Bonds of Brotherhood

by Hunter Woods

Chapter 12

The dark morning sky finally turned a deep purplish color before slowly shifting into myriad shades of yellows, oranges, and reds as I sat on the same rock from yesterday watching the day begin anew. I had awakened early in the morning while it was still dark, my eyes caked with the salt from my previous evening's sobbing. After wiping away the brackish briny substance from my face I had crept out of the tent careful not to wake up the rest of the sleeping forms all around me.

Now while I watched in the stillness of the morning hours the world come awake, I couldn't help but admire the freshness in the air as life seemed to stir all around me. There was a chill in the air, and I was just wearing my cargo shorts with a red colored t-shirt so started to shiver. I drew my knees up to my chest as I wrapped my arms around them so that I could keep warm.

"Hey Jackson," I heard a familiar voice as I flinched a bit startled since I hadn't heard anyone approach.

"Oh hey Braxton. I didn't hear you." I responded.

"Sorry about that…it sure is beautiful here." The older boy commented as he wrapped a blanket he had brought with him around his shoulders. "Are you cold?" He asked me noticing I was shivering.

"A little." I told him honestly as I watched him take a seat behind me, and wrap the blanket and his arms around my tiny body.

A soft like warmth enveloped me, and I couldn't help myself as I leaned back up against his chest enjoying the sensation of his strong arms around me. The feeling reminded me about last night, and made me feel guilty all over again threatening to bring on another bout of tears. The closeness of the older boy made me quiver with desire, but now I knew it for what it was…lust.

Braxton seemed to sense something wrong so spoke up. "Um…Jackson about last night." He began, but I just couldn't contain myself anymore.

"I…I'm so sorry Braxton. I…I don't know why I…" My voice failed me as a lump seemed to choose that moment to form in my throat, but it was just as well because I didn't know what else to say.

"I'm not." Braxton whispered in my ear as he hugged me tighter. "I really enjoyed last night but…" He just stopped leaving it hanging in the air for a few moments.

"I know, and I'm sorry Braxton. I don't know what came over me, and I shouldn't have forced myself on you like that. I don't understand why I would just…you know do that to you, and then shove my…um…you know into your mouth like that. I feel so miserable about it." I told him as tears threatened to overwhelm me.

"Oh Jackson please don't feel bad about what happened. I mean, sure it sort of caught me by surprise, and I ended up really enjoying it and all, but I…I…um…I don't think we should do that again." He told me gently trying not to hurt my feelings. "It…it's just I've…um…I've never done anything like that before." He admitted to me.

Turning a bit so I could get a better look at him I couldn't believe what he had just admitted to me. "Really…never?" I asked a bit puzzled.

He just looked at me kind of perplexed as well. "Um…no."

"Are you saying that you've never done anything…I mean…not even…you know?" I asked him as I used my hand in the jacking off sign that seems so popular these days.

"What…no…I mean of course I've done that kind of stuff before…um…that is if you mean…uh…you know jacking myself off. Shit, what boy my age hasn't? No…what I meant was I haven't ever done anything with someone else before." He informed me.

"Oh…really…no one?" I asked him sounding a bit shocked.

"Why would that surprise you? I mean I'm only fourteen years old you know." He responded a bit defensively.

"Oh…I didn't mean anything by it. What I mean is it kind of surprises me considering how…well…uh…I mean it seems like you're a pretty cool guy and all. Not to mention, you know…um good looking, and it just sort of surprises me that you've kind of never…um…you know done anything with some girl or something…or…uh…a friend…you know." I told him stumbling around a bit since it was getting kind of weird talking about this sort of thing.

The older boy just shook his head, and looked at me with a sort of smirk on his face. "No never, but in a way I'm glad it happened for the first time with you." He responded which sort of caught me by surprise considering he had just mentioned we shouldn't do this again.

"Really…I mean I don't understand." I told him completely baffled by all of this.

"Of course I'm glad it happened with you. Why would that be a surprise to you? It was nice Jackson and felt great." He assured me.

"Yeah but you just said we shouldn't do this again. If you liked it why wouldn't you want to do it again?"

"You don't understand Jackson." I heard Braxton sigh as he tried to explain. "I would love to do it again, but I just don't think it is the right thing for us. When I held you in my arms last night I was so overwhelmed with how damn sexy you felt to me. You have a killer body, and you are so damn hot. I just couldn't stop it once we got started, and all I knew is that I had to hold you and touch you…um…you know…intimately because you are just so damn sexy." He admitted to me which perplexed me even more.

"Really…I mean you really think I'm like good looking and all." I asked him skeptically.

"Of course you are…don't you see it for yourself? You mean to tell me that you really don't see it for yourself?"

Shaking my head I was almost too stunned to respond. "See what?"

"You have such a killer body Jackson, and when I saw you…um…in your underwear last night something powerful overcame me and I just had to have you. Then when I held you in my arms I felt all weird inside, and I just couldn't resist anymore. But when I finally saw your beautiful penis just before you shoved it…well…let's just say you looked absolutely stunningly gorgeous all sexed up like that. You've got to know this is all true Jackson."

"I…but…I'm kind of puny…you know." I blushed embarrassed that he was talking about seeing me naked and everything.

"No way…you're perfect down there, and hell you're only eleven Jackson. You most definitely have nothing to be ashamed about, and that's the truth." He assured me, but I still wasn't so sure, and thought that it just might be our hormones making us talk like this about each other.

"But if you like me then why can't we do more. I mean, I'm not sure we should do more stuff either, but it's just that you said you liked what we did and I liked it too. So I was just wondering is all?"

Braxton just shrugged his shoulders as he thought about it for a moment. "It's kind of hard to explain you know. I'm older than you for one thing, and I felt sort of guilty about it last night…you know afterwards. Then when I heard you crying I felt even worse. I wanted to say something last night, but just didn't know what to say." The older boy surprised me yet again.

"Oh, I'm so sorry about that Braxton. I thought you were asleep. I felt so bad because I had taken advantage of our friendship. You were helping me, and I sort of forced myself on you. I…I don't know why I did it, but I just got so damn…uh…horny all of a sudden and you are just so…um…sexy. Besides, I've been curious about…you know…how you…uh…look ever since that first day we met." I whispered as I smiled shyly at my admission, while blushing at the same time not understanding why I was telling him all of this.

The older boy grinned at me as if he understood. "I know what you mean Jackson, and I guess I got horny too, but then afterwards…well…it was different. I felt really bad afterwards as if it was wrong somehow. I mean…I…um…I really like you, but after we had…um…after it was over I sort of felt empty about it all. Maybe it is our age difference or maybe it is something else, but for me I thought it wasn't right doing this with you."

"Is it because I'm a guy?" I whispered questioningly afraid of the answer.

