Life Goes On

by The Eggman

Chapter 23

Sunday morning, July twenty-sixth, Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike woke with the alarm. They gathered together for a simple circle-jerk in the shower before actually bathing. They then raced around the house, gathering clean white shirts and getting them hung on hangers, getting their black work slacks moved from the washing machine and into the dryer, having cereal for breakfast, taking care of Rush and hurrying out of the house to get to rehearsal.

Everyone, except Jessy, arrived at the Gibbons' home in Woodland Hills almost simultaneously. Jessy always had her Sunday morning church services to play at from seven until ten. Pete, Brian, Corey and Drew pulled up to the curb, in front of the Gibbons' home, with Shaun and Gil right behind them. The 4Runner and 442 arrived from Agoura Hills. With nine teenagers to get the gear setup, they were done in a few short minutes. Old Habits began with Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress, because Jessy was still at church, and then rehearsed Seven Bridges Road, concentrating on getting the harmonies correct. Mike and Shaun were both playing acoustic guitars.

When Jessy arrived about half past ten, she had sacks of sandwiches with her from Subway again. She took the food inside to the refrigerator, chatting with Lindsay and Mrs. Gibbons. Jessy also got to meet the puppy, who had been renamed Zeus, and Cleopatra, the kitten. Heading out to the garage, she found the five boys laughing and goofing around, because Mike's and Derrick's vocals were straying. In the driveway, Drew, Corey, Brian, Pete, Ben and Gil weren't really helping. Specifically, Drew, Brian and Pete were howling like wolves with laryngitis, causing Corey and Ben to giggle and stagger around.

Stepping before the microphone, and her sidetracked band mates, Jessy grinned, "Am I joining in for this tune?"

Keith nodded and chuckled, "Please! You take the high road, I'll lower down to Derrick's range, Derrick can take Mike's, and Mike can concentrate on the guitar part."

"I can sing and play!" Mike argued, and then softly chuckled, "On a good day, anyway." He still stepped away from the microphone.

Around the microphone, Jessy took the center position. On her right were Prez and Shaun. To her left were Keith and Derrick. This was the fifth attempt at the song, and it was better, but Jessy actually flubbed the lyrics in the second verse, causing another hysterical breakdown. Giggling his ass off, Keith retrieved his lyrics notebook, flipped to the correct page and handed the spiral bound book to her. "Okay," Keith insanely grinned, "take six!" Shaun played a chord then snapped his fingers to the tempo and everyone began singing. Getting through the entire song, the band noticed 'their ears' gathering around the mixer.

Drew nodded and the congregation separated. "We're gonna need two mics," Drew told the band. "We're only really hearing Jessy, Keith and Prez. With two mics, you can make a larger semi-circle and we'll hopefully hear all of you."

Pulling over the second mic stand, Shaun pondered, "Maybe we could separate by height? That would put Jess between Mike and I. Derrick, Keith and Prez would be around the other microphone."

Drew smiled, "Yeah, dude. I'm panning the guitars, so even though you and Mike are together, it'll come across separated, left and right."

"We could even pan the vocals a little too," Corey suggested. Drew nodded and went to work on the two microphone settings. Corey and Drew gestured with thumbs up. The band started again. They saw nodding heads and smiling faces. At the end of the song, Brian, Pete and Gil, who were most familiar with the tune, clapped and cheered.

Remaining as they were, the band decided to move on to Helplessly Hoping. Mike gave a soft count-off then began playing. Soon the band was singing:

Helplessly hoping
Her harlequin hovers nearby
Awaiting a word
Gasping at glimpses
Of gentle true spirit
He runs, wishing he could fly
Only to trip at the sound of good-bye

Wordlessly watching
He waits by the window
And wonders
At the empty place inside
Heartlessly helping himself to her bad dreams
He worries
Did he hear a good-bye? Or even hello?

They are one person
They are two alone
They are three together
They are four for each other

Stand by the stairway
You'll see something
Certain to tell you confusion has its cost
Love isn't lying
It's loose in a lady who lingers
Saying she is lost
And choking on hello

They are one person
They are two alone
They are three together
They are four for each other

At the end of the song, while folks in the driveway and street became enthused and applauded, Pete leaned over and whispered the song's final stanza to Brian, pointing out Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike as he counted off.

Smiling widely, Brian nodded, "Definitely!"

Over the P.A., Keith told the gathered audience, "Those two songs are the ones we intend to finish the show with. If you'll bear with us, we'd like to play them both again, to be sure we're ready and don't spend half an hour flubbing up one or the other." The band, those in the driveway and the audience in the street began sniggering. They played Seven Bridges Road and Helplessly Hoping again, better than the last time.

The band members were now warmed up and ready to continue their rehearsal. Moving back to their instruments, they played from their prepared set list; The Road, Stone In Love, Hold My Hand, Sister Golden Hair, Give Me One Reason, Mary Jane's Last Dance, the No, No Song, Don't Stop Believin', It's Only Natural, Bringin' On The Heartbreak, I Need To Know, Forever Man, Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress, Slide It In, La Grange and Every Breath You Take. Randy and Teresa showed up just as they were finishing the last song.

The band had thought of breaking for lunch, but changed their minds to get Randy's and Teresa's comments on Seven Bridges Road and Helplessly Hoping, so they played those songs again. The interesting thing was that the latter song was originally recorded in three part harmony. Split across two microphones, Jessy and Keith sang Graham Nash's part, Mike and Prez sang David Crosby's part, and Shaun and Derrick sang Stephen Stills' part. Randy and Teresa were very impressed. Almost everyone went around back for lunch except for Prez and Keith. They went to Randy and Teresa.

Teresa smiled, "The best part is watching who is actually singing."

Randy nodded and grinned, "The audience's eyes will be darting around."

Welcoming them, Prez shook their hands and chuckled, "I noticed you looking around. At first, I couldn't figure out why. Now I know."

Noticing that they were both dressed nicely, Keith asked, "Where were you?"

"We decided to go to church to pray for our souls," Teresa giggled.

Randy nodded and smiled, "Then we went out for brunch."

Focusing on Randy and Teresa, Prez playfully teased, "Have you two been doing naughty things?"

Teresa blushed and smiled. Randy chuckled, "I plead the fifth, although it's nothing we'll burn in hell for." Teresa smacked Randy's shoulder and giggled. Randy whispered, "Original sin," earning him a second slap.

Teresa smirked at Randy, "I'll leave you to play while I go take our mothers shopping."

Randy nodded. "Let me get my work clothes out of the car, Ter."

Reaching into his pocket and pulling the keys out, Prez offered, "Put your stuff in the 4Runner, bud. We'll be heading to Agoura Hills again after rehearsal."

Taking the keys, Randy walked to the curb with Teresa. Keith closely looked at Prez's face, rubbed his own chin and muttered, "We'll need to shave, baby. We haven't since last weekend."

"I packed our electric razors and a few disposables." Prez grinned, "I guess we can lose the mountain-hermit look."

Returning from the street, Randy tossed Prez his keys. Prez caught them and wondered, "You'll need a ride after work?"

Shaking his head, Randy answered, "She'll drop the car off later, at Black Angus. Her dad has the family car; grandma's visiting and the ladies want to go shopping." He, Keith and Prez started for the backyard. They found everyone spread out in lounge chairs around the pool, having Subway sandwiches.

Keith and Randy helped themselves to the food. Prez wandered over to where Drew and Corey were and asked, "What're you eating, Corey?"

"Tuna salad," Corey briefly mumbled around the food in his mouth.

Drew added, "It's got lettuce, tomato, celery and other veggies mixed into it." He then reminded Corey, "Mayonnaise is mostly egg whites."

Swallowing and nodding, Corey then softly smiled, "I know, stud. It's dairy, which will hopefully make the doc happy."

Drew told Prez, "That's where the doctor wants to see more improvements. Corey needs more milk, cheese and eggs in his diet."

Smiling and nodding, Prez returned to the table and grabbed the last remaining sandwich, roast beef with lettuce, tomato and cheese. He went over near Keith, Randy and Jessy, sat down and listened to the conversation already in progress while he started eating. Keith had obviously brought up spending a day at an amusement park. Jessy really liked the idea; however Nelson's work schedule wasn't fixed days or hours. "We'll make every effort," Jessy smiled, "but if it's only Nelson and I that can't make it, don't worry about it. Look at what our rehearsals have become; it's like a block party, with friends, visitors and co-workers all helping out."

"The more the merrier," Prez grinned.

Finished with their lunch, Drew and Corey approached with Brian and Pete tagging along. Brian locked eyes with Keith, relaying intensity that hadn't been seen since the last visit to L.A. While Keith was still processing the meaning behind Brian's expression, Corey squatted down and whispered, "Does the way I look bother you, Keith?"

Now understanding Brian's meaning, Keith sighed and softly answered, "Yeah. I'm sorry you noticed, but I can't help it sometimes. Drew told us that you thought you were fat and ugly. That's totally untrue, Corey. Last winter, at Big Bear, you weren't fat. You weren't and are not ugly, by any definition of the word. Every pound you gain back makes all of us feel a lot better, ya know?"

Corey nodded and softly assured, "I'm getting there; halfway back to where I need to be, Keith."

Nodding, Keith gently reminded, "The number is only one measurement, Corey. The other, more important measurement is what we see. What I can't wait for is another Big Bear trip this winter. By then, you'll be set, dude."

Since Keith was being honest and positive, Corey smiled, "Brian's been teaching me to lift weights, to mold my body into what I want."

"Use my stuff whenever you want, Corey," Keith anticipated. "My new job has me lifting more, and for longer periods, than I ever did before. I'd doubt I'll be using them much." Keith then looked up at Brian and confirmed, "You've taught Corey to switch from upper body to lower body and always give his body a chance to recover?"

Brian nodded, "We've just begun, Keith. It seems that Corey and Drew are more interested in running, so we'll probably cover that tomorrow."

Glancing at his brother, Brian and Pete, Drew reminded, "No more than two activities on any given day, dudes; it's the doc's orders."

Loud laughter broke loose behind Keith. Everyone turned and watched Mike, Derrick, Gil and Shaun take hold of Ben and lift him off the ground. "Noooo!" Ben hysterically cackled, "I only half meant it!" In moments, Ben was hanging from his limbs and being swung towards the pool. Ben screamed, "I wouldn't…" and then hit the water.

"I can only wonder what Ben 'only half meant'," Jessy giggled.

Randy grinned, "It can't be good if it got him thrown in the pool."

Surfacing, Ben giggled, "Now my wallet is wet!"

"Oh, we're gonna get more than your wallet wet!" Mike threatened. Ben turned red and laughed. Giggling his butt off, Shaun wrapped an arm around Gil. Derrick and Mike started around the pool toward Keith and Prez.

Keith smiled widely at Prez. 'I'll bet you it was something to do with you, sex-machine.'

Shaking his head, Prez sent, 'You're on, for tonight's tips.'

Knowing he would only turn around and spend that money on Prez, Keith nodded and sealed the bet with a kiss. It rapidly dawned on Keith that he could take Prez to Blockbuster Music and buy a stack of CD's, before his employee discount card was deactivated.

Mike asked, "Would anyone be very perturbed if we jammed this afternoon?"

"I'd kind o' like a little less structure," Derrick added.

Checking with Jessy for her opinion, Prez shrugged, "How about we play some other songs, like some we learned in the spring? We could mix them with jams or just extend them with solos?"

Jessy wondered, "Can Shaun deal with jams? I mean, I've never heard him improvise?"

Derrick and Mike swung around and called Shaun over. As Shaun and Gil approached, Mike asked, "Can you improvise, dude?"

Shaun shrugged, "A little bit, I guess. I haven't done it much."

Mike chuckled, "Ya gotta try to get better at it."

"I only know the major and minor pentatonic scales in a few places," Shaun offered.

Prez nodded, "That's a great beginning."

Shaun reminded, "I'm perfectly happy playing rhythm guitar."

"Do you know Birthday, by the Beatles?" Mike asked. Shaun shook his head. "It uses the pentatonic scale almost exclusively," Mike instructed, and then patted Shaun's shoulder, prompting, "Come on, dude. I'll show you." Mike, Shaun, Derrick and Gil started for the gate. Brian and Pete followed.

Before Drew and Corey left the area, Jessy called, "Corey?"

Spinning around again, Corey asked, "Yeah?"

Softly yet firmly, Jessy said, "I don't know a whole heck of a lot, but I did over hear you and Keith. Since you're obviously with Drew, my opinion might not be worth much, but you are universes away from ugly." Stunned, Corey's mouth dropped open and he flushed red, quickly covering his face with both hands.

Drew sniggered, "Thanks Jess," and wrapped an arm around Corey. Turning his boyfriend around and leading him toward the front of the house, Drew hummed thoughtfully then teased, "Both sexes wanting your sexy ass." Hearing his own words thrown back at him, Corey squinted at Drew. Laughing, Drew released Corey and took off running for the driveway. Corey mooed a warning then chased after Drew. Realizing he was being chased, Drew headed out to the street with Corey only a few paces behind.

Brian and Pete grinned and shrugged then started after their two young friends. Brian suggested, "You catch up with Drew and I'll catch up to Corey."

Pete chuckled, "We gotta find out happened," then increased his pace considerably to catch up with Drew. Brian turned up the juice to catch up with Corey.

In the garage, Mike taught Shaun the progression for Birthday. They were soon running through the song at a slightly slower tempo with Derrick providing the back beat. Ben returned to the driveway and asked Gil where Drew, Corey, Brian and Pete were.

Gil shrugged and grinned, "I don't know what happened. Corey was chasing Drew. Pete and Brian went after them."

Ben grunted then suggested, "I think we can get the P.A. working." Together, Ben and Gil got the power amps turned up then slid the faders up for the monitors and mains. In moments, they could hear Derrick's drumming and the two electric guitars. Finished with their lunch, Keith, Prez, Randy and Jessy tossed their trash and came around the front of the house. Jessy went directly to the garage. Prez checked the power amps then thanked Ben and Gil. Randy remained at the mixer while Prez and Keith went to the garage.

The band started jamming. Drew, Corey, Brian and Pete were about two blocks away, jogging back to the house, following the faint sound of music. None of them were familiar with this part of town and they hadn't been watching where they were running, so following the music was their only alternative. This became their exercise for the day and returned to Mike's house to hear the band had moved on to a different song.

The band was playing a metal song that Drew wasn't familiar with. Keith sang:

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!

On we sweep with threshing oar, our only goal will be the western shore.

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore,
Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

So now you'd better stop and rebuild all your ruins,
For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.

After the band jammed an extended ending solo section, with Jessy and Mike playing with and against each other, they signaled a sharp ending. Corey shouted, "What song was that?"

Mike answered, "The Immigrant Song, by Led Zeppelin."

"That was awesome!" Drew chuckled. "Way down the street, Derrick's drums sounded like thunder."

Randy nodded and focused on Jessy. "I would've never expected to hear keys in that tune."

Jessy grinned, "I was copying the bass part and adding some chord zings at appropriate places.

Keith smirked, "Before my voice turns to gravel, let's play Sign of The Gypsy Queen next."

Rubbing his arm, Shaun chuckled, "I think I need a break too." Mike glanced his way and Shaun cackled, "I've never played so fast for so long before."

"Shake your arms before you get a painful cramp," Mike instructed. Shaun put the guitar down in its stand and then went out to the driveway.

Rubbing his boyfriend's arm, Gil joked, "I'm tellin' your folks you were playing Zeppelin, you heathen!" Shaun giggled his butt off.

"Keith?" Derrick called. Keith turned to face him and Derrick sweetly asked, "Ya wanna take a break, dude?"

Cracking a slight grin, Keith offered, "I could."

Derrick smiled, "I feel like trying Tank." Keith nodded and walked out of the garage.

Jessy agreed, "That's a good idea." In a few moments, Derrick counted off then he and Prez started the song. Jessy soon joined in with synthesizers wailing. In the driveway, Drew tapped Corey's shoulder and pointed out six surprised faces. Ben, Gil, Shaun, Brian, Pete and Randy had never heard the band attempt the difficult song before. Derrick was flying all over the drum kit. Prez was pounding out blindingly fast harmonized rhythms. Jessy was using all three of her keyboards and Mike was using the tremolo bar on his Carvin ax to match the melody. At the drum solo, everyone was gathered together at the mixer, talking about the song and the various band members.

At the end of the song, while almost everyone in the driveway was clapping and cheering the improvised version of Tank, Drew pulled Keith aside. He told his older brother, "Dad said that the roofing contractors will be at our house tomorrow. For the next three days, they'll be replacing the roof."

Keith nodded, "We probably won't be there until Thursday or Friday night."

"Neither will Corey and me," Drew told Keith. "We're gonna be at the Seavers' tonight."

"What about Pete and Brian?" Keith wondered.

Overhearing his name, Brian interjected, "Derrick and Mike are off tomorrow, right?"

"Yeah," Keith answered, "only Prez and I are working."

"We'll spend Monday through Thursday in Agoura Hills then," Pete said.

Drew said, "We'll be there, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday too."

Keith reminded, "We'll take a ride to North Holly-weird on Tuesday." Brian and Pete nodded and confirmed the plan. Keith told Drew, "We'll replace the dildo Rush destroyed."

"Cool!" Drew chirped. Corey began giggling and reached a hand into his pocket to pull out his money clip. Drew grinned, "What're ya doin', Cor?"

"Giving Keith ten bucks to put towards our toy," Corey giggled. He handed two five-dollar bills to Keith and cackled, "Get a Drew size one." Keith, Brian and Pete cracked up.

On the verge of self-combustion, Drew sniggered and reached his hand into his pocket to add his ten bucks.

Keith chuckled, "I've got it, bro. It was going to be an early birthday present."

Handing his brother the cash anyway, Drew shrugged and laughed, "Get two then, and make sure one is about seven by five; Corey size." Corey flushed bright pink. Now knowing what was being purchased, Randy, Ben, Gil and Shaun began loudly laughing.

Randy couldn't believe Corey was that well endowed and crowed, "No way!" Nodding, Drew and Keith assured that was pretty accurate, but didn't reveal Corey's exact size. Randy playfully complained, "That's just wrong! I'm taller, much heavier and just shy of seven!" Now Prez, Mike, Derrick and Jessy knew what was going on and busted up laughing. Giggling his ass off, Drew went to Corey and pulled him close to hide his boyfriend's blushing face.

Still in the garage, Prez playfully wondered, "Do you show or grow, Randy?" Derrick and Mike howled.

Randy shrugged and chuckled, "I guess I show."

"Rat!" Prez loudly laughed. Randy cracked up.

Rolling her eyes, Jessy checked her watch and giggled, "It's two-thirty, boys. Shall we call it a day, since we've taken a serious tangent?"

Glancing around at Derrick, Prez, Shaun and Keith, Mike saw nodding heads and agreed, "Let's call it then."

Turning off her gear, Jessy reminded, "Nelson has tomorrow morning off and will probably tag along." She then locked eyes with Prez and giggled, "He shows too, if it matters?"

"Woo-hoo!" Prez bellowed, causing another eruption of laughter.

Keith sadly shook his head and softly giggled, "Sex machine."

The band members started shutting off their gear and moving things back into the garage. Jessy helped Corey with the microphone snakes then they got help from Randy to pull the monitors back. Pete and Brian lifted the mixer table. Drew carried the stack of outboard effects. Derrick, Mike, Keith and Prez moved the main speakers and subwoofers. Jessy said goodbye and left to meet Nelson, due off work at three o'clock. Randy went with Keith and Prez in the 4Runner while Derrick, Mike and Ben got in the 442 to head back to Agoura Hills. In a more private situation, Prez checked with Randy to learn if he was really a show-er. Becoming hysterical, Randy assured he hung about five inches limp and grew to a respectable seven erect. Corey, Drew, Brian and Pete planned a quick pool break at the Seavers' before their trip to Knott's Berry Farm.

