Jamie's Gift

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 7

"The most agreeable of all companions is a simple, frank man, without any high pretenses to an oppressive greatness; one who loves life, and understands the use of it; obliging, alike, at all hours; above all of a golden temper, and steadfast as an anchor - For such a one we gladly exchange the greatest genius, the most brilliant wit, the profound thinker."

(Bruno Lessing [pseud])
(Rudolph Black)


Friends, Lovers, Teammates, and the Boys in the Band!

The other three Horsemen, Jamie, Zach, Ed Earl, and me gathered near the sliding glass door near where the Long Family played to entertain us, laughing and eating our food. Derrick, Chris, and I had no idea Jamie could play and sing like he did (duh- I'm in choir with him!) or Scotty knew so many of the Bluegrass and hill songs he did.

"Yeah," he responded to our questioning, "One of my violin instructors told me one time those songs are a good warm-up for playing classical pieces. Frankly," he confessed, "There are times I'd rather play fiddle music, but I do like both types of music."

"Okay," asked the ever skeptical and curious Chris, "Just where did you learn it all? I sure as hell haven't heard very much of it around here, except once in a while on the radio."

"I'd sure like to learn to play my bass like Uncle Buddy Long does," chimed in Derrick wishfully.

Zach never commented during the conversation, only he did have a small sly and knowing smile on his face. I think that may have been, from a closer surreptitious glance where he had his hand placed behind Scotty, and from the looks of the situation, he had his hand down the back of Scotty's pants; I'd be willing to bet he had a middle finger buried to the first knuckle up a sweet spot at least!

"You really want to know?" Scotty asked, his eyes suddenly widening a little more (second knuckle, I bet!).

"My dad's from South Carolina and when we go there, my relatives play the same kind of music; I learned from them and my dad. When we get home, dad also plays along with me on his string bass."

"String bass!" yelped Derrick. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"You never asked and yes, he'd be happy to teach you how to play it!"

"How about keyboard?" I asked.

"Momma can do that," Jamie volunteered. "We don't have one anymore since she gave hers to Aunt Hat, so she just plays her guitar. She taught me how to play mine and Zach taught me how to play the banjo," he offered proudly!

"Any room for a drummer?" Chris asked softly wondering if he was going to be left out.

"ZACH!" Scotty squeaked loudly (yep- buried as deep as a middle finger can go into that tender, sweet, crevice.).

"Chris," Zach answered, taking a cue from Scotty to cover up the resulting noise his meandering phalange made plunging in deep stimulation, "if you're as good as Scotty says you are, it wouldn't take you but a time or two through each piece to pick up the rhythm and go for it. You bet there'd be room!"

Zach's errant hand suddenly reappeared in front of him as Scotty said quickly, "Hi, Dad!"

"Did I hear someone over here mention they wanted to learn how to play the string bass?

"That'd be me, Dr. McFadden," Derrick answered, raising his hand. "We're just checking to see if we have enough to start a band someday."

Chris stepped in with, "We thought after Zach gets moved in after Christmas."

"It'll take some practice," advised Dr. McFadden encouragingly, "but after what I heard this afternoon, knowing the talent all you boys have, it'd be a distinct possibility."

Walking away, he hesitated, turned to us, and said almost sadly, "You know, Scotty was the only one of my children interested in and enjoyed playing the music I grew up with."

Chris looked at a clearly embarrassed Scotty and a very guilty appearing Zach; "That was close you guys," paused momentarily and continued, "They don't know do they?"

Scotty just shook his head, mouth agape, surprised Chris knew, and looked accusingly at me!

Derrick, looking over his shoulder first for any eavesdroppers, said, "Nobody said a word to us Scotty. We've been friends too long not to know!"

"For craps sake," I muttered, "was I the only naïve one in the bunch?"

"Appears so," chuckled Chris. "You're too busy ogling Jamie!"

Jamie just grinned, put his arm around me, and gave me a hug!

"Seriously, Scotty and Zach," Chris said, "you'll have to tell them soon; you two are so love-sick a blind man could feel the heat a block away on a cold winter's day!"

From the corner of my eye, I spotted Chris's dad, Dr. Fischer, talking to Chief and Mrs. Kraft as the three of them looked at Jamie's rendition, on the easel, of the Four Horsemen of Hamilton High he presented to Coach Schroeder. The conversation seemed quite serious as Dr. Fischer pointed out and traced, without touching, various lines, shading, and detail of the work. I was curious where the conversation would lead!

"How about some Christmas music?" Zach asked suddenly. "Scotty go ask your dad if he'd want to play bass and maybe Aunt Ellen can help Whit with some of the songs."

Before I could utter a word, I was standing behind the keyboard with Jamie's mom, Dr. McFadden was taking a couple of practice licks on the string bass, Scotty had his fiddle, Jamie a banjo, Ed Earl a guitar, and Zach a mandolin.

Zach leading, we played, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," with Jamie's mom on the keyboard. The guests gathered near us or stood in groups, the adult's sipping their "Holiday cheer," and enjoyed the music.

One song led to another and Jamie's mom explained to me there were some songs in which a Hammered Dulcimer would be played, but since they didn't have one and nobody in the family knew how to play one, she or Aunt Hat would take over the part with the keyboard. Dr. McFadden was playing as though he did this every day of his life and seemed to be enjoying himself. I watched and listened to the interaction between Scotty and him and could only conclude how much Dr. McFadden loved his son!

The music, with me taking more and more of a role, continued with "I Saw Three Ships," to "Away in the Manger," to "Children Go Where I Send Thee," where Ed Earl produced a harmonica which he used several more times. I loved it when he played "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus," backed up by Zach on mandolin and Jamie on guitar. There were times, as we played, I had to check to see who was playing what instrument so similar in style and so easy did they switch. We finished off, after a good hour, before Zach announced, "Okay, that's it; it's getting late and some of us have to travel tomorrow."