"No…I mean yes…hell, I'm not sure Jackson. I've never done anything like this before, and I never thought another guy would interest me, but then when I saw you I sort of wondered what it would be like. Then when it happened it was fantastic…just like I thought it would be, but afterwards I felt so guilty about it. I just don't know Jackson…can you forgive me?" He asked me tenderly. "I…I still want us to be friends Jackson because I like you a lot, and I just don't want this to get between the two of us and our friendship."

"Of course we are friends…that is, if you want me as a friend. I just feel bad that things happened the way they did, and I felt really bad about it afterwards too Braxton. I loved it at the time, and I really wanted to do that with you, but I felt awful about it afterwards. It's my fault Braxton not yours." I told him sincerely.

We both fell silent in our own thoughts as we continued to watch the sun rise. I turned back around, and leaned up against him enjoying how it felt just to be with him like this. There was no pressure or expectation from either one of us by being so close to one another. Somehow this felt right, and I was glad he found me so that we could talk about what had happened last night.

A few moments later I felt him hugging me tighter, and then he kissed me lightly on my cheek. "I'm going to head back to the tent, and try to get some more sleep. It's still a bit too damn early in the morning for me. Are you going to stay up?" He asked me as I just nodded my head in the affirmative. "Would you like the blanket then to keep warm?" He inquired as he rose up from behind me taking the blanket with him.

Shivering I nodded my head in the affirmative. "Yeah please, and Braxton?"

The older boy wrapped the blanket around me, and smiled sending a shiver up and down my spine at how handsome he looked in this lighting. "Yeah Jackson."

"Thanks…you know. I…I really liked last night, and I'm so glad we are still friends and all. I don't have a lot of those you know." I told him sincerely.

"I liked it too, Jackson, and I'm also glad we are still going to be friends. You have no idea how worried I was talking to you about it, but I'm glad I did." He told me sincerely as he turned and headed back to camp.

It got really quiet when Braxton left almost as if the wildlife all around me knew I wanted to be left alone for a while with my own thoughts. It felt cozy beneath the warm blanket, and the earthy tone colors of reds, yellow, and oranges splashing across the colorful skies seemed to heat things up as well. The mountainous red canyons off to the side seemed to light up and shine as the sun filtered through the thinning clouds washing the walls and cliffs with a soft radiant glow.

My mind wandered once more over the events of this past week. I couldn't shake the feeling that things seemed to be happening really fast for me, almost as if it were starting to spin out of control. All these years I was like a loner in many ways, but now my small insignificant world was growing with friends, and with it came unexpected surprises. Puberty wasn't helping matters any as my hormones seemed to burn passionately inside of me while I fought for control over these immense urges that kept cropping up at the oddest moments. So far it has been a loosing battle as time and time again I had caved in. The only shining moment for me was last night when I had curbed my lust for Marco. I just loved the little guy to death, and I would feel utterly destroyed if I harmed him in any way even if it was unintentional.

What happened in the shower last week with him made me feel so guilty at how I had plunged him so soon into the sexual realm. This whole sex thing was so awkward at times, and I just couldn't wrap my mind around the idea of just having sex at the drop of a hat. There had to be more to it than just salacious gratification. I wanted more than the momentary blissfulness that occurs when I have an orgasm. It was the best feeling ever, but last night with Braxton something seemed to come to light after it was all over. There was this sort of empty feeling that I hadn't felt with Brendan or Ezra.

With Brendan it had been so exciting and happened so fast being my first time. I felt a sort of relief afterwards that I was finally beginning to understand what growing up and sex was all about. Now as I thought back on that moment I wasn't so sure anymore. Then there was the accident with Marco, which totally freaked me out. I felt a bit guilty about it, but I still didn't have that empty feeling afterwards. With Marco things felt different somehow. There was this unique kind of connection between the two of us that I still didn't quiet understand, but I instinctively knew that there was a deep heartfelt love for the younger boy.

Now yesterday at the pond with Ezra, that was something entirely different. It had felt wonderful and exciting, filled with such passion from both of us. In a way it felt right to me, and afterwards I felt awash with such an enormous feeling for the older dark haired boy. We had shared something yesterday up at the mountain, and I mean more than just the sex. It was as if there was a connection and a sort of bond. Maybe it was because he included me in his ceremony, but I felt it deepen even further when we made passionate love together.

My mind wrapped around the word "love" as I pondered why I even thought of it. I was only eleven years old so what did I know about love. However, I had to admit that my feelings for Ezra seemed different, and in some aspects similar to how I felt towards Marco, but somehow more intense. When the older boy just looked at me my blood seemed to boil inside of me. So what exactly did all of this mean I wondered to myself? I mean last night in the tent Brendan mentioned Ezra being gay, and the older boy all but admitted it himself not to mention the fact he admitted having more than just a friend kind of feeling towards me. Do my feelings for him mean I'm gay too? But how could that be true when I obviously have a sexual kind of reaction around girls?

These emotions were too much for me as I grappled with the idea of possibly being gay. How can one tell at my age; especially, when I was having other feelings as well? How could I possibly be gay, yet here I am with the knowledge that I truly did have feelings for Ezra. I could feel the beginnings of another emotional breakdown stir within me as tears threatened to well up once more while I wondered what I would do if this were true. How will I ever be able to cope with these sorts of feelings? Why does sex, love, and friendship have to be so complicated?

"Are you alright?" I heard a soft whisper which made me jump in fright and shock for the second time this morning before I realized who it was.

It was Ezra and he looked pretty concerned for me. I hadn't heard him approaching because I had been lost in my own thought. He must have noticed my anguish because he approached me cautiously, and reached out wiping away the wetness from the side of my face. His touch made me quiver and sing with joy inside, which upset me even more as I wrestled with the idea of being gay.

"What's wrong? Did…did Braxton do something to you. He woke me up when he crawled back into the tent, and slipped inside his sleeping bag. Did he hurt you or do something?" Ezra asked looking like he was going to hurt the other boy for doing something to me.

"What…no…I mean if anything he helped me out. I mean I had a panic attack last night, and he was just checking up on me." I admitted to Ezra as he just looked at me a bit puzzled.

"I don't…um…what happened?" He finally asked trying to get some clarifications as he sat down next to me on the large boulder wrapping an arm around me making me shiver with excitement again.

Glancing sideways at him, and then quickly looking away I held my head down a bit ashamed how childish I had been last night as I slowly exhaled. "I don't know what happened." I responded honestly as I tried to explain it to him.

"Just take your time and tell me what happened. Maybe talking about it will help." He suggested.