At the house in Agoura Hills, Rush immediately recognized Randy as a friend and dropped to the floor, exposing his belly for rubs. The five teenagers immediately stripped off their shirts. Prez led Rush out back to have a good long potty break before being left for hours. Surprisingly, Randy followed his friends to the master bedroom and, seeing them all undressing, lowered his boxer-briefs, proving to Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike that his flaccid state was as he had described. Since the four band members were preparing for a shower and getting naked, all five got a good look at each other. Randy was uncircumcised and his hair was definitely brown. After hearing that all four were considerably thick while erect, Randy huffed, "I'm four and three-quarters around."

Derrick smirked, "Are we complaining? More importantly, is Teresa complaining?"

"No." Randy shook his head and grinned at Mike, "Eight inches?" Mike nodded and chuckled. Randy then locked eyes with Keith, asking, "Almost six in circumference?" Keith only laughed. Prez, Mike and Derrick all nodded.

Prez assured, "Exactly five and seven-eighths."

"Damn!" Randy softly groaned. "I wouldn't even be able to get my fingers wrapped around that."

Almost at once, Derrick, Mike and Prez chortled, "Sure, ya could."

Mike watched Keith and teased, "Getting him in your mouth is the issue."

"For you, maybe," Prez cackled.

Pulling his drawers back up, Randy chuckled, "I think I've heard enough." He went to put his black work slacks on. The other four gathered at the bathroom vanity to shave and brush their teeth. Only one question remained in Randy's mind. Shirtless, Randy went to the master bath doorway and pondered, "If I didn't know better, I'd swear all four of you were in love." They all turned to him and smiled.

Prez and Mike were brushing their teeth and only nodded. With his face half covered with shaving cream, Derrick softly said, "Two couples and a team of four."

Keith explained, "Mike and I have been best friends for almost ten years. Prez and Derrick are best friends too."

"Now it all makes sense," Randy muttered.

Tilting his head, Keith asked, "What makes sense?"

Randy shrugged, "The way you work together, the way you play and jam together. I wouldn't be surprised to learn you were always together."

Derrick said, "We are, more so now while we watch this house."

Finished brushing his teeth, Mike turned around and shared, "Until Friday, when our adult friends return, it'll be all of us together."

Prez turned and said, "Then Keith and I will go back home. At the end of August, Derrick and Mike will go home too."

A little stunned, Randy gasped, "Couples live together too?" All four nodded. Randy smiled, "That's so cool. I had to go to college and move out to live with T.C. Now she's at home and so am I, until school starts again." For the next few minutes, Derrick, Mike, Keith and Prez shared their histories with Randy. When the stories had been told, Randy went to the living room to allow the other four to shower. Watching TV, Randy thought all four were lucky. They obviously had special parents that would allow them to live together as couples and as a team to watch the house for a whole month.

In the shower, Keith asked Mike, "Why did you toss Ben in the pool before?"

Mike sniggered, "For being suggestive, above and beyond the call."

Derrick grinned, "He's so ready for a boyfriend, it's almost painful to witness."

Prez asked, "Did he say something about me?"

Derrick nodded and Mike leered at Prez, "He didn't even realize that he was basically describing you, until we challenged him."

Keith chuckled, "Describing in what ways?"

Derrick smiled, "Everything, dude; from Prez's personality to his voice."

"Damn!" Prez softly grumbled, and then sighed, "You won, babe."

Derrick and Mike smiled, "Won what?"

Keith answered, "Tonight's tips." He then told Prez, "It'll be spent on dildos and CD's, baby. I just wanted you to know how attractive you are."

Glancing around the shower at all three, Prez softly asked, "Have I changed that much?"

All three shook their heads. Keith smiled, "Yeah, we're taller, and you've developed nice arms and a sweet four pack, but the person I fell for a year ago is still here."

Derrick smirked, "I dunno what the problem was with the dudes in Texas, bro. Maybe it was always them and not you. Maybe it was your father."

Mike reminded, "You called me last summer, Prez. The first time I jammed with you was after work. The second time, I hadn't worked and wasn't working that day. You confronted my attitude in the nicest way and we talked for a long time. Someone else might've just asked, 'what the fuck?' and made it very uncomfortable. Not you though."

Keith asked, "After Justin walked off, what did you do about it, baby?"

Prez shrugged and sighed, "I called him a couple of times. He never took the calls. Suddenly, he was never home."

Derrick grunted then assured, "It wasn't you. It sounds like you were the same then as you are now. Their loss is our gain." Mike and Keith strongly agreed. Derrick, Keith and Mike surrounded Prez and wrapped their arms around him, silently grounding him in the present.

Done showering, dressed and out in the main rooms of the house, all four began chatting with Randy, sharing more about their pasts. The dishes and glasses in the sink were put in the dishwasher. Prez closed doors to keep Rush out of trouble then let his dog in again and made sure that the kitchen light was left on, so he didn't make another mess. They left for work in two vehicles. Randy went to work with Derrick and Mike in the 442. Alone with them, Randy learned a little more about how things were, before Prez moved to town and right afterward.

Pete's Malibu made a detour to the Hundsers' house, so that Corey could work out with the weights for a few minutes. A few comments about the band from Brian and Pete prompted Drew to say "They were good before the new P.A. With the new mixer, digital effects and compressors, they sound so much better. That compressor makes their vocals sound really good."

Pete wondered, "How exactly?"

"It smoothes the sound, so it's not fluctuating from soft to loud so much," Drew answered.

Taking a break between sets, Corey said, "The other P.A. had really cheesy sounding effects. Now we can put a little reverb on the snare drum, so it really snaps. We put a little delay on the vocals now and then too. Everything combined, the new system and the band, really makes a big difference." He lifted the ten pound dumbbell and started his final sets.

Monitoring Corey closely, Brian asked Drew, "You really enjoy operating the mixer, don't you?"

Drew chuckled, "It's great! I love taking a single instrument, like a snare drum or tom-tom, and making it sound like what I hear on CD's. It's like molding clay as a kid. Only now, I'm molding sound." After a brief pause, Drew reflected, "It's weird; at first I was listening to CD's and adjusting to get those sounds, but now, after working with the band most of this year, I'm hearing what's on CD's better than before."

Corey put the dumbbell down and said, "Three sets of ten on each arm."

Brian asked, "Do you want to do a set or two with the barbell?"

Corey shrugged, "I could," and checked with Drew.

Checking his watch, Drew said, "Go for it, Cor. We'll only have thirty minutes or so in the pool. I don't think you're over-doing anything."

Pete prompted, "While Corey's lifting the bar, you could use the dumbbell, Drew? You don't want Corey winning all the wrestling matches."

Heading over to the bench to do a set or two of dumbbell curls, Drew shrugged and grinned, "Maybe I do."

Squatting down to lift the bar, Corey released it and giggled, "I'll beat ya, stud." Pete and Brian helplessly cracked up.

"I'm hoping, angel," Drew leered, further instigating Brian and Pete.

With his mind racing off on tangents, Corey grinned at Drew and concentrated on lifting the barbell. Corey did three sets of twelve presses while Drew did three sets of fifteen dumbbell curls.

On the way out of the garage, Drew stopped to remind his parents of the days' plans. Knowing that Pete had covered the trip to Magic Mountain weeks earlier, Jim Hundser was about to pay for Corey and Drew. When Drew told his dad that Bill Seaver had already given Corey money for the park admissions, Jim gave Drew sixty bucks for dinner, snacks and drinks. Before leaving the house, Drew told his parents that he and Corey would be at the Seavers' home the next night and would spend Tuesday through Thursday at Agoura Hills. Brian and Pete planned to leave Friday morning for home. Jennifer and Jim gave Brian and Pete farewell hugs and hoped that they would get to see each other again soon.

Stepping outside and starting for Pete's Malibu, Drew wondered, "Why does everyone think my folks are so extraordinary?"

Brian quickly replied, "Because they are, Drew." Seeing Drew's perplexed expression, Brian grinned, "Do you really think every parent would allow their fourteen year old son to have a gay relationship?"

Unlocking the car doors, Pete nodded, "They allow it and support it. My mother had a meltdown when she learned that Brian and I were in love. Nothing was said about sex either."

All four got in the car and Brian continued. "So far as I've heard, only Derrick's father had issues. Prez's dad doesn't count because he's not around to muddy the waters."

"I guess I never really thought about it," Drew muttered.

Pete suggested, "Think about it."

Turning in the front passenger seat while Pete pulled away, Brian smiled, "Your parents are very cool too, Corey."

Corey nodded, "It's only their protectiveness that bugs me sometimes."

Pete chuckled, "They're protective of your health. They're not interfering with your relationship with Drew though, are they?"

"Not anymore!" Corey giggled.

Rolling his eyes, Drew grinned, "Don't start, Cor."

"What?" Corey playfully squealed, "Just because they think you walk on water." Brian and Pete helplessly sniggered when Drew flung himself across the backseat and began tickling Corey. A minute or so later, while Drew was blowing raspberries on Corey's tummy, Pete stopped in front of the Seavers' home. Brian and Pete got out of the car, where they waited for their friends. Still in the car, Corey playfully complained, "You di-id it again!"

Climbing out of the back seat, Drew chuckled, "We'll walk around back and jump right into the pool." He offered a hand to Corey. Hiccupping, Corey giggled and slapped Drew's hand away. Standing upright and quickly spinning around, Corey forced his erection down.

Brian closed the car door and Pete chuckled, "Damn, Corey! Have you got a license for that?"

Blushing, Corey pointed at Drew and giggled, "Right there."

Brian smirked, "To block the view, you get to follow behind Drew." Flushing redder, Corey nodded and took hold of Drew's shoulders. Starting around the house, Brian looked at Pete and offered, "It must be the California climate."

Pete nodded and teased, "They're all hung real nice; some longer than average and others thicker than average." Noticing Corey's twisted expression, Pete smirked, "What's wrong, Corey?"

Corey shrugged and sighed, "I'm not used to this. It just seems weird for anyone other than Drew to comment on my looks."

Brian gently reminded, "We're gay teenagers. None of us can help noticing what's apparent."

Leading the way through the stockade fence gate, Drew glanced back and smiled, "My sexy angel." He then glanced at Pete and Brian, joking, "Today's chicken fights will be couple versus couple."

"Drew!" Corey loudly cackled, and then cracked up.

Allowing Pete and Brian to pass, Drew waited for Corey and then closed the gate. Brian and Pete took their shirts off, emptied their shorts pockets and put their things on the patio table. Drew turned to face Corey and whispered, "Where are they sleeping tonight?" Corey shrugged. Drew softly offered, "It would be very un-cool for them to sleep on the living room sofa sleeper."

Thinking of his own selfishness and Drew's consideration of others, Corey nodded and took his T-shirt off then whispered, "I love you, Drew."

"I know it," Drew brightly smiled. "We like them though. Let's check with them."

Corey nodded at Drew then loudly told Brian and Pete, "Pool's open, dudes. We'll be there in a minute." Brian dove in and Pete went to the diving board. Corey whispered to Drew, "I get hard at the drop of a hat."

"And I don't?" Drew softly chuckled. He traced Corey's ear and down his jaw then planted a tender kiss. Drew ran to the pool and dove in. Running to the diving board, Corey performed a Jack-knife and sliced into the water. At the shallow end of the pool, Corey surfaced near Drew, Brian and Pete. Wiping water off his face, he noticed all three waving toward the house. Looking over, Corey saw his dad standing at the kitchen window and also waved. When Bill Seaver stepped away, Drew grinned, "Okay, we need to chat about who's sleeping where tonight."

Tilting his head curiously, Pete wondered, "Why is that an issue?"

Corey shrugged, "This is a two-bedroom house; my room and my parents' room. The only alternate place is the living room sofa sleeper."

"Which I don't think is cool," Drew offered. "Not only would you not have privacy, the Seavers will be waking early for work. Corey and I think we should all share his queen sized bed, but there's still a privacy issue."

"We're gonna want to make love as soon as we get home tonight," Corey giggled.

Pulling Corey close, Drew nodded, "We assume you dudes will want to too." Brian grinned at Pete then they both began chuckling. Not expecting this response, Corey smirked at Drew.

Brian softly chortled, "We were with Keith and Prez for two days and nights, remember?" Corey and Drew nodded.

Pete grinned, "Another learning experience for us." Brian's chuckling became loud laughter.

"Omigiod!" Drew groaned and grinned, knowing his brother and foster brother all too well.

"What happened?" Corey innocently wondered.

Breathlessly, Brian laughed, "Before or after they taught us about rimming?" Corey's eyes shot open. Drew slapped his own forehead and shook his head.

Pete sniggered, "The first night, the lights were out while Brian and I made love on one cot, while across the cabin, Keith and Prez were going for it too."

Brian chuckled, "The next morning, we heard strange electronic beeping. Prez tossed the covers aside and got out of bed, hard as a rock, and went to find what was beeping."

"That left Keith lying there in bed, exposed, with full wood," Pete giggled at the memory. "He didn't move or care."

Corey howled laughing. Still shaking his head, Drew chuckled, "I could tell you plenty of stories about Keith before Prez. Since he got together with Prez, they're both outta control!" Grabbing his stomach, Corey roared.

Brian playfully wondered, "Do you know everything though?"

Drew shrugged and grinned, "About them with Derrick and Mike?" Brian and Pete both nodded. Drew giggled, "I know and told Corey about it."

"We never considered having special friends like that before," Pete offered.

"The four of them are definitely brothers and lovers," Brian smiled.

Drew nodded and smiled, "So we can make love tonight?"

Brian and Pete checked with each other then nodded. Brian offered, "We can manage something, I'm thinking on the floor, on opposite sides of the bed. The lights could be off and we'd be out of sight."

Only just calming down, Corey nodded and giggled, "That would work fine, I guess." He caught his breath and admitted, "Prez taught me about rimming too."

Brian and Pete howled. Embarrassed, Drew softly chortled, "Cor."

Grabbing hold of Drew's waist, Corey giggled, "We like it, a lot!"

Seeing Drew's red face, Pete took hold of his shoulder and smiled, "Don't be embarrassed. It's cool. We enjoyed it too."

Drew grunted and nodded then softly admitted, "Tonight would be our first time, two couples in the same room, I mean."

Knowing better, Brian teased, "So three couples in the tent didn't count?"

Surprised, Drew's mouth dropped open. Corey squeezed him tight and laughed, "It counted, but we forgot about the other two couples."

Drew nodded and locked eyes with Corey, simply stating, "For us, the others weren't even there."

Pete nodded, "That's the way it is for us too."

Brian joked, "Except for when one couple keeps going after the second couple has finished."

"Brian!" Pete incredulously laughed.

"What? They wanted us to watch and liked it as much as we did!" Brian chuckled. All four boys cracked up laughing.

While they were still hysterical, Bill Seaver stepped outside with towels. The boys saw him and tried to control themselves. Bill smiled, "It's almost four, boys." He locked eyes with Pete and asked, "Do you know where you're going?"

Pete chuckled, "Not really."

"I think I know," Drew offered, and then rattled off, "The 101 to the 5 to the 605 to 22 and off at Beach Boulevard."

Bill nodded, "That'll work. Instead of the I-5, you could also take the 405. Drew gets the map and plays navigator." Corey's father went inside.

All four boys climbed out of the pool and began toweling off. Picking up Pete's keys from the table, Brian said, "I'll get our stuff, babe," and then ran to the gate.

Corey shared a meaningful glance with Drew then started giggling. Curiously, Pete glanced at Corey and then Drew.

Drew smiled at Pete and offered, "He's laughing about Prez and Keith with you and Brian."

"I don't see that working out," Corey giggled. "Sex is easy, I mean. Neither Prez nor Keith with you, or Brian; as in long term partnerships, it couldn't work."

Pete nodded and smiled, "We considered it, but never did anything with them, only hugs and kisses."

"Because that's what you wanted?" Drew softly asked.

Pete shrugged, "It was the first time I kissed anybody other than Brian. It was Brian's first time kissing someone other than me too. It just felt hurried, like sex would've been rushing for us and for them too. What's really most important is that it was considered. We shared a lot more than a canvas cabin those few days."

Shaking his head, Drew giggled, "My sex crazed brother and his sex machine partner."

Pete chuckled, "They didn't suggest it. Brian did."

Returning with their gym bag, Brian wondered, "What did I do?"

"Suggested having sex with Keith and Prez," Pete grinned.

Somewhat surprised that Pete told Corey and Drew, Brian smirked and nodded, "Yeah, I did. It was a Freudian slip though, including them with people that really matter, like Pete."

Pete told Brian, "I was only telling Corey and Drew that we shared more than the cabin, that we shared experiences and feelings too."

Picking up his stuff from the table, Corey prompted, "Let's get changed," and started for the sliding glass door. Grabbing their things too, Drew, Pete and Brian followed Corey inside and to his room. Brian closed the door behind him and turned to find Drew untying Corey's boardies. Brian and Pete began changing clothes. They couldn't help noticing the way Drew helped Corey undress and dry off, and then the way Corey helped Drew undress and dry off.

Corey went to the dresser for clean clothes. Patiently waiting, Drew noticed Brian and Pete smiling, acting like they had seen something special. Taking a pair of boxers that Corey was holding, Drew pulled up his underwear and grinned, "We like helping each other, dudes. We were fooling around for almost a year before we ever helped each other dress or undress. Now, it's like habit. Everything changed that week you two left for Arizona; fooling around turned into really making love."

Corey nodded and smiled at Drew, reminding, "We occasionally forget that we can help each other. Sex used to be much quicker, get to the orgasm quick before we were caught. We still don't want to be caught and lock the door just like always, but now, getting to the orgasm takes way more than ten minutes. What's really weird is when we're dressing or drying each other. We get just as excited as always, but don't get really hard." Uncertainly, Corey shrugged.

"Don't ever change, guys," Pete encouraged.

Brian nodded, "It's another little something that makes you two unique." He checked with Pete, "I've never seen Derrick and Mike or Prez and Keith help each other like that."

Pete shrugged, "Maybe they have and we simply didn't see it, because they didn't want us to see."

Taking a pair of boardies from Corey, Drew gestured to his boyfriend and smiled, "That hot bod is mine."

"Drew!" Corey whined and giggled.

"What?" Drew playfully asked. Pulling his shorts up, he rambled, "Our relationship isn't only about sex. It's not only about conniving anorexia demons either. It's about everything, from dressing to undressing and everything in between." Still giggling and staggering into his board shorts, Corey whimpered. Sadly shaking his head, Drew went to the closet, nearer to Pete and Brian, still rambling. "Did we see your dicks? Of course. Did you see our dicks? Almost certainly." He grabbed two T-shirts from the closet then returned to Corey, stating, "I see Corey as tall as Pete in three years. Corey won't be quite as buff, and that's the way I want it, because that's the way Corey wants it to be." He paused to lift Corey's arms and put his T-shirt on. While Corey returned the favor, Drew said, "In three years, I'll probably as tall as my dad, five-eleven, or if I'm lucky, about six feet even." With their shirts on, Corey and Drew embraced. Drew sighed, "Being two inches taller than Corey doesn't matter at all. Being two inches shorter, years from now, won't matter either." At a pause, Corey stole a kiss then proudly beamed at Brian and Pete. Contentedly sighing, Drew offered, "I learned from Keith and Prez, what matters is that Corey is here. Keith lived through Mike's dad and Prez's mom dying."

Glancing up at Drew, Corey giggled, "And I'm here, stud. There's nowhere else and no one else I'd rather be with."

Wiping his eyes, Pete smiled, "It's beautiful. I've heard several declarations of love before, but never like that."

