Life Goes On

by The Eggman

Chapter 26

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 last days of that period.

In the studio of Doug's and Brian's home in Agoura Hills, Glen's watch alarm began beeping at eight in the morning. He woke his boyfriend, Craig, the usual way, by rubbing his butt and whispering his name. Craig groaned, "It's morning already?"

"Yep, I'm afraid so," Glen grinned.

Always a light sleeper, Aaron heard his friends and softly asked, "You dudes are takin' off?"

Glen smiled, "I have to work at nine. You're relieving me at three. Are you staying?"

Aaron hummed then grinned, "Yeah, we didn't get to sleep until about three."

Rolling his head, Danny muttered past the pillow, "Another few hours rest, please?"

Craig sleepily muttered, "There were noises last night. What did we miss?"

Aaron smiled, "Graham's sneezing fit."

Standing up to get dressed, Glen wondered, "Do you dudes believe that thing with Graham last night?" Leaning over, he started separating the pile of Craig's and his own clothes.

Aaron grinned, "My Grandma does something similar; she calls it 'overlooks', where she stands behind someone, pulls the bad vibes out and tosses 'em away. Only this was the four of them and all the rest of us surrounding Graham."

Danny giggled, "I'm tellin' the doc about this shit. Either I'm already takin' too many meds or not enough."

Aaron nodded, "It was awesome and freaky at the same time. I'll verify it really happened."

Danny smiled, "Aaron asked if they could do their thing for me too. I hope they will and it's soon too."

Aaron assured, "We'll be spending lots more time with these dudes, Danny. They're a great band and lots cooler than we figured. According to Derrick and Mike, it's like a healing thing they do. It worked for Ben, Corey and now Graham too. It'll work for you."

Sliding his polo shirt over his head, Glen grinned, "Minus the dead dude speaking."

Pulling up his shorts and forcing his morning wood down, Craig smiled, "Saturday's are good. We can make their rehearsals."

"We can't do Sundays or Mondays too easily," Aaron agreed. "We'd have to leave early or get there late."

"Oh dudes," Danny excitedly cackled, "you should've seen Ben with Graham, during and after the sneezing fit."

"It's so great; they're completely lost in each other," Aaron chuckled. "You can see it in their eyes."

Danny sighed, "In one night, Ben's changed so much. I feel like he's caught up with me."

Aaron shook his head and smirked, "Nope, don't think so, not yet. We've been together way longer, first of all. With the dildo, we're making great strides, don't you think? They can't be there already, could they; in one night? Besides, we have a longer history together."

Danny smiled, "You know that you can't go to work until I get some more, right?" Pulling shirts over their heads, Craig and Glen evilly snickered.

More to tease Craig and Glen, Aaron joked, "You might even get some here and now." Danny whimpered.

Craig giggled, "Give us two minutes to leave."

Rolling his eyes, Aaron sighed, "Who just exposed themselves to get dressed? We've seen each other naked at least a hundred times, not including P.E."

Glen nodded, "Keith, Prez, Derrick and Mike are in a place we've only dreamed of. When Danny's ready, we can try having sex in front of each other."

Danny assured, "Soon, dudes. The facts are in my head, just not in my heart or dick yet."

Wrapping an arm around Danny, Aaron gently smiled, "I was teasing them, Dan. No one is rushing anything."

Fully dressed, Craig and Glen knelt down beside Danny. Craig whispered, "Who loves you?"

Danny blushed, "Aaron and you two dudes."

Glen asked, "And what happens to pedophiles in the clink?"

"Used, abused and tossed away, like the trash they are," Danny recited.

Aaron assured, "We've got your back, Dan."

"No one will ever mess with our best bud again," Glen firmly stated. "If they survive Aaron, they've still gotta deal with me and Craig."

Inhaling deeply, Danny exhaled, nodded and smiled, "I love you dudes. I just want it in the past, ya know?" Three confirming affirmations were chanted and Danny was embraced and kissed by his lover and best friends.

After a few peaceful moments, Craig checked with Glen, "All set?"

Glen nodded, "Keys, wallet and you."

Standing, Craig smiled, "We'll see you dudes later tonight.

Locking eyes with Aaron and pointing at Danny, Glen grinned, "Therapy time."

"Oh, you know it," Aaron smiled.

Glen nodded and stood, saying, "Later."

"Lock the door, please?" Aaron instructed.

Craig smiled, "No sweat," and waited for Glen to step out of the room. He locked the door and closed it behind him. As they went down the hall, he whispered, "Let's leave Derrick and Mike a note."

Pulling Danny down, Aaron began his therapy. Having met and spoke with Danny's psychiatrist, Aaron had memorized pages of instructions over the prior months. He spoke with Danny as his lover and boyfriend; softly, reassuringly and intimately. Danny's father had made Danny vulnerable and kept him that way; he had betrayed all parental trust that Danny should have had. Aaron's biggest job was to correct that self image issue and make Danny understand that he was independent, strong and safe all the time. Weekly sessions with a professional, and daily sessions with Aaron, had Danny on the brink of full recovery. He simply could not be in a position of weakness. Aaron always kept Danny in control of everything sexual and then had to reassure him that he had never felt forced or out of control. The equal Aaron knew was there in Danny showed himself more and more in little ways. They fell asleep after oral sex, with Danny resting his head and most of his body on Aaron.

They woke again about ten, dressed and then visited the bathroom. Brian, Pete, Corey and Drew were already awake, having bowls of cereal at the kitchen counter. Aaron and Danny took the sheets and pillow cases out to the dining area, left them on a chair, hugged all four and asked that their thanks for the party be passed along to Mike, Derrick, Keith and Prez. Aaron said they would definitely make Saturday rehearsals too. With assurances their messages would be passed, Aaron and Danny left for home.

A few doors down the street, Graham was dreaming of Francis again. It was a different dream this time; not a nightmare of the accident, or a bandaged comatose partner, or of a casket and a grave. Graham felt a tickle on his neck. He spun around and there was Francis, appearing healthy, dressed normally, about ten yards away and laughing.

"What're you doin', Beanie?" Graham chuckled.

Francis shrugged and laughed, "Wasn't me!"

"Right," Graham grinned.

"It wasn't," Francis assured, and then pointed to Graham's left.

Only a few feet away stood Ben, blushing, giggling and rapidly shaking his head. Graham sniggered, "Did you tickle me, silly teddy bear?"

Before Ben could answer, Graham felt a poke at his ribs. Spinning around again, Graham playfully told Francis, "Stop tickling me, Beanie!"

Francis howled laughing, "I'm not tickling you, Honey Graham," and he pointed at Ben again.

Graham squinted, "Brrr-rrr?"

Shrugging innocently, Ben giggled, "Grrr-rrr?"

Suddenly goosed by something way bigger than a finger, Graham lurched and laughed, "Francis, you're being an asshole!"

Grabbing his belly with both arms, Francis nodded and roared, "It is not me, Graham! I'm gone, remember?"

Graham giggled, "What's going on, Beanie?"

Francis smirked, "You're going on, Graham."

Graham huffed, "Come on, dude; a little less cryptic. How're ya doin'?"

Francis giggled, "Omigod, you're dumb sometimes. The more important question is how you're doing."

Totally into playing the game, Graham chased after Francis, but never could close the distance between them. All Graham wanted was a simple answer to a simple question, but Francis was obviously in a playful mood. Francis was quick, but Graham had never had such a difficult time catching his boyfriend before. Graham stopped running and so did Francis. Leaning over slightly, with his hands on his knees, Francis panted, "You always were the best, Graham. Now that I've got your heart racing, think."

Graham chortled, "I'm thinking, Beanie, of spanking your ass."

Shaking his head and grunting negatively, Francis pointed at Ben. He asked, "Where are we, Graham?"

"At a park," Graham huffed.

Francis mooed and teased, "You're getting warm, Honey Graham. Which park?"

"How the hell should I know?"

Francis groaned and then giggled, "So much for getting warmer."

Graham playfully warned, "I'm gonna get ya for this, Beanie."

"I wish ya could, Honey Graham," Francis smiled. He then held up an index finger and grinned, "This is Chumash Park in Agoura Hills. Okay, so you wandered around it all night in the dark. This is what it looks like in the daylight." Francis then pointed at Ben and reminded, "He's yours now. While I get to watch and make sure things go alright, you get to be with him. He'd try to bend steel railroad tracks for you, Graham. And ya know what?"

"What?"

"You'd do anything for him too, wouldn't you?"

Graham nodded and smiled, "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I would."

Francis held up a second finger, saying "Good. Now, remember where you are?"

"With Ben?"

"Yup. He's breathing on your neck. It wasn't me that tickled you, it was him. He flinched in his sleep and brushed your side, he didn't mean to. Again, it was Ben, not me. And now for the grand finale, the goosing was Ben too, snuggling close with that fat bone of his. My cock sure ain't that thick, you realize that too. Your cock was a little longer and a little thicker than mine. You never complained about my dick or anything else. I sure as hell had no reason to complain, and if my sources are correct, Ben thinks just as highly of your rod as I did."

Graham howled laughing, "Francis! You're watching us sleep, ya perv?"

Francis nodded, "It's so cute too." Holding up a third finger, Francis smiled, "I'll be here when you need or want me, Honey Graham. You're different, I'm different and Ben's different too. You're going on with Ben now. I'll kick back and enjoy the show."

"So, what's the point of this, Beanie?"

Francis displayed the three fingers again with each word he spoke. "Ben is yours. You are Ben's. I am gone. Get over it." Dropping his hand, Francis smiled, "Get it?"

Graham nodded, "Got it."

"What're you gonna do now?"

"What you told me to do."

Francis shrugged, "You want to anyway. I told you that it's okay. Guilt sucks; it kept me in that damn hospital bed too fucking long; guilty about the accident, about leaving you, about leaving my family and this world. Thanks to you, I got to experience a lot in sixteen years, and especially the last year. Don't ever feel guilty, Graham; about the accident, about my parents and definitely not about a boyfriend like Ben. It's not easy for me to admit it, even now, but if there's anyone on Earth more worthy of you than me, it's Ben. I wish we didn't have to hide so much, Graham. It wasn't only my parents, it was me too; a lot of worries preventing me from doing so many simple things. It'll be better soon, with Ben there'll be a lot less hiding." Appearing directly before Graham in an instant, Francis shoved his old boyfriend against Ben and giggled, "So make it okay, now!"

Waking with a start, Graham hummed and thought, 'He always was a goof.'

Ben whispered, "Are you alright?"

Carefully rolling to face Ben, Graham grinned, "Weird dreams. At least it wasn't a bad one."

"Wanna tell me about it?"

Graham smiled, "You and Francis were playing with me, at the park. It seemed that he was tickling, poking and goosing me. He said it was you and I didn't believe it. It really was you though."

Ben grinned, "You're right, that is weird."

Graham glanced at the clock on Ben's dresser. Seeing that it was only ten-fifteen, he smiled and asked, "Ya know what time it is?"

Ben started to answer, "Ten…" and was promptly tickled. Flinching and brushing away Graham's hands, Ben giggled.

"It's playtime, teddy bear," Graham warned, and then bounced up and onto Ben, straddling his hips. With his hands flying from Ben's neck to his belly, Graham chuckled, "It's another thing boyfriends do; drive each other crazy, from morning until night."

Frantically trying to block Graham's hands, Ben cringed and cackled, "Noooo!"

"Oh, yes!" Graham sniggered, "I have to teach my teddy bear many lessons. This is the good morning lesson, which has at least three phases. Then there's the bathroom lesson and another three or four phases. Even getting dressed has phases. You'll love 'em, I promise."

Ben loudly laughed, "Omigod! Phases? Graham? Stop! Oh God, please stop!"

Graham did stop and lay down on Ben, wildly smiling, "That was the good morning tickle phase. Next is the good morning kiss phase." He dove down for a passionate kiss before Ben had a chance to catch his breath or say a word about morning breath. It was a nice, long kiss that euphorically woke them both. Feeling Ben's hands caressing his back, Graham broke the kiss and sighed, "Real nice."

"I used to wonder why boyfriends always seemed so happy," Ben breathlessly huffed. "Now I know. There's no choice."

"This is only the beginning. The next phase preps us for the bathroom phases."

"And that might be?"

Graham began an exploratory mouthing of Ben's neck and shoulder, intermittently mumbling, "This is the after-good-morning-kiss make-out phase."

Giggling through his whimpers, Ben repeated was he was feeling on Graham's neck and shoulder. Ben quickly discovered getting into Graham's neck while his own was being licked and nibbled wasn't easy. The pattern was to move to Graham's shoulder until he couldn't bear to have his neck munched another second. That's when they both giggled during the neck battles. After minutes of foreplay, Ben playfully wondered, "This is leading to which phase?"

Without looking up, Graham replied, "We make love. Where's your new toy?" and then got in a surprise nibble.

Unable to hide the surprise in his voice, Ben sniggered, "You want to use it on me?"

Shaking his head, Graham grinned, "You're gonna use it on me. That way, we'll both learn something."

Ben balked, "I'm not very, you know, experienced."

"I'm not sure how to use it either, Ben. So, we'll take it slow and easy, like good morning sex should be. Cool?"

"Cool. It's in the bottom night table drawer, to my left; in a shoebox under some magazines."

Graham bounced off Ben and the bed, landing on his feet and then squatting down. He checked, "You've got lube too?"

Rolling onto his side to watch, Ben hummed affirmatively then said, "In the same shoebox." While Graham opened the drawer and removed the various old magazines, Ben cautiously called, "Graham?"

"Yeah, teddy bear."

"You seem really happy."

"I am, with you."

Ben blushed and giggled, "You don't know how glad I am to hear that."

Graham paused and turned to Ben, smiling, "Last night was awesome, Ben. I don't say things like 'I love you' without thinking about it. I'm following my instincts as well. You want to go to lunch with your friends, right?"

Ben nodded, "Right.

"We have time to make love, shower, get dressed and do that. I'll get to know them, which I haven't really had the chance to do."

"You're surprising me," Ben gushed. "I didn't expect you to want to make love last night. Now you want to do it again." More gently, Ben prompted, "Tell me it's what you want and not because… you think I want to or because you were hurt so badly."

Ignoring the quest for the moment, Graham knelt beside the bed and grabbed a quick kiss. He softly smiled, "You really don't know how incredible you are or how awesome you just made me feel, do you?" Ben shook his head. While finger combing Ben's hair, Graham grinned, "I'm playing with you because I want to and because you so deserve it. In one night you flipped my world from negative to positive. I always used to wait for Francis to take my hand. Already, you've taken my hand more than I've taken yours. I promise to switch that around too. I'm down here looking for your toy for a few reasons; first of all, butt play is new to you. That's why you got the thing in the first place. It doesn't take rocket science to figure that out. Secondly, it's been a while for me too. Since I've never used a toy, I want to, with you. Finally, it's a good way for both of us to work toward real intercourse. When I'm ready to make love to you that way, I want you ready. The same goes for me too. When I want you, it's gonna be all you; no thoughts of Francis lingering. We don't have to use the toy now, if you'd rather not. I mean, it's not going anywhere. We can make love any way we want."

Giggling happily, Ben reached for a tender kiss then explained, "For me, it's all new. Waking with you was awesome enough. Ya know I've never slept on top of the covers before? I did though, for the very first time. I was warm beside you. I woke to your soft chuckling, from your dream. It's already a special day. I've never woke up this happy; laughing this hard, this fast. Usually, I just roam around, grab breakfast, go to the bathroom, take a shower and then get dressed, without the thrill of a boyfriend tickling me to tears first. Of course, I want to make love with you too. I'll be a little nervous either way, whether I'm playing with you or you're playing with me, because it's all brand new to me."

Graham nodded and smiled, "I have an even better idea than the toy now." He took the bottle of lube out of the shoebox then started putting the magazines back and teased, "What're you doin' with Better Homes?"

"It was in the recycle bin," Ben sniggered. "I had to hide the box and toy from my mom."

"You're so cute!" Graham gushed.

"You should've been at Sav-On the first time I bought myself lube," Ben giggled. "In the store, outta the store, in the store, outta the store; the third trip in, I finally got what I went to get."

Picturing it in his mind, Graham cracked up. He closed the night table drawer then climbed back onto the bed and lay down on top of Ben again. Finger combing Ben's hair, Graham gently said, "I'm sorry for rushing. It seemed like a good idea at the time."

"What's your better idea?"

"Lube and fingers. We'll get to know each other even better. Do you know what sixty-nine means?"

Ben nodded and giggled.

Graham whispered, "I'll play with your butt and you'll play with mine. We'll suck our dickies too. Does that sound like fun to you?"

Humming affirmatively, Ben giggled, "Teach me how."

"First you get the hole lubed and rub the outside. In a little while, it's obvious it's relaxed. Then you can start inserting only a finger tip. Little by little, you can get more of the finger in. Once a whole finger is in, then we can try for a second finger, assuming we haven't already cum. Judging by last night and your very talented fingers, I can only hope we get to two fingers. Ready?"

"Ready."

Graham smiled, "You're really awesome," and then planted a tender kiss. He swung around and lay on his side next to Ben. Rolling to his side and shuffling down, Ben watched Graham also adjust his position, lying diagonally across the mattress. Soon, they were good, with their top legs bent and allowing access. Graham signaled, "Brrr."

"Grrr," Ben giggled. With his lube, Ben wet the index and middle fingers of his right hand and quickly moved that hand into Graham's crack. Graham took the bottle and did the same thing, careful to not spill any lube in the process. Ben checked, "Just rub the outside?"

Humming affirmatively, Graham nodded, "It's a muscle we learned to use as babies, during potty training. Rubbing relaxes it." To see better, Graham stuck his head between Ben's spread legs. Ben saw and felt Graham's head resting on his thigh, so he did the same thing. Their left hands weren't of any use, making the simple process awkward though.

"Graham?"

"Yeah, teddy bear?"

"This would be easier with two hands," Ben giggled.

"Yeah, it is," Graham chuckled. He suggested, "Sixty-nine, with me on bottom and you on top." Ben pulled his head off Graham's thigh and moved back, allowing Graham to lie on his back and pull his legs into the air.

Ben whimpered then giggled; "Now that's a view."

Graham laughed, "Crawl over me, so I can get at your dickie and a view of my own."

Watching his legs and knees near Graham's head, Ben quickly realized he had to have Graham's legs locked behind his arms. Being the same height, they now had perfect visual and tactile access. Beginning to gently rub Graham's orifice, Ben thought his boyfriend had the most perfect butt on the planet; a moderately hairy crack and smooth white muscular buns. He kissed each cheek and then rested the top of his head on the mattress. Beyond a fair amount of wet brown hair, Ben watched Graham's pink asshole tighten and relax.

Nothing about Ben's butt shocked Graham; it was simply larger than Beanie's. Considering how smooth Francis was above the waist, he had a very hairy crotch. The main difference between Ben and Francis was the hair color; Beanie's was dark red versus Ben's brown. Graham was pleasantly surprised with the kisses on his butt cheeks. He took a moment to pull Ben's erection back and into his mouth.

Ben briefly gasped. He tried to pull Graham's stiffy back, but it slipped through his lubed fingers twice and slapped against his boyfriend's tummy. Graham softly chortled around the bone in his mouth. Ben smirked at his silly boyfriend then giggled, "Funny, huh?" Graham chuckled louder. Ben's fingertip invaded Graham's ass for the first time. He was surprised how tightly the sphincter clamped on his fingertip, but didn't move it. Eventually, the pressure around Ben's fingertip wasn't quite so intense. Since Graham was still slightly bouncing with laughter, Ben spied two testicles and gently sucked one into his mouth, rolled his tongue around it and then went for its twin. Graham whimpered and writhed around. Releasing the testicle with a wet pop, Ben giggled, "Is it still funny?"

Letting Ben's erection slip from his mouth, Graham giggled, "Omigod, Ben! You're wonderful! I love it!"

"More?"

"Yes, please. I'll suck your dickie?"

Ben giggled, "I love that you call it a dickie." Graham laughed and inserted a fingertip into Ben. The remaining time the two lovers pleasured each other, their minds raced. Ben shifted slightly so Graham's cock could comfortably make it into his mouth. Ben was, in many ways, the mirror opposite of Francis. Francis was thinner and shorter than Graham. Ben was as tall as Graham and only a little heavier. Francis had no hair on his chest, but Ben had some. They had so much fun that their orgasms were one after the other and only single fingers were used. While cuddling in post-orgasmic bliss, Ben shared, "Ya know, you're tighter down there than I thought you'd be."

Graham grinned and reminded, "It's been five weeks, dude."

Ben sighed, "I'm so sorry, Graham. I didn't mean it that way."

Squeezing Ben tightly, Graham prompted, "Look at me closely." When Ben did so, Graham softly smiled, "I played with Francis and you in my dream. He was well, perfectly fine, looking exactly like he might've any day. It's the first time I didn't see him wrecked in a dream. It's the first time it wasn't a nightmarish vision. We played and teased each other just like always. He reminded me that guilt sucks then pushed me to you, dude. He said, 'Go make it okay, now,' like it was imperative. That's why I woke in such a good mood. It's why I was so silly and ready to grab your toy. Yeah, my butt's tight again. It's for you to loosen up. Now let me tell you something else, okay?"

"Okay."

"You're trippin' me out, majorly. Last night, I expected way different than what you gave me. I expected my sweet, shy boyfriend to be a least a little scared of having a bone in his mouth."

Hiding his blushing face against Graham's chest, Ben giggled, "I was."

"You sure didn't show it. You took it like a pro. You swallowed. I did not expect any of what you did at all."

"It was good?"

"You are incredible!" Graham gushed. "You're hand was friggin' awesome, and so was your mouth, and this time, you kissed my butt checks, sucked my nads, nibbled the inside of my thighs and swallowed another load. You can try to get better, but I don't know if it's possible. You're a dream come true, a dream I never had, but here you are. I love talking with you, sleeping with you and the sex is already more than I expected."

Turning ten shades of red through all Graham said, Ben dropped his face onto Graham's chest again and giggled.

"Do me a favor, my special teddy bear."

Ben smiled, "Anything for you."

"Hold your head up as proudly as you can. I told my friends and yours last night, I was caught, hook, line and sinker. It's true, Ben, no bullshit or wishful thinking. That was from our time talking. I expected a virgin acting like a virgin, like I acted and Francis acted, and was perfectly willing to deal with that.

"As friends, I'd spend three or four days of every seven with Francis. As boyfriends, we were together almost every day, but we could only spend occasional nights together at my house. More than once a month and his parents would've gotten suspicious. Our sex was hurried afternoon sex a lot of the time. Believe me, I am not ever going anywhere far from you. You're gonna have to commit armed robbery or kill someone to get away from me. You're my boyfriend, partner and one hell of a lover too."

With happy tears overflowing and running down his cheeks, Ben cheered, "At last! Omigod, I love you too, Graham, so much!" Laughing ecstatically, yet still shedding tears, Ben shifted over on top of Graham, buried his face in the crook of his boyfriend's neck and held on tightly. "I was so scared," Ben confessed, "believing you might change your mind."

Gently rubbing Ben's back, Graham softly chuckled, "I have changed my mind; from the one wallowing in sadness to the happier one I usually use. Do you see us now; do you see my visions of the next weeks, before school starts?"

With his face still buried, Ben giggled, "Yes, like a movie on a big screen."

"That's just the start too, Ben. Prez is starting a Gay Straight Alliance at school. We're there for every meeting, if you want."

"I don't know what it is, but yes!"

Laughing his ass off, Graham rolled over so he was on top of Ben. He caught the time on the clock and smiled down, saying, "Guess what we're gonna do now?"

"Anything ya want, yes!" Ben giggled.

Throwing his head back, Graham roared laughing. Ben squeezed Graham's butt cheeks and they both became hysterical. All Graham wanted to say was, "Let's get in the shower," but couldn't stop laughing. With playful fire in his eyes, Ben started tickling Graham. Scurrying to get away from Ben's tickling, Graham howled, "Wait! Shower! Lunch!"

