Life Goes On

by The Eggman

Chapter 27

Mike and Derrick had finished almost all the housework by nine-thirty that Friday morning. The prior nights towels were folded and returned to the master bathroom linen closet; the master bed sheets were washed, dried and the bed remade the way Doug and Brian had shown them. The guest bed was also remade. The kitchen, dining area and living room were spotless. Only that morning's towels were still in the washing machine, but everything else in the house looked good. The last thing to be done was to put all the porn videos back where they found them. The phone rang while they were doing that. Leaving Derrick to finish the task, Mike hurried to answer the phone. Mike said, "Hello?"

"Hey, Mike," Graham pleasantly said.

"We're just wrapping up and getting ready to leave, dude," Mike assured.

Graham giggled, "There's no hurry. My dad wants me to get a car, so Ben and I do have stuff to do, besides chase each other around the house." Fiercely blushing and with his mouth agape, Ben advanced. Graham walked around to the other side of the kitchen's island counter, away from Ben.

Mike grinned, "Uh huh, I see."

Being tickled for his last remark, Graham laughed, "We'll get the teddy bear to the beach another day, okay?"

"Any time ya want," Mike sniggered.

Becoming hysterical from Ben's incessant rib pokes, Graham roared, "There are things I want and other things I need. Sometimes they coincide."

Hearing Mike's soft chortling; Derrick grinned and entered the room. Mike chuckled, "Have a good time, dude; if ya can, stop by tonight."

"We will, if I survive. See ya later," Graham cackled, and the phone was obviously dropped. Mike handed the phone to Derrick. Putting the phone to his hear, Derrick heard Graham's distant loud laughing, "Ben? Teddy bear? BENJAMIN!"

Hanging up the phone, Derrick turned to Mike and smiled, "Remember our first few days?"

Noticing a bluish tint in Derrick's hazel eyes, Mike nodded and smiled, "We can't leave Rush here and go to the beach, can we?"

"Doug and Brian coming back home to a growling white shepherd don't sound good," Derrick gleamed.

Gesturing with his index finger for Derrick to follow, Mike backed away into the guest bedroom.

At the Carleton residence in Woodland Hills, Graham and Ben had gone downstairs naked for breakfast, and to call to cancel their beach plans. Ben had backed Graham into a corner of the kitchen, picked him up and then turned around to place him on the island countertop. Now sprawled out on the counter, Graham was Ben's breakfast.

It was all sinking into Ben's mind. He had a wonderful, playful boyfriend, his own friends, and friends like Gil and Shaun that overlapped with Graham's friends. Why it had never really happened before, Ben couldn't figure out. Of course, introverts see the external world internally, therefore he saw himself apart from the rest of the world. Ben couldn't recognize how, where or why he had previously failed. Since befriending Mike, Derrick, Prez and Keith, Ben had promised himself that he wouldn't let the past cloud his present and future. Graham was the willing witness to the newly emerging Ben Healy. All Ben needed was someone to love and to have that love returned.

Without realizing it, Graham was molding his new boyfriend. It was his sincerity; his playfulness; his compliments that filled Ben up. On a whim and without presently realizing exactly how he was doing it, Graham could turn a quiet cuddly teddy bear into a crazed grizzly bear. Passive Ben had asked to be held when he felt insecure. Conversely, with the proper prodding, the same boy could be made very playful and more aggressive. Graham loved both, the teddy and the grizzly bears equally and peacefully reaped the benefits.

Heading north on the 405 ramp to the 101 freeway, Prez was driving home from Corey's doctor appointment. Again, Drew was ecstatic, lying across the backseat of the 4Runner with Corey draped over him. Plans had changed here also. Drew and Corey wanted to go home to be alone together for the first time in about five days. They wanted to talk about Brian and Pete, about what they had done with them, and to make love. A week seemed to have been much longer and they needed to catch up.

Keith and Prez understood and decided they couldn't wait until later that night to catch up. They dropped Drew and Corey off at home then went to Agoura Hills to get Rush. Surprised to find the 442 there, Keith first knocked on the front door before unlocking it and stepping inside with Prez. Rush hurried to the entryway to greet his two favorite humans. Hearing the sounds of Derrick and Mike making love, Keith grinned, "No beach for us either, dudes. We're only here to take Rush home. I'll catch ya at work later." All he received in reply was enthusiastic affirmative grunts. Prez quickly took Rush out the front door before he cracked up. Heading to the dining area, Keith giggled, "I'm leaving the spare key on the table." Turning around, Keith locked the knob and went outside. Prez was already in the 4Runner and still laughing. Keith could hear him through the closed windows and over all other neighborhood sounds as he approached the car.

When Keith opened the door, Prez giggled, "We didn't mean to interrupt."

Getting in the passenger seat, Keith sniggered, "I don't think we even made them pause a second." He closed the door and started buckling up, saying "Now, sex-machine, an observation."

Pulling away from the curb, Prez chuckled, "Yes?"

"You used the dong on me, Derrick on Mike, and Mike on Derrick. Your turn is only minutes away."

"Yee-haw!" Prez laughed, and excitedly danced in his seat.

"Then," Keith giggled, "I will take you."

"This is sounding better," Prez playfully teased, and then wondered, "The goal is?"

"I have several goals," Keith admitted. "First, is to make sure you make it through the night while I work. Secondly, so I make through the night at work and don't ravage you the second I get home, and lastly, to remind a certain couple that we share a wall between our two rooms."

Taking the ramp back onto the 101, but southbound, Prez sniggered, "I have only one intention; to wear you out so you take a nap before work."

Making a crooked smirk, Keith hummed then softly realized, "Five hours sleep and seven hours work, not good."

"Exactly, lover," Prez nodded. "So we will play, we will have lunch, we will play more, but by one-thirty, the alarm is set for three-thirty and we're taking a two hour nap."

"You'll be going to your aunt's tonight?"

"That's my plan. I'll call and we'll see if they have other plans."

"And if they're busy?"

Prez thought for a moment, and then teased, "I'll be between Drew and Corey?"

"PREZ!" Keith roared, and then chuckled, "Corey is fine, but please, not with my brother? Drew and I will both wind up needing therapy."

"Never again with either, babe," Prez giggled. "It was a onetime deal, perfect for Corey, good for the three of us, but that's it. I'm as sure as I can be that Drew went along with it only for Corey's benefit." He paused and scowled, "I'm not really sure what I feel for Corey. He's definitely a close friend, but there's more that I'm not certain about."

"He looks up to you, baby. You're an only child and so is he."

"True, and he's obviously attracted to me, but it can't happen again. We would have to reproduce his nightmare and all the circumstances that allowed it to happen once again. Since they've shared what seems to be a deeper intimacy with Brian and Pete, they're past it. And let me remind you that Drew looks up to his big brother too. Beyond all the jokes, games and goofing around you two do, it is there."

"So you do see Corey as a little brother?"

"Sometimes," Prez replied. "The rest of the time, he's a close friend, like all our other close friends. It can't get more complicated than it already is, ya know? First and foremost, there's you, and then there's Derrick and Mike, in that order. The tiers of the pyramid blur after those priorities."

Keith nodded, "Yeah, I get it, like Shaun, Gil, Jessy, Ben and Randy are all on that third level."

"Add Graham too," Prez suggested, "he's Ben's partner and seems pretty cool. How in the world Ben managed to turn grief around in one night the way he did, I'll never figure out."

"It's half Ben and half Graham," Keith offered. "Ben's the kind that could help and Graham must've wanted the help." Prez shrugged and got quiet. Keith softly asked, "What's spinning, baby?"

Prez sighed, "I'm looking forward to Ben moving to the apartment complex and dreading it at the same time. If he's in an apartment like the one I was in, I don't think I'll want to be there very often."

"Try not to think of it that way, baby," Keith instructed. "Instead of thinking of the place, think of the people; think of Ben and his mom and their stuff in an apartment similar to yours."

Driving off the 101 at the Topanga Canyon ramp, Prez began to smile. "I can see that clearer now. With their belongings, even the same floor plan would seem different. Thanks babe."

"Any time," Keith smiled. "I remember your apartment vividly, Prez. As soon as I walked in, to the left of the doorway was the dinette table and chairs and beyond that was the kitchen. On the right side was the living room area, which was a fairly descent size. Straight ahead, past the front rooms, I was in a hallway that only went left. The first room on the right was your bedroom, and then there were two bathrooms, mirror opposites of each other, then your mom's bedroom. The two bedrooms seemed to be similar in square footage, just different shapes."

"All true," Prez nodded.

"My point is this; it's an apartment complex, so all the apartments are virtually the same, just mirror images of each other. The door into your apartment faced west. Ben's might be facing east, or north, or south. Instead of the kitchen and dinette on the left, the living room might be there. Unless Ben has the exact same apartment, which is unlikely, it will be different, inside and outside."

"So I need to pay attention to the differences instead of the similarities," Prez said as they made the final turn into their neighborhood.

Keith nodded and promised, "But if they do have the very same apartment, I'm taking the keys and getting you the heck out of there." Prez cracked up. Keith rambled, "Seriously, I know you'd fall apart before we even walked in the door. What would be the point of going inside? So I can watch you cry? So I can cry with you? The sixth month anniversary snuck up on us; I am not forgetting the one year anniversary."

Stopped in front of the house, Prez groaned, "August, September, October," and turned the engine off.

Grabbing the windshield shade, Keith assured, "I'll be watching you like a hawk. If it's raining the seventeenth, eighteenth or nineteenth, we are inside those days; fuck school, work and everything else."

Getting the shade in place on the driver's side, Prez grinned, "I'm not gonna dwell on October in July. I am racing you to the bedroom. Get the hound."

"What?" Keith laughed, "Oh no, you don't!" Laughing his bubble butt off, Prez hurried out of the car and to the house. Keith grinned and grumbled, "Your master is being bad, Rush." Getting out of the car, Keith let Rush out the back hatch and locked the car doors then went toward the open front door. Rush hurried past and hiked a leg to mark a bush in front of his den. Keith hollered into the house, "You'd better be naked and in bed by the time I get there."

Hearing the front door close once Keith and Rush came inside, Prez loudly giggled, "Ooo! Bumps! I love the bumps in my butt!" In the next bedroom, Drew and Corey howled. Prez was already naked in bed and had the dong with him, but was only teasing Keith by repeating what Mike had said about it Wednesday. The only difference between Ben's toy and the one lying on the bed with Prez was the color. Prez's was blue instead of red. Rush trotted into the bedroom and went directly into his crate looking for his toys.

With his T-shirt off and in hand, Keith entered the room, sniggering, "You will be punished."

"I live for your punishments," Prez giggled. Hearing every word from the next room, Drew and Corey were hysterical, rolling back and forth across the bed together.

With Drew and Corey out of control, Keith pushed his shorts down and kicked them aside then loudly said, "I'm getting the handcuffs and the whip," to push his brother over the edge.

"Noooo!" Drew loudly laughed.

Corey giggled, "Hey! No one told me they had handcuffs and whips."

Wide eyed, Drew giggled, "No Corey; not in this life."

Climbing onto the bed, Keith clapped his hands and Prez yelled, "Oww! Again!"

Corey hollered, "You're already two behind, so you need to get caught up over there."

Grinning, Keith teased, "Do you want to watch? The door's open."

"We heard enough," Drew cackled.

Together, Drew and Corey laughed, "Give me big dick now!"

Prez roared laughing. Keith sniggered, "Copy cats."

"Cats have teeny weenies," Corey giggled.

Drew rolled over and laughed into a pillow. It was then that Corey remembered something and smacked Drew's ass. Rolling over again, Drew giggled, "I told you, don't encourage them!"

"Encourage them?" Corey incredulously asked. Scowling and trying to appear more jealous than he really was, Corey complained, "Who said you could lick Brian's cock? I don't recall that being in the plan." Although Keith had the dong and Prez lubed and ready, he paused, wondering how his brother would weasel his way out of this mess.

"Well," Drew giggled, "I needed to get him wet, didn't I? You lapped at Pete's cock too. And it got us some oral action from Brian and Pete. Then you told everyone in the shower, and then at the doctor's office, you were pregnant." Prez pulled a pillow over his face and helplessly roared. Drew playfully finished, "So if I'm bad, then so are you."

Corey's eyes opened wide and a devious smile spread across his face. No longer wanting Prez or Keith to hear, Core shuffled onto Drew and softly giggled, "Guess you'll have to spank me then."

Holding Corey in place, Drew sniggered, "Not today, angel. You're two pounds better than last week. With luck, we've only got four weeks to go, before you're down to once a month visits."

"Would you though?" Corey giggled.

Pulling Corey down closer, Drew smiled, "Only if you're very bad."

Corey wondered, "Like how bad?"

Drew hummed then softly answered, "If you had another nightmare, about our alone time with Brian and Pete, after telling me and them that you're fine, then I might have to."

"Pretend I've been bad."

"Why?"

"I have been bad, lots of times. I don't know if I'll like it and want to find out."

Giggling, "You asked," Drew raised both his hands off Corey's butt and lifted his arms. He cracked Corey's ass hard, harder than Corey expected.

"OWW!" Corey yelled. Drew helplessly sniggered. Mooing a warning, Corey tickled Drew.

In the next room, Keith had started playing with the dong and Prez, but paused again, wondering if Drew and Corey were repeating clapping hands and exaggerated painful screams. "Enough distractions," Keith whispered to Prez. He swiftly got off the bed, turned on the stereo and then closed and locked the bedroom door before returning to bed.

On the other side of the freeway, Ben had finished his yummy 'Graham juice'. The couple was now really starving for food. Other than what they swallowed of each other, they hadn't eaten in about sixteen hours. Deciding to make brunch, Graham fried up bacon and periodically jumped back from the stove with every pop of grease. Ben whipped a bowl of eggs into froth and smiled, "I guess you don't have an apron."

Turning around, Graham grinned, "Why didn't you mention that before?"

"I figured if you had one, you'd use it," Ben giggled. Graham went to the pantry to get an apron and wrapped it around his waist. Blushing, Ben added, "Watchin' your butt bounce is fun, but if you burn your dickie, we're both in pain."

Tying the apron on, Graham returned to the stove, sniggering, "What have I done? I turned a cuddly teddy into a sex crazed grizzly bear."

Ben giggled, "You made love with me."

Graham nodded, "Eight times yesterday; twice for you and three for me, so far today. I'll get you caught up." The broiler timer went off and Graham went to turn the steaks.

Ben worried, "You're sure your mom won't miss those?"

Concentrating on the steaks in the broiler, Graham nodded, "Since they were in the fridge already defrosted, I'm guessing they were planned for us anyway. There was only these two, teddy bear. Friday nights we usually go out to eat somewhere." Closing the broiler, Graham went to Ben, asking, "Where would you like to go?"

"Anywhere is fine. I'm not picky."

Graham grinned, "Give me a clue."

"Anywhere, really," Ben giggled. "Where would you like to go?"

"I'll ask for pizza and they'll groan."

"Pizza's fine."

"Yeah?"

"Course it is, silly graham cracker," Ben giggled.

"Okay," Graham chuckled, "an idea is taking shape."

Grinning, Ben suspiciously wondered, "What kind of idea?"

"I'll ask if they'll get us pizza, we'll stay home for dinner alone, and they can go out."

"That sounds real nice," Ben warmly smiled, "but tell me, have you gone out for any Friday night dinners recently?"

"No."

"Then they'll probably want you and me with them. They've got their son back, complete with a new boyfriend, Graham."

Reaching over the island counter, Graham gave Ben a tender kiss, and then smiled, "This is why I love you, ya know? I'm being selfish and you're being totally awesome." Ben giggled and shrugged. Graham looked down and spied Ben's awesome chubby, with the tip of the head only just peeking beyond the foreskin. Sighing, Graham admitted, "I want you."

Ben giggled, "You've got me, right after brunch." Remembering the bacon, Graham mooed and hurried back to the stove. Helplessly, Ben cracked up.

"I hope you like really crisp bacon," Graham chuckled.

Joining Graham near the stove, Ben pushed the English muffins down into the toaster. He then poured the whipped eggs into the hot frying pan, beside the pan Graham had the bacon in. Ben grinned, "You cook better than I do."

"I haven't begun to cook yet," Graham teased. Bacon grease popped and reflexively they both jumped back from the stove. Sniggering, Graham teased, "Jump again and let me watch your dickie flop around."

Ben cackled, "Graham!"

"What?" Graham laughed, "I only saw it out of the corner of my eye. I'll also mention that my shy boyfriend lifted me onto the counter, while I got nothing except dizzy from your oral examination of my dickie."

"Are you ever serious?" Ben giggled.

Scraping bacon out of the pan onto the rack to drain, Graham nodded and smiled, "I have been very serious, yesterday and so far today. I think you're hotter than this bacon. In my own way, I'm telling you, your mom, my folks and all our friends the same thing. Most important is making you understand everything I feel about you." Finished with the bacon, Graham turned the burner off and carefully looked at Ben, whose head was sagging and his face flushed red while he scrambled the eggs. Firmly, Graham lifted Ben's chin and gently reminded, "All mine, for a very long time to come." With tears welling up in his eyes, Ben took hold of Graham's hand and repeatedly kissed it. Graham sighed, "I know, Ben. Someday soon you'll know it too. That's my medium term goal, to make you know yourself."

"It's been seventeen years," Ben softly reminded.

Getting plates from the cupboard, Graham grinned, "Watch me work, dude. Imagine four months of days like yesterday and today. By Christmas, you'll be here with your mom, holding your head up high, proud of yourself, of me and us. It's gonna be so cool."

Imagining as Graham suggested, Ben gasped, "Omigod!"

"You can see it?" Graham chuckled.

"Almost," Ben giggled, "in brief flashes."

Placing slices of bacon on the plates, Graham smiled, "It's what I already see all the time, teddy bear."

Scooping cooked scrambled eggs onto the plates, Ben wondered, "What else do you see?"

Gesturing with his hand from Ben's head and down toward the floor, Graham smiled, "You making love to me when you want and how you want. Sometime over the next few days, you're going to make love to me, have intercourse with me, and then the shock will really hit you. I can hear you now, asking if you were good; asking if you hurt me." He paused then laughed, "Asking to do it again."

Blushing and nodding, Ben cracked up too. The toaster popped and Ben put the English muffins on the plates.

Graham sniggered, "Oh, you don't understand. I took Beanie every chance I got. With you, I'm imagining even more often, because his house wasn't cool, but yours is. So, if that was me, only fifty percent comfortably horny, then ask yourself what two cool homes and a hundred percent means." Both Ben's hands reached for his face and he roared. The broiler alarm went off and Graham put a steak on each plate. Since they hadn't yet showered, they stood at the island counter to eat their meal. Slicing into his steak, Graham signaled, "Brrr?"

"Grrr?"

"As soon as I'm sure it's all you, Ben. I don't want to imagine him when it's you I'm with. I don't want to chance calling his name instead of yours."

Ben nodded and reminded, "You haven't yet."

Shaking his head, Graham honestly answered, "There are levels, Ben. Level one is sleeping and showering together. The second level is what we've already been doing with our hands and mouths. All the ways we can have intercourse make up the third level. What we've felt and experienced is great, and it's all been you with me. That third level is so much better, there's practically no brain activity. I'm just playin' it safe. It would be horrible for both of us if I accidently called Beanie instead of Ben." Locking eyes with Ben, Graham softly assured, "I'm not gonna chance hurting you, or damaging what's already more than I hoped for."

Swallowing some eggs, Ben asked, "You've been thinking about it?"

Graham nodded, "Since our first kiss at the park. That was a test, for me, not you, Ben. It's one thing to want a new boyfriend; it's another to believe and feel it. I just don't want to screw up, and in the process, hurt you, and indirectly, myself."

Scooping more eggs onto his fork with an English muffin, Ben muttered, "It sounds very distracting." Considering how he would be when trying to think of more than one thing at a time, Ben stuffed more food in his mouth.

Nodding, Graham finished chewing the steak, eggs and bacon in his mouth. He said, "I want to be with you, one hundred percent. Every thing's great and I want to keep it that way." Graham went to get glasses, put them on the island and then looked in the fridge, saying, "We've got apple, cranberry and orange juice. What would you like?"

Ben smiled, "Cranberry, please."

Putting the bottle on the counter, Graham teased, "Please, huh?"

"Please don't tickle me," Ben giggled.

"Save that noise for adults," Graham grinned, as he poured himself a glass of apple juice. He put the bottle down and poured the cranberry juice for Ben.

"Half a glass," Ben grinned, careful to not say 'please'.

Only filling the glass halfway, Graham joked, "I'm still tickling you later."

Chewing steak, Ben nodded, knowing that Graham would whether he had an excuse or not. They ate silently for a few minutes. Ben noticed Graham grinning around his food. Then Graham began chuckling. Ben giggled, "What?"

Graham softly chortled, "God help me, I love the way you eat too."

Looking at his fork and the piece of partially eaten English muffin in his hands, Ben giggled, "What's so different?"

"The English muffin used as a shovel, the smaller pieces of steak you're slicing. It just seems like I'm stuffing my face. You're accomplishing the same, but easier. Last night, you used the knife to load your fork."

"We didn't have bread," Ben giggled, "the breading was on the fish."

Graham sighed and smiled, "Your mom is a great cook and my boyfriend is so awesome."

"Mine is the most awesome," Ben giggled.

Shaking his head yet grinning, Graham reminded, "When we're done here we're going back upstairs."

Ben nodded, "To find a car for my boyfriend."

"So I can shuttle my boyfriend around and go cool places, like North Hollywood and the beach."

"North Hollywood isn't exactly cool," Ben giggled.

Graham hissed, "It's hot, like you."

Ben groaned then giggled, "You're making me hard."

Leaning over to cop a peek, Graham sang, "I can make it all better."

Eating faster, they watched one another almost constantly, only looking down when necessary to carve their steaks. Still chewing, Graham noticed the clock. He quickly took his plate, silverware and both empty glasses to the sink. Giggling his ass off, Ben rushed to stow both juice bottles in the fridge then took his plate and silverware to the dishwasher. Graham didn't exactly rinse things as his mom preferred before stowing everything in the machine; it was more like letting many drops of water hit each item then splashing more water around the room as things flew into the dishwasher. Ben started washing the frying pans in the sink. Graham took his apron off, covered Ben's face with it, then held onto Ben's hips and started sliding his erection against his boyfriend's ass.

"Omigod," Ben laughed, "I can smell you on the apron. Take it off my head before get dizzier and fall down."

Like a magician, Graham pulled the cloth off Ben and sniggered, "Wah-la! I'll toss this in the wash and be right back." Ben finished the first pan, put it on the drain pan then started the second pan. Before he was done, Graham returned and took his previous position behind Ben. Instead of teasing with his cock, he giggled, "That's good enough," and squatted down slightly then lifted Ben off the floor.

Unsteadily wobbling and dropping the pan in the sink, Ben hysterically roared, "At least let me turn the water off."

"Do it, teddy bear," Graham sniggered.

Ben howled, "Put me down, silly graham cracker!"

"When I put you down," Graham giggled, "you'll get a three second lead, and then I'm chasing you to my room." Leaning forward and bracing himself on the counter, Ben got the water turned off. The instant Graham put Ben down on the floor, he started counting. With wet hands, Ben dropped the towel and took off running naked through the house. More familiar with where everything was and how to run the obstacle course of furniture, Graham caught up quickly. Right behind Ben on the staircase, Graham poked, prodded and tickled him. Racing all the way into Graham's room, Ben stopped at the foot of the bed. He didn't even get to turn around to face his assailant.

Running into Ben and wrapping him up in his arms, Graham giggled, "You are so much friggin' fun. It's my turn now, for getting me in the kitchen."

"You didn't need to chase me," Ben giggled.

"I kind o' did," Graham sniggered. "Mom could be home any minute. Getting caught naked and eating is bad enough; with both of us hard; it's too much embarrassment for even me to cope with."

Shivering with delight, Ben smiled, "So you said nothing and got me out of the kitchen?"

Graham nodded, "I'm learning your limits. The moment I said a word, you would've started freaking, right?"

Ben blushed, "Right."

"And what do I get for hiding it from you? You wash the pans better than I would have."

Ben giggled, "So you risk a hernia and pick me up."

Stepping back and pointing down at his crotch, Graham smirked, "I can pick you up, no problem, both nads hangin' perfectly. Did I huff or grunt?"

"No."

"Now I get to make you huff and grunt, teddy bear," Graham warned, and shoved Ben onto his bed.

Flipping over as Graham approached, Ben giggled, "There's a small problem."

Crawling onto the bed and over Ben, Graham evilly snickered, "There are no small problems in this room; there are two large problems."

Ben cackled, "I mean I want you too now."

Pausing and shifting his eyes mysteriously, Graham softly assured, "We can manage this." He lowered his body onto Ben's and softly smiled, "Hi."

"The door is still open," Ben giggled.

"Mom won't come up here," Graham assured. "She'll grab lunch, make a phone call or ten, and then leave. If she needs something, she'll holler up the stairs."

Feeling safer, Ben playfully gushed, "Hi lover, where've you been?"

"I was having lunch with this really sexy dude. He reminded me of you, in so many ways."

Wrapping his arms around Graham's back, Ben's smiled faded. He sighed, "Oh Graham."

Placing a few angel kisses along Ben's jaw, Graham whispered, "I feel it too."

Ben breathed, "This is my idea of heaven, your warmth and mine, as close as possible," and then returned kisses. They made love like that, grinding and humping, slow and fast, desperately and passionately. About five minutes later, Graham climaxed. The burst of wetness and Graham's expression pushed Ben over the edge mere seconds later. Contentedly regaining consciousness, Ben giggled, "That was so good."

Graham nodded and chuckled, "I tightened up so much, I'm surprised nothing cramped on me. I really needed it and you were awesome again."

Ben giggled, "Thank you, Professor Carleton."

Graham grinned, "Who's the teacher's favorite pet?"

Ben happily cackled, "Me!"

"Before we get stuck together, let's get to the car shopping."

"Don't you wanna shower?"

Shaking his head, Graham rolled off Ben to his right side, suggesting, "Car research then we'll make love, at least once more before five o'clock, when mom and dad get home. I want our mix of smells on each other as long as possible." Ben whimpered. Graham chuckled, "You like that idea?"

"A lot," Ben giggled.

"You wanna drive the Mac, teddy bear?"

Nodding, Ben smiled, "I guess I need to learn that too." They rolled off the bed on the same side. Ben rested his head on Graham's shoulder and softly wondered, "Am I really doing okay?"

Squeezing Ben's hand firmly, Graham softly assured, "You're doing everything perfectly, Ben, so much more than I ever expected. I feel good in your arms. I'm totally amazed and thrilled with your oral talents. I'm not going to say a word about what your fingers can do, or we'll never get to car shopping." Graham gave Ben a tender kiss and got another in return.

Relieved, Ben smiled, "I guess I thought I wasn't doing much right."

Graham grinned, "We're a couple, teddy bear. When I'm making love to you, I'm doing what I think of doing at the time. That's what you're doing too, isn't it?" Ben rapidly nodded. Graham explained, "That's what lovers do, have fun with each other. If all we wanted was quick release, it would get really boring. As a matter of fact, if that's all a dude wants is quick release, and nothing more, I'd say that's pretty harsh. A dude like that might as well beat his meat."

Ben nodded and giggled, "I don't think I'll ever masturbate again. Making love with you is so much more fun, it wouldn't feel right."

Nodding understandingly, Graham offered, "I won't do it either. I've got the perfect partner to do it for me." Crossing the room and taking Ben to the Mac, Graham instructed, "The first big difference is you drag and drop almost everything. If you want to print a web page, drag it to the printer. If you want to bookmark a web page, drag the URL to the bookmarks folder."

Having a seat on the desk chair, Ben nodded, "Cool."

Heading to the hobby table where the magazines were, Graham said, "Dad's first suggestion was a Volvo. He thought I'd rather not, and he's right, but let's at least look at what they have."

While typing in Yahoo's address, Ben was surprised that it auto-filled. He hit return, asking, "Are you more interested in SUV's, or anything that can carry more stuff like that?"

"Yeah I am," Graham replied. "The BelAir had a huge trunk and I still managed to fill it, so let's see what Volvo has with cargo space."

Ben searched for Volvo, hit the corporate site and soon announced, "They've got a wagon, model V70."

Looking over Ben's shoulder at the displayed images, Graham's eyebrows rose and he muttered, "Not too shabby." While Graham flipped pages in Consumer Reports to find that model, Ben looked at the Buick LeSabre, Toyota Camry and Subaru Outback printouts from the prior night. He took those pages to the hobby table and spread them out so Graham could easily reference them. Stopped by Graham on the way back to the computer, Ben received a kiss and a smile. Ben returned the kiss and groped Graham's tush. Surprising himself again, Ben watched Graham's expression. Smiling widely, Graham signaled, "Brrr!" Realizing that Graham liked having his butt groped, Ben blushed and giggled. A few moments later, while Ben was looking at Prez's 4Runner's ratings, Graham groaned, "Oh dude, no wonder he wants me in a Volvo; five stars across the board on everything."

Ben nodded, "Since you're interested in SUV's, I checked Prez's 4Runner. Generally, four and five stars, except the rear bumper is three stars. It says; heavy damage in low speed, rear collision tests."

