Just a Trace

by Ivor Slipper

This story was written as an addition to the Sanitaria Springs series of stories. These are stories written by Dabeagle and other authors who he invited to contribute. They are about events in the lives of several teen boys who live in the fictional town of Sanitaria Springs in New York State. The stories are interwoven and a link to the series is given below:

http://www.dabeagle.com/Sanitaria_Springs.html

This particular story picks up on a character first met in:

http://www.dabeagle.com/stories/RB/sanitaria/Trace.html

It is not essential to read that story before reading this tale as I believe there is sufficient 'back story' here to enable this one to stand alone, but feel free to do so.

A pic of the boy on whom Robbie is based can be found here: http://forum.iomfats.org/mv/msg/9104/74084/#msg_74084

Trace

There were only a few weeks left now until the end of the semester and school finished. That would leave the long summer vacation to look forward to enjoying, but I wasn't sure I was in the right frame of mind to enjoy it.

I'd moved, or been moved to be more exact, to Sanitaria Springs last fall when my mom died suddenly and totally unexpectedly from what I was later told proved on post mortem to be an undiagnosed heart condition. We were living on the outskirts of Vancouver in Canada and it had always been just the two of us. Suddenly I was on my own and traumatised over what had happened. I'd just turned sixteen and had no idea what was going to happen to me, but I guessed I was going to end up in some sort of home at least until I was old enough to leave school. I also thought that leaving school wouldn't be far off as without mom to support me I couldn't see how I was going to get into college.

Those sorts of thoughts came somewhat later after I'd been removed from the house by the police and the lady from the Department of Families. I'd been lucky there as the cop not only felt sorry for me but he and his wife had been approved for fostering some years previously and he volunteered to take me in on a temporary basis. No doubt the lady was very pleased to find a willing volunteer so easily and quickly and so I went to live with Officer Joe Redcorn and his wife Shelly.

Living with them was pleasant enough, but it didn't last long because following the shock of my mom's death I quickly received another major shock; no, shocks would be a better description. The police had found my birth certificate when going through Mom's documents proving that I was actually American and not Canadian as she'd told me. From that they'd managed to track down my father who she'd told me had left her to live with another man when I was four years old, saying he never wanted to see me again. But he apparently now claimed he'd spent a lot of time searching for me in Canada.

It was all so confusing, but as he was my father I moved to Sanitaria Springs to live with him and his partner, Gary Whitmore, and their six year old adopted daughter Olivia – or Olive as she was known around the house. Settling in with them wasn't easy and looking back now I can see that I was resentful and ungrateful – especially to Gary who I initially blamed for seducing my father. As is so often the case, it turned out there was another side to the story mom had told me and when I was finally ready to hear that, I could see that she had used and abused me in the sense that she had denied me having my father in my life for the past twelve years. Although she'd done everything for me that other kid's fathers did for them and I couldn't say I'd missed out on things during that time, nevertheless something, that actual presence, even if it had only been as shared visitation, had been lost.

Consequently I'd had problems in settling in and accepting my father and his partner – but not little Olive. She was adorable and took me into her life straight away. I just loved having a little kid sister who was discovering new things every day and always wanting to tell me about them.

I should also have settled easily in the Springs as it turned out to have more than its fair share of gay kids – something I very quickly discovered. I was gay, although I'd never had a serious relationship back in Vancouver. Here I thought I was going to develop one with Jake, but he decided he wanted Jon instead. That had hurt when it happened and I'd rather shrunk back into my shell.

Initially I'd also fallen out with my cousin Logan, but I'd managed to apologise to him for that and we were okay now. I'd also very quickly been introduced to, and welcomed by, what was known as 'the family' – an unofficial grouping of what I guess was all the gay and bi boys in the area. It would have seemed logical for me to link up with someone in that group, but the majority were already in pairs, and to be honest there was nobody there who set my pulse racing.

So summer was looming and I was on my own – still. That was one thing that hadn't really changed since my move. It had been decided early in the year that we were going to spend a couple of weeks at Disneyworld in Florida. That of course was mainly for Olive's benefit as I thought it would be a bit too childish for me. However, there did seem to be plenty to do and I might meet someone down there and besides which it would be hot, sunny and there would be water to swim in. After that though……. I was still trying to get up the nerve to ask Pa about going back to Canada – Vancouver actually, at least to start with – for some weeks. I liked the idea of going youth hostelling and backpacking for two or three weeks – going back to see some of the places where I'd been with Mom and also explore new ones. I'd also get to see the sea – Sanitaria Springs was a long way from the ocean!

Once things had become clear to me about what had actually happened when mom split with me all those years ago, I discussed with Ian how I should address him and Gary. I told him I was quite happy to call him 'dad' when talking to him, but that left a problem of what I could call Gary. I couldn't address him the same, partly because he wasn't my dad and partly because it would also be confusing. I also said I would feel a bit odd if I was calling him dad, but addressing Gary by his first name, so asked if he'd be happy for me to call him Ian to align with what I used for Gary. He said that wasn't a problem and so we were all now on first name terms.

One of the things that had come to light while Mom's affairs were being sorted out was that she had taken out a smallish life insurance policy on herself. Maybe she'd sensed ten years back when she started it that she wasn't destined for a long life, I don't know, but that sum was now held in trust for me until I became eighteen, although I understood that it might be possible to use some of it to pay for college tuition fees.