Brian nodded and joked, "We'd better leave soon or we might not make it out of the bedroom."

Drew chuckled, "No matter what my brother said, twelve times was his fault!"

Corey laughed, "Let's talk more about that, but in the car, away from my parents." He stole another kiss from Drew then stepped back and led the way out of his room. They paused briefly in the living room to say goodbye to the Seavers and reassure them that they would be coming directly back home when the park closed at ten. They went out back to get their sandals and sneakers then went around front and got back in Pete's Malibu.

Still putting his sandals on, Corey giggled, "So, Drew only mentioned to Keith that we had made love nine times one day."

"Keith took that as a challenge," Drew chuckled, "as if nine or twelve times, or even fourteen times matters."

"Once a day matters more," Corey laughed.

Mildly stunned, Drew faced Corey and chirped, "Really?"

Taking Drew's hand, Corey nodded and softly assured, "Any day's first chance at intercourse is the best. At first, I thought it was because we were doing it in the morning. Now, I'm sure time of day doesn't matter. The first time on any day always seems special."

Leaning over, Drew planted a deep kiss then softly wondered, "Can I try to make it more special?"

Corey warmly smiled, "You could try, but I don't know if it's possible."

In the front passenger seat, Brian helplessly chuckled.

Corey giggled and shared, "The first time does not have relation to number of orgasms." Brian and Pete cracked up. Corey laughed, "One, two, four or more!"

Swinging around in his seat, Brian locked eyes with Drew and teased, "And Keith is the sex crazed brother? I don't think so!"

Corey howled. Blushing fiercely, Drew loudly sniggered, "You weren't around last summer when Keith met Prez. Our first weekend at Big Bear, John and I heard Keith yell, like he was bungee jumping off a cliff, from a blowjob!" Loud, hysterical laughter erupted in the car from that point as Drew continued and demonstrated on the front seat backs the varying speed of Keith's headboard hitting the wall from June last year until that May, when they finally took the headboard off the bed.

The conversation digressed from there when Brian asked what twelve times was like. Drew began with Keith and Prez not being able to play tennis worth a damn after six times. Roaring laughter continued as Drew explained that his erection wouldn't go down after the tenth time. "It didn't even look normal the next morning!" Corey cackled. "It was after rehearsal, the next afternoon when it looked normal." Of course, Corey shared how his butthole was twitching most of the next day and how Drew examined it to make certain that Corey wasn't really hurt. That led to a conversation about prostate massages. Corey admitted that it was prostate massages that made intercourse feel so great. Drew admitted that's what Corey had done for him when he loudly screamed from the bathroom the night they returned from Yosemite.

They exited the freeway and started down Beach Boulevard, goofing on John. When asked if he thought if John was bisexual or curious, Drew answered, "No, I really don't think so. He sure wasn't trying to cop peaks and probably didn't expect me to tease him. When you swatted his ass though, Brian, I think that pushed John over the edge."

Pete wondered, "Do you really think he'd let you know if he was bi or curious, Drew?"

Humming thoughtfully, Drew muttered, "Maybe not, but I think he would say something to me or Keith, don't you?"

Brian offered, "I think if John were curious, the last people he would let know are those closest to him. He might seek out another gay or bi-curious boy, outside his circle."

Corey turned to Drew and whispered, "Totally closeted, dude."

"No," Drew giggled, "it couldn't be John, no way."

Almost at once, Corey, Brian and Pete wondered, "Why not?"

"It's not John," Drew plainly said. "We're not talking about someone that's at all like Keith or me. John's been kissing girls since second grade, only to show that he likes them as people. John's very direct; when he's happy we know and when he's upset, we know that too, even quicker. He started falling for Kim over a year ago. John would spank his monkey raw and wait for his first time with Kim. That's the John I know."

Brian asked, "So you're saying he's an extrovert?"

Drew nodded, "More than anyone else I know." Turning to Corey, Drew reminded, "When we embarrassed him back in January, he let us know it right away. He didn't wait for Kim to leave, did he?"

Shaking his head, Corey agreed, "Seemed to me, it was pretty soon after we embarrassed him."

"That's John," Drew stated. "Here it is, like it or lump it."

Arriving at Knott's Berry Farm, Pete parked the car and they got in the queue for their admissions. It was about half-past-five and they decided to eat first then explore the park. Immediately upon entering, they went to the Ghost Town Grill for dinner. At Drew and Corey's high praise, they all ordered Mrs. Knott's chicken dinners. While they ate, they talked about the park and where they could go first.

First on the list was the Timber Mountain Log Ride. This time, Drew and Corey insisted on sitting directly in front of or behind Brian and Pete. Also in line, well ahead of them, were other gay and lesbian couples, freely showing affection. Both couples loosened up and began holding hands with their partner. As it turned out, the four of them were the only people in their log. From the front, sat Corey, Drew, Brian and, lastly Pete sat in the rear. When they went down the two largest flumes, they all leaned back and got drenched. They followed that ride with the Ghost Rider rollercoaster and then went over to the Boomerang. Considering that many people were pausing to grab dinner, both rollercoasters had exceptionally long lines. They had time to chat in both queues. Brian leaned against Pete and Corey remained hip-to-hip with Drew while they talked and slowly advanced through the line. By the time they got off the Boomerang, they were dry and went over to Bigfoot Rapids to get wet again.

This ride reminded Pete of the hike up the side of Vernal Fall and the large lake they found at the top. Brian and Pete were sharing that experience with Corey and Drew. Brian was chuckling about how Prez found the water way too cold for his liking, when not far away, in the queue to their left, an older woman hissed, "They're everywhere."

A teenage boy, about Pete's age, and his sister, about Drew's age, sharply shushed their mother. Their father harshly rebuked his children. Drew and Pete ignored the activity and prompted Brian to go on. Brian did and smiled through the tales of how he and Keith chased Prez back to the natural granite slide and into the lake. Again, the woman had the audacity to clearly focus on Pete, Brian, Corey and Drew while reciting; "Leviticus 18:22:You shall not lie with a male as those who lie with a female; it is an abomination."

Corey locked eyes with the woman and hollered, "What's your problem, bitch?"

The man beside her admonished, "Watch your tongue, boy." Behind him, his two teenage children walked away and got out of line.

"No!" Corey yelled, and stuck his tongue out at the man. Loudly, so more people heard and could be witnesses, Corey screamed, "Make me. Hit me and watch how fast I sue your ass."

Appearing very glad and self-righteous, the woman then recited; "Leviticus 20:13:  If a man lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination and they shall surely be put to death."

Also annoyed beyond belief, Brian evilly grinned, "They're obviously less learned, Corey; probably from some backwoods place that worships snakes, or where family members mate." Corey nodded and laughed. Around the queued line, other people started to speak up to silence the woman.

She ignored everyone and continued her sermon more loudly. "First Corinthians 6:9: The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. So do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the realm of God."

Drew nodded and smiled, "The word homosexual didn't exist before the late nineteenth century. It couldn't have been in the Bible, unless it was put there recently. You're so dumb that you haven't even noticed your own kids have left you. You're an embarrassment to them and to most of these other people." More people agreed and told the woman how terrible she was acting.

Surprising all four boys, three Latino men in their mid twenties, who had cut backwards through the queue, confronted the woman and her husband. The first man got directly in the faces of the couple, saying, "It's time for you to leave."

The second man growled, "My partner of ten years died a few months ago because of ignorant shits like you."

"And I'm his brother," the third man informed them. "How dare you come to a public park and harass teenage boys."

About twenty or so people around the area chorused, "Yeah!" and some even shouted insulting expletives at the homophobic couple.

A nearby park security person heard the commotion and called for assistance then loudly asked the assembled people what the problem was. Everybody pointed at the man and woman and shouted about the anti-social behavior they had displayed. By this time, three additional park security guards had gathered to back up the one. The man and woman were taken out of the queue and escorted away to the loud cheering of the gathered crowd.

In moments, Corey, Drew, Brian and Pete were being consoled and congratulated for not backing down. The four boys were thanking everyone, especially the three men that came from out of nowhere to add their two cents. Those three men, it turned out were near the end of the line and about to get on the ride when they came to the rescue. The three men, Corey, Drew, Pete and Brian were all allowed to jump forward through the line and took the Bigfoot Rapids ride together. They all chatted about what had happened and the men encouraged the four teenagers to never back down when confronted by the rude and bad-mannered minority. Getting off the ride, they shook hands and went their separate ways.

Alone, Drew turned to Corey and softly chortled, "What's your problem, bitch?"

"Fuckin' slut," Corey giggled, and then stole a kiss that Drew enthusiastically accepted and returned.

"That man looked like he was ready to fight," Pete sniggered.

Brian nodded and grinned, "I was waiting for him to throw the first punch. He'd be in the hospital now, getting his arm surgically removed from his ass." Brian didn't say it aloud, but if that man had touched Corey or Drew, he would've lost all control and likely killed the bigoted fuck.

Hugging Corey tightly, Drew smiled, "They're both very lucky then. In that line, a fight might've turned into a riot. We'd be on the nightly news, waving to our folks."

Waving at an invisible camera, Corey laughed, "Hi ma! We had a great time at Knott's!" Brian, Pete and Drew cracked up. For another few hours, the foursome went on more rides, had snacks and got souvenirs. Now and then, other people that had been at Bigfoot Rapids saw and greeted them. A few minutes before ten, they walked out of the park and toward the car. As soon as he got in the car, where he had left his cell phone, Drew dialed the Seavers to let them know they were leaving and would be home in about an hour.

At Black Angus, Derrick, Mike, Prez, Keith and Randy were winding down from another busy night. Once again, Mike was trying to get Randy to show up for the party Wednesday night. In the kitchen and at the dishwasher, Randy laughed his ass off. "What are you trying to do to me, dude?"

Mike shrugged and grinned, "Show you how the other half lives."

Randy nodded and sniggered, "Seriously, thanks for the offer, I really do appreciate it, but T.C. would feel out of place and I won't go without her."

Mike turned to the sink and sprayed out his bus bucket then sprayed Randy's. He softly assured, "I'm just goofin' on ya, dude. You could be real popular, ya know?"

Randy smiled, "It's not in the cards anymore, Mike."

Wide-eyed, Mike asked, "Was it ever?"

Randy shrugged and asked, "Prez didn't tell you we talked?" Not recalling anything, Mike shook his head. Randy led the way back to the dining rooms and confessed that he had once messed around with a friend. "It was a one-time deal, dude. It's been girls ever since and going on three years with Teresa." Arriving at a waiter station, Randy whispered, "I hang with you dudes because you work your asses off here and are extremely cool to hang with. The four of you break all the stereotypes, ya know?"

Mike grinned, "Stereotypes are bull. Talk to Keith sometime about stereotypes. You'll get an ear full, I guarantee it."

Randy nodded, "Obviously not around here."

"Definitely not," Mike softly chuckled. Seeing more tables to be cleared, they went off in different directions.

Minutes later, Mike was at the dishwasher with Derrick, passing along what he had learned from Randy. Prez walked in and heard part of the conversation then encouraged his two friends to keep Randy's secret. As cute as Randy was, it wasn't something that they needed to talk about there. Keith walked in with Randy and the conversation was cut short. At the first available opportunity, Prez helped Keith clear some tables and asked Keith to bring it up in the car. About an hour later, when all the tips were gathered, the five busboys walked out the back loading dock together.

Mike took the opportunity to apologize to Randy and explained, "Yeah, there will be a bunch of gay dudes there, but most of the early evening will be us jamming. After that, the stereo will get turned on. Some will probably dance; others might play Quarters, or Risk, or Poker. The only thing that'll make this party different from any other is the sexuality of the dudes."

Reaching for Mike's hand, Derrick nodded and added, "One of our friends has an older brother that will hopefully get us beer. We really would like for you and Teresa to show up for a little while."

Prez explained, "From our perspective, it really sucks that sexuality matters so much that friends can't hang out together."

"You know where the house is now, dude," Keith smiled. "Feel free to show up, okay?"

Randy nodded and softly chortled, "You dudes are really something. If T.C. doesn't have something else planned, we'll stop by."

"Cool," Mike chirped. "We'll get Jerry to show off his monster…"

"MIKE!" Derrick, Keith and Prez loudly interrupted, and then fell apart, sniggering and shaking their heads. Randy roared laughing at the four of them.

Mike giggled, "It's not like it takes any effort. Just ask and he'll whip it out."

Glancing around at the other four, Randy wondered, "What makes this dude so special."

Keith sighed and chortled, "Eleven inches long, dude."

"No way!" Randy gasped.

With an evil gleam in their eyes, Mike and Derrick nodded. Shaking his head, Prez patted Randy on the back and asked, "We'll see you tomorrow night?"

Randy confirmed, "You and Keith are working?"

Keith nodded, "Friday through Monday for me. Prez works Saturday through Monday."

"Cool," Randy smiled. "See ya tomorrow." Facing Mike and Derrick, Randy chuckled, "Wednesday, about eight?"

"That'll work," Derrick nodded.

All five said "good night" and went to their cars. Sliding into the passenger seat beside Prez and glancing over, Keith wondered, "What's up, baby?"

Starting the 4Runner engine, Prez sighed, "Randy's straight. I simply don't think his fling with his best friend should be an issue; not for us and definitely not at work, where someone might overhear. I sure don't want him to blame any of us because his secret got out." Checking his mirrors and out the back windows, Prez backed out of the parking space. He stopped then put the SUV in first gear and followed Derrick's 442. Prez continued, "We can't have trustworthy straight friends and not be trustworthy ourselves, can we?"

Keith nodded, "That's why Mike apologized to Randy. Derrick and I told him pretty much the same thing."

Prez smiled, "Cool. Now you can see why I like Randy, can't you?"

"He's a hell of a nice guy," Keith nodded. After a brief pause, Keith chuckled, "I couldn't believe he dropped his drawers for us earlier today."

"I know!" Prez laughed. "That was completely unexpected. Maybe it was because the four of us were naked without any obvious excitement?"

Keith shrugged, "We were getting ready for work. How excited could we get, brushing our teeth and shaving?"

Prez stopped behind the 442 at a traffic light and glanced over at Keith, smirking, "Mike started lengthening when Randy exposed himself."

Keith giggled, "The dude's hung real nice; longer than me and longer than Derrick. Teresa must be plenty happy. Besides, Mike's a special case. Who else could make a compliment sound so wrong?"

"Which compliment sounded wrong?" Prez scowled.

Keith smiled and reminded, "The three best cock suckers in the country?"

"Oh!" Prez laughed. "That didn't sound too bad. Besides, it's true, isn't it?"

"How many different ways can it be done? He couldn't have expected less than our best. Since we're on the subject, I need to ask you something."

"What's that, babe?"

"Mike and Derrick have to pause and stretch their jaws. I don't recall you ever doing that?"

The traffic light changed and Prez put the transmission into first gear, chuckling, "We're a slightly different case, lover. Our first time, we enthusiastically did what we could, learning from each other along the way. Everything you did, I repeated and you were doing the same. At first, I was stretching my jaw, but I kept myself busy doing other stuff because I was into making you happy."

"So, I'm not quite as much of a challenge?"

"For me, not anymore; for them, you probably are. Don't you think Mike's extra inch is a bit too much?"

Keith nodded, "Ya just need to learn to hold your breath when he's in deep."

"We know that now. Given the choice, I'd go for your thickness over Mike's length. Derrick would obviously say the opposite, because he's used to Mike."

Keith hummed thoughtfully then suggested, "For tonight's games, should I make a point of that, having them concentrating on me orally?"

Prez shrugged, "Whatever you want, babe. When you're center of attention, it's your call."

Keith mumbled, "The first night was you, me, Derrick then Mike. Last night was Mike then Derrick."

"You can go first tonight," Prez evilly snickered.

Keith smirked, "Ya know what I want from you?"

"What?"

"Our big dildo, sex-machine."

"You want it, ya got it!" Prez cheered.

"After I cum, then I want you banging my butt until we both lose it."

Exiting the freeway at Kanan Road, Prez cackled, "It's a good thing we're almost home."

Keith leered, "You're hard?" Prez giggled and nodded. Keith reached over and soon found a sizable growth snaking down Prez's left thigh. The next thing Prez knew, Keith was unzipping his black work slacks and reaching a few fingers in to stroke his "favorite toy". While Prez sighed, whimpered and giggled, Keith remarked, "The only thing I don't like about these C.K. boxer briefs is the fly. If you were wearing boxers, I could get your cock out."

"What you're doing is great, Keith," Prez warmly smiled.

Moments later, the cars were parked. Derrick and Keith practically flew out of the cars to the front door, insanely giggling about their partners' conditions. Prez and Mike walked from the cars and into the house, in the same swollen states from their boyfriends' teasing.

Prez happily praised Rush for not making any messes and let his hound dog out back to relieve himself. He then went to the master bedroom where he found Keith and Derrick already naked and pissing in the master bath toilet. Already naked and erect, Mike helped Prez undress. Soon all four where in the shower, cleaning off the grime and sweat from work. Bathing was no longer a two man chore, it was all four bathing and shampooing each other. Who was cleaning what on whom was irrelevant; the conversation revolved around Randy and what was said during the drive home. This night, the order was agreed to be Keith, then Derrick, then Mike and then Prez.

At the Seavers' home, Corey, Drew, Brian and Pete were just starting to make love, as separate couples on opposite sides of the bed. Corey and Drew were nearer to the locked door. After the great time at Knott's Berry Farm and the fouled confrontation, all four were pleased with themselves and with all those other people that had helped get the two ignoramuses ejected. In their haste, Corey and Drew had forgotten to get the lube from the night table drawer, on the opposite side of the bed. Softly giggling, they wondered if they should interrupt Pete and Brian. Drew kneeled up off of Corey to take a quick look. Seeing only Pete's long legs and butt, Drew grinned and shook his head. Swinging around, Drew carefully positioned himself into a sixty-nine with Corey. Drew lovingly lapped at Corey's stiffy, happily watching it bounce from the attention. Corey guided Drew's legs out wider until Drew's cock was resting on his chest and he could easily rim Drew's ass. Now more secure with the activity, Corey spent a fair amount of time wetting the hairs in Drew's crack then softly blowing to determine if they were wet enough. Of course, the chilling sensation only drove Drew crazier until he lifted Corey's legs and copied the process.

On the other side of the bed, Pete had Brian bent in half and was rimming away, occasionally smiling beyond his lover's nads and twitching erection with every gasp and moan. Pete shared a meaningful glare with Brian and received a confirming nod. Wetting his index finger, Pete carefully inserted the digit to the first knuckle. Brian sighed. Pushing in to the second knuckle caused Brian to purse his lips. When Brian relaxed, Pete pushed in to the third knuckle. Brian began panting short and fast breaths. To take his lover's mind off the invasion, Pete pulled Brian's erection back into his mouth.

Brian whispered a warning, "What's good for the goose." Pete, Drew and Corey helplessly sniggered.

Corey and Drew were rapidly approaching the point of no return. With his ass drenched and Corey's cock leaking, Drew shuffled down and over Corey's hips. Corey held his bone upright and pulled back the foreskin. Lowering himself down, Drew went for a ride, again keeping his hands locked behind his neck.

Moaning because Drew was in his favorite position and the view of Drew's lats were overwhelming, Corey softly complained, "I can't get at your dick, stud."

"Intentionally," Drew grinned. More giggling erupted from the other side of the bed. Corey impatiently huffed and then began doing his damnedest to make Drew bounce and hopefully shoot.

In Agoura Hills, Keith was on his back. Derrick and Mike were sharing Keith's bone, taking their time to get used to his girth. Prez was between Keith's spread legs with Mike's and Derrick's cocks to keep him busy. He was concentrating on controlling his breathing while attempting to take Mike deep and holding it there in his throat for more than a few seconds. Derrick's uncut meat was less challenging yet equally enjoyable. Derrick and Mike were setting Prez's pace. When they weren't busily working on Keith's cock, Prez would get a gentle tap to switch from one to the other.