Graham smiled, "Print it, teddy bear. The more we get done, the happier dad will be, and it won't look like we spent all day making love…" He sniggered, "which we have, but dad doesn't need to know that." Ben cracked up. Going to Ben and running his hands around his lover's chest, Graham sniggered, "I warned you how much I like sex."

Looking up into Graham's eyes, Ben giggled, "I will never complain, I promise you."

Graham gave Ben a quick kiss and then asked, "Let's check other SUV's, like the Nissan Pathfinder, Ford Explorer and the Chevy Blazer too, so dad has stuff to compare." Again, while Ben checked the web, Graham reviewed the magazine. In a few minutes, those models were printed, but crossed off Graham's list. His dad wouldn't like the maintenance records or the crash test results. They went back to sedans to check a few Chevys, Fords and Chryslers too. Nothing compared to the three makes and models Graham's dad chose. Shaking his head, Graham put the magazine down and grinned, "I'll bet you he was doing research the day I got home from the hospital. He knew what top-of-the-line was; this whole exercise was for me to learn it too."

Ben nodded and wondered, "So, what's your choice?"

Graham shrugged, "I'd like to see the Subaru Outback and the Volvo V70. Since the Volvo is so much better than everything else, that'll probably be what I get. He'll only compromise so far."

Ben smiled, "You know how great it is too, Graham. It can fit five, plus more than a sedan's trunk."

Taking Ben in his arms and playfully swaying, rubbing their limp dicks to and fro, Graham grinned, "What can I say, safety I can understand, but a Camaro or Mustang would be awesome."

Giggling both at Graham's vehicle desires and the awesome feelings Graham was creating below his waist, Ben wondered, "What's this exercise for?"

"A few things," Graham chuckled, "most importantly, I'm torn between having to pee now and wanting to play with your dickie."

Grabbing a quick kiss, Ben then softly prompted, "I'll hold it for you."

This was Ben's second trip into Graham's bathroom. It had larger than the standard tub, so even Graham could relax in it if he chose to take a bath. The bathroom wallpaper had a seafaring theme, with various old wooden sailing ships against an aqua blue background. The vanity was like many others, but since it was virtually only Graham's bathroom now, his stuff was all neatly arranged on both sides of the sink. Standing behind Graham and holding his lover's dickie while he relieved his bladder, Ben wondered, "Do you always keep your things so organized?"

"That's not too organized," Graham grinned. "According to my mom, it should all be put away every day. Sorry, I told her, but every day I brush my teeth and wipe deodorant under my pits. At least once I day, I swish mouthwash around. Twice a week, I shave."

"It all makes perfect sense though. The toothbrush you need in your right hand first is there in a holder. On the opposite side, for the left hand to pick up is the toothpaste. You liked the way I ate, I like your bathroom."

Switching positions to allow Ben to pee, Graham smiled, "Twice a week, when the maid service comes, I put everything away. Since they come Saturdays and Wednesdays, I'll clear most of it off after we shower. The rest will come with me for this weekend."

Ben nodded, "Since you're spending three nights with me, would you like me to be here Monday through Thursday with you?"

"I'd love it," Graham softly assured. Seeing that Ben was finished, he shook three times and went for the forth, giggling "Yes, I'm playing with your dickie."

"I can see that," Ben giggled.

As if he were surprised, Graham gasped, "It's getting bigger."

Humming affirmatively, Ben playfully wondered, "Something big is invading my crack too. It seems to be searching for something."

Graham nodded and panted, "Soon, teddy bear. I could show you another awesome thing we can do?"

"In here?" Ben giggled.

"It works standing and lying down."

Reaching to flush, Ben giggled, "Can Mister Dickie wait for me to lie down?" Graham's hands slid effortlessly to Ben's hips.

With Ben hunched over, Graham's cock pointed up and fell into position. "No," Graham sighed. "Stay like you are, my love." Ben leaned against the toilet tank and giggled. Feeling Graham's first forceful thrust, Ben mooed at almost the same moment Graham did.

Bracing himself better, Ben purred then giggled, "My dickie's getting harder. I love this."

Graham smiled, "Shifting like you did was fantastic. Do it more, whenever ya want."

Whenever Graham paused, Ben either shifted his buns from left to right or up and down Graham's erection, causing Graham to gasp, groan and shiver. Without prompting, Ben stood so he could be held close and tight. Graham's arms and hands shifted across Ben's chest and tummy. How something so simple could feel so good, Ben had no idea. He leaned back and tilted his head for their first awkward front-to-back kisses.

No wonder Graham has tight butt muscles, Ben thought, he's actually pushing me, no matter how much I push back or try to stay still for him.

Graham's eyes were practically spinning. Ben was doing awesome things with his every first experience. Ben's crack was only a little hairier than Beanie's, but it felt so damn wonderful, Graham couldn't control himself. Holding a beefier body like Ben's was only adding fuel to the fire. Knowing he had barely a minute to last, Graham got in his first nipple pinch.

Initially shocked, Ben helplessly giggled for the other tit to be tweaked. Doing so, Graham began rambling, telling Ben how incredibly wonderful he was being, how fantastic he felt in his arms, and how close he was already getting to losing it. Words and deeds pushed Ben to tell Graham that he loved this crack sliding, that it seemed very close to real intercourse, that he wanted Graham to shoot hard and cum all over his back and butt. Burying his face on Ben's neck, Graham whimpered with each additional hard thrust of his hips. Hearing the first grunt from Graham and feeling the first splash of warm semen on his back, Ben cheered for more until Graham seemed to wither. Ben giggled hysterically and remained in position for Graham to hold onto. Softly chortling, Graham kissed every inch of Ben he could reach.

Fully recovered, Graham moved over to the vanity and prompted, "Come on, teddy bear, gimme some lovin' too."

Not expecting it, Ben moved behind Graham. He spent the first minute caressing everything from Graham's hair and head, down his wide shoulders and strong arms, and then the back and buns got special attention. Ben started carefully. Graham braced his arms and legs; knowing this was going to be more intense than it ever was with Francis. As Ben began thrusting and grinding, he inadvertently pulled his hips back too far and his cock slid down, poking Graham very near his anus.

Pulling his cock up and back to Graham's crack, Ben giggled, "Sorry about that."

Graham cracked up then sniggered, "It seems your dickie has a very definite goal."

"Controlling my hips might help keep Mister Dickie where he needs to be," Ben giggled.

Looking back over his shoulder, Graham smiled, "I loved it, Ben, really. It was only a shock. Another fraction of an inch, and the goal would've been made."

"Stand," Ben giggled, "let me hold you tight like you did to me."

Graham did as Ben said and caressed the arms that where caressing his torso, from his throat to his semi-hard bone. Francis had never caressed Graham's neck and throat like Ben was doing. Graham thought it was another awesome, unique act that made Ben way different than Francis. Ben found this as thrilling as Graham had and soon had to rest his head on Graham's shoulder and give his hips pause too. Graham's nips were tweaked and graciously seemed to get perkier between Ben's fingers. Starting again, Ben softly asked for kisses and got them. Graham's hands reached back and gripped Ben's buns. Ben started whimpering and Graham encouraged the inevitable. Badly, Graham wanted to lean forward and tell Ben to take him completely. He didn't do or say it, but the thought gave cause to question his own worries. Ben made it very clear that he considered Graham as perfection on two legs during those final moments before he sharply inhaled, and then actually grunted from the effort of standing and grinding off. Holding Ben's arms firmly against his chest and belly, Graham cheered and chuckled. Ben was very near the edge of consciousness when he heard Graham playfully explaining, "That's another step closer, my love. It was so great; I almost demanded that you slide into me."

Breathlessly, Ben purred, "When you're sure, Graham. Now we'll have to wait."

Turning in Ben's arms, Graham planted a passionate kiss and breathed into Ben's oxygen starved lungs. Holding on tight, Ben took all he could until he had to break the kiss.

Blinking rapidly, Ben smiled, "Whoa!"

Graham playfully offered, "It's going on three o' clock. Would you like to watch TV and cuddle, risking more very probable sex, or we can take a shower, which will only slightly lessen the likelihood of more sex?"

Ben cracked up and howled, "Well since you put it that way, let's just cuddle and watch TV."

That afternoon, while Keith napped before work, Prez began the process of unloading all the photos on his digital camera to the computer's hard drive. He had already created a folder for the Yosemite photos the prior afternoon. Prez created another folder labeled 'B&P_A-Y', which meant 'After Yosemite'. He felt the label was quite appropriate, since Brian and Pete were radically changed from how they were when they first arrived in L.A., the beginning of the month. All the digital pictures of Brian, Pete, Corey and Drew taken the prior afternoon and evening went into the new folder. On a music CD were the songs recorded by Drew and Pete. Prez converted them to MP3 files then set about sending a few pictures and the two songs to Corey's e-mail. Prez started to burn a data CD of the photos too, but time ran out and he left the computer running to wake Keith and take a shower.

In the next room, Drew and Corey were watching a ball game on TV from the bed and chatting. Drew hummed then softly wondered, "Ya know what's really messed up?"

Corey shrugged, "What?"

Drew sighed, "I know exactly where I stand with Brian and Pete, and with you too, but I can't help feeling like the limitations were bogus; they were kind o' necessary, but still, that's what I didn't like."

"Limiting them and us," Corey finished.

"Yeah," Drew grimaced.

Corey nodded, "It does seem weird. We'd seen each other naked and hard in the shower. Jackin' them was cool and fun, but it's like all four of us were showin' all the goods and sayin', look but don't touch the merchandise."

"Exactly like that yeah," Drew muttered. After a brief pause to consider it more, Drew asked, "Do you think we could've gone a little further; maybe played with the dildos too?"

Shaking his head, Corey turned to Drew and scowled, "I couldn't have done that with either of them. It was enough as it was."

"I feel the same," Drew admitted. "If we had gone there, then they rightfully would've wanted to go there with us too. In either case, it wouldn't have been cool at all."

"Yeah," Corey sighed.

Sliding down and cuddling Corey, Drew huffed, "I don't think we're going to be playing those games a whole heck of a lot. Brian's bone wasn't different from yours in most respects. I feel good that we did have fun with them, and in the process show how important they are, but I don't need to do it again. If they were still here and asked for a second night of fun, I'd probably say no."

Both returned their attention to the ball game, but at the next commercial break, Corey softly called, "Drew?" When Drew hummed, Corey reminded, "I love you. I think the difference is that we were all giving permission to go only so far. You don't need my permission to make love to me. I haven't felt like I needed your permission for me to make love to you; not in a long damn time, since our first time on your last birthday. That's what feels weird; each of us saying I'll allow this, but only so far."

Nodding agreement, Drew grinned, "That was a pretty smart thing for a blond to say."

"I had a brunette moment," Corey giggled. Drew began running his fingers through Corey's pubes. Corey sniggered, "What are you doin'?"

"Searching for a stray brown hair," Drew chuckled. They both began laughing. Soon, they were wrapped in each others' arms, playfully kissing and getting worked up for another round.

In Agoura Hills, Mike and Derrick were beginning to wonder why Doug and Brian weren't home yet. They had finished everything and had been waiting in the living room for about an hour, waiting for their two adult friends to get home. When the door opened about three that afternoon, they were actually slightly startled. Doug loudly sang, "Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends, we're so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside. There beyond a glass is a real blade of grass, be careful as you pass, move along, move along!"

Heading directly to the master bedroom and joining with his partner, Brian sang with Doug; "Come inside, the show's about to start, guaranteed to blow your head apart. Rest assured you'll get your money's worth, the greatest show in heaven, hell or Earth. You've got to see the show, it's a dynamo, you've got to see the show, it's rock and roll!"

Sniggering insanely, Derrick and Mike followed and watched them toss four suitcases onto the bed. All four hugged each other. Stepping back from Derrick, Brian grinned, "It's boring living alone, huh?"

"The place hasn't changed a bit, so obviously nothing remarkable happened," Doug chuckled as he started opening the first suitcase.

Glancing at each other, Derrick and Mike cracked up. They then began telling Doug and Brian about some of what had happened the prior month. Mike and Derrick kept on talking about the whirlwind of fun as three-thirty rolled around and they had to get ready for work. Finally, just as they were preparing to leave, Mike went to the linen closet and pulled out Aladdin's lamp, chuckling, "Here's your own blades of grass."

Derrick smiled, "Have a good time and we'll be home between eleven-thirty and midnight."

"We'll save it and the rest of what we brought home for later then," Brian grinned.

Doug staggered and groused, "Don't ever switch from Mexican to Hawaiian overnight."

Shaking his head, Brian smirked, "Not recommended. I wouldn't recommend working too hard either. For us, it's four hours earlier, so we'll be awake late."

"Good!" Mike and Derrick chorused.

Following Derrick out of the house, Mike paused to say, "We've only given you the brief version of what's happened. There's so much more, we can barely wait to tell you, but…"

"Out!" Doug chuckled, "Go make money, bring home bacon and leave the grease."

After cleaning up a little bit, Ben and Graham returned to the bedroom. Graham powered off the printer and shutdown his Mac. He then turned the TV on and went to his bed with Ben. They flipped channels until landing on the Cartoon Network, where they watched some anime for a few minutes. Graham found pro surfing on another channel. Ben was frightened that Graham was trying to surf the mammoth twelve- to twenty-foot waves seen on TV. Graham assured Ben that he had never been on a wave bigger than five or six feet, and most were two and three footers. Next, they watched some baseball on ESPN, chit chatting about the game and the car commercials they were watching. Ben shared that he liked baseball most, of all televised sports, but Ben wasn't any good at bat or in the field. While they were on the topic, Ben wondered why Graham had an L.A. Lakers, Kobe Bryant poster on his wall.

Blushing, Graham giggled, "Because they wear the least and most players are really sexy." Ben laughed a long time, which was only made worse by Graham's tickling and remarks about baseball players' bodies on TV.

During the seventh inning stretch and a boring section of the game, Ben changed to VH-1 and pulled Graham off the bed to dance. The fast song they were haphazardly trying to dance to finished then switched to a ballad. Peacefully in one another's arms, they swayed and learned more about each other. Graham told Ben that he liked all sports and wasn't very good at any; with Francis and Jerry, it was basketball; with Matt it was baseball, with Eddie it was tennis; with Mack it was soccer. With all his friends, Graham had chances to have fun and slightly improve his skills. His favorite sporting events were during the summer and winter Olympic Games. Graham explained, "Those folks aren't paid to be the best, they simply are because they love what they do."

With Shaun, who lived behind Eddie's house, Graham got to know and appreciate popular music and various cultural variations. "I've known Shaun as long as I've known Eddie," Graham smiled. "Shaun doesn't play the kind of electronic music most of us dance to; he plays piano and guitar, so he's playing older music. The Eagles are Shaun's favorite band; that's what I've heard him play most." The CD's Graham had in his room were mostly gifts from his friends and family. Graham showed Ben all his CD's. The Bodyguard Soundtrack, by Whitney Houston, and 'Falling Into You', by Celine Dion, were amongst Ben's favorites. Thanks to Shaun, Graham also had The Eagles Hotel California, Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon and America's Greatest Hits. Graham also had CD's by The Backstreet Boys, N'Sync and Hanson.

Ben raved about Old Habits' covers of Weird and the Phil Collins tune Against All Odds, even mentioning that Drew could sing every bit as well as his older brother. On their knees on the floor before the stereo, Graham asked how Ben had met his friends. "Although it didn't seem too important at the time, I got very lucky," Ben explained. "It started at a Memorial Day party my guitar teacher and his partner were having. I couldn't believe it when Derrick and Mike came over to talk to me. I didn't know what to say to them. At one point, I was going to leave and go home, but Doug, my guitar teacher wouldn't let me go. It was a good thing too, because I watched Derrick and Mike the whole night. Soon, school was out and I was getting to spend time with them. Even though I really wasn't saying or doing much, Mike and Derrick tried harder than anyone to get to know me.

"About a week later, Prez and Keith are there, at Doug's and Brian's place and I met them too. The rest of June was pretty cool. Little by little, I got to know them and they obviously got to know me. About the second week of July, after Doug and Brian left, I was there again. Keith was working, but Prez, Mike and Derrick were there with Rush. I walked in and clearly smelled women's perfume. When I eventually asked about it, Prez said his mother was visiting. I didn't know she died last October, and freaked; sad, scared, and completely trippin' out about ghosts. I told you about the first time they circled anyone and what happened afterward."

Smiling, Graham nodded and wondered, "What do you feel about each of them?"

Ben giggled, "They're great people, down to Earth, and each of them wears their hearts on their sleeve, almost literally. Prez lives with Keith and the Hundsers. Derrick lives with Mike and the Gibbons' family. They want to go to the Musician's Institute in Hollywood and live together. That's why they spent most of the month living together, as a test run for next year." Ben wondered, "What do you think of them?"

Graham shrugged, "From first and second impressions only, Mike's the most outgoing; he'll say anything that's on his mind. The other three are kind of the same; it seems Prez is slightly more careful than Mike, with Keith a little more than Prez, and Derrick a little more than Keith. I was really surprised when Derrick hugged me yesterday. At the parties, they moved around as a band or as couples. That's what I like most; they're like all other couples, completely into each other, no matter what's going on in the background that most people don't know. That's how we are already, Ben. I'm looking forward to getting to know them better, because they mean so much to you."

Leaning forward, Ben gently caressed Graham's face and gave him a tender kiss. Ben wondered, "Are we really already there?"

Graham smiled and nodded then said, "I know how I feel and told you already, teddy bear. Time together only means we're a successful couple. There's only one reason we're not having intercourse now or tonight, so I can let it swim around my skull another day, and be sure that it's only you and me. If it all works out, you'll be the first person to know." Gesturing to stand, Graham took Ben's hand, led him to lie on the bed and carefully stated, "What I'd like to know is everything you think and feel about us. You've told me some awesome stuff; I just want to know everything. It's my job to put every fear and worry to rest. There's nobody else that could do that."

Humming while they lay down on their sides facing one another, Ben tried to recall exactly what he had said already; however, being naked with Graham on his bed made that task very difficult. He tried to organize his thoughts and feelings then softly smiled, "I never pitied you, Graham. It's sad, but that wasn't my first thought when you cried on my shoulder." Ben paused and Graham patiently waited, searching Ben's eyes. Ben giggled, "You're beautiful, Graham. Fully dressed, wandering around the park, I thought you were beautiful. I feel so good every time we hug or hold each other. What thrills me is how much you're willing to talk about everything; telling me what you think and feel, and listening to me tell you about me. I guess I was scared it wouldn't be that way; that we'd be lovers that didn't talk."

At Ben's next pause, Graham softly rubbed Ben's arm and assured, "That's what boyfriends, lovers and partners do; everything together, all the time. Sharing with you is easy. That's why I started thinking of you as boyfriend material."

Looking at Graham's hand on his arm, Ben giggled, "That's another thing; you find me a little attractive…"

"Very attractive, inside and out," Graham gently corrected. "Glance down, Ben. We've both got chubby dickies. That says it all. As relaxed as we are, the excitement is still there."

Glancing down as instructed, Ben giggled, "What else do you want to know?"

"What you feel, about anything and everything," Graham prompted.

Ben sighed and smiled, "I'm head-over-heels in love with you. I was afraid of Mike and Derrick when I met them. I was even a little afraid of Prez and Keith when I met them. There's always been a little fear or worry with everyone I've ever met, until I met you. You didn't give me a chance to be afraid. I was more afraid when I told you about the suicide attempts, but that fear didn't last much more than a whole minute. You made even that easy. Then we went right back to talking. As nervous as I was when we went to bed, you made it easy for me. The only thing I'm afraid of is losing you. All the ways we make love have been beautiful and fun. Even I'm surprised how great it is. I didn't think it would be all that different from masturbation, but it is."

At another pause, Graham chuckled, "Tell me, teddy bear. I don't think there's anything you might say that'll surprise me too much."

"Everything surprises me," Ben gushed. "Think about it; alone, I wipe off with towel. With you, if there is a mess, we leave it to dry there. I never once had the nerve to taste even a little of my own semen, but here I am swallowing yours every chance I get, and loving it."

"Maybe that's me," Graham sniggered, "I just feel that's part of intimate partnerships. We'll shower in a little while and I'll miss smelling you on me."

Ben nodded and giggled, "Very cool. I like it, but it's just so different. I used to wash up immediately after jacking off."

Graham nodded and grinned, "That's because wanking is a necessary evil, I think. With a lover and partner, it's completely different."

Ben wondered, "How will it be when we have intercourse?"

"The same, as far as I'm concerned," Graham replied. "I'll be in no rush to clean up. We'll do it when we have too."

"You don't wanna use condoms?"

"I don't see a reason to. On day two, I'm imagining years with you, Ben."

Ben giggled, "Yeah?"

Graham nodded, "You're starting your senior year. I'm starting my junior year. There's only nine months between us, but I'm foreseeing your graduation with me, and mine with you."

Ben smiled, "Ya know, I hadn't even thought of that. I see you with me; that's it. To me, school is another necessary evil."

"You really do see yourself apart from everything," Graham smiled. "You're not apart or separate, Ben. I know that I see you with me everywhere. I'll bet all our friends see us with them, doing this or that, here or there or anywhere."

Ben nodded, "The world's becoming larger."

"Whatever you think of yourself, or how other people made you think of yourself, try seeing from the outside once in a while. Like with Matt and Eddie last night; imagine what they saw of us together and you individually."

Closing his eyes and trying it for the very first time, Ben soon opened his eyes, giggling, "Us together, I can almost see. What they saw of me is blank."

Holding out his hand, Graham grinned, "Okay, come with me, back to the bathroom," and started to get up. Taking his boyfriend's hand, Ben followed Graham out of his room and to the bathroom, where Graham closed the door for the first time. There was a full length mirror on the back of the door. Graham pointed, "That's you and me, naked and with chubby dickies. I see my ears, which are too big in my opinion, but what can I do? What do you see?"

Ben wondered, "Of me or you?"

"Both," Graham replied.

Ben inhaled and grinned, "I see you, as handsome as ever; the perfect sixteen-year-olds' body. I see me like a box, nothing's so handsome there."

Graham grinned, "Okay, let's go with the box analogy. I don't see a plain box; I see a wrapped box; a gift for me to open every minute and hour we're together. I see a handsome face topped with messed up bed hair, just like my hair isn't too perfect now. I see a strong neck, wide shoulders for me to rest my head on, your incredibly beautiful chest, a flat tummy and awesome treasure trail leading down to your bush, dickie and nads."

Turning only his head to Graham, Ben blushed, "That's not a flat belly like yours, Prez's, Keith's, Mike's…"

"Yes it is, my love," Graham chuckled, and turned Ben ninety degrees so he could see his own profile in the mirror. "See? You're mistaking flat for fat. There's no sagging bulge there. Your chest is big and your tummy is flat all the way down to your dickie. At Mike's birthday party, I saw all four of your friends shirtless. You're most like Mike; the same build and body type, only he doesn't have your face, or perfect chest hair, and he's a tad shorter than you and me. You're mistaking invisible belly strength for visible abs. You picked me up twice; once to carry me onto your bed and again to put me up on a counter to have your way with me." Blushing fiercely, Ben nodded and giggled. Graham paused and patted Ben's bare butt, smiling, "I haven't seen your friends in the buff, but this is your ass and it'll be mine someday soon."

Helplessly covering his face, Ben incredulously squealed, "Graham!"

Chuckling, Graham shook his head, pulled Ben's hands down and beamed, "I wish I had a second full length mirror so you could see your whole backside. It's really awesome, Ben. There's a nice shape, enough power and strength to lift me, a butt that's not too hairy and strong legs too. There's more hair on the back of your thighs than the front, but that's only a unique feature of you, teddy bear."

Ben giggled and whined, "Grrr-rrr-rrr!"

Graham chuckled, "Brrr-rrr! I know you're embarrassed. It's time to get over it, my love. In another few days, we're going all the way to heaven. We'll say hello to Francis then drift back down to your bed or mine. The dude I'm looking at and that you see in the mirror is the one I fell for in one night. So what if you're not into sports? All I care about is that you'll try to play with me and our friends now and then. I intend to repeat this lesson as many times as necessary for you to understand, I think you're awesome." Firmly tapping Ben's chest over his heart, Graham smiled, "You're the one I want to be with; the one I've given my heart to; the one I'm making love to, and the one I will give my ass to. Believe me; I'll greedily take your ass too."

Ben nodded and giggled, "I think I'm getting it."

Leaning closer, Graham gave Ben a tender kiss then smiled, "Good. Now let's take a shower."

Nodding, Ben followed Graham into his tub with those insane thoughts gallivanting around his mind again. In his own wordless way, Ben tried to warn Graham of what he was thinking by caressing his back and buns while the water was turned on. Graham turned the shower on, was blasted with the first few seconds of cooler water and turned to face Ben. Overwhelmed with joy freely given and received, Ben gave Graham a very deep, passionate kiss.

When Ben stepped back, Graham noticed a mischievous flash in Ben's eyes and giggled, "Uh oh." Nodding and giggling, Ben knelt down to admire Graham's private parts. "I did it again!" Graham giggled while running his fingers through Ben's hair. He warmly smiled, "Hi there, grizzly bear." Looking up, Ben only replied with a deep, long growl and kept caressing Graham's naughty bits. Graham softly shared, "This wasn't my goal or intention, ya know?"

Ben nodded and smiled, "I know. You would've been happy with soapy masturbation, right?" Graham nodded. Ben giggled, "Not this time." Ben did things he always wanted to do with Graham's private parts. On his toes several times through his grizzly bear's loving, Graham whined in anticipation and the mind boggling frustration. Having never done it in the shower before, the water temperature was the least of Ben's concerns.

On the north side of the 101, Drew and Corey were out in the garage lifting weights while Prez was trying his aunt's phone for the second time. This time he left a message for his aunt and then went out to the garage. He silently checked the weight they were lifting and smiled, "You're not overdoing it."

Between sets, Corey shook his head and shared, "Brian said that we're not going for pain and gain; we're shooting for form."

Doing squats with the barbell across his shoulders; Drew paused and asked, "Your aunt still isn't home?"

Shaking his head, Prez smirked, "I should've warned her last week that I might be calling this week. It looks like I'll be home for dinner, at least."

Preparing to start another set, Corey offered, "If ya want, we can do something together, Prez." Beginning to evilly snicker, Prez caused Drew to pause and laugh. Putting the dumbbell down, Corey loudly giggled, "Not like that! I only meant… oh shit!" Corey, Drew and Prez cracked up.

Once they had all calmed down, Prez shared with them what he had told Keith; that their intimate time together was very likely a onetime event. "It was great and very special, but you're both my brothers-in-law," Prez finished with a smile.

Putting the bar down on the floor, Drew stood and smiled, "That's what we've talked about already too, Prez."

Corey nodded, "It was great, but for Drew and Keith, it's too weird. We're not worried about it, so you don't need to be."

Prez nodded, "We'll go someplace, to the beach or mall, after supper. If my aunt calls back by then, it'll probably be too late for a visit." Corey and Drew agreed and Prez left them in the garage. John was home and watching TV in the living room. Prez smiled, "How're things goin'?"

"Good," John answered, his attention mostly on the ballgame. "Kim and I were with Neil and Lindsay today, over at the Gibbons'." He looked up at Prez, bounced his eyebrows and chuckled, "First kiss." John and Prez excitedly mooed then both cracked up. Slightly shaking his head, John sniggered, "Lindsay kissed Neil first. A little while later, he kissed her."

Heading into the kitchen, Prez looked out the sliding glass doors at Rush, lying in a shady spot on the grass with his rope toy nearby. He checked the clock; saw it was almost half past five then checked the fridge for something thawing that might be intended for dinner. Finding nothing thawing, Prez went back to the living room and told John, "I guess we're ordering take-out tonight."

Nodding, John gestured at his glass of 7-Up, indicating that he had already been in the refrigerator, and said, "It's the kid at the hospital. He's worse and mom's not happy."

Sitting in his usual spot on the loveseat, Prez groaned and thought, 'It's lucky we didn't get to the beach then. I'd be sunburned, she'd lose it and I'd be grounded. Hopefully Aunt Eileen will call.'

Jim Hundser walked in the door and weakly smiled, "Where are Drew, Corey and Keith?"

"Keith's working at Black Angus; Drew and Corey are in the garage," Prez pleasantly answered.

Jim Hundser nodded and went to call Drew and Corey in from the garage. Once all the boys were gathered in the living room, Jim sighed and explained, "The sick boy at your mom's hospital is in critical condition today. What might've been a longer, drawn out illness is apparently speeding up. He's not handling the medications well at all. The important thing for us is your mother. Make her night as pleasant as possible, please. My boys know, but for the benefit of Corey and Preston, I recommend not challenging her in any way."

All four nodded and Prez softly offered, "I've been trying to get in touch with my aunt, but haven't gotten through. Apparently, they've gone out for the night. I was thinking of going down to the beach with Corey and Drew after dinner."

Jim grinned, "You don't have to run and hide, simply be a little extra nice."

"There's nothing for dinner in the fridge, dad," John smirked.

"I know," Jim nodded, "pizzas and Chinese food tonight. Put your heads together and place the orders. Remember, beef and broccoli for your mom." Jim went to the master bedroom to change out of his suit while Prez, Drew, Corey and John started discussing what they wanted for supper.

Busily clearing a table at Black Angus, Keith felt an unexpected shiver race down his spine. Since what he was doing required little thought, he concentrated on Prez. Something was going on at home; Keith simply didn't know what it was.