A couple of months back I'd passed my test and obtained my driving licence. A week or two after that, and following lengthy discussions with Ian and Gary, we'd bought a car for me – a four year old Honda Civic coupé, color red, of course! I'd wanted to use some of the trust money to pay for at least part of the cost, but that wasn't possible. Ian actually wanted to pay the entire cost himself, but I wasn't happy about that, so in the end we came to an agreement that once I had full access to the trust fund I would pay him back half the cost. That way I'd felt that the car really was mine.

Because Sanitaria is a fairly small town a car probably wasn't essential, but it sure beat a bike or the alternative of walking, especially when the weather wasn't good. And it meant I didn't have to rely on Ian, Gary or anyone at school for lifts, plus I could go off on my own at weekends into the country if I wanted. I wasn't though daft enough to think of driving to Vancouver!

So, on this Monday morning I was sitting in Homeroom more or less daydreaming and thinking about the long vacation, not paying much attention to what the teacher, Mr Kennedy, had to say. Matter of fact I don't think anyone else was paying much attention either judging by the chatter I could subconsciously hear going on around me. I'm not even sure I heard the classroom door open, but I did notice the chatter suddenly stop. That made me look up and I saw one of the school secretaries come into the room followed by a boy. He certainly got my attention.

He was about six foot tall, fairly well built in the sense that he was neither skinny nor fat, but looked as if he was probably into sport but perhaps not a jock as the muscles I could see on his arms weren't that big. The striking thing about him though was his hair. I stood out from the crowd because of my red hair; he stood out because of his which was a very pale blond but without being white. It was semi long I suppose coming down just over his ears, parted on the left and with the other side falling down across his forehead to eye level. His skin wasn't tanned, but nor was it pale white either and it just set off that hair to perfection. He had a zit free face, a cute little nose and lips that looked made for kissing. Just looking at him created a stirring in my loins. But what was he doing here joining the school at this point in the term – he couldn't be local so presumably had just moved here.

The secretary walked over to Mr Kennedy's desk and spoke quietly to him for a couple of minutes. The kid looked round the room taking it all in, fully aware that he was being scrutinised by the thirty or so boys and girls there, and apparently not in the least fazed by that. There even seemed to be a trace of a smile playing round those lips.

Once the secretary had finished speaking to him and left the room, Mr Kennedy spoke to the new kid and then announced,

"I want to introduce Robbie Gordon to you. Robbie has recently arrived in Sanitaria from England so is going to find a lot of things strange round here compared to what he knows. I hope you'll all do your best to help him settle in. Indeed, I think it would be an idea if one of you volunteered to act as a sort of mentor to him – not that for a moment I think he needs a nursemaid (the poor kid actually blushed when he said that) but I'm sure he could use some assistance in finding his way round the school."

I'm not usually one to volunteer for anything and this Robbie might turn out to be a complete nerd, but before I knew what I was doing, my hand had shot into the air and I was calling out, "I'll do it, sir."

"Thank you, Harries. I think you could be the ideal person."

What the hell did he mean by that comment I wondered. Just then the bell sounded to signal the end of Homeroom, so I stood up walked over to the new kid, said 'Hi' and asked if I could see his schedule. When he showed me I saw that we didn't have any classes together until the afternoon, so I quickly told him where to find his first class and said that I'd meet him outside the cafeteria at lunch – fortunately we were both on the same early lunch.

I watched as he walked off towards his first class, nice butt I thought as I saw it filled his jeans nicely. They weren't exactly the skinniest of skinnies, but at least he wasn't wearing baggies that concealed everything. I was quite looking forward to lunch as I hurried off to my Algebra class.

Robbie

I'd been dreading this day for the last couple of weeks. It would be my first day at a new school and not only that, but very much not on the first day of a new school year, or even a term – or semester as I am going to have to get used to calling it. Instead I'd be starting only a few weeks before the end of the school year. Friendships would all be long established and not only would I be like a fish out of water, but I'd be a solitary fish – easy prey for any sharks that might be swimming in the pool. It might be a very different pool to the one I'd been used to, but I knew how it operated.

I had tried to argue that it would make sense to delay my starting until the new school year, but I'd lost the argument and so here I was. I reported to the secretary's office as instructed and after a few brief words she took me to what she told me would be my 'Homeroom'. I had little clue what that was, but I tagged along behind her until we came to one particular door, behind which evidently was my pool. She opened it and I followed her in. As soon as we entered the chatter that I had vaguely heard outside the room, ceased and about thirty pairs of eyes turned to look at what had come through the door. Those eyes quickly passed over the secretary and fixed on me – a stranger of their own age.

I scanned the room myself, knowing that it would probably be fatal to look down at the floor or up at the ceiling. My eyes immediately fixed on one boy, drawn by his bright red hair of a hue that I couldn't ever recall seeing in my life. I knew my own pale blond colour was uncommon, but his was something else. I knew he was looking at me, but it didn't seem to be just the glance that most of the others gave before resuming their conversations – his lingered. I let a half smile form on my lips, trying to somehow convey to him that I'd noticed him looking and that I was happy for him to do so. Because he was seated I couldn't see much more of him than his head, but he looked to have a friendly face and I suspected that he was going to be of a similar build to me. Somehow he didn't look like one of the so called jocks I'd heard about, unless he happened to be the quarterback. Oh yes, I knew something about American football even if I didn't play it.

The secretary and the teacher conversed for a minute or two before she left. The teacher beckoned me forward, told me his name was Mr Kennedy and asked me if I wanted to be known as Robert, Rob or Robbie. That came as a bit of a surprise – evidently school here was less formal than what I was accustomed to. He then introduced me to the class, explained that I was from England and said he hoped they'd all help me settle in. At that point I got a surprise when he said he thought it would be a good idea if one of the class volunteered to act as a mentor for me. That was fine, but boy did I blush when he added that he was sure I didn't need a nursemaid. His remark produced the expected titter and I felt the sharks beginning to stir.