It was almost one in the morning when Mike, Derrick and Prez confirmed that they were all comfortable with their oral techniques. However, none had reached orgasm in their hour long efforts. Still the center of attention, Keith moved and knelt on the bed. Prez got the dildo and his lover's ass lubed. Squirming under Keith, Derrick got his mouth stuffed and his own cock pleasured. Since Prez hadn't gotten any oral stimulation, Mike made up for it and hungrily lapped at the copious amount of precum oozing from Prez's bone. Prez slowly inserted the large toy into Keith's bum.

With his mouth and butt filled, Keith deliriously hummed and whimpered. After such a long time patiently practicing their oral talents, this round didn't last much more than six minutes. Keith gave it up for Derrick to swallow. Derrick quickly followed and burst into Keith's mouth. Breathless and dizzy, Keith knelt up then prompted Prez to remove the toy. Derrick and Keith kissed, which pushed Prez over the edge before he could completely remove the dildo from Keith or warn Mike. Mike knelt down to passionately kiss Prez and, while they were still attached at the mouth, Derrick slid his face between them to finish off Mike in record setting time. All four embraced and kissed afterward. Noticing four hard cocks still pointing up, they began chuckling into kisses.

Bouncing his red eyebrows, Prez playfully checked with Keith, "Do you still want me, babe?"

Keith nodded and laughed, "Amazingly, yeah, I do."

Mike cackled at his best friend, "Have you got any other desires, hornball?"

Nodding, Keith confessed, "Two cocks in my mouth and one in my ass."

"No, no," Derrick chortled, "you don't get to beat off. Mike and I will switch off, feeding you and sucking you."

"Which position?" Prez hysterically bellowed.

Keith swung around, remained on his knees and then lowered his head and wiggled his butt. He looked back at his three friends and prompted, "Do a lot of grinding, baby. Dee, right here in front of me. Mike?"

Mike grinned, "Practice makes perfect," and hurried onto his back, shuffling under Keith.

Softly chuckling, Prez moved into position behind Keith. Opposite Prez, at Keith's face, Derrick was moving his stiffy away from Keith's open mouth and grinning, "Tell me what you want."

"Cock!" Keith laughed. Prez busted up laughing at his lover and best friend.

Humming affirmatively and giggling, Derrick teased, "Any particular flavor?"

"Butterscotch and un-kosher!" Keith hysterically howled.

Derrick chuckled, "Ya gonna treat it nice?"

Keith sniggered, "Watch me work, dude. Betchya I can make you cum before Prez."

"You're on," Derrick smiled, and finally let Keith swallow his bone.

Squatting and sliding his erection into Keith, Prez made eye contact with Derrick and giggled, "You're very bad."

Derrick shrugged and smiled, "To get him and me motivated, bro." He then asked, "Ya want me to do the same for you?"

Grinding in deep as Keith had wanted, Prez nodded, "Any time, bro." To prove the point, Prez began chanting, "I like cock; fat cock, long cock, cut and uncut cock."

Underneath Keith, Mike cracked up and spat out Keith's bone, laughing, "You dudes are killing me here!"

Derrick giggled, "So stop spanking it, Lick."

Prez agreed, "You're not locked in position. Dee and I have very willing mouths."

Shuffling out from under Keith and locking eyes with Derrick, Mike asked, "Who's first?"

Derrick pointed at Prez and sighed, "Keith's being very good at being bad."

Standing up on the bed, Mike asked Prez, "Whatchya want, dude."

Barely able to reply, Prez smiled, "Milk chocolate, cut and long, please."

Pointing his throbber at Prez's mouth, Mike giggled, "I just so happen to have that exact flavor on hand." Inhaling deeply, Prez swallowed all eight inches at once and kept his nose buried in Mike's bush for a good fifteen seconds. Mike gasped, "Oh, dude. You learned your lessons very well." Prez backed off and chortled then went to town, bobbing on Mike and slamming into Keith. Within a minute, Mike and Derrick moved around. Derrick went to Prez and Mike offered his bone to Keith. Prez had found a rhythm. When he ground himself into Keith, he took a deep breath then pressed his nose into Derrick's bush. Then Prez started bobbing and thrusting in and out again. Getting too close too soon, Derrick moved underneath Keith.

Keith soon groaned, "Stop, Dee. Omigod, please stop." Derrick didn't move though. The taste of free flowing precum and Keith's pulsing erection told Derrick that if he did stop, Keith would shoot anyway. Soon, Keith was panting like a dog and Derrick was contentedly humming. Keith moaned, "I love you dudes, seriously, I really do."

Mike knowingly smiled, "You're the kind that needs a full time partner, bro. I figured that was what made you so cranky. Jacking off simply don't cut it." He then looked down at Prez. The pale blue eyes smiling up at him sent a shiver down his spine and he groaned, "Oh dude. Once more, deep, then back off quick, Prez." Prez took a deep breath and followed Mike's instructions. Derrick fed Keith his bone. Mike shuddered and lost it for Prez. The throbbing erection in his mouth sent Prez into overdrive and he slammed into Keith, quaking violently from his orgasm. Lastly, Derrick began whimpering and stiffened as he also lost any chance of holding back. Leaning down, Mike whispered to Prez, "You're a rockin' sex-machine now," and then deeply kissed him.

Keith pushed up off the mattress and tenderly kissed Derrick. Derrick returned a passionate kiss, wordlessly relaying that the bad times were well in the past and these good times more than made up for them. Mike then went to Derrick for a soulful kiss. Prez placed a flurry of tender kisses around Keith's mouth and face. Trying to get his own kisses in, Keith softly chortled, "You were great too, baby."

On the other side of the hills, on top of the covers on Corey's bed, four naked boys whispered in the dark room. Nearest to the door lay Drew, then Corey, then Brian and then Pete. The conversation was moving beyond that day's events. Drew quietly considered, "I don't understand why some people get all bitchy and cranky over stuff. I hate feeling that way about anything. How anyone could choose to feel that way is beyond me."

Corey agreed, "I know. It's like preferring to feel bad. These last few weeks have been so easy in comparison to how I used to think. And I'm still changing thoughts around, but can still see what's better."

Brian offered, "There are levels of thoughts and beliefs; the personal stuff, the family stuff, and others that are larger, like school, community, state, country and worldwide. In my own case, Drew's dad was the one that was able to make me see my own stupid beliefs and how my past was preventing happiness. That's an example of personal thoughts and beliefs."

Corey muttered, "Like anorexia, choosing to be thinner to the point it's unhealthy."

"Exactly like that, angel," Drew proudly chirped.

Pete said, "In family beliefs, my dad basically broke up our family, then my mom, because of what she thought of homosexuality in general and me in particular. On the other side of that coin is a family like yours, Drew."

"My family again?" Drew giggled.

Humming affirmatively and smiling widely, Pete said, "As an example; we know from you, Corey, Keith and Prez some of what things were like before Keith came out of the closet. One person in the family may have caused some problems yet it still pulled everyone together."

Drew softly corrected, "Some problems is an understatement, dude. Did you know that Keith was suicidal?"

Pete and Brian hummed affirmatively. Brian said, "What ultimately prevented it was the rest of the family. If one of you had taken it really badly and mocked him, then that would've been the last straw for Keith. Think about how he's acted since."

Drew vocally realized, "He chilled out some."

Pete repeated, "Then he chilled more when he got a job and more again when he met Prez. One thing leads to another. My mother's attitudes were first shaped by my aunt and uncle; her brother and sister. She didn't like the fact they were gay. It got worse when she married my biological father. He was very homophobic and she adopted his attitudes as her own, although she hid it well at first. After we moved, she hooked up with Kurt, who was abusive, and she became abusive. She took it all out on me because she didn't have anyone else."

"So what do you think was that bitch's problem today?" Corey wondered.

"We can't begin to guess," Brian sighed. More positively, he said, "We can figure out other stuff though; for instance, Hitler, Nazi's and World War Two. That movie the other night affected you both. Do you two know how that whole thing started?" After receiving negative grunts from that side of the bed, Brian recalled, "From the armistice that ended World War One. Germany was punished severely. Many of their rights as a nation were wiped away. Radical nationalism was born out of that. Hitler was arrested in 1919 as a socialist. He was able to convince them that he opposed socialism. Again in 1923, Hitler was arrested, this time for treason, for planning to overthrow the government. The Nazi party was already gaining power and had several powerful supporters; some were First World War heroes. Hitler's trial turned into a political rally. Hitler was found guilty, but was only sentenced to five years. While he was in prison, Hitler was allowed many privileges and also wrote his book, Mein Kampf, which means, My Struggle."

"Wait a minute," Corey huffed. "Hitler was arrested? The whole second world war might've been avoided?"

Pete hummed affirmatively and added, "That's about what it amounts to. When police fired on the Nazis, Hitler ran away and went into hiding."

"Once a coward, always a coward," Brian impatiently huffed.

Pete smiled at his lover and hummed affirmatively, then said, "Nazi leaders later claimed that Hitler ran away to save a young boy. That was a complete fabrication. They couldn't have their new spokesman seen as coward. When Hitler ran, the Nazis scattered too. Twenty-one people were killed and hundreds wounded."

"Hitler was found in hiding and stood trial," Brian said, returning to the topic again. "In Mein Kampf, Hitler dressed up his autobiography…"

"You mean he lied?" Drew confirmed.

Brian softly chuckled, "It's the same old political game; you say tomato… but yeah, he lied to make himself appear to be the savior of Germany, which was incorrectly described as the Aryan race. In reality, the ancient historical meaning of Aryan referred to the Indo-Iranian people; obviously darker skinned people, from India, Iran and Afghanistan, not the blond haired, blue eyed and fair skinned creation of Hitler."

Already drawing his own conclusions Drew moaned, "Millions died because of lies. People are still dying because of lies."

Pete said, "That's the important thing guys; learn to find the truth for yourselves. Don't simply take our word for it. Don't be satisfied with what history texts say. History seems easy, but you need to remember that you're looking back at a time. Hitler wasn't solely responsible for World War Two. Germany wasn't solely responsible for six million deaths. Treaties were made and broken. Russia, Britain, the United States all did what they thought was best for the post World War One world. In reality, with twenty-twenty hindsight, we can see almost every nation made some mistake or another that lead to a Second World War. The best of intentions didn't prevent it. And definitely don't believe half of what you see or hear on network TV news either. Remember, that's all scripted and condensed for a time slot."

Dramatically frowning, Corey whined, "I hope I don't have another nightmare tonight."

Drew planted a wet kiss on Corey's cheek and reminded, "I'm right here, angel."

Brian also reminded, "So are we, Corey."

Corey gulped then reluctantly admitted, "Sometimes I have a bad enough time telling Drew things. Please don't take it wrong, but sharing isn't always easy for me. I'm not quick to tell Drew so…"

Brian gently assured, "Don't worry about it at all, Corey. We'll cross that bridge if or when we come to it."

Drew flopped back away from Corey to check the clock. He gasped, "It's almost two, dudes. The alarm's gonna go off at eight-thirty and band rehearsal's at ten."

Pulling the sheet up and over the four of them, Pete agreed, "Let's call it a night."

One after the other, they each said "good night" then got into comfortable positions and closed their eyes. Exhaustion quickly took its toll.

Hearing his clock radio playing music, Corey felt warmth and smiled, pulling tight the arms surrounding him. "Drew," he whispered. He hadn't even heard his parents leaving the house for work. He opened his eyes to see his boyfriend sleeping peacefully before him. Closing his eyes, Corey stretched carefully, not wanting to disturb the angel sleeping before him, holding him in his arms.

Becoming more aware, he looked again at Drew lying in front of him, and then at the arms surrounding him. Realizing where he was, who he was with, and whose arms were wrapped around him, Corey jumped and hollered "BRIAN!" as he pushed his way free.

Three surprised voices loudly answered, "WHAT?"

Suspiciously squinting, Corey growled at Brian, "You were holding me!"

Blushing slightly, Brian sleepily squeaked, "Oops!"

Without even thinking, Corey scurried over Drew, landed on the floor and continued his silent interrogation, with his eyes burning holes into Brian's soul. Pete covered his eyes and fought back a snigger to a snort.

"Cor?" Drew softly chuckled.

"He was holding me, Drew!" Corey repeated.

Drew nodded and got up out of bed. He went to his frightened boyfriend smiling, "He was asleep. We were all asleep. And now you're naked with full morning wood too."

In under a second, all the blood in Corey's body seemed to land in his face. Without saying another word, he raced to the door, scrambled to unlock it and flung it open then raced out of the room.

The hallway bathroom door slammed.

Struggling to contain his laughter, Drew turned to Brian and Pete, giggling, "This was a fun way to wake up."

Brian meekly offered, "I'm sorry, Drew."

Acting more jealous than he really was, Pete smirked, "Were you being bad, Bri?"

"No!" Brian hollered. "I was sound asleep! No grinding or funny business, I swear."

Pete bounced his eyebrows at Drew and they both began laughing. Brian mooed a warning then attacked Pete.

Drew left the room, allowing Brian and Pete to continue their morning play fight. He went to the hallway bathroom, knocked on the door and turned the knob. Thankfully, Corey hadn't locked it and Drew entered. Appearing as confused and sad as he had during their last big argument, Corey quickly turned away and weakly sobbed, "I'm sorry, Drew."

Closing the door, locking it and then going to his boyfriend, Drew softly said, "Don't be sorry, Cor. It was an honest mistake."

Corey sniffled and quivered, "What really sucks is I liked how warm I felt."

"How does that suck?"

Beside himself, Corey screamed, "I don't want him. I want you; forever, Drew!"

Gently taking hold of Corey's hips, Drew whispered, "I love hearing you say that. I love you too, angel." He began placing wet baby kisses along Corey's shoulder.

Corey uncertainly whined, "Please say you're not mad?"

Beginning to place more kisses along the right shoulder, Drew confirmed, "Not in the slightest, Cor."

Turning around, Corey inspected Drew's bright cheery morning expression. He wondered, "Why not?"

Drew shrugged, "There's nothing to be angry about. If there's one thing I know in this life, it's other dudes. Keith gets morning erections, I do and John does; so do you and so does Pete and so does Brian. So what if Brian had an arm over you? He's your friend and likes you, Cor. We chose to sleep naked and so did they. Something could've been said about that last night. When you didn't say anything, I didn't either. It's done, without any damage to you, me or them."

Wiping his eyes, Corey grumbled, "They saw me naked and hard."

Rapidly nodding and bouncing his eyebrows, Drew purred affirmatively and seductively. He then reminded, "They saw me naked and hard too."

As if this was a new revelation, Corey's mouth dropped open. He then suspiciously squinted, "Did either of them…"

Drew laughed, "No, Corey. The last I saw, they were too involved with each other to care about me."

"What're we gonna do now?" Corey wondered.

"Brush our teeth, shower and make love while we're in there, just like any other day," Drew answered. Flinging himself at Drew, Corey held on tight and breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Drew giggled and held Corey firmly in place. They remained together and hugging for two or three minutes until each felt the other's dick getting hard. Drew dreamily breathed, "I want you too; whatever and however, angel."

Corey kissed his way down Drew's body. Kneeling on the floor, he only spent a minute getting Drew's cock wet. Standing again, Corey leaned against the bathroom vanity. He lifted his left leg and rested it on the toilet seat, making the 'what and how' answers obvious. Spitting in his palm to make sure his cock was sufficiently wet; Drew moved into position and carefully slid into Corey. Quiet affirmations of love flowed and became louder as their frantic love making progressed. Drew jacked Corey's cock to a forceful orgasm that sprayed over the vanity counter. Drew licked Corey's sperm off his hand then took hold of Corey's hips and plowed away, repeatedly chanting Corey's name and pet name. Corey leaned back and turned his head. Drew leaned forward and stole a few awkward kisses. After another minute's worth of choruses of desperate whimpering from both of them, Drew came hard and dizzily collapsed against Corey's back. Returning to baby kisses along Corey's shoulder, Drew caught his breath and realized Corey was giggling.

"What?" Drew chuckled. "You're so friggin' hot, I swear, I almost passed out."

Shaking his head, Corey giggled, "You got me off twice again, stud."

Drew purred, "Guess ya love me as much as I love you."

Corey hummed affirmatively then joked, "There's still three other rooms to make love in, if we include my parents' bedroom?"

Drew chuckled, "We'll save that room for last, when they leave town for a weekend."

"Noooo!" Corey loudly laughed.

Carefully removing his deflating erection from Corey, Drew teased, "You want to, admit it."

"No I don't," Corey laughed, "anywhere, except there." Feeling jizz dripping down his thigh, Corey quickly went into the tub.

Drew followed Corey and reminded, "We still need to brush our teeth."

Turning the water on, Corey cracked up. When the water had warmed, he turned the shower on and faced Drew. Resting his arms on Drew's shoulders, Corey giggled, "Leakage, stud."

Pursing his lips, Drew mooed and asked, "Are you alright?"

Shaking his head, Corey smiled, "I'm so crazy in love, I hope I'm never only alright ever again. I do the stupidest shit, but you only love me more."

"I care about you, Cor," Drew confessed.

Stepping closer, Corey kissed Drew then matched confession with confession. "I'm perfectly fine, Drew. Your jizz was leaking out, that's all. What I feel when we make love is so much more than I can fully describe, but I'll try anyway."

"Okay," Drew smiled, and then grabbed the bar of soap to begin bathing Corey's back and butt.

Corey said, "No part of intercourse hurts me. I love feeling your dick inside me. I love feeling it sliding out and back in, every way you do it; slow and deep or fast and shallow, it's all great. Even if you slide all the way out and miss getting back in, that only means I get to feel entry again. Neither of us is imagining it, Drew, we can feel our cocks throbbing in our butts before we get off. Sometimes, and especially this time, I felt you shooting; everything inside got warmer and wetter. You are my only lover, Drew. I get hard looking at dicks, but you're the one that can make me cum over and over again."

Drew softly asked, "Is that why you got scared from Brian holding you?"

Corey nodded, "I'm one hundred percent gay, but one hundred percent yours. Feeling so warm and safe with two arms around me seriously scared the hell out of me. If you were the slightest bit angry, I'd have totally freaked out. Not you though. Can you tell me what does or would make you angry?"

Drew nodded then instructed, "Turn around so I can wash your front, angel." Once Corey turned in place, Drew lovingly bathed and caressed him. Drew began, "Keith told me and I told you what was going on with him, Prez, Mike and Derrick." Corey nodded and hummed affirmatively. Drew said, "That relationship is special, but it's not so unique that I can't put myself in a similar situation. If we ever found extraordinary friends like that, we have to agree on that and everything sexual we might want to do with them. I promised you my body and you promised me your body. That will never change, Cor. The way you make love to me has always been the greatest I could ever hope for, so I don't need another hand or mouth on my cock."

Corey nodded, "I feel the same way too."

Finished with Corey's front, Drew prompted, "Raise your arms, angel." Corey lifted his arms and Drew washed Corey pits, causing more uncontrollable giggling. Drew chuckled, "Rinse and swap." Stepping under the spray, Corey rinsed his front and crotch then faced Drew to rinse his back and crack. He held his hand out and Drew gave Corey the soap. They carefully moved around each other then Drew embraced Corey.

Beginning to wash Drew's back, Corey wondered, "How will we know when it's special and right?"

"When we both feel it's right," Drew easily answered.

Corey sighed, "I'd always be afraid of hurting you. If I lost you, I'd fall apart."

