A Friend of the Devil

by Bensiamin

Chapter 8

Gary looked my way, his expression questioning, his eyes squinting.

It was my turn to grin, and I said, "Gary, it's short for Reverend, and truth be known, I don't know if it's a term of endearment or an insult. You know your brother, he's a bit of a wise acre and takes a lot of stuff for granted."

Gary had to process that for a few seconds, then he managed a half smile and said, "that's my little brother……always the wise ass!"

Phew! Crisis averted.

"Okay, you guys, this will probably be really awkward, but we're all in this situation together, and we've got to get to know each other sooner or later, so I figured sooner was better and why not his afternoon? Gary, you've got to go somewhere in a while?"

"Yeah," he said, "I told my friend Steve I'd help him work on this bike this afternoon, then I'll be back this evening."

"Got it,' I said. "Look, I'm not here with a plan, I just want to get to know you. Most of our interaction the last week has been when you guys were helping me move in and unpack. Not much information transfers during a process like that. First, I want to know how you're handling what's happened so far since the weekend? It's been pretty dramatic."

They looked at each other, as if they didn't know who should speak first. Jackson was obviously waiting for Gary, who was now looking down at the floor. Jackson took the initiative and said, "As far as I'm concerned what happened is for the best. We've been on the receiving end for a long time and Bud was a bastard most of the time. He treated me like shit all the time, like I didn't really belong here and now I know why—because in his mind I didn't. I hope we can put things back together with our Mom, but we'll have to see about that. Anyway, I feel relieved and freed, like I'm being let out of prison. Gary got it worse than me, so he's entitled to be even more pissed."

Gary was still silent. I spoke directly to him, saying, "Can you tell me how you're feeling. It's important if we're gong to make any progress working together." Silence, then after almost a minute he slowly looked up.

"Yeah, I'm pissed, but I'm mainly pissed at myself because I could have stopped the sexual stuff by saying something earlier, but I didn't. We both got the verbal and physical stuff from him, and Mom went along with the program so that made it worse. I guess you get used to it over time. I don't know what else to say."

"Anger is a natural response to something like this. How are you feeling about it? Can you talk about your feelings?" He looked confused, like he wasn't sure what I was asking. Then he went on, "Well, like Jackson said, we were treated like shit, like we were just here to do work and take whatever he wanted to give out. I don't know what you mean asking how I feel. I feel shitty, I always have. What does that mean about me?"

I paused, then replied, "If I try to translate feeling shitty, would it be accurate to say you feel used and devalued and he tried to make you feel like you have no worth?"

He looked up and nodded after a minute? I could see he was on the edge of tears, and then he went on, "It also turned me into a shitty person. Why was I always bullying Jackson and the other kids at school? Why don't I have any friends except Steve, and that's probably only because I know how to be a bike wrencher. I know everyone hates me, why? Did I do stuff to deserve that?"

He was sobbing now, and I quietly said to him, "All the stuff that happened to you and to Jackson changes the way you look not just at your parents, Okay? It also changes how you look at the world and those around you. When all this shitty stuff is coming down on you, pretty soon all you see is the shit, and pretty soon you think the world is shit and you start acting like you're shit too. And a lot of the time you hit back. Do you see what I mean?"

I paused and wasn't sure if he nodded his head or not, so I pressed on. "Jackson, a lot of this applies to you too. Neither of you are pieces of shit. Do you hear me? Look at me, please." Jackson immediately did, and Gary slowly looked my way. "Have you ever heard the phrase 'God don't make no junk?' You need to know that's true. People are essentially born good, it's their surroundings and upbringing that can change that. But, remember, we're not talking about becoming like Hitler or a serial killer or something, Okay? We're talking about how Bud's approach and behavior took two kids and wore them down and maybe started turning them into something they didn't want to be. Does that make sense to you, Gary?"

I waited, already knowing what Jackson's answer would be. He was bright and thoughtful and willful and had already sorted this out. My impression of Gary was that he was not as bright and he'd been receiving a worse kind of treatment, so who knew what shape his self-image was in.

"He always told me I was a worthless piece of shit. That I couldn't do anything right. That I was always slow and stupid. How do I change that?"

"You can't change what he said. That is what he told you and how he treated you. That's not what you are. That's his opinion and it doesn't mean its true. Do you hear me? It doesn't mean it's true. You now have the choice to say no, that's not me. I'm not worthless and stupid. Do you agree?" He nodded.

"Great! Jackson, you told me you thought of yourself as the Invisible Kid, and I'm guessing that was mainly because you were treated like you weren't here or didn't matter when you were getting recognized at all. And, saying you were always treated like shit means you have trouble dealing with self-worth too. So, I'm going to ask you both to do something together. Will you do that?"

