Oliver of the Adirondacks

by Dashiell Walraven

Chapter 22

Neal's letter could not have come at a more opportune time. Along with his usual friendly chatter about the goings on in his life, he extended an invitation for me and my parents to visit him and his parents in Connecticut, during spring vacation. It was the perfect time to go, and I think my mom and dad shared my need to take a break from the dramatic turns of events we'd been experiencing since Christmas. My dad called Neal's father, and the following weekend, we packed ourselves into the station wagon and struck out from the wilds of the Adirondacks for the "big-city" of Hartford.

I was on edge the entire ride, and I tried to keep myself occupied by taking along my copy of "White Fang". I found, however, that reading in a moving car, over a long trip, made me kind of nauseated; so I just tried to take in the scenery as we drove. By the time we hit Albany, we were already an hour into the trip, and I was feeling jittery; I couldn't seem to keep my legs still. I guess my constant shifting around got to my parents; we stopped for a short bathroom break, and to get some snacks. At my father's suggestion, I did some deep knee bends, kicks and stretches, which actually help dissipate some of my nervous energy. As we left the city, we drifted back into the newly greening landscape, as the ribbon of asphalt flowed beneath our tires.

We cut through part of Massachusetts, which didn't have much more to offer in the way of scenery. Most of inland New England looks the same to me. Tree-lined parkways and heavily shaded roads, even the interstates look like some kind of public lane meandering through a park somewhere. When we came upon the toll way, I started to get excited again. Finally, it felt like we were on a proper interstate highway. We started encountering big-rigs and delivery vans on the road, and they gave me in the impression we were heading into a population center.

After over four hours of driving, the city of Hartford crested the horizon and I was about ready to burst. Sitting at a nexus of interstate and state highways, next to the Connecticut River, its traffic bustled back and forth among tall buildings, but it seemed smaller than I imagined.

"This is all there is Dad?" I asked, as we continued past the cluster of buildings that seemed to make up the downtown area.

"I guess so," said my father, "Neal's home is in West Hartford, which I guess is like a suburb of the city proper." I nodded my understanding, but was still didn't quite match up with how I pictured in my mind as a "big city". Even Albany seemed larger than Hartford.

"Oh look," said my mother, pointing to one of the buildings, "I think that's G. Fox." I turned to look where she was pointing, but I didn't see anything but a few nondescript, buildings. "Isn't that where Neal's father works?"

"Yup!" I said eagerly, "His mom too, that's where they met."

"Looks like there's a lot of construction going on though," my father observed. Indeed, there were many places where cranes and scaffolding could be seen, especially toward, what looked to be, the center of town. As we cruised by the downtown area, my father had mom look back at the directions. "I think we're looking for exit forty-three," he said.

"Yes, that's right," mom agreed, consulting a steno pad with the written directions, "you're looking for 'Park Road', it's a right off the exit and then we're looking for 'Trout Brook Road'." My parents still managed to get sort of lost, but with the help of a map atlas and a quick stop at a gas station to get directions, we found ourselves pulling into the driveway, nearly five hours after we left our own. The brakes no sooner stopped squeaking than the door burst open as Neal came running headlong to the car.

"Oliver!" he yelled excitedly, "What took you so long?!" The moment I scrambled out of the car, he jumped all over me and my parents. My mom and dad both hugged and kissed him, my dad making sure to muss up his hair. He ducked away and finally corralled me into a suffocating embrace.

"Dude!" I squeaked, returning his hug, "I can't breathe!" Neal broke away and yelled back at the house.

"Mom, Dad! They're here!"

Neal's mother appeared at the front door and beckoned us in. Dad was walking around to the back of the wagon to grab our luggage, but Neal's mother called over to him.

"Get that stuff later," she said, "I made some lunch, and you guys must be starving."

She was certainly correct on that account, my stomach gurgled a little at the thought. Neal and I bounded into the house. He led me to the dining room where his mother had set out a spread of lunch meats, sandwich rolls and a macaroni salad. It looked frankly delicious, and Neal and I were busy making our sandwiches before our parents even had a chance to complete their greetings and sit down with us.

"Jesus Randy," said Neal's father, "don't you ever feed this kid?" He reached over and ruffled my buzz-cut, "I almost didn't recognize him with the new haircut." I smiled shyly at him, my face full of ham sandwich.

"You'd think I was starving him, huh?" my dad chuckled, "Truth is though, once we cleared Albany, we just hunkered down and made straight for Hartford, so he didn't have much chance to eat."

"Did you make good time?"

