Life Goes On

by The Eggman

Chapter 25

Author's Note: My sincere thanks to Dewey of deweywriter.com for the use of his characters Brian and Pete. Dewey and I had originally planned on another crossover that would last only three days. That plan was recently modified such that Brian and Pete will extend their vacation to spend more time with Prez, Keith, Drew, Corey, Mike and Derrick. This chapter covers the continuation of that period.

Corey went to bed that Tuesday night incredibly happy. In the shower, he had been shown so much love and consideration that he could barely believe it. Protecting him from any verbal or physical extremes was Drew. Brian, Pete, Keith and Prez had all washed his erection. If Brian and Prez had known how Corey felt about them, would they have still only washed his bone, or would they have tried to jack him off, Corey wondered. Until that experience, only Drew had touched Corey's hard cock, but each of the four others performed the task well and moved along to Derrick's cock, like it was a science class experiment.

After the shower and Corey's one-on-one chat with Drew, things only got better. Drew's mom said that the panic attack was expected because of Corey's self image problem. All the caring and consideration had been like a clear mirror, instead of the distorted mirror Corey saw himself in. Drew even called and spoke with Corey's dad. Dad was concerned, but not overly worried.

More remarkable was the hugs and kisses from all seven of the other dudes. Even Ben, as shy and bashful as he was, hugged and kissed Corey. Then Corey was encircled by Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick. Drew placed his hands on Keith's shoulders. Ben, Brian and Pete followed Drew's example. The inner four closed their eyes. Immediately, Corey felt shivers, like those of Gooseflesh except this wasn't cold, it was a very warm sensation. Feeling like a toddler, safe in his parents' embrace, Corey couldn't help giggling and laughing.

The rest of the night was very cool too. The band played Cream, Led Zeppelin and Van Halen tunes until midnight. During that time, Brian and Pete disappeared for about thirty minutes to make love. Corey and Drew also took some time alone in the guest bedroom. When the band finished for the night, Ben said good night and went home. Then they watched TV for a little while before calling it quits. Corey got more hugs and kisses from Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick before they went into the master bedroom together.

Climbing into bed that night, Corey thought, 'after all the stupid shit I've done and said everybody still cares about me.' If Corey had been alone with Drew, he would've talked to him about it. Sharing the bed with Brian and Pete though, Corey only said, "Good night." Drew, Brian and Pete followed in kind. Corey sighed, "I love you so much, Drew."

Snuggling close, Drew whispered, "I love you too, angel, very much." With Drew's arm over him, Corey closed his eyes.

The last thing Corey remembered before falling asleep was loud laughter from the master bedroom; "Sex-machine!" and Prez cracking up. All four in the guest bedroom helplessly giggled.

Thoughts of love, warmth, consideration and camaraderie lulled Corey to sleep. It took years to find them, but there were no finer friends anywhere. Images from the days spent with Brian and Pete, and at the Gibbons' home with dozens of people listening to the band, flooded Corey's mind. Somehow though, those peaceful reckonings were twisted around in Corey's unconscious mind.

Directly in Corey's face, Ben firmly told him, "You don't deserve Drew. I can tell by the way Drew looks at me; he wants me and I want him."

Corey confronted Drew and shouted, "Is that true?"

Shaking his head, Drew swore, "No, Corey. I want you, angel."

Ben smirked, "I'll bide my time. You'll fuck it up, Corey. And when you do, I'll be here, waiting for Drew."

"Get the fuck away from me, you rat!" Corey screamed. "With friends like you, who needs enemies?" Ben walked away. Drew wiped away a bitter tear.

Brian queried, "Why'd you do that to Ben?"

"What do you mean?"

Brian shrugged, "You said it yourself, Ben's a sweetheart. He was only hoping, that maybe…"

Corey interrupted, "Maybe what? That he could have Drew? What did I do to deserve an attack?"

"He didn't attack you, Corey." Pete hollered.

"Telling me that he wants Drew is as much of an attack as I can take."

Brian sighed, "Drew's special. You know it and we all know it too."

"What're you saying?"

Brian's eyes narrowed and he leered, "If it weren't for you, we'd like to… with Drew."

Corey loudly exclaimed, "WE?" and turned to Pete. Smiling widely, Pete nodded. Corey screamed, "I can't believe this fucking shit! You hung out with both of us all this time to take Drew from me? Everything we talked about was only a way to get at Drew?"

Brian and Pete grinned and nodded, "Yup."

Spinning around to Drew, Corey yelled, "You were talking with me about jealousies so you could be with them?"

Now crying unashamedly, Drew shook his head and sobbed, "No, Corey. That wasn't my plan."

"What was your plan then?" Corey shrieked.

Drew shrugged, "So we could… if we both wanted to… not only with them… with anyone we decided we wanted to."

"Then I'm not enough?" Corey cried. "You've always been enough for me!"

Breaking down, Drew shook his head and mumbled, "If you'd listen…"

"Listen to what?" Corey hollered, "That everything has been lies; that you want sex with other dudes; that I'm just a stepping stone; a means to an end? That you never really loved or cared about me?"

Sighing, Brian and Pete walked off with their gym bags and got in the Malibu. With a chirp of the tires, they were gone. Corey didn't care. He only intently watched Drew and sniffled, "I thought you were gonna tickle me when I got angry and bitchy?"

Drew moaned, "You're beyond angry, Cor. You hurt Ben, Brian and Pete."

"They betrayed me!" Corey shouted. "They made it clear; they liked me to get at you!"

Derrick, Mike, Keith and Prez encircled Corey. Mike shouted, "What the fuck?"

Derrick smirked, "You've blown it, Corey."

Prez ranted, "You think that all they wanted was sex with Drew? Try again, Corey. They would've grown to love you too, but Dee's right; it's over now."

Keith frowned, "Look what you did. You did it to Ben, Brian and Pete. Now you've got Drew totally wrecked too, you selfish brat. How can I or any of us fix this? Do all of us a favor, huh? Take your shitty attitude and go away." With nothing more to say, Derrick, Mike, Keith and Prez scattered.

"They don't know you like I do," Drew explained. He then sighed, "Now they won't ever get to know you. I'm sure they don't want to."

Shaking his head in disbelief, Corey whined, "What about me, Drew? You're telling me I shouldn't feel betrayed? They took what they needed and wanted with a goal in mind. The goal was you."

Drew shrugged, "I didn't know that. Now you're angry at me though, and I've got no excuses. I thought that maybe they could get to know us; that maybe we could answer a really big question with people that like us; people we feel safe with."

Corey yelled, "Feel safe with? Any safety I felt was blown to shit when Ben, Brian and Pete admitted they wanted you. Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick all walked off, pissed at me for wanting to save us. All I want is to be held by you. That's all I ever wanted, Drew."

Slowly shaking his head, Drew sighed, "There's no love in your heart; there's only mistrust. I can't fix that, Corey. My being with you only seems to be making it worse. We aren't living in a bubble; there are all sorts of people in this world, some we'll like and some we won't. Seven good people just walked away from us because of your hissy fit."

"Drew?"

Walking away, Drew hollered, "Gimme a call sometime, Cor. I need a chance to put things in perspective here. You need time alone too, even if you won't admit it."

Sweating and shaking all over, Corey muttered "Drew?" and woke from his nightmare. Unable to shake off the dream, Corey softly huffed, "Shit!" Not wanting to wake Drew, Brian or Pete, Corey slid out from under Drew's arm and out of bed onto his knees. Needing to piss and get a drink of water, Corey stealthily left the guest bedroom. He turned left and, feeling his way down the dark hall, went to the guest bathroom near the studio. Finding and flipping on the light switch, Corey slammed his eyes shut from the burning brightness. Realizing that the horrible experiences from the dream seemed to have stirred more than his bladder, Corey slightly opened one eyelid, closed the door and sat on the bowl.

Feeling cool, Drew stirred and lay on his back. Before drifting off to sleep he realized that he should feel warmth on his left and right side. Brian was there to his left, but where was Corey? He hummed thoughtfully and opened his eyes. The analog clock in the room read about four-twenty. To not wake Brian or Pete, Drew carefully got out of bed to search for his missing lover. Looking to his right, toward the kitchen, dining area and living room, Drew saw nothing. He turned to his left and saw the sliver of light under the bathroom door. Shuffling down the hall, Drew heard the toilet flush. He reached the door and heard the water in the sink just before softly rapping and turning the knob. The bright lights caused Drew to squint. Corey only glanced at him then continued washing his hands. Drew asked, "You okay, angel?"

Corey sighed, "Not really," and reluctantly admitted, "I had another nightmare, Drew."

Drew only nodded sleepily then prompted, "I'm listening."

Turning the water off and reaching for the hand towel, Corey never made eye contact before grumbling, "There's something really wrong with me. I fell asleep feeling so completely awesome. I've got you, and seven other really great friends that showed me how much they care. They washed my bone only; not one of 'em got carried away. They hugged and kissed me, proving to me that somehow, I matter to them. My dream flipped all that good around." Corey hung the towel back on the bar, and warned, "Lights out." Drew covered his eyes. For the first time since waking, Corey grinned. He turned out the light and whispered, "I need a drink of water."

Drew reached for Corey in the dark and found an arm. Silently, they went down the hall past the bedrooms, Rush snorting at the bottom of the master bedroom doorway, the entryway and into the kitchen. Drew flipped the lights on. They softly groaned at the light. Drew went over and reached in the fridge then pulled out a bottle of water, suggesting, "We'll share," then handed it to Corey. Drew asked, "What happened in the nightmare?"

Twisting open the cap, Corey sighed, "I messed up everything," then took a mouthful of water. He passed the bottle to Drew and moaned, "As awesome as everything was all night, I still turned it into something bad. They betrayed me and turned their backs on me, Drew."

Absorbing that while he drank, Drew passed the bottle back to Corey and wondered, "Who betrayed you and how?"

Taking another sip from the bottle, Corey then muttered, "Prez, Keith, Mike, Derrick, Brian, Pete, Ben and even you." He passed the bottle to Drew.

Cracking a small smile, Drew put the bottle down on the counter and walked toward Corey to give him a hug. Unbelievably, Corey stepped back. Stopping in his tracks, Drew sighed, "I will never ever betray you in any way, Cor."

"Not knowingly," Corey stipulated.

While Corey explained his dream to Drew in the kitchen, Brian woke in the guest bedroom; realized that Corey and Drew were missing and gently nudged Pete.

"Whaswrong?" Pete mumbled.

Brian whispered, "Corey and Drew aren't here." Pete hummed. It sounded more like a growling wolf to Brian and he helplessly chuckled, "Come on, babe. Let's find them." Pete nodded and swung his feet to sit up. Barely awake, Pete didn't try to stand right away, causing Brian to softly snigger, "My sleepy teddy bear."

Grinning, Pete looked over his shoulder at Brian. He wondered, "What do you think is goin' on?"

Brian shrugged, "One gone might be only a bathroom trip. Both gone, tells me it's more than the need to pee."

Again, Pete grunted affirmatively and stood. Brian quickly followed and steadied his barely conscious partner. Pete asked, "Should we put something on?"

Brian considered the question carefully. Since Pete wasn't erect and neither was he, Brian grunted negatively and explained, "We've all seen each other naked. What's the point?"

Pete wobbled towards the bedroom door and opened it. Rush snorted again at the closed master bedroom door. Pete and Brian could now hear soft sobbing. That woke them faster than a smoke alarm and they hurried towards the sound. Finding Drew holding a very upset Corey, just beyond the entryway, near the dining area, they separated and surrounded their two younger friends.

Drew offered, "Another nightmare." Brian and Pete quickly embraced Drew and Corey, offering assurances that the dream wasn't real. Becoming more frightened and upset, Corey clung tightly to Drew. Glancing between Brian and Pete, Drew asked, "Tell us the truth, please?"

"We always have," Pete assured.

Brian added, "And always will."

Drew smiled, "That answers the first question, but I'll ask it anyway. Are you our friends or only mine?"

Brian scowled, "We're both of your friends."

Pete nodded, "We met Derrick and Mike first at the beach. They introduced us to Keith and Prez. The best of the bunch was the last, you two guys."

Brian smiled, "Both of you. I can't picture one without the other. That completes the picture."

"Thank you," Drew grinned. "The next question is a little more difficult, but we have to hear the truth, okay?" Brian and Pete nodded. Drew explained, "You know, hell everybody knows, we've been talking about jealousies, how we're gonna deal with attractions over the years." He quickly asked, "Who are you more attracted to, Corey or me?"

Almost simultaneously, Brian and Pete said, "Corey."

Puffy eyed from crying, Corey's head popped off Drew's shoulder. He glanced at Pete and Brian, nervously wondering, "Really? Why?"

Brian smiled, "Who giggles almost constantly?"

Pete nodded, "Who shows how much they need and want their boyfriend, not just nearby, but there with him?"

Brian added, "Who needs cuddling as much as I do? It's another annoying thing about anorexia, Corey. We need reassurances; a lot of them. Equally annoying is when we get those reassurances, it freaks us out."

Corey frowned, "Don't you like Drew too?"

Pete chuckled, "Of course we do, but that wasn't the question we were asked."

Brian grinned, "On this gay guy's attractiveness scale, you get a ten for the way you look and the way you are. Drew's not far behind you, nine on his worst day."

Drew chuckled, "I'm afraid to ask, but why?"

Brian shrugged and gestured to Drew, saying, "Cuddler." He gestured to Corey, saying, "Cuddlee. The one that wants and needs the cuddles is generally more attractive."

Pete followed the example and gestured to Corey, saying, "Less secure and impatient, wanting everything perfect." He gestured to Drew and said, "More secure and more patient, willing to take things as they come and build perfection."

Mike led the way from the master bedroom and was followed by Keith, Derrick and Prez.

"That's what we see in you two guys," Brian offered. "For Pete and me, those same things are more fluid. When I'm insecure, he makes it better and I try to do the same for him."

Hearing something that rang bells in his head, Keith nodded, "It's the same with me and Prez; we fill the gaps for each other all the time." Pete started chuckling, then Brian, and then Drew, and soon Mike and Derrick were laughing too.

Wrapping an arm around Keith, Prez smiled, "You and your double meanings, babe." Knowing Keith's brain was barely at fifty percent, Prez patiently repeated, "We fill the gaps for each other?"

Rolling his eyes, Keith grinned, "Unintentional." Hysterical laughter erupted.

Knowing his best friend too well, Mike wandered into the kitchen and, over the remaining giggling, loudly asked, "Who started this predawn party?"

Derrick smirked, "You're no better than Keith, sleepy head." He pointed at Drew and Corey surrounded still by Pete, nearest the counter, and Brian, opposite Pete and nearest to the dining area table. Derrick gently asked, "What happened?"

Drew answered, "Corey had another nightmare," then wordlessly checked with Corey.

Corey glanced around the room then softly told Drew, "Let me tell them."

Drew nodded, "If you want." Then he asked everyone else, "Don't interrupt until after Corey's done, please? I don't like him rehashing lies in the first place."

Corey brightly smiled, "You're the best," then stole quick kiss. He looked around at everyone standing and suggested, "Let's sit." Drinks were passed out for all that wanted one and they went into the living room, filling the sofa and two dining chairs, while Drew and Corey sat on the carpet before them. Not one of the eight had any clothing on, but at this point, it didn't really matter. All that mattered was Corey to everyone except Corey.

Taking a drink from the bottle of water, Corey sighed then began explaining everything, from how good he felt in the shower, to how nervous he felt afterward. From how peaceful he felt when encircled by them all, to how much fun he'd had listening to the band. When he went to bed, all that had happened earlier that night was more than he might've ever expected or hoped for. Pausing for another large gulp from his water bottle, Corey then told them about the dream. At no point did anyone interrupt, even though all of them wanted to. Corey even told them what he knew from conversations with Drew's mom; that his own self image was the root cause of each and every problem he'd had, from the arguments with Drew earlier in the month and ever since. Corey finished by saying, "I don't want to feel bad over good things. There's no excuse I can make. It's just me, being dumb."

There was a short pause filled only with the sound of rattling ice cubes in glasses. Drew checked, "All done now, Cor?" Corey nodded and looked down at the floor, afraid of seeing any disapproving stares and more frightened that now he had definitely fucked everything up. Drew told Corey and everyone else, "You are not dumb, Corey. Of all the people I've ever met at school, you're the smartest person I know."

Keith smirked, "Okay, now let's deal with the dream and poke some holes in the lies. First of all, Ben would never, in a million years, admit that he likes Drew the way you described. I know, because he's had a crush on Prez since the day we met him. He's not said a word to me about it. Ben knows who the couples are and where our loyalties are too. If Ben did anything, he'd confront Drew first, just like he did with Prez."

Prez's jaw dropped then he suspiciously squinted at Derrick and Mike. At Prez's expression and Derrick's and Mike's rusty halos, Keith chuckled, "I knew before Yosemite, baby. I also know that you let him down gracefully." Returning his attention to Corey, Keith smiled, "So the Ben you dreamed of doesn't exist. Ben's an introvert. He won't even join us in the shower, because he wants his boyfriend to be the first person to see his cock."

Derrick nodded, "I happen to know that he's uncut too. If we had lined up in the shower with Ben, he would've passed out before anyone touched his bone."

Mike smiled, "It's no lie, Corey. Remember what he said when I threatened to tie him up and make him watch Derrick and me?" Corey nodded and briefly giggled. Mike grinned, "If Ben ever took us up on a shower together, I'd fucking pass out." Derrick, Prez and Keith nodded and softly chortled.

Brian warned, "Prepare your selves for more truth, guys."

A six man, out-of sync chorus of "Guys?" traveled around the room. Pete began sniggering and Brian bounced his eyebrows at his lover.

Brian grinned, "Corey and Drew know some of what I'm about to say. Prez and Keith know some too, but only Pete knows it all. When we first came to L.A., we met Mike and Derrick first. After a day at the beach, and realizing they were gay and cool, we came back here to meet Keith and Prez. What was cool got even better. The honesty and openness of four rubbed off on me and Pete. That was the first time I told anyone that I was anorexic. Until that night, only the people that were there and knew about it firsthand had that knowledge. I scared Pete and have spent most of the last month trying to be more open with him.

"Then we met the rest of the Hundsers and lastly, Corey and Drew. Yes, I stared at Drew that afternoon, Corey. Of course, you couldn't know what I was thinking when you shook my hand."

Corey asked, "And that was?"

"They're both incredibly handsome," Brian admitted. "They're attached in every way I am to Pete, that Derrick is to Mike and that Prez is to Keith." He pause and grinned, "The blond one notices me looking at his boyfriend and calmly confronts me. He says something like, 'I'm Corey, Drew's boyfriend,' and tries to crush my hand." While soft sniggering traveled around the room, Brian chuckled, "You should've just said, back off nave, he's mine!" Louder laughter erupted. Brian shrugged, "So here I am, second day in L.A., Mike pulls me off my surfboard into the water; I have to deal with him." Mike cracked up and Brian continued, "I show up at the Hundsers and John cops an attitude. I have to deal with that and not twenty minutes later," he gestured to Corey.

Prez giggled, "You have that way about you, Brian."

Brian grinned, "I'll deal with your story soon enough, sex machine." Keith and Pete roared laughing. Returning to his story, Brian smiled, "I repeat my anorexia story, causing Corey and Drew to argue that night. Two days later, we're back at the Hundsers', alone with Drew and Corey. I inadvertently make Drew cry and cause another argument. The day after that, we spend an entire day together at Magic Mountain as if everything was perfectly fine."

Pete chuckled, "And we were invited to join Keith and Prez at Yosemite. The point being, Brian and I spent the next two weeks trying to figure out why you gluttons for punishment keep inviting us back for more?"

Brian nodded and waved his arm around the room, saying, "This is why; eight naked teenagers helping one. Something special is happening here, and I still don't know how or why. Is it the parents? Maybe, but only partially, I think. It's each of you, giving of yourselves for one another."

Pete smiled, "We want to take this feeling back to Portland with us. The four unique friends that are so close, they not only have sex in the same room with their partners, they can have sex together. Two of those four friends consider having sex with us at Yosemite. When we bowed out at the last minute, they didn't hold it against us in any way. Then there are two younger guys that allowed us to make love in the same room as them, and then share the same bed." Mooing erupted from Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick. Blushing and giggling, Drew and Corey nodded.

Brian grinned, "Which again became interesting when Corey woke up with Drew's arm and my arm wrapped around him. Not only was Corey freaked out, but so was I."

Warmly smiling at Corey, Pete assured, "We would never leave in a huff like you described. We love both of you too much for that to ever happen. If we got angry at anyone in that weird scenario you dreamed, it would be Ben. We love all of you guys way too much to toss away all we've learned. In a short time, we went from not knowing any of you to hating the idea of leaving."

Brian gently added, "Don't belittle yourself, Corey. No one is ever too old to learn something new. Sharing that nightmare like you have is more than I could've done. Sitting here and listening shows that you are very willing to be our friend. It's a big change you're going through, that I'm still going through. On top of that, you've got the fear of losing Drew; like my fear of losing Pete."

Corey nodded and smiled, "Thank you."

Mike stated, "About a week ago, Drew was Keith's brother and Corey was along for the ride. We spent part of Monday together and then most of Tuesday and Wednesday night. Since then, you're both our friends. In the nightmare, I basically blew both of you off as not worth my time or effort. That's false; as false as my blowing Derrick off, or Keith and Prez off. We shared stuff with you and you shared with us too. That doesn't come easily; it takes trust. No trust was shattered here, it was built upon."

Derrick nodded, "Naked is the truth; telling lies when you're naked is virtually impossible; it shows, like being in cold water. We care for both of you. Corey, you dreamed of a meltdown of fears that included each and every one of us treating you like shit. I've been sitting here quietly, listening and thinking, how could that ever happen? I haven't come up with a single hypothetical situation that would cause what you dreamed to happen."

Prez offered, "If I ever found out that Ben treated Corey like shit to get to Drew, I'd have two very good reasons to confront him, and wonder just what the hell he was smoking. The reasons are you and Drew." Prez sighed and sat back, "This month alone, you've shown that you trust me a couple of times, Corey. You haven't broken that trust. I sure as hell won't break it either."

Taking Corey's hand and locking eyes with him, Drew sighed, "This particular nightmare was our own fault, angel. Talking about jealousies and sex with other dudes fed it. Your dream implied that you aren't enough for me. You aren't only enough, you're everything to me. Ask yourself, if you haven't already, why I've spent every minute of every day with you since you told the witch doctor what we argued about? It's because being with you, morning, noon and night, is where I want to be. If you weren't here with me, I'd have no reason to be here at all. If you weren't so willing to get healthy, to be with me, everything would've ended weeks ago. There is no one, here or anywhere, that I'd rather make love to. From our first time together, I worried that we'd stop talking, like Keith and Mike did a long time ago."

"That's true, Corey," Keith quickly interjected. "Drew told me what he was thinking."

Drew smiled at his brother and wider when he turned to Corey. "If we couldn't talk, I'd give up having sex with you. But we do talk, before, during and after. That's how I know that we will last a long time, Cor; we talk about everything. I'm sorry our talks…"

Laying two fingers over Drew's mouth, Corey stopped him from finishing. "I'm not sorry, Drew. I'm sorry for creating nothing good from something awesome. I really wish it would stop. I'm impatient, mostly with myself, and I can't explain the reasons why." Pausing to think about it for a few moments, Corey glanced around the room and sighed. He explained, "The only way my impatience has helped me is in school. I told my mom the other day, I'm book smart, but somehow I've missed something important that doesn't come from books. I'm gonna find out what that is, if it means nightmares every night for the rest of the summer." Turning his attention to Drew again, Corey repeated, "I promised you that I'd keep trying, and I will."

Looking up at Brian and Pete, Corey wondered, "Why didn't you have sex with Keith and Prez?"

Brian answered, "It felt hurried."

"Not only for us, but we felt it was rushed for Keith and Prez too," Pete added.

Glancing at Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike, Corey giggled, "How in the world do you dudes manage it?"

Mike helplessly laughed while the other three grinned. Keith shrugged, "Before Prez moved here, it was the three of us circle jerkin', the night of Mike's birthday. I felt, we all felt that Prez should've been included in that."

Derrick nodded, "When Prez moved here, everything fell into place pretty easily. Not knowing Prez, Mike kept a watchful eye on him, around me and Keith. Prez and I jammed a few times alone then pulled Mike in. The possibility of actually doin' anything occurred to Mike and me the end of last summer."

Mike grinned, "I told Keith about it a few weeks later, after school had started. He didn't get a chance to mention it to Prez until Christmas break."

Prez smiled, "It took me months to begin to feel like it could happen. What's actually happened is more than any of us ever considered. At first, it was games, trying things out with each other. All the necessary attractions are there. We talked as a group, as couples and with best friend's partners; Keith and Derrick cleared the air and so did Mike and I."

Drew wondered, "So it's plain luck?"

Keith shook his head and replied, "No, it's the willingness to talk about it. Just like Prez and me talking for hours on a beach blanket, and then for more hours after we did have sex; the same kind of talks happened between the four of us. I remember what you told me last summer, Drew. You and Corey had some chats that obviously worked out."

Corey asked, "How is it that none of you feel betrayed?"

Derrick answered, "We told the truth when we talked. Mike and I would feel like shit if Keith or Prez left for a long time. It would be worse if they both left. Come to find out that Keith and Prez would feel the same if either of us, or both of us suddenly became long distance friends. Three days away from each other was already becoming difficult to cope with. There's no betrayal when you tell the truth."

Prez added, "There's no betrayal when, after a few hours sleep, you wake up in the morning with your friends and partner then make love as couples. That says; as much fun as we had last night, I still want something special with my chosen partner."

Brian asked, "Do you think the rules you guys have will change?"

Mike responded, "We've talked about that. It's not possible now. I want Derrick most of all. There's something that happens when you look into the eyes of the person you're having intercourse with. When I asked myself if I could give my ass to Prez or Keith, the answer was no. When I imagined myself as topping for Prez or Keith, the answer was still no. The same kind of answers traveled around the bed. Intercourse is for our lovers. Dildos allow us to love and play with our friends."

Keith smiled, "That's a very special act. Like Drew said, we talk before, during and after. If we can't see ourselves in either role and with that kind of bond, then it's just fucking. I love Mike and Derrick and would be crushed if anything bad happened to either of them. I show them how much they matter with Prez showing them the same. I'm in love with Prez. I don't even want to consider where I'd be without him."

Drew smirked, "Don't go there, bro. Bitchy queen mode, all over again."

Keith chuckled, "The big mistake Mike and I made was not kissing while getting each other off and afterward. Now we know and made up for it. That's where you and Corey got things in the right order. You were hugging and kissing first, and then you took the next step. It's the same place I started with Prez; that Mike started with Derrick, and I'm certain Pete began with Brian."

Prez locked eyes with Corey and said, "You won't be betrayed if you're completely honest with Drew. Believe me; it takes balls to tell the most important person in the world that you have deep feelings for someone other than him. The bigger shock comes when you all realize it's not just sex that drives you. In my own case, for example, how could I deny Keith's feelings for Mike? I couldn't deny how important Derrick became to me either.

"Brian and Pete noticed stuff about the four of us before we ever did anything. At that point, we'd only made love with our partners in the same room, but they still saw the love was there. They saw us as, what they called, 'the most unique group of friends'. All month, it's been great; each of us putting any past problems behind us and moving forward. We're even talking about where we'll be in a few days, when Doug and Brian return from their vacation."

Derrick grinned, "Exactly the same place, bro. We won't be acting like we have been as often, but the feeling is there and isn't going away. The biggest change will be when school starts again. Then we'll spend time together in our homes, in Mike's room or in your room."

Drew chuckled, "It's really good that John's got his own room then." Keith nodded and playfully bounced his eyebrows. Drew laughed, "He's still gonna go crazy. When the TV's or stereos are on, he won't even go down the hall, to the bathroom." Evil sniggering broke loose.

Mike stood and smiled, "The sun is up, dudes. Who else wants pancakes for breakfast?" The sniggering turned into loud laughter. Intensely blushing, Drew and Corey giggled and nodded. Mike started across the room and stopped before Drew and Corey. He gestured for them to stand. As soon as they stood, Mike hugged Corey and assured, "You matter, on your own, not because of Drew, or Keith, but on your own, you're our friend." Shivering, Corey tried to hold back the tears of joy and failed. Mike gently placed a tender kiss on Corey's mouth then stepped back. He gave Drew a quick hug and a kiss then went to the kitchen.

Brian was next on his feet and embracing Corey. He softly reminded, "Waking with my arm around you felt right, Corey. I felt safe and secure in Pete's arms and shared that with you. I care about you and Drew equally. Like I said, the picture is incomplete unless you're together." He pulled Drew over into the hug and offered him a tender kiss.

