Life Goes On

by The Eggman

Chapter 30

Copyright © 1999 - 2015 The Eggman
All Rights Reserved.

With only the TV lighting his room, Corey cuddled with Drew on his bed. This was the third night they had watched the eleven o'clock news. Corey knew it was the result of seeing the movie 'Saving Private Ryan', and the next morning's conversation with Drew's parents. Corey agreed that they needed to pay attention to current events, but it was often frustrating. They had changed their Internet account front pages to see preferred news stories. Corey was seeing one set of news from his Excite account while Drew was getting top stories from other services on his Yahoo account. Thankfully, the channel seven ABC news ended with the weather and sports wrap-up. Corey looked up into Drew's eyes. A few moments later, Drew locked eyes with Corey, softly chortling, "What?"

Corey shrugged, "Nothing too world shattering on the news tonight; just the usual politics, local building fires and gang problems."

"The Dodgers beat the Mets, eight to five," Drew cheekily grinned.

Nodding, Corey sniggered, "Small wonders never cease."

Drew sighed, "I know, angel; it's generally boring day-to-day stuff."

"We're learning more from the web sites for The Advocate, SPLC, Excite and Yahoo," Corey offered.

Drew nodded, "In about the same amount of time." He then asked, "Do you want to stop?"

Shaking his head, Corey said, "I know you want to keep informed, and that's cool, but you were yawning most of the last half an hour."

"We were out in the pool most of the day, and again after dinner," Drew reminded. "We came inside after your parents went to bed."

"So we could make babies," Corey softly giggled.

Drew grinned, "Quadruplets for you today. It took us all weekend to get back on a normal daytime schedule. We couldn't have woken up for tennis any day the last week."

Corey wondered, "So what do you want to do?"

"Definitely keep looking at the web sites you mentioned," Drew quickly answered. After a brief pause to think, he uncertainly added, "Eleven o'clock news when there's nothing better to watch?"

Corey nodded then stole a kiss before settling down again and whispering, "You're so awesome, Drew."

Tightening his grip around Corey, Drew confirmed, "You're really awesome too, angel."

With that out of the way, Drew and Corey kicked back to watch David Letterman. Half way through, they switched to the Tonight Show. Since nothing interested them there either, they flipped to ESPN. Corey set the TV timer to shut off in two hours, intending to dive face first onto Drew's crotch, but Drew pulled Corey back and on top of him for some late night Olympic tongue wrestling. The best part for Drew was when Corey turned tongue wrestling into real wrestling. Corey was definitely getting stronger. Drew had to struggle to get Corey into position, so he could straddle his hubby's hips and take a ride.

Cuddling afterward, with Drew's head resting on his lover's chest, Corey whispered, "It never occurred to me that you would like intercourse too. You rarely let a day pass without getting some."

Happy that his blush couldn't be seen, Drew grinned, "I didn't think of it either, until I talked to Keith and Prez, just before the Big Bear trip. That's when they gave me the dildo."

Corey wondered, "Did you use it that day, before we used it together?"

"I wanted to, but didn't have the time," Drew smiled.

"My mom would always stop for something to eat after doctor appointments," Corey shared. "I always thought it was for me, to get me to eat something, not realizing that she would have to work and needed and early lunch. Now that I think of it, I'm a little hungry."

Shifting to get up off Corey, Drew nodded, "Me too, and I have an idea."

Sitting up, Corey softly giggled, "Not in the kitchen again."

Drew smiled, "We'll see," and then rolled off the bed, offering Corey his hand. Once out of bed, Corey took Drew's hand. They quietly left Corey's bedroom, naked, which completely blew Corey away.

Once well past the two bedrooms, Corey giggled, "You're not afraid of getting caught?"

Drew reminded, "Your mom's already seen me naked, and with a morning chubby. If you weren't puking, it prob'ly would've been full wood. Your dad won't care." He released Corey's hand and went directly to the refrigerator. Drew opened the freezer and took out the vanilla ice cream. He then opened the fridge, leaned over and grabbed the last remaining strawberries from the crisper drawer. Corey grabbed an ice cream scoop, two spoons and then two bowls. Drew grinned, "One bowl and one spoon, Cor."

Nodding and giggling, because he knew that Drew intended to make this midnight snack very special and intimate, Corey returned one bowl and spoon. Drew got a knife and carving board then began cutting the strawberries into quarters. As if watching a master chef at work, Corey said nothing while Drew lined the bottom of the bowl with sliced strawberries. Then Drew added four scoops of ice cream. He topped it all with more sliced strawberries. Corey put the ice cream back in the freezer. Drew dumped the empty plastic strawberry container in the trash. Unexpectedly, Corey wrapped Drew in his arms, impishly smiling, "To let the ice cream soften a little bit."

Holding onto Corey, Drew nodded then moved closer so they were cheek-to-cheek. He sighed, "So soft."

"I'll always love you, Drew," Corey confessed. "I think I knew that after your first visit here."

"There was always an attraction," Drew reminded.

Nuzzling Drew's neck, Corey giggled, "I waited four months for you to kiss me. I was done waiting and took a chance, not knowing if you'd allow it."

"As surprised as I was, I knew what a kiss meant and wouldn't have backed away," Drew dreamily admitted.

Corey remembered, "After that first kiss, we always kissed each other as soon as we got here or at your place."

Drew whispered, "I was so scared I wouldn't be able to really love you, angel. Yeah, I could feel it happening, but sex was the stumbling block. I should've known better."

"I was scared too," Corey admitted.

"Sex is the easy part, come to think of it." Drew smiled, "I'm not scared anymore," and then wondered, "How about you?"

"Only of labor pains," Corey giggled, and offered a romantic kiss that Drew accepted and returned. Corey stepped back then picked up the bowl of ice cream, intending to be the one feeding them. Drew picked up a small piece of ice cream covered strawberry then wiped it over Corey's shoulder. Giggling and shivering, Corey watched his hubby lean forward and lick the spot clean. Once again, they played with their food, softly giggling and enjoying themselves as much as the snack. Nearing the bottom of the bowl, Corey got an evil idea. Drew spooned mostly melted ice cream into Corey's mouth. Then Corey knelt down to take Drew's chubby into his mouth. Shivering at the unexpected coldness, Drew quickly put the bowl on the counter before he dropped it. Corey didn't finish what he started, but wanted the same from Drew. Lifting the bowl and drinking as much as could, Drew knelt down. Corey was already stiff and visibly lurched at the shocking coldness. Simply to get Drew back to the bedroom as quickly as possible, Corey finished the remaining fruit and ice cream.

When Prez and Keith left Black Angus late Monday night, both sat in the 4Runner quietly for a minute or two before backing out and pulling away. In the passenger seat, Keith softly called, "Prez?"

"Yeah, babe?"

"Comparing Blockbuster to Black Angus is like night and day."

Knowing Keith was referring to the hectic pace of their job, Prez nodded and grinned, "It's worth it for the bucks."

"A box of VHS tapes weighs as much as most bus-buckets, but I wasn't lifting twenty every hour."

Prez giggled, "You timed it?"

Keith nodded, "Every three or four minutes, on average, we're back in the kitchen with another bucket."

Prez wondered, "And around nine at night, it slows down to what?"

"About every five," Keith rambled, "then every six, and unbelievably enough, when it's down to every seven, after ten o'clock, it feels like we're wasting space." Prez began sniggering. Keith grinned, "At Blockbuster, I'd spend half-an-hour in the back store room, preparing tapes for rental, then bring the box to the front of the store to displays. I'd guess one box every forty-five minutes, compared to one bucket every four minutes."

"And we have to be careful we don't run into other people, customers or others going in and out of the kitchen," Prez chuckled.

Keith nodded, "Which..."

"only slows us down," they both chorused.

Keith admitted, "Four nights in a row of this and I'm so exhausted. The noise of that kitchen though, dude; when we get past the nightly rush and things finally quiet down, I'm relieved." Glancing over at his lover, Keith leered, "Now I know how you got those shoulders, arms and abs."

"From our nightly bedroom calisthenics," Prez chuckled.

Keith nodded and chortled, "Only partially, sex-machine."

When Keith said nothing for more than a minute, Prez said, "Penny for your thoughts."

Keith shrugged, "I'm conflicted; part of me wants to go home, but the other part knows we'd be better off in Agoura Hills. I'm also remembering what Mike or Derrick said in early July; three couples gettin' busy and keeping each going all night." Prez cracked up. "There's something not right," Keith playfully rambled. "Part of me says, yech, old people shouldn't have sex..." Prez roared laughing, but Keith stubbornly continued, "but sooner or later, we're gonna be older. Nobody's preventing me from playing with my favorite toys, not now or ever."

"I have a headache," Prez giggled.

Keith smirked, "Right, the last time I fell for that, I woke twenty minutes later with my dick in your mouth, groggily trying to force you off me and myself to not cum."

"I simply needed to give without receiving anything," Prez warmly grinned.

Keith nodded, "I got ya back first thing the next morning."

Prez teased, "Do you want to test our self-control?"

Vigorously shaking his head, Keith grinned, "After school starts, baby. Until then, I have no self-control, especially with you." A few moments later, Keith asked, "How're you liking this summer so far?"

Prez gushed, "It's been great in so many ways. I know you couldn't have planned it, but it certainly is very different from last summer."

"I did it all," Keith playfully bragged. "I told Corey to stop eating, I told Drew to scrape up his boyfriend and shovel food into his mouth. It took quite a bit of searching, but Brian and Pete visiting was all my doing too." Knowing Keith was overtired and getting sillier by the minute, Prez began giggling, which only fueled Keith's rant. "After a few lessons from Mike, I got them all, visitors and friends, to get naked with us as often as possible and wherever possible. What did we see? Several limp dicks that are very similar to yours, and the same dicks stiff, proving that your old man probably has the smallest dick around."

"You live a very interesting reality," Prez giggled.

"Reality is up for grabs," Keith rambled. "Drew and Corey are the prime examples of that; Drew being as forward as he's been, and Corey gaining weight at a very nice pace."

"It's not too visible on him yet," Prez sighed.

"It's another work in progress," Keith reminded, "like you, sex-machine. Now your pet name matches your incredible abilities, and totally smokin' hot bod too." Prez mooed a warning through his giggles. Turning towards Prez slightly, Keith smiled, "I'm so proud of you, baby. Now our two closest friends know that too."

Prez shrugged, "Don't you think we all learned a lot about each other? I mean, it wasn't simply sexual. Now I know that Derrick is completely repulsed by bathroom cleaners. None of the other three of us bitched about cancer rates attributed to friggin' Dow scrubbing bubbles." Keith softly sniggered. Prez smiled, "And Mike is an 'all-or-nothing' kind o' guy. I knew that about his guitar playing, but the same attitude goes for everything else; keep him active, cooking or cleaning something, and he'll go right to it to get it quickly done. If he's not kept occupied like that, his mind wanders and he forgets something."

"We can live together easily," Keith affirmed.

Prez softly and gently prodded, "Now you need to decide what you want to do, Keith. Derrick, Mike and I are all set, our plans will be put in motion, but your goal isn't."

Keith moaned, "I know. The thing is, I don't consider myself a singer or a sound technician. I don't think I could be happy studying business administration, and I'm definitely not a scientist." He shrugged, "I dunno."

"Your SAT score in English was better than mine, babe," Prez reminded.

"What can I do with that though?" Keith wondered. "Journalism, and working for a newspaper or TV station? Other than that, I'd be looking at six or seven years to become a teacher or college professor, both of which sound boring as hell to me."

"Think ahead, babe," Prez encouraged, and then elaborated, "Look how far the Internet has come in the last few years. Where will it be in another five years? Journalism for an internet news organization could be an alternative career." Prez paused then said, "This is your education, not mine, babe. As much as I'd like us to go to the same school together, this can't be for me or us, it has to be for only you."Approaching the Kanan Road exit on the 101 northbound, Prez hummed then checked, "Burger King or Taco Bell?"

Keith shrugged, "Taco Bell?"

"It's fine with me," Prez replied.

Prez took the exit ramp and stopped to check both ways before making the right turn on red. There were four lights at the intersection; two on the frontage roads and two for the 101 on-ramps. Seeing it was clear, Prez put the 4Runner in first gear and started to turn when the car behind them tooted it's horn. Before Prez or Keith could say something, an old, but nicely restored early seventies Dodge Charger sped around them in the left lane. Keith sighed, "That nice car won't last much longer being driven like that."

"Ev'rybody's hurryin' towards or away from something," Prez impatiently muttered.

A few moments later, Prez made the U-turn at Thousand Oaks Boulevard then drove a few hundred feet to the Taco Bell. He pulled into the drive-thru lane, where the same sweet Charger was in line in front of them, waiting to place their order. Keith grinned, "Karma; all the hurrying to get one position ahead of us in line."

Nodding, Prez smiled and sang, "I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers, consultin' with the rain. And my head I'd be scratchin', while my thoughts were busy hatchin'..."

"If I only had a brain," Keith and Prez both sang, and then helplessly snickered. While they waited in the Taco Bell drive-thru lane, they tried to remember more of the lyrics to the song. Soon, their orders were placed, they paid for their food, received two sacks of tacos and chalupas, and then they pulled away.

Arriving at Doug's and Brian's home in Agoura Hills, they peeked in the kitchen window to find Derrick and Mike cuddling on the living room sofa and watching TV. Both were shirtless and wearing only board shorts. Derrick's butt was on the sofa cushion, and his legs were wrapped over Mike's legs and over the edge of the seat. Derrick had left the front door unlocked, so there was no reason for knocks and the dog wouldn't bark. Prez saw his dog get up and head for the front door. Signaling Mike and Derrick, Rush trotted to the entryway to welcome his masters. After greeting Mike and Derrick, Keith and Prez sat at the table with their dinner. Mike grinned, "We have good news and bad news."

Keith smirked, "Bad news first."

Derrick softly explained, "Doug and Brian went to bed about an hour ago, so you're showering alone, at the end of the hall." Concentrating on unwrapping their dinner, Keith and Prez nodded. Derrick grinned, "Doug found our ice cream too, so we can't play our late night games tonight." Softly chuckling around their food, Keith and Prez nodded again.

Mike smiled, "The good news is, you won't be sleeping on the floor. We completely forgot that Doug and Brian have air mattresses. There's one in the studio now, in a bag. Unroll it, plug it in, and it'll pump up to a full size mattress."

"Very cool," Keith smiled.

Prez nodded and scowled, "I wish we had known that last week. Aaron, Danny, Craig and Glen slept on the floor."

Mike smirked, "I know. The sad thing is that there are two of 'em, so none of them had to sleep on the floor."

"We forgot about the Memorial Day party, when they were last used," Derrick offered.

Turning the TV off, Derrick and Mike went to the table. Mike said, "There's more good news. We got some of the pictures in our e-mail from Eddie already. Since I have the only color printer, we can work on the audition package tomorrow, if you want."

"I have an alternate suggestion," Prez offered.

All three wondered what it was, taking various off-topic tangents. Mike prompted, "What's your idea, Prez?"

"This is important to our band," Prez explained. "I think it would be worth while taking all the pictures and previously prepared stuff to Kinko's. Let them do the printing on color laser printers. It makes us look more prepared and puts a professional polish on it."

Keith wondered, "What do you think it might cost, baby?"

Prez shrugged, "I don't know. Our little package will only be about five or six pages. We can type up and print the bio's for each of us, or put it on a floppy disk to take with us. Let's make some assumptions; five pages that will be color photographs and text; this same package could be reused, at least in the short term, so let's get ten copies of the package. If it cost us fifty bucks for five pages, I think that would be reasonable. Agreed?"

Derrick, Keith and Mike agreed. Derrick summarized, "So ten bucks per page and we get ten copies of the prepared package. We should also set a maximum cost; in case they tell us it's gonna cost more like a hundred bucks."

Mike hummed then said, "Twenty bucks per page for ten copies is ridiculous. Ten bucks, like Prez said, is a lot, but for something that looks good, it's worth it. I wouldn't spend more than fifteen bucks per page, or ninety bucks maximum for a six page package. If I had to go out and buy more color ink cartridges, and some real nice paper, to do it myself, that's about what they would cost."

Keith asked, "Is that what we're gonna do tomorrow? No beach?"

Mike shrugged. Derrick offered, "How about we just stop by Kinko's tomorrow and get an idea of what bucks we're talking about? We don't have all the pictures, or the text put together yet anyhow."

Prez smiled, "Cool. We haven't seen the beach in about ten days and I was hoping."

Mike chuckled, "By the way, Graham wants to take Ben to the beach Wednesday, but since Ben has never been, he wants to, and I quote, 'keep my teddy bear safe so he wants to go back again'." Prez and Keith helplessly laughed.

Derrick sniggered, "So tomorrow we hit the beach first, and then stop by Kinko's on the way home?"

Prez nodded and Keith giggled, "That sounds like a plan."

Mike and Derrick shared a glance that didn't go unnoticed by Keith and Prez. Mike softly asked, "By now you've had a chance to talk about the four us, as in during the last few weeks?" Still eating and with full mouths, Keith and Prez nodded and tried to grin. Mike wondered, "Where are you at?"

Swallowing first, Keith leered, "Where are you two nudists at?"

Derrick began softly chuckling and covered his mouth, so he wouldn't accidentally wake Doug or Brian. "Come on, Keith," Mike pressed. "All we want to know is if either of you regret anything?"

Having swallowed and washed down some food with soda, Prez quickly and a little too loudly assured, "Absolutely not. Right after we dropped off the key, I compared us to the top of a pyramid, as in the three of you are the most important people in my life. Beyond that, things get blurry. Drew and Corey rank high because they live, at least part time, with us. After that, it becomes more and more difficult to place pyramid bricks for Shaun, Jessy, Gil, Nelson, Ben, Graham, Eddie, Matt and so on." Prez paused to catch his breath and unwrap a taco, then more softly admitted, "I wouldn't normally get naked with too many people, never mind have sex with them unless I feel something." He bit into his taco.

Happily beaming, Derrick sighed, "That's a relief. I hoped there were no 'after-the-fact' arguments."

"There was only one disagreement," Keith grinned. Prez had to cover his mouth to prevent spitting taco bits around the room.

Rolling his eyes, Mike sniggered, "It couldn't have been that bad if Prez is laughing about it." On the verge of hysterics, Prez got up from the table and had to step out of the house. Rush followed his master outside.

Keith grinned, "Remember me walking on my hands and Prez getting excited about it."

"Omigod," Mike and Derrick softly sniggered.

Keith nodded and chuckled, "We tried making love, orally and anally that way. It was awesome, from both perspectives, bottom and top. We're perfectly fine, dudes. In the grand scheme of things, I love Prez; serious or silly or anywhere in between. Right after him, there's you two."

Derrick heartily giggled, "Prez did you then you switched and you did Prez?"

Keith nodded, "It was his idea."

Red in the face from laughing, Prez came back inside with Rush. Mike commented, "It couldn't have been too comfortable for the dude on his hands."

Sitting at the table, Prez shrugged and giggled, "It wasn't, thus the disagreement." All four helplessly cracked up, albeit much more softly, which only made the laughter last that much longer.

When Keith and Prez were finished eating, they went to the studio to begin pumping up the air mattress. While that was happening, Prez and Keith took a shower. The four of them then sat around the computer, working on simple biographies for the six band members, including birth dates, which high school they attended and after high school plans.

After returning from Eddie's pool party, Ben and Graham made love, and then settled down watching the movie 'Crossroads', with Ralph Macchio. Relaxed in his own bed with his new boyfriend, Graham fell asleep before the movie ended. Ben stayed awake to watch the whole flick then turned the volume down and set the timer, so the TV would turn itself off in an hour. Shuffling down, Ben gently pulled Graham's arm over his tummy then closed his eyes and fell asleep.

In Agoura Hills, Derrick and Prez woke first around nine in the morning. Bowls of cereal were poured. Prez let Rush out the back door for his morning toidy. Since Doug and Brian weren't around, Prez went to wake Mike in the guest bedroom while Derrick went to wake Keith in the studio, reaffirming that the bonds they had built in July would remain for the foreseeable future.

With Prez laying on top of him and actively grinding away, Mike shuddered, his mind reviewing the prior summer, when he and Prez weren't very friendly. Mike softly prompted, "Tell me why you called me last summer?"

Lifting his head off Mike's shoulder, Prez locked eyes with him then answered, "Remember what I told you about Justin, my friend in Texas?"

Mike nodded, "Homophobe in the making."

Prez said, "I let him walk away if a huff. I let days pass before trying to call him, by which time, I guess it was too late. The fact that I wasn't thinking sexually at the time is irrelevant; a lesson was learned. For me, for Keith and all of us, life would be easier if we liked each other."

"And now?"

Prez evilly grinned, "I'm taking advantage of your morning wood."

Mike sniggered, "Keep grinding and I'll cum."

Prez shrugged, "These shorts are laundry anyway. If that's what you'd like, I'm sure I could too."

"I think I want more," Mike warned, and then rolled so that he was on top of Prez. Through Prez's giggles, Mike grabbed a tender kiss, got one in return and then shuffled around to push Prez's shorts down and get into a sixty-nine position.

In the studio on the air mattress, Derrick sneakily laid beside Keith, silently stroking his bone. When Keith's eyelids fluttered and his hips reflexively bucked, Derrick helplessly giggled. Sleepily realizing the giggle wasn't as deep as Prez's, Keith opened his eyes. He grinned, "You and Prez are as bad as me and Mike, always plotting something."

Derrick grinned, "You and Mike sleeping later than us makes it easy. We had a few minutes to scheme."

Keith deeply inhaled and stretched, but Derrick kept stroking away. Wrapping one arm around Derrick's back, Keith smiled, "I can't believe you thought I was cute. Sometimes I thought you'd be happier if I wasn't around."

"Very rarely, when me and Mike wanted to be alone," Derrick admitted. "We were both denying being gay at the same time, Keith. Now we all know where we stand. Regardless of preferred partners, we're all really attracted to each other. So today, I get to do for Prez and he's with Mike, doing what I would normally do, just to say to both of you, we could've done each other, but like you and Mike, we're a little more comfortable this way. We're making up for the past too."

Searching Derrick's eyes yet finding only pleasure and consideration, Keith giggled, "Well done, but this is what happens to Prez in the morning," and then forced Derrick flat onto the mattress. They kissed hard then Keith kissed his way down to Derrick's cock. Only when Derrick giggled, "Give me fat dick now, you evil bastard!" did Keith swing around.

From both ends of the hall there was brief giggling. Then there was silence as friends orally pleasured each other. Naked and meeting in the hall, partners teased each other for being conniving and wicked, above and beyond the call.

Prez let Rush back in and fed him. All four ate and then showered together. Preparing to leave for the beach, the bedroom doors were closed. Rush was given adequate water in his bowl before the four boys left for Zuma in the 4Runner. During the drive to Zuma, they bounced some ideas around for their band package and what to tell the folks at Kinkos.

Ben woke around ten that Tuesday morning. Knowing that Graham hadn't caught up on a month's worth of lost sleep, Ben carefully slid out from under his boyfriend's arm. He went to the bathroom, relieved his bladder then brushed his teeth. Returning to the bedroom, Ben slid into his board shorts from the night before, and then quietly went downstairs to find something for breakfast. In the pantry, Ben found Rice Chex cereal and poured himself a bowl. He ate at the kitchen island, expecting Graham to come down before he finished eating, but his boyfriend never did join him. Deciding to allow Graham to catch up on his rest, Ben found the remote for the living room television and turned it on. He found 'Interview with a Vampire' had just started and watched the entire movie. When it ended at noon, Ben went upstairs. He found Graham on his belly, still unconscious. He heard the front door unlock and open, signaling that Mrs. Carleton was home for lunch.

