Jay & Miles

by ColumbusGuy

Chapter 32

A Day of Delightful Delays

POV: Jay, Calvin, Benny

I don't know how I managed to be late getting to Mikey's. I guess it was my talk with my sister that started the process, but I made up some of the time by driving my truck over the 35-mile speed limit on the back roads from my house to his. I was half wondering if he'd gotten the gækkebreve I'd sent Tuesday night, but this was only the second morning so that was a little fast even for local delivery. He'd probably get mine, and the ones from my parents tonight or tomorrow, or so I hoped. The letters reminded me that Sunday was Easter, and I hadn't asked him yet if he could come over…then I was hit with an insane idea—to insure he could come, what if I asked his parents too? All of a sudden, the pace of my life seemed to have gone haywire—I had to call Trebor and Dave by tomorrow, get permission to spend the night in town to see a movie with the two OSU Freshmen tomorrow night, see if Mikey could come to Easter lunch with or without his parents, and help get things ready at home for the holiday. I was just thankful that we only went to church services these days for Christmas—far and mor told us they had to go every Sunday rain or shine.

With all that going on, I began to wonder if I'd have a chance to make out with my elskede this weekendI groaned in despair as I pulled into his driveway—his dad's car was gone, and Mikey was pulling a light-blue 10-speed bike out of his garage. I pulled my truck around the curve in front of their garages so I could go straight out the second drive, and jumped out of my truck to grab the bike from Mikey's hands. "I'm sorry kæreste—it's all Linda's fault…she got all mushy after we finished our chores and I didn't notice how much time that took until we were eating breakfast!"

I watched as he leaned the bike against the wall before turning to face me. He looked a little mad at first, but then he gave me a smile that made my morning light up. Today's outfit was a grape-colored button shirt with long sleeves and black cords, and I caught a glimpse of purple socks running into his loafers. "So, I guess today's color is purple?" I smirked evilly.

"You'll have to find out, won't you? My lips are sealed." Mikey must have thought I wouldn't since his mom was still home—but I'd figured out that she never woke up before 8A.M. For sure, he didn't expect me to drop to my knees and start undoing his pants right there in the garage. As soon as I loosened his belt, I could feel his dick had grown under his pants, so pulling down the zipper was a little tricky. As I parted the flaps, his filled briefs pushed out to freedom just inches from my face—and they were purple. The heat and scent of his apple shampoo burst out too, and I buried my nose beside his upward-pointing monster. Of course, I just had to start licking him through his briefs and nibble his shaft a little. In no time at all, I could taste the first drops of his pre-cum, and I pulled his briefs down so I could have better access to what I sought.

"Jay—stop…mom…" He tried lifting me to my feet by pulling on my shoulders, but I was doing my perfect Gandhi impression of passive resistance and going nowhere. I did look up at him with a grin though. "Tys, elskede—you said your lips were sealed—but that didn't include mine—so shut up and enjoy." As my lips surrounded him, I felt his hands run through my hair, still uncertain as to whether he should be pulling me off, or urging me forward. I took the decision out of his hands by licking his round head before sliding down his hard pole until I felt it hit the back of my throat. This was the difficult part; I still had about three inches to go, and I wanted all of him. Over the past few days, I'd gotten better—and the response to breathe through my nose and relax my throat muscles as much as I could was almost ingrained now—but the final step—to swallow, was not yet automatic—so I found myself on my third down-stroke following that last bit of advice, and gained several more inches. I moved back to his head and coated it with saliva, and swirled his slightly salty juices around my mouth and applied them to his length as I went back down—and by adjusting the angle—I took him all the way to the bottom. As I tongued his shaft and used my teeth to just graze his base, my right hand came up to fondle his nuts and tickle the space just behind, which we both found incredibly hot when we made love. I rolled my eyes upward to see what he was doing, and I saw his head leaning on his left shoulder with his eyes closed. He was licking his lips a little, but there was still a small bit of drool at the corner of his mouth. His hands were stroking my hair and massaging my scalp while his breathing deepened and became erratic.

