Big Bro, Little Bro

by Rob Warr

Chapter 5

At first Zak was upset that Joey couldn't come to his Sunday game, but the excitement of the game and the company of his teammates soon took his mind off of his disappointment. There would be other games, and play dates, and eventually they'd both be going to the same school.

There was no reason to rush things, he supposed, and so far things had gone just fine. The hand holding and the suggestive texting had been fun, and now that Zak knew Joey felt the same way that he did, he felt much better about things.

Jake and Carlos hung out around the dugout until the game started, then sat with their parents in the bleachers, but occasionally they would slip back over to give a few words of encouragement to him and his teammates. The other team, The Cardinals, were ahead by two runs going into the third inning, and so far Zak hadn't been able to score so much as a hit. He knew everyone had a bad day, but he couldn't help but wonder if Joey not being there had something to do with his slump.

"Take it easy bro, just relax. Don't let those Red Birds get to ya'," Carlos said grinning.

"I won't, but I just suck today for some reason," Zak whined.

"No way Zak," Jake said lacing his fingers through the fence to touch Zak's, "You just gotta go out there and show those guys who's boss. Just like you did last game. I believe in you man."

"Thanks," Zak said smiling at last, "maybe I'll hit a homer for ya'."

"I'd be happy with a grounder, as long as you make it on base."

His next at bat Zak did a little better, hitting a ground ball to center, but he was picked off before he could reach base. Still, all in all it was a good hit, the other team had just been on it in a flash, making good catches and good throws.

As Zak walked back to the dugout he felt a little better about things, but he still thought he could do better. His teammates welcomed him back to the dugout with encouraging words, and he forgot about his own disappointment and concentrated on the game. Next to bat was one of their better players and he began to loudly cheer him on. Suddenly a voice from behind him caused him to swing around.

"Zak, I made it after all."

"Joey!" Zak said grinning, "I thought it was family day."

"It was till dad got a call from work and had to go take care of some stuff. Mom said she was going to watch a movie and that I could do whatever I here I am."

"Awesome," Zak said excitedly.

"So, who's winning?"

"They are, but we've still got a chance to pull this one out of the fire."

"Want me to stay here or go sit by your brothers?"

"Stay here," Zak said lacing his fingers through the fence and shaking it.

"Okay, I will."

The inning ended with no one scoring, and going into the fifth Zak was up to bat fourth, and he was determined to make this one count. The first batter struck out but the second one made it to first on a line drive and the second bunted and made it on base, advancing the runner, and setting things up for Zak to put them ahead. It was a lot of pressure, but now that Joey was there Zak felt like he could do anything.

When Zak stepped to the plate he felt the tension drain from his body. He knew that everyone was depending on him, but he also knew that baseball wasn't always about ability. Sometimes it was about luck, and now that Joey was there he felt as if his luck had changed for the better. Maybe he was naive to think that way, but it was better than worrying about things and getting all uptight and messing up.

He stepped into the batter's box and took his stance. Locking eyes with the pitcher, he gave him a friendly smile that seemed to unnerve the boy a little. Zak's confidence showed in his every move, and everyone in the stands as well as those on the field could see it.

The first pitch was high and away and the catcher barely snagged it before it got away. The pitcher frowned and the catcher yelled encouragement to him, but it was obvious he didn't feel as confident as he had before.

The second pitch was a perfect strike, right down the middle, but Zak held off anyway. He had tracked the ball from the second it had left the pitcher's hand and had thought it was going to be inside, but at the last minute it veered to the left and flew across the plate, then into the catcher's glove with a "whack".

Zak stepped out of the batter's box and tapped his shoes to free the dust, then taking a few practice swings, he stepped back in and nodded, his bat at ready, hovering just above his shoulder.

Taking a deep breath, the pitcher nodded to the catcher and stepped back, did the wind up, and threw the ball. Zak followed it with his eyes, tracking it all the way, and when it crossed the plate he swung as hard as he could....unfortunately missing it by a good two inches.

"Stee-rike!" the ump announced loudly.

The count was 2-1 now and the pressure was on. Some players might have fallen apart at this point and given in to despair, but not Zak. He'd been in this position before and he was confident he could pull this one off. If the ball came anywhere near his strike zone, Zak was committed to swinging at it.

Fortunately, the next pitch was so bad that Zak actually had to step out of the way to keep from getting hit. He knew he could have stayed put and took a base, but he hated gaining a base that way, plus it hurt like heck when a ball hit you.

"Ball! Count is 2-2."

Gathering his wits about him, Zak adjusted his helmet and took a few practice swings, then stepped back into the batter's box. It was now or never, he kept telling himself, but at the same time he knew the pitcher could very well throw some more trash and maybe even try to make him jump out of the way again.

Although his senses were heightened he still remained calm. He was confident, but not arrogant, and that fact was obvious to everyone, including the opposing team's pitcher.

While throwing signals there seemed to be some dissension between the pitcher and catcher, and finally the catcher walked out to the mound and they had a quick discussion which concluded with nodding heads and a fist bump.

Zak, who had stepped out of the box during their pow wow, stepped back in and readied himself. Then with a confident smile and a wag of his head he awaited the next pitch.

A hush fell over the entire ball field as the pitcher wound up, and then with an almost audible release of breath he threw the ball with all his might. Although the ball was traveling at well over 50 mph, to Zak it was as if it was coming at him in slow motion.

Every muscle in his body was tightly wound now as he awaited the arrival of the ball. From the corner of his eye he was vaguely aware of the catcher shifting to his left and then a loud gasp as the fans behind home plate saw what was happening. Then a second later he swung as hard as he could, caught air, and collapsed to the ground as the ball hit him squarely in the helmet knocking him unconscious.

The coach was the first to arrive, followed by Zak's family, and then a man appeared from the opposite side of the field who proclaimed he was a doctor. Meanwhile someone had called 911 and the wail of an ambulance could be heard in the distance.

Through all this Joey remained glued to the fence, his fingers wrapped around the chain link so tightly they were turning blue as he watched helplessly at the scene unfolding on the field. He wanted so badly to run out on the field and see about Zak, but he didn't want to get in the way, and besides, he thought that might be a bit awkward considering he and Zak had only met.

The ambulance had arrived by then and Jake and Carlos stepped back a bit to allow the EMT's to do their job. Mr. and Mrs. Mason however were right there by their son's side.

"Come on," Carlos said as they loaded Zak onto a stretcher and started for the ambulance, "We'll meet them at the hospital."

As they passed Joey they quickly explained what was going on, and he looked so distraught that Carlos suggested he come with them. On the way to the car Joey pulled out his cell phone and called his mom and explained what was going on, and she agreed that he could go along, but to call her when he knew more and if he needed a ride home.

Thankfully the ER was slow that day and a Doctor got to Zak quickly, made an initial examination, and then sent him off to X ray.

In the waiting area Joey sat gnawing on a finger nail and looking forlorn. But it was Jake who was worried the most. A million scenarios ran through his mind as he sat there staring blankly at the magazine in his lap.

What if Zak died, or was a vegetable or something? All those wasted months of treating him like he didn't exist, or worse, that he was less than human because he was gay. Jake wasn't very religious, but he guessed he did believe in God, and as he sat there he began to utter a little prayer in his head.

Carlos was chatting with his dad, while his mom sat in a little booth filling out paperwork for the insurance. He was calm on the outside, but inside his stomach was in knots and he had many of the same fears as the others. He loved Zak more than anyone on earth, maybe even more than his adopted parents, and if anything ever happened to him his world would never be the same.

"Don't worry son, Zak is tough," his father said, sensing his oldest son's inner turmoil.

"I know, but it's just crazy. He's such a good player. How did this happen? Was that kid trying to nail him?"

"I don't know," his father said frowning, "Coach Richards is going to review the video and see if he can understand it better, then he'll talk to the other coach and maybe the pitcher.

"If the kid hit him on purpose he should be...kicked off the team or something."

"I doubt he intended to harm Zak. Remember, they're just boys playing a game and trying to do the best they can."

"I guess, but I still don't see how it happened. Zak has a good eye, he should have been able to get out of the way."

"We'll just have to wait and ask him later, but not till he's feeling better. Right now we just need to be there for him, and encourage him, and let him know things are going to be okay."

"I know," Carlos said sighing, then turning his attention to Jake he said, "You okay dude? You look white as a sheet."

"I'm okay. I just worry...that's all."

Mr. Mason smiled reassuringly, "Don't worry Zak is too tough to kill," he teased. He meant it to be funny and relieve the tension, but instead Jake looked even more distraught.

"You can't die from a concussion...can you?" Jake asked anxiously.

"He'll be fine son, I was just kidding."

Joey had been watching the exchange with nervous eyes, but he wasn't quite as worried as the others. He had faith in the adults and in the doctors, and he knew they would make sure Zak was well taken care of. He had never known death and to him it was just something that happened to other families, other people, and he was sure it wouldn't happen to anyone he knew.

The waiting was grueling, but eventually a doctor came over and he was smiling which they all took to be good news.

"Are you Zak's folks?" he said offering his hand, "I'm Dr. Maxwell."

"Yes sir, how is our boy?" Mr. Mason asked trying not to let his nervousness show.

"Zak is going to be fine. There are no broken bones and no signs of any neurological damage. He might have a slight concussion, but other than having a headache he'll be fine. I could keep him overnight for observation, but I really don't think that's necessary. Will there be someone close by in case he needs anything?"

"I will!" both Carlos and Jake said at once, causing the Doctor to chuckle.

"Well, it looks like he'll be in good hands. Are you boys brothers?"