Drew giggled, "Thanks, Brian, from both of us." Seeing Pete stand, Drew smiled at Corey and giggled, "Here we go, angel. I warned you about affection overload."

Nodding, Corey giggled past his tears, "I must need it and want it or I'd hide from it."

Taking Brian's place, Pete pulled Drew and Corey into his arms and gave each a kiss. "This is a memory that won't fade," he assured them and Brian. Stepping back, Pete went to the kitchen to help Mike and Brian followed.

Derrick stood next and brought the box of Kleenex with him. Corey took two and blew his nose while Derrick put the box down on the coffee table. Simply because Corey wasn't ready, Derrick hugged and kissed Drew first then gave Corey his fair share. He went towards the kitchen, asking, "Do we have enough of everything for breakfast, Lick?"

Mike nodded, "For this breakfast. Tomorrow, we starve."

"We'll take care of it later, after we catch a nap and wake up," Derrick assured.

While Prez hugged Corey, Drew suspiciously squinted at Keith and warned, "You kiss me and I might club ya." Corey and Prez helplessly giggled. Prez released Corey and opened his arms for Drew. Stepping closer to Prez and hugging him, Drew sighed, "You're just as much my brother as Keith and John, ya know?"

"Brother-in-law," Prez softly muttered through a kiss on Drew's cheek.

Keith took Corey in his arms and shared, "You're my brother-in-law too."

Corey nodded and smiled, "That's all I ever wanted to hear; that I'm part of the family."

Keith assured, "You definitely are, Corey," and then landed a tender kiss on the mouth.

Drew scowled, "Hey! Watch the tongue, bro!"

In a flash, Keith released Corey and grabbed hold of his brother. Drew looked curiously at Keith. Keith smiled, "I never let myself think you'd be gay, bro. No matter how dumb I act, I couldn't be happier, really."

Tears that were easily managed until that point flowed freely out of Drew's eyes and down his cheeks. Forcing a smile, Drew held onto Keith like never before, disregarding the fact that they were both naked. The two brothers locked eyes and saw a lifetime together pass by. Corey and Prez proudly watched them bonding and silently sharing. With a tilt of his head, Prez gestured to Corey. Prez wrapped his arms around Keith and Drew. Across from Prez, Corey held on tight thinking, 'This is so right. Another shitty friggin' nightmare turned into something worthwhile. Whatever it takes, I won't screw this up.'

Drew and Keith separated. Prez quickly embraced Keith and Corey flung himself at Drew. "All better now, angel?" Drew softly confirmed.

Corey nodded and whispered, "Almost."

Looking deeply into Corey's eyes, Drew wondered what else his beloved might need. Corey's puffy red eyes mysteriously shifted to and fro. Drew grinned, "Can't wait for the pancakes?"

Prez teased Keith, "Neither can I."

Mike, Derrick, Brian and Pete watched in quiet amazement as Prez led Keith to the master bedroom, followed by Corey pulling a giggling Drew into the same room. The door closed. Mike bitched, "Swear to God, Keith and Drew, dudes."

Derrick and Pete sniggered. Brian grinned, "The larger problem is their boyfriends."

Derrick giggled, "Seemed that way to me too. Prez was well on his way."

Pete nodded and evilly grinned, "So was Corey."

Mike huffed, "We'll fix them. They'll get a cold breakfast and we'll get a warm bed."

A bit stunned, Brian confirmed, "The four of us?"

Mike nodded and Derrick smiled, "Is there some reason we shouldn't?"

Pete shrugged, "We're not ready for partner swapping is all."

Mike nodded, "Cool."

The word had barely escaped Mike's lips before the sound of raspberries blown traveled out from the master bedroom. Corey loudly laughed, "DREW!"

A moment later, a second raspberry was blown followed by Prez bellowing, "Oh God, Keith!"

In the kitchen and dining area, four faces made crooked smirks then cracked up. Feeling his dick shift, Derrick quickly went to the stereo. He dropped in the first Boston CD, set it to shuffle, and turned it up to drown out the sounds before they all had cold breakfasts. The fates allowed Foreplay/Long Time to play. Walking away from the stereo, Derrick rolled his eyes. Seeing Mike flipping pancakes onto plates, Derrick told him, "Don't bother cooking the rest. Let the sex-machine cook."

"He's already cookin'," three voices laughed.

All four took seats at the table. They had to talk loudly over the stereo while they ate. Brian asked, "Shaun and Gil will be at the party tonight?"

Buttering his pancakes, Mike nodded, "And a bunch of other very cool gay dudes."

"Are they all musicians?" Pete wondered.

Shaking his head, Derrick answered, "Nope; Jerry's on the basketball team, his boyfriend Mack is on the soccer team. Matt's on the baseball team, his boyfriend Eddie is a photographer, for the school paper and yearbook committee."

Mike added, "We're hoping one of three single gay dudes might hook up with Ben. Howard is Jerry's younger cousin. We think he's the best bet because they're both kind o' shy and introverted. Rick is our age and a size queen. Graham is probably the least likely to show up. His boyfriend, Francis, is in a coma from a car accident, the last we heard. It's not looking very hopeful for Francis. Graham's been in the dumps about it."

Swallowing a mouthful, Derrick shared, "We're hoping Graham will at least show up, for a little while. It's the best thing he could do. How willing he might be is the question."

Brian asked, "How old are they?"

Mike replied, "Sophomores, but they must be sixteen. Francis was driving Graham's car when the accident happened. He fell asleep at the wheel."

Brian and Pete sadly shook their heads. Pete changed the subject and asked, "We'll be going to the grocery store later?" Mike and Derrick nodded. Pete offered, "Let me chip in a couple of bucks, please? We've been here on and off for a week, eating your food."

Derrick smiled, "Thanks, Pete. Funds are running a little low."

Mike grinned, "We were wondering what we'd be eating tonight and tomorrow night."

"Prez and Keith said they would chip in too," Derrick reminded.

Brian suggested, "How about we plan on dinner out tomorrow night; as in all eight of us?"

Pete chuckled, "As long as Prez isn't navigating, that's a really good idea."

Mike glanced around and asked, "Am I the only one wide awake?" Derrick, Brian and Pete shook their heads and smiled. Mike suggested, "We could take care of the groceries early, if we're still motivated enough?"

Derrick nodded, "Then catch a nap afterward. We can't be the first to pass out during the party."

At a brief pause in the conversation while all four concentrated on breakfast, Pete looked across the table, swallowed and wondered, "How did you guys come out?"

Derrick and Mike briefly grinned at each other. Derrick replied, "It's not like jumping out all at once, Pete. It's been more like steps and phases for us."

Mike added, "I told my mom and sister right after my fifteenth birthday. Dee and I hooked up about a year later, April last year. Keith came out to his family about that time too. Prez moved here last June and hit it off immediately with Keith. We started school last September as four gay friends, but still hiding the truth there."

Derrick swallowed and softly said, "My dad's suspicions led to him beating me up for my seventeenth birthday. For a couple of weeks afterward, I was a moody bitch. You already know what that uncovered and led to."

Pete nodded. "After I told my mom I was gay, she decided to tell my dad."

Brian continued, "She told Pete's dad while we waited down stairs, and he went psycho."

Pete softly recalled, "He was running down the stairs, and we were trying to get out the door, but he caught Brian's jacket by the collar. Brian managed to slip out of his coat and we got away."

Brian sighed, "And just a few days later, his mom took Pete to Portland."

Derrick mumbled past the food in his mouth, "So that's how it happened."

"In January, the dudes that own this house introduced us to Jessy," Mike explained. "She was a student of theirs." He sliced off some more pancakes and held the forkful, grinning, "Without even realizing it, we accidentally outed ourselves in front of her." He popped the forkful of pancakes into his mouth.

"It was simple little displays of affection," Derrick grinned. "Nothing major like spit-swappin' kisses, but little touches, Mike sliding his hand into my back pocket. She noticed."

Mike chuckled, "Then Keith and Prez show up and add their little displays of affection to the mix. That same day, before they got here, they showered together. John's girlfriend, Kim, saw them go into the bathroom and come out again."

"So the next day, at school, we started talking about what we were doing," Derrick remembered. "We talked to Jessy too, to invite her into the band. That's when we learned she had figured us out."

"Everything's cool," Mike said, "we've got a cool, talented keyboard player and keep rehearsing a couple o' times a week. We kept an eye open for those little affectionate displays at school and warned each other."

"In April, Prez starts asking me about the Junior Prom," Derrick grinned. "I'm like, it would be nice, but I don't know how realistic it is. In a few days, I told Prez, and then Mike, that I'd like to go too. That opened another can of worms."

Mike nodded, "On the worst day possible, the six month anniversary of Mrs. O'Brian's accident. Prez was wrecked, so he and Keith didn't go to school that day. It screwed everything up for me; because that was the last day we could sign up for the Student-Faculty Frolics. I signed us up anyway, before talking to Keith about it. Keith was not happy. Prez was disappointed in me."

At the memory of that day, Derrick smiled, "So there we are, in the Hundsers' living room, trying to get Prez out of his funk, and let them know that we signed up. By this point, Jess is jammin' with us a few months. Her boyfriend, Nelson, needs to know that she's safe, so she tells him about us. She tells Mike, Mike tells me, I tell Prez. Prez doesn't tell Keith because he's having coming out nightmares."

"That's Keith," Mike smirked, "school's always been some place like the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits for him."

"That day was really bizarre," Derrick chuckled. "Prez, Keith and Mike aren't happy and I'm doing what I can to keep everyone from flipping out. Luckily, John comes home from school and tells us that he wants us to play at his birthday party. That brightens up Mike and Prez, but Keith is still blown away."

Mike nodded, "Information overload; we're out to more than he was aware of, we're playing at the Frolics, a birthday party too and we're thinking about the prom? Keith looked like he needed a stiff drink." Soft chuckling traveled around the table. Mike sighed, "The next week, one of our gym classmates starts talkin' shit, to Prez and me, as if we're a couple, in the damn locker room. We had comebacks for each of his lame accusations. He didn't appreciate it, and was late for class. So he wound up running laps for forty minutes."

"That led to the fight," Derrick grumbled.

Suddenly, Mike stopped eating and took Derrick's fork. "No," Mike insanely grinned, "you are not bending silverware today. Let me tell this part. You center yourself and picture tip-toeing through the tulips or somethin'." Brian and Pete helplessly cracked up.

Derrick giggled, "Can I have my fork back?"

Suspiciously, Mike asked, "Where are you?"

Gesturing to the little bit of pancakes remaining on his plate and the Beatles decorations, Derrick giggled, "Eating, at Strawberry Fields."

Handing Derrick his fork, Mike suggested "Stay there for a while." Facing Brian and Pete, Mike said, "It's three against two and one dude has a switchblade. Dee and Keith come to the rescue. I'm battered and Prez has a small cut on his side. Jake, the dude that started the fight, is expelled and arrested. The other two dudes and the four of us are suspended for a week. I'm like, well this whole situation sucked donkey dicks, but we've got a week's vacation to jam and rehearse."

"Not to mention fuck like bunnies?" Brian laughed.

"Brian, be nice," Pete scolded gently.

"What? Tell me you didn't and I'll apologize."

Mike chuckled, "At the time, it wasn't generally allowed at home, because of Lindsay, but with an empty house, of course we did."

"Suddenly, the prom is a non-issue," Derrick offered. "We're set to go, with four lesbian girls. John's birthday turns out good and the Frolics are even better, but we learned our P.A. system didn't do a great job. Some of our friends in the audience barely heard us. And the junior class President wants us to play a few school dances to raise money. We agreed."

Finished eating, Mike smiled, "Here's where shit gets really weird. Another one of our gym classmates, Greg, wants to know who my boyfriend is and who Prez's boyfriend is. I tell him that it's Dee, but Prez won't tell him about Keith. We're only days from the prom, so it makes perfect sense. But Keith gets confronted and has to deal with an ignoramus. He's stressed, but I don't know how stressed. The very next day, Greg sees Prez and Keith together outside the locker room door. I'm walking down the hall with my gym bag, and there are Greg, Keith and Prez. Before my eyes… and I still can't believe it, Keith plants a big wet one on Prez, and holds it! I'm screaming, kids are passing by, and Greg asks a few if they give a fuck. Not one kid cared."

Also done eating, Derrick smiled, "Now Prez is all fucked up in the head. Keith, Mister Mellow, who hadn't ever thrown a punch in his life, who was having stupid nightmares for two or three months, who just sang his heart out at the Frolics, had initiated a kiss at school? Stop the train; we all need to get off now."

"A kiss at school… I don't know," Pete wondered. "I guess if I felt safe enough, I could do it."

"You guys stick together," Brian added. "We don't really have anyone like that, other than Ray, and he's insane."

"He is that," Pete confirmed.

Mike rapidly nodded and grinned, "The next night is our prom. Everything's cool almost the whole night, except for one deranged Christian wacko that tried to stir up shit. He failed and almost got booted from the prom for his efforts. The next week, I kissed Derrick at school. I swear to God, the concrete felt like a big wet sponge while I walked to class."

"That's how we came out," Derrick grinned. "It's also why I can say, without reservation, I love my wild man here, but I also love Misters Sweet and Innocent in the bedroom. What would've otherwise been a string of bad scenes, turned out pretty damn good, because we stuck together."

In the master bedroom, it was cuddle time. Drew made love to Corey while Keith made love to Prez. On their backs on the bed, Corey's hand found Prez's. When that round was over, Keith mounted Prez crab-style. Since Drew had never done it that way before, Corey asked him to and Drew obliged. The two brothers couldn't help noticing each other. What had been private and separate was now plainly seen. Keith showed his brother a new trick to make the experience last. Prez groaned. Drew giggled and repeated the same hip swivel on Corey, causing his beloved to gasp then whimper. Prez reminded Corey that everything Keith and Drew were doing could also be done to them. All four giggled.

Draped over Drew, Corey smiled, "This was nothing like the tent, or the other night in the dark bedroom with Brian and Pete across the room."

Prez grinned, "Its better with light. Nothing was seen that we didn't already know was there, emotionally and physically." He then tapped Keith and asked; "Now you know it's really Drew and not some impostor?"

Keith, Corey and Drew sniggered. Keith nodded, "I guess, but it's still shocking. Didn't we get yelled at for barging into the room when they had boxers on?"

Drew grinned, "I was already freaked enough because Zack saw us."

"Keith?" Corey called.

"Yeah?"

Corey softly said, "This really is Drew and so was that. He loves me and I love him too. I guess, what I'd like to know is, are you still freaked or scared about me?"

"No, dude," Keith quickly replied. "If I was, there would've been some physical problem making it very obvious to all of us. I still want to see you better developed though. We'll all help every way we can." He paused and said, "Now I have a question for you."

"Ask away."

"Do you still see yourself poorly? I mean, if you did, you wouldn't have followed us in here, would you?"

Drew asked Corey, "Can I answer that?" Corey nodded.

"Corey's changing, bro," Drew began. "First it was Corey believing that I found him irresistible. Then I told him what you and Prez said a few weeks ago. While you were gone, Mike and Derrick had one of their bare truth sessions with us. Brian and Pete are helping too. And Ben actually kissing Corey threw me for a loop, so it had to make an impact on Corey too."

Corey nodded, "That's all true, but the demon's not dead yet; the lies are much quieter and rarer. I had another motive too." Three voices wondered what it was. Corey giggled, "So you could see us making love and so we could see you too. From beyond the bedroom wall, it seemed you two were different than us. I needed to know if you were or not." Corey shrugged, "Another bad call from me. You're the same as we are, at least as far as sex is concerned."

Prez sighed then explained, "We're gay teenagers, Corey. All the body parts are generally the same. The ways we use them and how we make love aren't too different. Derrick and Mike are the same. I'd venture to say Brian and Pete are the same too. What's different is so minor; it's really not worth mentioning pet names, foreskin, or the whispered words shared during the act."

Drew asked Corey, "What was the best part for you, angel?"

Thoughtfully humming and scowling, Corey considered the question for a few moments. Replacing his scowl with a grin, Corey giggled, "It was all great. Two brothers, riding me and Prez, and playing together like brothers was so much fun. In the missionary position was so good too. If I had to say only one thing that made this special, it would be…" He mischievously paused and glanced around at three expectant faces. Corey loudly giggled, "Holding hands with Prez, both as bottoms and as tops."

While Keith and Drew sniggered, Prez chuckled, "It was good for me too, Cor. That's why I squeezed your hand as soon as you took my hand."

A knock at the door interrupted the conversation. Keith and Drew loudly said, "Come in."

Opening the door, Mike grinned, "Get out and eat breakfast. You can chat at the table."

Standing behind Mike, Derrick smiled, "Our stuff is cleaned up. You'll have to make your own pancakes."

Already beginning to move off Keith, Prez playfully complained, "But what if we're not done yet?"

Keith joked, "It would be a tight squeeze, but all eight of us…"

"Get out!" Mike and Derrick laughed. Not far behind them, Brian and Pete could be heard laughing. Drew whispered something to Corey. Corey nodded and giggled then rolled off Drew. Mike and Derrick came in the room. On their way to the kitchen, Keith and Prez walked past them and then Brian and Pete.

Drew and Corey walked by. As Brian entered the room, Corey swatted his butt and Drew patted Pete's ass. Brian and Pete spun around and grinned at their two young friends. Trying desperately to not laugh, Corey and Drew attempted to appear innocent. All four cracked up. Drew and Corey backed away, making sure the bedroom door had closed before they turned around again.

Prez and Keith were already in the kitchen, getting breakfast ready. Drew asked, "Is there any milk left?" and added, "Corey needs his milkshake."

Keith pulled the gallon container out and, seeing only a little milk at the bottom, uncertainly hummed.

Corey checked with Drew, "That looks like about a pint."

"Might be just enough," Drew nodded. Corey hurried to the guest bedroom to get a shake packet from his backpack. Watching his lover's butt bounce away, Drew sighed. Keith cracked up and pretended to bang his head against the nearest wall. Drew softly giggled, "He's so friggin' hot now; what's that tush gonna look like in another year or two?"

Prez grinned, "Tell Corey."

"I have, several times," Drew smiled.

Prez nodded and suggested, "Keep chiseling away the bad stuff."

Keith stopped laughing and returned to the counter. Corey had returned with his packet of shake mix. Corey asked Drew, "What was the best part for you?"

Drew shrugged, "There wasn't one best part; all of it was really fun. I didn't hold back with you and I know you didn't with me." He checked with Keith and Prez, "You dudes didn't do stuff different because we were there, I hope?"

Keith shook his head, grinning, "Not a thing was different. We're all way over tired, so I think that created four shorter fuses. Other than that, it was the same as it might've been if I was alone with Prez. I was glad to see you were willing to do what Corey asked, bro."

"I always do," Drew smiled. "Corey wants me to top for him a lot. When Corey wants to top for me, I always have and always will switch the roles."

Corey smiled, "This was Drew's first time in a few days. We've been so busy with Brian and Pete; there haven't been too many chances for sex." He giggled, "Then again, when we're alone entire days, there are plenty of chances."

Soft chortling traveled around. Drew teased Keith and Prez. "I'm glad there wasn't any spanking." Corey cracked up and the other three laughed too. The CD Derrick had put in the player stopped, making their laughter suddenly seem louder. Drew handed Keith the milkshake packet and instructed, "In a large glass with milk, please, bro?"

Keith nodded and prompted, "Put something more mellow in the CD player, please?"

Drew nodded and went towards the living room. Corey suggested, "Put the Nilsson CD in, Drew." He then told Keith and Prez, "There are some really nice ballads. The song Without Her, that Drew and Pete sang last week, is on that disk." Keith poured the last of the milk in the glass then passed it and a spoon to stir it to Corey. Drew put the Boston CD back in the rack then found the Nilsson CD. In moments, it was playing loudly and Drew turned the volume down a little bit. Corey smiled, "I'm glad Derrick and Mike didn't buy whole milk. I prefer skim, but two percent is okay."

Keith smirked, "I tried some skim milk in my cereal a few weeks ago. It's not much more than white water to me. This two percent is okay, though."

Returning to the counter, Drew wrapped an arm around Corey's waist and waited for Corey to try his shake with the two percent milk being discussed. He asked, "What do you think, Cor?"

Corey nodded and smiled, "It's good."

Drew confessed, "I'm thinkin' the doc might see more improvements faster, if you'd be willing? Then your mom and mine won't have to get two different kinds of milk. Easier for them and good for you too; everybody's happy."

Feeling an intense shiver race down his spine, Corey giggled, "That's one of things I love most about you, ya know?"

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

"What?" Corey giggled, "You're the most considerate person I've ever met."

Rolling his eyes, Drew sighed, turned Corey slightly to face him, and then dropped to his knees. Prez and Keith helplessly laughed. Now that Drew had had intercourse in front of them, he held nothing back and slurped Corey's dick into his mouth.

Corey whimpered and, in a few moments, reluctantly told Drew, "I can't drink this shake without choking, stud."

Drew let Corey's chubby drop from his mouth. Before standing, Drew smiled, "I'll finish what I started after breakfast, okay?" When Corey giggled and nodded, Drew stood. He told Keith and Prez, "When Aldo died, I talked to Corey. He not only listened, he cried a little too. We had only known each other a few weeks. The more I think about that one thing, the more I realize the decision was made then, only I didn't even know it. I hugged and thanked him, because that's all we were able to do at the time." He sighed then smirked, "Ya know, I don't even consider myself bisexual anymore? All that matters is how I feel about Corey. The brand or label is gay, but that's not what I'm thinking at all. I only think about making him feel good and how good he makes me feel. I get the same hyped up feelings every time I look in his eyes or see him smile. Everything flashes through my mind at once; the stuff we've talked about, little league, tennis, video games, who we were with and where we were at the time. Its nuts, but that's what I'm thinking when we make love too. It's all Corey." Pausing because Corey's almost silent giggling had gotten louder and Corey leaned on the counter to cover his face, Drew grinned, "What did I say?"

Shaking his head, Corey lifted his face off the counter, stole a kiss and briefly groped Drew's erection. He giggled, "I watched it happen; the more you said, the harder you got."

Drew blushed and shrugged, "It means you excite me; to hell with the arguments and nightmares; I don't care that Keith and Prez see, or that Mike and Derrick saw last week, or that Brian and Pete saw my bone in the shower either. I won't show off to everybody, but I can't help what happens; I didn't even know it happened this time."

Prez began flipping pancakes onto plates. He asked, "How many pancakes, Corey?"

"Two please, Prez," Corey smiled.

Drew smiled at Keith, "What's wrong, bro?"

Shaking his head, Keith admitted, "Nothing and everything; I'm completely blown away. You've said more in the last day than I've heard from you in the last year. It's all awesome, but I'm too shocked to say what I mean the right way."

Prez grinned, "Maybe we weren't listening or watching, babe? We've been so involved in us, and everything that's happened in the last year, we simply didn't notice that Drew fell for Corey and vice-versa. Now we're noticing. Now we can double date, starting with breakfast." Drew and Corey stood at the counter, putting butter and syrup on their pancakes. Prez then realized, "We'll probably be sleeping in the same bed too, in case anyone hasn't already figured that out."

Keith sighed and Drew groaned. Corey giggled, "Did they fall asleep?"

Prez shrugged, "Quiet seems relatively normal for Brian and Pete. The same can't be said for Derrick and Mike."

Slicing into his pancakes, Corey suggested, "I'll sleep toward the center of the bed." He looked up at Prez and giggled, "God forbid our boyfriends wind up snuggled together."

Prez nodded and evilly snickered, "They prob'ly would too. It takes a couple of minutes for Keith's brain to power up."

Concentrating on buttering his pancakes, Keith didn't even look up when he said, "Corey and you can have fun, baby. Drew and I aren't even thinking that way." Corey almost choked on his food. Keith looked up, watched Drew pat Corey's back and grinned, "Did I suggest something wrong?"

Drew shook his head and turned to Corey. When Corey swallowed properly and caught his breath, he locked eyes with Prez and softly asked, "Would you… with me?"

Raising his eyebrows, Prez admitted, "It hadn't been a thought before Keith mentioned it, but yeah, with the same rules in place."

Drew grinned, "What're Keith and I supposed to do?"

Prez smiled and answered, "Keith would hold me close and grind off. You could do the same with Corey." Having a second, more appropriate thought, Prez muttered, "Then again, grinding isn't all you and Keith could do." Four thousand-watt light bulbs shone brightly around the counter. Suddenly, finishing breakfast quickly became imperative.

With breakfast finished and the dishwasher loaded, Corey finally found his tongue. He softly smiled, "Prez? I'd like to, especially with you, but I've never… with anyone except Drew. I feel weird, like I'm cheating on Drew and Keith and even you."

Prez checked with Keith. "How do you feel about it, babe?"

Keith shrugged, "It's how you and Corey feel that matters. We can easily make love as couples again, if that's all you two feel comfy with."

Drew didn't wait for Corey to pose the same question. He brightly smiled, "You care about Prez, angel. Finding out if we can or can't do this couldn't be safer. If we learn we can't then it'll be a long time before we ever try again. Either way, I still want to make love to you. What you and Prez do together can only be up to you two."

Stepping closer to Corey, Prez softly warned, "I'm gonna kiss Corey. If anyone feels bad about that afterward, just say so. Do not hold anything back. We've fallen into that trap already. Don't go there; take our word for it. We still live under the same roof and it's definitely not worth any hassles."

Drew told Corey, "Go ahead, kiss Prez, like you kiss me."

With his heart beating frantically, Corey took one step closer to Prez. On his toes, Corey reached up and Prez leaned down. Their lips met and then opened. Corey held Prez's hips. Prez held Corey's upper arms. Seconds passed quietly until Keith asked Drew, "How're you feeling, bro?"

Drew smirked, "Nervous, because I should feel jealous, but I don't. They really seem to care. I can almost see what I look like kissing Corey." He then asked, "How do you feel?"

Keith shrugged and grinned, "Mike's my best friend. Derrick is Prez's best friend. It seems that Prez is Corey's best friend. I feel good. My lover has another person, other than me, that cares for him."

Prez and Corey separated. Prez smiled at Drew, "You taught him to kiss like that?" Drew grinned and nodded. Corey giggled. Keith smacked Prez on the ass and cracked up. Prez chuckled and reminded, "I kissed Drew's cheek earlier. Did anyone notice that?" Corey, Drew and Keith nodded. Prez droned, "Gee, I wonder if maybe I felt weird kissing my lover's brother on the mouth?"

Keith asked, "You did?"

Prez nodded, "Drew's my brother-in-law; that's all he can really be. I think that's a lot and enough." He checked with Drew. Holding out his clenched fist, Drew nodded and smiled. Prez knocked knuckles with Drew. Keith put some detergent in the dishwasher and then turned it on. Prez and Keith walked towards the guest bedroom.

Drew followed with Corey. Corey nervously asked, "What do you want me to do?"

Drew smiled, "Whatever you and Prez want to do, Cor. I feel and know that you're in love with me. You show Prez that you care for him your way. When that's done, I'll want to make love to you." Rush hurried by and into the guest bedroom and Drew closed the door.

With Prez and Keith watching and listening, Corey worried, "You'll still love me?"

Firmly holding Corey by the shoulders, Drew confirmed, "I'll always love you. This will answer our question. Not only is it perfectly safe for us, there's a reason they're together, ya know?"

Three voices queried, "There is?"

Drew nodded and evilly grinned, "One's a sex maniac and the other's a sex-machine. The best we can do is to try to keep up."

Keith and Prez tried to act surprised, but couldn't help cracking up anyway. Prez slid onto the bed and was followed by Keith. As nervous as Corey was, again, his erection gave away his true excitement and feelings. He slid into bed giggling and Drew followed. Rush found a place to lie down and groaned loud and long. Prez grinned, "The hound is frustrated. We go to bed, but don't go to sleep immediately. Only two hours later, we're awake again, and now we're in bed in again."

Corey giggled, "This time, we'll stay in bed a little longer, but I don't think we'll be falling asleep right away either."

Prez gently called, "Corey?"

"Yeah, Prez?"

"You're a handsome imp; my brother-in-law's partner and my friend; that puts you in a very special place, ya know?"

With happy tears welling in his eyes, Corey turned to Drew. Drew grinned, "Prez isn't saying anything I haven't already heard and told you. Now you get to thank him your way."

Rolling onto his side to face Prez, Corey reached a nervously shaking hand to softly caress Prez's jaw. As soon as it was within reach, Prez kissed Corey's palm. Prez knew to not make sudden moves, like he would with Keith, Derrick or Mike. He let Corey trace lines down his neck, shoulder and arm, and then Corey leaned closer to kiss him. He used textbook Drew kisses.