Along with his panting, I could feel his dick start to get even harder and I knew that my boyfriend was only seconds away from shooting his soul into my eager body. My tongue worked around his shaft on all sides and I managed to get my nose even deeper into his crotch as he started to throb slightly. As he neared his end, I started making a growling noise in my throat which sent amazing sensations straight to his balls and chills up his spine. I glanced up again to see his mouth open and a look of adoration in his brownish-green eyes, magnified by his glasses. I moved my hand up from his balls and placed it over his mouth to keep him quiet—we didn't need his mom to hear him yell 'Jeepers' and come see what was going on—and he surprised me by sucking two of my fingers into his mouth. My left hand moved from his hip to make its way between his cheeks, where it started to rub his crevice, and just as Mikey was about to give me his first shot, I stuck my index finger into him to the first knuckle.

I managed to keep him from yelling, but only because he was too busy sucking and biting my fingers in his mouth to do anything other than moan. For my part, I'd pulled back a bit after his first shot went down my throat, and took the other two in my mouth. My tongue was bathing his shaft of all his spunk as it came out, and I swallowed several times until he was done. Everything about Mikey seemed big to me—though he only did three shots most times, they were forceful and tasty. I had nothing to compare it to except my own; we were about the same consistency—more like fresh milk than cream—a little thicker than water, but it came out in smooth streams rather than spurts or globs like thick cream. It was becoming my favorite treat.

I made sure his dick was completely clean before I put it back in his shorts, and then fastened his pants again with one last kiss to his purple briefs. Mikey pulled me up and fastened our lips together in a long kiss, then I felt his hands at my own belt. I didn't think we had time, so I started to pull my hips back and moved my hands to stop his roving fingers. He slapped them away and tugged my belt so that I was once again pressed into him, and he broke the kiss. "I'm doing this, Jay Beckel, so you just stand there and take it like a good boyfriend should. Ten hours was too long to wait—and I need to check the color of your underwear too."

"They're—" and that was as far as I got before my lover pushed his tongue back into my mouth, cutting off anything else I was going to say, like we'd be late for school. I did get that much out when he pulled back and grinned at me, but anything else died when he interrupted me by sucking at the base of my neck just under the collar of my red tee-shirt. I moaned as I felt the pressure of his lips, then his teeth lightly nipping my shoulder. "Fuck school, this is more important right now!" Mikey trailed down my chest as he knelt, shoving my shirt up so he could chew on my nipples, which were almost instantly hard in his mouth. He pushed my jeans down to my knees, my own briefs were severely strained by my hard cock, and there was a clearly growing wet spot in the red fabric where my head was trapped near the waistband. Mikey dived in and began licking and sucking at that spot, making it wetter and larger with his saliva, then he pulled those damp briefs down to join my jeans. Before I even had time to inhale at the exquisite sensations, he had my bobbing shaft in his throat to the hilt, and his hot breath tickled my blond pubes as he exhaled contentedly. His fingers stroked my nuts and one strayed back toward my butt, to spread my cheeks apart so he could rub between them with his other hand.

I put one hand on his shoulder to steady myself, but the other was brushing through the waves of his medium-length brown hair, twirling it in my fingers and making vain attempts to smooth down the cowlick on top that never seemed to stay where he wanted it to be. I moved both hands so that I could caress his ears and rub the back of his neck before gently massaging his shoulders. His suctioning mouth and probing tongue were doing crazy things to my nerves, but the only thought I had in my head just then was how much I loved Mikey Stevenson. I won't try to deny that the great blow-job I was getting wasn't part of it—but the biggest reason for my love was that there was no attempt at hiding what he felt—at least from me. I knew from our talks that his usual smile was a disguise for those around him, but when he was with me it was sincere—Mikey was one of the most positive, and happy guys I'd ever met. He wanted everybody to be happy if they could—especially his friends. For myself, there was no hope of escape—I was his as long as he'd have me…hopefully forever.

