The Secret Life of Nerds

by Rob Warr

Chapter 1

The Bet

"You want me to do what?" Kevin said slightly rising in his seat at the lunch table where he sat with his three potential new friends.

"We want you to pick a nerd, any nerd," Thomas said holding his arms wide, "and make friends with him."

"And, be his friend for 30 days. That is your initiation into the group," Roger added.

"Soooo.... Is this something you guys did?"

"No, of course not," Terry said, leaning in to grab a fry from Kevin's tray, "We've always been together, no need for us to prove ourselves."

"Hey, eat your own fries," Kevin laughed, as he swatted Terry's hand away.

"So let me get this straight: all I have to do is make friends with this kid, this nerd, and be his friend for 30 days? And then I'm in?"

"Xactly," Thomas said making a goofy face, "Think about it Kev, we could make you do something really embarrassing or risky, but this is easy. A piece of cake. So what do you say? Wanna hang with the big boys?"

"I guess, sounds easy enough. Soooo, how long do I have to find this guy?"

" about a week? Next Monday at lunch you can tell us all about it. And Kev, pick a good one," Thomas laughed.

After lunch Kevin thought about the initiation and how simple it sounded. Only he'd never been that great at making friends, and that was partly the reason he wanted to be part of the group. This was his first year in middle school and he didn't know anyone. He knew there was safety in numbers, and the quicker he found a group of guys to hang with the safer things would be.

John F. Kennedy Middle School was like most middle schools in most towns, it had its share of bullies, nerds, skaters, dopers and losers, and regular kids just like him, who were just trying to fit in, and if it took making friends with a nerd to do that, then that was what he'd do.

As he sat in Math class that afternoon he looked around to see if there were any likely candidates nearby. Fortunately he didn't have to look far. On the front row, three seats in front of him, and two seats to his right, sat Philip McKinney. Philip was your typical nerd, smart, quiet, an avid reader, a chess player, and a loner. Kevin knew he was smart, for the short time they'd been in the same math class, he'd seen the boy raise his hand at the hardest questions, and he always had the right answer. He also noted that the boy never made eye contact with anyone except the teacher, Mr. Feinstein.

As if he could feel Kevin's eyes upon him, Philip suddenly turned and looked Kevin's way. Then seeing Kevin's peering eyes, he quickly blushed and turned away.

Kevin nodded, a contented smile on his face as he realized, he'd found his nerd. Now to put his plan to work.

When the bell rang Kevin bolted from his seat and made sure he was waiting outside as Philip exited the classroom.

"Hey, uh..hi, uh Philip. I'm Kevin. I was wondering if I could talk to you for a minute?"

Seeing the look of fear on Phillip's face made Kevin feel bad. He'd never bullied anyone, and in fact had often been the brunt of bullies. Thus the reason he was trying to join the group. He decided this wasn't going to be easy. That he'd have to be really careful and not scare Philip away.

"Sorry didn't mean to scare you," Kevin said in as gentle a voice as he could muster, "I uh, I'm just having some trouble with the math assignment we were given today. I couldn't help but notice that you seem to be really good in math, and I was hoping maybe...well, that maybe you could help me," Kevin said, giving Phillip a pleading look.

"I suppose so," Philip said in a shaky voice, "but right now I have to get to class."

"Oh sure, totally...I understand. Me too, but I was hoping maybe after school, uh...on the bus, you could help me." The fact that Philip rode the same bus was a big plus too.

" you know which bus I ride?" Phillip said, sounding worried.

"I've seen you a couple of times, that's all. So, what do you think, can you help me?"

"Sure, okay, but I really have to go now."

"Yeah, me too. Sorry I kept you, and thanks. I'll see you on the bus, okay Philip?" Kevin said, giving Philip what he thought of as his best smile.

In PE he gave the good news to the other guys, "Hey guys, I found my guy."

"Oh," Terry giggled," I didn't know you liked guys."

Terry was outwardly gay, and everyone knew it, and because he was part of the group no one gave him any grief over it.

"Very funny," Kevin said laughing, "I meant my nerd. His name is Philip, and he's in my math class."

"Philip McKinney?" Thomas asked,"Oh man, you picked the King of the nerds. He moved here last year and I went to 6th grade with him. He actually wore a pocket protector till some kid took it away from him," Thomas laughed.

"He that kid with the dorky looking glasses?" Roger asked laughing. "I heard he's a real brain."

"Unlike someone else I know," Terry said punching Roger in the arm.

"Oww...for a homo you punch pretty hard," Roger said rubbing his arm.

"Shut the fuck up!" Terry said getting red in the face. Then giving Roger a seething look, he stomped off.

"What's his problem?" Roger grumbled.

"You called him a homo," Thomas said shaking his head," you know he hates that word."

"Damn, he must be on his period."

"Roger, shut the fuck up," Thomas said walking away.

Kevin hesitated only a second and followed Thomas' lead. Of the three boys, he liked Roger the least. Obviously Thomas was the leader, but he was smart and fair, and so far Kevin hadn't heard him say one bad thing about anyone. He liked Terry too. Not that he was gay, but he found Terry's personality to be refreshing and funny. He'd never known an openly gay person before, but after meeting Terry, he decided they were just like everyone else. They had their ups and downs, their own fears and phobias, but in the end, they were just like regular people.

While shooting baskets, Kevin saw Roger approach Terry and begin talking. He watched with interest as they interacted, then suddenly they bumped fists, high-fived, and ran off together to the gym floor.

Later he mentioned what he'd seen to Thomas, and Thomas laughed. "Those two are always fighting. They've been friends forever. Wanna' know what I think? I think Roger is hot for Terry. When they were younger, before puberty hit, they used to mess around. Then one day Terry justcut Roger off," Thomas laughed, "I think that was when Terry finally figured it out...that he was gay."

"Seriously? Dude, you think Roger is gay too?"

"Nah, not gay...just horny, " Thomas laughed, "But I do know he'd do just about anything for Terry."

"I've never known a gay person before," Kevin confessed, "but I think...Terry is really cool. I Like him a lot, but not that way," Kevin chuckled.