Only slowing his tickling slightly, Ben followed Graham off the bed. He got more tickles in while Graham tried to unlock the bedroom door. With each tickle, Graham bounced and so did his muscular ass, much to Ben's continued delight. Once the door was opened, Ben chased Graham down the hall to the bathroom. Another first for Ben was roaming the house naked. Even if he was home alone, Ben always had some clothing on, until this day.

Backed against the far bathroom wall and prepared to block more tickling, Graham giggled, "Be good and I'll hold your dickie while you pee?"

Ben leered, "I just wanna hold your dickie. I'll hold it while you pee, and in the shower, and I'll have to restrain myself from holding it everywhere we go. If it gets hard, I'll have to make it shoot."

"Omigod!" Graham laughed, "Is my special teddy bear happy?"

Nodding, Ben held Graham's arms and gave away tender kisses. Graham's laughter subsided with each kiss. The intensity in Ben's eyes faded. Graham deeply kissed Ben back. Ben returned a passionate kiss. Their arms flew wide open and they tightly embraced for a long lip lock with plenty of tongue grazing. Contentedly and peacefully they released their kiss and embrace, slowly lowering their arms to their sides, but never stepped away. As close as they were, they could only see one another's eyes.

Graham whispered, "I'm every bit as happy with you as you are with me."

Ben nodded, "I can't get over how I feel. You're giving me so much."

"I feel it too, Ben, honestly I do; like I can accomplish anything with you close by."

"The heartache is gone. The confusion is gone. There's only joy, from you."

"The sorrow is gone. It seems weird after so many tears. There's only my trust in you."

"Did we cross some line; some barrier?"

"I don't know. The love that I thought I knew changed, it fluctuated all the time."

"This fills me up, Graham."

"Yeah, it does. Don't ask why it is; just know that it is because I feel it too."

"What should we do? What could we do?"

"What we planned to do and keep it with us."

"Yeah, definitely keep it with us."

"Bathe me, Ben. A few minutes ago I so wanted to bathe you, to touch you."

"I was feeling the exact same way, Graham, focused entirely on bathing you. Now I feel like I'll wilt if you don't touch me."

Never losing eye contact, Graham reached to his left and slid open the shower door.

Ben smiled, "Would you believe I'm afraid to look away from you?"

Graham grinned, "Yeah, like this feeling might disappear."

"We can't let that happen."

"I trust it won't. Let's test it. On the count of three, we'll close our eyes for three more seconds."

"Ready?"

"Ready."

Together, they slowly and deliberately chanted, "One… two… three," and closed their eyes. Again they counted off together and opened their eyes.

Ben giggled, "It's still here."

Graham chuckled, "That's a relief, huh?"

Ben nodded and giggled, "I thought we might be stuck."

"I know!" Graham laughed, "I almost saw your mom coming home from work and finding us still here, still naked, still dirty."

"Come on, silly Graham cracker," Ben giggled, "let's get wet."

Mooing and then guiding Ben backward into the tub, Graham teased, "There's nothin' better than a squishy wet teddy bear."

Cracking up, all Ben could think was how his friendship with Graham compared to Prez, Mike, Derrick and Keith. As close as he was to the latter four, Graham had flown well above and beyond them. He playfully wondered, "How is it that you're everything my closest friends are and more in less than a day?"

Turning the water on, Graham grinned, "It's my ears, isn't it?"

Ben giggled, "Maybe, but I don't think so."

Bending over to test if the water was warm, Graham wiggled his ass and teased, "Is it my butt?"

Rubbing the fine white globes that contrasted with Graham's light tan, Ben sighed, "Closer maybe, but that's still not it either."

Flipping the shower on then facing Ben again, Graham pretended to search his mind and offered, "It's gotta be my big feet then."

Picking up the bar of soap and starting to create lather, Ben looked down and then back at Graham, smiling, "Your feet aren't that big, so they can't be the whole reason."

As if it were revealed from a higher power, Graham shouted, "It's my titties!"

Ben uncertainly hummed then passed Graham the soap and smiled, "They are a very nice set, nice and strong and the perfect size, but no."

Working up lather in his hands, Graham tilted his head and suspiciously asked, "It couldn't be my dickie, could it?"

Beginning to wash Graham's neck and shoulders with his bare hands, Ben giggled, "Your dickie is awesome limp and erect, and I especially love that you call it a dickie, but that's not the only reason, I think."

Graham joked, "Then it's my charismatic personality," and rolled his eyes.

Ben shook his head and pulled Graham closer, saying, "It's all those bits and pieces, Graham. You're my idea of perfection. You were last night while we walked around the park and the feeling keeps getting stronger."

"You must really love me, huh?"

"I do, completely."

Stealing a quick kiss, Graham smiled, "That makes us even. There is no single part of you I would dare change. I love you, Ben." He picked up the soap again and washed Ben's back; since they were too close to manage washing the front. As he worked his way down, Graham softly warned Ben before sliding his soapy hands into his crack. Feeling an unexpected poke on his hip, Graham grinned, "Believe me, I love doing it too, Ben. I will every day from now on. I want to touch you all over as much as I want to be touched by you."

Ben softly moaned, "Oh, Graham. Tell me what intercourse is like, please?"

"It's beautiful, Ben. Even the first times we try, we'll talk and make it the best it can be. We're almost there too, teddy bear."

"Yeah?"

Graham nodded, "The connection we made outside the tub proved it. Orgasms from masturbation are okay. Orgasms from someone else are very good, because you don't have control over when. Intercourse is the pinnacle, a feeling that races all over your body and around your brain. Now, all we've gotta do is get each other physically ready. I'm thinkin' tonight we'll play with your toy and in another few days, we can try, okay?"

"Okay. It's another thing I'm anxious and nervous about, ya know? Yesterday morning, intercourse was a fantasy. The reality of soon is making butterflies flap."

"I know. Relax teddy bear. I can almost promise you, we'll probably go for rides; you'll sit on my dickie and I'll sit on yours. That way, we can see each other and it's almost guaranteed awesome. It gets really fantastic, Ben, each time we do it. There are so many great ways it can be done and each is a unique sensation, physically and emotionally."

Feeling Graham's stiffy against his hip; Ben rapidly nodded and giggled, "Talking about it got you hard."

Graham nodded then leaned in closer for the 'medium' kiss. Since they were both hard, Graham took the initiative and started stroking Ben. He passed the soap, and in moments, Ben was returning the favor. Graham asked, "Do you want to use condoms, teddy bear?"

Shrugging, Ben scowled, "I know we should, but I won't stray from you, Graham. What do you think?"

"I always did, but never liked them. I sure am happy with you, Ben. If we aren't sleeping around and can be committed then we wouldn't have to use them."

"That's what I want us to be," Ben smiled, "committed and permanent."

Shivering with delight, Graham whimpered, "Oh yeah, me too, I want that so much, with only you."

Sealing their promise with kisses, their hips started bucking wildly and they held on tightly to each other, taking steps closer to the brink, slowing down for kisses or to simply hang off each other, then speeding up. When Graham started chanting affirmations, Ben watched semen burst forth to his elbow in quiet amazement. He milked every drop from Graham and giggled along with his lover's every shudder. Graham hung off Ben for a short while to recover. Suddenly, his head popped up of Ben's shoulder. With his eyes flashing mischievously, Graham pulled Ben close and concentrated his efforts. Ben had never had an orgasm standing before and his knees occasionally buckled, but Graham had his teddy bear secure. Graham also watched the magical orgasm overtake Ben.

Coming to his senses, Ben breathed, "Thank you."

Graham wondered, "For what?"

"For everything; last night, when we woke and just now," Ben replied.

Stepping back for the bar of soap, Graham began bathing Ben's neck and shoulders, gently explaining, "My dickie is still pretty hard, pointing at you. We're gay lovers now, teddy bear. That means I enjoy getting you off every bit as much as when you get me off. At least two-thirds of the time, it'll be like last night and today; both of us wanting and needing it at the same time. The rest of the time, one of us will be caught off guard, dealing with an exceptionally randy partner." He playfully teased, "It's so horrible too; chasing or being chased to get what we want." Easily imagining it, Ben giggled and nodded.

Ben's chest and belly were clean, so Graham raised his boyfriend's arms to wash his underarms and sides, smiling, "I wish those chasing times happened more often, but I know it's not realistic. Be prepared, teddy bear, I like sex a lot. Now, with both our homes being cool, we're gonna make love often. When I'm randy, you'll know it. I want you to make sure that I know what you need or want." Smiling widely, Ben's eyebrows bounced, obviously liking the idea. Graham giggled, "Even when school starts, it gonna be very cool and very hot at the same time. We'll have a whole month of history to build on. Imagine us having lunch together; I say something that sets your heart pounding in your chest."

Ben giggled, "You'd have to run, preferably to your bedroom or to mine."

"Exactly," Graham sniggered. "There's no reason for a 'thank you' or other niceties for any sex, Ben. We want it, we go for it, it's that simple. As for all the talking we've done, there's even less reason to be polite. I could thank you for holding me while I cried and listening to me for hours." Ready to wash Ben's dickie, but seeing it still hard, Graham displayed the soap and grinned, "Just to wash down there, teddy bear." Ben nodded yet still bounced slightly as two soapy hands slid around his cock and scrotum. Ben was more than adequately cleansed, but Graham knew to keep it enjoyable and mellow. Completing the task, Graham stole a tender kiss then stepped aside to allow Ben to rinse off. When Ben turned around and held his hand out, Graham passed the bar of soap.

Ben didn't say a word while he created lather, partially because Graham had already raised his arms and rested his hands on top of his head. The vision was almost more than Ben could bear. Starting to wash his boyfriend, Ben softly smiled, "My friends will be able to tell we've made love."

"Good."

"They'll say something, probably Mike, but it could be any of them."

"Even better," Graham softly sniggered.

"Would your friends say something?"

Nodding, Graham chortled, "Most likely."

"What should we do or say?"

"Play the game, teddy bear. It's not like they don't know all that we could've done, they just don't know exactly what we've done."

Ready to wash Graham's crotch, Ben checked, "Ready?"

Bracing himself for the contact, Graham nodded, "Ready." While Ben performed the task, Graham sighed, "Omigod, Ben, you have the most awesome hands in the world. It has to be from playing guitar."

"Maybe," Ben giggled, "I'm just doin' for you what I used to do for myself."

"I love it too," Graham smiled.

Ben took careful notice that Graham did not say 'thank you', but what little he had said meant so much. Reaching for a tender kiss, Ben stepped aside to allow Graham to rinse off. Unable to help himself, with the knowledge of having a completely fantastic boyfriend standing naked and wet only a few feet before him, Ben giggled.

Without turning around, Graham chortled a warning; "You're being bad and we'll miss lunch entirely."

"I can't help it," Ben sighed. "What's more amazing; a boyfriend; one that I can actually talk to; or one that loves me back that looks like you? You're a dream come true. I'm thrilled."

Turning around and rinsing his backside, Graham made a point of scanning Ben from head to toe. He leered, "I'm so there too, Ben; honestly I am. You're so hunky, completely edible; it's making me hungry and horny at the same time."

Fiercely blushing, Ben giggled, "We'd better get out of here or we'll miss lunch and dinner."

Graham cracked up; "Two pruned dickies!" then turned the water off. Following Ben out of the tub, Graham sniggered, "Ya know, Francis and I could towel off with one towel. We had to at his house and started doing it at mine."

Handing Graham a bath towel, Ben smiled, "Show me."

Taking the towel, Graham went to Ben, draped the towel around both their heads, and started stealing kisses. While Ben giggled his ass off, Graham chuckled insanely. Somewhere out there, he could imagine Francis, being the closeted pervert he really always was, and watching Graham share with Ben one of the more necessary and ridiculous parts of their relationship. The best part was the contact and how much Ben was enjoying it.

Having held their bladders way too long, the toilet screamed loudly for attention. Graham held Ben's mostly erect dick and pointed it down at the bowl. Having been there many times before, Graham soothed Ben with soft words, assuring Ben that he intended on becoming a very permanent and present fixture in his life; that this was only the first of many days to come; that Ben would come home with him that night and nothing they had already planned had much chance of changing.

When their positions at the bowl swapped, Ben was thrilled to share his thoughts and dreams with Graham. "I want us to tell each other about every fear and worry, every success and triumph. That's gonna be another new thing for me; telling you what I used to keep bottled up inside. I promise to try very hard, Graham. If you think I might be holding something back, press me for it," Ben softly told Graham. Brushing their hair with the same brush was equally fantastic, as was sharing Ben's Right Guard stick deodorant.

Returning to Ben's bedroom, Graham chose a pair of Ben's boxer shorts, which fit perfectly. Ben wore waist size thirty-to-thirty-two boxers and had a thirty-one-and-a-half inch waist. Graham's waist size was thirty, so he had to wear his shorts from the previous day or risk sagging way too much. They went to the closet and chose T-shirts. Ben was so happy he could at least share some of his clothes with Graham. Choosing a light blue T-shirt, Ben rambled about the trip to the mall, where his friends had recommended he wear more light colored clothes. Ben told Graham, "They want me to go school clothes shopping with them. I want you there too."

Nodding his head once, Graham smiled, "Done. My parents will let me take a credit card and cash to get a haircut and the shopping done."

Realizing that he had only a few dollars for lunch, Ben took his wallet out and groaned, "That toy about cleaned me out."

Sitting on the corner of the bed, putting his sneakers on, Graham sputtered then helplessly cracked up and fell back, completely hysterical. Scowling, Ben wondered for a few seconds what was so funny and then realized the implication of what he had said. Giggling his ass off, he went to Graham and tickled him. "You are very bad," Ben giggled.

Quickly capturing Ben's hands, Graham pulled his boyfriend down and chuckled, "I love you so much, Ben."

"I'm still down to seven bucks though," Ben giggled.

"Don't sweat it," Graham smiled. "I've got the same thirty-something dollars in my wallet that I had a month ago."

Ben softly sighed, "I wish I had met him."

"He would've loved you too, teddy bear. I can say with certainty, he would've been talking about us seducing you. We wouldn't have gone through with it, but we talked about our fantasies. You and I will too. I can't wait to hear your fantasies."

Ben giggled, "Just look at Prez and let your mind wander." Graham evilly sniggered and Ben recalled, "I swear, that first time I met him, all he did was hold his hand out and greet me. His deep voice and Texas accent are as sexy as his body. In seconds, I had hopes." Ben sighed, "Then Keith came in, wrapped Prez in his arms and poof, back to reality. Thank goodness Keith's really nice; they all are. Now, we get to go over there; I get to go there with you."

Graham nodded, "Let's go." They got up off the bed and started for the door.

Noticing a pad of paper on the table, Ben said, "Mom left me a note." He went over with Graham and they read;

Ben,

I'm so happy and proud of you! Please invite Graham to stay and have dinner with us. I'd very much like to talk with both of you, wearing something more than a robe.

I'll see you tonight, between five-thirty and six, as usual.

Love,

Mom

Graham chuckled, "That takes care of tonight's dinner plans."

Leading the way to the door, Ben nodded, "We'll have her drive us to your house afterward." They stepped outside and Ben locked the door, excitedly gushing, "Omigod! I'm really spending the night at my boyfriend's house." Automatically taking Graham's hand in his, they started walking up the block.

"Yes, you are," Graham smiled. "I'm gonna show you off to my folks."

Whimpering, Ben giggled, "Please don't."

"Oh yes, I will," Graham teased, "the practice session starts with your friends. 'Course, I can say lots more to them than I can to my parents."

Already blushing, Ben groaned, "I can only wonder."

"Don't wonder," Graham chuckled, "I'll start with the way you kiss, which is way hotter than I can deal with. Then I can rant about what a hunky beefcake I discovered at bed time."

Bright red and covering his eyes with his free hand, Ben giggled, "I will get you back, somehow."

Graham nodded, "I want you to, teddy bear, with them and alone tonight."

Dropping his hand and walking to the front door of Doug's and Brian's house, Ben blushed, "Here we go, maximum embarrassment time. I wonder who'll open the door naked today."

While Ben knocked at the door, Graham sniggered, "Are they really that bad?"

"Tuesday night, while they were jamming, Mike and Derrick were naked. Keith and Prez weren't. It's a fifty-fifty shot, so I never know what to expect."

This day, Pete was closest to the door and opened it, widely beaming, "How's it goin' guys?"

Thankful that someone with a shred of decency opened the door, Ben smiled, "We're great, Pete, couldn't be better."

Graham grinned, "Well it could be better, but not easily, that's for sure," already getting the first of many compliments in, and causing Ben to flush even redder.

Stepping aside, Pete chuckled, "Come on in. The foursome just got out of the shower, so we're almost ready to leave…"

"For Willy's," Brian, Drew and Corey loudly said as Ben and Graham walked inside. Pete closed the door, wondering how in the world he might calm Brian down before they got home that weekend.

Beyond the entryway, Graham held a greeting hand up and smiled, "What's Willy's, besides the obvious, which isn't a filling lunch." Giggling his ass off, Ben's head sagged and he started to sweat.

Mysteriously shifting his eyes, Brian answered, "It's a barbecue restaurant, just down the road. Unless Prez is driving then it's an hour away."

From the master bedroom, Prez hollered, "I heard that, you sexy madman!"

"It was your giant redwood that made me this way," Brian playfully countered. Everyone in the front rooms of the house heard various moos and laughter erupt from the master bedroom.

Sitting at the table, near Brian and with Corey on his lap, Drew grinned, "Don't distract them or we'll never have lunch." He pleaded, "Please say you're hungry too. We've been awake for two hours and only had cereal."

"Hey!" Keith yelled, "You kept me from lunch a few weeks ago."

"That was your fault, for taking tangents," Drew loudly answered.

Mike laughed, "Beware tangents on the wing! There goes another, zippin' on by."

Glancing at Ben and Graham and noticing them still holding hands, Corey giggled, "You two dudes got even closer over night, huh?"

Ben nodded and smiled, "Graham's been great. We talked all night."

"Then had passionate and wild sex at dawn," Graham playfully added. Blushing and giggling, Ben's head sagged again. Graham gently lifted Ben's chin and softly smiled, "Mine, remember?" Recalling that Graham had told him to be proud, Ben still had a little trouble with that. Understandingly, Graham wrapped Ben tightly in his arms. Graham thought of it as hug therapy for himself and for Ben. Keith, Prez, Mike and Derrick walked out of the bedroom. "My special teddy bear," Graham contentedly sighed then said hello to the four passing by from the bedroom; "Hey, dudes. How's it goin'?"

Prez nodded and smiled, "Perfect now, Graham."

"I couldn't have come up with that pet name for Ben," Keith added.

Derrick grinned, "It really fits too."

Graham agreed, "The first time I said it, it stuck like a magnet."

"Munchies," Mike softly growled, "Munchies now."

Prez nodded, "Let me get the hound inside," and crossed the rooms to get Rush from the backyard. Keith went down the hall and closed all the doors.

"You're with us?" Pete confirmed with Drew and Corey. Rush galloped in and said hello to everyone, starting with Drew and Corey.

Petting the dog, Drew nodded, "Whenever you're ready, Pete."

Standing, Brian nodded, "Let's go." He reached for Mike's shoulder and offered, "We'll meet you there and have tables for ten ready." Corey got up off Drew's lap then offered his hubby a hand. Taking Corey's hand, Drew stood.

"Cool," Mike chanted. While Brian, Pete, Drew and Corey went to the front door, Mike turned to Graham and Ben then grinned, "I highly suggest you come with us. Misters Sweet and Innocent are a lot to deal with separately."

"Shush!" Prez snarled at Mike, and then helplessly sniggered.

Graham checked with Ben. Nodding, Ben smiled, "We'll go with Derrick and Mike and come back with Prez and Keith." He giggled, "It's when all four are together I get worried." Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick cracked up.

Taking Keith's hand and starting for the door, Prez chuckled, "I can't believe we just got slammed by Ben."

Keith nodded and playfully sang, "There's somethin' happenin' here, what it is, ain't exactly clear." He stepped outside with Prez, but they waited on the front lawn, in case Rush decided to bolt out the door. Ben and Graham came out and were followed by Mike. Last to come out, Derrick locked the door behind him. On their way to the 4Runner, Prez offered Keith his keys. Waving off the keys, Keith reminded, "The driveway after Burger King, baby."

Lastly, Ben, Graham, Mike and Derrick got in the 442. Graham smiled, "Sweet wheels, dude."

"Thanks," Derrick chirped, and started the engine.

Graham said, "I had a '72 BelAir that ran fine, but the interior was mostly tattered compared to this car."

Turning slightly in the passenger seat, Mike asked, "What's your plan for new transportation?" Putting the car in gear, Derrick followed the 4Runner away from the curb.

Graham shrugged, "I'm not sure. My dad said something to me about a newer car with air bags. That must've been weeks ago. We both would've been better off, as far as he's concerned. At the time, I was only half listening and didn't really care." He smiled at Ben and shared; "Now I've got lots to care about."

Raising his eyebrows, Mike turned to Derrick. They both started mooing.

Ben broke into giggles and Graham slid across the backseat to hold Ben close. Even he could barely comprehend where he was already with Ben. Graham wondered if he had simply exhausted all the tears or if it was simply Ben that made everything better.

Mike turned again and smiled, "We were talking about weddings yesterday. Now we've got five couples gettin' hitched, including you two."

"Omigod!" Ben giggled.

Graham grinned, "It sounds good to me, even if it is a little premature."

Cuddling against Graham, Ben whimpered then giggled, "It's not even been a whole day."

"We're there now," Graham told Ben. "Nothing I promised you was a lie, teddy bear. Time is on our side." Their eyes locked only for a moment then Graham turned to whisper, "Our pre-shower connection feels awesome."

Sinking deeply into Graham's eyes, Ben nodded, "Someday we'll make plans, I'm sure too."

Briefly squeezing Ben, Graham joked, "We'll consummate and consecrate it later." In the front seats, Derrick and Mike softly chuckled.

Ben giggled, "Silly Graham cracker, why not just tell them everything?"

"I'm waiting for a more public declaration," Graham sniggered.

Flushed and sweating again, Ben giggled, "There's no air conditioning in convertibles is there?"

"Sorry, not this one," Derrick chuckled.

"Go faster," Ben giggled.

Derrick sniggered, "I'm only slowin' down for the red light ahead."

"You've got Prez timin' it, Dee," Mike reminded.

Nodding, Derrick softly grumbled, "Fuckin' magician, I swear."

Graham whispered to Ben, "Derrick plays drums and Mike plays guitar too?"

Ben nodded, "Prez plays bass guitar, Shaun plays guitar and keyboards, and Keith sings."

Graham softly grinned, "So I need to ask Derrick, Gil and Keith?" Sliding down in the seat, Ben giggled louder. Graham smiled, "Derrick, I have a serious, but slightly personal question to ask, dude."

Glancing in the rear-view mirror, Derrick said, "Go ahead. If it's too personal I'll let ya know."

Watching Ben slide down further, Graham chuckled, "I learned something last night and this morning, so I'm just wondering about guitarists in general here. How good is Mike's finger dexterity?"

Mike roared laughing. Widely smiling, Derrick answered, "On the neck and much lower, he's remarkable, dude; the very best I could ever hope for."

Graham laughed, "Ah ha! It's not just me noticing. Thanks, dude. I'll check with Keith and Gil too."

Driving into the parking lot, Derrick chuckled, "Keith will confirm it too. You'll have to ask Gil though, because I never have."

Pulling Ben up before his butt landed on the floor of the car, Graham smiled and warned his hysterical partner, "The cards are stacking in favor of guitarists. Now I've got one of my very own."

Composing himself while Derrick pulled into a parking space, Mike giggled, "I'm so glad you're gonna be with Ben and around more often, Graham. You obviously know how to speak your mind."

Graham chuckled, "Thanks, Mike. I've already been told about weekend rehearsals. I'll be there with Ben. Tonight, we're having dinner with Mrs. Healy. Then we're heading over to my place for the night. We'll be back here again Friday night, probably after supper."

With the car parked and engine off, Derrick and Mike got out of the car. Graham stood and followed Derrick out on the driver's side. He had barely stood upright before Derrick gave him a hug and softly said, "Welcome, dude. You're obviously happy with Ben and he's happy with you too. We couldn't be happier, for both of you."