Prez purred, "Nice. Lead the way, Cor. I'm following you."

Corey softly giggled, "I think you need to show me the way. I don't wanna upset Drew or Keith."

Drew shifted closer, so that Corey could feel his erection pressing against his ass, and whispered, "I'm right here, Cor, obviously liking what I'm seeing; show Prez how you got your wings, angel."

Corey grinned and let his hand gently brush down Prez's arm, across his flat, firm belly and further down. He was surprised to find Prez erect too and giggled as he wrapped his fingers around it. Encouraging Corey further, Drew began kissing his lover's shoulders. Corey began slowly jacking Prez's cock. Prez sighed and traced his hand up Corey's thighs, over his scrotum and erection, making Corey shiver and whimper. Prez smiled and took hold of Corey's erection. Prez gingerly pulled the foreskin over the head, crimped it closed with his fingers, and then allowed the head to break free slightly before repeating the process. Pleasantly surprised, Corey gasped and cooed.

Drew softly giggled, "Derrick is Prez's best friend, Cor. He won't hurt you. He'll make you shoot in his hand."

Helplessly laughing, Corey teased, "And if I decide I want him to shoot in my mouth?"

"Go for it," Drew chuckled. "They know it's our first time trying. They also know if there are any problems, during or after, we'll say something. No harm, no foul."

Corey called, "Keith?"

"Yeah?"

"What're you doing?"

Keith evilly snickered. Prez rolled his eyes and grinned, "He's trying to slide into me."

Keith smiled, "If you dudes want oral, go for it. If you're happy enough using your hands, that's fine too. You don't need my permission, Corey. If I wanted this to stop, I would've said it by now."

Still getting jacked and stroking Prez's bone, Corey hummed thoughtfully for a few moments. He then smiled, "I like this plenty. Drew can make love to me and Keith can make love to Prez." With that said, Corey lifted his right leg for Drew and Prez lifted his left leg for Keith. Corey briefly whimpered as Drew entered him. Feeling Keith enter him, Prez closed his eyes and sighed. Drew slowly humped Corey. Keith situated himself so he could do his duty for Prez and not fall off the bed. In a minute, the quiet and careful actions of Corey and Prez were put aside. Prez deeply kissed Corey and Corey returned it, just as passionately.

Things began getting silly when Keith's feet kept hitting Drew's feet and the two brothers playfully bitched and complained. Corey and Prez helplessly laughed between kisses. Drew gasped, "Omigod!" and stopped pumping in and out. He huffed, "That was close."

Corey prompted, "Do it, stud. I'm really close too."

Prez nodded and smiled, "Me too."

Drew went back to work. Orgasms cascaded around the bed, beginning with Corey. Prez was surprised that he got splashed, but nowhere near as surprised as Corey was when he got hit on the neck, chest and belly. Still delirious from Drew and Prez, Corey cackled, "Omigod!"

Drew's arm around Corey also got wet and he began huffing, "Cor? Oh, Corey. Oh, dude." Burying his face onto Corey's shoulder, Drew convulsed.

Not too many moments later, Keith panted, "Gonna fill you up, baby," and then grunted. He was still trying to focus when Corey began giggling.

Sliding out of Corey, Drew laughed, "Prez! Did you hurt yourself or what? I thought Corey could shoot, but… holy shit!"

Still recovering from his orgasm, Keith laughed so hard that he actually did fall out of bed onto his ass. Prez rolled over and smiled down at his hysterical lover, cracked up and offered Keith a hand up. Keith took Prez's hand and pulled himself onto his feet. Still chortling, Keith climbed onto the bed and cleaned up Prez.

Drew had just tasted the first splatter of Prez's semen off his arm and Corey's throat and muttered, "Tastes just like you, Cor." With the intention to keep Corey giggling, Drew went to work cleaning up the rest. Corey howled from Drew's relentless tongue tickling. A short conversation about the taste of semen occurred. As best as any of them could tell, there was no difference at all. Only the possibility of dietary changes, at the cultural or continental level, might have some minor affect. A little after eight in the morning all four fell asleep.

Hours later, Corey heard voices and opened his eyes. He glanced around the room. Prez was out of bed, but Keith and Drew were sound asleep. The analog clock read about half past two. Unable to decide whether or not he should wake Drew, Corey lay there for many minutes. So he wouldn't wake Keith, Corey whispered in Drew's ear. "I love you so much, Drew." Drew hummed and pulled Corey close and held on tight. "Tell me you love me too?" Corey begged.

Drew mumbled, "Always have, always will, angel."

Corey happily giggled, planted a kiss, then whispered, "Go back to sleep." He shifted and moved away to climb out of bed.

Before Corey's feet hit the floor, Drew inhaled deeply and wondered, "What time is it?"

"Two-thirty-ish," Corey softly answered.

Drew groaned, "Another messed up day," and forced himself to sit upright. He inhaled deeply and smirked, "It'll be dark again in only a couple o' hours." He stood and went to Corey, trapping him against the closed bedroom door. Drew asked, "You're okay?" Corey nodded. Drew confirmed, "You had fun with Prez?"

Corey nodded and giggled, "What made it great was you; making love to me, at the same time." That was all Drew needed to hear. He began placing little kisses around Corey's lips. Desperate for the passionate kiss that would come, Corey moaned. Drew chuckled and shushed him then dove for the grand finale. They held each other tightly, making it clear that everything was still good in their world. When the lip lock broke and their faces slid over the other's shoulder, Drew confessed, "I still want you in every way, Cor."

Corey giggled, "I'm yours, Drew."

Drew glanced over his shoulder at his comatose brother then turned to Corey and leered, "You stay quiet, okay?" Drew's right hand reached down and wrapped around Corey's limp dick. Only watching Corey's expressions, Drew did everything Prez had done. Soon, there was a fistful of hardness Drew was playing with. Drew whispered, "Let me know when you're close." Corey nodded and Drew leaned over to suck on an earlobe to make things happen faster. Corey stroked Drew's bone with well practiced ease, occasionally rubbing his nads, causing Drew to choke back gasps and giggles. If Keith woke and interrupted, Drew would not be happy. Keith's soft breaths never varied, but Corey's sure did. To mute himself, Corey dove to suck on Drew's neck.

Corey's head popped up and he whimpered, "Real soon, stud." Drew didn't delay and knelt down to take Corey crashing over the edge. He made certain Corey's foreskin was clean and then stood. Corey dove for a kiss then guided Drew around so he could finish the ritual. Corey smiled at Drew's expressions. All Drew did to pass his message to Corey was rapidly nod. Kneeling down, Corey took only Drew's cock head into his mouth and tickled the underside with his tongue. Drew covered his mouth with his left arm to mute any sounds seconds before Corey felt the first splash in his mouth. Once Drew was cleaned up, Corey stood. They flew into each other's arms and kissed passionately. When they separated, Keith still hadn't moved. Widely smiling at the living dead, they quickly left the room.

Gathered around the kitchen counter and dining area, with messed up bed hair, still naked and widely smiling, were Pete, Brian, Derrick and Prez. First to go to them was Prez. Hugging Corey, Prez confirmed, "All is well?"

Nodding, Corey giggled, "We're great, Prez. Thanks."

Releasing Corey and hugging Drew, Prez reminded, "Two musicians are awake and heard the door rattling." He stepped back and smirked, "Van Winkle is still asleep?"

Drew nodded and grinned, "That's why I went for it again. He was the first person back to bed after the Northridge earthquake." Brian, Derrick and Pete cracked up.

Prez turned to Derrick, saying, "We have to shower, get our butts over to the market and get food for lunch, dinner, and the party."

Derrick nodded agreement then pointed at his own and Prez's flaccid dicks, madly grinning, "Motivating them will change the state of affairs. Give us five minutes and we'll meet in the shower." He turned to Corey and smirked, "No foreskin lessons for the mentally circumcised today. Couples wash each other; extracurricular activity optional."

Corey giggled, "Sounds like a plan to me."

Derrick and Prez ducked into the bedrooms and both left the doors open. In thirty seconds, Prez was bellowing hysterically and Derrick was giggling his ass off. Then there was silence from both rooms.

Brian held up four fingers for the minutes remaining. Falling against Drew, Corey giggled. Drew whispered in Corey's ear. Corey nodded. Glancing at Brian and Pete, Drew asked, "Have you decided when you're leaving?"

Pete nodded, "Early Friday morning. That'll get us home around dinner time Saturday."

Drew sighed, "We wish you could stay longer, but even if you did, we'd still want you to stay."

Corey smiled, "We think we should say goodbye the right way."

"Alone, Thursday afternoon, at my house," Drew suggested. "It'll be just the four of us. We can lift weights, get some more wrestling practice, and then relax in front of the tube and chat."

Seriously, yet softly, Corey said, "I've asked myself, where we would be if you hadn't met Mike and Derrick; if Prez and Keith didn't ask you over; if Drew and I never had those arguments. The answer is very different from where we are now. When we said goodbye last time, it wasn't too rough. This time though… it'll be different too."

Brian begged, "Please don't ever say thank you. Even after a good day at Magic Mountain, I was still worried you two would break up. The reason you're together is because you want to be. You could've decided to not tell the doctor, Corey. The repercussions from that alternative decision, we'll thankfully never know."

Pete nodded, "We've changed in good ways too; thanks to all of you guys and because of your dad too, Drew. Some time, maybe next summer, we will get back here again." He paused and grinned, "How anyone could spend hours at a McDonald's and be glad they did, I might never fully comprehend. I was there though and watched those other guys come to us. I've never seen anything like that before."

Drew shrugged, "We spent a whole day at Magic Mountain with no problems. We only spent the night at Knott's and that lady caused a ruckus. Weird stuff happens all the time; some of it good, like Mickey Dee's, some not so good."

Corey relayed the story of the camping trip, where less than an hour after their first time having intercourse, some pervert followed them. "We were really scared," Corey recalled. "We ran and Drew yelled for Keith. The next thing that dude knew he had four bigger, older teenagers and Rush to deal with. We didn't let him screw up our whole day or the rest of the night. This is L.A. I guess we just expect the unexpected."

Drew then relayed stories of little league games, where parents were more stupid than any of the kids. "Our parents have made a few of our games," Drew grinned. "At the plate, I always hear them, encouraging me and Corey; some of the other parents though, they're more interested in who won and how, than they are in their kids. The day Corey passed out at the tennis courts; we not only had Keith and Prez there, one man offered to call an ambulance. Another lady took one of our towels and wet it so we could keep Corey cool." He shrugged, "There are nice people and there are buttheads. You only find out who is who when something happens. Those dudes at Mickey Dee's were just like any of us. So two of 'em dressed differently and one had a tongue piercing; big deal, they were cool to hang with."

Corey smiled, "I hope they decide to come to the party tonight." Brian, Drew and Pete agreed.

Derrick stepped out of the master bedroom, saying "Shower time." He looked into the guest bedroom and slouched. He grinned and chuckled, "Come on, dudes! Please don't tell me you aren't finished? We've got shit to do."

Mike walked past Derrick and into the guest bedroom. He climbed onto the bed and on top of Prez, creating a three person pile, and started play humping. Keith cracked up and Prez bellowed uncontrollably. Mike loudly laughed, "Squeeze them bubble butt cheeks tighter! Fuck yeah, sex-machine!" Smiling insanely, Derrick rolled his eyes, turned around and went into the master bedroom.

Brian went to the doorway and chuckled at the site. Standing behind him, Corey howled laughing, "We need our toothbrushes and toothpaste!" With his left hand against his face, blocking the view into the room, Drew giggled and turned right, into the master bedroom. Softly chortling, Pete followed Drew.

Keith laughed, "Might as well come get it, Corey."

"I'm afraid to!" Brian and Corey chorused.

Mike giggled, "I'll get the cute little blond?"

Prez chuckled, "And I'll get the muscular brunette madman."

Rolling off the pile and off the bed, Mike leered and hurried after Corey. Racing into the master bedroom and bathroom, away from Mike, Corey hid in Drew's arms. Softly sniggering, Brian matched Prez step for step, walking backward as Prez advanced, into the master bedroom. Taking on a poor French-English accent, Prez leered, "Your legs say no, no, but your eyes say, yes, I do. A perfectly good idea; let us get married!" Still sitting in bed, Keith roared.

Stifling a brief snigger, Brian offered, in his own poor French accent; "Le pant, le huff, le pee-yuuuuuuu!"

Prez paused and dramatically frowned, "Could it be, I offend?"

Brian giggled, "No, you just need a shower."

Keith wrapped Prez in his arms and sniggered, "Come on, Pepe, I'll wash your sexy tail."

The last to step in the shower, Keith couldn't believe his eyes. Drew was bathing Derrick; Mike was bathing Corey; and four previously limp dicks were pointing skyward. Brian took Prez's hand and led him under the shower spray. Taking Keith by the hand, Pete led him to the opposite side of the shower and under the spray. This day's shower time lessons were led by Pete, teaching everyone else how to properly shampoo their shower time buddies. After showering, all eight gathered around the master bath vanity to brush their teeth. In a few minutes, they were dressed and Rush was inside again. They left for the grocery store in two cars; Drew and Corey with Brian and Pete in the Malibu while Mike and Derrick joined Keith and Prez in the 4Runner.

Derrick took a shopping cart and, as the group walked into Safeway, suggested, "Let's split the store in quarters. Mike and I will take fresh produce and meats…"

"Figures," Keith teased.

Raising a suspicious eyebrow, Derrick grinned, "You and Prez can get us bleach, laundry and dishwasher detergents, T-paper, and some household cleaning sprays for the toidies and kitchen."

Prez offered, "Let's make Doug's chicken cacciatore tonight. One pan, easy cleanup."

Mike smiled and nodded, "Works for me." Prez and Keith walked off.

Derrick told Drew and Corey, "You two dudes need to get breads, cereals, pancake mix, various dry foods for side dishes, like rice and pasta. Find some French bread for dinner too. We'll probably be back in the meats with the cart, dudes." Corey and Drew nodded then wandered off.

Drew said, "Let's get a couple of hand baskets, Cor."

Derrick told Brian and Pete, "Dairy, juices and sodas dudes. We need a gallon of milk, American cheese slices, apple and orange juice, and lots of whatever sodas are on sale this week, for tonight's party. I'm pretty sure Jerry's brother will get us some beer, but we can't really drink, Keith and Prez don't drink too much, and Corey and Drew don't drink at all."

Mike nodded, "Get a dozen two liter bottles, mostly colas and some lemon-lime."

Pete nodded, "We'll get another cart and consolidate." He and Brian returned to the front of the store.

Derrick grinned at Mike, "Did you ever think it would get like this?"

Shaking his head, Mike chuckled, "Keith and Prez were all I expected. How much chicken to feed eight dudes? I'm thinking four or five pounds."

Derrick nodded and pushed the cart to the side, saying, "Potatoes for tonight? Almost a whole five pound bag, I'm guessing."

Mike hummed then said, "That should do it. I'm thinking we'll have to get two pans going for tonight's supper too."

About twenty minutes later, Derrick and Mike were organizing all the various things the other six had brought to the back of the store. Pete and Prez were doing math in their heads, keeping track of what the final tally might be. Drew and Corey were sent back to get six large cans of tomato sauce for that night's dinner. Once they returned, the grand total was estimated at a hundred and twenty dollars. With Pete, Prez and Derrick chipping in, everything was paid for and they had food to get them through at least the next three days. Doug and Brian wouldn't return to bare cupboards either.

Loading grocery sacks into the rear of the 4Runner, Mike grinned, "We'll lose Brian and Pete Friday morning. A few hours later, Doug and Brian return from their vacation."

Derrick nodded, "The plane arrives at LAX at twelve-twenty. They'll be home by two. We'll be gone to work around three-thirty."

Prez told Keith, "I think I'll give my aunt a call, babe."

"Cool," Keith chirped. Without paying much attention, Keith teased, "Drew and Corey will have time alone." He quickly spun around to see their faces.

While Corey giggled his ass off, Drew blushed, "Oh please; like you don't take advantage of every minute alone with Prez."

Brian roared laughing. Pete chuckled, "Tomorrow's dinner is on me guys; no arguments either. I didn't have to fork out bucks for a hotel room or meals all week." He paused and innocently suggested, "Willy's barbecue would be very cool."

Glancing at each other, Corey and Drew incredulously repeated, "Willy's?" That set Pete into a laughing fit. Hysterical, Brian staggered to the Malibu and leaned against it.

With the 4Runner loaded, Prez closed the rear hatch and reminded Keith, "We're driving to Corey's doctor appointment Friday morning." He checked with Corey, "What time is that?"

Corey frowned, "Nine in the morning, in Santa Monica."

Drew nodded, "It's near the UCLA Medical Center, down the 405."

Certain that UCLA Medical Center was in Westwood, not Santa Monica, Keith blinked and remembered there was only about two miles between the two cities. Keith checked, "Any dizzy spells, Corey?"

Corey nodded, "Only last night, while I was freaked from the shower. Does that count?"

Standing at his open car door, Prez shrugged, "Seems to make sense, but tell the doctor anyway."

Seeing Pete unlocking the Malibu, Drew pulled Corey toward the car. Brian opened the passenger side door and pushed the front seat forward for Drew and Corey to climb in. Corey ducked in. Before Corey sat, Drew bounced his eyebrows at Brian, reached a hand out and goosed Corey's butt. Giggling, Corey fell onto the back seat.

Brian smiled, "You're bad, Drew."

Rapidly nodding, Drew admitted, "It's fun too," then ducked into the car. Corey got even before Drew sat down by planting a passionate kiss. Once Drew sat, Corey crawled over and lay down on top of him. Pete looked out his mirrors, put the car in reverse then looked back as he backed out. Pete noticed Drew's eyes were closed and he couldn't have seemed more content.

Following Prez's 4Runner out of the parking lot, Pete told Brian, "Common law wedding; regardless of what the State says, they're married already."

Glancing back and seeing only two pair of legs behind the driver's seat, Brian smiled, "Time can only make it better, but seeing two fourteen-year-olds like them gives me a lot of hope for the future."

Drew softly asked, "Will you marry me, Corey Seaver?"

Tears welled in Corey's eyes before he lifted his head to look in Drew's eyes. Seeing that Drew wasn't joking, Corey gushed, "Omigod! Yes!" and then repeatedly kissed every inch of Drew's face before landing a tender kiss on the mouth. Settling down, Corey sighed, nuzzling Drew's cheek and closed his eyes.

So only Corey could hear, Drew whispered, "The honeymoon starts right after we eat."

Barely believing that Drew had asked to marry him, Corey's mind raced. Did Drew really want to get married? Yeah, they had been constant companions most of the month. Drew was still following Corey to the bathroom, but now Drew even brought Corey to the bathroom with him too. Only twice in the last three weeks did Drew go to the bathroom alone, and one of those times was because Brian and Pete were guests at his house. Drew had even directly told Corey that he wanted to be with Corey constantly. Why was that, Corey wondered.

The car stopped at the house. Brian and Pete got out. Brian left the passenger side door open for Corey and Drew then went to help with the sacks of groceries.

Since Corey wasn't moving, Drew kissed his cheek and prompted, "Ready, Cor?"

Corey softly confirmed, "You would marry me?"

"In a second," Drew smiled, "with rings, tuxedos and everything. As soon as we can do it, we will, I promise."

Stealing another kiss, Corey pushed up off Drew and softly stammered, "I don't know what to think, never mind what to say."

Sitting up, Drew reminded, "You already said, yes," and slid out of the car.

Following, Corey grinned, "Of course I did. I can't believe you asked. At first I thought you were kidding." He pushed down the lock and closed the car door.

At the 4Runner, Brian softly told Derrick, Keith, Mike and Prez that Drew had popped the question and Corey accepted. Everyone smiled, but no one seemed surprised. Noticing Brian's perplexed expression, Keith smiled, "I've asked Prez and occasionally we talk about it again. Right now, it's a dream, but our generation will make it a reality."

Pausing with two sacks in one hand, Derrick nodded, "Depending on when the State wakes up and allows it, I can see the four of us gettin' married the same day. Maybe it'll be the six of us?" He started for the front door with his keys in his other hand.

Following Derrick, Pete grinned, "We're invited to the reception, I hope?"

"Of course," Prez chanted.

Mike thought aloud, "With some luck, it'll be more than three couples. Maybe we'll have Shaun and Gil there, maybe Matt and Eddie, Jerry and Mack, Aaron and Danny and Craig and Glen."

While the others made their plans and started into the house, Corey giggled and grabbed another few sacks. Pulling the last few sacks from the cargo area, Drew smiled and teased, "Are you getting cold feet already?" He closed the hatch.

Vigorously shaking his head, Corey asked, "Are we there already, Drew? I mean, they're older than us."

Walking toward the house, Drew reminded, "I knew you before Keith met Prez and before Derrick hooked up with Mike. Sure, there were false starts, breakups and separations, but each and every time, we were right back together again."

Corey walked into the house and softly said, "I don't want us to be like that once we're married."

Putting the sacks he was carrying down in the kitchen, where Mike, Derrick, Keith and Prez were already beginning to put stuff away, Drew nodded, took the sacks from Corey and put them down too. Drew picked up Rush's leash. The dog came running and sat at attention. Sliding the collar over the dog's head, Drew softly smiled, "Come on, angel. It's time for a chat." He told the others, "We'll be back in a few minutes," and then walked out of the house again with Corey.

Heading across the street to the park, Corey sighed, "Things are so great, but really crooked, Drew. I'm recovering and having nightmares."

Drew shrugged, "And I went off in a fit the beginning of the year, calling you names that I really meant for myself. Do you hold that against me?"

"Course not," Corey frowned.

Drew chuckled, "So why would I hold anorexia or nightmares against you?" Corey scowled and thoughtfully hummed. Drew smiled wider and glanced at Corey, waiting for an answer.

Corey smirked and shoved Drew, giggling, "That's not the same!"

Drew laughed, "Yes it is! We were apart almost two months, Corey." He sighed, "Yeah, Keith and Prez helped keep me busy with the band and the P.A., but the rest of the time, I was alone, wishing I hadn't blown up, putting my own sexuality into some kind of perspective, jacking off while wishing I was with you, tasting my own semen, hoping that yours tasted better and wondering if I'd ever get the chance to find out."

Corey smiled, "I was wishing that I could stop thinking about you. I couldn't, Drew. No matter what I felt, sad or angry, I still had you in my mind. Talk about frustrating; I couldn't even talk to you, but there you were anyway."

Taking a seat at one of the park's picnic tables, Drew reminded, "This summer is in my journal, Corey. You've seen what I've written and know every thought that went through my mind. Think about what I wrote that Monday you were with the witch doctor. This summer might've been our worst ever. It's not, because you listened and acted on it. I thought I was going over to your house that day to say goodbye; that your folks would separate us. Pages and pages of worries went up in a big puff of smoke and tears when I heard what really happened.

"Fuck the anorexia demon. I won, and keep winning each and every day since then. I'll be with you at the doctor for the fourth time this Friday. This isn't over, but it might as well be in my mind, because you're trying, angel. More pages are written down, including your feelings with mine. I might write something down only once or twice a week, but that's because I've got much better things to do."

Corey nodded and smiled, "Every Friday though, out comes the notebook and pen. You've kept track of everything, Drew."

Drew nodded, "Next year, five years from now, or twenty years, we'll look at those words and remember it all, Corey. I wrote for the school newspaper in junior high and will in high school too. You read my articles back to me, every week, from March until June. The only other people I know that read all my articles were my parents."

Corey giggled, "And my folks too, from March until June."

"Really?"

Corey nodded, "You'll see for yourself in September. I've heard my dad laughing, looked over and he had our school paper on his lap. When we're living together, that's one of the things I'm looking forward to the most; you seeing what happens in my house, and my seeing what goes on in your house."

Drew nodded and reached for Corey's hand. He softly smiled, "That's why I asked you to marry me, Corey. Pete and Brian mentioned it, and I told myself, 'yeah, they're right'. The State doesn't have my permission to tell me who I can or can't love. As far as I'm concerned, I asked, you said yes, we're married now. We have our parents' approval already. We have our friends' approval too. All we need now is a slip of paper saying it's real. Until then, it's as real as we want it to be."

Corey asked, "What about school?"

Drew shrugged, "I've been thinking about that too. I've been telling you to consider only opinions from people that matter. School as a whole matters, only because we have to be there to graduate. So, we have to chill a notch or two, to make our lives easier, but I'm having lunch every day with you. If I feel like reaching for your hand, I'll do it and expect you to reach for mine too. Anyone that starts something over that had better watch out. My dad and his whole law firm are itchin' for a legal battle. Brian and Pete have taught us a little, and when the self defense classes start, we'll get prepared for any homophobic jerks. It's not our fight, it's theirs. We'll defend ourselves, just like Prez and Mike did."

Corey smiled, "Aren't you worried?"

Drew shrugged, "Only a little bit. I don't want you getting hurt."

"You're my world, but not my guardian. I don't want you hurt either, Drew."

"I'm not gonna sit here worrying about what might happen. I've got something much more real to deal with; the death of a demon that tried to take you away from me."

Corey giggled, "Do you think we'll kiss at school?"

Drew grinned, "More than likely, but we'll let four seniors lead the way."

Corey asked, "Do you want it to be real, Drew; you and me, married?"

Drew chuckled, "We were before I asked, pretty much. I love being with you, all demons and nightmares considered. There's no one else I'd rather be with. When I dream about you too, I wake up happier than ever."

"Horny too," Corey giggled.

Drew laughed, "Do we get to have lunch and start the honeymoon?" Corey didn't reply. He only stood and ran across the park toward the house. Rush barked and pulled Drew off the bench to chase Corey.

Giggling, they entered the house, released the dog from his leash and looked around. The master and guest bedroom doors were closed. Drew smirked then hollered, "We weren't gone that long! Didn't anybody eat lunch?" Laughter erupted from both bedrooms.

Prez bellowed, "Fresh sausage here!"

Brian laughed, "It's all your fault, Drew."

Mike yelled, "Prenuptial nuptials!"

"Dinner's already in the oven, dudes," Derrick shouted.

Keith chuckled, "It'll be ready in two hours."

"Will we be ready to eat is the question," Pete sniggered.

"Damn!" Drew softly grumbled. His shoulders bouncing from a held in belly laugh, Corey took both Drew's hands and led him down the hall. Stopping at the linen closet, Corey handed two pillows to Drew and grabbed a sheet. Drew reminded, "You need food, three times a day."

Corey nodded and giggled, "I promise to eat a late lunch after dinner, during the party." Closing the closet door, he led the way to the studio and shook open the sheet. Drew closed and locked the door behind them. Taking his shirt off and quickly pushing his boxers and shorts down, Corey revealed his erection. Drew evilly grinned. Stepping out of his clothes and kicking them aside, Corey softly reminded, "It could be your second time today, stud?" His heart fluttering like mad, Drew dropped the pillows on the sheet and nodded. In an instant, Corey was in front of Drew and undressing him. He whispered, "Like husbands, Drew, nice and slow. I want you, dude."

Drew softly wondered, "What would my husband like from me?"

"Everything, stud," Corey giggled.

For most of the remaining two hours, four couples made love. In the master and guest bedrooms, after the couples completed the first round, toys were taken out. The prior night, Mike and Derrick enjoyed watching Keith and Prez playing with their double headed dildo and asked if they could try it out. Since they had four other toys to play with, Keith and Prez agreed. Prez wanted to use the Tower of Hanoi dong on Keith. What started out incredibly beautifully for Keith became mind boggling once Prez got the entire dong in and started slowly pulling it out. Each successively smaller bump in the toy made Keith moan and shiver. Prez warmly smiled at his lover and more quickly pushed the dong back in. Keith squirmed and whimpered with delight. As happy as Mike and Derrick were with the borrowed toy and each other, they couldn't help noticing how crazed Keith was getting.

Across the hall, Brian and Pete helped themselves to Drew's and Corey's two toys. Situated in a sixty-nine position, Brian began pushing the eight-by-six dildo into Pete. Similarly, Pete inserted the seven-by-five toy into Brian. It took minutes of patience for them to become accustomed to the larger toys. Noise that they hadn't ever made before drowned out sounds from the master bedroom and studio.

Drew and Corey overflowed with passion. Without toys or lube, they prepared each other with spit, fingers and tongues. Corey wanted Drew, in the missionary position. What Corey found amazing was that, although he was virtually motionless, his cock throbbed inside Drew. It was only Drew's dreamy eyes and soft smile that seemed to be pushing Corey's buttons. Another new connection completed their vocal affirmations to act as husbands. Hovering over Drew, Corey gave kisses and received more kisses while he tried to prevent his first premature ejaculation. Only when he started thrusting in and out and felt the additional moisture did he realize that he had indeed already cum, but his dick was still hard. He continued making love anyway, basking in Drew's whispered words of encouragement and feeling Drew's hands periodically shift from his ass, to his back and to his arms and then back down.