From the looks on Scotty's face, it'd be a very sad, emotional goodbye for both of them.

School Monday was "sort" of normal; Scotty was extremely quiet, pensive, so we didn't say much to him concerning what the problem was. We knew, but we all thought when he was ready to talk about Zach, he would!

Tuesday, a light snow fell, about three inches and the weather turned cold enough for it to stick around; if we received anymore, there'd definitely be a white Christmas! A three week interval existed between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break. During the time period, the high school choir and band used two weeks to make final preparations for our annual Christmas or Holiday concert. Instead of a Sunday afternoon like the recital, the program was held a week day evening. This year it was during the week before Christmas break.

The Monday before the concert, Scotty finally broke his silence concerning Zach to Jamie and me; not that he'd been quiet for the entire time, just didn't talk about Zach.

"I can hardly wait for Zach to come back," he said almost sadly. "Long distance phone calls can be boring. It's a good thing we can Skype; it makes things a little nicer," and blushed.

He need say no more; Jamie and I both winked at each other, imagining Scotty flailing the lucky stick as he and Zach breathed heavily at each other, watching the other, imagining doing in person what they could only do to themselves without the other present!

During the winter months, our physical education classes included one day of swimming each week. We were fortunate to have an indoor pool in our school sports complex. The Complex consisted of a field house with one basketball court converting to two volleyball courts; room for multiple wrestling matches during meets; and finally, an indoor track around an upper balcony level of the field house, providing sort of a bird's eye view of the activities on the main floor. Locker rooms, an equipment room, sports medicine room, a wrestling practice room, a sports fitness room, and a couple of classrooms complemented the field house.

The swimming pool was constructed so it could be used by both students, accessed through the locker rooms, or the public, through a public entrance and locker/shower rooms. It was opened Saturday and Sunday afternoons for public use. A pool pass, part of our activity pass gave us access to the pool for open swims. Coach Schroeder encouraged his cross country team to utilize the pool, the indoor track, and the sports fitness room. He emphasized, not the "bulking up" of his team but strengthening leg and thigh muscles, as well as endurance.

Jamie and I, along with the other three Horsemen, availed ourselves of the pool on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, as well as the indoor track and sports fitness room before and after school at least twice a week.

Remembering Jamie saying I spent my time looking at him instead of looking at Scotty occasionally, I spent some time watching Scotty instead. I mean, why wouldn't I? Jamie was a good looking stud and a fantastic lover! Jamie was correct; Scotty would sneak almost furtive glances at the other boys' nakedness, but he seemed to focus the main source of his attention on Jamie and me. Whether there was a connection because we knew and he knew we approved of his sexual preferences or he just enjoyed looking at two handsome and one well-hung lads (brag, brag), I had no idea. I tend to think it just made him feel comfortable, horny, or seeing the way we loved each other and acted in public.

Jamie confirmed the "horniness" aspect after school one day when the Horsemen and Pegasus had a rather vigorous workout on the indoor track. Jamie, Scotty, and I were the last ones in the shower room cleaning up after our workout. As the water cascaded over my head and the rest of my body, Jamie's slipped up behind me and softly running his soft hand over my bare, wet butt, wiggled a finger into my cleavage, found his target, and gave the sensitive ring a couple of twitches!

"I really like your butt, Whit," he breathed sexily into my ear, tickling the wrinkled entrance with his middle finger before sinking it knuckle deep. "It's firm, but soft; feels like a nice pillow, but not fluffy, and fits me just right!"

I didn't need to turn around to know he was as hard as the Washington Monument and wanted to take a tour of the Capital!

"Are you certain?" I whispered questioning where we were.

"It's just Scotty, you, and me," he replied hoarsely.

I looked, seeing Scotty watching us intently, his own cock beginning to stiffen.

With a nod from me, quicker than Santa dropping down the chimney, the finger was replaced by something much more familiar, and Jamie's public bush rested on those pillowly butt cheeks he loved, his dick buried to his pubes in my inner sanctum. Head resting on my back, belly resting in the curve of it, Jamie began pumping hard and fast, one hand around my waist and other around my own hard cock, readying me to cum at the same time he did. God, it felt so good!

As he worked to bring us both off, I looked at Scotty, flogging his frog, as he focused his eyes and total attention on our fucking! When I came, arching my back, thrusting my butt up tight against Jamie as I could, ropes of cum shot into the air onto the shower room floor; several from me and several from Scotty while Jamie deposited his in his favorite place - me!

Leaving the shower room, our ardor quenched, for the time being, without hesitation or a fearful quiver in his voice, Scotty remarked with a grin, "That was so fucking hot!" as his own sweet daisy began to wilt after spewing it's pollen!

Since Hamilton High adhered to the university schedule, our classes were dismissed the same day as the university and shut down for Christmas break. University students would have three weeks away from Campus. Seniors who wished to graduate at mid-term and had the credits, would face final exams almost immediately upon returning to campus, followed by mid-term graduation ceremonies a week later.

There was sufficient snow and cold weather during December to put Jamie and me in the holiday mood, although Jamie always seemed to be in the "holiday" mood, if you know what I mean! I'd have family home for Christmas Day but since some of the Longs were here for Thanksgiving, no one from that side of his family would be at his house.