"Yes sir...uh, Doctor Maxwell," Jake said blushing, "and we'll take real good care of him."

The Doctor went over a few things with the Masons then hurried off to take care of his next patient. Shortly afterwards a nurse came out and led Mrs. Mason to the back and a few minutes later she reappeared with Zak in tow.

The others rushed Zak immediately and he was grinning as they gently patted him on the back and expressed their concern.

"Awww...I'm fine. I just misjudged that last pitch. I think the pitcher did too. I feel sort of sorry for him. He's probably freaking right now...wondering if he killed me," he laughed, "Oww...laughing makes my head hurt." he said grimacing.

"Well, we'll get you home and settled and I'll call the coach and let him know you're gonna make it," Mr. Mason said grinning. After talking to Doctor Maxwell, his fears were finally dismissed and he felt like celebrating.

He might love Carlos and Jake like sons, but Zak was his flesh and blood, and though he tried not to treat him any differently than the others, deep inside Zak had a special place in his heart.

The ride home was a noisy one, with the four boys chattering like magpies, but the adults thought they had never heard such a wonderful sound in their whole life. Once home the other three helped Zak to the couch and sat him down and immediately began to wait on him hand and foot.

Soon he was watching TV and eating junk food and drinking soda, and for once his parents didn't care. They were just happy to have him safe and sound and home once again.

Mr. Mason called the coach and they talked for a long time. The coach was elated that Zak was okay and said that he had talked to the other coach and that the pitcher felt very bad about having nailed Zak. So much so that he had cried and talked about quitting the team. He seemed to think that maybe if Zak talked to him he might not feel so bad and Mr. Mason agreed. The coach agreed to relay the message that Zak was going to be okay, and Mr. Mason knew that within an hour or so everyone would have the good news.

Zak was engaged in a conversation with Joey while Carlos and Jake looked on with amused looks on their faces, and Mr. Mason went off to find his wife. He found her in their bedroom sitting on the bed hugging a worn but still serviceable teddy bear. Mr. Mason recognized it immediately, it was Boo Boo, Zak's favorite stuffed animal from his childhood.

"Well, does Zak know you have Boo Boo?" Mr. Mason joked.

"He won't miss him for a while," she said showing wet eyes to her husband.

She was a tower of strength and a mother lion when her kids were in trouble, but when it was all over she needed to let her feelings out. Her husband sat down beside her and placed an arm around her.

"He's fine, we're all fine, but I love you for caring so much. You're a good mom," he said kissing her forehead.

"And you're a good dad," she sighed," I worry every time he walks onto that field. Today was like some horrible nightmare. My worst fears come true."

"It was a freak occurrence, and if it's any consolation, the other boy feels terrible. He even talked about quitting, but I think he'll be fine once Zak talks to him."

"Oh, that poor boy. I'm glad to know he didn't do it intentionally, but it's still scary."

"Everything will be fine. Our biggest problem now is how to break the news to him that he won't be finishing the tournament."

"I hope he already knows that by now."

"The kid thinks he's invincible, I'm surprised he didn't just dust off his butt and take his base," Mr. Mason chuckled.

"He's my baby," Mrs. Mason said clutching the worn but still lovable stuffed bear.

"Your baby is a teenager now and he's trying to assert his independence some. It's important that we let him do that while making sure he knows we are here for matter what."

"I know, I know...but it's hard to let go. You understand don't you Boo Boo?" she said kissing the stuffed bear. Then sighing, she stood and gave her husband a hug before returning Boo Boo to his rightful place on Zak's dresser.

Joey's mom agreed that he could stay for dinner, and though the boys begged for him to spend the night, the Masons felt it was too soon after Zak's injury and shot down the idea. Dinner was pizza, and ice cream for dessert, and the boys eventually retired to Zak's room to play video games.

After a while however Zak said his head was starting to hurt and he piled down on his bed to rest. Joey crawled up beside him and kept stealing nervous glances at him. He was still worried and didn't think it was a good idea for Zak to be alone, what with his head injury.

"I'm fine," Zak said correctly reading the look on Joey's face.

"I know," Joey said leaning his head on Zak's shoulder, "but I just wanted to be by ya', that's all."

"If my head didn't hurt so much..."

"It's fine, I just want to be near you and to snuggle."

"Okay," Zak sighed, "that sounds good." He repressed a yawn then closed his eyes and Joey snuggled closer, making sure he could feel the gentle rise and fall of Zak's chest and his heartbeat.

At seven Joey's mom arrived and Joey reluctantly pulled away from Zak, and with one last kiss on the cheek, he hurried off to meet her in the living room. The other boys wandered in soon after and Joey's mom made a big fuss over Zak and kissed his forehead causing him to blush.

"I'm so glad you're okay," she said smiling warmly, then to the others, "Thank you so much for making Joey feel so welcome in your home. He has nothing but good things to say about all of you."

"Well, he's always welcome," Mrs. Mason said smiling, "He and Zak have become friends very quickly, and I can see why...they have a lot in common."

"Yes, well I must say I was surprised at first since Joey doesn't make friends that easily, but he and Zak certainly have hit it off."

Carlos couldn't help but smile, If only they knew, he thought, what they really have in common is that they are crazy for each other.

They talked a few more minutes, then Zak walked Joey to the car and they said goodbye, promising to text each other later. When Zak was gone Joey's mother gave her son a curious look. She couldn't help but notice that Zak and Joey were getting very close, very fast.

"Is there something you'd like to tell me about you and Zak?" his mom asked grinning.

"What?" Joey said blushing.

"Oh nothing. It just seems that you two have gotten awfully close for having just met."

"I don't know, we just...we just like each other and we have a lot in common."

"Well, don't get me wrong, I think it's wonderful that you've made a friend so quickly, but I worry about you getting hurt again."

"Mommm," Joey whined, "how could I get hurt? We're just friends, that's all."

"If you say so dear," she said sighing, "Just...well, be careful is all I'm saying. Don't let your emotions get the best of with Braden."

"Mom, why do you have to keep bringing Braden up? I don't want to talk about him...okay?" Joey pouted.

"Okay, okay...but I know how much that hurt you and I don't want that to happen again."

"It won't, don't worry...Zak isn't like Braden..." he said then blushed. The more he tried to explain things the worse things got.

"Sweetie, I'll trust you to do what you think is right, but if you ever need to talk you know I'm there for you and I'm always on your side."

"Thanks mom," Joey said smiling, "I love you and dad a lot, but I can handle this...okay?"

"We love you too son and all we want is for you to be happy...and safe," she said patting his leg.

Once they were home Joey excused himself to his room, took a shower and got ready for bed. He hadn't thought much about Braden since he'd met Zak, and now the pain came flooding back. He fell down on his bed and stared at the ceiling for a minute before picking up his cell phone and pulling up a picture of the boy he'd left behind in California.

Braden was a year older than him and much more mature. He'd met him at the skateboard park near his house and Braden had offered to help Joey with his boarding. They'd met almost every day that summer and Joey had learned a lot from the older boy. It was after about a month that Joey began to realize he was starting to have feelings for Braden, but he was sure Braden didn't feel the same way.

He worried that Braden might figure him out and reject him, so he was very careful to keep his feelings to himself. Then one day out of the blue Braden asked if Joey would like to spend the night on Saturday. He said his dad was out of town and his mom always went to bed early and they'd have the house to themselves.

Joey was ecstatic, but also worried about what might happen if he was alone with the cute teenager. They'd eaten pizza, played video games, and watched a movie, and when it came time for bed Braden led him to the guest bedroom and went back to his own room. Joey was disappointed, but he tried not to show it, and after taking care of things by hand he finally managed to get to sleep.

It was like that with Braden for a long time. He seemed friendly enough and teased a lot about sex, but when it came right down to doing anything he seemed reluctant to make the first move, so Joey finally decided he would have to.

His plan was to invite Braden over to his house, where there was no guest bedroom and he'd be forced to share a bed with him. Everything had gone fine until it was time to go to bed, then Braden had grabbed a blanket and a pillow and piled down on the floor leaving Joey frustrated and a little hurt.

Things went on like that for a few months and Joey had begun to think that Braden didn't feel the same things he was feeling. He'd resigned himself to just being friends when the kiss happened.

It happened on a Friday in December and Joey remembered it as if it had happened yesterday. They'd been boarding at the park and had planned on walking to Braden's house and along the way grabbing a snack at their favorite burger place.

They talked about school, and boarding, and movies, and video games along the way, and when they got to the burger place they ordered their food and sat down in one of the booths and waited for their number to be called.

Braden had said he needed to pee and suggested Joey come too, and as they headed off to the bathroom Joey noticed Braden seemed to be a little nervous. He played it off to Braden just being Braden, and dismissed the feeling that something was up and followed him into the single occupancy bathroom.

Braden latched the door behind them and walked over to the urinal and started peeing, leaving the toilet for Joey. Joey tried not to stare as he fumbled for his own penis and managed to start a stream. Braden looked over then and smiled, not bothering to hide his interest in Joey's junk and said, "Nice." Then finishing up he shook the last few drops off and zipped up, leaving Joey to wonder what was nice.

What happened next totally took Joey by surprise. Braden had finished washing his hands and was drying them with a paper towel when Joey took his turn at the sink. When he spun around to grab some paper towels Braden had already pulled some off and offered them to Joey. Then leaning in he kissed Joey on the cheek and rushed out of the bathroom.

Joey was so surprised by the kiss that if their number hadn't been called over the loudspeaker about then, he might have stood there frozen till someone came to unstick him. Instead he tossed the used paper towels in the trash can, and touching his face gently where Braden's lips had just been, he walked out of the bathroom with a new spring in his step.