"Too bad," Thomas said slipping his arm around Kevin's shoulder, "we been trying to find Terry a boyfriend since school started."

"Uh, Is Terry the only gay kid in the whole school?"

"Huh? Are you kidding? There's over 500 kids here, and the boys outnumber the girls. So if you figure that roughly 10% of the population is either gay or bi, then there should be a couple dozen guys who are gay."

"10%? Is that for real? So....Terry is the only one who is out?"

"That we know of. I mean there may be some other kids, but Terry is afraid to look."

"Why is that? You would think that being out and all it would be easy for him to find someone."

"I don't know. Maybe you should talk to him about it. But you got one thing right, he is a good guy."

On the bus, Kevin took his usual seat toward the back and waited for Philip. Fortunately the bus was never completely full, and most times he sat alone. Today was no exception, and when he saw Philip appear at the front of the bus he stood and waved to him.

Philip seemed to take a deep breath as he made his way toward Kevin, his eyes on the floor the whole time. Only when he finally reached Kevin's seat did he finally look up.

"Hey," Kevin said in a friendly voice, "Window seat or aisle?"

"Oh, it doesn't matter," Philip said softly.

Kevin scooted over to the window seat and allowed Phillip to sit down beside him before he began pawing through his backpack in search of his math book.

"Thanks a lot for helping me," Kevin said glancing over at Philip, "I usually don't have this much trouble, but math this year is a lot harder. I guess they didn't do a very good job in sixth grade of preparing us for middle school," he joked.

"Okay, well...why don't we work the problems at the end of the chapter? I'll show you how, then you can work some, and if you have any questions or need any help I'll be right here."

For the first time since he'd met Philip he looked the boy over. Beneath the horn-rimmed glasses and thestylish haircut was a face that was actually cute. His eyes were green, Kevin noted, and his eyebrows and eyelashes were thick, accenting those eyes. His lips were full and rosy, his teeth appeared to be perfect, and Kevin noticed he even had dimples.

His body was slim, but not skinny, and he seemed to have some muscle definition in his arms and legs. From what Kevin could see, in most ways, Philip was just an ordinary boy. This sudden realization reminded Kevin that despite their differences, most kids were the same inside. Just as he'd discovered that Terry, despite being gay, was no different than most other kids, he'd discovered that Philip, the nerd, was just a boy like him.

The truth was Kevin was actually quite good at math and really didn't need Phillip's help, but this was a way to get into Philip's world. As they leaned in together across Kevin's math book, Kevin was aware of two things, the heat coming off Philip's body, and his unique scent. Both he found pleasant and strangely exciting.

He'd recently began to experience some of the first signs of puberty, including sprouting hair in strange places and a growing penis which stiffened at the most embarrassing times. He'd done his share of experimenting with boys his age when he was younger, but had always considered himself to be straight. Lately though as his hormones had began to give him fits, he'd begun to think about both boys and girls in a sexual way. It was all sort of confusing, and meeting Terry had only made things more confusing. Even though Terry never talked about having sex, he exuded self confidence and seemed happy with his sexual persuasion.

He knew the mechanics of gay sex and had even practiced a few of the moves himself, when he was younger, but could he bring himself to do those things that he was older? And what about the butt stuff? He'd never had any desire to do anything like that when he'd messed with other boys, but then he wasn't sure all gay boys did that. Maybe some only did the dick stuff, but kissing was probably part of it, and he didn't know how he'd feel about kissing another boy. Heck, except for a peck on the cheek he'd never even kissed a girl before, so he was certainly no expert on the subject. It was all very confusing and the hormone monster wasn't helping.

Like most boys, he'd discovered that touching himself was pleasurable, but not until he was introduced to masturbation by an older neighbor boy did he realize just how pleasurable it could be. Once Pandora was out of the box, so to speak, there was no putting her back. Masturbation became Kevin's favorite thing to do, and once puberty set in he found himself obsessed with his stiff penis. It was not unusual for Kevin to masturbate 2 or 3 times a day, and sometimes more. He supposed it was normal, but with no close friends to talk to about those things, he floundered in a sea of hormones.

"Uh Kevin?"

"What, oh...sorry," Kevin said blushing as he was pulled out of his thoughts and back to reality.

"Do you want to try one now?"

"Sure..." Kevin didn't want to give away the fact that he actually knew how to do the problem so he kept asking questions as he worked it and Philip answered them patiently. Kevin had to admit, Philip had a way of explaining things that was actually better than most of his past teachers, and his patience seemed inexhaustible. "Oh, yeah...I see. Man you explain things really good," Kevin said grinning.

"Well," Philip said softly.


"I explain things well, not good," Philip said blushing and looking stricken. He'd wanted Kevin to like him and now he was acting like a total spazz and correcting his grammar.

"Oh, yeah, I always get those two mixed up," Kevin said grinning.

Philip managed a smile. He wasn't mad at all, was it possible Kevin liked him? No, that was crazy. First of all they'd just met, and secondly Kevin was one of the cool kids. He'd seen him hanging out with the other cool kids, and there was no way he'd want to be friends with someone like him. That was probably why he'd wanted to meet on the bus. He knew none of those other cool kids rode that bus, and the kids who did wouldn't think much about it. No, he was sure Kevin was interested in only one thing, getting help with his math. And eventually, Philip reasoned, he'd either catch on, and no longer need his help, or he'd decide Philip could do his math homework for him. As bad as that was, Philip reasoned, if that happened at least he'd get to see Kevin once in a while outside of class. He blushed at the thought of that and felt a strange stirring in his stomach and a bit lower.

"Is this one right?" Kevin asked looking up from his work.

"Ummm...almost, this should be negative instead of a positive though."

"Oh, yeah, duh," he said grinning as he hit himself in between the eyes with the palm of his hand. Truth was he'd made the mistake on purpose so Philip would continue to help him.

Kevin worked a couple more problems, making minor mistakes, and Philip patiently corrected him, then Kevin did the last few correctly to show that Philip was doing a good job of teaching.

"Those are perfect, I think you're getting the hang of it now."

"Thanks to you. You really know how to explain things."