Surprised by the hug, Graham quietly chortled, "He's so awesome." Already knowing that, Derrick nodded and smiled.

On the opposite side of the car, Mike hugged Ben and chuckled, "Before you attach yourself to Graham again, we just wanted you to know how great it is."

Before being released or letting go of Mike, Ben softly gushed, "Can you believe it? If I'm dreaming, please don't wake me up."

Stepping back and shaking his head, Mike laughed, "You're not asleep, Ben. It's been a long while since Memorial Day, huh?"

"It does seem that way," Ben giggled.

Derrick met Mike at the front of the car. Following them to the restaurant, Graham reached for Ben's hand. Graham whispered, "It seems I'm accepted."

Ben nodded, "There was never any doubt in my mind."

"Why?" Graham wondered. A few yards in front of them, Derrick opened the door to the restaurant and held it 'til Mike passed and until Graham smiled and caught it.

"You're a mix of each of the four of them in so many ways," Ben replied, and stepped inside. "Even though you never got to know them before, you'll have the chance now. I can't wait to get to know Matt and especially Eddie."

Heading for the tables where almost everyone, except Drew and Corey, were standing, Graham nodded, "Yeah, you and Eddie are a lot alike; you have very similar mannerisms. You'll like Matt too. He's way more of a sports fanatic, especially baseball." Noticing Prez waving them forward and holding a chair, Graham grinned, "What's goin' on, teddy bear?"

Ben giggled, "I have no idea."

"Partners sit across from each other," Prez explained. "One of you can sit here and the other between Brian and Keith."

"We get the center seats?" Ben giggled.

Prez nodded, "You're today's guests of honor."

Turning slightly in his chair, Pete grinned, "Lunch is on me today, guys."

Graham smiled, "I can chip in, Pete."

Shaking his head, Pete said, "Not today. For a week we've had places to sleep, food to eat and great friends to be with. I insist." Ben took the seat beside Pete. Prez sat between Ben and Derrick. On the left side of Pete sat Corey. Across the table from Corey were Drew, then Brian, then Graham, then Keith and lastly Mike.

Watching all the boys get seated, a waitress came over, identified herself as Elaine and handed out menus. Brian, Pete, Derrick and Mike chattered about their last visit to the restaurant, telling the others that everything they had eaten was top notch. Believing he might uncover something less than typical for any Texas barbecue, Prez asked, "Elaine, how is the brisket prepared?"

Elaine smiled, "It's Angus beef, hickory smoked before we get it. Then our chefs marinate it overnight in their own blend of herbs and spices. It's cooked in our home made barbecue sauce for another six hours. What you'll be served was made fresh this morning."

Humming hungrily, Prez chuckled, "Sounds yummy."

Keith sniggered and then told the waitress, "Prez is a relocated Texan. His mom would've mesquite smoked the meat."

"I could tell by his cute accent," Elaine teased, causing the first round of chortling and laughter to erupt. Once the boys had calmed down, she took their drink orders. For their appetizers, Pete had her bring two bowls of tortilla chips and salsa and two plates of potato skins. Nodding, Elaine said, "I'll be right back with your drinks," then hurried away.

Mike whispered something to Keith, which caused Keith to grin and nod.

Rather than embarrass Ben directly, Prez rested his left arm across the back of Ben's chair, gently tapping Ben's shoulder and playfully asked Graham, "You two were awake until dawn, I heard."

"Damn!" Graham softly chuckled, "You dudes don't hold much back, do you? I thought I'd be the one to make Ben blush." Ben attempted a very brief suspicious squint, but lost it and giggled anyway.

Almost every head around the table shook, including Ben's. Derrick grinned, "Ben's our protégé. The training's been slow, but steady." Ben nodded and giggled.

"I already heard a little, about teaching Ben to swim," Graham smiled.

Ben nodded and giggled, "Graham wants to take me to the beach."

Mike chimed in, "We're planning on going tomorrow. Keith and Prez will be taking Corey and Drew to the doctor, but maybe we can all meet there?"

Keith nodded, "Sounds like a good plan." At the far end of the table, Drew softly asked Corey if he wanted to go too.

Corey agreed, "Yeah, it'll keep us from missing Brian and Pete for a little while." A barrage of soft "aw's" burst forth, causing Corey to giggle.

Glancing between Brian and Pete, Graham asked, "When are you dudes leaving?"

"Tomorrow morning," Brian answered.

Pete nodded, "We'll see Corey off to his doctor appointment then head to the Bay area, to stay with friends overnight. Then we'll head to Portland."

Graham gasped, "Oregon? That's gotta be a long drive."

Pete smiled, "It's about sixteen hours. We'll drive about six hours tomorrow, stop for the night and then finish the trip the next day."

Brian offered, "Making the trip in one day would be extremely tiring and dangerous."

Making a crooked face, Graham softly muttered, "I barely got to know you."

"We're already planning on visiting next summer," Pete grinned.

Mike told Ben and Graham, "We'll get you to the beach tomorrow. Just let us know where we're going before we have to leave for work."

Graham checked with Ben. "They'll leave around three-thirty," Ben explained. "Mike and Derrick work Thursday through Sunday nights. Prez works Saturday through Monday nights. They all work at Black Angus. Keith works at Blockbuster Video."

Keith grinned, "Not any more, Ben. I'm at Black Angus too now; Friday through Monday nights. It just changed last Friday."

"Oh, cool," Ben smiled.

The waitress returned with the drinks, chips and salsa. While she served everything, the boys listened to Graham's and Ben's plans for the next few days, as they had already explained to Mike and Derrick. The waitress walked away and Graham told everyone where he lived. "Go down Topanga Canyon to Ventura Boulevard and turn left. Make the third right onto Baza Road. Go down to Medina Road and turn left. Medina winds around, from easterly to southerly. The last house on the right before Darro Road is mine, number 5309 Medina Road."

Derrick nodded, "No problem. How does nine-thirty sound?"

Again, Graham checked with Ben. Slowly, two devilish smirks formed and laughter erupted. "We have a lot to talk about!" Graham loudly chuckled. "When we stop talking and actually fall asleep is whole other question."

Prez playfully asked Ben, "These chats are happening where?" More silly suggestive remarks flowed from Brian, Mike and Keith, wondering in which rooms Ben and Graham have done their 'talking', how much clothing they were wearing at the time, and if the 'conversations' were productive.

Not expecting the barrage of intimate questions from dudes he barely knew, Graham blushed and giggled truthful answers. Prez and Brian were told, "Ben's bedroom and the bathroom, so far." Graham replied to Mike; "From fully dressed to fully undressed." Graham told Keith, "It's all a hundred percent productive."

Taking pity on Ben and Graham, Drew told Keith, "If you can't be nice, you and Prez will have to move over here; me and Corey will move over there."

Brian grinned, "Do you really think that will help?"

Drew shrugged and sniggered, "It can't be much worse." Corey howled.

Returning with the two plates of potato skins, Elaine smiled widely at the table of ten laughing boys, certain that not one of them had looked at their menus. She served the appetizer and patiently waited for them to compose themselves then asked, "Are you ready to place your orders?"

Already knowing what they wanted to eat, Mike and Derrick said, "Yeah," and placed their lunch orders. Prez ordered the brisket and slowly, but surely, Elaine managed to get all ten orders taken then walked away. The boys started digging into the chips and potato skins.

In between mouthfuls, Graham innocently asked how Brian and Pete met everyone. Brian and Pete began telling their story of how they met Derrick and Mike at Russ' surf shop on PCH. Mike and Derrick added their versions of that first day at the beach, and Brian's inability to stand on a surf board. They breezed through that first night in Agoura Hills, with Keith and Prez chiming in. The second day was covered with more joking and laughter, including Brian's story about John. The conversation got a little serious when the reason for the invitation to the Hundsers' was revealed by Keith. Drew and Corey very briefly spoke of their arguments then quickly moved on to their day at Magic Mountain with Brian and Pete. This reminded Brian of the Friday night with Keith and Prez, at Disneyland, culminating in what happened afterward and Pete loudly barking, "Open up now, Police!"

Derrick smirked, "We had just gotten home from work and were having a little private fun."

Mike grumbled, "I knew it wasn't the cops and had to be Keith and Prez. It was too, indirectly. They got Brian and Pete to do their dirty work."

Brian softly laughed, "Mike ran to the door naked, cussing up a storm." Graham roared laughing. Also hysterical, Ben wiped sweat from his forehead with a napkin.

Pete softly sniggered, "So afterward, we're toolin' down the 101 on the way to the hotel, goofin' on Mike and Derrick."

"When we got to the hotel, Pete opened the door and the light inside the car came on," Brian evilly grinned. "There's something on the floor by Keith's feet, I noticed, so I casually ask what it is."

Keith giggled, "I leaned down and found something rubbery and really slimy."

Trying desperately to control his voice in a public place, Pete sniggered, "Keith proudly holds up a dildo. All four of us almost died laughing."

Widely smiling, Mike bitched, "We didn't even get the damn thing back for almost three weeks." Quickly covering his mouth with a napkin, Graham lost it and howled laughing. Already hiccupping like mad, Corey couldn't even hold a breath to try and stop his hiccups.

Drew giggled, "We knew nothing about any of that until the next morning, at the beach. We're all walking in the sand toward the water and I see Mike and Derrick bounce up. The next thing me and Corey know, Brian, Pete, Keith and Prez drop everything and scatter like leaves in the breeze. I holler, 'what the bleep is going on now?' Mike is chasing Brian and Keith. Derrick is focused on Prez. Only a minute or so later, Keith pulls Mike's shorts almost completely off and Prez exposes Derrick to all of Zuma."

Pete insanely cackled, "It took me and Brian two weeks away in Phoenix to figure out five days in L.A."

"We decided, they're insane," Brian giggled. "So naturally we came back."

Rapidly nodding, Graham tried to catch his breath to finish the potato skin on the plate before him.

Sadly and slowly shaking his head, Ben giggled, "Knowing you're all exhibitionists, I tried to warn Graham. I didn't know you showed off at the beach too."

Nodding, Graham breathlessly choked out, "At least I know if I'm caught with you, and our dickies hangin' out, they won't care too much."

Ben groaned, "Omigod!" and quickly covered his face with another napkin while more loud laughter echoed around the restaurant.

Unable to take it any longer, Corey pushed his chair away from the table and hung his very red face down. Drew giggled, "Are you okay, angel?" Corey nodded.

Ben, Prez and Keith chanted, "Breathe in, breathe out, wax on, wax off."

A little time was given so Corey didn't fall off the chair. Graham and Ben finished their potato skins and didn't bother getting more. Pete then smiled, "We came back to L.A. to go to Yosemite with Keith and Prez. Surprisingly, Keith was home alone. Prez had gone camera shopping for the trip. After almost seven hours in the car, all we wanted to do was stretch."

Keith grinned, "Brian wanted to do pushups too. Since he can do fifty Marine-style pushups and I never tried to do more than twenty-five, the three of us get on the floor and start counting."

Prez chuckled, "I walk in to find them shirtless and start taking photos with my new camera, passing a remark about George Duroy, the producer of Bel Ami porn."

Pete giggled, "Keith gives up, I give up and we go to check out the digital camera. It can take MPEG clips too. In the little camera screen, I see a large fleshy object in the bottom corner of the screen and wonder, 'That is a finger, isn't it?' Hysterical, Brian collapses to the floor."

"We're not back a half hour, and it's starting again," Brian giggled.

"Soon, we're on the road and heading to Yosemite," Pete grinned. "After little more than an hour, Prez's 4Runner is all over the road. I think he's already tired."

Brian continued, "So we pull up alongside and I roll down my window, screaming across lanes of traffic to find out what's goin' on. Prez wasn't the least bit tired, but he was randy."

Dramatically frowning, Prez moaned, "Keith wouldn't whip it out for me." Ben, Graham, Drew, Corey, Mike and Derrick roared.

Keith giggled, "I did, eventually. We were driving through the Grapevine, but once we got past that, I showed and told, and then some."

Prez grinned, "So we don't get into too many details about Yosemite…"

"But we have to answer Graham's question, bro," Derrick teased.

Prez chuckled, "How we met and completely corrupted them has been covered."

"Mostly, but I guess we shouldn't talk about the rest here." Mike joked, "If we did, either we'd all be arrested or figure out that Brian and Pete like to sleep around." Graham sputtered and started laughing again.

"Yes, it's true," Keith smiled, "first with me and Prez at Yosemite, a few days later with Drew and Corey, and at last, yesterday, with Mike and Derrick."

Pete grinned and squinted, "You failed to mention it started with the two expert sluts." Derrick and Mike cracked up.

Brian sniggered, "Squish, squeak, squish, squeak, Oh God, Keith, splash." Everyone at the table roared. It was the simple comic book fashion in which Brian spoke that slammed Corey's funny bone. Still laughing, Drew got up and helped Corey get to the men's room.

Graham giggled, "I think I've learned several things. First, to be careful what I ask. Second, why Ben thinks so much of his four friends; and lastly, that you're all deviants."

A barrage of admissions and denials erupted around the table. The finger pointing began with Keith blaming Mike and his private skinny dipping pool parties. From there, the blame was shared and ultimately it became Drew and Corey's fault, since they weren't back from the men's room to defend themselves. Prez tapped Ben's shoulder, locked eyes with his introverted friend and bluntly asked, "You and Graham, by dawn's early light?"

Already red from laughing, Ben grinned and nodded, "Graham was so completely fantastic."

"Whoa," Graham smiled, "it wasn't only me, teddy bear. It was you too." He turned to Keith and evilly grinned, "I learned twice this morning about a guitarist's dexterity."

"Oh, yeah, dude," Keith excitedly cheered. "It's mind boggling, isn't it."

Graham nodded and sniggered, "I was shivering and squirming around like crazy." Noticing Ben fire engine red, but widely smiling, Graham told Keith, "We'll talk more, later."

Drew and Corey returned at almost the same time the waitress came to serve their lunches. Conversation halted for a few minutes until the waitress had completed serving their meals. Soon after Ben was served, Prez asked, "Which one physical attribute of Graham's is your favorite?"

"His hair," Ben quickly answered. "Brown, wavy, parted down the middle, not too long or too short, it really looks good on Graham." Pausing for a few moments, Ben giggled, "Even when he first wakes up, it's not a total shambles like my hair is."

Keith prompted Graham, "Same question, your answer is?"

Graham grinned, "There are several, but the first and probably best, was Ben's chest hair. It's not too thick, not too long and really frames his chest nicely."

Ben smiled, "It honestly wasn't anything physical at first. I just happened to be there when he needed someone to listen."

As the waitress walked away, Graham nodded, "From sunset to eleven, all we did was walk and talk. I met Ben's mom, then we went back to the park and talked for another hour before kissing and returning to the party." Turning to Brian, Graham smiled, "Thanks for restraining Rick last night."

Brian nodded and assured, "Rick's problems are his; not yours or mine."

For several minutes, the conversation revolved around the food. Everyone was very impressed with the quality and quantity of the portions. Each of them would find excuses to come back from time-to-time. "You know," Brian said into the silence while everyone was inhaling the excellent barbeque, "I'm sure I can speak for Pete when I say that we don't really want to go back to the real world... back home. I love it here. Being around you guys... it's addictive."

"I agree," Pete said through a mouthful of brisket, and then paused to swallow. "I don't want to leave either, but we don't really have a choice. We've already extended our vacation a week."

"You're always welcome back, anytime," Keith offered.

Drew nodded, "Me and Corey can't wait for your next visit."

Glancing to Pete near his right side, Corey smiled, "Don't wait too long and please call us every chance you get."

On Pete's right, Prez agreed, "Friendships kind o' need to be kept stoked, like a fire, to stay warm."

Brian nodded, "We'll be in touch, and you can all count on it. We've got home numbers and cell phone numbers for everyone, except Ben and Graham."

Ben rattled off his home number, but reminded Brian and Pete that it would change in only a month. Graham gave his parents' home phone number out. Prez and Keith stopped eating their meals to quickly program it into their cell phones. They would make sure Brian and Pete had the number before they left the next morning.

With most of their food eaten and nobody really wanting to talk about Brian and Pete leaving, the conversation degraded, back into the gutter, when Corey started making grunting pig sounds because Drew was having pork ribs. Corey explained what he did to break Drew of his pig murdering ways, which he learned from Prez, and oddly enough, the method wasn't really helping. Graham saw Corey and Drew for what they were; a couple in love, like any of the other older boys around the table.

Elaine began clearing the table and insuring that everyone was satisfied. She returned with the check and gave it directly to Pete. He paid cash and left a twenty percent tip for Elaine. Finishing their drinks, the boys prepared to leave. Bringing up the rear, Brian and Pete watched the other eight, two of which were brothers, four of which were inseparable friends, the two youngest who easily fit in, and the brand new couple who would very probably become integral members of the larger whole. Of all the great times they had on vacation, the times spent in L.A. were the greatest of all.

Mike and Derrick hopped into the 442. Ben and Graham went with Prez and Keith to the 4Runner. Drew and Corey climbed into the Malibu with Brian and Pete.

While Keith drove back to the house, Prez turned in the front passenger seat and smiled, "Would I be saying too much if I admitted how surprised I am?"

Graham and Ben grinned at each other. Graham chuckled, "Not at all, Prez. I got to know Ben very well last night. We both knew exactly who we were spending the night with."

Prez locked eyes with Ben and shared, "I really thought that I'd be playing matchmaker."

"I know, Prez," Ben warmly smiled. "Thankfully for you and me, that didn't need to happen."

Graham nodded, "Ben was kind when I needed kindness. He was truthful about everything. Even I didn't think we'd make love in any way." Watching Ben closely, Graham smiled, "We only took our shirts off and my brain started spinning." Blushing, Ben giggled then stole a kiss. Graham turned to Prez again and smiled, "Hearing Francis' voice last night, confirming all my thoughts and feelings, was exactly what I needed. Thanks again for that."

"When I came around, I had no idea or recollections at all," Prez chuckled.

Keith interjected, "Not again, for a long while, baby. Take care of Danny next week then take a long siesta."

Prez smiled, "I know, babe. It scared us both." He told Ben and Graham, "I don't know what it is or why it is. All that matters is it helps people I care about, so I don't seek answers to the dozens of questions about it."

"You care about me? We barely know each other," Graham queried.

Prez nodded, "Until Mike's birthday party, the only gay guys in Woodland Hills were Keith, Derrick, Mike and me. Everyone at that party was immediately assumed to be a friend."

Keith said, "Prez always takes the high road; friend until proven otherwise. Rick is teetering now. If he doesn't apologize, he won't be invited to other parties."

Graham nodded, "If I know my friends at all, I can promise you that Rick will apologize. Eddie's probably making Rick's hangover far worse by now."

"He didn't know what he was doing," Keith smirked.

"Most other people would've kicked his ass for what he did," Graham softly said. "Brian was very cool; preventing what could've been really bad. All you dudes were awesome."

Prez admitted, "I have a father in Texas that drank too much. I'm too familiar with what alcohol does. All that matters is that the party went on, virtually unaffected, and that you and Ben are still together."

Ben nodded, "We'll be together for a long time to come. I still have stuff to tell Graham, and I can barely wait to hear all he has to say. Tonight, I'll meet his parents."

Graham grinned, "We'll be back here Friday night, then at Mike's house Saturday morning."

Making the final turn to Doug's and Brian's home, Keith nodded, "You and Mike live on the same side of town, probably only a mile or so away."

Graham smiled, "All you dudes have made impressions on me, and more than likely, Matt and Eddie too. We'll obviously be seeing a lot more of each other, which means Matt and Eddie will be around too."

Stopping in front of the house, Keith said, "Tomorrow night, Mike, Derrick and I are working. They won't be here until late and we're going back home."

Helping Keith with the windshield sunscreen, Prez nodded, "I'll be visiting my aunt, uncle and cousins on the other side of the valley."

"Which side?" Keith teased.

Prez chuckled, "Umm… north?"

"North-east," Keith softly sniggered.

Getting out of the car, Graham told Keith and Prez, "What's so completely amazing is I don't think Ben has once lied or exaggerated."

Taking Keith's hand, Prez confirmed, "He hasn't, not that I know of." Raising his eyebrows, Graham checked with Ben.

"What've I got to lie or exaggerate about?" Ben grinned. He waited until he was inside and reminded Graham, "They answer the door naked, but I didn't tell you everything I saw."

Now that Ben had everyone's undivided attention, Graham excitedly chuckled, "Yeah? Tell me about their dickies." Brian, Pete and Drew widely smiled. Corey began giggling as Mike, Derrick, Prez and Keith surrounded Ben and Graham.

Ben giggled, "Maybe alone later might be better?"

Smiling at the antics, Pete playfully prompted Corey, Drew and Brian, "We should leave, quickly."

Drew nodded and grinned, "If they'll allow us by to get to the door?" Mike and Keith made a path available. Leading the way, Drew grinned, "We'll be back later."

Following Drew, Corey giggled, "We could stay and add our shower discoveries."

Pete sniggered, "Then it would be our word against theirs, six versus four."

Passing by and at the open door, Brian turned slightly and joked, "One giant redwood, two oversized oaks and one bitchin' birch," then quickly stepped outside and closed the door.

Ben and Graham cracked up at the four very dissatisfied and shocked faces before them.

Mike grinned, "I think we should make them stay and help clean the house."

"And find out if anything else is waiting to be said," Derrick agreed.

Keith teased, "We might have to do our house cleaning in the buff."

Prez playfully asked Ben, "Now that you're full of dick talk, I don't suppose you'd be willing to show and tell?"

Ben giggled, "Maybe I would, but with Graham here and naked too, we wouldn't get much cleaning done."

"Definitely not," Graham joked, "we'd only make other messes."

Derrick smirked, "Since it's your first day together, you're excused to go make your messes."

"Leave quickly," Mike joked, "before the domino theory takes effect or we change our minds."

Nodding, Graham chuckled, "We'll see you late tomorrow night or Saturday morning."

Ben giggled, "Have fun dudes."

Prez grinned, "You too, as if there's any doubt you won't."

Derrick teased, "You're not blond, Graham."

Graham chuckled, "There's only one person who thinks I am."

"Rick," Derrick, Graham and Mike chorused.

Sadly shaking his head, Graham snorted, "I've got light brown hair, but he sees what he wants, regardless of reality."

Ben and Graham took their leave and walked out of the house. The moment the door closed, Graham roared laughing; "They're worse than Matt, Eddie, Rick, Jerry and Mack combined."

Ben nodded, "I can't make any excuses, because I like them just as they are."

"Brrr?"

"Grrr?"

"We've got the house to ourselves," Graham reminded.

Ben nodded and giggled, "For a few more hours."

Graham tightly squeezed Ben's hand in his. They glanced at each other, released their hands and raced the rest of the way to Ben's house.

Over at the Hundsers' home in Woodland Hills, Pete's Malibu was just arriving. The once orange clay tiled roof was now gray asphalt. The contractors had completed the job and it looked good, but so different that Drew barely recognized his own home. All four stood by the curb for a few moments. "They're replacing the wood shake siding with aluminum siding too," Drew grinned, and then started towards the front door.

Corey nodded, "My parents had siding done a few years ago. I watched the contractor dudes do it. They pull the old siding off, put up some weather proofing and insulation panels then up goes the new siding. I remember my dad saying it helped with heating and air conditioning costs."

Brian asked, "Do you know what color siding you're getting, Drew?"

Shaking his head and pulling his keys out of his pocket, Drew chuckled, "The last we heard, they were discussing a few alternatives; white, beige and light brown that looked like wood."

As they started for the house, Pete muttered, "White would look good, but it would be a pain keeping it clean and white. I'll bet they go with brown simulated wood."

Brian nodded, "The existing siding looks good with the new roof. I'll ask Prez to send us some digital pictures so we recognize it next summer." Appearing very sad, Corey glanced back at Brian while Drew unlocked the door. "Tomorrow morning," Brian gently smiled. "Let's not start crying now."

Drew stepped inside and huffed, "Whew! It is the right house. At least the inside still looks the same." Dropping his keys in his pocket, he turned around and saw Corey between Brian and Pete. Corey was holding Brian's hand and Pete had a hand on Corey's shoulder. Drew sighed, "So that's why you were so quiet the whole way here. It's tomorrow, angel. Right now, we can do whatever we want; lift weights, wrestle, watch TV or, if you want, we can go to my room and hang out there?"