It had been over ten hours since Graham fell asleep. Ben smiled at his lover's incredible physique and muscular ass, contemplating whether to let Graham sleep or wake him. Deciding to allow Graham to sleep, Ben powered up the Mac and began transcribing poems from Francis' notebook. Half an hour passed and Graham hadn't moved. Ben spent another half an hour typing in Francis' poetry. Not an expert in literature, Ben thought the poems and lyrics were very good. The handwritten words he was reading gave a voice to a friend he never got to meet, but felt close to nonetheless. What was most revealing was that none of the poetry mentioned Graham by name, and very few of the poems used words that gave gender to the subject of his love; it was always 'me' and 'you' and 'us'. Ben heard the front door open and close then the rattling of the lock. Mrs. Carleton had gone back to work.

Seeing it was after one in the afternoon, Ben carefully slid into bed. He softly called, "Puddin'?" and gently rubbed Graham's back and buns.

Graham hummed then croaked, "Hey sexy teddy bear."

Ben smiled, "It's after one o'clock. I've eaten breakfast, watched almost all of 'Interview with a Vampire', and started entering poetry from Francis."

Rolling to his side and reaching an arm out to hold Ben, but keeping his eyes closed, Graham grinned, "So now you're bored?"

"I can find lots o' ways to keep busy," Ben giggled, "some require you though."

Stretching, Graham opened his eyes, yawning "How long have I slept?"

"About eleven hours," Ben smiled. "I've been expecting this though and you needed it." He confirmed, "No dreams?"

Graham chortled, "Only of you and crazed grizzly sex. Francis did make an appearance, while my helium heels were floating and you were pounding my ass, only to tease me and ask, 'are you sure you can be mostly a top?'"

Ben giggled, "And your answer was?"

"At least twice a week I'll need my backside filled," Graham smiled, and then playfully bounced his eyebrows. Graham had made it very clear that making love in the missionary position, with Ben's strength and weight holding him in place, was completely mind shattering.

Reaching for Graham's morning wood, Ben gently stroked away and giggled, "What would you like this morning?"

Graham smiled, "I think I'll take top, since I've got major wood." Pausing while his hips reflexively bucked, Graham then sighed, "You've got the most wonderful hands in the world."

"I'm glad you think so," Ben giggled, and then loudly called, "Phase one!" as both hands started tickling Graham's torso and ribs.

Tickling Ben back, Graham howled, "And I thought we were starting with phase two!"

Ben giggled, "You didn't specifically tell me phases were interchangeable."

"They normally aren't," Graham laughed, "but you're dressed, which I'll have to do something about."

With that said, Ben moved over Graham for their morning kiss. Graham began pushing Ben's shorts down. Ben kicked his shorts off then lay down on his boyfriend. They started making out and grinding then Graham rolled them over, so he was on top of Ben. Spreading his legs and lifting them to wrap around Graham's butt, Ben made it plain that he was very ready. Making love in the missionary position, the two new lovers began whispering. Graham shared, "Thanks for letting me sleep in, teddy bear."

Absently running his hands up and down Graham's arms, Ben smiled, "You're relaxing at last, puddin'." Ben briefly wondered if Graham knew how incredibly sexy he was hovering as he was, with his arm, back and chest muscles flexing to hold his weight. Having recently seen all his other friends shirtless, albeit not in exactly this position, Ben ran through the list again, comparing all of them to Graham. Ben thought that Graham had Derrick's chest and shoulders, Drew's arms, Prez's abs, Mike's tushie, and a sense of humor that was bits and pieces of all of them; generally less boisterous than Mike, yet at times wickedly sarcastic, but with a playful expression and darting eyes.

Graham sighed, "It's been six days since we met. Only you could've accomplished so much so fast."

Ben reminded, "You wanted me to be your special friend."

"You're so much more, Ben," Graham assured.

Feeling their bond swell in his chest, Ben moaned; "Oh Graham, I want you with me forever. Please say you'll stay with me forever?"

"I promise I will," Graham swore, and then leaned down for a passionate kiss. Before breaking the kiss, Graham's thrusts began speeding up, causing Ben to groan and whimper. Graham smiled, "Forever Ben, it's you and me."

Nodding, Ben whined, "I can feel you throbbing inside me. Let it happen. Please do it, Graham."

Graham leaned down for a playful medium kiss and let his body do what it needed to do. He and Ben cooed and moaned into their kiss with their eyes locked until the very last moment. Knowing he was going to lose it, Graham loudly groaned "Omigod, Benjamin."

Graham's powerful thrusts and uncontrollable spasms caused Ben to cheer, "Yes, Graham. I'm all yours, puddin', your lover, forever and ever." Barely able to focus, Graham peered down and caught Ben's expression of relief. All the doubtful thoughts during weeks of solitude were being shattered in this one incredible person. They could really be together, caring for one another for a very long time.

Without much recovery time, Graham gave away many kisses then slid out of Ben. He enthusiastically went for his boyfriends leaking cock. Giving Ben no chance of holding back, Graham bobbed his head and wiggled two fingers into Ben's butt, purposefully pressing on the prostate. At last, Graham swallowed while Ben writhed, panted and grunted. Lying on top of Ben during the post orgasmic shuddering, Graham repeatedly stole kisses. Holding on tight, Ben began giggling because they had actually had a relevant conversation while making love. The act fed the words and the words fed the act, Ben realized. He softly asked, "Is that the kind of talking we'll always do?"

Graham shrugged, "We can tell each other anything we want; what we feel, what we think, or even make plans for the future." He grinned, "Like right now, I have to pee something awful." Ben cracked up then followed Graham off the bed and into his bathroom. Ben was holding Graham's dickie while he relieved himself. Graham confirmed, "You ate already?"

"Cereal and juice, more than three hours ago," Ben giggled.

"Let's have lunch as soon as we're done here. I'm starving."

"What else do you want to do today?" Ben wondered, "Would you like to go for another short drive in your new car?"

Graham asked, "Is there someplace you'd like to go?"

"No, not really," Ben replied. "I'd be happy here, alone with you."

Bouncing his eyebrows, Graham smiled, "Making love?"

Ben giggled, "Anything and everything, puddin'. You'll want me to play guitar for your parents, so I should practice too."

"Definitely," Graham smiled. "You could try working on some other new tunes too."

"That's not very interesting for you though."

"It depends on how we approach it," Graham devilishly leered, pushing Ben into a giggling fit. Graham honestly said, "I would like to go for a drive in the car. I also want to listen to you play guitar. Getting lunch and making love with you are the highest priorities."

Shaking Graham's dickie, Ben offered, "I suggest we take a shower, go for a ride and grab something to eat while we're out. When we come back here, I'll practice a little while and then we'll make love a couple of times, leaving time to shower again before your folks get home."

Graham nodded and led Ben to the tub, revealing, "You make me feel really peaceful, teddy bear." He leaned over to turn the water on while Ben softly giggled. Standing up straight, Graham smiled, "Why is that?"

Ben shrugged, "Is it me or is it you, Graham? I've felt comfortable enough with you, to say exactly what I feel, without fear of embarrassment, for six days now. All I can say is that we're good together."

Graham grinned, "Maybe it's us. My dad said I've changed since the accident. I'm only seeing little pieces of that, and it revolves around you." He checked the water temperature then offered Ben a hand and stepped into the tub. Ben slid the door closed. Graham turned the shower on, and with warming water spraying his back, went to give Ben a hug, smiling "I've told you enough about Francis. What do you really think?"

Ben's lips curled inward and he thoughtfully hummed. After a moment's consideration, Ben offered, "Francis liked to be active. You were friends for years before becoming a couple. The relationship you had with Francis was busier, and you were both happy like that. At this point, I think that you're simply happy to be in less pain. Also, in your room are two paintings of mountain lake landscapes. That tells me you're basically relaxed and peaceful most of the time.

"I'm perfectly content watching TV with you, or slow dancing with you, or doing anything, as long as it's with you. I think you're peaceful because I'm not demanding anything from you. I don't even have to demand attention. At Eddie's pool Sunday night and last night, you stayed near me most of the time. All I've needed or wanted was what Prez and Keith have; what Mike and Derrick have." Ben smiled, "Someone to be with is what they have and now I do too."

Picking up the soap and beginning to bathe Ben, Graham smiled, "I picked out those two paintings years ago, when my parents decided it was time to redecorate, to make the room mine. Only you would notice something like those pictures. What else do you see, teddy bear?"

Ben giggled, "From the pictures of your friends on your computer, I think you're very loyal. Since you allow Eddie to do his photo editing on your computer; that tells me you have no problem sharing. The posters tell me what kind of music you prefer. You have a better stereo than I do, so you must really enjoy listening to music."

Graham chuckled, "Damn, you're good. I asked for a stereo for my thirteenth birthday. Specifically, I wanted the one in the living room, never really expecting to get it. So my parents got a new Bose surround sound system for the living room and gave me the old gear."

Ben grinned, "You do know that JBL makes some of the best speakers out there, right?"

Shaking his head, Graham said, "No I didn't. The Bose system is smaller and sounds better to my ears."

"It's surround sound, not stereo," Ben reminded. "Instead of left and right only, surround sound has six distinct channels." He then suggested, "If you separated your speakers more in your room, it might sound better?"

"How could we do that?"

"What if the whole setup was moved over by the bed?" Ben offered. "The two speakers could be on either side of the bed. The components could go against the wall by the closet."

Graham nodded, "I like the idea of the speakers moving closer to the bed. The receiver is connected to the satellite box though, so that would have to stay close to the TV."

"Oh," Ben giggled, "I didn't know that."

"Because we usually watch TV late at night, without the stereo," Graham smiled. "We can check into getting longer speaker cables though and move the speakers."

Once out of the shower and dressed, Ben and Graham went for a ride down Ventura Boulevard. They stopped for lunch at the McDonald's where Eddie worked. Eddie got to take a break and sit with his friends for about ten minutes. When Eddie went back to work again, Ben and Graham had finished their lunches and left to go get speaker wire. Graham was going to check Radio Shack, but Ben told his partner that he could get speaker wire almost anywhere else for less money. Ben suggested that they go to a Home Depot and check the electronics department. If it wasn't available there, they could go to Circuit City and get it there. At Home Depot, they found 16-gauge speaker wire for eighteen cents per foot.

While they went to find a salesman to help them, Graham wondered, "About how much do you think I'll need?"

Ben scowled, "Your bedroom is pretty big. So we don't have speaker wire running past the doorway, for us or anyone to trip over, we should probably tack it around and over the door. That's a good twenty feet right there, plus about four feet to the stereo, plus about ten feet to the middle of the room. That's two thirty-four-foot lengths."

Graham did the math, muttering "Thirty times twenty cents is six bucks, times two is twelve bucks. No problem. I'll still have cash for the beach and I still have that twenty I found to take you to the movies."

Ben giggled, "Does your dad have some little U-shaped tacks we can use?"

Graham nodded, "I'm sure he does." At the customer service counter, Graham asked for help with the speaker wire. The woman behind the desk called for assistance in the electronics department. Graham thanked her and hurried back over there with Ben. About ten minutes later, they had paid for the wire and were walking out of Home Depot. They would go right back home to move the speakers around, set up the new wire and still have some alone time before Graham's parents came home from work.

On their way back from the beach, Derrick, Mike, Keith and Prez stopped at a Kinko's in Thousand Oaks. The place was busy, with many adult business men and women. The four of them stood out in their boardies, T-Shirts and sandals. After about ten minutes of waiting, they were helped. Prez and Mike did almost all the talking, explaining what they wanted to prepare and for what purpose. The woman behind the counter made several suggestions and showed them various samples of paper and bindings for their audition packet. They kept their choices down the middle, getting good quality paper and bindings, but not the best available. All four were most concerned with color image quality and told her so. The woman itemized every requirement and all the materials needed for the ten copies the boys wanted. Presented with the itemized list, all four reviewed it and the final cost of seventy-five bucks, not including tax.

Agreeing to go for it, Prez asked how long it would take to prepare. The woman replied it could be done in a day, but to make sure it was done that quickly, she would need to know when they would have all their materials together. Prez said, "We could be back this time next Tuesday with all our data and photos."

The Kinko's lady smiled, "I'll put you on the schedule, if you'll make a ten dollar deposit?"

"Excellent," Prez, Mike and Derrick cheered. Mike and Prez handed over five bucks each, and they promised to return the following Tuesday.

Returning to Doug's and Brian's house in Agoura Hills, all four went directly to the studio to jam. Concentrating on songs they could play as a four-man band, they ran through the four songs by The Who, and then the two they already knew by Led Zeppelin. They wrapped up their studio time with Stairway To Heaven, with Keith singing lead vocals for the first time. At the end of the song, while he was being complimented and the gear was being powered off, Keith reluctantly admitted that the last verse of the song left his throat and voice feeling like gravel. Derrick, Mike and Prez promised that they would only perform the song at the school dances if it was requested and Keith felt up to it.

At the Seaver residence in Woodland Hills, Corey and Drew were outside skinny dipping in the pool and discussing computer options for Drew's birthday. The previous day, they had browsed through flyers from Sunday's newspaper, but not been satisfied with what they found. They decided to go inside and check the Internet on Corey's computer to do some on-line shopping.

Still on Corey's desk were the flyers they had already checked, so they could do some price comparisons. Starting the Internet dial-up connection, Corey smiled, "I still think you should go for a laptop, Drew."

Picking up the flyers, Drew shrugged, "It would be useful, but desktops are still cheaper, Cor. Besides, reading from those little screens will eventually ruin my eyesight. What's that show on TV that talks about all that techie stuff every Saturday? They have a web site we could check out."

"Good idea," Corey giggled, and then raced out of his room to check the TV Guide in the living room.

Watching his lover's butt bounce away, Drew sighed and tried to focus his attention on the computers in the flyer he was holding.

Moments later, when Corey stepped back into the room, he laughed, "Drew!"

Not looking up from the flyer he was leafing through, Drew softly sniggered, "What?"

Shaking his head sadly, Corey giggled, "You're hard again. Do you want to make babies first, stud?"

Dropping the flyer on the desk, Drew blushed and grinned, "It's been almost a week since your last nightmare. The next time you have one, remember what happens when you jog away naked."

Stepping closer to Drew and fondling his lover's erection, Corey smiled, "Let's hope that the worst of the nightmares are past, and that we're down to one doctor visit a month by September."

Pulling Corey closer, by the hips, Drew stole a kiss then shared, "We're set, angel. Your mom and mine will be getting only two-percent milk from now on. For lunch, we both had salads and split a big turkey sub with Swiss cheese. You're matching me with every meal again, Cor. I can't remember the last time I could say that; maybe as far back as December."

Sitting down at the desk again, Corey nodded, "That's probably right." Loading Internet Explorer, Corey said, "The name of the show we watched was C-Net Central. I'll head there and check out their latest computer reviews." Nodding, Drew went to stand behind Corey and read the screen. Corey said, "Intel Celeron processors are now up to 400MHz. This machine that I just got for Christmas is 266MHz. My hard drive is two gigabytes. You could get up to six gigabytes."

Drew reminded, "The PC in my room that I've been sharing with John, is only a hundred mega-Hertz and has a 200 megabyte hard drive. I know they're recommending we get the most bang for the buck, but let's not put your parents in debt for this, Cor."

"Your PC is a 486 processor with only two-hundred-fifty-six meg of RAM, Drew," Corey reminded. "That's why you can't get Windows 98 on it."

Drew nodded, "I understand that, but it's primarily for homework and writing on the school newspaper. I'll need Microsoft Word, not just a top-of-the-line PC and Windows 98, without the software to do the job."

Corey nodded, "Microsoft's coming out with new versions of Office and Word this year too. You're still using Word 95." A few moments later, after following another link, they discovered that many of the phone companies and cable vendors would soon be offering high-speed Internet access to residential users. C-Net recommended that any new PC be outfitted with Ethernet connectivity.

"They're recommending Dell over and over again, for desktops and laptops," Drew noticed.

Corey clicked on the link that took them to the Dell site. At last, they could compare prices. In only a few more minutes, they discovered that every PC offered by Dell was much better and less expensive than the Compaqs and other brands offered in the flyers. To get an accurate quote, they began configuring a system online. Soon, they had a system configured that was much like Corey's, with a fifteen inch monitor, Microsoft Office 97 and had a built-in Ethernet port and a fax-modem for dial-up use.

Corey leaned back and grinned, "Under two grand, less than this machine cost my parents."

"Two thousand bucks though," Drew moaned, and fell back on Corey's bed.

Corey sighed then opened his Windows Calendar. He beckoned, "Drew, come here for a minute."

Sitting up, Drew complained, "Your parents can't drop two grand on my birthday, Corey."

Pointing at the calendar on the screen, Corey instructed, "Look, Drew; my last doctor visit this month is on Friday, August twenty-eighth. I'm gonna point this out to them too. I could be down to one doctor visit a month and told that on Friday the twenty-eighth. Your birthday is two days later. Would all this progress have been made without you? Not very damn likely. There's their incentive, right there, stud."

"It's still a lot of money, Cor," Drew frowned.

"I'm going to be living with you half the time," Corey reminded. "We've both got to be able to do our homework on this machine. The only alternative I can think of is to go back to the site and look at laptops. That way, you've always got your PC with you, no matter where we happen to be that week."

Drew nodded, "Let's check it out. If we can both get our work done at the same time, and I can take it to school with me too, the value goes up, even if the cost doesn't change very much."

Going back to Internet Explorer, Corey went to work on configuring a laptop, similar to the desktop and with a fifteen inch screen. The cost was two-hundred dollars more than the desktop though, so Corey started again, but with a laptop based around the Intel Pentium 233MHz processor. Finally arriving at something less than the desktop, Corey checked, "If they would get this for you, how bad would you freak out?"

Groaning, Drew flopped back onto the bed and covered his eyes. He huffed, "I didn't have two major arguments with you for a PC, Corey. All I wanted was to get you healthier and save this summer, for both of us. You're doing all the work here. I'm reaping the benefits every day. What are you getting out of this?"

"Besides being healthier?" Corey giggled, "Let's see, the witch doctor is history; my parents, while still worrying more than I'd like to see, are giving us chances that neither of us thought we'd have when we had those arguments. Your parents are chilling out too. We're making love and babies at least twice a day, and up to twelve times a day. We got to spend most of last week in Agoura Hills, with Brian, Pete, Keith, Prez, Derrick and Mike. Nope, I haven't gotten squat out of any of this."

Sitting up, Drew smiled, "Please don't make them spend too much, Corey. I can do the stuff I need to on the PC I already have. A Windows 98 capable machine might be nice, but it's not necessary."

Standing and moving for the bed, Corey promised Drew that this was the basis he would ask his parents for, but in the back of his mind, was already planning on sweetening the PC somehow or another. Once Corey told his parents exactly what Drew had said, he knew his parents well enough to be certain that Drew would get everything he deserved. At that moment, Corey pushed Drew's shoulders and softly instructed, "Lay flat, stud." Drew grinned and mutely complied. Corey spent the next minutes proving to Drew exactly how much he deserved. If it were possible, Corey would've remained there for the hours until his parents got home. As it was, Corey repeatedly shifted his focus away from Drew's cock to mouth any other body part he could easily reach. It took so long that Drew thought he was still good to hold back his orgasm when the first shots unexpectedly erupted into Corey's mouth.

On the other side of the 101, Ben and Graham had moved the speakers and run the new speaker wire. Graham tried to hammer the tacks holding the speaker wire over the door frame, to save Ben's talented fingers. Two tacks and two squashed fingers later, Ben took over. Not once did Ben pound his fingers with the hammer. To test it out, the stereo was turned on. At first, Graham wanted to hear what it sounded like from the bed. They found Independence Day on one of the movie channels, near the ending battle, and turned up the volume. With the speakers near the foot of the bed, the stereo separation was great and the bass frequencies vibrated the mattress. Thrilled that Ben's suggested modification worked so well, Graham got silly and then got some more of Ben. During the afternoon, Graham's intention was to move beyond the four basic positions. They made love several new ways; with Ben laying flat and his legs spread, and Graham on his knees and rocking into Ben, and then at the edge of the bed with Ben laying prone and Graham standing, and with Ben sitting on the desk chair, for Graham to go for a ride.

Before Doug or Brian returned home from work, Prez and Keith demonstrated the new hand-stand position for Mike and Derrick. Since the middle of July, Prez had wanted to make love while Keith was upside down standing on his hands. Following his best friend's lead, Mike stood on his hands for Derrick. All four were rapidly shifting from ecstatic groans and moans to giggling and laughter as Keith and Mike periodically lost their balance. Before their week together ended, Prez and Derrick promised to do hand stands for Keith and Mike. They took a shower and got dressed. Returning to the main rooms of the house, Prez called Jessy and Shaun, to have them e-mail to him the chosen photo portrait and short biographies that could be included in the band packet. Derrick and Mike took a quick run to the grocery store to get something for dinner.

Doug walked in the house, about ten minutes after five, to find all four boys in the galley kitchen. He asked, "What's cookin', lads?"

Mike smiled, "Barbecued London Broil, baby carrots and steak fries tonight."

Derrick added, "The steak is marinating."

Prez asked, "Where's Brian today?"

"In Anaheim, at the Royal Crown," Doug answered. "Assuming he's not stuck in traffic, he'll be home in a half an hour or so." Shifting his eyes mysteriously, he wondered, "Why are all four of you in that tiny kitchen if nothing is cooking yet?"

Four wide smiles formed and they checked with each other. Mike joked, "We're going through all the slippery substances."

"To determine what might work best," Keith chuckled.

Derrick nodded and teased, "Most of it is kind o' bland tasting though."

Prez giggled, "Italian dressing might work, like the marinade on the steak."

Pretending to slap his own face, Doug grinned, "Ask a silly question," and then went to the living room to turn on the stereo. Returning through the rooms, he offered, "Let me change out of these work duds into something more comfy," and went into the master bedroom.

When the door closed, Prez softly sniggered, "We have no chance of keeping us private."

Surprisingly, Derrick and Mike shrugged. Keith whispered, "Did you tell them anything?"

Derrick shook his head. Mike softly smiled, "They haven't implied that they know, but since there were eight of us living here at once, I think they have a clue."

Slightly out of sync, each of the four of them admitted that the last week of July was a lot of fun. With Brian, Pete, Corey and Drew around too, it was better than any of them imagined. Between the last four nights of work and surfing that morning, Keith felt a need to stretch, causing several vertebrae to loudly pop, and raising eyebrows. Prez took his position behind Keith and began rubbing his lover's neck and shoulders. Mike took Keith's left arm and began kneading his best friend's biceps. Derrick moved around Keith and took care of the right arm. Keith mooed and then sighed as he relaxed.

Walking out of the master bedroom in shorts and a sport shirt, Doug took a seat on one of the kitchen counter stools. Keith explained, "I started working at Black Angus. All the bus buckets and racing around is still new."

"Backaches suck," Doug simply stated.

While working over Keith's sore muscles, the four of them began explaining to Doug what they were planning for the audition packet. Surprised that the boys had thought of it, Doug smiled, "That kind of preparation, in addition to being rehearsed, will get you the gig."

"It wasn't really our idea," Prez chuckled.

Mike nodded, "Our friends from Portland, Brian and Pete, suggested it."

Locking eyes with Doug, Derrick asked, "What do you think our chances are?"

Taking on his Irish brogue, Doug melodically answered, "Let me just say this about that. If you lads were twenty-one, I'd have you playing at our two clubs, two nights at each of 'em."

Suddenly releasing Keith and leaving him wobbling in a relaxed stupor, Prez, Mike and Derrick loudly squealed, "Really?"