"Well, I didn't do that much. You seem to have a good grasp of the concepts and you learn quickly. I enjoyed our session very much," Philip said blushing. Why did I have to say that? Philip lamented to himself. Now he'll think I'm a complete idiot.

"Actually so did I," Kevin said smiling warmly, "you know, there's an exam Monday and I could really use some help studying for it. I don't suppose you'd consider coming to my house and studying with me after school on Friday?"

"I...really? You want me to come to your house?" Philip asked in disbelief. This had to be some kind of trick. Maybe he and those other boys he hung out with were going to do something to him if he showed up. He'd heard about the things some of the so called cool kids did to kids like him and he trembled a little, but would be a way to find out if Kevin really liked him or just wanted his help.

"I'd have to ask my parents. If they say no would you be agreeable to coming to my house instead?" Philip said, thinking himself clever. If Kevin was trying to set him up then this would surely wreck his plans.

"Either way is fine by me. Hey, by the way where do you live?"

Philip couldn't believe his ears, had Kevin, cool Kevin, actually agreed to come to his house? He was so busy processing that tidbit of information that he almost missed Kevin's question, and it took him a moment to respond.

"I, umm, live on Hope Street, across from the park."

"No way," Kevin said grinning, "We're practically neighbors, I live on Cherry, that's only two streets over." Kevin thought it odd that he'd never seen Philip in the neighborhood before, but then figured that Philip probably wasn't much of an outdoor person. Added to that, was the fact that Thomas had said he'd only lived in the neighborhood since last year.

"This is my stop," Philip said as the bus lurched to a halt.

"Our stop," Kevin laughed as he gathered up his things, "how did I not know this before?"

Philip shrugged, but he knew the answer: cool guys like Kevin didn't notice nerds like him.

"Have a good evening boys," Mrs. Malloy said as they exited the bus.

"Thank you Mrs. Malloy," Philip said politely, prompting Kevin to reply as well.

"Yeah, too," Kevin said, trying to sound enthusiastic.

On the sidewalk Philip stood nervously waiting for, for what he didn't know. Fortunately Kevin took charge.

"Come on, I'll walk you home. That way I can see which house is yours. It's on my way anyway."

"Oh, okay," Philip said, his heart beating unreasonably fast in his chest. Am I ill? he wondered, Am I having a heart attack? My palms are all sweaty, and I feel hot, and my stomach feels like it's full of butterflies.

"So do you ever go to the park? I mean, since it's so close."

"Occasionally," Philip said, although the truth was, he'd only been there once and hadn't stayed long.

"Cool. Hey maybe if we get through studying in time we could hang out in the park a little while. I mean if your folks let me come over, or whatever."

"That would be fine, if we have time." Philip said without commitment.

"Cool, so what do you do for fun Philip?"

"Well, I like video games, and music," Philip said, opening up more and more to Kevin as he got to know him better, "and I collect books."

"Books? Like just any books, or special ones?"

"Only hard cover books. I don't bother with paperbacks. Someday, when I'm grown, I hope to have enough books to fill my own home library for my children," Philip said blushing. Other than his parents he had never told anyone about this particular dream, and now that he had, he fully expected Kevin to laugh out loud or take off running.

"That's so cool," Kevin said sincerely. He liked books too, maybe not as well as Philip, but he could certainly respect Philip's intentions. But there was something else revealed here, and Kevin wanted to explore that area next, "So, you want to get married someday...and have kids?"

"Of course," Philip said stiffly, "My parents fully expect that of me."

"Wait, so you only want to get married and have kids cause your folks want you to?"

"Well, of course if I meet the right girl, I'm sure it would, nice," he said blushing.

Kevin laughed and pounded him gently on the back, "You dog you, chasin' the ladies already."

"Aren't you?" Philip asked, then looked stricken, then pulling away a little he stuttered, "I mean of course you are, I didn't mean to imply..."

Kevin raised an eyebrow, "Imply what? That I don't like girls?" Kevin said, trying to sound offended, but seeing the frightened look on the boy's face he cracked a smile, "Can I be honest with you Phil? Can I call you Phil? Philip sounds sooo for..mal?"

"Yesss...thaat wou..would be fine," Philip said shivering with fear and disgust at himself. He had ruined everything by saying what he had...he was sure of it. And yet...Kevin wanted to give him a nickname. This was all too confusing.

"Okay, first of all...Phil, relax dude. You are way too uptight. What I was gonna' say was: the truth is Phil, this whole boy girl thing is kind of confusing, and I don't know exactly what to think about it. I mean I think it's really cool that you already know that's what you want, to get married and have kids, but dude, I don't even know how I feel about girls yet." Kevin couldn't believe he was admitting his most private feelings, but he supposed Phil wasn't the kind of boy who would go around spreading tales.

Phil actually smiled, "I can understand that Kevin, I'm a little confused myself, but after all...we're only 12."

"Yeah, tell that to my hormones," Kevin mumbled, and Phil actually guffawed a little, covering his mouth and looking at Kevin with wide-open eyes.

"Oh, so I don't guess you have that problem Mr. Smart Guy," Kevin said grinning as he attacked Phil and tickled him.

At first Phil was scared, then realizing Kevin was just being playful, he giggled in a very un-Philip-like way. He'd never had anyone just treat him like a normal boy, and while it was confusing, it was also...enjoyable. It was as if he suddenly realized what he'd missed out on all those years just being a smart kid. He'd never had a best friend, never been to a sleep-over, or been invited to a birthday party, and while none of that had ever bothered him before, or seemed important, suddenly he wanted all those things and more. He wanted a friend. Did he dare think Kevin could be that friend?

Kevin stopped tickling Phil, and they continued their trek to Phil's house. Soon they would be there, and Kevin would leave him, and that made Philip sad. Ignorance is bliss, and until now Philip hadn't known what he was missing.

"Kevin?" Phil said so softly that Kevin could scarcely hear him.

"What Philster?" Kevin laughed, coining yet another nickname for his new pal.

"Do, want to come in for a little while when we get to my house?" As soon as the words left his mouth, Phil felt like crawling in a hole somewhere. Of course someone as cool as Kevin wouldn't want to hang out with someone as lame as him.