I moaned softly as I felt Mikey increase his back-and-forth motions on my rod, and felt his teeth along my shaft exerting just a hint of pressure. If you could believe what the guys said in the locker-room, they complained a lot that their girls couldn't give decent head because they kept scraping them with their teeth—but when I actually got to do that with Mikey, and he with me—I was amazed at how wonderful that felt when we did it by accident our first time. Done just right, it was like having an extra-intense itch treated with deep scratching—heavenly and electrifying at the same time. That's what brought me back to the present, as Mikey used his teeth on the way down for his final plunge, and he began a tuneless humming that sent me into orbit. I felt another tickle, further back between my legs, and dropped one of my hands back there to see what was going on. Mikey had wet his finger with some of his drool and had it shoved in my butt as far as it would go, and as he moved it around a little, he touched a spot which spelled my doom. I jerked my hips forward as far as I could into his mouth, and the world went black for a second as I exploded. When I could see again, my belovèd was licking my shaft clean and pulling up my briefs. He licked his lips with an obscene grin and fixed my clothes back up so I was presentable. He wiped his hands with an old rag from his car's trunk, and shared my cum with me in a long, lingering kiss.

Much as I wanted to stay there all day, I hugged him and we headed for my truck. There was so much I wanted to say, but the words wouldn't form, so I looked over at him and he gave me a smile and whispered, "Love you, my Jeepers…" I leaned over to give him another kiss and pushed his glasses back up his nose, then I punched the starter button and guided his hand to the gear-shift, where I held it all the way to the school's parking lot. It was just going on 7A.M. so I turned my lights off as we made our way to the high school, passing the dirt road where we usually pulled off for a quick but intense 'talk' each day. Mikey raised my hand to his lips before taking control of the shifting again, and my heart nearly burst with the surge of pride and love I felt for him at that moment. I knew it was still fragile, but he'd made such progress in the past week.

As we turned right into the school, I looked for Benny's car, but it took me a second to spot it—he'd parked toward the far back corner near the large oval cinder track used by our runners for meets and practice. Denny Watson's maroon Corvair was parked next to, and a little behind it, then Mikey pointed to where Linda was waving to us; we looked at each other and shrugged, but I followed her directions to park behind Benny's purple Barracuda and an older blue Buick, which I didn't recognize. Me and Mikey climbed out of the truck and went up to stand next to my sister, and I asked her what was going on.

She waved a hand to shush me, and whispered, "Ben's talking to his friend Calvin…" She quirked an eyebrow at me. "They were being boys and screwed things up, so now there's an argument which we hope will fix it…." Benny was standing with this Calvin guy between his car and the strange Buick so that I couldn't glimpse the other guy; the name sounded a little familiar, but I couldn't place it with anyone until the two figures shifted position—it was the blond Army guy from our lunch period, only now he wasn't looking sad and lonely—he was red with anger and though I couldn't make out any words, his tone was vehement and accusatory. This went on for a few minutes, then the blond started to cry, and began to walk away, but Benny Ross called out to him and held out a hand in a desperate plea. The guy turned back and it looked like he might be considering Benny's long speech, then Linda, who had moved closer with a warning for me to keep an eye out for the other kids in the lot, spoke to Calvin for a bit, then stepped back again when Greg took her place. What he said, with some gestures at Benny's dejected form, must have had some effect because at one point, he gasped with a long look at the big wrestler, then waved Greg back as well.

What happened next had my mouth gaping open in shock, and I sucked in a deep breath of surprise—my head immediately jerked to my right to see Mikey's reaction—which was the same as mine. He recovered first, and looked around the lot toward the school to see if any other kids had noticed, then I did the same with a slightly guilty look that I'd forgotten to play watch-dog. I saw bunches of kids on the walk leading to the main doors on the front of the building, but the side entrance to the parking lot where we stood was clear. One or two kids were headed toward it from their cars, but most of those who drove were either in the halls chatting in the air-conditioned space, or hanging around in the cafeteria and gym until the warning bell. No one seemed to have noticed Benny Ross grabbing Calvin's hands to his chest, then kissing them one at a time as he made an impassioned speech. I still didn't know what it was about, but the long-haired blond nodded and Linda turned to herd us all toward the school after the warning bell rang out stridently from speakers above the doors.