Nodding, Doug pointed at Keith and chuckled, "Catch him before he drops." Prez wrapped his arms around Keith's waist. Derrick and Mike each flung the arms they had been working on over their shoulders to prop Keith up. Doug grinned, "I'll take a few minutes to explain what I heard. Wonderful Tonight, with Mike singing lead and Jessy backing up, is as good as the record. Derrick gets two thumbs up for purposefully singing like Mick Jagger and Tom Petty. I know, and we all know, you're having fun imitating them, but it sounds good. Don't change it in any way now that you know that. Overdo it and it becomes a joke." Derrick nodded and widely smiled. Doug continued, "Prez, on Hold My Hand and the No, No Song, were impressive enough, but I think we found your range in the Asia tunes. The last I heard, Prez's baritone in the Beach Boys songs fills out the presentation perfectly."

"Thank you," Prez happily chuckled.

Doug grinned and locked eyes with Keith. "Don't embarrass me," Keith softly giggled.

Doug smirked, "I told you New Years Eve that you have a talent. Your voice is a perfect replacement for Steve Perry on all the Journey songs. I haven't heard a single song you've sang poorly, but we all know when you really like the song your singing, because your persona changes. The only thing I recommend is that you show the same enthusiasm for all the songs you sing. Don't let an audience believe your nothing less than completely into it."

Keith nodded, "I'll try."

Doug smiled, "Shaun is good too. He's got a good voice and powerful rhythm guitar that really adds something to your group. That and his ability to help Jessy at the keyboards makes him an invaluable addition. What Brian and I saw last weekend was quite a bit different than John's birthday party, so I have to ask, what do you think has changed?"

"I was scared to death then," Keith giggled. "I'm down to only frightened now."

Smiling, Doug nodded and waved that idea off, saying, "Each performance will make it easier."

Derrick hummed then offered, "We've been rehearsing the songs all year, with only a few newer additions and exceptions."

"That helps," Doug agreed.

Mike said, "I think part of it is having equipment that allows us to hear ourselves better."

"Ooo, so warm," Doug playfully droned. Seeing four uncertain expressions, Doug sniggered then got up to get his Martin acoustic, now back on its stand in the living room.

Mike whispered, "I get a damn chubby every time I play that guitar." Keith suspiciously glanced over at Mike then pulled his arm off Mike's shoulder. Derrick and Prez helplessly chuckled.

Doug returned and started strumming and singing Sister Golden Hair, a song he had heard the band play, so he knew they would easily sing along. At the start of the second verse, while Doug sang the lead vocals, the four boys began softly wooing and ahh-ing, in perfect harmony. Soon Derrick was countertop drumming, keeping the simple beat. Doug ended the song, thrilled that he heard doo-wops in sync. He quickly cheered, "Right there, what have you done?"

Prez shrugged and smiled, "Singing in harmony."

Mike nodded, "During the winter, Derrick and I would spend some time singing with only an acoustic, figuring out our vocal ranges." He paused to chuckle, "We couldn't do much more than privately make out, so we had to do something."

Derrick added, "By the spring, it was all four of us, not really working on songs, but ooo's and ahs with chords."

"You were listening," Doug emphatically stated. "Hearing isn't the same, with amplifiers blaring, drums thumping and cymbals crashing, you can't help hearing. Really listening requires involvement. Get it?"

"Got it," four voices chanted.

Returning his guitar to its stand, Doug said, "Rehearsals and knowing the songs have helped, but listening to yourselves, voices and instruments, makes the band unified." Walking back to the counter, Doug prompted, "Now, speaking of unified, what is this thing you've been doing, as in to Ben, Corey, Graham and Danny?" Doug sat on a stool again.

Mike giggled, "An extension of what we can already do, isn't it?"

Derrick teased, "We haven't created clouds or caused floods, have we?"

"Ah, but you've moved beyond the physical into the metaphysical," Doug grinned. "The change in Ben was almost overwhelming. He actually cares about himself, and now he's learning to care for someone else too."

Prez huffed, "All he ever needed was to feel included instead of excluded."

"He wasn't very receptive at first," Mike said. "Whatever it was that fucked with him was pushed aside, simply by allowing it to drop into the past."

"We all had several opportunities to talk to him," Keith revealed. "Ben listened too, to each of us individually and all of us as a group. Include Brian and Pete, and Drew and Corey too, and he had eight examples and probably alternate perceptions too."

"He wanted, we provided," Derrick shrugged. "In return we get a pair of ears listening, and two strong arms to help move gear around. The last part wasn't planned, but it has worked out that way."

"And Graham?" Doug prodded. All four boys shrugged. Doug sighed, "What frightens me is crossing that boundary to the other side. Generally, that's very unsafe, ya know?"

Prez nodded, "All I could feel from Graham was uncertainty, or more accurately, confusion; with Francis gone and Ben there, already very willing to be anything Graham needed. What happened wasn't what any of us expected."

Keith explained, "The timing was kind o' fucked up. Graham had just had a major argument with a drunk friend out on the lawn. Between that and the hours he already spent with Ben, Graham was up and down like a yo-yo, not sure what was good or bad anymore."

Mike asked, "Is that what you felt at the time?"

Keith thought a moment then nodded, "Encapsulated, with my own twenty-twenty hindsight included."

Derrick reminded, "Prez collapsed, scaring the hell out of all of us."

Doug patiently explained, "Brian and I discussed this and have come up with some possible reasons. First of all, let me explain that over the weekend we noticed two very important things. It's highly likely that Corey and Eddie have natural clairvoyant abilities. Having known Francis, Eddie more than Corey was like a beacon. Prez's mother protected everyone present that night, including Francis, offering up Prez to become the vessel that Francis spoke through."

"Why me," Prez quickly asked.

Doug shrugged, "It's possible that Francis chose you, rather than your mom pointing the way."

Mike checked with Derrick, "That makes sense to me."

Derrick nodded, "Yup, me too." Seeing only confusion on the faces of Doug, Keith and Prez, Derrick reminded, "Francis was thin, about five-eight, and redder hair than Prez's. As a matter of fact, Prez last summer was generally the same height and build as Francis was, when we met him at Mike's party. I'm just sayin' maybe Francis chose Prez, to make the whole thing more important to Graham; a recognizable voice from a similar body."

Keith grumbled, "I did not like that, one tiny bit."

"It does make more sense," Prez muttered. Fascinated, Doug grinned at the four of them, because he could see their auras growing and intermingling. Prez explained, "My mom wouldn't put me into a position that would make me so weak that I'd crumble. Francis choosing me makes more sense to me."

The front door opened and Rush barked once, but didn't get up. Brian walked past the entryway wall, appearing to dramatically whither with each step he took until he finally knelt and kissed the carpeted floor. Doug grinned, "Traffic?"

"Fuckin' morons," Brian weakly mumbled. "Freeways turn into parkways, so we can all lounge around listening to the fuckin' radio. I took side streets from Santa Monica to Woodland Hills, the freeways were so completely screwed. If I hadn't, I'd still be out there." Taking notice of the four boys and his lover, Brian smiled, "I missed something here?"

For the next minutes, while dinner was prepared by the boys and they strolled in and out to the barbecue, Brian was filled in on the conversations they had. They all sat down to eat and almost immediately got silly. Still unwinding from his drive, Brian softly asked for various items to be passed, much more so than anyone else, until everything was passed to Brian's end of the table.

After dinner, Mike, Derrick, Keith and Prez soon left to pickup Drew and Corey, for their first self defense class at Bally's. While waiting for class to begin, all six decided to swap partners, so that lovers never had the chance to hurt one another. Drew would spar with Keith, Corey would spar with Derrick and Prez would spar with Mike. Two younger teenage girls came in the room. Corey gasped and Drew softly groaned.

Prez checked, "What's wrong, Corey?"

Sadly shaking his head, Corey sighed, "That blond girl…"

"No Corey," Drew softly and firmly said. He then told them, "When Corey and I were apart, I got friendly with her, because she was part of our school newspaper staff. That's Susan Barnes." Returning his attention to Corey, Drew stated, "She's only a friend, Cor."

Mike grinned, "Here they come, dudes."

"Hi Drew," Susan cheerfully said. "I didn't know you came to this club."

Drew shrugged, "I haven't been before tonight. My mom got my dad a family membership on Father's Day." Drew introduced Keith, Prez, Mike and Derrick to his friend then asked, "You know Corey?"

Nodding, Susan smiled, "Hi Corey."

"Hi," Corey muttered.

Susan introduced her friend, Tanya Hillsman, to Drew and the other five boys. All of them greeted the girl, and she was nice to all, except for Drew. It was obvious to Keith, Derrick, Mike and Prez that Tanya and Corey were in the same unenthused state. They had barely begun chatting about the weekly classes they would all be attending when class began at seven sharp.

A young woman, probably in her twenties, introduced herself as Roslyn Suder. Beside Roslyn, a young man, also in his twenties, introduced himself as Lonnie Farlow. They would be the instructors the next four weeks.

This first class presented information relevant for Los Angeles; like staying in well lit areas, being aware of your surroundings, and exuding self confidence. Unfortunately, Corey wasn't paying attention and was displaying exactly the low head hanging that Roslyn and Lonnie were talking about. Lonnie wasn't a tall guy, about Derrick's height, but well built. He got right in Corey's face, forcing Corey into the present. Corey maintained eye contact with Lonnie, which became the next part of the lesson. Paired up, Prez and Mike tried to give each other killer "Brian Kellam" stares. In moments, both were howling hysterically.

Drew, Keith, Corey and Derrick evilly snickered at Mike and Prez, drawing the instructors' attention. Roslyn smirked at them, saying, "You're supposed to be intimidating each other."

"It generally works," Mike chuckled.

"Except with each other," Prez sniggered.

Across the room, Lonnie sighed, "There are always a few rowdies in every class."

Roslyn tried her best to intimidate Prez. Locking eyes with the muscular and tall woman, Prez silently challenged her with his eyes. Truthfully, this lady presented more of a challenge then Jake had with a knife. She growled, "You think you can take me?"

Never losing eye contact, Prez scowled, "You're here to teach me and everybody in this class. I've already been knifed by a homophobic cretin, so teach me how to disarm someone that would've liked to kill me."

Nodding her head toward Mike, but maintaining eye contact with Prez, Roslyn asked "He's your boyfriend?" Prez shook his head.

Mike chuckled, "Why does everybody think that? That's what started the fight in the first place."

Roslyn shifted her intense gaze to Mike and loudly said to the entire class, "Bigots are threats to women, people of races and alternate sexualities. I'm here because, as a girl, I was rudely propositioned on a few occasions."

Lonnie told the class, "I'm here because I was a target as a teenager too, not because of my sexuality, but simply because I wasn't confident or strong enough and seemed to be an easy target. That's why we've started the class with this simple introduction; those that appear to be targets become victims. Be aware of your surroundings. Hold your head up confidently and don't act like a victim. When confronted, maintain eye contact at all times. You can avoid most fights before they ever start by those simple rules."

Returning to the front of the room, Roslyn stated, "Ladies, if you've been raised to believe this is a man's world, ask yourself why that is. Being the supposed 'fairer sex' does not mean you have to be prey. I appear to be a bodybuilder, but that doesn't mean I don't like to wear dresses and act like a lady. Which leads us into our next topic; levels of awareness. Always consider your environment and events around you. A completely non-threatening environment is like inside your home."

"I was attacked in my home," one middle aged woman in the class said. "If it weren't for my husband, I don't know that I'd be standing here now."

Moving nearer to that lady, Roslyn sighed, "I understand how you must feel violated. You are standing here now though, so you've obviously made a choice to protect yourself." The woman nodded, so Roslyn continued, "Condition white is a safe environment and safe events. An event is this lady's environment leads her to not feel comfortable where she should be most comfortable; at home." Roslyn asked, "What did you do that got your husband involved?"

"I screamed 'no' at the top of my lungs," the woman meekly offered.

Roslyn nodded, "That's perfectly acceptable. No one should feel embarrassed by screaming." She told the class, "Out on city streets, screaming for help will draw attention and very likely save you from violent confrontations."

Lonnie said, "You men and boys need to understand that simple fact too. Shouting for attention will get you help and attention. In this city, there's nothing that says you'll be confronted by only one other person. Making noise and being heard might be the difference between life and death." Remembering Corey shouting at that woman at Knott's Berry Farm, Drew grinned and bounced his eyebrows at his beloved.

"So condition white is the safest environment and the safest events," Roslyn continued. "Condition yellow is being aware of your surroundings and alert for signs of danger, like everyone should be every time they step foot out of their homes. An automobile accident had a car swerving out of control onto a friend's lawn. Had he not been alert and quickly moved out of the way, he would've been hurt. Be aware of what's going on around you at all times."

Lonnie explained, "Condition orange is when the environment, events or both lead you to begin to feel alarmed. A woman alone in a dark alley with several men following her should feel alarmed." Pulling his keys out his pocket, Lonnie arranged the keys between the fingers of his fist and displayed them, saying "Here's a weapon we all carry; our keys can become very effective deterrents. In an alarmed condition, you have every right to seek out every available weapon."

"We're talking about survival, ladies and gentlemen," Roslyn reminded. "If you want to be polite, then you may die quietly. I'll assume everyone here would rather go down fighting and making as much noise as possible." Everyone in the class vocally confirmed that.

"Condition red is when you are confronted, are under attack and are responding," Lonnie instructed. "We will be going through several exercises that will show you how and what to do under various conditions."

Roslyn stated, "Condition black is a blind panic; you're out of control and may freeze. No one wants to be there, correct?" Again, everyone in the class vocally replied. "Remember these five levels, ladies and gentlemen," Roslyn instructed, "White is lowest level of alertness. Yellow cranks it up a notch, where you all should automatically be the moment you step foot out of your homes. Orange is imminent danger and preparation. Red is when you are confronted and are responding. Black is blind panic. We'll be asking each of you about those five levels for the rest of this class and the next four weeks."

A thick gymnastic mat was dragged out and set in the center of the floor for Lonnie and Roslyn to begin demonstrating various techniques. Lonnie went after Roslyn. Taking hold of Lonnie's shoulders, she held on tightly, went down to her butt easily and flung Lonnie, who had to be at least one hundred and sixty pounds, over and behind her. He landed with considerable force on the mat. Practicing that one simple move took the remainder of the class. As forewarned, either Roslyn or Lonnie asked each of the students about one of the five levels. Prez and Keith were amazed watching Drew's friend, Susan, and her friend, Tanya, sending Roslyn and Lonnie flying over and behind them. Even the middle aged lady who had been attacked in her home used momentum to send Roslyn and Lonnie flailing to the mat. Every person in the class got to try the move out with the two instructors. For the remaining minutes of the class, the instructors randomly chose two students to try the move. Mike was sent flying over the middle aged woman that was attacked in her home. Then Mike got to send Prez flailing onto his back.

While Lonnie folded and returned the mat to the corner of the room, Roslyn announced, "Next week, we'll concentrate on blocking punches and subduing attackers with knives."

Another one of the teenage male students asked, "Why did we start with this lesson?"

"For two reasons," Lonnie answered. "First, it's extremely easy, and secondly, it builds confidence. Now all of you know that your size has nothing to do with your ability to send someone larger for a spill that would hurt."

Roslyn firmly instructed, "Do not try these exercises without mats to break your fall. For those of you that would like additional practice, this same class will be repeated Thursday afternoon at two and Saturday morning at nine."

Holding up one arm, Lonnie waved and smiled, "Have a good night everyone and remember those five levels of alertness." Roslyn also offered her farewells and everybody started leaving the classroom.

Drew immediately went to Corey and softly said, "I'll tell her now, Cor."

Corey sighed then smiled, "You would do that?"

Drew nodded, "In a second, to prevent another nightmare." He then turned to Prez, saying, "We'll meet you at the car, Prez." Understandingly, Prez nodded and Drew hurried with Corey through the group of people ahead of them.

Mike scowled, "What was that all about?"

Slowly moving forward out of the room, Derrick smirked, "Remember Drew telling us about a bad dream Corey had? That girl Susan is the one Corey dreamed about."

"Oh shit," Mike softly droned.

Derrick nodded, "That's why Corey was only partly paying attention tonight."

"And why Drew's ready to take care of the situation, once and for all," Prez added.

Keith said, "Tonight, if Drew and Corey still decide to join us at Eddie's, let's give Corey some reminders."

Dropping off his temporary club visitor badge at the reception desk, Mike frowned, "You think they might not want to come?" Derrick handed the lady his visitor badge too.

Keith shrugged, "It's up to Corey and Drew. If they ask to be dropped off at the Seavers', we'll know Corey's freaked enough."

Stepping up to Prez's side, Derrick grinned, "We had a blast at Eddie's last night, bro."

Walking out the club doors, Mike smiled, "Shaun and me jammed for about an hour. Graham got his new car and we all checked it out. It's beautiful, with a moon roof, five CD changer and an in-dash GPS." Checking around the group for nearby people crossing the parking lot, Mike then softly chortled, "Graham and Ben spent their first fifteen minutes there alone, in the bathroom together."

Surprised, Keith and Prez gasped, "Ben did that?"

Derrick sniggered, "I don't think Graham gave him much of a choice."

Mike chuckled, "Even more surprising, Eddie took dick pics, limp and for the first time ever, erect. Ben was there and participated in that too."

"With a little coaxing from Graham, Matt and Eddie," Derrick devilishly grinned. "When I checked our e-mail earlier, there were six photos waiting, all from last night."

Dumbfounded, Keith and Prez glanced at each other. Through Keith's wide grin, Prez didn't even need to hear his lover's thoughts about his teasing remarks and softly chuckled, "No."

Arriving at the cars, all four glanced around for Drew and Corey. Keith told Mike and Derrick, "We'll meet you at Eddie's."

Seeing Drew and Corey walk out of Bally's together, Prez pointed and said, "There they are."

Peeking into the rear of the 4Runner, Mike smiled, "Good, you remembered to bring your acoustic bass." Prez grinned and nodded. Mike checked with Derrick, "Ya ready, Dee?"

Shaking his head, Derrick suggested, "Let's wait to give Corey some hugs, whether he needs them or not."

Hurrying through the parking lot, Drew loudly said, "Sorry about that, dudes."

Keith asked, "You told her what the deal is?"

Shaking his head, Drew frowned, "We never found her. Did you see her out here?"

All four shook their heads and said that they hadn't, but they hadn't been looking either. As soon as Corey stepped closer, Derrick took him in his arms. Hugging Derrick back, Corey giggled, "What's this for, dude?"

Stepping back, Derrick grinned, "You seemed to need it."

Mike added, "We want you to come to the pool party tonight too," and then gave Corey another hug.

Glancing around, Corey giggled, "I'm fine, really. Drew's gonna tell Susie the first chance he gets. If I have another nightmare over her, I'll know I need serious counseling."

Drew grinned, "We're going to Eddie's, so Cor can get some dickie piccies."

"Your dickie piccies," Corey giggled.

Shaking his head, Prez started for the driver's side door and unlocked the 4Runner. Together, Derrick and Mike called, "Prez?"

Prez looked over at the 442, to find they were both flashing the lickity-split sign. Mike chuckled, "We told them last night. Eddie might still be laughing."

Derrick started the engine and teased, "I'll lead the way, Magellan." Corey, Drew and Keith cracked up.

Prez got in his car chuckling, "I'm gonna get Brian for that and the giant redwood joke." In the back seat, Corey whispered something to Drew then they cracked up. Backing out of the parking space, Prez grinned, "What's so funny, Corey?"

Corey shrugged and giggled, "You need to warn Brian before you get him, Prez. One of your orgasms might scare him straight." Drew and Keith roared laughing. For most of the short drive to Eddie's, Prez's power shooting abilities were the topic of conversation. Keith shared the results of two shoot offs with Drew and Corey. Prez only grinned at the three of them. Following Derrick's 442, Prez made the turn onto Baza Avenue when Drew and Corey began figuring out what the lickity-split signal meant. Keith proudly boasted that it was all from a remark Prez made during the last weeks of school. Stopping behind Derrick's car, Prez quickly turned off the engine and got out to retrieve his acoustic bass.

Noticing Prez hurrying, Derrick wondered, "What's wrong, bro?"

Opening the rear hatch, Prez sniggered, "Why did we agree to those shoot offs?" and pulled his bass out then closed the hatch.

Getting out of the car, Mike answered, "To make me and Keith happy. We loved it, right bro."

"Always have," Keith smiled. From behind, he grabbed Prez around the waist and whispered in his ear, "No matter how we do it, there's always that final exciting show."

Waiting by the trunk of the 442, Derrick smirked, "We'll have to do that again sometime, with Shaun." Mike pulled out his acoustic guitar case.

"And with Corey," Prez added, and Drew quickly covered his mouth so he didn't laugh too loudly at night. Derrick retrieved bongos, a Djembe, maracas and a tambourine from the trunk then closed it.

"I'm not that much of a power shooter," Corey giggled.

Keith grinned, "For fourteen, yes you are." Mike and Derrick led the way around the side of Eddie's house to the backyard.

Already back there and naked in or near the pool were Eddie, Matt, Ben, Graham, Shaun and Gil. Seeing their friends walk through the gate, Eddie, Matt and Gil quickly climbed out of the pool. Gil toweled off while Eddie and Matt went over to greet them. "I'm so glad you dudes made it," Eddie cheered, and began going to each of the six for hugs.

Shaking Keith's hand and knocking knuckles, Matt smiled, "We were beginning to think something changed your plans."

"Just our Bally's self defense class," Keith reminded. "It ended at nine and we came right over from there."

Once Eddie had hugged everyone and Corey was recovering from the giggles, they followed their host to where a group of chairs were setup. Shaun was sitting there and softly finger picking arpeggios with Gil sitting across from him. Putting down his bass case, Prez smiled, "Ben, are you gonna hide in the pool by Graham all night?"

Graham sniggered and Ben giggled, "At least until everyone's naked." Eddie and Corey began giggling. Derrick, Keith, Mike and Prez started stripping off their clothes.

Drew grinned, "Eddie, can me and Corey use your bathroom?'

"It's probably a good idea before we go in the pool," Corey giggled.

Eddie nodded and smiled, "Right this way," then led Drew and Corey into the sunroom. Through the screened windows, everyone could here Eddie giggling, "Is this a necessary or recreational trip?"

Corey cracked up and Drew sniggered, "Necessary, since we had dinner hours ago."

Eddie nodded, "Two nights in a row, Ben and Graham combined business with pleasure."

Holding Ben's face down on his shoulder, Graham laughed, "We didn't tonight. You dudes just want to believe we did."

Derrick and Keith took all the clothes to the table. Shaun sniggered, "Either they're constipated or they made whoopee in there."

Shaking his head, Ben giggled. Graham devilishly muttered, "We're certainly not constipated."

Parking his buns at the pool edge and dangling his feet in the water, Keith told Ben and Graham, "There's new siding going up on our house. The contractors started making a racket at eight yesterday morning, so we're in Agoura Hills the rest of this week."

Graham asked, "We're good for the beach tomorrow?"

Keith nodded, "We'll be there around ten and hang until Prez starts getting burned up."

Sitting with Mike, Derrick and Shaun, Prez offered, "I'll keep a T-shirt on, babe. That should allow us to stay a little longer." Without warning, Mike and Shaun started playing a familiar progression. Prez wondered, "What tune is this?"

"We worked out Lola last night," Shaun answered, and kept on playing.

Mike nodded, "Before Ben and Graham got here and Eddie's camera flashed us."

Eddie cracked up and Matt evilly sniggered. In a few moments, Shaun and Mike were singing.

I met her in a club down in North Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like Cherry Cola
C-O-L-A Cola.

She walked up to me and she asked me to dance.
I asked her name and in a dark brown voice she said, "Lola"
L-O-L-A Lola, lo lo lo Lola

Well, I'm not the world's most physical guy,
But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
Oh my Lola, lo lo lo Lola

Well, I'm not dumb but I can't understand
Why she walks like a woman and talks like a man
Oh my Lola, lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo Lola

Well, we drank champagne and danced all night,
Under electric candlelight,
She picked me up and sat me on her knee,
She said, "Little boy won't you come home with me?"