I was more than happy when the red haired kid stuck his hand up and volunteered for the job. I somehow had a feeling we might just hit it off – a feeling that grew when Mr Kennedy thanked him for volunteering, adding that he thought he might be the ideal person. I didn't have much time to ponder on that as then the bell rang to signal it was time for everyone to go off to their various classes. Harries came over to me, said 'Hi', told me his name was Trace and asked to look at my schedule. He told me where to go to find my first class and said that for the rest of the morning I'd have to ask someone else for guidance as he didn't have any classes with me. But he suggested as we were on the same lunch period he'd meet me outside the cafeteria, telling me where to find that.

So I was left to fend more or less for myself that morning, but I survived without any real problems. I did spend some time thinking about Trace though. I presumed his real name must be Tracey in which case he had both my sympathy as well as my understanding for wanting to be known as Trace. Being born with such distinctive hair and then christened with what was usually a girl's name, sure had dealt him a pretty poor hand.


We met up outside the cafeteria as planned and Trace explained to me how it worked - fairly simple really, although slightly different to what I was used to. Basically though you grabbed a tray, walked along the counter deciding what you fancied and then paid for it at the end. There seemed to be two meat and one vegetarian option, plus a pudding or fruit and a choice of drinks. I let Trace go ahead of me and simply opted for whatever he chose – fortunately I have no real dislikes with regard to food, probably as a result of spending many of my early years in a boarding school. Once we'd paid for our food Trace led me over to a small table that sat four but was unoccupied and had nobody sitting at adjoining tables.

We started to eat and I guess we were both wondering how to start the conversation. In the end I took the plunge.

"So, what did the teacher, Mr Kennedy, mean when he said you could be the ideal person to be my mentor? And thanks for volunteering to do that, Trace. It's alright to call you that I take it?"

"Yeah, I don't like either of the alternatives – Tracey or Red" he answered with a grin. "I'll tell you why, but I'm gonna want to know things about you in return. He said you were English, but I can tell that from your accent anyway, so how did you end up here Robbie?"

"And you're not American either are you? I've heard enough American accents on films and TV to know you're not one of them."

Trace laughed. "Yep, I've not been here long enough to sound like a local. I'm a Canadian…..well, no I'm not. I was actually born in America, but spent most of my life until less than a year ago, living in Canada. And I like your English accent. It's the first real one I've heard live; heard plenty in pictures and on TV but never expected to hear the real thing."

"Wow! So we're both sort of strangers in a foreign land? Oh, and I'm the real deal – and with an English accent you can understand. You're lucky I don't come from one of the areas where they speak with an accent even I find hard to decipher."

He chuckled again. "I think I'm gonna get to like you Robbie. So as we don't wanna turn this into a face-off, who goes first?"

I wondered what he meant by 'face-off', but decided to let that pass.

"Well, I asked the question first, Trace so I reckon you've gotta give out before I do." I said that with as big a grin as I could muster. I had nothing to hide about my past, but I'd be happy to find out more about the red head sat opposite me.

"Okay, but you'll get the abbreviated version for now. There isn't time for the full story anyway. Even so you'll know a fair bit about me and if you want to know more there's always other lunch breaks."

That sounded promising, the mention of other lunch breaks. It seemed Trace was going to take his mentoring seriously.

"The short version is that my mom dumped Ian, that's my dad, when I was about four years old. She didn't just dump him but ran off with me while he was at sea on a deployment with the Navy. She moved us to Canada and we eventually ended up living in Vancouver."

"Didn't your pa try to find you?" I interrupted.

He chuckled. "No, my pa didn't but my dad did."

"Ah, shit. I've gotta learn a whole new language."

"Don't worry – I'll teach you. Consider it part of my mentoring duties."

"I'm not sure I'm gonna be able to afford the bill for those."

"I think we might be able to come to some sort of arrangement."

Did he actually wink at me when he said that or was it just a blink? Was there more to Trace than just that red hair and Canadian accent?

"But, on with the story. Apparently he did search but never found me. Then one day last year my mom died from an undiagnosed heart problem. When they went through her papers the police found my birth certificate and a passport and were able to trace my father, Ian Harries, who teaches at the university in Binghamton."

He paused for breath and some food which gave me the chance to express my condolences over the loss of his mother.

"Thanks for that, Robbie. She was both a mother and a father to me and I miss her, still – despite what she did."

He'd started to tear up a bit. I stretched my hand across the table and laid it on his. He started at the touch and then offered me a teary smile.

"Despite what she did?" I asked. "Do you feel up to continuing though?"

"Yeah, let's get this over with and then I won't have to start crying again."

He took out a handkerchief and wiped away the tears from his cheeks.

"You see she also told me my father had left her for another man, so I hated him for that. Then when I found out that I was coming here and would have to live with both of them………. I guess you can imagine what I felt."

Boy, so his father was gay and actually living with another man. This was a real surprise. I knew it happened, but I'd never come across it.

"Yeah, I can get an idea. I suppose you hate them both. Life at home must be tough."