"Sure, is your mom home?" Kevin said easily, "If she is maybe we can ask her about the study date."

Date? Phil almost swooned at the sound of that, for despite his plans to marry and father children, he wasn't even sure he liked girls. But lately he'd begun to notice other boys in a whole new way. Kevin was one of those boys, and Phil thought he was handsome, and sometimes just seeing him caused that hot thumpy feeling in his tummy. And now, here he was right beside him, talking to him like a regular kid, revealing his secrets, and...tickling him. Phil was almost giddy, he was so overjoyed.

"Yes, she is always home. She doesn't work. My father is a Doctor and provides for us," Philip said, then again regretted his words. That had sounded a bit arrogant and not "cool" at all.

"Cool, what kind of doctor?" Kevin said looking impressed.

"He's an Orthopedic Surgeon at St. Marks," Philip added, suddenly feeling very proud of his father.

"Wow, cool," Kevin said, "so does he buy you lots of cool stuff?"

Phil shrugged, "I have everything I need, a computer, a gaming system, my instruments, and my sound system. And of course my books."

"Sound system?"

"I like music...a lot, so I have invested a lot of money in a quality sound system. I have a 100 watt amplifier, a CD player, and two turntables for vinyl records. They're making a comeback you know? The warmth and richness of the sound with vinyl excels all other recording my opinion."

Kevin was genuinely impressed. At home he had an I-pod loaded with digital music, and ear buds were the only way he ever listened to it. Apparently there was a lot more to Phil than met the eye.

"Cool, maybe you can show me your...sound system and play me some music. Uh, what kind of music do you like?"

"Well, as you might have guessed, I like the classics, but...I also like other types of music, including rock n' roll, alternative, and...and please don't laugh, disco and dance."

"Why would I laugh? I like all those things too, well...maybe not classical so much, but some of it."

"This is my house," Phil said as they came to a sprawling two story house that looked out of place in this middle to upper income neighborhood.

The house actually occupied two lots, and featured a three car garage and circle drive with a porte cochre. A BMW convertible sat beneath the porte co-chre and Kevin whistled appreciably. From where they stood, Kevin could see a wrought iron fence in the back and a large pool surrounded by a cement deck.

"This is the house that banker guy used to live in," Kevin said excitedly. He'd passed by it many times on his way to the park, and a couple of times he'd even dared to look through the fence. In addition to the pool, there were manicured gardens, and lots of trees with a gazebo smack in the middle.

"Holy cow, you have your own pool. Do you even swim?" Kevin asked, then felt bad for assuming that Phil wasn't athletic enough for such a simple thing.

"Actually, it's the one athletic endeavor I am adept at. I...even considered going out for the swim team this year, but I changed my mind," Philip said sheepishly.

"Why's that?"

There was no way Philip could tell him the truth, that he was afraid to be around all those other cute boys in various states of undress. The small swimsuits they wore concealed very little, and Philip was afraid he would become aroused and be the brunt of the others jokes or worse, be labeled a Fairy.

"I was afraid it would interfere with my studies, and my parents expect a lot of me academically."

"Too bad, I bet you could do both. Can we go in?" Kevin said, eying the house almost hungrily.

"Of course, where are my manners?" Philip blushed, "Follow me."

From a gold chain around his neck, Philip produced a door key and opened the ornate heavy wooden door beneath the porte co-chre and led Kevin inside. Kevin's eyes darted left and right, taking in the grandeur of the place, and whistled appreciably.

"Wow, this place looks like a museum or something," Kevin chuckled, "solid wood and tapestries everywhere, and that spiral staircase looks like something out of a movie."

"I guess I've never really looked at it that way before," Philip said, cocking his head, "It's actually smaller than our home back in Ohio, but I like it better. There's such a thing as too big."

A woman in her late 40's emerged from a hallway to the left and gave the two a warm smile, "Oh Philip dear I thought I heard you come in, and who is this handsome young man?"

"Mother this is Kevin Morgan, Kevin this is my mother."

"How lovely to meet you. Are you a friend of Philip's?" she said extending her hand.

Kevin took it shyly and shook it weakly. He wished adults would get with the program and use fist bumps like all the kids did. But then he supposed someone as sophisticated as Mrs. McKinney would look silly bumping fists with a 12 year old. He almost giggled at the image, but managed to change the giggle to a smile at the last minute.

"It's nice to meet you ma'am," Kevin said politely. He was usually quite nervous around strange adults, but something about Mrs. McKinney made him feel calm.

"You didn't tell me you'd made a friend," she said turning to her son.

Before Philip could reply, Kevin jumped in. "Oh we've known each other since school started but only today did we find out we had so much in common," Kevin said grinning, "see, I asked Phil..uh, Philip to help me understand some math problems and we sort of hit it off right away, right Philip?" Kevin said grinning.

"Yes, that's correct. Mother, Kevin wanted to know if it would be all right to come over Friday after school so we could study for our math exam Monday."

"Oh, I you're helping Kevin with his studies?" she said, looking at Kevin with appraising eyes. Was this boy just using Philip to get a good grade, or perhaps force him into doing his work for him?

Again Kevin took the lead, "Yes ma'am, it started that way, but I think we're starting to become friends. I was hoping if we finished our studying in time, that we could go to the park and hang out...if that's all right with you ma'am," Kevin said, giving Philip's mom his puppy dog eyes and best smile.

Mrs. McKinney wasn't entirely convinced that Kevin was on the up and up, but she really wanted Philip to have friends, and if Philip wanted to try this, she would allow it. However, she would have a talk with Philip later and monitor the situation closely.

"I think that would be agreeable. I'll discuss it with your father, but I'm sure he will feel the same. Why don't you take your new friend into the kitchen? Mildred will give you your snack, and then perhaps you can show Kevin your room."

"Yes mother, thank you," Philip said, giving his mother a warm smile and a warmer hug.

"You're very welcome son," she said kissing the top of his head. She loved her son with all her heart, and she knew his life wasn't an easy one. If this new friend could help Philip fit in, or more importantly make him happy, then she would do everything in her power to help.