The conversation between the adults faded into the background as Neal and I caught up on things. Neal asked about Garrett and how he was doing. I explained about the daily routine which included me and Garrett's dad walking with him and doing exercises to build his strength. Neal smiled broadly when I told him Garrett had managed to walk the entire length of the drive from my house out to the street, without crutches and having to lean on anybody.

"That's awesome," he grinned in between bites of sandwich and pickle, "Pretty soon he'll be back to normal then, right?"

"I guess," I shrugged, "he still needs the crutches most of the time though, so he's got a ways to go yet."

"Yes, but Oliver's been a tremendous help in keeping Garret's spirits up and getting him to work hard," my mother interjected; I hadn't realized anybody else was listening. After lunch, while my mom helped clean up, and my dad went off with Neal's father to get our stuff out of the car, Neal offered to show me his room. I took a detour to grab my sleeping bag and small suitcase from my Dad, and then Neal and I bolted up the stairs.

Neal led the way, pushing his door open and ushering me through. His room occupied the west end of the top floor, and was peculiarly shaped. Like my room at home, it had a slanted ceiling, but his included a dormer and window, which really opened the room up and made it feel big. It had a seat beneath the window, with soft looking cushions; I could easily picture Neal there, whiling away a rainy afternoon while reading comic books. Neal took my suitcase from my hand and laid in on the window seat. There were two single beds in the room, which surprised me.

"My mom and dad let me have two beds so I could have friends sleep over if I want," he said.

"Oh?" I said, raising an eyebrow, "do you have a lot of friends over?"

"Naw," he smiled coyly, "every once in a while, but not a whole lot." A wicked grin appeared on Neal's face as he suddenly turned, rushed and tackled me onto the spare bed. The breathe left my lungs in a rush as pinned me down, sat astride my legs, stuck a dastardly finger into my ribs and started tickling mercilessly. I giggled madly and wriggling around to protect my sensitive belly, when suddenly his wayward finger poked me near one of my kidneys.

"Oooh, ow-ow-ow-ow!" I panted, "Get off man, ow!" Neal stopped immediately and sat up.

"What's wrong?" he asked, concerned. Then he gasped as he saw the margin of the fading bruise on my back, as it peeked out from under my shirt. Tenderly, he lifted the hem to look, hissing through his teeth as he did. Even though the bruise had started to fade, my skin was still stippled with sickly looking swaths of yellow, brown, green and black. "What the fuck, Oliver?"

"It's nothing," I said, "I had a little accident, and it's just kinda sore, is all." Neal gently spread his cool fingers over the bruise and laid his palm against my skin. I almost winced reflexively, but was able to hold it in, it didn't really hurt that much anymore.

"Who did this to you?" he asked, quietly, "and don't tell me it was an accident because you're not a very good liar." A dark look clouded his face, I fell quiet. I did not want to burden Neal with the whole Peter Gilbert affair; it felt so far away right then, and I really didn't want to spoil our fun together.

I turned over underneath him and look up into those dazzling eyes of his.

"Really, it's no big deal," I said, putting on a wide smile for him, "It looks a lot worse than it is. I'm fine."

"You sure?" he asked, dubiously.

"Yup," I nodded, "So what are we gonna do now?"

"I dunno," he shrugged, "wanna go take a look at the rec-room?"

"The what?"

"In the basement."

"Sure," I said, "but first you gotta get off of me." Neal grinned at me, setting his full weight on my hips and wiggling his butt. The room grew suddenly quiet, I gulped as I felt a surge flow throw my middle, causing my penis to pulse under his weight. With a mischievous flash in his eyes, he was off the bed and fairly dragging me, as we thundered down the stairs, to the basement.

The finished basement can only be described as the ultimate 70's man-cave. Lined in wood paneling, with a celery green shag carpeting on the floor, it featured a heavy looking, dark oak bar at one end, a pool table in the middle, and a large console television at the other, surrounded by sofas, chairs and a low coffee table. Several floor-to-ceiling poles featured colorful lamps on goose-necks, pointed at various angles. A picture of dogs playing poker on the wall seemed to tie it all together, in all of its cheesy glory.

Neal showed me the console, which featured a color television with a remote clicker, a turntable and record changer, and an eight-track tape player. The heavy cabinet gave off the familiar Bakelite and dusty circuitry smell that I associated with the projectors and amplifiers from the audio-visual department at school. The fabric covered speakers at the front looked massive, and when Neal turned on the radio, they filled the room with sound that I could feel in my chest and stomach. Neal grinned proudly at my astonished reaction, until his father yelled down the stairs for us to turn the music down.