Jamie spend his free time, when not studying, practicing, spending time with me, or the many other things he did, re-marking the Christmas Cards with a print on the front of each of an original pencil/charcoal drawing he'd rendered of the three of them before they were mailed out. The bi-fold card, carried the message, "Holiday Greetings, from our house to yours. Art, Ellen, and Jamie." Jamie hand drew an original portrait of a flower or a bird on the inside of the front panel and initialed each one, at the instance of his mother. She and Art were so proud of their son, other schools had labeled as "limited abilities," his art work, and other special gifts, they wanted to ensure he received credit where credit was due. Jamie was just as pleased, but was embarrassed when people made such a "big to do" about his talented art work, as was evidenced from the responses received from those families receiving the Christmas greetings from the Kraft family.

Art sent a plain card rather than one with the print on it fearful their mother would intercept the mail, with an invitation to each of his other sons to visit during the Christmas break, but received no response from them- save one; Jacob, who wrote, "I'd really like to Dad, if I'm welcome, but I think you'll understand why I can't." It was on plain paper enclosed in a plain envelope. Jamie had a hard time wrapping his head around why his step-brothers, who he'd never met, wouldn't want to spend time with their daddy. After all, he'd spent such a long time without one, always hoping he'd find him someday, there was no way he'd be anyplace else, but with him and his Mom. He said they were looking forward to just the three of them home for the holiday.

We exchanged gifts after the Christmas concert. Mom and Dad and I drove over to Chief Kraft's house so we could exchange our gifts. I gave Jamie several sketch books, two packages of graphite drawing pencils and charcoal (thanks to the advice of Chris's dad), and a new leather, hand-crafted guitar/banjo strap. I had the music store carve and tool his name on the strap. He was thrilled! Jamie gave me something so precious it brought tears to my eyes! It was a pencil/charcoal drawing of the two of us from the picture taken when Jamie first received his cellphone. It was beautiful; on the back he signed, "All my love, Jamie." Nothing I could give him would top that gift from him to me!

Jamie stopped over Christmas Eve Day, after lunch, to wish me a "Merry Christmas" personally. It was a nice, sexual way of doing so, filling me with joy, but feeling somewhat empty from the rear entrance after he pulled out! When he mentioned they were having roast goose for Christmas dinner and I said I had a special way of stuffing the bird, he dropped his pants again, bent over, I mounted him, and stuffed his goose! I did have to muffle the gander's squawks of delight and pleasure as I shuddered the last of my load deep in his cavity!

Christmas Day was a fun day for our family! My brothers and their families opened their own presents at home and came to our house for dinner, around two in the afternoon, and afterwards opened more presents from us and "Santa." I enjoyed my brothers, their wives, and my nephews and niece. Still young, they were easily awed by anything Uncle Whit said or did, so I played a few of the Christmas songs they were familiar and enjoyed singing along with. They all left for home late in the evening after a bite to eat, thankful for the day, the gifts, and the family comrade. I hit the sack soon after, utterly and totally pooped out - after I made a quick call to Jamie!

The day after Christmas, late in the afternoon, prior to supper, Jamie came over to show me the gift he'd received from his parents; a very expensive digital single-lens reflex camera with a telephoto zoom lens and close up lens adapter.

"Daddy says the camera will give clearer and better pictures with more definition, whatever that is, than the one on my cellphone. I mean, geez Whit, how do you define a picture?"

I was in the process of explaining "definition" when the doorbell rang and Dad answered it. In just a few minutes I heard a knock on my bedroom door and Dad asked Jamie and me to come downstairs.

Standing in the living room, evidently waiting for us, was my Dad, Chief Kraft, with a serious, almost grave expression on his face, and Dr. McFadden, Scotty's dad, red-eyed, anguished expression on his face, with a tired-exhausted demeanor about him. The poor man responsible for millions of dollars of university revenues, disbursements, and investments looked, upon first glance, as being so distraught he was incapable of making a wise decision about his own funds, much less someone else's!

"Hi, Daddy!" greeted Jamie, happy smile on his face. It faded quickly when Chief Kraft responded with a slight smile and "Hi, Honey!"

Something was terribly, terribly wrong and neither Jamie nor I had a clue of what, that much I was certain!

"Jamie, Whit," Chief Kraft asked softly, "is Scotty here?"

As we both shook our head in the negative, Dr. McFadden moaned, "Oh, my God, Art; something's happened to my son!"

"Oh, Daddy," Jamie cried and nearly leaped into his father's arms.

Chief Kraft, putting his arms around Jamie, cautioned, "Now, Ron, we don't know that! We haven't looked everywhere. He's probably just fine, we just don't know where he is."

As my own dad stepped forward, embraced me tightly, giving me opportunity to vent my frightened sobs of fear for our friend, he said,

"Why don't we all sit down and make ourselves more comfortable. It'll give us a chance to relax and allow the boys to tell us what they know, if anything!"

Settled on the couch, next to each other, Jamie holding my hand for security and comfort, Chief Kraft briefly explained what transpired and why they were here, as far as he knew.

"Last evening, after supper, Scotty and his mother, along with his brother and sister, had a major disagreement; Scotty stomped off in anger to his room, and supposedly remained there after failing to come down for breakfast or lunch. A couple of hours ago, Dr. McFadden went upstairs to check on him, worried about his welfare, but found the bedroom door locked. He retrieved the spare key, unlocked and opened the door, and discovered Scotty was gone!"

Dr. McFadden, although he didn't live on campus, immediately called Chief Kraft, rather than the city police. He thought he'd get faster action and less publicity by doing so, even though he knew if something was amiss, Chief Kraft would notify the city police.

At first it was thought Scotty may've sneaked out and bunked in with one of us, but a check with Chris and Derrick, now Jamie and me, discounted that possibility. A check of his room earlier noted one of his large duffle bags was missing along with a number of clothing items!

I raised my hand in question; "No disrespect, Chief Kraft or Dr. McFadden, but a couple of things bother me about all of this. One, this is so unlike Scotty to "run away" and two, if he did, then either one or both of you know something you're not telling us. If you want us to help, then maybe you better tell us some more!"

