Life Goes On

by The Eggman

Chapter 22

Saturday morning the alarm went off at nine o'clock in the master bedroom of Doug and Brian's house in Agoura Hills. Mike slapped it off and groaned. Derrick reached for his lover's morning wood, knowing it would help get him motivated. Holding Derrick's hand still, Mike began softly chuckling.

Derrick grinned, "Don't tell me it took four rounds of three-on-one to wear you out?" Prez helplessly sniggered. Semi-conscious, Keith bared a toothy grin.

"Not worn out," Mike yawned, "afraid that if I get started again, we'll miss rehearsal by at least an hour." Derrick, Prez and Keith softly chortled.

Derrick realized, "Work's gonna be a major drag, that's for sure."

Prez grinned, "We'll start with Mike tonight? He was the final center of attention last night. We'll reverse the order, Mike, then Derrick, then Keith, and then me."

Keith wondered, "Did any of us have less than eight orgasms?"

Mike giggled, "I had nine, but that last one almost hurt." Mike sat up, looked over his shoulder and grinned at Prez, "Ya almost sucked a testicle out, sex-machine." Keith cracked up and hugged Prez tight. Mike unsteadily got out of bed.

"Didn't you tell me specifically to not stop?" Prez cackled. "I could've sworn that's what I heard."

Derrick followed Mike out of bed and smiled, "I was reinforcing Mike's demands and so was Keith."

"Had to happen or Mike would've had a stiffy at the end," Keith remarked.

"Not acceptable," Prez and Derrick chimed. Mike and Derrick followed their erections to the toilet.

Prez turned to Keith and began messing with his erection. Keith laughed and then rolled over onto Prez for his good morning kiss. Prez confirmed, "Everything's okay, babe?"

Keith nodded and smiled, "It was fun giving and receiving, baby. I love you and enjoyed it, but I have to admit, I want you, alone and soon."

Prez stole a tender kiss then suggested, "In the shower, lover." He quickly scrambled away from Keith and hurried into the shower. Keith raced after him, ignored his bladder and began grinding his woody against Prez's butt. Seeing what they were doing, Mike smirked and was about to say something about being late except Derrick turned him to the wall and began his own grind.

On the other side of the hills, at the Hundsers' home, couples were awake and performing their own ritual routines. Brian and Pete were in a sixty-nine practicing techniques learned from Keith and Prez at Yosemite. Drew and Corey had already had intercourse and went into the shower. Brian and Pete finished making love and went to the kitchen. There they found Jim and Jennifer already awake, having coffee and preparing breakfast. Pete had waffles. Brian had toasted English muffins and fruit.

Finished with bathing each other, Drew and Corey held one another close and began forcefully grinding against one another. Still pleased with the results of Corey's doctor appointment, Drew slid his fingers between Corey's ass cheeks and teased his hole. Corey was equally overcome with joy and gratitude for all he perceived Drew had done the last few weeks and became more aggressive, as Drew wanted. They kissed hard and dreamily looked into each other's eyes. Drew's light brown eyes always seemed to sparkle, as far as Corey was concerned. Corey's pale blue eyes seemed to relay meaning they had rarely ever discussed. For the first time, post-orgasmic happy tears were shed. They didn't bother hiding the fact that they had become so emotional.

Still hanging off Drew, Corey whispered, "I'm yours, Drew, forever."

Drew nodded and breathed, "Nothing makes me happier, Cor. I need you, dude."

"It's silly to cry though, don't you think?"

Drew shrugged, "It's relief and maybe that little bit of fear still lingering. I could've lost ya, Cor."

Corey forced a small grin and offered, "I might still have rough patches that upset you too."

Drew grinned, "Now I know how to deal with your sulking," and then quickly tickled Corey. Flinching back and giggling, Corey slipped in the tub, but Drew caught and steadied him again. "I'm not losing you to a cracked skull in the tub," Drew giggled.

Reaching for Drew's chubby, Corey made Drew block his hand and hurry out of the tub. Hysterically giggling, Corey turned the water off and then stepped out of the tub. Drew threw a towel, intending to cover Corey's face, but Corey caught it. In a flash, the two were tickling each other until they were red in the face and they heard knocks on the door.

"You guys do want to have breakfast, don't you?" Brian smirked from beyond the closed door.

"We'll be right out," Drew laughed, and wrapped his towel around his waist.

Getting in another tickle at Drew's ribs, Corey loudly giggled, "As soon as I teach Drew a lesson."

Pete grinned, "That might take too long, Corey."

To put a halt to Corey's relentless attacks, Drew reached and opened the bathroom door. Corey quickly wrapped the towel around his waist and shot a vicious glare at Drew. "Later, angel," Drew silently mouthed to Corey, and then reached for his hand. They started to leave the bathroom to allow Pete and Brian time to shower. As Corey passed, Brian patted his butt.

Shocked that Brian would do that to him, Corey spun around. Brian painted on an innocent expression and teased, "Lookin' good, Corey." Feeling his face flush, Corey turned back to Drew.

"What do you think you're doing?" Pete asked with a smirk.

"Swatting Corey's ass," Brian replied. "What did it look like?"

"I'm surprised at you, Bri."

"That's five other than me," Drew happily told Corey. Brian and Pete stepped into the bathroom to continue their conversation.

Confused, Corey scowled until he and Drew were alone in Drew's bedroom and the door was closed. He sighed, "I honestly thought it was because I was gay."

Shaking his head, Drew wrapped his arms around Corey and reminded, "No Corey, it's because some dudes were being assholes." Slowly and deliberately, Drew assured, "You're really good lookin', Cor. Anybody telling you otherwise is purposefully trying to mess with you."

Inhaling deeply, Corey smiled at Drew yet tears flooded his eyes. They were a mix of happy and sad tears; happy because he was finally starting to believe the truth; sad because he had misinterpreted in the first place, and never realized how mean people could be over something like looks. While they started getting dressed, Corey told Drew, "There's so much I totally misunderstood. I can barely believe it, but I have to, because all these people I trust are telling me it's so."

Pulling up boardies over his boxers, Drew nodded, "That's the thing right there; people you trust versus those you don't really know. How can you believe someone ya don't know? You don't know what motivates them to say what they do, or act how they act for that matter."

"Can I change it all, Drew?" Corey worried.

"Sure," Drew reasoned, "some of it's small misunderstandings, no biggie. You can catch yourself before believing someone that you don't know. For all the big stuff, I'm gonna be right there with ya, dude." Noticing uncertainty in Corey's expression, Drew delayed putting his T-shirt on and smiled, "Don't worry, Corey. Stuff takes time, like me figuring out what it means to me to be bisexual. To me it means that I notice attractive dudes first. A girl has to be a knockout for me to notice. I had a great friend, who became my boyfriend, who is now my lover; the only one I want. My idea of bisexuality is not the same as some other dude's idea. There's no rush learning what you need to learn, Cor. I didn't rush through it, so why should you?"

"It's all good?" Corey cheerfully confirmed.

"Course," Drew chuckled. He and Corey put their T-shirts on. Drew went to stand before Corey, put his hands on his boyfriend's shoulders and softly began, "Understand somethin' for me, Cor." When Corey nodded and locked eyes with him, Drew gently said, "The people gettin' inside your head are there because they want to be, and most importantly, because they can't live without you. Once we get you back on the right track and healthy, we'll all back off. If someone doesn't back off, just tell them; remind them that things are better." They embraced each other then went out to the kitchen for breakfast. Corey had one of Drew's special milkshakes with ice cream. He also called his mom to let her know that he and Drew would be there around three and that Brian and Pete would be coming too.

Alone in the bathroom, Brian answered Pete. "Why? I meant what I said. He's got a nice, tight butt."

"Yeah, I know," Pete smiled. "I'm just surprised you did it."

"After Yosemite and our time with Keith and Prez, I feel… I don't know… closer to all of them, you know? I wouldn't go as far as they do with Mike and Derek, but…"

Pete pulled Brian into a hug. "Would you want to play around with them, baby? Tell me the truth. I won't be angry if the answer is yes."

Brian sighed. "Yeah, I would. Drew and Corey too."

"I don't blame you," Pete whispered. "If he were gay and a little older, I think John would be included on the list."

Brian looked up into Pete's eyes. "None of them are ugly, for sure. As far as playing around… how far would you go?"

"How far would you want to go?" Pete asked quietly, his expression one of curiosity with no condemnation.

"We're saving intercourse, and I wouldn't be comfortable doing that with anyone but you in any case," Brian answered immediately. "Oral? Maybe, but I wouldn't want to do that without you there, and only if you were playing too. Jerking off? I could probably do that. What about you?"

"We're on the same wavelength, Bri," Pete smiled reassuringly. "The real question is do we really want to do it? And if so, with which people… and do they want to?"

"I'm sure pretty sure that Keith and Prez would, which means that Mike and Derek most likely would too. Corey and Drew? I don't know. I don't think that Corey would be comfortable with it. Drew might be, but if Corey said no, that would be it."

Pete pulled away and shucked out of his shorts and then turned on the shower.

"If you had to choose one couple, who would it be?" Brian asked over the noise of the water.

"Tough one," Pete responded while Brian undressed. "Probably Keith and Prez; we've spent more time with them than Mike and Derrick; although I will admit I'm curious. How about you?"

They stepped into the shower as Brian thought over the question. "If I had to choose one couple, it would be Drew and Corey. Corey and I have a connection. The demon… it's not just about physical attraction with him and Drew." Realizing how his statement could be taken, Brian hugged Pete tightly and continued, "You don't have anything to worry about. I mean…"

"Hush," Pete said gently before kissing Brian on the lips. "I know what you mean, and I understand."

"I just want to make sure that you know that I don't want any of them to take your place."

"I know. If I thought that you did, you'd be walking back to Portland," Pete said with a grin. "Come on. Let's get clean and catch up with Drew and Corey."

Brian's eyes narrowed. "It's not food I'm hungry for right now."

Finished with their breakfast, about fifteen minutes later, Corey snickered from beyond the bathroom door, "Did you dudes run out of soap?"

Only basking in the afterglow, Brian and Pete separated. Pete turned off the shower and Brian shouted, "We'll be right out… sexy."

From beyond the door, they heard Drew grunt, "Doh!" and then start laughing. Corey smirked and reached to tickle Drew. Grabbing Corey's hands, Drew led him to the living room to wait for Brian and Pete. Once Brian and Pete were out of the bathroom and were getting dressed, Drew reminded his parents where they were going. Brian and Pete entered the room and all four boys said goodbye to the Hundsers.

Leaving the house and heading across town to the Gibbons' home, Drew, Corey, Brian and Pete were the first to arrive. Drew led the group to the front porch where he paused and pressed the doorbell.

From inside the house, they could hear Mike's mom holler, "Answer the door, Lindsay." They could also hear a reply, but it was too muffled to make out.

Wearing only a light summer robe and her PJ's, Lindsay opened the front door. Drew was about to say, "Hi, Linds," but never got the chance. Seeing Drew, Corey and two more cute teenage boys beyond the screen door, Lindsay's eyes shot open and her jaw dropped. Without saying a word, or making a sound, or opening the screen door, she spun around and raced up the stairs.

The boys hadn't been let in the house and stood there on the porch. Glancing at each other and shrugging, they were somewhat confused for a few moments. Mrs. Gibbons again shouted, "Who is it, Lindsay?" Not receiving a reply, she came from the kitchen, also wearing a robe, PJ's and slippers. She glanced around the living room for her daughter. Cracking a grin, she opened the door, welcoming Drew and Corey.

Stepping inside, Drew introduced Brian and Pete to Mike's mom. Once the introductions were complete, they followed Mrs. Gibbons to the kitchen. On the way, Drew innocently wondered, "Lindsay answered the door, but then hurried upstairs. Did she forget something?"

Mrs. Gibbons smiled, "Yes, you might say that; what she was wearing. She was obviously surprised to find the four of you at the door."

Pete and Brian caught on and choked back a snigger. Corey turned to them and playfully bounced his eyebrows. Thoughtful, Drew scowled, "She was embarrassed in a robe?"

Returning her attention to cooking breakfast, Laura Gibbons nodded, "She probably expected her brother or Keith and Preston, not you, Corey, Brian and Pete. Seeing only you, she likely would've scampered away. Corey and two new boys only intensified the reaction." Corey began giggling and Drew smirked at his boyfriend, which set Brian and Pete into barely restrained chuckling.

Drew huffed, "She's seen me here with Corey for a week. Keith told me that she already knows about us."

Mrs. Gibbons hadn't realized that Drew and Corey were a couple and turned to the group. Brian reached for and held Pete's hand, wordlessly conveying the message. Corey followed their example and took Drew's hand. Drew brightly smiled at Corey then faced Mrs. Gibbons again. She nodded and smiled, "What Lindsay knows and how she feels are two entirely separate things." Noticing Drew's face flush pink, she asked, "Have you boys eaten breakfast?" All four replied that they had had breakfast already. She gestured to the garage and suggested, "Go ahead out and start setting up. Michael's obviously running late today."

Drew led the way with Corey out to the garage. He found and pressed the button to raise the garage door. As soon as there was light to see, Pete gasped, "Holy crap!" The boys were standing behind the lineup of drums, keyboards, amplifiers, guitars, P.A. and lighting equipment and speakers.

Corey turned to him and smiled, "Pretty cool, huh?"

Pete nodded, "I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't this."

Brian admitted, "We know the stuff in Agoura Hills isn't theirs. I guess we expected less stuff."

Shaking his head, Drew grinned, "Doug and Brian have more guitars. This is our gear." Climbing over Mike's guitar amp, Drew then pointed it out, Prez's two bass amplifiers, Derrick's drums, Jessy's keyboards, and the components of the new P.A. system.

Corey trailed Drew and explained, "We usually move stuff around. The P.A. speaker towers and the table with the mixer move out of the garage. Then we can move the small monitors forward a few feet."

Nodding, Drew suggested, "If you two dudes will move the mixer table, I'll carry the outboard rack and Corey can unravel the microphone snakes?" Climbing over Mike's amp, Brian and Pete agreed and took opposite ends of the table. Corey grabbed the two snakes and Drew lifted the rack of outboard gear.

While they worked, Corey grinned, "Boy am I lucky you're on the gay side of bisexual, Drew."

"Don't start, Cor," Drew cackled.

"What?" Corey incredulously giggled. "Lindsay saw you and ran for cover and clothes."

Impatiently, Drew reversed the tables and told Brian and Pete, "Brains, incredible good looks and an evil sense of humor." They nodded and softly chortled.

Corey blushed then giggled, "You've got both sexes wanting your sexy butt."

Rolling his eyes, Drew saw they were at a good spot on the driveway then told Brian and Pete, "Right here's good, dudes." Brian and Pete set the table down. Drew bent his knees and carefully slid the rack he was carrying underneath the table. Corey set the snakes down and looked up again in time to see Drew marching toward him, wearing a perfectly devious smirk.

Backing away, Corey giggled, "What are you going to do?"

Menacingly, Drew softly replied, "Before or after I swallow your tongue?"

Brian and Pete helplessly cracked up. The Drew they knew from early July wouldn't have said that.

Noticing Shaun and Gil approaching from the street, Corey laughed, "Shaun's here, dude," and backed himself into the speakers.