"Hated, not hate, Robbie. I gave both of them a really hard time at the start – especially Gary – that's Ian's husband. He's actually one of the coaches here, Gary Whitmore. I blamed him for everything, splitting up the marriage and all the rest. That went on for some weeks until Ian and I finally had a real talk when he explained everything. Turned out he hadn't met Gary when mom left with me, nor was he even in a gay relationship. All that came afterwards. It still took me a while to believe his side of the story was the real truth when mom had been feeding me her version for so many years. But, I got there in the end and now I'm pretty close with both of them."

"That's quite a story, Trace." I hastily tried to correct myself. "I don't mean a story as in fiction but as in a true life story."

He grinned at me. "I know what you mean Robbie. Sometimes it did seem to be made up to me."

Just then the bell rang.

"Seems like your side of the deal is going to have to wait. I saw from your schedule that we've got History and then Social Studies together this afternoon, so we can go to History now. Better go and get our books for those."

We got up and started walking towards our lockers, which luckily turned out to be quite near each other. As we were walking there Trace asked where I lived. When I told him he said it was quite close to where he lived, so suggested that we meet outside the main entrance when school finished and we could go home together. Our final lessons of the afternoon were different so we wouldn't end up in the same place, hence the need to organise a meeting point.

I was waiting for him when he came out of the main door. We said 'Hi' to each other and I turned to walk towards where I knew the buses would be.

"Where you heading, Robbie?"

"Isn't this the right way for the buses?"

"Yes, it is, but we don't need one."

That stopped me in my tracks. Surely he wasn't intending to walk? Although it was quite a distance I could do it easily enough but it would just burn up time.

He grinned at me. I was getting to like that grin even after just one day.

"Follow me" he said and turned in the other direction. I soon realized where he was heading – the student car parking lot. So, he'd got a car. I hadn't considered that possibility. I was even more surprised when he led me to a pretty modern red Honda Civic coupé. Then of course I have to go and screw things up by walking towards the driver's door.

He laughed. "This is the US of A, Robbie – and I'm not letting you drive my little baby."

I blushed. "Shit, I just haven't got used to this driving on the right yet. Nearly got myself killed a couple of times stepping into the road while looking the wrong way."

"Better wise up quick Robbie. Wouldn't like you to get hurt while I'm supposed to be nursemaiding you."

He was chuckling as he said it. He was definitely starting to grow on me. Almost without thinking I came back with,

"Oh, I dunno. Having you tend to me in my sick bed sounds pretty good to me."

Had I blown it? I looked at him for a reaction.

"We're a bit old for playing Doctors, don't you think?"

I got his grin again as he said that. I wasn't going to push things too fast, but I sensed that there could be possibilities with Trace.

He drove me to my house. He was a careful driver I noted and concentrated hard on his driving, so we only exchanged a few words on the way. I was a little reluctant to ask him in, thinking that might seem forward, but while I was deliberating about that after we had stopped he solved the problem for me.

"You in a hurry to go in? I've not got a lot of homework to do tonight and I doubt they've given you much, so how about you tell me how you came to end up in Sanitaria Springs."

"How long have you got." I answered with a short laugh. "I'll give you the main points and the details we can fill in another time. Alright?"

He nodded, turned off the engine and undid his seat belt before half turning towards me. I undid my belt too. I knew a lot of this would be hard for me. I'd got used to telling people the story after it happened, but I hadn't had to do so for a while. I decided I wanted to be looking at him while I told my story to see how he reacted.

"About six months ago my father and mother were killed in a car crash."

"Jeeze! That's tough, Robbie. I'm so sorry for your loss."

He stretched out his right hand and laid it on my knee. It felt good.

"Yes –it was, and thanks. Dad, who was driving died instantly, but they managed to cut mum out of the wreck still alive and got her to hospital. But her injuries were so bad that she never really had a chance and she finally died a couple of weeks later. At least I had the chance to say 'goodbye' to her."

I was beginning to tear up now as I'd expected I would. It had been a while now since I'd gone through these details with anyone and thus the pain was coming back afresh.

"Jeeze, Robbie, that's bad. I've always felt that I lost something because I couldn't say goodbye to my mom, but just watching someone slip away perhaps is worse. I dunno."

As he spoke he squeezed his hand over my knee in a friendly gesture.

"So, how did it happen? Were they hit by another car or go off the road?"

"It was foggy and icy that night and they went off the road. The car skidded on some ice apparently and then it went down a bit of a hill and hit some trees."

"That's awful."

"It was, but the worst part was that dad was drunk."

"What! Oh no – that's really horrible."

I could tell Trace's reactions were genuine and that meant a lot.

"Yes, it was – but other things came to light after his death, which, if not worse, perhaps accounted for him being in that state."

"How do you mean?"

"To all outward appearances our family was well off, perhaps not rich but nearly there. We lived in a large house out in the country, both my folks had top of the range virtually new cars, good clothes and we went on expensive holidays. I even went to a minor public school as a weekly boarder because it was located about fifty miles away – and the fees for that weren't cheap I can tell you."

He nodded and half smiling, said, "I've read about English public schools – the ones that aren't public but actually private."

"Don't believe everything you've read, but that's a subject for another time I reckon."

"Oh boy! You make that sound interesting, but sorry……I agree this isn't the time for that. Shouldn't have interrupted – carry on, Robbie."

"It turned out that Dad was broke. The house was mortgaged, he was at the upper limit of his bank overdraft and his credit cards were maxed out. He'd developed a gambling habit, was an habitual loser, but always deluded himself that the big win was about to arrive. That had led to him drinking. I don't know what would have happened if he'd lived. For sure I'd have had to leave the school anyway and I guess we'd have ended up in some tiny little house in a run-down street in a grimy town somewhere."