Dad clucked his tongue, indicating I was tiptoeing very close to being insolent, wagging his finger at me to emphasize his message!

"Yes, Whit," responded Dr. McFadden, resignation and weariness in his voice, "you have every right to question me."

Looking toward Chief Kraft for approval to continue, Dr. McFadden began telling us, Jamie, me, and my dad, exactly what happened and more, probably in greater detail than we needed, but he did understand our deep friendship with his youngest son.

"Our holidays together have not always been the most joyful, but last evening, after supper, was one of our worst. Jamie announced to us he was gay! I'd suspected it for quite some time and was satisfied in my own mind it was just fine as long as he was fine with it. I'd dealt with enough students over the years and I've come to accept their sexual orientation as being just fine for each of them although, personally, I am straight, as the younger set would say. Besides, I've seen the great relationship you, Jamie, and Whit, have and how your parents accept it."

Scotty's mother, brother, and sister weren't quite so accepting and definitely not tolerating of any "sexual aberration" as his brother called it. His mother few into a rage, shouting, screaming for him to denounce or retract his declaration or face being sent to a very conservative, private academy away from all of these "damned liberals" and "your queer, perverted friends!"

Scotty defied her, told her he was what he was and be damned if he'd let her send him anywhere! This resulted in a real shouting match, with all three of them spewing their hate and venom on Scotty, his mother declaring, "I never wanted you in the first place, you snot-faced little queer!" When Dr. McFadden stepped in to intervene, his mother slapped him, leading Scotty to shout at her and shove her aside. His mother then slapped Scotty several times and when his older brother attempted to restrain Scotty, slapping him about as well, his father again intervened, and Scotty escaped to his room, locking the door behind him! Evidently, he barricaded the door with a dresser as well, since it was pushed aside near the door when Dr. McFadden entered earlier today.

"I first thought the real trouble in our marriage began when Scotty was born," Dr. McFadden continued sadly. "There are nine years between his older brother and him and seven between his older sister and him. But now, in retrospect after yesterday's donnybrook and debacle continuing this morning between Rebecca and my two older children, I realize I was in denial; our marriage was destined to failure from the very start!"

Dr. McFadden and Rebecca DeWitt met while he was finishing his doctorate in Business and Finance, already earning his Bachelor's in Accounting and a Masters' in Business Administration. Rebecca evidently thought he was going to be a fine catch, providing for all of the luxuries and fine life her parents provided for her, their only child. Her father, a self-made businessman, along with help from his father-in-law, owned a series of convenience station/stores and was well-invested in the stock and bond market (again, thanks to his father-in-law).

Ron McFadden, on the other hand, was a poor boy from the high country and mountains of South Carolina, raised in a family environment and life style quite similar to the Long Family. Rebecca visited his parent's home once, proclaiming afterwards it'd be the last time she's spend any time with that "bunch of uncultured hillbillies!"

As the years passed and the first two children arrived, she was a good as her word! Whenever Ron would go "back home" to visit his parents, brothers and sisters, and other relatives, she'd take the children to her parent's home on the lake in the summer or the winter home in Florida in the winter. In the off seasons, her parents spent their time at their main residence in Ohio.

"When Scotty was old enough to travel with me, he'd go along to visit my folks and relatives. It was there, in the high country with my people, living in the small towns and backcountry, he came to know, love, and play the music of my childhood. Of course, his mother, in order to counteract his enjoyment, insisted he also learn to play the classical violin. He was fortunate to have a tutor who also had him play the very music she detested, fiddle music, as warm-ups. Scotty loved those visits, the country, and especially enjoyed the times we would play together."

Dr. McFadden sighed, "I'm almost certain that's where he headed, now that I think about it. The one person he could talk to about everything would be my younger brother and his partner."

Quickly I looked at Jamie and he returned my look, knowing what we both thought at the same time; Dr. McFadden had no clue concerning the relationship between Scotty and Zach! Our non-verbal exchange didn't go unnoticed by Chief Kraft. I guess that's why he's the Chief!

Cautiously he said, "I think you boys would disagree with Dr. McFadden! Am I correct in thinking you two might have some other idea as to Scotty's whereabouts?"

We both nodded slowly, Jamie wide-eyed, looking from me to his Dad and back again. I gave him a gentle squeeze and the nod to go ahead and say what we both thought to be true. Jamie has a very difficult time lying and his face is always a dead give-away!

"Missionary Ridge, Daddy," Jamie announced softly.

"Where?" asked Dr. McFadden, completely unfamiliar with the name or location.

"It's the name of a ridge and hollow with several families living there just outside of Caudry, Missouri," answered Chief Kraft.

"Why would he go there?" puzzled Dr. McFadden.

"'Cause that's where Zach lives," I answered.

Chief Kraft's cellphone rang about the same time; he listened, excused himself, walked to the hall, and, as I listened, asked a few muffled questions. Returning, he said simply,

"Scotty made the daily maximum withdrawal from his savings account from an ATM around nine in the evening, purchased a ticket to Caudry, Missouri, using a passport for identification, made another withdrawal from an ATM at six thirty this morning, and, if the bus is on time, arrived in Caudry about two hours ago. It won't take long to find out if he's with Zach, if my father-in-law decides it's safe to tell me with reassurance no harm will come to the boy!"

"I just want him back home!" sobbed Dr. McFadden. "There's going to be some changes in our household; in fact they've already begun!"

I didn't ask what those changes might be, but I had a fairly good idea; splitsville along with a single-parent household and the single parent wouldn't be Rebecca McFadden! Dad, bless his heart, asked the question I wanted to, but felt it was an adult's position to do so.

"What do you mean; major changes, Ron?"