I was walking next to my boyfriend, glancing at him surreptitiously as we went, then I whispered. "Calvin and Benny! Are you kiddin' me?" The disbelief in my tone was perfectly clear.

Mikey thought for a few seconds. "Greg did say there were others—but Benny? We gotta talk to Greg at lunch."

I couldn't believe I let myself lose my temper like that—I never let my emotions go off the deep end as I had with Ben Ross. Not since Thanksgiving anyway…it was a waste of energy and clouded my mind when I needed clarity…and it did no good at all. When your world falls apart and turns inside-out, you need every bit of your mind focused on the problem at hand, not distracted by torrents of anger or pity. Even as I sat in 1st Period Chemistry, my mind darted from the experiment in front of me to what had happened in the parking lot. I had every right to be angry, didn't I? The look on Benny's face kept coming back to me…he'd been so shocked by my ferocity that I began to feel bad, but he was the one who cut me out of his little circle for no reason—and the anger was back again.

It was a good thing that this experiment was a review one—so my notes were pretty much automatic—if I'd had to concentrate, it would have been a disaster with the potential for something to explode, or at least produce some horrible smells and smoke. As I finished up my notes and began putting my equipment away, what Benny had said about his past began to sink in; he'd said he hadn't much experience at being a friend, and I couldn't understand that—when we'd talked last Fall he was quiet, nice and seemingly happy. When I thought harder about it, I half-remembered that none of the other kids in gym talked to him besides the wrestlers…and the more I thought about it, the more I could picture him in the halls—a lot of the other kids made way for him, but very few talked to him, or even gave him a warm smile. It was almost as if they were afraid of him.

Now that Chemistry was over, and I was on my way to Mrs. Wilson's English Lit lesson, I dredged up some vague images from middle school, and it was the same then, after the first week or two—at best, Benny was respected, at worst, feared by the rest of our classmates. We went to different elementary schools, so I wondered if he'd been treated the same way then—the only people I saw treat him as a friend were Greg Newton and Linda Beckel, and her brother Jay…who tried to be nice to everybody. By the time I put my notes away and Mrs. Wilson told us there was no homework for the Easter weekend, my anger at Ben Ross had diminished a good deal. What remained was due to the fact that he'd lumped me in with all the other kids in school…but I was beginning to understand his reason for it, even if I thought it was pretty bogus.

By 5th Period Photography class, I realized that my day so far had been almost entirely occupied with thoughts of Benny in one way or another. I needed to talk with him again, and I was glad that we'd arranged to meet in the field-house after school. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't hold him responsible for all the shit that had gone wrong in my life since Thanksgiving. His only fault was making a wrong assumption in an effort to protect himself from being hurt—and wasn't that just what I'd been doing by keeping things bottled up inside myself? As I stood in the dark-room, winding film on the metal spool by touch alone, my fingers carefully lining up the edges with the reel's notches, I admitted to myself that I had lied about one thing: I did need someone in my life. I had pretended I didn't, but as the months passed, I couldn't ignore the pain any more—it hadn't become numb from familiarity, which was more than evident in my actions this morning. I thought about all the things Greg had said, both since last Summer, and since this morning…I had enjoyed my talks with Benny more than I could say, and only stupidity on both our parts had kept us apart. As I closed up the developing tank and flicked on the light, I knew one thing now, I would—had already—forgive Benny. As I went through the steps of processing my black-and-white film—changing the developer, rinsing, then adding the fixative to halt the process and stabilize the negatives, then the final rinse with Photo-Flo to prevent streaks while drying—there was a small smile on my lips when I thought about getting to know him more intimately. When I unrolled the film, I saw that it had worked perfectly—no touching places which remained brown due to being undeveloped—so I clipped it to a line over the sink to dry overnight. I was surprised when I bumped into the edge of the rinse sink—my dick was painfully hard and I hadn't even known it had happened. When I let an idle image of Benny cross my mind in his gold-and-black wrestling outfit, I felt it twitch irresistibly. Before going back into the classroom, I stuck my hand down my jeans to adjust myself in my briefs.