Saying, "Excuse me," Corey quickly left the entryway, went down the hall and into the bathroom.

Drew softly explained, "He's confused. Corey wants us to do stuff alone together. I was fine with that until his last nightmare. Even he's less sure if that's what he really wants, or does he just want you to stay." The muffled sound of vomiting was heard. Closing his eyes for a moment, Drew said, "Excuse me, please?"

"No," Brian quickly said, "let me, Drew," and walked by without waiting for an answer.

Pete let out a very long sigh then admitted, "Brian and I have talked about it too, Drew. For some reason, it's more likely with you and Corey than with anyone else, but we're still not sure."

Drew nodded and smirked, "You two have shown how much you care already. We've tried to return the feeling in our own way."

"Abundantly," Pete assured, and led Drew to the living room.

In the bathroom, Corey was standing with his hands over his eyes, trying to hold in his lunch and his tears. Brian carefully took hold of Corey and softly encouraged, "It's better to just cry than get sick over it." Spinning around, Corey fell against Brian, broke down and cried. Not wanting to leave the next day or ever, Brian shed tears as well.

On the sofa, Drew turned the television on. He started flipping channels and worried, "Corey needs to hold in that meal. I'm gonna have to tell his parents too."

Sitting very near to Drew, Pete nodded, "Brian knows and he'll handle it. You don't have to share this with the Seavers. It's understandable and has nothing to do with Corey's willingness to hold it in. We have something more to discuss, don't we?"

Beginning to blush, Drew nodded and softly chuckled, "Corey's gonna be as tall as you or taller. I've told him that and that's what attracts me to you specifically. I don't want Corey ever believing that I want anyone except him; it simply isn't true. On the other side of the coin, I'd be plenty happy giving you and Brian hugs and a kisses tomorrow morning. You both definitely deserve that, for everything we've done together during both your visits."

Pete smiled, "We did what we wanted to do. Keith and Prez didn't force Brian to say anything; we didn't know them more than a day. Brian could've easily said 'no', but chose not to. The amusement parks and movies we saw together was what we all wanted to do too. You and Corey will get hugs and kisses in the morning, I can guarantee it."

Able to speak past his tears, Corey was sharing virtually the same things with Brian in the bathroom. Corey wept, "We could, I think, if I hadn't had that stupid nightmare. Now Drew's worried I'll freak out after the fact, either in real life or with more nightmares."

Brian grinned, "Now I know how Keith and Prez felt at Yosemite. They never held it against us because knowing someone would is a tremendous compliment."

Corey choked, "Complimented by me?"

Nodding, Brian softly chortled, "I told you that you remind me of Pete when he was younger. I also recall what Mike said that he told you. You could stop traffic with a smile and a giggle, Corey. I'll take it one step further; you could cause a ten car pileup with a smile and a giggle." Blushing and trying to giggle past his tears, Corey buried his face on Brian's shirt again. Squeezing Corey tightly, Brian chuckled, "Tomorrow is goodbye for a little while, but not forever. I promise you, we will be back again. By next summer you'll be at least as tall as me and weighing exactly what you should. For now, let's enjoy our remaining time together. I'd like you to remember something else."

"Okay."

"I haven't said no and the four of us are back in Agoura Hills later, sleeping in the same bed."

Looking up into Brian's eyes, Corey sighed, "Drew and I have to talk more."

"So do Pete and I," Brian reminded. "So let's get out of here and start talking to them."

"All together?"

"All together," Brian confirmed. He and Corey released each other. Corey quickly swished some mouthwash around, spat it out, and then followed Brian out of the bathroom.

As it approached three in the afternoon, the house in Agoura Hills was cleaned and ready for Doug's and Brian's return. Prez and Keith began gathering their backpacks, clothes, Rush's food, dishes and toys, and loading the 4Runner while Derrick and Mike got ready for work. They went inside to get Rush and say goodbye to Mike and Derrick.

Prez grinned, "This month was more than I ever imagined."

Derrick nodded and chuckled, "All the bullshit is out of the way. Let's not allow it to build up again."

Holding out his key, Mike leered, "One more night together is all we'll get here."

Keith sniggered, "We'll clean their sheets tomorrow morning," and took the spare house key from Mike.

"I don't know exactly when we'll be back," Prez offered, "but it will be before you get home."

Keith chuckled, "Drew and Corey might want to watch more Bel Ami videos."

Mike laughed, "At the rate they're going, they are a Bel Ami video."

Derrick chortled, "You should stop at Ben's, pound on the door and holler, POLICE!"

Hysterical, all four hugged and kissed each other and then said their goodbyes. Prez called for Rush and they went out to the 4Runner. Prez started the engine and pulled away asking, "How're you feeling, babe?"

"Good," Keith answered, and then explained, "It was good in so many ways, but I'm glad it's almost over. I want to sleep alone with you in our bed tomorrow night so bad, I can almost taste it."

Prez nodded, "Me too, lover. I'm happiest with the knowledge that we've cleared the air completely."

"The hugs, kisses, hand-jobs and blow-jobs only confirm the feelings, like you said," Keith agreed. After a short pause, he stipulated, "I want all that alone with you, baby. No matter how cool it was, there was always a tiny portion of me saying, 'It's for Prez', no matter what it was we were doing at the time." Keith asked, "If you had your way, how long would it be before we did anything with them again?"

Prez hummed for a few moments before answering, "I think the end of August, or early September, just before the concert would be good, only to reconfirm the bonds, ya know? I want them to know they're not just a guitarist and a drummer; they're our best friends and always will be. After that, it might be the holiday season before we get another chance."

Keith nodded, "It's like, now that it's done, we only need to keep each other in the right frame of mind. Now that there's nothing in the way, we can manage that easily with hugs and kisses."

Prez grinned, "It wouldn't surprise me if Mike wanted more sleepovers during the school year."

"Guaranteed," Keith sniggered. "Ya know what though? I really think Mike would be plenty happy with an occasional unexpected grope from you or me."

Prez chuckled, "Just a reminder now and then."

Back at the Healy home in Agoura Hills, Ben and Graham had made excellent use of their hours alone. Immediately upon entering Ben's room, Graham told Ben, "This time the goal is to just have fun with our dickies. Orgasms are beside the point. We'll just play and warn each other so we don't cum too fast." Ben was thrilled with the idea; it had never occurred to him that boyfriends just played, intending to hold off the climax. They made love orally, wide awake and taking their sweet time, making sure they were learning from each other as well as having fun. After that first round, they started talking again. Graham shared more about Francis, about the relationship they had and how he hoped this new relationship with Ben would differ or be the same. During that portion of the chat, Ben had to go to the bathroom. For the first time, Graham followed Ben and kept on chatting while Ben sat on the bowl. Ben's initial embarrassment easily dissipated as Graham kept talking and joking around about differences between his old and new partners. Having just eaten his largest single meal in over a month, Graham also needed to use the toilet when Ben was done. Now he wanted Ben to talk to him and asked questions about everything; from school to family and Ben's personal interests; slowly getting a clearer idea of why Ben was as introverted as he was. Other people didn't help, but basically it was simply Ben's personality. Ben took in what he saw other people doing and tried to make sense of it in his own head.

Returning to the bedroom again, they realized that they still had another hour-and-a-half at least before Ben's mom made it home. Graham asked Ben to play the two classical pieces on his guitar. It was difficult enough to play for Mike, Prez, Keith and Derrick, but now Ben had a handsome naked boyfriend sitting on his bed while he tried to concentrate. Seeing Graham's flaccid uncut dick out of his peripheral vision was simply too much for Ben. After the second flub only measures into his second attempt, Ben blushed and giggled, "I'm sorry. You're gonna have to be behind me."

"Why?" Graham grinned.

Ben laughed, "You know perfectly well why, silly Graham cracker! How can I try to focus on the sheet music with your dickie only a few feet away?"

"You like?" Graham playfully teased.

Ben nodded and giggled, "You know I do. My dickie's more like Prez's and Mike's, only they're circumcised. You're at least as big as Derrick or Keith."

"About four inches now," Graham chortled, "but the longer we talk about it, the longer it will get."

"Graham!" Ben playfully whined, and then giggled, "Do you want me to play guitar or play with your dickie?"

"Play guitar first," Graham smiled as he stood. Leaning over and picking up Ben's boxer shorts, he slid into them and chuckled, "There, Mister Dickie can't be seen until you're ready to see him again."

"Omigod!" Ben howled, "Those are mine!"

"So are the other ones I was wearing," Graham laughed. "What difference does it make?"

Giving up, Ben hung over his guitar and laughed his ass off. Still laughing as hard as Ben was, Graham went over, knelt down and leaned over the guitar to tenderly kiss Ben a few times. Once their laughter had dwindled, Graham smiled, "I want to watch you play, not watch your back and buns, but your face and hands."

Ben smiled and sighed, "You know why Francis took the chances he did, don't you?"

"I think I do, but I'd like to hear your reason."

"Because he knew he had a very special find. You're patient, funny and so warm; he tried hard for you, probably right up until the end."

Graham nodded and warmly smiled, "I chose to be patient with him and I'm choosing it again now, teddy bear. Anything he or you see in me is simply a result of wanting to be as much as my boyfriends need. Like I said, there were times I was a total asshole to Francis. Just like I did with him, when I need to tell you something point blank, I do. Right now, day one for us, all I want you to know is that I choose you, for the things I already know you are. What you were in grade school, junior high or at Agoura High is past. What your father thought isn't worth my consideration; he proved himself a bigoted asshole, that didn't deserve his wife or son, with a handgun. All I care about is you. As nice as your mom is, I'll even argue with her if I see something hurting you.

"I know my priorities very well, I promise you. No one expects a life altering accident. One was tossed my way. I did not like it; Francis in a coma or him dying from it. Who did I stumble upon and cry on last night?"

"Me."

"Who listened and talked to me too?"

"Me."

"Who's friends helped me and for whom did they help me?"

Ben replied, "Mine and me."

"Who have I made love with?"

"Me."

Graham nodded and smiled, "Because I wanted to with you. Orgasms are easy, but did I want to try for five weeks? Not once, Ben. It took all night with you to fix a hopelessly broken heart. Now my heart is yours and yours is mine." Graham paused and chuckled, "You know, even now, you're helping me? Offering a third person's perspective like you did, and here I am, spouting out words that I can hardly believe I'm saying."

Ben softly wondered, "Why can't you believe it?"

"Because I was so sad for so long," Graham replied. "You make me happy, Ben. You make me want to spill my guts. What you need from me, you'll get, every time, because that's what you've already done; you've given of yourself, to me."

Ben gave Graham a tender kiss then whispered, "All I need is occasional reassurances from you. Am I really all you say I am and who you want?"

"Definitely, to both questions," Graham answered. "Last night, when I started to pull my act together and I noticed how awesome you were being, I told myself 'no' at first. I looked for reasons to not fall in love with you, but failed. If all I needed was any ol' boyfriend, Rick was stopping by a couple o' times a week. To me, he's not boyfriend material. You are, Ben."

"It makes me so happy when you say that," Ben giggled.

Graham kissed Ben back then smiled, "Now you can play, I'll listen, and then give you an honest opinion." He went back to sit on the edge of the bed.

Ben played both Bach pieces, Minuet in G and Air better than he ever had before. Having practiced what Mike showed him only a few times, but never accomplishing it before, even Ben was surprised. He silently waited for Graham to speak.

Graham contentedly sighed and smiled, "I've rarely heard either of those tunes, but nothing was quite like that, on classical guitar. It was always some orchestra or strings before. You almost brought me to tears, teddy bear."

"You're exaggerating," Ben giggled.

Graham smirked, "No, I'm not," and stood, revealing tented boxers. Pushing the shorts down and exposing his growing erection, Graham smiled, "My boyfriend did this to me, without even putting his very talented hands on me. Since you weren't watching me, I'll tell you that my eyes were closed most of the time and I listened to every note." He took a few steps across the room and took Ben's guitar then put it back in its case.

Dumbfounded, Ben happily giggled, both at the compliment and at Graham's condition. They had already made love five times since about five o'clock in the morning. Only about eleven hours later, Graham was on his knees before Ben, going for number six.

This was the first time they weren't making love together. Not knowing how to handle his sexy boyfriend pleasuring him, Ben uncertainly groaned. Graham didn't even flinch and kept at Ben's dick. Ben softly called, "Grrr?"

Looking up, Graham smiled, "Brrr-rrr!"

Ben giggled, "You're wonderful."

"So are you."

"Shouldn't we be… at the same time?"

"This is one of those times I warned you about," Graham devilishly grinned. "When I'm done with you, then I'm all yours."

"It seems… weird."

"It's really not. What I'm showing you is that I very much want to." Toying with Ben's mostly hard cock, Graham smiled, "I love this part of you too."

Rolling his eyes, Ben grinned, "But you were hard first."

Graham sniggered, "From beautiful music from my even more beautiful partner."

Ben giggled, "I'm not making any progress here."

"But I sure am!" Graham cackled.

Ben smiled, "So now that you know what I like, you'll use that to make me cum fast?"

Shaking his head, Graham teased, "First doesn't have to mean fast. Your dickie is still new to me. I'm practicing."

Ben laughed, "My dickie is not a guitar!"

"Skin flute," Graham playfully corrected, and then lowered his head and went back to work. He took one of Ben's hands and placed it on his shoulder. Then he took the other hand and briefly guided it through his wavy brown hair. Once Ben's hands were moving, Graham concentrated on Ben's bone.

Having no other choice, Ben relaxed and enjoyed Graham's mouth. Sitting on his desk chair wasn't new, but Ben needed to slide down a little. Thankfully, Graham took a diversion and started licking around Ben's groin. Sliding down a little bit not only made Ben more comfortable, it gave Graham another target – Ben's scrotum.

Ben dizzily muttered, "You're so fantastic."

"Talk to me, tell me anything you want," Graham encouraged.

Ben grinned, "I am getting you back for this." Graham chuckled and excitedly hummed affirmatively on Ben's cockhead. Ben's eyes nearly flew out of their sockets. He then softly admitted, "That was really nice. Hum some more?" Dreamily humming, Graham soon decided to hum the melody of Bach Air, the last tune he had heard that was still fresh in his memory. Ben giggled, "Omigod! Silly Graham cracker, I'm gonna do the same to you."

At the next opportunity, Graham's response was to take Ben's thick bone deep and hold it for as long as he could. Unaccustomed to Ben's circumference, it wasn't very long. In those few seconds, Ben's fragile mind turned to mush. He started rambling, telling Graham how much he loved him, how much he loved every word Graham had ever spoken, and how utterly different he felt in less than a full day with a boyfriend. Of course, Graham was encouraged further by Ben's rambling. The words were so soft yet so exciting. Knowing more of Ben's feelings, Graham had to struggle to keep his hand off his own cock, which meant he had no other choice except to hurry Ben along. The occasional throbs against Graham's tongue were almost constant and Ben's soft words were changing to whimpers and whines. When Ben couldn't decide whether to hold onto Graham's shoulder or the chair to control his thrusting hips, Graham knew it was almost time. Unlike Francis, who got louder as he neared orgasm, Ben got quieter, gasping barely a second before climaxing, as if it were a surprise.

Orgasm wasn't what surprised Ben; it was what Graham had just willingly done and the insane thoughts running in his mind.

Finished with Ben, Graham rested his head on Ben's thigh and grinned, "The connection is growing, Ben. How such a warm, full feeling could grow, I have no idea, but I feel it growing."

Standing, Ben pulled Graham up with him and landed the deepest most passionate kiss yet. Graham held on tightly, loving the feelings of strong arms around him and the tongue play in his mouth. Ben's arms slid down and Graham expected to have his cheeks squeezed, or a playful goosing from his silly teddy bear. Instead, Graham was lifted off the floor quite easily. If Francis had ever tried lifting Graham, they both would've wound up on the ground. Ben had no problem though and Graham started laughing into their kiss. Carrying Graham to the bed and stepping up onto it, Ben also began laughing. Graham laughed harder and tried to detect some clue of what Ben was doing and going to do from out of focus eyes and tongue action.

Leaning forward with Graham still in his arms, Ben giggled, "You love me?"

"I do, forever teddy bear," Graham howled hysterically, trying to hold on and reverse gravity.

Ben confirmed, "Now it's my turn?" and Graham nodded, still unable to read anything in Ben's playful expression. Graham was slowly lowered onto the bed. Ben stepped off the bed and pulled his bottom night table drawer completely out then carelessly dumped the contents on the floor. Holding up and displaying his new dong, Ben leered, "Get ready."

"Omigod!" Graham roared. He had seen photos of dildos and dongs before in his e-mail spam folder, but never anything like the red, triangular shaped toy in Ben's hand. It was exactly as Ben had described; eight connected round segments, organized from small to very large, at least seven inches in circumference at the base, as best as Graham could judge. As ready as he wanted to be, Graham knew he was in very serious danger of having the most intense orgasm of his life. Assuming he survived, Graham fully expected that he would attach himself to Ben like a leech.

Climbing back on the bed and over Graham, Ben found his bottle of lube and then started preparing the dong. He handed the bottle to Graham, who opened it then reached down to get himself ready. With his hand still at his butt, Graham smiled, "How?"

Ben giggled, "How what?"

Graham chuckled, "How do you want me; on my back, or on my knees, or on top of you?"

Thinking about it, Ben evilly laughed, "All three," and Graham grabbed his belly, cracking up. Sitting down near Graham, Ben giggled, "Stay as you are. I want to see all of you, not only your butt."

Bending his knees and anxiously sighing, Graham smiled, "I'm all yours."

"I'll be real careful."

"I'm not worried. I am incredibly excited though. You picked me up, Ben. That's never happened before."

"You obviously liked it as much as I enjoyed doing it."

Rapidly nodding, Graham gushed, "I love you. More images of us are filling my mind."

Lying down close to his boyfriend, Ben slowly nodded and grinned, "Mine too," and then moved his hand with the toy towards Graham's ass. Graham reached a hand down to hold the hand Ben had the dong in. Together, they got the toy inserted to the third bump. Graham quivered then sighed. Ben looked up at Graham's face and softly asked, "Good?"

"Really good. More please."

"You're almost as far as I ever got," Ben reminded, and then pulled out until only the tip of the toy was still inside, causing Graham to softly moo. Carefully, Ben pushed segments in, watching Graham's face so he knew if anything accidentally hurt. Shivering and cooing through each inserted segment, Graham let go of the dong and Ben's hand then concentrated only on Ben. "That's as far as I got," Ben shared.

"Omigod!" Graham giggled, "It's awesome going in and out."

Holding the toy motionless, Ben nodded and smiled, "Which is why I had no chance of lasting."

Graham chortled, "I won't last very long either." Ben pulled only one segment out.

Feeling the bump on his sphincter, Graham's eyes opened wide. "In more, teddy bear," he groaned. Pushing one and then another segment in, Ben smiled at Graham's shocked expressions. Slowly, Ben retracted and inserted the toy over and over again for about a minute. Graham hollered, "Oh, hell yeah!" then giggled at himself.

"Isn't it great?" Ben giggled. "That's barely the first half of the toy too."

"Brrr-rrr-rrr!"

"Grrr?"

"I'm close."

"Really?"

"Suck my dickie. I can't wait."

Shuffling down, Ben opened his mouth, slurped Graham's cock and went to work, sliding the dong in and out various numbers of segments. Graham's hand on Ben's back flew up, down and all around, occasionally pausing and grabbing a fist full of flesh. Soon enough, Ben was mostly still, while Graham rode the dong, pulling and pushing his cock in and out of Ben's mouth. Amazed, Ben let his partner have fun and considered all he had learned about having a real relationship this one day. He started humming Bach Air.

Losing control, Graham began calling for Ben and the Almighty. At last, Ben felt the first splash of semen in his mouth and got the second as he swallowed the first. Starting to return to the planet surface, Graham breathlessly chuckled, "Oh my God! That was so friggin' great! I love you and your toy so much, Ben." He started laughing because Ben's tongue was still brushing his very sensitive bone and pulled Ben up. They cracked up laughing and tried to share kisses. Graham teased, "My cuddly teddy bear turned into a grizzly sex beast."

Ben giggled and nodded, "I think dealing with a horny lover is lots of fun."

Graham smiled, "This was a sample. We still have time and I want you again, this time with the dong." He pulled the dong out of his ass and displayed it like Ben had.

"Graham!" Ben laughed, "You sucked me dry already!"

"Then why have you still got a bone?"

"Because I'm lying naked with my boyfriend; the handsome and sexy boyfriend I never expected."

"That's why I want you again, 'cos you're just as handsome and sexy and surprised me again, acting like a sex starved grizzly." He sat up and started poking Ben with the toy. Becoming hysterical, Ben rolled away and off the bed. Bouncing his eyebrows and leering, Graham initiated the chase. Ben ran out of his room and into the living room, around the dining room table, out to the garage and back into the house and down the hall into the bathroom, with Graham only a step or two behind the entire time.

The dong was cleaned and another chase around the house began. Circling the dining area table, Ben cackled, "I never used to step out of my room naked. Look what you've done!"

"You need a bigger house, teddy bear. I could catch you so easily."

"Sorry! Next month, it'll be apartment chases."

"Then tomorrow at my place," Graham laughed, "We've got an upstairs and a downstairs to run around naked."

"Graham! You're crazy!"

"It's all your fault! Next time, don't let some dude cry on your shoulder."

Ben roared laughing and raced back to his room, running up and over his bed to the other side, where he slipped on the magazines scattered near the upended drawer. Graham caught Ben before he fell, but they both tumbled onto the bed. Ben giggled, "Look at my room; it's wrecked!"

"That's me, your one man wrecking machine," Graham sniggered.

Ben gave Graham a soulful kiss, trying to relay how ecstatic he was. Graham toyed with Ben's tongue and caressed his lover's body. When Ben broke the kiss, he contentedly sighed, "I'm all yours."

With the dong, Graham soon had Ben shivering. With his mouth and the dong, Graham at last made Ben holler and yell, but once again, when the moment happened, Ben gasped. It seemed that Ben's bone throbbed more as Graham gently removed the toy. They cuddled quietly for a few minutes, each basking in their own joy and relief. Minutes before five, they went back to the bathroom to shower, again drying off with only one towel. Ben couldn't help wondering if the way they had been was normal. Graham smiled, "Better than normal. My first times with Francis, we didn't swallow. I'll admit that having a slightly shorter, thinner beanie boyfriend was what I thought I preferred. Now, with you, I know for certain, I love the same height and a beefier, stronger boyfriend a little more. That connection we made earlier was totally rad. When I ask myself what happened, the answer is, 'don't worry about it or even think about it'. We're far more intense about everything, teddy bear."

Ben nodded and warmly smiled, "It tells me it's right; that we'll make awesome long term partners."

They went back to Ben's room and helplessly sniggered at the mess. Their clothes were still scattered on the floor, the bed sheets and blankets were mostly hanging on the floor, the guitar case was still out, the upended night table drawer and its contents were all over the floor, at the right side of the bed. Beginning to clean up the mess they had made, Graham knelt down to return things to the night table drawer, asking "Do you browse the Internet much?"

"Hardly ever," Ben replied as he put his guitar back into the closet. "A laptop was all I needed for school. That's really all it gets used for."

Putting the dong and lube back in the shoebox and organizing the magazines, Graham smiled, "I'll show you some cool stuff tonight and tomorrow on my Power Mac desktop. That was my birthday present in January. My dad works in computers. He said the Mac was the better investment. Even though I wanted a Windows PC, I have to admit, I like the Mac a lot."

Making his bed, Ben wondered, "Does it work the same?"

Finished on the floor, Graham stood and helped Ben make the bed. He shrugged, "It's basically the same, but a slightly different user interface. Windows 95 and Mac OS 7 are two different systems, but the general idea of point, click and type is the same. I've got a few cool games too, like Quake." He paused and chuckled, "It gave Francis nightmares, but he was way addicted to it."

Ben giggled, "I've got Doom 2. It gives me nightmares too; getting scratched by demon cats and having plasma bombs or rockets exploding all around me. That's why I don't play it too often or for very long."