Well, I'm not the world's most passionate guy,
But when I looked in her eyes,
I almost fell for my Lola,
Lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo Lola

I pushed her away. I walked to the door.
I fell to the floor. I got down on my knees.
I looked at her, and she at me.

Well that's the way that I want it to stay.
I always want it to be that way for my Lola.
Lo lo lo Lola.

Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls.
It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world,
except for Lola. Lo lo lo Lola. Lo lo lo Lola.

Well I left home just a week before,
and I never ever kissed a woman before,
Lola smiled and took me by the hand,
she said, "Little boy, gonna make you a man."

Well I'm not the world's most masculine man,
but I know what I am and that I'm a man,
so is Lola.
Lo lo lo Lola. Lo lo lo Lola.

With everyone else clapping, Drew and Corey walked out of the sunroom laughing. Drew snickered, "You dudes had to have written that song."

Shaking his head, Mike smiled, "Sorry, it's by the Kinks. I think Ray Davies wrote it, probably twenty-somethin' years ago." Corey grabbed his head like it might explode and howled.

Derrick chortled, "That tune and the No, No Song get played during our school dances."

Noticing that he and Corey were the only two with clothes on, Drew pulled Corey closer and started untying his hubby's board shorts. Knowing where they were and how many others were around didn't matter much to Corey. Somehow, Drew had captured Corey's undivided attention. It wasn't simply Drew's very expressive eyes, it was a year-and-a-half as friends and lovers; it was the change in Drew, becoming the willing leader so much of the time. No one, least of all Corey, expected Drew to be the one that pulled him close to undress him in a backyard surrounded by ten other teenaged dudes. So that only Drew would hear, Corey whispered, "Drew?"

"You sexy angel," Drew softly smiled.

Corey blushed and giggled, "You're gettin' so bold. Showin' us off again?"

Drew nodded, "Any chance I get." He incredulously added, "I belong to you. The healthier you get, the hotter you get and the crazier I get."

Corey's shorts fell and his arms raised, for his hands to cover his glowing red face. They both began giggling.

"Keith," Mike called, "get your butt over here, bro. We need your voice."

Standing, Keith asked, "For what song?"

Without answering Keith, Mike softly counted then he and Shaun began finger picking Dust in the Wind. Without any preparation at all, Keith easily sang;

I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment's gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind

Derrick sang the backup vocals during the second and third verses.

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Oh, ho, ho

Now, don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away, and all your money won't another minute buy
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind
The wind

Standing naked and waiting on the diving board for the end of the song, Drew clapped with the rest of the small audience and cheered, "Awesome!" He then dove in the pool.

During those seconds Drew was on the diving board waiting, Ben noticed him and began whispering to Graham. Neither imagined that Drew was as defined as he was. Taking Drew's place on the diving board, Corey waited for Drew to swim away. Ben and Graham shifted from speaking of Drew to Corey. As thin as Corey was, they were again surprised at Corey's very wide shoulders and contrasting thin waist.

Still clapping, Matt smiled, "You dudes are too good. Our school dances will be more like concerts."

Eddie nodded and giggled, "We watched Shaun and Mike work out those two songs last night." Corey dove into the pool. "It was amazing," Eddie gushed. "Pieces and parts became identifiable songs."

"They've all gotten better the last couple o' months," Keith smiled.

Mike grinned, "Which wouldn't mean shit without our lead vocalist."

At last, Graham climbed out of the pool. Prez expected Ben to follow, but he didn't. Ben only watched his boyfriend jog to the diving board. Watching Ben's head bounce slightly, in time with Graham's butt, Prez couldn't help grinning. Watching Prez devilishly grinning, Matt, Eddie, Gil and Keith cracked up, causing Derrick, Mike and Shaun to turn and grin. Widely smiling, Graham glanced around. Still chuckling, Eddie, Gil, Keith, Matt and Prez all pointed to Ben. Graham sniggered, "Teddy bear?" Ben dreamily hummed, and everyone roared. Turning on the diving board, Graham wiggled his ass for Ben. Clutching his chest and giggling, Ben fell backward, pretending to drown. Doing a backward flip off the board, Graham dove in.

Matt smiled and softly shared, "You dudes are only seeing the silly side. Last Thursday night, Eddie and I found them watching the sunset from Graham's room. It's where Graham might've been with Francis. Come to find out, it was Ben's idea."

Eddie nodded and softly explained, "After the sun went down, we started zipping up photos of Francis on Graham's computer. The goof was gazing at pictures of his dying partner for a month. It was Ben's idea to leave Graham one photo and put all the others aside."

"That necklace on Ben's neck was given to him by Graham, right after your rehearsal yesterday," Matt smiled. "We watched Graham give Ben a family heirloom, and then watched Ben fall apart, crying happy tears."

"That was lunch time yesterday," Eddie giggled. "We didn't see them again until after ten last night, when they came here with Graham's new car."

"Earlier tonight, we went for a drive with them," Matt told us. "Graham drove down Malibu Canyon and pulled into the beach parking lot. We watched the sunset from there then drove back here."

Mike evilly grinned, "So you saw them lunch yesterday, again last night, but not again until sundown tonight?" Nodding, Matt chortled and Eddie giggled his ass off. Turning toward the pool, Mike loudly asked, "What were you and Graham doing today, Ben?"

Even by the pool light, everyone could all see Ben turn bright red. Guiding Ben's giggling face down to his shoulder, Graham held him close, laughing "What're ya tryin' to do to me, dude? When I wasn't getting some teddy bear action, I was gettin' grizzly bear action. The rest of the time, we watched TV, listened to music, surfed the net, looked at Eddie's pictures from last night, and your humongous bone, which by the way, is almost the same size as Matt's and he's way taller than you." Everyone, including Mike, roared laughing. Corey could barely catch his breath.

Shaking his head sadly, Graham grinned, "You need to be nice, Mike. First, I'll have my grizzly bear pick you up and dump you in the pool. Then four of us will grab hold of you and let Derrick tickle you to tears again." Ben and Graham whispered in each other's ears.

"No," Mike cackled, "not again! It took me almost the whole day to recover."

Matt chuckled, "I'd be more worried about the grizzly bear picking your ass up. We've seen Ben pick up Graham with very little effort."

Eddie nodded and giggled, "Ben would've carried Graham all the way across the park, if his mom hadn't caught the act."

Derrick sniggered at Mike, "You might be safe this time, but I would be more careful if I were you."

Mike turned to Ben and sweetly asked, "You wouldn't, would you, Ben?"

Widely grinning for a moment or two, Ben looked like he might. He giggled, "I just talked Graham out of it, this time." At Mike's nervous expression, those surrounding him cracked up. While they were indisposed, Ben picked up Corey and tossed him to the deep end of the pool. Hearing the giggling and the splash, those out on the patio turned to see Ben pick up and easily toss Drew at least six feet across the pool.

Prez helplessly chuckled, "You're in it deep now, Mike. Graham's got a trained grizzly at his beckoned call."

Mike sighed, "At least I knew it when Kellam wanted to kill me."

Unexpectedly, a camera flashed at Derrick, Prez, Mike and Shaun, sitting in a semi-circle. Matt looked over his shoulder at Eddie and sniggered.

"What? I got above the waist, faces and partial instruments," Eddie giggled. "This will go with the other controversial CD cover photo. Mike's worried expression makes it even better."

Ben giggled, "Can I have a copy of that?"

"Sure, bro," Eddie nodded.

Graham cracked up and loudly shivered, "Brrr!"

"Grrr," Ben happily replied.

Everyone watched as Corey held onto one of Ben's arms and stepped into the other hand. Effortlessly, Corey flew across the pool, giggling his little blond butt off. Ben offered to toss Drew again, but Drew politely declined. Prez noticed the time and got up to put his acoustic bass back in its case. Shaun sighed, "It's after ten already," and got up to put his Ovation acoustic away. Mike also put his guitar back in its case.

Eddie called, "Okay dudes, let's get the lineups started. This time let's sort from the tallest to the shortest."

Gil told Keith and Derrick, "Over here, dudes," and started to walk to the yard's side fence. Ben, Corey, Drew and Graham climbed out of the pool to dry off.

"Can't we go with couples, like last night?" Shaun pondered.

Matt offered, "Let's check with our new participants." He then told Prez, Keith, Drew and Corey, "Last night, for the first time, couples got each other worked up and Eddie took stiffy pics."

Eddie nodded and giggled, "That's why I thought we'd start now. Everyone starts chatting and it takes a while to get the pictures taken."

Drew playfully complained, "You dudes are crazed. I was prepared for limp dicks. In the space of three weeks, Corey and I have shown everybody we've met." Helplessly, Corey softly giggled.

Prez checked, "Ben, you participated last night?"

Nodding, Ben giggled, "We practiced just being couples then did the photos. It makes more sense doing the pics and then practicing being."

Tilting his head curiously, Corey grinned and wondered, "Being what?"

Graham smiled, "Being together, sharing silently."

Eddie nodded, "Those special times where we're not doing anything; we're just together, at peace with each other and doing nothing."

Derrick offered, "We get so busy doing stuff, running here, going there, rehearsals, and making love that we forget that being is just as important as everything else we do."

"Oh," Corey smiled, "that's easy and fun too."

Drew confirmed, "Do you want to, Cor?"

Taking Drew's hand and starting for the lineup, Corey shrugged, "Sure, why not?"

At the fence, eleven lined up; Matt, Gil, Keith, Prez, Derrick, Graham, Ben, Shaun, Mike, Drew and Corey. Shaun grinned, "At least I'm not the only circumcised dickie here, like Sunday night." Lifting the camera and trying to get everyone in the picture, Eddie slowly backed up and giggled.

Mike nodded, "Five cut and seven uncut, we're almost half; about forty percent."

Keith teased, "Forty percent is where you're usually at, bro."

Mike smirked and bitched, "Just 'cos you're at sixty percent, don't blame me."

Gil chuckled, "I'm confused, forty percent and sixty percent of what?"

After checking with each other, Derrick and Prez grinned, "Their erect size." Corey began hysterically giggling.

"We'll all be able to figure who is who in these photos," Matt smiled. He then reminded, "We'll need to get eleven moons by the moonlight too, buttercup."

"I'll stand next to Prez," Eddie giggled.

Keith chortled, "That should be a special pic, just the two of you."

"Front and back," Matt suggested. "Not only are they both bubble butts, their pubes fan out almost the same." Keith nodded and softly chortled.

Eddie loudly giggled, "Hey now!"

Matt reminded, "The camera lens doesn't lie. You'll see for yourself."

Drew sniggered, "We should change our order for the next pictures, by tan lines. Shaun and Gil have been working too many days this summer."

"That's too true," Shaun sighed.

Gil grunted, "Only another two weeks, bubbala."

Eddie nodded, "You and Corey have the darkest tans, Drew."

"We're out in the sun almost every day, at my pool," Corey giggled.

Noticing Eddie kneeling down, Drew laughed, "Dickie piccies first, Eddie?"

"You're all yappin' up a storm," Eddie giggled.

Corey giggled, "Make your dickie swing, stud." With gyrating hips, Drew obliged and softly chortled. His hips hit Corey's and Mike's, starting a chain reaction of flopping meat down the line. Of course, everyone exaggerated their hip swivels.

Eddie snapped a photo then laughed, "That will be interesting; some dickies up, some down, some swinging to the left and others swinging to the right." Matt walked away from the line and went to Eddie. Eddie giggled at his lover, "My dickie don't hang or swing like you dudes."

Holding one hand out for the camera and gesturing toward the line with his other hand, Matt chortled, "It hangs and swings enough, buttercup. Do it for me." Eddie stole a kiss then nodded and handed off the camera.

Joining the line, Eddie squeezed between Drew and Corey. Shoulder-to-shoulder, they all started their hip swivels and gyrations again. In a few moments, another flash indicated Matt had snapped the photo. He looked up and smiled, "Very cool. Now chill and hang dudes."

Turning to Graham, Ben giggled, "Every night it's something a little different."

Nodding, Graham smiled, "I want you to do some more dancing for me later, teddy bear."

Prez leaned forward and locked eyes with Graham, smiling, "You've done more for Ben's confidence than four of us accomplished in almost a month."

Graham chuckled, "This is just the start too. We've got a goal in mind."

Ben giggled, "For Christmas."

Corey giggled, "Who will be pregnant?" and everyone cracked up.

Graham proudly chortled, "Maybe both of us. We can only keep trying." Ben whined through his giggles.

Shaking his head, Keith sniggered, "I will never forget last Friday's doctor appointment, Corey."

Corey giggled, "I scrape the shit out of my arm and Drew was all worried. The nurse takes a few tubes of blood and Drew can't watch. When I go into labor, my hubby's passed out on the floor and I'm really screwed." Again, they all roared laughing.

"This is a very interesting concept," Shaun chortled.

Gil smiled, "Later, bubbala."

Matt hummed then teased, "Laughter causes more bouncing dickies. Save gay pregnancies for the stiff dickie snaps."

Almost simultaneously, eleven voices promised, "We will."

During a calm moment, Matt took another photograph. He and Eddie swapped places. As Matt approached, Gil smiled, "So since you and Eddie have been a couple more than a year and half, you have two bambinos?"

"Six," Matt chortled, "two sets of triplets."

"We're going for quintuplets next," Eddie giggled. Drew and Corey howled.

Keith smirked, "Now look what you've done, bro."

Drew sniggered, "It's not our fault!"

"Talk about your population explosions," Keith teased.

Prez nodded, "All gay couples, each going for twins, triplets and more could push it to seven billion in only three or four years."

Derrick chortled, "Like the baby boomers, we'll call our generation the gay boomers."

"If only," Shaun sighed.

Corey offered, "Drew and I consider ourselves married the last week. Making love has become a whole new and awesome experience."

"Making love, our eyes are locked all the time now," Drew softly grinned. "It might seem a little weird, but that change has definitely improved what was already awesome."

"Wow," Eddie giggled, and then snapped another picture of eleven faces. He lowered the camera, giggling, "All of us obviously like this fantasy."

Nodding, Matt suggested, "Pair up, dudes."

Derrick leaned close to Mike and softly suggested, "Look around, Lick." Glancing around as all the couples paired up, Mike's eyes widened. He took Derrick's hand and they moved aside, several paces away from where the other ten were standing and holding their partners close. Misty multicolored wisps surrounded all their friends. Bouncing around amongst the colors were pinkish balloons. They widely smiled then flew together and locked lips.

Prez wondered what Derrick and Mike had been looking at, but Keith's voice in Prez's head asked, 'Wanna go for septuplets tonight, baby?' With a passionate kiss, Prez enthusiastically replied affirmatively, regardless of where they were sleeping that night or plans for the next day.

Quickly, six couples and twelve dudes were happily giggling and reforming the line in pairs. Matt and Eddie remained together for the first photos of ten proud erections, smiling faces and moonlit moons. Then Gil and Shaun stepped away from the lineup while Matt and Eddie joined the lineup for another set of butt, crotch and facial photos. The lineup broke apart and for the first time, Prez noticed Ben and Ben noticed Prez. Out the group of twelve, Graham and Keith noticed that Ben's and Prez's erections were most similar; Ben's hard bone slightly curved right and Prez's slightly curved left, but in length and girth, they were very similar.

Matt took Eddie's hand and Keith took Prez's hand for the final pictures of the night; Preston's and Eddie's butts and pubes. Once those photos were snapped, Graham then insisted that two more pictures be taken of Prez and Ben together, front and back. Between Ben's giggles, Prez softly shared, "I'm so proud of you. Graham's treating you well?"

Ben sighed, "Oh, he's so much like what I'd hoped; he's a dream come true. Somehow, he thinks a lot of me too."

Eddie giggled, "And they're yapping up a storm! Turn around, dudes."

They turned and Prez whispered, "Bend over on three; one, two, three." They both bent over to give them full moons. The camera's flash went off twice. Ben's giggling was drowned out by Matt's, Keith's, Graham's and Eddie's loud laughter. Grinning widely, Ben and Prez turned around to return to their partners.

Derrick softly sniggered, "My once polite best friend has become a deviant."

"I think last month very much proved that," Mike chuckled.

Wrapping his arms around Prez's waist, Keith smiled, "My sex machine."

Drew and Corey went over to Keith and Prez. Corey sweetly asked, "When do you think we could go camping again?"

Prez shrugged and deferred to Keith. Keith said, "We're planning on the beach tomorrow afternoon. We could go tomorrow night." The four of them considered that idea. Drew and Corey wanted to hit the beach too, so Keith and Prez promised to pick them up. They could consider camping the next day while at the beach.

Not too far away, Shaun checked with Mike, "Would it be alright if we got another practice session in tomorrow night, dude? I'd really like to work on Bringin' on the Heartbreak. I don't feel like it's memorized enough."

Having heard Corey ask about camping, Mike answered Shaun; "It would be only the three of us, unless we get Doug and Brian to join us."

Shaun nodded, "That's cool; just drums and two guitars, so I can hear the parts."

Corey and Drew shared a glance then Corey suggested, "I'd really like another camping trip with all three couples again, before school starts."

Derrick nodded, "Let's plan that for next Wednesday night."

"Don't you dare break fourteen, fuckers," Mike playfully warned. Drew, Corey, Keith and Prez shook their heads, confirming they had no intention of even trying. Unexpectedly, Ben and Graham cracked up.

"You didn't," Derrick, Mike, Keith, Drew and Corey laughed. Hysterical, Prez couldn't speak.

With Ben turning purple, Graham took him in his arms and chortled, "Yesterday we managed ten and weren't even trying. By the way, we have to go." The remaining ten lost it and howled laughing.

"Not that it really matters a whole heck of a lot," Eddie giggled, "but I have to ask, how you managed the ten?"

Grinning madly, Graham shrugged, "It was our first day having intercourse, so we had to try a few positions out, didn't we?"

A variety of loud expletives flowed.

Shaking his head sadly, Mike sniggered, "So we'll go to the beach tomorrow. You two dudes won't be able to walk, never mind swim."

Pulling Keith along, Prez went to Mike and whispered, "What were you and Dee noticing, before the erection pics, that made you so happy?"

Mike leaned close and whispered, "Auras."

Surprised, Prez gasped, "You can see them?"

Nodding, Mike smiled, "It's not too difficult." Slowly nodding and noticing Prez's spark of interest, Derrick softly chortled.

"Teach us," Prez prompted.

Turning to Derrick, Mike softy asked, "Can we teach them to see auras, Dee?" Suddenly, they had everyone's full attention.

Scowling and humming, Derrick thought for a moment before saying, "I'd love to, dudes. Doug and Brian taught us, so they're really the right people to ask." He told Mike, "We could at least take them through the feeling exercise."

Graham excitedly said, "We did that. It was very cool, dudes."

Ben nodded, "Visualize a blank white movie screen. That's what Graham did and it worked for me too."

Almost simultaneously, Corey, Drew, Eddie, Gil, Shaun and Matt chimed, "Teach us too."

Derrick grinned and Mike chuckled, "Okay, we'll split in half; six students and six subjects." Corey, Drew, Eddie, Matt, Keith and Prez lined up. Mike instructed, "You're too close dudes. Eddie doesn't have his camera, so get an arm's length between you." Like a military formation, each put up their arms and made space.

Facing Matt, Derrick nodded, "Let's line up so students don't know the subjects very well; Ben, Graham, Gil and Shaun, lineup across from Drew, Corey, Keith and Prez." Derrick stood across from Matt. Mike stood across from Eddie. In a few moments, all the aura test subjects were lined up and spaced apart.

Mike instructed, "The idea is for the students to emotionally feel the subjects. Matt, step forward so you're toe-to-toe with Derrick and close your eyes. Clear your mind and picture the blank movie screen, like Ben suggested. Tell us what you feel from Dee."

Derrick said, "Understand, you're telling us what you feel about my general personality. Each of these things you feel is associated with a color. We haven't memorized the colors, so students will get confirmation from the subjects, and probably the subject's partner too."

Matt moved closer to Derrick, softly murmuring, "I don't know if I can do this."

Derrick smiled, "Believe that you want to, dude. You know as well as I do, believing you can do something is half the battle."

Matt glanced at Eddie, sighing, "I don't get it."

Picking up on Matt's continued trepidation, Eddie moved forward, toe-to-toe with Mike. Closing his eyes, Eddie exhaled and attempted to feel something from Mike. Tilting his head, Eddie softly said, "Shielded, careful, playful, obsessive..." Derrick grinned and nodded. Further down the line, Keith and Prez softly chuckled. Eddie giggled, "Guess that means I did okay?" and then opened his eyes.

Keith sniggered, "Yeah, that's Mike."

Mike checked with Prez; receiving a wide smile and nodding head. He then checked with Derrick, asking, "When am I shielded?"

Derrick shrugged, "It's not a bad thing, Lick. You've been man-of-the-house more than three years, it makes perfect sense." He faced Matt, asking "Ready to try, dude?"

Shaking his head, Matt grinned, "More demonstration, please."

Beside Eddie was Corey who was facing Ben. Corey took a step closer to Ben then closed his eyes. Without prompting, Corey raised his hands and actively felt the air surrounding Ben. He then mumbled, "Honest... and educated... and intense... wait, where did that thought come from?" He opened his eyes and looked up at Ben then scowled.

Ben softly asked, "What is it, Corey?"

Stepping back, Corey forced a grin and promised, "Another time."

Glancing back and forth toward his other friends, Ben then prompted Corey, "It's okay to say it here and now."

Corey sighed, "Are you sure?" Without hesitation, Ben nodded. Corey softly shared, "You think you're lucky, that somehow Graham slipped past the Reaper, that he might die. The accident you now know of scares you more than any other single thing."

Ben's jaw flopped down. It seemed Corey had read a fleeting thought and worry, something that simply flew through Ben's mind, as it had at least once a day for almost a week.

Derrick tapped Mike. Facing each other, they smiled and playfully bounced their eyebrows.

Eddie quickly moved beside Ben and rubbed his shoulder, offering, "Maybe it's simply all of us, having learned so abruptly that teenagers can die, that we aren't indestructible. It was a rude awakening for each of us here."

Slowly shaking his head, Graham turned Ben to face him. He firmly assured, "It won't happen, teddy bear. Something I learned from our chats about the day of the accident; Francis and I woke at seven then left my house around eight in the morning, way before my mom was ready to leave for work. After an entire day in the sun, and then going to dinner, we shouldn't have seen that movie before leaving Huntington Beach. We were both having such a good time, all day, it seemed to just fly by, and neither of us wanted it to end. The movie ended around eleven-thirty, so it must've been midnight when we got to my car. I won't make that mistake again, not for a movie. A day can end and be started again the next morning."

Happier about Graham's admission than concerned about how Corey knew so precisely what was going through his mind, Ben stepped nearer to Graham, gave him a tender kiss, and then whispered in his ear, "Needing time apart or breaking up wouldn't be as devastating as that total loss."

"You don't have to even worry about any of those three things," Graham softly replied in Ben's ear.

Facing Drew, Corey giggled, "I told him, another time."

Grinning widely, Drew shrugged, "Keeping the secret when twelve dickies are flapping in the breeze is kind o' pointless." Everyone helplessly sniggered. Noticing his dumbfounded older brother, Drew rolled his eyes and slouched, "Come on, bro; last week it was eight, a week later we're at twelve, next week it'll be somewhere between sixteen and twenty dickies that might be hangin' out."

Eddie giggled, "I'll invite Jerry and Mack; each of their dickies count as two."

Mike and Derrick shuffled down the row to Keith and Gil. Derrick smiled, "Your turns, dudes."

"Until Ben and Graham finish whispering sweet nothings," Mike chuckled. Giggling his bubble-butt off, Eddie returned to Matt.

Gil stammered, "Don't think I can... do this."

Keith shrugged, "I'll try first then?" and Gil nodded. Keith took a step closer to Gil and closed his eyes. He scowled, "Ya know, I'm not feeling much more than I already know about you, dude." After a few moments of silence, Keith's eyes opened and locked with Gil's eyes. "This won't wait," Keith huffed. Surprising everyone, most of all Prez and Shaun, Keith reached for and took Gil's arm, and then led Gil away for a private chat.