Drew nodded, "I'm there too, Cor. That's what makes Keith, Prez, Mike and Derrick a very unique set. Living with Keith and Prez, I can assure you that they're in the same place. Last week, when we were alone with Derrick and Mike, I could see that they're in the same place too. Mike would self destruct without Derrick. I can also see Derrick imploding without Mike. Since the Yosemite trip, all four of them seem to have gotten closer."

Corey nodded, "I was surprised when Keith, Prez and Mike kissed Derrick. They weren't little baby kisses either; they were real French kisses."

Drew hummed affirmatively then added, "Filling in some blanks on my own, from what was said, the four of them have made certain promises. They're not just band mates or making love as couples in the same room anymore."

"Best friends and lovers," Corey confirmed. He then instructed, "Turn around, stud."

Drew turned and raised his arms. Corey briefly whimpered, causing to Drew to giggle and blush. Starting at Drew's shoulders, Corey washed his boyfriend and pondered, "So let's say Ben goes to you and admits he likes you as more than a friend."

"Then I tell you and get your opinion."

Corey giggled, "He's really sweet and fairly good lookin', but not the type I'd want to have sex with."

"It's either we both do or we both don't, Corey. That wipes Ben off the list."

"You wouldn't with him because of me?"

Drew nodded, "My body is yours, Cor. I already get the best sex from you. A hand-job or blowjob from anybody else can't be that different."

"Then why would Keith with Mike or Derrick? Why would Prez with Mike or Derrick?"

"Because they care that much and have agreed. Like you just said, there's the emotional part and the physical part. The four of them have those attractions."

"Is there anyone you feel those attractions for?"

Drew grinned and turned the table, asking Corey the same question.

Corey giggled, "You first!"

"You'll laugh," Drew balked.

"So will you!" Corey smirked.

Drew sighed, "There's really no one that has both my friendship and a physical attraction too. There are two that are close though."

"They're blond too, I'll bet." Drew nodded and went to rinse off. Corey giggled, "You're so predictable! Let's hear it."

Wiping water off his face, Drew blushed and sighed, "Pete and Derrick. They're both becoming good friends and are really cute. What Mike and Derrick did for you last week made big points in my book. What Brian and Pete have been doing these last few days earned them some points too. In every case, they've shown that they care." Stepping out from under the spray, Drew prompted, "Your turn."

Corey moved under the shower spray again, giggling his little blond butt off. Drew smirked and reached around Corey to shut the water off. Drew smiled, "Spill it, Cor."

Opening the shower door and stepping out of the tub, Corey whined, "I feel so bad admitting it, Drew."

Following Corey out, Drew shrugged, "This is only our imaginations running amuck, Cor. No matter who you say it is, it's our secret." Corey handed Drew a towel then got one for himself. With a deeper tone and a Texas drawl, Corey grinned, "We still kind o' need to brush the pearly whites."

Drew's mouth dropped open for a second then he thought about it and giggled, "That makes perfect sense, actually. Prez has shown you how much he cares and has the body type I know you like." He began drying Corey off and asked, "Is there anyone else?"

Nodding, Corey held Drew's hands still then moved closer and whispered, "Brian."

Again, Drew's mouth dropped open, but this time it remained agape. Shaking off the shock, Drew softly confirmed, "Brian Kellam?"

Corey nodded and whispered, "That's part of what scares me, Drew. He obviously cares about you and me. He stared at you when we first met. He pushed you and me to tears twice. The friendship is growing and he's definitely cute. His intensity is only matched by yours."

It took Drew several moments to grasp this new information, during which time, Corey dried Drew. Drew whispered, "He's not the same body type you like though."

Corey shrugged, "Preferences only. If I could, I'd wish myself into that medium build."

"That's the demon talking."

Concentrating on drying between Drew's legs, Corey didn't look up, but assured, "No, it's me. I will eat better and I will follow Brian's and Pete's workout instructions to the letter, to mold my body into what I want."

Drew grinned, "It's a good thing we've got the afternoon and tonight alone."

Corey looked up and locked eyes with Drew. He worried, "I hurt you, didn't I?"

"No, Corey," Drew warmly smiled. "I'll prove that when we're alone later. The fact is, I like Pete and you like Brian. That opens a possibility that didn't previously exist. We're gonna talk and make love lots tonight."

Shaking his head, Corey reminded, "I won't chance losing you; not for Brian or Prez or anyone else."

"I don't want to hurt you either, Corey. You're gaining weight and making me so insanely happy each and every day. I won't chance losing that for any blond on the planet. Still, we have to talk about this, just in case. To get a better of idea of what's goin' on, we need to talk with Keith and Prez too. That can wait until we're done talking though."

Wrapping towels around their waists, they went to the sink and brushed their teeth. In that silent minute while the task was being done, Drew saw sadness in Corey's eyes. As soon as the task was done, Drew wondered, "What's wrong?"

Corey shrugged, "I'm not sure."

Drew nodded understandingly and began placing tender kisses around Corey's lips. Not willing to wait for Drew's passionate lip lock, Corey instigated and got what he wanted. They left the bathroom and returned to Corey's room, expecting to find Pete and Brian still there, but the room was empty and the bed was made. Hurrying into their clothes, they went to the kitchen where they found their friends finishing breakfast.

Pete asked, "Everything's okay now, guys?"

Corey and Drew grinned and nodded. Drew offered, "We're good, thanks."

Brian swallowed the mouth full of apple he was chewing then profusely apologized, ranting about how he was asleep and hadn't realized who he had been holding.

"I was being stupid," Corey quickly told Brian. "What happened wasn't all that bad, but it scared me. It's never happened before."

Already preparing Corey's morning milkshake, Drew nodded, "We're all gonna be in Agoura Hills tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday nights. An arm thrown over someone isn't a major problem; no harm, no foul. Morning wood is nothing to be ashamed of either. If one of us didn't have a bone, then I'd be wondering a lot more."

Corey nodded and continued, "Drew's got brothers and has dealt with it before. I haven't, until today." He paused to lock eyes with Drew and giggled, "I'm way better now." Shaking his head and softly sniggering, Drew concentrated on the milkshake like it was explosive chemicals and said nothing.

Carefully inspecting Corey's expression, Brian nodded and grinned, "Guess we'll take an extra long shower too then."

Putting his cereal bowl, spoon and glass in the dishwasher, Pete sniggered, "Brian!"

Looking around the room, Drew handed Corey his milkshake and grinned, "Take your time, dudes. Don't forget, you'll be alone with Mike and Derrick most of the night."

"Drew!" Three voices loudly laughed.

"What?" Drew giggled. "They're nudists, in case ya didn't already know."

Pete chuckled, "Yeah, we know," and started out of the room.

Following Pete toward the bathroom, Brian grinned, "Then the other two nudists will come home from work." Corey almost gagged on his milkshake then cracked up laughing.

Drew went to the pantry and found new cereals in there. Obviously, Mrs. Seaver was already modifying her grocery list to accommodate him living there. He pulled out the box of Honey Bunches of Oats and walked past Corey to get a bowl from the cupboard. He opened the cupboard and reached, then lurched and squealed from the goosing Corey had given him. Corey innocently looked up and away from Drew's suspicious gaze. Grinning, Drew got the bowl, poured cereal and milk into it and started eating.

Corey waited until he heard the bathroom door close then explained, "Just because I talk about other dudes, I don't want you to ever forget how much I love you."

Nodding and swallowing his food, Drew wondered, "Haven't you thought about what the other dudes were saying the other morning?"

Corey shrugged, "Not a lot. You have though, obviously."

Drew nodded, "What we have now is easy, Cor. There's you and me then everybody else we only occasionally spend time with. As we get older, everybody else could include your friends and mine. Maybe we'll get close to one of those dudes. They might feel something for you or me or both of us."

Corey hummed then muttered, "Simplicity just flew out the window."

Drew sighed, "For me to prevent you from having any other close friends would be stupid." Corey nodded agreement and up-ended his glass, chugging the last of it. Drew rambled, "None of this occurred to me before last week. Since then, I've been wondering if I might get jealous of someone taking your attention from me. How would I react? Would I even say anything or just walk away annoyed? I have no idea."

Corey rinsed his glass and put it in the dishwasher. Facing Drew again, he grinned, "I know how I would react."

Drew chuckled, "Screaming and yelling and having a hissy fit?"

"You'd better believe it, stud!" Corey playfully warned. He then grunted and thought aloud, "Now that we've shared some feelings about other dudes, what do we do about it?"

Drew shrugged, "Not a whole heck of a lot besides talking. I'm not gonna put moves on Pete or Derrick."

"I couldn't with Prez or Brian either."

"I'm perfectly happy with you, Cor."

Nodding and stepping closer, Corey took the spoon from Drew and began feeding him. "You're the only one for me too," Corey assured. "It seems that the whole world took a nose dive this morning. It's like the rollercoasters yesterday. Part of me likes us talking about this, the other part of me is screaming, let me out of here!"

Drew swallowed then smiled, "It is thrilling, in a very scary way." He opened his mouth, waiting for more cereal.

Giggling, Corey fed him another spoonful and pondered, "So this will be a recurring topic today and tonight?"

Drew nodded and reminded, "Once we're on the same page, then we'll talk with Keith and Prez about it tomorrow. We haven't been making love enough the last four or five days."

Corey giggled and shoveled another spoon of cereal into Drew's mouth. "Mornings and nights only, it seems."

Chewing and swallowing, Drew grinned, "You were great, Cor. Swear to God, I thought I might pass out."

Wide-eyed, Corey gasped, "Oh shit! Did I wipe off the bathroom vanity?"

Drew cracked up and laughed, "No, I did."

"That would've been extremely embarrassing," Corey giggled.

Seeing that there was little left in the bowl besides milk, Drew took it from Corey and chuckled, "My bath towel has one crusty corner. We'll get the whole thing crusty this afternoon."

"And then we'll get mine crusty tonight," Corey wickedly sniggered. Drew nodded and tilted the bowl, drinking the last of his milk and cereal. Corey took the empty bowl and put it in the dishwasher with the spoon. He turned to face Drew again and was surprised to find that he had stealthily crept up behind him. Corey giggled, "What're you doin'?"

Wrapping his arms around Corey's waist, Drew squeezed his lover's butt cheeks and chuckled, "Getting' ya back, angel."

"Again!" Corey playfully encouraged. Beginning to laugh, Drew did as he was told and Corey wildly laughed, "More, harder!"

Wrapped in towels, Brian and Pete stepped out of the bathroom, hearing Corey's and Drew's laughter. Following Pete back to Corey's bedroom to get dressed, Brian grinned, "Thank goodness they're fine."

Pete chuckled, "Better than fine, from the sound of it." He waited for Brian to enter the bedroom then closed the door. Pete asked, "Ya know what's really bizarre?"

"What?"

"We could've done something with Keith and Prez, but it felt rushed, so we didn't."

Digging through the gym bag for clothes, Brian nodded, "And now we're the ones that feel like we're rushing again?"

"Yeah."

Taking his towel off and hanging it on the desk chair, Brian sighed, "I don't know why I feel so connected to all these guys."

"They're fun," Pete offered. "Even when they're busy at rehearsals, they're having a good time."

"Nothing seems to be an effort for any of them," Brian agreed. "I wish we could say we approached stuff the same way that they do."

Pulling up his underwear, Pete nodded and suggested, "Maybe that's what we're here to learn? It's more than anything sexual, it's simply them; the way they are as couples and as a larger group."

Zipping his shorts, Brian nodded, "Remember what Ben was telling us about them? And Gil told us about how he got together with Shaun. They both see something special that they were lacking, prior to hanging out with them."

Still shirtless, Pete went to Brian, took him in his arms and offered, "We have to remember this, Bri. When we get back home, we can't allow ourselves to fall back into the old patterns. Everything we've learned this trip has to be lived."

Hearing more hysterical laughter beyond the door, Brian smiled, "Slightly modified for our friends and family, but yeah, we have to remember the openness and the silliness too. Maybe, if we could remember, other things might get easier, between us and around us too?" Brian paused and nervously bit his lip.

Pete grinned, "You're thinking that it's not going to be easy?"

Brian nodded, "I wish it could be, Pete. Prez and his mom made conscious decisions, so have Ben and Gil and Shaun. Changing isn't as easy as it should be."

"I promise to try."

"Me too," Brian warmly smiled.

From down the hall, Drew shouted, "It's ten of ten, dudes. If we're late, Mike might toast the damn P.A. system." Corey cracked up. Pete began helplessly sniggering.

Stepping back from Pete, Brian grabbed his shirt and went to open the door. Walking out of the room with Pete also carrying his shirt, Brian smiled, "We're ready, guys."

In Agoura Hills, Mike had called home to ask his sister if Rush could come and meet Zeus. Although she was planning on spending the day at Tommy's pool, Lindsay enthusiastically agreed. She would call Neil to come to her house. Last minute phone calls were made around the valley to John, Tommy, Neil, Kim, Miki, Nadia and Sonia. That day's pool party would split in half. John and Kim would go the Gibbons' home with Neil. Once the plan was finalized, John called Drew.

Just getting into Pete's Malibu, Drew answered, "What's up, bro?"

"Me and Kim are going to Mike's and Lindsay's place," John told his brother. He then sniggered, "Neil and Lindsay are just hookin' up. They don't want to be alone. Can you get Pete to pick us up?"

"Hold on," Drew told John. He then asked, "Pete, can we swing around the corner to pick up John and Kim?"

Pete nodded, "No problem, just tell me where I'm going."

Putting the phone back to his face, Drew said, "Get Kim ready, bro. We'll be there in five minutes."

"Oh shit!" John cackled, "Cool, see ya soon," and then hung up to hurry Kim along.

Drew grinned, "Instead of turning right at the corner, turn left. Then take the next left and the first right. That'll put us by Tommy's and Kim's houses."

Pete pulled away from the curb, muttering, "Two lefts and a right."

Still waiting for Kim, John called Keith and asked, "Is Mike with you?"

"No," Keith droned, "he's with Derrick in the 442. Why?"

John giggled and started rambling about how Rush getting to meet and play with Zeus caused morning mass confusion and a dozen phone calls, so he and Kim could be with Lindsay and Neil. "All this started because of Mike!" John finished.

Keith grinned, "Actually, it was Prez's doing."

"Ah!" John laughed, "Figures!"

On the 101 and just passing the Malibu Canyon exit, Prez asked Keith, "What did I do now?"

"You suggested we bring Rush along," Keith chuckled. "That led to a whole string of events, just so Lindsay would get to spend time with Neil. So they won't be alone, John and Kim are going to Mike's."

"Aw," Prez chuckled, "that's cute!"

John shouted, "Trouble maker!" and then suddenly grumbled, "Dammit, my cell phone battery is dying. See what…"

And then Keith heard nothing. He looked at his cell phone and saw the 'call failed' message on the screen. Slipping his cell phone back into his pocket, Keith teased, "Ya did it again, baby. John's on a rampage and he's blaming you."

Prez shrugged, "It was a good idea. Rush has been locked away alone in the house the last two nights. How would I know that it would stir up the proverbial shite?"

Keith chuckled, "You're in rare form today."

Prez sniggered, "We should've stopped after Derrick. My friggin' dick tingles and my ass is twitchin' like crazy."

"You were last and could've said no," Keith teased.

"Right," Prez chortled. The fact was that Keith wanted 'crab-style' intercourse with Prez. While Prez was riding Keith, Derrick and Mike were either blowing Prez or getting blown by Keith. For a little while, Prez had his cock trapped between Derrick's and Mike's open mouths. Both of them got facials. Laughing hysterically, they licked the loads off of each other then fed it back to Prez with kisses. Prez softly called, "Keith?"

"Yeah, baby?"

"Please tell me that you're enjoying it."

"I am, Prez. At the same time, I'm looking forward to Friday night. I get to come home to you, alone in our bed, at home."

"We'll all need time as couples after this week," Prez smiled.

Keith reminded, "It'll be just us working together tonight too." He then wondered, "Will anyone else be there, besides Randy, I mean?"

Prez nodded, "Tony; he's about twenty and a pretty good worker."

"Only 'pretty good'?"

"The reason we've got weekends is because we've made the connection between parties served and tips. He's not draggin' ass slow, but if he'd only pick up the pace, we could get more customers. You need to ask Tony to cover for you Friday, August, seventh."

"Why?"

"That's the night of the concert," Prez reminded.

"Oh, yeah!" Keith loudly remembered. He then admitted, "I was surprised last night. We still had people coming in, minutes before the doors closed at ten. Is that normal for a work night?"

"Yup, during the summer it is. After Labor Day, everything will slow down again. Instead of seventy or eighty dollar nights, we'll be back to fifty and sixty dollar nights."

Keith hummed thoughtfully then asked, "When school starts, should we keep working Friday through Sunday nights?"

Pulling off the 101 in Woodland Hills, Prez recalled, "The school dances are on Friday nights. We'd be better off Saturday through Monday. That way we don't have to swap things around for the dances. I'll talk with Angela tonight. She needs the time to adjust the schedules, after the college dudes leave for school."

"Cool," Keith chirped. "Saturday's through Monday's works for me. The best part is that we're together."

Prez giggled, "Seeing you carrying bus buckets with one arm after only two nights…" Keith howled laughing. Prez loudly laughed, "It took me a week to feel confident enough to do that."

Keith sniggered, "You've got plenty of confidence now, huh?"

Prez nodded, "The older voices are there, but virtually silent. Now I've got a whole bunch of other inner voices shouting them down." He slowed the 4Runner and pulled over to the curb in front of Mike's house. Prez and Keith got the windshield shade in place. Prez turned the engine off and noticed Pete's Malibu pulling up behind him. Derrick, Mike and Ben got out of the 442 and started for the house. Prez, Keith and Rush got out of the 4Runner. From the Malibu came Pete, Brian, Corey, Drew, John and Kim.

A shirtless boy on a skateboard, wearing only sagging boardies and sandals, came from the opposite direction of the street. At the driveway, he skidded to a halt and kicked his board up into his hand. Staring at the handsome younger boy, Corey's mouth dropped open. Raising one arm, John waved and shouted, "Neil!" The boy waved back to John. Noticing Corey in a trance, John smirked, "You're attracting flies, dude."

"Huh?" Corey stupidly grunted. Brian, Pete and Drew helplessly sniggered. Coming to his senses, Corey giggled and waited for John and Kim to go meet their friend. Together, John, Kim and Neil went to the front door and knocked. Lindsay let them in the house. Corey moaned, "Omigod!" Brian and Pete roared laughing and went to the garage with Prez and Keith. The four of them led Rush around to the backyard.

Drew grinned, "What're you thinking, Cor?"

"He's fucking gorgeous!" Corey softly giggled. "No wonder Lindsay chose him. And she said that he's a little like you too."

Shaking his head, Drew sniggered, "Another something to add to our afternoon chat," and took Corey's hand. They went to the opening garage door.

Mike looked around and asked Drew, "Where are your brother, Prez, Brian and Pete?"

"Around back with Rush," Drew replied.

Mike sighed and turned around, asking Ben, "Go get us some more muscle, please, dude?" Ben nodded and started for the backyard. Corey started to follow Ben, but Drew held his hand more tightly and pulled his starry-eyed boyfriend back. Drew and Corey began giggling. Mike scowled, "What's with you two?" Drew and Corey enthusiastically told Mike about his sister's boyfriend. Mike impatiently huffed while Derrick howled laughing.

In the backyard, Lindsay came out of the house, holding her puppy in her arms, followed by Neil, Kim and John.

Rush whined and hurried to Lindsay. Prez forcefully bellowed, "Rush! Sit!" Before Rush jumped up and knocked Lindsay over, Prez sharply tapped his dog's shoulder to gain his attention. Rush looked up and his ears went back then he offered a frustrated growl. "Stay!" Prez ordered. He then smiled at Lindsay and suggested, "Put Zeus down, Linds."