Nodding my head I felt him hug me towards him, and I let him as I leaned over cuddling up a bit with him. It felt so right just sitting there, and being with Ezra. All of my concerns just seemed to evaporate when I was with him. His body felt warm up against me despite the blanket wrapped around my body. I began slowly describing my dream to him, and finally how confined I felt when I woke up. I explained how I had crawled out of my sleeping bag, and that Braxton had held me until my panic attack went away. I didn't tell him about what else happened between me and Braxton feeling it inappropriate to do so. After all it had been the other boy's first time, and he hadn't initiated the encounter.

"So yesterday in the canyon…that was the first time you've ever felt something like this before?" Ezra asked me and I nodded my head. "I see."

"Do you know why…I…um…why I'm getting these panic attacks all of a sudden?" I asked him.

Ezra just shrugged his shoulders. "No not really, but I think I might be able to help you." He told me seriously.

"Really," I exclaimed as I wrapped my arms around him hugging the boy tightly, and catching him by surprise as we both tipped over ending up lying on the rock in a tangled heap.

Ezra just giggled as he watched me trying to untangle myself from the blanket. The dark featured boy was lying on his back so I rolled on top of him covering us both up with the blanket. My body shivered a little as he wrapped his arm around my torso allowing me to snuggle up with him. His scent wafted up to my nose as I lay my head on his chest, and enjoyed the feel of him so close to me.

His warm hands slithered under my t-shirt up against my skin as he slowly caressed my back making me quiver in delight. I could feel my temperature rise setting my blood on fire inside of me as goose bumps sprouted all over, and then something else stirred awake between my legs. His hands felt warm and silky soft against my body, and I sighed contentedly as I felt his own erection rubbing up against me as he shifted around beneath the weight of my body trying to get into a more comfortable position.

As he shifted our two erections rubbed up against one another, and I nearly exploded with excitement despite the fact we were both completely dressed. His hands cupped my two little round globes as he gently massaged them, and pressed down forcing our hips and groin to rub up against one another. It felt excitingly sexy, and I started to breathe hard and moan. It was all happening so fast reminding me of my thoughts not moments earlier as I struggled to contain my lascivious sexual appetite for the older boy.

With a whimper I finally managed to speak out softly. "Please Ezra…umph….aaaaah." I groaned as pleasant sexual currents coursed through my body. "Please stop…it…it's just too much." I gasped out as I reached around and removed his hands from my fleshy pillowy orbs.

Ezra didn't resist, and I could feel him quivering beneath me as we both just stopped our grinding against one another and gasped for air. "S…sorry Jackson…I…um…I just got carried away." His breath quivered in his lungs as I settled my head back down on to his chest listening to the pounding of his heartbeat.

We both just stayed like that for the longest time trying to calm down. His body felt warm and soothing up against me as he tenderly stroked my back in an affectionate and caring manner. There was nothing sexual about it now, but it was still sensual, and I closed my eyes just enjoying how it felt being held in his arms. I could still feel his erection up against me, and I was sure he could feel mine as well. Despite our excited state I felt so calm and at peace lying so close to him like this.

"Ezra, I…I'm sorry." I breathed in raggedly enjoying his scent.

It was heady like Brendan with that teenage sort of odor, yet somehow so different. I wondered if it was like this with everyone. Even Braxton had that familiar type of smell, yet there was the underlying hint of difference. I supposed we all were like that, and it is what made us all unique.

"For what?" I heard the boy respond as he too breathed in making me wonder if he was enjoying my scent just like I did with him.

"You know…for stopping…just…I'm sorry Ezra. I…I just need us to slow down is all." I told him hopeful that he wouldn't take this the wrong way.

He didn't say anything, but rather just held on to me tighter. If it were my choice I'd stay like that forever, just enjoying him so close to me. There was just something so, well, satisfying about it all. I kept my head on his chest listening to his strong heartbeat, which had a pleasing calming affect on me.

"Is this about…you know…yesterday at the pond?" He asked me, and I thought there was a hint of apprehension behind his voice.

"No…yes…shit I don't know Ezra. I mean it was…like really great and all." I stated as I got up off of him and sat cross legged on the large boulder as I watched him do the same right across from me. "I…I've never felt like that with anyone. I mean…you know…not just the sex, but everything else too. I…I just can't explain it Ezra, but it seemed so nice and special." I told him getting nervous now about our situation.

"Really?" He asked me also looking a bit nervous. "I mean I liked being with you too Jackson, and yesterday was so damn incredible and special to me too. You are so damn sexy hot that I just can't seem to get enough of you…but it isn't just that Jackson." He added quickly trying to assure me that he just didn't want sex with me. "I…I have feelings for you." He told me as he looked away.

I fiddled around with my fingers biting my lower lip nervously now that we both knew we had feelings for one another that was deeper than just our sexual encounter yesterday. My stomach tightened up with nervousness as I tried to breath with the new direction our conversation had taken us.

"Jackson?" I heard Ezra ask questioningly as I looked up into his deep brown eyes that had a hint of fearfulness behind them.

"Yeah," I responded kind of scared because Ezra was acting really weird now as I looked at him closer.

"I'm gay Jackson." The older boy admitted to me as he looked into my eyes for a moment before glancing away as he blushed. "I…I should have told you before we…um…you know did something together. I'm so sorry Jackson believe me, but it just all happened so fast yesterday that I never got the chance. I really do feel bad about it, so please forgive me." He asked as he held his head down in shame.

Of course I already knew this from last night, but it was still shocking to hear him admit it outright to me. "Did you hear me?" Ezra whispered bringing me back to the present.

"Um…yeah…I heard you." I whispered back looking away from his gaze.

"So?" He asked me.

"So…what?" I responded a bit perplexed.

"You aren't mad or anything? I mean I just admitted that I'm gay and we…um…did stuff together without you knowing about it." He retorted seemingly disgusted with himself. "It seems like I constantly have to apologize to you Jackson for something or other. I feel so bad about everything."

Shaking my head and looking at him I just shrugged my shoulders. "No not really. I mean it's something I wanted to do with you also…um…you know, what we did together. Why does it make a difference if you are gay or not. Maybe I'm gay too. I did like it as well after all, and I…I feel something more for you than just the whole sex thing. Do…um…do you think this makes me gay too?" I asked him seriously as I started to sniffle a bit scared about the possibility.

Ezra just looked at me for a moment as tears once more started to well up threatening to make a mess out of my face, before he scooted over next to me, and then hugged me to his chest. I wrapped my arm around him, and just sniffled trying to calm down as I felt the older boy hug me and run his fingers through my hair. Why was I being such a baby lately, I wondered not understanding it myself. It was as if I was on such a roller coaster ride with my emotions, and I just couldn't seem to maintain control of myself at times.

"No Jackson, it doesn't mean you are gay." He reassured me.

"But…I…," my mind just wouldn't work as I sucked in some air shakily into my lungs.