While John argued with Drew over pizza toppings, Prez felt his lover's warm embrace and started chuckling. Corey smiled at Prez, believing it was the two brothers that were making Prez chuckle. Prez sent Keith a virtual hug with short messages.

In the Black Angus kitchen, emptying a bucket with Randy on his left and Mike on his right, Keith envisioned home, his mom, and Prez running across the beach. Shaking his head and sniggering, he briefly drew Randy's and Mike's attention.

Mike grinned, "What's goin' on, bro."

"I'm really not sure," Keith chuckled. "Prez is home, something's up with my mom, and he wants to run at the beach. I'll call his cell later to get the detailed description."

"How can you know that?" Randy wondered.

Rinsing his bus bucket, Mike grinned, "Take my word for it, he knows."

Keith smiled, "We'll demonstrate tomorrow night."

It turned out that Ben and Graham didn't have very much choice about dinner. Robert Carleton had checked with his wife during the day and made reservations for six o'clock at Brandywine, their favorite restaurant. The dress code was casual, but T-shirts weren't allowed, so Ben and Graham had to run upstairs and put decent sport shirts on. In Graham's walk-in closet, Graham chose a white short-sleeve shirt for Ben and very much liked how it looked. The only problem Graham saw was that Ben had buttoned almost all the way to the collar, so he unbuttoned one button and seductively licked his lips. Rolling his eyes and giggling hysterically, Ben chased Graham out of the closet, back downstairs, and out to his dad's car. It was only a five minute drive from the house to the restaurant.

Ben couldn't believe the restaurant when he stepped inside with Graham and the Carletons. A maitre de led them to their table. There were only sixteen tables; all separated by curtains for privacy and the lighting was dim. It was very romantic and homey. There were few parties larger than two and every table was taken. In the corner sat a middle aged man playing popular ballads on a classical guitar. Taking his seat beside Graham, Ben helplessly giggled.

Graham grinned, "Nice, huh?"

Rapidly nodding, Ben softly shared, "I've never been anywhere like this before."

The maitre de thanked the boys then presented the menus and the nightly specials on a small chalk board. He offered to take their drink orders. Ben and Graham ordered Coke's, but the Carleton adults wanted to choose their main course before choosing their wines and asked for water. The maitre de left them to fill the drink orders.

Robert Carleton patted Ben's back and softly offered, "Under the circumstances, I thought this would be the best choice."

Nodding, Faye Carleton said, "This is our way of thanking you, Ben. We don't know all the details, but the results are apparent in Graham's attitude." Both boys blushed and Ben giggled. Graham reached under the table and took Ben's hand.

Putting reading glasses on and then picking up his menu, Robert smiled, "I was happy to see you boys did some online car shopping today."

Also looking at her menu, Faye added, "I was even happier to hear you're considering a Volvo."

Hidden behind a menu, but allowing his face to be seen by Ben, Graham told both his parents and Ben; "I know where you're at, and believe me, I'm there too. It's scary." Smiling widely at Graham from behind his menu, Ben nodded.

Placing her menu down, Faye reached into her purse and pulled out a small envelope, explaining, "This morning, while I was having coffee before leaving for the office, I found pink rose pedals on the counter." She had her husband's, Graham's and Ben's undivided attention and continued. "I asked myself when I had last seen a pink rose in the house."

"Mother's Day," Graham quickly answered. He turned to Ben and smiled, "Francis cut a single bud off his mother's rose bush and brought it over that morning."

Robert smiled at his wife, "You don't think?"

"I not only think it, I know it," Faye giggled. "I had just been at that counter, got another cup of coffee and turned around to find them there." She opened the envelope and took out several of the pedals, saying "Look at these; they're not from a fully opened rose."

Shivering, Ben smiled, "One of my friends lost his father; another lost his mother. I never believed in that sort of thing until recently. I'm being pushed into believing it more and more."

Graham asked his mom, "What are you going to do with them?"

Faye answered, "They're a very special gift from a very special boy. I think I'll put them into our photo album, under plastic, before they deteriorate; with this envelope and a picture of Francis."

"I'll print a photo for you," Graham cheerfully promised.

Faye asked, "You don't believe it, do you?"

"I do," Graham quickly replied, and then explained, "All month I've been having nightmares about him. That's not Francis; it's me, horrified by what happened. The first night with Ben and it's not a nightmare, just a weird dream with Ben and Francis both being silly. This morning, after the second night with Ben, it's another weird dream with Ben and all of Francis' friends. That's Francis; being a goofy clown, like he usually was when he was with us. If you say they weren't there and they just appeared, I believe it, because he would do that. What purpose would there be in you getting a single pink rose bud; just to bring it here and show me? That's not you, mom. It has Beanie written all over it." Through all Graham said, Ben carefully watched him and proudly smiled.

They were silent as the maitre de emerged with their drinks, served them and stepped away again. Faye put the rose pedals back in the envelope and into her purse again. Lowering his menu slightly, Graham called, "Dad, what do you think of the Subaru Outback?"

"From what you've shown me, it's not bad at all," Robert answered. "I'll check into it more and let you know, Monday evening."

Lifting his menu again, Graham tapped Ben's foot to get his attention. When Ben looked over, Graham rolled his eyes and silently mouthed, "That means, maybe." Ben helplessly giggled.

"What are you doing, Graham?" Faye suspiciously asked.

Graham innocently smiled, "Making Ben laugh."

"Why?" Faye softly sang.

Graham shrugged, "Cos it's fun?" Quickly covering his mouth with one hand, Ben tried desperately to not crack up. Faye grinned at her son and shook her head. Raising his menu again, Graham softly chortled, "Can I help it?"

Mr. and Mrs. Carleton smiled and disjointedly sang, "Obviously not." With his hand still over his mouth, Ben lost it and laughed. Happily bouncing in his chair, Graham evilly sniggered. Since the two boys were obviously someplace other than a posh, romantic restaurant, the Carletons began softly discussing their dinner options.

To take his mind off of Graham, Ben read his menu and listened to the guitarist. Ben thought the man played very well, although it wasn't classical music he was playing. In Ben's opinion, everything on the menu was so expensive. One meal, filet mignon and lobster tail was almost seventy bucks. Almost anywhere else, Ben knew that he, Graham and his mom could eat very well for that same cost. Now he needed to tap Graham's foot and did so. Graham looked over and Ben silently mouthed, "Bathroom, now."

Graham nodded, lowered his menu and softly told his parents, "Excuse us." He and Ben stood and followed the signs to the restrooms. Once inside the men's room, Graham locked the door behind them and asked, "What's up?"

"The prices of everything in this place," Ben excitedly answered. "I have no idea what to order when onion soup is almost twenty bucks."

Understandingly, Graham moved closer and wrapped Ben in his arms then reminded, "They're just saying thank you, teddy bear."

Ben softly groused, "Applebee's, Chili's or TGIF's would've been awesome. This place though, I don't know what to order or how to begin to thank them. It's the nicest place I've ever been. I mean, I've only seen places like this on TV, Graham."

Feeling Ben trembling slightly, Graham softly shushed him and then offered, "How about I order for both of us? Would that help?"

Ben nodded, but stipulated, "Please don't get the most expensive dinners, Graham."

"How about the pork chops? They're really good."

"You've been here before?"

Graham nodded and smiled, "With them and Beanie, back around the holidays; I think it was the night before New Year's Eve."

Hiding his face on Graham's shoulder, Ben softly groaned, "Omigod."

"What?" Graham giggled.

Ben whimpered, "I didn't know I was reminding you of Francis. Get me outta here, please, Graham. I feel like a bull in a china shop."

"Why?" Graham giggled, "You're being awesome, as usual. Relax for me, okay?" He started rubbing Ben's back.

Ben sighed, "I'm really trying. I don't want to insult your folks or embarrass myself."

Graham assured, "You're not doing either of those things, I promise. You're being really cool. Even though I tried to make you crack up, you were fantastic. Kiss me." Ben's head popped off Graham's shoulder. Ben locked eyes with his boyfriend. Graham softly offered, "If it'll help, kiss me anyway you want."

Ben gave a tender kiss and got another in return. He closed his eyes, rested his forehead against Graham's and sighed, "I'm just gonna concentrate on the guitarist."

Graham smiled, "He's okay, but you're way better and so cute too, especially under very cold showers." Knowing his silly boyfriend was referring to major shrinkage only about an hour earlier, Ben giggled then gave Graham a really passionate kiss. Graham held on tightly to Ben and began to get dizzy. When Ben broke the kiss, Graham groaned, "Dude, now I need to stay still for another minute or two."

"I love you so much, Graham," Ben whispered.

Coming to his senses, Graham smiled, "That's why we're here, teddy bear. We made that very obvious to them last night."

Ben giggled, "I'm ready; how about you?"

"Yeah, I'm ready, to go back home and eat you alive for dinner."

Ben blushed, "A graham cracker desert sounds tasty."

Graham chuckled and mooed, and then turned to unlock the men's room door. They went back out to their table and sat down.

Faye checked, "Is everything alright?"

"Just fine, mom," Graham replied as he picked up his menu. He explained, "We had a huge lunch; eggs, bacon, steaks and English muffins. While we were in there, we were discussing what we'd like to order."

Going along with Graham's excuse, Ben nodded and smiled, "And the live entertainment too. He's good."

Graham devilishly grinned at Ben. Before Graham said another word, Ben giggled and rolled his eyes then hid behind his menu. Graham asked his parents, "Did I mention that Ben plays guitar; classical like this guy, but way better." For the next few minutes, that was the topic of conversation at the table until the maitre de returned to take their appetizer and dinner orders. Graham ordered shrimp cocktails for Ben and himself as the appetizer then the pork chop dinners they had discussed.

After the orders were taken, the discussion moved on to Graham and Ben sharing how they met in more detail. Almost the same things were said to the Carletons as was said to Ben's mom the prior evening. More comfortable with his own parents, Graham took special delight in embarrassing Ben with compliment after compliment. When the appetizers were served, Ben couldn't believe he had eight shrimp hanging off the edge of an elegant cut crystal dish that had more than enough cocktail sauce in the center. Graham raved on about Ben. Quietly eating his shrimp, Ben wondered if Graham would ever stop embarrassing him.

Faye smiled at Ben and asked, "Not one growl?"

Shaking his head, Ben giggled, "No ma'am, eight silent ones that will be heard later." Quickly raising his cloth napkin to his mouth, Graham cracked up, knowing he would pay dearly later that night.

To make pleasant dinner conversation, Ben asked Graham's parents several questions; how long they had been coming to this restaurant; when they moved to the home they lived in, which was right after their first son, Robert Junior, was born, in 1974. As recommended, Ben also asked about the Carletons' hobbies. Faye enjoyed ceramics, telling Ben that many of the figurines in their living room curio cabinet she had made over the years. Robert Senior made wooden model ships, from current sailing yachts to seventeenth century galleons.

Thankfully for Ben, dinner was not only excellent; he enjoyed getting to know Graham's parents. He was happiest when they left around eight o' clock. Now that the ice had been broken, Ben told the Carletons that he had never been in a Mercedes S class car before. Mister Carleton told Ben about all the luxury amenities his car had and other options that his car didn't have. When they arrived back at home, Ben warmly thanked them for dinner at the finest restaurant he had ever been in.

In the living room, they all talked about Graham's new car choices. If it turned out the Outback wasn't safe enough, then they would look at the Volvo V70 and the Toyota Camry on Monday night. Since it was nearing nine o'clock by the time they finished chatting, Graham asked his dad for a ride back to Agoura Hills. Graham hurried upstairs with Ben to pack for three days away, to strip his bed, as his mom had asked, and clear off the bathroom vanity.

Hurrying around his room, Graham chuckled, "You're now my parents' favorite person in the world."

Catching the things Graham was tossing at him and stowing them in Graham's backpack, Ben giggled, "I did what you told me to do."

"And showed real interest," Graham teased.

"What's not interesting about making model ships from scratch? I sure wouldn't have the patience."

"Neither would I. It's time consuming. He'll spend months of spare hours working on a single boat."

"That's why your bathroom's wallpaper is what it is," Ben grinned. "You're very lucky, Graham. You have an awesome home, cool parents…"

"And a cuddly teddy bear to snuggle with at night," Graham interrupted.

Squinting suspiciously, Ben recalled all that Graham had said at the restaurant, finished loading the backpack then slowly advanced on Graham. Still needing his toiletries, Graham bared a toothy smile, backed out of his room and into the bathroom. Backed against the far wall of the bathroom, Graham giggled, "Brrr?"

Ben nodded, "Grrr," and took hold of Graham then dove for a passionate kiss. Ben did what he had seen Mike doing several times; he slid both his hands into Graham's shorts back pockets. Holding the kiss, Ben added his own special touch and firmly squeezed Graham's muscular cheeks, earning a whimper. After almost a minute of grinding and panting through their noses, Ben broke the kiss and reached to suck a fleshy earlobe.

"Omigod," Graham panted, "you're getting me so hard, Ben."

Ben whispered, "I'm not too far behind you. We don't need to hurry, do we?"

Indecisively humming for a few moments, Graham grinned, "Lemme suck your dickie."

"And I'll suck yours too."

Pushing Ben backward so he could close and lock the bathroom door, Graham desperately reminded, "I'm still one ahead of you. Let me, I want some of you, real bad."

Ben giggled, "I'll get you back right after we get to my place."

Graham nodded, closed and locked the door and then turned Ben around, slowly advancing to back Ben against the bathroom wall. Kneeling down, Graham fondled Ben while getting his shorts and boxers lowered. Watching Graham the whole time, Ben's eyes closed when his bone was swallowed. He opened them again and saw their reflection in the mirror with his fingers running through Graham's wavy hair. Ben thought, 'So that's what we look like making love. If that's not the most amazing sight in the world, I don't know is.'

This was Graham's evil intention; to allow Ben to see himself in the mirror while Graham was on his knees, working rapidly toward his boyfriend's climax. He succeeded too; Ben had the full image seared into his brain. Graham really was his boyfriend; Graham really found him attractive; Graham really wiggled a finger into his asshole and made his knees buckle; Graham really held him upright as he forcefully came. Dizzily, Ben watched Graham carefully tongue bathe his foreskin and glans, and saw the reflection each time he giggled and threw his head back against the wall.

Sniggering as he stood, pulling up Ben's shorts and boxers, Graham gave away a salty-sweet kiss and then playfully asked, "Got the picture?"

Surprised, Ben's mouth dropped open and he laughed, "You are so in trouble now. I'm gonna have to send my mom out on some pointless errand."

Heartily laughing, Graham admitted, "I don't care if she hears me moaning and calling your name." He went to wash his hands.

Buttoning and zipping up his shorts, Ben grinned, "You love me that much?"

Graham nodded and smiled, "What will really suck is the first night we can't sleep together. I'll always find a way to avoid that, Ben. While I was down there, I had another idea that I know you're going to love, but since I've never done it before, I'm keeping it a secret." Finished drying his hands, Graham gathered his toiletries.

Unsteadily moving away from the wall, Ben wondered, "There are things you never did before?"

Graham nodded, "Beanie wasn't ready and stopped me each time I tried. I'm hoping you won't stop me."

Unlocking and opening the door, Ben softly smiled, "I can't believe he ever stopped anything."

Graham led the way from the bathroom back to his room, saying, "Remember, we started together. The first time we blew each other, neither of us swallowed. We learned to do that. You, my sexy grizzly bear, just went for the gusto." Stowing the toiletries in the backpack, Graham grinned, "When we have intercourse, without condoms, that'll be another first, for both of us. There are things that are uniquely us, Ben. You have my permission to slide your hands into my back pockets during every kiss from now on. That was great, teddy bear."

Instead of admitting where he had learned it, Ben giggled, "I wanted to hold you in place." Chuckling, Graham took his backpack off the bed and put it near the dresser and stereo. Ben asked, "Do you want to bring some of your CD's with us?"

Graham shrugged and smiled, "Sure, your choice. I'll start stripping the bed."

Kneeling down on the floor, Ben perused Graham's CD collection. He chose two for Graham; the Backstreet Boys and Hanson; and then chose two he wanted to check out; Pink Floyd's 'A Momentary Lapse of Reason' and R.E.M's 'Out of Time'. While putting the four CD's in Graham's backpack, Ben was hit on the arm with balled up bedding in a pillow case thrown across the room. Ben turned and evilly grinned. Graham cracked up.

Ben giggled, "I'm here thinking, we never got to listen to your stereo, and that these disks would sound better here. You're ready to start round seven."

Nodding, Graham crossed the room sniggering, "But we have to go, my love."

Standing with both backpacks, Ben smiled, "All set."

Graham checked, "You've got your toy?"

Ben nodded and giggled, "Right after we cleaned it, I put it away. We can't have mom, dad or the maid finding it." Picking up the pillow case of bedding, Graham nodded and took Ben's backpack then led the way downstairs.

Robert and Fay were watching the nine o' clock news from the sofa in the living room. Robert asked, "Ready?"

Ben nodded and, dropping the pillow case at the landing, Graham smiled, "Yup. Wait until you see where Ben lives, dad. There's a big park right across the street."

Standing with her husband, Faye shared, "I'm coming too. Another branch of our agency is selling the Healy's home. That park is a huge selling point."

Ben softly smiled, "Thank you Mrs. Carleton. I know my mom's worried the house won't sell in time." He then followed Graham out the front door.

As they walked to the car, Faye assured, "It will sell by September first and close by the end of that month; I can almost guarantee it. I already told your mother, Ben, it only takes a few little niceties to brighten things up, a flower arrangement, accent pillows, and things like that."

Gesturing for Ben to duck into the Mercedes, Graham nodded, "Mrs. Healy keeps her home immaculate, mom." He followed Ben into the backseat, then leaned closer to whisper, "I almost felt bad tickling you on the sofa."

"Sure ya did," Ben softly giggled, not believing it for a second.

Closing the driver's side door and starting the engine, Robert asked, "Where am I going?"

Ben said, "The 101 north to Kanan Road and turn right. Make another right on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, and then the second right onto Parkheath, number 28929, the fifth house on the right."

Backing out of the driveway, Robert muttered, "A coworker of mine lives in Thousand Oaks. I'm familiar with turning left on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, that area."

The moment the car moved forward, Graham shifted, turned slightly and lay his head down on Ben's lap, cheekily smiling, "Hi."

Glancing back, Faye smirked at her son and sighed, "Graham, what is with you?"

"What?" Graham chuckled. "I would've done this with Francis, but he wouldn't let me." He checked with Ben, "Ya want me to move, teddy bear?" Blushing, Ben giggled and shook his head. Robert restrained himself to mere chuckling. Faye turned the car stereo on to the local classical station. Graham playfully yawned and then snored.

Giggling, Ben ran his fingers through Graham's hair then softly said, "A Strauss waltz, I'm not sure which."

"Very good, Ben," Robert nodded.

Faye nodded, "Perhaps Graham might learn something?"

"I have already," Graham grinned.

Robert laughed, "We can see this."

Faye confirmed, "You'll be back next week, Ben?"

Ben nodded, "That's the plan. I've got to check with my mom. I know she wants to start packing and she might need help."

Faye asked, "Is there anything special I could pick up at the market?"

Ben smiled, "No, thank you."

Graham said, "Get more cranberry juice, mom. Ben had some with our brunch."

Robert nodded, "Good for you, Ben. It has lots of anti-oxidants."

Widely smiling up at Ben, Graham slowly shook his head. His parents liked all his friends, but he knew Ben was quickly climbing the ladder simply by being himself.

Faye wondered, "How much sleep did you get last night, Graham?"

He checked with Ben, "About eight hours?"

"Seven and a half, I think," Ben confirmed, "From about one-thirty until about nine."

Glancing back, Faye asked, "And the nightmares?"

"Two nights in a row with only nice dreams of Francis," Graham grinned. What he didn't say aloud was that he was anxiously waiting for those dreams to end. It would be sad and good at the same time. Graham's plan was to wait for two consecutive days and nights without Francis interfering in his thoughts. When that happened, he could feel comfortable having intercourse with Ben, likely in the morning of the third day.

Noticing a white 4Runner on the 101 heading in the opposite direction, Ben looked closer and saw the driver had red hair. He told Graham, "Prez just passed, on the other side of the road."

"Cool," Graham grinned.

In a few quiet minutes, the car made the final turn onto Parkheath Drive. Faye gasped, "The Park is lovely! There won't be any problems selling the house, Ben. How many bedrooms are there?"

"Three," Ben answered, "the master bedroom is pretty big, at the end of the hall. It has a Hollywood style private bathroom. There's another bathroom at that end of the hall too. The other two bedrooms are nearer to the entryway, living room, dining area and kitchen." The car had stopped and Ben smiled, "Would you like to come in and see it? My mom won't be in her robe this early."

Sitting up, Graham began sniggering. As they got out of the car, Graham pointed and showed his parents where everything he had told them about his first night happened. Becoming embarrassed again, Ben softly giggled, "Grrr!"

"Brrr!" Graham chortled.

While Robert smiled and shook his head, Faye prompted, "Ben, please make sure your mother is prepared for guests?"

Ben nodded and led the way to the door. He and Graham stepped inside while Carletons waited just outside. Ben greeted his mother and told her that he had invited Mrs. Carleton to see the inside of the house. Mrs. Healy agreed and greeted Graham. The sun had already set, so Margaret Healy began turning on more lights. Ben invited Graham's parents in. He and Graham put their backpacks in Ben's room. To leave the adults alone, they decided to take a walk around the park. Ben and Graham said goodbye to the Carletons then walked back out the front door.

"It's a Strauss waltz," Graham teased. The growls Ben had contained all night came rushing loudly out at once and he got the first rib tickles in. Brushing Ben's hands away, Graham howled and took off running for the park with Ben only steps behind him. Graham was laughing too hard and Ben had a purpose, to get Graham in his arms as quickly as possible. Knowing he was going to lose the race, Graham went over by the picnic tables and playground. It didn't help much. This time, Ben climbed picnic tables and rode merry-go-rounds to get at his silly lover. Captured in the center of the jungle-gym, Graham gave up completely. It was there, while holding one another close, that Graham shared his plans for intercourse with Ben.

Ben warmly smiled, "It matters and doesn't matter, ya know? When you're ready is perfectly fine with me. It's been a great two days, Graham. Being with you is all I need. The sex we've had has been awesome."

Graham shivered, "You're willing to wait?"

"For as long as it takes."

"If it takes more than another few days, I'm gonna get pissed at myself," Graham shared.

Ben softly begged, "Please don't worry about it, Graham." He assured, "Everything's really so perfect. We've got the toy too, so where's the reason to hurry?"

Graham grinned, "This is precisely why I want to soon, Ben. You so deserve it, and I very much want to."

Ben shrugged, "Your idea makes sense. If I were in your shoes, I'd wait longer than two days; probably a full week, if not longer."

Graham chuckled, "Once you experience it, you'll take back those words and understand two days better."

Ben grinned, "Is it really that different from what we've already done?"

Graham nodded and instructed, "Close your eyes, teddy bear." When Ben's eyes shut, Graham softly said, "Imagine our first time, like I said, I'll be riding your dickie first then we'll swap places and you'll ride mine. Buttholes are as tight as the tightest fist; even loosened up, they're still really tight. Imagine another time, with me on my hands and knees and you taking me from behind doggie-style. Reverse the positions again and I'll take you that way. Missionary is me bent in half with you smiling down at me. Reverse again; it's me smiling down at you. We can do it on our sides, front to back, which is an awesome way to wake up, by the way. There are so many great ways we can try and we'll find our own favorites together. Now, open your eyes." He wondered, "How do you feel?"

"Very relaxed and very excited at the same time," Ben giggled.

Graham nodded and smiled, "That's a big part of the feeling, my love. Right now, I can feel your erection and I'm sure you can feel mine, but it's so peaceful. I've been getting this feeling since the first time we kissed. Everything else we've done so far is important sharing, but with intercourse, it all changes; the intensity level flies off the scale. Do you know why I don't want to use condoms with you?"

Ben smiled, "Because we want us to be permanent?"

Graham nodded and added, "I want nothing, not even a few microns of latex between you and me. My first times with Beanie, we pulled out before we came. After a few accidental orgasms before we got out, we said, 'to hell with that'. It's those last few pushes in, and the after orgasm shaking, that feel as good as the minutes we're connected actually doing it. With you, I want it all, teddy bear; no filled and used up rubbers to toss away."

Ben whimpered, "Graham?"

Graham nodded, "Me too, Ben. We're gonna make a mess."

Ben nodded and giggled, "If we don't get out of here now."

Unwilling to separate, Ben and Graham looked around the deserted park and across the streets at the nearby homes. There was one open garage with a light on, but other that, they were alone. "Let's do it," Graham encouraged, and lowered his hands to keep Ben firmly in place.

Lowering his face to Graham's shoulder and instinctively matching thrusts, Ben helplessly giggled, "I wanted you to meet Doug and Brian, without big wet spots on our shorts."

Graham sniggered, "They're gay adult men?"

Ben giggled, "Uh huh."

Graham groaned through an amazing shudder then suggested, "We'll let the spots dry a little."

"You're so bad," Ben giggled.

"If you're gonna stop, ya better make it quick," Graham chortled. Stuffing both his hands into Graham's back pockets, Ben replied with an insanely passionate kiss and by grinding harder. Although he had had many orgasms while standing, the dangerous public activity and Ben's kiss made Graham's knees buckle. He came hard and struggled to remain upright for Ben to finish. When Ben made that cute gasp, Graham felt his lover's pulsing bone through four layers of cloth. Ben almost collapsed and Graham began evilly snickering. Quickly grabbing a jungle-gym bar before he fell onto Graham, Ben's giggling soon turned to laughter. Graham playfully admitted, "I've always wanted to do that." Ben helplessly roared. Hysterical, they climbed out of the center of the jungle gym and started walking around the park. Graham chuckled, "That was the greatest, teddy bear."

Ben giggled, "You should've known talking about intercourse would lead to an emergency."

"Not like that," Graham admitted. He couldn't help remembering Francis. Never in a million years would Francis have dared a public display of affection, never mind a desperate grind under a jungle gym in a park, no matter how cool the situation was. He didn't say that aloud to Ben though. He figured that he had said enough where Ben could easily figure it out anyway. Feeling Ben firmly squeezing his hand, Graham threw caution to the wind by loudly hollering, "I love Ben Healy!"

"Silly graham cracker," Ben giggled. "The crickets are happy, but I'm flippin' out."

"Tell the crickets and me," Graham playfully prodded.

"You know already, I hope," Ben smiled.

Graham nodded and chuckled, "Make sure the crickets know it."

Since Graham obviously wanted and needed a public announcement, Ben inhaled deeply and shouted, "Ben Healy loves Graham Carleton!" He looked over at Graham and giggled, "There, every night creature knows."

"You said both our names?" Graham grinned.

Ben shrugged and teased, "I could've just yelled Brrr loves Grrr. Instead, I got specific."

Graham briefly whimpered as their soul connection swelled within him like never before.

Ben nodded, "Yep, it hit me like that when you yelled."

"You have ten seconds to kiss me," Graham warned.

Abruptly stopping and dropping Graham's hand, Ben held his arms out, shook his head and giggled. Moving in closer, Graham gave Ben a whopper of a kiss. Ben's arms folded around Graham and he closed his eyes. Graham completely got into it, rubbing his right leg against Ben's left leg. When they reluctantly broke the kiss to breathe, both gasped, "Omigod!"

Glancing up at the stars, Ben softly prayed, "Please don't ever let this feeling fade."

"It won't," Graham confidently assured, "we won't let it."

"You don't worry very much, do you?"

"There's nothing real to worry about. I am not leaving you, ever. I don't even like the idea of you ever sleeping apart from me or graduating before me. We'll just deal and spend every possible moment together."

Ben suddenly winced and mooed.

"What's wrong?" Graham fretted, "It's not school, is it?"

"No," Ben giggled, "my dickie shifted in gunked up underwear and pulled about ten pubes out, I think." Holding Ben even tighter, Graham cracked up. Ben laughed, "I'd do it again in a minute."

"A minute is about all it lasted," Graham roared.

"Tell me more about intercourse later," Ben giggled.

Shaking his head, Graham sniggered, "We've gotta try and get better than a minute, sexy teddy bear."

Ben nodded and giggled, "We have, but it really depends on a lot of things."

Graham nodded and smiled, "First times, stimulating toys, playground humping in the park where we fell in love."

Ben planted a quick kiss on Graham's ear then softly suggested, "Let's say hello to Doug and Brian." Graham gave Ben a tender kiss then nodded. As soon as they separated, each stuck their left hands down into their shorts and they started sniggering at each other.

Turning around, they started walking toward the street and held hands. "I'm always on your right," Graham noticed. "Even in the car, I'm on your right." Releasing Graham's hand, Ben switched to Graham's right side, took his right hand and wordlessly checked. "Nope," Graham grinned, and hurried around to Ben's right side to take his hand again.

Ben giggled, "I can only wonder why it makes a difference."

Graham shrugged, "I'm not sure. It has nothing to do with Beanie. We never had definite sides. I just feel better here."

"My right hand man."

"I always will be."

"It makes me tingle all over when you say stuff like that."

"Don't start tingling," Graham teased, "we'll have wet spots again."

Ben giggled, "You're going to like these two dudes. They make our friends seem sane in comparison."

"You're kidding? I thought you said they were old?"