"After Art arrived, I informed Rebecca she'd better be gone within forty-eight hours or I'd press charges against her and my other two children for assault and battery of a child under sixteen and as soon as I can get a good attorney, sue her sorry ass for divorce."

"How about Larry Simpson, in the College of Law? He's damned good and does some private legal practice for some of the staff members here at the University," suggested Chief Kraft and Dad concurred.

Chief Kraft made the call to Ed Long in Caudry, stepped into the hall again, and after a few quiet questions, motioned Dr. McFadden to join him. I heard Dr. McFadden give muffled sob. While Chief Kraft and Dr. McFadden were in the hall, I did a quick text to Scotty.

Scotty, u safe? receiving an almost immediate reply.

Yep!

Zach with you?

Yep, you alone?

No.

Who?

Jamie, my dad, your dad, and Chief Kraft.

Dad mad?

No; worried and sad.

U know what happened?

Yep!

They know where I am?

Think so- Caudry. Don't leave Zach and stay safe.

I won't!

Bye.

After fifteen minutes or so, they both came back into the room, and Chief Kraft announced, "Ron and I are heading to Caudry in my SUV. Hopefully we'll be back in two days. I'm going to make a quick call to the University President and let him know where I'll be and why. I'll have radio and cellphone contact, so it's not as if I'm not available, if needed.

"Jamie, do you want to stay here with Whit tonight?" he added. "If you do, I want you to make certain you come home in the morning; your mom will need some help around the house."

Jamie nodded his understanding and agreement, gave his Daddy a big hug, asking his Daddy to bring Scotty home safe, waved goodbye, and we watched them leave.

Mom appeared, almost magically, gave us both a big hug, and motioned us to the kitchen where she'd prepared a light supper for the four of us, from left-overs from the day before.

Jamie and I went to bed, settled in, and my cellphone signaled another text from Scotty.

Whit; Zup?

Jamie, about as far up as he can shove without crawling inside.

Lucky!

Yep! You good?

Yep!

Coming home?

Yep!

Alone?

Nope.

Who?

Z. and we signed off.

Instead of a quick trip, as Chief Kraft anticipated, it took a couple of days longer. Not only did Dr. McFadden have the opportunity to visit with Ed and Violet Long, but members of their family as well. It also gave Zach the time to pack the rest of the personal things he'd need for his stay with his Uncle Art and Aunt Ellen while attending the University.

By the time both vehicles, packed with clothing, musical instruments, and other items, arrived back in Jefferson, Rebecca McFadden was long gone. She left a note indicating someone would pick up the rest of her things in a few days.

Jamie and I helped Zach and Scotty move Zach's belongings into the room across the hall from Jamie's. Scotty informed us, as we worked, what happened after the confrontation with his Mother and siblings. He barricaded the bedroom door to prevent anyone from entering, giving him time to ponder and sort out what he wanted to do. Definitely he'd wanted his mother and siblings to accept and understand his position; instead he was hurt physically and emotionally by the blistering verbal and physical attacks. His father really loved him he was certain, by the way he tried to intervene and prevent harm coming to him. He said he could hear the shouting and arguing downstairs as the verbal battle continued. He also knew no way in hell was he going to be shipped off to some private academy!

Scotty texted Zach with a brief but accurate description of what happened. Zach immediately responded telling Scotty to go someplace safe, such as the Kraft or Whitfield household. Scotty thought a moment, texted him back informing him he'd be someplace safe and not to worry!

He gathered up his passport, packed a bag, called the bus depot for a schedule, sneaked out of the house, and made his way to bus station. After drawing money from his savings account, purchased a ticket to Caudry, using his passport as identification. Once on the bus and close to Caudry, he texted Zach asking him to meet him at the bus station.

Chief Kraft had a serious, heart-to-heart talk with them when he and Dr. McFadden arrived. Since Scotty wouldn't be sixteen until March and Zach was already eighteen and with a nasty divorce now going on, none of them (Dr. McFadden included) needed charges of child sex abuse against Zach.

"Sixteen is the age of consent in our state," Chief Kraft informed them. "So, until Scotty reaches that age, I'd advise you to keep your pecker in your pants, Zach."

Derrick announced his annual New Year's Eve Pizza and Movie marathon party for the Horsemen and Pegasus. Zach was not included in the invitation since he'd just arrived at Chief Kraft's house a few days before. Besides, I'd given Derrick the "heads up" concerning the Chief's warning to Scotty and Zack. None of us wanted to cause any trouble for either of our friends (we now included Zach as one- even though he didn't run)!

It was a fun party, even if the movies were mostly ones we'd seen before! The pizza was great and at the magic hour of 11:00 pm (midnight in Times Square), we watched the lighted ball drop. At midnight, our time, as we counted down the final seconds, Jamie stood up, dropped his underwear, cupped his large gonads on one hand, pulled them up tight against his crotch, and did his own version of "dropping the balls) by letting those beautiful orbs, usually dangling and swinging loosely, freely in their skin enclosure, drop! We all watched and then applauded as they swung back and forth, back and forth, and from side to side as Jamie entertained us with a little dance of enticement! We settled down shortly thereafter and Derrick, Chris, and Jamie zonked out!

Jamie lay snuggled up under the blanket beside me, his nakedness warm against my own, sleeping soundly, head up on my chest, one arm wrapped over my middle, and one leg tossed over my crotch, his now flaccid member scrunched up against my thigh. Scotty watched from his own bedroll next to ours, as I slowly, gently ran my fingers over and through Jamie's hair. Jamie almost purred, in his sleep, with pleasure, not unlike a young kitten satisfied and happy with a tummy full of mother's warm milk!

Resting his head, cocked toward us, in the palm of his hand supported by an elbow anchoring it to the floor, smiled and said, "You guys really love each other, don't you!"