"Jackson, believe me…you would know for sure if you were gay. Right now you just aren't sure one way or the other, and there is nothing wrong with that. After all you're only eleven, and still young enough that you just aren't sure about how you really feel about boys or girls. I also have a feeling all this sex stuff is still relatively new for you so it is probably just a bit overwhelming." He assured me, which made me feel a little better, but I still had feelings for him, and really didn't know what to do about that.

"You really don't think I'm gay?" I asked looking up at him.

"I don't know that for sure Jackson, but I do know that in time you will discover for yourself if you prefer boys or girls. I take it you have feelings for girls too?"

Shrugging my shoulders and fiddling with my fingers I just smiled shyly. "Yeah, at the water park both Brendan and I saw this older High School girl's…you know…boobies." I giggled and blushed as I held my hands out in front of my chest indicating some huge breasts while Ezra just smiled and nodded his head knowingly. "I…well, it was exciting you know and I…um…popped a boner. Brendan teased me about it, but he had popped one too." I laughed softly recalling the incident, but also leaving out the incident that happened between me and Suzanne.

"Yeah, well knowing Brendan the way I do I'm sure he did pop one." Ezra laughed with me.

We both got quiet and looked out over the open arid region that seemed so dull compared to the red colored canyon walls of to the side. "Ezra?"

"Yeah," the boy sighed appreciatively as he gaze out at the wonderful blossoming morning while he sat next to me.

"I…um…really like you. I mean…you know, but I just want to take things slowly if you know what I mean." I told him honestly as I blushed.

"I…um…alright, but what are you trying to say exactly?" He asked me as he looked down at me while he affectionately ran his fingers through my hair.

"I know you like me, and I want to be with you, but I just think we should take things slow…you know…um…with sex and all." I told him blushing and snuggling up closer to him enjoying what he was doing with my hair, but also a bit worried wondering if I had overstepped a bit here by doing something I've never done before.

"Are you…um…are you saying what I think you are saying." Ezra asked me a bit shocked as he sat back releasing me and looking at me intently.

Nodding my head and swallowing I blushed and looked down. "I…um…I know you like me Ezra, and I like you too, so I thought maybe we could sort of…um…like be together…you know." I hinted as I saw his face get ashen white for a moment as he just gulped, and his mouth opened and closed several times.

"Are you…are you saying you want us to be…um…boyfriends?" He looked at me critically now as I looked back at him without flinching.

Nodding my head and looking at him shyly, I couldn't believe I was proposing this with him, but I just couldn't help myself because I had such intense feelings for him. "Um…yeah but I…uh…please Ezra I just want to take things slow though. I mean I liked yesterday, a lot really, but it is just too much too fast and I'm kind of scared. If…um…that's alright with you then, yes, I…uh…would like us to be boyfriends." I told him seriously. "Um, that is if you want?" I added at the last moment.

I held my breath as I looked at him. His face went through a myriad of emotions as he tried to process what I had just told him. Then all of a sudden he thrust himself on top of me making me yelp in surprise, and forcing me backwards until I was lying on the rock with him on top of me. I felt his scorching hot lips connect with mine, and my mind went blank as the air was sucked out of me. It seemed to last for a long time, and my entire body tingled coming to life before he finally released me, and we just looked into each other's eyes.

"Wow," I gasped. "I guess that means yes." I chuckled feeling all giddy as he just looked at me slyly.

"You're kidding right. Shit, you just made me the happiest kid on the planet." He whispered softly as he kissed me briefly but tenderly one more time for good measure. "You have no idea how you make me feel Jackson. I've never felt like this about anyone, and you are so beautiful." He observed blushing at what he just admitted to me.

Smiling at him I just shook my head. "Why does everyone keep telling me this?" I asked him.

"What's that?"

"You know that I'm so beautiful." I reiterated.

"Because you silly little ninny…you really are fantastic. Shit, I can't believe you don't have girls all over you already, or guys for that matter." He told me seriously as I just looked at him in disbelief. "I'm serious Jackson. I don't care about what happened when you were in Germany. You are getting older now and well…I don't know what to say other than I guess you are blossoming." He giggled as he leaned in, and nibbled on my ear.

My heart fluttered in my chest as he teased me with his affectionate suckling on my earlobes. I never knew something like that could feel so good as I moaned appreciatively. What he was saying finally started to sink in, and I realized he must be right in some ways. I mean it wasn't just with my new friends, but even Suzanne had seemed to be turned on by me. In a way it was flattering, but it also frightened me for some reason.

"Please Ezra, we…um…need to slow down." I moaned as he eased up, and settled his head on my chest.

"I promise Jackson that we will be careful and take things slow. I don't want to make you feel uncomfortable, but you have to know that you just overwhelm me, and I'm so falling head over heals in love with you. Do you trust me?" He asked me as I just nodded my head.

"Of course Ezra, but you make me loose all control with myself. Maybe it is because I love you too. I…I just don't know for sure, but I do know you seem to make me feel in a way I've never felt before. It's just hard to explain Ezra, and I just don't want us to regret things later." I replied as I leaned in and kissed him passionately taking the initiative this time.

He seemed to respond back as he slipped his tongue into my mouth, and wrapped his arms tighter around me. I rolled on top of him as our hips and groin ground together, and our burgeoning erections rubbed against one another. I didn't care at the moment as he slowly rubbed his hands lightly on my back. It was heavenly, but that is as far as it went as we stayed like this for a while just enjoying kissing one another.

We separated, and I slowly sat back up feeling a bit dizzy. "Damn, you're making me all woozy." I giggled as he sat up too, and smiled back at me.

"Yeah, and I'm just fine with us being together like this for now. Besides, kissing you is fantastic, and good enough for the time being." He stated smiling giddily at me. "But I do hope this doesn't mean that I can't…um…fantasize about you, and take care of some personal needs." He giggled teasingly.

"Of course not you silly goose." I responded back to him. "Besides I have it on good authority that I will have to provide some urgent care to a close member of mine as well." I teased back.

"Shit I didn't think about that. Damn this is going to be more difficult than I thought now because you doing that to yourself is now forever burned in my imagination." He told me seriously as he looked between my legs with a smirk while I just rolled my eyes at him.

Wanting to switch the topic off of masturbation because it was starting to make me horny I looked at him critically for a moment. "Can we…um…you know just keep this between the two of us. I mean, at least for now." I asked Ezra who just smiled at me, and nodded his head.

"Yeah sure, but what about Brendan?"

"What about him?" I asked.

"Well, he's like my best friend in the whole world, and sooner or later he'll figure it out. I'd rather tell him instead of him figuring it out on his own. That could be a bit awkward you know." He told me gravely.