Shit, I guess even my dick knew that I needed Benny Ross in my life.

I approached Mr. Philips just as the bell rang for lunch. "I've got film drying above the sink—can I use part of class tomorrow to cut it and make contact prints?" The teacher was about forty-five or fifty, balding with graying hair and a small paunch, but he was a very energetic and friendly guy, teaching Photography as part of the Vocational Arts department, along with Auto and Wood Shop of all things. He gave me a smile and a pat on the shoulder.

"That's fine Calvin—I look forward to seeing what you've got for us this time! It's half-day tomorrow though, so would you rather do it after school today?" His question reminded me about my car, and I sighed…I had to figure out how to get my keys back…thanks to Benny's eagerness.

"I'd like to, but I locked my keys in my car, and I need to get them out…I don't suppose I could borrow a coat-hanger?" I watched as he laughed and walked over to his office to grab something. He came back with a metal bar, about an inch wide and over a foot-and-a-half long, with a notch at either side of the bottom end. It was stiff, but had a small amount of 'give'. "Try this—it's a slim-jimjust made for opening a car's door—if you're the rightful owner." He winked at me, and I laughed, probably for the first time today. "Just slip it into the door near the lock parallel with the window glass, and try to hook the rods inside to pop the lock button." I thanked him and told him I'd have it back by the end of lunch, by the end of the day if it took longer.

"I'll watch the news for any reports of stolen cars," he joked as he followed me out the door to head to lunch. I wasn't sure how long this would take, so I went through the line and said 'hi' to Greg behind the counter. I asked him for a baloney sandwich and juice, and when he raised an eyebrow, I gave him a sour look. "I have to try to get my keys out of my car…it may take all period, so I'll just grab this to snack on." I could tell he wanted to say something about this morning, but we both knew this wasn't the time or place, so I paid the cashier and headed out into the cafeteria and angled my way to the exit…a quick look around told me that Greg's friends Jay and Miles were in a heated discussion with Dennis Watson, and I saw Linda Beckel with a couple of her girlfriends, but no sign of Benny with the wrestling crowd, or any of the other jocks. I shrugged and went out the door and turned right for the exit to the parking lot.

As I approached my car in the far corner, a movement caught my eye—someone was sitting on the front fender of the car next to mine—Benny's purple Barracuda—and without seeing the face of the boy swinging his legs to bump the tire, I knew who it was even without the black letter jacket lying next to him. His shoulders were slumped a bit, and he stared at the ground, dangling something from his hands between his legs.

"Hey," Benny said in a low voice as I came up to stand between our cars. The thing in his hands was a bent piece of coat-hanger he had shaped into a big 'J'. I had to smile a little as I pulled the slim-jim from my back pocket. I walked quietly over to stand next to him and my eyes flicked from his downcast face to the thin brown metal wire in his hands, which he'd been twisting nervously. I could tell he felt bad about this morning, and about locking me out of my car. He shifted on the fender and his eyes slid from whatever he'd been staring at to meet my own green gaze. "I was gonna try to unlock your car, but I wanted to ask first…I had this…" he said holding up the bit of hanger, "…and some pliers in my trunk."

"So did you have any luck?" I didn't think he had since he was still sitting there, then I realized he hadn't tried yet—because he didn't have permission from me to try—he was afraid of damaging things between us even further in case I'd be angry. I put a hand on his forearm for a second to get his attention, then gave him a cheeky grin. "I dunno—your tool looks kinda wimpy—mine's a lot bigger!" I placed my borrowed metal bar next to his thin piece of hanger. I laughed at his gaping mouth and gave him a little shove.

"Come on, Benny…let's do this!" I pulled him over to the driver's door of my old Buick, and we stared at it with only a vague idea of what to do next. "Mr. Philips said to stick this in there, then sorta wiggle it around to see if it catches something…" I held the bar up near the glass, making motions like I was pushing it between the glass and the felt weather-stripping on the outside window frame. I turned red when Benny looked at me and snickered at my poor choice of words. "Looks too big and stiff to fit—maybe we should take it slow and ease it in gently—I mean—be careful…my dad tried using one of those once, and he wound up breaking the glass."