I paused to collect my thoughts. Trace looked at me sympathetically.

"But at least……." he started and then tailed off.

"Yeah - I know. Sadly though, one problem wasn't solved when they died."

"What do you mean?"

"Me – and what to do with me. I'm an only child. My mum had problems giving birth to me and couldn't have any more kids. My father was an only child too. My mum did have one sister who was about ten years older than her, who I'd only met a couple of times."

"Let me guess. She lives in Sanitaria?"

"You've hit the nail on the head. She married an American who came over to England with the US Air Force and then moved back when his tour ended. They've since lived in various places but ended up here."

"Didn't think there were any bases around here."

"I don't know about that, but he finished with the Air Force years ago. Now he is a cop would you believe!"

"Holy cow! Fancy living with a cop, but I guess that's what you're doing?"

"Yep, although to be fair he is a civilian working at the Binghamton Police station. I'm not sure how keen they were to have me come over and live with them. I think they're pretty settled in their way of life and it didn't include a sixteen year old boy who they hardly knew. I guess though that in the end 'family ties' prevailed and they made the offer. The alternative would have been some sort of foster home and I really didn't fancy that one bit, so I decided to make the move. How it'll work out, I don't really know."

"Robbie, we seem to have a lot in common. I can tell you from my own experiences that it is going to take a while to settle down. It did me, although my problems weren't exactly the same as yours. But, look – I think we can help each other. Shall we give it a try?"

Trace held his right hand out towards me. I grasped and shook it. "Let's" I said.

"I'll pick you up in the morning – okay? Better give me your cell number and also your email address so we can keep in touch."

We both got out our cells and exchanged numbers and texted each other our email addresses.

"Thanks a lot, Trace. See ya in the morning." I said as we finished.

I got out of the car and went indoors. When I got inside my aunt naturally wanted to know all about my first day and I had plenty to tell her. To be honest it had gone a lot better than I'd hoped and expected, which was what I said to her and also my uncle when he got home from work and asked the same questions.

After we'd eaten I asked if it was alright if I went to my room. Some nights we'd sit together in the family room, but my own room here was pretty good. It was fair size, had twin beds, both of which were more than minimum size, and its own bathroom. I'd also got a tele with a good wide screen, an x-box and a Wi-Fi connection for my computer. In those respects it was almost as good as I'd had at home.

I sent Trace a quick text just to check I'd got his number right I told him, but when he quickly replied we exchanged a few more short messages before he said he really did have some homework to do. I just had some reading to do as a couple of the teachers had told me to read certain books to get myself familiar with their lessons. I knew this whole change in schooling wasn't going to be easy, but I was hoping that I could use the time during the holiday (gotta get used to calling that vacation!) to try and bring myself up to speed.

So that was how the evening went until I found myself in bed. Once I was there my thoughts turned to Trace. We definitely had a lot in common. We were both strangers in a foreign country, even though the language was, more or less, the same as we'd always spoken. We'd both lost our parents, except that he had lost one and found another who he thought didn't exist. We were also both pretty distinctive looking due to our unusual hair colour.

And there was one other thing. I was pretty sure, no make that absolutely sure, that I was gay, never having had the least interest in girls. I thought there was a fair chance Trace swung the same way, so of course I started to think about what his body looked like when he didn't have any clothes on. Were his pubes as red as the hair on his head I wondered? That thought was enough to get me hard and there was only one way to solve that problem – one that I'd been using in recent months but while watching online porn rather than thinking about a real person. Tonight's orgasm was much more satisfying as a consequence.


Trace duly collected me the next morning and we chatted a bit on the way to school. It turned out we were going to have a couple of lessons together today and would also end the day with PE – again together. That meant I was going to see Trace's body, probably not all of it, but who could tell what might happen? I felt a definite stirring at the thought. In Homeroom he asked another boy if he'd mind moving so I could sit next to him and the other kid was happy to do so. We then agreed to meet up for lunch outside the cafeteria again.

Trace

There was no doubt Robbie was growing on me. Come to that I'd grown thinking about him in bed last night. Maybe it was just because we were outsiders, but I could already feel some sort of attraction to him and not just because of his looks, which I found very attractive, but there was something more to it. Perhaps it was just simply because he was new and I hadn't had a relationship with anyone since Jon busted apart whatever might have developed with Jake and thus I'd be inclined to latch on to anyone, but I didn't think that was it. Yet at the same time I had to tell myself that I didn't even know if Robbie was gay. Thinking back to yesterday I did consider we'd both put out a couple of feelers with things we'd said and none of those had been shot down, so perhaps there was a possibility.

I decided I just had to explore further and the first chance to do so came at lunch. I managed to find us a small table that was not only free but also where a quiet conversation wasn't likely to be overheard by eager ears. After we'd talked about how our mornings had gone, I decided to take the plunge.

"You were going to tell me more about your life at the public school you went to back in England?"

It was a pretty lame opening line, but I ended my question with a grin that I hoped carried the right message.

"And like I told you yesterday Trace, you don't want to believe all you've read and seen about such schools."

His reply was also delivered with a grin that made me sure that not only could I ask another question, but that he would answer.

"So are you going to sit there and tell me you never got your butt caned?"

He laughed out loud, before looking round to check how much attention he'd drawn to us. Luckily there was a lot of noise going on in the cafeteria and nobody seemed particularly interested in us.

"You've been watching some very old films or reading old books, Trace. Had I gone to my school thirty years ago I'm sure I would have for some of the stunts I and others pulled, but those days are all gone. Nowadays you got detention or made to write an essay. I don't think even parents can smack a kid these days."