"They are, but they only have moments or minutes of seriousness. Then they go off, feeding on extremes they drive each other past."

"They're a couple?"

Ben nodded, "For almost twenty years; since 1981."

"That's us, teddy bear."

"I really want it to be."

Graham seriously asked, "How many things that you really wanted have you gotten rid of?"

Ben hummed then admitted, "Not very many; even toys I've outgrown, I wanted to keep. My dad tossed them away though."

Graham smiled, "In my closet, on the floor in the back, on the right side, that's where my old toy chest is."

Ben giggled, "Really?"

"Some were busted and glued back together, but they're in there. I've got most of the Star Wars action figures and the Millennium Falcon, some Power Rangers; I've even got a Gizmo Mogwai. Maybe Giz is why I feel better on your right. I used to carry him around everywhere. I'll try to remember to ask my folks."

Feeling the swelling in his chest, Ben smiled, "It's happening again, Graham."

"I got a little rush too, telling you all that."

Shaking off the feeling as they approached the curb and stepped into the street, Ben explained, "Doug is our height. Brian is the taller of the two. Do not treat them like grown men; that only makes them weirder."

"Omigod!" Graham chortled, "What am I in for?"

Ben giggled, "I've known them two years and have no idea."

Crossing the street, they could hear loud music. Graham grinned, "Pink Floyd, I think. I've never heard it before though."

Ben nodded, "I brought one of your Floyd disks that I've never listened to before; A Momentary Lapse of Reason." Stopped at the front porch, Ben rapped on the door, hoping it could be heard over the music. Not getting a response and knowing they were home, Ben pressed the doorbell and knocked again.

The door flung open and Doug's mouth dropped. Mike and Derrick had said nothing about Ben, or Graham, but only spoke of Prez, Keith, Drew, Corey and two vacationing visitors named Brian and Pete. Yet on the porch stood Doug's guitar student; the boy who could barely speak a month earlier, but now the murky grey and brown aura surrounding Ben was replaced with bright blues, light greens and vibrant pink. The other boy standing beside Ben had a very bright silver, lavender and pink aura. Looking back into the house, Doug yelled, "Brian, get your cute ass over here!" Facing the two giggling boys, Doug stepped aside and waved them in, saying in a thick Irish brogue, "Welcome shiny lads. Bring your weary selves into the roost." Ben and Graham stepped inside.

Hurrying from the studio, Brian excitedly asked, "What's wrong?" and came to an abrupt halt at the entryway.

Closing the door behind Ben and Graham, Doug told Brian, "You tell me if I'm seeing things."

Carefully approaching, Brian held a hand to Ben's forehead to check for a fever. Out of the corner of his mouth, Brian murmured to his lover, "It's physically Ben and he's well."

Rolling his eyes, Doug waved the boys forward from the entryway, grumbling, "Jesus H. Christ! The Gibbons boy rambles on and on yet fails to mention anything important." Ben and Graham cracked up.

Brian nodded and chuckled, "He'll be home in less than an hour. He's restringing guitars until dawn."

Gesturing to Graham, Doug asked Ben, "And who might this be?"

Ben giggled, "This is my boyfriend, Graham Carleton. Graham, this is Doug McAlister and Brian Folsom, or Tweety and Sylvester, or Bugs and Daffy."

Doug extended his hand and smiled, "Did I hear the 'B' word?"

Shaking Doug's hand, Graham chuckled, "Yep, for two awesome days." He shook hands with Brian and offered, "We'll tell you all about it."

"Follow me to the studio, please," Brian smiled. "I haven't shut anything off and we found some recordings that we're clueless about."

Graham, Ben and Doug followed Brian down the hall. Bringing up the rear, Doug asked, "What's happened, Ben?"

Ben shrugged and giggled, "I did what you suggested. I visited with Mike, Derrick, Prez and Keith. The first few days you were gone, Brian and Pete were here, so I didn't come over until the next week." All four sat on chairs in the studio, listening to Ben explain how his four friends had freaked him out with ghost talk; how they encircled him and helped him; how he went home and told his parents everything, including his sexuality; how Ben's father was ready to shoot him, that his mom was shot in the thigh during the ensuing struggle; how Ben had decked his old man and called the cops.

Brian checked with Doug, "Transference?"

Doug shrugged, "It sounds like more than that." He prompted Ben to "go on, please".

"I was here almost every day from then on," Ben smiled. "Did Mike or Derrick mention that Prez got a P.A. system for their band?"

Brian nodded, "We'll be checking that out tomorrow."

Ben smiled, "They asked me to listen to their band rehearse for a concert. It started here until Prez got the P.A. system. Then rehearsals moved to Mike's house. I learned to swim in Mike's pool. They've been trying to teach me to be confident. I guess enough took hold. The next week, my mom and I went looking for someplace we could afford to live. We're moving to Woodland Hills on September first. I'll be going to school with Graham and all of the other dudes. Wednesday night, Graham and I met." Ben turned to Graham and asked, "Do you want to tell them what happened?"

Graham nodded and took a deep breath then explained about the car accident that put his old boyfriend into a coma and took his life weeks later. After warmly receiving the usual sympathies, Graham continued, "I came here with some friends Wednesday night for a party, not expecting to stay very long. Soon after I arrived, I met Ben, but he didn't know anything about the accident. We went out to the park and I gave him the briefest version I could then lost it. Ben was right there when I needed someone. Many times now, he's held me through the grief. I stayed the night with him." Both men began mooing and, while the boys were giggling, Doug went to get his supersized rubber 'Gossip' ears, returning with them on and causing Ben and Graham to crack up.

Graham continued on, telling Doug and Brian about their parents concerns; that he and Ben had made love at dawn, and then about the amazing intense connection he and Ben had forged by the time they showered later Thursday morning. Bouncing back and forth, Ben and Graham told them everything about the prior two days, including the time spent at Graham's house, dinner earlier that night, and why they hadn't yet had intercourse. They briefly spoke of Graham's concerns. Graham was assured he was taking a good approach; that individuals make the same choice he was making on their own schedules. Ben was complimented for taking the perfect stance and being very willing to wait. Lastly, Ben and Graham were congratulated.

Doug took his floppy 'gossip ears' off and went to the computer to play Heaven's On Fire. Ben quickly said, "Oh, that's Drew singing lead vocals."

Stopping the playback, Doug confirmed, "Drew Hundser?"

Ben nodded and smiled, "If you think that's good, ask him to sing Against All Odds tomorrow at rehearsal.

Brian nodded, "We will."

Doug played the next tune and Ben said, "I was here for that. It's Drew on lead vocals and Pete backing him up." Ben told them about the guitar player at Brandywine and asked Doug if he might help him switch styles.

Hearing the front door open, Doug nodded and told Ben he could read any sheet music that he chose to. Mike and Derrick walked in the room as Doug offered, "I'll show you the basics of guitar arrangement. You'll be able to read piano sheet music and pull pieces to apply on guitar." Smirking up at Mike, Doug groused, "Why didn't you say anything about Ben and Graham?"

Mike grinned, "We had what; thirty or forty minutes to talk before we left?"

"We haven't heard a word about your vacation either," Derrick smiled.

"Right," Brian chuckled.

Doug smirked, "We partied in the air, on boats and on land. You'll be changing guitar strings on a Les Paul and Stratocaster, after you get out of those funky clothes, get washed up and do a few bong rips. Then you can explain this encircling thing you did to Ben."

Mike giggled, "Can we do the latter first?"

Doug and Brian nodded so Derrick grinned, "You know about my pushing stuff and Mike's love power ball. Prez suggested we all team up. He said his mom told him what to do. So we all held hands around Ben; Mike envisioned his power ball; I envisioned pushing it at and into Ben; Prez and Keith do the empathic and telepathic parts."

Roughly massaging Ben's shoulders, Mike laughed, "Ben turned into a spaz. He jumped up and hurried home."

Ben nodded and giggled.

Graham chuckled, "If you think that's rad, they did it to me Wednesday night. Francis spoke to me through Prez. About fifteen other dudes saw and heard it. Francis confirmed everything I had been thinking about Ben all night. Most importantly, we got to say goodbye."

Doug sighed and closed his eyes. Brian took notice of his lover then faced the four boys and softly smiled, "We understand now, better than you might think. The results are positive, but please promise us you'll be very careful doing this in the future."

Opening his eyes, Doug smirked, "You know why Prez was able to contact the deceased safely and productively, don't you?"

Derrick shook his head and chuckled, "We don't think about it."

Mike nodded and grinned, "It's too freaky to try and figure out."

Doug smiled, "Preston believed he was following his mother's instruction. He was protected by her. It's generally very unsafe to try and contact the other side, because evil entities can trick us into believing we've succeeded when, in fact, their deceiving us. No demon in their right mind would challenge a mother's spirit protecting her child." Gesturing to Graham with an open palm, Doug said, "The productivity is right here, in Graham. It was his love and recent memories that allowed Francis to connect and speak."

Graham offered, "Four more of Francis' closest friends were here too." Raising his eyebrows, Doug hummed curiously and nodded.

Brian warned, "Please be very careful. We'll speak with Prez and Keith tomorrow."

Derrick and Mike nodded. Mike offered, "It's never happened before. I'm sure none of us knew it would happen this time."

Tentatively holding up a hand, Ben softly asked, "What are you four talking about?"

Rubbing his forehead, his eyes and running his hand over his jaw, Doug breathed, "Oh boy," and then widely grinned.

Brian chuckled, "How do you feel, Ben?"

"Great," Ben happily giggled. "It was good after I was encircled. It stayed good all month and got awesome when Graham asked me to be his boyfriend."

Brian nodded and smiled, "The Ben Healy we left here a month ago had a dark aura. That's a mostly invisible energy field around every living thing that you can learn to perceive, if you want to." He turned to Graham and said, "I'm sorry we didn't get to meet you before tonight, so we can't say anything about what your aura was like."

Mike interjected, "Graham and Francis were at my birthday party, but they left before you arrived."

Doug's eyes widened and he smiled, "Ah, okay."

Brian explained, "Ben's aura was dark and weak, barely extending three inches off his physical body." Glancing up, Brian teased, "Very much like four other teenagers we got to know." Derrick and Mike nodded and chortled.

Doug grinned, "Before I got to the door to let you in, I felt something strong and positive. That's why I was so surprised it was you beyond the door, Ben."

Brian nodded, "I got there and was only playing by checking your temperature. You shine now, Ben, with bright fluorescent blues, pale greens and a lot of sparkling pink. It extends about three feet all around you."

Noticing Graham grinning, Doug chuckled, "You're not sure if you believe any of this, huh?"

Graham shrugged and grinned, "Sorry, but I really don't know if I do or not."

Mike and Derrick loudly laughed. Graham and Ben turned and smiled at them. Mike chuckled, "We've learned all this and were just like you two dudes."

"An experiment," Brian playfully suggested, "if you'll allow?"

Graham nodded and Ben smiled, "Sure."

Doug faced Graham and explained, "This is a feeling experiment. It has nothing to do with what you think at all. I want you to close your eyes and feel Ben, without actually touching him. Don't think about what you know about Ben, only feel energy from him. Don't think of anything at all, if you can help it. You can put your hands out to feel without touching or simply stand in Ben's space. When you're done and we hear your feelings put into words then we'll have Ben try feeling from you, Graham."

Graham nodded, "Cool." He turned and smiled, "Stand up, teddy bear."

Doug softly chortled, "I love that."

Ben broke into a giggling fit as he and Graham stood. Mike and Derrick moved around to stand behind Doug and Brian. Almost toe-to-toe with Ben, Graham inhaled, closed his eyes and softly murmured, "No thoughts, no thinking, only what I feel."

"Exactly," Brian softly assured.

Doug chuckled, "Stop giggling, Ben."

"I can't help it," Ben giggled, "His eyes are closed and he's close enough to grab."

Derrick and Mike smiled at each other. Mike leaned closer and whispered to Derrick, "Their energy is already mixing." Leaning back, Derrick widely smiled and rapidly nodded.

Opening his eyes, Graham smiled, "We can do this, Ben. The connection, remember?"

Doug prompted, "Mike, get the book so they know." Nodding, Mike hurried out of the room.

Wearing a soft, warm smile, Ben sighed, "I'm ready."

Graham closed his eyes. In a few moments, he softly said, "Love." A few moments later, Graham tilted his head and muttered, "Truthfulness? Learning? Growth? It's more though." As Mike returned with a small paperback book, Graham shook his head, "I can't be sure if it's a feeling or not, but I think it's tenderness and compassion." Opening his eyes, Graham looked over and down at Doug and Brian, smiling, "I know those last two things, but I'm almost certain that's what I felt."

Doug looked at Mike and asked, "What do you see?"

Looking closely at Ben, Mike said, "Like turquoise blue, very light, pale green, and lots of pink bubbles."

Brian grinned, "Very good; that's what we see too. Now read the meanings, Derrick."

Mike opened the book and Derrick looked over his partner's shoulder. Derrick chuckled, "Unbelievable; light blues mean caring, sensitivity, truthfulness and healing." Mike flipped the pages to green and Derrick smiled, "Comfort, growth, balance and change." Mike flipped the pages again. Derrick read, "Pink is love. Bouncing pink is new love."

Ben hugged Graham and giggled, "You did it!"

Graham hugged Ben back and chuckled, "The hardest part was clearing my mind. I had to picture a blank white movie screen."

Doug prompted, "It's your turn, Ben."

The new lovers separated and reluctantly released their hands. With his index and middle fingers of his right hand, Graham pointed at his eyes and reminded, "Right here."

Nodding, Ben closed his eyes. Trying to clear his mind, he pictured a movie screen, as Graham had. He smirked, "I'm not sure if I'm doing this right. I feel love, lots of it and just a lot; of what exactly… of everything; of imagination? Again, is it what I know or what I feel? I feel like I'm floating… like I'm asleep and dreaming." Opening his eyes, Ben sighed, "I'm sorry." Graham quickly hugged Ben tight.

Brian asked, "Who sees silver, a little lavender and more bouncing pink splotches?"

Mike and Derrick chorused, "Me."

Doug nodded, "Lavender and silver are so close; I missed it completely at first."

Brian prompted, "What do silver, lavender and pink mean, Mike?"

"Pink we know is love," Mike smiled and flipped pages to find "Lavender means imagination, visionary," he paused and chuckled, "daydreamer."

Graham chuckled, "Yeah, that's definitely me." Ben nodded and gave Graham a tender kiss.

From the book, Mike read, "Silver is the color of abundance, or as Ben said, 'a lot of everything'." He looked up and chortled, "You did it too, Ben."

Doug nodded and stood. He told Ben and Graham, "You've both got great gifts. If you work together, like Derrick and Mike, and like Prez and Keith, you'll be like them in your own ways. Ben's a guitarist and Graham's a daydreamer; where will that lead? Ben's sensitivity and Graham's abundance make another interesting combination. The important thing is that Ben's changed in very hopeful and positive ways. When and how it happened is over the last month, while we were away on vacation."

Brian stood and faced Mike and Derrick to ask, "Were you paying attention to Ben's change?"

They both shook their heads. Derrick sighed, "Sorry, we were focusing on Ben sometimes, but not at that level. Weeks ago, Ben's change was immediate and apparent."

Mike nodded and smiled, "What we expected was a month with Keith and Prez. What we got was them plus Ben, Drew, Corey, Brian and Pete. It was a lot of fun."

Ben checked his watch and gasped, "It's half-past midnight already?"

Mike chuckled, "We walked in about ten-of-twelve."

Ben sighed, "My mom's gonna wonder if we'll ever talk again."

Graham smiled, "Tomorrow night." Glancing around, Graham chuckled, "It's time for me to make my teddy bear abundantly crazy."

Derrick and Mike began laughing. Flushing red in the face, Ben grinned, "Grrr-rrr!"

Graham nodded, "Brrr!"

Doug and Brian raised their eyebrows and softly sniggered, gently guiding Ben and Graham out of the studio. Doug confirmed, "We'll see you in the morning?"

Ben nodded, "We'll be here before ten to get a ride to rehearsal and back home again."

Graham smiled, "Hopefully, I'll have wheels again by the end of next week."

Ben asked, "That soon?"

Stopped at the door, Graham nodded, "Dad doesn't fart around. We'll make the choice, he'll make the deal and it's done. Mom's car took three days, only because he couldn't get the deal he wanted from the first two dealerships."

Ben and Graham said goodnight to everyone and stepped outside. Hearing muffled laughter from inside the house, they got to the sidewalk and turned to start down the block when Ben looked over and wondered, "What're ya thinking, Graham?"

"I'm daydreaming," Graham grinned.

Ben giggled, "About?"

"I haven't driven in over a month. I'm just wondering how I'm going to react. I used to let Beanie drive whenever he felt like it or I didn't feel like it. I want it to be that way with you too." He shrugged, "Will I be handing the keys over more or less because of the accident? I don't have a clue." Scowling, Graham admitted, "There's one other idea crossing my mind."

"About what Doug and Brian said regarding auras?"

Shaking his head, Graham got a surprise tickle in and chuckled, "We have to get out of these crusty undies." Ben roared and then raced across the street and into the park. Chasing after him, Graham sniggered, "Even my dickie feels funky, dude. We'll have to wash up one mess only to make a few more messes."

"Abundant messes," Ben giggled as he ran around in a big circle.

Graham laughed, "Sincerely abundant messes," and then followed Ben across the street again, to his front door and into the house. They went directly to the bathroom, got out of their dirty clothes and washed one another's dickies. Ben was surprised that his sleeping mother in the next room didn't hear him and Graham giggling or the water running in the sink. Ben silently crept into her room to check on her and saw one earplug. He had gotten used to his mom sleeping without earplugs the prior weeks since his father was out of the house. Meeting Graham out in the hall, he closed the door and said in a normal voice, "She's got earplugs in. That's why the clock radio was so loud the other day. It's for us."

Following Ben down the hall, Graham grinned, "So we can do whatever we like?"

Going past his room and into the kitchen, Ben nodded, "Within reason, yeah."

"Cool," Graham chuckled, "could we listen to some tunes while rolling around on your bed?"

Ben got two large glasses filled with cold water from the fridge and giggled, "Yeah, we could."

Graham playfully warned, "We're going real slow tonight, teddy bear. All orgasms must take at least five minutes, with the dong and without it."

Ben giggled, "Easier said than done. I won't be watching the clock, just your chest, dickie and face."

"You're spoiling me, teddy bear. No one has ever complimented me so much."

"It's only fair. Even if you weren't complimenting me, I'd be saying stuff about you."

Lifting a glass of water, Graham grinned, "Like?" and then swallowed a large gulp of water.

Ben giggled, "Would you like to hear about the front view or rear first?"

"Rear, since I don't get to see it for myself."

Ben took the glass from Graham, put it on the counter and asked Graham to turn around. With his arms, Ben outlined Graham's back and then asked Graham to turn around so he could see the shape. He blushed and smiled, "This is part of why I've got a woody in the shower. Any time you raise your arms, I can't stop looking." Dropping his arms, Ben giggled, "Your tush is like no other I've noticed anywhere; it's completely muscle. The hair on your legs is perfectly distributed, front and back." Shrugging, Ben sighed, "To me, you're perfect, from the wavy hair on your head to the little hairs sprouting on your big toes. You don't have a gymnast's shape or muscles, everything's just right, ya know? None of your muscles are too big or buffed. When I first felt your hard dickie, I thought, 'nice, he's about average, like me'. When I saw it was more than average…" Ben leered and giggled.

Chuckling, Graham picked up both glasses of water off the counter and prompted, "Come with me, my love," then turned around and went to Ben's bedroom. He put the glasses down and turned the light on. Ben turned off the kitchen light then went to his bedroom. Noticing Graham on his knees digging through his backpack, Ben closed and locked his bedroom door, wondering, "What're you looking for?"

Not looking up, Graham answered, "I've had Pink Floyd on my mind since we got to Doug's and Brian's place. The disk you brought, I haven't heard in a really long time."

Ben smiled, "They're between your shorts and boardies and the pile of shirts. The cases crack too easily, so I tried to protect them."

Pulling out all four disks, Graham smiled, "Good ones too."

"I took Hanson because Old Habits plays Weird. I heard it on the radio only a few times."

"It's really the only song I like on that disk. Do you want to hear that first?"

"No, play the disk you want. I took that because I don't think I've ever heard it."

Standing and moving to Ben's stereo, Graham said, "This is a good disk with a couple o' good songs. The one I really like is track two, Learning To Fly." He powered on the stereo and ejected the five disk CD changer drawer. Knowing it was full; Ben kneeled beside Graham, started pulling disks from the drawer and putting them away. Graham grinned, "You like organization too, I see."

Nodding, Ben giggled, "It was drilled into me by mom and dad. If left on my own, I'd be a slob, a pile for everything and everything in its pile."

Graham grinned, "We're gonna be great living alone together. When the mess reaches chest deep, we'll clean up."

Ben smiled, "You're imagining that too?"

"Were you?"

Ben nodded, "As soon as you mentioned it," and put the last disk away. Graham slid in 'A Momentary Lapse of Reason' and closed the drawer. Ben pressed play and they stood up. Graham slid in close to Ben as the disk started to play. His head resting on Graham's shoulder, Ben whispered, "Typical Pink Floyd, a lot of sound effects."

"It sounds like a boat at dock."

"Yeah, it does, and running water."

"The next song is so cool," Graham chuckled. In a few minutes, as Learning To Fly began, he started swaying, leading Ben and softly singing along.

Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

Can't keep my eyes from the circling sky
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought I'd thought of everything
No navigator to find my way home
Unladened, empty and turned to stone

A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

Friction lock... Set... Mixture... Rich propellers... Fully forward flaps... Set... Ten degrees...
Full gauges and suction - check
Gas set to maximum percent - recheck
Flight instruments...
Altimeters - check both
Navigation lights - on

Strobes on
Confirm 3-8 Echo ready for departure
Hello again, this is now 129.4
129.4, its to go.
You make commence your take-off, winds over 10 knots.
Easy on the brakes. Take it easy, it's gonna roll this time: just hand the power gradually, and it...

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer
My grubby halo, a vapor trail in the empty air
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, a state of bliss
Can't keep my mind from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

Shivering, like he had just flown to thirty-thousand feet, Ben growled, "Grrr?"

"Brrr?"

"That was great; just like the recording."

Graham chuckled, "I wanted to sing something for you, for complimenting me, teddy bear. That's about my limit as far as singing goes."

"Anytime you want, I'd love to hear it again, but not now. Let's go to bed."

At the Hundser home in Woodland Hills, the first rounds of the night's love making were already completed. Kicked back on their bed, Keith and Prez were watching The Godfather on DVD. It had been weeks since Keith got it and this was their first chance to watch it. Soon after the flick started, Drew and Corey heard it through the wall. They went to Keith's and Prez's room to watch it with them. Having spent so much time together, there wasn't much to chat about. Prez had already told Keith that he had talked with Drew and Corey in the garage. Keith and Prez fell asleep first around one-thirty in the morning. Neither Drew nor Corey noticed for many minutes, until they heard Prez softly snoring. Drew turned the DVD player and TV off then followed Corey back to Drew's bedroom.

The first alarm to go off was Drew's at eight-thirty. He and Corey made love in the shower then went to get dressed. They passed by Keith's and Prez's room on the way to the kitchen and heard their clock radio alarm briefly then get turned off. Drew made Corey his usual special shake with a little vanilla ice cream. Preparing a bowl of cereal for Drew, Corey said, "I wonder where Brian and Pete are about now."

"They prefer getting up early," Drew absently answered. Turning off the blender and pouring the shake into a glass, Drew chuckled, "At least they used to, until they spent a few days here." He handed the glass to Corey.

Corey smiled, "So they're probably leaving San Francisco about now."

"Brian promised to call or send an e-mail after they get home tonight."

"Once I know they made the trip safe, I'll chill out."

Jim Hundser came out of the master bedroom, shaved, showered and ready for the day. Drew asked, "How's mom?"

Drew's dad sighed, "She had a restless night. I told her to stay in bed as long as she wants."

Beyond the kitchen wall, in Keith's and Prez's room, Corey, Drew and Jim heard Keith laughing. Then Prez bellowed, "Keith Hundser, you'd better give me those pictures, now!" Quickly putting his glass down on the kitchen counter, Corey cracked up. Also in the bedroom with Keith and Prez, Rush barked.

Hurrying out of the room, Keith sniggered, "I'm giving one to Mike and Derrick, another goes to Ben and another gets mailed to Brian and Pete." Rush trotted into the kitchen and Keith soon followed. Keith giggled, "G'mornin'!" and let Rush out back.

Shaking his head yet widely smiling, Jim poured a cup of coffee and warned, "You'll be sleeping on the couch tonight."

Keith grinned, "Prez knows I won't give any away. I will, however, show them to anyone that wants to see. Then I'll lock them away safe, so Prez doesn't rip 'em up and burn 'em." Jim went back into the master bedroom with his coffee.

Giggling, Corey wondered, "Where are the pictures now?"

"In my back pocket," Keith chortled.

Drew grinned, "You took pictures of him sleeping?"

Keith nodded and took the four Polaroid photos out and showed them to Drew and Corey. Keith got good shots of Prez's tanned belly, pubes and morning wood. He giggled, "I've been threatening to take pictures of his pubes for months."

Shaking his head, Drew grinned, "Guess you're sleeping in Agoura Hills again tonight."

Nodding, Corey giggled, "Anywhere Prez can find you won't be safe. I'm wondering what he's doing now or planning to do."

"Oh shit!" Keith sniggered, and hurried out of the kitchen. Widely smiling, Drew held is spoon to his lips, signaling Corey to giggle softly. Keith called, "Prez?"

"Yes?" Prez wickedly answered.

"What're ya doin'?"

"Gettin' into the shower."

"What about me?"

"You can shower with the photos."

Corey lost it and howled. Also hysterical, Drew had to stop eating his bowl of cereal, put it down on the counter and then went to Corey. While they were still laughing themselves to tears, Keith returned to the kitchen. He filled Rush's food dish, went to the back door and called the dog in for his breakfast.

Over in Agoura Hills, Doug and Brian were the first to wake and get motivated. Derrick soon had Mike giggling and ready to take a shower. They playfully argued about which shower to use. There were many humorous advantages to stepping into the huge master bathroom shower with Doug and Brian, but if the two men were making love, the joke would take a very sudden unfortunate turn. Reluctantly, they went down the hall to the guest bathroom and the regular tub to shower.

Three doors down Parkheath Drive, Margaret Healy was preparing breakfast for her son and his partner. Ben woke with the alarm and ground his morning wood against Graham's butt. Already awake, Graham softly chortled, "G'mornin' teddy bear."

Ben asked, "How long have you been awake?"

"Only a couple of minutes," Graham answered. "I was enjoying feeling you behind and holding me."

Ben placed a tender kiss on Graham's neck then asked, "Any dreams?"

"Not of Francis, just you and me," Graham replied, and then flipped to face Ben. He grinned, "That's one. The third morning, I'm jumpin' your bone." Giggling, Ben gave away many tender kisses until Graham rolled on top of him and started humping.

"You know I want to," Ben giggled.

"Yeah, as bad as I do," Graham softly moaned.

"I hate to tell you, but my mom's awake and cooking."

Pausing to sniff the air, Graham dramatically frowned then groaned.

"Come on, puddin'," Ben giggled, "we can't sit down to breakfast smelling like we need a shower first."

Graham smiled, "What did you call me?"

"Pudding," Ben grinned. "I had a weird dream. Your hair somehow reminded me of chocolate pudding." He giggled, "Actually, in the dream, your hair was chocolate pudding."

Graham cheered, "Brrr! That's the one, teddy bear," and then kissed Ben hard. Both of Ben's hands moved up to Graham's head, to keep the kiss going as long as possible and run his fingers through his lover's hair. The kiss broke then they hugged tightly before dizzily rolling out of bed.

Slipping into the prior night's shorts and T-shirts, Ben turned off his clock radio, paused before the bedroom door and softly assured, "In the shower, we'll take care of our dickies." Graham nodded, stole a tender kiss and took Ben's hand in his.

They stepped out of the room to find the table already set. Still in the kitchen, Ben's mom grinned, "Good morning. We have buttermilk waffles, sausage links and there's fresh whipped cream in the fridge."

Graham smiled, "Thank you, Mrs. Healy. This is awesome."

Going into the kitchen to get bottles of juice and the bowl of whipped cream, Ben softly wondered, "What's goin' on, mom?" He passed the orange juice and apple juice bottles to Graham to take to the table then got the bowl of whipped cream.

Mrs. Healy innocently smiled, "Nothing. Why do you ask?" Graham went to the table, put the bottles down and sat.

Leaving the kitchen, Ben sighed, "Well, we didn't even get home until after you went to bed, but you're making us breakfast?"

She smiled, "We didn't get to talk, but the Carletons were here until about ten o'clock. Graham's mom has three young families she's working with and will be showing the house this week. We're scheduling them for while you're over in Woodland Hills, Tuesday through Thursday." Ben sat down and his mother continued, "When they were ready to leave, I walked them out to their car. And what do we hear from way off in the darkness of the park? Someone was shouting, 'I Love Ben Healy'."

Extremely embarrassed, Graham howled laughing and lowered his face to his crossed arms on the table. Ben giggled his ass off.

Noticing her son far too happy about Graham's condition, she dropped the next bomb. "No sooner do we get over hearing the first shout, there's a second."