"Um…I don't know Ezra. I mean I'm still not so sure about this to begin with." I told him as he looked kind of hurt. "What I mean is that I really like you Ezra, but this is just all so new to me, and happening really fast." I added quickly. "I've never really had friends before, much less a real life boyfriend or girlfriend."

"I now Jackson, but you have to trust me. Brendan would never say anything about us to anyone. Other than you, he is the only one who knows I'm gay, and he's never betrayed me. I trust him with everything Jackson, and I hope you can trust me. I know this is new for you, but it is for me too." The older boy picked up my hand in his, and held it to his lips kissing my palm lightly.

Sighing and rolling my eyes I decided he was right. Besides, it would be good to have someone who knows so that we could both turn to him for advice at times. It could also come in handy at some point for other things that may pop up.

"Alright, but be sure to let him know it is kind of…um…I don't know, casual at first I guess. You know until we see how things go." I told him as Ezra just smiled wickedly, and leaned in giving me a light kiss on the lips making me quiver.

"Sure, but I have to say that things are going really well at the moment." He teased me as I blushed with his flirtatious advancements towards me.

He looked down between my legs noticing my bulging shorts as I flushed with an even deeper shade of red, but didn't bother hiding the fact that he turned me on. "Come-on." He stated getting up off the rock. "Since you won't allow me to take care of that problem between your legs, let's go take care of your other problem." He chuckled as he held out his hand while I just screwed up my eyes a bit confused by what he was talking about, and adjusted my rigid penis into a more comfortable position as he watched me appreciatively.

"Shit that just turns me on to no end." Ezra commented as he too had to adjust his own erection now.

"Damn, why does this whole sex thing have to be so complicated." I moaned in protest really wanting him at the moment in a sexual way, but steeling myself to be strong in this matter knowing deep down that it would only be a matter of time before something more went on between the two of us.

The older boy just stopped, and stepped up close to me wrapping his arms around me. "Sex isn't so complicated Jackson, it's the people and the complexity we bring into the equation. I promise you that I will keep us in check until both of us are ready to take the next step. Like I said, this isn't new only for you, but me too. I've never had anyone like this before Jackson, and I care too much about you to mess thing up. So, no more regrets, and let's just see how this goes for the both of us, alright?" He asked me which made me smile and appreciative that he was willing to be patient with me until I felt more comfortable with our new relationship.

"Yes, my little love muffin." I giggled while he just looked reproachfully at me.

"Alright, I draw the line right there. You better come up with a better term of endearment for me if you expect me to stick around." He looked at me seriously making me giggle even more.

"Hmmm, then how does my little wet noodle sound to you?" I asked him as he scrunched up his eyes questioningly.

"Wet noodle where does that come from?" He asked me seriously.

Trying to contain myself and shrugging my shoulders I responded with a straight face. "Well, up at the pond yesterday I seemed to recall thinking that nice foreskin covered penis between your legs looked just like a wet noodle in the water." I giggled as I jumped away from Ezra as he took a half hearted swipe at me.

"Geeze, maybe love muffin isn't so bad after all…better yet let's just completely forget about nicknames for now." He told me smiling, and reaching out to hold my hand in his as we made our way back to camp, and whatever he had planned for me.

Thirty or forty minutes later I was standing at the entry way to the tall closed in canyon walls that was the source of my initial panic attack. After a quick stop in camp Ezra had left a note for Two Dogs explaining what he was up to before he grabbed his small backpack filled with some of his things, and we were off.

As we made our way up through the canyons the two of us chatted lightly, and Ezra took it upon himself to teach me some of his ways as he pointed out different plants explaining what they were good for, or he would point out some wildlife tracks. Along the way I started to get turned around again and asked Ezra about it. He explained that all the trails leading up to the top were to the right, but you had to know which trail to take.

On the way down it was much easier because each time you came across another trail you just took a left until you came to the small river, but on the way up it was important to take the correct one that led to the right, or you could get lost in a myriad of twists and turns along the various different canyons. Then he started to point out the assorted old trail markings explaining what they meant. Of course he knew the way up by heart, but now that I knew what to look for it started to make more sense to me as I started to recognize which turnoff's to take.

Now standing in front of the tight narrow entryway to the canyon I got chills up and down my spine. Ezra stopped, and removed his pack rummaging through it while I watched him. He took out a beaded pouch along with a small two or three inch Ziploc bag. I continued to watch him as he opened up his beaded pouch removing a kind of dry brownish herb of some sort, and put some into the plastic Ziploc bag before handing it over to me.

"Alright Jackson…what you need to do is take this tobacco with you and enter the canyon by yourself." He started to explain to me as I just shook my head a bit scared.

"I…I don't know Ezra." I told him seriously.

"Trust me Jackson it will be alright. Just go, and when you are about halfway through to the other end look for this symbol along the left hand wall." He told me scratching out a rough image. "Across from the symbol you will find a big boulder. Go to the back side of it, and there is a narrow passage that opens up. There are more petroglyphs scratched along the wall. Find Bat Woman, and offer her some tobacco." He explained to me pointing to the contents in the Ziploc bag.

Looking at Ezra I just screwed up my eyebrows a bit confused. "Listen, just find it and place the tobacco at the base of the petroglyphs like you saw me doing yesterday up above. You don't have to say or do anything than just what I told you." He explained.

"Are you coming with me?" I asked him.

"No, if you want to get over your panic attacks you have to do this on your own. As long as you have the tobacco with you I promise everything will be alright." He told me as he took a seat on a nearby boulder and pointed up the trail.

Looking over towards Ezra, and then the narrow canyon I bit my lower lip nervously, but did as I was instructed. At first I walked slowly, but then when nothing seemed to happen I walked more confidently. It didn't take long for me to find the spot Ezra had told me about, and I squeezed in behind the bolder. It surprised me that there was a narrow passage through here, but I didn't hesitate as I walked through the narrow side passage, and just as he had promised it opened up into a dead end. Looking around in amazement I spotted the petroglyphs Ezra had referred to almost immediately. It was the only human like figure with a triangular body, and a sort of triangular like arms looking almost like bat wings. The head was sort of square shaped, and looked as if the figure was wearing a mask. I admired the petroglyphs for a moment before retrieving the tobacco and sprinkling it on the ground.

Despite what Ezra told me I decided it wouldn't do any harm to say a few words. "Um…I don't know if you can understand me, but…uh…I'm sorry and I hope I won't be afraid anymore." I whispered before turning and making my way back to my friend.

As I headed back it seemed a bit strange for me. I found myself looking around and discovering things I hadn't noticed before. The constricted passage no longer seemed so confining, and I was actually enjoying my time in the cool narrow passageway. By the time I got to the other end I was feeling happy and giddy with emotions, and seeing Ezra waiting for me made me smile.