"C'mon!" He suddenly exclaimed, "Let's go for a bike ride." Following him, I scampered up the stairs, past the amused adults, and out into the attached garage. Neal grabbed his bike, the most amazing bicycle I'd ever seen. The only thing it bore in common with the beat-up Schwinn I had at home, was that it had two wheels. The handle bars swooped up from the yoke like the horns on a cartoon steer. Each end bore a sparkly plastic cover with long, colorful, plastic tassels. The seat was long and padded, extending over the back wheel, and curving up to a bar that extended up from the wheel hub.

"What the heck kind of seat is that?" I asked.

"That's a banana seat," Neal proclaimed proudly, "makes it look sick, doesn't it?"

I thought it made the bike look bizarre, but it also looked like it could fit the both of us. Neal pushed a button on the wall, and I ducked when I heard the noise of a loud motor start to pull open the door.

"We have to get you out of the countryside more often," Neal laughed at me, the corners of his eyes crinkling in delight, "Haven't you ever seen a garage-door opener before."

"Yeah, of course," I lied, not wanting to appear to much the bumpkin, "just wasn't expecting it to be so loud is all." Neal looked at me like he was peering over reading glasses and nodded his head.

"C'mon," he said, walking the bike out and waving me to follow. I didn't though, I stood rooted to the spot, staring. Neal, seeing the look on my face, turned around and walked the few steps back to me. "Oliver?" he asked, concerned, "What is it?"

Just then, My dad came sauntering out into the garage with Neal's father, they were both holding a beer. Dad too, fell silent, as he walked up and stood next to me.

"Oh dear Lord," he breathed, "Oliver, do you know what that is?" I nodded silently, taking in the awesomeness of the car before us.

"That is a '67 Ford Mustang," I whispered.

"Shelby Edition," said Neal's father, beaming with pride. The hulking beast of a car wasn't actually all that large, but it looked massive to me. The tires looked ready to chew up the road and the thing seemed like it was going a hundred miles an hour just standing there. A low whistle escaped my father as he walked up and ran his fingers along the gentle slope of the fender. I peered into the interior and blinked at the sparkling dashboard. I felt my dad come up behind me and rested his hand on my shoulder.

"Something else, isn't she Oliver?" Still at a loss for words, I simply nodded once more.

"We'll have to take you boys for a ride a couple of times before you go back home." My heart quickened and I felt the facility of language make a welcome return.

"Really? Can we Dad?" I asked, excited at the very prospect. My Dad seemed equally enthusiastic, so the two men both agreed that we would make an excursion during the week, just us guys. With that settled, Neal dragged me away from the beautiful car, and got me situated on the back of the bike to set off down the road.

A little awkward at first, I had some trouble adapting to being a passenger on a bicycle. First off, the seat wasn't as long as it looked, so we were both crammed on pretty tightly. Second, it was hard not to try to counter-balance when Neal turned one way or the other. After a wobbly start, we eventually fell into a rhythm, with Neal alternating between pedaling and breathlessly pointing out the various features of the tree-lined neighborhood.

We stopped at a local general store type shop, where Neal's family apparently had an account. He sprung for two Cokes and a couple of Baby Ruth candy bars, which we ate on the stoop. I stood and looked at the bills posted outside the store, advertising various local contractors, housecleaning agencies and other services. After our snacks were demolished, we remounted the bike, with me peddling this time, and headed on over to Neal's school, where we messed around in the play yard for a while.

The light was starting to fade as the sun made it's way toward the west. We made it home in time for supper, which was roasted chicken in a wine sauce, made by Neal's mother. It was ridiculously delicious, and was nicely complimented by mashed potatoes and green-beans. The dinner conversation was lighthearted, with lots of laughter and good cheer. Afterwards, we fellas (the two dads, Neal and I), retired to the basement to play a few rounds of pool, and watch Walter Cronkite tell us the news on the color television.

When bedtime came, I found I was all too ready to hit the rack. The day's travel and bike-riding had taken it's toll; I found it tough to keep my eyes open. We said our good nights to our parents, and trudged up the stairs to the room. I found my pajamas in my suitcase and got changed into them. Donning a pair of slippers, I shuffled over to the bathroom, toothbrush in hand. Yawning, I stood in front of the toilet, fished my dick out of my drawers, and started pissing into the bowl. Neal came and stood beside me, and did the same. I looked down at him, and then let my gaze travel up to his face. He was looking at me, grinning devilishly. When he was done, I watched him give himself a few extra, exaggerated shakes, before he stuffed himself back into this pants. I did so as well, and then we both brushed our teeth before toddling off to the bedroom and climbing under the covers.