"I must've played thousands of Solitaire games the last month," Graham grinned. "Since I wasn't really paying attention, I lost almost all the time. No more Solitaire games for me. I've got much better games to play now."

Giggling, Ben whined, "Graham! Be good! We can't be found rolling around by my mom."

Graham nodded and joked, "Saturday afternoon then?"

Nodding, Ben cracked up. With the bed made and looking as good as it had the prior night, they started getting dressed. Even then, Graham drove Ben crazy by putting Ben's boxers on and handing him the pair he had been wearing. Graham insisted that they swap T-shirts.

They went out to the kitchen where Ben got cans of Coke from the refrigerator. It was almost half-past five when they sat on the sofa and Ben turned the TV on. Flipping channels, Ben wondered, "What are your parents like?"

Graham shrugged, "They're my folks, so my view is skewed. Francis liked them; Matt, Eddie and Rick all like them."

Ben softly asked, "Does talking about Francis upset you?"

Shaking his head, Graham replied, "Not very much, surprisingly. I miss him and I'll never forget him, but the last… of the tears…" He paused to wipe his eyes and muttered, "Damn." Ben wrapped an arm around Graham, which helped more than Graham could adequately describe or explain. Forcing a smile, Graham turned to Ben and assured, "I like talking about him with you, Ben. For me to ignore him would be impossible. It would be like wiping out most of the last few years of my life and all of the last year. I want you to know him too, and in the process you get to know about me."

Ben nodded and said, "You're accomplishing that; I mean that I feel like I'm getting to know him and you. Several times today you spoke of him without a problem. What happened this time?"

Graham shrugged, "I'm not sure. Maybe what I was saying? I have a lot to look forward to again with you, Ben. I can hear him in my head every time I shed a tear. He's screaming, 'Enough! Jesus, just let it rest, Graham. We had fun. You loved me and I loved you too. That's all that matters.' But I'm a clod; trippin' my way through life. Francis and I started pretty much accidentally, our usual games got way crazy. Wham! I'm in love. He loves me too, but can't show it around his family at all. So we spent more time at my house." Graham paused and scowled, "It's me, comparing two extremely lucky breaks in my life, where there's really no comparison at all. He could be cold and hard, but warmed up nicely alone with me. You're warm all the time. He was into dance music; you're into all kinds of music. Francis and I had to rush almost all the time so we didn't get caught. We haven't rushed once. Sure, the first time happened way too suddenly for both of us, but we simply went for more again when we were ready. I need to stop comparing."

Shaking his head, Ben softly insisted, "Don't do it for me. I think it'll stop on its own, Graham, I really do. I can understand how you think five weeks is long enough, but Prez's mom and Mike's dad still affect the two of them. In the meanwhile, believe me; I couldn't be happier with you. A life in limbo has a purpose at last."

"I'm your purpose?"

Ben nodded, "As much as I'm your purpose."

"We have a connection like I never felt before too."

"That connection makes us a couple and a team. Don't worry about talking or thinking about Francis. I'm learning about the dude we both love."

Graham queried, "Present tense love?"

Ben nodded, "Prez and Mike say love never dies, it only changes form, from flesh to spirit. I'm sharing you with him, and perfectly happy doing it too. If I was the same as him, I'd probably be less happy."

"So would I," Graham quickly assured. "Then I'd know I was really fucked up; I went and found a replacement instead of a unique person. Thankfully, no; there's Beanie and there's my teddy bear; opposites yet equal in my heart."

Unable to hide the surprise in his voice, Ben squeaked, "I'm his equal?"

Graham nodded and chuckled, "Very much so, in only a day, Ben. We got back from lunch before two. Look how we spent our day."

Ben blushed and grinned, "It was awesome."

Graham nodded and smiled, "Remember to pack your toy and bring it with us tonight. We'll have all day tomorrow."

Hanging his head, Ben giggled, "You're gonna get me hard in time for my mom to notice."

Graham laughed, "Yeah, I can be that way." He yelled up at the ceiling, "Tell Ben, Beanie." He smiled at Ben and chuckled, "He called me a louse, the worst kind."

Ben giggled at the ceiling, "Francis, did you make the louse or was he already that way?" He turned to Graham and giggled, "You were that way when he met you."

Graham loudly laughed, "He's a chronic liar and you're a little gullible," then leaned over and tickled Ben into hysterics. Graham proudly cackled, "I've found most of your tickle spots already, teddy bear."

Beginning to tickle Graham back, Ben laughed, "I found some and Francis showed me the rest of yours." He got in two good ones simultaneously, one high, by Graham's armpit, and the other low, behind a knee.

Never slowing his attack, Graham laughed, "Those were our secrets, Francis!" He concentrated on the area between Ben's ribs and hips.

Bouncing and flinching, Ben giggled, "See he's not a chronic liar. He only lied to you, to make you crazier."

"It's two against one, and I'm losing from the top!" Graham howled.

Mrs. Healy walked in the front door and could barely believe her eyes. Her son was being tickled to death and loving it. Hovering over Ben, equally enthralled, was Graham. Neither Ben nor Graham noticed her as she smiled and went to change clothes. She couldn't be certain, but the things they were saying made it seem like a third boy was there playing too. Suddenly, it got very quiet. She returned to the kitchen and found Ben laying on top of Graham, both of them half on and half off the sofa. They weren't kissing, only cuddling and whispering. She opened the refrigerator to get dinner started.

Hearing the fridge door open and close, Ben's head popped up and he saw his mother, already changed out of her work clothes. Turning a hundred shades of red, Ben quickly lowered his face into the crook of Graham's neck and giggled his ass off.

Graham softly chortled, "Mom's home?"

"You're so bad and making me bad too," Ben giggled.

Graham whispered, "Let's say hello."

"We'll need to say way more than hi," Ben grinned. He climbed off Graham and offered a hand up. Once they were both standing, they held hands and went to the kitchen counter.

Mrs. Healy wondered, "Who is Francis?"

Ben answered, "Graham's old boyfriend, the one I told you about."

"You were playing with… Francis?" Mrs. Healy carefully asked.

"Yes, ma'am," Graham grinned. "Five weeks and a day later, I can talk about him, joke about him and remember him, thanks to Ben."

Mrs. Healy sighed, "I think I understand."

Graham smiled and began explaining about Francis, before the accident, everything he had already shared with Ben. Then he briefly spoke of the accident, his five days in the hospital and seeing Francis for the first time through I.C.U. glass. He told her about the next week too, and how the McLoughlins had turned their backs on him and, indirectly, Francis too. He finished with the McLoughlins' decision to remove their son from life support.

Ben picked up the story from there, telling his mother how they had met at the party and that he didn't know anything about the accident or Francis; how they had gone out to the park and that Graham had briefly told him about what had happened. "We went outside before sunset and walked and talked for over two hours, before coming home, so you could meet him. We went back to the park and talked for another hour then went to the party." Ben turned to Graham.

Deciding to not mention a drunken friend, Graham skipped over it and continued talking about how meeting someone that had never met Francis made worlds of differences. Ben told his mother that they had stayed at the party until almost three in the morning then came home and talked for another three hours. Ben giggled, "After only four hours sleep, we went out to lunch with Prez, Mike and all the dudes there. Their friends, Brian and Pete are leaving tomorrow, to return to Portland."

Graham grinned, "I got Ben to give in and play guitar for me this afternoon." Watching Ben carefully, Graham beamed, "He's really good, what talented fingers." Ben flushed bright red and giggled, knowing Graham was only partly talking about guitar playing.

"I've told Ben many times, he can play any classical pieces he might like," Mrs. Healy smiled.

Ben told his mom, "Doug is back from vacation tomorrow. Over the weekend, I'll talk to him about a few possibilities then discuss it with you."

Able to concentrate fully on her son and Graham, Mrs. Healy smiled, "So, you've spent most of the night and day chatting. Tell me, where do you stand?"

Ben blushed and giggled, "I'm falling in love."

Graham nodded and smiled, "I'm there too. I've already told Ben, so I'll tell you too; Ben's not a replacement, but a completely different and unique person. I'd like him to come to my place later tonight to meet my parents. We'll spend the night there and come back tomorrow night, after dinner."

Glancing between the two boys, she smiled, "It's serious then?"

Ben rapidly nodded and Graham assured, "Very serious. I've met you and Ben's friends. Tonight and tomorrow, he'll meet my folks and friends. I'm very much looking forward to lots of things again. You're on the list too, Mrs. Healy."

"Me?" Mrs. Healy queried, "How so?"

"While Francis was great in lots of ways, his parents don't believe in homosexuality, as in we're simply not part of their view of reality. Now the situation is much cooler; Ben and I can be ourselves and not pretend."

Locking eyes with his mom, Ben checked, "Everything is cool, isn't it?"

Shaking off the shock, Mrs. Healy smiled, "I suppose it is. It's such a change so fast, but yes, I'm happy for both of you."

Ben nodded, "Graham told me where he lives. It's less than a mile away from the apartment, on the south side of the 101, in Woodland Hills. Could you give us a ride there after dinner? If you can't, I'll check with Prez."

"I'll drive you," Mrs. Healy confirmed. "I'd like to meet your parents too, Graham."

Graham nodded, "I'll call and let them know. What time should they expect us?"

Checking the clock, Mrs. Healy asked, "Is between seven-thirty and eight alright?"

"It should be fine," Graham smiled, "They usually go to bed around ten, or ten-thirty."

Ben got the phone and handed it to Graham. While Graham wandered into the living room to speak with his parents, Ben went around the counter to talk to his mom. He softly asked, "Are you still worried?"

Mrs. Healy smirked, "You're my son. I'll always worry. Graham does seem to be adjusting though, I have to admit."

Ben nodded, "From the sound of it, Francis was the kind of person I would've liked to have met. Not knowing him though has helped me help Graham. Look at him, mom. Isn't he just the cutest, sweetest boy around?"

Helplessly giggling at Ben's enthusiasm, Mrs. Healy nodded, "You're getting strings of lucky breaks this summer. After so many unlucky breaks, let's hope this is only the start of the turnabout. I noticed he's wearing one of your shirts."

Ben nodded and giggled, "He couldn't wear all the same clothes two days in a row. My shorts don't fit him, but my T-shirts and boxers do."

Mrs. Healy smiled and confirmed, "He makes you happy?"

Rapidly nodding, Ben admitted, "It's nice to feel like I'm helping him a little. He's helping me a lot too, even if you can't see it."

"Of course I can see it," Mrs. Healy assured. She then softly warned, "Graham."

Hanging the phone up, Graham smiled, "All set. They're looking forward to meeting you Mrs. Healy."

Ben went over to Graham and asked, "Help me pack?"

Leading Ben back to his room, Graham nodded, "Overnight, so you'll need socks, skivvies, shorts, two T-shirts, just in case, and then stuff from the bathroom." Ben closed the door behind him and was about to say 'thank you', but didn't get the chance. Graham had Ben in a lip lock and was practically crawling all over him.

Ben's hands roamed the curves of Graham's back until the kiss broke. "That was for?" Ben softly wondered.

"For you, for your mom being great, because I missed my teddy bear cuddles and kisses."

Resting his head on Graham's shoulder, Ben sighed, "I love you too. My mom can see it. You're my gift of a lifetime, Graham."

Graham goosed Ben and made him jump then chuckled, "The gift that keeps giving and taking. Believe it or not, I'm burning up."

Grinning devilishly, Ben held up an index finger to signal a pause. He opened his door and asked, "How long until dinner, mom?"

"About twenty minutes," Ben's mom answered.

"Thanks, we'll be washed up and ready," Ben assured, and then closed and locked the door. He faced Graham, leering, "You need and I want."

"Really?" Graham softly giggled.

Nodding, Ben turned on his stereo. With K-Earth playing oldies, Ben went to Graham then unbuttoned and unzipped his shorts, saying, "Always tell me what you need, Graham. It might not always work out, but when it does, I want to be there for you."

Graham giggled, "You're awesome."

Ben smiled, "Now I get to make you squirm," then knelt down. Graham was well on his way before Ben touched him. Admiring Graham's dick, nads and pubes, it only took a few more minutes for Ben to complete the pleasant task. They had time to cuddle until Graham recovered then hurried around the room to get a backpack loaded with clothes. Rolling his dirty T-shirt and underwear up, Graham stuffed them in one of the backpack's exterior pockets. As if nothing had happened, they went down the hall, chattering about Matt and Eddie and Prez and Keith. They relieved themselves, washed up, grabbed Ben's toiletries then returned to the bedroom to put those things in Ben's backpack.

Mrs. Healy had prepared fresh breaded halibut and French fries for dinner. With Ben's stereo still playing in the background, they had a peaceful meal, talking about Ben's and Graham's pasts and their future plans. Ben got his mom's approval to do his school clothes shopping with his boyfriend and friends. Graham shared that he intended to get a new car sooner rather than later. Mrs. Healy asked how the boys wanted their relationship to be once school started.

Ben checked with Graham. With his mouth full and still chewing, Graham nodded. Ben softly said, "Graham's spent five weeks alone, in his room and sad, mom. Tonight we'll find out for certain, but if he doesn't want to be alone, I won't let him be alone. Whether he sleeps over at the apartment, or we go to his house, doesn't much matter. All I know is if he spends a night alone and comes to school looking like he hasn't slept a wink, then it's my job to make sure that doesn't happen very often. From my own perspective, I'll just say, I slept on top of the covers."

Mrs. Healy's jaw briefly dropped. She smiled, "Even as a baby, you wanted to roll up in a cocoon of blankets."

Giggling, Graham now knew what Ben had said earlier that day was true. "Mrs. Healy," Graham began, "I've spent a lot of time with Ben alone, time with him last night at the party, and about two hours with him and eight other dudes at lunch. Ben's extremely sensitive. He picked up on my feelings, and the feelings of all the others he's been around. He can't stand seeing other people hurting; it hurts him, even when he doesn't really know the person. I witnessed that. I also saw him playful when his friends were being goofy. What's around Ben is reflected by him and maybe even absorbed by him."

Mrs. Healy smiled, "He's my son and I've always known that, but you learned that in a day?"

"Yes, ma'am," Graham grinned. "When someone like Ben is dropped in front of me, there's a lot of internal wondering going on. I couldn't even say the word 'boyfriend' last night. Now I can say it and feel it. Four hours wasn't a lot of sleep, but it's about the most I've gotten since I got out of the hospital. Mostly, it's been an hour here, two hours there. When I finally do completely relax, I'll be out cold for at least ten or twelve hours."

Locking eyes with her son, Mrs. Healy gestured at Graham and instructed, "Make it happen before you have an ill and unhealthy boyfriend on your hands."

Thinking various insanely wicked thoughts, Ben grinned, "Yes, mother." Graham helplessly sniggered.

Mrs. Healy said, "There's another piece of fish, boys. Please don't make me stow it in the fridge; not only will it smell, but left over fish is barely edible."

Graham checked with Ben, "I'll split it with you?"

Nodding, Ben stood and went to the kitchen with his plate. He returned a moment later with the last piece of halibut. Ben cut it in half then lifted his plate so Graham could take a half.

"Thanks, teddy bear," Graham softly smiled.

Mrs. Healy hummed and smiled, "Pet names too. I'm wondering what'll be next, but please don't answer." Blushing and giggling, Ben and Graham concentrated on finishing dinner. Getting up and clearing the table, Mrs. Healy took the things to the kitchen and started loading the dishwasher.

Still at the table, Graham bounced his eyebrows. Ben giggled then shifted his eyes mysteriously, wondering if his mother had guessed that he and Graham had already made love. She had heard them talking to Francis, so she had to have seen them tickling one another too, Ben figured. Despite Ben's best intentions to gracefully make Graham's importance known, it had already been displayed and discussed.

While cleaning up the kitchen, Mrs. Healy silently considered her own fears about Ben's relationship with Graham. The prior night, she feared that Ben was confusing pity for love. That wasn't the case anymore, since they were playing and cuddling on the sofa, and she had heard them both calling Graham's deceased boyfriend. The next few weeks would tell her if the boys were serious or if they would drift apart.

Graham grinned through the rest of dinner. He thought, 'I have gone completely insane. In a day, with Ben's help, I'm so much better than I was. Ben's so completely adorable though, I never had a chance. With sincerity, playfulness and an incredibly edible body like Ben's, there was no other choice possible. Whether I'm completely ready or not, I need a partner and specifically one like Ben.'

Finished with their meals, Ben and Graham stood then took their plates, glasses and silverware to the kitchen. Ben loaded everything in the dishwasher. He told his mom, "We'll just chill in my room and talk for a while. Knock when you're ready to go, okay?"

Mrs. Healy nodded, "Right around seven-thirty. That'll get us there before eight. You're driving, by the way. I've driven enough today and will sit in the backseat."

Ben walked out of the kitchen and was quickly swept into Graham's arms. Seeing his boyfriend's wide smile and flashing eyes, Ben knew there was something that needed to be said alone. Being guided into his room, Ben giggled, "Silly Graham cracker," and closed the door behind him.

Almost simultaneously, Ben and Graham sniggered, "I can't believe what you said!"

"Believe it, teddy bear," Graham warmly assured. "The connection and feeling swelled when you told your mom that you won't let me sleep alone."

"I know!" Ben giggled. "I felt it too when you described me to her. Then she tells me to make it better, before you get sick. I'll make it better alright, but you're still sick."

Graham laughed, "Can I help it? I went from hopeless to ecstatic in hours. There's only so much the mind can handle before it snaps."

A few houses over, Brian, Pete, Drew, Corey, Prez and Keith returned to Agoura Hills from dinner at the Hundsers. All six boys ate outside at the back patio table. Brian and Pete got to say goodbye to the Hundsers', an opportunity neither wanted to let pass.

Rush jumped out of the rear gate of the 4Runner and wanted to go directly to the park. Since there were other small children and their parents around, Prez kept the dog on his leash until they got over by the baseball field. Graham and Ben were the topic of conversation for all six. Ben's transformation was most remarkable since they knew him better, but Graham's grief had been relieved in the best possible manner by the best possible person. They actually had to wonder which of the two initiated sex. Prez, Brian and Corey all believed it was Ben. Keith, Pete and Drew figured Graham was most experienced and he had waited long enough.

Stepping outside for their own walk around the park, Ben and Graham saw Prez, Keith, Brian, Pete, Drew and Corey with Rush. They met near the center of the park. Ben and Graham overflowed about their dinnertime conversation with Ben's mother. Corey, Brian and Prez had to know whether it was Ben or Graham that instigated their dawn happy time. Giggling his ass off, Ben couldn't answer, as much as he wanted to.

Graham sniggered, "It was both of us. I should've known better than to start humping." Covering his eyes with his free hand and shaking his head, Graham laughed, "Five weeks was too long. It was over in under a minute."

Ben giggled, "That didn't make it any less beautiful."

Graham nodded and smiled, "I didn't expect to want to, for obvious reasons, but there's a sexy teddy bear driving me wild, with words alone. Since round one was intense and short, I go for round two with my hand and finish Ben in my mouth. It's now Ben's turn and I'm expecting first timer jitters, but no; I get finger dexterity that has me clawing at the blanket and his back."

Blushing, Ben giggled, "Grrr-rrr-rrr-rrr!"

Turning to Ben, Graham grinned, "Brrr-rrr?"

"Draw a picture," Ben giggled.

Six curious faces checked with each other then started laughing over Ben's and Graham's signals.

Hoping to diffuse the situation, Ben explained, "My first and middle name is Benjamin Robert. And this is Graham Robert. Brrr and Grrr."

Graham grinned and looked at the other six, asking, "Have I said more than any of you ever heard before?" Six negative responses were heard as well as remarks about first times from each couple. Graham smiled at Ben and offered, "Get used to it. It's going to be said at least once more when Matt and Eddie show up, probably tomorrow. And why do I say it at all?"

Prez answered, "Love."

Brian replied, "Pride."

Corey smiled, "Happiness."

Graham nodded, "Exactly," and then told Ben, "It's not exciting or surprising to other gay couples, teddy bear."

Keith said, "It's friends sharing."

Pete offered, "And trust."

"And understanding," Drew nodded.

Graham assured Ben, "I won't be telling Rick or any other single gay dudes, no matter how well either of us knows them. That's when it becomes exciting and surprising." Turning his head toward the other six, Graham grinned, "It's an unwritten no-go zone, right dudes?"

Another six positive replies flowed. Prez embellished, "Until last night, you were one of those single guys we didn't share that sort of stuff with, Ben."

Keith nodded agreement and explained, "Now you've not only got a boyfriend, we can see it as something very enduring. Everything's as open as we and you two want it to be."

Ben softly giggled, "Oh no!" and everyone cracked up, including Ben.

Approaching the street, Graham smiled, "Now I get to take Ben home with me and introduce him to my folks."

Ben blushed, "Then we're alone, in Graham's room, with the dong." Another eruption of loud laughter rocked the neighborhood. Ben was assured it wasn't what he had said, but the surprise he had said it that caused the laughter. All three couples reminded Ben that they had their own toys waiting in the house that would very like be used within the next few minutes.

The four couples said goodbye and went their separate ways. Extremely happy and proud of Ben, Graham swept his unsuspecting partner up again and danced him across the street. Not to be outdone, Keith swept up Prez, Pete took hold of Brian, and Drew swung Corey around.

A few minutes later, Ben, Graham and Mrs. Healy were walking out of the house again. As planned, Ben drove to Woodland Hills with Graham riding shotgun and providing directions. Mrs. Healy was very impressed by the neighborhood and wooded lots and said so. Graham shrugged and said, "It's where I've always lived. My dad works on computer databases. As much as I think I know about computers, my dad says stuff that confuses me." He paused and pointed Ben to the correct driveway. Moments later, Ben had parked his mom's Mazda 929 behind a Mercedes S550. In front of the Mercedes was a new Cadillac DeVille that still had the dealer tags on the rear bumper.

Mrs. Healy asked, "Does your mother work too, Graham."

With Ben's backpack in his hand, Graham nodded, "Yeah, in real estate. She puts lots of miles on her cars and just got the Cadillac last month, a week or two before the accident." He led Ben and Mrs. Healy around to the backyard where they found his parents. Both of Graham's parents had graying hair and were obviously in their mid to late fifties. Graham grinned as his parents stood. He proudly said, "Mom, Dad, this is Mrs. Margaret Healy and this is Ben." Turning to face Ben and Mrs. Healy, Graham smiled, "This is my mom, Faye Carleton, and my dad, Robert Carleton."

While Mrs. Healy shook hands with Mrs. Carleton, Ben shook hands with Mr. Carleton and had to prevent himself from growling at Graham. Once the pleasantries were finished, Graham grinned, "Thanks for dinner, Mrs. Healy; it was great. We'll let you older folks chat and head inside if there's nothing else."

Faye Carleton suspiciously squinted at her son, muttering "Older folks?"

Ben broke into giggles and Graham laughed, "You're gonna talk about us, so it's best if we just get out of the way. We can talk later, so you can embarrass me and I can embarrass Ben."

The blush and growl Ben had barely contained softly broke loose. Graham cheekily grinned at his boyfriend.

Robert Carleton chuckled, "Off with ya."

Taking Ben's hand, Graham led the way into the house. From the sliding doors, they entered a beautiful, large kitchen, with brushed aluminum appliances and light oak cabinetry that had intricate carvings around the edges. The large center island Graham and Ben walked by seemed to have a marble counter-top. The next room Graham took Ben through was a dining room with a very large table that could easily accommodate eight around it. There was also a matching china hutch and sideboard. Another growl erupted from Ben.

"Brrr?" Graham giggled.

"Are you rich?" Ben softly wondered.

Graham scowled, "I don't think so. Both my folks work, so probably not."

Stopping Graham in a spacious living room with equally beautiful furnishings, Ben grinned, "There's a Mercedes and a Cadillac in the driveway. Your kitchen is as big as my living room."

"My parents are old," Graham sniggered. "My brother is eight years older than me, so I'll guess your mom is about forty?"

Ben nodded, "Forty-two."

Graham smiled, "My mom is fifty-three. My dad is fifty-five. They've had longer careers; that's all. Ya wanna see my room, teddy bear?"