I nodded as I watched Jamie smile slightly, reacting from a pleasant dream! I knew it must be about me or the two of us, since I could feel his growing member up against my hip.

"Whit, how or when did you know?"

I thought a moment before answering quietly so not to waken Jamie or the others. "I think it was in Art class, his first day at our school. I had no idea if he was gay or not, only I thought he was the most beautiful, handsome boy I'd ever seen!"

My attraction to him and my desire to know him better was cemented the day he came to physical education class and was so upset by some unkind words spoken by a classmate. I'd have moved heaven and earth to protect him, comfort him, and be his friend. He knew it then and I did too because he didn't resist anything I suggested nor did I show any shame or embarrassment by his overt acts of affection because he rarely let go of my hand as we walked home or if we saw each other in school.

It was as if my whole world, my whole life became something important, not only to him, but to me, when he came into it and is renewed every time I see him, touch him, kiss him, love him. I exist for him and he exists for me!

"I know the feeling," mused Scotty, softly and with a certain longing only one person in love could understand coming from another person just as much in love. "I felt the same way about Zach and still do!"

We lay quietly for a few minutes, Jamie shifted, muttered something under his breath, so I shifted my hand from his head to his shoulder and pulled him closer, whispering soothingly, "Shh, shh; I'm right here!"

"He's dreaming?"

"Yeah; sometimes he dreams of some of the more unfriendly and frightening things that happened in his life. They probably wouldn't scare you or me, but to Jamie they can be pretty hairy! Life for him can be so simple, yet so complicated!"

"The other school he attended sort of wrote him off, unfortunately. He has some difficulty in his studies, but he's also damned gifted in others. You've seen his artwork and heard his music and I've seen the profound love he can give. I couldn't live without him!"

Scotty sighed, slipped out from under his own blanket and slid in next to me, our bare skin touching, sharing each other's warmness. When I didn't object, he lay his head on my shoulder, opposite Jamie's, and also lay an arm across me and wrapped a leg over my free one.

"Whit," he asked, "what's it like loving someone like you love Jamie?"

It was an easy question to answer, I thought at first, until it became difficult; because loving Jamie was so complicated, yet so beautiful! Scotty noticed my hesitation and was about to say more when I answered quietly,

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways" someone once wrote. Scotty, it's more than just physical, although the sex is unbelievable; more than his good looks, which cannot be matched I think; or his personality or generosity which knows no bounds; and Jamie has a smile which can brighten my darkest days and lift me up higher than any street drug or prescribed medicine ever could!"

Oh, there were many more ways to describe loving James Arthur Long, but those would be secondary to the real reasons. Our tasting of each other as we gave each other oral sex or kisses, the close physical contact such as we shared now, his filling me with his stiffness and essence when we made love, but everything really revolved around just being together - in all ways connected!

Scotty nodded his head in agreement. "That's how I feel toward Zach," he confessed, "I almost hurt when he's not around."

Pausing, releasing a very deep sigh, breathed in deeply again as if seeking courage to ask another question. Finally, "What's it like making love? Did it hurt you the first time? Do you switch positions, you know, sometimes you're on top and he's on the bottom?"

Even in the shadowed darkness of the Gray's family room, I knew Scotty was clearly embarrassed by his questioning, uncertain how I would react or answer him.

"Scotty, I read all sorts of stories how painful anal intercourse could be, so I asked my brother, Jeff. He told me it could be, depending on your partner's approach and how relaxed you were. He gave me some cream to sort of deaden the area and reduce any pain from something going in where something usually came out."

"Did you use it?"

"Didn't need to; Jamie and I were well lubricated and we took our time. There was some discomfort I'll admit, the first couple of times, especially when he entered me, but once balls deep and doing a slow, stimulating fuck, the pleasure overcame any pain I might have felt. Now, there's none at all; it brings us both off and we love it. Yes, we do switch every now and then; Jamie likes me mounted on him giving him all I got to give as well. I have to admit, however, I often prefer him in me, although I won't turn down an invitation to fuck him as well. I really try to keep clean all of the time since Jamie can be horny as hell and is liable to drop my pants and slip it up inside me anytime we're alone!"

"Neat!" Scotty sighed as he fell asleep, never commenting on Zach's Thanksgiving visit and what I thought happened; not my circus, not my monkey!


Awakened by a "hiss" and "Whit," I slowly opened my eyes, greeted by a very awake and wide-eyed Jamie!

"Yes?" I asked groggily.

"Look!" he responded, pointing at Scotty, sound asleep, his head resting gently on my shoulder, "Scotty's in bed with us!"

"I know!"

"Is he naked?" he asked gleefully, quickly peering under the blanket covering the three of us.

"What do you think?"

Jamie's head popped out from under the covers; "Nope, but he really has a nice big stiffy poking out the front of his underwear!" Quickly asking, "Should I give a tug or fast suck?"

"I don't think that's a good idea; let's let him sleep."

"Why is he sleeping with us?"

"He wanted to visit and fell asleep."

Jamie pondered my answer for minute, frowned, pursed his lips, finally announcing with a knowing smile, "I think he misses Zach!" and settled his head back down on my other shoulder.

Although it had been but a few days since Zach and Scotty proclaimed and pledged their adherence to Chief Kraft's advice and warning, I thought it might be difficult for them to do so, but I've been wrong many times in my young life. I hoped I was wrong again!


Second semester began for us at Hamilton High and the Spring Term for Zach at the University. Whenever I'd see Zach and Scotty together, which was quite often, there was no doubt in my mind that Zach loved our friend and track leader more than life itself. From what I learned from Jamie, they were true to their pledge, although it didn't stop them from hugging, kissing, and holding hands when they walked, just like Jamie and I did. Zach absolutely fawned over Scotty, wanting to please him in every way, do for him, show his love for him; literally worshiping the ground Scotty walked on! Scotty reciprocated in like manner, his face effused with happiness every time Zach's name was mentioned or they were together. If Scotty had to be somewhere and Zach didn't have class, he gave Scotty a ride in his truck. God, it was great to see them both so happy!