Lindsay whined, "But Rush is so big."

"They're both puppies," Prez patiently nodded. "They've got to smell each other and run around a bit."

Ben came through the gate, saw what was going on with the dogs, and tapped Keith's shoulder to pass along Mike's message. Keith nodded and told Prez, "We're gonna go get the gear setup, baby."

Still focused on his dog, Prez nodded and answered, "Okay, babe." Keith, Ben, Brian and Pete went to the front of the house. Lindsay took the collar and leash off her puppy then leaned over to put him down. Zeus hurried to Rush. After about fifteen seconds of the dogs sniffing each other, they went into classic playing positions, with their tails in the air. Zeus took off and Rush followed. Around the pool house and the yard, the two dogs chased each other.

Needing to get to the garage, Prez began telling Lindsay the basics of dog handling and training. John added his two cents, which was all accurate information, yet Rush didn't know that and rarely listened to John. Kim and Lindsay giggled hysterically at John's sarcastic descriptions of how well Rush paid attention to him. Prez left the backyard and went around to the garage.

All the equipment had already been moved. Gil, Shaun and Jessy had shown up. Everyone in the driveway and garage were having separate conversations.

Drew grinned, "He was at John's birthday party."

"I never saw or noticed," Corey giggled.

Pete teased, "He's very well proportioned for thirteen, huh, Corey?"

"Dude!" Corey giggled. "I didn't look like that! Even Drew didn't look like that!"

"Dig that hole a little deeper, Cor," Drew playfully warned. Ben, Gil, Brian and Pete roared laughing.

In the garage, Prez heard his band mates considering how to get the most out of their twenty-minute audition. Best songs were being listed. Listening in, Prez got his amps powered on then picked up his bass and put it over his shoulder. Moving over near Keith, Mike and Shaun, Prez noticed that the guys in the driveway were now paying attention to the band, so he waved them over to listen and join the conversation. Not really adding anything from behind his drums, Derrick grinned at Prez. Keith noticed Prez chuckling and 'their ears' now standing just beyond the open garage and stage monitors. In moments, there was silence and Prez grinned, "Okay, we've played every song we intend to play at the concert. After today, we have three more weekends to prepare for the audition. We only have twenty minutes to play a maximum of four songs." Pointing at the group beyond the doors, Prez asked, "What are your suggestions?"

Gil offered, "Open Arms, Fire and Rain, Wonderful Tonight and Separate Ways."

Corey hummed then said, "Open Arms, Fire and Rain, I Need To Know and," he paused and giggled, "Drew singing Against All Odds." Everybody began chuckling.

"No," Drew loudly laughed. "Try again, Cor."

Frowning, Corey huffed, "Hold My Hand then."

Drew smiled, "That's better and actually very good; it showcases four different vocalists. I'll agree with Open Arms, Fire and Rain and Hold My Hand, but I think Give Me One Reason is really close to the record." He turned to Pete and Brian.

Brian shrugged, "You guys have done great on every song. Picking only four is almost impossible." He grimaced and sighed, "To make life easier, I'll agree with Drew's list, simply because it still has four different vocalists, and includes two ballads and two upbeat tunes."

Pete nodded agreement, "That list works for me too. At the audition, it might work better going from Hold My Hand, to Give Me One Reason and then the two ballads."

Prez prompted, "What do you think, Ben?"

Ben blushed and nodded, "I'll agree with that list too, but I was thinking that instead of Fire and Rain, Shaun would sing Sister Golden Hair. Mike plays slide guitar on that tune, where he's not even playing during Fire and Rain. It also showcases two current tunes; one of which is standard blues, then country rock and a classic power ballad."

Mike locked eyes with Ben and chuckled, "Thanks, dude."

Turning even redder, Ben giggled, "Any time."

Keith said, "It's important that we're all participating in the audition." Agreements flowed around the remaining band members. Keith summarized, "So we'll play in order, Hold My Hand, then Give Me One Reason, followed by Sister Golden Hair and Open Arms." He glanced around and confirmed, "We're cool?" Everybody nodded or voiced agreement.

Drew smiled, "Okay, Let's hear those four, just like the audition." He then turned and went back to the mixer with Corey, Brian, Pete, Gil and Ben tagging along.

Prez grinned at Keith, "Great, I get to start things off."

Keith nodded and encouraged, "Nice and strong from the start, baby."

The band got ready and Derrick counted off the tempo. Shaun began playing the opening acoustic guitar part and soon Prez came in singing and playing his bass perfectly. They played the entire song, then played Give Me One Reason, Sister Golden Hair and Open Arms, in quick succession. Out in the driveway, another conversation was going on.

When they finished playing, Brian came around the mixer table, stopped before the monitors and smirked, "Okay guys, the music was great, but you're preparing for an audition here, correct?" All the band members nodded and agreed. Brian smiled, "Who are you? We're the auditioners out in the driveway. What's the name of your band? Who are the band members? We know, but they won't, so that needs to be included." He locked eyes with Derrick and said, "Since you don't get to sing lead vocals, Derrick, make your presence known and introduce the band. Then introduce Prez as lead vocalist for the song title. Between each song, someone needs to introduce the lead vocalist and the song title. Derrick could do it all, or you guys can decide to rotate the introductions. Practice exactly like this is the real audition, okay?" Everyone nodded and chuckled.

Before Brian turned to walk away, Derrick wondered, "What the heck am I gonna say?"

Brian smiled, "Greet and thank the auditioners first. Then introduce the band, Prez and the first song. Fortune favors the prepared, right? If you can't do it for us, then you won't be ready to do it for them." He prompted, "Give it a shot, Derrick."

Derrick grinned, "Thanks for letting us audition today. Our band is called Old Habits. The first song we'd like to play is Hold My Hand, featuring our bass player, Prez O'Brian."

Keith, Jessy, Drew and Ben loudly laughed, "Preston!" Brian sniggered and Corey cracked up.

Derrick chortled, "Prez or Preston, bro?"

Prez chuckled, "It doesn't matter. Would we introduce Mike as Michael?"

"You'd better not," Mike playfully warned.

Keith softly chuckled, "Lick."

Mike smirked at Keith, "I'm not talking to you." Keith snickered and shook his head.

Brian grinned, "That was good for a first try. Get comfortable with it, Derrick. Make eye contact with your auditioners and try again." He paused and turned then chuckled, "Without the corrections, this time." Brian went back behind the mixer.

Again, Derrick smiled, "Thanks for letting us audition today. Our band is called Old Habits. The first song we'd like to play is Hold My Hand, featuring our bass player, Prez O'Brian." He counted off the tempo and Shaun began playing. Prez sang:

With a little love, and some tenderness 
We'll walk upon the water 
We'll rise amove this mess

At the missed lyric, Shaun turned and grinned at Prez, but kept on playing.

With a bittle peace, and some harmony 
We'll shake the world together 
We'll shake 'em by the stand 

From more obvious missed lyrics, the band began cracking up. Prez rolled his eyes, purposefully changed the lyrics around and sang:

'Cause I've got a stand for you 
'Cause I wanna burn with you 

Now completely flustered, Jessy mixed in 'Chopsticks' with her keyboard parts.

Desteryay, I heard you falling there 
Your eyes were down, your head was red 
No hair had touched your comb
I said fall up, and let me see you pile

Hysterical, the band completely fell apart at that point. Out in the driveway and in the street, everybody roared laughing. Keith hollered, "Oh, baby! Shake My Stand! Shake it faster and tighter!"

While his band mates went off on their favorite flubbed lyrics, Prez loudly laughed, "After the second missed word, I told myself, 'screw it, let's see how badly I can mess it up'."

Laughing his ass off, Brian fell against Pete. "They can sing and play, but do not make them speak or introduce each other," Pete helplessly chuckled. Hearing that, Corey staggered out to the lawn and fell down to the grass. Drew went to help Corey up and Gil went to Shaun. It took several minutes for everyone to stop laughing and get back on track.

Once again, Derrick greeted the auditioners, introduced the band then the song and Prez. He counted off and Prez's tongue managed to cooperate during the lead vocals. Keith then introduced, "This next song is Give Me one Reason, featuring our keyboard player, Jessy Roberts." Derrick counted off and the band played the song. Then Mike introduced Shaun and Sister Golden Hair. Prez introduced Keith and Open Arms.

With everybody applauding and cheering, Brian loudly said, "Don't forget to thank the auditioners when you're done."

Walking around the table and approaching the band, Pete suggested, "It would be wise to have a complete list of your intended set, printed out nice and neat, in case they ask for it. Having a color print out of band members, with biography, contact information and photos would probably be good too. Prez, you can use your digital camera. The more prepared you are the better."

Prez confirmed, "One photo of each of us and the entire band together?"

Pete nodded, "Even better."

Mike nodded and smiled, "Thanks, dude. This is stuff we need to remember to get paying gigs." He then suggested, "Let's run through the entire set from the top." For the next hour and a half, they played all twenty-five songs. Breaking for lunch, the only remarks made were for more audience interaction.

In the backyard, Drew and Corey went to John and had a private whispered conversation. The only thing the others heard was John disbelievingly hollering "What?" Drew began chuckling and Corey laughed his ass off. John then excused himself from his friends. Drew, Corey and John marched to Keith and pulled him aside, walking to the front of the house.

Never one to hold anything back, John immediately told Keith, "We heard from Prez that you think you've corrupted us."

Grinning and nodding, Keith chirped, "Guilty."

"That's bull!" John yelled.

More calmly, Drew smiled at Keith, "How old were you when you started spankin' it?"

"Before I turned thirteen," Keith honestly answered.

"Why would we be any different?" Corey asked.

John smirked, "It's all your fault, bro. I started kissing girls in first grade because you… oh, wait… you didn't do that, did you? How many girls have you kissed?"

"One," Keith chuckled.

John assured, "I had you beat before I finished first grade."

Making eye contact, Drew told his oldest brother, "Stop worrying about us. I didn't know what I wanted for a long time. Now I'm with Corey because I want to be, not because of you or Prez. All you proved is that it's alright."

Glancing at all three of them, Keith checked, "And hearing me alone with Prez made no difference?"

"I don't fantasize about dudes," John reminded. "When I get a stiffy, I take care of it, just like all other dudes, gay and straight."

Drew offered, "I fantasized about actors, actresses and stuff like that. Not once have you or Prez been in my dreams."

When Keith faced him, Corey giggled, "I didn't know my first wet dream was a gay one until well after the fact. It was way before I met Drew too. For a year and half, it's been all Drew."

Keith and John chirped, "Really?" Corey nodded. The brothers then locked eyes with Drew.

"That's why I'm with Corey," Drew grinned. "He loves me and I love him back. First, I had to realize where I would be if the anorexia demon got its way. The answer was; alone. Being alone sucks, at least ninety percent of the time. You know that's what made you whacky, bro, don't you?"

Keith nodded and smiled, "I figured that out the first few days with Prez."

John sighed, "Jeez, you're dumb." Corey and Drew cracked up. Keith made a crooked smirk at his youngest brother. John grinned, "Even I know that! Now, if you'll excuse me, Kim is waiting. Neil is probably sweating his ass off, alone with Kim and Lindsay." Looking up at Keith, John smirked and warned, "Don't let me hear this dumb shit again. I won't be your little brother forever." Corey, Drew and Keith roared laughing. Heading toward the backyard, John shook his head and softly mumbled, "Silly homos can't figure shit out." Hearing the words coming out of his mouth, John insanely sniggered.

Drew grinned, "John's way of putting things leaves a lot to be desired, but he's basically right. You didn't make me gay or him straight. You taught us what not to do; don't fight what you are. Wishing it away doesn't work. Figure it out and move on."

Coming around the house from the backyard with Derrick, Mike suspiciously asked, "What's goin' on now?"

Derrick grinned, "Indoor bathroom visits are one at a time for you dudes."

Blushing slightly, Corey and Drew evilly sniggered. Keith smiled and wondered, "What's Prez doin'?"

"Training Zeus by Rush's demonstrations," Derrick replied.

Anticipating Keith's next question, Mike offered, "We're going to B.K. for lunch." He asked Drew and Corey, "You dudes wanna come with?"

Corey checked with Drew. Drew shrugged and reminded, "Brian and Pete are here."

Keith instructed, "Go ahead. Prez and I can keep them occupied."

Corey knowingly grinned, "With your clothes on or without?" Keith shrugged and sniggered.

Further instigating the three older dudes, Drew teased, "Don't wear 'em out. They'll be alone with the other two nudists tonight." Keith started laughing.

Mike mooed and droned, "That's right." He checked with Derrick, "Naked jams?"

Shaking his head and chuckling, Derrick turned Mike to the street. Drew and Corey followed. Derrick softly told Mike, "Of course," setting off Corey into another giggling fit. Keith went to the backyard.

In the car and pulling away from the curb, Corey whispered to Drew, "Ask Derrick and Mike what they're doin' with Prez and Keith." Drew searched Corey's eyes and shrugged. Corey whispered. "Why not?"

Sliding into the middle of the back seat, Drew leaned forward to ask Mike and Derrick, "You dudes know that Keith told us some of what's been going on?" When Mike and Derrick grinned and nodded, Drew wondered, "Something's changed, hasn't it?"

Turning in the 442 passenger swivel seat, Mike nodded and smiled, "Since the Yosemite trip."

Derrick reminded, "It started before that, Lick. It has gotten more intense since Yosemite though."

Thinking of how to phrase it more carefully for Corey and Drew, Mike grunted. He then offered, "It's simple really. We're together in Agoura to learn if we can live together next year. In the process, we had to get certain sexual barriers out the way. The facts are; we're not only friends, but attracted to Keith and Prez. They're our best friends and attracted to us. We had to get past all that and know exactly where each of us stands. Since they came back from Yosemite, all the barriers are completely demolished."

Wide-eyed, Corey gasped, "You dudes are making love; intercourse and everything?"

"Not intercourse," Derrick quickly assured. "That's for the couples in love. We stopped denying the attractions though. Kisses, hand-jobs and blowjobs are passed around every possible way now."

Drew huffed, "Wow," and then wondered, "How come nobody gets jealous?"

Mike chuckled, "Because I like dick, Derrick does, and so do Keith and Prez."

"Think of it like this," Derrick instructed, "we're going to be living under the same roof. Let's say Prez has an opportunity where he has to leave town for a few days, without Keith. We'll be old enough to go to dance clubs. How do we keep Keith from becoming a cranky bitch?"

Mike interjected, "Or making a stupid mistake with some dude at the dance club?"

Derrick expanded the idea by saying, "Let's say Prez hasn't left town, but he's really sick, with pneumonia or something, where he's not hospitalized, but still so sick that sex with Keith is impossible for two or three weeks." Beginning to see the light, Drew and Corey groaned.

Drew realized, "Keith would become a basket case."

Mike nodded, "Not a chance any more. He's got two shoulders to cry on, two mouths to kiss, four hands, not including his own, and now we've learned how to suck that slab of meat of his."

Corey howled laughing, "It's the Hundser genes!" Derrick and Mike loudly laughed, leaving Drew there smirking and sadly shaking his head. They pulled into Burger King and got in the drive-thru lane.

Once the laughter had subsided, Drew softly summarized, "You have rules and reasons."

Derrick nodded, "The biggest reason is the attraction. How could we live under the same roof and deny that? If you want to talk about stressful, that would cause each and every one of us to freak."

Mike ranted, "A possible scene in my head here – I see Prez limp and in various stages of excitement over and over again. How long would it be before I sucked Derrick dry and was still horny as hell? Now switch it around with Derrick and Keith or Prez."

"The friendships are really strong," Derrick assured. "I told Mike and Prez exactly this; if Prez had a large football player's frame, I'd be completely confused. Prez is the most awesome best friend; with a huge a heart and an equally large brain. I couldn't have asked for better. Keith has been a friend since I moved here. When he was grumpy, Mike and I both knew it. He matters to us and so does Prez. The third day they were gone, Mike and I felt the gap."

Mike nodded and smiled, "They felt it too. For more than a year, we've seen each other every day, at least for a little while. Three days without people who are habit, dudes. That proved everything to each of the four of us. We love them, but aren't in love with them and three days was starting to get rough. Now picture me without Dee, or Prez without Keith."

"It's not pretty," Drew grinned.

The conversation paused while Derrick placed a huge order for whoppers, cheeseburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches and sixteen medium fries. "Holy crap!" Corey gasped as Derrick slowly inched forward. "There are sixteen people there?"

Mike rambled, "The four of us, Prez and Keith, Shaun and Gil, Ben and Jessy, Brian and Pete, John and Kim, Lindsay and what's-his-name." Corey, Derrick and Drew howled laughing.

Starting with Derrick, and then Drew and Corey, they each assured Mike that Neil was really cute and seemed nice enough.

"I know," Mike growled. He passed Derrick the gathered cash for lunch and groused, "Sure, laugh it up. None of you have a little sister." Derrick paid the cashier and started handing sacks of food out. Eight bags later, two of which were only French fries, they drove forward and started back to the house.

Drew admitted that he couldn't picture any of the four of them doing what had been done. Corey bluntly asked "How did it start; by accident or what?" Derrick began telling them about the after work pool side blowjobs. He admitted that he was curious about Keith, so he and Prez swapped partners.

Mike carried on about how they needed to stay together after what had happened at the pool and then the spilled ice cream. He explained the partner swapping that he and Keith had done. Then, Derrick said it was partners making love on the king size bed with the lights on. Then it was shower sex and best friends bathing which soon moved to Prez and Mike bathing while Keith and Derrick bathed. Since Yosemite, they described four-way sex with each of them getting to be the center attention for the other three. By the time Derrick pulled in front of Mike's house, none of them were in a hurry to get out of the car because they had all gotten erections. Since the food wasn't likely to get too cold in the warm sunshine of the 442 convertible, they each got quiet for a minute or two. Once it was confirmed that erections had deflated to chubbies, they gathered the sacks and got out of the car.

On the way to the backyard, Drew softly told Corey, "We'll talk with Keith and Prez, but I think we have the whole picture." Corey nodded.

Mike wondered, "Why talk to them?"

Derrick assured, "We told the truth."

Drew said, "I'm certain of that. It's just that a big brother perspective makes a difference."

"It would be the same for me," Corey interjected. "Prez has been treating me like a little brother or best friend."

Opening the gate, Derrick turned to Corey and grinned, "He's one of a kind, huh?"

Rapidly nodding, Corey giggled, "Definitely."

From the pool, Keith hollered at Mike, "What took so long?"

Mike smirked, "I'll let mini-Keith answer that." Prez, Brian, Pete and Corey roared laughing. While the masses encircled the table to get their food, Drew and Corey walked away and waited for Keith and Prez to get out of the pool.

Keith asked, "So, what was the holdup?"

Drew shrugged and grinned, "A line at B.K. and an intense conversation."

Prez grunted, "Uh oh!"

Corey giggled, "It wasn't bad."

Drew nodded, "It is something the four of us need to talk privately about."

Keith hummed and checked with Prez. Prez said, "Let us know when."

Leading Corey, Keith and Prez to the table, Drew softly said, "Probably tomorrow. Between rehearsal and working tonight, it can't happen today."

"We're going to North Hollywood tomorrow," Prez reminded.

Corey asked Prez, "Can you pick us up at my house?"

Keith grinned, "You two wouldn't be able to get in the store, ya know."

Drew chuckled, "I don't think I want to."

Keith thought aloud, "We'll probably have to go in two at a time. Six at once might be pushing our luck."

Prez nodded agreement to Keith and then told Corey and Drew, "In the morning, call my cell or I'll call Drew's."

"Cool," Corey and Drew chirped. The four were the last to grab sandwiches and fries.

Prez and Keith went to sit with the older teens. Corey suggested, "Why don't we go sit with John and Lindsay?"