"Yeah, pretty much the same in Canada, although there parents can smack kids up to about the age of twelve I think it is – not that my mom ever smacked me."

"That seems odd. You can smack the little ones, but not the older ones."

"Maybe that's because the older ones would smack you back?"

Robbie chuckled at that idea and I joined him.

I lowered my voice. "But what about the other things that are supposed to go on in those boarding schools?"

"Jeeze, Trace – you're forward aren't you?"

"If you don't ask you won't get to know." I retorted and was glad to see him grin again.

"Okay. Well, a lot depends on what books you've read or films you've seen and I can only tell you what I know. Anything that happened at my school was entirely voluntary - nobody was ever forced to do anything they didn't want to. You also have to understand that it was a closed community of about three hundred boys who lived together, ate together, had lessons together, played sport together and slept together. It was hardly surprising that relationships developed between some boys."

"What do you mean by 'slept together'?" I asked when he paused for breath.

"Most boys were in dorms that had twenty beds in them. The more senior boys had smaller dorms with four or just two beds."

"Which were you in?"

"Like everyone else I started off in a normal one. I suppose for what was my final year I should have been moved to a four bed one, but I think because I was only there for four nights a week that was considered to be a waste, so I stayed where I was."

This was all interesting as I had no experience of such schools.

"So were all the boys in a dorm of the same age?"

"More or less, although there could be a few from a year younger or a year older. In my last year I was about the only older boy in mine."

"Sleeping together just meant sleeping in the same room then?"

Robbie laughed when I asked that.

"Jeeze Trace, you're a nosey one aren't you? Do you wanna know what color my underwear is?"

He said that with a laugh, stood up and made as if to undo the belt around his jeans.

"Whoa! Slow down, Robbie. They'll all be talking about us!"

"Yeah, what's that kid's game called 'Tell and Show'? Only thing is I thought one told and the other showed!"

"You must play a different version in England." I answered.

"Look" he said, "I reckon that we got up to pretty much the same things, most of the time, that boys of our age who go to schools like this one get up to in their own homes on sleepovers and such like."

"Well, I guess there is a lot of truth in that – especially for this school."

"What do you mean?"

"There's a larger percentage of openly gay boys here than I guess you'd find in most schools. Perhaps it's something to do with the water here."

"The Spring water you mean?"

I laughed. Robbie had a quick and keen sense of humor that appealed to me. Just then I saw three other boys approaching our table, it was my cousin Logan Whitmore with his boyfriend Grayson Anderson and his best friend Seth McAllister.

"Hi Trace", said Logan. "You going to introduce us to the new boy or are you trying to keep him to yourself? I hear you've been appointed nursemaid."

I glanced at Robbie and could see him bridling at that comment. Fortunately my relationship with Logan was good now so I wasn't going to let myself be upset.

"Only on a temporary basis; just until he's got over it."

I flashed a quick wink at Robbie. The others looked puzzled.

"Got over what?" Grayson asked.

"Columbia Highitis" I answered. "I had it last year so I know how to cure it."

Logan shot me a look and then a slow smile appeared.

"Yeah, you sure had it for a while, but it is easily treatable. I'm pretty sure you know how."

It was my turn to grin now and I then performed the introductions. They stood and chatted with us for a few minutes until the bell sounded when we went our separate ways.


I'd been looking forward to PE all day thinking that I'd get a chance to see the full Robbie when we changed or showered afterwards and I wasn't disappointed. I changed next to him and he wasn't in the least shy about getting undressed which I guess was probably due to the fact that he'd spent so many years at a school where he would have seen a heck of a lot of naked boys as well as being seen by them. He definitely looked good stripped, with a nice bush of light colored pubic hair, what looked to be a good sized uncircumcised dick and a couple of decent sized balls hanging nicely below. When he turned round to bend over and take off his jeans and briefs I saw he had a very appealing firm, round butt. He was definitely growing on me, but luckily I managed to not grow myself while admiring the view – well not noticeably. After PE, which Coach Whitmore took, I then had the pleasure of showering next to Robbie. And while he hadn't stood out in the PE class it was evident that he was fit by the way he participated in the exercises.

When I drove him home that afternoon I couldn't resist going back to our lunchtime conversation after I'd stopped outside his house. I knew I was running a risk, perhaps a big risk, but I really wanted to know if Robbie was on the same side of the street as me and this seemed one way to do it.

"Robbie, tell me to get lost if you want, but I'd like to continue our chat from lunchtime."

He put his hand on my knee and I felt a little surge of excitement as he did so.

"I've only known you a couple of days Trace, but I already like you and I think we could be good friends. In my book good friends shouldn't have secrets, well perhaps a few, but what do you want to know? If I don't want to tell you something I won't, but I promise not to be offended and get upset whatever you ask."

I took a deep breath. I felt like I was about to go off the high board and just hoped the water was deep enough.

"From what you said then, you obviously had relationships with other boys at school." I saw him nod. "More than one?" I saw him nod again. "So, how did you know or decide which boys to……."

"Do things with?" he finished my sentence for me and it was my turn to nod.

"Hmmm, apart from the obvious that the boy had to appeal, there was actually a code system in operation that had been handed down from generation to generation which made it easy to tell."

"A password of some sort you mean?"

He chuckled before answering. "I guess that would have been the simple way, but ours was different and, although I say it, rather clever."

"So, what was it?"

"It was based on your pubes."

"What!" I exclaimed.