I pulled the bar away from the window real quick at Benny's words—I didn't need a broken window right now, along with everything else. I looked at his piece of coat-hanger and traded him. I was about to stick it down into the door when I saw him frown. "What?" He looked a bit sheepish, then answered me. "Well…seems to me it could really tear up the felt, especially if it bends inside the door—and that's nearly as expensive as the glass, because the door has to come apart…"

"So what do we do…I need to get inside somehow." I was a little frustrated that this was taking so long, and we hadn't even started yet…but every point Benny raised was a good one, and reason enough to be careful. I also felt my stomach growl, so I pulled my sandwich out of my jacket pocket. I automatically handed half the baloney to Benny. I got the pint carton of orange juice out of my other pocket, and folded back the top to open the triangular spout, and shared this too with my companion.

"Got a spare set at home?" he asked me, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand. When I nodded, he stuck his hand in his pants pocket and tossed me his keys, then he walked over to his car. I unlocked the door and he motioned me to take the wheel. "You drive; I'll play with…the radio." And he walked around to settle into the passenger's seat.

"You don't even know where I live—it's all the way up on Beaver Run—lunch will be over by the time we get back." My grandmother's house was almost a ten-minute drive away, and we barely had another fifteen minutes left in our lunch break. I only had Psych and Biology after lunch, but I didn't want Benny to miss his classes.

Benny stared at me with his green eyes shadowed by the convertible's top above us. He tentatively reached over and placed a hand on mine, and gave it a soft squeeze. I looked at his hand on mine, and he stroked it for a second before pulling back. "So we'll be late—it's more important to me that the rest of your day goes by without any more trouble, especially if I can do something to prevent it.

"Boyfriend or just friend, you're important to me, Cal. Start this sucker up and let's get going."

It was coming back to me as we contemplated Cal's car—the ease I felt in being around him, the way our thoughts seemed to run parallel to each other when we spoke—how could I have thought he was like those other guys? The only thing I could think of was that I wanted it to work so badly, that I was afraid I'd push too hard and drive him away. Then he quit the wrestling team; I ignored what my heart was telling me to do and pulled away, saying he was having second thoughts. Now that I knew it was other factors in his life which caused him to quit, I was kicking myself in the ass as hard as I could, and praying it wasn't too late to start over.

I watched him as he examined the gear-shift knob for the pattern, and looked at the gauges to fix their positions in his head before he started the engine. Cal seemed to be very methodical when it came to cars—he made sure that he did everything by the manual, even buckling his seat belt before he turned the key. I saw him smile when the engine caught—the feel of power must have been a surprise compared to his own old car. My Barracuda had a 318 cubic inch V-8, and 240 horsepower—it was the smallest eight-cylinder engine Plymouth had, and certainly wasn't a supercharged monster like the Hemi you could get as an option—but it was enough for me. The only thing I was a little disappointed with was the 3-speed transmission; most Barracudas, except for the basic six-cylinders, could have a 4-speeds, but buying a used car meant I had to take what I could get—at the dealer's, I talked the salesman into throwing in an AM-FM radio to make up for the very basic tranny. He'd been happy to do it just to get the six-year-old car off his lot.

Cal made a right turn out of the school grounds and headed down to Route 40, like I'd do to go home, but turned left rather than right once he got there, then took a left onto the next paved lane—skipping the gravel one—to head up to his house. I assumed he knew the fastest way to his own place off Beaver Run. The butterflies in my stomach were huge, so I turned on the radio to find us some music; I forgot I had it set to WOSU-FM and the tinkling ripples of harpsichord music came from the stereo's twin speakers. Sounds like Scarlatti…I'd better change it before Cal says anything.

"What are you doing, Benny?" Cal's voice stopped my move toward the radio's chromed push-buttons, and my hand just hovered over them as I tried to decide what to do. I jumped a little when Calvin took my hand in his and put it back in my lap. "I like listening to classical when I'm tense—it relaxes me—I'm just grateful it's actually on a proper harpsichord and not one of those awful piano adaptations."

