruited Jersey Newcomb as the Fred's first long distance speed skater. He's still with us."

"Didn't Jersey marry Merry.... What's her name?"

"Riley."

"Shel, how do you manage to pull things like that our of your brain?"

"I don't know. I guess I don't keep it stuffed full of trivia."

"Yeah, and Merry's last name isn't trivia. Shel, you amaze me."

"Sometimes I amaze myself. Jersey and Merry come by the rink to skate from time to time. They still live here in Grand Forks. They seem happy, but they never seemed interested in being part of the Gang. Still aren't."

"They don't know what they're missing."

"Oh, I think they do. And our lifestyle didn't turn them on. More power to them for sticking to their own rules."

"You're right. Back to Joan, who certainly does fit into the Gang. You expect her to make it to the Olympics in Salt Lake?"

"Yeah, almost for sure. Of course, nothing is certain at the Trials. But if you can find a sucker to bet against her making it, take the bet."

Well, as you know it would've been a sucker bet.

Joan and I considered ourselves engaged, but had decided that we would keep that just between the two of us until after the Olympics. We learned later that Fran and Shelly had made almost exactly the same decision. In the meantime we had an Olympics to get through, and that meant dealing with the question of who was going to room with whom in the Olympic Village, and what the "love and support" implications of those pairings would be. We had four Olympians, two boys and two girls.

Or, we had two men and two women, whichever terminology you preferred. As you probably have gathered, the Gang tended to think in terms of girls and boys rather than men and women. Some people consider that a put down, and in particular many young women, usually of the feminist persuasion, consider being called a girl to be a put down. OK, fair enough, I'm a man/boy and shouldn't be commenting on how women/girls like to be referred to. But let me make it clear, while there are circumstances when the use of boy is quite negative, for the most part I enjoy being a boy and think that it speaks to youth and vigor, not to immaturity and recklessness.

That said, it was inevitable that the two boys, Shel and Shelly, and the two girls, Fran and Joan, would room together in the village. Obviously, they were going to look to their partners for love and support, and for sexual opportunities in the hotel where Fred and all of his guests were staying. There was no shortage of rooms. But Joan and Shel got together and decided that Shelly and Fran, as well as Joan, needed to be encouraged to explore their gay or lesbian sides. Joan was free to admit that she totally lacked sexual experience with another female (how's that for avoiding the terminology issue?) But after her romps with Roy and John she admitted to being eager to explore her lesbian side.

So Shel and Joan recrutied me to help them persuade Shelly and Fran that they should explore homosexuality. Both were well aware of what was going on around them, though lesbian examples were scarce. Neither was offended at the idea of boy-boy or girl-girl relations, but neither had thought of it in terms of themselves. We assured them that they needed to broaden their thinking.

Shelly asked, rather naively I thought, "What do you have in mind?"

We were sitting around in Brian and Shel's hotel room (the Village hadn't opened yet) and I answered, "Take off your clothes and we'll show you."

"Here, now?"

"Why not?"

"I'm not sure I'm ready for this."

"Shelly, we aren't going to push you into something that'll upset you. But we think you're in for a new, broadening experience. Try it, you'll like it."

"How come me first?"

Shel walked over to him and said, "Because I think you're a really sexy hunk, and I'd like to see you prove it." He took hold of Shelly's fly zipper and asked, "May I?" He paused a little and then continued, "I can feel you getting hard; that has to mean that you're at least tempted to say, 'Yes'."

"You're right. OK. Yes."

Down went the zipper. Shel didn't rush, but neither did he hesitate. He opened Shelly's belt and waist button and slowly pushed down his pants and then his underpants. Then he said, "Shelly, just enjoy this, or say, 'Stop' if you really don't enjoy it." He played with Shelly's dick for a while, then quickly unbuttoned his shirt and helped him slip it off. The he gently pushed him on the bed, took off his shoes, socks, and pants, and took his dick in his mouth.

I said, "You know what's going to happen, Shelly. Just enjoy it."

Fran came over and said, "This is neat. Just enjoy it Shelly, and then someone is going to have to take care of my needs."

I really don't know what was going on in Shelly's mind, but he was clearly enjoying Shel's ministrations, and did not seem inclined to ask him to stop. Then he obviously climaxed, and Shel consumed it all. I think that may have surprised Shelly as much as anything.