On a mission to silence his boyfriend, Drew trapped Corey against the speakers and began tenderly kissing him. No longer laughing, giggling or trying to escape, Corey held Drew's hips and returned the kisses. Behind the two lovebirds, Pete and Brian introduced themselves to Shaun and Gil. Drew landed a really passionate kiss. Feeling Corey's arms around his back, Drew picked him up and started for the backyard. Between kisses, Corey wondered, "Where are we going, stud?"

"To the pool unless you tell me who and what I want," Drew beamed.

Corey giggled, "You want me."

Drew nodded, "And what else?"

Searching Drew's eyes, because he knew his boyfriend well enough to understand that he wouldn't like the answer said loudly, Corey leaned closer and whispered, "My dick."

Stopping in his tracks, Drew nodded, "It's not my fault Lindsay got embarrassed. Why she reacted that way if she knows the truth is beyond me. Let's assume it was Pete and Brian that really threw her a curve. I love you, Corey."

Corey smiled, "I was only kidding, ya know?"

Drew searched Corey's eyes. Finding no deception, Drew honestly shared, "In a few weeks, when we're sure the nightmares are over, I'll enjoy that more. Right now, I want you to know the truth, so no demon bullshit interferes with your sleep."

Corey stole a tender kiss then obediently nodded. Drew put Corey down and then took his hand before starting back to the driveway. Brian, Pete, Gil and Shaun were moving the speaker towers out of the garage and putting them down. Drew checked his watch. It read two minutes after ten. He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and pressed the speed dial for Keith. After three rings, Keith answered. Noticing Jessy's car pulling up to the curb, Drew asked, "Where are ya, bro?"

"On our way, about two miles from our exit," Keith replied.

"Cool," Drew chirped. "We're already at Mike's with Brian and Pete. Shaun and Gil are here. Jessy just parked too."

Keith assured, "We're about five minutes away."

Drew sighed, "I can't believe you're late. I can't believe Mike's late. What were you dudes doing?"

Keith chuckled, "Making love into the early morning hours and again in the shower."

Shaking his head, but grinning widely, Drew teased, "Is that what I should tell everyone?"

Keith laughed, "I dare you."

Drew grinned and loudly shared, "They're running late, too busy polishin' their horns."

"DREW!" Keith roared.

"What?" Drew giggled. "You dared me."

"Who the hell are you, really?" Keith sniggered, and then abruptly disconnected the call.

Joining Brian, Pete, Shaun, Gil and Jessy near the mixer, Drew smiled, "Everybody's met?" Getting positive responses, Drew nodded, "They'll be here soon. Corey and I will get the gear powered up." Glancing at Jessy and Shaun, he suggested, "You two could warm up with Desperado, if you want? Corey and I will get your levels set."

Jessy and Shaun agreed then went into the garage and got ready to play. In moments, Jessy was helping Shaun tune up. At the table where the mixer was, Drew and Corey were explaining the basic operation for Brian and Pete. Corey set the power amps for the various speakers. Drew raised faders for Jessy's keyboards, Shaun's acoustic guitar, the four monitors and the stereo main speakers. Shaun moved closer to his vocal microphone and began chanting, "Test, check, one, two, three." Drew got the levels set for Shaun and Corey pointed at Jessy to repeat the process. Once that was complete, Shaun turned to Jessy to begin the song. She started playing the introduction then Shaun sang:

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
You been out ridin' fences for so long now
Oh, you're a hard one
I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin' you
Can hurt you somehow

While Shaun and Jessy continued the song, the 442 parked in front of the house. At the first bridge, Shaun began strumming chords. Derrick, Mike and Ben hurried out of the car and up the driveway. Waving to Brian and Pete, Derrick went right into the garage without a word said. Mike stopped at the mixer and introduced Ben to Brian and Pete. Prez's 4Runner parked as Shaun began the second verse. Prez ran to the garage and powered up his amps then picked up his bass. Keith stopped at the table and joined the group gathered. Mike explained why they were late and placed the blame squarely on Keith and Prez. The usual bitching erupted between Keith and Mike while the others around the table cracked up. In the garage, Derrick began drumming as the song entered its second bridge. With Jessy, Prez and Derrick providing background vocals, Shaun sang:

Don't your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine
It's hard to tell the night time from the day
You're losin' all your highs and lows
Ain't it funny how the feeling goes away?

Gil helped Drew and Corey at the mixer while they continued the final verse.

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate
It may be rainin', but there's a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you, before it's too late

Brian, Pete, Gil and Ben enthusiastically clapped their hands as the last tones faded out. Drew turned to Brian and Pete, wondering, "What do you think?"

"Fantastic!" Brian beamed.

Pete nodded and smiled, "They're pros."

Overhearing them, Prez stepped up to his microphone and called, "It gets better with our lead singer and lead guitarist." Keith flashed Prez a seductive smirk and started walking to the garage. Purposefully overacting, Prez wobbled and wagged his tongue between his lips as his lover approached.

Derrick stood and walked out from behind his drums saying, "We brought an amp and electric guitar for Shaun."

Taking his guitar off and following Derrick, Shaun said, "I'm hoping to have my own guitar and amp by next week's rehearsals."

Joining Derrick and Shaun, Mike grinned, "Cool, dude." He asked, "Have you made any decisions yet?"

Shaun nodded, "The amp will definitely be Carvin. For four hundred bones, I can get a good one with tubes. I'm still stuck on the guitar though. Carvin's got a nice Strat copy, but it costs almost as much as an American Strat."

"Which feels better?" Mike queried.

While Derrick opened the 442's trunk, Shaun chuckled, "They feel the same. Both have two single-coil pickups and a humbucker, so they sound pretty much the same too. The real Strat has a maple fretboard; the Carvin's have maple or ebony. I've already decided that I don't like rosewood fretboards." Derrick picked up the Stratocaster case while Mike and Shaun lifted the Vox amp out of the trunk. Derrick closed the trunk and they started up the driveway. Shaun said, "I like the three single coil models too." He grunted and grinned, "This amp weighs a ton! I might need a truss or special attention tonight."

Gil turned to Shaun and smiled, "Just tell me where to rub." Staggering away from the table, Ben turned red and cracked up. Drew and Corey softly giggled.

Keith suspiciously hollered, "What's goin' on out there?"

Drew shook his head and pointed at Gil. Corey giggled, "Rub-a-dub-dub, two men in a tub."

Keith, Prez, Derrick and Mike sang, "Rub-a-dub-dub, four men in a shower!" Bending over slightly and grabbing his belly, Corey howled as he stood upright again.

"Boys!" Jessy loudly laughed. "My goodness, I'm glad I don't have to deal with testosterone."

Facing Jessy, Keith chuckled, "It's a never ending rush, that's for sure." Shaun and Mike got the extra amp situated in the line, on the opposite side of the room from Mike's amp.

She giggled, "I only have to wonder, will it ever end?"

Prez nodded and smiled, "Just before the last breath is taken, Jess."

Derrick roamed back behind his drums and playfully asked, "Shall we start rehearsal now?"

Keith nodded and suggested, "Let's start from the beginning of the set list. If we have the first dozen or so good, then we can continue with the next bunch."

"Sounds good to me, babe," Prez agreed.

Finished with setting up Shaun's amp, Mike picked up his ax and nodded, "I'm set and ready."

Shaun sat on the amp with the Stratocaster and an electronic tuner, making certain the guitar was in tune. Derrick counted off the tempo and the band played Scuttle Buttin'. Jessy provided a piano and Hammond organ part that wasn't on the original recording, but Brian and Pete were very impressed with the addition, as well as Mike's blindingly fast lead guitar. While they were playing, Randy's car pulled up to the curb across the street from Mike's house. He walked up to the group in the driveway alone. Obviously, Randy's girlfriend, Theresa, had other plans. However, out along the curb and across the street, neighborhood kids began congregating. Randy introduced himself to Brian and Pete as a coworker with Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick.

At the end of the song, Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick greeted Randy. The band then went directly into playing The Road, with Shaun providing rhythm guitar and Mike singing lead vocals. Without much of a pause between songs, they played Stone In Love, Sister Golden Hair and Hold My Hand. Nearing the end of the last song, the band noticed a fair amount of conversation around the table with the mixer.

When the song ended, Brian quickly shouted, "Those last two songs need to be reversed, guys."

Pete nodded and added, "It's a big change, going from rock to country rock, and then back to rock again."

Randy asked, "What's the next song?"

Jessy replied over the P.A., "Give Me One Reason, by Tracy Chapman."

Around the table, Ben, Gil, Randy, Brian and Pete discussed it while Corey and Drew listened and watched the older boys. When the conversation ended, Brian prompted, "Let's hear Hold My Hand, Sister Golden Hair and Give Me One Reason. Country rock to blues might work better."

"We really think that order would be better," Gil offered. The band tried the songs in the recommended order and everybody thought it fell into place much better, even the people gathered in the street. The band paused to note the change on their set lists. They then continued where they left off with Mary Jane's Last Dance, the No, No Song, Don't Stop Believin', the latter of which got a lot of loud applause and cheers from the gathered audience. They then played It's Only Natural, Bringin' On The Heartbreak, I Need To Know, Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), Wonderful Tonight, Every Breath You Take and Open Arms, rounding off the first sixteen tunes the band had been rehearsing the prior two weekends.

Mike and Derrick then shared their discussion about being prepared for more rockers and less ballads, in the event the band was scheduled to play early in the afternoon. It meant adding five songs to the set list, three of which they had played often as a band.Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress and Slide It In would need some work as a band, since they had only recorded them. All the band members thought being prepared was a good idea.

Mrs. Gibbons stepped into the garage from the kitchen door to tell Mike, "Lindsay and I are going to the animal shelter. We'll be back soon with our new pets."

Mike nodded, "Cool. See ya later, mom."

Mrs. Gibbons smiled, "The music sounds good, but I haven't heard any audience interaction yet and there are people out there giving you feedback."

Prez walked up to his microphone and said, "We'd like to thank y'all for listening and clapping. We're getting ready for a concert over in Agoura Hills, Labor Day weekend. We'd really appreciate your comments. Just walk up the driveway and share your thoughts with any of our friends already helping us out."

Gesturing to Prez, Mike chuckled, "There ya go." His mom went back into the house. Mike stepped up to his microphone and told the gathered audience, "These next songs still need some polish. We know it and would appreciate any suggestions." Glancing around at his band mates, Mike prompted, "Long Cool Woman?"

Prez, Derrick and Shaun enthusiastically nodded or vocally confirmed the choice. Keith faced Jessy and said, "We can take a break, Jess."

Standing, Jessy nodded, "Then we can mingle around the audience and hear it for ourselves." She and Keith stepped around the monitors and out of the garage. Mrs. Gibbons and Lindsay left the house and went to the car to get their new pets. Keith and Jessy cleared a path for Mrs. Gibbons to safely back out of the driveway.

Derrick prompted, "We're gonna need a lot of reverb on this tune, Drew."

Drew asked, "Where?"

Mike chuckled, "Everywhere; both guitars, bass, drums and Derrick's lead vocals."

On the mixer, Drew set the reverb and Corey began applying the effect to tracks. Corey asked Derrick to check his vocal and drum mics. Reverb on the bass drum was too much and was backed off such that it was just barely present. They adjusted Prez's bass guitar while he played and found it was also best at low setting. Then Mike and Shaun's guitars were set with Ben, Gil, Brian and Pete providing assistance. It took quite a few minutes before the band began playing Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress.

While Jessy and Keith were mingling by the street, Randy joined them. At the mixer table, Drew and Corey made further reverb effects adjustments with help from Gil, Ben, Brian and Pete. Knowing the song well, Ben and Pete offered the most input. At one point, near the middle of the song, Ben went into the garage and spoke to Mike. Mike replied to Ben and Ben went to the Shaun's guitar amp then made some adjustments, reducing the distortion to a mild crunch. Meanwhile, Pete was helping adjust the effects and tone for Derrick's lead vocals. Not only did it have reverb, it also needed delay. The band had to play that song a second time for Drew and Pete to zero in on the correct delay setting. Pleased and enthused with results, the four man band ran through the song a third time. Drew stored the new delay setting.

While Shaun still had an electric guitar, they decided to work on Slide It In. The four of them pulled together the sections of the song. When they were ready, Prez called over the P.A., "Keith, we need your vocals, babe."

As Keith approached the garage, he asked what song they were working on. When he was told, he said, "Lemme check my lyrics notebook." Flashing Prez a mischievous smirk, he added, "Somehow, I tend to get sidetracked and lose my place."

Seeing Prez begin to blush, Derrick cracked up. Mike and Shaun evilly snickered. Once Keith had the lyrics and everyone had gotten back on track again, Derrick counted out the tempo. The band began sharply and Keith sang:

You talk too much,
Never saying what's on your mind,
It's written on your face,
An' in the words you hide behind
I know what you want,
I can see what you're looking for,
I know what you want from me,
An' I'm gonna give you more

I'm gonna slide it in
Right to the top,
Slide it in,
I ain't never gonna stop
Slide it in,
Right to the top,
I'm gonna slide it in, slide it in,
Slide it, in baby...

Prompted by the provocative lyrics, Brian locked eyes with Corey and stole a line from the Austin Powers flick, "Does this make you horny, baby?" Pete and Drew helplessly giggled, because Corey was again dumbfounded. Saying nothing, Corey concentrated on the mixer and the band. Keith and the band continued.

Sometimes you seem
Just like a stranger to me,
But all the games you play
Make it so easy to see
You're looking for love,
Tho' you try to deny,
The things you put me through
Tell me what I've got to do to you

At the mixer table, Drew joined his brother and sang along with the chorus.

I'm gonna slide it in,
Right to the top,
Slide it in,
I ain't never gonna stop
Slide it in,
Right to the top,
I'm gonna slide it in, slide it in...

During the guitar solo, Pete took Corey's hands and began swinging them and dancing around. Corey nervously glanced at Brian, who didn't seem to mind, and Drew, who was still monitoring the mixing board carefully. Since Corey was barely moving, Pete smiled, "Come on, Corey; it's cool because it's so hot."

Corey suspiciously wondered, "What're you doin', Pete?"

"I'm trying to get you to dance with me," Pete answered.

"What about Brian and Drew?" Corey almost whined.

Pete shrugged, "They can dance together too, if they want. We're not slow dancing."

Flustered, Corey broke free of Pete's hands and turned away. Noticing Keith, Prez and Derrick widely smiling, Corey blushed and looked down at the mixer to adjust anything, simply so he wouldn't have to face Pete. Corey didn't see Brian and Pete move closer together and share a few words. The third verse started. Brian took Corey's hand and held it tightly as he led the way to the backyard.

Once alone and they could hear each other, almost at the same time, Brian and Corey started to speak. Wanting to hear Brian's explanation, Corey paused. Brian sighed then seriously said, "You know Pete was about thirteen when we met?" Corey nodded. Brian smiled, "In some ways, you remind me of him, but that doesn't mean I'm looking to cheat on him."

Still suspicious, Corey observed, "You're both acting differently towards me."

Brian shrugged, "You're acting differently too, Corey. I can see you love Drew and how much he loves you too. I can also see connections between me, you and Drew."

"Like what?" Corey scowled.

Brian shared, "You and I with our eating problem. Drew and I are both claustrophobic. Most importantly, add Pete and we're two sets of couples."

"I love Drew though, Brian," Corey emphatically stated.

"And I love Pete," Brian insisted, "that's what makes everything so perfect."

Corey scowled, "So you're hitting on me because you love Pete? Care to try again?"