Nodding, Ben giggled, "I'm almost afraid to."

Graham laughed, "Stop!"

They hurried up a flight of stairs. Ben briefly spied a master bedroom and two other bedrooms then entered Graham's room. Ben's bedroom was big, about fifteen feet by thirteen feet, but Graham's was massive in comparison, about twenty-two feet by twenty feet, Ben estimated. On the walls were posters of The Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, The L.A. Lakers and various other smaller prints. Directly across from the doorway was a queen size bed, and on the wall above it was a window that was about the same width as the bed. On both sides of the window were small paintings of mountain lake landscapes. Under the paintings were night tables with lamps. Graham also had a dresser, a hobby table, with a view out a large window, and a desk with his Mac computer and a seventeen-inch monitor. Near the doorway and across the room from the bed, on top of the dresser was a color TV. The desk had a high-back chair with coasters and the hobby table had a plain wooden stool with a padded seat. Beside the dresser was a component stereo system. On one side of the stereo cabinet was a JBL speaker. Its twin stood on the opposite side of the dresser, near the desk. There was the usual teenage boy clutter on the night tables and the hobby table. Even the rich chocolate brown carpeting and pale frost green walls were beautiful.

"Whadaya think?" Graham anxiously asked.

"What do I think?" Ben softly repeated. He sighed then smiled, "I think I could live in only this room. It's great, Graham, more than I imagined."

Graham smiled, "I'm glad you like it. We'll spend lots of alone time here. If you want anything changed, let me know."

Ben gave Graham a tender kiss then smiled, "What would I change? We can do anything and everything in this room, Graham. We're far from your parents' room. I'm guessing those other two rooms were your brother's and sister's rooms?"

Graham nodded, "My sister's room has the mauve carpeting. This was my brother's room, once upon a time. The other bedroom, nearest to my parents' room, used to be mine, about six years ago. When my brother moved out, I moved in here."

Putting his backpack down on the floor in front of the dresser, Ben started slowly reviewing the room's contents. "You have cable TV?"

"Satellite," Graham corrected, and added, "It's premium and has all the movie channels, the same as in the living room."

High on the ceiling over the desk and computer was a fluorescent lamp of some sort. Ben pointed and asked, "What's that?"

Graham chuckled, "Beanie's addition, a black light. I was gonna take it down, but later I'll turn it on and leave it up to you."

"Oh," Ben groaned, "like at Spencer's Gifts at the mall." Graham hummed affirmatively. Ben went to the hobby table next. There were a few pieces of paper scattered around, but nothing that caught Ben's interest. The view out the window was to the south-west, Ben noticed. Graham could watch the sunsets from his room. The last rays of daylight were beaming into the room. In about an hour, the sun would set.

"I take Mechanical Drawing at school," Graham offered. "This is where I do that homework. The table top is flat now, but it can adjust on inclines up to forty-five degrees."

Ben went closer to the left side of the bed and the night table. On it, Ben saw a picture of Graham and a thin, red haired boy. Both were bare from the waist up. Realizing who the red haired boy must be, Ben softly gasped, "Omigod."

"Oops!" Graham squeaked. "This has to get put away." He quickly picked up the nine-by-six inch framed photo.

"That's Francis?" Ben carefully and softly asked. Graham nodded and gazed into the picture. Ben smiled, "He was beautiful, Graham." Graham nodded and looked up, teary eyed and frowning. Reaching over, Ben wiped the first tear falling over Graham's cheek. Ben asked, "When was that taken?"

Remembering the day vividly, Graham attempted a smile and croaked, "In May, we were shootin' hoops in his driveway. His mom took it." Graham tried to hold back his tears, but failed and bitterly sobbed.

Before it was dropped and damaged, Ben took the photo from Graham and placed it face down on the bed, then held his boyfriend through another episode. Feeling Graham's agonizing pain, Ben almost lost control too. Minutes later, when Graham started to compose himself, Ben softly offered, "You just cried as hard as you did last night. Do you really want to put it away?"

Not looking into Ben's face, Graham nodded and tried to chuckle, "Can't be with you, in bed, with it… with him…"

"It's okay, I understand, but I have an idea," Ben suggested. Red eyed and wiping his eyes one at a time, Graham looked up. Ben recommended, "Let's wrap it up, safe and sound, and put it in a special box, like a present from him to you. When you're ready, you can open the present and remember with less sadness."

"You would… help me? I… can't even… look."

"I know," Ben softy said. "You don't have to put it away for me, but if that's what you want, let's make it as special as he was. You can't just put it in a drawer, Graham."

Nodding, Graham fell apart again and threw himself against Ben, sobbing excruciatingly hard. This time, Ben couldn't hold back and cried with Graham.

Ready to leave, Ben's mom was led in the house by Graham's mom. At the bottom of the stairs, both women heard both boys crying and hurried up the steps. They stopped at Graham's bedroom doorway briefly, saw the boys standing near the bed, wrapped in a tight embrace and in tears, and then backed away and went to the master bedroom. Margaret softly told Faye that Graham had been fine when she met him the previous night and again earlier that evening.

Faye explained, "There's so much more that's pitiful about the loss of Francis. After a scene at the hospital, with Graham, Mister McLoughlin called threatening to sue. Robert notified our lawyer, and subsequently, the McLoughlins were warned that if they dared try, we would counter sue and win. Francis was driving Graham's car and fell asleep at the wheel. No amount of money can rectify anything. They're in pain, Graham's in pain, and of course, so are we. Robert told me a lot last night about what Graham said on the phone. I spoke to Graham this evening and learned more. Without Ben's caring, Graham would cry himself to death."

Margaret nodded, "We both have the same concerns, Faye. This is a lot for adults to deal with. For our teenagers, all we can do is support them."

Faye sighed, "Are you ready?"

"As ready as I'll ever be," Margaret stated. They returned to Graham's bedroom doorway and patiently waited for Ben and Graham to collect themselves and notice them.

It took another few minutes before Ben and Graham looked up, wiping tears away. As is common, they felt eyes on them and turned to the doorway. "Mom!" Both boys excitedly shouted, knowing they were caught in an emotional state.

Faye gently asked, "Are you two alright?"

Graham nodded, "The picture, mom. Ben saw it, I lost it." He impatiently added, "Again."

"We're fine," Ben meekly offered. "We were going to wrap up the photo, like a gift, that Graham can open any time he feels like."

Graham smiled, "I told you Ben is one-of-a-kind."

Ben blushed, "Grrr-rrr-rrr!"

"Brrr?" Graham giggled.

Curiously, Faye turned to Margaret.

Holding a hand up, Margaret grinned, "I have no idea."

Graham asked his mom, "Do we have a small box and some tissue paper around?"

Faye smiled, "I'll get something for you and bring it up."

Ben's mom proudly told her son, "If there's anything you need, call. I'll be leaving in a few minutes. Have a good time and I'll see you tomorrow night." Ben went over with Graham and kissed his mother goodbye. Unexpectedly, Graham kissed her goodbye too.

Ben giggled. Noticing Mrs. Healy's stunned expression, Graham laughed, "What? You gave birth to Ben. I don't need any other excuse or explanation."

Turning red again, Ben whined, "Grrr-rrr-rrr-rrr!" Graham cracked up and offered Ben a shoulder to hide his face.

Both women suspiciously hummed then turned around and went back downstairs.

Once the coast was clear, Graham whispered, "I love you, Ben. Again, you blew me away by crying with me."

Ben sighed, "He was cute, Graham; with all you've told me about him, it's a horrible loss. After being with him, you still chose me?"

"Absolutely," Graham grinned. "If you want, I'll start listing all the reasons why again, adding what you said and did the last couple o' minutes." Ben shook his head. Graham giggled, "I'm still gonna tell my mom and dad," and released Ben then took a few steps back.

Ben slowly nodded and smirked, "You want me to chase you around the house, so our parents can see."

Rapidly nodding, Graham hummed affirmatively.

"I'll get you," Ben playfully warned.

Grasping his package through his shorts and backing further away, Graham giggled, "I can hardly wait for you to get me, teddy bear." Ben started to advance and Graham backed out of his room, preparing to make a run for it.

Ben simply closed and locked the door then cheered, "I love my new room! Lemme see if I can turn this Mac on, and the stereo and the TV too."

Right beyond the door, Graham sniggered, "The Mac is password protected."

"I can figure out your password," Ben teased.

"Oh shit!" Graham laughed, realizing that Ben could easily get the password in two or three tries, maximum.

Still at the door, Ben giggled, "See, I knew it." He went to the desk, powered up the monitor, then searched the Mac, found the power switch and pushed it.

"Ben?" Graham giggled.

Strolling to the door that had to be a closet, Ben answered, "I'm waiting for the Mac to boot-up and checking out…" He paused then hollered, "Your walk-in closet! Jeez, this is huge. You could've hidden Francis in here and he wouldn't have minded in the least." Graham howled laughing. He never had to hide Francis in there, but the implication was too funny.

Graham's mother came up the stairs with a box, tape, tissue paper and wrapping paper. Leaning against the wall near his bedroom door, Graham saw his mom approaching and loudly laughed, "Hi mom."

"Nice try," Ben giggled, and closed the closet door.

In the hallway, Faye gave her son the things he asked for and grinned, "You got yourself into this mess, now get out of it, on your own."

For an instant, Ben's face flushed. Realizing Mrs. Carleton was on his side, Ben cracked up.

Graham incredulously laughed, "Mo-om!"

"No," Faye giggled, and started back downstairs.

"Now I get to check out this Mac," Ben happily teased. "I wonder what incriminating things I might find." He typed in his first password guess and said it loud enough for Graham to hear; "Honeygraham, one word?"

"Nope!" Graham laughed at the same instant the computer beeped.

Ben tried again. "Honey underscore graham?"

"Nope! Three more guesses and it powers itself off," Graham chuckled.

Ben hummed and thought aloud, "It's gotta be beanie then."

Again, the computer beeped. Graham laughed, "Two to go."

Scowling, Ben thought more, and then giggled, "Oh, you tricked me, graham cracker. I've been spelling your name, but it's really honey-g-r-a-m!"

"BEN!" Graham roared laughing, and slid down the wall onto his ass.

"BINGO!" Ben cheered. He hummed then mumbled, "This is a very different interface. All we have is a disk, two printers and a trash can. The trash is obviously like a recycle bin in Windows. Let's see what's in there."

Hysterical, Graham called, "Teddy bear?"

"Nothin' there," Ben giggled. He opened the disk and read the folder names aloud; "Applications, documents, downloads, movies, music, pictures." He loudly giggled, "What might I find in the pictures folder, I wonder? Girlie pics, perhaps?"

"Not hardly," Graham giggled.

Ben smirked, "Not hardly, is right." Shaking his head, Graham giggled his ass off. "What the heck is this?" Ben grumbled, "Sorted by year, Graham? This could take a while."

"If you'll let me in, I promise to show you everything worth seeing," Graham sniggered.

Opening the first folder, he found more folders sorted alphabetically by month. Ben hollered, "I'm sure I won't find family picnic pics," he then muttered, "At least I hope not."

Graham sniggered, "It's a Mac, my love. The good pics you won't find. Even if you did, the folder is password protected too."

Ben started viewing photos of Francis, Matt and Eddie together at some place with a lot of trees. He got up and went to the door then unlocked and opened it. Finding Graham down on the floor, Ben giggled.

Smiling up, Graham sniggered, "This is why I love you. First you hold me while I cry and then you make me laugh my ass off."

Offering his boyfriend a hand up, Ben smiled, "Let's get the picture wrapped."

Taking Ben's hand and popping up from the floor, Graham suggested, "How about mom and dad first? They'll be going to bed in about an hour or so. Then we'll take care of the photo and then the computer."

Ben nodded and softly asked, "Do you really have naughty pictures on your computer?"

"More than a few," Graham grinned. He put the things his mom gave him on his bed. "My dad works in computers, so we have a really fast connection. Now add Francis, Matt and Eddie to me and there's a fairly decent number, in an encrypted folder that can't accidentally be discovered."

Before they left the room, Ben asked, "You're really close with Matt and Eddie?"

Graham nodded, "They live in this neighborhood, so I've known them since grade school. I didn't meet Francis until Junior high, almost four years ago. August would've been our first anniversary." He took Ben's hand and they started out of the room and down the hall.

Ben gently called, "Graham?"

"Yeah, teddy bear?"

"You did it again."

"Did what again?"

"You spoke of Francis, in your room, without a single tear and a smile on your face."

"Yeah, I guess I did."

Ben sighed and explained, "It's not your room, Graham."

Pausing near the stairway, Graham turned to Ben and prompted, "Go on, please."

"Well, you said that you spent weeks in your room. When I met you last night, you cried hard and often. The longer we talked, the longer the pictures were out of your mind, the less you cried."

Disbelievingly, Graham scowled and wondered, "Are you saying that you didn't help?"

Shaking his head, Ben corrected, "I don't doubt for a second that you love me as much as I love you. It's the pictures, Graham; the one on your night table and the ones on your computer. You can dream about Francis and talk about him all you want, with a smile on your face and a gleam in your eye. It simply hurts to see the pictures. That makes perfect sense too; you were there with him, so fresh memories of good times with good friends…"

Graham yelled, "Ma! Dad!" and then quickly pulled Ben down the stairs with him.

Ben loudly worried, "Graham? What's wrong?"

Only in the living room, mere steps away from the staircase, Graham's parents appeared at the landing. Stopping only three steps up from his parents, Graham proudly smiled, "You see this dude here? I'll love him until the day I die. Do you know what he just told me?" Before his parents could reply, Graham gushed, "It's the pictures, the memories behind the pictures. That's a big part of what's been destroying me inside."

Mr. Carleton asked, "Have you been looking at photos all these weeks?"

"Well, not around the clock," Graham grinned, "but yeah, of course I have."

Mrs. Carleton groaned, "Oh, baby, why didn't you say anything before? We could've warned you or said something sooner."

Mr. Carleton asked his wife, "Would Graham have listened to us or anyone else?" He quickly answered, "No, it took a dispassionate third party that didn't know Francis. Ben only knows a little about Graham, whatever they might've shared and spoken of the last day."

Graham chuckled, "I wouldn't call Ben dispassionate, dad. As a matter of fact, he's the most considerate and passionate person I've ever met. He knows as much about me as my closest friends do." He turned to Ben and smiled, "Tell 'em, teddy bear."

Caught completely off guard, Ben didn't know what to say first. He blushed and softly offered, "Graham Robert Carleton was born January seventeenth, 1982. His two closest friends, since grade school, are Matt and Eddie. He met Francis after they started junior high, and they became a couple last August. There was a party at the home of my friend, Mike Gibbons, on May thirtieth, where Graham and Francis met all four of my closest friends. I wasn't there though.

"The accident happened five weeks ago, last night. Graham spent five days in the hospital. About a week after he got out, he went to visit Francis. That's when Francis' parents figured out that their son was gay. Since Graham had no visiting rights, he relied on Matt, Eddie and Rick to feed him information. Until last night, Graham's been in his room, worrying or grieving about his partner, with a picture still on his night table. I found a few pictures on his computer too, that obviously Graham took, because they were of Francis, Matt and Eddie taken in April of 1996, someplace with a lot of trees.

"I met Graham a little before nine o'clock last night, just about a day now. Two of my friends knew about the accident, but I didn't. I knew nothing about Graham or Francis until I asked. Since there was a party going on, we went outside, to a park across the street. He briefly summarized what happened and cried. We watched the reddest sunset ever, and walked around that park talking for two hours. Graham asked me to be a special friend to help him get over Francis. He couldn't even say the word 'boyfriend' at first, and when he did, there were more tears. Then we went to meet my mom. After that, we went back to the park, and then to the party. We got to my house around three this morning, and stayed awake talking about each other until about six this morning. He talked about Francis several times without a single tear.

"We woke a little after ten this morning. Graham told me that he dreamed of Francis and me, playing with and teasing him. It was the first time he hasn't had a nightmare of Francis. We went to lunch with my six friends, and two other dudes visiting. All afternoon and evening, Graham's talked about Francis, several times on and off. We were even talking to Francis while we joked around and tickled each other breathless. My mom heard us, but we didn't even know she was home from work.

"When we got here, Graham showed me his room. I saw the picture on his night table and asked if it was Francis with Graham. That's why he was crying again, Mrs. Carleton. After you and my mom left, Graham was teasing me. I locked him out of his room, checked his computer and found some other pictures, with Francis in them. I know that if I lost someone close and I missed him, I'd be looking at pictures too. It was simple to figure out what Graham was doing."

Ben sighed, "I may not know everything yet, but I want to. I'm sure I know things about Graham that only Francis knew." He glanced around at his boyfriend and the two adults wondering, "Should I go on?"

Shaking his head, Graham chuckled, "No, that's about it, teddy bear." Facing his parents again, Graham smiled and emphatically stated, "Ben is not a replacement for Francis; they're nothing alike. This is not a simple convenient relationship that's going to end anytime soon. Ben's been incredible in every way, right up to this very moment. Last night, I told Ben's friends, mine and eight other dudes I never met, that I was caught hook, line and sinker. Breaking up with him would be like tossing away gold for a tin can."

Blushing and sweating, Ben whined, "Grrr-rrr-rrr!" Graham cracked up and plopped his ass on a step behind him.

"It's been a busy twenty-four hours," Mr. Carleton grinned.

Over the sound of her hysterical son, Mrs. Carleton smirked, "Far too busy, if you ask me. Graham hasn't eaten right or slept right in a month, and it shows."

Ben offered, "He had a good lunch and dinner today, Mrs. Carleton."

Mrs. Carleton asked, "Would you like anything, Ben; a soft drink or a snack?"

Ben smiled, "A soda would be nice, thank you."

"Follow me, please," Mrs. Carleton pleasantly instructed. Ben looked down at Graham and offered him a hand.

Taking Ben's hand, Graham giggled, "Brrr!"

"Okay," Mrs. Carleton huffed, "what is all this brrr-ing and grrr-ing about?"

Graham lost it and roared laughing. Ben giggled and let go of Graham's hand, figuring he could find his way in his own house. Following Mrs. Carleton to the kitchen, Ben giggled, "One of the first things we learned about each other is our middle names. Graham Robert and Benjamin Robert; grrr and brrr; we use it like a signal for just about anything we need. My growling meant, okay, you can stop embarrassing me now."

Mrs. Carleton smiled and wondered, "What did Graham's signal mean?"

"I'm not sure," Ben giggled.

Still on the step he landed on, Graham asked his father, "What were you saying about a car, dad?"

His heart warmed by Graham's laughter, Robert reminded, "I want you and your friends in a safe vehicle, with curtain airbags. I'd like to see you in a Volvo, but I know that's not the car for a teenager. The new Buick Le Sabre and Toyota Camry are also getting excellent ratings from all the testing facilities. I have magazines with pictures. Make a choice and I'll make it happen."

Shocked, Graham softly asked "A new car, dad?"

Sitting down on the steps with his son, Robert nodded, "If you were driving, it might be us mourning. What if you were driving and Francis still died? The McLoughlins could sue and take us for everything. The potential costs are too high, Graham. If the correct car will keep you alive and all your friends safer, it's well worth the investment. Your mother's been having nightmares too; visions of you lying in a casket. I won't have it another day. Sign your insurance check over to me, we'll compromise on the choice, and I'll take care of the rest."

"I have plans with Ben in Agoura Hills until Monday afternoon," Graham explained. He asked, "Can we go shopping Monday night?"

Graham's dad nodded, "In my bedroom, on the desk, are several magazines; Car and Driver, Consumer Reports and Motor Trend. Have a look with Ben and choose the safest car. We'll compromise only so far; remember safety ratings above all else. If we've come to an agreement, we'll go shopping Monday night."

"Cool," Graham smiled.

Robert smiled and prompted, "Tell me more about Ben?"

Shivering with excitement, Graham gushed, "You hear talk of Godsends, but never expect it to really happen. I told Ben the shortest version of the accident story, then was crying on this dude's shoulder, watching a sunset, and wondering, 'Why is he being so patient? Why is he being so kind?' I wipe my eyes and take a close look. He's genuinely alarmed, probably over the story and my crying on his shoulder, and really good looking. I start silently cursing out Francis for dropping Ben in front of me when I'm not near ready. So, I start walking and talking with him, thinking something has to be wrong. In all those hours of talking, all I learn is that he's really sensitive. He's so sensitive that he attempted suicide. When I asked if he still considered it, he very quickly answered no, and told me that his problems weren't his own, but his father's and other school kids that harassed him."

Robert nodded, "Ben's mother told us about the suicide attempts and about Ben's father too. I'm glad you mentioned it instead of hiding it. That says a great deal about you and Ben. I won't talk your ear off, but please understand, Ben and his mother are starting over. Things aren't always going to be easy."

Graham shrugged, "Things weren't always easy with Francis either. I'll get through it with Ben a little easier because his mom is cool." He sighed, "If only Francis had cool parents. Time that was spent hiding could've been spent thousands of better ways." He then smiled, "With Ben, we both have really good chances. There's a deep connection with him too, one I can't explain or understand, but it's there, we both feel it, like an inflated balloon, filling us up and growing. That's why I yelled for you and mom; if I had tried to control it, I would've popped the balloon."

Robert Carleton could only think, 'Uh oh, it's real love.' He didn't say that to Graham, but instead nodded and grinned, "Good luck. Call Ben and start looking through those magazines tonight, so we can be ready early next week."

Graham chuckled, "Thanks, dad," and stood up then offered his old man a hand.

Robert took his son's hand and stood, groaning, "Getting old is a bitch. Joint pain, muscle aches; I can hardly wait for my sixtieth birthday."

"You'll last way longer than that," Graham grinned. Robert went to sit on the sofa and Graham went to the kitchen for Ben.

Frighteningly, Graham could hear his mother and Ben giggling before he entered the kitchen. Stepping into the room, Graham grinned, "I left you with Ben for five minutes, mom. What did you say to make him blush?"

Blinking innocently, Faye Carleton teased, "Why, the truth, of course." Ben giggled louder.

Reaching his left hand to that side of his face, Graham sighed, "Ma, why do you do this?"

Faye innocently giggled, "Do what, binky?" and Ben howled laughing. With her goal achieved, Faye left the boys in the kitchen to return to the living room and her husband.

Slouching, Graham groaned, "Oh, God."

Going to Graham and wrapping him in his arms, Ben giggled, "I can almost see you as a toddler. Those are pictures I really want to see." Sighing and smirking, Graham looked deeply into Ben's eyes. Ben whispered, "I love you, Graham. Let's watch tonight's sunset from your room."

A wide smile split Graham's face. He nodded and went to the fridge, got two cans of Coke, and then returned to take Ben's hand. They crossed rooms, said goodnight to Graham's parents and hurried upstairs. In the hall on the way to his room, Graham asked, "If you'll wrap the photo, I'll weed out all the pics of Francis on my computer and zip them up. You'll set the password to the zip file, Ben. Once I can look and not cry, you can tell me or just remove the password completely."

Ben nodded, "Leave your favorite one, so you can still see him whenever you want. I only opened three files, Graham, the first three in the first folder. All three had Francis in them. How many do you think he's in?"

"About half, I'll bet. Eddie's the photographer. Each of the four of us took some pictures, so only the one's Beanie took absolutely won't have him in it." In his room, Graham stopped with Ben, near the hobby table and looking out at the setting sun. Putting the soda cans down on the table, Graham stood behind Ben, with is chin resting on Ben's shoulder and his arms around Ben's waist.

Gazing out the window and watching the sunset, Ben asked, "Do you have to look at each picture to find them all?"

"No, I renamed the files to include initials of who's in which. I already know which one I'll keep. Eddie was practicing portrait photos last winter, during a rainy day. He took about a dozen pictures of all three of us that day." Graham paused and grinned, "Those pics came out better than our school yearbook photos."

"I want one of you, Graham."

Graham nodded and assured, "As soon as we can, teddy bear."

"You're shaking a little," Ben softly noticed.

Graham sighed, "I'm about to go cold turkey."

Looking over his shoulder, Ben gently offered, "We don't have to do this."