Philip led Kevin to a spacious, modern kitchen where a rotund Spanish woman who appeared to be in her late 50's was bent over a stove.

"Hello Mildred," Philip said giving the woman a quick hug, "this is my friend Kevin. Kevin this is Mildred, she takes care of us," he said smiling affectionately at the woman.

"How wonderful to meet you," she said in near perfect English, "I will fix you both a snack. Sit down and I will bring it to you," she said with smiling eyes.

Kevin liked her immediately, and once he was seated, he gave her a good looking over. She was pretty, even for a woman her age, and had a nice smile, rosy cheeks, and warm smiling eyes the color of chocolate. Despite being a few pounds overweight, her body was definitely feminine, and she looked cuddly. Cuddly in the way that moms were, and the way that Philip had hugged her, Kevin wondered if Philip hadn't been cuddled a few times by this warm loving woman.

Their snack was tortillas filled with cheese and a spicy meat with a sweetish-spicy relish. Kevin took one bite and moaned his approval, "Oh man, these are so good. You're a really good cook Mildred."

"Mildred is amazing. She cooks, she cleans, she takes care of us," Philip said warmly.

"It is my pleasure," Mildred said humbly, "I have been lucky to know this family since this one was just a tiny nino," she said smoothing back Philip's hair, "he is like a son to me, and his mama and papa are like family."

"That's cool, it's like you have two moms."

Next, Mildred sat a plate of deep-fried tortilla chips covered with sugar and cinnamon and a spicy apple topping. This proved to be as delicious as the tortilla, and Kevin was in love with Mildred's cooking by the time they'd had finished their snack.

After thanking her enthusiastically, Kevin allowed Philip to lead him upstairs. Rather than using the ornate spiral staircase, Philip led Kevin to a staircase beyond the kitchen. This staircase was narrow and straight, and as they climbed it, Kevin couldn't help but stare at Philip's shapely rear end.

It seemed so out of place on Philip's slender frame, what he'd heard called a bubble butt, and he wondered what it would look like bare. Would it be fish-belly white or tanned like the rest of Philip? That was another surprising thing about Philip, his skin tone. In the winter most kids paled a little, but Philip's skin was tanned and healthy looking, making Kevin wonder if it was his natural color or if he used a tanning bed or something.

"This is sort of my private staircase," Philip said as they emerged into a short hallway, "My rooms are in here," he said motioning toward a door to the left of the landing.

Rooms? Kevin thought, but his question was soon answered.

"This is my bedroom," Philip said leading Kevin inside.

The bedroom was spacious and tidy, and as Kevin looked around he saw a full size bed in front of a double window with a night stand on either side of it, a dresser with mirror, a chest of drawers, a study desk with a PC atop it, and across from the foot of the bed was a bookcase which held a gaming system and 32" flat screen TV.

"There's a bathroom through there," Philip said, pointing toward an open door across from the one leading in from the hall, "and another bedroom which holds my sound system and book collection. In Ohio my room was large enough to hold everything, but here I have to use both rooms."

"Uh, speaking of bathrooms, can I use yours?"

"Oh, yes, of course," Philip said blushing at the thought of Kevin doing something as intimate as urinating in his very own bathroom.

Without even bothering to close the door behind him, Kevin checked out the bathroom and gaped in awe at what he saw. In addition to a whirlpool bath, there was a huge walk-in shower, a separate enclosure for the toilet, and something he'd never seen in a private home before, a urinal tucked away in one corner. Smiling, he went to the urinal, unzipped and hauled out his pride and joy and began pissing. It felt good to relieve all that pressure, and as happened most times when he freed the little monster from it's cage, he began to raise his one-eyed head, eager for some fun.

"Not now," Kevin scolded his best friend in the whole world, "later, I promise" then he giggled, shook off the last few drops and put little Kevin away.

Washing his hands in a sink that looked like a large sea shell, the faucet made of intricate gold metal, he studied his reflection in the mirror. Making a face, he laughed and then stuck out his tongue, then grabbing the thick hand towel hanging nearby, he began drying his hands.

"Hey Phil," he said from the doorway, "can we see the other room now?"

Phil, who had been waiting anxiously and trying not to think about what was going on inside his bathroom, jerked his head up and blushed deeply, "Yes, of course," he said, joining Kevin in the bathroom.

"Man, I can't believe you have your own personal urinal. That is sooo cool," Kevin said laughing.

"Yes, it's quite convenient, especially at night when I awake and have to use the bathroom." He almost said urinate, but that sounded so stiff and boring. He knew most boys his age said pissing, but he wasn't quite ready to start using slang.

"The shower is way cool too, I bet four people could fit in there."

"It has 8 shower heads as well," Philip said smiling, "it's very relaxing."

"I bet, and stimulating too, I bet," Kevin said grinning devilishly, "if you know what I mean."

Philip blushed bright red, for he did know what Kevin meant, and had recently found the stimulation more and more appealing, "Yes, very," Philip mumbled, "Through here," he said, leading Kevin into a bedroom which appeared to be a mirror of the other one, except this one was furnished quite differently.

Lining two walls were built-in floor to ceiling book cases, and though nowhere near full, they held hundreds of hardback books. On the far wall, another smaller free standing bookcase held an amplifier/tuner with CD player, and two large professional turntables. Looking around Kevin saw at least six speakers, one in each corner, and two atop the bookcases on either side of the room, but no cables were visible anywhere. Either the speakers were Bluetooth, or they'd been wired through the wall, floor, or ceiling.

In the middle of the room were two matching recliners with a small table between them. They seemed to be placed for maximum exposure to the speakers, but only one of them showed any signs of use. Overhead track lighting with the individual lights positioned to shine where needed finished out the room.

"Oh my God, this is so cool. Can you play some music, I bet it sounds awesome from there," he said pointing toward the two chairs.

"Of course, why don't I put on a vinyl record? Then you can hear what I mean about the sound quality."

"Go for it, uh...what kind of music is it?"

"I think you'll like this," he said mysteriously, "have a seat."

Kevin sat in the closest chair and leaned back. The chair was so plush and comfortable that he found himself feeling a bit sleepy. Then just as he closed his eyes, he heard and felt Philip settle into the other chair. A few seconds later the music began..