Jackson looked at me with his head cocked to the side, the way he does when he's sizing you up. Gary immediately looked suspicious. "Guys, I'm not going to ask you to confess to any crimes or anything! You've got to know healing has to start someplace, and like we said yesterday, the longest journey starts with the first step. Can you agree to that?" Jackson nodded at the obviousness of what I was saying and started to smirk. Gary looked less suspicious and then nodded a little.

"Okay, this is easy. I'm going to ask you both to say something to me out loud. It may sound like a kindergarten thing, but it's important. I want you to tell me I'm not worthless and stupid. Can you do that?"

Jackson grinned and spit it out. I smiled back at him, letting him know I knew what he was doing and needed his help. Gary sat there silently. I looked at him again, and said, "Gary, come on, help us out here. This is for you, and for Jackson, and for all of us."

Gary sat mute, like he couldn't get the words out. Jackson scooted over next to him on the couch and whispered, "Come on Gary. This isn't just easy for you, but it's true. You're not worthless, right? You're not stupid, right? You can say it. I know you can."

Gary remained silent for twenty or more seconds and then whispered back, "How do I know I'm not? That's all I've ever heard."

Jackson leaned closer and said, "You heard the Rev, Gary, we're changing the model. We're not doing this shit anymore, Okay? You've got to start too. I've disliked all the bullying you've done to me, but now I kind of know why you did it. I also know something else about you even if you don't."

That got Gary's attention and he turned his head to look at Jackson, saying, "What's that?"

"That even if you were bullying me, you were trying to keep me from getting screwed or whatever too. That means you're not worthless. It also means you're not stupid. Okay? On top of that it means you care. You cared for me even though I didn't know it and you protected me. That means you're a good person. You get it?"

Gary was weeping again and whispered, "I guess."

Jackson prompted his again. "Okay, then bro, then say I'm not worthless and stupid."

Gary wiped his eyes and took a deep breath and looking at Jackson whispered it out. Jackson looked right at him and said, "Good start. Now look at the Rev and say it out loud."

It took Gary a few seconds to process what his younger brother had told him to do. But he did, turning to look at me and making the statement.

I smiled at him and said, "Gary, I'm no counselor or therapist, and a professional may not have asked you to do this, but I do know something. You've just broken the spell. Whatever physical power Bud had over you is gone because he's in jail. The emotional spell he had over you both, convincing you that you were invisible or worthless is now broken. That was his stuff, and you don't have to hold on to it. In fact, you just broke lose from it and threw it away. Remember, God don't make no junk. That's all you have to remind yourself of."

Gary smiled weakly while looking at me. Jackson was still grinning and asked, "Do you think that Mom has broken free of the spell too?"

I told him that was a really important question and it was too early to know, but we'd know before too long. "She already told me she needed to make a break with Bud, so that's a good sign." Jackson replied, "Yeah, she said this morning it's so messed up she may have to get a divorce."

"Maybe," I replied, "but we'll have to see how that plays out. She's got to make her decisions, and it's also a legal matter." I looked at them both, "Okay, now, changing the subject, I'm curious since it's summer. What are you guys doing? Are you working during the summer, you know summer jobs?"

They looked at each other again and then back at me. "No," Gary said. "No jobs. Dad wouldn't let us cause he said we could be getting into trouble or bad influences or whatever. You know the truths out now, so I think it was mainly to keep us under control."

I turned to Jackson, "Is that your take too?" He nodded, "I only got the paper route cuz there was no one else and Fred, the guy that has the franchise for the area leaned on Bud to help him out."

I went on, "Well, it's not even the middle of July and half the summer is left. Are you guys just going to hang out and do nothing? Don't you want to get do something, maybe make some money?"

Jackson said, "So much has happened since Monday that we haven't talked about it. Making some money isn't a bad idea though. The allowance that Bud gave us was pretty minimal. You said something about mowing lawns. Is that for real?"

"Yes, it's for real in terms of you can use the mower at the parsonage, but I haven't gotten anything lined up for you. What I can say, if you're both up for it, is that I'll help you get some jobs lined up by talking to church members if you want. Do you want to do this? It never hurts to have some change in your pockets.

Gary looked at Jackson and half smiled. Jackson looked at me and said that he'd mentioned it and they were up for it. I decided it was time to talk to them both about their relationship. "Look, you guys, I know you weren't getting along with each other very well, but in my view the biggest part of the problem, and that was Bud, is out of the picture now. I think it's important that you both build your relationship and one of the best ways is working together. You'll get to know each other in new ways, depend on each other, and maybe even discover you like each other more than you think." I grinned at both of them after the last comment.