Nothing was said about the kiss that day and they ate in relative silence, but later at Braden's house as they were playing a video game Braden suddenly paused the game and laid down his controller.

"Well, did you like it or not?" Braden asked sounding nervous, "Or did I fuck up?"

Joey didn't have to ask what, and to do so would have only prolonged things and added to Braden's angst so he simply nodded.

"Is that a yes?"

"Yes, I liked it, but I was sort of surprised."

"Sorry, I just...I thought we had sort, this thing going on, but if you don't feel like that..."

"No, I mean...yeah, I think so too," Joey had said blushing, "but I was afraid you didn't feel the same way."

"I guess I'm just shy when it comes to that stuff. I's hard being different and all."

"Yeah, but it's no one's business...right? Just us, that's all that matters."

"I don't know much about this you?" he laughed.

"Not really, but I think we can figure it out. The kiss was a good start."

"Want to try it again, only this time for real?"

Joey swallowed hard and smiled, "Can I borrow a toothbrush first? I just ate onions," he giggled.

Braden smiled and hopped up and when he returned he had a package of breath mints, "Here this should help."

They kissed that day, and held hands, and hugged, and that was all, but it was a beginning, and soon they were ready to move on to more serious things. Braden's parents were sort of intrusive so it was hard to find any real quality time alone at his house, and Joey's folks didn't let Joey have sleepovers very often, further complicating things.

They had managed a mutual handjob a couple of times and wanted to do more, but the opportunity just never came up, and then suddenly Joey was moving and things went crazy. It was at this point that Joey finally became so despondent that he told his parents that he and Braden were in love, and how unfair it was for them to be pulling him away.

Joey's folks took the news rather well, but when it came time for Braden to admit his feelings, he couldn't bring himself to do it. He'd actually begun pushing Joey away, and the last few weeks before they moved were awful for Joey. Then just before the move Braden had come around, and near tears he had apologized for not admitting his feelings, but of course by then it made no difference anyway. They'd made up as friends but things weren't the same as before and both knew it. They agreed to keep in touch, but so far neither boy had made an effort, and now that Joey had met Zak, he didn't feel the need to be the first to reach out. If Braden wrote or texted he would reply, but as far as he was concerned, what he and Braden had was over and that was that.

Meanwhile Zak lay in his bed while across the room Jake sat at the desk they shared checking out his FB page on their computer. He'd posted some new pictures of Zak taken at the game, including one of him and Joey captioning it, Zak and his new friend Joey. He stared at the pic and thought about what Carlos had said about Zak looking for someone to replace him, someone just like him. Sure Joey's looks were similar, but there was more to him than just looks. There was personality and chemistry. Did Joey and Zak have that chemistry? Or was it just looks that were prompting Zak to rush into a relationship.

He knew it was his own fault that Zak was even looking for a boyfriend, but fear kept him from admitting his true feelings for Zak. Fear of being different, fear of being discovered and shunned by his friends and fellow team members, fear of giving himself to someone, and the uncertainty of what his life would be like afterwards. No, he was pretty sure he could never admit his true feelings for Zak, so the best he could do was make sure no one else hurt him like he had. He would get to know Joey better, and feel him out, and make sure he was right for Zak, and if he wasn't he'd...he'd what? He pondered. He knew if he said anything bad about Joey without proof, that Zak would just assume he was sabotaging his relationship or being mean again, so he knew he'd have to be careful.

"Hey Jake."

"Yeah, bro. What's up?"

"Thanks for being there for me today."

"You're welcome, I'm just sorry you got hit and now you won't get to finish the tourney."

"Yeah, that sucks, but there's no changing their minds about it so I guess I just gotta accept it."

"It's not the end of the world, but I get why you're upset. I'd be bummed out too. But look on the bright side, now you'll have more time to spend with Joey."

"Yeah, that's true," Zak said perking up, "and of course with my two brothers."

"Anytime bro, you know I'm here for ya'. Well, I'm gonna go take a quick shower. You need anything?"

"Maybe one of those pills the doctor gave mom, my head still kind of hurts."

"Oh sure, be right back bro."

Jake found his mother downstairs and relayed Zak's request, and she insisted on checking on him and taking him the medicine herself. Jake took the opportunity to take his shower and when he emerged from the bathroom Zak was asleep.

Jake smiled at the sleeping boy and something stirred within him. He'd always thought Zak was cute, but in a non-sexual way of course, but he had to admit just looking at Zak was sort of arousing. He'd kicked off the covers and was laying there clad only in a pair of baby blue boxer briefs and Jake couldn't stop himself from looking the boy over.

Jake stood there for a moment as his eyes traveled from Zak's cute face to his smooth well defined chest which rose and fell slowly in slumber. From there his eyes traveled down to Zak's flat stomach, and for the first time Jake noticed that his belly button was an innie. He smiled at that revelation and then allowed his eyes to travel downward to the tented pair of baby blue CK boxer briefs.

Either Zak was a little aroused or he'd grown some down there, Jake thought, but then he remembered that Zak had always been well above average in that area. A frown filled his face as he thought about all the fun times he and Zak had before, before things blew up. The sex had been fun and non-threatening, but then things had changed, and suddenly it wasn't a game anymore, it was dead serious.

Jake finally pulled his eyes away from Zak and fell into bed. There were so much to think about and most of it was very confusing. He still missed his mom, and he supposed he always would, but he was happy with his new family, even if he was beginning to question his feelings for Zak. Was it possible that he'd had feelings for Zak all along, and that his coming out had frightened him so much that he ran from his feelings? He didn't feel gay or even bi, then he really didn't feel straight either.

Sure he'd had a girlfriend, but she'd been a frigid bitch, and the furtherest he'd ever gotten with her was some heavy petting. But if he really thought about it, he didn't really enjoy that all that much. The things he and Zak had done as boys were much more exciting and pleasurable than making out with Rebecca.

He supposed he would have gone all the way, if she had wanted to, but he wondered, would that have been any better, any more exciting? She wasn't even a nice person, not like Zak, who was just about the nicest person he'd ever met. He felt a sting as he thought about how mean and unfair he'd been to Zak all that time, but even that hadn't killed Zak's love for him.

He loved Zak too, especially now that they were brothers, but he wasn't sure he could ever be as good a person as Zak or forgive so easily. He smiled when he thought about Zak's sweet nature, and the way he had accepted him as his brother without any reservations.

He supposed there was no need to worry about Zak coming on to him anymore since he had Joey, but in a way that was a little disappointing. That bothered him a little too. He'd spent so much time convincing himself that he was straight, and now he wasn't sure what he was.

One thing he did know was that he still had the same kind of needs as most teenage boys, and so after a few minutes he shut down his mind and did what most boys his age do. When he was finished he cleaned up and fell asleep before he could worry about things he couldn't control any longer.

They watched the rest of the tournament from the sideline, and even though Zak would have rather been out there playing, he thought it was nice to spend time with Joey and the family, especially Joey. During a lull in the play they went off to the bathroom and peed standing side by side, sneaking little peeks and grinning, but neither boy felt ready to take things any further.

They hit the snack bar then and got peanuts and a soda and when they got back to their spot behind the fence near the dugout, the Black Hawks had scored a run and had a man on base. Zak had mixed feelings about the game, on one hand he'd thought the team didn't have a chance without him, but the truth was he was just one player, and there were lots of other good players on the team and they were playing hard to win.

"Way to go," Zak shouted as he entwined his fingers through the fence, "Go Black Hawks."

The team went on to score one more run in the third inning, but by the fifth inning the score was tied at 5-5 and the other team, The Angels, were up to bat first. Pitching for the Black Hawks was a kid named Jerry, and he wasn't one of their best pitchers. Unfortunately due to the number of pitches the better pitchers had thrown they couldn't pitch the whole game, but coach was saving a few pitches in case they got into a pickle toward the end.

Jerry was a big boy, tall and a little chubby, but he had a strong arm. The problem was he sometimes had trouble finding the zone. After pitching three balls in a row he looked like he was sweating bullets and nervous as an ice cube in a furnace, and in need of some reassurance. Fortunately Coach Richards thought the same thing and called a time out and went out to talk to the boy.

Zak knew that the coach would have nothing but words of encouragement for Jerry and he relaxed a little and sat back down in the lawn chair next to Joey.

"Wish you were out there?"

"Yeah, but they're doing a good job without me."

"But if you were out there I bet you'd already have this game won."

Zak laughed, "Thanks, but I'm not that good. I mean I know I do a good job when I'm out there, but we've got some kids on our team that are just as good and they want this win."

"Yeah, well...those other boys aren't my boyfriend," he said blushing, "so...I guess I'm sort of prejudiced."

"Well...then I'm the lucky one here, not those guys out there," Zak said smiling, the love in his eyes shining through.

"Thanks, but I'm the lucky one."

A hit by the other team off the strike Jerry finally threw, pulled the boys back into the game again and they were on their feet yelling for their team to get the out. Unfortunately the runner beat the ball to the base and the other team now had one man on. Before the inning was over the Angels had scored two runs and now the pressure was on for the Black Hawks.

The first two batters on The Black Hawk team struck out, but the third one made a good hit to center field and they had one man on. The next batter took a walk off four balls in a row. Evidently the other team was down to their last few pitchers as well.

They had two men on base now and the next player was a kid name Scott that was one of their better batters. He was almost as good as Zak, and had two homers for the season, as well as a triple, which had occurred during the tournament.