"I see you found the hidden site." Ezra smiled warmly at me.

"Yeah, it was way cool. Are there many places around here like that?" I asked him.

"No, not many, but a few. Maybe the next time we are up here I'll show you the others." He stated as stepped up to me giving me a gentle kiss before we made our way back down holding hands, and just enjoying each other's company.

Even though Two Dogs had explained to my father about our little excursion I could tell he had still been a little worried. Breakfast was already cooking, and everyone was up and about already. My father looked over to Two Dogs who indicated he could finish up preparing breakfast for everyone. Ezra saw the exchange, and smiled at me encouragingly as my dad made his way over to me.

"Jackson why didn't you tell me that you were having some sort of panic attacks? Is everything alright now?" He asked me sincerely when we found a spot to just sit down and talk privately.

"Yeah, I'm fine dad." I replied knowing I would have to do some explaining.

Picking up a stick and doodling in the sand nervously I just looked up at him a bit embarrassed. Slowly at first, I told him about how I had felt when I initially followed Ezra up into the narrow canyon. I told him everything even how I had felt so overwhelmed, and then how it all seemed better when Ezra came back for me. I then explained about my panic attack last night in the tent leaving out the part with Braxton. Then about my trek back up to find this Bat Woman petroglyph, and put some tobacco down.

"I…I don't know how to explain the way I felt afterwards dad, other than it was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders." I told him honestly as he just listened to me the entire time.

We talked some more with him looking a lot more relieved before we made our way back to camp. Everyone was just starting to dish out the bacon, sausage, and scrambled eggs on to their plates with some warm biscuits meaning we had arrived just in time for breakfast. When Marco saw me his whole face lit up as he ran towards me and gave me a big hug.

"Where'd you go this morning?" He asked me innocently as he smiled, and dragged me over to get some breakfast.

"So," Two Dogs looked up at me and smiled. "Did you find Bat Woman, and offer her up some tobacco?" He asked me as I picked up a plate, and started to dish out some food.

It smelled delicious, and I hadn't realized just how hungry I really had been. "Yeah," I replied to Two Dogs as I looked for some juice.

"Who's Bat Woman?" Marco piped up his mouth already shoved full of eggs as he chewed away not missing a beat.

"Oh Bat Woman," Two Dogs replied. "Well she is a legend among our people. She protects our canyons from those who do not belong. You see Jackson followed Ezra yesterday without him being invited, and she thought he didn't belong. Of course when Ezra spotted Jackson he decided to allow him to go along, but by then it was too late. She had already cast her magical spell on him making him confused about certain things. When Jackson told Ezra about it they decided the only way to remove the spell was to visit her cave, and offer up tobacco. You see tobacco is powerful medicine among our people. Our tobacco isn't the commercialized one in your world filled with all these bad chemicals. Instead our tobacco is pure, and never cut with a blade. Instead, it is harvested by hand. We use it to give thanks to the creator for our food or anything else the land provides us. When we take something from the land we offer up tobacco as thanks, and to show our respect to the Creator and all things he has given us. So that is where Jackson went this morning…to offer up tobacco to Bat Woman for not asking permission first." Two Dogs explained to Marco who seemed intent on the story.

"Wow, way cool." Marco responded to me. "Can I go visit Bat Woman too?" He asked us as I smiled warmly at him.

"I don't know Marco. Maybe some other time, but I think we may have bothered her enough for one day. Also, I know that Ezra doesn't want other people to know either. Some people would end up coming up here, and possibly destroying some of the things by accident so you have to promise to keep this to yourself." I pointed out.

"Really, why would people do that?" Marco asked innocently.

"Because some people don't know any better. Remember this place belongs to Ezra's grandfather, and it is very kind of him allowing us to stay here. If we want to come back we have to keep some things about this place a secret, agreed?" I asked him, but also looking at Brendan and Braxton who nodded their head in agreement.

After breakfast we all decided to do some fly fishing. Other than me and my dad, no one had ever tried it before so we spent a lot of time teaching everyone. By the end of the morning it seemed as if they all had improved tremendously enjoying their time around the river, and since we had fish last night we ended up releasing our catch back into the river. After a quick lunch Two Dogs finally decided it was getting time for him to head back to the cabin. While he was saying his goodbye's to everyone I walked over to his horse, and sliced up an apple for him. The horse seemed to smile at me appreciatively.

"That beast of mine sure seems to like you Jackson. You have a gift with horses you know." Two Dogs commented when he approached us.

"Yeah, well I guess we sort of have an understanding." I replied to the man who stepped up and shook my hand.

"Well, still, you have a gift, and this is something our people prize. Horses do not think like other animals do. They are a very sociable kind of animal, and can sense things in people. My horse likes you, and so do I." The man pointed out to me as he laid his hands on my shoulders.

"Thanks Mr. Two Dogs. We all had a lot of fun with you. I really wish you could stay longer because we all love your stories." I chuckled at him. "Besides, I think Marco will miss you for sure." I told him seriously.

"That boy is just as ornery as my horse." Two Dogs chuckled shaking his head. "But, I have to admit I do like him. He has…um…how do you say…yes…he has spunk." The man laughed heartily.

"Yeah, I guess that is one way to describe him." I responded laughing as well, and then calming down as Two Dogs got a bit more serious.

The man just looked at me and smiled warmly. "Ezra is a good young warrior, and I hope the two of you remain good friends. He could do much worse than you, and I think you will be good for him. I know Brendan is his best friend, but look out for him because things are not so easy at the moment for him Jackson. I think soon he may need both you and Brendan's strength for what he will have to face. I think soon the tribe will be relying on him more as he slowly steps into his position among his people." The man smiled sadly at me making me wonder what he meant while I watched him mount up, and head out across the trail.

"Hey Jackson," I heard Marco yell out. "Ezra is going to show us where the swimming hole is since it is getting hot. Hurry up because we are getting ready to leave." He shouted out excitedly as I turned, and just shook my head smiling at his enthusiasm.

We followed Ezra down the trail for about twenty minutes until we came to an open space surrounded by large trees. The river had widened over here, and was much calmer as the water also became deeper forming a sort of pond like area before continuing onwards further on down the line. The canopied trees allowed filtered light through yet provided enough shading to keep the area cooler. The soft sandy river bank had a gentle slope all the way to the water's edge. In a way this small area was almost like being at the beach. It was fantastic as we all started to peel off our clothes excitedly.

By the time I realized what I was doing all my clothes were already piled up around my feet. At first I sort of blushed a bit embarrassed by being completely uncovered, but then I realized everyone here had already seen me naked anyway. Without any more hesitation I ran to the river and jumped in with the others as we whooped it up, and yelped at the surprisingly cold water.

"Shit, this water is freezing," Braxton yelled out when his head popped back out of the water, and he stood up.