"Daddy says Zach is really smitten with Scotty," Jamie said one afternoon, as we were laying on my bed, his stiff pecker still up my butt after spewing a hefty load in my colon and even deeper, "I think, whatever 'smitten' means," he added with a twitch and a shove.

I patiently explained it Jamie nodded his understanding. "Sort of like you and me," he grinned, flexing his stiff cock a couple of times inside me, just for emphasis and kissed me, while reaching around in front of me to bring me up and off, while he pumped another sticky, abundant offering to the Goddess of Love trapped somewhere inside me.

The third week of January the Horsemen and Pegasus were running on the indoor track and Derrick announced, "We need to start a band, if Zach and your Daddy, Scotty and your Mom, Jamie, will help us. I want to play music like we heard at your house Jamie during Thanksgiving Break."

Jamie was all in favor of it; he loved his music almost as much as he loved me, but not quite!

"If you contact them, I'm in favor," I replied, "and I know Jamie is," as he grinned and bobbed his head up and down.

Our parents all approved, with the caveat our grades and running not slip. Chief and Mrs. Kraft were concerned about Jamie's but I promised to help him and they knew I would. Jamie liked studying together, especially for the rewards after we were done- horny devil!

The first practice session was held the first Saturday in February in Dr. McFadden's family room. Since it was just him and Scotty at home, he thought it would be best to have it there and not bother anyone. Besides, he could practice with us! Zach was great in helping us transporting all of our instruments, including Chris' drum set, to the house and hauling everything back home when we were done. Jamie's mom showed up to help with the keyboard and play some of the songs she and Dr. McFadden thought we could learn easily. Of course, we had the advantage with Scotty, Jamie, and Zach already familiar with most of them.

Scotty played fiddle; Derrick, string bass and vocal; Chris on the drums; me on keyboard and vocal; Jamie, vocal, banjo, and guitar; and Zach, our leader and lead vocal, banjo, guitar, and mandolin. It was apparent Derrick had been practicing with Dr. McFadden since he really did well on the string bass. Chris was a natural on the drums and once through a song, he set the rhythm or added to it. Our first session was great!

Dr. McFadden informed us, at the end of practice, the University Library had a unique collection of Blue Grass, Traditional, and Folk music from the hill country and mountains of the southeast on tape, sheet music, CDs, and DVD's and would make arrangements to check them out so we could listen or make copies of them. It'd be a great opportunity to expand our repertoire. All of us could read music, so sight reading a couple of times would tell us if we liked a piece or not.

On our third practice, Dr. McFadden asked, "What are you going to name your group?"

Zach shrugged; frankly none of us even thought about it. We played another song and at the end, Jamie announced, "Missionary Ridge!"

It took us a minute to understand what the hell he was talking about.

"What's that got to do with the song we just played?" questioned Chris.

"Nothing," Jamie grinned back, "it's where Scotty was going to meet Zach!"

We became "Missionary Ridge;" playing Traditional, Blue Grass, and mountain, old-timey music, and a strong sprinkling of Blue Grass and Hill Gospel music (as did the Long Family and Jamie and Zach just had to have those included).


Dr. McFadden and Scotty decided to throw a party for Scotty's sixteenth birthday. I think Scotty and his Dad saw this a more than just a birthday party, since it was a couple of weeks after Scotty's actual birthday (Scotty received a really "big" present from Zach then- in fact a couple of times). It was my impression Scotty and his Dad viewed the party as a celebration of life, sort of a "freedom" party; one where everyone could celebrate, not only Scotty's birthday, but the end of a very tumultuous relationship and a new beginning; a celebration of good friends, happy times and good fortune; and, finally, a celebration of each other's differences.

They wanted it be a party filled with good friends, classmates, music, food, and dance. As a result, they invited over two hundred colleagues, friends, track-mates, teachers and coaches, including those law enforcement people who ran with us during track practice. As a result, Dr. McFadden made arrangements to have the party in one of the banquet rooms at the Student Union (Commons).

Dad located a nice sound system for us with an amplifier, speakers, and microphones to amplify our voices. Our instruments weren't electrified, all were acoustically and we preferred it that way. Any amplification would come from the microphones. The sound was therefore natural and carried a timbre and resonance we all enjoyed. Zach thought we knew enough songs to play two sets of approximately forty-five minutes. Since the party was scheduled to last from seven in the evening until ten, it left some time for visiting, we thought!

The invitations went out with the notation "Come prepared for an evening of family fun, food, and dance featuring music by Missionary Ridge and Captured Jack - no presents please! If you wish to contribute something, there will be a box for canned food items for our local food pantry, donation containers for cash donations for Heifer International and one for our Campus LGBT organization!"

The food, make your own sandwich, salads, dessert, and beverages, was catered by the University Food Service and was pretty darned good! The guests were dressed casually, arriving with whole families, ready for an evening of food and fun. They were all welcomed, once it appeared the majority were in attendance, by Dr. McFadden and Scotty. Before he invited the guests to go fill their plates from one of the two buffet tables, lines on two sides of each, he led the crowd in "Happy Birthday" to celebrate Scotty's birthday.

The food service kept the tables well stocked and after everyone had the opportunity to go through the lines, announced there would be beverages, dessert, and snacks available throughout the evening. Dr. McFadden stepped up to a microphone and asked everyone to enjoy their meal, relax, dance or just savor the sweet music of "Missionary Ridge."