Philip had chosen ELO's Mr. Blue Sky and as the opening instrumental began Kevin could literally feel the music coursing through his body. He'd heard the song a few times in a commercial or a movie maybe, but until now he'd never realized how cool a song it was. He was tapping his foot and moving his head and body in time to the music and when it got to the part where the voice was sort of distorted, he thought it sounded like a robot or something, and that was even cooler. He really loved the last robot sounding words and when it was over he was cheering and clapping.

"That was awesome," Kevin said grinning at his new friend, "I don't know much about records or how stuff should sound, but that was the coolest thing I've ever heard. What else ya' got?"

Philip was pleased that Kevin seemed to be as enthusiastic about the music as he was, and next he chose The Beatles Seargent Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band, and as it played in the background they talked.

"So you have two chairs, who usually listens with you?"

"No one really, sometimes my mother or father for a song or two, but since I don't really have any friends, it's usually just me."

"Well, now you got me...I mean if you want..." Kevin said, giving Philip a hopeful look.

"I think having you as a friend would be wonderful, but aren't you worried about what other students at school might think? I mean I'm not exactly in your league."

"Nah, I don't worry about that stuff. I have friends of all kinds," Kevin said, stretching the truth a bit. Actually becoming Philip's friend was how he hoped to get in good with Thomas and the others, and actually have some friends.

"Well, if you're sure, I am very agreeable to having your friendship," Philip said smiling shyly.

"I'm sure. In fact I'd like you to meet a few of my friends tomorrow. Why don't you sit with us at lunch and I'll introduce you."

"I don't know Kevin, are you sure?"

"Yeah, I'm sure. We sit by the window, I'll look for you."

"I know where you sit," Philip said before he could stop himself. Truth was he'd noticed Kevin right away and had sort of been watching him ever since. He also knew one of the other boys from grade school by name, but had never even so much as talked to him.

"Oh yeah, you been stalking me?" Kevin teased.

"Nooo," Philip said, feeling as if he might start crying at any moment.

"Phil, buddy...calm down. I was just joking."

"I know," Philip said relaxing a bit.

"Well, I should probably get going. My mom will be home soon, and she likes for me to be home when she gets there."

"All right," Philip said trying not to sound as disappointed as he felt, "I'll walk you to the door."

"Okay, maybe Friday you can show me around outside. I'd love to see your pool up close."

"Yes, perhaps you'd like to swim. The pool is heated and quite nice, even this time of year."

"Awesome, I'll wear my trunks under my clothes then."

At the front door, Kevin offered his fist to bump, and at first Philip wasn't sure what to do, but he'd seen other kids bump fists, and at the last minute he raised his fist and gently bumped Kevin's fist, grinning widely.

"Well, see ya tomorrow at school. I'll ask my folks about Friday but I know they'll say yes."

"Goodbye Kevin. Thank you for walking me home. I've enjoyed your company," Philip said smiling.

Again Kevin was struck by how cute Philip was, especially when he smiled, and he felt the sudden urge to hug him. Wow, where did that come from? Kevin wondered, then giving Philip a smile and a wave, he turned to go, "Oh...and thanks for helping me with the math problems. Later dude," he said turning back around. Then grinning, he started home.

Philip's mother was waiting for him when he stepped back inside, and he gave her a happy smile, "Kevin had to go home, but we really had a good time mother. He even likes the same music I do."

"That's wonderful Philip, but I'd like to talk to you about your new friend..."

Philip's smile faded as he followed his mother into the small sitting room at the front of the house, and he prepared himself for the worst. What if his mother forbade him to see Kevin again? But no, she'd already approved Kevin's coming over Friday to study. He supposed he was only making trouble for himself by assuming the worst, and finally decided to just listen to what his mother had to say and go from there.

"What is it mother?" he asked innocently.

"I just want to make sure that this boy genuinely wants to be your friend and that he's not taking advantage of you."

"Taking advantage of me?" Philip asked with wide-eyed innocence.

"Yes, perhaps by asking you to do his school work for him, or something of that nature. He hasn't demanded money from you has he?"

"Mother, Kevin isn't like that. He's a fine and decent person," Philip said, becoming just a little agitated.

"Well, as your mother it's my job to make sure that doesn't happen. But I also know how important it is for you to fit in and to have friends, so...I am going to allow you to see this boy, but I will be watching closely to make sure things are as they should be," she said giving Philip a smile.

"Thank you mother," Philip said jumping up to hug his mother, "I promise if things get out of hand I will tell you, or...stop seeing him."

"I trust you son, and I love you very much, and I want you to be happy. Now then, why don't you go change and get ready for dinner. Your father will be home soon."

In his room, Philip was almost giddy as he stripped off his clothes and began to change. This had been by far the best day he could remember having in a very long time. Kevin was so much fun to be around, and his playful attitude was contagious. Phil...he thought smiling, he calls me Phil. No one had ever given him a nickname before, well not one that wasn't just to make fun of him. "Philster," he said aloud, then laughed, "Thank you, thank you, thank you Kevin," he said beneath his breath.

When he got down to his underwear, fashionable boxer briefs, he noticed there was a slight tent in them. Pulling the elastic out, he gazed down at the offending member and the sparse patch of blondish hair above it. He knew all about puberty, hormones, and the mechanics of sex, but he was still captivated by this particular part of his body. He was a child of the internet and his parents had never imposed any kind of restrictions on his browsing, relying instead on their son's intellect and upbringing to guide him. He'd never disappointed them, visiting only safe websites, but he'd still gleaned enough information to know that he was a little ahead of most boys his age, both in sexual maturity and penis size.

He also knew that masturbation was both natural and healthy and he felt no more shame in doing it than he did scratching an itch or moving his bowels. That it was both pleasant and satisfying were a big plus, and lately a new element had been added as he'd begun to fantasize about boys while he masturbated. Girls never entered his mind at these times, but he didn't necessarily think he was gay. He considered himself to be just curious, and because he knew more about boys' bodies than girls', he reasoned that was why his masturbation fantasies involved them.