Rolling his eyes, Brian sighed, "Pete wasn't hitting on you when you were dancing."

Becoming more confused, Corey wondered, "It isn't? Well, that pat on the ass you gave me at home sure was!"

Brian's expression turned intense. "Look, Corey; I've got something to tell you, and after I tell you, you might decide that you don't want to hang out any more. If you don't want to, I understand."

"What's that?" Corey uncertainly asked.

"I'm gay," Brian said with a low voice.

Confused, Corey asked, "And?"

"You're comfortable with that?" Brian inquired with all seriousness.

"I would hope so, since I am too," Corey responded, still confused.

"Then can you accept, from one gay guy to another, an expression of appreciation and affection?"

"Sure, I guess."

Brian replied, "You've got a nice butt. When I patted you, I wanted you to know that I appreciated what I saw, and I knew that neither Drew nor Pete would care. I knew they wouldn't because they're both secure in their relationship; Pete with me, and Drew with you. And I feel comfortable enough around you... no... that's not right. I like you a lot, Corey, more like a best friend rather than a friend. I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable with what I did, but I want you to know that I find you attractive physically as well as appreciate you for who you are as a person. I felt comfortable complementing another cute gay guy, namely you." Watching Corey's face flush scarlet, Brian chuckled, "You are so much like me, it's frightening. You know that I don't think too much of my body either, Corey. I'm willing to do anything I can to help you. I can only hope that I can accept the same kind of help from you and everyone else. I can only promise my intention to try."

Corey nodded, "I think I can relate. All I can manage is to keep trying. Sometimes, I have to think of how to act and around whom." Carefully considering whom he was talking to and what he wanted to say, Corey sighed, "The dreams were so fucked up. It's like, I know what's right, but the part of me that wants to be a vegetarian is fighting it." He grinned and softly giggled, "Now Drew and I are where I always hoped we'd be. He's been so great."

Brian nodded, "He obviously likes where he's at with you too. From what Pete and I have seen, you've both changed in good ways."

Corey giggled, "As awesome as he was before, he's become so much more, to me anyway."

Realizing that the band weren't playing anymore, Brian suggested, "Let's go back to our boyfriends."

Shaking his head, Corey smiled, "It's lunch time. They'll be coming back here to take a break."

Only moments later, Pete led the pack around the side of the house. He locked eyes with Brian and curiously tilted his head. Brian only nodded and smiled. Following Pete with Randy and Ben was Drew, raising one eyebrow and searching Corey's expression. Corey giggled and quickly went to Drew and offered a tender kiss, which Drew readily accepted. He picked Corey up and carried him to the pool. Drew walked directly into the pool and kept walking, stealing a deep, passionate kiss as he followed the incline into the deep end of the pool.

Prez turned to Keith and smirked, "That's your brother. He's just as wicked as you."

Randy cracked up. Keith bounced his eyebrows at Randy and then swiftly swept Prez up. With Prez laughing his ass off, Keith jumped into the deep end of the pool.

Jessy grinned and told Randy, "They were mellow last winter. It must be the summer weather."

Randy nodded and grinned, "I work with them, so I know they can chill. Maybe they're just making up for that time. Then again, Prez and Keith haven't worked together yet, either." Seeing that Keith had popped above water with Prez, he hollered, "Keith, are you working at Black Angus tonight?"

Shaking his head, Keith replied, "Blockbuster tonight, dude. I've gotta at least tell them what's going on. We'll see how schedules will work out."

Heading for the diving board and humming thoughtfully, Randy thought aloud, "Only four busboys again tonight." He knew there would be good tips and dove into the pool.

Corey asked Drew, "Where are Mike and Derrick?"

"Ordering lunch from Domino's," Drew replied. "They're getting a plain cheese for us."

Drew had barely finished speaking when, suddenly, underwater, his and Corey's legs were forced open wider. The next thing Corey and Drew knew they were being lifted up. While they were still figuring out that it was Pete under Corey and Brian under Drew, Mike and Derrick came outside and hollered, "Chicken fights!" Mike and Derrick jumped in the pool. Shaun climbed onto Gil's shoulders and Prez climbed onto Keith's. In moments, there was a five-way chicken fight in the middle of the pool.

The only people not in the pool, actively participating in the game, were Jessy, Randy and Ben. Sitting on the pool edge, with their feet dangling in the water, Randy played referee while Jessy giggled and Ben laughed himself breathless. The best team was Pete and Corey. Pete had one long arm holding Corey's legs firmly against his chest while the other arm was reaching up behind Corey's back, stabilizing him and greatly reducing the chance he might slip down. Corey, Pete, Brian and Drew ganged up on Prez and Keith for a while. Mike and Derrick were very well matched by Gil and Shaun.

Breaking up the pool games, the Domino's pizza delivery guy came into the backyard with a stack of six pizzas. Everyone got out of the pool and surrounded the delivery man, gathering cash to pay the almost sixty-dollar tab and tip. Keith paid twenty for Prez, Drew, Corey and himself. Once the pizza was paid for, Mike, Derrick, Drew and Corey went inside to get soda and cups for everyone. Soon, everyone was gathered around, eating and chatting. The band members were discussing songs they would work on after lunch.

Brian, Pete, Drew and Corey were talking about their afternoon and evening plans. They would go to the Seavers' that afternoon. A trip to Knott's Berry Farm was suggested for the next afternoon, leaving immediately after the rehearsal wrapped up. When Corey picked up a fourth slice of pizza, Drew looked over and his face split into a wide smile. His eyes darting mischievously, Drew grinned, "It looks like we'll have to modify tonight's plans a little." Corey blushed and giggled. Brian and Pete couldn't help cracking up. Into Corey's ear, Drew whispered, "Finish that and watch me skinny dip for you later, angel."

"Not in front of my folks, stud," Corey softly giggled.

Drew shrugged, "Your mom's already seen me. What's the diff?" Seeing Brian and Pete's curious grins, Drew explained why he had been seen by Mrs. Seaver.

Corey leaned over and whispered to Drew, "Only for me, when we're alone, okay?" Wrapping an arm around Corey's back and firmly squeezing, Drew nodded. More clearly, Corey reminded, "Cheese is dairy and that's what the doc specifically mentioned. There's another blood test next week and two weeks for those results. I'd like to see if I can get off the morning milkshakes. That would definitely make all our parents happy."

Chewing the last of his fourth slice of pizza, Drew only nodded, but he was beyond pleased with what Corey had said. Goosebumps sprung up on his arms. Brian noticed Drew's arm and asked, "Are you cold, Drew?"

Still chewing, Drew shook his head and grinned. When he swallowed, he leaned over and told Brian, "I'm thrilled, dude. If Corey's doc says, no more milkshakes, after only five weeks, our parents are going to chill. It's awesome; I couldn't be prouder of Corey."

Drew, Brian and Pete looked at Corey. Intensely blushing and giggling while chewing, Corey looked up and away from them. He swallowed and smiled, "So we're going to Knott's Berry Farm tomorrow?"

Recognizing Corey's attempt to change the subject, Pete nodded and grinned, "That would be the best idea. Sunday's should be a little less crowded, even though it is summer."

Catching the meaning behind Corey's feigned innocence, Drew cackled, "Don't start, Cor. Wait 'til we get home." Corey, Brian and Pete softly sniggered.

With lunch eaten, everyone began gathering the empty pizza boxes and taking them to the trash cans on the side of the house. Coming around from the front of the house, Mrs. Gibbons and Lindsay had returned with their new pets. Lindsay had the puppy on a nylon leash. Mrs. Gibbons held a kitty-carrier in one hand. Everyone clustered around them to greet the new pets.

Sitting on the ground with the puppy, Mike looked up at his mom and sister, asking, "Do they have names yet?"

Mrs. Gibbons nodded and smiled, "This is Cleopatra. She already knows that she's a goddess."

Lindsay giggled, "This is Dash, because he races around."

"Oh God!" Prez chuckled, "Rush and Dash together would be a blast."

Keith carefully spied the hyper puppy and confirmed, "They've both been neutered. At least they won't kill each other."

Mrs. Gibbons nodded, "It's California law, all animals adopted from shelters must be neutered."

Facing Mrs. Gibbons, Prez asked, "Can I bring Rush over for tomorrow's rehearsal?"

She confirmed, "While you're busy rehearsing, would he listen to me or Lindsay."

Prez nodded and smiled, "I would teach you both how to command him. You can use the same techniques to train Dash."

Almost at once, Mike, Derrick, Brian and Corey playfully repeated, "Train dash?"

Mike smirked, "Very dangerous."

"Potentially deadly," Corey giggled.

Rolling her eyes and huffing impatiently, Mrs. Gibbons asked Lindsay, "Is that really the name you want for him?"

Lindsay nodded and grinned, "It's more appropriate than Max or Zeus."

Pete smiled, "Zeus is a cool name though. It capitalizes on the whole god versus dog word play."

Drew added, "There's a whole bunch of god names you could use, like Apollo or Thor. Since the kitten is a goddess, the dog should be named after a god." The band members softly excused themselves then started for the garage with Ben, Gil and Randy tagging along.

Lindsay nodded and blushed, "About before; sorry I dashed away without letting you in."

Drew grinned and confirmed, "You know Corey and I are together now?"

Lindsay nodded and sighed, "I had hopes."

Since he was complemented, Drew widely smiled and softly offered, "You'll find someone better, Linds."

Lindsay giggled, "Maybe I have already. John's friend, Neil, is a lot like you; soft spoken almost all the time, until he's goofin' around with the other boys. He's really nice."

"Good," Drew blushed. Knowing that he and Corey would be needed at the P.A. mixer, Drew offered, "See ya later, okay?" Lindsay nodded and led her puppy to the backyard. Drew, Corey, Brian and Pete went around the front of the house to the garage. Almost immediately, Corey broke into giggles. Drew smirked, "Don't go there, Cor."

Taking Drew's hand in his, Corey cheered, "You came out to Lindsay; just came right out and said that we're a couple."

Drew shrugged, "She knew it already."

"It's a woman's prerogative to have no mind," Brian joked.

Pete, Corey and Drew cracked up, loudly correcting, "To change her mind!"

Brian shrugged, "When changing minds, that implies a mindless gap, doesn't it?"

Still hysterical, the foursome stopped at the table with the mixer. The band members suspiciously wondered what was so funny and why Brian was attempting to act innocent. Certain that Jessy would not take the joke well, none of them said a word. Corey seemed about to say something, so Drew kissed him hard and deep before a word was muttered.

"Ah, okay then," Prez chuckled, believing that whatever was funny was a private joke.

Now that everyone was present, Derrick suggested, "Let's work on Wonderful Tonight."

Everybody in the band agreed. Breaking the kiss with Corey, Drew gave thumbs up while Corey slowly regained composure. Derrick counted off and the band started playing.

Noticing Brian and Pete watching him, Corey stepped closer to them and smiled, "I can count on one hand how many times Drew's given me a knock-out, passionate kiss before getting a few little lip smacks in first. Don't you dudes feel a little weak after a really great kiss?"

Brian nodded to Corey and then looked up at Pete, smiling, "Almost every time."

Watching Pete's intense gaze with Brian, Corey grinned. Again, he learned something new; that all lovers have the capacity to make their partner weak and dizzy. Corey locked eyes with Drew and smiled widely.

"What?" Drew grinned.

Softly enough that he couldn't be heard over the music, Corey said, "My stud, forever."

Drew nodded and pulled Corey close against him then started slow dancing. Brian and Pete began dancing too, leaving, Gil, Ben and Randy to watch the mixer. Shaun had gotten the second guitar part down. With all the instruments playing in sync and improved vocals from Mike and Jessy, everyone loudly clapped and cheered.

After a little discussion and Shaun moving to help Jessy at the synthesizer, the band continued on with Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now). It was Shaun's first time playing the string parts on the synthesizer. Of course, Corey wanted to hear Drew singing the song. Nearing the end of the second run through, Corey, Brian, Pete, Gil, Ben and Randy encouraged Drew to join the band and his brother this one time. Drew obliged during the third run through.

Shaking his head and giggling, Drew insisted, "Just this once. I'm perfectly happy at the mixer." Drew went to the garage and stepped between the stage monitors. The song started with Keith singing:

How can I just let you walk away,
just let you leave without a trace?
When I stand here taking every breath with you, oo-oo.
You're the only one who really knew me at all.

Keith adjusted the microphone for his slightly shorter younger brother. Drew sang the second verse and the first bridge.

How can you just walk away from me,
when all I can do is watch you leave?
'Cos we've shared the laughter and the pain
and even shared the tears.
You're the only one who really knew me at all.

So take a look at me now,
'cos there's just an empty space.
And there's nothing left here to remind me,
just the memory of your face.
Now take a look at me now,
'cos there's just an empty space.
And you coming back to me
is against the odds and that's what I've got to face

Jessy and Shaun could barely believe their ears. Drew could pass as a Phil Collins impersonator. He sang emotionally and stood before the microphone with his hands in his pockets, barely swaying, like it was the most natural thing in the world. Shaking his head and smirking, Mike played his guitar. Keith, Derrick and Jessy sang backup harmony vocals during the third verse and final bridge while Drew sang lead vocals.

I wish I could just make you turn around,
turn around and see me cry
There's so much I need to say to you,
so many reasons why
You're the only one who really knew me at all

So take a look at me now,
well there's just an empty space.
And there's nothing left here to remind me,
just the memory of your face.
Now take a look at me now,
'cos there's just an empty space.
But to wait for you,
that's all I can do and that's what I've got to face
Take a good look at me now,
'cos I'll still be standing here
And you coming back to me is against all odds
it's the chance I've got to take.
Take a look at me now.

When the last notes faded away, everyone, in the driveway, the street and the band members in the garage, erupted with loud applause, cheers and whistles. Stepping back from the microphone, Drew blushed and giggled, "What's the big deal? I've heard the band playing the tune dozens of times since January."

Keith smiled, "It's the tone, bro. You sang it perfectly, really; better than me. I can handle lots of songs, especially Journey, but you did great."

"Thanks, bro," Drew smiled. Facing the rest of the band, he admitted, "I really don't have the desire to practice like you dudes do, though. I'm perfectly happy at the mixer."

Jessy asked, "Why'd you do it this time then, Drew?"

Drew shrugged, "For Corey, Brian and Pete, mostly. I just sang the song yesterday, for Corey. I knew I wouldn't mess it up too bad." Focusing on Prez, Drew grinned, "Your copy of the CD has been in my stereo since Monday night."

Prez nodded and offered, "If you want to, you could sing this one song at the concert?"

Shaking his head, Drew smiled, "No thanks."

"Is it the audience?" Derrick wondered.

"No," Drew honestly shared. "I had no problem with the fifty or so here. I simply don't want to. At best, all I would be is a part time singer, for the few songs I'd want to sing."

Realizing that Drew simply wasn't interested, Mike sighed, "If and when you want to, Drew, just let us know."

Drew nodded, "Thanks," and then went back to the driveway and the mixer. Corey, Brian, Pete, Randy, Ben and Gil all congratulated Drew. The band continued their rehearsal, choosing Fire and Rain as the next song.

Mike put his guitar in its stand and went out to the street with Keith. They chatted with some of the kids and adults. Lots of the people they talked with only had general comments about songs they particularly enjoyed. One woman, who lived around the corner and was there with a toddler in a stroller, said that the bass guitar sound was very good. Keith and Mike explained that Prez had two amplifiers; his old Peavey was setup to fill the low end while his new Carvin amp was setup to concentrate on mids and highs. Naturally, the brand names meant nothing to the lady, but she did like the overall tone. Since she was helpful, Mike asked about the drums, guitar and keyboard sound.