"Yeah, does sound weird I know, but it was very simple. If you were available you simply shaved yours off; if you were not interested you kept them full and intact."

My head was reeling as I digested this, but I had to admit it was a very clever idea. "But what if you were in a relationship?" I managed to ask.

"Then you just let them grow – but not too long"

I just shook my head in a combination of amazement and disbelief. I knew there was a question I should ask now having been given that information, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

"That's quite a story, Robbie."

"Yeah, and it's true."

"Have you ever……"

"Gone all the way?" He again finished my sentence for me. "No, is the answer to that. I know some boys did, but I never found anyone I felt that way about. For me it was just more fun being tossed off by someone else than lying in bed and doing it yourself. I certainly wasn't the school bike!"

"The school bike?" I asked.

"Yeah – the one that everyone gets to ride" he said laughing.

I'd never heard that expression before, but it sure conveyed a meaning. He evidently had experience – much more experience than me it appeared, but apparently he hadn't done anything much different to what I had. I was sure I would have looked at him in a different light had he done so.


Robbie

I'd been very honest when I'd talked with Trace in the car outside. Had I been too honest I wondered as I walked indoors. For some reason I suspected he had little or no experience and perhaps he might thus look on me as 'soiled goods'. I hoped not as I didn't consider myself that at all. What I'd done while at school was take advantage of what was on offer and have some fun – the same sort of fun I was pretty sure I'd have had if I'd gone to the local school, but in different surroundings such as my own bedroom.

When we had PE that afternoon and Trace had got changed next to me. I'd managed to snatch a few looks at his body and especially that red hair on his pubes – not trimmed of course! His dick was circumcised which I'd gathered was not unusual for North America, but that was not a turn off for me as most of my experience had been with uncut ones, so it would be different – if we ever got that far. He definitely had a good body to look at and I took in the full view when we showered afterwards. I just hoped I'd get to see it all to myself.

---

Being joined at lunch by Logan, Grayson and Seth became a regular thing from then on. While it restricted the opportunity for private conversations with Trace to when we were together in his car, I was happy to start to gain a wider circle of friends. I soon learned about the so called 'family' which seemed to now be under the leadership of Robin Kirkwood and his boyfriend Lucien Kutsenko, I wasn't sure how much I wanted to become deeply involved with such a group. It was though good to know that there were such a number of openly gay boys in the town and that their relationships didn't draw anything obvious in the way of criticism.

On the Saturday Trace had asked me if I fancied going to the cinema with him in the evening. I gladly accepted. The film was one of the superhero type which proved to be quite entertaining. Soon after we'd got comfortable in our seats I'd chanced taking hold of Trace's hand. I was pleased when he didn't object and we sat like that for most of the film – except when we were eating the inevitable popcorn which I quickly gathered was an essential accompaniment to viewing any film at a cinema in the US, along with a large drink!

After the film finished I suggested to Trace that a coffee might be a good idea. He agreed but suggested we avoid Café Perk Me Up and go to Starbucks instead. I'd gathered that CPMU could be considered the 'go to' place for the gay crowd and I was quite happy to avoid it. As yet Trace and I were far from an item and I felt sure us appearing there together would almost inevitably lead to some people jumping to conclusions, perhaps making comments and maybe even spreading rumours. I really didn't want that on what could very loosely be called our first date.

On the Monday after I'd got home from school, Aunt Lucy told me that she and Uncle Henry had been invited to go and spend the weekend with friends in Albany. She asked if I wanted to accompany them, but I got the distinct feeling they really didn't want me tagging along, and to be honest I didn't want to go. When I told her I'd prefer to stay home she then surprised me by asking if there was anyone I wanted to ask for a sleepover. She knew Trace had been taking me to and from school and had evidently seen the time we spent talking in his car when he brought me home in the afternoon.

Thus I asked if it would be alright to have Trace stay on the Friday and Saturday. She agreed, provided it was only Trace and that I didn't invite any other friends to stay and that his parents were happy at the thought of the two of us being alone for the weekend. I suggested that I call Trace later in the evening and if he wanted to come perhaps it would be an idea for her to then have a chat with his father just to be sure everyone was happy with the arrangement.

I left it until early evening before I called Trace, hoping that by then both homework and meals were out of the way. I guessed he must have had sleepovers before as it seemed to be a very American thing, but he hadn't mentioned having any since he'd been here. I thus wasn't sure what sort of reaction I'd get when I called, but he seemed really excited at the idea. After we'd agreed to it he handed over the phone to Ian Harries and I got to have my first chat, albeit fairly brief, with his father. I then passed him over to Aunt Lucy and they spent quite a time talking to each other – using up my minutes! Not that I minded that much as apart from Trace I didn't really have anyone to call and we usually texted each other or emailed rather than actually speak.

When she finally put the phone down Aunt Lucy told me that the sleepover had been agreed between them. She said that she'd heard about Trace and what a tough time he'd had with his mother dying and then coming to live with his long lost dad and his partner. She added that she believed we thus had a lot in common and it would make sense for us to become friends, so while she wouldn't have agreed to anyone spending the weekend with me, she was happy for it to be Trace.

Yep, I was really pleased when she said that as I definitely felt very comfortable being with Trace and wanted to build our friendship.

Trace

I couldn't really believe my ears when I got that call from Robbie. I suspect my excitement showed through very clearly when he asked if I'd like to spend the weekend with him. I had only known him for just over a week and thus far we'd only been out together once. I'd not really class going to see a film and having a coffee together as a date, but when he'd taken my hand in his as we settled down to watch the film it became elevated to that status in my mind. Even so, from a date to a sleepover was quite a step – an even bigger one seeing that it was for a weekend rather than a single night, and we'd be alone in the house.