As Corey sped up and slowed down, Drew moaned incredible words; words that Corey would repeat back to Drew as soon as they reversed positions. "You're so beautiful, Corey. Shoot inside me, angel. Fill me with your sperm. I'd have your babies, if I could." All chances of holding back his second orgasm evaporated with those words.

Euphoric, Corey came hard, making Drew moo and purr with delight. When he regained consciousness again, Corey giggled, "Twice for my stud."

With his legs still in the air, Drew stroked Corey's arms and softly chuckled, "Really?"

Corey nodded and giggled, "I didn't think I did at first. Thinking of you as my husband, I lost it the first minute, while we were still kissing."

"Gimme another kiss," Drew prompted.

Corey did so, tenderly and then deeply. He would've held the kiss longer, but his shoulders and arms refused. Breaking the kiss, Corey knelt down, guided his erection from Drew and watched the pulsing orifice leak two loads onto the sheet. Still recalling what Drew had said those final moments; Corey hurried to lie down on his one true love and whispered, "Whenever you're ready, stud."

"Don't you want to wait a few minutes?"

Humming negatively, Corey assured, "I'm ready for you. Do it twice inside me, magic man." Sniggering insanely, Drew held onto Corey and rolled them over and then back again. Corey loudly laughed and held on for the ride.

Realizing that Corey's bone still hadn't deflated much after a minute or two of playing, Drew hovered over Corey and smiled, "I can't believe how good I feel."

Corey contentedly sighed, "Me too. My husband can make me feel even better though."

Drew's smile slowly faded. His eyes drank in every pore of Corey's face. After landing one deep kiss and tasting Corey's tongue, Drew knelt and prepared his cock with spit. Corey pulled his legs up and held his ankles. Wetting his hand a second time, Drew prepared Corey and received a desperate whimper from only a single inserted fingertip. Moving into position, Drew aimed and inserted his cock then hovered over Corey on his arms and toes.

Their eyes locked. Drew shivered and remained motionless, as Corey had, repeatedly stealing kisses. Beginning to move in and out of his lover, Drew had to pause after only a few slow thrusts. Drew rolled his eyes and smirked.

Corey smiled, "It's so beautiful, Drew."

Reluctantly, Drew softly admitted, "I came already."

Corey only nodded, "Look in my eyes, stud." As soon as Drew did so, Corey gently assured, "It's okay. I did too. Stay in me, take your time and continue when you're ready. I'm your husband; I've been with you when you came four times in me in about an hour."

"That was a great day," Drew grinned.

"There have been so many great days recently."

"They can't be anything except awesome."

Carefully choosing his words, Corey hummed affirmatively then reminded, "I tell my husband the truth. He makes what should be difficult so easy. We both feel great afterward."

Shivering with delight, Drew sighed, "Mister Corey Seaver, husband of Mister Drew Hundser."

Corey nodded, "Mister Drew Hundser, lover of Mister Corey Seaver."

An uncontrollable spasm raced from head to toe through Drew. Thrusting hard against Corey's butt, Drew groaned, "You're so fantastic, Cor."

"Because you love me, Drew; you're my mate." Feeling Drew grinding against his ass and hearing soft moaning, Corey encouraged, "Always for you. I'm ready to receive the wonderful things you're giving me." Stiff as steel, Drew pulled back and thrust back in. "Yeah," Corey sighed. Another full thrust and Corey mooed then shuddered, "So awesome."

Drew never lost eye contact with Corey. Even when they blinked, the most intimate connection of all was still there before them. Drew sped up and slowed down, making Corey quiver and purr. Minutes later, Drew desperately groaned, "Oh, Corey."

That was the signal Corey recognized. He didn't want Drew to slow again so he chanted, "You're so handsome, Drew. Cum inside me, stud. Fill me with your sperm. I'd have dozens of your babies, if I could."

"God, yes, Corey," Drew whined, just before his eyes rolled back and he thrust forcefully into Corey that final time.

Corey mooed and moaned, "Yes my love, our babies, inside me and you too; our babies, our beautiful babies."

Coming to his senses, Drew heard Corey still wishing for the impossible. In his delirium when Corey was making love to him, Drew didn't realize what he had also wished for. Hearing it again from Corey though, Drew remembered. That's what set him off in another giggling fit.

Hearing Drew giggling, Corey knew why and cracked up. In moments, as fast Drew could slip out of Corey and drop on top of him, they were rolling back and forth across the sheet, completely hysterical. If the other six weren't so involved down the hall, they would've heard Drew laughing, "I don't want tits and sure as hell don't want you to have tits."

And Corey giggling, "Or a snatch and being a total bitch a few days every month."

"No sex change operations for us," Drew wearily sniggered.

Corey giggled, "I love your dick and mine, but if I could…"

Drew stole a kiss and smiled, "Me too, Cor, me too."

"When we're really married?"

"And have good careers…"

"We'll adopt at least two."

"They would make us a real family."

"Until then…"

"We keep making love and being silly…"

"Wishing for the day."

Allowing their combined imaginations to run amuck, Corey and Drew imagined their future; freshmen in high school, sophomores, junior year and senior year, letter jackets from the baseball team, college exams, maybe even scholarships to help pay for college. They would attend the same university and live together in the small one-bedroom apartment Drew had dreamed of. They'd save their money and stay in that apartment until they had stable careers. By 2007, they'd be out of school; by 2008, they could hopefully afford a home of their own. With luck, they could adopt kids by 2010. Drew would be twenty-seven and Corey would be about twenty-six.

Anywhere along the Southern California coast would be the perfect place to live. Periodically, they would refine their hopes and ideas, just as they had that time, after making love and making imaginary babies. Revved up again, Corey asked Drew to try for more babies. When Drew agreed, Corey got on his hands and knees. This time there were no premature ejaculations. Drew gave Corey his very best. When Drew rested, Corey took over, teetering forward and backward. Corey lost it once from the prostate massage then Drew finished and jacked Corey to another blinding orgasm. Breathless, sweaty and playful, they rolled around the sheet on the floor some more until a knock was heard at the door.

Brian called, "It's quarter-to-six, guys. The shower is open and dinner in about fifteen minutes."

Corey sweetly hollered, "We'll be right there, Brian."

Drew checked, "Only if you want to, Corey. I'd be just as happy alone in the other tub with you."

Making a twisted, uncertain expression, Corey thought about it for a few moments. He smiled, "Ya know what? It has a purpose, beyond cleaning up, my thoughts need cleaning too. If I get freaked, I'll tell my hubby."

Feeling that incredible chill race up and down his spine, Drew pushed Corey over onto his back. Drew tasted Corey's lips then started the tender kisses along each lip. Corey desperately moaned, "Oh." Drew went for the passionate lip lock. They re-breathed air until they were dizzy. Blinking fast, Corey softly huffed, "Whoa!"

Drew smiled, "That dizzy spell doesn't count, unless you want to tell the doc?"

Corey giggled, "Hey doc, have you ever gotten a head rush from a kiss? No matter what his answer is, I'll point to you."

Evilly sniggering, Drew knew Corey was only partially kidding. He pushed up off Corey then offered him a hand up. Corey landed against Drew and held on, widely smiling at his hubby. Ecstatic, Drew held Corey and exaggerated a dance to the door. Corey unlocked and opened the door. Still dancing down the hall with Drew humming a tune, Corey giggled. On top of the world, Drew smiled and smoothly sang.

When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand
and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.

Corey sighed, closed his eyes and rested his head on Drew's shoulder, trusting Drew to lead the way. They danced into the master bedroom and bathroom with Drew still singing. Beyond the shower door, Keith and Pete sang harmony vocals. Brian slid open the shower door for Drew and Corey and closed it behind them.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you've got to do is call and I'll be there, yeah, yeah,
you've got a friend.

The shower turned into a place to slow dance. Each couple embraced and swayed in place. Prez, Mike and Derrick began softly wooing while Drew sang lead vocals to Corey and Keith and Pete provided backup harmony vocals.

If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow
keep your head together and call my name out loud, now.
Soon I'll be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I'll come running, oh yes I will, to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you've got to do is call and I'll be there.

Hey, ain't it good to know that you've got a friend? People can be so cold.
They'll hurt you and desert you. Well, they'll take your soul if you let them
oh yeah, but don't you let them.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I'll come running to see you again. Oh baby, don't you know about
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you've got to do is call, Lord, I'll be there, yeah, yeah,
you've got a friend. You've got a friend, yeah.
Ain't it good to know you've got a friend. Ain't it good to know you've got a friend.
Oh, yeah, yeah, you've got a friend.

All four couples kissed and resumed showering. As much as the four band mates were tempted to comment on the acoustics of singing in the shower, not one did. The song and the shower set all their minds along the same track; the party, keeping what could become fourteen other gay teenagers entertained, and keeping the house undamaged. That's what the eight boys spoke of while toweling dry, redressing and during dinner too. Mike and Derrick decided to go back to Woodland Hills to get the Vox amp, Doug's Stratocaster and their own instruments. All Doug's and Brian's guitars would be put back in their cases and away. During the party, either Drew and Corey or Brian and Pete would insure everything was cool in the front rooms. All the guests would be reminded, as they arrived, that this was someone else's home. Everything had to be cool and treated with care, just as each of them had done all month.

Brian's only concern was the possibility of a fight. "Where there's alcohol and a bunch of guys, anything is possible," he explained.

Derrick sighed and relented, "Get them out of the house, to the front yard or back, whichever is easiest and quickest." Brian and Pete nodded, and would assume the roles of bouncers if the need should arise.

From the living room sofa and coffee table, where he and Corey had their dinner, Drew hummed then reminded, "What could Corey or I do? Jerry's as tall as Pete. If he got into a fight, my first instinct would be to get out of the way."

Brian grinned and nodded, "We'll show you and Corey, as soon as we get dinner and the kitchen cleaned up."

Without looking up from his plate, Corey said, "I have a two step plan." Scowling, Drew turned to Corey.

Prez wondered, "What's the plan, Corey?"

Corey giggled, "Yell for Brian and Pete and then get the hell out of the way." Soft chortling traveled around the room.

"Good plan," Drew sniggered.

"I know," Corey laughed.

Mike grinned, "I like Corey's plan. The only alternative would be cracking someone over the head with my guitar."

"You'd dent your guitar," Prez chuckled.

Mike scowled, "Yeah, it sucks, but there's no more fight when someone's unconscious."

Unable to take it any longer, Pete laughed, "Guys, save your instruments and your hands. Think about this, joints flex in one direction with very little pressure; a firm kick behind a knee and someone's off balance or down, at least long enough to get their attention."

Brian grinned and nodded, "It doesn't take much effort or strength at all. A good poke at an elbow and it bends too. Now you've got an arm to grab and yank outside. No one needs to get hurt and nothing needs to be damaged."

Derrick smiled, "Doug and Brian showed us some simple karate maneuvers using pressure points. The simple facts are, we'd really rather not fight or prevent fights, and all these dudes are very cool; most of 'em were at Mike's birthday party, with beer, and not a single argument or disagreement happened."

Pete nodded, "Better to be safe than sorry, right? In fifteen minutes, across the street in the park, Corey and Drew will be ready. Then Prez and Keith come out and fifteen minutes later, you're prepared too. Mike and Derrick come back with the guitars and, in a few minutes, they'll be set too."

Finished eating, Brian leaned back and smiled, "We could even get Ben to accomplish more than he ever dreamed he could. With his build, he could be an immoveable wall. He simply never learned how."

Also done with dinner, Keith nodded, "Do it, dudes; not only for us, but definitely Ben too, no matter how much he balks."

Pete was wiping the last of the tomato sauce off his plate with a slice of French bread and nodded, "Consider it done." He chewed the bread and hummed. After he swallowed, Pete smiled, "Excellent dinner. Fifteen minutes prep time and two hours in the oven too. For teaching us how to make it, we have a special free offer, in the park."

Brian, Keith and Pete stood with their tableware and went to the kitchen. They started stowing plates, silverware and glasses in the dishwasher. Drew had finished his meal and was sitting back on the sofa with his glass of soda, watching Corey finish his meal. The contents of Corey's plate matched Drew's, for the first time in a very long time. Corey enjoyed the chicken cacciatore as much this time as he had the previous week, when Mike and Derrick made it for them. Drew put his glass on the coffee table and widely smiled as Corey wiped the plate clean with a slice of wheat French bread. Picking up his glass of water and swallowing a few mouthfuls, Corey turned to Drew. Realizing that he was being watched, Corey giggled and blew bubbles into the water.

Noticing that now Keith, Pete and Brian were sitting at the table while Prez, Derrick and Mike were in the kitchen, Drew whispered, "You've given me another stiffy, Cor."

"I'm so full now too," Corey giggled. Putting his glass down on the coffee table, Corey silently mouthed, "Maybe I'm pregnant?" They softly chortled.

Pulling Corey back to rest against him, Drew sighed, "That fat demon blob is dead. I've got ya back now and I'm never letting go." He reached up to wipe away a stray happy tear and unintentionally sniffled.

From Drew's shoulder, Corey looked up and over. Seeing Drew wearing a grin, but with shiny eyes, Corey gently shushed him then whispered, "It's a fresh start. Lay down on me and relax?" When Drew nodded, Corey positioned himself to recline on the sofa. Drew lay down on top of Corey. They closed their eyes and sighed.

Seeing Keith smirking, Brian and Pete looked behind them. They smiled and turned to Keith. Pete softly suggested, "Could it be, Drew learned a few things from you?"

Brian nodded and grinned, "We've only heard stories about last summer. Now Drew's where you were. It's their turn."

Sadly shaking his head, Keith smirked, "He's so far from the brother I thought I knew."

Pete grinned, "I'm better off with Brian."

Returning to the table, Mike added, "I'm way better with Dee than I used to be."

Nodding, Keith smiled, "It the same for me and Prez too. Now I see, from watching Drew, what my family and friends say about changes in me. It doesn't seem as drastic, but that's a mirror reflection speaking."

Placing his hands on Keith's shoulders, Prez grinned, "It's definitely the same Drew, babe. The hints dropped over the last year, we missed or misinterpreted. We can't say how Corey's changed too, but that's partially because we hadn't spent this much time with him. Maybe it's also because Corey even recognizes the need for more changes."

At a few moments pause in the conversation, Derrick called from the kitchen; "If I could get the last of the dishes, then the dishwasher could run?"

Starting for the living room, Prez said, "Just a few, bro." Leaning over the coffee table to get the plates, glasses and silverware stacked to carry to the kitchen, Prez teased, "Their arms are around each other's backs. Lying on me, Keith holds my buns." Corey giggled then whispered in Drew's ear. A moment later, both pairs of arms shifted lower and Drew began humping like mad. Corey cracked up. Prez chuckled, "That's the ticket; definitely a Hundser brother at play."

Entering the kitchen, Prez and Derrick leaned over opposite sides of the dishwasher door, placing things on the racks. Their faces were relatively close. Derrick softly teased, "Wanna kiss, sex-machine?" Leaning forward more, Prez landed a whopper on his best friend. Derrick's eyes closed and he didn't move. Facing the kitchen and noticing that neither Derrick nor Prez had risen above the counter, Pete helplessly chuckled.

Partially standing, Brian looked over the counter, by which time, the kiss had broken. Chortling, Mike and Keith stood and faced the kitchen. They tried to appear at least a little suspicious. Standing upright again and turning the dishwasher on, Prez and Derrick saw Keith and Mike. Derrick laughed, "What?"

Prez cackled, "Had to add soap, didn't we?"

Mike lost it and cracked up. Keith chuckled, "You're busted, baby. You had to mention soap. Get your bubble butt over here, before we wind up having kitchen sex."

Surprising all of the other six, Corey howled and Drew evilly snickered. Brian and Pete turned in their chairs toward the living room and grinned. Approaching Keith and reaching for his hand, Prez raised a curious eyebrow. Following Prez, Derrick stepped beside Mike. Mike slid a hand into Derrick's back pocket. All six watched Drew and Corey bouncing and laughing.

"They've done it already," Prez grumbled. "We haven't even done that."

Drew's red face popped up and he laughed, "Oh yes you did! We walked in on you!" Brian and Pete sputtered then cracked up.

Shaking his head, Keith assured, "We were naked making lunch, not making love."

"Oh," Drew giggled, "too bad for you." Corey roared for about fifteen seconds then loudly hiccupped.

Since their bonding period had already ended, Drew got up to get Corey a glass of water. As Drew walked past, Keith wondered, "Which house, bro?"

Drew blushed and giggled, "I'm not tellin'."

Pete smiled, "He's not the kiss and tell type, Keith."

"Yeah!" Drew laughed, "Ya perv!"

Keith laughed, "Who's a perv? We didn't do it in the kitchen!"

Grinning, Prez softly mumbled, "In the living room, on Christmas Eve." Hysterical laughter erupted. On the sofa still, Corey rolled too far and fell on the floor.

Focusing on Brian and Pete, Mike giggled, "See, this is why he's my best friend and not my lover. Sex on counter tops is uncomfortable."

Prez hummed then smirked, "How do you know? I thought you said that you leaned against the counter?"

Leading Mike towards the door, Derrick chuckled, "We have to get the guitars and amp now." Pounding his fists on the carpeted floor, Corey hiccupped and wheezed.

"Sure, run away," Keith teased. Neither Derrick nor Mike slowed; they only evilly snickered their way out of the house.

Drew crossed the rooms with a bottle of water for Corey and a glass of soda for himself. He put both on the coffee table then squatted down to help Corey up. Once standing, Corey hung off Drew. Taking a deep breath, Corey's face went from red to almost purple before he exhaled. Widely smiling and holding onto Drew, he told everyone, "This is what I'd like my house to be like. That's why I tease my folks and goof around with Drew in front of them, only to make them smile or laugh, and stop treating me like a fragile vase that could break at any moment. When I get confused, Drew deals with it, just like he always has, telling me his own point of view and guessing about other peoples' perspectives. But where have I had the best times?"

"When you're with me, wherever that happens to be," Drew answered.

Corey nodded, planted a kiss on Drew's cheek then continued. "I love all you dudes. Please don't think for a second that I don't. Mike's party was a blast, to me and Drew. Maybe it was nothing special for you, but it was for us. Tonight's party will be just like that. I feel it, deep inside me. Instead of gathering at the pool, we'll gather in the studio, or here in the living room, or maybe out at the park across the street."

Drew wanted to see the expressions of Brian, Pete, Keith and Prez, so he released Corey and turned around in his arms. On all their faces, Drew saw soft smiles. He shared, "What makes this summer so special for me is primarily Corey. Right behind that is getting to spend time with Keith and his friends. Next summer, everything changes." Focusing on Brian and Pete, Drew smiled, "You two dudes are the surprise bonus of the summer. We didn't expect you to choose to spend much time with us, but you have."

Brian reminded, "We will again tomorrow too, just like we planned; the four of us will spend a few hours together, then we'll come back here."

"And all eight of us will go out to dinner, at Willy's," Pete added.

Prez softly said, "Six of us; Derrick and Mike have to work tomorrow."

Having forgotten that, Brian and Pete rolled their eyes. Pete quickly altered the plan. "Then we'll have a big lunch together first, before we spend time alone with Drew and Corey. We'll come back here afterward."

Keith asked Prez, "Why don't we start moving back home tomorrow afternoon, baby?"

Prez shrugged, "It's up to Drew and Corey. I get the impression they wanted to spend time with Brian and Pete."

"You can be around too," Corey quickly said. "We're just gonna lift weights, get some more wrestling lessons and chat."

Brian suggested, "Let's go out to the park." Everyone else nodded. While Brian, Pete, Corey and Drew started for the park, Prez raced around closing doors. Keith got the dog fed and watered. As they walked out of the house, they saw Ben walking up the street. Prez waved him over to join them at the park.

Already demonstrating a mock fight, Pete had Brian wrapped tightly and Brian had a hold of one of Pete's legs. Now that Ben, Keith and Prez were also watching, Pete said, "Okay, like this, let's pretend a punch has already been thrown and the two guys are struggling in the living room. They could fall and hurt themselves or break things in the house."

Brian instructed, "Depending on exactly where they are a kick behind the knee could create the problem we're trying to avoid." He asked, "What do you do?" Ben, Corey, Drew and Prez shrugged.

Keith grinned, "You're both already off balance." He calmly walked over and stuck his hand in the waistband of Pete's shorts, opposite where Brian was, and tugged. Pete teetered and released Brian.

Pete smiled, "That's a good start, but now that I've released Brian, he can punch or tackle me. Now you're on the ground, with me on top on you, and potentially, Brian on both of us." He told Keith, "Now you and I will struggle and Brian will show the right way." Keith nodded and Pete lunged for him. Taken off guard, Keith found himself in a headlock in ten seconds.

Brian grinned, "First thing to do is identify the more aggressive fighter, obviously the guy on top. You never need to throw a punch." Demonstrating on Pete, Brian went behind him and described how to put him in a half-nelson. "Slide your right hand under his arm and up behind his head, pushing forward. Pull his left arm behind his back. Use enough reasonable force to restrain him, but not so much that you break or dislocate a shoulder. Stand him up or force him to the ground, face down. Hold until he realizes that he has no other options. Try not to use your knee or do anything that can leave a physical bruise, because the good guy doesn't deserve to get sued, but he could." He released Pete and smiled, "Pete's five inches taller and about ten pounds heavier than me, but I broke him away from Keith. The fight's over. Now you can tell them to take it outside, or better yet, tell the aggressor to leave. The party is over for him and whoever he came with."

Brian and Pete demonstrated their fight again, allowing Keith to use what he learned to break it up. After Keith, Prez broke them up, and then Drew, Corey and Ben each tried and eventually succeeded. When the 442 pulled into the driveway across the street, Keith and Prez went to bring the instruments and amp inside. They sent Mike and Derrick across the street for their lesson. The lesson was sidetracked briefly by demonstrations of hand and arm pressure points, for the benefit of Ben, Corey and Drew.

Everyone still outside went in the house. Mike and Derrick helped Prez and Keith get the studio ready for the party. Corey called home and talked to both his parents. Using his cell phone, Drew called home too. He did not tell his dad about the party, but simply mentioned a few other friends were coming over and the band was going to play. However, Jennifer already knew from Lanna Seaver. Therefore, Mike's and Derrick's mothers also knew.

Corey and Drew joined Ben, Brian and Pete on the sofa, watching TV. Finished in the studio, Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike went directly to the kitchen for drinks. Taking a bottle of water with them, Prez and Keith took Rush for a walk in the park. The first knocks on the door happened at quarter-after-eight. Derrick welcomed Shaun and Gil inside and offered them something to drink. They declined. Mike got up and went to greet them.

Gil grinned, "I talked to my boss and can go in later tomorrow, nine o'clock is better than eight."

Shaun smiled, "Now we can stay until about midnight." He waved into the living room then asked where Prez and Keith were.

"Across the street with Rush," Derrick answered.

Shaun confirmed, "We're gonna play a few tunes tonight?"

Mike nodded, "Of course."

Shaun grinned, "I got a Strat, Mike. It's in the trunk."

"Let's see it, dude!" Mike cheered.

Heading to the door again with Mike tagging along, Shaun explained, "Its killer, dude. I got lucky and got a used Candy Apple Red one with Fender Hot Noiseless pickups."

"Sweet!" Mike laughed as they stepped outside.

Gil grinned, "Mike practically gets a stiffy from guitars."

Derrick nodded and chuckled, "Not practically, he does; I've watched it happen." Everyone sniggered and joked about getting woodies from wood guitars.

Stepping inside with Mike and hearing the jokes, Shaun cracked up. Mike smirked, "You dudes just don't understand. There are few things finer than coaxing tunes out of an instrument."

Brian chuckled, "I know how you think, and where you're going, Mike, but I'm not going there."

Mike leered, "You so want to though." Shaun opened the tweed case and handed Mike his new guitar. Holding it up and out, Mike spied down the neck and muttered, "Nice and flat, no concave or convex bows." He held it normally and began playing Dee.

Prez, Keith and Rush walked in. Panting and out of breath, the dog went directly to his water dish. Prez grinned, "The hound's exercised and should be good through the night. If he gets rambunctious, let him out back." He went over and stood before Mike, but checked with Shaun, "That's yours?"

Shaun nodded, "Used, but in excellent condition."

"It looks really great," Prez beamed. "I can't wait to hear it."

Finishing the song, Mike smiled, "Awesome choice, dude," and handed the guitar back to Shaun. He nodded, "It plays and looks incredible," and then wondered, "What about an amp?"

Putting the guitar back in its case, Shaun said, "Tomorrow or Friday, Mike. I have a choice; one hundred watts and one twelve-inch speaker, or fifty watts and two twelve-inch speakers. They're both tube amps, and within my budget, since I saved about two hundred bucks on the guitar."

Mike said, "My amp is sixty-five watts through two twelve-inch speakers. A hundred watts into one speaker seems like a lot of power, likely to blow the speaker to shreds. Also, two speakers is twice the sound of one, no matter what amount of power." Derrick and Keith grinned while Mike geeked out on Shaun. Noticing Derrick and Keith, Gil nodded and smiled.

Prez asked, "Is that true, Mike?"

"Always," Mike nodded, "the amp's current is distributed through the speakers. Ohm's law, dude; the current equals the volts divided by the resistance. The speakers are the resistance and the amp provides the power."

Rolling his eyes, Drew whispered to Corey, "But he still gets confused powering up our P.A." Corey nodded and giggled.

Blinking fast, Brian asked, "Are you feeling alright, Mike?"

"Perfectly fine," Mike answered, and then wondered, "Why?"

Widely smiling, Brian teased, "That's the most intelligent thing I've heard you say." Keith howled laughing and everyone else joined him.

Mike smirked, "There's a lot more to it than Ohm's law. There's the power output defined by RMS, or root-mean-square. Multiply the RMS of the current by the RMS of the voltage." Waving his hand, Mike said, "Fuck all that. One amp to one speaker is about half as loud as one amp through two speakers."

Shaun giggled, "I'll get the amp with two speakers."

Mike nodded, "A Marshall head is a hundred watts and feeds four speakers. Fifty watts into two will do the trick nicely, especially with that guitar."

Derrick grinned, "I hope Jerry's bringing beer. Now I need at least one."

There were more knocks on the door. Mike went to answer it and greeted Matt, Eddie, Rick and Graham. As they filed in, they greeted everyone standing around the dining area with handshakes and knuckle-knocks. They were then introduced to Ben, Brian and Pete. All four new arrivals remembered Corey and Drew from Mike's birthday party. Prez asked if anyone wanted a soft drink. Almost everyone did. Heading to the kitchen with Keith, Prez passed out a few bottles of water. Keith handed off the bottles to Brian and Pete, who served their guests. Prez lined up glasses with ice and Keith poured sodas for the other guests.

Taking a bottle of water, Graham went to sit on the sofa, with Drew and Corey on one side and Ben on his other side. Graham pleasantly asked, "How're you dudes doin'?"

Realizing that Graham was the dude whose boyfriend was in a hospital, Drew softly replied, "We're really good, dude." Graham turned to Ben, receiving a smile and a nod.

Corey gently asked, "How're you."

Graham shrugged, "It's been a rough month."

Drew sighed, "We heard and we're really very sorry too." Corey rapidly nodded.

Forcing a small smile, Graham said, "Thanks. It's been over a month. I need to try and move on; at least that's what everyone keeps telling me." All the others filed down the hallway toward the studio.

"That's true, but it's gotta be in your time, no one else's," Drew offered.

Glancing around uncertainly between Corey, Drew and Graham, Ben wondered, "Have I missed something?"

Groaning because obviously Ben hadn't already heard, Drew checked with Graham, "Do you want to tell Ben or shall I?"

Graham suggested, "How about we go for a walk? I'm sure Eddie and Matt are telling everyone else. We'll keep inside for the party and outside for other stuff?" Drew and Corey nodded then led the way outside, with Ben following behind Graham. Silently, carrying their bottles of water, they walked across the street and into the park. The last time Graham had seen the two younger boys, they weren't holding hands as they were this time. Taking a deep breath, Graham silently recalled, 'That's the way Francis and I wanted to be too.' He exhaled and took another painfully deep breath. The sun was setting, reminding Graham of all the times he would lead Francis out to watch it, no matter where they were or what they were doing, they'd watch for fifteen or twenty minutes, until the last of the colors turned dark. Barely controlling himself, Graham briefly explained, "My boyfriend and I were in an accident. He was in a coma for about a month. Last week, his parents took him off life support. He died Friday and was buried Sunday." Unable to control it, Graham broke down crying. He stopped walking and sought out the first available body – Ben's. Uncertainly, Ben wrapped Graham loosely in his arms and tried to console him.