All he managed to say was, "I'll be God damned."

I got this later from Fran, via Joan. Fran quickly decided that she wouldn't push for her needs to be taken care of right then, preferring that whatever would come next to happen privately between her and Shelly. That night in their hotel as Shelly and Fran settled into their huge king size bed Shelly confided, "I was tempted to toss the ball to you after Shel had taken care of me, but I thought that might have been putting too much pressure on you."

"After what they, we, did to you, you were worried about putting too much pressure on me? Oh, Shelly, that's so sweet. Thank you. But I did deserve to get pressured."

"I know, and you'll get yours. But tonight I'd like to fuck you."

"It wouldn't be the first time, but it might be the first time so soon after you had a climax with somebody else."

"I feel like that was a warm-up. I'm hot as a firecracker."

"Well, so am I. Let's get moving."

The next day Joan approached Fran. "Are you comfortable with our rooming together in the Village?"

"Of course. I'm looking forward to it. I take it that the point of this conversation is to make sure that I'm as open to same-sex sex as Shelly seemed to be last night? The answer is that I am, but I'm totally inexperienced."

Joan said, "So am I. Honestly, I've been involved with gay men, but never anything lesbian."

Fran replied, "Look, I'm enjoying Shelly right now. He's so great, and he was such a good sport last night. Let's save our explorations for the Village."

"Sounds good to me."

The move to the Olympic Village was just two days away, and the Opening Ceremony just a couple of days further off. For the three first-time Olympians, the climax of years of practice was fast approaching. They were both as excited as Hell and as nervous as Hell. It was good that they had not only the love of a fiancé but of a whole Gang to suppport them.

Yes, I know that Shel was a first time Olympian as well. But he'd been attending the Olympics since he was a little boy, had been closely involved with Brian as he took two gold medals, and had had his own level of national and international success long before getting to the Olympics. Besides, as everyone liked to say, Shel was Shel, and he couldn't be grouped with, or compared to, anyone.

First up was Fran, lady figure skater, and not expected by anyone to be a medal contender. Certainly Fran herself did not expect to win a medal, but there was one who thought she had a shot: Shel Oldfield. She'd come in a close, but not that close, third at the Trials. That gave her a spot, but to win a medal she'd have to beat a lot of foreign competition, as would both of her American teammates–a feat never before accomplished.

Shel took Fran to breakfast the morning she would skate her short program. It would've been expected that either Shelly or her coach would've joined her for breakfast, but Shel's invitations were not easily turned down. He started by asking about the night before, and was told that she and Joan were having a glorious time exploring what one girl could do to another to bring pleasure, but she didn't provide details.

Shel didn't push, he had his own agenda. His message was simple and brutal–as only Shel could be when he believed that was what was needed. He told Fran, "OK, girl, this is it. It's make or break. You've been working with a tough, but not outstanding, short program. But we all know that you have an alternative in the back of your mind. You can turn two of those doubles into triples, and make your double double toe loop combination into a triple double. You've practiced all of those, and I know you've been dreaming of doing them in competition."

"Coach would kill me. He doesn't think I'm ready for that, and that I'd fall on my ass, killing my chances for anything."

"He's probably right. But there are only three groups of people at an Olympic Games: those that don't compete, those that walk in the Opening Ceremony, and those that stand on a medal podium. So you fall on your ass? So what? You won't get a medal. But if you do your program as planned, you won't get a medal. What have you got to lose? Go for it, girl."

"Why are you hitting me with this the day of the program?"

"Because if I had hit you with this earlier somebody, probably you yourself, would've talked you out of it. But, I've watched you skate for almost four years. You can do it. You may fail, but get out there and try."

I think one other reason that Shel waited till the last minute to give that advice to Fran is that Dick Spivey might have killed him. Shel never hesitated to take the bull by the horns. That's the way he led his life, and he believed everybody should. It was a tremendous compliment to Fran that he encouraged her as he did.

Her reply was, "Shel, I have a few hours to think about it. I'm going to need them. I also have to get on the ice to warm up. And, if I'm going to change my program, I have to alert the officials."