Zak thought he caught Scott looking his way and he followed his gaze and saw he was looking at Joey. He wondered what Scott thought about his spending so much time with Joey, or sitting so close, but he didn't really think it was a big deal. He and Scott had always been friendly toward one another though they didn't really hang out outside of baseball games or practice.

"Hit it out of the park!" Zak yelled returning to the fence again, Joey at his side.

Scott smiled and did his thing as he got ready for the first pitch, and then stepped up to the plate and took a few practice swings as the pitcher settled down and got ready for the first pitch. The first pitch was a ball, but the second one was right down the middle, unfortunately Scott didn't read it right and didn't swing.

Their was a sort of defeated oomph from the crowd, but pretty soon everyone was back to yelling words of encouragement. The next pitch was another ball, but Scott was flustered by the last pitch and swung at it anyway.

Scott had two strikes now and the pressure was on.

"You can do it Scott," Zak yelled, "just take your time. You can do this."

Scott caught Zak's eye and nodded and smiled, then zoned out as he put his head back into the game. The next pitch was a good one and Scott was all over it. As soon as he made contact he was off, watching it as he bounded down to first base, and when he saw it hit the back fence he sped up and yelled for the other two runners to go on home.

The lead runner, a kid named Doug, slid into home as the catcher stood helplessly screaming at the outfielders to get the ball to him. The second runner, Ricky, had stopped at third, forcing Scott to stop at second. Ricky was a good player, but not very fast, and Scott decided he had probably made the right decision staying at third, even if it would have been nice to get the tying run.

The next batter was a chubby kid named Kenny. He was one of the newer players on the team, but he'd played for another team for a couple of years previously and had a good attitude, which was 90% of playing ball. So far this year his batting had been spotty, but when he did manage to get hold of a ball, it usually went far.

Everyone was hoping Kenny could save the day, but if not, they still had one more inning to try to pull the game away from their rivals and win the tournament.

The pitcher took one look at Kenny and did what no ball player should ever do, he judged him as being soft and fat, and slow, and not a threat at all, and he pitched to him with that in mind.

The first pitch was a fairly good one, right down the middle and slow. The pitcher had hoped he'd swing on it and miss, or barely tap it and it would be fielded and he'd be thrown out before he could run to first base. After all fat boys didn't run too fast, he thought laughing to himself.

Kenny laid off, took the strike and waited patiently for the next pitch, looking as calm as he had when he'd first stepped up to the plate. He adjusted his helmet, pounded the rubber with his bat, then turned his attention to the pitcher.

The catcher threw some signals at the pitcher, he nodded, and stepped back to wind up for the pitch. The pitcher had a few good pitches left in him, and though he hated to waste one, it was a matter of principal at this point. He wanted to strike this kid out and be done with him, and so his next pitch was a fast heater right down the middle.

Kenny didn't bat an eye as he watched the ball all the way to the plate, then as casually as if he were swatting a fly he swung the bat and made contact. The sound was almost deafening as the aluminum bat met the rawhide ball, and then as the ball flew upward and outward, the roar of the crowd shook the bleachers as everyone rose to their feet, well at least the ones on the Black Hawks' side.

Zak was up and moving toward the fence, his cheers as loud as anyone else, and Joey was right beside him. Kenny took one look at the ball then jogged down to first base as Doug headed home with Scott right on his heels. By the time Kenny reached second he realized the ball was gone and he trotted the rest of the way to home plate, scoring what would become the winning run, as well as a triple.

The next batter struck out, but the damage was done and the Angels were only able to score one run in the final inning. It was over at that point, but the Black Hawks played out the inning, and even though they didn't score any more runs, victory was theirs.

Zak, dressed in his uniform, ran out onto the field to share in his teams victory, and the boys bumped and high-fived each other before shaking hands with the opposing team.

The trophy was awarded to the boys and pictures were taken, and then the team broke up to get with their parents who would transport them to CiCi's Pizza Parlor for their victory party. The parents had sprung for pizza and drinks, and win or lose the boys would have gotten pizza, but that it was a victory they were celebrating, and not just participation in the tourney, was all the sweeter.

Joey offered to pay for his pizza, but the Masons insisted they would take care of the extra expense. Jake and Carlos were there too, and the four sat at a table together with Zak's teammates all around him. After eating their fill of pizza the boys hit the game room and wasted a few quarters and visited. Zak had worried that he might feel left out, or at least bad about not being to play the final game, but the others made it clear that they appreciated all he had done in the previous games to get them this far.

After the party the boys reluctantly bumped fists, and in some cases shared bro hugs, then slowly drifted off to join their parents. The Mason's were taking Joey home and he and Zak rode in the back while Jake and Carlos took the middle seats.

On the way Zak and Joey held hands discretely, and rubbed their legs together, teasing each other and causing the expected reaction. It was naughty and thrilling, but so far the boys didn't feel ready for anything more.

When they arrived at the Greens, Zak walked Joey to the door and they bumped fists and said their goodnights as the adults watched with knowing smiles.

"Those two are certainly getting chummy," Mr. Mason chuckled.

"I think Zak needs someone like Joey right now," she said trying to keep the conversation between her and her husband.

"We can hear you guys," Jake reminded them.

"Well, we're not saying anything bad," Mrs. Mason said turning to speak to her newest son.

"But I don't think we should be discussing Zak's business," Jake said sounding serious.

"Okay, okay, we'll wait to discuss it when you're not around," Mr. Mason laughed.

Zak returned then and took one look at the two boys' faces and said "What?"

"Oh, nothing," Jake said grinning.

Zak blushed and climbed in back, alone this time, and buckled up.

At home he showered and slipped on some sweats and went in search of his brothers. He found Carlos watching a movie with their folks, but Jake was nowhere to be found. Zak considered asking if the others knew where he was, but instead he sat down and watched the movie with them.

Half way through it Carlos got up and made microwave popcorn and brought drinks for everyone. That was just the way Carlos was, and the others were always appreciative of his little acts of kindness.

Near the end of the movie Jake finally showed up, looking sheepish as he slid into a chair away from the rest of them. Zak gave him a curious look, but he didn't seem to notice, nor did he appear to be watching the movie. He seemed to be in a world of his own, deep in thought, and Zak wondered what was going on with him.

He'd barely spoke to him all day, even at the game, and except for some back patting and congratulations he hadn't said much else. He didn't look upset, or mad, just thoughtful, and Zak wondered if he was thinking about his mom again.

When the movie was over the three boys said goodnight to their parents and headed upstairs, Carlos in the lead.

"That was a great game today," Jake said sounding more like himself.

"Yeah, I just wish I'd got to play, but the guys did great without me."

"You helped get them there, that's important too," Carlos said from the top of the stairs.

"Yeah, I guess. Boy, Kenny really surprised everyone today," Zak chuckled, "I bet that other pitcher wishes he'd taken him more seriously."

Carlos went off to his room and Zak and Jake to theirs, and as soon as they were inside Jake began digging in his dresser for clean underwear. Without speaking he walked to the bathroom, and a few minutes later Zak heard the shower running.

Zak stripped down to his boxer briefs and lay atop his covers and grabbed his smart phone. There was a text from Joey and he quickly texted him back and they chatted for a while before saying goodnight. Zak was still smiling when Jake appeared looking shower fresh and still toweling his hair.

Zak's attention was immediately drawn to Jake. Of all the boys he'd ever known or seen, he still thought Jake was the cutest and sexiest. He knew he shouldn't be thinking about things like that since he was with Joey now, but there was no denying the fact that he still thought of Jake that way, and probably always would.

"You guys should know, mom and dad were talking about you and Joey tonight," Jake said casually.

"Uh, what did they say?"

"Oh, just that you two were getting...what was it they said? Oh yeah, chummy."

"What does that mean?"

"Close I guess, boyfriends maybe."

"Did they say that, that we looked like we were boyfriends?"

"No, just what I said, and then I told them they shouldn't be talking about you in front of us and they quit."

"So? Its no big deal...really."

"Oh, then why were you two practically making out in the back of the van?"

"We weren't making out," Zak blushed, "we were just holding hands, that's all."

"Oh, okay...but what do you do when you're alone?"

"Nothing," Zak said feeling a little angry now, "we haven't even seen each other...uh, without clothes. We both agreed it was too soon."

"Ha, I doubt that," Jake said, "you were never that shy with me."

Zak stared at Jake and tried to calm down. Why was Jake suddenly being such a jerk? What business was it of his if he and Joey were fooling around? After all he'd made it clear he wasn't interested in him that way and had practically pushed him and Joey together.

"That was different. We'd known each other forever and knew we liked each other and trusted each other."

"I...I'm sorry," Jake said falling into his bed, "I don't know why I said that. I'm happy for you two...really. I just wanted you to know that mom and dad are on to you two."

"Oh, okay. Thanks, but I'm not worried. I don't think mom and dad care that much as long as I'm happy."

"Yeah, you're probably right. Well...goodnight bro."

"Night," Zak said barely looking up. Why did what Jake say bother him so much? There wasn't anything to worry about, but it seemed like Jake was just ribbing him for no reason. Could it be he was jealous? way. Jake was straight and wasn't interested in him that way. After all that was what caused the big fight to begin with. No, there had to be something else, but Zak fell asleep before he could figure out what that something was.

The summer flew by quickly. Once baseball season was over the Mason's took short trips on the weekends, going camping or swimming at the lake and often Joey was invited along. One particular memorable weekend the Masons rented a cabin at the lake, and while the adults enjoyed the rustic surrounding and indoor plumbing of the cabin, the boys slept outside in two-man tents.