Corey shed tears and sniffled, which pushed Drew to tears. Drew gently suggested, "There's a free picnic table. Let's sit." Graham nodded, indicating he had heard the idea, but he didn't move. Since Corey was falling apart too, Drew led him to the bench to sit down.

The entire way, Corey softly wept, "He died, Drew. We knew he might, but now it's real. I can't believe it. We hardly spoke, but I can imagine Francis, his red hair and freckles. I remember him and Graham dancing too."

Motionless behind them, Graham bitterly sobbed against Ben's shoulder, "We used to watch sunsets. I should've just stayed inside or home. I didn't mean for this to happen again. Maybe I should've let Drew tell you. I've cried lots of times a day, every day, for over a month. It still seems so wrong and hurts so bad." Not looking up, but realizing what he was doing, Graham tried to chuckle beyond his tears; "I don't even know you, but here I am again, balling my eyes out over something I can't change." He sobbed even harder.

From the moment Graham attached himself, Ben could only think, 'Omigod! Why is he holding me? Doesn't he know I'm a basket case and he's so completely gorgeous? Talk about beauty and the beast!' Ben sighed, "I'm sorry I asked and made you cry."

Shaking his head, Graham cried, "You didn't; I did it, again."

Ben sighed, "You loved him."

Graham nodded, "He put up with my shit daily. It didn't faze him in the least."

"That means he loved you back," Ben reminded. "He probably still does, from a different place. He's watching over you too. Mike and Prez taught me that love never dies, it just changes form."

"I really hope that's true," Graham wept.

Remembering the smell of woman's perfume and talk of ghosts, Ben assured, "I'm as sure as I can be, it is. Do you hear him?"

Nodding, Graham wearily balled, "He's telling me to stop crying, that he was the asshole and I put up with him. I'm arguing with him now, just like I did…"

Not knowing what else he might say, Ben sighed, "It's a really pretty sunset tonight. There are so many shades of red, more than I've ever seen before."

Looking up for the first time in many minutes, Graham wiped his eyes and tried to focus on the colors in the sky. Seeing all the pastel red and orange hues pasted against the hills to the west, he gulped and choked out, "Francis had red hair."

Ben chirped, "Really?"

Graham nodded, "Deep red, not dark, or light like Prez's hair."

Hearing the boyfriend's name for the first time, Ben asked, "Do you think maybe Francis is making it special just for you?"

Tears flooded Graham's eyes again. He wiped them away in a vain attempt to compose himself and nodded, but lost it again despite his best attempt to hold the tears back. Holding onto Ben, he sobbed for a while longer. He had to look up at the sky again though and eventually did so. Ben watched with Graham as the reds turned more purple and then melted into a deep violet. The last of daylight faded away and so did Graham's tears.

Walking by with Corey, Drew said, "We're going inside, dudes. Take your time."

"Or make some," Corey giggled. Drew grinned and nudged his boyfriend to be nice.

As they walked past, Graham said, "I'm not sure which house…"

"I know," Ben interrupted. He pointed and said, "That one." Then he pointed a few houses down and told Graham, "I live there." Dropping his hand, Ben shyly admitted, "One of the two men that own the house Mike and Derrick are watching is my guitar teacher."

Graham smirked, "You play and came out here with me?"

Ben giggled, "I can play two classical songs. They can really play, I listen."

Graham couldn't quite get over the tone of Ben's voice; it was fairly high for a dude, especially one as box-like and strong as Ben. And they were practically the same height. The little voice in Graham's mind said, 'No, it can't be.' Not wanting to even consider any possibilities, Graham asked, "Are you gay?" Ben nodded. Graham wondered, "Who's your boyfriend?"

Shaking his head, Ben giggled, "Don't have one."

"Broke up?" Graham checked.

Ben smiled, "No, never had one."

Graham hummed then muttered, "That's hard to believe."

Ben shrugged then sighed, "My dad's homophobic." Graham almost audibly huffed in relief. The last thing he needed was another closeted boyfriend with homophobic parents. Deciding to come clean, Ben softly offered, "Mike, Derrick, Prez and Keith are really good friends. They helped me one night, just a few weeks ago. I was so happy that I hurried home. Well, my dad was less than thrilled. He came out of the room with his gun. Before he could shoot me, my mom jumped him. As she was falling down the gun went off. She was hit in the leg. Dad was arrested and we're pressing all charges." He pointed at his home again and told Graham, "That's our house, for the next month. September first we're moving to Woodland Hills. As bad as some things have been, I'm looking forward to the move. At least I'll be going to school with Mike, Derrick, Prez and Keith. Drew and Corey start going there too. My mom will be closer to work too, so it's working itself out pretty well."

Most of the time Ben was talking, Graham was thinking, 'Francis, you sonofabitch! Only you would make it so completely obvious. I'm not over you yet, you asshole! But no, here's a red sunset and some shoulders to cry on. If you weren't already dead, I'd kill you!' He never said any of that aloud though. He asked, "Ya wanna walk?"

Ben nodded, "If you want."

Graham picked up the water bottle that he had dropped when he grabbed hold of Ben. They started walking the fields of Chumash Park. Graham asked, "Mom knows you're gay?"

Ben nodded and smiled, "She's been great. My father was the thorn in both our sides. If I didn't know that they were married a year before she got pregnant, I'd swear I was his unwanted son." Ben asked, "How're your parents; they knew about Francis?"

Graham sighed, "Yeah. They weren't thrilled, but they never caused us problems. I wouldn't give them an A plus, but a solid B, for not complaining, not asking the ridiculous question, 'are you sure?' or bothering Francis. They liked him and he liked them."

Hearing a change in the volume of Graham's voice, Ben asked, "Are you okay?"

Graham nodded and sighed, "Yeah. It hurts to remember him or even say his name."

"That's the way it has to be, I guess," Ben muttered. "My dad's not dead, but he's gone, for at least twenty years. Since he wanted to kill me, it's not like I'll ever be..." Ben sighed, "I'm sorry, I'm going off about him. I should be listening and not talking."

Graham grinned, "Ya know what, Ben?"

"What?"

"Eddie, Matt and Rick are my three best friends in the world. They did what you did, holding me while I cried. For the last week, they haven't been quite so willing. I can understand it too. It's a bitch being a bitch and dealing with bitches. The thing is you were willing. Even scarier, for me, is what I can't help thinking ever since."

Ben waited to hear what Graham was thinking. Believing it wasn't any of his business, Ben said, "It's cool. You don't have to tell me."

"No, I have to say it," Graham corrected. "The thing is, I have to, even though I'm not ready, I need to let you know."

"Don't worry about it," Ben calmly assured.

The first real smile in over a month swept across Graham's face and split it in half. Francis wasn't exactly quick to pick up on Graham's interest. Once upon a time, Francis wouldn't even allow himself to admit that he was interested in Graham. Ben didn't seem to mind or even push a little bit. He seemed so calm and cool about all he had done, like it was no big deal. It wasn't simply a big deal, it was a great thing Ben had done and even more wonderful were the things he said, as far as Graham was concerned. Helplessly, Graham chuckled, "You're really awesome and extremely sweet too, ya know?"

Stopping dead in his tracks, Ben rapidly blinked, but said nothing.

Seeing that Ben had stopped, Graham slowed and turned to face Ben. In the dark field, he couldn't make out any distinguishable expression on Ben's face. Graham's smile faded and he softly explained, "My friends want me to, even Francis wants me to, I feel it. The reality is that he's been gone over a month, but only dead a few days. I'm not ready for much more than another close friend to talk with. If you want, and think you can wait, would you be that friend?"

Ben couldn't speak. He wasn't certain what Graham was asking, since he couldn't get over being called awesome and sweet in one sentence.

Graham wondered, "What's the matter?"

"I… I… I don't know… what to say," Ben stammered.

"Yes or no would work fine."

"What did you call me?"

"Really awesome and extremely sweet," Graham repeated.

Ben exclaimed, "Me?" It was one thing for friends that had been propping Ben up for a month to say things like that, but from a virtual stranger, it was too shocking to believe.

Graham giggled, "Yes, you!"

Shaking his head rapidly, Ben muttered, "I'm sorry, I forgot the question."

It was hard enough to ask the question the first time, Graham thought, asking again would be virtually impossible. Grinning widely, Graham clearly and slowly repeated; "I need a special friend to help me get over this. I'd like you to be that friend."

In Ben's mind, three phrases now ran around in circles; really awesome, extremely sweet and special friend. He nervously stammered, "If… I'd try… you're sure?"

Graham nodded and offered, "I promise to try too. It's gonna take some time. I wish I could tell you how long, but I can't."

Ben warmly smiled, "Don't worry about it. I'm too stupefied right now to worry about later. There's only now."

"Now is good, Ben. Later, I might be crying again."

"I'll get to hold you again?"

Graham giggled, "Don't make it sound like the thrill of a lifetime!"

"It is!" Ben shrieked.

Graham slowly shook his head and giggled more. No one in a month had made him smile, giggle or laugh, or want to for that matter. Ben had already done more than anyone else could have. Reaching for and taking Ben's hand, Graham smiled, "Wanna walk some more?"

Ben nodded and smiled, "Very much."

"What's your last name?"

"Healy. What's yours?"

"Carleton. It's about as British as Healy. Is your full name Ben or Benjamin?"

"Benjamin. Have you got a middle name?"

Humming affirmatively, Graham then answered, "Robert. Do you have a middle name?"

"It's Robert too," Ben giggled. "First and second initials make a brrrr cold."

Never having considered his own first and second initials together, Graham laughed, "Nice to meet ya, brrrr. I'm grrrr."

Ben cracked up. Moments later, when he started to calm down, Ben sighed, "I need to tell you a few things, about me, that aren't so good."

"Tryin' to scare me off already?" Graham teased.

"No," Ben sniggered.

"I can take a lot, believe me," Graham assured. He sighed then softly grumbled, "Having people yanked from me, to hang in limbo for weeks… that makes me moody. Tell me all your truths, dude."

"If you're sure you can take it, I'll start with what I thought when I first saw you, before you even sat down."

"Uh oh. Go ahead."

"I had a major thing for Prez since the day I met him."

Graham giggled, "Perfectly understandable. Go on."

In the dark fields, Ben ignored his blush and continued, "He's with Keith. Derrick's with Mike. Drew's with Corey. All of them are so friggin' hot; I can barely decide where to look. To make me loopier, Brian and Pete show up on vacation. I thought the same things about Shaun and Gil, and Matt and Eddie, and Rick and you too."

"Thanks," Graham chuckled, grateful that Ben couldn't see his blush. "I promise to keep your secrets, especially from Rick." He took a large swig from his bottle of water.

"I thought you were with Rick, together."

Graham sniggered, "No, no, no. I've known Rick since junior high. It'll never happen. He knows it too, even if he won't admit it."

"I'm curious, why not Rick?"

"He's too into physical appearances. What you did and what we're doing now wouldn't happen with Rick." Graham leaned closer to Ben and softly said, "One of the first questions he would've asked is how big my dickie gets. Not you though."

Ben wondered, "Who do you think I am?"

Graham rambled, "From the way you said hello to the way you held me while I cried, I'll bet you're shy. From the way you talked about Francis to the way you spoke about the sunset, two things you knew nothing about, you're very caring and sensitive of other people. When I asked for your help, making it clear that I didn't know when I could do anything more than hold your hand, you seemed stunned; too shocked to even answer the question. That tells me that you don't think too much of yourself, which is totally false by the way. There wasn't one ogre in that house, not one, not even you. If I didn't have my head spinning and my heart already broken, I would… anything with you, in less than a minute, because of all those things I already mentioned." Getting another drink of water, Graham then sighed, "Would you like to know what I was thinking, during the sunset?"

Ben shrugged, "If you'd like to tell me, I'd like to know."

"As soon as you asked if Francis asked for a special sunset, a shiver raced through me. He would do that because it was something we shared so often. Then I liked the way your voice sounded. I've heard it loud and soft now and I love it even more. So, I was thinking, cursing out Francis for setting me up with you during a red sunset. That would be so him too. It's all fresh still, Ben. It's almost like our first long vacation away from each other. That fact that it's not… that I'll never… see… him… play… argue…with him…"

Graham fell apart again. Ben held him while he cried, the same way, loosely, as if Graham would soon step away and say "no Ben, I can't with you or anybody else ever again". Graham never did step back though. He cried himself out then sighed, "What were you going to say?"

Ben smiled, "Anything you want me to say, grrrr."

Graham cracked up. He laughed himself into more tears then laughed again. Still giggling, Graham confirmed, "You're right handed?"

Ben nodded, "How'd you know?"

"Your right hand rubs my back, the left hand stays still."

"You're good. As freaked as you are, you still notice a lot. Everything you said about me was true, ya know, grrrr?" Graham cracked up. Ben giggled then gushed, "You're incredible." Catching himself while Graham chuckled, Ben softly assured, "I'll wait, a very long time, as long as I get to hold you like this." He sighed, "I've never… so I'm in no hurry at all. When you're ready, we'll know." Graham nodded. Ben asked, "When's your birthday?"

"January seventeenth, 1982. Yours?" Graham emptied the water bottle.

"April fourth, 1981."

"You just turned seventeen."

Ben grinned, "We'll hope for your birthday. That would be a nice present."

Graham cackled, "Sorry, if I'm not ready before then, I'm calling the church to become a priest."

Wanting to assure Graham there was no rush, Ben growled, "grrrrrr!"

"Brrrrrrrrrr!" Graham shivered. They both howled laughing, held hands and started walking again.

After a minute or two, Ben asked, "How're you feeling?"

Graham nodded, "I'm good," then wondered, "Why'd you ask?"

"You're carrying an empty water bottle."

"Oh!" Graham chortled, "I need to find a trash can and a tree, not necessarily in that order."

Ben giggled, "Me too. Trees we have a lot to choose from. The garbage can is back by the picnic tables." Heading for the edge of the field, Ben softly admitted, "I've never… on a tree."

"It's not a life altering experience."

Correcting himself, Ben giggled, "I mean, no trees and never with someone either."

"I'll turn away if you want me to. Not that we can see much of anything other than the lights on the 101, way the hell out there."

Stopping at the undergrowth near trees, they released their hands to unzip. In moments, Graham was urinating. Nervously, Ben asked, "Are we becoming…" and hummed.

Graham nodded, "Regardless of what I feel, I think so." He then impatiently huffed, "Oh Jesus, I can't even say it? When we're done, smack me until I do say it."

As the flood gates opened, Ben giggled, "Okay, grrrr."

Graham sniggered, "Wait 'til we're finished, brrrr."

Ben cackled, "Does that 'brrrr' mean you're finished?"

Graham roared laughing, "It means, I think there's a creek here."

Ben giggled, "Cold water?"

Graham nodded and teased, "Deep too." They both cracked up. Although he had pissed on countless trees before, with Francis, Matt, Eddie and many others, Graham had never had so much fun pissing before. He finished and zipped up. Glancing toward Ben's mid section, it was too dark to make out anything so he turned away.

Finished and zipped up, Ben approached Graham from behind and tapped his shoulder.

Graham grinned, "That was no smack."

Shaking his head, Ben giggled, "I'm not gonna hit you."

"I'll make you hit me," Graham teased.

Starting to walk, Ben smiled, "Good luck with that. It took a gunshot for me to finally hit my father."

Taking Ben's hand again, Graham asked, "You hit him?"

"Hard enough to knock him down and give me time to call the police."

"Stud."

"Not really."

"Brute."

Ben sniggered, "grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!"

"Brrrrrrrrrrrrrute!"

"It shocked the hell out of him and me. I won't ever hit you Graham."

"A playful smack is alright."

"I have no reason to, even as a joke. I do have a reason to introduce you to my mom though, before it gets too late."

"What time is it?"

"I can't see my watch to tell. I'd guess after ten. The sun set around nine."

"Ben?"

"Yeah?"

Graham sighed, "I don't want to leave. If I go home, I'll just cry alone."

"I could go with you, if you want?"

"I need to say the word first."

"Do you want me to say it?"

"Please?"

"Boyfriends; we're boyfriends, Grrrrrrraham."

Graham cracked up, "They're gonna lock us away, brrrrrrr."

"Good. I haven't felt this good… ever."

"You really want me to meet your mom?"

"She knows how I felt about Prez and that it would go nowhere. She needs to meet you."

"What would she think if I stayed the night with you?"

"I don't know. Actually, I don't much care either. You don't want to be alone. I don't want you to be alone. How we accomplish staying together doesn't matter, as long as we do."

"You're awesome."

"And? Say it for me, Graham, please? I'd really like to hear you say it."

Graham softly shuddered, "I'm gonna cry again. You'll need to change shirts."

"I've got plenty of shirts."

They took many steps across the fields of the park. It took Graham a while to repeat the word in his head before he whispered, "Boyfriends." Slightly louder, he repeated the word. Past the boulder in his throat, he clearly said, "We're boyfriends. Ben Healy is my boyfriend." He then whimpered, "Ben?"

Ben stopped and opened his arms. Falling apart again, Graham held on to Ben for dear life, softly sobbing. Graham tried to give himself permission to love someone other than Francis. Vocally, he tried to tell Ben that he was the one; the boyfriend he wanted, the one Francis had dropped before him and approved of. Ben gently assured him, "It'll be okay. Give yourself time. I'm not ever going to leave you," and rubbed Graham's back, patiently waiting for the episode to pass.

Composing himself, Graham shuddered, "We might not get much sleep. I have trouble lately with bad dreams."

Ben shrugged, "I've got no other plans. We'll stay at my place. The furthest we'll go is to visit with Mike and Prez, three houses away."

Nodding, Graham smiled, "Cool. If we need to leave, we'll go back to your place."

Ben widely smiled, "What you're going through, it's for only me and you to know and deal with."

"You're so sweet. How do you know what I need, like a boyfriend would?"

"Good role models."

Graham sighed and wiped his eyes. He poked fun at himself, saying, "At this rate, we might get to your place in time to meet your mom as she's waking up."

Ben grinned, "You like exaggerating."

Graham nodded, "I'm not exaggerating about you. You're the one I want to be with. I feel it way deep, like it was all destined to happen."

Ben nodded and meekly offered, "Mike's dad and Prez's mom passed. They say that they've noticed stuff, shadows and things moving around, so it's not where they left it. Do you believe in stuff like that?"

Shaking his head, Graham said, "I never had to think about it before."

"Neither did I until I walked in a house, where four dudes were living, and smelled ladies' perfume. Prez said it was his mom. I ran for the door. They stopped me. Like they were there for me, I hope I can be all you need me to be too."

Pausing again, Graham stepped before Ben and said, "You already are where I need and what I need. I really hope that I stumble out of this fog I'm in soon. The last thing I want is for you to give up, because I'm too stuck on Francis to remember you."

Ben smiled, "Prez and Mike were hoping I'd meet someone named Howard tonight."

Graham nodded, "That's Jerry's cousin."

"He doesn't matter now. I'm not sure how to say what I want to. This will probably sound really stupid."

"Please try?"

Ben grunted then offered, "What's really weird, for me, is how good it makes me feel to be there for you to hold. I thought it would be the other way around. I need it too, Graham. The reasons why you hold me don't matter. All that matters is that you're holding me and I'm holding you too."

"That made perfect sense," Graham grinned. "I want you to hold me too, ya know? That's what scares me, Ben. I'm afraid that I might not be enough of what you need, because of all this grief. You need to tell me if I'm too sad to see it for myself. No one else can tell me that I'm being a selfish prick, taking from you, but not giving enough back. If you told me though, I'd respond."

"I've never had a boyfriend before. I don't know how I could tell you what I need."

"Tell me something, truthfully, okay?"

"Okay."

"Do you like me or do you only feel sorry for me."

"I really like you, Graham. You're fun to talk with. When you cry over Francis, I'm too happy holding you to give the reason why much attention. Maybe if I had known him, it would be different."

"Matt, Eddie and Rick knew Francis. Maybe the fact that you didn't, makes all the difference in the world. Maybe that's why what you say matters more? Tell me what you need, Ben."

"Now?"

"Right now."

Suddenly, Ben couldn't think of a single thing he needed to say. Since nothing was crossing his mind, he took a step closer to Graham. Pulling Ben into his arms, Graham sighed then whispered, "You feel real nice against me. I can't deny that."

Ben shuddered, "Graham?"

"Yes?"

"Because of my father, and the way I am, and kids at school mocking me, I tried to end it all, twice; once with pills and once with a razor blade."

Tossing the empty water bottle into a trash can, Graham nodded "I saw the scars on your wrists when I sat on the sofa."

"Why haven't you said anything?"

"At first, it was none of my business. Then I told myself to wait for you to tell me why. Do you think you'll ever try again?"

"No. That's what Prez, Mike, Keith and Derrick helped me understand. My problems were never mine. They were dumped on me by other people."

"That's good to know. Please don't do it again, okay? I couldn't bear losing another good partner."

Ben smiled and squeezed Graham tight then softly asked, "You think of me as your partner?"

Graham nodded and choked back his tears to say, "Yeah, I do. This time, you came to me, Ben. I took you because I wanted to. You didn't force it, I did."

"Do you know how lucky I feel right now?"

"About as much as I do, I hope. You're a really unique person, the kind I need and want so much."

Ben happily giggled.

"What?"

"I was thinking several things. Imagine us, after you meet my mom, going back to the party, to let Matt, Eddie, Prez and Mike know what's going on. When I think you're ready to go, I'll call, grrrr."

Graham briefly chuckled then added, "And I'll call, brrrr. They won't get it, but we will. It sounds like a great plan, Ben. Let's do it, just to see the confusion on their faces."

"Are you ready to meet my mom?"

Graham nodded, "I can barely wait." They stepped back. For the first time, Ben reached for Graham's hand. They started walking and Graham asked, "Are you nervous?"

"Not really. Are you?"

Shaking his head, Graham assured, "Not at all. I was more nervous around Francis' folks. When they were around, we weren't boyfriends. That was so hard, dude, on both of us."

"It won't be that way with my mom. I'll tell her the truth, right away, if you're okay with me saying the word."

"I'm not only okay; I really like hearing you say it. I'll say it more and more, as time passes."

Ben wondered, "Do you want me to tell her you're spending the night too?"

"Don't freak her out."

Ben giggled, "I'm freaked out! No one has ever slept over my house. I've never slept at anyone else's house, other than family gatherings and stuff."

Shaking his head, Graham gushed, "That's so hard to believe."

Ben smiled, "Thanks to Prez, Mike, Keith and Derrick. They say I'm not the same person they met."

"When did you meet them?"

"Memorial Day weekend I met Mike and Derrick. About a week or two later, I met Prez and Keith."

"That's only two months, dude."

Ben affirmatively hummed.

"You must've either not been so different, or wanted to change."

"Prob'ly a little of both, I think.

"Ben?"

"Yeah?"

"It doesn't matter who you were. I really like who you are."

Ben giggled, "You're wrecking me. Two months ago, I had no friends. A few weeks ago, I didn't even know how to swim."

"You didn't? Why not?"

"Mike said it was an irrational fear of having my face under water."

"You like to swim now?"

"It's a good way to cool off and exercise."

"Do you like the beach?"

"I've not been… yet."

"You've never been to the beach?"

"Never."

"That's first on our list of things to do then."

"Mike, Derrick, Prez and Keith go pretty often. I wasn't around when they went though. My mom and I were looking for places to live."

"You found a place in Woodland Hills?"

"An apartment complex; where Prez used to live with his mom. We both liked it a lot and she can afford it. I'll have to get a job after school starts."

"I had to quit my job after the accident. Rick has my job now, delivering pizzas."

Ben giggled, "I never had a pizza delivery dude that looked like you. Probably just as well, I'd only stare, stutter then fall down."

Graham smiled, "Where have you been all my life?"

Ben shrugged, "Here, hiding out in my room, listening to CDs, learning to play guitar."

"What kind of music do you like?"

"All music; I'll listen to everything for a little while; classical, operas, Broadway show tunes, blues, jazz, rock, everything that has a dedicated radio station."

"Francis only liked dance music."

"What music do you like?"

"Whatever's pop, mostly. When I flip stations, I wind up returning to pop."

Arriving at the street, near a lamp where he could see his wristwatch, Ben looked and gasped, "It's quarter-to-eleven."

"Cool."

"We've been walking and talking almost two hours. It barely felt like fifteen or twenty minutes."

"Time flies again, for the first time in a long time."

They crossed the street and paused at the sidewalk in front of Ben's house. Ben checked, "You okay?"

"I will be," Graham sighed. Ben opened his arms and Graham moved closer, holding onto Ben and being held by him. Down the street, the front door opened and they briefly heard the band playing. Looking for their friend, Matt, Eddie and Rick stepped outside. Matt saw Ben with Graham in his arms. He chuckled and tapped Eddie then Rick.

Rick scowled and grumbled, "I don't believe it. Did I ever have a chance?"

Eddie smiled, "This is a good sign. Graham's recovering."

Rick bitched, "But I only got a chance to shake hands and say hello."

Matt sniggered, "You snooze, you lose."

"I wasn't snoozin'," Rick groused.

Eddie reached for Rick's hand and offered, "There's someone for you too, dude. You'll find him."

Ben's eyes were closed, reveling in the new feeling of having a boyfriend that was sweet, fun and needed him. Graham was turned away and never saw his friends outside or going back in again.

Graham whispered, "My boyfriend."

Ben nodded and rehearsed, "Mom, this is Graham Carleton. We met a few hours ago, but I like him a lot. He likes me too, so we've decided that we're boyfriends."

Graham softly encouraged, "That sounds perfect. Go on."

"He lives over in Woodland Hills. Now I've got Graham and six other friends there. I can't wait to move. She'll smile and greet you. All you need to be is yourself, okay. If you start feeling grief, you know the signal."

"Brrrr."

"And we'll go to my room or right back out of the house again."

"I'm ready."

Ben stepped back again. Both reached to hold hands and they walked to the front door. Ben found it locked and had to release Graham to unlock the door. He stepped inside and Graham followed. Finding his mom in the living room, watching the television, Ben said hi to his mom and introduced Graham, almost exactly as he had rehearsed. Ben beamed, "We just spent two hours roaming around the park, talking," and then continued on about Woodland Hills.

Mrs. Healy greeted Graham then smirked at her son, "You've introduced me to five boys, while I'm wearing a robe. This is becoming a habit."

Ben giggled, "Well, I didn't want you to go to bed without meeting him. It would be even more awkward to wake up and hear us talking in my room."

Surprised, Mrs. Healy confirmed, "Graham's spending the night?"

Ben nodded, "We've still got a lot to talk about. Besides, now that I've found the boyfriend of my dreams, you don't think I'm gonna wait to talk, or just let him go home, do you?"

"Remember I'm working tomorrow," Mrs. Healy gently reminded.

Ben nodded, "We'll be quiet or maybe talk in the park until we're ready to sleep."

Graham softly said, "The park is fine, Ben. Let's not even chance it."

Ben asked, "Do you need to call home?"

Graham hummed then admitted, "Yeah, I told them I might stay at Eddie's. Since that's changed, I should call."

Ben showed Graham the phone. While Graham called home, Ben went closer to his mother and softly explained about Francis, how Graham realized that he had wallowed long enough, and that Graham chose him. Softly talking on the phone in the entryway, Graham told his dad about Ben too. Mrs. Healy and Mr. Carleton warned their sons about the grieving process and to not expect too much. The simple fact was that it was already too late. Graham thought Ben was perfect, not just a replacement, but a completely different person that had already been too kind to ignore or forget. Ben told his mother that Graham's personality was a lot like he had hoped for; a mix of parts of Prez, Mike, Derrick and Keith. He also warned his mom that his bedroom door would be closed and locked, not because they might have sex, which he confirmed was out of the question, but because he didn't want Graham to be embarrassed if she peeked in and he saw her. Graham finished on the phone and heard only the last words Ben was telling his mother.

Seeing Graham approach, Ben smiled, "We're gonna go back to the party, mom. I've got my key, and Graham, so don't worry."

Turning the television off, Mrs. Healy nodded, "Have a good night. I'll be going to bed too now."

All three said 'good night'. Ben and Graham went back outside while Mrs. Healy went to her bedroom. Ben locked the deadbolt.

Graham playfully exaggerated, "Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!"

Ben giggled, "Grrrr?"

Almost shining, Graham smiled and repeated, "Now that I've found the boyfriend of my dreams? I almost started crying again."

"Well," Ben cackled, "it's the truth. I won't put it off, Graham; talking or sleeping together. I've had my whole damn life on hold for seventeen years. I'm not waiting another second."