Flushing a hundred shades of red and starting to sweat, Ben also lowered his face to his crossed arms on the table.

"So," Mrs. Healy loudly giggled over the boys' groans and laughter; "It seems I have a son-in-law and so do the Carletons. It also seems I knew of plans that they did not. You're both average students and will be allowed to sleep wherever as long as you keep your grade point average." Two red, smiling faces partially rose off the table and glanced at each other. Bringing two serving platters of waffles and sausages to the table, Mrs. Healy smiled, "Eat. I have errands to run. You have a rehearsal to get to. Cleanup after you're done and I'll see you both later today." She leaned over and kissed each boy on the head then grabbed her purse and left the house.

After reassuring Keith that everything was fine, Prez poured himself a bowl of cereal. Keith went to take his shower. With Drew and Corey watching, Prez waited until he heard the bathroom door close and he heard the shower turn on. He got up from the table and hurried down the hall, into his room and picked up his digital camera. As usual, Keith didn't lock the bathroom door. Prez stealthily crept in, slid open the shower door and took three photographs of Keith shampooing his hair. Keith hollered, "PREZ!"

"These will be on the Internet in two minutes!" Prez giggled, and hurried out of the room. To make sure Keith didn't get the camera and break it into a million pieces, Prez hid it in John's room. By the time Keith got out of the shower, dripping wet and holding a towel around his waist, Prez was at their computer and shutting down an Internet connection he had just started moments earlier.

Keith laughed "You didn't, or did you?"

Evilly snickering, Prez nodded, "On the way to Mike and Derrick and Brian and Pete."

Glancing around the desk, Keith giggled, "Where's the camera, baby?"

Prez roared, "Hidden from the likes of you!"

John walked out of his room and heard Keith with Prez. He went to the kitchen where Drew had just found a straw to help giggling and hiccupping Corey finish his morning shake. Drew widely grinned at his younger brother. Getting his breakfast together, John smirked, "I don't want to know. Mom and dad swear I'm theirs, but there had to be a mix up at the hospital."

Blowing bubbles into his shake glass, Corey hiccupped, "You're bro-others, I have indispu-utable proo-oof."

Sitting down at the table with his bowl of cereal, John asked, "Where are mom and dad?"

"Hiding in their room," Drew grinned.

"I wonder why," John huffed. "I'm barely awake and Prez knocks on my door. I tell him to come in and he starts going off then hides his camera under my bed."

Widely grinning, Drew offered, "We'll be gone in a little while, bro."

Around the food in his mouth, John mumbled, "I might be there later; gotta see what Kim and Tommy want to do."

"They wanna do you," Corey giggled, "one at a time and both at once." Drew tried not to laugh for his brother's sake.

Shaking his head, John called Rush and went out back to eat his cereal.

Over in Agoura Hills at Doug's and Brian's house, all four had finished their showers, were dressed and loitering around the kitchen with cups of coffee. Derrick and Mike were going into details about the P.A. system Prez had bought.

Doug said, "There are two pieces of equipment you still need to get. The most important is an AC power distribution unit. That'll help make sure you have steady power at one-hundred-twenty volts and two-hundred-eight volts. It sucks when you're in the middle of a set and suddenly you trip a circuit."

Brian offered, "A second compressor for the bass and snare drums would be nice, to control peaks and keep the backbeat smooth." A knock at the door interrupted the conversation. Derrick went to answer it.

Ben giggled, "Thank goodness you're dressed." Brian, Doug and Mike began sniggering.

Waving Ben and Graham inside, Derrick smirked, "Doug and Brian are back, remember?"

Stepping inside, Graham joked, "My timing sucks sometimes. A month of nude parties would've been fun."

"You wouldn't?" Ben giggled.

Graham grinned, "Yes I would, and so would you."

Ben blushed and sniggered, "Not very likely."

Graham frowned, "Not even if I was?"

Ben shrugged, "I'd want to, but with eight other dudes, I don't know."

Brian grinned at Doug, "Not everything has changed."

Doug nodded and smiled, "Enough has."

Glancing around, Mike checked, "If everybody's ready?" Derrick nodded, downed the last of his coffee and then put the cup in the dishwasher.

Brian said, "We'll be right behind you in the Firebird."

Wide-eyed, Graham asked, "You've got a Firebird?"

Brian grinned and nodded, "Five-point-seven liter, LT-1 V8."

Whimpering, Graham held onto Ben's shoulders to steady himself and groaned, "If only my dad would go for it."

Starting for the door, Derrick chuckled, "Come on, dudes. My 442 could take a Firebird off the line and in distance." Mike cracked up and hurried to follow Ben and Graham out the door.

Doug evilly grinned, "A challenge?"

"We'll give them a fair head start," Brian sniggered.

Closing the door behind him, Mike giggled, "Dee?"

Derrick spun around and smiled, "No way, Lick. Four-hundred cubic inches, four barrel carburetor, four speed manual transmission and dual exhaust; means there is virtually nothing in the last twenty years that can beat it." Climbing in the car, Derrick added, "Graham's already had one frightening experience this summer."

"Thank you," Ben softly smiled, "today's the first day of no nightmares or dreams." He climbed into the backseat.

Graham followed and assured, "We will make our goal, teddy bear." When Mike closed the passenger side door and got settled, Graham asked, "Can your band play any Pink Floyd, Mike?"

Turning the seat, Mike smiled, "We can, but since we don't have the right keyboards or tape loops, it sounds way different."

"Which songs have you tried?" Ben wondered.

"Wish You Were Here, Time and Money," Mike answered as Derrick pulled away from the curb.

Graham asked, "What's a tape loop?"

"That's how they did the cash register sounds in Money, and the clock sounds in Time," Mike replied.

Derrick nodded, "Those recording were done in the seventies, dude. Today, we would use digital samplers and loopers, if they weren't mega bucks and we could afford 'em."

"We'd still have to record the sounds too," Mike offered. "Like a dozen different ticking clocks and alarms going off, or coins dropping and old fashioned cash register drawers closing."

Graham chortled, "That would be wicked cool though."

"Sing a little for them, puddin'," Ben prompted.

Graham chuckled, "Really?"

Ben nodded, "Just a little bit, please?"

Graham stole a kiss then closed his eyes and recalled the song he had sung for Ben. Graham's left foot began tapping. In a few moments, while they were stopped to get on the 101 on-ramp, Graham sang;

Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

Can't keep my eyes from the circling sky
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

Mike smiled, "Damn good, dude."

Accelerating onto the freeway, Derrick nodded, "Excellent! You kept the melody, the tempo and remembered every lyric."

Graham chuckled, "I love that song. Every time I hear it, I'm in a plane. That's about the range of my voice though. That's why I sang it for Ben last night." Ben quickly adjusted his seating and lay down with his head resting on Graham's lap and proudly smiling up. Graham mooed and smiled, "Hi there sexy teddy bear."

"I love you," Ben whispered.

Mike and Derrick chatted about additional cover tunes the band could handle. In the backseat, Graham's right hand ran through Ben's hair while his left hand meandered around Ben's chest. From out of nowhere, in the far left lane of the 101, Brian's Firebird flew past the 442. Derrick laughed, "Jesus!"

Mike chuckled, "If we dared do that, ten cop cars would converge on us, like flies on shit."

Derrick joked, "Damned reckless geezers." Ben, Graham and Mike cracked up.

In another few minutes, Derrick stopped the car in front of Mike's house, behind the Firebird. Doug and Brian had already gone in the house and were getting a report from Mike's mother that they didn't need or ask for. Arriving next was Jessy, followed by Shaun and Gil. The latter two were very happy to find Graham there and with Ben. The prior day, Shaun had received a voice-mail message at home that was left by Eddie. Lastly, due to photographic overexposure issues, Prez's 4Runner pulled up to the curb. Ben and Graham helped Shaun get his new Carvin amplifier from the trunk of Shaun's car. While the gear was being moved out of the garage and into position, the band members were discussing some new tunes they could try out. Drew, Corey, Ben and Gil reminded the band that they had only that weekend and two more weekends before the audition.

Hearing drumming and the band tuning up, Doug and Brian came out of the house and stopped just before the line of monitors. Over the sound of the band, Doug shouted, "Gimme an 'M'." All six band members hummed into their microphones. Working to get the P.A. setup, Drew, Corey and Gil cracked up.

Brian asked, "What are the goals for today?"

"To get this band ready for the auditions," Drew loudly answered. "We learned last week, they can sing up a storm, but ask them to speak, and everything falls apart."

Nodding, Mike told Doug and Brian, "We have twenty minutes to play four songs."

In unison, Doug and Brian asked, "Which four?"

"Hold My Hand, then Give Me One Reason, followed by Sister Golden Hair and Open Arms," Prez replied.

Doug grinned, "Okay, we're the auditioners and we're timing you."

Brian said, "I want to hear a band introduction, song and lead singer introductions."

Slightly out of sync, all six band members chorused, "We know."

Derrick chuckled, "That was last week's learning experience."

Keith whispered to Prez, "Shake my stand, baby."

"Don't go there," Prez laughed.

Doug set the timer on his watch, pressed the button and said, "The clock is running. Let's hear it." He and Brian walked toward the mixer table.

Caught completely off guard and still laughing at Keith and Prez, Derrick sniggered, "Thanks for letting us audition today. Our band is called Old Habits. The first song we'd like to play is Hold My Hand, featuring our bass player, Prez O'Brian." He counted off the tempo and Shaun began playing his acoustic guitar introduction. Prez sang the lead vocals flawlessly. Mike's guitar playing went from crunchy twang to thunderous perfectly. Keith made a show of shaking the tambourine and moving closer to Prez to sing background vocals.

At the mixer, Doug and Brian helped Drew and Corey and listened. Both men congratulated Drew and Corey for doing an excellent job at setting the multitude of various controls on the mixer. The two men only made minor adjustments to the tom-toms' tones and to Prez's vocals. Ben, Gil and Graham paid attention to what was going on. While Shaun switched from acoustic guitar to his new Stratocaster electric, Keith introduced, "This next song is Give Me one Reason, featuring our keyboard player, Jessy Roberts." Derrick counted off and the band played the song.

Pulling a glass slide out of his pocket, Mike introduced Shaun and Sister Golden Hair. Lastly, Prez introduced Keith and Open Arms.

Derrick finished the practice audition by restating the band's name and thanking the auditioners for their time.

Doug pressed the button on his watch and announced, "Seventeen minutes and forty-two seconds. Well done. There were two places worthy of comment; the background vocals on Hold My Hand and Sister Golden Hair, especially the latter, need to be a little tighter. Your doo-wops are occasionally sounding like d-d-d-doo-wops."

Brian suggested, "The rest of you need to follow Shaun and Keith during the background vocals on those two songs."

"What's the plan for the rest of the day?" Doug wondered.

Jessy replied, "We wanted to run through the entire set list for you."

Derrick said, "Then take a break for lunch, and afterward, try a few new tunes out."

Doug nodded, "Take a couple o' minutes to work on only the ending refrain of Sister Golden Hair, with only acoustic guitar and snare drum accompaniment. Get the background vocals tighter, and then move on as planned."

Tapping Drew on the shoulder, Brian instructed, "While they work out the section, lower the main faders to half. That way we can hear them, but the whole neighborhood doesn't."

"Cool," Drew smiled, and did as he was told. Doug and Brian went to the garage and stepped over the monitors to assist the band.

Gil went to Ben and grinned, "It's shocking, isn't it?"

Tilting his head, Ben smiled and softly admitted, "I'm not sure what you mean. There are about a hundred things Graham has shocked me with."

Gil shrugged, "Big dudes like us, with slightly smaller, medium framed dudes."

Ben nodded and giggled, "Yeah, that's true."

"It took me about two or three weeks to get past it with Shaun," Gil smiled. "I always felt like I was crushing him."

Shaking his head and forming his hands into a 'T', Graham chuckled, "Time out. When Beanie first saw you with Shaun, he said, and I quote; 'What a friggin' wet dream Gil is'. A gay dude that's only looking for a certain body shape or cock size is trippin'. Hot and sexy is a matter of opinion."

"Yeah!" Drew sniggered. The three older boys cracked up. Drew nudged Corey and smiled, "Pay attention." Smirking and rolling his eyes, Corey planned to get even.

"As I was saying," Graham grinned, "If a string bean like Francis could notice, then I can and Shaun can too. Only due to circumstances, Francis and I never got to know you as well as we would've liked, Gil. The situation has changed. Ben had my undivided attention in the first thirty minutes. My attention and feelings for Ben have only grown in the last three days." Drew guided Corey over near to Ben and Gil then stood beside Graham, across from Corey. Locking eyes with Drew, Graham chuckled, "You have something to add?"

Drew nodded, "Corey's fourteen. I turn fifteen the end of this month. Corey's dad is about six-four and two-hundred plus pounds, but he played football in high school and college. Corey doesn't want to be as huge as his dad, and I'm totally cool with that, or I would be just as cool if he was that big."

Graham knocked knuckles with Drew and smiled, "Ben had my heart in the bag in less than twelve hours; it was mostly lost in the first six hours. I seem to recall a few things Shaun said privately to me. I'll put my own spin on it now; bigger dudes have bigger hearts in their bodies, but those hearts break just as easily as the Beanie's of the world."

"Look at Doug and Brian," Drew prompted. "Doug's a big, boxy, large framed dude. Brian's a taller medium framed dude. Switch it around, Cor. That's you and me in twenty years. What's inside matters most; it's everything we've ever done together that makes the difference."

Gil nodded and chuckled, "I know this now. It took a few weeks of incomprehension for me to realize Shaun wasn't bullshitting. It took weeks of noticing Jerry and Mack together and Graham with Francis. Size has very little to do with anything. Just because I'm taller, doesn't make me the aggressive one. He's the one taking the lead, whether his parent are home or not, ninety percent of the time. I have a thicker beard than Shaun, but that's not why he's on bottom more than I am. When it comes to sex, Shaun and I are on the same page. I'm not seeing a dude that's shorter than me. I'm seeing the dude I love out of bed doing things with me in bed, whichever ways we want to do it that time."

Grinning at Gil, Corey asked, "I have a personal question, if it's okay?"

Gil shrugged then grinned, "I've seen you with Drew enough to know you're there. Go ahead."

Corey giggled, "Does Shaun top for you?"

Gil nodded, "Every time I make it clear that's what I want. The first time, I was scared he wouldn't or couldn't, simply because I'm two-inches taller and about twenty pounds heavier. He not only shattered those worries, he was awesome and the worries evaporated. His medium frame and shorter stature makes no difference at all."

Graham smiled, "Are you hearing too, teddy bear?" Ben nodded and giggled, barely believing that he was now like Shaun, Gil, Drew, Corey and all the other couples he hoped to emulate. While Ben was coming to grips with his new place in life, Graham was sharing his plans for intercourse, causing Ben to blush harder and giggle louder growls. Again, Graham had the support of Gil, Drew and Corey. Drew went so far as to say, that if he were in Graham's shoes, it would take someone like Ben to get him off his ass and start acting on the feelings. Only to tease Corey, Drew backed away, stipulating, "It would take a blond Ben, but…" Corey mooed a warning and the chase was on. Ben, Gil and Graham cracked up.

Ben went to Graham to hide his blush. Doug and Brian walked out of the garage. Shaun wordlessly checked with Gil as to what had been happening. Gil blew a kiss. Shaun acted like he was hit with a baseball bat and staggered back a step then wobbled unsteadily.

Approaching the mixer, Doug grinned and wondered, "What happened to our sound engineers?"

Gil chuckled, "A misunderstanding?"

Graham laughed, "No, I think Drew's intention was completely understood by Corey."

Doug smiled, "Ah!" and then asked, "Who wants to work the board? I could, but it's not my job."

Gil asked, "What's the plan?" Ben gave Graham a kiss then led him to the mixer.

Brian answered, "The band will be playing the entire set list for the concert."

Ben said, "Gil and I can handle it until Drew catches Corey."

Turning up the main faders, Gil grinned, "Or Corey catches Drew. There's something exciting about the smaller dude capturing the larger."

Slightly out of sync, Ben, Brian, Graham and Doug chanted, "Yeah, I know."

Smiling widely, Gil gave the band the thumbs up gesture while Ben, Graham, Doug and Brian laughed. On his skateboard, Neil rolled up to the house and stopped at the driveway then walked to the front door. Lindsay let him inside.

Mike stepped up to his microphone and giggled, "Welcome to the Agoura Hills Summer End Concert Rehearsal. We're Old Habits, and as you know, old habits are hard to break." Derrick counted off and the band sharply began playing Scuttle Buttin'. At the end of the song, while people in the driveway and street clapped, Derrick introduced Mike, and then counted off for The Road. Between each song, the band members introduced one another as they ran through their entire set list.

Corey and Drew counted the gathered kids and adults as they approached the driveway. Many houses away and around the corner, people were outside listening and some were singing along or dancing. Seventy-two adults, teenagers and kids around the neighborhood seemed to be enjoying the rehearsal. Corey and Drew let Ben and Gil run the board, occasionally providing tips when necessary. In the meanwhile, Graham, Corey and Drew got to better know one another.

Covertly listening in, Brian and Doug got to know all three. Naturally, Doug and Brian chose to see more than the bodies of Corey and Drew. In Corey's aura, they perceived bright royal blue as the dominant color with some silver and pink. This surprised the two adult men. That meant that Corey was generous, on the right path, had a highly spiritual nature, and most shocking, Corey could be clairvoyant. Doug and Brian had to wonder how many of the other boys surrounding Graham late Wednesday night were clairvoyant. If only one other that personally knew Francis was there, it would explain a great deal. Whenever Drew spoke, the pink splotches around Corey grew larger and bounced with every giggle.

Drew's aura was interesting too; it seemed to have equal amounts of orange, silver, yellow and pink. To Doug and Brian, that meant that Drew was abundantly creative, intelligent, playful, easy going, and most significantly, was experiencing stress related to appetites or addictions. From listening, they realized that it was Corey's anorexia that was the cause of the latter stress issue.

Remarkably, auras ebbed and flowed inside and outside the garage. Not one of the teenagers was trying to control or dominate any of the others. None had any dark colors that might indicate illnesses or confusion. On this day and at this time, the only thing separating those inside the garage from those outside was distance. When all the boys and the one girl took a break for lunch, Doug and Brian watched the groups merge and their auras mix and grow. It was nothing less than phenomenal. The two men decided to make that day's lunch excursion so they could talk alone about what they had witnessed. They could also decide whether or not to say anything to any of them. Derrick and Mike would be likely candidates, but anything those two knew would be shared with Keith and Prez, and therefore, ultimately they would all know. Doug and Brian decided to talk with Laura Gibbons first.

Returning from their Burger King run for the teenagers, Doug and Brian couldn't believe their eyes. All eleven of them were playing in the pool, but there weren't eleven separate auras blending or occasionally touching; they had merged to one massive multi-color kaleidoscope. Something was going on here, but neither could figure out how or why. Reluctantly, they opened the gate and stepped into the backyard. Neither Doug nor Brian had to say a word; teenagers came out of the pool by the quickest method; the ladders, the stairs or simply by hoisting their bodies up along the side. The two men cracked up and wisely left the food on the table then went inside.

Doug and Brian found Laura Gibbons in the living room, chaperoning her daughter and Neil, who were more concerned with the puppy and kitten than what was on the television. Brian took Laura's place in the living room while Doug attempted to teach the mother of their young friend first how to see auras and then what they meant. From the kitchen window, Doug and Laura watched the teens eating outside. Laura started learning with Corey, since she knew him least. It took minutes of attempts and failure before she began to see colors around the youngest blond boy. It seemed that once Laura allowed herself to see one aura, she could see them all. What was surprising to Brian and Doug was overwhelming to Laura.

"It's amazing," Laura softly shared. "I can tell when one attention wavers and hears something from someone across the yard. They're all mixing so much, I can barely tell my own son from any of the others."

Leaning closer, Doug whispered, "That's why I wanted you to see it for yourself. If you think this is amazing, you should've seen them all in the pool at once. The water and air around them shone like it was radioactive. You can use this skill, Laura, to help your kids."

Laura wondered, "How?"

"Until you get to know the possible meanings of each color, just remember that light colors are good, and dark, muddy, murky colors are bad. That boy in the living room with your daughter, for instance. Look at him now."

Laura went to the living room and looked in. After a few moments she went to Doug and softly offered, "There are various shades of blue and a little pink."

"None of the blue is dark though. That means he really cares and wants to know Lindsay better. He doesn't give a damn that Brian is in there. The pink pops up when Lindsay says or does something that he especially likes. Today, he's a young teenage boy learning what it's like to care for a girl. Tomorrow, it might be different. Next year, let's say Lindsay is with a different boy, and that boy has a lot of murky red. That's an immature and dishonest boy, not to be trusted alone with your daughter."

Laura smiled, "What about those in the yard?"

Shaking his head and shrugging, Doug softly chortled, "That's just a remarkable show. Brian and I have had lots of teenage students over the last ten years or so, but we've never seen anything like it before. All I might suggest, for a parent to watch, is when the colors darken. What they might not be saying could cause harm, like with any kid. With this, you can be more certain when it's appropriate to push for answers or back off."

Mike noticed his mom at the kitchen window. A silvery-golden shaft sprung forth from her son so suddenly that Laura instinctively backed away. Doug helplessly chuckled. Laura grinned, "And the purpose of that was?"

"He wasn't attacking, Laura," Doug sniggered, "that's Mike saying hello and everything's cool. The silver means abundance and is prominent back there from Mike, Derrick, Keith, Prez and Graham. The various shades of pink mean they all like one another or are in love, depending on the shade. The more you watch this way, the easier it will be to determine what shade of what color has which meanings. What's so cool is the sharing. Even Jessy, the only straight girl, is sharing with ten gay boys. None of that back there is typical."

Laura grinned and sighed, "I never smacked Michael enough."

Doug laughed, "It's too late now. He'd only crack up and you'd hurt your hand."

Laura warmly smiled, "Thank you."

"You're very welcome."

"Why are you so golden?"

Doug chuckled, "My tan or my aura? The tan's from a month of vacation. The aura is from teaching you, Mike, Derrick, and to lesser extents, Keith, Prez, Jessy and Ben."

In the living room, Brian laughed, "Oops!" and Lindsay groaned. A moment later, Neil hurried into the kitchen with a leaking puppy and let it outside then closed the back door. At Neil's very dissatisfied grimace, Doug howled laughing.

Laura smiled, "Come wash up, Neil."

"He's not housebroken yet," Neil grumbled as he approached the kitchen sink with his arms out and up.

"Not yet," Laura giggled, and got the boy a towel.

From the window, Doug noticed the puppy had finished his business, likely all over Neil's hands and arms, but was now the center of attention in the yard. He went to the back door, opened it and yelled, "Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo?"

Mike hollered, "Wassup, Honky Cat?"

Doug grinned, "Come inside for a minute with the Sultan of Swing." Mike and Derrick stood, excused themselves from their friends and went inside. Doug prompted, "It's time to come clean. Show your mom what you can do."

"You're kidding?" Mike giggled.

Shaking his head, Doug instructed, "Look at your mother closely."

Derrick and Mike did as they were told, then looked at each other. Derrick shrugged and softly said, "Remember right after I moved in, there were cracked glasses and bent silverware?"

Laura nodded and smirked, "How could I forget? We never did figure that out."

"Well," Mike droned, "yeah, we did."

Derrick went to the light switch and flipped it on and off several times without touching it. He looked down at the trail of puppy pee, reached one hand down and pushed that into a puddle. Derrick grinned, "I can push stuff. When I'm outta whack, like after the crap with my dad, I do it without thinking about it or meaning to."

With his hands close together, Mike approached his mom and prompted, "Feel what's between my hands." Doug carefully watched Laura reach out and feel Mike's power-ball.

Unexpectedly, Neil reached a hand over too and gasped, "What the…"

Doug waited for Laura to lock eyes with him then smiled, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Everything electrical in the house turned off.

Lindsay hollered, "Mom, we tripped a circuit breaker."

In the living room with Lindsay, Brian softly asked, "Are you sure?" and then everything turned on again.

Lindsay grinned at the man she had only met once before, and then loudly giggled, "Never mind."

Dissipating his power-ball and dropping his hands, Mike grinned, "Why did you think we wanted to be there so badly, mom; to cook and clean? With Doug's and Brian's help, we learned way more than that; more than how to play and record music too."

Doug nodded and told Laura, "Mike, Derrick, Keith and Prez combined, took some initiative and very big risks to help Ben, Corey and Graham."

Derrick scowled, "How was it a risk?"

"Ask me later," Doug grinned. Lindsay came into the kitchen to find Neil and Brian followed.

Turning to Doug, Mike asked, "Have you figured out Keith and Prez yet?"

"Ask later," Brian and Doug chorused.

Noticing his mom's uncertainty, Mike chuckled, "Are you okay?"

Laura nodded, "I keep rethinking the same verse from the Bible; John 14:12."

Brian nodded and recited, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

With the puppy in his hands, Keith came in the back door. Mike asked, "What's up, bro?"

Handing Zeus to Lindsay, Keith smiled, "Aaron, Danny, Craig and Glen just got here."

Mike nodded, "On with the show." Glancing at Doug and Brian, Mike grinned, "Your help with some new tunes would be awesome."

Doug nodded, "We'll be right out, after we share a few more words with your mom."

"Cool," Derrick and Mike chimed, and then they led Keith back outside.

The four North Hollywood boys were the center of attention in the backyard. The reason they were late was that they had simply stayed awake too late and overslept. Now that the four Woodland Hills boys were together, Aaron hopefully asked, "Would you dudes do your thing for Danny, please?" Craig and Glen also pleaded for it to happen.

Keith balked, "You dudes know I'm still a little freaked over Prez passing out?"

"Keith?" Prez softly smiled. When Keith locked eyes with him, Prez silently assured, 'My mom says it would be okay, babe.' Nodding and sighing, Keith relented. Jessy, Shaun and Gil were clued in by Prez, since they hadn't witnessed it before.

Mike instructed, "All you need to do is focus your best thoughts and feelings on Danny. If praying gets you there, fine; just believe."

From the kitchen window, Brian saw Danny seated on a chair and the other fourteen taking positions to encircle him. Thrilled and also a little worried, Brian loudly interrupted Doug and Laura; "We have to go outside right now," and started for the back door. The three adults hurried outside.

Doug called, "Prez?"

Prez grinned, "Join us. This isn't a spectator sport."

Mike smiled, "Trust us, dudes. We know Danny needs it and why."

Mike repeated his instructions for his mother, Doug and Brian. Space was made for the three adults around the outer circle. Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick closed their eyes. Drew stood behind his brother; Corey took a spot behind Prez; Graham stood behind Derrick and Ben was behind Mike. Around those four were Gil, Shaun, Jessy, Aaron, Craig, Glen, Doug, Brian and Laura Gibbons. In moments, Danny felt warm tingling sensations and wiped tears from his eyes. Prez flinched and winced a few times, but never released Keith's or Derrick's hands. Keith, Mike and Derrick felt nauseous, but they all knew it was from Danny's abuses. Brian and Doug watched in quiet amazement as Danny's aura changed from browns and blacks to lighter reds and blues. Laura kept her eyes closed and recited rosary prayers from her Catholic school days many years ago.

With his eyes still closed, Prez softly shared, "My mom says that you need to stand and reach your arms out, Danny." Weeping and wiping his eyes, Danny stood and did as he was told; allowing tears to trickle down his face. More firmly than anyone expected, Prez ordered, "Let it go, Danny, right now. Stop holding it in. Aaron, you tell him."

Aaron shouted, "You don't want this filth, Danny. It's a cluster fuck from years of bullshit from the person you should've trusted most in the world. He's gone and I want you." At the top of his lungs, Danny wailed until he was drained and collapsed into the patio chair again.

"Free yourself now, Dan," Prez loudly commanded. "It's your choice to keep it or let it go, once and for all. You know the difference between dirty sex and love. Toss off the bad and keep the good." Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick stepped in closer, making all those behind them move closer too. Doug, Brian and Laura saw four auras change to sparking white and envelop Danny. Doug and Brian knew this wasn't normal, and had to wonder how four auras of various colors changed so completely and rapidly. Inhaling deeply, Prez smiled, "Everyone needs to show Danny that he's cared for, in whatever way he feels comfortable with." He released his hold on Keith and Derrick then placed his hands on Danny's shoulders, softly prompting, "Stand, bud." Standing directly in front of Danny was Mike. Crying and still weak, Danny stood and collapsed onto Mike. Softly chuckling, Mike held Danny up for a few moments until Danny flung himself onto Keith, and then Prez, and then Derrick. While that was happening, Drew, Corey, Jessy, Laura, Shaun, Gil, Graham, Doug and Brian offered their silent support with firm shoulder squeezes, handshakes or kisses on the cheek. When Ben stepped forward, Danny laughed through his tears and willingly embraced him.

Blushing and watching Graham, Ben whispered in Danny's ear, "It's better now, everything's in place, dude."

Witnessing their friend, who rarely hugged them, move from one set of arms to another, Aaron, Craig and Glen were certain that Danny had indeed been changed. With his arms open wide, Danny went to his three best friends and pulled them all in close against him. While the four North Hollywood boys were still together, Brian and Doug led Jessy, Shaun, Gil, Mike, Derrick, Keith and Prez toward the front of the house and into the garage. Trailing along behind them were Ben, Graham, Drew and Corey. Laura went back into the house to be with her daughter and try to understand all she had learned and witnessed.