They both kind of smiled back in general agreement. We were quiet for a moment, then Gary said he had to get going over to his friend's house. He stood up and so did I, and I reached out my hand. "Good start, Gary. Thanks for spending some time with me." He smiled and didn't say anything but headed to the kitchen and out the back door. I saw him a minute later through the front window turn up the street on his bike.

When I turned back Jackson had moved across the living room to right behind me and I turned right into his arms. He hugged me and said, "This is what I've been waiting for, Rev!"

I was facing him now and could clearly make out his impish grin and flashing eyes. "No doubt what's on your mind," I said. He grinned even more, "Like I said, it's like getting out of prison. I've pretty much been locked up for a week. But you rescued me, and I love you even more now." He was still hugging me and looked up with that soft puppy eye look.

"Don't I get a kiss," he asked?

"Well, you know that I'm here on a pastoral visit, don't you? Is this appropriate?" I knew I'd drive him crazy! Sure enough, his facial expressions started changing, first going in the direction of a pout, then coming back and flashing towards anger, then settling as he figured out, he was likely being played.

"Please, David. It's been so long since I saw you and held you. You mean the world to me."

I brought my lips to his face and met his. I didn't think a deep sensual kiss would be appropriate in his living room, but I certainly wanted to kiss him, and felt he was long overdue for some attention. He moaned and started writhing in my grasp. "Let's not get too carried away," I said, "we're in your house and we have to work out our program, remember?" He was silent for a minute, like he was processing and remembering that not-too-fun thing he'd agreed to only a couple of days ago.

"Okay, I understand. So, let's go over to your house and get it on."

"Jackson, calm down. There'll be time. We're just getting this train back on the tracks, Okay? How about we spend some quality time together. How are you doing? Are you feeling alright? You're my only real insight into how things are going in this household? Gary seems to be coming around, but that won't happen overnight and since your Mom went through therapy once a few years ago and we're here again, it'll be awhile till we know if she's on a new and solid track."

"You're right," he said. "That's what I meant earlier about we'll have to see if we can fix the relationship with our Mom. The counseling last time didn't do the job, but Bud was part of it then and at least this time she's ditched the alcohol, so we'll see if that holds. Gary's going to take some time. He hasn't told me the gory details yet, but I'm pretty sure he was having to suck off Bud, who knows what else. Either way, it was forced and he's paying for it emotionally, and I'm thankful that he protected me. I'm still amazed he did. I mean after years of bullying me, why would he?"

"Maybe he understood somehow that by bullying you he made you appear small and insignificant," I said, "and that played into you not being a target. Kind of like you being invisible. If you're not seen, you'll get abused less. I don't know, but that could be part of it. Either way, he did what he did, and he protected you. Do you think you guys can get your relationship back on track?"

Jackson thought for a minute. "I don't know, cause we weren't ever that close. We just got further apart as things got worse here. Now we know about the sex abuse and his protecting me, but we also know Bud isn't my father and Gary is my half brother so maybe that means we're back where we started. If I've got to be part of this family then I want it to be as good as it can be, but I'd rather live with you. Remember, you told me I had a room in your house?"

Suddenly I was remembering the offer I'd made in the swarm of infatuation those first two days. Is it even possible to delicately retreat from that? "I do remember, Jackson, and I meant it at the time. You also said it wouldn't work, and we agreed we'd have to work out a program since you're underage and I'm the pastor and this could blow up and damage both of us. Remember?"

He grinned, "Yep, I do. I'm not stupid. I know what the risks are, and we have to minimize them if we're going to be able to love each other and carry on. I know that. I'm just kind of telling you what I wish could be."

"Want to know what I wish could be," I asked him? He nodded and his eyes sparkled.

"I wish we lived in a place where the age of consent was seventeen so that it was perfectly legal, and that place wasn't homophobic and prejudiced and we could be open and honest about how we feel about each other. Wouldn't that be radical?"

"That would be outrageous. What a dream." He looked up at me. We were still hugging. "Have I told you today that I love you?"

I paused, and then said, "I think you did a few minutes ago, but you can tell me again." He did.

I kissed him again and we hugged tight. Then I said to him, "Look, this was a pastoral call, and I've got to talk to the attorney again before 5:00 PM. It's after 4:00 now. How about while I'm here you show me your room? I'm still learning about you and want to know more."

He looked up in disbelief. "You want to see my room? There ain't much there."

"What's there is all yours. That's what I care about."

"Okay, come on then," and he led me out of the living room and up the stairs. His room was the first on the right. It was small with a twin bed, fairly spartan décor, a bookshelf with lots of paperbacks, a basic phonograph and a small collection of albums. The closet was small with the door open, and there weren't a lot of clothes hanging in it, and the dresser on the far wall was small too. There wasn't the expected scattering of skateboards and soccer balls and all the other teen age paraphernalia.