He glanced at his stylish wristwatch and saw that it was just after 5. His father usually arrived home sometime between 5 and 6 depending on his patient load, so he might have time, he reasoned. Glancing at his bedroom door and making sure it was closed all the way, he walked over to his bed and lay down. Then lifting his slim hips, he pushed his underwear to his knees and released his now fully erect penis.

At 5 1/4" in length it was well above the average size of a 12 year old's penis and he had a fair amount of pubic hair just above it. Though his testicles were still smooth, they had dropped and hung free beneath his slender penis, and just recently he'd begun to ejaculate semen. He knew that soon his body would begin to produce sperm, and that would be added to the mix, but for now his emissions were sparse and manageable. For this purpose he kept a box of tissues by his bed, and reaching over and grabbing a handful he began.

Unlike most boys his age, Philip's penis was uncircumcised. His father was uncircumcised, and his father, and as far as Philip knew, all the men on his father's side of the family were also intact. For this reason Philip needed no lotion when he masturbated, and from all that he had read on the subject, he believed his penis was more sensitive than most other boys. He took some satisfaction in knowing that for once he was different in a good way.

Closing his eyes, it wasn't surprising that it was Kevin's face and body that he visualized as he continued to stroke his rampant preteen penis. It didn't take long to get to that aching point of no return, and speeding up a bit, he brought himself to a spectacular, and unusually messy orgasm. Resting just a moment to allow his heart to slow down a bit and his breathing to return to normal, he cleaned up the mess and pulled his underwear up. Discarding the used tissue in the bathroom commode, he washed his hands and continued getting dressed for dinner.

A few blocks away, Kevin was just getting to his room when he heard the garage door opening and he went downstairs to greet his mother.

"Hello honey. How was your day?" she said giving Kevin a warm hug.

"Great mom, I made a new friend today," he said grinning.

"That's wonderful dear. I want to hear all about it, but first I need to change and get dinner started. Maybe you can help me in the kitchen and we can talk."

"You're just trying to get some free labor," Kevin joked.

"Darn, you're on to me," his mom laughed, "why don't you go fill the pasta pan with water and put it on to boil?'

"Yes ma'am," he said, saluting and then running off giggling.

By the time Mrs. Morgan made it to the kitchen Kevin not only had the water for spaghetti on to boil he had pulled out a package of hamburger and had it browning in a skillet.

"My little chef," Mrs. Morgan said, coming up behind her son and hugging him, "I'll take it from here. Now, sit and tell me all about this new friend."

Kevin climbed up on a bar stool and sat at the breakfast bar nibbling a carrot as he told her about Philip. He didn't think it prudent to mention the fact that making friends with Philip was a sort of an initiation, instead concentrating on the math tutoring angle, and when he'd finished his narrative his mother smiled.

"So this boy lives by the park in the Miller's old house. I love that house, I wish we could afford a place like that."

"Aw mom, it's cool and all, but I like our's more like a regular house and feels cozy. Phil's house seems kind of cold and, I don't know, unlived in, like a museum or something."

"Well, you're probably right, but a pool would be nice," she said wistfully.

"So can I go over to Phil's house Friday after school to study?"

"I don't see why not. Is it a sleepover or will you be home for dinner?"

"Uh, well...I think it's just to study, so I'll probably be home unless they invite me to eat with them. Their cook makes the best tortillas I ever tasted," Kevin said rubbing his tummy.

"She must be quite a woman to take on that huge house and still find time to cook."

"She said she'd been with them since before Phil was born, so that means she moved from Ohio with them."

"Well, if you can charm her out of any of her recipes let me know," his mom chuckled.

Mr. Morgan arrived just as his wife was draining the spaghetti, and sticking his head in the kitchen, he sniffed the fragrant air and sighed, "I smell garlic and onion and tomatoes. Let me guess...spaghetti ala Cathy," he joked, Cathy being his wife's name.

"And salad ala Kevin," Kevin joked, "Hi dad, anything exciting happen today?"

It was a running joke between them. Mr. Morgan was a State Farm Insurance agent, and most times work was less than exciting.

"Nope, no hail, tornadoes or fires, but I sold four new policies today," he said, snatching a bread stick from the basket on the table and taking a bite.

"That's good, are we gonna be rich now?" Kevin teased.

"Nope, but we can eat a couple more days now," he joked.

"All right dad!" Kevin said giving his dad a high-five.

"Wash your hands boys, dinner is ready."

As they ate and caught up on each other's day, Kevin eventually worked his new friend into the conversation.

"Oh, yeah. That's Doctor McKinney's son. I have the policies on their house and three vehicles. Be nice to them son, can't afford to lose customers like that," Mr. Morgan said grinning.

"Oh, so I shouldn't TP their yard on Halloween?" Kevin teased.

"Only if your disguise is foolproof," Mr. Morgan said deadpan.

"Walt, don't encourage him," Mrs. Morgan scolded.

"Mom, you know I would never do anything like that," Kevin said giggling, "unless I was totally sure I'd get away with it."

"Any dessert?" Mr. Morgan said, wiping the last of the spaghetti sauce off his mouth.

"Yes, chocolate cake. I baked it just for you dear."

"Hey, what about me?" Kevin whined.

"I baked it just for you dear," she said turning to her son and grinning.

"Dad," Kevin said in an aside whisper, "I think mom's been replaced by a pod."

"Tide pod maybe," his dad joked, "bring on the cake woman."

"Yes master," she chuckled, "and when my two boys finish their dessert they can do the dishes."

"Yes ma'am," both said at once, causing a burst of laughter from all three.


"So Kev, how's it going with your nerd?" Roger asked as Kevin slid into his seat at the lunch table.

"Great, in fact...I asked him to sit with us today so I could introduce you guys."

"Oh this oughta be fun," Roger chuckled.

"He's actually a pretty nice guy," Kevin said hoping Roger didn't say or do something stupid, "so if you want this thing to work, don't mess with him too much, okay?"

"Roger," Thomas warned, "don't screw this up. Just watch what you say."

"Hey, I'll be good," Roger said grinning, "wouldn't want to scare the little nerd away."

"Do you actually like anyone?" Terry asked looking pained.