There was no question as to who would be sleeping where, and as they set up the tents that day Zak couldn't help but feel a little excited at the prospect of being totally alone with Joey in the great outdoors. At least Jake wasn't giving him any flack over their "love life", what there was of it, and though they still hadn't progressed to anything more intimate than kissing and cuddling, Zak knew it was only a matter of time before things got a bit more heated.

Although Zak was having erotic thoughts about Joey, usually when he was doing what boys his age so often do, so far he'd never even seen Joey completely naked. However he was quite sure Joey's body was as wonderful in real life as it was in his fantasies. He couldn't know of course, that Joey was having the same kind of fantasies while doing the same thing, but he was pretty sure Joey knew where things were headed.

The day was hot and the lake was inviting, and soon all four boys and the two adults were frolicking in the cool lake water. On the horizon sail boats and motor boats alike could be seen, as well as an occasional skier or a jet ski. From further up the bank they could hear laughter and eventually saw a group of teenagers headed for the water's edge.

"Look at that babe in the white bikini," Jake said nudging Carlos. He knew Zak wouldn't be interested, but as far as he knew Carlos liked girls and could certainly appreciate this one.

"Nice," Carlos said automatically. He usually didn't participate in the girl talk or ogling that his buddies did, but he had to admit this girl looked very nice...okay hot.

"She looks like a fashion model or something," Jake said eying her with undisguised lust.

"She's probably with one of those surfer looking guys," Carlos laughed, "the hot ones always seem to find each other."

"Oh, so you think the guy is hot?" Jake teased.

"I'm just saying, they're a match, that's all. He's a ten and she's a ten."

"Well, I guess, but as long as we're sort of on the subject. You do like girls...right?"

Carlos turned to Jake then and in a very uncharacteristic move he frowned, "Why would you ask me that bro? If I said no, would you treat me like you treated Zak? Is it that important who I like or don't like?"

"Whoa, calm down bro. I was just teasing. And wouldn't matter to me. I love you man, you're my brother now, but I've always loved you...just now, it's different. And I would never treat you bad, no matter what. You know I'm sorry about how I treated Zak, and I've done my best to make it up to all of you."

"I know bro, I'm sorry I got upset. I guess I just think people put too much emphasis on sexuality. What difference does it make who we love? I'm not saying I want to get with a dude, but you know what? Some of the deepest and most meaningful relationships I've ever had have been with guys. Not sexual mind you, but intimate in some ways. Trust is a form of intimacy, and sharing your feelings, things like that."

"I...I never thought of it that way. I guess most guys have those kind of relationships and just never think about what they mean. Thanks bro for helping me to see that."

"Now, let me ask you something...since we're being so brutally honest here."


"I've noticed sometimes when Zak and Joey are together that you act sort of different. I won't say jealous, cause it doesn't look that way, but it's like you maybe feel...I don't know, left out or something."

"Naw, I'm happy for them both," Jake said without conviction.

"Okay, whatever bro, but something is up. I'm not saying you want to be with Zak that way, but I could sort of see if you feel like you wasted all that time being mad at him, and now that you're not, the two of you aren't as close as you used to be."

"Well, that might be part of it," Jake admitted, happy that Carlos wasn't pressuring him to come clean, and was actually answering some of his own questions.

"I thought so, well...just remember this. I love Zak more than I love myself and I just want him to be happy. I'm sorry it couldn't be with you, cause that would have been awesome, but I still want you to be in his life, cause I know he needs that, and I think you need it too."

"Of course I'm in his life, we're brothers."

"You know what I mean," Carlos said looking serious.

"I guess..." Jake mumbled.

Joey and Zak swam up then and the two had to put their conversation on hold, but Zak couldn't help but feel the tension in the air.

"What's up you guys?"

"Just checking out the babe in the white bikini," Jake said grinning.

"Yeah, I saw her. Just your type," Zak laughed, "for a baby sitter."

"Why you..." Jake growled, splashing Zak and then trying to dunk him.

Soon Carlos and Joey joined in the melee and it was every man for himself.

Around two they reluctantly climbed out and went to the cabin for lunch, sandwiches and chips, and then laid around in the shade while their food settled. They considered going swimming again, but instead decided to get dressed and explore the woods nearby. There was a nature trail leading up into the hills and Mr. Mason said there were a lot of interesting things along the way, including a hanging bridge across a small creek.

When asked if he and Mrs. Mason would be joining them his answer was a humorous one, "No, me and the misses are going to play the quiet game while you boys are out exploring."

"DAD!" Zak said blushing bright red, then to the others, "They're gonna make out. That's what the quiet game is."

Everyone laughed then, and the boys started off on their adventure while the adults looked forward to some alone time.

The air was warm and humid and before long the boys were sweating. Zak was first to remove his shirt and tie it around his waist, but Jake wasn't far behind. When Jake's chiseled upper body came into view Zak couldn't help but stare.

"Zak, watch out," Joey said grabbing Zak's arm and saving him from crashing into a low hanging limb.

"Oh, yeah...thanks," Zak said blushing, "Aren't you gonna take off your shirt?" Zak added, hoping Joey's naked upper body would take his mind off Jake's hot bod.

"Yeah, I guess...might as well."

Carlos was last to lose his shirt and when he did he got the other boys' full attention. Not only was his older teenage body more developed than the others, his skin was smooth and a golden brown year round, due to his Hispanic heritage.

As the four shirtless teens ambled along up the winding path they kept up a constant chatter. When the hanging bridge came into sight, Zak and Joey ran ahead leaving the two older boys to follow in their wake. The view from the bridge was spectacular. Below them a crystal clear stream ran across a natural dam of rocks and caused a low roaring noise. The spray was powerful enough to reach the bridge, but by the time it arrived it was more of a mist and it helped cool their sweaty teenage bodies.

"This is beautiful," Zak said, automatically taking Joey's hand as they stood looking down at the fast moving water.

"Yeah, who knew there was anything this cool?" Joey said squeezing Zak's hand and forgetting all about keeping up appearances.

When the other two boys arrived they took up a position on the other side of the bridge to balance things out as the little bridge swayed gently in the wind. Jake hadn't failed to notice the two boys holding hands, and though it was nothing new, it still bothered him. Why do I care? He wondered for the millionth time. I'm not in love with Zak and I'm not gay. Why do I care if he's found someone who makes him happy?

"Look, a fish," Carlos said pointing to something breaking the water a short distance away.

"Uh huh," Jake mumbled, "fishing is probably good here."

"I don't like fishing that much," Zak said more to Joey than to the others, "I'd rather go exploring and see neat stuff like this. Come on guys let's see what's on the other side."

On the far side of the bridge the trail let off into the forest and slowly climbed until they were several hundred feet above the stream below. At one point there was an overlook and they could see where they'd been a short time ago, and once again they were overtaken by the serene beauty of their surroundings.

There were large flat rocks here and Zak pulled Joey down and they sat side by side resting as Zak's two brothers checked out the view.

"Wish we could camp up here," Zak said laying a hand on Joey's leg and causing the boy to shiver.

"Yeah, you just want a private place to make out," Jake smirked, then regretted the tone of his voice.

"Well, it might be nice being alone for a change," Zak said ignoring his new brother's attitude.

"We could go for a little walk if you two want some alone time," Carlos suggested with a smile.

"Naw, that's okay," Zak said looking over at Joey and grinning, "we're fine really, and I want to see what's at the end of the trail.

Jake was relieved that Zak had refused Carlos' invitation for alone time, but he was still dealing with his feelings toward the two as they climbed the trail with Zak leading the way. The end of the trail was rather anticlimactic however, ending in a small parking lot at the top of the hill.

"Well, that sucks," Zak said frowning. People can actually drive up here and not have to walk so far."

"Yeah, but it was more fun coming up the other way," Joey reminded him.

They rested a while and passed around the bottle of water Carlos had thankfully brought, then started back down. On the bridge Zak and Joey paused once again, but Jake and Carlos went on ahead.

"I don't think Jake really likes me all that much," Joey said once again.

"Why do you say that? He doesn't say things to you when I'm not around does he?"

"No,'s not so much what he's his attitude...the way he looks at me sometimes, and I get the feeling he doesn't like me getting so close to you."

"That's silly," Zak said trying to convince himself as much as Joey, "why would he care? We're brothers, that's all. I'm over him and he never liked me that way anyway." Zak said, not sure he believed that to be true, at least not on his part.

"I don't know, it's just how I feel," Joey shrugged.

Zak looked back to see if Carlos and Jake were out of sight then leaned in and kissed Joey on the lips. It was a sweet kiss and it brought an instant smile to Joey's cute face.

"Have I told you lately that I love you?" Zak said blushing.

"Maybe, but I don't mind hearing it again. And I love you too."

"Good, so don't worry about Jake, okay. If he has a problem with us, that's his problem and not ours."

"Okay," Joey said leaning in for a second helping of Zak's lips, " have soft lips."

Pulling Joey against him, Zak kissed him harder, pressing himself against his lover urgently, and the end result was obvious from the tent in their shorts.

"Mmmm...we better go before we get carried away," Zak suggested as he adjusted his teenage affliction.

"Yeah," Joey giggled, "we might cause the bridge to collapse."

They were still laughing as they caught up with the other two and Jake threw them a suspicious look, but didn't speak. Carlos managed to carry the conversation for them all though, and by the time they got back to the cabin Jake seemed his usual cheerful self.

Carlos, like Joey, was aware of how Jake reacted when Zak and Joey were together, and though at first he had played it off to Jake just wanting to be protective of his new brother, he eventually began to wonder if it wasn't more from jealousy than concern. He'd talked with Jake about his feelings but he still wasn't sure what was going on. Was it possible Jake had feelings for Zak that were unresolved? The two had been closer than brothers before the breakup, and he knew from Zak's own confession that the two had messed around when they were younger. Was it possible Jake had feelings for Zak even then, but had been afraid of those feelings, and thus pulled away rather than deal with them?