"See, Rev. Not a lot to see. Like I told you, I read a lot. And listen to music too. Both of those fit into being invisible."

"What about sports or recreational activities? Don't you do any of that stuff? You know, skateboard, or swim or play soccer or tennis, or whatever?"

"Nope, not my scene. I live in my own scene."

I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "You're in a new scene now, and there's more people in the scene with you than just me. There are lots of people that care about you and love you and don't think you're invisible. Do you believe me?"

He paused. "I'm not sure. I know I love you and you love me cause we have this passionate connection and told each other and felt each other up and slept together. But I just don't know about anybody else. No one's ever loved me, and I've always been afraid that if or when someone did, I'd find out it was like Nazareth says in their song Love Hurts: "Love is just a lie made to make you blue."

I replied, "Jackson, I don't know the song, but love is much more than feeling blue. You can't believe that it's guaranteed to end in failure, to make you feel miserable, that it's a lie."

"Why not?" he said, "it's always turned out that way for me. Do you wanna hear the song?"

"Sure," I replied, and he put the album on. Nazareth was hard rock, not my style, but this song was approachable, and the singing was engaging, almost gripping, and Nazareth sure was working with a real passion in this one. It started playing, and the first verses were a variation on lost love rock songs, except with remarkable lyrics:

Love hurts
Love scars
Love wounds and marks
Any heart not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud, it holds a lot of rain

Love hurts
Ooh love hurts
I'm young
I know
But even so
I know a thing or two, I learned from you

I really learned a lot, really learned a lot
Love is like a flame, it burns you when it's hot
Love hurts
Ooh love hurts

Where it got really serious was when it turned painful was as the theme unfolded what you experience when a relationship fails or ends and the love you thought you had turns out to be not so strong or real. The turn in the song is set up about people's mistaken expectation of what love will bring, and then slams the door on what love really is: a thing to make you blue, to make you hurt.

Some fools think
Of happiness, blissfulness, togetherness
Some fools fool themselves, I guess
They're not foolin' me
I know it isn't true I know it isn't true
Love is just a lie made to make you blue

Love hurts
Ooh love hurts
Ooh love hurts
I know it isn't true
I know it isn't true
Love is just a lie made to make you blue
Love hurts
Ooh love hurts
Ooh, love hurts, ooh

Watch Nazareth perform Love Hurts live from 1976

All I could think is, boy, the guy that wrote this must have really been burned over and over again. And then I connected the dots to Jackson. Isn't this what his experience is, isn't this what he's expecting? If nothing else, don't I have to prove to him that love isn't a lie made to make you blue?

I turned to him and said, "That may be true for some people some of the time, but trust me, it's not the way it is for all people all of the time. You may have been burned and have a lot of scars, but don't assume it'll always be that way. Please don't. I can tell you one thing for sure; it won't be that way with me. I can't guarantee it'll be blissful togetherness, though that's what I hope, but I can guarantee you it isn't a lie that'll make you blue."

He looked at me with a mix of affection and disbelief. "David, I want to trust you and believe you, but you know it's not easy. I love you, and I want to get it on with you—I haven't hidden that. But I'm scared. It's never worked out for me. I know I talk a big story and try to sound smart and tough, but I'm scared of what will happen."

"What the hell do you think will happen," I whispered? "Don't you trust me?"

"I want to trust you, but I've never really been accepted or had any real friends. My mother always treated me as an embarrassment and my father always treated me worse…. like I didn't belong. Almost like I was just a tenant in his house earning room and board. You don't know how it feels to be me. If you don't let me down, it'll be the first time."

I could almost see the tears welling in his eyes. He went on. "You don't know the Nazareth album. There's another song on it that will maybe tell you where I'm coming from, what I've been through, what it feels like to be the Invisible Kid. It's hard, David. It probably won't be easy for you to listen to, but as a minister you should understand it. Can I play it for you?"

I nodded. He moved the stylus to the last song on the Hair of the Dog album. It turned out to be a long song, and almost the first two minutes of the nine-minute total were instrumental—strange, distant stretched and almost torturous sounds that set the stage for the lyrics.

Please don't Judas me
Treat me as you like to be treated
Please don't blacklist me
Leave me as you'd wish to find me
Don't analyze me, sacrifice me

Please don't Judas me.
Please don't chastise me
Show me just one shred of kindness
Try to help me see
Guide me in my eyes of blindness
Don't despise me, categorize me

Please don't Judas me.
No, no don't Judas me
No, please don't Judas me
Please don't head shrink me
Don't disguise your innuendos
Make no lies to me

I can see the way the wind blows
Don't deface me, annihilate me
Please don't Judas me.
Please don't number me
Don't betray my trusted promise

Please don't anger me
I find it hard to bear no fairness
Don't frustrate me, manipulate me
Please don't Judas me
No no don't Judas me
No, please don't Judas me

Watch the video of Nazareth singing Please Don't Judas Me from 1976

I could see him withdraw within himself as the song played, the emotions fighting within him, and tears in his eyes. All I could think of was a kid spending hours in his room alternating between listening to "Love Hurts" and "Please Don't Judas Me." What a whiplash. In spite of how fast he'd come onto me and how smart and glib he could be, this was some heavy stuff. And it was "scriptural," about Judas' betrayal, to make matters worse!