Shedding more tears, but happy ones, Graham sought and received another hug. Still on the front porch, Graham whispered, "My special boyfriend, one of a kind. Hold me tight, Ben." Nodding, Ben strengthened his grip. Graham prompted, "Tighter. As tight as you can." Ben wrapped Graham up tighter; actually afraid he might hurt him, and exaggerated the pressure with another very long growl. Giggling, Graham replied, "Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!" Throwing their heads back, they both cracked up. This time though, their faces didn't slide over shoulders as they had every other time. With their noses barely apart, Graham asked, "What do you usually wear to bed?"

Ben blushed, "Boxers and whatever T-shirt I'd been wearing. You?"

"I can't sleep with T-shirts on; too confining; underwear or nude."

"I was thinking I would sleep fully clothed. If you want me to, I'll sleep that way so you feel safe."

"I already feel safe with you, Ben," Graham confirmed, and sealed it with a tender kiss. Graham mooed then teased, "That was really nice."

Ben dizzily giggled, "Any time you want one."

"Nope," Graham joked, "your turn now."

Ben offered a tender kiss, briefly tasting Graham's lips. The kiss was nuclear to Graham. How could someone that had never had a boyfriend kiss so perfectly, he wondered. Even with Francis, they had to learn different kinds of kisses, what was too wet, too dry, too much or not enough tongue. Graham thought that Ben was a natural, the discovery of a lifetime. And his mother was nice too. Together, they could have a real open relationship, the kind he only could wish for with Francis. It was a bittersweet thought that made Graham shiver and shed more tears.

Still nose-to-nose with Graham and waiting for some comment on the kiss, Ben whispered, "What's wrong?"

Shaking his head, Graham sighed, "Nothing at all. That was an awesome kiss, Ben. I especially liked your tongue gliding over my lips."

"Whew!" Ben giggled.

Graham shared what he had been thinking with Ben, which explained the tears. All Ben could offer was that his four friends had taught him that kind of kiss. Graham smiled, "Wanna learn a few more?"

Ben incredulously cackled, "A few more?"

Graham nodded, "It's an art form, really. Two people get a bunch of different kinds of kisses that mean different things. My kiss meant to tell you, I think you're awesome and I'm looking forward to knowing you a lot better." He wondered, "What did your kiss mean?"

Ben blushed and giggled, "It might scare you."

Graham chuckled, "I'd doubt that. Go ahead, Ben, tell me."

Ben brightly smiled, "It meant that I've really enjoyed this time we've been together too, that I don't want the sun to rise, so we can talk and be together as long as we can stay awake, and…"

Waiting for more, Graham prompted, "And?"

Ben's expression softened dramatically. He whispered, "That I don't ever want to separate, not for more than a few minutes." He gulped and nervously admitted, "I think I'm falling in love with you." Ben expected Graham to let him go and step back.

Instead, Graham softly smiled, "Love is lots of things. It's who the person is right at that moment. It's the history of the person and the couple. It's the future too; lots of good times and some rough patches too. Given all that, where I am now, where we are now, how things might be in days, weeks and months to come, I love you too, Ben."

"Really?"

"Really. Do you want to know more?"

Ben nodded and grinned, "The party's gonna have to wait." They stepped back and walked off the porch together, heading across the street to the park.

Taking Ben's hand, Graham sighed, "Where I was, just a few short hours ago isn't where I am now. I've never felt this kind of non-stop pain and sadness before. When people talk of broken hearts, I'll bet half of 'em don't have the first clue what it really means." He sighed, "The night of the accident, Francis was driving my car. I was too tired. He said he could drive us home safely. I buckled up, put the seat back and fell asleep. I was knocked unconscious by the impact. I came to, in the back seat, with flashing lights everywhere. Francis was already gone, in an ambulance to the hospital. I kind o' faded in and out, from a concussion, always asking where Francis was and how he was doing. I never got much of an answer from anyone, until the day I left the hospital. All they kept telling me was, 'he'll be alright; we want you to concentrate on getting well'. Before leaving the hospital, I demanded to see him. I was allowed to see him, through Intensive Care glass only. He was wrecked, wrapped in bandages from head to toe, hooked up to machines and everything. They're all worried about my grade two concussion and there's Francis, barely recognizable. I was pissed at everybody.

"After five days, I'm out of the hospital. A week later, I'm allowed to go back to visit him. Seeing me crying and making a scene, his parents figured out who I am and what he meant to me. A major uproar in the I.C.U. was taken out to the hall. I wasn't allowed back ever again. Now I have to get tidbits of information from Matt, Eddie and Rick. His parents took Francis off life support, he died, was buried, all without me, Ben. I went to the cemetery with Matt and Eddie on Monday. For the last few days, I've been in a bad place, missing him, angry at his parents, not wanting to even eat and barely able to sleep."

Taking in a deep, shaky breath, Graham sighed, "This afternoon, Eddie begs me to come to this party. The last time I saw Prez, Keith, Derrick or Mike was when Francis was with me, at Mike's birthday party, Saturday night, May thirtieth. I'm so fucked up, I couldn't decide whether to go or not. Ultimately, while Matt, Eddie and Rick are telling me why I should go, they're getting me dressed. I walk out of the house with them, telling my parents I'll sleep at Eddie's if it gets too late.

"Then I'm outside at sunset, telling you, a total stranger, what happened. Why I didn't let Matt, Eddie, Rick, or anyone else tell you, I'll never know. I guess, maybe I thought I could tell you the short version without crying. You know how well that worked out.

"Then I learn that this cute guy, whose shirt I've gotten all wet, is really nice. And you keep getting nicer. You make me laugh and I can make you laugh. I haven't laughed or even smiled since June twenty-fifth, five weeks to the day today, dude. Seriously, the best I've shown was an annoyed smirk at every other attempt, even from my three best friends.

"To me, you're like duct tape and epoxy. What was all quivering Jell-O inside me started solidifying. You've worked miracles in less than three hours. I love you for that. I'll love you tomorrow and forever be grateful that I met you. Love means working out rough spots together, Ben. You've helped me and I'll help you too, however you need it. What really clinched the deal was your mom not being a homophobic bitch, like someone else's mother. Your mom's nice, worried about a robe and teasing you about it. You need to be prepared, Ben."

Ben wondered, "For what?"

Graham smiled, "For what you've done, my parents are going to be so fucking shocked at the change in me, they'll put you on a pedestal." Ben giggled and shook his head. Graham chuckled, "So Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick are your best friends?"

Ben nodded, "They chose me, correcting my screwed up thoughts, teaching me to swim and have a tiny bit of confidence, wanting my opinion about songs they play and criticisms too."

Graham nodded, "I met them, but never really got to know them. I guess I will be, huh?"

Ben giggled, "Definitely. There are lots of ways I'd like us to be like those two couples. There's one way we probably couldn't."

"What way is that?"

"They're more than two couples or a band, Graham. Derrick is Prez's best friend; Keith is Mike's best friend. They're a committed group of friends and lovers. They show it too. I've asked myself, could I ever in a million years share a bed with my boyfriend, while our friends are a few feet away? I can't see it."

Graham gasped, "They have sex within sight of each other?" Ben nodded, but didn't say anything more. Graham grinned, and then the more he thought about it, the louder he laughed. Ben giggled, not fully understanding the implications. Parking himself on a picnic table bench, Graham sniggered, "I probably couldn't do it either, Ben. Chances were there, with Matt and Eddie, and with Gil and Shaun, but when the time came, everyone split off as couples."

Sitting beside Graham on the bench, Ben nodded and giggled, "Those four are amazing. They've been living together, playing music together, cleaning the house together, bitching at each other, and then they sleep together too. If Prez is talking and Keith has to go to the bathroom, he pulls Prez along. Mike and Derrick do it too."

"That's not such a big deal, dude. Once we're intimate with each other, I wouldn't pause a conversation to take a piss or shit either. The only time I'd recommend you didn't follow me is if I have serious gas or a case of the runs." Noticing Ben slowly shaking his head, Graham chuckled, "What?"

Ben sniggered, "Me, you, intimacy. If anyone told me this would be happening, I simply wouldn't believe it. I believe it's possible with you though, Graham."

Turning slightly to face Ben and taking both his hands, Graham gently assured, "Soon, Ben. I wish I could tell you when, but I can say that you're the one I want to do it with."

Ben giggled, "I have practically no experience."

Graham sniggered, "Practically?"

"My hand mostly," Ben giggled. "Thanks to my friends, I got a dong yesterday."

"Yeah? What's it like?"

"Mike and Derrick said it's like the Tower of Hanoi game kids play; you know - the various sized donuts they have to organize on poles? At the top, it's a small latex ball and then a bunch of progressively larger segments."

"Did you try it yet?"

Ben affirmatively hummed then cackled, "Three times in about two hours. It's great!"

Graham shivered, "Brrrrrrrr!"

Ben giggled, "Grrrrrrrr?"

"That's another reason for sooner rather than later."

Ben nodded, "You don't have to worry about it. I can't miss or need what I've never had."

"I can though," Graham moaned. "I do miss it, Ben. I'm really happy holding you and being held by you. It's another one of those scary things I'll have to deal with; getting past Francis enough where I'm yours and you're mine." He paused and chuckled, "I hope it doesn't take too long. I can see it already; if I wait too long, we'll both be like two virgins, prematurely ejaculating from everything we do."

"Then neither of us have a reason to be embarrassed. The first time, with the dong, maybe I lasted two minutes. The second and third times weren't much better." Using his thumb and forefinger to demonstrate, Ben giggled, "The dong's like this, three-quarters of an inch, then like this, an inch and half, then about two inches, then three inches. That's as far as I managed to get. It's got five more, larger segments before the base too." Finished with his explanation, Ben took both of Graham's hands.

"Do you think you're a bottom or a top?"

Ben shrugged, "I don't know. I want to try both to figure it out though. You?"

Graham smiled, "I liked both a lot. It switched, sometimes the same day; sometimes a week or more would go by before we switched again."

"I'll be your very willing student. Ya know what scares me?"

Graham checked, "It hurting?"

Shaking his head, Ben grinned, "Not as much as the possibility of hurting you. If I gagged on you, or God forbid, hurt you in any way, I'd hide under the bed until you dragged me out."

Graham chuckled, "It's not that way at all, Ben. Oral sex is exactly what the name implies; using your tongue and your mouth doing different things. You don't ever have to worry about biting me, or me biting you. It's not like I would grab your head to force it, dude. We're gay, which means we prefer the male anatomy. Why would either of us have to force what we're perfectly happy to get?"

Ben hummed then admitted, "I never thought about it like that."

"Think about it. When I want you, it'll be quite obvious what I want and how."

Ben queried, "I'm sorry, but what do you mean by 'how'?"

"Orally, anally or even simple masturbation is what I mean. Since I now have a very excellent reason to try, I will be trying; first with my hand, then with my mouth and then we can go all the way. Intercourse is gonna take the longest time for me. It has to be a hundred percent you, dude. If I think of him, while I'm with you, bye-bye bone; embarrassing and frustrating for both of us. I won't go there."

"You lead, Graham. I'll follow."

Graham sighed, "I wish it were that simple." He explained, "Where I'm at, I could probably easily give to you in any of those three ways, pretty soon. The bigger issue is me, accepting what you're willing to give."

Ben shrugged and repeated, "You lead and I'll follow. When you're ready, you put my hand on your dick. You want me to take you orally, make your dick available and show the way." He sighed, "I do not expect you to forget Francis overnight, Graham. We have so much to talk about; it never seems to reach an end. I love it all, really I do. By the time I move to Woodland Hills, maybe we'll have already talked about a lot of our pasts. There'll also be day-to-day stuff to talk about and ideas for the future too. What will a hand-job or blowjob prove that isn't already being proven?"

Graham could barely believe what he was hearing. He wondered who snuck in this seventeen-year-old virgin that enjoys talking more than sex. He mused, sure Ben hasn't had sex, but that should mean he needed it even more. Speechless and on the verge of crying again, Graham leaned over for a tender kiss. Ben replied with one for Graham. A second round of gentle kisses was passed. The third round, the kisses became longer. All pretences were then tossed aside and they locked lips, holding each other tightly, breathing through their noses, running their hands all over each other.

Beginning to get dizzy, they broke the kiss, but never released their grip on the other. Graham gasped, "Omigod, Ben."

Ben panted, "I know, Graham."

"You saved me, dude."

"You're saving me too."

Desperately, they kissed passionately again. At the next break, Graham weakly suggested, "We should go back to the party."

"At least for a little while."

"Soon?"

"In a minute." They passionately kissed again. At the next break, Ben suggested, "Ready?"

Humming curiously, Graham wondered, "For what?"

Ben giggled, "The party?"

"Oh yeah," Graham chuckled. He suggested, "Let's come back here after, okay?"

Not willing to let each other go quite yet, they awkwardly stood. Ben checked, "We're good?"

"We're excellent!" Graham cheered.

Ben giggled, "We're cool to be around friends?"

Graham nodded, "We know the signals."

Willing to separate and doing so, they held hands and started for the party. Graham asked, "Have you got plans for tomorrow?"

"Nope," Ben replied, "we can hang together or with Prez and the dudes there, or we can go to your place. Your parents sound pretty cool."

Graham nodded, "I'll call and see if we can have dinner there. If we can't then we'll have dinner with your mom. Whatever, I'm in no hurry to see my room soon. Five weeks was too long, dude."

Ben asked, "Have you got plans over the weekend?"

Graham smiled, "I had no life. Whatever you want to do is cool."

"The band is rehearsing for a concert here, in the park, Labor Day weekend. Every Saturday, Sunday and Monday, from ten until about three, at Mike's mom's house."

Graham reminded, "I'm without wheels. My Belair was totaled. How can we get there?"

"Not a problem; either with Mike and Derrick or I can borrow my mom's car."

"Cool. I got a check from the insurance company that I haven't even looked at. Suddenly, I need wheels again."

Ben giggled, "First I'll get a job, then a car. Omigod, Graham! I never needed a car before. Now, I want to go everywhere with you."

Graham nodded and chuckled, "Since I don't want to even see my room, I guess I'll be around for a while, until my clothes start standing on their own."

Ben nodded, "We'll work that out over the next few days. How tall are you?"

Graham answered, "Five-nine, a hundred and fifty pounds," and then wondered, "You?"

Ben replied, "Five nine, a hundred and sixty-five pounds. My shirts will fit you. We'll have to check shorts, boxers and jeans."

Graham teased, "Guess ya don't want to see me naked."

Ben howled laughing. He assured, "As soon as possible, but I really don't want you stinking either." Feeling his dick shift back to a more normal and comfortable state, Ben meekly asked, "Would you want to shower together?"

Graham shook his head and smiled, "I have to shower with you, as often as possible." Ben happily giggled. Turning to face Ben, Graham leered, "I felt you, while we were kissing."

Blushing fiercely, Ben nodded and giggled, "I felt you too."

"You're a really good kisser. That's two kinds of kisses you're excellent at. We'll find some more, Ben."

Ben rapidly nodded, looking forward to each and every lesson. Approaching the street and light again, Ben checked his watch. He laughed, "It's after midnight! How in the heck is time moving so fast?"

Graham shrugged and grinned, "It's you and me, dude. Minutes turn into hours, into days and years. Those last few kisses weren't exactly short either."

"Let's really blow them all away," Ben playfully suggested.

Graham smiled, "What have you got in mind?"

Ben grinned, "I always hoped for someone to dance with. Do you like dancing?"

Graham nodded and sniggered then swept Ben into his arms. They started dancing in the street and giggled hysterically. All the way to the front door of the house they danced, learning that they both liked to dance a lot. As unpracticed as Ben was, he managed very well. The door was unlocked and they danced inside. The band was playing, More Than Words. They continued their dancing and giggling for those in the living room; Jerry, Mack, Howard, Brian and Pete. Dancing down the hall and into the studio, they showed off for Prez, Keith, Derrick, Mike, Drew, Corey, Rick, Matt and Eddie. Having music to dance to, allowed them to change their silliness to a slow dance. In the room, Matt was swaying with Eddie and Drew was hip-to-hip with Corey. On a chair alone, Rick downed a beer then went to get another. Gil and Shaun had already left since they had work in the morning.

The five that were in the living room watching BelAmi porn and playing, "Rate the Cum Shot," had followed Ben and Graham down the hall. When the song ended, everyone erupted in loud applause, not for the band, but for the new couple in their midst. Eddie loudly asked how Graham had picked himself up from the doldrums so quickly.

Graham warmly smiled, "It's Ben, dude. I was caught, hook, line and sinker. He made me laugh."

Seeing Prez giving him a perfectly wicked grin, Ben giggled, "You dudes said it. Even though I didn't believe it, it happened anyway."

Returning from their munchies run to Taco Bell, Aaron, Danny, Craig and Glen came down the hall. Aaron laughed, "I see what we all expected has happened."

Maneuvering around the crowd in the room, Keith patted Graham's back and introduced him to their new friends from North Hollywood. Never letting go of Ben, Graham knocked knuckles with each of the four. Danny gave Ben and Graham kisses on the cheeks and congratulated them.

Craig said, "We've got lots of food, dudes; an assortment of burritos, chalupas and tacos."

The group of partiers followed the North Hollywood boys to the dining room. Last to leave the studio, Ben asked Drew and Corey, "How'd you dudes know?"

Drew shrugged and grinned, "By watching from the picnic table."

Corey giggled, "It wasn't a friendly hug, dudes. You were against each other from head to toe. The hug also lasted a long while."

Drew nodded, "Even after we walked past you, you were still together when we looked back, before walking in the house again."

Corey confirmed with Graham, "It's all better now?"

Graham nodded and smiled, "Much better than it was, that's for sure. There's hope again."

Drew checked with Ben, "How about you, dude?"

Ben giggled, "I'm better than ever, about lots of things."

Drew smiled, "Matt, Eddie and Rick saw you two together too. Rick's getting trashed, trying to figure out how so much happened in such a short time."

Graham groaned then asked Ben, "Can I talk with him alone?"

Ben nodded, "Whatever you need to do. Signal me, if you need anything." They walked out of the studio and toward the dining area.

Bringing up the rear, Drew reminded Corey, "You owe me a lunch, angel."

"A chalupa or two tacos for my hubby," Corey giggled.

Scattered around the front rooms of the house, everyone had or was getting something to eat except Graham and Rick. Graham led Rick outside and asked, "What's wrong, dude?"

"Nothin'," Rick grunted. With a taco to munch on, Ben went to the kitchen, where Prez and Keith were. He looked out the kitchen window and watched his new boyfriend.

Not buying it for a second, Graham sighed, "You're drinking to forget. Aren't you happy for us? Aren't you happy for me?"

Staggering to the sidewalk, Rick growled, "No, I'm not. How the fuck did you get so close to Ben so fucking fast?"

Graham shrugged, "He's incredible. I cried and he held me. He made me laugh for the first time in a month."

"I had hopes, Graham."

"Hopes for me? You know that's not happening…"

"Hopes for Ben," Rick loudly interrupted. In the kitchen, Ben, Prez and Keith heard Rick's outburst over the noise of everyone else in the front rooms chatting.

Ben grunted, "Uh oh."

Prez smirked and huffed, "Uh oh is right."

Ben wondered, "Should we go out?"

Prez and Keith nodded. All three stuffed the remaining food in their mouths and went towards the entryway. Brian noticed what was going on. Since Pete was chatting with Jerry, Mack and Matt, Brian got up and followed his friends to the front door, then stepped outside. Ben, Brian, Keith and Prez kept a respectful distance from Graham and Rick. The latter two were several feet apart and arguing over Graham's right to be happy and Rick's hopeful dreams about Ben. Not able to take anyone fighting over him, Ben moved closer and waited for a chance to interject.

Brian whispered to Prez, "Who did Rick come here with?"

Prez softly answered, "Matt and Eddie."

Brian said, "He's getting louder. Before someone wakes and calls the cops, it's time for Rick to go home."

Prez nodded, "I'll get Matt and Eddie," then went back inside.

Seeing Graham upset, Ben forced his way into the disagreement by saying, "Graham's been your friend for years, dude. Don't give up on him because of me. I didn't plan for anything to happen with Graham or anyone else. It just happened."

Rick hollered, "What happened? Did you fuck, or what?"

"Watch your mouth," Graham warned. "We talked and kissed, as if it's any of your business."

Rick smirked, "Fuck that and fuck you too." Brian and Keith rapidly approached.

Matt stepped outside with Prez to hear Keith patiently tell Rick, "You're drunk, dude. It's time for you to leave and sleep it off." Rick threw down the can of beer in his hand and swung at Keith. Brian, Prez and Matt converged and Keith leaned back, away from Rick's reach. Before a fist ever came near Keith, Brian had grabbed Rick's arm, twisted it behind his back and had him in a half-nelson so fast, the others standing by were amazed.

Matt groused, "You can be such a fucking asshole, Rick. You couldn't take Keith sober, but you took him on with me, Graham and three of Keith's friends watching?"

"Lemme go!" Rick screamed. The more he struggled in Brian's grip, the more he hurt himself.

Brian said, "Rick, if you'll calm down, I'll let you go so you can get a ride home." He then calmly asked, "Matt, are you okay to drive him home?"

Matt nodded and grinned, "I'm fine, dude. Only Rick drank more than one or two beers, as far as I saw."

With Rick still struggling, Brian yanked on Rick's arm, earning a howl of pain. "Keep it up, Rick," Brian hissed, "and I'll dislocate your fucking shoulder before the cops come to drag your ass away."

Stepping forward, Graham told Rick, "You need to sober up and apologize to me, Ben, Keith and Prez, you selfish prick. You wanna throw away our friendship? Fine. You wanna throw away Matt, Eddie and everyone else too, go for it. I simply don't give a damn anymore what you do."

Rick slurred, "You're the selfish prick!"

Matt turned to Prez, who was still attached to Keith, and asked, "Do us a favor, dude?"

Prez nodded, "What do you need?"

Matt sighed, "Shit for brains here would try to fight me, in the car, while I'm driving him home. Ask Jerry, Mack and Eddie to come out? We'll get him home safe that way."

Prez nodded and hurried inside.

Brian rolled his eyes and told Keith, "This is why we needed to be prepared."

Keith grinned, "Great self-restraint, dude."

Brian smirked, "If he had connected with you, he'd be looking for his teeth in the lawn come morning."

Jerry, Mack, Eddie and Prez hurried back outside. In Spanish, Mack muttered a string of expletives. Shaking his head, Jerry griped, "Nice goin', Rick." Matt led the way to his car with Eddie. Jerry and Mack helped Brian push Rick along. Matt and Eddie got in the front seats. Mack got in the back seat. Jerry pushed Rick's head down and got him into the back seat then quickly followed and closed the door.

To talk to Brian, Keith and Prez, waiting in the street, Eddie rolled down the front passenger side window and sighed, "I'm really sorry, dudes. We'll be back in twenty or thirty minutes."

Prez asked, "Please be safe, guys. If you're not back in thirty minutes, please call to let us know you're alright?"

Eddie nodded, "We've got the number." Still struggling in the back seat, Rick cried out in pain from the elbow jabs he had received from Jerry and Mack. Matt pulled away.

Turning around and heading for the house, Brian, Keith and Prez saw Ben holding and softly consoling Graham.

"Graham, this wasn't your fault," Brian said softly. "Rick chose to drink and he got stupid. It was his choice." Brian laid a hand on Graham's shoulder and assured, "You didn't do anything."

Ben frowned, "We only wanted to show everyone how happy we are."

Keith nodded, "Everyone except Rick really is happy, Ben, for both of you."

Prez wrapped Ben and Graham in his arms and smiled, "You two look so good together. Come inside now, the problem is over and done."

Keith smiled, "Rick owes everyone an apology, like you said Graham. Please come inside?" Brian nodded and smiled then went to the front door and into the house.

Ben whispered into Graham's ear; "It really is okay. No one is angry with us." Graham nodded and sniffled. On their way inside, Ben called, "Prez?"

"Yeah, bud?"

Ben asked, "Can you do for Graham what you did for me and Corey?"

"Not a problem," Prez said as he opened the door. "Let everyone finish eating. You two relax, okay?"

Of course, everyone inside knew what had happened. Derrick and Mike were the first to approach Graham and Ben. "We're really sorry," Derrick sincerely offered. "It was probably our fault."

Mike explained, "We met Rick, Matt and Eddie at the beach last week. We told Rick about Ben, thinking maybe they might hook up."

Keith rolled his eyes and smirked, "Did you get drunk and take a shot at me? No, you didn't. No one except Rick is to blame. Did anyone else think of anything except how great Ben and Graham are? No, Rick got jealous for no logical reason."

Graham called for Drew. Approaching with Corey, Drew asked, "What's up, dude?"

Graham smiled, "Thank you."

Ben nodded, "All that might've happened in the house, if you hadn't warned us."

Drew blushed, nodded and smiled then knocked knuckles with Graham.

Corey giggled, "Told ya, Ben."

Ben grinned, "Drew's my hero." Turning to Ben and obviously curious, Graham grinned. Ben pulled Graham into his arms and whispered an explanation.

Heading for the kitchen, Mike groaned, "Is there any beer left?"

"Get me one, Lick?" Derrick prompted, pushing Corey and Drew into a giggling fit.

Graham softly giggled, "Nine times?" A moment later, he incredulously repeated "Twelve times?"

Swallowing a mouthful of Coors Light and handing a can to Derrick, Mike reminded, "The new record is fourteen, thank you very much."

Soon, everyone was talking about sex records and laughing around the front rooms of the house. Aaron admitted to four times. Craig and Glen admitted to five times. Still bound together, Graham playfully whispered to Ben, "It's a goal to shoot for," and then they kissed passionately. Another round of applause and cheers traveled around the room.

Prez and Keith stepped into the living room with Mike and Derrick. Their intentions for Graham were shared. Prez and Keith then told Drew and Corey. Everyone agreed that Graham could benefit from the experience. Noticing what was going on, Ben whispered to Graham what would soon happen, how it had impacted him and Corey, and that he would also feel better. Matt, Eddie, Jerry and Mack returned from their excursion to Woodland Hills. Drew and Corey pulled Howard over to listen to Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick explaining the plan. Curiously, Jerry, Mack, Howard, Matt, Eddie and the four North Hollywood boys wanted to participate.

A chair was put in the center of the room for Graham to sit on. Prez faced Graham and joined hands with Keith, Mike and Derrick. Around them, Drew, Corey, Brian and Pete held the shoulders of the inner four. Ben, Jerry, Mack, Howard, Matt, Eddie, Aaron, Danny, Craig and Glen each held a shoulder of the circle of boys before them. Mike, Derrick, Keith and Prez closed their eyes. Mike envisioned his love power ball. Derrick pushed it toward Graham. Exhaling loudly, Keith and Prez focused on Graham. Fourteen boys did as they had been told; silently hoping, praying and wishing for Graham's well being.

On the chair, Graham started feeling the warm tingling sensation Ben had forewarned him of. At first, Graham softly mooed then brightly smiled. Prez's mouth dropped open. Everyone heard a soft voice coming from Prez that sounded nothing at all like Prez. "Honey Graham? My honey Graham?" Those in the outer circles that had their eyes open noticed that Prez's jaw didn't even move, yet he was speaking.

More clearly, the voice again called, "Honey Graham?" Recognizing the voice, Matt and Eddie gasped.

Breaking down, Graham softly cried, "Francis?"

"Hi, Honey Graham."

"Oh God, I miss you so much!" Graham sobbed.

"I miss you too, Honey Graham. All those times you spoke to me, I was listening. The sunset tonight was special, just for you."

Graham laughed through his tears, "I knew it!"

"I know. Know too that I loved you as much as you loved me. I tried my best for you. It was my time though. Don't blame me or yourself, Graham. Remember everything and share it with Ben. He's more worthy of you than I could've ever hoped to be. You want my approval and you've got it. No one deserves to be happy more than you. Be happy, Honey Graham. Love Ben like you loved me. Share with him like you shared with me. Argue, play and tease him like you did with me. Let the anger and pain go now. I'll deal with my parents. If they can't forgive me or you, I promise you, they won't be forgiven either."

Graham wept, "Did it hurt, Francis?"

"No Graham. It's as easy as falling asleep at the wheel. I really never felt a thing. Release me, Honey Graham. Be with Ben and know you'll have all the blessings you deserve. It's alright now. The worst is over for you and the best is just beginning. Thank you for loving me, Graham, I got to take it with me. Are you ready to say goodbye?"

"Not really, but I guess I have to, huh?"

"Yeah; all you'll ever need to do is remember me. I want you to be with Ben. They tell me it's good and it will last a very long time. Goodbye now, Honey Graham."

"Bye, Francis. I really loved you."

"I know, Graham. My Honey Graham. My Honey Graham. Honey Graham."