We opened with "Flop-eared Mule" with Zach and Jamie taking the lead and kept up a steady flow of music, both instrumental and vocal, for our first set. When we took our break, Dr. McFadden introduced "Captured Jack." Lo and behold, the group consisted of some of the law enforcement officers who ran with us mornings and during cross country practice, with one exception; Dr. McFadden stepped up the string bass and grinned like a mule eating shit, so pleased was he to be playing the music he loved. Man could they ever play!

I asked, later, where the name "Captured Jack" came from. Campus Security Officer, Bob Winters, replied with a laugh, "We raided an on-campus pot party and one of the jokers, I guess trying to be the smart ass, told us we "didn't know jack-shit" and one of the guys, answered, 'yes we do, in fact we caught him two weeks ago and tossed his skinny ass off campus and that's where you're going as well!" so we thought it would be a good name."

The some of the guests started to dance during "Captured Jack" and when we started our second set, a mix of slower music and somewhat faster, more joined them on the dance floor in front of the portable stage from which we performed. I noticed as we played, Chief Kraft looked at his cell phone, stood up, walked slowly to the back of the room, and stepped outside. After the party, as we cleaned up and put our instruments in the covered trailer attached to Zach's pickup, he laughed as he told us two campus security officers contacted him concerning the large gathering of students outside the banquet room, dancing, and begging to be admitted. He called out a couple of more officers, just in case, and informed the outside crowd it was a private party, but they were welcome to dance outside, as long as they behaved.

We collected over eight hundred pounds of canned and pre-packaged food items for the food pantry and about five hundred dollars each for our charities. It was a fun party, produced a benefit for the three organizations, and gave us a tremendous amount of publicity! Dr. McFadden was listed as our contact, but our parents and he, along with Zach, felt it was too soon to start taking any engagements.

"Why not wait until this summer?" Dr. McFadden suggested. "You'll know better by that time, if you want to continue and, if so, have a stronger presence and more music in your repertoire."

It was sound advice!


The rest of the school year was fun-filled with morning runs, band practice which became more of a fun time, since we were often joined by Ellen Kraft, Dr. McFadden, and some of our law enforcement friends who played instruments. We learned a great deal from them and enjoyed their company. It was a busy time for me as well, doing my own school work, practicing piano, helping Jamie with his studies. It was really not sacrifice for me to help him, since I could do my own work while helping him.

It was difficult sometimes to keep him on task because he would either get bored, tired of studying, or run into some difficulty in the work he didn't want to tackle. I could tell because he would sort of snuggle up to me, begin kissing me on the neck, rub his hands lovingly over my butt, or slip his hands down the front of my pants and fondle my stiff cock. If we had our running shorts on yet, I'd have to promise to "reward" him once we completed the lesson. He then would return to his studies, anxious to complete it so he could "complete me!" Done, he would crawl over, cover my back with his front, slip my shorts down to my knees, wrap one hand around my stiff member, and, while tickling my ear with his tongue or whispering breathlessly, erotically into my ear how much he loved me, slowly poke his big, stiff member through my outer anal ring and work it past the next barrier until he was firmly, deeply lodged in me before giving me a good and proper fuck! His cum would spurt out in me in healthy, strong pulses and as his orgasm subsided and his cum ceased to flow, he would sigh, shudder, and relax, his sexual appetite temporarily satiated. If he didn't pull out right away, I knew he was preparing for a second round of pleasure!

Jamie was also busy, along with school, running, and band practice, with his art work using his new camera to augment and save images of things he found interesting or provoked some artistic creativity. Chris' Dad, Dr. Thomas Fischer, engaged a couple of his colleagues in a dialogue concerning Jamie's artistic ability, after borrowing some of Jamie's art work (with Ellen and Chief Kraft's permission along with the Christmas card) and persuaded them to assist him in "tutoring" Jamie quite casually, thus not causing him any stress. The result of their endeavors encouraged Jamie to collect pictures, via his camera, of flowers, birds, people, and campus life so he could use them to draw from or be inspired by.

We put in a considerable amount of time poking around campus, along the running path along the Little "P" River, the woods alongside the river, the various neighborhoods we ran through, on campus looking at buildings and people, with Jamie taking pictures of things that caught his eye. He'd sort through them, saving those he found particularly interesting or showed some promise for future development. He loved it and I loved being with him!

The first Saturday after school was out for summer vacation, Jamie and I returned from a nice morning run and were in the process of looking through some of the pictures he'd taken while we were out on our run (it takes longer since we do stop to take the pictures). His folks were out for a quick breakfast, at least that's what the note said, and we were actually done looking, but Jamie just couldn't pass up the opportunity, so, both of us bare-assed naked, Jamie settled over my back, stiff cock buried balls deep, he was in the process of just finishing giving me a royal and proper fucking, when the doorbell rang!

He pulled out quickly, we both grabbed our shorts, and he led the way downstairs to the front door. I thought at the time I hoped it wasn't an old lady with heart trouble because the way Jamie's half-flaccid cock was flopping around in his nylon running shorts it'd be literally "in the eyes of the beholder" and I couldn't guarantee the consequences!

Opening the door, Jamie and I stood face to face with a young man, about Jamie's height, probably our age or a little older, slight of build, not unattractive, who had a filled backpack on his back and a rather large suitcase resting alongside of him on the front porch.

Before Jamie could say anything, the young man demanded, "Who the hell are you?"

Jamie, clearly taken aback and somewhat intimidated, replied softly, "James Arthur Long," and slipped behind me, fearful and letting me shield him from the unpleasantness!

"That's not quite the right question!" I responded just as aggressively. "The question is, who are you and what the hell are you doing here, frightening my boyfriend?"

"I live here!" the young man replied.

The Literary works of Nicholas Hall are protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America and are the property of the author.

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