I had a fear that Ian wouldn't agree when I told him what I'd been asked and handed over the phone to him so he could discuss with Robbie's aunt. They spent quite a time talking, which was a bit worrying while it happened, but when he finally put the phone down and said that I could go, I was very happy. I knew I'd been looking for someone in my life for some time, ever since my relationship with Jake ended I suppose, but until last week there had been nobody. Now, there appeared to be someone. I just hoped I wasn't rushing into something that I'd come to regret. I didn't think that was going to happen though.

The next afternoon when I'd driven him home Robbie asked me to come in and meet his aunt. That seemed a logical thing to do although I wasn't sure if it was his idea or hers, not that it mattered either way. We went into the kitchen and she offered me some cookies and a glass of orange juice which I accepted. We sat and talked for a while and then Robbie suggested we go and see his room. It was a lot bigger than my room and had twin beds and its own bathroom, plus wide screen TV and all the other necessary items. I did wonder if perhaps his aunt and Ian had agreed on the basis that the bedroom had twin beds so we wouldn't have to share. Mind you, they were wider than most singles so sharing would be possible and not uncomfortable I decided.

"Which one's yours?" I asked.

"I normally sleep in the one that's nearest to the bathroom 'cos I'm lazy."

"So I'm gonna have to stumble over you if I get up during the night?"

"Do you usually get up during the night?" came the immediate retort from Robbie, accompanied by a grin.

"Depends. Sometimes I feel the need" was the best I could manage in reply, but I was sure we both knew what we were talking about.

"In that case I'll let you have the one nearest to the bathroom" he said. "One should always take care of one's guests special requirements."

I was sure I spotted a wink when he said that.


The week seemed to drag by but finally Friday arrived. I packed what I needed in a small case that I put in the trunk and then said my goodbyes to Ian, Gary and Olive who seemed quite sad that she wouldn't be seeing me for a couple of days. I sort of felt the same about not seeing her, but I hoped I would have other things to enjoy.

I did have a couple of problems though. Since I'd met Robbie I'd found myself lying in bed and jerking off thinking about him nearly every night. Now I would be sleeping in the same room with him – how would I react? And that was the other problem, from what he'd told me he had much, much more experience with other boys. Despite what he'd said was he going to expect me to do things that I for sure wasn't going to want to do? In the end I decided it was going to be like the first time I went out on a lake in a canoe. I was a bit scared, but it was something I wanted to do – and the same applied here. I'd only do what I wanted to do if that situation arose.

Finally school was over and we drove to Robbie's house. Today we didn't spend time sitting talking in his car. As we got out with our backpacks, Robbie asked,

"I assume you've got your clothes in the boot?"

I looked blankly at him.

"Ah shit. I've gotta get used to this different language you speak here – the trunk."

I laughed. "That's better. Do I need to buy you a dictionary?"

He chuckled. "It might be an idea, especially with a car. You've got trunks, hoods and fenders. To us they're items of clothing for the first two and something that was put round an open fire in days gone by. Then there's gas for petrol and tires spelt with an 'i' rather than a 'y'."

"So, trunk equals boot, but what are hoods and fenders?"

"The hood's the bonnet and the fender is a bumper."

"We're back to items of clothing again along with a fairground ride!" I exclaimed.

I got my case out of the trunk and we went indoors and straight to Robbie's bedroom. We both changed out of our school clothes and into shorts and t-shirts. He suggested we play an x-box game which turned into two or three games and by the time we'd finished the last of those we were ready for some food. His aunt had left him some money so we ordered in a couple of pizzas and sat in the kitchen to eat those accompanied by some cola and finished with two large helpings of ice cream.

After that we went back to his room. We both lay on our respective beds and Robbie put on a dvd of a horror movie. It was so bad it was funny and we were both laughing while we watched.

By the time it had finished we were both yawning.

"Reckon it's about time for bed" Robbie said. "Any idea what we're gonna do tomorrow?"

"I thought we could go for a drive. There's a sort of special place I'd like to show you."

"That sounds good and mysterious. Any clues?"

"No, you'll have to wait and be surprised."

"I like surprises" he said and getting off his bed went into the bathroom, stopping on the way to extract a clean pair of dark grey Calvin Klein boxer briefs from a drawer. Just before he closed the door he told me that there was a spare set of towels for me to use and a toothbrush in case I'd forgotten mine.

While he was gone I selected a pair of dark green CKs of my own which I thought went well with my red hair. I heard him shower, singing to himself as he did and a short time after he emerged. He looked good in just those CKs which made a nice contrast to his pale blond hair. As I'd noticed when we had PE, the hair on his body was very light and fine so he almost seemed not to have any.

As I undressed I felt a definite arousal beginning and I hurried to get into the bathroom with my clean CKs. I didn't sing in there – not out loud anyway – but I didn't stay too long under the water. Enough though to ensure I was fully clean.

I pulled on the clean CKs and exited the bathroom only to come to an immediate halt as I did so. Robbie was now lying on his back on what he'd said was to be my bed and of the dark grey CKs there was no sign. He'd plumped up the pillows so his head was slightly raised and there was a smile on his face as he looked towards me.

"Wanna join me?" he asked.

I climbed onto the bed from the foot and knelt astride his legs. I couldn't really believe what I was seeing.

"You've shaved your pubes!" I said in an excited whisper.

"Not entirely" he replied. "I've left just a trace."

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