"Yeah, tell me about it," Brandon gasped as he forced himself to remain in the water so he could get used to it. "I think my balls just shrunk and contracted up inside of my body." He stated seriously as we all laughed and looked down at ourselves.

The shock lasted only a few moments before our bodies became used to the temperature, and we all started having fun. There was a huge tree along the riverbank that had a large branch extending over the water, and a rope tied to it which was used as a swing. We all took turns swinging on the rope and leaping into the water, but to tell you the truth it was much more fun watching all the naked balls on my friends bouncing around as their differing penis' waggled around like fluttering flags while they took their turn on the rope. After a while I noticed that we all watched one another intently as our penis waggled around along the thick line, and our balls swung lazily between our legs.

There was also a smooth tree trunk that had been placed across the river. Ezra explained it was used to test each other's balance and strength. The object of the game was that two people would face off against one another on the log, and try tossing each other into the river. It was a game we all decided to give a try including Marco as we all started facing off against one another. Since the game also relied on balance I ended up winning more times against my opponents than I lost. Evidently being on a diving team had a great affect on my balance, which more than made up for my lack of strength against my older friends. It was fun just watching as well while my friends would face off against one another completely naked, and get into a wrestling match while trying to stay balanced on the tree trunk.

We all had a blast as we wrestled around, swung on the rope, or wrestled on the tree trunk. It was a wholesome way for us boys to burn off some extra pent up energy as we played and wrestled around with one another. Of course we all ended up sporting an erection a time or two as we teased one another about it, but it was all just joyful bantering. Most of the time it was just the result of innocent groping or rubbing, and even at times just sheer excitement that made us pop one at the oddest moments. Even Marco, who was famous for being like a walking boner, didn't sport one all that often. Perhaps it was due to the cold water, or maybe just because after a while it just wasn't such a big issue for any of us to be naked in front of one another.

The time just seemed to fly by while we played around in the water, but we made sure to take breaks and warm up climbing out of the cool water to dry off on a sunny spot along the sandy banks of the river. At one point while we were all sunning ourselves I looked around me at all my naked friends, and smiled appreciatively. We were all different with what dangled between our legs, but as I looked at all of my friends' nakedness I noticed one thing they all had in common. Each and every single one of them looked so sexy hot lying on the warm sand as the sun beat down on their bodies making them look even more beautiful in my eyes. As I looked at my friends I couldn't help but feel a warm glow of contentment course through my veins with the knowledge that they had all accepted me as part of their lives. I've never had this before, and it filled me with such happiness and contentment.

The afternoon had seemed to take its course and end rather quickly as we all finally called it a day making our way back to camp. My father had baked us each a Cornish Game Hen in the Dutch ovens surrounding them with potatoes and carrots. He had also roasted corn on the cob for us over the fire. For dessert he had baked up some angel cake, and we had a choice of frozen blue berries or strawberries that we used to spoon over the warm moist angel cake. The entire affair was like a feast, and we stuffed ourselves full complimenting my dad on his outdoor cooking skills. In a way I felt bad because he had done all the cooking on this trip, but I knew he enjoyed it. To make up for it we all pitched in again, and helped clean up so that he wouldn't have to do anything.

After dinner I once more found myself perched on that large boulder of mine enjoying the early evening hours as I watched over the landscape unfolded in front of me. I was finding that this trip really had been a special one for me. It had managed to bring me closer to my new friends, and also discover more about myself in the process. The soft sound of approaching feet brought me out of my musings as I looked up and smiled noticing Brendan making his way over towards me. It seems as if people were constantly seeking me out while I sat on my own personal perch.

"Hey Jackson what are you doing?" Brendan asked me taking a seat next to me.

"I'm just enjoying the view. I seem to have found a perfect spot for some quiet time to just sit and think." I responded.

"Oh, I'm sorry I didn't know. I can leave you alone if you want." He told me starting to get up as I stretched out and placed my hand on his arm shaking my head letting him know it was alright.

"No, I enjoy the company too when someone joins me." I smiled at him reassuringly as he settled back and looked at me intently before I turned my head looking back out towards the open spaces of the arid region.

We both sat there in our own thoughts for a while before he spoke up again. "Ezra told me about the two of you." He stated in a whisper as I swiveled my head back towards him, and looked at him nodding affirmatively.

"Yeah, he asked me if it would be alright." I replied back to him.

"Oh, I see. Um…he also said you wanted to take things slow though." Brendan continued as he started to fidget around a bit nervously.

Not saying anything for a moment I just shrugged my shoulders and nodded my head again. "I…um…it's just that lately things seem to be happening so fast…you know with…uh…well, you know." I told him blushing as I looked away.

"Oh…um…yeah. I…uh…are we alright Jackson…I mean…because of what you said to Ezra." Brendan asked me as now it was his turn to blush.

"What do you mean?" I asked him a bit baffled.

"Well, it's just you want to take things slow with him, and I just figured since the two of us last week…shit Jackson…I don't know. It's just I thought you liked what happened between the two of us, and now with Ezra." Brendan quipped as he just shook his head as if perplexed. "I…I just don't know if what happened between the two of us was something you didn't like now or what. If it is I want you to know I didn't want to hurt you or anything because I really like you." He whispered softly as he just looked away from me as if ashamed. "I…I mean as a friend Jackson….not…you know." He added as an afterthought realizing him saying he liked me could have meant something else entirely, and he didn't want to come between me and his best friend.

"No…I mean of course I liked what we did last week Brendan, and what happened between me and Ezra. I know you are into girls so I know what you meant, and I like you too. You are my very first real friend, and you don't know how much that means to me Brendan." I responded back to him as I looked at him sincerely.

We both fell silent for a while again as we collected our thoughts. "I think you probably know already what happened yesterday between me and Ezra up on the mountain." I started up softly. "It's…well Brendan last week was my very first time, and it was beautiful, and then yesterday with Ezra was somehow special in a way that I just can't explain. But it just seems like this whole sex thing is just happening too fast for me, and I'm really confused by it right now. Shit…look at what I did to your brother last week, and I still feel awful about it Brendan. I love your little brother as if he were my own brother, and I feel like I've perved on him or something. All of this sex stuff is too confusing and complicated, and I just don't want it to be something that can get in the way of my relationship with Ezra." I stated as I choked back the tears that were threatening to overwhelm me again, which made me feel like such a dork.

Brendan looked over towards me, and seemed to notice my conflicted state because he wrapped his arm around me hugging me tightly to him like I've seen him do on numerous occasions over the past week with his little brother. "Jackson, why are you making sex so complicated?" I heard the older boy sigh. "Marco loved what happened between the two of you last week, and just wants to be with you. Believe me you didn't hurt him because of what happened. If you want to take things slow with Ezra, and he is willing then go for it. But Jackson believe me when I say sex isn't what the real issue is here. Don't let it be something that gets in the way either between you and Ezra. He's my oldest best friend, and you are my newest best friend, and I would just die inside if the two of you got hurt." He told me seriously. "Just think about what I'm telling you alright?"