In the garage with the band, Doug softly told Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick that he and Brian had witnessed all four of their auras change to pure white. Brian smiled, "That doesn't happen, so I have to ask, how?"

All four shrugged, but Mike, Derrick and Keith were all looking at Prez. "Stop that!" Prez laughed at his friends and lover. Shaking his head, Prez smiled, "From the first time, with Ben, I felt like my mom was telling me what to do and how to do it. All I ever expected was for Ben to feel included. When Corey needed to feel included too, we did it for him. Graham was as much a surprise to me as it was to anyone else. For Graham, who had just lost his boyfriend, and had a major argument with another friend, all I was thinking is, he's not alone with a house full of other friends. With Ben, Corey and Danny, I felt something from them. With Graham, I experienced nothing soon after I closed my eyes. I take no responsibility for what happens to any of them. All that matters is it makes them feel better, and I'm doing what my mom told me to do. As a matter of fact, when I agreed to try it for Drew, only so he could feel it for himself, I was quickly told to stop." Prez paused and shrugged, "It's always been all four of us. Without any one of us, I won't even try, because my mom said the very first time, it took the four of us combined."

Wrapping his arms around Prez, Keith smiled at Doug and Brian and confirmed, "Prez hasn't ever had any explanation better than that. If you want my opinion, it takes all four of us because we are that close." With that said, Derrick and Mike nodded then wrapped their arms around Keith and Prez.

Over by the keyboards, Jessy and Shaun started giggling then played the wedding march. All six band members cracked up.

The band ran through the Tom Petty song I Need to Know at Doug and Brian's request. In the driveway, Brian helped Drew set the digital effects for less echo regeneration on Derrick's lead vocals. Aaron, Danny, Craig and Glen came around front to listen during the second run through of I Need to Know. Following their set list, the band continued on from there with Forever Man, Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) and Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress, where more digital effects refinements were made.

Doug, Brian, Corey and Ben prompted Drew to join the band for Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now). Rolling his eyes, Drew knew he was in trouble and moved away from the mixer toward the garage. Shaun put his guitar down and went over by Jessy, who had already reset the synthesizer. Derrick softly counted the tempo. Bass, piano and synthesizer started the tune. With his hands in his pockets, Drew sang. Taking a lesson from Keith, Drew soon held the mic stand with one hand and moved it forward and back, closer and further from his mouth. Powerfully, Derrick's drum beats came in and Mike strummed his acoustic guitar. Jessy, Keith and Derrick provided backup vocals. Corey and Gil ran the mixer while couples paired up and slow danced in the driveway behind them. Doug and Brian were almost blinded by bright pink auras in the garage, the three couples dancing and Corey and Gil at the mixer. At the end of the song, much to Drew's chagrin, Doug and Brian approached the garage insisting that Drew sing that song at the concert.

"I run the damn P.A.," Drew loudly laughed.

Brian chuckled, "Before and afterward, yes you will."

"The presentation was phenomenal, Drew," Doug warmly smiled. "With Keith stepping up to back you up, with Shaun and Jessy at the keyboards, what we all see is a spellbinding performance."

With his brother, boyfriend and everyone else, inside and out of the garage, prompting him to sing that one song, Drew caved and laughed, "Alright already!"

Keith checked his watch then grinned, "There's one other song we're learning and you're singing, bro."

Rolling his eyes, Drew giggled, "What?"

"Land Of Confusion," Keith smiled.

"YES!" Corey and Ben loudly cheered.

Derrick chuckled, "It's not for this concert, but definitely, Drew, for the school dances."

Drew smirked, "Do I have a choice?"

"No, you don't!" A dozen other voices shouted.

Mike laughed, "Mini-Keith morphs into mini-Phil," and everyone cracked up, including Drew. Mike, Doug and Brian worked to get the band up to snuff. Corey lowered the main faders on the mixer. Doug worked with Prez, who soon started slapping the shit out of his Fender Jazz bass. Keith and Drew reviewed the lyrics and where backing vocals would come in. Brian worked on the keyboards parts with Jessy and Shaun. Shaun would provide synthesized rhythm to augment Derrick's drumming. In the driveway, Danny was the center of attention and happy to be there. He shared that dancing and hugs weren't his thing, but for the first times he was doing it and liking it. After about twenty minutes, Brian came out of the garage to help at the mixer. Doug remained in the garage to coordinate the first complete attempts to play the song. Initially, Doug led the band through only the music, without vocals. When the band members were happy, Drew was prompted to get ready. Corey turned up the main faders.

Derrick counted off and started with the opening snare beats then the whole band came in sounding really strong and tight. Drew sang;

"I must've dreamed a thousand dreams,
Been haunted by a million screams,
But I can hear the marching feet.
Ooh, they're moving into the street.
Now did you read the news today?
They say the dangers gone away,
But I can see the fire's still alight,
There burning into the night.

"There's too many men,
There's too many people,
Making too many problems,
And there's not much love to go round.
Just tell me why this is a land of confusion.

"Now this is the world we live in,
And these are the hands we're given,
Use them and let's start trying
To make this a place worth living in. Oh yeah!"

"Ah Superman, where are you now?
Seems everything's gone wrong somehow.
The men of steel, and the men of power,
Are losing control by the hour.

"This is the time, this is the place,
Where we look for the future,
And there's not much love to go round.
Just tell me why this is a land of confusion.

"Well this is the world we live in,
And these are the hands we're given.
Use them and let's start trying
To make this a place worth living in. Oh yeah!"

Clapping his hands with the snare beats, Drew stepped back, watching everybody in the driveway dancing and listening to the band during the middle instrumental break. Neil, Lindsay and Laura came outside and joined those out in the driveway. Neil and Lindsay immediately began dancing. Drew cleared his throat then stepped up to the microphone singing;

"Well I remember long ago;
Yes, when the sun was shining,
Ooh, when the stars were bright,
Ooh, all through the night,
And the sound of your laughter,
As I held you tight so long ago.
Oh, oh! Oh, oh! Oh, oh! Oh, oh!

"I won't be coming home tonight.
'Cos my generation will put it right.
We're not just making promises
That we know we'll never keep.

"There's too many men, there's too many people,
Making too many problems,
And there's not much love to go round.
Just tell me why this is a land of confusion.

"Now this is the world we live in,
And these are the hands we're given.
Use them and let's start trying
To make this a place worth living in.

"Yes, this is the world we live in,
And these are the names that we're given.
Stand up and let's start showing,
Ooh, just where our lives are going to. Oh yeah!"

Everyone in the driveway and street burst into loud applause, cheering and whistles. Shaking his head and giggling, Drew left the garage and went back to the mixer, where he was promptly hugged by Corey and received compliments from Lindsay, Mrs. Gibbons and all the other dudes there.

Derrick, Mike and Keith wanted to learn another song that day, specifically for Prez to sing; the Asia tune Without You. Once again, the faders were turned down. Brian went back into the garage to help get the song together. Brian helped Jessy and Shaun at the keyboards. Doug helped Mike and Prez with the bass and guitar parts. Sitting on an amplifier, Keith jotted down the lyrics in his notebook for Prez to read. When the lyrics were ready and Doug was finished with Prez, Keith took a few moments to work with his lover on a few important vocal tricks, so that Prez was fully prepared. As was done for Land Of Confusion, the band rehearsed the music first. Away from microphones, Keith helped Prez more with the lead vocals. It took a little longer to get everything together, but soon Prez was ready to try the whole tune. Brian stayed with Jessy and Shaun by the keyboards. Doug stayed with Mike to provide reminders. Corey turned up the faders and the song began with Jessy's and Shaun's keyboard parts. Mike played the first two power chords and then, reading from the notebook Keith was holding for him, Prez sang;

"Gazing at our sunrise
Reflected in your clear eyes
Misty morning forest smoke fires

"Make our way through the broken day
I couldn't stand to stay
Without you

"We must keep moving
While the light is clearing
Leaving your dark world behind you"

Danny shivered and started crying. What these new friends had done for him felt so good. Aaron, Glen and Craig surrounded Danny offering reassurances while the band continued playing and Prez sang;

"You have to run
Life has just begun
I'll never be alone
Without you

"One chilling bark
Come screaming through the dark
I saw the yellow moon at midnight

"And now you woke
Glowing in the smoke
I'm suddenly alone
Without you"

After a short yet powerful instrumental break, Derrick, Keith and Shaun sang the bridge with Prez.

"Wanting things the way they used to be
You don't know what that can do to me
One more day, maybe never
Might as well be forever"

The band played the main instrumental break and Mike played the guitar solo. Derrick tested his endurance keeping quick cymbal bell rings going while his right hand hit the tom-toms around his drum kit. Keith and Prez noticed Danny crying and surrounded by his three friends. Then Prez sang;

"Outside the light, fading as I write
And another night reminds me

"But as I sleep, memory that I keep
It's just another day
Without you

"It seems so long
I've been holding on
Since I felt my arms around you

"As time will go, both of us will know
Never be a day
Without you."

Applause and cheers didn't stop Prez from putting his bass down and going out to the driveway, where Danny was still surrounded by his friends.

Aaron chuckled, "Totally awesome, Prez."

"Thanks," Prez smiled, "but it wasn't our intention to upset Danny. Derrick, Mike and Keith chose the song over a week ago."

Wiping his eyes, Danny assured, "I'm fine, Prez; better than fine, in fact."

Prez nodded and softly said, "That was a pretty good first try and we need to play it again, but I'll leave that up to you."

"Yes," Danny excitedly laughed through his tears. "Play it again, and tell me which CD I need to buy tonight."

Prez grinned, "The first Asia disk, bud. It's as old as we are."

Danny nodded and giggled, "Who gives a shit? It's awesome, my favorite song now. Go play it again, for me."

Craig asked, "Are all your rehearsals like this, Prez?"

Prez chuckled, "Before lunch, we played our audition set and the full concert set. We've got two adult pros here, so we're taking advantage of that, since lunch."

Glen smiled and prompted, "Go play; it's quarter to three, dude."

With a nod, Prez returned to the garage where he assured his band mates that Danny was good and wanted them to continue. Better than the first times, the band played Without You once again, and then Land Of Confusion before calling it quits for the day. There were plenty of strong arms to help return all the equipment to the garage and the job was done in mere minutes.

Danny, Aaron, Craig and Glen made a point of thanking Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick with warm hugs and kisses on their cheeks. Aaron and Danny intended to try and make the next morning's rehearsal, but would have to leave before three. Glen was working the morning shift, so he and Craig wouldn't be back until the next Saturday. Aaron was surprised when Danny raced around hugging Shaun, Gil, Drew, Corey, Jessy, Doug, Brian, Graham and lastly, but most warmly, Ben.

Everyone went to their cars and engines were started. Ben and Graham decided to squeeze into the backseat of Brian's Firebird for the trip to Agoura Hills.

In the 4Runner and pulling away from the curb, Keith teased, "What're you trying to do, baby?"

Prez shrugged and giggled, "Help who I can where I can. It's up to Danny now."

Corey giggled, "Like he has any other choice."

Drew nodded and recited, "Wanting things the way they used to be. You don't know what that can do to me. One more day, maybe never, might as well be forever."

Keith chuckled, "A good swift kick to the nads would've been more direct."

Sliding down in the passenger seat, Prez sniggered, "Much more painful though. Then we would've had to help Aaron too."

"No," Keith sang while Drew and Corey rolled laughing in the backseat; "not again, for at least a week, baby."

Prez chortled, "But I'm batting seven-fifty, four times at bat and only one strike out."

"That wasn't a strike out!" Three voices shouted.

Drew giggled, "You hit a homer and then passed out!"

"I did not pass out," Prez softly chuckled. For the rest of the trip home, Prez playfully denied knowledge of having ever passed out. Corey howled while Drew and Keith raved on about the J.C. Penny's incident and the mysterious appearance of the exact bedspread they had been searching for.

Arriving at home, everyone agreed to be mellow and not mention any of these instances around mom. Jim and Jennifer Hundser had done the grocery shopping and were still in the kitchen putting things away when Corey, Drew, Keith and Prez walked in the house. When asked how rehearsal went, all four replied that it was good. Prez said that the band had learned two new songs. Corey added that Drew would be singing one of those new songs and Against All Odds at the concert. Giggling, shaking his head and leaving the kitchen, Drew swore he had never agreed to any such thing. Mooing his second warning of the day, Corey chased Drew directly to their bedroom.

Keith and Prez hurried to get ready for work, trying to ignore Drew singing Phil Collins' Hits to Corey in the next room. They said goodbye to their parents then left the house. Getting into the passenger seat of the 4Runner, Keith griped, "Rehearsal times are changing. We're done at two tomorrow, baby. An hour to make love is what I need right now."

Starting the engine, Prez nodded, "We're doing really good. Doug and Brian pointed out what we need to work on, so we'll concentrate on backing vocals. I think we especially need some lovin' now because we helped Danny." He pulled away from the curb and started for work.

Keith shrugged, "I'm honestly torn, Prez. Yeah, helping Danny, Graham, Corey and Ben felt good, but I have to admit, I'm being selfish, and on the verge of going into protect mode."

"I'm really perfectly fine, babe. You all think that I'm doing something when I'm really not. You, Derrick and Mike are part of a team that I can't do anything without. I don't feel tired, only horny."

Taking Prez's hand on the stick-shift, Keith asked, "Please take a break from it?"

"I will, I promise. From the first time with Ben, I've always heard my mom's voice in my head telling me when it's cool. When Drew wanted to try, I had to stop because she told me to."

Keith sighed, "You know I'd never interfere with anything between you and your mom?"

"I know that," Prez assured. "The same way we can hear each others' thoughts, I can hear her."

Keith gushed, "That reminds me; we need to demonstrate that for Randy tonight."

Prez smirked, "This is getting monotonous."

Keith laughed, "And helping people like we have been isn't?"

"True," Prez giggled.

"Working together at Black Angus makes proving it easy. We'll just admit when we're hearing each other, and a quick demonstration at the dishwasher to start it off."

"I'd really like to know why suddenly we can hear and feel Derrick and Mike."

"Just like you don't ask questions about how or why we're helping people, I don't ask those kinds of questions. I'm just happy its happening and leave well enough alone. I've got two brothers that I never hear. It makes us unique, Prez. What Mike and Derrick do is unique too. I don't want their gifts or to give them ours."

"I'd like to ask them how they feel about that. I don't want them ever feeling jealous or envious."

"Do it then."

"Later, after things are slow enough to allow conversations."

Keith leered, "After work, there won't be much talking."

Pulling into the Black Angus parking lot, Prez laughed, "You've got that right. Getting all worked up, singing ballads and then doing nothing about it sucks!" Prez and Keith got the windshield shade in place. As they got out of the car, Randy was pulling into a parking space. Keith and Prez went to Randy to start their demonstrations. Randy wanted to play 'pick a card' without a deck of cards. Keith thought of a card. Prez laughed, "Be serious, Keith!" Keith giggled and Prez roared, "The Jack of Hearts is not serious." Derrick's 442 pulled in near to where Randy, Prez and Keith were congregating.

Randy sniggered, "Okay, back-to-back you two. No fair passing signals."

Prez moved to stand behind Keith and immediately got his ass pinched. Prez jumped and giggled, "We do not end rehearsals with ballads ever again."

"I heard that!" Mike grinned.

Keith chuckled, "Rehearsals are done at two tomorrow and Monday, bro."

Derrick asked what game they were playing. Randy told him and then prompted Prez to pick a card. Shaking his head sadly, Keith giggled, "The seven of spades isn't serious either, sex-machine." Derrick and Mike cracked up.

Randy smirked, "Why isn't that card serious?"

Keith grinned, "I'm just shy of seven inches and what does a spade look like?" Randy groaned while Derrick and Mike roared.

Randy huffed and grinned, "One more chance; Keith, tell me something that can't be twisted."

Keith chirped, "Got it," and whispered in Randy's ear.

"The King of Diamonds," Prez quickly said, and then grinned, "Which still wasn't very serious."

Randy laughed, "Why not?"

Prez chuckled, "How easy is it to twist a diamond?"

Randy pouted, "I'm not playin' with you dudes," and started for the back loading dock.

Following with Prez, Mike and Derrick, Keith suggested, "Just watch me and Prez tonight, Randy."

Spinning around and walking backwards, Randy asked, "That'll help how?"

Keith smiled, "Helping with tables and customers once is chance, twice or three times is coincidence, beyond that, guess what's happening?"

"Cool," Randy grinned.

Mike teased, "If Keith and Prez prove it then you're skinny dipping in the pool tonight." Derrick, Keith and Prez evilly snickered.

Spinning around again to walk up the steps, Randy laughed, "I have not agreed nor disagreed, but if I'm sufficiently convinced, I'll show if you don't tell?"

Derrick reminded, "We've already seen and haven't told. That much you can count on, dude."

Randy nodded and chuckled, "Very cool. Explaining away child molestation charges isn't easy." Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike mooed through their giggles. They clocked in and went to work.

Over the hills, Doug was giving Ben a freebie guitar lesson in the living room. The first thing he showed Ben was the sheet music to the song Because by the Beatles. "The backing track resembles Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata," Doug explained and then played it on his Taylor classical guitar. After only a few measures, Doug showed Ben exactly what he was reading from the page. Doug then added the vocal harmony and showed Ben. Graham was sitting close by and watching when Doug gave Ben the guitar. Going through his usual routine of breathing and concentrating, Ben soon began slowly playing the tune.

During most of the lesson, Brian was back in the studio, listening to the tunes the boys had recorded over the last month. What he was hearing was both thrilling and frightening. On the computer's disk Brian found Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress, Hair of the Dog, The Rover, Heaven's on Fire and Without Her. The number of tracks recorded for Hair of the Dog was amazing; Mike and Derrick had tracked multiple drum parts, bounced them down to sets of stereo tracks and multi-tracked guitar parts too. The sound was as good as anything he had ever heard, including songs they had written and recorded on their own. Leaving the studio, Brian went to the kitchen to get something to drink. His instincts were to get the bottle of Jack Daniels out. Instead he settled for bottled spring water and listened to Ben play.

Doug looked over at Brian's twisted expression. So he wouldn't throw Ben for a loop, Doug softly asked, "Brian, what's wrong?"

Slowly shaking his head, Brian smirked and answered, "Damned kids, double, triple and quadruple tracking shit. Don't they know they're not supposed to do it so well?" Graham lost it and cracked up, breaking Ben's concentration, causing him to stop playing and giggle. Brian grinned, "Two days ago, I felt like twenty in Hawaii. Suddenly, I feel like thirty-six going on sixty-three."

Doug grinned at the hysterical boys and his aging partner. Standing, Doug suggested, "Let's hear what the boy wonders have done."

"Do I have to?" Brian moaned.

Holding a hand out for Brian to take, Doug chortled, "We'll deal with the brats later."

Brian, Doug, Ben and Graham went back to the studio. Doug sat at the computer desk, saw what was loaded and turned up the volume on the mixer then played Hair of the Dog. Feeling his blood pressure rise to new heights during the first four bars of drum introduction, Doug explosively sighed. Mike's guitar parts and Prez's bass part came in, and then Keith's vocals. Graham pulled Ben over and they started dancing. Seeing Ben dancing with his partner actually lowered Doug's spiraling blood pressure. About four minutes later the song ended and Graham smiled, "Awesome!"

Watching Brian roll his eyes, Ben giggled and turned to Doug. Looking closely at the tracks recorded on the screen, Doug groused, "Jesus Christ! They even identified where there were phase problems and pressed the switch to correct it. The effects are set perfectly. It sounds as good as the original record. I'll bet the tempo is on the mark too." Looking up at Brian, Doug complained, "Did we teach them to do this shit?"

Brian shrugged and sighed, "Got me by the balls." Collapsing against each other, Ben and Graham tried to mute their laughter with their shoulders.

Holding his eyes in their sockets, Doug smirked, "Ben, we're very proud of you. Graham, you're very cool too. We can see how much you guys love each other, HOWEVER, it's time to leave." Ben and Graham howled. Standing and waving the boys out of the room, Doug rambled, "Go home, make love, say hello to mom, and come back around eleven, so we think twice about killing Mike and Derrick with guitars and drum sticks." Ben and Graham never got the chance to stop giggling to say 'goodbye', 'thank you' or 'go shit your hat'. They were guided out of the house and the door was closed behind them.

Stepping off the porch together, Graham sniggered, "At least you got a lesson and they had a really good idea."

"Let's make love," Ben giggled, "quietly, so mom doesn't hear us."

Graham smiled, "We can do this, with the stereo and a lot of kissing."

"I wanted you alone so bad a couple o' times during rehearsal."

"Me too, teddy bear. I'm already gettin' a stiffy."

Ben groaned through more giggles, "Hi mom; bye mom, call us for dinner. I'm gonna burn in hell."

"With every other teenager," Graham sniggered. "I hear there's a special room."

Howling, Ben reached into his pocket for his keys, promptly dropped them and kicked them down the sidewalk, playfully wondering, "Is there a gays only room?"

Cracking up, Graham assured, "It's wall-to-wall jungle gyms."

Pausing to pickup his keys at the sidewalk in front of his house, Ben laughed, "I need to ask, if we spent the next few hours until dinner naked, alone in my room, what would you think?"

"I'd love it, teddy bear," Graham chuckled. "I want to see you, and you to see me, as often and as long as possible."

"You know I'll be hard most of the time?" Ben giggled.

Graham shrugged, "So will I. Francis and I couldn't do that very much, maybe a few hours once a month during our sleepovers. You and I can do that whenever we want. To make up for this morning, I really need to see you."

Noticing his mother watching from the kitchen window, Ben giggled, "We're being watched."

Without looking around, Graham smiled, "In the house, soon after we say hi to mom, I'm gonna kiss you deeply, in front of her. Return it, Ben. Show your mom where we're really at."

Considering it, Ben smiled, "Then we'll disappear in my room for two hours. It'll say an awful lot." Graham nodded and reached for Ben's hand. They went to the door. Finding it unlocked, Ben turned the knob and stepped inside. Margaret Healy was packing a box in the dining room. Ben asked, "You got boxes already, mom?"

Nodding and continuing her work, Ben's mom said, "There are a few in your room and more in the garage. We have only another month before we move. Start packing things you won't really need the next few weeks. I'm packing the china, because we have plenty of other plates. As we get closer to September first, more and more will be packed; stack the full boxes in the garage so the truck can get loaded quickly." She paused and scowled, "I checked into moving companies today; they're very expensive, even for the short trip from Agoura Hills to Woodland Hills. It would be much cheaper if I rented a truck from U-Haul for the day, but we'd need help."

Ben nodded, "I'll check with my friends to see if any of them could lend a hand."

"And I'll check with my friends," Graham offered. "We could have at least eight other dudes helping us that day."

Checking the calendar on the kitchen wall, Ben said, "The first is a Tuesday. Mike, Derrick, Prez and Keith would probably be free."

Graham nodded, "I'm pretty sure that Shaun and Gil would be working. I think Matt and Eddie might be available though."

Ben's mom smiled, "That's six strong boys. The job would be done in only hours."

Graham grinned, "Life just keeps getting easier," and pulled Ben into his arms, planting the kiss he had promised. Although he had been warned, Ben wasn't ready for the kiss. By the time Graham broke the kiss; Ben was ready to return it though and did so. Hearing his mother giggling and returning to packing the china, Ben broke his kiss then he and Graham looked at Ben's mom.

Noticing the boys watching her, Mrs. Healy smirked, "Do you think I don't expect that after last night's declarations?" Graham softly chortled. Focusing on her son, she said, "I was hoping for something of this sort a year ago, Ben. It took longer, but it seems it was worth the wait."

Ben nodded and giggled, "Graham is more than I ever dreamed, mom."

Mooing a warning, Graham chuckled, "You're son is my wildest dream too."

Turning redder, Ben loudly growled, "GRRR-RRR!"

Graham innocently giggled, "Brrr-rrr?"

Watching the boys shuffle together toward Ben's room, Mrs. Healy giggled, "Get some packing done too." Ben didn't get the innuendo, but Graham did and evilly snickered.

Closing his bedroom door, Ben giggled, "What's so funny?"

Leaning close, Graham whispered, "You never heard of fudge packing?"

"No."

"It's anal sex, teddy bear."

Pulling his head back from Graham's ear, Ben laughed, "Omigod!"

Graham softly chuckled, "This time, the dong is for you."

"What about you?"

"You're fingers will work fine. We've got another two days to get ready." Graham took hold of the bottom of Ben's T-shirt, started sliding it up and stepped back to pull it the rest of the way off. He wondered, "Do you wear sport shirts a lot?"

Ben shrugged, "When I have to dress in layers for cooler mornings and warm afternoons."

Graham sighed, "I want to see your chest more."

Blushing, Ben grinned, "I guess I'll have to do something about that."

"Please?" Graham softly asked, and then worked to remove Ben's shorts. When the task was done, Graham drank in all of Ben and smiled, "My sexy teddy bear."

"Is turning into a grizzly," Ben softly giggled, and then got Graham naked. They loaded the CD changer with four more disks, three were Graham's and one was Ben's. Ben hit the shuffle play button and led Graham to bed.

For a few minutes, they caressed, complimented and accidentally tickled each other. Graham leaned over to get the toy and lube from the night table drawer. Propping himself up on his left arm and remaining on his side, Ben continued tracing fingers around his boyfriend's back and buns. Flinching and lurching, Graham giggled, "I love you in grizzly mode too, ya know?"

Ben smiled, "I'm thinking of what you, Gil and Drew were saying earlier. I want to believe it, but I'm not sure."

With the toy and bottle in his hand, Graham rolled onto the bed and asked, "Do you want me to prove it to you?" Ben nodded. Graham planted a tender kiss then said, "Everything I do to you, I want you to do to me, okay?"

Ben nodded, "Okay."

Putting the toy and lube aside, Graham then pushed Ben flat and straddled his hips. "This will be like our first times," Graham explained, and reached back, pulling Ben's cock up to lay in the crack of his ass, and then fully rested all his weight onto Ben. "That's all of me, and this is me pushing down more to get more of your bone inside me." Instinctually, Ben's hips thrust up. Graham giggled, "Yep, exactly like that, and I'll start bouncing, like this." Doing so, Graham reminded, "You have to do this exactly the same way to me, teddy bear."

"I'll try."

"I'll make sure you do too," Graham assured, and then rolled off to one side. He picked up one of Ben's legs and then the other to move into the missionary position. With Ben's legs up on his shoulders, Graham smiled, "This is the most awesome way to make love; face-to-face, eye-to-eye and mouth-to-mouth." Pushing down further, Graham stole a kiss and Ben grunted. Graham nodded, "It's awesome to start or finish like this, but staying bent in half for the whole thing gets pretty uncomfortable."

"What do you mean when you say 'gets'?"

"We're cumming fast now. It'll take longer the more we do it. So we'll have to move around." Kneeling and putting Ben's legs down, Graham prompted, "Roll onto your right side."

Doing so, Ben wondered, "Why my right side?"

"Because we're both right handed and jack-off with our right hands," Graham answered as he lay down behind Ben. "Beating off during intercourse is awesome, too awesome most of the time. If we're on our right side, we can't easily do that." He reached down to lift Ben's left leg and shuffled closer; with his cock poking at Ben's backdoor. Graham and Ben began giggling. Graham admitted, "Mister Dickie knows where he wants to be."

Ben cackled, "I can tell!"

Graham kissed Ben's neck and instructed, "Hold your leg up." Ben did as he was told and Graham wrapped his left arm over Ben's torso, saying, "This is a really good position. When we're actually making love like this, we can still kiss and talk."

"We'll talk too?"

"A lot," Graham promised. "I'll be saying things about how I feel and you'll be telling me how you feel too. As time goes on, we'll talk about everything while making love, not just how we feel doing it, but anything else we feel needs to be said. Get on your hands and knees."

Rolling away and assuming the position, Ben asked, "Is this okay?"

Graham nodded, smiled and demonstrated while explaining, "With your legs close like they are, I'll squat and hold your hips or just lie on your back." Moving back and kneeling down, Graham said, "Now spread your legs wide." Ben spread his legs until he felt Graham's cock between his cheeks, like during their crack slides. Pointing his bone at Ben's target, Graham asked, "Can you spread a little wider and get lower?" Nodding, Ben did so until he felt Graham's hot flesh and gasped. Pushing his cock down lower toward Ben's scrotum, Graham held Ben's hips and started thrusting against Ben, slowly getting more force and power going. Graham instructed, "When I push forward, you push back against me."

Getting the rhythm and doing so, Ben giggled, "Omigod! It already feels good just like this."

Before he got carried away, Graham rolled away and lay beside Ben. Smiling up at his lover, Graham shared, "Those four basic ways are how we'll start. We'll find some more of our own that we like. It's your turn now."

Ben smiled, "You know how scared I am right now?"

Graham nodded, "That's why we're playing this game. We'll play it again tonight and tomorrow. You'll see; I can take all you have to give. Ride me, my love."

Nodding, Ben shifted over Graham, but remained hunched over at first to place a few tender kisses. Loving it and groaning, Graham held Ben's hips and firmly pushed down. Whimpering uncertainly, Ben went with it and pushed up off the mattress, such that his entire body was over Graham's hips. Their eyes locked and Graham kept pushing down on Ben's thighs. A little at a time, Ben lowered down onto Graham. "All your weight, teddy bear," Graham gently reminded.