By this time, Shaun was on the third verse and heading into the chorus. She thought, "The drums and guitar are very good, exactly like the record." She paused and listened closely then asked, "I hear a cello and piano."

Keith smiled, "That's Jessy. She has a synthesizer for the strings part and, with her other hand, she's playing piano."

The lady nodded, "Very talented." Mike and Keith thanked her for her time and comments then headed back up the driveway. By the time they neared the garage, Fire and Rain was finished. Keith stopped at the mixer to tell Drew and Corey what they had learned, specifically commenting on Prez's bass guitar tone. While Mike spoke with Prez, Shaun, Jessy and Derrick about the same comments, Drew showed Keith how Prez had two channels for his bass guitar; one channel was the direct line from the effects unit and the other was the bass amp's microphone.

Keith nodded, "Keep it the same, dudes." He then returned to the garage. The last two songs rehearsed that day were As Tear Go By, with Derrick singing lead vocals, and Helplessly Hoping, with Mike providing the acoustic guitar part and all five band members singing the various vocal parts. When Keith had to leave for work at Blockbuster, he kissed Prez goodbye and then told Derrick, Mike and Randy that he would have some clue about when he could work Black Angus. He jogged down the driveway and got in Prez's 4Runner then soon pulled away.

During the remaining time the band could rehearse, they jammed to Mike's Opus 17. While Shaun provided the main acoustic rhythm guitar part, Mike and Jessy took turns soloing over the progression. They both discovered some decent melodies that they hoped they could remember and record. When Jessy had to leave for work, the rest of the boys called it a day and began returning the gear to the garage.

Already at Blockbuster for several minutes, Keith told the assistant manager, Karen, about his new job at Black Angus and how he'd like to find a way to work both jobs.

Karen led Keith to the back office, where they could talk privately. Karen told Keith, "Blockbuster has always had a lot of competition from various 'mom and pop' video rental stores. That situation is getting more intense from the new Internet video rental and sales services. As much as I'd like to keep you here, Keith, I can't promise you much incentive to stick around. I can't even promise that you'll have job available. As competition increases, anything could happen."

Nodding, Keith understood what Karen was telling him. He grinned, "You know I love working here."

Karen smiled, "You've shown interest in the industry and have always been a productive employee."

Keith softly asked, "Do you want me to stay tonight?"

Karen sighed, "Only if you want to, Keith. I don't want to interfere with other opportunities you have. If you want to, you could leave and I'd still give you good references."

Keith admitted, "I could work at Black Angus tonight. I feel funny leaving and not giving the proper two week notice though."

Karen chuckled, "That's exactly why you'll get good references. When customers invaded and we needed you to stay, you stayed and helped. How many other employees have come and gone in the year you've worked here?"

Keith shrugged, "More than I can remember."

"Not too many people would consider making a career in a video store," Karen smiled. "This is a simple job; a stepping stone for people that are looking for something better. You have something better."

"It's dirty and hard work, lifting heavy bus buckets, but the tips alone are great," Keith said.

"Then go and make better money," Karen prompted. "I can start making calls and have your position filled in two or three days. It's really not a problem, Keith." Still, Keith huffed and seemed to struggle with the decision. He pulled his wallet out to turn in his employee discount card. As soon as he showed it to Karen, she shook her head and said, "Keep it and make use of it while you can. Within a month, it won't be valid."

"Thanks for everything, Karen," Keith smiled, and returned the card to his wallet. He then said, "Let me make a call to Black Angus. If they still need me there tonight, I'll go. If they've got it covered, I'll stay tonight."

Karen nodded, "Fair enough," and then left the back office. Keith fished his cell phone out and called Angela at Black Angus. It took her a minute or two to pick up the call. Keith told her the situation and Angela quickly jumped in, telling Keith to be there as fast as he could. Heading to the front of the store, Keith told Karen that he was needed at Black Angus. She and Keith hugged each other. Keith then said goodbye to the other two employees and left Blockbuster. At the realization that he had finished his last night at his first place of employment, he felt sad driving home.

When he walked in the house, Keith found no one else home. He went to his bedroom and quickly changed clothes. Finding the last pair of black pants and the last white shirt in the closet, Keith called Prez.

Already on his way to Black Angus, in the back seat of Derrick's 442, Prez answered, "What's up, Keith?"

Keith grinned, "I'll be at Black Angus tonight, baby."

"Awesome!" Prez cheered. He then quickly told Mike and Derrick that Keith would be working with them that night.

Keith prompted, "I'm taking the last of your work clothes. We'll have to make a trip to the store soon."

"We'll do some laundry again tonight, babe," Prez said. "Don't worry about it. Saturday's are busy and we'll need you. Tuesday afternoon, we'll all go shopping."

"Cool," Keith chanted, "I'll finish getting dressed and be there in fifteen minutes or so."

"See ya there," Prez chuckled, obviously completely thrilled that he would finally be working with Keith. He and Keith then said goodbye.

Keith flew into the pants and got the shirt on but left it unbuttoned. Once he had his keys, wallet and cell phone pocketed, he hurried into the bathroom to wipe some deodorant under his arm pits, but realized that his deodorant was in Agoura Hills. "Shit!" Keith grumbled, and tried to decide whether to use John's or Drew's deodorant. John was using an aerosol, so Keith used that rather than use what he would've preferred, Drew's Speed Stick. Once both pits were sprayed, Keith's nose wrinkled and he griped, "This stinks! Can you say, counterproductive?" He hurried out of the house, locked the front door and jogged to Prez's 4Runner.

At the Seaver's home, Drew proudly told Corey's parents all about the doctor appointment and that Corey had had his breakfast milkshake and eaten four slices of pizza for lunch. While Corey was mostly hidden behind Brian and Pete, blushing and giggling at Drew's enthusiasm and his parents pleasure over the previous day's doctor appointment, Drew swung around and lifted Corey off the floor. He purposefully grunted, as if Corey was too heavy to lift. He and Corey cracked up. While they were still giggling, Brian and Pete told the Seavers about the weight training program they had come up with for Corey.

Still off the floor and holding onto Drew, Corey smiled, "The doc said I could do a little more stuff, but not to over-do it."

Drew added, "A little jogging, a little weight training, a little swimming, a little wrestling, but never more than two activities on any day."

Lanna Seaver worried, "Please follow the doctor's instructions. And what in the world happened to your arm?"

Corey sighed, "I scraped it at the beach. It's no biggie, mom."

Putting Corey down, Drew assured, "We'll follow the doctor's instructions to the letter, mom. If Corey overdoes it, he'll see it in the blood test. We're hoping this will be the last two weeks of morning protein shakes."

Corey nodded then told his parents, "Brian and Pete will be coming home with us tomorrow night." He asked Brian and Pete, "You'll be staying the night tomorrow and Monday?"

"Tomorrow sounds good," Pete assured.

Brian smiled, "We'll probably go to Agoura Hills Monday night. Derrick and Mike will be off that night."

"Oh, that reminds me," Drew quickly interjected. "Their last day of watching the house, Mike and Derrick have invited over a few friends. We'll be there Wednesday and probably into Thursday."

"A party?" Bill Seaver suspiciously asked.

Drew knew enough to say, "It's an opportunity for the band to play, dad. Shaun and Gil will have to work the next morning. Mike and Derrick have to work that Thursday night." Bill held a suspicious glare with Corey and Drew.

"What?" Corey giggled at his dad.

Bill squinted, "Alcohol is fattening."

Drew scrunched his nose and reminded, "I don't like beer and Corey doesn't either. We couldn't finish the beer my dad gave us to share last New Year's Eve."

Pete scowled, "None of us are old enough to buy alcohol, Mr. Seaver."

Somewhat surprised, Bill queried, "You and Brian are staying to attend this gathering?"

Pete nodded, "We were planning on leaving either Thursday or Friday."

Corey grumbled, "Come on, dad. Do you really think I care about beer?"

Bill grinned, "I hope not." He looked at his wife and sighed, "We have to show our teenagers that we trust them."

Lanna emphatically warned, "Until they prove they aren't trustworthy!"

Heading to the back door, Corey led Drew, Brian and Pete outside. Before closing the door, he stuck his head in and giggled, "Maybe they'll have some wine, mom!" He quickly slid the door closed.

"COREY!" Lanna screamed. Bill helplessly laughed, but quickly stifled himself when Lanna shot daggers from her eyes.

By the pool, Brian locked eyes with Drew and chuckled, "What possessed you to mention the party?"

Drew shrugged and grinned, "My folks knew about Mike's birthday party. There was beer at that party."

Brian asked, "You guys didn't drink, did you?"

Shaking his head, Drew assured, "We really don't like beer, dude. Prez and Keith had maybe two beers each. I know Prez's dad was a beer guzzler. Prez wouldn't ever get drunk; it's one of the things he hates most about his dad."

Corey added, "Drew and I are athletic. I don't think we'll ever be drinkers. It would be stupid if we were." Drew nodded and proudly smiled. Corey said, "We'll need to decide about Knott's Berry Farm, dudes. If we're going, I'll need to let my mom know, so she knows what to make for dinner."

Drew glanced at Pete and then Brian, saying, "It's up to you, dudes."

"Don't you want to go?" Brian wondered.

Taking his T-shirt off, Corey said, "Sure, but we've been before. It's definitely worth the trip, if you want to go." He tossed his shirt aside and then jumped into the pool.

Emptying his pockets of his cell phone and keys, Drew took his T-shirt off then followed Corey into the pool. After Brian and Pete dove in and resurfaced, Drew said, "It's like an old west theme park. There are plenty of cool rides and some excellent restaurants. We'll go if you dudes want to go."

Paddling and kicking to keep afloat, Corey grinned, "You're older than us, but you still want to hang together? It's not that I don't enjoy it, but I have to ask why."

"Why not?" Pete shrugged.

Brian offered, "We're not that much older. I turn sixteen in September. Pete just turned seventeen. We feel connections with you, similar to the connections with Keith and Prez."

Drew hummed thoughtfully then softly said, "I thought you were older, Brian. There's only a year between us. Right after I turn fifteen next month, you'll turn sixteen."

Corey nodded, "I thought you were both older. Keith and Prez turn seventeen in September. Mike's seventeenth birthday was June." He turned to Drew and asked, "When is Derrick's birthday?"

"Late December," Drew replied, "after Christmas and before New Year's Eve."

"Age doesn't matter," Pete stated. "It's not like you two are so immature that we wouldn't want to hang out."

"And there are more important things," Brian nodded. "Like our sexuality, like Drew and I are claustrophobic, like Corey and I are recovering anorexics."

Pete added, "Drew and I can sing and enjoy it, but neither of us would want to be in a band." Focusing on Corey, Pete gently asked, "When's your birthday?"

"March," Corey answered. "I just turned fourteen."

Pete's eyebrows rose then he chuckled, "For fourteen, you act a lot older. You both act more like sixteen or seventeen."

Corey giggled, "You haven't seen us playing."

Catching a meaning in Corey's tone, Drew laughed then submerged and pulled Corey's legs. Only slightly surprised, mostly because Drew pulled his legs while Brian and Pete were there, Corey inhaled deeply before disappearing under water. As soon as he found Drew, Corey kissed him hard. They resurfaced to hear Brian and Pete's soft chuckling.

Brian sniggered, "That's what matters, guys; those kinds of similarities."

"We want to go to Knott's Berry Farm," Pete chuckled.

Corey nodded and giggled, "I'll tell my mom."

At Black Angus, it was a good thing Keith was able to work that night. The line was longer than it had been the previous night. Now knowing better, Keith entered through the kitchen loading dock and clocked in. The first party of ten was seated about five o'clock and Randy learned that another party of twelve was waiting at the bar. The five busboys were already hurrying in and out of the kitchen, clearing more tables and preparing for the second large party. Keith and Prez pulled three tables together and insured everything was clean. They had only stepped away to grab two full bus buckets at the waiter station when Angela came in from the bar with the party.

Keith, Prez and Randy were at the dishwasher emptying their buckets when Derrick came in. Stopping and placing his bucket down on the shelf, Derrick casually said, "Another party came in. They're going shopping and should be back in an hour."

Rinsing his bucket, Randy wondered, "How many?"

Grinning devilishly and bouncing his eyebrows, Derrick sniggered, "Twenty-five."

Prez chuckled, "We're set then." Curiously, Keith glanced at his lover. Prez smiled, "Even with five of us kickin' ass, we're looking at seventy-five bucks each."

Randy nodded, "Easily," and then started out of the kitchen.

Rinsing his bus bucket with the sink spray attachment, Prez softly told Keith, "I love that you're here, babe."

Keith nodded and held his bucket up then prompted, "Squirt me?"

Prez sputtered then cracked up and pointed the spray attachment at Keith's bucket, cackling, "Only a down payment on later, lover."

Keith chuckled, "Mike first then Derrick."

Starting out of the kitchen, Prez shrugged, "If we don't veg out, you're next."

As Prez and Keith left the kitchen, Mike came in. Prez warned, "Be ready for tonight's party, bud." Mike rapidly nodded and began laughing. Seeing Derrick still at the dishwasher only added to Mike's testosterone rush. He put his bucket down and tugged at the growth in his pants.

Derrick noticed and evilly chuckled, "Gonna get ya, Lick; three on one." Concentrating on emptying the bus bucket, Mike whimpered through his giggles. "You wild man," Derrick softly teased. Mike roared laughing.

Back at the Seavers' home, the four boys had toweled off and stepped into the house. Not seeing his parents in the kitchen or nearby dining room, Corey called, "Mom?"

From the living room, Lanna replied, "In here, Corey."

Leading the way, Corey asked, "Are you already planning dinner for tomorrow?"

Lanna nodded, "I have a few ideas in mind. Why?"

"We were hoping to go to Knott's Berry Farm," Corey stated, "right after tomorrow's rehearsal. We wouldn't be home 'til eleven or so."

Bill asked, "You'll all be sleeping here tomorrow night?"

Drew nodded, "That's the plan, if it's okay?"

Locking eyes with Lanna and receiving an approving nod, Bill stood and pulled his wallet out of his back pocket. Pete said, "I've got it covered, Mr. Seaver."

Shaking his head, Bill firmly reminded, "You covered the last trip, Pete. I'll cover Corey and Drew this time." He then softly counted out six twenty-dollar bills and handed the cash to Corey. He huffed and smirked, "Almost cleaned out my wallet. I only have enough to fill the gas tank."

Pete smiled at Bill and sincerely said, "Thank you."

About to ask his dad if that was enough, Corey remembered, "Oh, yeah. After four it's half price admissions."

"Not quite half-price, more like a third off full price," Bill corrected.

Lanna asked, "Drew, will you be bringing your cell phone?"

Drew nodded and smiled, "We'll call when we get there and just before we leave, mom."

Lanna teased, "You're developing precognition?"

Shaking his head, Drew chuckled, "Fifteen years of habits have sunk in."

Bill wondered, "Is there anything planned for tonight?"

Glancing at Brian, Corey and Drew, Pete shrugged, "Maybe a movie, but we might just hang at home?"

Repeating what Drew had earlier said, Corey offered, "Whatever ya wanna do."