Nodding my head I wrapped my arm around him, and cuddled closer no longer ashamed at displaying my affection towards my friends. "Thanks for understanding Brendan, and thanks for being such a good friend." I told him as I leaned my head on his shoulders while we sat there for a while longer. "Do you think Marco would mind if I slept in my own sleeping bag tonight next to Ezra?" I asked him after a bit.

"Yeah, probably." Brendan smiled, "but I'll talk to him so it seems as if it was my idea, and Jackson?" The older boy whispered.


"Thanks for being like a good brother to Marco. He loves you, and I know you love him too, but you've really been there for him. You know, in a way that he needed, and for that I can't thank you enough." The older boy told me as I felt him kissing my cheek softly, and as if on cue we saw Marco heading our way as we both chuckled shaking our heads.

Brendan got up so that I could have some alone time with Marco. The smaller boy didn't hesitate as he climbed up on the boulder and settled between my legs. He grabbed my arms, and wrapped them around his body as I just chuckled at him.

"What, I'm a little cold." He complained.

"Yeah, I know my little snuggle bug." I told him as I pulled him closer to me enjoying his innocent presence while we watched the sun go down in a splash of bright colors that faded towards deeper shades of blues and purples before disappearing completely.

The rest of Sunday passed us by in a flash as we had all sat around the evening campfire telling ghostly stories, and listening to Ezra play the flute. I couldn't seem to get enough of the dark featured boy as I constantly found myself gazing at him as if in a trance. I noticed him smiling pleasantly at me several times before looking away and blushing at my intensity. That evening we cuddled together despite both of us being in separate sleeping bags. Being close to him, and feeling his arms around me in the darkness of the tent made me feel so content and at peace.

Monday soon made its presence known to us as we all pitched in and broke camp packing our gear back into the plane. We enjoyed the rest of the day relishing in the idea that our folks were allowing us to stay home from school today. We played around some more enjoying the clear blue skies for a while longer before going home. When early afternoon arrived and we finished our lunch, we all climbed back into the plane and made our way back home. Ezra stayed up front with my dad getting some more flying time in along with some more instructions. The rest of us found our respective seats, and before long were all nodding off and dozing.

We finally landed at the private airfield where my dad works, and Braxton's father was there to greet his son. After unloading the boy's gear it was time to say goodbye to him for now. He gave everyone a hug, and I walked him back to his car while everyone else started unloading the rest of the gear.

"I had a great time Jackson. You're dad is really cool and I…I really had a blast with you Saturday night in the tent. That will be something I'll never forget." He whispered in my ear as he glanced real quick to the others making sure no one was looking before lightly giving me a kiss on the lips, and then groping me for good measure which made me yelp in surprise.

"Dickhead," I teased him as I reached over and gave his crotch a good squeeze in retaliation while I giggled just shaking my head. "Damn, I enjoyed it too Braxton. I think I've become a sex addict." I told the older boy teasingly, yet somehow feeling it really was true.

"Yeah, well welcome to the club." Braxton giggled as he reached out and hugged me to him. "I hope the diving team works out so that we can see each other more often." He told me seriously. "I'll keep working on cleaning up the soldiers and stuff so we can put together that Gettysburg diorama battle scene.

"That would be really cool." I replied back to him as I saw our SUV finally show up with my mom behind the wheel. "I guess that's my cue." I told him nodding to my mom's approaching car.

In short order we had the plane stored away in the hanger, and some of our gear as well. My dad would load up the rest of the stuff after work the following day. When we pulled into the Cuconato's driveway Ezra's truck was there as well. We all piled out of the SUV, and helped the boys with all of their gear. It didn't take long to finish so us boys stood around chatting for a bit while our parents talked with one another as well. Of course my dad had to give the rundown of the weekend, and report how everyone had behaved. I was pretty sure he was giving a glowing report to one and all because it seemed as if our folks were having a good time chatting things up.

After standing around for a good fifteen or twenty minutes and goofing around with one another my dad called out that it was time to head on home. I bumped knuckles with both Brendan and Marco, but also ruffled the younger brother's hair affectionately before turning to Ezra. We smiled hesitantly for a moment, but could feel several eyes on us so we really didn't know what to do. Since it was a bit awkward with others standing around we just clasped hands, and gave each other one of those manly kind of hugs and pats on the back before stepping back while I turned and headed towards my car.

I was getting ready to step inside when I heard someone shout out to me. I turned just in time before being tackled by the smaller form of Marco. He hugged me tightly not wanting to let go of me as I finally managed to get on one knee. I held the smaller boy tightly in my arms as he tried to squeeze the life out of me.

"Oh, my little snuggle bug." I whispered in his ear softly so no one could overhear it. "What am I ever going to do with you?" I giggled as I kissed him tenderly on his cheeks not caring who saw our display of affection.

The smaller boy wrapped his arms around me even tighter as he spoke up without any hesitation. "Thanks so much for everything Jackson. I love you." He told me as he held on to me tightly.

"I love you too little squirt." I responded as we finally stepped back and he smiled at me looking happy.

There was no question that everyone around us had heard the exchange, but I didn't care because to me we were all family now. When I looked up I noticed Ezra grandfather looking towards me, and nodding his head in approval.

We all watched as Marco stepped up to my dad, and gave him a hug thanking him for everything followed by Brendan who shook my dad' hand. Finally Ezra stepped up as well extending his hand.

"Thanks for everything Mr. Elborn. I…I don't know how to thank you enough." He stated for a moment hesitating, and then catching us all by surprise as he gave my father a warm heartfelt hug.

"You're very welcome Ezra, and I'm sure we will be spending a lot of time together working on the pilot's license for you." My father assured the boy as he hugged him back affectionately before the two of them stepped back.

Ezra glanced towards me as he started to walk towards his grandfather's truck. He stopped for a moment, and then turned walking right towards me. Without any hesitation he walked right up to me, and wrapped his arms around me tightly giving me a warm hug. He held on to me for several moments as we breathed one another in before he released me.

"Thanks for everything Jackson." He stated simply giving me a warm smile before turning back towards his grandfather.

Looking up I noticed the elderly man had been watching the exchange closely. I was a bit frightened at first not knowing how it had looked, but then sighed in relief when Ezra's grandfather wrapped his arms around his grandson and hugged him affectionately looking pleased with how the boy had handled things. With one look back towards me the elderly man smiled approvingly, and nodded his head in acknowledgement.

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