Drew prompted Graham, "Ya wanna try and read me, dude?"

Taking a step closer to Drew and nodding, Graham closed his eyes. After a longer few moments, Graham softly said, "I feel like you're very creative, Drew. It's like a technical thing too, not just creating any ol' thing, but more like knowing one set of things, so you can learn more along the same lines and build on it. I also feel growth, and like you're teetering, trying to find a comfortable balanced place..."

"Holy shit!" Corey softly giggled. Graham opened his eyes and wordlessly checked with Corey. "You got it, dude," Corey cheered. Mike and Derrick sniggered. Corey smiled, "Drew writes for the school newspaper. He's able to be creative, but he's using and building upon what he already knows. I've read all his articles and watched the changes turn into a style that's uniquely Drew. The same thing goes for Drew running the P.A. mixer; he uses what he hears and knows, way better than I could, noticing the slightest differences in sounds."

Drew nodded and grinned, "You couldn't have known this, Graham, but up until about March or April, when Corey and I started getting more serious, I used to consider myself bi-sexual. So what you said about finding balance, a happy medium, is true too. I wouldn't have even considered going to a skinny dipping party last summer. I'm here know though, and since everyone is being cool, I'm accepting, yeah, this could happen again, at least with this group."

Paying more attention to Keith, now returning with Gil, Prez was startled by Shaun asking, "You wanna try and read me, Prez?"

"Your boyfriend needs you," Prez quickly responded. Shaun barely turned his head to see Gil approaching and appearing very sad when Prez added, "You can make it better." Stepping away from the line, Shaun hurried to Gil. The two of them wandered further away again.

Derrick grinned, "I think you all get the idea."

"Everything said with words can be associated to colors," Mike explained. "We don't always look for auras, but when Dee and I do choose to perceive them, it's not only pretty, it sends shivers down our spines."

Derrick nodded, "Specifically, Matt, it's not surprising you had trouble going there to feel and see with more than your senses. That's not you, dude; no harm done."

"I want to, but it feels uncomfortable," Matt shared.

Derrick shook his head, smiled and briefly hugged Matt, saying, "It don't matter. You're just as valuable a friend now as you were earlier tonight, last night, or days ago. Look at it this way, your boyfriend and you make a hell of a team." Derrick stepped back from Matt. Eddie quickly took Derrick's place and wrapped his arms around his lover.

Mike added, "We guessed that Eddie and Corey would have no problems doing this experiment. From Friday night, when we were with Graham and Ben at Doug's and Brian's place, we knew neither of them would have any difficulty at all. It's just a different level of perception; some can do it easily, some need practice, like Dee and me, others won't ever be able to see them."

Drew pulled Corey closer. Willingly, Corey cuddled with his hubby and visibly relaxed. Drew chuckled, "Guess we have something new to try and learn about?"

Corey nodded and giggled, "So you can use that knowledge to create something very cool."

Facing each other and still swinging their held hands together, Prez and Keith were silently sharing Gil's well guarded secret. Ben and Graham moved closer to Matt and Eddie. The four of them watched Shaun and Gil returning to the larger group.

Gil forced a smile, telling Ben, Graham, Eddie and Matt, "It's cool and I'm fine, just totally blown away."

Eddie asked Shaun, "What's up?"

"For now, I hope you don't find out," Shaun answered.

Gil shook his head and shivered, considering revealing his secret. He glanced around at all the other boys in the yard. He huffed, "Ya know what? I'm tired of hiding shit. I'll tell you what Keith told me." He collected himself for a moment then admitted, "My parents have anger management problems. I'm as mellow as I am, or at least try to be, because home stresses me out. There's nothing I'd like more than to bring some of you dudes home to introduce you to my family, but it's an unrealistic hope. I know they're homophobic and don't tell them about me and Shaun, because it would turn out very bad. After talking with Keith though, they had better watch their steps. If they ever get physically abusive with me or my little sister again, I'll have them arrested. Then I'll talk to Keith's father for legal representation."

Eight jaws dropped. Only Shaun, Keith and Prez weren't surprised with Gil's statements. First to encircle and embrace Shaun and Gil were Eddie and Matt. Ben and Graham joined and soon the other six did as well. Basking in warmth and understanding, Gil nervously chortled, "If only we had clothes on." They all chuckled and the twelve person hug began to break apart. Derrick told everyone about his father and how he wound up living with Mike. Prez took over from there, explaining a little about his father, the divorce and how he came to live with his mom in California. Since it was well after midnight, the boys put their clothes on, beginning with Drew and Corey.

In minutes, everyone was dressed and saying goodnight. They would all meet at Zuma Beach the next morning. Once alone in 4Runner, Drew asked Keith, "How'd you figure out Gil's deal, bro?"

Keith sighed, "I wish I hadn't. We're talking about a father that has temper tantrums and punches walls; a mother that went berserk one night and broke all four dinner plates, filled with uneaten food, on the kitchen floor, and then got more pissed off cleaning up the mess she made. Gil's little sister ran to her room crying and hid out. While both parents were screaming and yelling at each other, Gil snuck out with his sister. They went to a movie, then Gil dropped his sister off at a friend's home. He went home, knowing his parents had serious issues, to argue it out with both of them. That was only a few months ago, before we met Gil. They take out all their frustrations on each other. Gil and his sister are the unwilling witnesses to meltdowns all too frequently."

Corey grumbled, "There's some really fucked up adults."

"I can't even imagine it," Drew shivered. "I mean, we all know mom's having a rough time with that kid at the hospital, but she's not flippin' out and smashing shit."

Turning slightly in his seat, Keith said, "Our parents know how to have an argument or disagreement without screaming, yelling or making it obvious to us. A problem between them isn't our problem, and it shouldn't be. When John got in trouble the start of the summer, it wasn't a problem between me and John, or you and John, or Prez and John. And the problem was serious enough, yet not so serious that it effected the entire household. In that house, Gil's parents make all their work, personal and family issues everybody's problem."

Prez asked, "Corey, what do your parents do?"

Corey confirmed, "You mean when they argue?"

"Yeah."

"They take it to their room or out of the house, most of the time," Corey replied. "I know that something's going on, but they don't make it part of my life, not until days after the fact, when they eventually decide to tell me what was up."

Turning into Corey's neighborhood, Prez said, "It'll be close to ten when we get here to pick you up for the beach."

Drew nodded, "We'll be ready for that and camping too, if we decide to go tomorrow night." A minute or so later, Prez stopped at the curb in front of Corey's house.

Leaning forward, Corey gave Prez and Keith unexpected kisses on the cheek. He smiled, "See ya in the morning," then shuffled out of the back seat.

Drew softly chortled, "He's lovin' having so much to do with other gay dudes. See ya later," and then followed his beloved out and closed the back car door. Drew asked, "What do you think, Cor?"

Reaching into his pocket for the house key, Corey wondered, "About?"

Drew shrugged, "Anything and everything; like what we did tonight?"

Corey paused for a few moments, locked eyes with Drew and sighed, "I wish we had found Susie. Without a doubt, I simply don't like girls. The last few hours, with only other gay dudes, was way more fun than the two hours spent at Bally's." He then unlocked the front door and stepped inside.

Absorbing that, Drew followed Corey into the house. He locked the door behind him then followed Corey to the kitchen. Once there, Drew promised, "I'll tell Susan that I love you, as soon as possible."

Smiling widely, Corey faced Drew and hung his arms over his hubby's shoulders, saying, "I know you love me, and that you'll deal with Susie. Ya know how I know?"

Holding Corey's hips, Drew prodded, "How?"

"Everything we do proves it, every day," Corey admitted. "You take every opportunity to take my clothes off, and you do it like we're alone, caressing me, in front of everybody." Softly chuckling, Drew nodded and waited for more. Corey giggled, "I am learning, Drew. Other gay dudes must think I'm okay looking, because I've caught a few glances, and been told it's so, but in my mind, you're the sexy stud everybody should be gazing at. I look at you and see perfection. Others look at you, but never get the whole picture somehow. I was paying attention when Ben tossed us in the pool. He treated you exactly the same as he treated me. Come to find out, Matt noticed Prez and Keith noticed Eddie and Ben. That's the part I'm struggling with. We all notice each other, but other than a few silly remarks, it goes no further."

At the pause, Drew gently reminded, "Twelve gay dudes making six couples; each and every one of us thinking more about who we love most. Keith didn't hit on Ben or Eddie, he only noticed similarities."

Corey wondered, "What similarities did you notice?"

Drew shrugged, "I noticed everything, Cor; body shapes, chests, shoulders, bellies and legs. I saw twelve dicks, limp and erect, and each was just slightly different."

Corey prompted, "Tell me more, be specific."

Drew grinned, "Specifically, let's rearrange the line-up by leg length first. Matt, Gil, Keith and Prez have the longest legs. The shortest legs there were Eddie's, Mike's, Shaun's, yours and mine. The thing to remember is that we're the youngest in the group. Mike and Shaun are seventeen and probably pretty close to fully grown.

"The trimmest waists were yours, mine, Graham's and Prez's. The nicest abs were Matt's, Keith's, Derrick's, Prez's, Eddie's and Graham's."

"And yours," Corey added.

Drew shrugged and smiled, "I can't tell that, but I'll take your word for it."

"What about dickies?" Corey cheekily smiled.

"I'll prove to you that I'm gay enough to notice them too," Drew sniggered. "We'll start with limp dickies, from smallest to largest, okay?" When Corey giggled and nodded, Drew listed, "Eddie, Ben, Mike, Shaun, you and Prez are all in the same league, about three inches, with slightly varying thicknesses. Slightly longer, from about four inches to over four inches, were Gil, Derrick, me, Graham, Keith and Matt." Drew checked, "Agreed?"

Shaking his head, Corey giggled, "You hang nicer than Graham, about the same as your brother."

"I'll have to take your word for it," Drew smiled.

Corey observed, "You both have about the same length, but your dick is much thicker than Graham's."

"The amazing thing is how those dicks measured up when erect," Drew continued. "Without a doubt, Eddie and Mike change the most. The least amount of change probably goes to Matt and Keith. Everybody else falls in the middle, no major surprises."

Scowling slightly, Corey confirmed, "You think I'm in the middle too?"

"You are, angel," Drew smiled. "You hang about three inches, but your dick is pretty thick."

Corey giggled, "Ya think so?"

"I know so," Drew assured, and then leaned closer to whisper, "What I love is watching your dick get hard. Including Brian and Pete, I've now seen twelve other dicks, hard and soft. There is no other dick I want in my mouth or in my butt more than yours." Leaning back slightly, so Corey could see the truth in his eyes, Drew smiled, "The great thing is, we're the youngest and still measure up. Where will we be in two years, when we're seventeen? Proportionally, not much different, but we're sure to grow."

Corey rapidly nodded, and then asked, "Who was most attractive to you?"

"Eddie," Drew quickly answered.

Quite surprised because Eddie wasn't blond, Corey squeaked, "Really?"

Drew nodded, "He's got the second cutest body, the second cutest personality and the second cutest giggle." Liking the way Drew stated that, Corey moved closer and hung off Drew. Drew asked, "Who did you think was most attractive?" Corey began giggling. Grinning, Drew pulled only his head back to see Corey's face, but Corey hid his face on Drew's shoulder. "Come on, Cor," Drew chortled.

Without lifting his head, Corey giggled, "All of 'em." Uncontrollably, Drew evilly snickered. Corey giggled, "There was something attractive about all of them, really."

Drew chuckled, "Pick one, other than me and Prez."

Barely showing his face, Corey giggled, "It would have to be Graham, then."

Drew prodded, "Why?"

Corey sighed, "He's the most like you, in looks and personality."

"Ya think?"

"In most respects," Corey grinned. "He's not shy, but other than that, yeah, he's got the sense of humor, the cutest face and nicest body, overall. I can honestly say they're all attractive in some way though." Drew placed a tender kiss on Corey's cheek, since that was as close to Corey's mouth as he could reach. Corey whispered, "I love you, Drew."

Drew smiled and purred, "I love you too, Corey." For another few minutes, they held one another close in the Seavers' kitchen. Drew softly asked, "I'm guessing since you came here instead of your bedroom, you're hungry?"

Corey nodded, "A little. Just can't decide what I want."

"Ya want an apple?"

"That wouldn't fill me up."

"A sandwich?"

"That might be too much."

"I'll split it with you?"

"Cool."

Since Corey didn't budge, Drew grinned, "Let's make it quickly, so I can get you in bed and gobble ya up."

Nodding, Corey giggled, but before completely releasing Drew, he leaned in for a completely unexpected smooch. Enjoying it, Drew's eyes closed. Leaving Drew somewhat dazed, Corey stepped back and went to the fridge to get sandwich fixings. Shaking off the urge to attack Corey in the kitchen, Drew helped make a turkey sandwich. Corey placed two pieces of wheat bread on a plate. Drew put mayonnaise on the bread. Seeing Corey put more than the expected three or four slices of turkey on the bread, Drew grinned and tore off a few pieces of lettuce. Giggling, Corey put three slices of Swiss cheese on the pile of meat. Suspiciously eying Corey, Drew added the lettuce then put the top piece of bread in place while Corey put stuff back in the fridge. Drew got a knife and carefully cut the sandwich in half. Corey took the plate to the table while Drew deposited the knife in the dishwasher.

Entering the dining room, Drew found Corey standing and waiting for him. As had become habit, Drew sat down and Corey maneuvered onto Drew's lap. Drew sniggered. Corey giggled. They kissed, believing that would be enough to allow them to eat, but alas, the best laid plans of mice and men flew to the wind. Completely thrilled with the quantity of meat and cheese Corey put on the sandwich, Drew pushed the plate aside then pulled Corey closer and began gobbling away at his hubby's throat and shoulder. Corey cracked up and held on tightly to Drew. In moments, they were making out. Concentrating on a fleshy ear, Corey purposefully slid around Drew's lap. Drew lifted Corey's shirt and ravenously devoured a tiny nipple. Thankfully, the Seavers' master bedroom was on the other side of the house, because they couldn't stop. Lifting Corey and placing him on the table, Drew then ripped open his lover's shorts and tore them off, dropping them on the carpeted floor. What began on the table was finished, many minutes later, on the floor.

Deliriously happy with one another, they remained there, basking in the afterglow, for quite a few more minutes. Now starving, they decided to eat the sandwich, which eventually became a second sandwich when Corey admitted he was still hungry. Watching Corey put an incredible sixth and seventh slices of meat on top of the Swiss cheese, Drew covered his mouth and quickly went outside where he cracked up. Drew was still laughing when Corey walked outside with a glass of milk, the plate and a raging erection. Drew wanted more too, so they made use of a poolside chaise lounge, where Drew went for a ride on Corey. When that round was complete, they were both surprised that they had made love outside for the very first time. They finished their midnight snack after one in the morning. Enthralled and not thinking clearly, they then decided to enjoy the night, cuddled together on the same chaise lounge. Peacefully, under a clear, starry night sky, they fell asleep there.

About six-thirty in the morning, Bill Seaver woke before the alarm. He padded out to the kitchen in his boxers to start a pot of coffee. Seeing Corey's bedroom door open and the bed made, as if it hadn't been slept in, Bill scowled and worried where the boys might be. His answer came less than a minute later when he stepped into the kitchen and saw them naked outside on the patio chaise lounge. Corey was fully draped over Drew. He only looked a little closer to determine if they were awake or asleep. It seemed that they were asleep, so he made the coffee, trying to decide if he should bother waking them up or not. Bill knew it would embarrass them both, but Drew much more so. Since he had a jump on the day, Bill went to take his shower and shave, deciding to leave the boys be. If they were still out there and asleep when he returned to the kitchen, he would wake them then, figuring it would be better than his wife finding them there.

Twenty minutes later, Bill returned to the kitchen dressed and ready for his day. Seeing the boys hadn't moved, Bill muttered, "How in the blazes did they manage to stay there all night?" and poured a cup of coffee. Since it was almost seven and Lanna would be awake any minute, Bill took his cup of coffee outside. He sat at the table, only a few yards away from his son and son-in-law, then softly called their names. They barely shifted, so Bill called them again, more loudly. Corey sleepily glanced around. Drew stretched. Bill snickered.

"DAD!" both boys excitedly yelled, and started to untangle themselves to get up at the same time. Laughing hysterically, Bill politely turned away.

Once on his feet, Corey giggled, "Busted!"

Seeing Corey and himself nude and with erections, Drew chortled, "Oh shit!" With nowhere else to hide, Drew threw himself into the pool. At least the cooler water would eventually chill his hot bone, Drew figured.

Hearing the splash, Corey giggled at Drew, then turned to his father, asking, "Where's mom?"

Still turned away from his son, Bill laughed, "In bed, as far as I know, but not for much longer."

Remembering that their clothes were still on the dining room floor, Corey gasped then hurried into the house.

Hysterical over his own embarrassment, Drew tried to calm himself down enough to at least say good morning to his father-in-law, but he couldn't stop laughing. Inside, Corey scurried around the dining room, picking up his and Drew's clothes and making sure the room didn't look or smell like they had sex in there. Moving a chair back where it belonged, Corey heard the electronic beeping of his parents' alarm clock.

Lanna turned off her alarm and swung her feet to get out of bed. She put her light summer robe over her nightie then walked out of her room. Seeing Corey's made bed and becoming extremely concerned, Lanna loudly called, "Bill?"

Again, Corey gasped and raced back outside, carrying the clothes. Thankfully, his dad was still laughing, but explaining this to his mother should prove interesting. Still hurrying, Corey threw the clothes in the air to fall as they may then dove into the pool and beside Drew. At the shower of boxers, T-shirts and shorts, Bill roared laughing.

Lanna walked outside, hearing her husband's, Corey's and Drew's laughter. Relieved that the boys were home and fine, she smirked, "What in the world?"

With a wide smile, Bill looked up and chortled, "Don't ask."

"I almost had a heart attack seeing Corey's door open and bed un-slept in," Lanna huffed.

Nodding agreement and standing, Bill sniggered, "They're fine." Picking up his coffee and taking hold of his wife's hand, Bill turned to the giggling boys and sarcastically added, "Obviously!"

Drew and Corey fell against each other and howled laughing.

Leading his wife into the house, Bill smiled, "I found them out there, sound asleep." Suspiciously humming, Lanna picked up the plate and glass on the table then followed her husband and closed the back door.

Softly sniggering, Drew and Corey remained in the pool. They chatted about lame stories they dreamed up to explain themselves to Corey's parents. Now wide awake, they started swimming laps until both adults had left for work. They then went inside to have breakfast. Finished eating, they realized that Keith and Prez would be there in about thirty minutes. The two boys went into hyper-speed, getting the clothes in from outside, cleaning the kitchen and meeting in the bathroom. They were still loading their backpacks for the camping trip when they heard the doorbell chime.

Drew hurried to let his brothers inside. He cheekily grinned, "We have to go camping tonight."

Carrying both backpacks and overhearing Drew, Corey came to the entryway, giggling, "And then spend the rest of the week in Agoura Hills, that way we avoid embarrassing questions."

Keith rolled his eyes. Grinning insanely, Prez grunted, "Uh oh."

Drew told Corey, "Better leave a note, Cor."

Nodding and dropping the backpacks, Corey went to the kitchen giggling, "And maybe a forwarding address."

Shaking his head, Keith chuckled, "What did you do?"

Drew shrugged and smiled, "What we seem to do a lot of lately. Then we fell asleep outside. Corey's dad found us there."

"Naked," Corey hollered from the kitchen. Then he and Drew cracked up. Prez sputtered and tried to contain hysteria to mere chortling for Keith's sake.

"Ya know, it's really not fair," Keith began playfully rambling, comparing and contrasting histories of himself and of Drew to no one in particular. With Keith still going off the deep end, Corey returned to the entryway. Giggling at the things Keith was saying, Corey picked up both backpacks. Prez led the way back outside and to his truck. Drew took the backpacks from Corey. Corey locked the front door then he and Drew hurried to the 4Runner.

For the ride, Corey and Drew told Prez and Keith about the remainder of their night while K-Earth oldies played on the radio. They were all hysterical and only beginning to calm down when the 4Runner pulled into Russ' surf shop. The water was relatively warm, so Prez and Keith didn't need wetsuits. A few minutes later, they were strapping the two surf boards to the 4Runner's top rack. Corey and Drew put two boogie boards in the rear storage area and they took off for Zuma, where Mike and Derrick were waiting.

They all knew that Eddie worked until eleven, so Matt, Eddie, Graham and Ben wouldn't be there for another hour. Paddling out on the boogie-boards, Drew and Corey joined the surfers and rode a few waves. Around noon, they decided to take a break for lunch. Prez immediately put on a T-shirt and a baseball cap. While Prez, Derrick and Corey made the food run, Mike, Keith and Drew remained on the beach with their stuff. Of course, Keith told Mike about Drew's and Corey's embarrassing awakening.

Having attempted sleeping out under the stars with Derrick, but not succeeding, Mike asked, "Didn't you get cold?"

Shaking his head, Drew blushed, "Corey was sleeping on top of me, so my back was occasionally chilled by breezes, but we were never that cold. I'm surprised the sun rising didn't wake us up."

Mike held out his clenched fist for Drew to knock knuckles, and then chuckled, "You did what we've all tried to do."

Drew pleasantly sighed, "Corey's pulling his act together, a little more every day. Lately, I can't wait for Fridays. How much did he gain this week; two, three or more pounds? Only a few weeks ago, I could feel his hip through his butt when he sat on my lap. I have to really pay attention, but I'm pretty sure it's less noticeable now."

Keith smiled, "Get a measuring tape, bro."

Mike nodded, "Yeah, like I measured with my hands and fingers that time, Drew. It's another number, showing you and Corey that he's progressing. Turning to Keith briefly, Mike admitted, "That's why I like recording so much, bro. The playback tells me without a doubt, if I'm playing a song right, shaking vibrato or bending to true pitches with the right feel for the tune."

Drew hummed then grinned, "Good idea. What do they cost?"

Keith offered, "Just take mine, Drew. They're only like two bucks. Prez and I haven't used ours in a long while anyway, so just take mine. I'll get a new one, before we go clothes shopping for school."

Seeing Corey, Derrick and Prez returning with lunch, Mike hopped up to give them some help carrying the sacks and drinks. Drew noticed Keith's wide smile and chuckled, "What?"

Keith shrugged, "I love seeing you like this, but it's still so different from what I've grown accustomed to."

"It's still me, bro," Drew assured. "I was the first one in Corey's pool, hiding from his dad, who wasn't even looking our way. I couldn't even say good morning to him; I kept feeling my face flush and thinking, Corey made two big sandwiches and matched me bite-for-bite. I went for it twice, once to make love to him, and then straddled him to get some too. Yeah, part of it was the sex, but more of it was Corey, knowing that he's doing it all for me. He sleeps on me and we're both completely comfortable that way. That's what really blows me away."

Keith confirmed, "All the questions are answered?"

"As many as I could think of, for now," Drew nodded. "It simply doesn't matter what other people think or say or do, as long as he loves me. These last couple of weeks have been awesome, since he started turning around and trying."

"I know the feeling, and I'm glad you know it too," Keith smiled. Thoughtfully, Drew hummed. Keith prompted, "Did you think of a question?"

"No," Drew grinned. "Last night during dinner, we mentioned possibly going camping tonight, but never asked the Seavers this morning if we could go."

Keith chuckled, "If we don't, do you really want to spend the night in Agoura Hills? Remember, Doug and Brian are back from vacation. Mike and Derrick are in the guest room. Prez and I are in the studio, sleeping on an air mattress on the floor. There's another air mattress we could set up in there, but it puts us in sight of each other again."