Drew suggested, "If you want to, you could go out alone, as a couple too." Corey swung to face Drew, started giggling and hung off him. Brian and Pete began softly chuckling, but wisely said nothing. Holding Corey's hips, Drew blushed and chuckled, "I only meant, it's an option, if ya want?"

Brian and Pete nodded understandingly. Corey noticed his mom's suspicious expression and playfully asked her, "Are you adopting another boy or a girl this time?" Thoroughly confused, Bill faced Lanna and scowled.

Smiling wickedly at her son, Lanna warned, "You'd better leave for the Hundsers' and dinner before you get grounded for a month."

The boys softly chuckled their goodbyes and, as they walked to the door, Bill asked Lanna, "Adopting another boy?"

All they heard was Lanna replying, "Your son…" before Corey closed the door and howled.

Shaking his head and smiling, Drew teased Corey. "You're hell bent on driving your folks nuts, aren't you?"

Corey nodded and giggled, "They haven't laughed this much in months. I only wonder when and what embarrassing stuff they might say."

Brian asked Corey, "What've you been saying?"

Placing his virtual halo over his head, Corey shrugged, "Just enough to keep them smiling. They still act like I'm too sickly to do much of anything." Pete unlocked the car doors and they all climbed in. Corey added, "I guarantee all of you, she'll be on the phone with the doctor's office Monday, just to verify Drew told the truth."

"You all know I told them the truth," Drew groaned.

Sliding across the backseat closer to Drew, Corey assured, "It's not that they don't trust you, they'll still verify it with the doctor, just to hear it for themselves."

Drew sighed, "Whatever. They'll learn even faster that they can trust us, Cor."

Corey nodded and changed the subject, asking, "Do you dudes really want to see another movie tonight?"

Brian shrugged, "I'd still like to see Saving Private Ryan. I think you guys will like it."

Drew faced Corey and reminded, "We'll be learning World War Two stuff in high school history class; it would be good, Cor."

"Okay," Corey cheerfully agreed, and then softly admitted, "I've never really liked war movies. I don't like westerns either. It's not the blood and guts that gets me, it's that they're based on reality."

Pete offered, "That's a lesson we should all learn; that wars are nightmares. All the hero worship and chivalry is total bullshit."

At Black Angus, Derrick had a perfectly wicked idea. It would mean admitting things that had not previously been said, but he recognized that secrets between the four of them were pointless. The next time Derrick was alone with Keith, emptying buckets at the dishwasher, he playfully asked, "Ya wanna make Mike completely crazy tonight, dude?"

Keith grinned, "Generally, I would jump at the chance, but lemme hear the plan."

Derrick softly suggested, "Let's get Prez to wind him up."

Loudly laughing, Keith nodded and promised, "I'll talk to Prez and let him know that it's cool." He then casually glanced at Derrick and reminded, "That'll leave us together."

"The fact is that if we had all known the truth about each other a year ago, we might've done stuff together then; you and me, Mike and Prez too."

Certain it was accurate, Keith nodded, "Getting Prez to put moves on Mike will take me the rest of the night. His ol' man and those jack-offs in Texas really fucked with him."

"All he needs is your okay," Derrick stated. He rinsed the bus bucket and dumped out the water then hurried back to the dining room. Keith rinsed his bucket and his towel then started out of the kitchen, but was stopped by Daria.

"Keith?" Daria called, "Take some fresh bread and softened butter out to our party."

"No problem," Keith replied. He went to the serving area where the bread was kept. With his mind already spinning about what he could say to Prez, Keith was totally unprepared for the goosing Daria gave him. He jumped and yelped, and turned around grinning at the waitress. Most of the kitchen staff was laughing at Keith's surprise and Daria's lusty grin. Shaking his head, Keith sniggered, "I'll have to get fresh butter from the fridge now." Several chefs, waiters and waitresses howled laughing.

Daria giggled, "Do you need help finding it?"

"No thanks," Keith grinned. "I have a knack for finding slippery stuff." The kitchen seemed to explode with loud laughter.

With a bus bucket up on his shoulder, Prez walked into the kitchen, heard the laughter and saw Keith gathering bread, not far from Daria. Prez knew that laughter this early in the evening wasn't normal, unless someone said or did something very dirty. At almost any other place or time, Prez would've hollered for Keith and begun the questioning. This time he grinned and held a suspicious glare with Daria until he was by the dishwasher. Many of the chefs noticed Prez and warning moos erupted. Keith looked up and saw Prez at the dishwasher. His back was turned, busily emptying his bucket.

As expected, Keith and Prez were both thinking similar things. They began to think that working together might not be as great as they had hoped. As far as Prez was concerned, Keith went from an incredibly cute fifteen-year-old when they met, to a hunky sixteen-year-old. And he would soon be seventeen and even more desirable to both sexes. This was a terrifying thought for Prez.

Keith's thoughts were traveling along the same line; however he knew that Prez was extremely sexy. Derrick's idea for Prez to seduce Mike might be able to prove that point. Unfortunately, a busy restaurant wasn't the best place to put the plan in motion. Thankfully, they were working the same large party and would have several chances to chat.

Prez carried Keith's bucket and a rack of silverware to the dining room. Keith was only two or three steps behind him, carrying a tray of bread baskets and small bowls of softened butter. Out in the dining room, they worked together passing out the bread and butter, glancing at each other and passing telepathic messages.

"What was going on in the kitchen, babe?"

"Daria was being goofy."

"And?"

"And, last I checked, her tits aren't anywhere near as awesome as your dick."

"She likes you?"

"So what? I work with her. I love you and play with you. One sex-machine is all I can handle."

With the bread and butter served, Prez and Keith headed towards other dining rooms to grab buckets and clear tables then went into the kitchen. Emptying the bucket, Keith leaned closer to Prez and whispered, "Do I still need to remind you how much I like dick?"

Prez shook his head and softly chuckled, "No, babe. I can't help feeling a little threatened sometimes."

"I know exactly what you can do," Keith mischievously offered.

Catching the tone of Keith's voice and confirming it with a glance that caused Prez's heart to skip beats, Prez chuckled, "And that might be?"

Keith grinned, "Seduce Mike."

"Right," Prez laughed.

"Really," Keith insisted. "You're my smokin' hot sex-machine and he would totally melt."

Prez reminded, "Rush will need to be fed and walked as soon as we get back to the house."

Keith nodded, "Take care of Rush and then take care of Mike." Finished emptying the buckets, Keith and Prez moved over to the sink to rinse their bus buckets.

Randy and Mike arrived at the dishwasher and prevented further discussion. Mike invited Randy to the party planned for Wednesday night.

Randy chuckled, "You dudes are evil. I have a girlfriend, but I'm supposed to join a house full of gay dudes? You're trying to corrupt me!" Leaving the vicinity, Keith and Prez howled laughing, allowing Mike to further taint Randy's existing relationship. Derrick walked in the kitchen to hear evil chuckling from Keith and Prez. At the dishwasher, Mike tried to act innocent. Derrick didn't buy it for a second. Suspiciously, Derrick asked Mike why he was trying to turn a straight dude.

Mike scoped out Randy and playfully wondered, "Light brown or dirty blond hair, Randy?" Wide-eyed, Randy burst into hysterics. Seeing Derrick grinning and shaking his head, Mike teased, "You're gonna make me find out for myself?"

Finished emptying his bucket, Randy laughed, "I am not swimming with you dudes tonight… maybe never again!"

Derrick smirked at Mike, "You'll regret this."

"Promise?" Mike giggled.

Grabbing another tray of silverware, Derrick nodded and headed out of the kitchen. He found Prez and whispered, "Meet me in the kitchen, bro." Barely five minutes later, at the dishwasher, were Prez, Derrick and Keith. Derrick told them about Mike's attempt to add thorns to Randy's rosy relationship with Teresa. Together, Derrick and Keith instigated Prez, telling him what to do and how to do it, with the intention to make Mike ejaculate the first time his cock was touched.

Over at the Promenade Mall, Saving Private Ryan was just beginning. Brian, Pete, Corey and Drew had arrived early enough to grab popcorn and drinks. They found excellent seats in the center of the theater.

At the start of the flick, an old man was walking separate from his family, who were slowly following him. A few minutes later, the old man entered a cemetery. He arrived at one of thousands of marble crucifixes and dropped to his knees in tears.

Brian whispered to Corey, "That's at Normandy Beach."

Feeling an intense shiver race down his spine, Corey passed that information to Drew. Digging ravenously into the tub of popcorn, Drew nodded then stuffed a fistful of popcorn into his mouth.

The camera zoomed in on the tear filled eyes of the old man and faded to Normandy beach, June 6, 1944. Troop transport landing craft were approaching the beach. One soldier puked over the side of the boat. The camera zoomed in on Tom Hanks, purposefully showing the captain's bars on his helmet, and then backed off to show more soldiers upchucking inside the boat.

Corey groaned for the first time. Drew looked over and asked, "You okay?"

Fully absorbed in the movie, Corey nodded.

The boat's pilot shouted "Clear the ramp. Thirty seconds. God be with you." Tom Hanks yelled more instructions to his troops on the boat. Artillery began exploding, but it couldn't be seen. Only the splashes of water into the boat were seen, with the focus on the stern faces of the troops. The ramp at the bow of the boat was lowered. Before anyone moved, at least half-a-dozen men were hit from enemy gunfire; one through his helmet and in the head. They dropped and another burst of gunfire ripped into the next group of men.

In a hushed manner, Corey groaned, "Omigod! They haven't even left the boat and at least twenty are dead or wounded!" He didn't turn to Drew or Brian and Pete on his left side. Spellbound, Corey could only watch the movie.

The focus changed to a view from the cliffs, looking down onto the beach, showing the Nazi defenders firing upon the invasion force. The focus then returned to the boat again. Tom Hanks ordered his troops "Over the side!" Since there were twenty dead bodies blocking the path out of the boat, over the side was the only alternative, Corey nervously thought. With a mouthful of un-chewed popcorn, Drew looked over at Corey. Without realizing it, Corey's grip was not on the plastic arm of the chair, but on Drew's arm.

Men were jumping overboard into deep water; some were already bleeding. Bullets were seen slicing through the water and some found more targets. Other men simply sunk to the sandy bottom, struggling to free themselves of their heavy equipment, and drowning. Exactly who was being hit, the boys couldn't tell in the murky underwater footage. Suddenly, Tom Hanks was seen again, struggling with another guy to make it ashore. They stopped behind one of the steel barricades that the Nazis had placed to prevent an amphibious landing. The man Tom Hanks was holding onto was hit in the upper left of his chest and instantly killed. Corey loudly gasped, causing Brian to briefly look over.

Barely another minute of chaotic battle footage was shown; more men being fired upon as they tried to leave their transport, other men being hit by mortars and flying into the air, culminating in a close up of another mortar shot blowing a man's leg off. Corey whimpered and covered his eyes, but still watched through his fingers.

Obviously shell shocked, Tom Hanks crawled further ashore and watched the pandemonium around him. Another soldier with three large tanks on his back wobbled up the beach and suddenly burst into flames, engulfing two other nearby men in fire. While some men were huddled behind the steel barricades, an armless man wandered around the beach, trying to find his missing limb. An entire boatload of troops leaped ashore fully engulfed in flames. The armless man was seen with his severed limb walking to shore. Tom Hanks ordered what men were alive to the cliffs. Another man, disemboweled, with his intestines lying in the sand around him, called for his mother. Dying and screaming men were everywhere, their cries only momentarily drowned out by the sounds of artillery and bullets whizzing by.

Horrified, Corey couldn't decide whether he should remain seated or hurry past Brian and Pete to the aisle and out of the theater, at least until this insanely gut wrenching scene was over. Still watching between his spread fingers, Corey remained in his seat.

Tom Hanks was having an argument with a soldier about where to blow up obstacles. Again, the star of the movie tried to help a wounded man by dragging him further up the beach. Another mortar exploded, knocking Tom Hanks down. He grabbed the man he was helping and dragged him further up the beach. When he ducked for cover, he and the audience realized the dragged man had been blown in half; nothing lower than the gun belt around his waist remained.

Everyone in the theater gasped. Several people stood and hurried up the aisle. Beginning to feel nauseous, Corey stood and tripped past Brian and Pete to get out to the lobby. Drew calmly followed his boyfriend. Outside the theater doors, Corey found a space against a nearby wall and leaned there, trying to hold his dinner in his belly. Drew stopped before Corey and saw the same shell-shocked expression that he had seen only moments earlier on the faces of the actors recreating the historic event. Drew looked around and noticed men, women, girls and boys hurrying into the mens' and ladies' rooms.

Turning back to Corey and reaching for his hand, Drew asked, "Intense, huh?"

Wiping tears from his eyes, Corey nodded and sobbed, "That was Hollywood special effects! I know that, but still have to wonder, how far from reality was it?"

"Probably pretty mellow, compared to the real thing," Drew softly offered.

Corey happened to notice the wall clock and shouted, "We haven't been in there fifteen minutes! More people died in those minutes than in all of the Freddie and Jason movies combined!"

Drew nodded, "It's still just a movie, Cor."

Emotionally drained, Corey admitted, "If the whole movie is like that, I won't be able to watch it."

Drew sighed, "We should at least try, Corey. Pete paid for us."

Nodding agreement, Corey asked, "Tell me when they're off the beach?" When Drew nodded again, Corey groaned, "I can deal with gore, but I've never seen anything like that. That dude's guts were out! The other guy was blown in half! Real people lived through that, Drew."

Drew nodded and then looked inside the theater in time to see Tom Hanks and a bunch of men huddled behind a dune. Medics were working on an injured man while under fire. No sooner did one medic shout "We've stopped the bleeding!" than the injured man was shot through his helmet. The medic went into a frustrated rage, cursing the Nazis.

Closing the door and going back to Corey, Drew watched grown men walk out of the bathroom. One man fumbled with a pack of cigarettes as he walked toward the exit and dropped both the cigarettes and his lighter. Drew grinned at Corey. "Not yet."

Rolling his eyes, Corey griped, "Brian and Pete must think I'm a total wuss."

"Look around," Drew prompted. Watching Corey look beyond him, Drew said, "Grown men and women are losing their dinner. Some people have given up and are leaving, Corey. You were white as a ghost when I found you, but you're lookin' better now, dude."

Corey sighed, "I think I'm ready to try again," and then pushed off the wall.

Drew followed Corey closely and softly teased, "I'm gonna check the weight of your nads at home later." Corey spun around and glared at Drew then cracked an evil grin. "What?" Drew giggled. "Bet they weigh about three pounds each." Corey cracked up then turned and opened the theater doors.

Cautiously stepping inside, Corey waited for his eyes to adjust to the dark theater. Drew wrapped an arm around Corey and waited near the doors beside his boyfriend. On the screen, a chaplain was giving last rights to a dying soldier. Another soldier, splattered with blood was reciting rosary prayers in Latin. An American rifleman was softly praying for God's help. Suddenly, a Nazi pill-box exploded and several men fell. American soldiers bounced up and fired, insuring the German men did not get up from their fall. Drew and Corey began walking down the aisle.

More American soldiers had made a way up beside a pillbox. They tossed grenades into it then two soldiers cleared the area, taking out four Nazis as they tried to escape the concrete fortress. Still uncertain if the pillbox was cleared of Nazis, another grenade was tossed inside. Then Tom Hanks ordered the soldier with the flamethrower to fire. He did and flames erupted from the pillbox. Burning Nazis tried to escape the inferno by climbing or jumping out toward the beach. Another soldier on the beach hollered, "Don't shoot! Let 'em burn!"