"Carlos...bro. Earth to Carlos," Jake laughed.

"Oh, yeah...what?" Carlos said as Jake pulled him from his thoughts.

"I was askin' if you wanted a pop."

"Yeah, Root Beer."

They cooled off in the shade and drank their sodas, then went for another swim to pass the time and beat the heat. That evening Mr. Mason grilled steaks and they baked potatoes in foil in the coals. They ate like they were starved as they sat around the picnic table out back, then had cold watermelon for dessert. The boys were a sticky mess and went swimming once again to wash the watermelon juice off of them.

As they floated side by side in the water they talked about the day's activities and what lay ahead for the weekend. Zak and Joey were looking forward to bedtime, alone in their tent, but neither boy knew exactly what to expect. Would tonight be the night they finally took things to the next level, or was it still too soon?

Zak couldn't help but wonder what Joey was thinking. Was he as nervous? Did he want to go further as much as Zak did, or was he satisfied with the way things were? He tried to relax, telling himself that whatever happened would be fine, but by the time bedtime finally came he was still on pins and needles.

"I know you boys think you're clean after being in the lake all day, but I want you to shower off before you climb into your tents," Mrs. Mason said staring at the four boys with a serious look, "You can use the shower in the bathrooms or the one in the cabin."

The bathrooms were within walking distance of the cabin and open to all campers in the area. In addition to toilets and sinks there was a large walk in shower big enough for all four boys. At first they started out showering with their swimsuits on, but suddenly Zak had a brilliant idea.

If he stripped off his swimsuit he was sure he could get the others to follow his lead, and then he could finally get a peek at Joey's body. The fact that he'd also get to see Jake's and Carlos' body was just icing on the cake, but it was Joey's body he was most interested in.

"I got mud in my trunks," Zak lied as he pulled out the elastic and looked inside his trunks as if inspecting things, "I'm gonna pull em' off and wash them too," he announced, waiting for their reaction.

"You just want to get naked," Carlos joked, "but I guess you're right, we should probably wash out our trunks too," he said joining Zak as he began removing his trunks.

Joey took one look at Zak's naked body and blushed, but it didn't stop him from stripping off his own trunks. Zak's eyes went straight to Joey's recently uncovered parts and he felt a stirring in his own parts. He knew from the occasional lump in Joey's pants and the few times he'd felt it pressed against him that Joey was no light weight down there, but seeing it up close and in person was even more impressive.

"Well, Jake, you gonna join us or not?" Carlos taunted, "nothin' but us boys here."

"I'm...uh, okay. I'm done you guys," Jake said suddenly walking out of the shower leaving the other three to stare after him.

"What's wrong with him?" Zak asked, not taking his eyes off Joey's naked body.

"Not sure, but I think he might be a little shy, that's all," Carlos said trying to cover for him.

"Yeah, so am I...usually, but not around you guys," Joey said staring at first Zak, then Carlos.

Carlos' uncut cock peeked out from a bush of dark pubic hair and was larger than his own, though not by much. Joey knew he was above average in size, having compared himself to a few other boys in the showers at school and such, but he didn't think much about it. He liked how Zak's body looked and thought he looked just fine down there, and he was looking forward to getting a closer look later when they were alone.

Zak busied himself washing out his trunks and wringing them out and the other two followed suit, but they all had other things on their minds. Zak's joy of seeing Joey naked, and the thoughts that provoked, were suddenly pushed aside as he thought about the look on Jake's face as he bolted from the shower, and that tended to cool him down some. He could think of no reason that would make Jake act that way unless, unless he was jealous of Joey. No, that was silly, he decided. Jake was straight and he didn't like Zak that way, did he? Was it possible that he had feelings for him that he couldn't face, and now that Joey had come along he felt like he'd missed out? It was all too confusing to think about, so he put those thoughts aside and concentrated on Joey.

He was as lovely behind as he was in front, and Zak smiled knowing Joey was his, and that maybe, just maybe they'd finally get to do something more than just kissing or holding hands tonight.

"Well, you trunks are clean and so am I," Carlos said, then slipping the wet trunks back on, he left without fanfare.

"We're all alone," Zak said grinning as he moved closer to Joey.

"Yeah, uh...all alone," Joey said, his eyes locked on Zak's quickly stiffening member.

"You're big," Zak said looking down.

"Yeah, yours is nice too."

"Thanks, I uh...guess we should get dressed and get back...before someone comes in and catches us checking each other out," Zak laughed.

"Yeah, I guess..." Joey said making no attempt to do so.

"Just one kiss maybe," Zak suggested.

"Yeah, a kiss won't hurt."

They moved together and their lips met, then they became entangled in one another and their hard boy parts pressed together, growing even harder as the kiss progressed.

Pulling away, breathless and throbbing with anticipation, they looked into each others eyes.

"We should get dressed," Zak said once again.

"Yeah, okay...give me a minute. Right now I won't fit in my trunks," Joey laughed, and that got Zak to laughing, and soon they shrank enough to fit in their trunks.

"Where's Jake?" Zak asked as they met Carlos who was sitting on the front porch of the cabin and staring out at the lake.

"I saw him headed toward the lake as I was walking back to the cabin."

"Is he okay?" Zak wondered aloud.

"I don't know. He's a hard guy to figure out. I think he still has some things to work out. He's gone through a lot lately, what with his mom dying and coming to live with us."

"Yeah, I think I should go talk to him," Zak said eying Joey for his reaction.

"Maybe he just needs some time alone to think about things," Joey offered.

"I won't go if you don't want me to," Zak said looking at Joey tenderly, "but he's my bro."

"I know, yeah...go talk to him. I'll wait here with Carlos."

Zak found Jake sitting on a huge flat rock gazing out at the lake, and he paused only a moment before joining him.

"Hey," Zak said sitting down a few inches from Jake, "Nice out here, huh?"

"Yeah," Jake said not looking up.

"You okay?" Zak said, feeling a little uncomfortable at the moment.

"Yeah, sure...fine. Why wouldn't I be?"

"No reason. I just worry about you, that's all."

Jake laughed softly, but there was no humor in it, "I'm okay. You should be with Joey."

"He's okay. He understands," Zak said, not sure he understood himself.

"He's a nice kid. You two deserve each other."

"Yeah, he's cool."

"So...have you done the nasty yet?" Jake asked, causing Zak to blush.

"Naw, we're taking it slow." He didn't add that they were hoping tonight would be the night they took things further.

"That's good," Jake said picking up a flat stone and skimming it across the water. It skipped six times before sinking into the placid water.

"Good one," Zak said finding a stone and skipping it with a less than satisfactory result, "Aww..only three times."

"It's all in the wrist," Jake said demonstrating with another stone. This time skipping it 8 times.

"You've always been better at that. Heck, you've always been better than me at everything."

"Except expressing my feelings," Jake said before he could stop himself.

", what do you mean?"

"Oh, nothing. We should probably get back before they send the Coast Guard out to find us," Jake said starting to get up.

Zak placed his hand on Jake's arm suddenly and pulled him back down.

"Wait, can't we talk a little more?"

"About what?" Jake said allowing himself to be reseated.

"About your feelings for one thing. How do you feel? I know it's been rough, you losing your mom and then being forced to come live with us."

"Yeah, it's been a tough year, but the one good thing was coming to live with your family."

"We feel the same way and you're my bro now, so I worry about you."

"I'm fine, really."

"Okay, if you say so, but if you ever need to know I'm here for you, Carlos too."

"Yeah, you've both been great, your folks too..."

"Our folks," Zak reminded him, "they're your folks too now."

"Yeah, one big happy family," Zak said, but he didn't sound happy.

" this about me and Joey?"

"What?" Jake said sounding anxious, "What do you mean?"

"I don't know exactly, but sometimes I feel like you're not happy that Joey and I are together or something."

"That's whack dude. Why would I care? It's not like I'm in love with you or anything," he said, then looked away, afraid the look in his eyes would give him away. Afraid that Zak would see the truth, that he was in love with him, and that he was jealous of Joey.

"Of course not, but you do love me. We're bros and I know you worry about me. Maybe you think Joey isn't right for me or something. I don't know, that's why I'm asking."

"Joey is fine, he's a good kid. You two look good together. It's not that. I just got stuff on my mind, that's all."

"Okay, but promise me this...if you need help figuring things out you'll talk to me...or Carlos."

"Sure, no problem. I'm not gonna off myself or anything," Jake laughed, "Come on, let's get back. You and lover boy have a date in your tent," he added standing and offering Zak a hand up.

Zak stood, but the rocks were uneven and he stumbled, and if not for Jake catching him he might have fallen into the water. Pulling him upright, Jake held him in his strong arms, and for a moment their almost naked teenage bodies were pressed together in an almost erotic way.

Zak was aware of his heart beating loudly in his ears, and a stirring between his legs, and suddenly he had an overpowering urge to kiss his adopted brother.

Jake felt Zak's smooth warm flesh against him, his hands laced around his slender waist, and was aware of how close their faces were. He gazed into Zak's eyes and saw something there that excited and frightened him. Then he realized he was hard and he felt the blood go to his face as he flushed profusely.

"Thanks for saving me," Zak said making no move to pull away. Nor did Jake release his grip on the other boy.

"No problem. Wouldn't want my little bro falling in and drowning," Jake laughed.

"Yeah, well...we should probably get back..." and only then did Zak start to pull away.