Drew shrugged, "We would be in sight of each other camping too. I guess it don't much matter. Let's see what Prez wants to do tonight."

Returning with the food, Corey cheered, "Prez said he'd drive us to the doctor again this Friday."

Drew smiled, "Very cool. Thanks, Prez."

Kneeling in the sand and helping with the drinks, Keith asked Prez, "What do you think of camping tonight, baby?"

Prez checked with Mike and Derrick, "What do you two think? Do you want us there with you, or to just work with Shaun, with a little help from Doug and Brian?"

Mike shrugged and muttered, "Shaun was cool with it, so you could go camping."

Settling down in the sand, Derrick nodded, "Once Shaun feels like he's ready to play with a full band, we could probably get Doug on bass and Brian on keyboards."

Sitting down and opening a sack, Mike passed a salad to Corey then started to hand out burgers. When he reached the bottom of the bag, he unwrapped his burger, saying, "Shaun and Gil will be gone by ten. We could meet you dudes at the campground, probably around ten-thirty."

Smiling around his burger, Prez nodded and mumbled, "Very cool."

Conversation all but completely stopped while the six of them ate. After the beach, Derrick and Mike would go home to get spare pillows and a blanket. They would then go to Agoura Hills, have dinner, and then jam with Shaun. Keith, Prez, Drew and Corey would stop at the Hundsers' to get the tent and other camping gear. They could even stay at the Angeles National Forest until midday Thursday, if they wanted. As long as Derrick and Mike were back in Agoura Hills by three to get ready for work the next day, they could stay a little longer. While they were still eating and planning, Ben, Graham, Eddie and Matt found them.

The four latecomers gathered with the other six. Ben and Graham considered possibly going camping too. Neither of them had ever been camping, and they would have to wait until after dinner, so Faye Carleton's dinner plans weren't thrown an unexpected curve. Unfortunately, Eddie and Matt had to work the next morning and wouldn't be able to go. Tentative plans were made for later in the month, when Eddie and Matt had quit their jobs for school. If they planned it right, maybe Gil and Shaun could go too and all twelve of them could spend a relaxing night with friends and nature.

As soon as he was done eating, Drew dug out his cell phone to call Lanna Seaver at work. Corey began evilly snickering before Drew even said hello to Lanna. Keith and Prez began telling Ben, Eddie, Matt and Graham about the way Drew and Corey woke. Blushing from his mother-in-law's teasing and the story being shared, Drew got up and wandered a short distance away from the group.

"I never even heard you two come home last night," Lanna admitted.

"We always try to be quiet," Drew smiled. "We were home a little after midnight. Corey was hungry, so we made and ate two big turkey sandwiches. I can't wait for Friday, mom. I'll bet he's gained another three pounds this week. Which reminds me, Prez and Keith will take us to the doctor's Friday morning."

Relieved, Lanna sighed, "Very good. Thank him for me, please, Drew."

"I will," Drew assured.

Lanna wondered, "Was that the reason for your call?"

"Umm... no," Drew grinned, "We'd like to go camping tonight with Prez and Keith. The last I heard, Mike and Derrick will be going too, and maybe two other friends. Is that okay?"

Lanna giggled, "I suppose that's alright."

What wasn't said caused Drew to blush again and giggle, "We're still working out what's cool for Friday morning. If it comes up, could I say it's okay to stay in Agoura Hills Thursday night?"

Lanna groaned then muttered, "You two won't be happy until I'm a drunk addicted to cigarettes again."

"Sorry, mom," Drew sniggered. "Corey said he wants us to spend next week at my house too, since we've been at your house all this week, while construction is going on at my house."

"We'll discuss that when I see you both again, Friday evening," Lanna sighed. She then instructed, "Call to let us know when your Thursday night plans are solid."

"I will," Drew assured and then thanked her before saying goodbye. Expectantly, Corey watched Drew walk back to the group. Drew smiled, "We're set for tonight and can stay in Agoura tomorrow night, if it's easier for everybody."

Corey cheered, "Sweet!"

"We'll have to check that last bit with Doug and Brian," Keith offered.

Gathering trash, Mike promised, "I don't see why it would be a problem."

Standing with more trash to be deposited, Derrick nodded, "They liked the songs you recorded, Drew. I'll bet they'd like having you two around."

The remaining group of boys stood. Graham led Ben down to the waterline. In ankle deep water, Graham pointed down and told Ben, "The surf is strong enough to pull sand out from under our feet."

"It seems like we're sinking," Ben smiled.

Taking Ben's hand, Graham led the way to knee deep water, saying, "I just want you to feel the power of these waves, teddy bear. To me, the ocean is way more fun than a pool, but I want you to remember that it can be dangerous too. One time, when I was about twelve, I was body surfing and needed some air. Unexpectedly, another wave crashed into me while I was breathing. I caught a lungful of salt water and immediately puked it up."

Ben grimaced, "Not fun."

Graham confirmed, "You feel the waves pushing your legs?" Ben nodded then Graham led them out to waist deep water, where waves were breaking and splashing as high as their chests.

Bracing himself, Ben giggled, "Whoa!"

Off to their left, Drew and Corey brought their boogie-boards to the ocean. Many yards to their right, Mike, Derrick, Keith and Prez were paddling out on their surfboards. Matt and Eddie joined Ben and Graham in chest deep water.

Eddie checked with Ben, "How do you feel, bro?"

"Like a noodle, being easily pushed around," Ben giggled. "Retreating waves make my knees want to buckle, but then another wave pushes them back again."

Matt pointed at the general flow of surf that day and explained, "When you swim in a pool, you've got no problem going directly forward. In the ocean, it's different; for every yard you move forward, the current is pushing you two or more yards to the left or right."

Appreciatively smiling, Graham prompted, "You dudes show Ben, then we'll swim out and join you."

Matt and Eddie agreed then dove into the next incoming wave. They swam out many yards, almost as far as the surfers, Ben noticed. Matt and Eddie caught a wave then body surfed back to the shallower water. In shallow water, Matt and Eddie walked about fifty yards to Ben and Graham. Once the four of them were together again, Graham checked with Ben, "Ready to give it a try?"

Nervously, Ben and huffed, "Yeah."

Eddie and Matt led the way followed by Ben and lastly Graham, keeping a close watch on his boyfriend. Not very far away, Drew and Corey saw Ben swimming out with Graham. Corey hung off his board, humming thoughtfully.

Noticing Corey's concerned expression, but seeing that Ben seemed fine, "What's wrong, Cor?"

Corey shrugged, "The first time I went to the beach, two things freaked me out; not knowing where the bottom was and occasional fishes brushing past my legs."

Drew checked, "Ya wanna go over there?"

Corey nodded, "Just in case. We could give Ben one of our boards." They paddled in that direction, remaining well off to the side of the four swimmers, so they wouldn't accidentally crash into any of them. All six stayed together, catching waves to shore and swimming back out. Giggling and cheering before each trip back out, Ben was obviously having a good time. Seeing Corey and Drew on their boogie-boards, spinning in waves they were riding, Ben asked to try it out. Corey and Drew handed off their boards to Ben and Graham. A long while passed uneventfully, at least forty minutes or so of rides and swimming.

Further up the beach, surfers paddling out or sitting on their boards had a better view and saw many jumping fish followed by at least two or three dolphin dorsal fins. Unprepared for any aquatic visitations, Drew, Corey, Ben, Graham, Matt and Eddie were swimming back out. When they stopped to catch the next wave, the school of fish swam directly through where the six were wading. Completely caught off guard, Ben yelled, "What the fuck?" Matt and Eddie cracked up. Then a dorsal fin broke through the water. It went right by the six of them, but within inches of Ben. Feeling the massive rush of water caused Ben to momentarily whimper before screaming, "SHARK!" and panicking, swimming as fast as he could for shore.

"Aw, shit," Graham softly snickered, and went after his freaked out lover. Still laughing, Matt and Eddie tried to follow. Drew and Corey had reached for the dolphin fin, but just missed getting free rides by mere inches. They caught the next wave for a ride to shore.

Seeing the sandy bottom, Ben stood and tried to run, stumbling and tripping his way onto the beach. With adrenaline pumping like mad, Ben could barely figure out what was going on around him, excitedly racing around in circles. Quickly, Graham hurried to Ben, calling his name and pet name to gain his attention. Ben's eyes were wide open, like saucers, and he didn't even appear to be blinking. About a minute later, Eddie and Matt were on shore, also trying to calm Ben down. Feeling like he had never been so scared before in his life, Ben scurried around, rambling about fishes and sharks, being eaten or drowning, not hearing a word his boyfriend and two other friends were saying.

Coming ashore, Drew and Corey noticed three trying to calm Ben down, but obviously failing. Sadly shaking his head, Drew dropped his boogie-board and prompted Graham, "We're gonna have to surround and tackle his ass."

Graham nodded and smirked, "I think you're right."

Matt shared, "Once we get him still and listening, it'll be alright."

Seeing Ben on the beach, excitedly waving his arms and scurrying about, Mike and Derrick roared laughing. Widely smiling, Prez sighed then told Keith, "Let's go, babe." Evilly snickering, Keith nodded, lay flat on his board and started paddling with Prez right beside him.

Corey, Drew, Eddie, Graham and Matt encircled Ben, giving him no path to escape. It was a well meaning and proper plan, but Ben was beside himself. In the center of a five-way hug and beginning to hear what his friends were saying, Ben broke down crying as his adrenaline level plummeted. Soon, Keith and Prez were there and offering encouraging words.

Last to arrive, and seeing that Ben was royally tweaked to say the least, Derrick and Mike led the pack back to their towels on the beach. Done crying, yet exhausted from the excitement, Ben lay down on his towel and tried to relax, learning that the dorsal fin he saw belonged to a dolphin and not a shark. With their arms, and then by drawing in the sand, Derrick and Mike showed Ben the difference between the straight shark fin and a curved, more streamlined dolphin fin. Generally, everyone except Ben was quite enthused, because they never had a similar encounter at any beach they had ever been at.

Starting with Mike and Derrick, couples began returning to the water and encouraging Ben to join them. Showing Ben that everything was really fine, Matt and Eddie swam out. Corey and Drew also went back in the water, but left their boogie boards for Graham and Ben. Prez and Keith then left Graham to take care of Ben.

Graham warmly smiled, "Are you feelin' better now, teddy bear?"

Ben nodded and weakly grinned, "About ten pounds lighter too. I think I shit myself."

"The thought never occurred to me, Ben," Graham chuckled. "I was worried about rip currents, not wildlife. You might not believe it now, but what happened is so rare, in a few days you'll wish you hadn't freaked." Repeating Drew's and Corey's words, Graham added, "Had we been just a little quicker, one of us could have grabbed that dolphin for a once-in-a-lifetime ride we'd never forget."

Ben asked, "Was it really a dolphin, Graham; you're not just telling me that?"

Graham nodded, "I will never lie to you, teddy bear. I don't think there's ever been a shark scare on any SoCal beach. Sharks like colder water, like up by San Francisco and north of there."

Ben smiled, "Walk with me to the men's room?"

Nodding, Graham hopped up and offered Ben a hand. Taking Graham's hand and standing, they started for the parking lot and nearest facilities. "You don't smell nasty," Graham slyly remarked.

Ben giggled, "Everything solid inside me turned into liquid. It's floating around out there now."

Graham smiled, "Fish usually hang out near floating kelp, like I pointed out to you. A pod of dolphins were cruising for a snack and hit pay dirt." Shaking his head, Graham sniggered, "All I ever thought about was the current. I didn't even think of small fish or crabs that might be lurkin', and that's common. Rip currents are the most dangerous hassle at our beaches." He glanced over at Ben and helplessly laughed, "It's just your luck, your first day at a beach and a dolphin comes by looking for snacks."

Not wanting to encounter any more fish, dolphins or crabs, Ben giggled, "I'm changing the subject now. Do you really want to go camping?"

Graham nodded, "Sure. Neither of us have ever been, and Keith said he's got a spare two-person tent we could use. We'll grab some stuff from home and meet them there."

Giggling, Ben asked, "You remember what I said about their camping trips?"

Nodding, Graham assured, "It's no different than Eddie's pool parties. Your friends are very cool, enough that they're becoming my friends too. As soon as they could, everybody was there on the beach to help you. I think it'll be fun, hanging out, partially clothed or naked, and we'd still be able to disappear into a tent for some private fun too." After some silent steps, Graham softly shared, "You made me feel so needed, teddy bear."

Ben turned and smiled, "So you liked me freaking out?"

Graham shrugged, "Not the circumstance, but I definitely liked being needed."

"If we're alone in the men's room, you're getting a big wet kiss," Ben warned.

Unfortunately, the men's facilities were busy. Disappointed, Ben and Graham finished their business, washed their hands and returned to the beach. During the walk, Ben really needed some contact from Graham and made that clear.

Afraid that Prez might get too much sun, Keith suggested that they return to the beach. Prez put his Lynyrd Skynyrd cap on backwards and let Keith douse him in more sunblock lotion before putting his T-shirt back on. For those few minutes, they scanned the water, finding Matt, Eddie, Drew and Corey. In only waist deep water, Ben was getting the much needed hug he had asked Graham for.

Ready to kick back and relax, Prez and Keith had just sat down when they saw two other guys approaching Ben and Graham. Ben and Graham turned to the strangers. Seemingly not happy, Ben appeared to be saying something. Also with a serious expression, Graham then said something. This activity was not missed by any of the other six boys. From various directions, eight additional teenagers converged, ready to face homophobic activity and stick up for their friends. First there were Matt and Eddie.

However, the others became confused as they approached. It seemed Ben and Graham weren't arguing, they were talking to the newcomers with Matt and Eddie. Arriving at the growing group with Keith at his side, Prez wordlessly checked with Ben.

Ben nodded and smiled at Prez. At the next convenient opportunity, Ben introduced two gay teenagers from Australia, Ashley Dawson and Dylan Trent, to the entire gang. Ben explained, "They asked us if it was cool to be hugging in public. I said it was and didn't care who didn't like it."

"Brrr," Graham happily shivered.

Ben giggled then replied, "Grrr."

Ashley was rather thin and pale, but had a pleasant demeanor and a hearty laugh. Dylan was inches taller than Ashley, much more muscular, had the most hair on his chest and belly amongst the twelve boys, and seemed to be getting a nice tan. Ashley and Dylan were from Western Australia, near Perth, and on vacation in California with Ashley's parents and younger sister. It was winter down-under, all the California boys soon learned.

Having never met anyone from so far away, Ashley and Dylan were invited to sit with the Woodland Hills gang. Gathered together in the sand, the vacationers said that they were staying at the Marriott Hotel, near Burbank's Bob Hope Airport. They had only arrived Monday morning. So far, they had been to Disneyland, gone on a bus tour of famous homes in Hollywood, and today's activity, at Malibu Beach that morning and then arriving at Zuma in the afternoon. Dylan was interested in surfing, but had never been on a board before. With approval from Ashley, and borrowing Prez's board, Derrick and Mike paddled out with Dylan. The remaining group gave Ashley suggestions on other places they could visit.

Seeing that all was well, Drew and Corey decided to return to the waves. They picked up their boogie boards and trekked off. A fair distance away and splashing into ankle deep water, Corey loudly gushed, "Omigod! What cute accents!"

"Here we go," Drew softly sniggered.

"Come on!" Corey incredulously laughed, "Tell me you don't think so."

Drew shrugged, "I'm not used to it, so they're a little hard to understand."

"You don't think they're cute?"

Nodding, Drew smiled, "Ashley more than Dylan, in my opinion."

Corey's jaw dropped. He then loudly giggled, "Dirty blond, of course!"

Drew chuckled, "And he's really nice too. Dylan was quieter, so he and I can just stare across rooms at each other. You noticed all his hair?"

Corey grimaced and nodded, "A bushy chest and belly."

Drew reminded, "They said that they both just turned seventeen. That's a lot of hair. We sure won't be that way."

Corey playfully queried, "How do you know?"

Drew shrugged, "Matt, Ben, Mike and Derrick are the oldest and not that hairy. Keith's almost seventeen and nowhere near that hairy, neither is my dad and neither is yours." He paused and locked eyes with Corey then smiled and clearly announced, "Face it angel, I already have what I want most."

Momentarily stunned, Corey reeled and wondered if Drew had gone insane after all. But those words, said so forcefully and honestly on a public beach, warmed Corey's heart. Seeing Corey staring blankly at him, Drew softly chortled and nonchalantly moved further away from Corey. Corey mooed a warning and Drew took off running, laughing his ass off.

Chasing after Drew, Corey loudly giggled, "Might as well tell everybody now, fourteen is shattered! I ain't stopping with you until dawn, or we both wind up in the hospital!" Roaring hysterically, Drew raced around and back toward where Ashley was still having a nice chat with Prez, Keith, Ben, Graham, Eddie and Matt. As they ran past the latter group, Corey laughed, "Fourteen's over, I'm staying up all night, goin' for twenty!"

Ben blushed and giggled. Hysterical, Eddie grabbed his belly and fell back in the sand. Graham evilly snickered. Matt, Prez and Keith all tried to innocently smile. Ashley pointed at Drew and Corey, loudly wondering, "What was that about?"

Matt shrugged and grinned, "Boyfriend stuff."

Keith nodded and chuckled, "Possibly the first clue that we need to leave soon."

"I guess because their younger, I simply didn't think, ya know, it was possible," Ashley shrugged and smiled.

Prez explained, "It's a long story, but this summer, they're as committed to each other as any of us."

They chatted a little longer about Drew and Corey, and then the existing relationships each couple had. Noticing it was three-thirty, Keith softly told Prez, "We really need to get you out of the sun, baby."

Prez sighed, "Yeah, I know," and then apologized to Ashley, complaining about his Irish skin. Before parting company, Ashley shared his e-mail address, sincerely hoping that they would all keep in touch. Then the group went down to the water line to wave Derrick, Dylan and Mike back to shore.

Final farewells and handshakes traveled around. Ashley reminded everyone of his e-mail address. Heading off in different directions, they waved, thankful that they had met some long distance family.

On the way to the parking lot, Keith asked, "Who is going camping with us tonight?"

Graham smiled, "Is it cool if we meet you there, say around seven?"

"Very cool," Prez assured.

Mike checked with Derrick again then replied, "We'll be there about ten-thirty-ish."

Matt leered, "That leaves us to entertain ourselves, buttercup."

Eddie cracked the evilest grin, causing all the others to crack up and comment on it. Everybody veered off to check out Graham's new Volvo in the daylight. At last, Ben and Graham got to suggest that Prez get a GPS, either installed in-dash or a portable model. Much to Prez's amusement, everyone, including Keith, though it was a good idea. Matt, Eddie and Ben got into Graham's car and headed for Woodland Hills. Mike and Derrick jumped into the 442. Lastly, Prez, Keith, Drew and Corey got into the 4Runner. Heading toward Agoura Hills, Prez promised he would get a GPS soon, if they weren't very expensive. If they were more expensive, Prez would save up his tip money to get one as soon as possible.

At Keith's insistence and after being reminded of a certain pedophile, Drew called his dad to say that they were planning on going camping at the Angeles National Forest again. Drew also told his dad that Prez was driving him and Corey to the Friday morning doctor appointment, so they would be at Agoura Hills Thursday night, and returning to the Seavers' home after returning from the doctor. Drew asked how the siding installation was going and learned that it was still expected to be complete by Saturday afternoon. "What color?" Drew wondered, and then snarled, "What's heritage gold look like?" He then muttered, "That don't sound bad at all. Way different from the wood shakes we had though." After a few more seconds, Drew blushed then giggled, "Thanks dad. We'll all be home Saturday night. Yeah, see ya then. Bye."

Keith turned in the passenger seat, asking "What is heritage gold?"

Drew smiled, "Dad said it's close to gold, but more like a very light brown, almost tan color. The siding is a newer type, aluminum and fiberglass, so it won't dent and should last longer."

Corey grinned, "Why did you blush?"

Drew sniggered, "Everyone knows how we woke this morning. He strongly recommended that we keep our shorts on or risk burned buns." Covering his face, Corey cracked up. Drew laughed, "Your mom called mine, and your dad called mine too." Prez and Keith evilly snickered from the front seat. Drew wisely said nothing more. He offered Corey his hand. As if offered a tasty meal, Corey picked up Drew's hand then began kissing and licking the palm. Prez and Keith made plans for the night, allowing Drew and Corey to cuddle in the back seat.

They got to Doug's and Brian's place a little after four that Wednesday afternoon. Prez let Rush out to take a leak then joined the others in the master bathroom shower. Before turning on the water, boardies and shorts were dropped and sand fell to the tiled floor. All the shorts were tossed out of the shower stall then the water turned on. Couples paired up.

Not seeing what they had become accustomed to the prior week, eight arms washing four bodies, Corey curiously checked with Drew. When Drew only shrugged, Corey wondered, "What's going on, dudes? Is something wrong?"

Concentrating on shampooing Derrick while Derrick washed his body, Mike answered, "There's no problem, Corey. Around five, Doug will be home from work."

"We just have to get the task done and get out of here," Derrick added.

Prez smiled, "What we all know, we don't want Doug or Brian knowing for certain."

Keith nodded, "Once we're done and dressed, we'll get Rush, head home and start gathering camping gear."

Drew asked, "What are we doing for dinner?"

Prez answered, "We'll stop by a B.K. drive-thru."

Derrick nodded, "Mike and I will bring a cooler with some drinks and munchies."

With Prez washing his naughty bits, Keith dreamily sighed, "Graham's bringing a cooler of sodas and some munchies too." Prez softly giggled. Sadly shaking his head, Drew sniggered, pushing Corey over the edge and causing loud laughter. Widely smiling, Derrick and Mike huffed then went to separate Prez and Keith. Smirking at Mike, now standing before him, Keith grumbled, "This only effects posture," and then roughly grabbed hold of Mike. Pulling Mike close, Keith started grinding and evilly snickering.

Laughing, Mike told Keith to "chill and save it for the tent," and then cracked Keith's ass. Drew and Corey howled laughing. Sadly shaking their heads, Prez and Derrick only smiled and continued bathing.

Stepping back and releasing Mike, Keith grinned, "The dildos and dong are in our backpacks."

"Ooo!" Mike groaned, and then faced Derrick, adding, "We might've forgot to bring ours with."

"You might've forgot, but I haven't," Derrick smiled.

Wheezing through loud laughter, Corey was losing it. Rinsing off, Drew giggled, "You dudes are crazed."

Keith teased, "Where are your toys, bro?"

"In our backpacks," Drew softly sniggered.

Four voices sang, "Uh huh, who's crazed?"

The first hiccup erupted from Corey and reverberated around the shower. Drew giggled, "Now look what you've done. I go out of my way to get his dickie stiff and now it's fading fast. Guess I'll have to start all over again." Corey didn't wait for Drew to take hold of him. Willingly flinging himself at Drew, Corey giggled, hiccupped and playfully humped away.

In another few minutes, the six of them finished in the shower, turned the water off and stepped out of the stall. They toweled off, chit chatting about the various plans for the evening. Soon, all the after shower necessities were taken care of and they left the master bathroom to get dressed.

Six boys were wandering around the house when Doug walked in and greeted everybody. Derrick and Mike were in the kitchen, preparing the ribs that Brian left thawing in the fridge the prior night. Keith was making sure they weren't leaving behind any mess in the studio while Prez took Rush for a walk in the park. Finished reorganizing their backpacks, Drew and Corey waited in the living room. Doug chatted with Drew and Corey, learning details about how their relationship had changed. Doug told them a little about his first boyfriend, back when he was thirteen and congratulated the boys for being far more mature than even he had been, way back when.