Drew suspiciously eyed Corey and they began giggling. "You wanna get to know Neil," Drew softly chortled, and started for the larger group of older teenagers.

Having learned something already, Corey softly reminded, "I'm in love with you. We don't even know Neil."

Drew nodded and leaned closer to whisper; "I know, Cor. We'll talk a lot tonight. A bunch of different ideas are already rattling around." He and Corey sat down near Brian and Pete. As usual, the conversation revolved around the band's music, however this day included various ideas for becoming a working group that got paid to perform. Opportunities for experience were already lining up nicely from the end of summer and through the school year. Ways of capitalizing on that experience were bouncing around.

After lunch, everyone, including John, Kim, Neil and Lindsay, went around to the front of the house. Drew asked John, "What's goin' on?"

John shrugged, "We just ate. We're takin' twenty or thirty minutes to digest a little. Blowing chunks in the pool wouldn't be good."

Kim asked John, "Would they play Weird for us?"

John grinned, "You wanna slow dance?" Slightly tilting her head toward Lindsay and Neil, Kim nodded. John chuckled, "I'll ask," and went around the table. He went in the garage, directly to Prez and Keith. John whispered the request and why. Keith nodded and told Mike. Everybody outside saw Mike slouching and reluctantly nod. Smiling and nodding, John went back out to the driveway. Moving around the garage to Jessy, Shaun and Derrick, Prez softly shared the request.

Neil suspiciously squinted at John and wondered, "What's up?"

Innocently smiling, John chuckled, "Helping." Lindsay quickly turned to Kim, who started giggling just as Derrick began setting the tempo. The cymbal swell opening the song began. Kim held Lindsay's shoulders and John pushed Neil closer to Lindsay as the song's harmony began. Wearing a wide grin, Keith started singing. Visibly nervous, Neil held Lindsay's hips, but wasn't moving. John warned his friend, "Move your feet and ass or else." Barely moving, Neil began laughing at John. Once more, John warned, "If I can't dance with Kim because of you, we're gonna have words."

At the start of the second verse, Kim was satisfied that they were dancing and moved away from Lindsay. John went to Kim and held her close. Kim rested her head on John's shoulder. That actually accomplished more than threats. Lindsay moved closer to Neil and copied Kim, resting her head on her new boyfriend's shoulder. Nuzzling Lindsay's cheek, Neil obviously liked it and closed his eyes. Happy for his sister and fighting his protective urges, Mike concentrated on the blues licks he was playing.

Brian and Pete hadn't heard the band playing the song before. They were focused on Keith, singing in a falsetto voice. Not wanting to freak anyone out, Drew saw that Neil's eyes were closed then moved behind Corey and began swaying. Nearest to them, Ben saw Corey take a deep breath, hold Drew's arms in place and sway along, seemingly in heaven. At the end of the song, everybody in the driveway and in the street applauded and loudly cheered.

Keith asked his band mates, "Let's concentrate on ballads for a while." Since Shaun had sat through Weird, Keith prompted him to play Fire and Rain. Mike agreed and quickly put his guitar on its stand. He turned and found Keith blocking his path. Keith grinned, "Calm down, bro."

"But…"

"Save your butt for Dee," Keith chuckled. Mike actually snarled. Keith suggested, "Let's go check on Rush and Zeus." Leading Mike out of the garage, Keith told Prez, "We're gonna check on the dogs and will be right back."

Prez nodded and grinned, "Since you sing most of the ballads, this is good."

Derrick prompted Shaun, "Go for it, dude." Shaun began playing. Out in the driveway, the younger kids began slow dancing again, including Drew and Corey.

Heading for the backyard, Keith reminded Mike, "Who was it that added her two cents, so that you and Derrick could be a little freer?"

Mike grumbled, "I know, bro. It's not Lindsay that's the problem. He's gonna put his hand on her ass and I'm gonna need sedation." Keith cracked up because it was obvious Mike would never say the kid's name. Mike grinned, "You know it's true."

Keith nodded and chuckled, "You can't keep her safe from everything. Boyfriends are out of your control."

Knowing it was true, Mike groused, "It's a mother-daughter thing." He looked up and more cheerfully remembered, "We've still got some weed at home."

Keith bent in half and roared, "Sedation!" From a shaded area behind the pool house, Rush came running; with Zeus hurrying along behind to catch up, and bounced around Keith. Kneeling down, Keith gave Rush and Zeus attention, but couldn't stop laughing at Mike.

Also kneeling down in the grass, Mike smirked, "Is this your idea of helping?"

"I am helping," Keith sniggered. "You can't bitch about what you don't see."

Realizing he could miss something, Mike's mouth dropped open. He lifted Lindsay's puppy and stood. Keith grabbed the waistband of Mike's boardies, not allowing him to move without tearing the clothes off his ass. Mike whined, "Lemme go."

"No," Keith chuckled, "not yet. I still hear Shaun singing."

Mike huffed, "I'm gonna bring my sister her puppy."

"Yeah, so she holds the pup instead of Neil."

"Yeah!" Mike sniggered, "Excellent idea! Now you're helping!"

"Say his name, bro."

"Nail."

Keith howled laughing, "Close, but no cigar. I can see where your mind is too."

"Niles?" Mike chuckled.

In the garage, Shaun was wrapping up Fire and Rain. Keith and Mike heard more cheering from mostly female voices. Then they heard Prez calling over the P.A., "Keith and Mike to the garage."

Derrick and Jessy chuckled then Shaun partially covered his mouth, made a clicking sound into his microphone and called, "Keith Hundser and Mike Gibbons to customer service," causing laughter and chuckling to break free at the front of the house.

Keith stood, saying, "Time's up." He released Mike's boardies and smiled, "It would be really good if you could say the kid's name."

"I know his name," Mike nodded, and opened the gate.

Following Mike with Rush and closing the gate, Keith reminded, "We're talkin' a straight couple, Mike. It's not like us. I'd bet ya bucks that Neil is still mostly afraid, with a little bit of confused and thrilled tossed in."

Mike grunted then complained, "It's the thrilled part that worries me."

Helplessly sniggering, Keith offered, "Weeks or months from now, you can get worried, if they're still a couple."

Mike huffed, "Don't call them a couple." Sputtering, Keith tried to not crack up again and managed to restrain himself to soft chortling. Nelson had shown up during the few minutes Keith and Mike were in the backyard. Keith confirmed with Drew that Nelson had been introduced to Brian and Pete. Mike went to his sister and passed off the puppy without saying a word to her or Neil. Rush trotted around the group at the mixer table getting pets from everyone there. Keith and Mike returned to the garage. The band then played, Wonderful Tonight, Every Breath You Take, Open Arms, Against All Odds, Seven Bridges Road and Helplessly Hoping. It was about quarter of three when they decided to call it a day and began packing up.

John, Kim, Lindsay and Neil started for the backyard. Pete called, "John, do you need a ride?"

Spinning around, John smiled, "No thanks, we're gonna hang here for a while more."

With her puppy in her arms, Lindsay explained, "My mom will give them a ride when she gets home."

In ten minutes, all the gear was returned to the garage. Jessy and Nelson left in their cars. Shaun and Gil checked with Mike and Derrick to see if they could come over for an extra practice session before they left. Mike confirmed the plan and said that Ben, Brian and Pete would also be there. Brian, Pete, Drew and Corey got in the Malibu and pulled away from the curb. Prez called Rush and got him in the 4Runner. Soon Prez was pulling away with Keith and Rush. Derrick, Mike and Ben got in the 442 and started for Agoura Hills.

For most of the ride, Brian and Pete joked with Drew and Corey about the band's inability to speak during the audition rehearsal. Drew and Corey promised to make them perform introductions at each rehearsal over the next few weekends. Nearing Corey's neighborhood, they confirmed plans for the next few days. Drew said that he and Corey would also be going to North Hollywood with Keith and Prez the next day. Corey again apologized for making a scene that morning and admitted that the scariest thing was how warm and safe he felt. Brian admitted that he also felt safe with Pete's arm tossed over him and felt good providing some of the same warmth and safety to Corey, although he hadn't recognized it was Corey in his unconscious state. All four realized that they would at least have that night sleeping alone in a bed. Stopped in front of the Seavers' home, Drew joked, "Next time it's me and Pete in the middle of the bed," and quickly got out of the car before Corey hit him.

Corey giggled, "See ya tomorrow, dudes," and slid out of the car, squinting at Drew. As they pulled away again, Brian and Pete saw Corey chasing Drew around the front lawn.

"I can't believe you said that!" Corey giggled.

Only a few paces ahead of his beloved, Drew laughed, "Maybe I said it to get this reaction."

Corey cracked up then hollered, "Talk about digging a hole deeper!"

Waving his arms and hysterically laughing, "Dig it deeper, faster and harder," Drew slowed and allowed Corey to tackle him.

In a flash, Corey was on Drew's back, tickling and giggling, "You've gone insane, completely bonkers."

Grunting negatively through his own giggles, Drew assured, "Just in love with you, angel."

Corey whimpered before Drew finished the statement. He slid off Drew's back and reached for his hand. With his other hand, Corey pulled his house key out of his shorts pocket. Hand-in-hand, they went to the front door. Corey unlocked it and they stepped inside. Drew locked the deadbolt again then was pulled into Corey's embrace. After a deep, passionate and long kiss, Corey rested his head on Drew's shoulder and contentedly sighed.

In the entryway, Drew whispered, "Let's make love before mom and dad get home." Corey nodded, yet never released his hold on Drew. Attached, they shuffled down the hall and into Corey's room. Locking the bedroom door, Drew asked, "Let me hear what you understood Mike and Derrick were saying?" Corey nodded and hummed. Drew stepped back to take Corey's shirt off.

Once his shirt was off, Corey answered, "It all started so that they could live together after high school. Living in the same place, with each of them saying things, the idea grew. Now they've recognized how close they all are. With that new understanding, came admissions of sexual attraction and some new dependencies."

Smiling and nodding, Drew untied the drawstring on Corey's board shorts. He offered, "Maybe those dependencies aren't exactly new. Keith and Mike have been best friends forever. I've witnessed that, but haven't witnessed Prez and Derrick getting so close. Now we can see that they are." He pushed Corey's shorts down to the floor then raised his arms, allowing Corey to undress him.

Once Drew's shirt was off, Corey asked, "Ya know what I don't get?" Drew fixed his hair and hummed negatively. Preparing to remove Drew's shorts and boxers, Corey rambled, "Exactly how or why any of them would want to mix up what's already good. I heard what Derrick and Mike were saying and could barely believe it. Best friends together makes sense, but Prez with Mike doesn't, and neither does Keith with Derrick."

"They're still close friends though, Cor."

"So the four of them are cool with it?"

"If you're gonna show your dick to your boyfriend and best friend, how can you leave the third person out of the picture?"

Corey nodded, "That leaves someone feeling less important."

Guiding Corey onto his bed, Drew smiled, "So the friendships and attractions are enough. What's really funny is that I can picture Keith and Mike racing around a coffee table, blowing Prez and Derrick." Drew caressed and kissed Corey. In moments, they were falling to the mattress and making love. After two powerful orgasms each, they took a break to cuddle.

Corey softly admitted, "I couldn't stand seeing you blowing someone else. I'm not even sure if I could deal with you kissing or jackin' another dude."

"I've been thinking of that on and off all day," Drew whispered. "Let's say you get to be with Prez. What am I gonna do with Keith?" He laughed, "Nothing! I don't see him that way at all. So Keith and I have to go out and let you have fun with Prez."

Corey giggled, "This is all still hypothetical, stud. I am attracted to Prez, and Keith, and Derrick, Mike, Brian, Pete, John and Neil too."

Chuckling, Drew planted a kiss on Corey's head and sniggered, "I was wondering when Neil would get mentioned."

Corey looked into Drew's eyes and asked, "Don't you think he's cute?"

Drew nodded, "Pretty hot for thirteen."

"Lindsay found a replacement for you and John," Corey teased.

"I wish her luck and him too. Everyone needs to feel what I've been feeling the last few weeks. It's three weeks ago today you told the witch doctor, Cor."

"It wasn't easy. I told my mom and cried. I told the shrink and cried. Telling them about you made me stop crying. It's all for me and you, Drew. I couldn't deal with seeing you occasionally and only as a friend. If…"

Drew waited then wondered, "If what?"

Corey squirmed completely on top of Drew. Making eye contact, Corey promised, "If talking about sex with anyone else upsets you in the slightest, let's stop."

Widely smiling, Drew hugged Corey tight and cheered, "You make me happy, Corey Seaver. Truth like that makes me tingle all over. No one else has a chance of taking your place."

"Not even Derrick or Pete?"

"No other cute blond dudes have a chance of replacing you. They would only be a substitute, if and only if you say it's okay. That's what all that talk about trips away or sicknesses meant to me; substitutions, like pinch hitters."

"So should we be thinking of Brian and Pete like we are?"

Drew hummed and thought aloud, "I wasn't thinking it the last time they were here. I guess the question is whether we'll miss them when they leave? They're helping you and they're helping the band too; not only with ears, but with important suggestions; reordering songs, so it flows better, and with the audition suggestions today. They obviously care about all of us. If the next few days are like the last few, then yeah, I'll miss them."

Corey nodded, "I will too." He then sighed, "It still seems strange though."

"Let's see how the next few days are," Drew suggested. Ready for another round, Drew began licking little circles on Corey's chin. Corey began giggling and trying to catch Drew's twirling tongue in his mouth. Drew never tried to prevent the captures either. In under a minute, they were both wound up and making love again, orally and anally.

After this round, they still had more to discuss. Maybe Brian and Pete weren't the right ones to try it with. Maybe it would be other high school friends that would become very important to each of them. Perhaps Brian and Pete wouldn't consider sharing affection like Keith, Prez, Mike and Derrick have. It would be bad for all of them to feel rushed or forced. The conversation overflowed into the shower, while they cleaned up before Corey's parents got home.

Corey began putting himself down again, but Drew quickly silenced that by holding him tight and saying, "You admitted how you felt three weeks ago and proved it with the witch doctor. You proved it again the next day by saying exactly what you thought of me. The day after that we were having intercourse and literally messing it up, so I consider talking to Keith and ask if you'll talk to Prez. We did it, even though we were embarrassed. That's proof that you care about me, Corey. Intercourse has been incredible ever since. We're not worrying about any problems while we're doing it; we just readjust and keep going. The final proof was when you first made love to me. I wasn't sure if I'd like it. I not only love it, I want it from you at least once a day. This whole extended conversation isn't because you're not enough; it's because you are that important to me. The reality is that we're attracted to other dudes."

Corey insisted, "I won't ever cheat on you, Drew."

Turning the shower water off, Drew nodded and smiled, "I know that in my heart, Cor. It's not cheating when we agree it's time to show other important people that they are that special. Who that turns out to be and when it happens is up to us." Corey stepped out of the shower and got towels for Drew and himself. Stepping out of the tub, Drew teased, "If you wanna play around with Neil, then he needs to know it won't be only you; it'll be me too."

"You would do that?"

Drew sniggered, "I wouldn't leave you alone with him." Corey cracked up. Drew reminded, "From what we know now, Keith's not alone with Derrick and Prez isn't alone with Mike. It's there, admitted for all four to see and do something about."

Corey offered, "Neil's not important though."

"Today he's not," Drew said while drying his hair. He lowered the towel and said, "He's John's friend. In two years, John and Neil are at our high school. Who's to say how important he might become?"

At the imagined vision of Neil two years older and cuter, Corey groaned, "Omigod."

Drew smirked, certain that his boyfriend's mind went directly into the gutter. Beginning to evilly chuckle, Drew picked Corey up and stood him on the toilet seat. With his towel holding Corey firmly in place, Drew gobbled up his beloved, carefully avoiding his dick and nads, but nibbling everything else he could reach. Lanna Seaver unlocked the front door and stepped inside; hearing her son's hysterical laughter and Drew's wicked chuckling. She grinned and went to the kitchen to start dinner for her boys.

Not knowing Lanna was home; Drew and Corey came out of the bathroom naked and went directly to Corey's room to dress. Corey helped Drew first. Holding clean boxers open, Corey gushed, "You're gonna be the most handsome of the three brothers."

Holding Corey's shoulders, Drew grinned, "As far as you're concerned."

Corey giggled, "I'll hold a contest. Better yet, I'll hold two contests; one for the gay dudes and another for the straight girls."

While Corey got a clean pair of board shorts snapped open, Drew went with it and wondered, "When?" He held onto Corey and stepped into them.

"Let's give John a chance. When he's sixteen, you're eighteen and Keith is twenty."

With his board shorts pulled up and the Velcro closed, Drew didn't wait another second. He carefully pulled Corey close against him and practiced his kissing techniques. At the fifth tender kiss, Corey moaned. Drew whispered, "I love you, Cor," and then opened up and took Corey's breath away. They breathed through their noses and held the kiss for a long while, until Drew felt Corey's hardening dick pressing against his own. Sliding his face over Corey's shoulder, Drew noticed the time on the clock. He whispered, "Chill, angel. Your mom should be home by now. Let's not put on a show for mom."

Across the hills, Brian, Pete, Mike and Derrick had been in the studio for almost two hours when stomachs started growling. Pizza sounded good to Mike, simply because it could be delivered. One after another, most nearby restaurants were crossed off the list. Brian and Pete told Derrick and Mike about Thursday night's adventure to TGI Friday's. Of course, they weren't at all surprised with Prez's directional challenges, but they thought Keith would've been able to figure it out. Hearing that it took at least half an hour to find the restaurant, Mike cracked up. Derrick sniggered, "Ten or fifteen minutes tops, down to the 101 North and off again at the fifth exit, Moorpark Road. Is that where you dudes wanna go?"

Pete shrugged, "There's nothing close by like that?"

Composing himself, Mike smiled, "There's some places off Roadside Drive we've never been to, Dee." He told Brian and Pete, "One of 'em is a barbecue place. We can't guarantee quality, but if you're willing to take a chance?"

Brian slyly grinned, "Chances are good."

Covering his eyes with his hand, Pete sniggered, "Brian!"

Heading for the front door, Brian hummed then rambled, "Tangy barbecue sauce? Sweet barbecue sauce?" Pete softly chuckled and followed his boyfriend. Derrick and Mike cracked up and brought up the rear.

Derrick quickly closed the two bedroom doors then stepped outside and locked the door. Wondering where the humans were going, Rush went to the door with his mostly shredded rope toy. He groaned and lay down in the entryway, returning his attention to untying that knot.

The four boys got in Pete's car for the short trip. Derrick guided Pete down Kanan Road and had him turn left onto Roadside Drive. After Burger King, they pulled into the parking lot of a strip mall. Sniggering began to erupt in the car. Since Pete was driving, he was the last to notice the name of the barbecue restaurant. He loudly laughed, "Willy's barbecue and grill?"

Brian turned to him and evilly chuckled, "I think I want sweet barbecue sauce on my willie." Finding a place to park, Pete groaned through his giggles. Derrick and Mike cracked up. Looking into the back seat, Brian smirked, "Was this planned?"

"No!" Derrick and Mike laughed.

Mike sniggered, "Swear to God, we've never been here or knew what the place was called."

Derrick grinned, "It sounds like our kind of place. We have to bring Prez and Keith here."

Getting out of the car, Brian told Derrick and Mike about Prez peeking over urinal dividers and copping peeks in a public men's room. While they weren't surprised and softly chortled, Pete told them about how he and Brian removed all lingering questions by leaving their dicks hanging out for Prez and Keith to get a good look. Surprised, Mike and Derrick cracked up again. They walked inside the restaurant still sniggering.