We lay there quietly for a few minutes. I looked up at the ceiling, with my hands behind my head, thinking about the day's events. My thoughts turned slowly to the figure of my best friend, resting in the other bed.

"Hey," I said, just above a whisper.

"What?" he replied.

"Nothing," I said, "just, you know, thanks."

"For what?" Neal asked, propping himself up on a elbow.

"For asking me over and stuff," I shrugged, "happy to be here, I guess." I heard, more than saw, Neal get out of his bed, and stand near mine. I felt him kneel down and rest his head on his arms, next to me. For some reason I could not fathom, I felt very near to crying.

"Dude," Neal said to me, very quietly, "you okay?" I nodded, but a single tear betrayed me by slipping from the corner of my eye. He sighed slightly, reaching up and brushing it away with his thumb. I just lay there, staring at the ceiling as the whole episode with Peter replayed in my mind. I knew I was going to have to tell him; I guess I was just trying to figure out where to start. Neal touched the tips of his fingers to my face, letting them trace the contours of my brows and ear. He gently massaged my earlobe, which felt amazingly soothing, and I allowed a little moan to escape. Neal slid his other hand under my shirt, rubbing his warm palm against the flat of my belly. I didn't cry, exactly, but under his caressing touch, I heaved several great sighs, each in turn, releasing a little bit more of the sorrow, anger and confusion, I had been bottling up.

Lifting the covers, Neal climbed into the bed and sidled up next to me, wrapping his arms around me and nuzzling my shoulder. I returned his embrace and drew him up on top of me. In the sparse light of the room, his eyes sparkled and glistened as we looked at each other. The smile on his face made me feel a glow inside that only Neal was able to produce. He lowered his lips to touch mine; they parted and I felt his tongue dance lightly on my teeth, his minty breath warming the inside of my mouth. I breathed him in, my heart pounding in my chest.

I parted my legs, feeling Neal settle between them. I could feel his hardening penis press against me, as my own responded in kind. His light, feather-touch kisses brushed my face and lips as his arms held me in tight embrace. Amazed at how quickly my dick responded to him, becoming rigid as steel in a matter of seconds, my breath caught in my throat. An intense quickening was starting to coalesce in my groin and I let out a groan.

"Stop, wait!" Neal whispered urgently, "don't come yet, I wanna do something."

My breathing broke into a series of panting gasps as we stopped moving. I screwed my eyes shut and tried to avoid climaxing, which worked, at least for the moment. Neal disengaged from me, causing me to moan involuntarily at the loss of physical contact, and then began kissing his way down my belly. I arched my back and heaved as he gently freed my penis from the fly of my pajamas, and slowly sucked it into the scorching heat of his mouth.

"Uuunngh!" I gasped as Neal's fingers gently rubbed my balls through the cloth. He spread his fingers through the sparse patch of soft hair at the base of my penis, pulling against the gentle suction of his mouth. The muscles of my abdomen strained and quivered as, once more, I felt my crisis approaching. Grabbing my butt with both hands, he drove himself hard down the length of my pulsating dick. Neal picked up his pace, moaning deeply in his chest, he started bobbing frantically on my straining member. Suddenly, and explosively, rapid contractions started racing along the length of my penis. I felt myself expand within his mouth as he stopped bobbing and started sucking the rising fluid as it left me. Silently working the muscles of his throat, I felt him take my essence, almost like he was swallowing my very soul. "Huh! Huh!" I rolled and bucked under him as I fired my little wad onto his rasping tongue. "Oh my God," I whispered, hoarsely, "Oh my freakin' God."

Neal lifted his head, letting my still pulsing tool slip from his mouth; he smiled at me broadly. I let my head loll back onto the pillow, fighting to catch my breath; I closed my eyes. Slowly, Neal made his way back up to my side, where he caressed my face once more, planting tender kisses on my lips, cheeks and eyelids. Gently, he tucked my softening penis away, and gave it a gentle pat. I sighed once more.

"Do you want me to...?" I started to ask, in a sleepy voice.

"Shhhhhh," he whispered, pressing a finger to my lips, "go to sleep, I'll see you in the morning."

I didn't need much encouragement, and sleep quickly overtook me in a crashing wave. I slept soundly, and for the first time in a while, dreamlessly. When I awoke to the sound of birds near the window, singing in the bright sunlight of the morning, I turned my head to see the sleeping figure of my best friend, lying in repose on his bed. The covers, having been thrown off in the night, lay in a puddle at the end of the bed. Through the open folds of his pajamas, like a sapling straining to reach for the sun's rays, I saw the risen, proud flesh of his slender penis.

Beckoning me.

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