Finished walking the dog, Prez returned and insured everyone was ready. Goodbyes and goodnights traveled around before Keith, Prez, Corey, Drew and Rush went back out to the 4Runner. Pulling up to the Hundsers' house, all four were surprised with the siding progress already made. In the living room, watching a ball game on TV, John was already home for dinner when they walked inside. After a little chatting about their plans, Keith led the other three to the garage. The tents, sleeping bags and other miscellaneous camping gear was brought out to the 4Runner. Keith brought the large cooler into the house and started filling it with ice, cans of sodas and bottled water.

Jim Hundser got home from work just as the boys were finished packing the cooler. There was some more small talk about the siding and how their mother was holding up, dealing with the sick boy and his parents at her hospital. They learned that after three frightening days, the boy was a fighter and making a strong return to health, which vastly improved Jennifer's attitude and outlook. What she needed most now, Jim told the boys, was a return to normalcy at home, the construction completed and all the boys sleeping at home.

Before his brothers left, John wondered if he'd get a chance to go camping that summer. John received four promises that he would get a chance, and was instructed to leave his middle-of-the-week plans loose, so if they called last minute he would be ready. John said he would pass that along to Tommy too, intending to bring his best friend along, so he wouldn't be the only straight dude there.

While it was close to six, Jennifer still wasn't home from work. Explaining that they were stopping for dinner on the way, the four boys left with Rush for their camping trip. Keith insisted that Prez drive. Keith would navigate for Prez. They took Topanga Canyon north as far as Devonshire Street, where Prez turned right. Devonshire was followed to Balboa Boulevard, where Prez turned left. Seeing that the freeway traffic wasn't too bad, Keith instructed Prez to get on the 118 Freeway. They stopped at a grocery store for firewood, and then at a Burger King for food. To make sure that there was plenty for any late night cravings, which caused a stir of giggles, Prez got a salad for Corey and four extra burgers, thinking they could be warmed at the fire when needed.

Getting back on the road, they pulled into the Angeles National Forest about quarter of seven. Prez explained to the park ranger that two additional cars and four more would be joining them, so they needed a large site for two tents and an expected group of eight. By seven o'clock, they were parked at their campsite and having dinner. They were still easting when Graham and Ben pulled up in the white Volvo wagon.

After greeting each other, Graham asked, "Is your truck unlocked, Prez? We could set up the small tent that we'll be using, if that's all right?"

Nodding and mumbling around his partially chewed burger, Prez said, "Cool," and then paused to fish his keys out of his pocket and toss them to Graham. Graham caught the keys and went with Ben to the 4Runner.

A minute later, Ben returned with the cooler he and Graham had brought along. Holding two plastic sacks containing various chips and cookies, Graham listed off, "Ruffles potato chips, the giant size bag, those really big Bavarian pretzels, Wheat Thins, Oreos and Ritz crackers. In the cooler we have onion dip, ranch dip and a block of wine cheese." Corey had brought fruit from home that was in his backpack. Prez, Keith and Drew listed off the snacks, sixteen sodas and bottled water they had brought. The consensus was that they had plenty to last them into the next afternoon, when Mike and Derrick absolutely had to leave for work. Also, Prez reminded that he and Keith were expected to be at Prez's Aunt Eileen's house for dinner.

Beginning to giggle again, Corey wondered, "Does that mean we'll be back at my house tomorrow night?"

Prez pulled out his cell phone and pretended to call the Seavers. "Hello, Mister Seaver. Yes sir, it's Preston. Corey and Drew asked if you would just move all of Corey's bedroom furniture out to the back patio." As evil snickering erupted, Prez chuckled, "Yes sir, they discovered that they like fucking like bunnies in public. Okay, I'll let them know."

Proving that no one was exempt from teasing, Keith smiled up at Graham, asking, "Has Ben asked you to dye your head red yet, dude?" Smiling widely, Prez glared menacingly at Keith.

Giggling his ass off, Ben turned and started for Graham's Volvo to hide, until Graham pulled him back. Graham chuckled, "I know all about Ben's crush. I've also been told that I'm cuter and funnier. Sorry, Prez."

"It's alright," Prez chuckled, "but expect some loud spanking noises from the larger tent tonight." Keith provocatively mooed.

Picking up the bag containing the smaller tent, Ben giggled, "Would someone please show us how to... err... oh shit, never mind."

Drew sniggered, "If you haven't figured out how to pitch a tent by now, Graham needs to start looking around."

Graham teased, "Are you offering, Drew?"

Drew shrugged and smiled, "Do you like doing it under the stars?" earning him a slap from his hysterical boyfriend.

"Never tried it before, but I'm sure Ben and I will try tonight," Graham joked.

Standing with his trash, Keith laughed, "Well, this is going to be a very interesting night. We might as well just all jam into the large tent for an orgy."

"It's too bad Matt and Eddie couldn't make the trip," Graham smiled.

One at a time, Prez, Drew and Corey also stood to toss away their trash. Drew and Corey went to help Ben and Graham erect the smaller tent. Prez and Keith worked on the larger tent, got it spread out and aligned so the sun wouldn't wake them. They quickly got the four corners set. Prez slid inside to hold up the canvas. Corey playfully asked, "Keith, are Drew and I going home tomorrow night?"

Drew smiled, "Do we need to start blushing now, just to get used to the feeling?"

While Prez was inside the tent holding it upright and laughing his ass off, Keith smiled, "Well, I see several possibilities. Either home will be embarrassing. Alternatively, you could stay with Doug and Brian until Prez and I get back."

"Would that be cool with them?" Drew asked, and embellished, "We hardly know them and they don't really know us either."

"I'll give them a call once the tents are pitched," Prez loudly sniggered.

Noticing the expressions on Drew's and Corey's faces, Keith got serious for a moment, explaining, "First of all, dad works with Doug, so they probably know Drew, and at least the basics about Corey. Most importantly, Doug and Brian are very cool. They've never made any moves on any of us. After being together for almost twenty years, I don't think they'd be interested in anything more than just being goofy and entertaining. Once again, you have choices; go home for certain embarrassment or have dinner with Doug and Brian and stay there for a few hours."

Still inside the tent, Prez loudly offered, "If you decide to face the music at either home, we could pick you two up on the return trip from my aunts. Then we could leave for the doctor the next morning, right from Agoura Hills again, like last Friday."

Corey checked with Keith, "Are they really cool?"

Keith sighed then told them the truth. "Derrick, Mike, Prez and I look at them and see ourselves in another fifteen or twenty years. Start getting used to it dudes, you won't be teenagers forever. They're the best example of what it's like to be a committed gay couple. They got together in 1981 and are still together. That's seventeen years, and they own that house by a park and two pubs."

Prez said, "I'd be proud if we, or any of us, wound up like them."

Finished driving stakes into the ground, Ben stood and softly said, "Doug's been my guitar teacher for two years. I've been around him and Brian a lot. They've got each other and don't need kids to fulfill any fantasies."

Graham nodded and explained, "The first night, right after I met them, they talked to us like adults, not kids. They showed us the same aura experiment that Mike and Derrick showed us all last night."

Drew picked up the final two poles that slipped through roof loops on the smaller tent, creating an arched ceiling once they were bent and attached to the ground stake hooks. Corey and Drew slipped the poles into the loops then they teamed up with Ben and Graham to get each corner securely attached.

Keith ducked inside the larger tent with the center pole pieces. Not ten seconds later, he and Prez were giggling.

Leaning over to hook a pole to a corner stake and inspecting the tent he would be occupying, Ben gasped, "Wow, it's pretty big."

Prez giggled, "Betchya can't remember the first time you said that, Ben."

Blushing and giggling, Ben fumbled the tent pole. Softly chuckling and finished with his corner, Graham went to help Ben. He chuckled, "I sure remember."

Drew asked, "Keith, is this tent eight feet on each side and about four feet tall?" Lastly, Drew unzipped the tent to show Ben and Graham the inside.

"Something like that, four and a half feet tall in the center, I think," Keith answered from inside the tent. "Ya have to stoop over to dress and undress, but that shouldn't be any problem tonight."

Graham chuckled, "Eddie's pool parties have exposed us all," and then ducked into the tent. He held a hand out and called, "Come on in, teddy bear."

"Don't get too comfy yet," Drew chuckled. "We have to gather kindling before it gets dark." Corey went to stand behind Drew, wrapped his arms around his waist and nibbled his hubby's shoulder. Drew smiled and looked back over his shoulder.

Ben giggled, "We have to get the blanket and pillows anyway, puddin'." Nodding, Graham smiled and crawled back out of the tent.

Stepping out of the larger tent, Keith locked eyes with his brother and Corey, firmly instructing, "Looking for kindling, you two aren't out of our sight." Obediently nodding, neither argued and sure didn't want to take any chances.

Not knowing better, Ben smiled, "Don't you trust them?"

Keith nodded, "Trusting them isn't the issue. It's other people that I'm worried about." Over the next few minutes, Corey, Drew, Keith and Prez told them the story about the pedophile that scared Drew and Corey a month earlier. Ben couldn't believe that had happened and now understood why Drew and Corey were worried about Doug and Brian. With that knowledge, Ben was surprised that they had wanted to go camping again.

That day meant so much more to Corey and Drew. Without fully explaining, Drew shrugged, "The rest of the day and night was very cool. This is our second time camping since then, and we're hoping for once more before school starts." Corey rapidly nodded and attached himself to Drew.

Prez reminded, "None of us goes wandering off alone and none of us gets hurt. We have an electric lantern and a couple of flashlights for any latrine trips." Swinging his arm around, Prez pointed at the various trees, playfully reminding, "We can whip it out to pee almost anywhere."

Keith nodded, "That's the best part about taking middle-of-the-week trips here; the place isn't crowded, which allows us privacy."

Splitting up, three couples wandered off to collect twigs and branches. Ben and Graham spoke mostly of the fright Drew and Corey faced. Both agreed that at fourteen, they wouldn't be in a big hurry to camp again. Prez gave Drew Rush's leash, so the dog would be with them to bark should any trouble happen by. He then took Keith's hand and went behind the campsite, toward where he saw more trees. Drew and Corey had a totally different conversation, wondering how they should act around Ben and Graham, eventually concluding that it would be fine to get naked and stay that way, once the sun had set, just as they had the last time alone with Keith and Prez. Only if Ben or Graham weren't comfortable would that plan change. Drew checked if Corey wanted to stay with Doug and Brian, adding, "It sounds alright, and it really would be easiest for all of us, Cor."

Corey shrugged, "Do you think they know about me, the anorexia, I mean?"

"Maybe," Drew shrugged. "You're important to me and my family, angel. If my dad mentioned it, you don't have to worry about that. If they get too personal, I'll be there to interfere and change the subject."

Corey wondered, "Are you okay with staying there?"

"I forgot that Doug worked with my dad," Drew admitted, and then grinned, "Messing with us might get Doug in a shit load of trouble with my dad. I think it'd be fine."

"Where would we sleep?"

Drew hollered, "Keith?"

From a fair distance away, but still within sight, Keith yelled, "Yeah?"

Drew asked, "Would we have a bed to sleep in at Doug's?"

"Yes," Keith loudly replied, "We'll work out the details later with Mike and Derrick."

Thoughtfully scowling, Drew wondered, "Why do we need to talk to them?"

"'Cos there's only one bed," Keith answered.

"We've been sleeping on an air mattress in the studio," Prez bellowed. "There are two air mattresses. We're thinking Derrick and Mike might share the studio with us and you two can have the real bed."

"Cool!" Corey and Drew chorused.

"That works out good for them and us," Corey smiled.

Drew nodded, "If we had to, we could..."

"No we couldn't," Corey interrupted. "Your just being super nice again, Drew. You don't want to be in the same bedroom as Keith, I don't want to be with Prez, so let Keith, Prez, Mike and Derrick work it out." Thrilled that Corey showed a great deal of confidence, Drew grinned and hummed. Realizing what Drew was humming about, Corey giggled and softly promised, "Soon, stud. My legs will be in the air, so you can get me nice and wet."

Drew smiled, "I made sure your butt was very clean. After that little outburst, I think I might have to try and give you another thrill before entering you." Giggling and shivering with anticipation, Corey turned around and started back to the campsite.

It was near sunset when couples returned to the campsite with armloads of kindling. Since they hadn't stoked a campfire before, Ben and Graham were taught how to arrange kindling and the first few logs by Keith and Prez. In the meanwhile, Drew and Corey got sleeping bags from the 4Runner and then arranged the inside of the bigger tent. Soon after the fire was lit, giggling from the tent was heard.

Graham chuckled, "How many times so far today, dudes?"

"Two sets of two," Corey giggled. "Twice last night, which got us in trouble, and twice this morning before the beach."

Ben giggled, "How did you get in trouble? Who got pregnant?"

Receiving only giggling and laughter from Drew and Corey, Graham asked Keith what had happened. Playfully, while Drew groaned and Corey cracked up laughing inside the tent, Prez and Keith relayed the abridged version. Corey led Drew out of the tent, explaining, "That's why we're too embarrassed to return home until it's absolutely necessary."

Drew nodded and grinned, "Imagine getting caught like that by your dad. Corey's dad is very cool, but any doubts about where we're at just exploded into a million pieces this morning."

Corey giggled, "The question now is, when we do face our parents, what lies or truths should we tell them?"

"Definitely not about the twelve times," Ben softly giggled.

Keith grinned, "If he's anything like my dad, and I think he is, you don't have to say anything at all."

"That's your way," Drew grinned. Sitting on a fireside log and pulling Corey onto his lap, Drew sniggered, "just let everyone hear what's going on." Ben and Graham cracked up. Drew laughed, "They'd turn on the stereo, but that didn't cover the sound of the headboard hitting the wall." He turned back to Keith and Prez, proudly reminding, "My new bed doesn't have a headboard at all."

Graham chuckled, "And I was a little worried about us being heard tonight."

Locking eyes with Ben, Prez teased, "Why? Did you discover a new, louder position? You'll have to share it somehow."

Blushing, Ben considered his answer, and decided to prove he was considerably better off by replying, "Only folded in half in the missionary position are we quieter. Out here, without walls though, I'll bet even that's loud enough."

"No bet," Keith chuckled. "It's plenty clear what's going on."

Deciding to change the subject, since Ben was being as forthright as any of them, Prez gently prodded, "I'd like to know more about you two; how Ben managed to turn grief around like he has?"

Graham started telling the group more about that night in the park, only a week earlier. Soon Ben was adding his perspective, all of which Graham had already heard. They spoke of the next day and their first weekend together, including Ben's revelation about the photos of Francis, then finished with Monday's first times together. Any doubt of Graham's sincerity vanished quickly. Graham thought Ben was perfect, the gift given and happily received that turned weeks in the mire completely around. Graham raved about all the visitations Francis had thus far done, proving to everyone who had known Francis that death is not the end. Even Ben, who had freaked out a month earlier, likened death to changing schools or moving from one home to another, where things are different, but not as scary as he once believed.

Corey whispered in Drew's ear. Both of them began giggling.

Keith smirked, "There they go again."

Prez prompted, "What's so funny?"

Drew shrugged, "Ben and Graham, sharing their story the way they did. Are Corey and I the only couple that took their time before actually becoming a couple?"

Keith shook his head, answering, "Derrick and Mike have you two beat by years."

Prez nodded, "Keith and I didn't waste time. It sounds like Ben and Graham didn't waste any time either."

Facing Ben and Graham, Corey smiled, "We think it's totally awesome, dudes. After all the both of you have been through, to find each other and fall in love so fast. That's really great, but we, Drew and I, moved a lot slower."

"Mostly because of me," Drew reminded.

Corey shook his head, saying, "Only partly, Drew. When I look back at us, it's definitely like each of us had to deal with certain situations and feelings." Watching Drew tilt his head, Corey sighed, "After we broke up, you were trying to talk to me within a few days, but I didn't want to hear, never mind listen. So yeah, our relationship moved exactly the way it needed to, because we both needed to figure stuff out. Now that I think of it, you made the final moves on me, only about ten days after the trip to Big Bear. Where we're at now is where I want to be, and I love everything just the way it happened."

Keith chortled, "You tried to take on more than your fair share, bro. 'Mostly' doesn't make a partnership. It's two people, each taking a share of the wins as much as the loses." He turned to Prez, "We tripped over that about four times, didn't we?"

Prez nodded, "Let's hope and pray that we don't stumble and make the same mistake ever again."

Graham widely smiled, "That was very cool, dudes."

Corey, Drew and Keith wondered, "What was cool?" Prez only shrugged.

Graham offered, "Francis and I had ten great months together, and we never learned the difference between 'mostly' and 'partly'." Pulling Ben closer, Graham smiled, "I need to remember that."

"Oops!" Prez playfully warned.

Softly chortling, Keith corrected, "That 'I' just got you in trouble, Graham."

"We need to remember," Ben and Graham chimed.

"Excellent," Prez smiled. He then told the others, "We're going to take Rush for a walk before Derrick and Mike get here."

Standing up, Keith teased, "I expect to see the fire still going when we get back, regardless of tent time spent, cool?"

Corey, Ben and Graham cracked up. Drew smirked, "I'll bet the dog isn't the only one getting exercise." Mooing and loud laughter erupted. Denying nothing, Prez attached the leash to Rush's collar. After picking up a flashlight, Keith took Prez's other hand and they wandered off.

Drew wordlessly checked with Corey. Nodding, Corey slid off Drew's lap and offered a hand. "We're taking advantage of the opportunity," Drew smiled.

Graham nodded and asked, "Should I put any more wood on the fire?"

Drew answered, "We're not going for any records tonight. The fire will be fine for fifteen or so minutes." Taking the lantern with them, Drew and Corey went into the larger tent.

Graham smiled, "Brrr?"

"Grrr," Ben happily growled. Then they stood and went into the other tent.

About half an hour later, Keith, Prez and Rush were returning from their walk, down the middle of the dirt road leading to the campsite. Hearing a car approaching from behind, they moved off to the side of the road.

Rolling slowly by in the 442, Derrick teased, "Hey sexy dudes, ya wanna go for a ride?"

Prez chuckled, "A car ride, sure."

"You're already one behind us, if not all six of us by now," Keith grinned.

Derrick stopped the car, allowing Mike to get out to let Prez, Keith and Rush into the back seat. Getting back in the car, Mike swung the swivel seat and asked, "We're only one behind, really?"

Prez smiled, "It's been very cool, Mike. All six of us were chatting, while pitching the tents, and again after we got the fire going. Ben and Graham had a really nice first night together. Graham wasn't sure if he was ready, but he said that Ben was so awesome, he had to try. They said the next morning, before we went to lunch, they made a really deep connection. They called it a soul connection."

Keith nodded, "It would be great if we could get all six couples here for a night."

Prez agreed, "Even if we took two camping sites next to each other, that would be great. We need to ask if anyone else has another large tent."

Mike offered, "We brought another cooler of drinks. Doug and Brian gave us a whole watermelon, some hot dogs and buns too, if anyone gets that hungry."

Prez asked, "How was the jam with Shaun?"

"I think he's doin' great, ready for the audition and concert," Derrick answered.

Mike chuckled, "He's playing what I've shown him, but Shaun's still not happy with his vibrato technique. He's not used to electric guitar, so I showed him a few things he could practice. We went off on a twelve-bar blues, to let Shaun solo for awhile."

Derrick saw the white 4Runner and Volvo. He pulled his 442 off the road and parked close to Graham's V70. They got out of the car. Beyond the cars and around the campfire, sat Drew, Corey, Graham and Ben. Munchies were being eaten and soda cans sat on the ground near their legs. Prez let Rush off the leash. The dog trotted to the fire to say hello and see if anyone would offer him a snack. Prez and Keith helped Derrick and Mike empty the trunk.

Approaching the fire carrying the watermelon, Prez noticed only Ben had shorts on while the other three were naked. Prez smiled, "What's wrong, Ben? After last night, you can't be bashful."

Patting the log he was sitting on, Ben giggled, "It's this log, Prez. I don't want splinters in my butt."

"I offered to pull them out with my teeth," Graham seriously said, pushing Ben, Corey and Drew into hysterics.

Carrying bedding for himself and Derrick, Mike went toward the larger tent cheering, "Somebody remembered to keep the flaps open, I see."

Drew nodded and grinned, "It's organized like last time, Mike. All the sleeping bags to the left side, all our gear and room for Rush on the right side."

"Cool," Mike chirped and ducked inside.

Last to arrive, with a large cooler between them and each carrying a guitar case, Derrick and Keith went into the tent.

Ben groaned, "Aw, I should've listened to Graham and brought my guitar too."

Stepping out of the tent alone, Keith closed the flaps. Widely smiling as he approached the fire, Keith explained, "They want to catch up."

Heading for the 4Runner to get the sack of remaining burgers, Prez spun around chuckling, "Which started it?"

"Derrick," Keith answered.

"We're both right side up this time," Derrick and Mike sang from the tent.

Keith and Prez cracked up. Uncertainly glancing around, Graham grinned, "I'm really trying to figure out that confession, but drawing a blank."

Shaking his head, Drew chuckled, "It's probably best if you don't waste your time, Graham."

Ben uncertainly mumbled, "Upside down?" and shook his head.

Still sniggering, Prez handed off the sack of burgers to Corey. He then went to Keith and whispered, "Shall we quickly demonstrate?" Nodding agreement, Keith looked down and swept an area clear of stones and twigs with his feet. Squatting down, Keith planted his hands on the ground then stood on his hands and arms. Ben, Corey, Drew and Graham started laughing before Prez knelt down, proving that his crotch lined up fairly well with Keith's face, and Keith's upside down goods were still accessible by Prez.

Having seen his humans doing this before, and not getting any snacks from anyone, Rush lay down and huffed.

Drew hysterically cackled, "No, no, no!" Graham and Corey were loudly roaring. Softly giggling, Ben's face sagged into his open hands, and watching in amazement.

Prompting Keith to stay another few seconds, Prez then got up and went around to Keith's back. Being the same height, it was again obvious that Prez could pleasure Keith numerous ways. By bending his arms, Keith also showed that Prez's cock would only have to be pointed down to fill his ass. Moving off to Keith's side, Prez remained close by until Keith was on his feet again. Simply to prove versatility, Prez moved to stand on his hands and Keith helped him get balanced. Keith moved around Prez, wordlessly demonstrating that a lot was possible.

Facing Drew, Corey incredulously giggled, "Why should we be embarrassed about what we did?"

Drew shrugged and chuckled, "We made love the normal ways. Our worst move was deciding to stay out there naked, but we thought the sun would wake us before we were caught."

Noticing Graham's devious expression, Ben giggled, "No, puddin'."

Graham sniggered, "We're the same height and could at least try."

"I've never even tried to stand on my hands," Ben giggled, "not even as a little kid."

"I have," Graham smiled, "we could practice." Ben whimpered.

Keith and Prez went to the fire. Keith smiled, "It all started when Prez saw me walking on my hands a few weeks ago."

Prez nodded and chuckled, "The roughest part is staying balanced when your brain is turning to mush."

From inside the tent, Derrick giggled, "Don't, Lick."

Corey handed the sack of burgers to Prez. Prez and Keith each took one burger. Drew took one too. Satisfied with Ruffles chips and onion dip, Corey didn't want the last one, so Drew offered it to Ben and Graham. Ben politely declined, but Graham took it and thanked Drew. The six of them quietly munched on burgers and snacks for a minute or two, then they heard Derrick's evil snickering and Mike's loud laughter from inside the tent. Less than a minute later, those around the fire heard Derrick and Mike chorus, "Oh shit!"

Ben and Graham were facing the larger tent, but the others turned to watch it collapse upon Mike and Derrick. Ben, Corey, Drew and Graham howled laughing.

"Nice goin'!" Prez bellowed.

Keith laughed, "It's good the lantern is electric and not an open flame, you shit heads."

"Talk about your house shaking orgasms," Mike helplessly sniggered.

Derrick giggled, "Uh, a little help here, please?"

Still laughing, all six stood and went to the flattened tent. Rush was sniffing around one corner. Prez enticed his dog, teasing, "Who's in there, Rush? Get 'em, boy!"