"Tell me when it hurts."

Graham smiled, "It won't hurt, Ben. Right now, I feel your hairy nads brushing my bone. I love it, but that's not what I want or what you need." Never losing eye contact, Ben lowered the rest of the way down. Graham nodded, "Now pretend you're trying to get me in deep and push down against me." Preparing to fly off Graham and the bed, Ben did as he was told. Graham's smile widened and he purposefully bucked his hips up. "Yeah," Graham chortled, and bent his legs at the knees to give Ben a really good bounce. Ben did bounce up, but controlled lowering down again. Graham grinned, "Like it's the real thing, Ben. I push up and you slam down."

"Slam?"

Graham nodded, "My dickie will be inside you. You want to keep it there as much as I want it there, right?"

Ben checked, "Nothing has hurt?"

"Not a bit," Graham confirmed, and then instructed, "Play the part, like it's real."

Ben lowered all the way down and ground his butt against Graham. Graham pushed up and Ben dropped down, grinding again. The next time was better and the time after that was even better. Soon, Ben was giggling with relief. Graham beckoned Ben to lean forward with his index finger, chuckling, "Come here." Ben leaned down and Graham gave away a passionate kiss then raised his hips and started thrusting like mad against Ben's ass, moving Ben's entire body. Wrapping his arms around Ben's back, Graham kept bucking his hips and smiled, "Now you see why I think this way first would be good?"

Rapidly nodding, Ben giggled, "We can kiss and hold each other close."

"Now you take over. Put my legs on your shoulders and bend me in half."

Grabbing one more passionate kiss, Ben then did as he was told, again giving Graham more of his weight in small increments. Ben smiled, "You're really fine?"

"I'm more than fine, Ben. I love you and can barely wait for this to be real. Now pound my butt."

Ben giggled, "Fudge packing practice," and slowly bucked his hips. Realizing his cock was sliding against Graham's scrotum, Ben confirmed, "Your nads are fine too?"

Graham nodded, "I feel your cock sliding over and around. It's awesome."

"I could easily finish just like this," Ben giggled.

"Not this time," Graham cackled. "Take me on our sides and then doggie-style." Ben knelt down and kissed each of Graham's legs before lowering them to the mattress. Graham mooed then giggled, "Stuff like that makes me shiver, you sexy grizzly bear."

Ben softly chortled, "Yeah? I'll make sure I do it every time then."

"We're gonna last a very long time," Graham smiled, and then rolled onto his side. He lifted his left leg. Ben shuffled behind and pointed his cock down then shifted closer. Twisting at his waist, Graham flung his left arm over and around Ben then stole a quick kiss.

Ben wondered, "Why didn't you have me do that?"

Graham smiled, "I didn't think of it at the time. Leg kisses kind o' led me here. I think this will be part of our good morning phases very soon."

"I've been thinking about whether I like holding you while we sleep, or do I like being held more. I can't make up my mind."

"You don't have to. Either works for me."

"Do you always sleep on your side?"

"When I'm alone, I wind up waking on my belly. My dickie likes a warm place to rest and my butt likes having a dickie there too."

Ben giggled, "We're gonna be in so much trouble when we really do start having intercourse."

Graham laughed, "I knew that the first morning. It's gotta be a weekday, so we have plenty of time and no parents around."

"Do you really want to be bottom and top?"

Graham nodded, "I'm gonna be whatever you need me to be, Ben. This is where all comparisons completely fly out the window. When it comes to sex, we aren't going to be like any other couple. What made you ask?"

Ben shrugged, "Our friends; they've said that they swap positions. Prez and Keith say they like to keep it pretty even. Mike likes bottom more than top. Eddie is bottom more than top."

"How we'll be, only time will tell. It might change over weeks; where I'm bottom for you almost every time for a while, and then you'll want to be bottom for a while. Whatever we need and want is up to us. Ya wanna know what I really think?"

Ben nodded, "What?"

"We'll probably start pretty evenly; getting comfortable and discovering our favorite positions. After that, I think you'll probably want to be bottom for a while."

Hanging his blushing face, Ben giggled, "I think you're right."

Lifting Ben's chin, Graham smiled, "Whatever you need, Ben. When it's my turn to be bottom, you'll know it, and I'll get some real grizzly bear action. I loved feeling you on top of me. Are you ready to try doggie-style?" Ben nodded and they moved around. Graham kept his legs close together as Ben had. Hearing Ben humming, Graham looked over his shoulder and grinned.

Standing up, Ben giggled, "Now I see why you had to squat. It won't work any other way."

Graham chuckled, "Yep. If you were way taller and had longer legs, maybe you could stay on your knees. What size inseam are your jeans?"

"Thirty-one inches," Ben answered, and moved into position.

Graham nodded, "I'm thirty-one and a half inches. My dad's five-ten, so I'm probably near as tall as I'll get."

Holding Graham's hips and sliding around, Ben nodded, "I think I may be finished growing too. My dad's five-nine."

"Push hard against me," Graham prompted. "That way I'll know what to expect from you, and can brace myself."

Doing as he was told, Ben had to stop after only five forceful thrusts and giggled, "I'm getting real close."

"I love it," Graham chuckled, "Go for it, teddy bear."

Shaking his head and standing, Ben giggled, "We have to move. I almost came."

"Okay," Graham giggled and spread his legs. "I got real close too. Let's get this final bit done. Get lined up and then we'll take a break." Ben knelt down and kept his hands off his cock, choosing instead to massage Graham's back and buns, looking deep into his lover's crack. Graham groaned then whimpered, "You're making me so crazed."

Ben giggled, "I can't touch my dickie, so I'm touching you instead. Lower down a little more."

Looking back, Graham smiled, "Straight in or a little bit down is better than a little up."

Ben nodded and pointed his bone at Graham's asshole then prompted, "Lower."

Spreading his legs more, Graham said, "Let me feel your dickie so I can adjust." When Graham felt what seemed right, he looked back and confirmed, "Is that good for you?"

Ben nodded and giggled, "Awesome."

Flinging himself down onto the bed and carefully rolling over, Graham patted the bed, chuckling, "Right here, my love." As soon as Ben lay down, Graham rolled and cuddled up close. He warmly smiled, "That was so much fun. I love you, Ben."

Ben giggled, "Even though I almost lost it?"

Shaking his head, Graham assured, "Because you almost lost it. I never did that with Beanie; we just went for it and learned the hard way. With you, this was so right and so great; I almost told you to take me, Ben. I loved it and you that much."

Inhaling deeply and feeling their bond swell more; Ben placed a few kisses before he started crying. Graham returned tender kisses and soon their tongues were dancing and flicking around. Ben pulled Graham over on top of him and they kissed passionately. When the kiss broke, they contentedly sighed and rested, basking in warmth and comfort for a few more minutes.

Graham started licking Ben's neck. Cringing at the unexpected activity, Ben giggled, "Silly graham cracker!"

Graham's head popped up and he devilishly grinned, "I call it a mouth and tongue massage. Prepare yourself." Graham went to work around Ben's neck and throat. Ben was already giggling himself purple by the time Graham moved to Ben's chest. Taking special care to lick the chest hairs in the correct direction, Graham finished each pectoral with a gentle nipple nibble, causing Ben to cover his mouth with both hands and loudly yelp. Tongue bathing Ben's belly, Graham giggled, "The best is yet to come."

Ben laughed, "What're you planning?"

Only letting up his tongue action long enough to answer, Graham teased, "Do you really want to know?"

Ben hummed uncertainly then giggled, "Do I need to ask my mom to find my life insurance policy?"

Graham sniggered, "Probably."

Writhing around, Ben cackled, "Omigod! Please tell me!"

Graham grinned, "For me, the best part is licking each of these little hairs around your belly button and treasure trail. For you, the best part is me lickin' your dickie and nads and then…"

Ben breathlessly laughed, "Then what?"

"Then I'm gonna get your toy, bend you in half and slowly pop each one of those itty-bitty segments into your butthole. You're not allowed to touch your dickie. It's mine."

Ben roared, "GRAHAM!" Softly chortling, Graham did everything he said he would and gave his special teddy bear the thrill of his first anal rim job. Only Graham's spit was used on Ben and on the toy. Graham made certain to use the toy to loosen his lover's sphincter in preparation for real intercourse. Ben's brain was oatmeal well before he climaxed in Graham's mouth.

Resting mostly on top of Ben, Graham proudly watched him shiver and moan through his recovery and softly assured Ben it was nothing less than spectacular for him as well. When Ben recovered, he rolled over on top of Graham then growled loud and long. Noticing a maniacal glare in Ben's eyes, Graham giggled, "Teddy bear? My special love? Hello?" Without saying a word, Ben quickly had Graham bent in half. Firmly holding Graham's legs still, Ben started his payback at the toes and feet; an idea he had heard from Corey and never thought he'd actually try, but circumstances dictated it.

Out in the living room and finished with her packing for the afternoon, Margaret Healy was checking her purse. She had forgotten to take meat out of the freezer and was considering what to get from the market. Over the sound of the television and her son's stereo, she heard Graham scream "BENJAMIN! NOOOOOO!" and then her future son-in-law's loud cackling laughter.

She grinned and sighed, "They're not getting any packing done, obviously." Without bothering to disturb the boys, she changed shoes and went out the front door. It was just as well too. Graham only got louder from tongue tickling that went down the back of both legs.

Since he had been rimmed, Ben took those first tentative licks around Graham's backdoor. Since it wasn't gross or revolting and Graham desperately moaned "Oh, Ben, yes," Ben kept trying different things around the anus, occasionally nibbling a butt cheek simply to give his tongue a few seconds rest. Graham was gasping and cooing so quickly, he began feeling dizzy, like he was hyperventilating. Wetting his index finger with spit, Ben carefully and gently inserted the digit. It was a wondrous experience, watching Graham's erection bounce in tempo with the increasing and decreasing pressure on his finger. For the first time, Ben added a second finger and probed Graham's insides. Not realizing what he was doing, Ben was surprised when Graham whimpered, "Omigod, I'm getting so close."

Since his left arm was holding Graham's legs in the air and his right hand was fully occupied as well, Ben softly ordered, "Gimme your dickie, puddin'."

Graham pushed his cock between his legs and Ben took it in his mouth. Grasping handfuls of blanket and sheet, Graham bounced and thrashed, completely thrilled with all Ben was doing. In those moments before he climaxed, Graham thought, 'Beanie wouldn't let me eat his ass, but here's this fucking incredible virgin that allowed it, reciprocated fully and now he's massaging my prostate, as good as any cock or toy, with his fingers. He can't know. He must know. Does he… he know… what... he's doing… to me?' Graham grunted and lost it.

Ben tried to swallow it all, but it was forceful and some dribbled out the corners of his mouth. He waited for the throbbing in his mouth and the contractions on his fingers to cease then released Graham's bone and carefully removed his fingers. Lying down beside Graham, Ben was surprised that his lover rolled to face him so quickly and covered him in kisses. Between kisses, Ben giggled, "Happy now? My mom had to have heard us."

Lowering his face to Ben's chest and holding on tight, Graham loudly giggled, "BRRR-RRR-RRR-RRR!"

"Grrr?"

Graham sighed and smiled, "Tell me you know what you just did."

Ben giggled, "Just payback, puddin'."

Shaking his head, Graham laughed, "No. You really don't know, do you?" Ben only grinned and shrugged. Wrapping Ben in his arms and squeezing tight, Graham had to stop laughing and catch his breath. He looked up then hollered, "I am the luckiest dude in the whole world!"

"Second luckiest," Ben countered.

Shifting completely on top of Ben, Graham smiled, "You know what the prostate is?"

Ben nodded, "Sure, fluid from the prostate mixes with sperm from the testicles and makes up semen."

"That's right, but there's more to it, teddy bear. Part of the reason anal sex feels so great is because the prostate is being pressed over and over again. That's what you just did for me. For the very first time, I had an orgasm that was at least ninety percent from your talented fingers. I'm the luckiest dude in the world because you're the virgin that doesn't act like one. You must've waited too long or somethin'. Your fingers are awesome, your oral and anal talents are mind shattering, you kiss like no one else, and you listen and actually pay attention. I gave you a couple o' opportunities to slide your cock into me, but you didn't, because you know how I feel and how I'd like it to be. You make me feel like the luckiest dude on Earth."

Ben giggled, "I wasn't really expecting you to lose it."

"Because you did without knowing what it was you were doing."

"You're still second luckiest, Graham," Ben assured. "You had to go through a month of hell before we met. I'm luckier, because I just happened to be the person you wanted to share with. What I do alone with you is what I've always wanted to do. The thought of taking you crossed my mind as a flash and it was gone. I want intercourse with you. I want you calling my name, not Francis or Beanie. I don't care when it happens, I'm just happy knowing it will, when you're ready."

Graham giggled, "Remember me saying I was attached to you like a leech?"

Ben nodded and giggled, "Yeah, I loved that idea."

"It's way worse now," Graham laughed. "With you holding my hand, and knowing that you're my boyfriend and lover, I could walk past the sexiest naked stud and his twelve inch cock and just say, 'nice tool, dude,' and then keep on walking. I get to go home with you. I get surprised over and over again, every day for three days now."

"I love you, Graham, and I always will."

"I'll always love you too, Ben. Every time your little inner voice tells you it's not real, that it won't last, know that it's wrong. I'm all yours, forever."

Squeezing Graham tightly, Ben smiled, "I so want that; I don't want to ever argue with you about anything."

Finger combing Ben's hair, Graham assured, "Disagreements aren't worth worrying about either. Who wanted to leave the restaurant last night?"

"Me."

"Do you see it, Ben?"

"Maybe… I think so, but I'm not sure."

"You always tell me the truth, teddy bear. Even when it's uncomfortable for you, you still tell me. I know you pretty damn well because of that. You didn't want to make a scene or upset my folks, so we talked in the men's room. Disagreement halted, problem resolved. It could've been way different, but that's not you."

"Holy crap, you're right."

Graham nodded and sniggered, "Who growled warnings while I was on the phone with Mike and saying more than necessary?"

"Me, but that wasn't a disagreement."

"Because we didn't let it become one. I was bein' silly and you called me on it. I was chased, tickled and then lifted onto a counter. If that's not good enough of an example; how about this morning, with Gil, Corey and Drew? Alone, you told me how you felt about that. What did you expect me to say or do?"

Ben shrugged, "I don't know, but not what happened, that's for sure."

"My first arguments with Beanie were over his feelings about affection and sex at his house. I tried to make them seem less important and he put his foot down hard. I had two choices; I could bend to make him more comfortable or call it quits and walk."

"So you bent."

Graham nodded, "Like you did at the restaurant for me and my folks. Do you get it now?"

Ben nodded and smiled, "Talking is better than yelling."

Graham grinned, "Most of the time."

Ben wondered, "When is yelling better?"

Graham chuckled, "When there's no other choice. Like when some insanely ravenous grizzly is muchin' on my tootsies!"

Ben giggled, "You tickled me first!"

"That's the kind of payback I want and love."

Margaret Healy decided that going to the market and cooking would mean a late meal. She didn't want to cook and clean for the next several hours, so she decided to go to Boston Market for ala carte dinners. She returned with broiled chicken, meatloaf, whipped potatoes, macaroni-and-cheese, corn-on-the-cob and green beans. Once the table was set, she knocked on her son's bedroom door and called, "Dinner, boys."

With Graham still draped over him, Ben loudly answered, "We'll be right there." He then softly gasped, "Shit! We didn't pack anything."

Rolling off Ben and the bed, Graham softly sniggered, "Sure we did, almost, well we could've, but we didn't, still we will, real soon." Sitting up on the edge of his bed, Ben cradled his face in his open hands and cracked up. Pulling his shorts up and leaving his goods hanging out, Graham did his happy dance, making his dick flop around, and making certain Ben saw him.

Ben loudly laughed, "Stop that!" He shouted at the ceiling, "You left behind a lunatic, Francis!"

Graham pulled his goods into his shorts and zipped up, grinning, "He says, 'too bad, so sad, all yours now, later'. He said that all the time."

Getting into his shorts, Ben giggled, "I'm sure he did."

Graham smiled, "It's true. 'Too bad, so sad' was one of his favorite comebacks, then he'd dash away before I could tickle him." Once again, he put Ben's shirt on and tossed the shirt he had worn to Ben. Graham softly chuckled, "You're blushing already?"

Ben giggled, "Just warming up. I screamed your name and you screamed mine. If she says anything, I might slide under the table."

"I'll meet ya there," Graham sniggered. Ben slid the T-shirt over his head, tried to fix his hair in the mirror and then followed Graham out of his room. Seeing a table filled with food, Graham smiled, "Awesome! Thank you, Mrs. Healy. I'm starved."

Mrs. Healy smiled, "You're welcome, but thank Boston Market. I wasn't in the mood to cook a late dinner and clean until nine o'clock."

Glancing around the room, Ben sat and asked, "Only this one box, mom?"

"I took three others out to the garage," Mrs. Healy explained. "That one was too heavy for me to lift."

"We'll get it right after dinner," Graham promised.

Soon after everyone had been served and started eating, Ben's mom wondered, "Is there anything else on your agenda tonight?"

Ben shrugged, "A late trip over to Doug's for a little while."

Graham smiled, "Mike and Derrick made some recordings. Now, Brian and Doug feel old and inadequate." Mrs. Healy softly chortled past her food.

Ben offered, "Doug was showing me how I could play more popular songs on my guitar."

Graham nodded, "You need to practice too tonight. Then we'll take a sunset stroll around the park. Even after you move, we're coming back here for occasional sunset walks."

Mrs. Healy smiled, "That's very romantic."

"I've always liked watching sunsets," Graham admitted. "They've become more important again, thanks to Ben."

Ben grinned and thought, 'There's the first shot. Now how can I get him back?' Remembering school and the move, Ben innocently told his mom, "Guess I need to start going through the clothes in my closet and dresser." Focusing on Graham, he grinned, "I've got a few sport shirts that may or may not fit. You'll help me?" Rapidly nodding, Graham giggled around a mouthful of food, as if nothing would please him more.

For the rest of dinner, Mrs. Healy almost felt like a referee. Ben would sneak in a compliment for Graham. Graham turned around and complimented or teased Ben mercilessly. Ben's mom smiled and watched the two boys trying to out-do each other; Ben played this on his guitar; Graham sang that for Mike and Derrick; Ben did this, Graham said that. She could barely take it. Even when she finished her dinner and left the table, the banter continued. She went out to the garage, to retrieve a few more boxes to fill that night, and returned to find the boys clearing the table and loading the dishwasher, but the words were replaced with hugs, squeezes, pats on the ass and endless giggling.

With the housework done, and the big box moved out to the garage, Ben and Graham returned to Ben's room. They started going through Ben's shirts; sorting them into two piles; the 'fits and Graham likes' pile, and the 'doesn't fit or Graham don't like it' pile. In the kitchen making tea, Margaret Healy witnessed Graham fondling her giggling son's chest. Over the stereo and TV, she couldn't make out what was being said and hurried out of the kitchen with her tea before she was caught.

Ben blushed and grinned, "Maybe we should've closed the door? My mom just rushed into the living room."

Graham smiled, "We're not doing anything, teddy bear."

Looking down at Graham's hands on his chest, Ben giggled, "Umm?"

Leaning close to Ben, Graham whispered, "Is your dickie getting hard?"

Shaking his head, Ben smiled, "Yours?"

Graham sighed, "Nope; just enjoying you."

"It's filling me up again."

Graham nodded and grinned, "This shirt's a keeper," and smoothly slid his hands up to Ben's shoulders to remove the shirt.

"It's kind o' dark, don't you think?"

Graham nodded, "I'm picturing you in shorts I've seen you in, khaki and olive drab, plus blue jeans." Dropping the shirt on the 'fits' pile, Graham asked, "What other color shorts have you got?"

Ben went to his dresser and opened his two drawers with shorts, saying "Navy blue shorts here, and over here, three pair of board shorts."

Graham shuffled through three pairs of tan, blue and grey boardies then saw two other pair of navy blue cotton shorts and pulled them out, asking "And these are for?"

"Sleeping mostly," Ben replied.

Returning them to the drawer, Graham chuckled, "They won't be getting much use until December, if at all." He faced Ben and said, "What I'm imagining is contrasting shirts that go with your shorts and jeans. Khaki is light, so a dark brown or dark blue shirts works. Do you ever wear anything other than blue jeans?"

"Generally not," Ben answered, and pulled Graham to the closet. "I have this one pair of khaki cargo jeans and four pair of painter's blue jeans." Glancing through the closet, Graham also saw two pair of grey sweatpants and two navy blue sweatshirts. "Those are for P.E.," Ben offered. "The last three years, I've had P.E. first or second period."

"Chilly mornings," Graham nodded.

"First period P.E. sucks. Who wants to function and move at eight in the morning?"

Graham teased, "You didn't know about the phases. Three days in a row, I had you fully functional right after we woke." Blushing and giggling, Ben pulled the last two sport shirts out of his closet and held them up against his body, waiting for Graham's opinion. Taking the brown long-sleeve shirt and tossing it to the 'discard' pile, Graham prompted, "Try that sky blue one on."

Pulling the shirt on, Ben smiled, "You have a lot of clothes, and a much larger closet."

Graham nodded, "I need to do this same chore with you later this week. I'll bet half the stuff in my closet and dresser doesn't fit any more." He walked around Ben and scowled then pulled at the shirt shoulders and asked, "Does it feel tight?"

Ben shrugged, "A little, but not too bad," and began buttoning up. He left the collar button and the next one down undone, the way Graham liked it.

Graham nodded, "Keep that one, but if your shoulders or chest grow, it's gonna be too tight. Nobody's gettin' to scope out my teddy bear for free, unless I say so."

Ben giggled, "So Eddie get's free scoping rights?"

Graham nodded and chuckled, "All your friends and mine do, automatically."

"Why?"

"In the pool today, I was proud as hell, Ben. It was couples and one straight girl. I did everything except come right out and say, 'Check out my boyfriend. Is that a hunky bod, or what? Underneath is so much sensitivity and warmth.'"

Taking the shirt off, Ben giggled, "So you were showing me off?"

Graham nodded, "As much as I could." Taking the shirt from Ben, Graham took it to the pile of shirts to be kept. Noticing the 'discard' pile was larger, he started counting the 'keep' pile. He hummed then smirked, "Six T-shirts and five sport shorts. That's barely a wardrobe for a week." Pulling Ben close, Graham smiled, "As soon as I have wheels, we're going shopping for a few extras."

Ben sighed and smiled, "Please don't spend your money on me, Graham."

Graham grinned, "Just a few extras, teddy bear; maybe fifty bucks, two or three Tees and a sport shirt. It's for me as much as it is for you. You're gonna be spending half your time at my house, so you need some clothes there."

Ben asked, "Did you buy clothes for Francis too?"

"All the time," Graham assured. "If he liked it, he got it; sometimes immediately; sometimes as presents. Later this month, we'll go school clothes shopping with our friends, like we planned."

Beginning to hang things up and load his closest again, Ben smiled, "Do you wanna start our walk early?"

"Shirtless," Graham nodded. "It's warmer here than in Woodland Hills."

"You know I usually keep a shirt on?"

"I figured that."

"What about free scoping rights?"

Taking his shirt off, Graham chuckled, "Two for the price of one." Ben whimpered then giggled.

At Black Angus, Randy was at the dishwasher emptying buckets with Mike and Derrick. Randy grumbled, "I've seen Prez hurry across the dining rooms three times and wind up with Keith. I've seen Keith hurrying four times for Prez. It's not even eight o'clock."

Derrick nodded and grinned, "They're making sure you know, dude."

"They don't usually show off like this," Mike sniggered.

"Keith shows off Prez when he feels safe," Derrick explained. "They both feel safe with you."

Mike nodded and softly reminded, "You showed last weekend and none of us expected it. I think this is how they're trying to even the scale."

Rinsing his bucket, Derrick grinned, "Mike and I can show you way more than white butts. It's nothing sexual, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised, just the same." When Randy moved near the sink and closer to Derrick, the water faucet seemed to turn itself off. Randy's head lowered and he carefully spied the faucet then smiled up at Derrick and the water faucet turned itself back on.

Randy softly chuckled, "How in the hell?"

Derrick smiled, "I trust you too," and took his bucket back to the dining room.

Rinsing his bus bucket, Randy turned to Mike. "You're safer with us than you know, dude," Mike smiled. "When things are less crazed here, I'll show you another little something."

"Jedi mind tricks?" Randy grinned, and pointed the nozzle at Mike's bus bucket to rinse it out.

"More like mind over matter," Mike softly smiled. "We were taught to be examples. It's up to you, and everyone else, whether to pay attention or not. Our goal is to have less drama in our lives. That's all anyone really wants, isn't it?"

Wanting to take a dip in the pool, Drew and Corey walked across town to the Seavers' home. Surprised to see them, Lanna asked, "Did you have a good time in Agoura Hills?"

"It was awesome, mom," Corey giggled.

Drew nodded and added, "Sort of a sneak peek into the future. We had it easy, taking care of Rush while the older dudes cleaned the house."

Firmly gripping Corey's and Drew's shoulders, Bill asked, "Brian and Pete had a good time too?"

Corey smiled, "They had a great time. We saw Saving Private Ryan and There's Something About Mary, last weekend." He giggled, "Knott's Berry Farm was a blast too." Rolling his eyes, Drew softly sniggered. Corey laughed, "I think Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday amounted to real quality time, all eight of us doing everything together. I was sad to have to say goodbye."

Drew reminded, "They'll call my cell or send an e-mail, Cor."

"They should be home by now," Corey scowled.

"Let's check your e-mail," Drew suggested. Corey nodded, took Drew's hand and started for his room. Glancing back at the Seavers, Drew smiled, "We're staying the night too, by the way." Entering Corey's room, Drew called, "Cor?"

Corey responded, "Yeah?" and released Drew's hand to go to his computer.

Drew closed the door and assured, "They're fine, angel."

Corey nodded, "That's all I need to know," and powered up his PC.

"You know it was a week ago that you woke wrapped up in mine and Brian's arms?"

Corey giggled, "Yep."

Sitting on the edge of Corey's bed, Drew teased, "You went from barely liking Brian to missing him."

Turning in his desk chair, Corey giggled, "So? I went from liking to loving you in less time, two or three days." Facing his computer to start the dial-up connection, Corey joked, "I'm carrying your baby."

Drew laughed, "We wish. The doc said it can't happen, but later tonight, my legs are in the air."

Shaking his head, Corey giggled, "I think I'd rather your butt was in the air."

"You like it that way now, huh?"

Checking his e-mail, Corey nodded, "Because you do, stud. Twice you got off without being touched." He paused then giggled, "Here it is. They're home, and took their time driving." Drew got up to look over Corey's shoulder. "They stopped for one last dinner alone tonight. Brian wanted barbeque. He asked Prez for some pictures of Willy's." Corey closed the e-mail.

Among the other e-mails, Drew grinned, "See those from PAOB? That's Prez's e-mail."

"Omigod!" Corey giggled. He opened the first one and found several JPG attachments.

Sitting down on the bed, Drew shook his head and chuckled, "I've seen Keith naked more than enough."

Waiting for the first photo to load, Corey giggled, "If you get a nice treasure trail like Keith's, we're flunking out of high school." Drew groaned through his giggles. The picture loaded and Corey loudly said, "It's not Keith. It's the photos of us with Brian and Pete from Thursday night. Prez promised to burn a CD with all the pictures and give me a copy." Corey saved all the pictures in the first e-mail then opened the second e-mail. He shouted, "YES! It's the two songs you sang, Drew." He started downloading the two songs then hurried to his bedroom door and called his parents to come listen.

When his folks came in the room, Corey told them about the two songs Drew sang that Mike and Derrick recorded. He also said that Drew would be singing Against All Odds at the concert in Agoura Hills then played the MP3 of Without Her, explaining that Pete was backing up Drew. WinAmp loaded to play the tune.

A few moments into the song, Lanna smiled, "You sing too, Drew?"

"I should've kept my mouth shut," Drew giggled, and fell back on Corey's bed, covering his face with his hands for the first time in almost a month.

Attempting to relieve Drew's embarrassment, Bill chuckled, "Pete sings very well too."

"That was recorded last Wednesday," Corey smiled, "right after they got back from Yosemite." Soon after the first song finished playing, the second song had downloaded and Corey played it.

Bill laughed, "I haven't heard this in years."

Lanna grinned, "Because I hid the record."

"And my vocals still suck," Drew smirked.

"No, it doesn't," three voices disagreed.

Bill smiled, "It's a different kind of song. Actually singing it, like you did the ballad, would sound wrong."

Corey nodded and giggled, "This is what Mike wanted. Which reminds me, I know what to get Drew for his birthday, if I can wait that long."

"Corey!" Drew incredulously laughed. He sat up and giggled, "I'm going out to the pool," and then left the room.

Lanna wondered, "What is it that he wants?"

"It's what I want him to have," Corey devilishly grinned.

Bill smiled, "I'm listening."

Corey asked, "Can we get him a PC?" He quickly explained, "His is old and won't run Windows 98. With all the writing he does for the school newspaper, he needs a better one."

Lanna nodded and asked, "Is there anything else?"

Corey stood and whispered in his mom's ear, "Calvin Klein briefs."