"I like you guys," Roger chuckled, "except Kevin of course, but if he pulls operation Nerd off, then I'll add him to the list."

"Gee thanks...I guess," Kevin said frowning.

"Relax Kevin, doesn't matter what Roger thinks. He's only here cause' Terry and I tolerate him," Thomas laughed.

"Here comes your new buddy now," Terry said softly.

Kevin turned just in time to see Philip walk in the door, then standing, he motioned him over.

"Hi," Kevin said, "I saved you a seat next to me."

"Hello," Philip said, not making eye contact with anyone as he sat down, his zippered lunch bag in his hands.

"Phil, this is Thomas, Roger, and Terry. Guys meet Phil," Kevin said smiling.

"Hey Phil, we went to grade school together, remember me?" Thomas said nodding.

"Yes, hello," Philip said glancing up just for a moment.

"Hey Phil," Roger said boring a hole in the boy with his eyes.


"And I'm the token gay," Terry chuckled, "out and proud."

"Hello," Phil said, looking into Terry's eyes a bit longer than with the others. He'd heard about Terry, and of course seen him around, but hearing him confess his sexuality and that he was proud of it, impressed him.

"So Phil, what did Mildred send today?" Kevin said gazing at Phil's lunch bag. Then to the others he said, "Mildred is Phil's folks' cook, and she makes some bomb tortillas."

"I haven't looked yet," Phil said unzipping his lunch bag, "Mildred always surprises me, but it's always delicious."

Today's lunch was 2 tiny ham and cheese croissants, an apple, celery, and carrot sticks, a container of dip, and a container of homemade banana pudding with sliced bananas in it. A 10 oz container of fruit punch rounded out the meal.

"Oh man, that looks good," Kevin said with envy, then staring at his own lunch with disdain, he sighed.

"I can't eat both of these myself," Phil said, offering one of the croissants to Kevin, "I'd be happy to share."

"Really? Are you sure? Well, if you insist," Kevin laughed, taking the croissant and licking his lips.

Across from them, Roger was biting his tongue, trying not to tell them how "gay" they were acting, but a warning look from Thomas removed any further doubts as to whether he should speak up or not. Terry thought the two looked cute together and he wondered if Kevin saw what he did? That Phil was crushing on him big time, and that he was screamingly gay. This would make for interesting conversation when he and Kevin were alone, but he knew better than to say anything around Roger. Thomas was probably okay, but definitely not Roger.

"Chips?" Kevin said offering one of his bags of Doritos to Phil."

"I don't eat chips very often, except of course Mildred's homemade tortilla chips, but I do like these," he said accepting the offered chips, "I'll share my carrots and celery and apple if you'd like."

"Nah, that's okay. I have plenty here, even a piece of chocolate cake from dessert last night."

"So Philip, you live over by the park right?" Thomas asked when things quieted down, "in that big house with the pool?"

"Yes, that's correct," Philip said, looking up only long enough not to appear rude.

"So do you even swim?" Roger smirked.

"Yes." Philip replied, not bothering to look up. He could sense that Roger didn't like him, and he saw no need to play up to him.

"Philip is a swimmer," Kevin added, "he almost went out for the swim team, right Phil?"

Phil nodded, but didn't answer, instead concentrating on his lunch.

"So is it Phil or Philip?" Roger sneered, "or is Phil just Kev's pet name for you."

Suddenly Philip looked up and directly into Roger's eyes, and all the mean things anyone had ever said to him, and all the times he'd ever been bullied filled his brain, then for the first time in forever, Philip McKinney spoke up for himself.

"My given name is Philip, but my friends call me Phil," he said boldly, then looking at Kevin he smiled.

Kevin suppressed a laugh, and Thomas and Terry looked ready to start rolling on the floor. Roger shrank back in surprise, and gave Philip a dirty look. He liked the nerd even less now, and couldn't wait for the 30 days to be up so he could put him in his place.

After lunch, Philip excused himself leaving the four alone. As soon as he was out of ear shot, Roger began.

"My friends call me Phil," he mocked, "what friends? Except for Kevin that nerd doesn't even know anyone, and that's only going to last a month."

Kevin stirred uncomfortably. He had no intention of dumping Phil after 30 days, but he didn't want to fight that battle till he had to.

"Good job Kev," Thomas said ignoring Roger's outburst, "Philip seems to be coming along nicely."

"He's actually a pretty cool dude, you should see his book and music collection..."


Later in the only class Kevin shared with Terry, Terry pulled him aside before the bell rang.

"Phil is cute," Terry giggled, "if you two don't become boyfriends, I might give him a try," he said quietly.

"What do you mean?" Kevin asked defensively, "I'm just trying to make friends with him, not go steady with him. I'm not gay..."

"Uh huh," Terry said sounding unconvinced, "well, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but my gaydar says Phil might be a little gay," he laughed.

"A little gay? Is that a thing?"

"Yeppers, but actually I think he's a lot gay."

"Nah, he told me he was going to get married and have kids some day."

"I'm sure that's what he tells his folks too, and he might do that, but it won't change who he is inside, and he will probably regret it, maybe even fool around with guys on the side."

"He's sort of young to figure out that stuff, don't you think?"

"Maybe, maybe not. I've known since I was 10...maybe even younger, but I knew for sure the year I turned the big one oh."

"Anyway, even if he is...I'm not, so all we can be is friends."

"He'll settle for that, but he'll always wish for more."

"It's just for a month anyway, right."

"Kevin Morgan, if you make friends with that boy and then dump him I will never speak to you again. I would expect that from Roger, but not from you," Terry scolded.

"The others expect me to, right?"

"Roger would love for that to happen, but Thomas won't expect you to dump him. He'll respect your decision either way probably, although he might feel like I do. Thomas is a cool guy and a lot deeper than you think."

"I'll be honest. I like Phil, and I don't think I could just dump him like that. I mean we've only just started being friends, and it might not work out, but I guess I feel like it ought to be his choice. He deserves that."

"That's the Kevin I was hoping for," Terry said putting his arm around Kevin's neck.

"Boys, take your seats," Mrs. Curtis, their teacher said. Then to the class, "Pop quiz time."

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