Seeing Drew and Corey in the aisle, Pete said, "Here, Drew." Drew and Corey spun around and carefully walked between the rows to take their seats.

In a hoarse whisper, Brian asked, "You guys alright?"

Corey nodded. He was fairly certain that Brian's eyes looked puffy and glistened, as if he'd been crying. Could it be that Brian's tough exterior had cracked? What caused him to cry, Corey wondered; was it the carnage in the movie, or was it because he and Drew had left the theater for a few minutes? Maybe it was both.

Drew grinned, "It's heavy duty, dudes. Lots of folks left." Sitting down again, they watched as surrendering Nazis were cut down. When an American soldier was given a Hitler Youth knife as a souvenir, he soon broke down in tears, knowing that he had killed a boy; a boy that never should have been in battle in the first place. The blood sucking son of a bitch that he was, Adolf Hitler made use of the entire German population, including boys that hadn't yet reached puberty, to save his pathetic thousand-year Reich.

With his first chance for a drink, Tom Hanks nervously lifted his canteen, swallowed and then commented, "Yes it is, quite a view." The camera again zoomed in on Tom's face then cut to the beach, where bodies washed ashore in the surf. The ocean actually seemed to have turned red from all the blood. The backpack on one of the dead men read "Ryan S." From that point on, Corey enthusiastically watched the film. He hoped that it would be worth the upset stomach and wrenched heart in his high school history class.

Afterward, once the reviews and criticisms were done, Brian and Pete shared some of what they knew about World War Two. At one point, Brian explained, "To create his master race, Hitler exterminated millions of Jews, Catholics, the mentally retarded, homosexuals, lesbians, polio victims and anyone considered physically or mentally inferior; where inferiority was subject to his interpretation. If you were unlucky enough to have given birth to an infirm child, you were neutered, if you were lucky. While it certainly isn't as bad as a world war or the haphazard whims of a lunatic, our world still hasn't completely learned the lessons of that war." When Corey asked what Brian meant, he added, "I used to get bullied, so I learned how to wrestle and take care of myself, because no one else would defend me. We live in a world where bullying still exists, for many stupid reasons, not the least of which is sexual orientation."

"Brian?" Pete softly called. When Brian faced him, Pete then said, "As screwed as things sometimes are, it's not as bad is it might've been had Hitler won the war."

"Agreed, but tyrants still run amuck," Brian huffed. "People that think they can force others into their notion of right and wrong. You know that more than I do, Pete."

Pete nodded, "What's right is recognized and rewarded. What's wrong will always be wrong and is condemned, in this life and the next."

Drew and Corey wholeheartedly agreed. None of the four fully realized the impact the movie had on them. They drove back to the Hundsers'. After a brief chat with Jennifer, Jim and John, the two adults retired for the night. Corey, Drew, Brian and Pete decided to turn in early, leaving John in the living room and watching TV. Of course, neither couple went directly to sleep; they had to chat and make love first.

Across town, at Black Angus, the five bus boys were wrapping up their night, cleaning tables, emptying bus buckets and collecting tips from the bartenders, waiters and waitresses. It was another night of great tips. Hungry and tired, Derrick, Mike, Keith and Prez agreed to stop at Burger King on the way home. Derrick and Mike got in the 442. Prez took his keys from Keith and they followed in the 4Runner.

Prez slowly and cautiously asked, "You really want me to get Mike?"

Chuckling, Keith nodded, "Definitely, baby." He then reminded, "Derrick gave you as many ideas as I did. He's cool with it, Prez."

Prez offered, "He's my best friend, but you're my lover. If you say it's cool, I'll take your word for it."

Keith nodded and squeezed Prez's hand on the gear shifter. "We have to get beyond the past to live together, Prez. Mike wanted you and you've shown more than a little interest in him; in his guitar playing and in his dick. Derrick and I are past our old bullshit too. He knows that I always thought he was cute. I found out that he always thought I was cute too. Our problem existed before you moved here from Texas, because I was a lonely, moody, closeted queen." Prez broke into soft chuckles. Keith widely smiled, "In four sets of three-on-one last night, nothing was held back. Each of us made each other cum multiple times. You just happened to still be under Mike, suckin' his cock while Derrick was bangin' his butt. What Mike said this morning wasn't a complaint; it was recognition of what you were able to do."

Prez nodded and seriously asked, "Let me know if you want me alone?"

"I will, baby," Keith promised. He chuckled, "Tonight, I'll have to be more patient, since you're last. It's not like I won't be able to get at some part of you at some point."

Prez nodded and giggled, "You looked so nervous when I told you to sit on my face."

"I was!" Keith laughed, "We've rimmed each other every way except that way. I was afraid I'd like it so much that I'd suffocate you."

Prez howled laughing. Calming down, Prez admitted, "I like dick. Mike's grows a lot. Derrick's is nice too, it doesn't gag me and it's so easy to make him whimper or gasp. Your dick is the one I want, Keith."

Keith nodded and smiled, "It's yours, sex-machine. I love your dick too."

Prez pulled into the drive-thru lane of Burger King in Agoura Hills. Prez muttered, "This is the first time we've left Rush for eight hours like this. I hope he was good. I really don't want to face any messes."

Keith confirmed, "A quick walk was all he got before you left this afternoon?"

"Yeah."

"Get him out and I'll get his dinner." Keith paid attention to the final tab and fished seven bucks out of his pocket.

Prez pulled forward and placed an order. He pulled forward and sighed, "We've gotta do laundry too."

"When we take a break, we'll get the laundry done." Keith handed Prez the cash for his dinner and softly reminded, "I can easily afford it now, baby. I made about a hundred and sixty in two nights; minus twelve for last night's food, twenty for today's lunch, and seven now." He did some math in his head and loudly realized, "September's insurance could be set next weekend. Tuesday, after we take care of getting me clothes, we'll stop at the bank and make deposits."

Prez paid the cashier and reminded, "We've also gotta take Brian and Pete to North Hollywood." Taking the sodas from the lady and putting them in the cup holders, Prez joked, "I should get Brian a ten-inch red dildo for that giant redwood crack."

Keith laughed, "And glue those pine cones you picked up to the nads!"

"Ooo-hoo!" Prez giggled. He took the bag of food, thanked the lady then rolled up the window and passed the sack to Keith, giggling, "He'd get repetitive sharp jabs in the butt!"

Together, Keith and Prez loudly cheered, "It hurts so good!" then busted up laughing. Slowly following the 442 because they were still laughing, Prez pulled out of the parking lot onto Roadside Drive and across the freeway to Doug's and Brian's house. Getting out of their vehicles, they could hear Rush barking up a storm. Derrick unlocked the door and stepped into the house. Prez called Rush outside so he could take a leak. Rush hurried to the first shrub and hiked his back leg.

"Uh oh," Prez grunted.

"What's the matter?" Keith wondered.

Prez sighed, "He's giving me dirty looks. We left no lights on at all for him."

From the entryway, Mike sighed, "Rush sent his water dish flying. The kitchen floor is soaked."

"I'll clean it up," Prez offered. "It was our own fault for not leaving a light on. He probably stepped into it."

Keith asked, "Is it only the kitchen linoleum or did he get the carpet wet too?"

Mike turned and relayed the question to Derrick. He then faced outside again and said, "Just a corner of the rug, near the kitchen, where the dish was."

Finished talking a long whiz, Rush hurried to Prez and danced around him. Prez apologized to his dog and promised to leave the kitchen light on. Entering the house with Keith and Rush, Prez closed the door then apologized to Derrick and Mike, explaining, "This isn't his house. He might've walked into the kitchen wall before stepping into his dish and spilling the water." Prez got a dirty bath towel from the master bathroom then knelt down. While he cleaned up, Keith got the dog fed and refilled the water dish then joined Mike and Derrick at the table before his food got cold. Prez quickly finished the cleanup and joined them, taking the chair to the left of Keith. He asked Keith, "Do you think I should feed him before or after we go to work, babe?"

Keith shrugged and mumbled past his partially chewed fries, "I think it's better to wait 'til we get home. With a full belly, he's more likely to make a worse mess and shit in the house. Besides, he's eating breakfast later too, most days."

Prez nodded agreement then started eating. He kicked his shoes off under the table and slyly slid his left leg over to Mike and slid his sock covered foot up under Mike's pants leg.

Mike stopped chewing and glanced at Prez then began chuckling, watching Derrick and Keith for any reaction. They didn't say a word, concentrating completely on their food. Finished chewing and swallowing his food, Mike grinned at Prez, "Can I help you?"

Prez shook his head then locked eyes with Mike and seductively promised, "I intend to help you though, every way I can." Mike's jaw dropped for a second. Derrick and Keith innocently grinned. Since neither seemed to mind or even bothered asking what was happening, Mike kicked his shoes off and started playing footsies with Prez. Bouncing his eyebrows and seductively licking his lips at Mike, Prez nonchalantly picked up the longest French fry he had. He put it in his mouth then sucked and blew it, into and out of his mouth. Having witnessed Prez doing this to him on several occasions, Keith looked down at the table and struggled to hide his grin. Derrick hadn't seen it before though and helplessly sniggered.

Mike glanced at Derrick and softly asked, "Ya want us to stop?"

"Stop what?" Derrick innocently queried. What Mike and Prez didn't know was that Derrick and Keith had both shed their shoes. Sitting across from each other, each had a leg up, resting comfortably between the other's spread legs, gently massaging packages.

With his big toe acting as a crayon, Prez started drawing on Mike's foot. It took two full passes and the start of the third before Mike figured out the drawn message was "I luv u." Feeling his heartbeat speed up and his dick getting chubby, Mike nodded at Prez and silently mouthed, "I love you too."

Silent communication continued. Prez mouthed, "You're an incredible guitarist."

With shivers racing up and down his spine, Mike soon countered, "You're the best bassist in town, dude."

"I wanna play naked with you."

"With or without our instruments?"

"Both. First with, and then I'm gonna play with your instrument and you can play with mine."

Finished with their sandwiches and not bothering to clean the table, they took their sodas to the studio. They remained close together as they powered up the gear. Mike grinned, "What's goin' on, Prez?"

Innocently, Prez countered, "What do you mean? Do you think I don't love you?"

"I'm sorry," Mike quickly offered, and then explained, "It's just that I never expected this."

Prez smiled and reached to unbutton Mike's dirty white shirt, softly saying, "I loved the way you played guitar that first night on the beach. I remember it clearly; a chord and then a lick or run, another chord and another lick or run. As much as you were paying attention to us and the conversation, you were listening to the harmony." Finished with the shirt, Prez took hold of Mike's belt and gleamed, "In gym class, I saw your flaccid dick and thought it was perfect for your body. Then Keith told me how big it got around Christmas season."

"You never noticed in the pool house?"

"I was just as stunned about that as any of us. Besides, I was busy with my hunk of a boyfriend." Releasing the button, Prez lowered the fly and reached his left hand into Mike's boxers and revealed, "It was spring time, just before the frolics, when I noticed a sizable growth had occurred, while you were making out with Derrick."

Mike giggled, "Eight by five, dude."

"Six and a half by five and a half."

"You're really sexy."

Prez blushed and softly thanked him then said, "So are you."

"You and Dee are similar body types. All those things I told you that I liked about you were true."

"I gathered as much by your blush."

Mike pulled Prez's hand out of his boxers then imitated what he had seen Keith doing; gently sucking on each digit. Prez sighed and then helplessly whimpered. Mike giggled around the final fingers then began undressing Prez. He wondered, "What do you think Dee and Keith are doin'?"

Prez shrugged, "Hopefully something like we are."

"It doesn't upset you, I hope."

Shaking his head, Prez asked, "Did you get jealous when Dee and I jacked each other off the other morning?"

"Nope. It would've been pretty stupid considering what Keith and I did a little while later." Mike reached his hand under the waistband of Prez's C.K. boxer briefs and was surprised to find him close to fully erect. "You really do love me?"

Prez nodded, "You're my best friend's partner and my partner's best friend. How could I not love you? One thing I won't ever do is hold a grudge like my father, Mike."

Stepping closer and pulling his hand out of Prez's underwear, Mike reached for a kiss. The tender kiss was returned and then followed by a passionate lip lock. Prez pulled back and smiled, "We played with the wrong instruments first."

Mike giggled, "Ready for the other ones?"

Prez nodded and they stepped back from each other. Soon they had all their clothes off and purposefully glanced and each other's erections. They picked up their guitars.

Mike wondered, "That first time I blew you, with the ice cream, was I really that good?"

Prez nodded and chuckled, "You did it different than Keith. Don't I do things different than Dee?"

Mike chuckled, "Your awesome, Prez." Mike began playing Led Zeppelin's Heartbreaker. Without any problem, Prez came in with the proper bass part. They had barely gotten to where vocals would've come in when Derrick and Keith raced naked and mostly erect into the room. Derrick went directly to his drums. Very familiar with the song, Keith picked up the vocals quite easily.

Her style is new but the face is the same as it was so long ago
But from her eyes a different smile like of the one who knows

Well it's been ten years or maybe more
since I first set eyes on you
The best years of my life gone by, here I am alone and blue
Some people cry and some people die by the wicked ways of love
but I'll just keep on rollin' along
with the grace of the Lord above

People talkin' all around 'bout the way you left me flat
I don't care what the people say, I know where their jive is at
A-one thing I do have on my mind
If you can clarify, please do
It's the way you call me by another guy's name
when I try to make love to you, yeah
I try to make love, it ain't no use
A-give it to me, a-give it

Mike began the solo section. Many parts of the solo were exact copies of Jimmy Page's while others sound so much better. Prez noticed that Mike was playing double-stops; two note chords that sounded thicker. The final section of the solo was right on the money.

Mm, work so hard I couldn't unwind, get some money saved
Abuse my love a thousand times however hard I tried
Heartbreaker, your time has come, can't take your evil way
Go away, heartbreaker, heartbreaker, heartbreaker, heart

Keith, Mike and Prez faced Derrick and finished with three thunderous blasts of sound. The four boys looked around at one another in amazement. Slightly out of sync and with varying levels of excitement, they gasped, "Holy shit!"

Having had a blast playing a song he had practiced many times before, Mike's cock was stiff as a board and poking out beyond the bottom of the guitar body. Derrick began evilly chuckling at his lover. Prez was next to figure it out and cracked up. Keith followed Prez's and Derrick's gaze and shouted, "Mike!"

"What?" Mike giggled. "We played it great, for a first time. And we all did it together!"

Keith sighed and began picking up the clothes scattered on the studio floor. Standing up, he grinned, "Dee and I were getting the laundry together when we heard you two." He offered, "I'll get the wash started and meet you in the shower."

Putting his drum sticks down and standing, Derrick said, "I'll give you a hand."

Taking the Les Paul off and returning it to a guitar stand, Mike giggled, "In the garage and in the shower too?"

Derrick nodded and grinned, "Prez seems to have gotten you ready."

"Just by being himself," Mike smiled. Prez had already taken his bass off and was standing near Mike. Derrick followed Keith out of the room. They could both be heard sniggering in the hall. Mike wrapped his arms around Prez and smiled up. Prez landed another passionate kiss and Mike reciprocated. In his overly excited state, he ground against Prez. Giggling into the kiss, they separated and turned the gear off. They went to the shower and got the water warmed up then shared a bar of soap, cleaning off the sweat and grime from work. Derrick and Keith walked in holding hands and began bathing each other. More kisses, soapy hand jobs and crack slides were shared. Before anyone had an orgasm, the water was turned off. They toweled dry and went to the bed to begin their second night of fun.