"But you don't have to alert anyone else. I suggest you don't."

"Because they might talk me out of it?"

"That, and because you're going to pull off a miracle on ice, and we want the world to let out a collective gasp."

Only two other people knew about that conversation: Brian, whom Shel simply had to tell, and Shelly, whom Fran simply had to tell. She told us later, that her mind had been made up when Shelly had responded, "Don't think about it, do it."

Nobody else had any inkling of what was coming. Fran was scheduled to skate in the third to last group of skaters where no one was expected to medal. Scores would run in the low fours to the low fives–which would be the exception.

Fran came out on the ice, took her bow, winked at no one in particular, but Shel took it as an affirmative wink at him, and waited for her music. I was sitting behind Shel, and the minute he saw that wink he visibly tensed up. I'm sure that the next few minutes were the longest in his life. I think he had more on the line than Fran. If she failed she was going to have a sore butt, but Shel was going to lose a tremendous amount of prestige for giving her the advice that he'd given her.

She was off. The first jump that she'd elevated to a triple was about 45 seconds into her program. And then there it was, and there she went. No fall, no stumble, a perfectly executed triple salchow. We looked at Dick Spivey and he was on his feet in astonishment. Fran looked completely serene as another 30 seconds of program, which included a difficult spin, went by. And there came her expected double lutz but which became a triple with only a little extra mental and physical effort on Fran's part. Spivey was becoming unhinged! Her program neared the end, with her double, double toe loop put right at the end because judges gave more weight to moves at the end of a program when the skater was tired. And there it was, a triple double combination, without falling on her ass. In fact, she didn't screw it up at all. Well, they weren't the best form of a combination that had even been skated, but it met all of the criteria to get full technical marks. All tolled Fran had done five triple jumps, three more than originally planned. And by the end of the night everyone realized that she'd done one more triple jump than any other skater. Her scores were 5.5 to 5.8, and there was widespread agreement that she was underscored.

Dick Spivey didn't know whether to be wildly happy or seriously angry. He wisely chose the former. He hugged her and kissed her as she came off the ice after taking her bows in front of a standing, cheering crowd–a crowd that clearly understood they'd seen something special. Actually, the crowd that knew they'd seen something special was the television audience. Dick Button knew what the program was supposed to be, and when the triples replaced the doubles he was completely flummoxed. The best he could say was that he'd seen many skaters downgrade their jumps because of fatigue, uneasiness, or a variety of other things, but upgrading was unheard of. That was after the first upgrade. After the third he simply said, "I don't know what's going on, but this is spectacular."

All of a sudden Fran was in medal position. She was in fourth place with the higher valued long program ahead of her. A TV interviewer asked her what had inspired her move to add three triple jumps, three difficult triple jumps. She looked straight at the camera and said, "It was Shel Oldfield, who's been my skating inspiration for four years and is going to win his own medal tomorrow night."

"When was this decided?"

"Shel proposed it at breakfast this morning, and it was decided when Shelly Morton, my fiancé, told me, 'Don't think about it, do it.' I was scared to death, but I did it."

Shelly didn't see that interview on TV, but was quickly told about it. He simply said, "Well, I guess she let the cat out of the bag."

Sometime later in the evening Dick Spivey and Shel Oldfield got together. For a while they'd avoided each other, but both realized that that couldn't last. Shel was in the hotel lobby with Brian, and he saw Dick come in and go up to his room. Shel followed in the next elevator and knocked on Dick's door. It was opened and Dick said, "I don't know whether I should be angry or excited. But any number of people have warned me about you Shel, and I guess today you simply proved how exceptional you are. And man o' man did you make me look good today. I'm the coach of the two figure skating sensations of these Olympics: you and Fran. I should be telling you never to muck around with my skaters again, but I guess what I need to say is that you can muck around all you want."

Shel smiled and said, "I don't want to think about this conversation if she'd fallen on her ass. I think I was taking a bigger risk than she was. I guess I'm just a born risk taker."

"Thank God for that. I'll just have to pray that if she'd fallen on her ass that I might someday have forgiven you. Thank God she didn't."

They hugged, and were immediately talking about the long programs that both Shel and Fran would perform over the next two nights.