The voice of Francis faded away. Prez went limp and collapsed into Brian's arms. Keith yelled, "PREZ!" Brian and Pete dragged Prez to the sofa. Following Brian, Pete and his unconscious lover, Keith screamed, "Get me water and a cold wet towel! Omigod! Is he alright?" Mike, Derrick, Drew and Corey scattered to get the things Keith wanted. Weeping as hard as Graham was, Ben dropped to his knees before his new boyfriend. With his face pressed against Graham's belly, Ben wrapped his arms around Graham's back. Graham lowered his head and cried.

Pete nodded, "He's breathing, Keith, just out cold."

Stunned silent, the others quietly watched each other, Graham and Ben, and Prez being tended to. Corey and Drew came to the living room with a fresh bottle of cold water. Mike and Derrick returned with two wet hand towels. Worried to death, Keith frantically called for Prez to wake up and wiped his lover's face with a wet towel. Rush licked water off his master's face.

Drew and Corey went to the others mulling around, trying to come to grips with all that had happened in only a few short minutes. Matt and Eddie could barely believe they had heard their friend's voice. Jerry softly teased Drew and Corey; "You dudes really know how to throw a party. Music, mayhem and the mystical; what more could anyone ask?" Soft chortling traveled around.

Prez groaned and started coming back. Moments later, he softly asked, "Did it work? How's Graham?"

Keith's eyes almost popped out of their sockets. He moaned, "Oh God, Prez. What am I gonna do with you?"

Prez grinned, "Anything ya like, but first answer my questions." Brian and Pete roared laughing and soon almost everyone else was too, except Keith and Prez. Ben led Graham over to the coffee table and near the sofa where Prez lay.

Ben kneeled down close to Prez; finger brushing his red hair back, and softly asked, "You really don't remember a thing?"

"Nothing," Prez admitted. "It was like; I closed my eyes for a few moments, and then woke up on the couch."

Graham gushed, "Francis spoke through you, Prez! I heard him and spoke to him."

Standing behind Graham, Eddie nodded, "It's true, Prez," and Matt excitedly agreed, wiping tears from his eyes.

Graham smiled, "It was really him. He never ever called me Honey Graham unless we were alone. Only he and I knew that."

Ben giggled, "Honey Graham cracker. I like it!"

Graham smirked and softly shivered, "Brrrr."

"Grrr," Ben giggled.

Turning his attention back to Prez, Graham warmly smiled, "Thanks, Prez. You allowed us to talk. Francis confirmed everything I thought of all night. The sunset was from him to me. He gave me permission to move on, with Ben. Most importantly, we got to say goodbye. I can't begin to thank you dudes enough. Ben told me what to expect, but it was so much more."

Having never done it before, Prez hummed then grinned, "I'm glad it worked out."

Keith rolled his eyes and griped, "That's twice in a day, baby. It'll be a long damn time before I let you do this again. What if Corey was behind you and not Brian, huh?"

Corey giggled, "Squish!"

Smiling over his shoulder at Corey, Keith nodded, "Exactly."

Prez assured, "I'm fine, lover," and started to sit up. Graham helped Ben stand up.

Wagging his finger at Prez, Keith firmly ordered, "You stay put, right here for a few more minutes." He opened the bottle of water and handed it to Prez.

Ben and Graham went nearer to Matt and Eddie. With tears pouring down his face, yet wearing a wide grin, Eddie stepped closer to Graham and giggled, "It was Francis. He was my best friend since junior high school; I'd know that voice anywhere."

Forcing a smile and wiping away tears, Graham nodded, "Please don't cry for him or me. He said that the worst is over. We've all cried enough."

Matt grabbed hold of Graham's shoulder and reminded, "The best is yet to come. We're really happy for you two dudes. Even we living mortals can see that you two care a lot about each other."

Wrapping an arm around Ben's waist and pulling him closer, Graham smiled, "Wait till you get to know him, dudes. I'll be spending tonight at his house and we'll be side-by-side most of the next few days. There's still a lot we need to talk about, mostly about each other, which will include Francis and you two. Thanks for dragging me out of my room."

Eddie giggled, "You didn't make it easy."

Pointing at Graham, Matt playfully told Ben, "He's been lounging in his underwear for a month. We had to stand him up and dress his lazy ass."

Ben blushed and giggled, "That's my job now."

Graham playfully huffed, "To keep me in my underwear?"

Whining, Ben quickly hid his reddening face on Graham's shoulder. All four of them helplessly laughed. Matt and Eddie learned from Graham what Ben had done for him.

Aaron and Danny went to Derrick and Mike. In hushed tones, so they wouldn't be overheard, Aaron asked if Prez could try to help Danny too. Derrick nodded and whispered, "Not tonight, obviously, but I'm sure Prez would."

Aaron firmly hugged Mike and Danny hugged Derrick. Stepping back from Derrick, Danny grinned, "Can we get the bong out now?"

Aaron softly chuckled, "It's not every day you get to hear from the dead."

Mike asked, "Are you dudes planning on crashing here? We won't let you leave stoned. One less friend leaves big voids, as we've all learned." Aaron and Danny wordlessly checked with Craig and Glenn. All four nodded and Mike smiled, "Very cool."

Matt called, "Hold on a minute, dudes." He and Eddie walked over and Matt said, "We've got to work tomorrow. I hate to say it, but it's after one and we need to go."

Eddie nodded and smiled, "Thanks for a really great time. Believe me, Rick's gonna get the shitty end of the stick tomorrow. He will apologize to everyone or find himself very alone. Whether he does or not, we'll be here for the big concert."

Derrick nodded and smiled, "He was drunk and irrational. An apology would be nice though."

Jerry smirked, "He'll apologize or else. We've gotta go too, dudes."

Mack nodded, "Work at noon for me. Thanks for inviting us. This was a party we'll never forget."

Howard grinned, "I'm sleeping with the light on tonight. I'll probably have weird dreams anyway." Drew and Corey wholeheartedly agreed. More laughter and sniggering traveled around the house.

Everyone said 'good night' and shared pleasantries. Derrick and Mike excused themselves then walked out of the house with the five that were leaving. Still kneeling before his partner, Keith sighed explosively then muttered, "I think I'd like to toke out too."

Prez grinned, "I don't suppose I could have some too?"

Keith squinted, "You're last!" Prez dramatically frowned. Drew and Corey cracked up.

Brian sniggered, "Bad boy!"

"Lemme get a newspaper rolled up," Pete chuckled.

Aaron shared, "What made it so cool is that the voice didn't sound eerie or distant."

"It was just a different voice coming out of Prez's mouth," Glen agreed.

Danny grinned, "What made it weird was Prez's jaw not moving at all. Clear words from an open mouth and a still tongue." He uncontrollably shivered and hurried to Aaron to get warm cuddles.

Holding onto Ben tightly, Graham smiled, "Let me tell you about Francis. With me, he could be so compassionate and warm. The moment his parents were around, he flipped completely around. He had to, because they were so homophobic. From what he told me, it wasn't anything religious that made them that way. They were Irish Catholics from generations of large families. In the year or so I was around, I never saw anyone in that family go to church. Birth control, being gay and abortions were simply things they didn't believe in, and therefore didn't exist in their world. How could their youngest son possibly be gay if homosexuality doesn't exist? At the hospital, when they saw how wrecked I was, suddenly their son had a male lover. Since it wasn't part of their reality, I was pushed out and away. Francis' heart was completely different from his parents' hearts. He believed in all the stuff in the real world. If a woman or couple couldn't raise and love a baby, then it was completely their choice, adoption or abortion. If there were medical reasons for abortion, it was even more appropriate. He liked the idea of the Gay Straight Alliance club, Prez. He simply couldn't live under his parents' roof if they had any suspicions he was gay. That's why he couldn't support it. Our life was limited, away from his house as much as possible. He really was a good person." Stepping back inside again, Derrick and Mike heard the last two sentences. Graham paused, realizing what he was saying and how he was saying it. He chuckled, "This is the first time in five weeks I've been able to talk about him without shedding a single tear." He tapped his forehead and over his heart saying, "He's here now. And from what he said, I know he's making plenty of room for Ben to be there too."

Ben blushed and giggled, "Grrr-rrr!"

Graham loudly laughed then admitted, "I need to take my new boyfriend out for another walk around the park. Will you dudes be awake for a while?"

Keith nodded, "Wouldn't surprise me in the least, dude."

"We'll come by again when we're done chatting," Graham assured.

Ben smiled, "If you've already gone to bed, we'll definitely see you tomorrow." He blushed and giggled, "Guess who's staying the night?" Mooing and giggling broke loose.

Glen teased, "We need some plain white rice to toss."

Ben and Graham chorused, "See ya later," and then walked to the door and out of the house.

Already at the kitchen counter with the bong, Mike called Aaron, Danny, Craig and Glen over. Danny pulled a large zip-lock baggie out of his cargo shorts pocket and dumped several large buds on the bong. Prez stood and Keith hurried to his feet, offering both arms and suspiciously eyeing his lover. Prez giggled and planted a tender kiss. They went to the kitchen counter.

Drew and Corey took the space Prez was occupying on the sofa. Drew softly checked with Brian and Pete, "Not interested?"

Rapidly shaking their heads, Brian and Pete grunted negatively. Pete suggested, "How about we take a walk too?"

Corey nodded, "There's nothin' on TV anyway," and pressed the button on the remote to turn the television off. As the four of them walked toward the door, Brian told Prez and Keith where they were going and that Drew and Corey would be safe.

Alone with Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike, the four North Hollywood boys excitedly overflowed, praising the band. That night Shaun had played keyboards about as much as he had played guitar. For the first time with the band, Shaun had played piano very well during Desperado and I Can't Tell You Why. The band also played more rehearsed songs like The Road, Mary Jane's Last Dance, Bringin' On The Heartbreak and Separate Ways (Worlds Apart). Very impressed, Aaron, Danny, Craig and Glen rambled on.

Naturally, they were all curious about what the band members and Prez specifically had done with Graham. Once again, Prez shared the action, the blame and the results with Keith, Mike and Derrick. As far as Prez was concerned, if any of them weren't available, whatever it was that had happened simply couldn't have worked.

The moment Graham stepped out of the house; he took hold of Ben and made the 'brrrr' sound into his neck. Cringing, Ben howled. Sniggering evilly, Graham backed away. Ben stalked his silly boyfriend and Graham ran across the street to the park. Ben chased Graham to the picnic tables, where they played some more. Keeping a safe distance away, Graham started a play argument, just to test the waters and be certain that Ben was as happy as he was. Once he had what he needed, Graham allowed Ben to capture him. His punishment was swift, but not very severe. The worst he got was a swat on the tush and a dizzy rush from an extremely passionate kiss. When Corey, Drew, Brian and Pete strolled by, they could barely make out the form of Graham lying on Ben on one of the picnic tables.

Ben carefully and gently wondered, "How're you feelin' now? I mean, since hearing Francis?"

Finger combing Ben's hair back, Graham warmly smiled, "I feel even better than I did after meeting you, after spending hours getting to know you. It was confirmation for me, Ben. I was right on target with you. It also made the whole thing with Rick not matter as much. That really knocked me down. I was really hurt, where I thought, it didn't matter if he apologized or not. Now he could, and it would matter, but he's still changed our friendship. It used to be nice, having someone that always found ways to compliment me. Those compliments seem kind o' shallow now though. He's a lonely dude, Ben. Sadly, he might be even lonelier if he doesn't wake up soon, ya know?"

Ben nodded, "Believe me, I know. A few short weeks ago, there was no one lonelier than me. Don't completely give up on him, please? I don't want anything tarnishing us, Graham. Give him every chance to make it right. If four dudes didn't give me chances, I might not have been around to meet you."

Graham bowed down and stole a tender kiss. He then whispered, "You're sweet. If it's important to you, I'll try and make it important to me, okay?"

"You're most important, Graham. I've been on top of the world all night. Nothing can come between us, not even a drunken friend with diarrhea of the mouth."

Graham sniggered, "I like that phrase. It really fits Rick too." He smiled, "I put you on top of the world, huh?"

Ben nodded, "The things I did and said, I can barely believe. I think it's your effect on me."

"No, it's your effect on me too. You're good people, Ben. I can only wonder why you don't know it already."

Ben shrugged, "My father mostly. I obviously didn't live up to his expectations. I've never been social at school either. I'm the dude that would rather get an 'F' than give an oral report. I'm the uncoordinated one in P.E. It was that way in kindergarten and it never changed. I didn't know how to change it either. I wasn't interested in sports, Boy Scouts or anything other boys were interested in. I wanted to learn to play guitar two years ago; pop and rock guitar. My father made them give me classical guitar lessons. Two years and two songs later, now I'm thinking, I can change styles. It's an idea anyway. Thanks to those four beautiful dudes, I now have a small glimmer of hope for my last year of high school. They said that all I needed to do was to try; all I needed was a little bit of self-confidence and self-respect. Without those things they gave me, I really wouldn't have been at tonight's party. I wouldn't have met you. Now that glimmer of hope is getting really bright. I'll be going to the same school as you and all the dudes I met tonight. I won't be alone."

"You'll rarely be alone again," Graham confirmed. "I'm not that different from you, ya know? I'll give the oral report, reluctantly. P.E. is fun time, to burn off energy and boredom. I never joined little league, any school clubs or teams, or Boy Scouts, or considered playing any instrument. I do like music though because it makes me want to move. It seems my real life started with Francis, a cute friend that I was becoming more attracted to. Suddenly, I'm hit with the realization that I'm gay. What's to be done about this, I wondered. Do I tell Francis? Nope, can't make myself say it. What I wind up doing is making sly remarks. He gets silly and makes some remarks back to me. One day, we're alone at my place and words change to actions. I pinched his ass." Ben started giggling and Graham chuckled, "He goosed me hard, dude. His middle finger was buried in my crack and I about hit the ceiling. The next thing we know, we're rough-housing, play wrestling, rolling around the floor. He kissed me first, as I recall. He's always denied that though, he said that I kissed him. Anyway, it was a deep, hard, desperate kiss."

"Like ours?"

"We started with smaller tender kisses, but yeah, a lot like those last three."

"Would I be pushing too much if I asked how long after the kisses until you first had sex?"

Shaking his head, Graham giggled, "Five minutes, maybe." Ben helplessly giggled and Graham chuckled, "The line had been crossed with the kiss. Who started undressing who first is a blur. Thank goodness my parents work. We never even made it to my bedroom. We jacked each other off on the stairway, washed up in the bathroom and did it again there, washed up again and made it to my room." Recognizing a growing lump in Ben's shorts, Graham smirked, "Someone likes this story a lot."

Ben blushed and slowly nodded. He whispered, "I need to tell you something else."

"I'm listening."

"I've seen all four of them naked. They walk around that way a lot the last few weeks they've been living alone. Nude, Derrick and then Prez opened the door for me. It never got me hard like I am now."

Graham nodded understandingly. "That's because you like them and we're falling in love. You feel me too, I'm sure." Ben nodded and giggled. Graham sighed, "As good as everything is, I'm still in that same place, Ben. I want to, with you, but I don't know if I can break down all the barriers tonight. I promise to try, okay?"

"Nothing's changed that radically for me either. What I said before still stands, Graham."

"Ben?"

"Yeah?"

"It's my problem, not yours, dude. It's sweet that you'll make it yours too. I never cheated on him and never wanted to. That's the wall I have to break through. I will knock it down, a little at a time." To prove the point, Graham ground his crotch against Ben's. Ben gasped then whimpered. Graham smiled and passionately kissed Ben. This time, Ben's hips involuntarily pushed up while Graham ground down. Breaking the kiss, Graham whispered, "We could continue like this, but then I'd be wearing really smelly clothes the rest of the night and tomorrow."

Shaking his head, Ben giggled, "Mom has the car until she's off work. We're relying on Prez and Derrick until then."

Graham leered, "I want you, Ben. I can barely wait."

Ben apprehensively asked, "Do you wanna go now?"

"If you can wait, I can."

"I'm anxious and really scared too, Graham. I'm the one that hurried into the locker room shower and back out again. I want to with you too, but…"

Graham gently shushed Ben then shared, "I'll tell you a secret. I didn't think too much of my body either. Boyfriends fix that. Francis told me plenty of times how much he liked my body. I was always really self-conscious about my big ears, but he especially liked them."

"You're ears don't detract anything from a really handsome face."

Graham smiled, "I told him the same sort of things, almost every time we were alone together. I'm gonna tell you now so you can start getting used to hearing it; you're hot, dude. You make me hot too. If I can't put your hand on my dick, it's because I'm not ready, not because you're bad looking or doing anything wrong. Hearing him say it's okay doesn't make a year simply vanish. Can you understand?"

Ben nodded and smiled, "I can wait. I want to be with you so much, it's like I need some direction. I don't mean to hurry anything."

"I want your first time to be something you'll always remember. I don't want it screwed up by me, over Francis or anything else. I love you, Ben."

Ben happily wept, "I love you too. I think you're awesome in so many ways."

"Please don't cry."

"They're happy tears. I can barely believe how really nice you are and that you love me. It's so unfair that you were hurt too. And you wanted me to lie down on you?"

Graham chuckled, "You will and I won't be crushed either. That's really how it is, Ben. You'll kiss me and I'll kiss you, sometimes for no real reason. I'll lay on you for a while; you'll lay on me for a while. We'll make love and we'll clean each other up. Everything I did with Francis, I want to do with you, and then there will be things that are uniquely us."

Dreamily, Ben wondered, "Like what?"

"Brrrrrrrrr!"

"Grrrrrrrrr!"

Graham smiled, "Like that. Francis' middle name was Patrick. Fp! Blah, nothin' except a lot of spit." Ben cracked up. "Francis Patrick Mcloughlin doesn't amount to much either; Fpmm! A little less spit." Ben howled. Graham giggled, "We did that, Ben, in our first hours together. Imagine what we'll come up with during the weeks and years of tomorrows."

Ben sighed and reached to grab a kiss. Laying his head down on the plastic table, Ben wondered, "Will we have pet names too?"

"Probably; brrr and grrr work as great signals, but they're not really names."

"I know what Francis called you. What did you call him?"

Graham chuckled, "Francis would shoot us both with a bolt of lightning."

Ben grinned and pleaded, "Please?"

Still smiling, Graham sighed explosively and explained, "To keep his folks in the dark, he ran track. He was pretty good too. He ran sprints mostly; one-hundred, two-hundred and four-hundred meters. Compared to me, he was a string bean. I called him 'Beanie'."

Ben asked, "Would you want me to call you honey graham?"

"Would I mind? No. I'd rather you found one of your own though."

Ben nodded and wondered, "Have you got any ideas for my pet name?"

Graham nodded and grinned, "You're sweet like candy. Your name led me directly to bonbon."

"It works. If you like it, then keep it."

Quickly, Graham scrambled off Ben, landed on his feet and turned away. Loudly sneezing four times in a row, Graham wobbled unsteadily. Sitting up and thankful he hadn't said or done something wrong, Ben giggled, "Gesundheit! My goodness! Are you okay?"

Graham sniffled and nodded then grinned, "I might not be done; still got the tickle."

Ben hopped off the table, surprising himself in the process. Normally he would've simply slid his ass off. He went nearer to Graham and asked, "Are you cold?"

"Nah, not really; it's just a tickle in my nose and I didn't bring a handkerchief, which was pretty dumb, considering all the crying I've been doing."

"Let's go back to the party and get you a tissue or something," Ben prompted. Graham nodded and they started back toward the house. They had only taken another few steps before Graham sneezed twice. "Okay," Ben grinned, "We're staying inside for a while. When we're ready to leave the party, we're going home. You're not allowed to get sick our first full day together."

Graham chuckled, "I'm not sick; it's just a tickle in my nose. As soon as I blow the feathers out, I'll be fine."

Ben giggled, "Feathers?"

Graham rambled, "Chickens, crows, ducks, sparrows, who knows what tickles the nose." Helplessly, Ben cracked up. Grinning, Graham teased, "Would you rather I said it was a big snot rock?" Groaning through his laughter, Ben shook his head and laughed harder. Pleased that he had his boyfriend laughing, Graham stoked the fire. "Really, I'm allergic to erections. That's how I knew I was gay; I'd sneeze because I had a bone and couldn't spank it. I sneeze a lot in school and other public places, like parks." Grabbing his belly, Ben roared. Pretending to chastise his wiener, Graham giggled, "Bad dickie! You hang down and be good now. We'll get the desert flower to bed when I say so, not you!"

"Graham!" Ben delightfully squealed.

Crossing the street, Graham sneezed three more times under the street lamps; "Ahchoo! Ahshit! Dammit!" He sniffled and grinned, "Some people get blue balls, I get blue nose."

Turning purple and wheezing, Ben opened the door of Doug's and Brian's house. Everybody was shirtless and most of them were down to their underwear. Graham followed Ben inside and closed the door. Under the even brighter entryway light, Graham sneezed five times. Rush came running to the entryway and wagged his entire body. Hysterical, Ben cackled, "Tissues, before he explodes."

Derrick hurried to get the box from the living room. Prez teased, "What did you do, Ben?"

Breathlessly, Ben tried to explain, "Erection reaction; bad dickie, blue balls, blue nose."

Keith, Mike and Prez howled. The Ben from early June would not have said any of that. Giggling his ass off, Derrick handed Graham the box of Kleenex. Taking two, Graham smiled, "Thanks, dude." He folded the tissues in half and blew his nose, making an incredible loud honking sound. That set everyone off on a laughing fit.

"Did it get foggy suddenly?" Glen sniggered.

Aaron nodded and chuckled, "Down at Marina Del Rey."

Graham giggled at the remarks and blew again. Drew walked in the front door and shouted, "OMIGOD! I thought Prez was playing synth bass. We heard the first blast at the sidewalk. Lucy's checkin' the seismographs." Giggling his ass off, Corey followed Drew inside and closed the door.

Graham cracked up and then asked, "Where's the trash?" Mike pulled the plastic receptacle, half filled with crushed beer cans, up and over for Graham to deposit the wasted tissues. Graham sniggered, "I hate it when that happens. There I am, having a nice conversation with Ben, and everything stops so I can sneeze my damn head off."

Keith grinned, "I'd like to hear more about this supposedly nice conversation."

"Those were Graham's explanations for sneezing so much," Ben giggled.

Taking Ben in his arms, Graham nodded and smiled, "To keep you laughing. It's a beautiful melodic laugh." Ben's expression dramatically softened.

Danny confirmed, "You dudes just met?" A chorus of various confirmations erupted. One of the few still wearing his shorts, Danny got up and went to hug Ben and Graham.

Graham smiled and wondered, "What was that for?"

Danny shrugged, "We just met Ben and all these dudes yesterday. This Ben is not the Ben we spoke with." Ben squeezed Graham and Danny tightly.

"See," Drew teased Keith, "it's not only me and Corey. It's a natural phenomenon."

Prez asked, "Where are Brian and Pete?"

Corey smiled, "We did one lap around the baseball diamond. They wanted to do a few more laps, so they could get to sleep before dawn."

Drew nodded, "Waking as late as we did, we're all a little off kilter."

Glancing around, Ben said, "I stopped by around lunch time and knocked. No one answered."

Mike nodded, "We were out cold, dude."

Corey explained, "I had a nightmare that woke everyone. We had breakfast and went back to bed around eight this morning."

Noticing Graham inspecting the bong, Derrick asked, "Ya want some, dude?"

Shaking his head, Graham smiled, "Not tonight, thanks."

Ben asked, "Have you ever?"

Nodding, Graham answered, "Not very often. I've never used a bong and never seen one like this. It's Aladdin's Lamp?"

Mike said, "It's older than we are, Graham. It belongs to the two men that own this house."

Keith offered, "We don't toke out too much either. Before this, the last time was April." He turned to Prez and wondered, "When before that, baby?"

Prez hummed then uncertainly replied, "January?"

Derrick nodded, "After the hearing for my dad."

Drew and Corey took their T-shirts off. Keith asked, "Are you heading to bed, bro?" Brian and Pete walked in the front door.

"First a quick shower," Drew nodded.

Keith said, "Use the master bathroom. Craig and Glen are asleep in the studio."

Brian asked, "Would you guys mind company? We need a shower too now."

Drew checked with Corey. Corey smiled and chirped, "Cool." Brian, Pete, Corey and Drew went to the master bathroom.

Danny asked, "Pass the bong, please?" Graham handed it over to Danny. Danny softly smiled, "Thanks. We've gotta be heading to bed too." He looked over at Aaron in the living room and asked, "You're working tomorrow, love?"

Getting up and joining his partner, Aaron nodded, "Two to close." He smiled at Prez, "Your dog is great. Unfortunately, my dad is allergic."

Prez chuckled, "He's an attention grabber."

"And a really good watch dog," Mike added.

Noticing Graham holding back a yawn, Ben softly asked, "Grrr?"

Graham nodded, "Brrr," and smiled, "We'll catch you dudes tomorrow. Thanks so much, for everything. It's made a difference."

Prez smiled, "Y'all have a good night. We'll be awake around ten, I'll guess."

Ben stole a kiss from Graham and then teased his four friends, "We'll give you a chance to get clothes on."

Mike joked, "Then we'll see you around three, just before Dee and I head off to work."

Keith reminded, "Brian and Pete want us all to go to lunch together." He asked Ben and Graham, "Why don't you join us?"

Ben checked with Graham, who softly answered, "If you want." Ben then made the rounds, hugging and whispering his thanks to Keith, Prez, Mike and Derrick. Following his boyfriend, Graham did the same. Lastly, Aaron and Danny got hugged. Ben and Graham said their final good nights then left for Ben's house. Graham reached for Ben's hand. After only a few steps, Graham smirked, "I can feel you shaking."

Ben blushed and softly giggled, "You're a lot of firsts for me. I wish…"

Graham waited then wondered, "What do you wish?"

"At least one other friend had spent the night before this. I don't know how to do the first simple thing, Graham."

"The first thing you do before going to bed is take a leak. Then you brush your teeth, right?"

"Right."

"You lead me around to the bathroom and your bedroom. Once we're in there, I'll lead and you'll follow."

Ben nodded, but questions raced around his mind. He'd never even undressed before with anyone. The simple routine of getting ready for bed seemed like a complex equation that required thought and preparation. Graham was so wonderful in so many ways; all Ben could think of was trying to not embarrass Graham or himself. At his front porch, Ben reached his hand in his pocket to get his keys and promptly dropped them. He rolled his eyes and huffed impatiently. That's strike one, Ben thought.

"Wait," Graham instructed. He took Ben firmly in his arms, rested his head on Ben's shoulder and whispered, "I think you're awesome; sweet, smart, witty and the perfect dude for me. We're practically the same in so many ways. Nothing is gonna easily change how I feel about you, Ben."

Holding on tight, Ben quivered, "Omigod, Graham. I'm so scared."

"I am too and you know why. You already told me how you feel, so I understand what's scaring you. It's okay." Graham kissed Ben's cheek and then pulled his head back so he could tenderly kiss him. He then reminded, "You'll make things better for me and I'll make things better for you."

"Right."

"It is right, Ben. It's perfect." He squeezed his new boyfriend tight and got a tight squeeze in return. They stepped back and released each other.

Ben squatted down and retrieved his keys. Amazingly, he wasn't shaking quite so bad any longer and easily unlocked the front door. They stepped inside and Ben closed then locked the door. He whispered, "My mom's room is at the end of the hall. Would you like anything to drink?"

Graham smiled, "I'm fine now, but get us a big glass of water to share."

"To share?"

"To share."

Ben giggled and nodded then led Graham around the entryway wall and to the right. Ben turned on the kitchen lights. This house was virtually the same as the house they just left. There were different furnishings and different counter tops and different cupboards, but the floor plan was the same. Graham remained near Ben, but left him space to get a glass and fill it with water from the refrigerator door. Ben whispered, "My room is the first door on the right. Would you turn the light on for me?"

Graham nodded and went out of the kitchen, past the entryway and stepped into Ben's room. His hand found the light switches and flipped them on. Across the room from the doorway, the bed was centered under a wide window. That wall was steel grey and the other three walls were sky blue. Near the desk, to the left of the bed, was a poster of an acoustic guitar that seemed to reference musical notes. That was the only picture on the four walls. Ben turned off the kitchen lights then walked into his room carrying the glass of water. Graham smiled, "A full size bed," and bounced his eyebrows. Ben giggled and nodded. Graham went to the stereo and found a few CD cases to look through while Ben closed the door and put the glass of water down. Graham softly muttered, "Beethoven, The Beatles, Journey, The Alarm and Hootie and the Blowfish. You really do like all kinds of music."

Ben nodded, "Those last three are pretty new. The band plays songs by all three of those artists, so I got them a few weeks ago."

"You've got a nice room. Where's your guitar?"

Ben pointed and replied, "In the closet."