"Uh, sure yeah," Jake said, but still he didn't release his hold on Zak.

Their faces were even closer now and the pounding in Zak's ears was even louder, not to mention the throbbing between his legs.

I should just pull away, Zak thought, and get back to Joey, but this feels so good being held like this. Is that what I think it is against my leg, is he hard too?


"Ummm, yeah."

"I know you don't feel that way about me, but I told you there were feelings I couldn't put away so easy. You holding me here like this...well, it's stirred up some of those feelings and if we don't get out of here pretty soon...well, I can't be responsible for what happens next."

"Like what, like this?" Jake said leaning down and kissing Zak on the lips. The kiss was sweet and tender and Zak swooned.

"Yeah," Zak whispered, "something like that," he said pressing his hardness against Jake's.

"We can't..." Jake gasped, "but it feels right."

"I know," Zak offered, unsure what to do, but unwilling to give up yet.

"I'm sorry I was such a jerk all that time. I guess...I guess I was just afraid of how I felt about you, about what it meant. That I might, you know, gay or something."

"Is that so bad?" Zak asked pulling away a little.

"I guess not. I mean it's fine for you, but I just couldn't admit that I felt that way too. I guess it was easier to deny my feelings and stay away than to hang around and figure things out. I'm so sorry that I hurt you, but now...I feel like it's too late. This can't work. You have Joey and we're bros now...there's no future for us."

"It's complicated, but there has to be a way," Zak said grasping at straws, "But I don't want to hurt Joey..."

"Neither do I. I meant it when I said he was a good kid."

"So, what can we do?"

"I don't know," Jake said, finally releasing his grip on Zak.

Once contact was broken the swelling between their legs began to subside, and it was if they'd been slapped back into reality. Zak stepped away and climbed back onto the path, trying to find the words to say next as he waited for Jake to join him.

"I don't know what just happened," Jake said trying to pull himself together, "but it was weird, right?"

"Uh, no...not weird, just complicated."

"Well, it's over...right?" Jake said sounding desperate for Zak to disagree.

"It can never be over as long as there are the two of us."

"Yeah, I guess, but what can we do?"

"I don't know, we'll just have to see what happens I guess."

"Okay, well...we should get back for real this time. I don't want Carlos finding us looking like we do. It has to show on our faces that we've been up to something."

"Yeah, Carlos would figure it out if anyone could," Zak laughed nervously, "Uh, maybe we should go back separately."

Fortunately it had gotten dark by the time Zak had joined Jake by the lake, but Carlos could see by the look on their faces that something major had happened between the two. Carlos was grateful that Joey had gone inside the cabin and hadn't been around to see what he had, but he feared that he'd know soon enough, and he didn't want to think about what that might mean.

He'd worried about this from the beginning, but he'd been helpless to do anything about it. He knew nature would take it's course no matter what, and he had always believed that Jake and Zak belonged together, and apparently nature believed so too.

Zak arrived first, trying to look innocent, and when he got within earshot of Carlos he called to him softly, hoping he didn't look as guilty as he felt.

"Hey, where is everyone?"

"Inside, Joey had to use the bathroom and he didn't want to use the public toilet. Where's Jake, he fall in?"

"Naw, he's coming. He's a slowpoke, that's all."

"Uh huh," Carlos said sounding distracted.

Jake appeared then, trying to act casual, but Carlos could see the guilt written all over his face.

"You should go find Joey, he's inside the cabin," Carlos said to Zak.

"Oh, yeah. I'll go see what he's up to."

When he was gone Carlos invited Jake to sit with him. At first Jake considered making some excuse to go inside, but he knew he couldn't hide from Carlos forever.

"You guys have a nice talk?"

"Yeah, you know. Zak is always worrying about me."

"Uh huh, well...that's because he loves you, a lot. Not just like a brother either. You know that right?"

Jake shrugged, "He told me that when we first made up."

"And how do you feel about him?"

"I don't know," Jake sighed, "If you had asked me that question yesterday, or the day before I might have said that I loved him like a brother, but today...I'm not sure."

"Really? So what's changed? Did something happen down there?"

"Why do you ask?" Jake asked looking down at his feet, "Does Joey suspect anything?"

"No, he was out back with mom and dad, and then he went inside."

"Well, we might have sort of...kissed, but it can't happen again, so I'm glad Joey doesn't know. I don't want to hurt anyone else. I've hurt enough people."

"Jake, bro, I know this isn't easy for you...discovering how you feel after all this time, but you can't hide from it."

"But what can I do? It's too late for us now. He has Joey, and we're brothers can we make things work out?"

"I don't know. I wish I had the answers, but I don't. All I know is that things have changed, again, and you can't undo what happened down there by the lake. Slowly but surely Zak will start figuring out some way to make it work, and if that means hurting Joey, well...he'll do what he has to do."

"I don't want him to hurt Joey," Jake whined.

"He's gonna get hurt, there's no way around that. The question is: do you break the news to him together or leave the dirty work to Zak?"

"What...what do you mean?"

"I think the two of you should talk to Joey, together, and tell him what's going on. Maybe you can soften the blow a bit that way."

"I don't even know if Zak wants that. He might want to be with Joey. He got over me once, he can do it again."

"He's never gotten over you," Carlos laughed, "he just figured there was no way he could have you and he moved on. Now...right or wrong, you've given him hope that he might have what he's always wanted and there is no way he will be happy till he gets it."

"Damn, why do I keep messing up Zak's life?" Jake whined.

"I don't think that's how he feels about it. I think fate, or karma, or whatever, has decided that you two should be together, and though it may not be easy, I think it's going to be worth all the pain and hard work once it happens."

"Boys," Mr. Mason yelled from the door of the cabin, "your mom has fixed some fresh lemonade, you boys want a glass?

"Coming dad," Carlos said standing and offering Jake a hand up, "Come on, I'm thirsty, we'll talk later."

They took their lemonade outside and the four boys and two adults sat on the porch and enjoyed the cooling temperature as they sipped the delicious drinks.

"Good stuff mom," Zak said, "not too sour, not too sweet."

"Yeah, it's very good," Joey said grinning, "thanks Mrs. Mason."

"You're welcome sweety. Are you having a good time this weekend?'

"The best, it's been so much fun. I really like being outdoors and all. Back in California we never did anything like this. It's so cool."

"We don't do this kind of stuff often enough, but maybe now we will," Mr. Mason said, "I love just getting away from the rat race and communing with nature."

"Yeah, in an air conditioned cabin," Jake teased, and they all laughed.

Beside Zak, Joey was pressing his leg into Zak's and running his bare foot against his. It caused goosebumps and felt very naughty, especially with his folks so close by, but it was darker now and he figured they couldn't see from their spot on the porch swing.

Despite his concern over what had happened with Jake, Zak found himself excited by Joey's furtive touches, and felt a stirring between his legs once more. Did he dare think he could have both, Joey and Jake? No, that would never work, he loved Joey, but he was in love with Jake and always had been. But how could he be with Jake and not hurt Joey?

Eventually the two adults went inside leaving the boys alone and Joey laid his hand on Zak's leg and looked into his eyes and smiled.

"Wanna go swimming again?" Joey asked suddenly, hoping to get Zak alone.

"In the dark?" Zak asked looking amused.

"Yeah, we can skinny dip," Joey giggled.

"Wow, suddenly you're not so shy anymore," Zak laughed.

"Well, we've all seen each other naked already," he said, not mentioning that Jake had been the only one not to expose himself earlier in the shower, "and it will be dark anyway."

"Yeah, I'm in," Jake said suddenly causing Zak to look his way.

"Yeah, sure, why not?" Zak said, "You in Carlos?"

"Sure little brother. But I should tell mom and dad where we're going, just in case."

While Carlos went inside to put up their glasses and tell their folks where they were going, the other three boys stood and stretched. The sexual tension between Jake and Zak was so thick you could cut it with a knife, but Joey seemed oblivious as he clung to Zak and gave his body a good looking over. Soon Carlos returned though, and they were off to the lake.

"Those boys are having the time of their lives," Mr. Mason sighed.

"Oh how I envy them," Mrs. Mason said after hearing what the boys were up to.

"You want to go skinny dipping too?" Mr. Mason laughed.

"You think that's what they're up to?"

"Yeah, I bet the swimsuits come off pretty quickly once they get there."

"Yeah, I suppose that would be the natural thing to do. Well, I'm sure they'll be worn out and ready for bed by the time they get back, so we might as well head off to bed ourselves," Mrs. Mason said grabbing her husband's hand.

"So early?" he chuckled, "Are you sleepy or is this a lewd proposal?"

"Well, come on and you'll find out," she said tugging at his arm as she stood.

As soon as the boys got to the lake, Joey was the first to shed his swimsuit. He was right though, in the darkness little could be seen, and so no one really had any inhibitions about getting naked, not even Jake.

The water was still warm from the days sun, but there were pockets of cool water that caused shivers and goose bumps on the boys' legs when they encountered them. They had feared there might be others swimming nearby, maybe the teens they'd seen earlier, but so far they seemed to be alone.

Joey and Zak floated close together while Jake gravitated toward Carlos, who was watching Joey and Zak in what could only be described as an intimate situation. Their hands were beneath the water, out of sight, but it was obvious there was some touching going on from the serious looks on their faces.

"They're playing touchy feely beneath the water, aren't they?"

"I suppose it's only natural," Carlos said softly, "there is something about being naked that causes horny teenage boys to do that."

"Yeah, I guess. Do you think he's already forgotten about what happened...?"

Carlos laughed, "No, not by a long sight, but he's caught up in the moment. He has feelings for Joey too, and you'll just have to accept that he might do more than just hold hands with Joey tonight."