"Jackson, I can't promise you that our love won't ever hurt. No human being can do that because life has its ups and downs. What I can promise you is that I'll never Judas you. Okay? Can you accept that? Can you believe that?"

He nodded. "Trust me," I went on, "I've never felt this way about anyone in my life. I'm still trying to figure out what it means. Why I feel about you the way I do. What the feeling means. What it means about me. What it means about us. But I know this. I love you, and you can count on at least one thing. I'll never Judas you."

He smiled, and the smile got bigger and bigger until the dimples flared. "I know that, David. I trust you completely. I know you'd never hurt me and that you'll always be there for me. I hope I can do that for you too."

I stepped up to him and hugged him tight, feeling tears form in my eyes. No words were necessary, and we just hugged and stroked each other's back. Finally, I tore myself away and said, "I've got to go talk to the attorney."

He looked up and smiled, "I know. You've got a full plate right now, don't' you?" Then he got that cheeky grin and said, "Have you got your sermon prepared for Sunday?"

I rolled my eyes. "I wish," I said, "you know it's been one of those weeks. I've got to get on it tonight and tomorrow. I'm running behind."

"Well," he quipped, "if it's half as good as last Sunday it'll be fine. We've still got to sit down and talk about that one and how the Simon and Garfunkel stuff fit into the Good Samaritan story. Did Garfunkel really say that stuff about communication and love?"

"He sure did. Pretty powerful stuff isn't it? We can discuss it anytime you're ready."

He locked into my eyes. "How about later tonight, around 11:00? I've got the green light to sleep in my fort, and after it quiets down, I'll come over to you."

I felt my heart skip a beat. "That's the best thing I've heard all day. I'll have all the lights out and you come when you think its safe. But, be careful. You've don't want to blow up things with your Mom."

He took my hand and led me out of his bedroom and down the stairs. "I know, but the first thing we established is that we've all got our own space, me and Gary and her, and that I get to sleep in my fort. So, unless she comes out there to do an inspection or something, which she won't, we're good."

We'd reached the front door. "What about Gary. What if he finds out?"

Jackson was hugging me now. "He'll only know I'm going to my fort at this stage. I don't know what he'd think if he found out I'm gay, but I'm not worrying about that now. He's got his own shit to deal with."

"You're right," I said. "First things first. I'll see you when you come. I can't wait." I kissed him lightly and opened the door and headed back to the parsonage.

It was 4:45 PM when I got back in the house and I went straight to the phone to call Spencer Sullivan. He answered and told me he'd had a good call with his friend in the Sheriff's office, had been able to visit Bud, and had a pretty good idea of what the situation was. I told him that sounded like real progress and asked what the details were.

He told me that the odds of Bud getting out without a jail sentence were slim, sexual abuse allegations on top of physical abuse. He might not even be allowed to make bail, but the judge wouldn't rule on that until tomorrow. As far as the financial matters, the house was paid for and jointly titled, but the business was one hundred percent owned by Bud. He had between eight and ten employees depending on the order load, and a shop manager who could run the business.

I asked if he was denying what was being charged and the likely consequences. Spencer said he wasn't—that apparently reality had set in and he'd been asked to handle his business matters as his attorney. He went on to say that he'd agreed stipulating that he would be doing so for the good of the family, for all of them, not just to try and protect Bud's interests, and that he needed to accept the fact that if he went to jail there had to be financial provision for the family. Bud had accepted that.

Spencer summed it up, "Tomorrow will tell the tale. After talking to the Sheriff, my gut tells me that the judge won't grant bail because he'd be back in the house with the kids he abused. So, he's likely to stay in jail until trial and then be sentenced. I'm going to work up a legal agreement, so I manage his business on his behalf and the same income is maintained for the family."

I thought about that for a minute, then asked "What happens if Lilly wants a divorce?"

He wasn't surprised, and replied, "I expected that might come along sooner or later. Oregon is a common law property state, meaning that the property owned by either spouse is distributed at divorce according to the manner in which title was held. That means the house if owned fifty/fifty and Bud owns all of the business and he owned it before they married so its all his. In a divorce settlement there's to be child support, and I'm guessing the case can be made for a percentage of the business to assure financial security for the family. Lilly will want a good divorce lawyer, and I can recommend one for her."