Not surprisingly, Mike loved being the center of attention. He chose to remain on his hands and knees the whole time. He started with Prez's cock in his mouth, Derrick underneath sucking his dick, and Keith in the rear lubing his butt. Prez shifted around to take Keith's place. Keith tapped Derrick to move in front of Mike. The process took too long. Without a dick in his mouth for thirty seconds, he was calling out for "more dick now". Derrick, Prez and Keith cracked up. Derrick quickly moved before Mike. Humming hungrily, Mike took him deep. Prez lubed up a dildo and carefully slid it up Mike's ass. Loving it, Mike let Derrick's bone drop from his mouth to shout, "You dudes fucking rock!" and quickly slurped his lover's dick back into his mouth. It only took about two minutes of Keith blowing him and Prez driving a dildo in and out before Mike again spat out Derrick's stiffy and whimpered, "I can't stop it! I'm gonna blow!"

"Do it, you fuckin' wild man," Derrick encouraged. He pressed his crotch against Mike's face. Prez pushed the dildo in deep and held it there. Feeling the head of Mike's cock expanding and throbbing, Keith's tongue twirled furiously and was soon splashed with semen.

With Mike rambling about how incredible his three friends had been, they switched around again. Prez was gently removing the dildo. Derrick shuffled over beside Prez, ready to give Mike the real thing. Keith slid out from under Mike and gave Prez a kiss tasting of Mike. Breathlessly, Mike demanded, "Give me cock!" More laughter broke loose.

Keith moved in front of Mike and prompted, "Suck me nice, bro."

Holding himself up on one arm, Mike greedily took hold of Keith's manhood and cheered, "You got it; gimme that fat meat!" He swallowed half of Keith at once, causing Keith to gasp and Prez to giggle his bubble butt off. Derrick slid all the way into Mike in one smooth motion. Since Mike's unit was likely hypersensitive, Prez fed his bone to Derrick. After a little while, he offered himself to Keith, who was more than thrilled to oblige. Keith rubbed Mike's shoulder with one hand and held Prez's ass in place with the other. Speeding up his thrusts, Derrick plowed into Mike, making his lover whine past Keith's thick sausage. Feeling an orgasm rising too quickly from Keith's talented mouth, Prez believed Mike to be ready for more sucking. Prez gave Keith a tender kiss then slid under Mike and pulled a stiff eight inch rod into his mouth.

Mike was shifting forward and back, meeting Derrick's thrusts and making Keith's eyes roll back into his head. In a few moments, all four were whimpering, or rambling; swearing lifetime allegiances to one another. One after another, Keith came in Mike's mouth; Derrick pushed hard into Mike and gave up his load. Keith quickly kissed Mike then dove for Prez, pushing his lover's hand away and swallowing the familiar cock he loved best. Mike busted a nut into Prez's waiting mouth and Prez followed, filling Keith's hungry mouth.

As soon as Prez crawled out from underneath him, Mike flipped over and lay on the bed. Derrick lay down on Mike and Prez snuggled up to Mike and Derrick, with Keith behind and holding Derrick and Prez.

Derrick asked, "How do you feel, Lick?"

Humming thoughtfully, Mike offered, "Loved, secure, hopeful that we'll always be this close."

"Aww," Keith giggled.

Mike called, "Prez?"

"Yeah, bud?"

Mike chuckled, "Your new nickname is 'seductive sex-machine'." While Prez giggled and nodded, Derrick and Keith cracked up. "I'm serious," Mike laughed, "he was giving me a stiffy while we were still eating!"

"Ya know why?" Keith queried.

When Mike grunted negatively, Derrick grinned down at Mike and admitted, "I suggested it, Keith approved and Prez took care of the rest." Focusing on each of his friends, "He then seriously said, "All of you dudes are every bit as good looking as I am. People stare at me, but I know you guys are just as sexy because I get hard as steel for each of you. There's no fantasizing involved, not last night or tonight." He then wondered, "Am I the only one diggin' this?"

Almost simultaneously, Keith, Prez and Mike admitted they were enjoying each other more than ever. As the conversation advanced, they talked about more than sex; they talked about school, the G.S.A, the band, about the music and those remarkable times where everything came out sounding really damn good the first try. It was only ten or fifteen minutes of conversation, but they all got emotionally and physically excited from the ideas.

Next in line, Derrick was practically attacked by his three friends. As center of attention, he asked for and got two cocks in his face at once, Mike's and Prez's, while Keith lubed Derrick's ass and gently inserted the nine-by-six dildo for the first time. Hearing whining, Keith was afraid he was hurting Derrick and asked about it. Derrick firmly and loudly assured that both the dildo and Keith's careful use of the toy were "so fine". Eventually getting the entire dildo into Derrick, Keith held it in place. Almost beside himself, Derrick ravenously switched from Mike's bone to Prez's and back and forth. Going berserk for a moment, he instructed Mike and Prez to stuff his mouth at once. He got the head of both their cocks in his mouth and let his tongue go wild. From what Prez and Mike had said, Derrick knew what he was feeling in his ass was a lot like Keith's cock. He made it clear that he loved it and prompted Keith move around to feed him the real thing, telling Mike to take Keith's place at his ass, and telling Prez to take it slow blowing him "or the party might be over in under a minute". Softly chuckling, everyone switched around.

In position, Mike prompted Derrick to tell him if it ever hurt so he would know to stop. Derrick agreed and quickly slurped Keith's cock into his mouth to keep from hollering as Prez gobbled his uncut wood and Mike started moving the dildo. With his prostate being beat to hell, Derrick's whimpers got louder. He was about to let Keith out of his mouth and warn Prez, but he came so suddenly and so hard, he could only concentrate on not biting Keith's cock.

Underneath Derrick, Prez sputtered and wondered if his best friend would ever stop cumming. Only when Derrick panted, "Okay, sex-machine," did Prez know his friend was done. He slid out from under Derrick. Seeing Prez's jizz covered lips and jaw, Mike and Keith cracked up.

Wiping his mouth, Prez giggled, "Ya almost drowned me, bro."

Delirious yet not quite drained, Derrick called, "Lick?"

"Yeah, Dee?"

"Pull that beast out of me and fuck my lights out."

Mike, Keith and Prez were so shocked Derrick said that, they cracked up.

Derrick giggled, "Remember to keep the toys away from the dildo destroyer." Prez howled, gathered both dirty dildos and took them to the master bathroom, tossing them in the sink and filling it with hot water. By the time he returned, Mike was hovering over Derrick, his cock fully inserted. Keith was offering himself to both available mouths.

Climbing onto the bed, Prez smiled and playfully warned, "Here I am, bro. Prepare yourself, I'm gonna empty you."

Since Mike was sucking Keith at the moment, Derrick suggested, "You already got drowned. Let Keith have some."

Spitting out Keith's bone, Mike added, "Get yer sexy ass over here, Prez. One cock, two mouths, you're getting emptied!"

Giggling insanely, Keith moved into position under Derrick and took his cock. Prez moved into position and pointed his stiffy at Mike, who unblinkingly accepted it. When Mike needed to catch his breath, he released Prez. Derrick took Prez into his mouth. Keith had a blast with Derrick's cock and stroked his own meat. Realizing he was getting close and now was not the time to jack off, he stopped and slid his right hand up behind Derrick's scrotum, gently massaging his friend's family jewels. Having a perfectly wicked idea, Keith let his hand travel further up, so that Mike's cock slid between his index and middle fingers. He let his remaining fingers and thumb press on Derrick's prostate from the outside.

Suddenly, Derrick spat out Prez's cock and loudly groaned. Mike whimpered and shouted, "Yeah, bro! That's fucking righteous!"

Unaware of what his partner was doing, Prez looked for an explanation from Mike and Derrick.

Derrick smiled at his best friend and said, "He's giving me a prostate massage while Mike's bone is doing the same."

"And his fingers have trapped my cock," Mike offered, "It's like having two asses to fuck at once!"

Prez looked over at Keith's torso and could see it bouncing from held in laughter. Prez smirked, "If he says that I gave him the idea, it's a lie!" Keith quickly spat out Derrick's cock and roared. Mike wagged his tongue, signaling Prez to feed Mike his bone.

Within a minute, Derrick was repeatedly chanting, "Omigod!" Moments later, he hollered, "Doooooooods!" and filled Keith's mouth to overflowing.

Having accomplished his goal with Derrick, Keith's right arm reached up to Mike's ass. One finger was inserted and then joined by a second digit. With his mouth stuffed, Mike couldn't say a word. Instead, he tried to get more of his cock into Derrick and more of Keith's fingers into his ass. Unexpectedly, Prez groaned, "Mike? Oh God." Mike looked up in time to see Prez's eyes slam shut. With Prez's cock gushing and Keith's fingers dancing and his lover's awesome ass overwhelming his senses, Mike grunted and climaxed. Keith climbed out from under Derrick and fed Prez his leaking cock.

Realizing what was happening, Mike and Derrick began encouraging their best friends. Mike practically ordered Keith to cum for all three of them. Derrick prompted Prez to "eat Keith's cock and drink his load, bro."

Prez reached his hands around Keith and held on while Keith trembled and bucked his hips. Running his hands through Prez's hair, Keith's soft whimpers turned into grunts and he stiffened.

Mike and Derrick simultaneously moaned, "Oh yeah, dudes."

Finishing his lover, Prez smiled up at Keith and softly assured, "I love ya, babe."

Barely conscious, Keith nodded then leaned down to kiss his lover. Mike reached down and carefully guided his deflating dick out of Derrick. Soon, all four were cuddled up and recovering, with Derrick and Prez again in the center of the bed.

Mike asked, "You ready, bro?"

"Dude," Keith chuckled. "I'd like to, but I think we'd all collapse if we tried. I can wait for tomorrow night."

Prez nodded, "Me too. After last night and tonight, I'm feeling like I hoped I would. The act only confirms the feeling."

Derrick smiled, "It's so great too, bro. I almost feel silly for not suggesting this from the start, but I know certain things had to happen first."

Mike nodded and grinned, "Keith first tomorrow." He sat up and reminded, "We've got laundry to move around."

"I'll help, bro," Keith offered, and then wearily sat up.

Prez turned to Derrick and asked, "Are you as hungry as I am?"

"Fuckin' starved," Derrick chuckled.

All four boys climbed out of bed and washed up. While they were at it, the two dildos were cleaned. Prez and Keith prompted Derrick and Mike to lean over the vanity counter.

Mike scowled, "Why?"

Keith rolled his eyes and sarcastically reminded, "You wanna chance having jizz leak out onto Doug and Brian's furniture?" Mike and Derrick shook their heads then assumed the instructed positions. Keith cleaned Mike's ass while Prez cleaned Derrick's ass. Mike and Keith went to take care of the laundry. In the kitchen, Prez and Derrick made some grilled cheese sandwiches. Always scheming, Mike and Keith finished their task and returned to their partners in the kitchen. They held them close, nibbling on shoulders and sucking on ears. Derrick and Prez cringed and giggled, but still got hard.

Feeling Keith reach a hand down and grasp his stiffy, Prez helplessly giggled, "Food then sleep. Rehearsal in the morning then we have to work tomorrow night too."

Keith kissed Prez's cheek and smiled, "I know, baby. It's just so great to know you can get so hard so fast."

Derrick awkwardly glanced back at Mike and teased, "What's your excuse?"

Mike shrugged, "For being four being."

It took three tired minds several seconds to comprehend. Keith, Prez and Derrick groaned and mooed. They turned to Mike and, seeing his uncharacteristic angelic grin, backed him against the kitchen wall and kissed him.

Asleep in Drew's bed, Corey tossed and turned. There it was on the beach; no longer hiding or creating horrible scenes in his subconscious. When lightning flashed, Corey could see all of the hideous features except its face. It wasn't as Drew described, a tiny, pathetic lying beast. It was simply a huge mound of fat. Corey screamed, "Show me your face!"

"Not until you lose weight."

"Fuck off! I know who you are. You're the one that needs to lose weight, you obese, ugly shit."

"I need you to lose weight."

"What for?"

"For me."

"That's no answer. Show me your face, now!"

Blubber shifted, rolled and quaked until a face slowly came into view. Seeing a face that could easily be his own, only much fatter, Corey screamed, "Nooooooooo! I am not you and you sure ain't me!"

"I am you and all those who believe in me."

"I don't believe in you! You're ugly! You're nothing but conniving and evil!"

"As I said, I am you and all those who believe in me."

"Shut up!" Corey hollered, and then lunged onto the blob thing. He bounced off, landed on his ass in the sand, and lunged again, screaming at its mocking laughter. A large knife appeared in Corey's hand. He used it to carve chunks out of the blob, screaming all the while. "I will never be you! I hate you! I hate all of what you've done! You're nothing!" Realizing that his words were having more of an impact than the knife, Corey kept screaming at the anorexia demon. "You tried to kill me, you fat fuck! You made Drew fight me, almost breaking us up, breaking the most awesome heart in the world! How many have you killed? You want my fat? Eat shit and die." Insulted, the blob pulled another trick. In the sand lay the emaciated corpses of his parents, of Keith, Prez, Mike and Derrick. The last corpse was Drew, pushing Corey into an insane rage. Blaring obscenities, Corey tossed mounds of feces at the demon. They exploded like bombs, tearing off limbs, disemboweling it and sending sections of its intestines flying off in bloody, gross puddles onto the sand. Corey bellowed, "I won't let you hurt me, Drew or anyone else ever again!" He hurled another fecal bomb at the thing that had created all his problems, hitting him directly in the face. It exploded; leaving a gaping cavity. The demon teetered then fell, seemingly shaking the world. Dropping to his knees, Corey fell over and loudly cried, "DREW!"

"What?" Drew called back from the darkness. "I'm right here, Cor. Stop yelling."

"I can't see you," Corey sobbed.

With some effort, Drew pulled Corey's clenched fists away from his eyes and ordered, "Open your eyes."

Now fully awake and seeing Drew hovering over him, Corey broke down wailing, curling up in a fetal position. Drew rubbed Corey's back and softly shushed his boyfriend in an attempt to calm him.

There were knocks at the bedroom door and his dad called, "Is everything okay in there?" Around Jim Hundser stood his wife, Brian, Pete and John, nervously shaking from Corey's loud final scream for Drew.

Still rubbing Corey's back, Drew sighed then loudly answered over Corey's crying, "It's okay, dad. Corey had another nightmare. He's awake and I've got it, okay?"

Beyond the door, Drew heard his mom loudly say, "We'll talk about it in the morning."

"Okay, mom," Drew replied.

Jim Hundser prompted, "Okay, everybody back to bed. Let Drew take care of it."

John gasped, "He scared the piss outta me!"

"Relax," Jennifer softly told her youngest son. "Just lie down and let yourselves get a few more hours sleep."

Drew heard John, Brian and Pete all reluctantly agree. Corey was still a wreck though. Since the back rubs weren't working, Drew lay down behind Corey and wrapped his arms around his boyfriend, softly shushing him and assuring it was only a nightmare. It took another few minutes for Corey to stop crying and begin shivering and shaking. Patiently, Drew waited for Corey to speak.