The next night was an anticlimax for the Gang. Shel stood on the top podium and got his gold. But for the Gang, including Shel, all attention was on the next night, the evening of the ladies' long program.

Shel and Dick had immediately agreed that the long program that they'd hammered out together shouldn't be changed. It showed off Fran as well as any program could, and was already pushing her on her jumps. To this Fran replied, "Bullshit. Shel's got me in a pickle. I am now the girl that upgrades her programs. That's what people, including judges, are going to be looking for."

Dick asked, "What are you going to upgrade?"

"My double axel to a triple."

"My God, no woman has ever done a triple axel in the Olympics, and only two anywhere else. You can't be serious."

"You've seen me do it in practice."

"And you hit it about one attempt in three. That's not good odds."

"I'll make you a deal. I'll go out on the practice ice tomorrow and attempt it three times. Three out of three and we put it in the program. Two out of three and we argue some more. Less than that and I forget about it."

"Fran, you're as crazy as Shel."

She landed two out of three and nobody, not Dick, not Shel, and not Shelly (so he insists) knew whether she was going to attempt the triple axel in her long program.

Fran, with Shel's advice, was just as calculating about her sexual activity between her short and long programs. The night after her grand performance in the short program she went with Shelly up to his hotel room and got, in her words, "A grand and glorious fuck." But she headed back to her room at the Village and spend the night with Joan. The next night she was with Joan. They continued their exploration of lesbian sex, which hadn't moved very far. Joan had asked, "Don't you want to be with Shelly tonight?"

"No, Joan, I don't. I'm following the lead of the Gang. Olympians belong in the Olympic Village with the other athletes. I'm not sure why, maybe I'm just being superstitious, but I think I need to be here with you. And Shelly agrees. His last words as we said good night were, 'Give Fran a good fuck tonight. I'm not sure just what that means in a lesbian context, but I'm sure we can figure it out together.'"

The next day, the day of her final competition, she and Shelly snuck off alone. They took a long walk together around Salt Lake City, looking at everything and nothing. They had lunch together in a little restaurant that they just happened to pass. To their relief, they weren't recognized. They got back to the rink in plenty of time for warm-ups, a supper, and the evening competition.

Fran skated a perfect program, but she didn't do the triple axel. She told Shel and Dick afterwards that she'd planned to do it as she headed out onto the ice. But something in the back of her head told her, "Not tonight, Fran. You won't make it." She told them, I don't believe in ghosts, or inner beings, or whatever. But I knew that was a reflection of a lack of confidence on my part. That is a guarantee of failure, and this competition isn't about failure.

She walked away with the bronze medal. It was a stunning performance, made much more so because it was a sweep of the medals for the United States: Sarah Hughes, gold; Michelle Kwan, silver; Fran Howell, bronze. Shel, Dick, Shelly, Brian, Fred, and so many others, were beside themselves. At the victory dinner that Fred hosted after the evening competition, Shel rose, removed the gold medal that was around his neck and draped it around Fran's. "Fran you deserve this. My effort last night pales in comparison to what you've achieved here in Salt Lake City. Welcome to a long list of North Dakota champions." He did, eventually, let her give back the medal, but not until they were home in Grand Forks and the hulabaloo had settled down. When asked about his medal he would simply say, "Fran has it; she deserves it."

There was more, but it was completely anticlimactic. Joan got a fifth place in one of her races and a third, bronze, in another. She came home an Olympic medalist, and was delighted. There'd been nothing sexy, unusual, or intriguing about her races. She skated her best, did score a personal best at 5,000 meters. She was completely happy, and so was I. And she did unto me what Fran had done unto Shelly: In an interview after her medal race, the 5,000 meter, she thanked her fiancé, Gary Oldfield, for his love and support.

And Shelly? He told me, "After all that crap about Fran and her upgrades, I simply had to get at least a silver. I was way over my head, but I got lucky and did get the silver in the mad scramble of the 500 meters." But he got an early first round disqualification in the 1,500 meters and that ended his chances for a second medal. But he also told me, "Shel insists that there are two kinds of Olympians, those with medals and those without. I'm really proud to be in the first group, even if I screwed up in one of my races."

We were all proud of him, and three other wonderful Olympians that Brian, Fran, Shelly, and I had grown to love.

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