"I know, and that's okay. I mean, it's just sex...right?"

"Just sex?" Carlos laughed, "Yeah, I guess."

"Hey, you guys. What are you talking about over there?" Zak suddenly shouted.

"You," Carlos laughed."

"Aww...come on over here and I'll show you what I think about talking about people behind their back."

Carlos and Jake joined the two would be lovers and soon they were frolicking and playing grab ass in the cooling water of the lake. A couple of times Jake felt a hand on his junk, but he wasn't sure who's hand, or if it was an accident or intentional. Fortunately the cool water was keeping his level of excitement under control down there and he didn't worry too much about popping a boner. That is not until Zak jumped him, trying to dunk him. They struggled and Zak went under, but instead of popping back up he lingered beneath the water, and suddenly reached over and grabbed hold of Jake's bobbing boy stuff.

It was a shock at first, but Zak's touch was more than casual, and soon Jake's excitement began to show. As his excitement swelled Zak had more to hang on to, and if not for having to come up for air, he might have done more than just give it a good feeling up.

Gasping for breath as he wiped the water from his eyes, he stared at Jake with a shit-eating grin on his face, "That will teach you to dunk me," he laughed.

"Why you little jerk," Jake laughed, "Time to get even," he said disappearing beneath the water, and suddenly Zak felt Jake's hand wrapped around his quickly growing boyhood.

Zak was breathless once again and it didn't take long before Jake had quite a handful of warm slippery flesh.

Finally surfacing, Jake bobbed in front of Zak and grinned, "There, now we're even."

"What are you guys doing?" Joey said pulling away from Carlos who had been keeping him entertained.

"Playing dunk the jerk," Zak said swimming off to meet Joey, his erection quickly subsiding.

"You can dunk me," Joey offered, "I won't even fight ya'."

"What's the fun if you don't put up a fight?" Zak laughed, "Come on, let's get out. I'm getting cold."

Wading to shore, the two boys grabbed a towel and began to dry off. Soon Jake and Carlos joined them and they talked softly as they dried off as best they could.

"This is so cool," Joey said, "swimming naked and being out in the woods."

"Yeah, it's nice out here," Zak said taking his towel and drying Joey's back. Despite his infatuation with Jake he was still excited by Joey and felt the need to touch him whenever he could.

"Think we should shower again?" Zak asked when he had finished drying Joey's back.

"I feel pretty clean," Jake said breaking his silence.

"Yeah, I agree," Carlos said wrapping his towel around his waist and grabbing his trunks.

The others followed suit and soon all four towel clad boys were headed back up the path. The walk back to the cabin was uneventful and by the time they reached the cabin they could see that the lights were off.

"Guess mom and dad are already in bed, old folks!" Zak laughed.

"In bed doesn't mean sleeping," Carlos chuckled, "I think the fresh air has been good for their love life."

"OH, you think they're...?" Joey said blushing.

"Yeah, probably," Jake muttered, "I guess it's something in the air," he said giving Zak a knowing look.

After hanging up their trunks the boys retired to their tents to find some clothes and soon reappeared in shorts, but still shirtless. It was too warm to wear much in the way of clothing and none of them had even bothered with underwear.

They sat on the wide porch, Joey and Zak huddled close and Carlos and Jake on either side of the couple. Soon it would be cool enough for the boys to retire to their tents, but for now they were content to just sit and enjoy the evening air and each others company.

"I don't know about you guys, but I'm a little hungry," Carlos said after a while, "what say we go inside and see what we can find to snack on."

"Okay, but can we take it to our tents?" Zak said, anxious to get Joey alone all of a sudden.

"Sure, I don't think there are any bears nearby," Carlos chuckled.

"Bears?" Joey said nervously, "Are there bears around here?"

"Naw, he's just pulling your leg, come on, let's grab some eats and some pops."

With their snack in hand the four boys headed off to their tents which were strategically placed about twenty feet from the cabin and about six feet apart.

"Well goodnight you two," Carlos said, fighting the urge to tease them about what they might be up to later in their tent.

"Night," Zak said grinning, "Come on Joey. I brought my Gameboy and we can play a few games before the battery runs down."

"Night guys," Jake said, wishing he was the one crawling in the tent with Zak.

"Night big bro," Zak said casually.

Jake frowned, more confused than ever. Had Zak already forgotten about what had happened earlier between them?

Once inside the tent Joey quickly shucked his shorts and Zak followed his lead. Now that they'd seen each other naked, the mystery was gone and they were free to check each other out without any embarrassment.

"Wow, you got a nice one," Zak said cutting right to the chase.

"Thanks, you too," Joey said grinning, "You know? Touch it if you want."

"Oh, okay..." Zak said blushing, "and you can touch mine too."

Scooting a bit closer they shyly reached for each other's stiffening member, and by the time their hands had found their targets, the stiffness was at maximum.

"Wow, it's so big," Zak said eyes wide and mouth forming a soft O.

"Thanks," Joey said blushing, "but it's not that much bigger than yours."

"Want to compare em'?" Zak said excitedly.

"Yeah, do we do it?"

On their knees facing each other, a hand holding their stiff members straight out, they scooted together until Joey's wet tip touched the soft hair of Zak's pubis.

"Hmmm...yours is about a half inch longer, and it's fatter," Zak said squeezing the two together and causing a most pleasant sensation in both boys.

"Uh...huh...yeah, oh man...that feels good...."

"What? Oh...yeah," Zak laughed, "It feels good having our dicks together like this. Is this okay?"

"Yeah, it's fine...but be careful..cause oh...oh...shit...too late," Joey gasped as a thin rope of almost clear liquid shot from the swollen slit of his hard cock and was absorbed into Zak's sparse pubic hair.

Another lesser spurt joined the first, then a third that just oozed from the piss slit and was absorbed into Zak's pubes as well.

"Sorry," Joey said when he had recovered a bit, " did it too," he laughed noticing the wetness on his own pubic patch and groin.

"Yeah, as soon as I saw you shoot I went too. It was intense too. Good, really good. Not bad for a first time, right?"

"No, it was awesome really," Joey said grinning, "Uh, here," he said grabbing one of the wet towels they'd forgotten to hang up, "I'll clean us up."

Once that was done the boys remembered their snack and were busy with that as they came down from their first ever mutual orgasm.

Next door in their own tent Carlos munched on a cookie as he studied Jake carefully.

"You okay bro, you look sick or something?"

"Naw, I'm fine."

"Thinkin' about what's goin' on next door, aren't ya'?"

"I...okay, maybe a little."

"Yeah, me too," Carlos sighed, "cause the more those two do, the more attached they'll get and that will make it harder when Zak finally has to make a decision."

"Then maybe I should keep him from having to make a decision," Jake said looking sad.

"What do you mean? Oh bro, you're not thinking about telling him it was all bullshit and you're not interested in him that way are you? Cause if you are, it will kill him, and I will kill you," Carlos said raising his voice for the first time with his newest brother.

"Calm down, I'm just thinking maybe I should tell him that he can't hurt Joey like that, that it wouldn't be fair, and that if it doesn't work out with Joey, I'll wait for him."

"You really think he wants to wait any longer for you?"

"I...I don't know, but I know he can't just dump Joey like that either. He's too nice a guy and he would never do that to anyone. And...well, he can't have both of us at the same time, so I figured if I just said I'd wait then he could see where this thing with Joey goes and we'd be cool."

"I don't know. My fear is that Joey is going to figure things out and get hurt anyway. There is no easy way out of this, but I do know one and Zak belong together. I have always thought so and I still think it's gonna happen...eventually."

"I hope so, but I've already caused enough grief. Why can't things be easier?" he lamented, "I'm such a fuck up at times."

"Naw, bro, you're just a me, like Zak, like Joey, and kids make mistakes, but it takes a man to fix things."

"I don't feel much like a man right now," Jake said sighing.

"Bro, don't sell yourself short. You're a good dude and your heart is in the right last. It may not be easy, but eventually things are gonna work out."

"Have you given any thought to the fact that we're brothers now?" Jake said worriedly, "What if mom and dad found out?"

"You think you'd be the first two steps to ever fall in love. Anyway, you were friends long before you were brothers. Trust me, our folks will not freak when they find out."

"When? Not if? You think they have to know then?"

"You can't be in love and not show it. Let's face it, they pretty much had you two figured out back then, and after the break up they had to know what happened, even though they never talked about it."

"I feel confused right now. Part of me wants to go over there and drag Zak's cute ass out of that tent and kiss him all over, and another part of me wants to go hide somewhere."

Carlos laughed, "Sorry, I was just visualizing you dragging Zak out of the tent and kissing him all over. I bet he'd like that."

"Grrr...don't make fun of me," Jake growled, but he was grinning.

"Hey, how bout' a three way," Carlos joked, "Joey thinks you're pretty cute too."

"Huh, you serious?" then seeing that Carlos was only teasing he relaxed, "I'm not sure I could share him like that."

"You'll always have his heart," Carlos said smiling, "the rest is just...getting off."

"Huh, you mean the sex? Yeah, I guess...but I want that part of him too...and I don't want to share that."

"I feel for you bro, I really do. I just wish you had figured all this out before Joey came along. Now, we have to figure out how to make this work with the least amount of hurt for everyone involved."

"Thanks for listening to me...and for understanding. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have someone to talk to about this."

"Welcome, little bro. Come here, let me give you a hug," Carlos said holding out his strong arms.

At first Jake was reluctant to take comfort from his big brother, but eventually he gave in and swarmed into his arms. It was then that the tears began.

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