Graham warmly smiled, "You'll play for me tomorrow, right?"

"All two songs," Ben giggled. It suddenly dawned on Ben that Doug and Brian would be back from vacation on Friday. He wondered what they would think of him when he walked in with Graham.

So they could get ready for bed, Graham did what he would normally do and took his T-shirt off. Ben audibly gasped. Graham was indeed a mix of Mike, Derrick, Keith and Prez. He had Keith's strong chest, Mike's wide shoulders, Derrick's arms and abs like Prez, a nice four pack. Graham grinned and went to Ben, whispering, "I can't sleep with a T-shirt on, remember?" Ben gulped and nodded. Graham lifted Ben's arms and started to take the T-shirt off his boyfriend. Seeing Ben's chest and belly for the first time, Graham hungrily hummed. Like most other teenage boys, Ben had a nice form. Knowing that Ben wasn't into sports and didn't like P.E. much either, Graham found better than he expected. The best part was that Ben already had a little chest hair and a pronounced, thick treasure trail leading from his navel down into his shorts. Reaching an arm over, Graham gently ran his fingers around Ben's chest hair. He smiled, "I like this, a lot."

Ben blushed and giggled, "Thank goodness!"

"Tell me, how does a dude that doesn't like P.E. or sports get a body like that? What do you do?"

Ben shrugged, "Nothin' really. When my mom needs help moving furniture, so she can vacuum, I help. When my dad needed help in the garage, cutting lumber or whatever, I helped. I'm not a big eater, either. I see lots of dudes eating way more than I do, but they probably do more than I do too."

Graham grinned, "Would you keep your shirt off tonight for me?"

Ben nodded and giggled.

"Have you got a spare toothbrush or mouthwash?"

"There's mouthwash in the bathroom." Returning to his senses, Ben took Graham's hand and led the way. Another case of the jitters struck when he turned on the bathroom light and saw the toilet. Ben paused and watched Graham close the door.

Tilting his head, Graham wondered, "What's wrong?"

Ben stammered, "I'm… you're… uh…"

Graham nodded, "This time, you'll hold your own dickie. It won't always be that way, I promise."

Flustered, Ben blinked, "You'd… for me?"

Graham nodded, "And you will for me too." He pointed at the bowl for Ben to go first then picked up the bottle of mouthwash and poured a little into a paper cup. Ben moved before the bowl, unzipped and fished his dick out. Swishing the mouthwash around, Graham watched Ben. He noticed a nice uncut dick, perfectly average in every way. Francis had been circumcised at birth and hung fairly long, but didn't grow much more than another two inches when he got hard. Ben and Francis were two very different people; large frame versus small and uncut instead of cut. Still, the best part for Graham was there would be far less hiding. He could be back here again and hold Ben's hand. They had already held hands in front of Mrs. Healy and she didn't say a word about it or make any disapproving faces. Having never even looked toward Graham, Ben finished and flushed. Graham spit out the mouthwash and rinsed again with water. They swapped places in the bathroom.

Ben picked up his toothbrush and put only a little dab of toothpaste on it. He slyly watched Graham urinate from the mirror and noticed another uncut dick that was only a little longer and thicker than his own. Of course, Ben didn't realize that Graham had a chubby either. Graham finished and flushed then went to stand behind Ben. He wrapped his arms around Ben's belly, rested his chin on Ben's shoulder and watched his boyfriend brush his teeth in the mirror. Ben started giggling around his toothbrush.

"What?" Graham smiled. "You've got a handsome face, a sexy bod, a nice dickie and a sweet nature. This is where I want to be now."

Ben whimpered and giggled.

Graham chuckled, "You need to spit."

Leaning forward, Ben did so. While he was hunched over the sink, Graham began running his fingers around Ben's back, starting at the waist and moving up. Not knowing what he could say or do, Ben sniggered. Graham briefly massaged the shoulders he had been resting his head on most of the night. Liking it a lot, Ben sighed.

Graham checked, "Nice, huh?"

Ben nodded and smiled in the mirror, "Fantastic."

Graham leered, "You ain't seen nothin' yet. Let's go." He stepped back and opened the door. Ben turned off the light and followed Graham to his bedroom where he closed and locked the door. Graham was on him again before he turned around. He whispered, "It's been a great night, thanks to you and your friends. I really thought I'd be home early and crying myself to sleep again. I'm falling fast for you, Ben."

"Faster than Francis?"

"That was way different. We were friends for a few years first. We're friends and lovers, all in the same night. I really do love you, ya know?"

"I love you too, Graham. It's all happened so easily. It would be easier if I wasn't so surprised. Please don't misunderstand it as not loving you, okay?"

"Okay." Graham began placing kisses along Ben's shoulder while he blindly unzipped and unbuttoned Ben's shorts. He released them and they started to slide down Ben's legs on their own, leaving Ben in his red and blue plaid boxers. Graham instructed, "Now you undress me," and took two steps back. Ben stepped out of his shorts and turned around, mostly watching Graham's face and only briefly looking down to unbutton and unzip the shorts his boyfriend was wearing. As Graham had done, Ben allowed gravity to work and the shorts slid down. Graham had navy blue boxer-briefs on. Graham squatted down and picked up his own and Ben's shorts then put them on the desk chair. Ben went to turn one of his night table lamps on then turned the ceiling light off. They faced each other. Erections were obvious beneath their underwear. The passion and desire they had barely managed to contain all night evaporated as they approached and tenderly kissed.

Having never experienced the feeling of another boy's bare chest against his own, Ben spiraled to new heights. He could barely believe any of what had happened this night and now felt Graham's erection pressed against his own. As they had out in the park hours earlier, they held on tight and passionately kissed, involuntarily thrusting their hips and grinding against each other. When they absolutely had to breathe, the kiss broke and their faces slid over their shoulders.

Ben softly whimpered, "Graham?"

"Ya wanna leave the light on?"

"Please. I want to see you and know it's really happening."

"This is no fantasy; it's a dream come true. You're awesome; sweet, warm and cuddly, like a teddy bear."

"You're so fantastic, Graham. I can easily talk with you. That's been so rare."

They couldn't even release each other to take the next step. With one hand holding Ben in place, the other hand started pushing Ben's boxers down. Then Graham swapped hands until the boxers were down far enough to eventually fall off on their own. Graham held on and allowed Ben to use both hands to push his boxer briefs down. Awkwardly, they kicked the underwear off and then waddled to the bed. Barely familiar with the room and concentrating more on Ben his arms, Graham's leg hit the bed before he was prepared for it. The momentum had him off balance and Ben let Graham go to fall sideways onto the bed. Hysterical, Graham softly chuckled at himself and the wicked giggling his shy boyfriend was now doing. Shuffling further onto the bed, Graham playfully mooed as he watched Ben crawl over him.

Graham smiled, "It's my turn," and instructed, "You're on top of me this time."

Ben groaned indecisively. The best way he could meet Graham's request was a little at a time. With his arms, Ben held his upper body off Graham and started lowering the rest of his body a little at a time. When their naked hips touched for the first time, Graham purred and Ben helplessly thrust his hips down. Graham guided Ben the rest of the way down. Ben confirmed, "You're okay?"

Graham softly giggled, "Perfect. You feel so right. Fifteen pounds more than me won't crush me, Ben."

Ben happily growled, "Grrr-rrr-rrrr!"

Graham laughed then replied, "Brrr-rrr-rrrr!"

"I love you," Ben whispered.

"I love you too," Graham assured, and thrust his hips up. Stiffening, Ben forcefully ground down. The two new lovers; one a virgin and the other more experienced, didn't realize when they started their grind how quickly they would climax. Graham's weeks of grief had kept him celibate. Ben was simply too thrilled with Graham to help it. In little more than a minute they were panting and trying to focus on kissing.

Ben whispered, "Sorry."

"I'm not, so don't be. We should've expected it. We can do more, ya know?"

"Aren't you tired?"

"I'm not that tired. I've been sleeping the last month."

"I woke up about a month ago."

Graham teased, "You seem ready for more."

Ben giggled, "So do you."

Rolling them over and surprising Ben into more giggles, Graham smiled, "Are you ready for the second lesson?"

Ben nodded and giggled, "Yes, teacher."

"This lesson and the next, we'll both learn from."

Barely controlling his voice, Ben cackled, "Two lessons?"

Graham nodded, "First with our hands and then with our mouths."

"Don't you feel like you're cheating anymore?"

Shaking his head, Graham revealed, "Lesson one taught me some things."

"Like?"

"The whole time, I heard him in my head, telling me that it really is okay, while in my ear, I heard you. Just as important as that, when I felt you cumming, I was only seconds away too. You'll be listening to me talk about Francis for a while, Ben. He won't interrupt us when we're alone together. He'll talk to me, for as long as I want to hear him, but I won't bring him up when we're making love ever again. You're not replacing him, you're joining him, as in two entirely different people I was lucky enough to love, and have the love returned."

Ben smiled, "You're the best, Graham. I couldn't have hoped for better."

Graham chuckled, "You're really awesome too. Now I get to show you exactly what I like and tell you why I like it. Then we'll switch places."

Ben giggled, "One last question. Is it possible to fail these lessons, Mister Carleton?"

Graham sniggered, "Possible, but extremely unlikely." He then went to work, starting with Ben's hair and ears, and then began working his way down, describing what he saw and why it was special to him. In no time, Graham had Ben flushed bright red, cringing from tickles and giggling hysterically, occasionally pulling a pillow over his face so he wouldn't wake his mom.

He really didn't need to worry quite so much about waking his mother. Ben's father was a chronic snorer. For the first time in weeks, Mrs. Healy made use of the ear plugs she kept in her night table drawer. She figured, the boys would be awake talking, at the very least, and didn't want to be disturbed or disturb them either. It took Ben seventeen years to crawl out of his shell; she wasn't about to leave anything to chance.

A point was made of Ben's treasure trail. Graham wet his fingers and played with the long brown hairs, explaining, "These are incredibly awesome; like a perfect arrow, thick around your belly button and coming to a sharp point, just before the bush. They point the way, dude."

Ben incredulously squealed, "Graham!"

Graham giggled and picked up Ben's bone. "Now this is as perfect as, dare I say it, they come. Uncut, about six and half inches and pretty darn thick; thicker than me, that's for sure."

Ben giggled, "Yours is longer."

"Not by much; a half an inch, I'm guessing. Have you ever measured it?"

Shaking his head, Ben giggled, "Never had a reason to until tonight."

Taking Ben's rod in his fist, Graham smiled, "I'm seven by four and three quarters. You're probably about six and half by five and a quarter." He pulled down and uncovered the head, playfully cackling, "Peek-a-boo, I see you!" He covered the head again and gasped, "Where'd it go?"

Ben covered his face with the pillow and roared. He felt Graham release and lay his cock down then begin examining his scrotum. Ben now knew Graham was bordering on insane. Mike, Derrick, Prez and Keith never warned him about any of this. He pulled the pillow off his face.

"Nice, big hairy nads," Graham teased. "They're gonna get lots of use and abuse soon." He started feeling up Ben's thighs and hummed, then explained, "Big and muscular; you could be a running back, dude. Mack plays soccer and he's got thighs like yours. The exercise you got was enough to make you a rock."

Ben giggled, "Are you done?"

"Still have the legs, feet and ten toes to go, then I'll check out the back side," Graham giggled.

Gesturing with his index finger, Ben giggled, "Please come here."

Flopping down beside Ben, Graham smiled, "You get an 'A' plus. It's my turn."

Running his fingers through Graham's wavy brown locks, Ben smiled, "Later; in my time and on my terms." Graham playfully mooed and shuffled closer, wrapping an arm around his new boyfriend. Ben whispered, "I like your wavy hair, your ears, eyes, nose, neck, wide shoulders, chest, abs and dickie too. Ya know why?"

Slightly shaking his head, Graham wondered, "Why?"

"For everything we said and did tonight," Ben shared. "My friends were hoping I'd hook up with Howard. Obviously, they opened a door for Rick too. I wasn't trying at all for anything or anyone. Still, I found you. You found me. And here we are, naked on my bed; the bed I thought would never have more than me on it. Nothing could be more surprising or perfect, Graham, seriously."

Overcome with joy, Graham placed a few soft kisses then whispered, "You make me very happy, Ben. Believe me; I won't be going very far without you nearby. Are you ready for our next lesson?"

Ben nodded, "Teach me." Graham gently took Ben's cock in his hand. Ben shivered, "Oh." Familiar with both cut and uncut dudes, Graham knew exactly what to do, but didn't want to hurry or make Ben climax too quickly. Still on his side facing Graham, Ben whispered, "Are you ready too?"

"You first, teddy bear," Graham softly answered, and then instructed, "Lay back and enjoy it, sweetness. We don't wanna get the blanket dirty."

Ben nodded and asked, "Hold me close?"

"Always," Graham assured. Never losing eye contact, Ben lay flat, sliding one arm under and around Graham. Graham shifted closer, so as much of his body was touching Ben as was possible.

"You've got the most beautiful eyes."

"Thank you. Yours sparkle."

Ben giggled, "I can't imagine why."

Graham grinned, "You feel good?"

"I feel loved."

"By me; for a long, long time, teddy bear," Graham softly assured.

"I like that name."

"It's yours then."

"Graham cracker, I think that works for you. You're so sweet and funny."

"It feels good too."

Shuddering from a boy's hand doing unexpected things for him, Ben gasped, "Omigod."

"Let me know when you're close."

"Why?"

Graham evilly grinned, "You'll see."

Spiraling out of control, Ben kissed and licked Graham's shoulder.

Graham mooed then gushed, "That's real nice."

"Omigod! You're so good!"

"You'll be good for me too, teddy bear."

"I can't wait for my next lessons."

Graham chuckled, "You're a quick study."

After losing it so fast the first time, Ben giggled, "Not quite so quick this time, thank God."

Graham teased, "If I wanted, I could make it happen faster."

Whimpering indecisively, Ben giggled, "I don't know what to tell you to do!"

"Are you enjoying your first times?"

"Omigod, yes!"

Graham leaned down for what he and Francis considered the medium kiss. It was a mix of the open mouthed passionate kiss, with a lot of tongue action, but was gentler, like a tender kiss. With their lips barely touching, Graham teased Ben's tongue then retreated. Just as expected, Ben's tongue darted out and searched for Graham's tongue. Teaching Ben that it was time to retreat too, Graham softly closed his mouth. When Ben's tongue slid back from his teeth, Graham sent his tongue out again. Getting the idea, Ben mooed and signaled with a soft finger tap on Graham's back. They kissed that way for a minute or so more, until Ben's hips started thrusting. Graham confirmed, "Close?" Ben rapidly nodded. Scooting down, Graham pulled his arm out from under Ben's neck and shoulders. He gently took only the head of Ben's cock in his mouth while the freed left hand teased Ben's right nipple and the right hand kept the foreskin involved. Out of control from the feeling of a warm, wet mouth, Ben's head thrashed more than his hips were bucking. Graham had one other trick up his devious sleeve. As soon as Ben's first powerful spurt of semen hit his tongue, Graham firmly, but not too roughly, pinched the nipple he had been teasing. Panting, thrashing and whimpering, Ben held Graham's left arm in place. Graham had almost forgotten how much fun masturbating and oral sex combined could be. When Ben had given all had had to give and relaxed, Graham set about the equally enjoyable job of insuring his lover's dickhead and foreskin were cleaned. Ben giggled his ass off from the exquisite torture.

Crawling back up beside Ben, Graham smiled, "Demonstrations of lesson two and three are complete."

Cracking up, Ben rolled to his side and proceeded to demonstrate the kissing techniques learned thus far. While still being kissed and giggling at the sudden burst of aggressiveness from Ben, Graham guided his boyfriend's left hand down. Searching Graham's eyes, Ben asked, "Are you sure?"

Graham nodded and smiled, "I need to try for you, teddy bear. He's told me it's okay; the rest is up to you and me."

Ben smiled, "Then I'll need my right hand to do the best I can." He hovered over Graham, allowing him to shuffle over a little, and then Ben took Graham's previous location and position. Graham lifted his head and Ben slid his left arm under it and palmed a strong shoulder.

Graham looked over at the hand holding his shoulder. It was something he and Francis had never done. Loving it, Graham reached his right hand up and over to hold Ben's left hand in place. He smiled up at Ben; "The student has taught the teacher something new and awesome."

Ben giggled, "I wanna touch my sexy graham cracker."

Graham's smiled faded and he whispered, "Touch me, teddy bear; I'm yours."

Apprehensively, Ben reached his right hand down as far he could reach and rested it on Graham's right thigh. Leaning down, Ben tenderly kissed Graham, paying careful attention to licking sweet lips and softly rubbing the thigh his hand rested on. Not only was Ben's method nice, it was very new to Graham. Slowly, Ben's thigh rubbing moved higher then slid down before sliding back up, closer to the hip again. Graham understood Ben enough to have expected something like this, but he honestly wasn't prepared for how good it felt. Ben slowly ran his fingers through Graham's pubes, approaching the erection that neither realized was bouncing in anticipation. The first fingers touched Graham's manhood, causing him to helplessly groan.

Nose-to-nose with Graham, Ben checked, "You're okay?"

Graham rapidly nodded. Since his relationship with Francis was based on prior friendship, they had a lot of playful sex. Because of Francis' family, many times it was hurried. Sex with Ben was proving to so different, Graham's mind spun with the reasons why, but he couldn't concentrate. The practiced fingers of a classical guitarist were first tapping and then stroking his bone. Ben still hadn't taken Graham's cock in his fist. Watching Graham's face closely, Ben got to know his lover's private parts on his own schedule, mostly based on anxiety and a little fear, but Graham's wide smile and soft expression meant that everything was good. At last, Ben used a two-finger technique to play with the hooded head.

"Ben?"

"Yeah?"

Graham giggled, "The teacher just tore up his diploma and burned it."

Ben offered, "You know I'm as scared as I am thrilled?"

"I know teddy bear. You're doing so much more than great."

Ben giggled, "So lemme try like this then." Making a circle from his thumb and forefinger around the tip of Graham's cockhead, Ben slowly slid it down the length of the shaft, until the remaining three fingers cupped his nads. Graham whimpered. Ben's grip was nowhere near tight enough to cause pain, but he still checked, "It's good?"

"Omigod!" Graham gushed, "Your fingers are like magic!"

For receiving the compliment of a lifetime, Ben gave a tender kiss. Graham held Ben's head close and returned the kiss. Taking this as a signal, Ben kept his mouth slightly open and copied the 'medium kiss' tongue teasing he had learned. Ben's three fingers stroked the backside of Graham's scrotum for a few moments then he pulled his hand up the shaft to the head.

Helplessly whimpering again, Graham reached his left hand down to wrap all Ben's fingers around his throbbing cock. He whispered, "I'm all yours, teddy bear; do your magic."

Ben giggled and took more initiative, stroking Graham's bone like he would his own, varying the speed and techniques, occasionally brushing his thumb over the head, switching his grip to underhanded and back to over handed. Loving each and every variation, Graham softly encouraged Ben. Quite abruptly, Graham shivered and turned his head to Ben's shoulder and loudly giggled, "BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" Falling back again, Graham smiled widely up at Ben and they cracked up. As Graham composed himself, he softly giggled, "Oh God, I'm so in love with you."

Ben warmly smiled, "I'll always love you back, I promise."

"It's almost time, teddy bear."

Without even thinking, Ben nodded and shuffled down; kneeling between Graham's spread legs, to take a cock into his mouth for the first time. Up close, Graham's bone looked perfect and tasted even better than Ben might've expected. It was his lover's scent that drove him wild though. With his hands grazing blindly on their own, from Graham's legs and up to his strong chest, Ben enthusiastically did all the work, bobbing his head to take half of Graham and flicking his tongue in anticipation. Whimpering almost constantly, Graham held Ben's arms on his chest. Ben remembered the nipples just in time. As if he had pressed the orgasm buttons, Ben pinched both and received his first taste of another boy's semen. Remaining still, Ben allowed Graham to pump into his mouth, tasting the salty-sweet fluid and deliriously humming. Graham gasped and firmly squeezed Ben's wrists. Very familiar with how sensitive a penis could become after an orgasm, Ben only held it in his mouth, waiting for Graham to release his arms. He didn't understand how delirious his boyfriend was. Graham didn't expect the bobbing, or the flying hands, or both nipples getting pinched at the perfect time, or Ben staying on him to swallow every drop, or the spine tingling humming. Graham couldn't even speak for over a minute, but loosened his grip on Ben's wrists.

Pulling his hands down, Ben began the cleanup process. He carefully used the lightest touch he could force his tongue to manage, insuring the glans ridge and the inside of the foreskin was as clean as possible. Almost conscious again, Graham cooed the entire time. Ben always told himself, when he got the chance to make love to a boy, he wouldn't let anxiety or fear get in his way. He didn't expect Graham to want to on this night though. Now that he had accomplished his dream in real life, pride and self-respect shone forth like never before. When Graham's penis was clean, Ben laid it down then started licking and sniffing everywhere he could reach, from the hips and navel down to each fuzzy testicle.

Bouncing and flinching, Graham giggled hysterically, calling Ben's name, pet name and signaling 'brrrrrr!' in an attempt to stop the relentless tongue tickling. Nothing worked. Sitting up, Graham slid his hands under Ben's armpits and pulled him up, away and over to lie on top of him. Tightly squeezing one another, they kissed passionately until oxygen was required.

Ben giggled, "Can I try to get extra credit, teacher?"

Graham laughed, "You've got it already, 'A' double plus and graduating with honors. I learned stuff from you, teddy bear." He wondered, "What were you sniffing for?"

"Where that intoxicating scent was coming from," Ben giggled. "It's everywhere I licked down there."

Graham muted his laughter on Ben's shoulder and cracked up. Composing himself, Graham whispered, "I love you, Benjamin Robert Healy."

Ben shivered, "I love you too, Graham Robert Carleton."

"Do you want to go to lunch with your friends?"

"I'd like to, but it's not imperative. You're imperative to me."

Graham sighed, "I feel the same way too."

Ben wondered, "Where in Woodland Hills do you live?"

"South of Ventura Boulevard," Graham answered, "On Medina Road."

"Is that east or west of Topanga Canyon?"

"It's east, between Topanga Canyon and Canoga Avenue."

"Do you have brothers or sisters?"

"One of each, both are older," Graham replied. "My sister is back east, attending Rutgers University. My brother is married already and living up in San Jose."

"Will I get to meet them?"

"Probably around the holidays," Graham nodded, and then wondered, "Where's the apartment complex you're moving to?"

Rolling over so Graham was on top; Ben smiled, "North of the 101, between Topanga Canyon and Canoga Avenue. It's called the Waterford Apartments."

Graham brightly smiled, "We'll be a mile or less from each other; definitely walking distance." He giggled, "You wore me out, teddy bear."

Ben beamed, "I'm wide awake."

Graham asked, "How about some water?"

Ben nodded, "The glass is on the dresser, sexy."

Graham grabbed a kiss then pushed up off Ben and crawled off the bed. Retrieving the glass, he noticed the nearby digital clock read five-forty. Returning to the bed with the glass, he found Ben sitting up and watching him. He took a large mouthful of water and passed the glass to Ben, grinning, "Ya know, we left the party about three hours ago?"

Taking the glass, Ben nodded, "Suddenly, I have a lot to say." He drank some water and passed the glass back to Graham. He asked, "Turn around, please?"

"Why?" Graham grinned.

"Several reasons; I've seen your front, I'd like to see your back, and seeing your dick is getting me hard again."

Turning around, Graham giggled and warned, "You're next, teddy bear."

Scanning the entire length of Graham's back, Ben took special delight in the wide shoulders, trim waist and tight muscular buns. He softly sighed, "You're simply beautiful, Graham."

Putting the glass on the night table, Graham held out both his hands to Ben and prompted, "Stand?" Once Ben was standing, Graham led him to near the foot of the bed, where they were both looking into the dresser mirror. He said, "We're practically the same, Ben. I've got a medium frame and you've got a large frame. We've got brown hair, brown eyes, bushes around our dickies and brown hair on our legs. I like what I see a lot. What do you see on me that you don't have and want?"

Ben blushed, "You've got visible abs and I've got a belly."

Graham nodded and smiled, "If it's that important to my lover, then I guess we'll have to tighten up your belly. You're not fat, plump or chubby, Ben. What I see is awesome, but it's important for you to be happy too, don't you think?"

Ben nodded and asked, "Do you really like me as I am?"

Rapidly nodding, Graham assured, "Every part of you is perfect, inside and out. I'm gonna risk another bolt of lightning. Francis was five-feet-eight inches tall, one-hundred and twenty-seven pounds and his dickie went from about four inches to six inches long. It was about four and a half inches around. You're longer and thicker than he was. You were a very pleasant mouthful. I'm batting a thousand with you, Ben, seriously. You changed me overnight, dude. I went from a hopeless, grieving waste of space to a very hopeful, ecstatic human being again, thanks to you."

"Prez and the other dudes helped."

"Yes they did, but who are they to me? Acquaintances, Ben. I met them once before, two months ago. They're your best friends. You asked them to help me. I wouldn't have known to ask, and even if I did, I probably wouldn't have asked. So, my new boyfriend asked for me. It's right back to you, dude."

Ben nodded and giggled.

"You're important to me. It only follows that what's important to you is equally important to me. From now on, you tell me what you'd like or need. That's one of many things that boyfriends do for each other. Do you want to work on flattening your belly?"

Ben shrugged, "I'd like to, but don't know how."

Graham smiled, "Leg raises and sit-ups. I'll show you now. The added bonus is that we just might get to sleep and go to lunch with your friends."

Facing Graham, Ben nodded then rested his head on his shoulder and shivered, "I love you and need you."

Graham giggled, "It's so awesome to hear it. I love and need you too, Ben."

"I'm scared."

"Of?"

"Losing you."

Squeezing Ben firmly, Graham assured, "It won't happen. Do you want to know what I'm imagining?"

"Yeah, please?"

"I see can easily foresee a month of sleepovers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you say that you had band rehearsals Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings?"

Ben nodded, "Yeah, I did."

"Then tonight, we'll sleep at my place. I've got a queen size bed with room for my special teddy bear. Friday through Sunday night, I'm here with you. Monday night, we're back at my place again. That's the pattern for the rest of the summer for us. We're here with your best buds and there with my best buds."

Ben yawned then giggled, "It sounds so great. Tell me more, please?"

"In bed."

Ben nodded, hurried to reset his alarm for eleven in the morning and then climbed back on the bed with Graham only an arm's length behind him. They got comfortable, on their sides, facing each other. Graham softly asked, "Do you remember what I said about meeting my parents?" Ben nodded and smiled. Graham reminded, "You're on a pedestal, as soon as we walk in the door. Between us, we'll answer all their silly questions, like what kind of student you are. Remember to hit them with some questions of your own."

"Like?"

"Ask about their jobs. Ask about my brother and sister. What they'd really like is if you asked about their hobbies."

"They have hobbies?"

"That's for them to tell you," Graham giggled.

"What can I say about me?"

"Most of what you told me is cool. Tell them about your friends, their band, the rehearsals and the concert. Tell them that you play classical guitar and want to learn other styles."

"What will you say about me?"

"The truth; that I went out to a party expecting to be home before midnight; that I expected to cry myself to sleep again; that all those expectations started evaporating with you. I'll go on and on about my teddy bear, making you blush and giggle as much as possible."

Ben smirked, "No doubt."

Running his fingers through Ben's hair, Graham whispered, "Close your eyes and relax, my love. I'm not going anywhere without you. I love you."

Stifling another yawn, Ben warned, "You're putting me to sleep. I wanna talk more."

"We will, in about five hours. Until then, would you hold me or would you rather be held?"

"Can I hold you? I wanna know the second you wake up."

Flipping himself over, Graham scooted back a little. Reaching back, Ben turned off the night table lamp and realized the sun was already up. They had stayed awake all night, just like he had hoped. Wearing a grateful grin, Ben shuffled closer, rested his arm around Graham's hip and belly and whispered, "Good morning, sleep well."

"I'm pretty sure I will. See ya soon, teddy bear."

"I love you."

Feeling thick, hot flesh against his ass, Graham softly chortled, "I can tell."

Ben's face split into a wide smile and he closed his eyes. What seemed like only moments later, Ben heard his mom's beeping alarm clock. It was, in fact, about fifty minutes later. Exactly as he last was, Graham was breathing deeply and steadily. Drifting in and out of sleep while his mother got ready for work, Ben shivered with thoughts of how he had spent the night with Graham. It hadn't yet been half a day, but the boy before Ben had become so important, all he could hope for was that Graham's sleep wouldn't be interrupted. Hearing his mom open and then close the front door, Ben fell back asleep.

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