I thanked him for his time and effort and asked if I could impose on him for one more thing. He told me of course and asked what. I explained how both boys had essentially been prevented from working—even getting summer jobs— because Bud was such a control freak. If they could get a lawn mowing business going, how would we help find some customers? Spencer laughed out loud. "That's the easiest thing yet. They could start with me, and we'll just ask members of the church and then expand from there. Do they have a mower?"

I smiled, "Well, yes, to start with there's the mower at the parsonage. We could let them use that to get started."

He said we could, but not for long since it belonged to the church. As quick as we could the earnings should go to buy their own mower and other tools, so they belonged to the boys. I thanked him again and told him I'd taken enough of this time. He said he'd call me tomorrow if he received any new information on Bud. We said goodnight and hung up.

What a day!

I decided to spend some time on sermon prep for Sunday. I was behind and I knew it. If I could at least get an outline together tonight, maybe the sermon would come together like it has last Sunday. I started with the readings: The Gospel was the "Martha and Mary" passage in Luke and the Epistle was "Paul's labor for the Church" in Colossians. I settled down and gave them both a serious read, and then had to ask myself the same question as last week: which passage helps people get better and do well? The Martha and Mary passage was clearly accessible, and the setting described a situation people can relate to and a tension between pressures most would understand. In contrast, the Colossians passage was about the Apostle Paul's calling to preach the Gospel to the gentiles. That would make a great sermon for a missionary fundraiser, while the Martha and Mary passage certainly had relevance.

I could think about that while preparing and eating supper, which I did and then flipped on the TV for a little escape. I came back to sermon preparation about 8:00 pm, and started outlining the passage, it's meaning and how to translate that into something relevant today. It was a little before 10:00 PM when I decided I'd gotten as far as I could with sermon prep for tonight. Time to head to bed.

I made the rounds and turned off the lights, as Jackson had asked. As I headed up the stairs, I found myself dreaming about what might……was going to happen. Jackson had said he'd be there. It had been a long few days till I'd been able to hold and kiss him this afternoon, and even longer since he'd been in my bed. That time I was still struggling with coming to grips with being gay—not that I wasn't still, but now it seemed like I'd acknowledged and accepted it at an emotional and physical level, it was just at the intellectual level that I hadn't come to a full reconciliation. Oh well, that wasn't going to get resolved tonight, that was for sure. But I'd told him that I loved him. That was progress.

I hung up my clothes, tossed my boxers and socks into the hamper, brushed my teeth and slipped between the sheets. I'd only debated for about four seconds about sleeping naked or with boxers and a T-shirt. Sleeping naked won out easily. Like I said, I'd accepted this new reality emotionally, and I'd decided to leave the intellectual me downstairs in the office where the sermon prep had taken place.

There were only a few minutes of anticipation as I lay in bed, then I realized it was silly. We didn't have a date with a set time, and the agreement was that Jackson would come when he felt the time was right. With that I turned on my side, closed my eyes and dreamed of those hazel eyes with flecks of green, the light brown hair and the dimples…. until I fell asleep……and then I felt the sheets move. My eyes popped open and there he was. Jackson was naked, having dropped his boxers and T-shirt on the floor, and was slipping into bed with me.

"Oh, my beautiful boy," I heard exhale from my lips. He slipped right up against me, clasping himself to me and kissed me immediately. This was instantly more passionate than the kisses this afternoon. His lips were apart and so were mine. I felt his tongue skip across my lips, met by my own, then our mouths opened wider and our tongues started doing sensuous battle and we began to stroke each other's cheeks.

I stroked down his throat to his pectoral muscles and felt his nipples. They were small but standing proud and I paused to caress each one. He moaned for the first time and suddenly his hands were doing the same things to me. I paused the kissing to look at him and say, "You feel so wonderful. I've missed you so."

He replied, "Me too, I've been dying for this." And he was back to kissing me, shoving his tongue back toward my throat. I pushed my hands around him, hugged him and began stroking his back from his neck down to his bum, pausing at each buttock to feel the beautiful shape and give it a squeeze of appreciation. Then I felt his hands stroking up and down my sides, and any other time I might have started giggling, but his was sensual. His ears were hot to the touch when I kissed them and snuck my tongue into one. He moaned again, and I sucked on his ear lobe and then licked beneath it and down his neck and onto his shoulder. By this time, I was rock hard and could feel his erection pressing on my stomach.

We were starting to get caught up in the passion of the moment, and I ran my hands down the center of his chest to his abdomen and rubbed across his stomach. I could feel him tighten just a little and then his hands moved down to my stomach. We were mimicking each other's actions and it was lovely. I decided I missed kissing him sensuously and pushed my tongue as far into his mouth as I could. He responded in kind, almost winding his tongue around mine. We tongue wrestled for a couple of minutes and I could feel both of us breathing more heavily as the stimulation from our tongues excited each other more and more.