"You are evil," Lanna giggled, and Corey cracked up.

Entering Chumash Park with Graham, Ben softly admitted, "I have a few questions that will probably remind you of Francis, but I have to ask you about it."

Graham nodded, "Before you ask, let me tell you, I love talking about him with you, Ben. There's stuff I'm telling you that I would never tell anyone else. I told myself to stop comparing him to you, and for the most part I'm succeeding. Don't feel bad about it, okay?"

Ben sighed, "I just feel like I'm not helping when I bring him up."

"It's very much the opposite. What did you want to know?"

"A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with Mike, Prez, Derrick and Keith," Ben began, and then giggled, "I still can't believe it, but they were asking me how I'd like to be, in a relationship. I told them the same thing I told you; how can I choose top or bottom when I'm totally clueless about both."

"Cool," Graham chuckled.

Ben giggled, "So, I learned that sometimes couples get carried away making love, to the point where their buttholes and dicks hurt."

Graham roared and then nodded, "With Francis, it only happened once, during the holiday break. It was a rainy day and we stayed inside."

Ben confirmed, "Because sleepovers were rare?"

Graham nodded, "Don't be scared, teddy bear. It's not ever so bad that we'll wish we hadn't made love."

"That's what they told me too; that it's like reminders."

"I love talking about sex with you. It's another thing that makes us way different than me and Francis. We didn't know better and went for it without thinking a whole lot. To some extent, we'll be like that too, but we've been talking and going through the motions. Do you still feel like you might crush me?"

Ben smiled, "A lot less now."

"Fifteen pounds doesn't amount to anything. Fifty pounds would be a different story. I love seeing you and touching you, Ben; you're my cuddly teddy, and then a switch gets flipped to sex crazed grizzly. I really love both a lot."

"Are there ways that intercourse might hurt?"

"Yes and no," Graham admitted. "Remember, it was rushed a lot with Francis. We'd race home from school and go for it quickly. No matter how hot and horny we might be, ya just can't push in and go crazy, ya know? Some foreplay seems to be required, to relax the sphincter and slow down enough so you're not just jamming in deep all at once. Just do what I do at first. I promise you, I'll make your first time the best I can. I know you well enough to know that you won't be rough until I make you go into grizzly mode."

Ben giggled, "You couldn't make yourself sound a little less thrilled, could you?"

Pausing and facing Ben, Graham smiled, "I'm hard as a rock. Are you?"

Blushing and nodding, Ben giggled, "Pretty much."

Graham contentedly sighed, "I love all of this, teddy bear; time to talk, time to make love, time to talk about making love; there hasn't been a single moment that I haven't been with you in heart, body and mind. Even when I get sad, you're right there."

Ben shrugged, "You wanted a special friend. If I ever fail to be that for you, I think everybody will know how disappointed I'll feel. I want to hear about all your daydreams, Graham."

"Some are silly and plain dumb," Graham smiled.

Ben softly prodded, "Like?"

Starting to walk again, Graham reached for Ben's hand and shared, "Like getting a Firebird or any sports car; it's out of the question and I won't even ask, but I'd like that kind of car. Like building a house, right here in this park, so I could live here with you." Ben giggled. Graham widely smiled, "I've only just begun. I want three life size images of you; one with clothes and the other two without; one with you limp and the other erect."

Ben laughed, "What for?"

"For when you're not around," Graham grinned, "The one with clothes comes everywhere I need to be where you can't be. You must know what the two naked ones are for."

Ben cackled, "You wouldn't!"

"Yes I would," Graham evilly snickered, "every night you're not with me, another splotch on one of those two pictures." Noticing Ben shaking his head, Graham laughed, "Okay, here we go again; the things I love about you are; your voice, your face, your eyes, your birth mark is right behind your left ear, mostly covered by your hair, your shoulders, your chest is simply yummy, your belly button, the awesome treasure trail leading down to your dickie, the dickie I love to see limp and erect, the dickie I love to play with and make really hard…"

"Graham!" Ben howled.

"Keep blushing, teddy bear. Now I'll get to your nads; also just perfect, they hang nice, the right nut a little lower than the left, they're hairy enough, but not too hairy; which is exactly what I'll say about your ass; a nice hairy crack, but the cheeks are mostly smooth and hairless." Seeing Ben still beet red, Graham giggled "Your back, buns and thighs are so strong that you can lift me without even trying. There's more hair on the back of your thighs than the front. That's totally rad. Your lower legs are totally yummy too. When we're in a sixty-nine blowing each other, my hands are all over your thighs and legs. And you have some hairs sprouting on the top of your feet! I love that. I've seen all of you there is to see. The only part of you that's not a hundred percent perfect are your itty-bitty little baby toes. They curl all the time. Maybe that's because of me though, I keep making all your toes curl."

Ben giggled, "Are you done?"

"For now," Graham triumphantly grinned, "until the next time I have to prove to you that I choose you; all of you."

Ben nodded and smiled; "Now I get to embarrass you."

"You can try."

Stopping and standing before Graham, at the furthest and most private area of the park, Ben wrapped his arms around him and sucked on a tasty earlobe. Graham soon shivered and moaned. Ben whispered, "This one part of you that you don't like, I love a lot. Everything you mentioned about me, I love about you, plus your ears."

Withering, Graham giggled, "I forgot to mention your ears."

"Yeah, ya did. Anybody that made fun of your ears got it all wrong. Look what happens when I give them a little attention."

Graham giggled, "I turn to liquid."

"Most of you turns into liquid," Ben softly giggled.

"We're gonna make big messes in our shorts again."

"Not tonight," Ben corrected. He placed a tender kiss on Graham's neck then swiftly stepped back, bent in half and hoisted Graham over his shoulder then started walking.

Graham roared, "BEN! WHERE ARE WE GOING?"

"Back to my room, so I can play with your dickie. If it's still hard when we get there, I'll wait for it to get soft, and then I'll make it hard again. We have two hours before we have to go to Doug's place and prevent two murders. How many times do you think you'll get hard and soft before I finish you off?"

"Omigod," Graham cackled, "I did it again!" He started pressing spots on Ben's back and giggling, "Where is that teddy bear button?"

"It's disabled now," Ben giggled.

Hanging off Ben's shoulder, Graham wondered, "How did I press it in the first place?"

"By describing what you love about me," Ben giggled. "I don't see me when you do that; I see you; your smooth muscular chest; your thinner but equally awesome treasure trail; your handsome dickie. By the way, silly graham cracker, your dickie hangs real nice and is even more beautiful hard. I didn't care if my boyfriend had a cut or uncut dickie, but I'm very happy you're uncut."

"Why?"

Cackling evilly, Ben admitted, "Now I know exactly what to do to make you crazy because you're just like me." Graham cracked up. Ben grinned, "To make matters worse, you insisted we go for a walk shirtless. I didn't need to imagine anything; everything was right there for me to see, except your dickie. I'll have that uncovered in a couple o' minutes."

With nowhere else to put his hands, Graham stuffed them in Ben's back pockets and rubbed the ass he loved so much. Ben giggled, "That's not helping."

Keeping his hands in the pockets, but quitting the rubbing, Graham giggled "When will I get my teddy bear back?"

Ben hummed then grinned, "After you shoot in my mouth. That could do it, but it might take two loads."

Barely believing the things Ben was saying, Graham giggled, "Put me down?"

Ben flatly stated, "Nope."

Graham sniggered, "What if I promised to go directly to your room?"

After thinking about it a few moments, Ben giggled, "Without me chasing you there?"

Howling with laughter, Graham thought, 'Damn! He's knows me very well.'

Ben giggled, "I thought not."

Nearing the upside down street, Graham giggled, "What about your mom; what will you say?"

"I won't need to say a thing. She already saw us playing on the couch; she heard me screaming your name and you screaming mine."

In their kitchen and cleaning the dinner mess, Brian and Doug saw Ben carrying Graham across the park. The two men glanced at each other. Brian dried his hands, went to the pantry and knelt down to get the unopened bottle of Jack Daniels. They knew it wouldn't help, but in a thick New Jersey accent, Doug assured, "Couldn't hurt."

Walking into his house with Graham still hanging over his shoulder, Ben found his mom in the living room and saw her mouth drop open. As Ben carried his boyfriend toward the bedroom, Graham waved and giggled, "Hi Mrs. Healy. Bye Mrs. Healy." Both boys cracked up before Ben closed and locked his bedroom door. Ben dropped Graham on the bed then turned the stereo on. Pushing his shorts and boxers down at once, Ben then reached for Graham's shorts and boxer-briefs.

Not fighting in the least, Graham lifted his ass off the mattress and smiled, "Hi grizzly bear."

Ben sighed, "Do you have any idea how much I love you?" and dropped Graham's clothes.

Graham nodded, "With every cell and fiber in your body, just like how much I love you too."

Crawling on the bed beside Graham, Ben wondered, "When I was carrying you, why didn't you struggle?"

"First of all, I loved it," Graham admitted. "Secondly, I thought you'd get tired and put me down." He stroked the shoulder that he had been flung onto and asked, "You're alright?"

Ben nodded then gave a tender 'thank you' kiss. He grinned, "Let's go real slow, puddin'."

Graham smiled, "We'll warn each other, before it's too late," and shifted around. With their legs spread, they began caressing one another. Graham softly sighed, "You're gorgeous. I can barely wait for you to slide into me. I keep reminding myself, don't rush or screw this up."

Only stroking Graham's bone with a single finger, up and down the length and around the sides, Ben smiled, "I want to with you too. I just hope I'm ready."

Reproducing what Ben was doing to him, Graham smiled, "I'm pretty sure you are. When I used the toy on you earlier, you took a lot and loved it. My dickie won't feel like that toy. I think you'll like it more."

"I know I will," Ben assured, and then let his tongue do what his fingers had been doing. Graham followed Ben's lead. As intended and promised, Ben and Graham took their time and enjoyed each other; remarks were made about their private parts and regarding anal sex when their mouth weren't stuffed. They warned each other to prevent orgasms. When they were ready to finish wet fingers slid into their buttholes. Graham wanted Ben to tell him when he had found his prostate. Words escaped Ben completely; all he could do was softly moan approval. Judging by a dollop of pre-cum, Graham was certain his had found the spot and would remember it in the future. Soon, both were grunting, humming and whimpering. Ben stiffened and backed off Graham's cock, leaving only the exposed head in his mouth. Having achieved his goal, Graham's stopped massaging Ben's prostate and kept swallowing. Graham's finger slid gracefully out of Ben's butt, and he began softly chortling while insuring Ben was cleaned up. Hearing Graham, the grizzly bear awoke and went berserk. All Graham did was giggle at his partner's aggressiveness until the final moments.

Turning around and lying beside Ben in an orgasmic stupor, Graham sighed, "You're amazing."

Cuddling up to Graham, Ben giggled, "The grizzly got what he wanted."

Wrapping Ben in his left arm, Graham planted a kiss on Ben's head and grinned, "I have to learn where the grizzly button is. I know all I need to do is tease and joke around, but sometimes it doesn't take a lot."

Ben giggled, "Do you want a clue or to figure it out on your own?"

Graham prompted, "Only a clue."

"Think about it, in your kitchen versus out in the park."

Graham muttered, "Private and public; naked and dressed."

Ben giggled, "Very good. Compare what happens when we're alone and naked versus in public and dressed."

Seeing the light, Graham chuckled, "Now I get it."

"There's no hiding how aroused I'm getting alone and naked. Breathing on the button is enough. Dressed and in public, it takes a few button presses."

"This is gonna be fun!"

Ben giggled, "After making messes last night, I didn't want to repeat crusty underwear and sludged up dickies."

"So you picked my ass up and carried me back to your lair."

Ben nodded, "Walking in with wet shorts would be strike one. Going into the bathroom to wash our dickies is strike two. Stepping out of my room in different clothes is strike three. Mom could've said anything at any point."

"You're good, in bed and out."

Ben giggled, "Are you looking for more?"

Shaking his head, Graham squeezed Ben tight and assured, "I've got all I need."

Over at the Seavers' home, Corey returned to his room and Drew. "What did your folks want?" Drew innocently asked. Climbing onto the bed, beside where Drew was kicked back and lounging, Corey placed a dozen kisses around his hubby's belly and chest before landing a deep one on the mouth. Drew smiled, "That was real nice, angel."

Corey giggled, "I'm buttering you up, can ya tell?"

"Uh oh," Drew smirked. "Spill it."

Flopping down and resting his head on Drew's chest, Corey contentedly sighed, "I love you, Drew."

"I love you too, Cor. That won't change, no matter what; even after you eventually tell me your parents' wanted."

Looking up into Drew's eyes, Corey smiled, "It's because I love you and they love you too."

Drew chuckled, "You are so bad. In ten seconds I start tickling it out of you."

Corey giggled, "It's a secret, so forget counting and tickling. I'll lie like a rug."

"Ten."

"No."

"Nine."

"Hell no."

"Eight."

"Forget it, stud."

"You want to tell me."

"I do, but I'd like you to be surprised."

Drew gasped, "Corey Seaver, you didn't."

"I did and they're very ready. They were looking for something special anyway."

Drew softly grumbled, "I don't want a reminder of those days, Cor."

Corey seriously said, "Don't think of it that way. I told them already how you didn't want a reminder. The fact is, those days made big differences. To us, they've past and things are awesome now, right?"

Drew sighed, "Right."

"When you get it on your birthday, don't think of those days; think of everyday since. Think of it as a present from your in-laws. My present to you is exactly what I said it would be. Your butt doesn't belong in boxers. It belongs to me, in C.K. briefs."

Through his giggles, Drew groaned, "You're killin' me, Cor."

Corey giggled, "Contractions, already?"

Drew laughed, "The decision's already made?"

Corey shrugged, "Exactly which brand hasn't been decided; I was helping them with the brand. You need it; you definitely deserve it, so forget about early July." He giggled, "Think of our babies instead."

Rolling over onto Corey and tickling his ribs, Drew sniggered, "That's what I'm getting you for your birthday; a crib, a stroller, a few pacifiers, mostly for you, a changing table and a baby girl doll that cries and wets."

Turning red, Corey laughed, "I'll need a really big pacifier with a girl doll!"

"Back to North Hollywood we go. They've got boy dolls with huge pacifiers."

"Don't forget the handcuffs and whip!"

At eleven o'clock, Ben and Graham went to Doug's and Brian's house. Having done two shots of J.D. and had two beers each, Doug and Brian weren't drunk, but were obviously feeling little pain. Waving Ben and Graham inside, Brian chuckled, "Ben Healy, this year's WWF champion, carrying his boyfriend across Chumash Park."

In an instant, Ben flushed bright pink and started giggling. Facing Ben and pulling him close to hide his blushing face, Graham laughed, "I was being bad and Ben called me on my shit."

Doug sniggered, "How were you bad, Graham?"

Graham smiled, "Remember what I said last night; we're waiting for intercourse?" When Brian and Doug nodded, Graham grinned, "Ben has questions about intercourse. I'm answering each as they're shared, the best I can. We're both anxious to make love that way, but my teddy bear keeps dropping these subtle hints, that he's not attractive enough. I told him again why he's wrong. What I hadn't realized was that I was repeatedly poking the grizzly bear button. Believe me; I was surprised that he carried my heavy ass all the way across the park. I loved it though."

Looking up slightly, Ben glanced at both men and asked, "Can I ask a stupid personal question?"

Doug nodded and Brian smiled, "Go right ahead."

Ben admitted, "This is just me being a dumb virgin, okay? I'm still nervous lying on Graham. I'd much rather he laid on me, because I'm heavier than he is."

Holding a hand up, Doug signaled a pause and offered, "I see where this is leading already."

"We were talking about this with Gil, Drew and Corey at rehearsal today," Graham smiled. "The two of you were mentioned in that chat."

Brian nodded, "For obvious reasons; I'm six-feet and two-inches tall, a hundred-eighty pounds. Doug is five-nine and a hundred-seventy pounds."

"Try and picture us, as we were fifteen years ago," Doug prompted, and went to the living room. Kneeling down at the end table, he said, "We're both only a little heavier now than we were then."

Leading the boys into the living room, Brian asked, "Of the two of us, who do you think is most aggressive in the bedroom?"

Taking a seat on the sofa with Graham, Ben giggled, "Doug, it has to be." Both men shook their heads.

Almost simultaneously, Ben and Graham giggled, "Really?"

Brian nodded and grinned, "At least four of five times, it's me."

Standing with two photo albums, Doug smiled, "This is one of those things that has nothing to do with society; it's us, gay men, deciding how and where we want to be." He placed the photo albums down on the coffee table then instructed, "The first big barrier is breaking through gender roles. Get used to it right now, those roles are pointless. Brian starts me up, but then takes bottom four out of five times, sometimes for weeks or months at a time."

Ben opened the top photo album. Graham nodded, "That's like how Francis and I were. I was top for a while, and then he was. He was about fifteen or twenty pounds lighter and an inch or so shorter than me."

Doug sat next to Ben and patted his thigh, grinning, "You're body type is just like mine. You can be whatever you want for Graham. Brian's height difference doesn't affect me, as a matter of fact; it's one of the things that first attracted me to him."

Sitting beside Graham, Brian opened the photo album and shared, "Those pictures were taken around 1982. We'd been a couple one year at that point and were still in the Air Force. Most of those other dudes in the photos had no idea we were a couple."

Graham flipped a page then grinned at both older men. They hadn't changed much; the clothing styles had, but the two men were virtually the same. Another page was flipped. Ben and Graham started giggling. Doug had a beard and Brian had a Fu Man Chu mustache.

Doug smiled, "New Year's Eve, 1983. We were out of the Air Force, letting our hair grow and putting a band together."

"I was hardly a musician back then," Brian fondly recalled. "I had Doug teaching me guitar and keyboards."

Ben looked over and smiled, "Now you're the one teaching keyboards."

"Brian got better at keyboards faster than guitar," Doug shared. Another page of the photo album was flipped. Ben and Graham howled laughing. In a thick Irish brogue, Doug smiled, "Saint Valentine's Day, 1984."

Graham looked over at Brian, chuckling "Nice devil outfit, dude."

Covering his eyes, Ben squealed, "There's no front at all!"

Graham evilly grinned, "A little excited there, it seems?"

Pointing at Doug, Brian chortled, "There was a cherub in a diaper taking the picture."

Doug shared, "That's Brian in his normal flaccid state. He shows, six inches to about seven and a half, when erect."

"Sorry," Ben giggled, "and the point of the pictures is?"

Doug prodded, "What do you see, in our past and in the present."

"Two dudes," Graham smiled.

"That's not easy to miss," Ben giggled.

Brian smiled, "That's precisely the point. At first, I felt bad being bottom most of the time. It's what I wanted and what Doug wanted, but the lurking self-accusation was that I was more effeminate." He turned to Doug and prompted, "Tell them what happened."

Doug smirked, "I had to start a fight with Brian. Not a simple argument either; I purposefully pushed him to use his fists. I made it clear that I didn't see him as effeminate at all. Three years together was about to explode in fury the summer of 1984. I wanted a man and had one that I fiercely loved. Several bruises later and for the next few weeks, I was almost constantly on bottom, because I don't see him or any gay couple, as one more butch and one more effeminate. When I'm bottom, I'm still making love with the man I love."

Brian instructed, "Do not go there; which of you winds up being bottom more is completely irrelevant everywhere except in private. I wanted a man too, not a woman pleasuring me with a dildo, but a man, one that knew me as well or better than I knew myself."

Slowly flipping more pages, Graham wondered, "Nothing from 1986?"

"That was the year we lived apart," Doug explained. "Drugs were the root cause. The band broke up because of drugs. We needed to be apart to clean up our personal acts, but still spent a lot of time together."

Brian sighed, "It was important, but such a waste of time and money. When our leases were up, we moved back together again. What we're trying to say, and show you both, is exactly what we already shared with Mike and Derrick; being together takes choices, determination and perseverance. Petty differences can be worked out, if you're willing to make the effort."

Doug patted Ben's back and smiled, "Try not to worry about anal sex, it seems important now, but you'll soon find out how little it matters in the grand scheme of things. You can play any role you want, and we've witnessed it already."

Graham nodded and grinned at Ben, "Here sits my teddy bear. The grizzly bear picked my ass up and carried me to his lair."

"It's that simple?" Ben confirmed. Brian and Doug nodded.

"When you're in mellow teddy bear mode, I'll willing lead and take top," Graham promised. "When you're in grizzly mode, I'll be on bottom, just as quickly."

Ben sighed then asked Graham, "What if I wind up being top more than you?"

Graham assured, "It doesn't matter, Ben. What matters most to me is keeping you with me. A lot of dreams and hopes were destroyed one night while I slept in a car. That's my biggest fear; losing you and all my dreams permanently. I was very lucky to find you. Luck like that probably doesn't happen twice in a lifetime."

Outside Black Angus, five busboys gathered in the parking lot. Randy grinned, "I lost and I will pay up."

Prez smiled, "Keep yer drawers on, bud."

Keith nodded, "Knowing you would pay up is all that matters."

"You and I have worked well together a long time," Derrick reminded Randy. "It took all four of us to get this tight with you."

Mike grinned, "We're attracted to you, even though we know there's little chance of you switching sides. Since you didn't show for the party Wednesday, I guess Teresa had better plans?"

Randy chuckled, "Better is subject to interpretation, I guess. I was where I wanted to be, with her, but I'll be honest, I really wanted to go to the party. If I had known one gay dude, in high school, like any of you four, things might be different."

Prez scowled and prodded, "What are you saying, Randy?"

Randy shrugged, "I'm just as attracted to all four of you. Like I said, maybe things would've worked out differently, if I had met a gay dude like any of you. It's taken most of the summer for me to acknowledge it, but I would spend a night skinny dippin' with you dudes."

Keith softly asked, "And what about Teresa?"

"We're very close and talking about future possibilities," Randy shared. "We went to see a movie Wednesday; What Dreams May Come, with Robin Williams. It wasn't as good as I'd hoped, but T.C. loved it." He scowled and sighed, "Maybe it's just me, sowin' wild oats, to make sure I'm where I want to be in the long run." He evilly grinned, "I'm not fantasizing about any one of you, but time spent with all four of you makes me horny as hell." All five cracked up.

Mike laughed, "We have that effect on people. It's not intentional, but Brian and Pete went back home, changed forever."

Prez nodded and chuckled, "Now they're keeping their eyes open for friends they might be able to get close to."

Derrick suggested, "Take the rest of the summer. If you decide you want to risk it, let us know and we'll setup a private skinny dipping party. That'll leave us free to be couples and you free to choose what you want."

"There's one problem," Randy sniggered, and quickly added, "You're all already spoken for. Regardless of doing anything with either couple or all four at once, by showing up I've already decided something that I would ultimately have to act on."

Keith wondered, "Of all the dudes at our rehearsals, which one are you most attracted to?"

"There's not one," Randy quickly admitted. "If given a chance, I would wander off alone with any of the dudes that've been there. Include Jessy in that too. For the first time I'm seeing beyond skin color. She's sweet."

"You're bisexual dude," Keith grinned.

Prez smiled, "Instead of thinking about switching sides, maybe it's time to talk with Teresa about it?"

Mike nodded, "If it's already really good, then she'll be willing to do what you need her to do."

Derrick added, "If she's not willing, then she's not as right for you as you think."

Firmly gripping Randy's shoulder, Keith suggested, "Think about it and talk with Teresa. If you'd like to see and talk about how gay couples are, then we'll set it up." Keith checked with Prez, Derrick and Mike, suggesting, "Maybe time with couples and all four of us at once?" Mike, Derrick and Prez agreed.

Nodding, Randy smiled, "Thanks dudes." Starting for his car, Randy soon spun around and chuckled, "You did it again, dammit!" He tugged at the front of his black slacks and all five roared laughing. Randy hurried to his car and soon backed out. He waved and started out of the parking lot.

Prez checked with Keith, Derrick and Mike; "I'm getting no gaydar pings at all, are you?" Keith rapidly shook his head and so did Derrick.

Mike shook his head and smirked, "Just wishful thinking; he's a hell of a great dude." He checked with Derrick, "If he wanted to, with us?"

Derrick shrugged, "I'd have to be in the right mood. Dildos and blow jobs is as far as it could go."

Keith told Prez, "Let's give Randy the address for the store in North Hollyweird."

Nodding, Prez scowled, "I think I still have the receipt in my backpack."

Derrick and Mike gave Keith and Prez hugs then said goodnight. The two couples split into their vehicles and were soon pulling out to start the trip home.

In the passenger seat, Derrick admitted, "I like Randy a lot, but he's not Keith or Prez. I feel bad."

"I feel weird to," Mike shared. "With Randy, it would be more for him than it would be for us. It was equal and shared with Keith and Prez. With Randy, it would be different."

"I wonder what it is about us that people see," Derrick softly muttered.

Mike offered, "When I look at Aaron, Danny, Craig and Glen, I see four dudes like us, four very close friends; any one of which would give their left nut for the other three. They all slept on the studio floor together."

Derrick nodded, "Danny's not ready for sex with anyone other than Aaron, but that doesn't matter; I could see in their eyes what I see in Keith's and Prez's. They completely love and trust each other."

In North Hollywood, Aaron, Danny, Craig and Glen were settling down for the night. Danny had run out and bought the Asia CD that afternoon. In Danny's bedroom, it was playing for the tenth and final time that day. For the first time ever, Danny had given shoulder and back massages to Craig and Glen; something Aaron often received and raved about. It wasn't planned, but Danny's actions and recovery led the four of them beyond making out. By the dim light of the stereo, two couples made love on the blankets, pillows and sheets spread out on the floor of Danny's room. All giggling and oral action came to a halt when Danny whispered, "Take me, Aaron."

Rolling himself and Danny over, Aaron lay on his back and prompted, "I'm for you to take, Dan. This way you have control."

"I want you to have control," Danny shared.

Aaron pledged, "If it's good, and you want, I promise to take control in the morning."

Hovering over Glen, Craig smiled, "It's a good first step, Danny. As awesome as today's been, give away control a little at a time."

Danny giggled, "That's how fantastic I've felt all day; I could give it all away now."

Craig lubed his butt and Glen's erection then passed the bottle to Danny, saying "We'll do it together, bro."

Taking the bottle and making the preparations, Danny playfully warned Aaron, "Guaranteed, my legs or my ass is in the air at sunrise; maybe both." All four helplessly cracked up. Without waiting for the laughter to dwindle, Danny lowered down onto Aaron.

Stiffening at the unexpected sensation, so he didn't slam up into Danny, Aaron groaned, "Omigod Dan!"

"What? Did I hurt you?"

Shaking his head, Aaron smiled, "You took me all at once. You're not giving me a chance." Craig and Glen chuckled.

Danny giggled, "You've been my boyfriend and willing bottom for eight months. It's my turn. Maybe eight months from now, I'll try topping for you again." Enthusiastically, Danny rode Aaron. Immediately, Aaron was growling and Danny was chanting. It was a completely different experience than what his father had made him expect. Intercourse with desire and love was not the same as when it was forced.

Only a few feet away and barely a minute later, Craig and Glen loudly shushed their friends. Barely controlling the sound of his voice, Glen laughed, "Your mom, Danny."

"I have a mother?" Danny giggled. All four busted up laughing.

Patting Danny's shoulder, Craig giggled, "Lean down to Aaron so you can keep each other quiet." He demonstrated and leaned down to kiss Glen. This variation of the position allowed Glen and Aaron to take over, however it didn't keep Aaron or Danny much quieter. Soon they were chanting again, promising undying love and lifelong partnerships. The CD ended, and thankfully Danny soon climaxed then Aaron did too. At least they were breathlessly recovering and allowing Craig and Glen to finish.

With their grimy white work shirts already off and in their hands, Mike and Derrick walked into Doug's and Brian's home about quarter-of-midnight. Strangely, the house was completely dark and the master bedroom door was closed. Following Mike into the guest bedroom, Derrick whispered, "Jet lag?"

Mike shrugged and softly offered, "Maybe they finally made use of the bong. Aaron and Danny added to what we had and there's plenty."

They began to undress and Derrick sighed, "I was hoping to use the big shower tonight too; bummer." Hunching over, they took off their grimy black work pants.

Stealthily, Brian, Doug, Ben and Graham crept out of the master bedroom. Jumping into the room, Brian beaned Derrick with a glow-in-the-dark foam rubber light saber and Doug started repeatedly crowning Mike with his squeaky rubber mallet. Out in the hall, on opposite sides of the guest bedroom doorway, Ben and Graham played the ending stanzas of the 1812 Overture on kazoos. "What?" Mike loudly laughed. "What did we do?"

Crowning Derrick a few times with his rubber mallet, Doug playfully growled, "How many fucking drum tracks on Hair of the Dog?"

"Two pairs in stereo," Derrick giggled, covering his head with his arms and trying to duck away.

Repeatedly stabbing Mike with the light saber, Brian groused, "And how many goddamned guitar tracks?"

"Two lead and six rhythm guitars," Mike roared.

Doug commanded, "Get out, into the studio, right now," and crowned Mike and Derrick again, shoving them toward the open bedroom doorway, where Ben and Graham were standing, playing their kazoos and crookedly saluting with their left hands. Wearing only their boxers and passing their two friends in the hall, Mike and Derrick smirked, never expecting them to be in on such a devious plan. Ben broke into a giggling fit and Graham cracked up.

"Now you get to do it again, smarty pants," Brian ordered.

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