Rush barked and pounced on the shuffling corner where Derrick and Mike were still laughing. Drew and Corey went to the opposite corner. Ben took another corner and Graham the next corner. Keith took the final corner, while Prez called his dog back. Keith sniggered, "Okay dudes, on three, lift the corner poles." Keith counted and together, all four corner poles were pulled upright. "You two in the tent need to set the center pole," Keith instructed.

Remembering their first time and almost knocking the tent down themselves, Drew and Corey couldn't stop laughing.

Seeing canvas moving, signaling that Derrick and Mike were crawling around beneath, Prez chuckled, "Do we even want to know what you did that knocked the tent down?"

Derrick giggled then answered, "We heard you and Keith demonstrating the hand stand."

"I thought we could do it!" Mike laughed.

"We did," Derrick howled, "everything was fine until I lost it and Mike teetered, crashing into the center pole."

The center pole was being lifted and returned to its proper place. Once it was done, Drew and Keith roamed around to make sure all the corner poles were adequately placed to support the heavy canvas. Cheekily sniggering and still naked, Derrick and Mike made their way out of the tent. Keith impatiently smirked at them. Everyone else completely busted up laughing at them.

Grabbing hold of Graham, Ben giggled, "Can we go home now? If one couple did that, what's gonna happen when all three couples are in there?"

Shaking his head, Graham breathlessly sniggered, "I haven't laughed this hard since watching Monty Python's Holy Grail."

Keith nodded and smiled, reverently reciting in a poor British accent, "O Lord, bless this, Thy hand grenade, that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy."

Rapidly nodding, Graham added, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."

Wisely remaining silent, Derrick and Mike helped themselves to the various munchies still near the fire. Ben and Graham took seats on the same log as Mike and Derrick. Graham chortled, "I can't wait to tell Eddie and Matt. If Francis was watching, he's rolling around clouds right now."

Mike shrugged and grinned, "Thankfully, I fell low enough where none of the pole pieces got bent, it simply slid and the ceiling crashed."

Keith smirked, "I can't imagine what possessed you to even try."

"We had the space and privacy," Derrick smiled.

Mike grinned, "Now that we all know, a show of hands for those that intend to try it?"

Graham's and Corey's hands flew up. Drew cackled, "Corey!"

"What?" Corey giggled. "As long as our height allows it, I'd like to try, to see if we like it."

Mike nodded, "From this bottom's upside down vantage point, it's as good as any other position."

Derrick smiled, "It's good from the top too." He then told Mike, "Next time we switch positions."

"Cool," Mike chirped.

Prez chuckled, "Tomorrow night, in the studio."

Ben cackled, "Oooo-migod! At Doug's and Brian's place?" Derrick, Keith, Mike and Prez all smiled and nodded. Ben giggled, "Do they know?"

Mike nodded, "Not the exact method, but I'm sure they heard late night laughter when we first tried it."

Derrick asked Ben, "Why would you think Brian or Doug would care?"

"I guess they wouldn't," Ben softly blushed.

Graham grinned, "You dudes don't hide much."

Gesturing at his naked brother, Keith said, "There's proof that even the shyest dude around knows a male body is like any other." Cutting off any more from his brother, Drew then piped up, telling Graham more about how shy he was years before the first pubic hair ever sprouted.

Prez added his perspective, as a loner that didn't consider himself gay, bisexual or even straight. "The first hours with Keith, I was falling in love. Come to find out the next afternoon, he felt the same way about me. Dicks are nice, but it's the person the flesh is attached to that makes the difference. We all must know that or most of you that are nude wouldn't be." Nodding heads confirmed Prez's statement. However, Keith's warm smile relayed more, prompting him to take Prez's hand and lead his lover into the large tent.

The conversation continued along the same lines, with each of the remaining boys sharing their pasts with the others. Prez and Keith stepped out of the tent naked and joined the fireside chat.

A little past midnight, and feeling drowsy, Drew and Corey called it a night. The older six remained awake a while longer. Mike and Derrick offered to cut the watermelon, if anyone else wanted some. Since all did want a slice, Keith got up to go to the tent and get the only knife. Drew and Corey were cuddling in the tent, barely conscious. When they heard why Keith was rummaging around the backpack, they got back up to have some watermelon too. Half the watermelon was sliced into eight large pieces. Proving how overtired they were, Corey and Drew played with their food in front of everybody. Never one to allow the youngest to play their games without participating, Mike prompted Derrick to stand before him. Knowing where Mike was leading everyone, Derrick evilly snickered and his flaccid uncut meat began growing. Mike rubbed bites of watermelon around Derrick's lower abdomen and upper thighs, licking up the sweet juices as he worked, getting closer and closer to Derrick's stiffening cock. Liking this idea, Prez stood before Keith. Without a second thought, Corey stood before Drew.

Ben's surprise was Graham softly smiling, "Please, teddy bear?" Ben's mouth hung open. Graham asked the others, "What's it like, I mean sex with other dudes around to see?"

Derrick sighed, "It's no different really."

Corey offered, "I'm only concerned with what Drew's doing."

Turning his head slightly, Prez called, "Ben?"

Ben giggled, "Yeah?"

Prez said, "Think about it; we all saw each other last night anyway. We all know what couples do together. I'm for Keith. Corey's for Drew. Derrick's for Mike, and you're for Graham. Each couple is very well occupied with their partner. You don't have anything to worry about."

Mike wiped sticky watermelon juice off his face and added, "Besides, when I'm done with Derrick, do you think I'm gonna just let him wish the tables were turned? Not a second longer than Dee needs. As soon as he's ready, I'll stand before him too. Let Graham make love to you, dude. Then you get to make love to him."

Standing up, Ben giggled, "What a week!" and then unbuttoned his shorts. He stood before Graham. Nervously glancing to his left, at Drew and Corey, and then to his right, at Mike and Derrick, Ben realized that no one except Graham was looking at him. Ben looked down at Graham, happily wiping watermelon around and licking up the juice. This simply seemed wrong though, Ben thought. All of these dudes were cool, but Ben firmly believed that sex was a private act of love between two people. It still was an act of love, but certainly not private. Besides, Ben wanted some of Graham too and wasn't willing to wait. Leaning forward, Ben slipped his hands under Graham's armpits and lifted. Graham locked eyes with his teddy bear then nodded his head. They went into the smaller tent to finish what was started without their watermelon slices.

Carefully biting off a chunk of watermelon, Mike nibbled off enough to hook it over Derrick's bone. He then opened wide and engulfed it all, allowing the watermelon to squish and melt in his mouth. Derrick gasped then softly chortled, "Awesome."

Orgasms cascaded around the fire and in the tent where Ben and Graham lay. Drew decided he didn't want oral sex, so he led Corey into the larger tent. Completely comfortable with each other and more pleased with the act by romantic firelight, Prez swapped places with Keith and Derrick swapped places with Mike. Many minutes later, when all the watermelon was gone and it was obvious the two couples outside were quietly cuddling, Ben, Graham, Corey and Drew came back out of the tents to watch the fire die. Melted ice water was poured onto dirty T-shirts so each couple could clean themselves up. Wordlessly, Drew and Corey went back to the tent. Ben and Graham stood, offering soft thanks for an experience neither would ever forget. They then went to the smaller tent. Derrick, Mike, Keith and Prez waited only a while longer, so they could kick dirt on the embers of their fire. Prez called Rush then all four ducked into the larger tent, where Drew and Corey were already sound asleep. Drew and Corey had even opened sleeping bags and organized a little bit, so all the four of them had to do was lay down.

Hours later, Prez heard his dog growling. Before anyone else was disturbed, Prez got up and peeked out of tent. The sun was up, but just barely. Hearing voices of other nearby campers waking and breaking down their tents, Prez shushed his dog. Glancing at his wristwatch and seeing it was only a little after six in the morning, Prez softly told Rush, "It's alright. Go lay down, hound dog." Prez then returned to Keith's side and fell right back to sleep.

Only about an hour later, closer to seven-thirty, Corey woke and gently woke Drew. Once Drew was responding with tender kisses, Corey whispered, "We have to go the latrine, stud."

Drew smiled, "You ate a lot all day yesterday," and sat up. The two boys got dressed. Drew picked up Rush's leash, to take the dog along with them for the walk. Carefully, the three of them left the tent. Once away from the campsite, Drew raved, "With all the milk, ice cream, cheeses and other stuff you ate this week, I'm expecting the doc to say you gained three or more pounds."

"We'll see," Corey blushed and giggled.

Pulling Corey close against him, Drew smiled, "No matter what the doc says, you're making me so happy and extremely proud, Cor, seriously."

With happy tears pooling in his eyes, "I want a long life with you, Drew."

"We've got it in the bag," Drew cheered. Corey sniffled and wiped his eyes. Drew asked, "Are you okay?"

Corey nodded and smiled, "They're happy tears. I'm just a little scared, ya know?"

Drew nodded, "I understand, believe me. A month ago we made our first trip to the doctor together. With all that's been accomplished, I'm not expecting any setbacks, but we'll deal together, angel."

"I keep growing, pushing the target further away," Corey griped.

Drew sighed, "What's the plan, Cor?"

Corey chanted, "To keep on trying."

Drew nodded, "I've never had to lie to anyone about what you're eating and how well you're doing. As long as I see you trying, everything's very cool. Yeah, we have a reason to be scared, but it's only a lurking fear, like giving a poor oral report at school. Trying makes all the difference. The first time I have to lie to anyone, I'll be watching even closer. Are the numbers making sense with what I see you doing? They have been for weeks. Try not to worry."

Corey softly begged, "Don't leave me, Drew."

"Never," Drew confirmed, "I don't even like being alone while you're in a latrine. I couldn't fit in there with you, never mind with Rush too. If I could fit, I would squeeze in too."

"Dammit!" Corey complained, "How can I be so happy and relieved, but still be scared to death?"

Drew sighed, "You know the answers, Corey. Someday, Doc Folsom's going to say your five feet seven inches, then eight, and so on, always tagging on a few extra pounds. That's only one set of measurements though. When we get to my house over the weekend, I'm taking Keith's tape measure. We're going to create a spreadsheet, outlining every change in our bodies, from our necks to our feet. That way, if the doc ever says you gained less than a pound, we can look at a chart that shows where those ounces went. Once a week, we'll spend a few minutes doing that. When one set of numbers doesn't make sense, we'll have something else to say, okay, this is why."

Corey smiled, "You're really on my side."

"On your side and at your side is where I want to be," Drew chanted. He then turned and smiled, "I saw you last night, gay boy." Corey giggled and nodded. Drew chuckled, "Three other dudes getting blown, three others on their asses giving head and occasionally stroking their bones, and you gazing down at me, like no one else was there."

Corey shrugged, "Why should I look around? I can't feel what the others are, but can feel what's happening to me. We're married, stud. I still love watching you, no matter how we're making love or who's doin' what in which position. I'll always be watching you."

"The feeling is mutual," Drew smiled. Arriving at the latrine, Drew prompted, "Go, and I'll wait with Rush until you're done. Then I'll go."

Heading for the wooden shack, Corey spun around briefly, only to find Drew and Rush looking around, watching for other people. Once inside the latrine, Corey recognized the stern expression on Drew's face; one of concern that hadn't been seen for a month. Even when told to appear intimidating at the health club, Drew didn't look like that.

Waiting outside, Drew looked for lurking pedophile jack-offs. Picking up on Drew's nervousness, Rush lifted his nose and sniffed the air. Everywhere Rush turned, Drew looked for trouble. Seeing some other teenaged dudes approaching, Drew and Rush focused on them. One of the three asked, "The dog's been potty trained?"

Drew smiled, "Just waiting for a friend. When he's done, he'll watch the dog."

Another dude asked, "Are the other four stalls empty?"

Drew nodded, "As far as I know. Cars have driven by, but none stopped. Nobody else wakes and stays to use the latrine."

Hearing Drew speaking, Corey hurried and finished. He opened his stall door as the approximately seventeen-year-olds split off to other stalls. Corey hurried to Drew and took the dogs leash, saying, "That face you were making is the face Lonnie asked for the other night."

Suddenly, Drew's wide smile was replaced with an exaggerated "Kellam" expression. Corey cracked up and Drew went to the latrine, sniggering insanely. One at a time, the other three dudes stepped out of their stalls, each making small talk with Corey, and one squatted down to pet Rush. Only somewhat concerned, over the other dudes and Corey being alone with Rush, Drew stepped out of the shack. The other dudes were only a few steps away from Corey, already on their way back to their campsite.

Corey giggled, "I'm telling Brian about that face you make."

Drew sniggered, "If you think that's funny, you would've loved the face I made forcing myself to shit quickly." Corey howled laughing. Giggling, Drew took Rush's leash from Corey. Hysterical, Corey wanted to see Drew's constipated 'forcing myself to shit' face. Drew complied and followed that with his bored at school face, then his dopey 'mid-blowjob' face and finally the dopier 'I'm gonna have an unexpected prostate orgasm' face, which was a mix of wide-eyed terror and the open-mouthed rollercoaster-ride joyous scream. Hiccupping like mad, Corey staggered most of the way back to their campsite.

Already awake, shirtless but with their shorts on, Ben and Graham were sitting on a fire pit log. Not aware that the two youngest had left, Ben loudly asked, "Where were you?"

Since Corey was still gasping for breath and hiccupping, Drew answered, "The latrine for our morning deposit."

Ben's jaw dropped and he squealed, "After what happened you went alone?"

Drew smiled, "It was either that or dirty another pair of shorts." Graham sniggered. Seeing Ben ready to say something more, Drew made his 'forcing a shit' face. Ben, Corey and Graham lost it and cracked up. Rush barked and trotted around to each of the four boys.

Prepared to yell at his dog, Prez sat up. He noticed Rush, Drew and Corey were gone. Carefully standing, Prez wandered out of the tent without bothering to put anything on. Seeing his master, Rush trotted over. Still wiping sleep from his eyes, Prez asked, "What's goin' on?"

"We were waiting to see if anyone else needed to make a trip to the latrine," Graham sniggered.

Ben smiled, "Corey and Drew just got back. I can barely believe they went there alone."

Prez shrugged and checked with Drew; "You took Rush along?" Drew nodded. Prez then told Ben, "Rush is generally friendly, but he's a good watch dog. Rush helped us catch that cretin last month."

"Oh," Ben giggled, "that wasn't mentioned last night."

"You've been a little wary of Rush," Prez reminded. Prez glanced around, looking for other nearby campers. Seeing none, he walked around the tents then stopped at a tree to relieve himself.

Graham stood, telling Drew and Corey, "We need to make a nature call too."

Flushed red from holding his breath to stop the hiccups, Corey nodded, "It wasn't busy when we were there. See ya in a few minutes."

Ben and Graham started their trip. Drew prompted Corey, "Let's get some breakfast." They went to the tent to get the fruit from Corey's backpack. Rush followed, but Drew commanded him to stay out of the tent.

Inside the tent, Derrick was awake and standing. He went to a cooler to get a bottle of water then peaked out of the tent. He softly said "good morning" to Drew and Corey. Not wanting to dress, Derrick stepped outside. Going to take a seat on a log, he saw Prez returning. A year earlier, Prez wouldn't consider roaming around in his birthday suit. Now, since the weeks spent living together, Prez was much more open to it. They said good morning to each other and Prez sat. Derrick gave Prez a quick tender kiss then explained himself.

On their way to the latrine, Graham asked Ben, "What did you think about last night's watermelon games?"

Ben thoughtfully hummed the said, "It was fun, but it just seemed wrong somehow."

Graham nodded, "Taking me into the tent was awesome, Ben."

"Yeah, I guess."

"It's cool, Ben. I mean, that you feel that way about it."

Ben sighed, "I wish I understood why I feel that way."

Graham shrugged, "It doesn't matter what the reason is; I understand. Try to realize something for me, okay?"

"Okay."

"Remember me saying that I looked forward to the day you came after me wanting some?"

"Yeah. It still feels a little strange though, stopping whatever else we're doing just because I suddenly feel randy."

"Try not to feel that way, teddy bear. You're not only allowed to get horny, I love when you're aggressive. When you want some, come and get it, every time. Don't wait for me to start."

Ben confirmed, "Would you really like that?"

Graham chuckled, "Of course I would. We've got to be there for each other in every way, not only sexually. You wanting me sexually only helps prove that when you need something else, you'll still come to me. You're really good at wanting hugs and kisses. Take the next step, my love, just like you did last night."

Ben giggled, "Watch out the next time your mom or mine get watermelon." Graham cracked up.

Sitting on logs and gathered around the fire pit, back at the campsite, Corey, Drew, Derrick and Prez were having watermelon and the other fruits brought by Corey for breakfast. Searching for Derrick on the blanket beside him, Mike began to wake and remembered where he was. He argued with himself about getting up. He opened his eyes and saw Keith only a few feet away. Deciding to not waste a good argument, Mike called, "Get up, Keith." Only getting a sleepy grunt in response, Mike said, more loudly, "Get your ass outta the bed."

"Fuck you," Keith grumbled.

Mike sat up and sniggered, "Fine. Wanna do it upside down and on your hands, so we can knock the tent down again?"

Keith smirked, "You need to start running."

Standing and purposefully pushing Keith's buttons, Mike kicked the blanket beneath him onto Keith, bitching, "You're such a lazy fuck, literally."

Pulling the blanket over him, Keith rolled onto his belly and joked, "Taking bottom upside down kind o' precludes doing much of anything else."

"Oooh, wait," Mike droned. "If the dude getting fucked is upside down, he's gotta be top. We discovered a way to get our butts filled and still be top!"

"Call Guinness," Keith grinned. "Now stand on your hands and walk the fuck outta here. To you, it'll look like I'm up, but I still get to sleep."

From outside, Keith and Mike could hear Corey, Drew, Derrick and Prez softly laughing.

Mike scowled, "Cranky bitch." He then asked, "How can you have a boyfriend and still be a cranky bitch?"

Keith growled, "Because your delaying Prez. He'll come in here and wake me the right way, once you leave." The laughter outside the tent got louder.

Mike walked out of the tent. Seeing two bare butts, Derrick's and Prez's, and two clothed bodies, Corey's and Drew's, Mike went for his morning kiss from Derrick. He leaned over to get a watermelon flavored kiss, and then softly said, "Gonna irrigate a tree."

Derrick nodded and stuffed a large piece of watermelon into his mouth. He then stood and followed Mike.

Prez told Corey and Drew, "Once everybody's back and had breakfast, we'll break down and cleanup. Then we'll go for a hike."

"Cool," Drew and Corey chorused. They smiled and watched Prez stand then go into the tent to wake Keith. Moments later, there was a fake, cartoonish growl and then Prez giggling. Out of sight from Corey and Drew, they then heard Mike cracking up. Smiling widely and occasionally giggling, Drew and Corey finished their breakfast. Ben and Graham returned and helped themselves to breakfasts of crackers, fruit and bottled water. Arm-in-arm, Mike and Derrick walked back to camp, seemingly following their erections, directly into the tent. Ben, Corey, Drew and Graham expected some remarks from one of the four in the tent, but surprisingly heard none.

The gasping, groans, moans and whimpering from inside the tent affected all four that were trying to finish their breakfasts. Finished eating, Corey sat on Drew's lap. They started making out. Graham hurried through breakfast. Chugging the bottled water, Graham and Ben seemed to reach for their hands at the same time. They went back into the small tent to complete their morning routine. Realizing it was quiet in the larger tent, Drew looked over his shoulder and loudly called, "You've got two minutes to finish cuddling, dudes."

Helplessly, Ben and Graham cracked up.

Keith responded, "We're finding clothes and getting dressed."

Putting on clean undies, Prez and Mike leaned forward almost at the same time. Mike giggled, "Watch it, bubble butt."

"I keep trying, but it hurts my neck," Prez sniggered. Ben cracked up.

Derrick sputtered then gathered his clothes and walked out of the tent nude. Loud enough for everyone to hear, Derrick smirked, "Four of us squeezed in there is unnecessary at this point."

Having not eaten or drank anything since the prior night, Rush whined. Almost fully dressed, Prez called, "Chill, hound dog buddy. Your food and dish are in the back of the truck."

Keith prompted, "Toss me your keys, baby. I'll take care of Rush." Soon, the jangling of keys was heard, and then Keith stepped out of the tent.

Now wearing clean boxers and shorts, Derrick hollered back to the tent, "Be good in there, you two. Yes, I'm being selfish." On his way to the 4Runner, Keith nodded and warmly smiled at Derrick's remarks.

Together, Mike and Prez innocently sang, "When were we not good?"

Attached at the hips, Corey and Drew wordlessly went to the tent. Dressed and carrying backpacks, Mike and then Prez emerged from the tent, heading directly towards the cars. Carrying the dog's dish, Keith called Rush. From the smaller tent, Ben called for heavenly intervention, causing the other six to silently smile, knowing better than to make any comment that might embarrass Ben. Derrick, Keith, Mike and Prez began cleaning up the campsite and putting coolers into the cars. Prez poured bottled water into Rush's dish which his dog immediately lapped up. With nothing more to do until Ben, Graham, Corey and Drew finished, the other four sat on logs around the fire pit, practicing harmonized vocals.

Wearing only grey boxer-briefs, Graham came out of the tent with a pair of shorts and a T-shirt in his hands, smiling at the singing band-mates. While Graham slid into his clothes, Ben stepped out of the tent fully dressed, wearing the new clothes Graham got him Monday night. The light colored shorts and shirt looked good on Ben, and all four of his friends praised the change.

Since one good turn deserved another, Ben giggled his thanks then asked, "What are you dudes doing? I've never heard you singing a cappella before?"

Derrick smiled, "Opening our ears and listening."

Mike nodded and explained, "Keith sings a tone, Prez sings about an octave lower, Derrick sing the perfect fifth above Prez, then I add the final tone, usually between Derrick and Prez."

"We've been trying since January," Keith smiled, and then chuckled, "only recently have we gotten past straying voices and major flubs."

From inside the larger tent, cuddling with Corey, Drew loudly confirmed, "I've heard them practicing that stuff before."

"They're getting so much better too," Corey added. He then softly asked Drew, "Ready to get dressed?" Drew nodded and Corey got up off his hubby.

Graham smiled at Ben, "I wish we had brought your guitar."

Noticing four curious glances, Ben giggled, "Graham has me practicing every day. We take my guitar between his house and mine. Doug is showing me how to play popular music on my classical guitar."

Graham offered, "We're heading back to Agoura Hills tonight, after supper. Ben hasn't seen his mom since Sunday night, and there's a move to deal with still."

"Which reminds me," Ben began, "the day of the audition, my mom is having a garage sale. Sorry, but we're needed there that weekend."

All four nodded and Mike said, "Not a problem. We're planning on asking the North Hollywood dudes, and Eddie and Matt to play roadie that day."

"Cool," Ben and Graham responded. Graham leaned into the small tent, pulling out the blanket, sheet and pillows they had slept on. Ben took the wadded up blanket and sheet then followed Graham to his car.

Corey and Drew came out of the large tent with their backpacks. Soon, all eight were putting the last of their stuff in the cars and breaking down the tents. A park ranger slowly drove by. Running toward the road, Prez asked if the cars could remain at the campsite while they all took a hike around the park in the daylight. "As long as you're gone by five, we won't have to charge you for another night," the ranger answered. Prez assured they would be gone by two the latest, and then returned to the campsite.

Once everything was packed away and the campsite cleared, all eight started down the road. Lighthearted chit-chat passed around the group. They saw distant reservoirs and beautiful mountain landscapes. Graham commented that they needed to bring Eddie along sometime, so they could get photos of the more scenic views. Realizing it was almost noon, they turned around and started back toward the campgrounds. Some tentative plans were made for later that evening, so they could get together and roam Chumash Park in Agoura Hills. At one-thirty that Thursday afternoon, three cars drove out of the Angeles National Forest and started back home.

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