He pulled back his head and whispered, "I didn't know you were such a great kisser, David. You're outrageous."

I whispered, "I'm glad you think so. It isn't due to lots of practice. It must be the natural response to loving the most beautiful boy in the world and having him in my arms." He snickered and said, "I don't have a lot of practice either, like none, but I never thought just kissing could make me so horny." Then he giggled, "If I'd know that the other night, I wouldn't have been so confrontational about getting it on with you, I would have just made you start a kissing session!"

I just smiled and put my lips back on his and let my tongue go back to work, and at the same time slid my hand down to where I could feel his pubic hair. The sensation was so electrifying it took my breath away. I knew I was less than an inch away from his cock, and now his fingertips were stroking my pubic hair too. I was now realizing something else—this was more than just petting. We were having sex. It could be defined a lot of ways, but regardless of any previous constraints I'd been feeling, this was sex. I'd clearly have to discuss this with Paul. Is it even possible to establish boundaries when the passions are this strong? I felt Jackson's fingertips in my pubes.

"You've got a lot more than me, David. I love the feel of it—the curls are so cool. I wish I had more for you."

"What you've got is wonderful, Jackson, and it won't be long before you have a full patch too."

I leaned back from him and noticed that the room was moderately illuminated by the summer moonlight. It was a warm evening, but not too warm, so I moved the sheet back and looked him in the eye. "I love you and I love your body. Is it Okay with you if I just look at you for a minute? I've never really seen it before."

He grinned, and then said, "Sure, but you're probably going to embarrass me. I don't have a lot to show yet."

I grinned to and told him not to worry, that what he had was more than adequate and I loved him just as he was. I set the sheet down around our knees and raised my upper body on my left arm so I could look down at him. He was beautiful, all silvery in the moonlight. That beautiful patch of downy pubes and below it his rigid cock. I could tell it was close to five inches, so he didn't have anything to be ashamed of for his age, and it wasn't skinny, it just looked to have the right balance of length to girth. His cock was angled up toward his stomach, but not laying flat on it, and the head was full, and nice warm red that contrasted with his silvery pale skin.

I continued to stroke his pubes as he did mine and told him his cock was beautiful. "I love how your cock stands up proudly like that, It's just gorgeous." He smiled modestly and then said, "it's not as cool as yours. Can I hold yours?"

I just smiled and said, "I want nothing more, but if we don't go slow, we're going to cum fast. I've been wanting you in my arms all day." He nodded his head and grinned again, whispering in my ear, "We've got all night, and there's no rule we can only come once, ya know!" I felt his warm hand close around my shaft, and tentatively just hold it, like he did in the car the other day, almost as if he didn't believe he was holding this thing he'd desired so long. Just having him hold my exposed cock took my breath away and I began to worry about how fast I'd come if he really started jacking me.

Slowly he began to slide his hand up the shaft, and then back down. His hands were dry, and he wasn't squeezing, just kind of floating up and down the shaft smoothly and lightly and I wondered if I was going to faint. Each time he went a little higher, and I could feel the top finger of his fist rub ahead of the bottom of my glans. I couldn't' believe the sensations, until he let his whole hand slide up and paused, just holding my cockhead.

I wrapped my hand around his cock and without looking knew that I had all of the shaft and the bottom of his glans in my grip. I could feel him inhale deeply as I encircled his shaft and squeezed gently. Then, mimicking what he was doing to me I began to slide up and down, letting the top of my fist completely cover his head. We both gasped. It was one thing to have felt each other up in the car through our clothes, and another thing as well to have ground ourselves to climax the other night, but now we were sensuously stroking each other, giving pleasure and stimulation in a slow and sensuous way.

"I've dreamed about doing this since the other night," he whispered, "I love your cock. It feels so big and I can feel it pulsing." I was already beginning to feel like I wouldn't be able to hold off long.

"Let's just go slow, Okay? This is the most sensuous thing I've ever experienced. You skin is so smooth, like glass, your pubes are so soft, and your cock is just a wonder. I can feel it pulsing too. I'm getting more and more excited."

"Me too, I never thought just stroking each other could feel this good. It makes me hornier just doing it." He grinned again and reached up and kissed me. I reached around with my thumb and rubbed the arrow-shaped area at the bottom of his glans, and he shuddered. "Wow, what's that," he said, "that's amazing."