"Yeah, we do. He'll be in my heart, just not in my eyes. You're my boyfriend now, Ben, right there in my heart with him. I really want to be with you, so I have to separate the past from the present. Last night, from Prez, and again in my dream this morning, he's told me that it's okay. I love you so much for all you've said and done; I can't imagine spending a single day without you. Now it's up to me to adapt, and I very much want to."

Coming in the room behind Ben and Graham, Eddie flipped on the ceiling light and giggled, "I told you that he'd be here with Ben."

"Some things never change," Matt grinned.

Watching his friends approach, Graham chuckled, "I'm glad you're here."

"Me too," Ben smiled.

Taking a position to Ben's right side, Eddie looked over and assured, "We're very close."

Ben giggled, "So I heard."

Wrapping his arms around Eddie's waist, Matt teased, "We've become limited company."

"Not so limited anymore," Graham chuckled. "Ben's best friends are Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike."

"We know already," Eddie grinned. "While you two were together, we were with them at the party."

Matt nodded, "Our Sunday and Monday mornings are booked. We'll be over at Mike's place."

Graham smiled, "I'm with my teddy bear, from now on; wherever he is that's where I'll be. That includes all rehearsals and the concert."

Matt wondered, "What's the plan for tonight?"

"A few things have to be done," Graham answered. "First on the list, is limiting my exposure to pics of Beanie. With you dudes here, life just became very easy for me."

Eddie promised, "Anything you need."

"What's next?" Matt asked Graham.

"Car shopping," Graham smiled. "Dad wants me in new wheels, with airbags and the highest safety rating. I can choose, with three additional opinions, and then dad will okay it. We're going car shopping Monday night, teddy bear."

Ben gasped, "Your dad's getting you a new car?"

Placing a kiss on Ben's ear, Graham then softly said, "That's the plan."

Eddie asked, "What do you want to get?"

Graham shrugged, "Dad mentioned a Volvo, a Buick Le Sabre and a Toyota Camry. Our job is to find something that meets or exceeds those kinds of safety ratings. I just found out that my mom's been having nightmares too, of me. Between her and me, dad's pretty freaked too."

With the sunset down to the darkest colors to the west, Ben turned in Graham's arms to see his boyfriend's face. There were no signs of sadness. Ben tenderly kissed Graham. Graham returned a passionate kiss. Eddie giggled, but was promptly silenced by Matt's lip lock. In a few moments the two couples separated. Ben went to begin wrapping the framed photograph. Eddie went to the computer and unlocked it. Graham went with Matt to get the magazines from his father's desk. Ben encased the photo with balled tissue paper and wrapped it in more folded tissue paper. Additional scrunched up wads of tissue paper lined the bottom of the box and over the wrapped photo.

Graham returned with Matt and told Eddie which of the portraits were to be kept and that Ben would set the archive password for all the remaining files. He then checked on Ben and grinned, "That box will survive the big one, teddy bear."

Nodding, Ben giggled, "That was my intention, to keep the frame and picture safe, no matter what."

"That's exactly where it's going, into my dad's safe, when you're done."

Ben asked, "Should I take it to him when I'm done?"

Shaking his head, Graham instructed, "Just put it on their bed, and ask my dad to put in the safe, please?"

Sitting on the stool, Matt called, "Graham? Would your dad consider an SUV?"

"I don't think so, bro," Graham replied. "They roll on a whim."

Matt asked, "How about something smaller, like a Subaru Outback? It's like a car, but with cargo space." He held up the Motor Trend magazine for Graham to see the picture.

Graham shrugged, "Let's check the safety ratings compared to the Le Sabre and Camry." He sat on the floor with the Consumer Reports magazine. What he saw for previous years were all very good safety ratings. He called, "Eddie?"

"Almost done," Eddie replied, "whatchya need?"

"An internet search on the Subaru Outback," Graham said.

Eddie nodded and called, "Ben, the file just needs a password."

"All set," Ben smiled. He crossed the room with the wrapped box and Graham tickled his leg as he passed. Pausing, Ben grinned down, "Silly Graham cracker." Eddie and Matt sniggered.

Graham chuckled, "Have I got some remarkable things to tell you two dudes about my talented teddy bear."

Rolling his eyes, Ben giggled, "Let me set the password and leave the room, please?"

Shaking his head, Graham evilly beamed, "Although I haven't seen Ben flaccid often, he's definitely a real nice grower." Blushing and softly growling, Ben went to the desk.

Getting up from the desk chair, Eddie giggled, "Tell us more. Cut like Francis?" Ben sat down at the desk and entered a password that Graham couldn't easily figure out. It was based on his mom's maiden name and her wedding anniversary, so it would be a very long time before Graham learned either.

"Nope," Graham chortled, "Uncut, longer and substantially thicker than Beanie." Matt and Eddie excitedly mooed. Giggling his ass off, Ben left the room with the boxed photo. Watching Ben leave, Graham sighed and smiled, "He was awesome all night and into the morning. Earlier today I talked to Keith. The stats are lining up in favor of guitar players. I've got to talk to Gil about guitar players' dexterity. Ben's fingers had me clawing at the sheets. It was his first time, but still, he went down on me just like I had on him, no pausing or fear at all."

Eddie glanced at Matt then asked Graham, "No anxiety at all?"

"None that he showed me," Graham confirmed. "He later told me he was scared, but he sure didn't act like it. There's no one I want to be with more."

Noticing his friend's sudden turn from miserable to ecstatic, Matt suspiciously asked, "What happened, bro?"

Graham excitedly rambled about the connection he and Ben had and how it grew all day. He told his friends about everything Ben had said to him, including the revelation about the photos. Ben returned to find all three sitting on the floor. Graham patted the spot next to him and prompted, "Right here by me."

Giggling, Ben balked, "For more dickie talk?"

Eddie laughed, "Not yours, now it's our turn. I'm six by four-and-a-half."

"Seven and seven-eighths by five-and-a-quarter," Matt grinned.

Watching Ben approach, Graham smiled, "Secrets are for strangers. These two dudes can tell you almost everything about me, from first grade and on."

Eddie shared, "Graham's usually less forward and outgoing than I am, but not by much."

Matt nodded, "Truthfully, Francis was the real extrovert among the four of us. In a larger gathering, we're all a little reserved until we know everybody. I think we're straddling the line between introverted and extroverted. It all depends on who we're with and how comfortable we are."

"Neither Matt nor I share our cock sizes unless we feel very comfortable," Eddie added.

Matt smiled, "You changed our pal from a spaz to our friend again. He's only told us the serious stuff about you since you left the room, Ben."

Ben checked with Graham, "Everything?"

Shaking his head, Graham assured, "That doesn't matter to me, my folks or them. That laundry's so dirty it's garbage. Don't even worry about it." Noticing Matt's and Eddie's confusion, Graham reached for Ben's nearest arm and flipped it over.

Seeing the scar, Matt sighed, "Ya know what, Ben; at least half the people I know have considered it at least once."

"Don't worry about that anymore," Eddie brightly beamed. "We didn't know that, but Graham has told us enough that we understand why you went there. Forget about it, or Matt and I will hold you down while Graham tickles you until you scream for mercy."

Graham chuckled, "That's not an empty threat, teddy bear. They would do it."

"Francis always got the worst of our tickle torture," Matt chuckled. "He'd be grumpy over his parents, or a bad time at a track meet…"

"And he would pay dearly," Graham, Matt and Eddie finished with wide smiles.

Ben blushed and meekly offered, "Thank you."

Mooing erupted from Graham, Matt and Eddie. "He's just not getting it," Matt evilly chuckled.

"The 'T' word is as bad as the 'F' word," Eddie warned.

Shaking his head sadly, Graham giggled, "What did I say about niceties?" Before Ben had a chance to react, all three were on him. Eddie held down Ben's shoulders and arms to the floor. Matt squatted over both Ben's legs and Graham was tickling Ben to loud laughter and tears. "Niceties are not allowed," Graham happily chanted, "grumpy bitches are not allowed, cheating on lovers is not allowed."

"Wait!" Ben loudly laughed, "Graham… five weeks… bitchy!"

Releasing Ben's arms Eddie giggled, "Ya know, he's right." With his arms free, Ben firmly took both of Graham's wrists. In a flash, Matt had Graham in a full-nelson and standing, allowing Eddie and Ben to get retribution. Tickling Graham into hysteria, Eddie giggled, "Push his shorts down, Ben."

"Why?" Ben playfully wondered.

Matt laughed, "If he gets a stiffy, we've gone beyond the point of educational value."

"Okay," Ben cackled, and went to work on Graham's shorts.

At the evil gleam and wide smile on his giggling boyfriend's face, Graham incredulously hollered, "BENJAMIN!" A moment later, Graham's shorts and boxers were at his ankles. For about five minutes, until Graham had no fight left and could barely catch his breath, Eddie tickled above the waist and Ben hysterically tickled below the waist. Matt shoved the wasted remains of Graham face down, onto his bed. Huffing and panting between giggles, Graham lay there thinking, 'Those are my friends and my new boyfriend. Ben's worse than Francis ever was. Beanie would've purposefully tickled my dickie and nads to give me a bone and stop the torture. Ben seemed to avoid that area at all costs. I was bad though, and they are great.'

Still giggling, Ben went over and closed the bedroom door, so Graham's parents wouldn't see their mostly nude son, and the three of them happily sniggering at what they had accomplished. Ben turned to Matt and Eddie and grinned, "This is normal?"

Matt nodded, "Now we can tell you, years ago, when we were reaching puberty, there was a lot of very discrete sexual activity going on."

"No one wanted to be considered gay, even by good friends," Eddie explained.

Matt continued, "Between Jerry, Rick and me, we knew every dick, in the same age bracket, in this neighborhood. Some of us admitted we enjoyed and preferred it by the time were about fourteen or fifteen."

Eddie smiled, "The line between givers and takers blurred around then. Couples started emerging; Jerry and Mack have been together and apart a lot the last two years. They want to be permanent, but either family or college issues have gotten in the way. In February, Valentine's Day, Matt and I are together two years. Then Graham hooked up with Francis. Shaun and Gil were the last very permanent couple that connected, at Mike's birthday party."

Ben nodded, "I talked to them and heard about the pool house."

Patting Ben's shoulders, Matt said, "We're not only letting you in, Ben, we want you in. From what Graham told us, you don't think you did much of anything."

Pointing at Graham, who was almost conscious once again, Eddie giggled, "That's what you did, Ben. He's back and better than ever, thanks to the things you said and did."

Sitting on the bed near Graham, Matt reached back and poked a tender rib, causing Graham to lurch and loudly giggle. Matt grinned, "What's nothing special to you is very special to shitferbrains here. He moves slowly, or at least he did with Francis. The fact that you're here speaks volumes. Graham loves you and trusts you implicitly; so do we."

Eddie nodded, "So will Shaun and Gil, and so will Jerry and Mack."

"The latter two are working their butts off this summer," Matt explained. "When they're not working, Jerry's playing basketball and Mack's off playing soccer or coaching little league soccer teams. They don't have a lot of free time. What time they do have they spend alone together."

Graham moaned then giggled, "Dammit! You dudes better watch out, next time either of you need to be taught a lesson."

Eddie laughed, "Welcome back!"

"Since when did you start wearing boxers?" Matt grinned.

"They're mine," Ben giggled, "so is the shirt."

Lifting his ass to pull the boxers and shorts up, Graham turned to Ben and smiled, "Show 'em what you brought here for us, teddy bear." Ben blushed and nodded then went to his backpack. Graham told Matt and Eddie, "Prez and those dudes have a secret they need to share with us."

Digging through his backpack, Ben giggled, "It's not a secret. Besides, I know where the store is too now." He stood up with his red dong.

Eddie cracked up. Wide-eyed, Matt stood and chuckled, "You are definitely in, dude." Ben handed Matt his toy. Matt briefly asked, "Where?"

Ben giggled, "North Hollywood, where we met Danny, Aaron, Craig and Glen. It's near Lankershim Boulevard. We can take a trip there anytime."

With his drawers pulled up again, Graham went to Ben and asked, "Can I please tell them?" Already blushing, Ben nodded. Graham gushed, "We used it, dudes. Imagine a finger, then a thumb, then each larger section popping into your butt and popping out again."

Nodding, Eddie giggled, "I can imagine easily. How fast did you pop?"

Graham laughed, "Too fast!" Matt and Eddie howled.

Ben giggled, "You dudes are as bad as the other four in Agoura Hills."

Matt shrugged and grinned, "It's the way it is. Ninety-plus percent of the time, I'm top for Eddie, but that doesn't mean I'm not getting some too." He checked with Eddie, "About once a week, right buttercup?"

Eddie nodded, "Never more than ten days since school let out." He giggled, "On the tenth day, I have no choice."

Matt promised, "We're getting one of these. I can barely wait."

"If it wasn't so late, we'd be on the way now," Eddie giggled.

Locking eyes, Graham and Ben chuckled. Turning to his two friends, Graham asked, "You dudes stopped using condoms, right?"

Eddie nodded, "About a year ago we stopped completely."

Matt offered, "When you run out at the wrong time, going to the store for more, stopping what's already excellent, just isn't happening. We're permanent."

Taking Matt's hand, Eddie explained, "Those times when we were younger proved something that only with a permanent partner becomes crystal clear. A dick is a dick, big, medium or small."

Graham told Ben, "It's everything we say and do when we're not making love that matters. You're very beautiful to me, inside and out. For the foreseeable future, I'm your leech." Ben and Graham passionately locked lips.

When they broke apart, Eddie smiled, "Matt's got one that's perfect for me and I'm perfect for him too, which he's made very clear. Each and every couple I've talked to about it say the same stuff, in their own words."

Putting the dong down on the desk, Matt counted fingers and confirmed, "Present company included, add every couple at the party last night. Howard doesn't care about dick size. Rick does, but it's not so set in stone that he won't change preference for the right dude."

"How is Rick?" Ben and Graham asked almost simultaneously.

Matt chuckled, "Sick as a dog. He kept drinking after he got home last night."

"I woke his lazy ass up and bitched him out for thirty minutes," Eddie evilly smirked. "I told him it's all or nothing; apologize to everyone or don't expect to be included in very much. Matt told me his feelings about it. If Brian hadn't locked him up like he did, Matt would've kicked his ass from one end of that park to the other."

Ben begged, "Please don't end friendships over it."

Matt sighed, "It's not us ending anything, Ben. The last time I got drunk, I accidentally tore a shower curtain rod off a bathroom wall, trying to steady myself to piss. I replaced and fixed it and apologized to the parents. That's being grown up; that's being considerate. If Rick chooses to be dumb and stick to his drunken guns, then he's on the shit list."

Eddie went to Ben, gently rubbed his back and softly explained, "He doesn't want to apologize to you, Graham, Keith or Brian. Brian's a visiting friend, but everyone else is right here. If he chooses to throw about a dozen people out of his life, then there's nothing we can do. Am I gonna choose Rick over Graham?"

"No," Matt answered, "Rick could've come here with us tonight. He said he's not ready. Okay, cool, for tonight. He'll get every opportunity until either he bends and admits a very simple drunken mistake, or we drift apart."

Still rubbing Ben's back, Eddie shared, "I told him to not only think of now, but think about the future and the past. This whole thing could be over in no time, a few days tops. Or it could wipe out his past and alter his future. All we can do is hope and wait."

Graham frowned, "I've got a very sad image of him in my mind. He'll be the one that can't keep a partner. He'll be the fat, lonely dude, overflowing with regrets, sitting alone on a bar stool."

Eddie nodded, "That's very close to what I warned him about. I said that he'd be sleeping around, always searching for the bigger dick."

Matt tilted his head and thought aloud, "Bigger dicks are all he'll find, not just what's hangin', but real jack-offs." He sighed and muttered, "If he'd only get the simple idea to commit to something besides cock size. Dudes on the baseball team that can't shut their traps and say dumb shit are only team mates. I choose Eddie because of all he is to me. Rick moved on from Eddie and allowed me to move in, over his dick size fantasies. Now that's dumb. His loss is my gain. Six inches goes deep into the back of my mouth and feels even better in my ass. What makes it awesome is not only the cock, but every other thing Eddie says and does."

Eddie giggled and went to Matt to give away a few kisses. There were height, build, weight and racial differences, but none of that mattered to either of them. The taller baseball player loved the shorter photographer. Ben saw it and learned from all he saw and all they had said. He locked eyes with Graham. Shivering from the renewed connection, Graham gave away kisses that Ben warmly accepted. For only a few minutes more, two couples shared affection.

Graham smiled, "Back to the magazines and car shopping?"

Matt wordlessly checked with Eddie. From a simple blink, Matt said, "Yeah, until about eleven. Then I take my munchkin home and put him into a deep sleep. Eddie's gotta work at seven in the morning. I've gotta be at work by nine too."

As they parked their buns on the floor, Eddie offered, "I'll be home around one o'clock tomorrow. If you want company, give me a call." He paused then giggled, "If I don't hear from you then I'll know it's time for only lovers, no biggie."

Graham chuckled, "Maybe is all I can offer. My teddy bear might want some exercise."

Bouncing happily, Ben blushed and growled, "Grrr-rrr!"

Graham loudly replied, "BRRRRRRRR!"

Picking up Motor Trend, Matt laughed, "I can imagine how those sound effects might work."

There were two soft raps at the door only minutes later and Graham said, "Come in, dad."

Opening the door, Graham's dad asked, "How is the search progressing?"

Once all his friends had responded affirmatively, Graham checked, "SUV's are out?"

Robert Carleton uncertainly hummed. Ben turned to Mr. Carleton and said, "Even smaller ones? We were checking into the Subaru Outback."

Eddie looked up and smiled, "There are two pages up on the computer, Mr. Carleton, comparing the Outback to the Camry. They've got very similar safety ratings."

Nodding, Graham's dad told his son, "Leave me some hard copy printouts of what you're after. While you're gone over the weekend, I can do more research."

Graham nodded, "I'll take the magazines with me to Ben's. He's got a Windows laptop and we'll do more searching there."

Robert nodded and chuckled, "We heard you were tonight's tickle torture victim, all the way downstairs."

"They will pay, starting with my teddy bear," Graham sniggered. Turning away from Mr. Carleton, Ben whimpered then giggled. Eddie cracked up while Matt and Graham evilly snickered.

Graham's dad said "Good night, boys," and closed the door behind him.

Ben checked with Graham, "We can still talk?"

Graham nodded, "Sure, not too loud and crazy, but why not?"

"My dad," Ben softly smirked. While he searched Consumer Reports, Ben told Matt and Eddie about his father, prior to and including his arrest.

Graham reminded, "That's all over, Ben. We were up late talking and making love until dawn. Your mom didn't say a word about it." Noticing Matt and Eddie grinning, Graham chuckled, "I didn't think I would want to so fast."

Matt checked with Eddie, "Prez?"

Eddie nodded and giggled, "Prez."

"Only partly," Graham chuckled and pointed to Ben, adding, "Hunky teddy bear."

Eddie giggled, "I've got that very same itch, obviously."

Folding the magazine, Matt leered, "I'll scratch that for you in a little while." Eddie bounced and giggled. Ben sniggered. Matt showed Graham the page he was looking at.

Graham confirmed, "The Monte Carlo?" Matt nodded.

Getting up, Eddie went to the computer and did a search on the model. In a few moments, he turned and shook his head. "Two- three- and four-star ratings compared to four- and five-stars for the Camry and Outback."

Graham prompted, "Power up the printer, please, Eddie. Let's get printouts for the Camry, Outback and Le Sabre."

Ben noticed, "Eddie seems really familiar with your Mac."

Graham nodded, "He does his photo editing here."

Concentrating on what he was doing, Eddie shared, "My PC is old and can't deal with PhotoShop. Windows 98 is coming and my folks have to upgrade the machine to run it. I'm pushing for a Mac before school starts."

"And they're pushing back for another Windows machine," Matt sniggered.

Graham grinned, "It's the price differential. If Apple could lower their prices, they'd be more competitive."

"Ben?" Eddie called, and turned around as the printer whirred to life. Ben looked up and over smiling. Eddie giggled, "Which part of Graham really gets your heart pumping?"

Ben blushed and giggled, "It seems I've heard something similar to this already today. Prez asked what my favorite physical part was. I answered Graham's wavy hair."

"No, no," Eddie giggled, "What get's you racing, ready for anything?"

"His eyes," Ben truthfully answered. "It was eye contact in the dark park fields and has been ever since. I normally look away a lot. There's no chance of that with Graham. That was the first indicator of someone special, for me."

Graham grinned, "They were expecting something way lower, teddy bear."

Ben smirked, "It can't be; it has to be something I see all the time." Glancing around, he asked, "Don't you think that having to see someone naked to get turned on is kind o' wrong?"

Matt shrugged, "There's plenty to see with clothes on, I'll grant you that. I like bubble butts, like Eddie's and Prez's."

"Hey!" Eddie giggled, "What did I tell you?"

Matt sniggered, "Just bein' honest, buttercup." He turned to Graham and asked, "What part of Ben makes you wild?"

Graham smiled, "I know what you're asking, but I'll give you the honest answer first, then the physical. Ben's voice is first and foremost. Once his shirt is off, I'm over a barrel chest and chest hair."

"Yeah?" Eddie and Matt queried.

Graham nodded, "Definitely. If I ask Ben to take his shirt off now, you'll have to leave soon."

Matt shrugged, "It's almost eleven anyway."

Eddie encouraged, "Go for it, Ben. I like Matt's chest too, so both of you, shirts off."

Matt quickly stood, but Ben turned to Graham, smiling, "For you?"

Graham nodded, "Show 'em, teddy bear."

Blushing, Ben stood over by Matt and they took their shirts off. Off the desk chair, Eddie was mooing before Ben opened his eyes. "God," Eddie excitedly gasped, "perfectly outlined pecs, dude." He then looked at Matt's chest closely and prompted Graham, "Check 'em out."

Getting up from the floor, Graham stood beside Eddie and commented, "See, I know two things; that Matt works out with weights and that Ben doesn't. Ben's chest is from simple housework and holding stuff for his dad in the garage. Matt's chest is bigger and smoother, but Ben's is completely natural." Helplessly, Graham traced a finger up Ben's treasure trail, from the waistband of his shorts to just above the navel, where the hairs faded to flesh. Graham locked eyes with Ben and giggled, "Number two on my list, teddy bear."

Ben giggled, "Can I put my shirt back on?"

Shaking his head, Graham took Ben's shirt and tossed it on his bed.

Between Eddie's leering and Graham's loss of control, Matt chuckled, "Yes, it is time to go, buttercup," and slid his shirt over his head.

Eddie nodded, "Your chest gets special attention tonight."

With Ben's hand in his, Graham led the way from the room, down the hall and stairs. Crossing the lower level rooms, Graham reminded his friends of the plans for the weekend and when he would next be home with Ben. Matt and Eddie shared their plans too then all four knocked knuckles and said good night. Graham and Ben waited by the kitchen sliding glass door for Matt and Eddie to get around the side of the house. Ben giggled, "They like me, thank goodness."

"They like you a lot," Graham smiled, and flipped the outside light switch off. "Just like I expected, Eddie especially likes you. That's why he asked to see your beefy chest and I went along with it. What do you think of them?"

"They're great, an awesome couple, and you mean a lot to them."

"Now you mean a lot to them too," Graham reminded, and then led Ben back to the living room. He turned off one of the two lamps, leaving the one closest to the stairs on.

Overwhelmed by changes, Ben softly asked, "Hold me, please?"

Taking Ben into his arms and feeling Ben trembling, Graham whispered, "What's wrong?"

"Nothin'," Ben sighed. "It's just a lot, ya know? There's been no one for so long. Then two friends became four friends. Then Gil, Shaun, and Drew and Corey and a boyfriend with nice friends too…"

Gently shushing Ben, Graham started swaying and reminded, "Their loss is my gain. To me, it's sad that you had no one to talk with before this summer."

"Just two older gay men, Doug and Brian; they've told me things, I guess I wasn't ready to hear."

"Do you trust me?"

"Completely," Ben gushed, "I love you, Graham. That voice in my head keeps saying, it can't be real, it won't last."

"I want it to last. You have to want it to last too. It only takes two."

"I feel your heart beating."