Corey quivered and sniffled, "Sorry, Drew."

"Are you better now, angel?"

Humming affirmatively, Corey sighed, "It was like the movie; so much blood and guts." He shivered again and groaned, "Gross!"

"Can you tell me what you dreamed?"

Safe and secure in Drew's arms, Corey sighed and softly told Drew all about his nightmare. When he finished, he turned in Drew's arms, still wearing a pitiful frown, but was surprised to see Drew's wide smile. He scowled, "What?"

Drew shrugged, "You did it, Cor; you beat it, denied it, refused what it wanted and, like only you could do, turned shit into exploding weapons to take it out, once and for all."

With the terrible images still in his mind, Corey had to think to realize that Drew was correct. He smiled and nodded.

Hugging Corey tightly, Drew rolled back and pulled Corey along to lie on top of him. Softly sniggering, Drew queried, "Exploding shit bombs, Cor?"

Corey nodded and giggled, "It didn't like me telling it to eat shit." In moments, they were both laughing, but trying to keep quiet, muffling their laughter with their shoulders.

When their laughter had subsided, Drew told Corey that he had slept through it all, until the final blood curdling scream, which woke him and everyone else in the house. Corey hadn't heard Drew's parents, John, Brian or Pete.

Corey gasped, "Omigod! What they must all think of me! How can I possibly tell your mom?"

"You won't," Drew firmly said. "I'll tell the abbreviated version." He then helplessly giggled, "Minus the exploding shit bombs." Rolling his eyes and smirking down at Drew, Corey landed a passionate kiss to stop the giggling and teasing. It accomplished the goal and Corey soon felt Drew's dick hardening against his tummy. Corey broke the kiss and pulled back. Drew smiled, "I love you so much, angel."

Corey replied in kind and began grinding against Drew. Once Drew felt Corey's hardness, he flipped them over then shifted around into a sixty-nine position. They made love orally. Afterward, Drew lay on top of Corey, practicing his various kissing techniques until they fell asleep. For the first time, Drew remained on his belly on top of Corey until the alarm went off, about four hours later, at eight-thirty.

Before kissing Drew, Corey worried, "Are you angry because I woke everybody up?"

Vigorously shaking his head, Drew softly said, "You screamed in your sleep. This time was way different, Cor. You thought I was dead. Most importantly, you told me about it. Forget about it, okay?" Getting only an uncertain shrug from Corey, Drew stole his morning kiss then rolled out of bed, prompting, "Come on, Cor."

"Where to?" Corey asked, and rolled off the other side of the bed.

Pulling up his board shorts from the prior night, Drew smiled, "My folks are awake." In a few moments, Corey had his shorts on and they walked out of the room, hand-in-hand. Walking into the dining room and seeing his dad at the table with a cup of coffee and the newspaper, Drew said, "Mornin', dad." His mother was in the kitchen, pouring a cup of coffee. Drew grinned, "Mornin', mom."

Looking up and smiling, Jim enthusiastically offered, "Good morning."

Standing between his parents with Corey, Drew proudly smiled, "Corey had his D-Day battle with the demon and won. Of course, the conniving demon first showed off the dead corpses of everyone he loves. He thought I was dead; that's why he screamed my name."

Jennifer nodded and smiled, "That makes it a very good morning." Carefully watching Corey, she asked, "You know that too, don't you, Corey?"

Flushed pink, Corey shrugged, "I guess. Right now I'm too embarrassed to feel happy about it."

Heading towards the table with her coffee, Jennifer nodded, "That's understandable, however uncalled for." Sitting down, she asked, "Since I didn't hear anyone in the kitchen afterward, I'll assume you both talked about it and went back to sleep?"

Corey nodded and Drew offered, "Half an hour, maybe forty-five minutes before we zonked out again."

After swallowing a sip of coffee, Jennifer told them, "It may happen again."

Drew quickly said, "I don't think so, mom. Corey not only fought it, he carved it up like a turkey then he blew it to pieces; integrating some of the D-Day scene from Saving Private Ryan."

Jim folded his paper and sighed, "World War Two battles were difficult, to put it mildly. The European battles were bad, but the Pacific war was worse in one important way – the Japanese were fighting to the death for the Emperor. They didn't believe it honorable to give up, so they kept on fighting. By 1944, the Kamikaze attacks started. Japanese troops used themselves as human bombs, strapping explosives to their bodies, and then running under tanks or into lines of American soldiers. Iwo Jima and Okinawa were as bad, perhaps worse than the D-Day invasion. The reason I believe it might be worse is because Japanese propaganda was directly responsible for thousands of civilian deaths. Rather than surrender to 'evil Americans', non-combatants jumped to their deaths from cliffs in Okinawa."

Jennifer told the boys, "The truly sad thing is that Neo-Nazi, white supremacist organizations exist today, right here in America. A man named William Pierce wrote a book titled The Turner Diaries. Timothy McVeigh, the man guilty of car bombing the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, followed directions outlined in that book to commit his terrorist act. Not surprisingly, he committed his crime on April nineteenth, 1995; the day before Adolph Hitler's birthday. Bigots are in the news every week. Fanaticism still exists."

"Did you boys hear of the murder of James Byrd Junior, just last month?" Jim asked.

Corey scowled and thought aloud, "I don't think so."

Drew asked, "Was that the man that was dragged?"

Corey gasped and repeated, "Dragged?"

Drew nodded, "He was tied to the back bumper of a car and dragged for miles until he died."

Jim nodded and corrected, "He was chained, by the legs, to the back of a pickup truck and dragged for three miles."

"Omigod!" Corey and Drew shuddered.

"The men accused of the crime are believed to be white supremacists," Jim told them.

Almost in tears, Jennifer softly said, "It's believed that Mister Byrd remained conscious almost the entire time, until his arm was severed and he was decapitated. They dumped his body in the street, outside an African-American cemetery."

Corey frowned, "I think I've heard enough."

Drew nodded agreement then turned to his parents and wondered, "Why are you telling us this?"

Jim answered, "Because the battle isn't over. Our Bill of Rights protects freedoms of speech and peaceful assembly. We walk a fine line to keep those freedoms. An assembly of like-minded militants is still peaceful. The fact that Mister Pierce wrote that book doesn't mean that he told Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Federal Building. Pierce is a well known white supremacist, but he did not commit the crime. I support the Southern Poverty Law Center because they are fighting hate and attempting to teach tolerance."

"What makes our country great is the diversity of the population," Jennifer stated. "Many would try to make our country for only white, heterosexual Christians. As far as the rest, not falling into that extremely segregated group, they feel they need to exterminate the dirty blood."

"That's us, isn't it?" Corey asked.

Jennifer nodded, "Your sexuality excludes you from the safe, protected group, yes. Our support of our sons excludes us too."

Drew sighed, "I think I need to brush my teeth and take a shower."

Corey nodded, "To wash the foul taste from my mouth and demon crud off my body." They subconsciously reached for and held hands then went to the bathroom.

Once they were out of earshot, Jennifer softly asked her husband, "Do you think we said too much?"

Jim shook his head and offered, "They're adult enough to be in a relationship and have sex, then they're adult enough to hear the truth too." He lifted his cup and drank his coffee then grimaced, "He's right, I do have a nasty taste in my mouth."

In the bathroom, Corey and Drew brushed their teeth, thinking about what they had just been told. Corey believed that the Hundsers' truly didn't care too terribly that they were woken up in the middle of the night. They moved quickly past that and to the war atrocities then to more current events of a similar, horrible nature. Drew pondered the facts of bigotry in America today. He barely remembered the Oklahoma bombing and didn't know that the man responsible was a racist. Although he did hear about James Byrd Junior, he didn't know the man was African-American, the revolting way he was murdered or that it was another case of extremist bigotry.

Finished brushing their teeth, they pushed their boardies down. Drew turned the water on to warm up then stepped in the tub. Corey followed and wondered, "What're we gonna do?"

Drew shrugged then turned the shower on. Wetting down under the spray, he thought aloud, "First off, we need to pay more attention to what's happening and why. It wouldn't take much effort, simple browsing of current news on the 'net." He stepped around Corey to allow him to get wet and reached for the shampoo bottle.

"I hate watching the news on TV," Corey admitted. "It's so much depressing bullshit."

"Yep," Drew chirped, still washing his hair. He sighed, "I don't understand why so many people hate so much. I don't even hate the dude that followed us a few weeks ago. Because he scared us, should we have tied him to a pickup truck and dragged his ass around? That's seriously fucked up."

"And the Texas dude didn't do anything," Corey scowled, "they did it because his skin was black. Our little league team had kids of all races; black, Hispanic, Oriental of one nationality or another. They were just as good or just as prone to make an error as anyone."

Lowering his arms, Drew shrugged, "It was the same in our tennis class. I can only guess that some people never had experiences like that." Corey and Drew moved around in the tub. Drew rinsed his hair and Corey started shampooing.

Corey said, "I don't like the dudes that harassed me in school, but I wouldn't say I hate them, not enough to murder them anyway."

His hair rinsed, Drew grinned, "No, you saved your hatred for the anorexia demon."

"Fat fuck," Corey blindly giggled.

Picking up the bar of soap, Drew created some lather then started washing Corey's neck and shoulders. Corey opened his eyes and widely smiled at Drew. "What?" Drew grinned, "Just because some people are assholes, should we shower differently today?"

"I guess not!" Corey laughed.

Drew paused, wiped shampoo off Corey's forehead, before it dripped into his eye, planted a tender kiss, and then softly prompted, "Rinse?" Corey nodded and they swapped places again. Beginning to wash himself, Drew intently watched Corey. His hip, spine and ribs were still too visible. Another few more weeks, Drew reminded himself. Corey turned to face him and finished rinsing. Drew noticed his beloved had a chubby. The foreskin had slipped back, exposing almost the entire head. Drinking in his boyfriend's perky, tiny nips and his incredibly handsome face made Drew feel dizzy.

Corey opened his eyes, wiped water off his face then noticed Drew's erection. Smiling widely, he stepped closer and took the soap from Drew. While Corey worked his way down, washing Drew's tummy, Drew took Corey's stiffening bone in his soapy hand. Their eyes softened and they began jacking their cocks. Melting in mere moments, Corey whispered, "Drew?"

"I love you too, Cor," Drew breathed. He took the soap from Corey, returned it to the shelf and then wrapped his arms around Corey. A slippery, soapy grind immediately began and they passionately kissed. Huffing and puffing through their noses, they made love. Starved of oxygen and nearing his climax, Drew draped his head over Corey's shoulder and panted, "You're so awesome."

Hearing those words from the person he respected most in the world, Corey shivered and whimpered, "My stud," then gave up the battle. The sudden blast of warm fluid against his pubic mound set Drew off. Still breathless, they kissed over and over again. For the two boys, the best part was when they separated and rewashed their sensitive dicks. At the opposing urges to thrust their cocks forward or bend in half to pull away, they cracked up.

Brian and Pete stepped out of Keith's and Prez's room as the loud laughter began from the bathroom. Having just completed their own morning ritual, Brian grinned up at Pete and bounced his eyebrows, softly suggesting, "Today, you pat Corey's butt. We'll see what happens when I pat Drew's butt." Barely catching a loud laugh before it escaped, Pete nodded and sniggered.

The bathroom laughter also woke John in the next room. He grumbled at the disturbance and spent his first minutes awake deciding whether or not to take care of his own morning erection. When the shower water turned off, John flipped the covers back and got out of bed. He went to the bathroom in his boxers and tried turning the locked doorknob. He knocked and warned, "Lemme in before I make a mess!" Drew mutely checked with Corey and got a nod then unlocked the door. Not paying any attention to his naked brother or Corey, John went directly to the toilet and whipped out his bone, forcing it to point down at the toilet. With his bladder finally cooperating, John teased, "Ya woke me up."

Purposefully looking at John's cock, Corey grinned, "So you came in to show off?"

John smirked and locked eyes with Corey, asking, "Ya like what you see or what?" Drew only sadly shook his head and continued drying off.

Corey shrugged and teased, "It's nice, but not near as awesome as Drew's."

John yawned, "Still, you looked."

Returning to toweling off, Corey nodded, "One hundred percent gay, dude. I can't help looking, especially since you obviously wanted me to see."

"Did not!" John laughed.

Stopping what he was doing, Drew locked eyes with John and grinned, "This is new for you, bro."

"What?" John scowled.

"You decided to come in, knowing we're gay, with a stiffy." Drew chuckled. He bounced his eyebrows and told Corey, "The start of penis envy?" Frantically nodding, Corey cracked up.

"Right," John impatiently huffed. "Neither of you have anything worth wanting. I had to pee! I could've beat off…"

"But ran out of lube already," Corey giggled.

John laughed, "I did not! I learned how to use it from experts."

Wrapping the towel around his waist, Drew grinned, "This is something I need to tell Kim and Tommy."

"Don't you dare!" John laughed.

Finished wrapping himself, Corey giggled, "Ya never know, dude; a three-way, with your best girl and boy friends?" Opening the bathroom door, Drew cracked up and walked out of the bathroom with Corey following him to the bedroom.

Before Corey closed the bathroom door, in the kitchen, Brian, Pete, Jim and Jennifer heard John holler, "Tommy is not a boyfriend!" Brian almost choked on the apple he was eating. Eating his cereal at the table, Pete uncertainly glanced at the two adults.

Jennifer softly prayed, "Give me patience."

Holding his forehead, as if his brain might explode, Jim sighed and then stood. He left the dining room and went down the hall then knocked on the bathroom door. "John?" he called.

Only washing his hands, John said, "It's unlocked, dad."

Jim opened the door and wearily sighed, "Please tell me I was hearing things."

Surprised, John's mouth dropped open. John giggled and shouted, "Drew and Corey are outta control!" In the bedroom down the hall, Drew and Corey were in muffled hysterics, practically falling into their boardies.

Jim patiently reminded, "It would be alright, you know?"

"No dad!" John screamed. He pointed down at his boxers, loudly insisting, "Boy parts bad!" He gestured with his hands, holding imaginary breasts, and hollered, "Girl parts good; really, really good!" He then went around his father and pounded on Drew's locked bedroom door. "I'm gonna kill you both!" John loudly threatened. "This is how rumors start!" Beyond the door, Corey collapsed onto Drew and they howled laughing.

Jim went to John and took him by the shoulders away from Drew's door and towards John's room. Finished with their breakfast, Pete and Brian went into the bedroom across the hall to gather their things for a shower. Jim told John, "Put a pair of shorts on, have breakfast and allow our guests to shower."

John obediently nodded and went to slip into his boardies. Jim started back to the dining room. Brian followed Pete out of Keith's and Prez's room. John walked out of his bedroom before Brian and Pete made it into the bathroom. Brian purposefully paused before closing the door and swatted John on the ass. Spinning around and seeing Brian's evil smirk, John hollered, "Argh! No dude!"

"Brian!" Pete laughed.

"It's another cute butt," Brian leered at John. Leaning on the bathroom vanity, Pete helplessly roared.

"NOOOO!" John screamed.

Peeking out of his bedroom doorway and down the hall, red in the face from laughing, Drew giggled, "Can't knock what you haven't tried, bro," and quickly closed the bedroom door again, at almost the same instant Brian closed the bathroom door.

Hearing laughter from two rooms, John spun around, softly growling on his way to the kitchen. Getting a bowl, spoon and box of cereal, he sat at the table with his parents and wondered, "I was adopted, wasn't I?"

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