"I know it's a sensitive place on me, so I guessed it would be on you too." I continued to stroke there and then to circle around the head of his cock, and I could feel it pulse in my hand. Simultaneously he was following my lead and rubbing the bottom of my cock head and circling around my slit. I heard him say "Wow!" and looked down to see my own precum begin to leak. It wasn't a regular event for me, usually it was a quick jack off with no time for precum. But this was a different kind of stimulation than my hand!

I said, "That's precum, and it's a lubricant. It means you're doing an amazing job of stimulating me. You are making me so excited I can't believe it."

Jackson had now started rubbing my precum around the head of my cock with his thumb and I couldn't believe the sensation. I watched him as slowly he removed his hand and put his thumb in his mouth. I was surprised but didn't say anything. He smiled at me coyly and said, "I wanted to taste you."

"Well, how did it taste?" He grinned and said, "Bittersweet, a little bit salty and also sweet, but all you. I love it." He continued circling the head on my cock and then slid his hand down the shaft and started stroking me. There was now lubricant under his fingers and the stimulating sensations were stronger than before. He was watching my eyes and I could tell we'd reached a point where he knew more than me. He was reading in my eyes how stimulated I was and stroking accordingly. I tried to keep a smooth and steady pace stroking his cock but didn't know how long it would take him to climax compared to me.

He moaned again and said, "I love your hand on my cock. It's so warm and just covers it all. That's so cool. Are you feeling good too?"

I was beginning to pant and whispered "You have no idea how good your hand feels. You seem to have the touch, Jackson, my cock feels like there's an electric current running through it." I shifted my hand's position and cupped my fingertips below the head of his cock and slowly pulled upwards, letting them slide up and down the head of his cock. I could see it swell and change color from red to purple. I looked him in the eye and wiggled my eyebrows, asking the non-verbal question "How does that feel?"

He grinned and picked up his pace. Without thinking about it I did too. Within a minute I realized I could no longer stay propped up on my elbow and had to lay on my side and then half rolled to my back. He did too. I was too close and just them I felt Jackson tense and take a deep breath. I looked in his eyes and they glazed as he said, "David, I'm going to cum. Is that Okay?"

I briefly kissed him and said, "I want you to, and I'm not far behind." Five strokes later Jackson moaned "Arghhhh…… Oh god" and shot, and I felt three small bursts of cum on the back of my hand. The excitement of hearing him climax and knowing it was his cum on my hand was enough for me and I came too, with a loud "Oh God, Jackson, ahhhh……arghhh…" I shot three pulses all the way to my chest and two or three smaller ones onto my stomach. I'd never had such an intense orgasm; this was stronger than the other night. I collapsed back on the pillow, and felt Jackson do the same beside me.

We were still holding each other's cocks as they got soft, and as I came back to my senses, I realized I had not thought about getting out my cum rag. Just as I thought I needed to break away and find it I felt fingertips on my stomach and realized that Jackson was drawing circles with his fingertips in the cum pooled on my belly. He looked at me with a wicked grin and said, "I've never seen so much cum before. You really are my sexy man!" With that he pulled his hand away and put his fingers in his mouth and sucked. I was initially shocked, but then equally quickly thought to myself 'don't be stupid – this is love'. I watched him take a second dip and put it in his mouth, and I asked him what it tasted like.

"It tastes kind of salty and a little funky, but cool. Now I know what you really taste like. I love it."

I didn't even think, just let loose of his now soft cock and brought my hand to my mouth and licked all of Jackson's cum from the back of my hand. He was right. "It does taste good, and now I know what you taste like, lover boy. We need to clean up though. Will you grab the pillowcase on the floor of the closet over there?"

He did, came back and tenderly wiped the remaining cum off my chest and stomach, kissing both after he'd cleaned up. I shuddered; the sensations were so stimulating. He tossed the pillow case on the floor and I wrapped him in my arms and pulled him close to me, then pulled up the sheet and as we lay there cuddling all I could do was whisper "Jackson, I love you so."

We lay silently like that for minutes……five, ten, I don't know. I felt at peace and I know Jackson did too. He had backed into my chest so that we were both laying on our sides and his arms were folded together in front of his chest, and one of mine was under his neck with the other draped over his chest slowly tracing patterns on the back of his hands. It was blissful.

He whispered, "I love it like this. I feel so safe, so cared for. Especially after what we just did together, and now to just kind of melt together like this is so cool!"

I kissed the top of his head, his hair rubbing my face and whispered back, "It is, so, so cool!"

Then after a minute, he said, "David, can I ask you a question?" I simply said, "Sure." This could be anything.

He paused a sec like he was composing his thoughts and then started stroking the hairs on my arm which immediately gave me goose bumps, and said, "Earlier today when we were talking about us and complications and stuff, you said Presbyterians currently prohibit ordaining homosexuals and consider it a depraved sin. Why's that, and what's a depraved sin?"

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