"You know why, don't you?"

"Maybe… I don't know for sure."

Graham whispered into Ben's ear, "It's because I feel you, Ben. I love you, which means everything about you, inside, outside, past, present and future." He leaned his head back and shared, "As far as I'm concerned, I could answer these silly 'what do you like most' questions with your nose, your toes or anything else. You're a person, just like me, my friends and yours too. How can I or anyone else answer questions like that? I love your voice, but what if you got laryngitis? What if your voice was different after you got well? I wouldn't leave you for that. Eddie just took interest in your chest. Understanding why doesn't mean there wasn't a twinge of jealousy, because there was. And I know him very well, going on ten years. It's the same with Matt. Do you know what else I felt?"

Shaking his head, Ben asked, "What?"

Graham smiled, "Pride in a boyfriend with a huge heart under his beautiful chest."

Ben shivered again and giggled, "God Graham, what I wouldn't have given to have someone talk to me like this years ago."

Graham softly chuckled, "Nope, you had to be there for me."

"I had to learn to make and keep friends," Ben whispered.

Graham smiled and softly offered, "Maybe you simply didn't find the right people. Trusting to make a friend is a two way street."

Resting his head on Graham's shoulder, Ben sighed, "This swaying is so nice."

Humming affirmatively, Graham kissed Ben's cheek. In the mostly darkened living room, they silently swayed. After a few minutes, Ben giggled. Graham chuckled, "What?"

"The dong," Ben giggled. "Prez saw it and got one. Matt and Eddie saw it and want one too. I was only looking for something that wouldn't get boring."

Graham sniggered, "You achieved that. Now we'll have to take a ride to North Hollywood with them. Expect additional company too. Maybe Gil and Shaun, or maybe there will be a caravan of cars, from Woodland Hills to North Hollywood."

Ben giggled, "You're wonderful. I want to find another pet name for you. Silly graham cracker works only when you're being silly. I need another for the rest of the time."

Graham smiled, "I'll give you the signal if I really like it."

Ben whispered, "It's bed time."

"Are you ready?"

"Yeah, to make love, and then fall asleep, with you holding me this time."

"Your wish is my command," Graham smiled, and led Ben by the hand back upstairs. Once in his room, Graham turned the black light on and the other lights off. Ben mooed then giggled. Graham shared, "That's why Beanie wanted it, so we could see enough, but still be able to sleep without worrying about the light."

Ben seriously asked, "How does it make you feel?"

"Like it's time to make love," Graham evilly snickered, and quickly took his shirt off. While Graham's arms were still above his head, Ben stepped closer and worked to relieve Graham of his shorts. The dong, still sitting on the desk where Matt had left it, was picked up and tossed to the bed by Ben. Graham then got Ben naked. They worked together to fold down the bed blanket and sheet. Climbing into bed, they remained on their knees, caressing one another and kissing before lying down and making love. In a sixty-nine position, Graham used the dong on Ben, while Ben kept his fingers and mouth busy on Graham's cock. In this one position, they drove each other to two orgasms each. Satisfied, but very tired, they cuddled in the center of the bed and softly spoke of the next day until they kissed good night. Holding Ben close, Graham quickly fell asleep. In a bed other than his own for the first time, Ben took a little longer to relax and finally pass out.

Over in Agoura Hills, it was nightly shower time. All eight bathed as couples. Knowing that in about eight hours Brian and Pete would be leaving for home, they only spoke about their time together. They finished in the shower, toweled off and eight towels were taken directly to the garage to be washed by Keith and Mike. Brian, Pete, Corey and Drew said goodnight and went to the guest bedroom.

From their afternoon conversation, Brian and Pete admitted that they couldn't bear the idea of leaving without sharing something intimate with Drew and Corey. Corey admitted that he had made love with Prez, since it was the safest possible environment to try it, but it was only masturbation. Drew shared that he had had intercourse with Corey during the act with Prez and that Keith was at the other far side of the bed having intercourse with Prez. Corey, Brian and Pete spent a while alleviating Drew's fears of Corey having another panic attack after the fact.

Alone at last and prepared to put their plan in effect, each couple hugged and whispered words to their partners. When they separated, Drew and Brian hugged tightly as did Corey and Pete. They switched around so that Brian hugged Corey and Drew embraced Pete. Smiling up at Pete, Drew bounced his eyebrows. Pete cracked up and laughed, "You might not like hearing it, but you are so much like your brother."

Brian grinned, "A devious sex maniac in training."

"The training is almost complete too," Corey giggled.

"That's what tonight is," Drew smiled, "the completion of all our training, isn't it?" Confirmations that it was true traveled around Brian, Corey and Pete. With very little more to be said, Drew suggested, "How about we start with Brian and Pete on their backs? Corey and I will have some fun with both of you then we can switch around? Corey and I will get on our backs on the bed for you two."

Corey rapidly nodded his head, so Brian and Pete got on the queen size bed. Going to Brian's side of the bed, Corey watched Drew approach Pete on the opposite side. Nervously, Corey and Drew exhaled. It had already been made abundantly clear that Brian and Pete didn't want to leave and Corey and Drew didn't want them to leave either. Corey and Drew leaned onto and over the bed. Corey tenderly kissed Brian. Brian returned a tender kiss. Drew began in his usual manner, gently kissing Pete's lower lip a few times before switching to the top lip. Pete liked it a lot and would definitely use it on Brian, very likely the next night.

With the first passionate kiss, Brian's left hand ran through Corey's hair, while his right hand slowly traveled down Corey's side until it rested on a hip. Corey very much appreciated Brian's tactile responses and began giggling into their kiss. During the passionate kiss on the other side of the bed, Pete's right hand caressed Drew's face while his left hand gently traced the length of the arm Drew had on the bed holding himself off Pete.

Corey and Drew broke the kisses one after the other and smiled at each other. With a nod of Drew's head, Corey and Drew swapped sides of the bed.

Across the hall, Keith and Mike returned from the garage to find Prez and Derrick on the king bed, on their backs with their legs in the air. The four in the guest bedroom heard Prez and Derrick loudly holler "Give me big dick now!" and then Keith and Mike cracking up. Brian, Corey, Drew and Pete paused to sadly shake their heads and snigger. What Brian, Corey, Drew and Pete couldn't know was that Mike hurried onto the bed between Prez's legs and Keith went directly to Derrick, causing another round of loud laughter and playful complaints.

Brian grinned, "This isn't going to be quick, Pete."

Pete chortled, "I'm getting that impression, yeah."

Approaching Brian, Drew evilly gleamed, "These actions will hopefully mirror what we said earlier."

"Drew's the king of 'slow and easy'," Corey giggled. Brian and Pete grinned at each other and silently began praying.

More tender and passionate kisses were shared between Brian and Drew, and also Corey and Pete. When the kisses broke, Brian giggled, "Damn, Drew! Those were really nice kisses."

Corey had to break his kiss, stand up and howl laughing. Pete chortled, "I get the very distinct impression they both spent a lot of time on kissing alone."

"Last summer," Drew widely grinned, "most of July and August. On August thirtieth, my birthday, we took the next step with our hands only."

Nodding, Corey giggled, "It was the holiday season when we tried first oral."

Brian incredulously laughed, "Months?"

Pete giggled, "Dear Father in heaven, please protect us and guide us through the pearly gates." Brian, Corey and Drew cracked up.

Drew chuckled, "Ready, angel?"

Corey nodded and giggled, "Let's go, stud."

All that had been said or planned was that all four would share their feelings. To Corey and Drew, that meant more than Brian and Pete were prepared for. The latter two knew it would be very nice for all involved, but they hadn't seen what Corey and Drew considered 'normal'.

Standing still and hovering over Pete, Corey dove for an earlobe and let his free hand run over Pete's chest, gently pinching hard nipples, and then working its way slowly down, feeling Pete's tight abs, teasing his belly-button and tracing a treasure trail down. Drew was doing his 'normal' things with Brian too, using his mouth on two perky nips and caressing the remainder of his torso. Shivering and groaning, Brian and Pete held hands, rapidly shifting between amazed and thrilled with their two younger friends. Once Corey had reached Pete's erection and Drew had caressed Brian's bone and nut sack, they stopped and scurried around the bed, only pausing briefly to feel each other up and share a kiss.

Corey climbed onto the bed and positioned himself over Brian's thighs, as he had done countless times with Drew, so that erections were available and scrotums were touching. Drew did exactly the same with Pete. Pete reached for Drew's stiffy and Drew took Pete's shaft in hand. Corey held Brian's hand and softly instructed him how to play with an uncut cock. Drew offered Brian pointers on when to switch things around, so Corey wouldn't climax too fast. "It is very possible to get carried away with foreskin crimping," Drew shared, to Corey's delightful giggling. Drew smiled, "Two minutes is too long, fifteen seconds or five or six crimps, and then move on, just like you would with Pete."

"Drew? Squeeze and stop," Pete warned.

Doing as he was told, Drew's lips formed a cute circle and he briefly mooed, then suggested, "Let's switch around, angel." Corey nodded and stood. Also standing, Drew and Corey swapped places, carefully stepping over Brian and Pete, getting more gropes and kisses in while they had the chance.

Pete grinned at Brian, "We should've figured it might be like this."

Brian nodded and smiled, "They've actually done what we might've, if we weren't separated."

Standing over Pete, Corey giggled, "That's an added bonus for you two."

Squatting down onto Brian, Drew chuckled, "Remember, I was the one that had to go slow while I figured stuff out." He turned to Corey and softly smiled, "Bisexuality is out the window now, angel."

Corey nodded, "We love them, Drew." He paused then giggled, "Besides, they're cute and sexy as hell," and quickly tickled Pete's belly. Pete loudly laughed and tried to bend in half, quickly grabbing Corey's hands. Drew cracked up and shook his head, knowing that Corey had a surprise tickle streak running through him.

Noticing Brian gesturing with an index finger for Drew to lean down, he did so and offered a tender kiss. Brian broke the kiss and held Drew's head down to whisper, "Take care of each other while we're away?"

"We always will, Brian," Drew whispered back, "you can count on it." For those very sweet words, Drew shifted down to Brian's ankles and leaned down to softly lap at Brian's erection, only to get it moist. Noticing what Drew was doing, Corey did the same for Pete. Since they had agreed to only masturbate, this was unexpected. Brian and Pete were about to stop their young friends when Drew looked up and grinned, "There, nice and wet, but don't cum yet, okay?"

"Drew!" Brian helplessly cackled. Drew snickered and shifted back to Brian's thighs. He started stroking Brian's bone and Brian reached for Drew's thick cock.

Done getting Pete wet, Corey scooted back to Pete's thighs, giggling "Remember the plan, Pete?"

Rapidly blinking, Pete sniggered, "I'm really trying to, Corey. My memory is failing. We might leave without our stuff; I might forget how to drive…" Corey roared laughing.

Turning his head, Brian joked, "Who are you again?" Pete howled and introduced himself to his long time lover. Drew and Corey cracked up while Brian and Pete playfully reintroduced themselves. Of course, there was no stroking going on during this silly interlude, which gave all four the chance to chill. The friendships that had built slowly became much stronger in these minutes of fun since they entered the room.

As the laughter dwindled, the masturbation slowly started again. Pete had paid close attention to the instructions given to Brian. Little over two minutes later, Corey held Pete's hand still and Brian had to warn Drew to stop. Pete softly said, "To hell with the plan. So what if it happens this way first? Brian and I intended to start, but that changed. We'll get it the other way when we take over." The other three agreed and the last of inhibitions and intentions disappeared.

In another few minutes, Drew, the only one of the four that hadn't stopped anything, began softly chanting, "Omigod! This is too much fun. I'm so in love with you, Corey, but I can't help it; I do love Brian and Pete too."

Corey dizzily responded, "I know, Drew. They helped us so much, even though they didn't have to."

"Brian?" Drew whimpered.

Brian nodded and breathed, "Do it, Drew. I'm there too."

Corey moaned, "Pete?"

Pete panted, "Yeah, for all of us, Corey, give it up."

The squeaking bed sang from four bucking and thrusting hips. Drew grunted and gave up. A splash of semen landed on Brian's chest. Drew's second blast hit Brian's chin, setting the other three off in rapid succession. Although he was keeping Corey's stiffy at about a forty-five degree angle, Pete could barely believe that little Corey's blasts still drench his longer torso, all the way to his nipples. Since they were on their backs, Brian and Pete shot almost straight up. Four spinning minds wafted back to Earth and the chuckling began. Corey lay down on Pete and hugged him tight. Pete kissed Corey's cheek and chin, earning louder giggles.

As Drew lowered down to rest, Brian evilly sniggered, "A family of power shooters."

"Omigod, you were good," Drew softly chuckled.

Pete playfully reminded, "We're next to share our feelings with you two."

"In a minute or two," Corey giggled.

"When we can get up without falling flat on our faces," Drew sniggered. All four cracked up laughing.

Brian and Pete returned every favor they had received, adding chances to try and take Drew's and Corey's cocks into their mouths, causing Corey to whimper and Drew to gasp from the surprise gifts. As planned and promised, they masturbated to thrilling conclusions; Brian with Corey, and Drew with Pete. It was a little after one in the morning when they finished, turned off the lights and cuddled in bed to softly chat. From left to right across the queen size bed were Brian, Corey, Drew and Pete. Blissfully, they went to sleep that way; Brian and Pete holding their arms, with Drew and Corey safe and secure between them.

Far too quickly, alarm clocks in two rooms went off at six-thirty in the morning. Mike groaned and slapped the alarm. Groggily, eight boys staggered into the shower for the last time. It was apparent from the way Corey, Drew, Brian and Pete were congregated and bathing one another what had happened in the guest bedroom. As pleased as Mike and Derrick were, Keith and Prez were bordering on ecstatic for all four of them.

Pete smiled, "We learned when it's right from four very good examples."

Brian nodded, "We learned how too. We weren't only wrestling and lifting weights yesterday afternoon. There was a lot said."

Drew chuckled, "It was planned, but the reality slightly altered those plans."

"Reality was way better than the plan," Corey giggled.

Derrick nodded, "From the outside looking in, it might seem to be just horny dudes having fun."

With his head back and rinsing his hair, Mike grinned, "Burning out fantasies."

Keith proudly sighed, "Prez said it best."

"The feelings confirm and support the acts," Prez repeated.

Stepping out of the shower spray to allow Prez to rinse, Mike smirked, "If ya want orgasms without feelings, just spank it."

Drew triple checked with Corey, "Do you still feel our special relationship, angel?"

Rapidly nodding, Corey giggled, "I'll check with the doc, but I think I'm pregnant." Eight voices loudly rang out laughter that reverberated around the shower.

Leaning over, Drew put an ear to Corey's tummy. "Just sounds hungry to me," Drew giggled. Brian swatted Drew's ass to more loud laughter.

Finished with bathing, the water was turned off and everyone filed out of the shower, starting with Prez, who handed out the last of the towels. Teeth were brushed, faces were shaved and the hustle to get dressed, have breakfast, take care of Rush and load Pete's Malibu began. At twenty after seven, Friday morning July thirty-first, all eight boys and Rush stepped out of the house to say goodbye to Brian and Pete.

Corey's heartfelt and tearful farewell caused a cascade of sobbing. Brian and Pete received hugs and kisses from and gave hugs and kisses to all six of the Woodland Hills boys. Rush was confused by the emotions from the humans and rolled around on his back in the grass, kicking at the air, growling and groaning to cheer everybody up. It helped a little, but Brian and Pete promising to return as they got in the car helped the most. Pulling away with a brief toot of the car horn, the remaining six waved and watched as the car turned the corner then drove out of sight.

Crying in each others' arms, Drew and Corey were thoroughly destroyed. As far as they were concerned, Brian and Pete couldn't return fast enough. Keith held them tight in his arms while Prez, Rush, Mike and Derrick went back into the house. A few moments later, Prez stepped back out of the house to join with Keith, Corey and Drew. It took more minutes of tears and joking, about things their long distance friends had said and done during their time together, before they were ready to drive safely to Corey's doctor appointment. Keith took the car key and the driver's seat. During the drive to Santa Monica, Brian and Pete were the focus of the conversation in the 4Runner.

On Medina Road in Woodland Hills, Graham was again dreaming of Francis and Ben. Matt, Eddie, Jerry, Mack, Shaun and Gil were there too. All nine were huddled together, shoulder-to-shoulder and arms thrown around backs, as if it were a football game. On Graham's left was Ben. Francis was on Graham's right.

Francis pointed down at the ground and all eyes went there. "Here's the scoop, dudes," Francis softly shared. An aerial view of Woodland Hills flashed over the grass and five homes began flashing with white light. Francis explained, "Those are the houses where Graham, Matt, Eddie, Jerry and Shaun live. Now watch." Other homes began flashing fluorescent green. "That's where Mack, Gil, Prez and Keith, Mike and Derrick, and soon, Ben will live." All eight boys nodded. Francis grinned, "Now watch the magic." Pink connecting lines shot from white flashing homes to green flashing homes. As gasps erupted, the view expanded to the entire San Fernando Valley, and then further, encompassing all of L.A. County. More homes flashed blue then pink lines popped up, creating a spider web of interwoven lines. Excited shouts of 'whoa!' and 'holy shit' flowed freely from Francis' closest friends. Francis giggled, "That's us, dudes; every gay dude and lesbian babe in the County. Something's about to happen that will cause this…" On the ground, the aerial view shot out to display all of North America. A tapestry of pink lines covered every State and Province in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Graham giggled, "Call the play, Beanie."

Francis laughed, "No, Honey Graham, the play is in progress already. Each and every one of you will make the play. You're doing it now, and when the time comes, this is what will happen." Francis gestured to the image of North America, and then explained, "The closet doors won't only be opened; they'll be blown to smithereens. It's gonna be a tough play, but you dudes are on the front lines, simply by doing what you're doing with your partners and friends."

"Cool!" Eddie giggled, "And then what?"

Levitating up from the huddle and hovering around each of his friends, just out of reach, Francis' laughing voice answered, "Equality, bro, for everyone, of every gender, of every orientation, of every race, around the world. The defenses will crumble one at a time and in masses. One will cause all of you to take a stand. Another will strengthen our position, even he doesn't know it yet, and he's old."

Several of Francis' friends wondered, "How old?"

Francis howled, "Thirty-fucking-seven! Think of him as your coach. I'll play manager and you dudes will do the rest." Levitating higher, Francis waved.

Graham, Eddie, Matt and Ben hollered up, "Get your skinny ass down here!"

"Sorry!" Francis giggled, "No can do."

Waking with a smile on his face, Graham softly chortled and squeezed Ben tight.

Ben softly asked, "Again, huh?"

Graham nodded and chuckled, "He always was and still is a goof, swear to God."

Flipping over to face Graham, Ben grinned, "Thank goodness he's making you laugh instead of cry," and got the first rib tickle in. "Phase one!" Ben cackled.

Graham mooed through his laughter and started a more fair battle, cheering, "You learned your lessons very well."

Downstairs in the kitchen, Faye Carleton soon heard the loud laughter and grinned at the ceiling. Finishing her coffee and taking it be refilled, she softly muttered, "This is a vast improvement. I suppose I could get an early start and go to the office, but no, I think I'll wait until the laughter stops, and then leave. It's so good to hear morning laughter again." With her cup full, she turned to the island counter where she had just been. Finding several pink rose petals, she scowled and hummed, thinking of when she had last seen a pink rose. A single pink rose bud, on Mother's Day. She softly smiled, "Thank you, Francis. You always were a good boy." The air conditioner came on with a clank that Faye had never heard before. Feeling a shiver race down her spine that wasn't from cool air, she closed her eyes and sighed. If the sound was repeated, then a repairman would need to be called. If it wasn't repeated then it could be that the clank was a thanks being returned. Faye drank her coffee and fiddled with each petal as minutes passed until the air conditioner fan quietly reengaged, as it always had. She marked an envelope 'From Francis, 7/31/98' then put the petals inside. This she absolutely had to show her husband and son.

As Keith had suspected, Corey's doctor was in Westwood, but very close to Santa Monica proper. When called by the receptionist, Drew went with Corey, leaving Keith with Prez in the waiting room. Keith busied himself leafing through a Golf Digest. Knowing that Keith had no interest in golf, Prez softly asked, "Penny for your thoughts?"

Keith shrugged, "Like everybody else, wondering what the verdict will be. Since Corey lost part of his lunch yesterday, I'm only thinking, what impact that might have."

Prez nodded and offered, "As upset as Corey was this morning, he held in his shake. Reminding him that I uploaded all the pics from Yosemite to our computer, and took a bunch more of Brian, Pete, Drew and Corey, separately and together, was brilliant, babe. If anything saved his breakfast, it was that. You could see it in his eyes. We'll burn 'em all onto CD's and give them each one."

In the examination room, the nurse was taking blood from Corey. As he was the time before, Drew's back was turned. Corey cackled, "Drew! You're freaking me out!"

Drew sniggered, "Can't and won't watch, sorry."

The nurse smiled at Corey and said, "Some grown men turn away and still faint."

Sadly shaking his head, Corey giggled, "See those scabs on my arm? Last week I scraped it in the sand at the beach. Drew didn't turn away from that."

Doc Folsom walked in as the last vial was almost filled. Grinning at Drew and patting him on the back, he asked, "How're you doing, Corey?"

Forcing a disapproving scowl, Corey giggled, "My hubby is a wus and I'm pregnant." The nurse, doctor and Drew cracked up. Everybody in the waiting room heard the laughter and Corey playfully ranting, "I'm having a baby and he gets morning sickness. What've I got to look forward to during labor, hmm? There he is, out cold on the floor." Before becoming hysterical, Keith and Prez stood then went outside where they cracked up.

Finished taking blood, the nurse released the rubber tourniquet on Corey's arm, giggling "It's a medical miracle."

Still chortling, Doc Folsom flipped through Corey's medical records. Although he was actually reading his past notes, he softly confirmed, "April third, your first office visit, I had you naked on the scale. There was a penis and testicles, no vagina or uterus. You cannot be pregnant, Corey. I'm afraid you're male and the weight gained is your own." Blushing and laughing, Drew rolled the stool he was on to the exam table and hung is face onto it. Still sniggering, Nurse Angie closed the door behind her.

"Rats!" Corey giggled, as he stood to get undressed. "We'll have to keep trying."

"It's good for the cardio-vascular system," Doc Folsom grinned.

Untying his boardies and lowering them, Corey told the doctor details about the weight training and wrestling he was now doing. Stepping onto the scale in his boxers, Corey also mentioned the three dizzy spells he had over the last week and the circumstances surrounding them.

Doc Folsom also checked Corey's height. As he jotted it down, he muttered, "Sixty-six and a half inches. Rolling his eyes, Corey thought 'Great, a half an inch taller since summer started.' He waited until the doctor set the weight counter-balances and paused at one-hundred-twenty and three-quarter pounds. Doc Folsom smiled, "Plus two and a quarter pounds, excellent."

Corey asked, "Is there a new weight goal, since I grew?"

"One thirty would make me happy and get you down to once a month checkups," Doc Folsom relayed.

Corey and Drew excitedly chorused, "Really?"

Doc Folsom nodded, "June twentieth, at the hospital, you weighed in at one hundred nine and a half pounds. Today is five weeks later and you're just shy of one hundred twenty one pounds. At this rate, in another month, you'll be at one-thirty and the alarms can get turned off. I'll monitor your progress monthly from that point and for six months." He turned around and prompted, "Get on the scale, Drew."

Nodding, Drew began to undress as Corey dressed. In moments, Drew was on the scale. The doctor read, "Sixty-eight and a quarter inches, one hundred thirty-seven pounds." He told the boys, "Gain weight and keep exercising; Drew, plus three pounds, and Corey, plus nine. I'll see you next Friday."

Stepping off the scale, Drew asked, "What about the dizzy spells?"

"Common in miracle pregnancies," Doc Folsom grinned. Drew blushed and Corey roared. "Seriously," Doc Folsom said, "brief dizziness like you described is fairly common for most adolescents. If they become longer or more frequent, then I'll get worried."

Talk about this story on our forum
Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily. Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. If the email address pastes with %40 in the middle, replace that with an @ sign.]