Surprising the four boys, the place had a huge selection. They expected a buffet style service, but were seated at a booth and handed menus. Beyond the expected barbecue sandwiches, they had appetizers, salads, wraps and soups; full dinners of beef, chicken, fish and pork; and even had party platters that were relatively inexpensive. Mike and Derrick considered ordering one or more platters for the party Wednesday night. They would check with Prez and Keith when they got home.

The restaurant wasn't extremely busy. The booth they were at was far enough from other patrons to allow them to talk freely, albeit softly. With their orders placed and sodas served, Brian leaned forward and softly asked, "Why weren't there naked jams this afternoon?"

Derrick and Mike glanced at each other and began chuckling. Mike smiled, "You've changed, Brian."

"You too, Pete," Derrick chirped.

Shrugging, Pete turned to Brian. Brian softly explained, "Mr. Hundser said something to me that I've heard before, but somehow, his way of saying it hit home. I had been letting too much of my past interfere with the present. When we left for Phoenix, I asked Pete to help keep me on track, so I don't fall back into old habits."

Nodding understandingly, Mike smiled, "We decided to introduce our band by saying 'old habits are hard to break'."

Pete grinned, "They are too. I've got my own issues haunting me, as you both know. So, Brian gives me a nudge when they start to creep into the present."

"We're at a place now where we're trying to decide what to do, when we get back to Portland and school," Brian explained. He playfully grumbled, "It's mostly your fault too." Derrick and Mike sniggered.

Pete offered, "Between what we experienced in San Francisco and here, we're considering making moves to come out. I'm not in any big rush to do that."

"Either am I," Brian assured Pete. He then told Derrick and Mike, "You guys have an openness that we'd like to emulate. The reality of our situation at home might limit that though."

The waitress returned with their salads and served them. Once the waitress stepped away, the conversation continued. Pouring dressing over his salad, Pete softly admitted, "The abuses from my mother and Kurt keep me on edge, when I'm not around guys like you, Keith and Prez. I can't simply change on a dime."

Derrick reminded, "My dad beat me up on my seventeenth birthday, Pete. It fucked with me and occasionally still does; but I'm living with Mike now. Prez and Keith are always around too. For me, it was a matter of admitting what was easiest. My choice was to stay closeted or have fun with Mike, Prez and Keith. Doing both wasn't an option."

Swallowing his first forkful of salad, Mike told Brian and Pete everything about the fight in April. He finished his tale with, "I hate 'phobes, but Derrick truly despises them. I never saw him or Keith coming. Keith went crazy on the dude jabbing a knife at Prez. Dee went completely ballistic on the dude hitting me. That allowed me to break free from the dude that was holding me and get some payback."

Struggling to keep his voice calm and soft, Derrick took over. "That was my chance to prove to myself how and where I wanted to be. The choice required no thought at all. It was virtually the same for Keith. If ever put in a similar situation, you'd choose Brian over the closet too."

Brian softly muttered, "I hope it doesn't come to that. If I saw Pete getting bashed, all bets are off. People would get hurt."

Derrick smiled and nodded until he swallowed. "The three dudes that ganged up on Mike and Prez did get hurt. Prez got a couple o' stitches from a small knife wound. Mike had a shiner for about two weeks and bruises scattered around his torso."

Mike nodded, "Keith never fought before in his life. According to Prez, Keith kicked the arm with knife, sending it flying to the ground. In three blows, that dude was out for the count. Then Keith held the guy that was holding me so I could give him a black eye and a split lip."

"Jake, the dude with the knife, was the instigator," Derrick huffed. "He's in juvie now, serving time." Seeing Derrick getting visibly annoyed, Mike put his fork down and reached for Derrick's hand under the table. Derrick and Mike locked eyes for a few moments. Then Derrick closed his eyes and slowed his breathing. Holding his index finger to his mouth, Mike silently shushed Brian and Pete, so they didn't disturb Derrick's meditation. Brian and Pete continued eating then both seemed to pause mid-chew and glared at the table. Mike looked down and saw Derrick's spoon and butter knife bent in half. Grinning widely, Mike fought back his laughter. He didn't know what was funnier; Brian and Pete's shocked expressions or Derrick's subconscious power to manipulate things.

About thirty seconds later, Derrick squeezed Mike's hand and opened his eyes. Mike howled laughing, "Well, that secret's out now!"

Derrick glanced around, first noticing Brian's and Pete's worried expressions. He looked down to pick up his fork. Noticing the spoon and knife, Derrick jumped in his seat and squeaked, "Oops!" Sliding down in his seat, Mike cracked up. Derrick turned to him, grinning, "Not funny, dude. What am I supposed to tell the waitress?" Stomping his feet, Mike roared. Shaking his head and blushing, Derrick returned to his half eaten salad.

Reaching across the table, Brian picked up the spoon. "It's warm," He softly muttered, and then put the spoon down by his lap. Pete looked over and noticed Brian trying to straighten the spoon. He took Derrick's butter knife to straighten it out. In a minute, both items were mostly straightened yet still obviously not quite right. Brian grinned at Derrick, "Just tell her the dishwasher ate 'em."

Calming down, Mike turned to Derrick and brightly smiled, "I love ya, dude."

Derrick nodded and giggled, "Show them."

Mike nodded and closed his eyes, putting his hands close together and over the table. In a few moments, he opened his eyes and instructed, "Check it out, dudes; feel what's between my hands."

Derrick watched as first Brian and then Pete felt Mike's invisible power ball. Brian reached again and wondered, "What is that?"

"The power of love," Mike answered.

Swallowing, Derrick prodded, "Ever notice Prez and Keith just glancing at each other?" When both his friends nodded, Derrick smiled, "They're slightly telepathic and getting better at it all the time."

When Brian pulled his hand away, Mike closed his eyes for a few moments to dissipate his power ball. Returning to his salad, Mike told Brian and Pete how Ben was an introvert when they first met him. Seesawing back and forth, Mike and Derrick told them how Ben obviously had a major crush on Prez, eventually leading up to how Mike's dad and Prez's mom occasionally made themselves known, how Ben freaked out one night and finally how Prez had the four of them encircle Ben, pushing their consideration and love at Ben.

Derrick chuckled, "Ben turned into a spaz and actually jumped in place."

Mike nodded, "The dude we met Memorial Day weekend is not the same dude you met last week. The Ben we met would've probably found an excuse to leave, simply because he didn't know you two."

Finished with his salad, Derrick leaned back and smiled, "When you were first around the beginning of the month, Ben saw your car out front and decided to not visit."

Mike grinned and reminded, "Ben wasn't coming over much until he kept seeing Prez's 4Runner. To spend a little while with Prez, Ben started coming over."

Derrick shrugged and smiled, "That's Prez; very approachable."

"That's the Prez we know," Mike corrected. "From the sounds of it, the Texas Preston O'Brian was a recluse."

Derrick nodded, "He needed Keith as much as Keith needed Prez."

Mike smiled, "As much as we need each other; as much as Brian and Pete need each other too."

The waitress returned with their dinners. While she cleared the table of salad plates, Derrick showed her the spoon and knife, politely asking for replacements. She nodded and noticed four almost empty soda glasses, offering to bring new silverware with fresh sodas. The dinners were served and she hurried off. All four dug in. While they were chattering about how good the food was, the waitress returned with sodas and silverware for Derrick.

After a few minutes, Brian concentrated on his cornbread and asked, "Derrick, does that silverware bending only happen when you're getting aggravated?"

Shaking his head and blushing slightly, Derrick instructed, "Hold your spoon up, dude." Brian did so and Derrick reached a hand across the table. Brian and Pete watched, wide-eyed as the spoon bent slightly away from Derrick and toward Brian. Derrick's hand never touched the spoon; he only held his open palm there, an inch or so from it.

Mike chuckled and started telling Brian and Pete about the first few weeks Derrick was living in his house; how they couldn't sit close together and other mysterious silverware bends and cracked glassware. "We just so happened to be spending time weeknights and weekends with Doug and his partner Brian," Mike explained. "Around the end of January, Doug was taunting us, acting like a 'phobe." He paused and softly chuckled, "The serving ladle in Doug's hand bent while we watched. From then on, they've been teaching us, a little at a time."

Derrick wiped his mouth and grinned, "If ya really wanna see something cool, you should see them make and dissipate clouds."

"Or cause everything electric in the house to spaz out," Mike chuckled.

Almost simultaneously, Brian and Pete asked, "How and what exactly?"

Derrick grinned, "Doug's own words; 'mastery of one sort leading to mastery of another'. They helped us correct our thoughts. Like my anger causing shit to bend, or Mike not being able to sit close to me, because I couldn't decide if I wanted him to be that close. Together, Doug and Brian made the TV channels change and the volume go up and down too."

Mike nodded and locked eyes with Brian, saying, "Like whatever Keith's dad said to you that made a difference in your perceptions. I can tell you, Mr. Hundser has been almost a surrogate father for me the last few years. Is he consciously trying to or is he simply that way? I can't answer that and I don't want to ask the question. I'll just be happy that my best friend's dad cares about me, my mom and my sister. We have a puppy and a kitten in the house because of him."

Derrick asked, "How much do you take for granted? How many times do you react on instinct without thinking?" He grinned, "These aren't my questions; they're questions Doug and Brian asked us to find answers to. I wasn't trying to bend anything. I'm still annoyed that the asshole that tried to kill my boyfriend and best friend got only ten years for assault. That came out, unconsciously, by wishing things could be different for us."

"We're finding our way in the world too, dudes," Mike assured. "We can tell you what we've learned; half the hard way and half through Doug and Brian, but we're not teachers. It's like the learning curve; climb to a plateau then learn some more to the next plateau."

Derrick nodded, "The first big lesson we learned is to cut ourselves a little slack. I felt really bad over the shit with my dad. That leaves my mom stuck in between us. I felt bad making Mike feel bad and bending half of his mom's silverware." Mike helplessly chuckled. Derrick smiled, "It's not life or death; just another learning experience."

"Like in our band," Mike offered, "I screwed up, Jessy screwed up, Prez made screwing up a joke. That's what rehearsals are for – to learn from so that the real show isn't a joke."

Derrick told Mike, "They're athletes though, dude. Their practices and scrimmages are treated like the real thing by coaches and teammates."

Mike shrugged, "If it's not fun, then why do it? I can't play basketball worth a damn, but I have fun trying. During P.E. in January and February, I had Prez in hysterics." Brian and Pete began chuckling. Mike grinned, "Picture it, dudes; me covering Prez or him covering me during a hoops game."

Barely containing the volume of his voice, Pete sniggered, "I'm not seeing regulation hip-checking."

Derrick nodded and laughed, "Discipline is shot to hell."

Playfully bouncing his eyebrows, Mike told Brian and Pete, "Dee and I are in P.E. with Keith and Prez this year."

"Oh Lord!" Brian and Pete laughed.

Pete turned to Brian and asked, "Didn't Drew say that he and Corey were in the same class?"

Brian nodded and softly mumbled, "Gym class orgies." Pete, Mike and Derrick cracked up.

After a few moments, Mike confirmed, "The sex machine and his whacked lover told you about naked jams?" Brian and Pete smiled and nodded. Mike asked, "So, would it be cool or not?"

Brian evilly grinned at Pete. Pete chuckled and shrugged, "Cool for you. All we can say is maybe, with a strong likelihood."

"Excellent," Derrick and Mike chirped.

Derrick smiled, "There's no reason to be ashamed, dudes. If I suddenly get up from my drums with a chubbie and pull Mike out of the room, enough said, right?"

Brian nodded and grinned, "It'll likely start a chain reaction." Pete only sniggered around his partially chewed food.

Mike swallowed and seductively teased, "Chain reactions sound like fun too." Derrick rolled his eyes while Brian and Pete laughed. Mike joked, "It would be great for Keith and Prez to come home and find us all naked."

Brian nodded and grinned, "Or already in the bedrooms making love."

Derrick laughed, "I can hear Prez bitchin' now; 'Y'all were supposed to wait for us, dammit!'" Pete, Mike and Brian cracked up and nodded at Derrick's imitation of Prez, and the simple truthfulness.

Dinner was finished only minutes later, with more silly remarks passed around about the four of them, Prez, Keith, and even Drew was not immune, as the instigator of sex records moving from six to nine to twelve and to fourteen. They left a tip on the table for the waitress then paid the bill. After over an hour inside the restaurant, they all stepped outside and appreciated the cooler ocean breezes pushing beyond the Santa Monica Mountains into Agoura Hills.

As soon as they returned to the house, Rush was fed by Derrick. All four took Rush for his after dinner walk around the park. Rush had the scent of a small critter and was pulling Derrick along. He didn't feel secure letting Rush off the leash though and dealt with the dog the best he could; absolutely refusing to go traipsing through the undergrowth to find whatever rabbit or squirrel. Since the dog had finished his business, Derrick forced Rush to follow them back towards the house.

Brian told Pete, "Somehow, Prez managed to make his dog independent, silly and stubborn."

Derrick grinned, "Like father, like son; like master, like dog."

Pete smirked, "Prez isn't very stubborn." He and Brian watched Derrick share a meaningful smile with Mike.

Mike then shared the story of what happened after the court appearance. "Keith, Derrick and I were all concerned about future confrontations with homophobes. Those hypnotic blue eyes seemed to turn to ice before Prez said a word. The next thing we knew, Prez was ranting about going back into the closet. That was weeks before we moved here, dudes. Sleeping in the same bed with the lights on hadn't happened."

Derrick nodded and explained, "From the assholes in Texas that bothered him, Prez has a 'like me or leave me be' attitude. He likes who he is and is fiercely devoted to Keith, Mike and me. Question his actions or beliefs too far, and be ready to witness a sweetheart turning into a raving maniac." He laughed, "That's Prez with his closest friends. I don't wanna see what he's capable of, seriously." Pulling the house key out of his pocket, Derrick unlocked the door and led the way inside, followed by Rush, Mike, Pete and Brian.

Before the door closed, Shaun and Gil pulled up to the house. The door was left open for them to let themselves inside.

Once inside, Mike told Brian and Pete, "Right after you dudes left, Prez was here with Rush. Keith had gone to work. Everything was very cool all afternoon. We made an awesome dinner then Prez decided to get some air before he passed out. Prez was goofin' on me and I chased him into the park. Somehow, Rush got the idea that he needed to protect his master and made a stand with me. Talk about shitting your pants, dudes!" Shaun and Gil stepped inside, giggling at Mike's remarks, and closed the door.

Derrick grinned and nodded, "I have no doubt that if Jake hadn't brought a knife to the fight back in April, Prez and Mike could've taken the three of those dudes."

Mike giggled, "I am not like Prez!"

Derrick muttered, "Keep tellin' yourself that." Breaking into a sniggering fit, Mike let Derrick continue. "They at least would've made the three dudes regret it, without Keith's help or mine." He gestured to Mike and teased, "Italian temper. So, shall I allow myself to be decapitated or beat brainless by the Irishman? Either way, I'm dead." Shaun and Gil cracked up.

"Excuse me," Mike loudly laughed. "You bulldozed the dude that was punching me. By the time he figured out what was happening, you already landed a few good ones."

Derrick nodded and chuckled, "In the meanwhile, you head-butted the asshole that was holding you. Keith held him still for you to get payback." Facing Gil, Shaun, Brian and Pete, Derrick sniggered, "And what does Mike complain about? Not his black eye or bruised ribs. 'My hands are all scraped to hell, dude. I won't be playin' guitar for a few days.' DUH! Hit him in the face again!" Gil, Shaun, Brian and Pete roared laughing.

Still giggling his ass off, Mike slithered into Derrick's embrace and landed a series of kisses. Brian went to hug Pete and chuckled, "It's good to know they're normal after all."

Pete nodded, "Bent silverware and invisible power-balls had me wondering too."

The phone rang. Disengaging himself from Mike, Derrick answered it. Before he said hello, Prez and Keith shouted, "Wait until we're there to talk about us!" and then hung up. Derrick pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it in his hand.

Mike asked, "Who was that?"

Shaking his head, Derrick chuckled, "Prez and Keith. They either heard or felt us talking about them."

Mike huffed, "So the first chance they got…"

"They called to tell us to wait for them," Derrick sniggered.

Pete sighed and smirked, "So much for normalcy."

Mike grinned, "The fact is, they're together. Alone, they might've blown it off. Confirming it with the other half though, they knew it."

"It's only a little after eight," Derrick smiled. "They're too busy for more than ball busting."

"Speaking of which," Mike leered, "a little time to make love before we make music?" Getting nods all around, the three couples retired to separate rooms.

In Woodland Hills, Drew and Corey had spent most of the last hour since dinner outside on the patio, with Corey's parents. The topic was mostly regarding ground rules for the school year. Since the boys never argued and seemed bored with the conversation, the topic was broadened. Still dealing with the chats they had had all day, Drew and Corey were most concerned about jealousy and how to deal with it. Of course, Lanna and Bill had both been jealous of certain people over the years.

Lanna asked, "Are you boys feeling jealous of other friends?"

Furiously shaking his head, Corey assured, "No, mom; there's nobody now, but that's something we can both foresee causing the biggest problems."

"We don't want to go there, if we can avoid it," Drew chimed.

Bill sat back and explained, "When I've gotten jealous, I simply told your mother how I felt."

Lanna nodded, "The biggest mistakes made were while we were still dating. Don't ever belittle the feeling. It's never silly to the person feeling out of place or unimportant."

"Let's play it out for practice," Bill suggested. He told Drew, "You're feeling like one of Corey's friends is getting too close, taking Corey's attention from you. What would you say about it?"

Immediately, Drew thought of Corey's mouth hanging open because of Neil earlier that day. That really wasn't a major problem though, so Drew pushed that idea aside, blushing and grinning anyway. Facing Corey, Drew bluntly asked, "Do you want to spend time alone with him?"

Lanna told Corey, "This may be practice, but it isn't funny to Drew. No matter how close this other boy is or isn't does not matter. Drew is worried. What's your reply?"

Trying to make it real in his mind, Corey shrugged, "He's a friend, Drew. The time we've spent getting to be friends is all I want. I don't want him in my bed. I want you."

Bill nodded and smiled, "That was good; inasmuch as it's clear you don't want this person as a lover, but only a friend." He paused and told Drew, "You're still concerned. The friendship is already closer than you feel comfortable with. You have the nagging feeling that this friend of Corey's is going to try and kiss him. Now you say what?"

Drew nodded and went with it. "It's the way he looks at you, Cor. I'm scared he's gonna kiss you and steal you away from me."

Without prompting, Corey warned, "He'd better not kiss me. I'd push him away so fast; he'd be standing there, stuck in mid pucker. After all you've done this month, do you think I'd ever chance it, Drew? My wildest dreams are coming true now, and at least half of it is because of you."

Shivering with delight, Drew forgot this was a game and chirped, "Really?"

Corey nodded and hurried onto Drew's lap, promising, "Never in a million years would I chance it. If you say no then it's over." Two faces were smashed together in a passionate kiss so fast, Bill and Lanna could only grin and wonder what had happened.

Standing and taking his wife's hand, Bill chuckled, "That ended that conversation rather abruptly." He led his wife into the house while the boys giggled into their kiss.

Many moments later, Corey was certain of a recognizable lump in Drew's lap. Pulling back from Drew, Corey smiled, "Come on, stud; let's swim before you shoot in your pants."

Drew shook his head and sighed, "I don't care. You said it and I'll follow the rule too, Cor. If it scares you and you say no then it's over."

Searching Drew's eyes, Corey whispered, "You wouldn't with Derrick or Pete if I said no?"

Drew smiled, "What can they do that you can't or won't? It's not even a tiny problem for me." Noticing Corey's uncertain expression, Drew sighed, "All of today was only about the possibility of us saying, it's okay to show someone else that they matter. When you're done and I'm done, we're right back together again."

Corey wondered, "What if it's a problem afterward?"

"Then we apologize and never do it again," Drew answered.

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