Holy crap—Cal held my hand! Okay, it was only for a second or two—but I'll take whatever he's willing to give me right now. The Scarlatti piece ended, and the announcer informed us it was his Sonata in E, and then said the next piece was Beethoven's Adagio For Mandolin and Harpsichord. My glance at Calvin was one of pleased surprise. "You don't like piano either?"

Cal's laughter came out a bit too hastily, but it was genuine. "It has its place, but actually, I don't. Elton John does some wonderful things with it, and Rick Wakeman has some really neat albums with all sorts of keyboards…but I'll take organ or harpsichord any day rather than be tortured by idiots who think the piano is music's gift from Heaven. A lot of the crap on classical records is played on piano because they don't understand that the harpsichord was around first, and is better suited to small groups of listeners like those concerts were performed in front of."

Calvin took a deep breath and went on. "Maybe the piano is more expressive with its range of notes and variations in tone, but to me, it's like the difference between someone yelling how they feel in your face, or talking intimately just one-on-one….Sorry to get carried away, but it happens when I care about something so much." I looked out the window as he turned onto his street—we were in farm and woods country now, and the nearest town of any size was pretty much just an intersection of two tar-and-gravel lanes with a church and a feed store. Their little two-room train depot was as active as the one where Miles lived—that is, not at all. I wanted to tell him that the thing I was most passionate about right now was him—but I thought it was too soon to be so emotional—I'd told him I wanted to be his boyfriend this morning, now it was up to him to decide if that was even possible.

I decided to keep with the theme he'd chosen—classical music—and maybe we'd talk more about us later. "That's why I don't much care for a lot of orchestra music either—there's a German company, Archiv Produktion, who put out albums of music on original instruments and set them up as period orchestras were, rather than what the system calls for today. Most albums have extensive notes or booklets explaining how early music was meant to be heard—much smaller audiences and fewer instruments in the orchestra. They really opened my eyes."

"What's your favorite song—not classical," Cal grinned at me as he turned off Beaver Run to follow a two-track drive through a stand of trees. It turned out that the screen was only about twenty feet thick, and the drive entered a cleared area of yard around a two-story white house and small traditionally-red barn. I noted the neat flower beds around the house, and felt myself relax a little…this was a setting that just said home to me and reached out to embrace any visitor who came by. "I know people like Bohemian Rhapsody more, but I always thought The Prophet's Song had more to say to me personally…" I felt awkward saying that because it was a song that pleaded for love and understanding, and I was opening myself up to all kinds of hurt if Calvin wasn't ready to be anything other than a friend right now. My heart beat faster when he said it was one of his favorite songs too.

A woman came out onto the porch as Calvin turned off the engine and pulled the parking brake. She was an older woman, but then I remembered that he was staying with his grandmother, and not his parents. One hand shaded her eyes so I couldn't get a good look at her face until she came down the steps to the gravel walk leading to the drive-way and the barn-yard. "That's my grandma…come on, I'll introduce you." I followed Cal as he climbed out and headed for his grandma, and I saw her give him a worried smile as she hugged him into her arms. She had graying light brown hair and a fairly unlined face, about the same height as her grandson. Her eyes moved over to me, and I saw a look of puzzlement for a second before she let go of her 'boy' and held out a hand to me.

"I bet anything that you're Benny…is something wrong? Why are you bringing my little Callie home so early? Was there an accident? Where's his car?" Though he was standing right next to her, and was obviously healthy except for the intense red blush covering his face, she looked him over carefully, and even felt along the sleeves of his Army shirt-jacket to make sure nothing was broken. Her tone was warm despite the worry, and I thought I detected an accent, but I couldn't get any closer to placing it that the Northeast.

"Everything's fine, ma'am…I umm…I locked Calvin's keys in his car, so I brought him home to get his spare set. It's lunch period now, so this seemed like a good time to do it, rather than after school." I was a little off balance from her quick barrage of questions, and the fact that she seemed to know who I was.

Before I could say anything else, she herded us up the steps into the house's central foyer, and Calvin led the way back to the kitchen at the far end. A quick peek to either side revealed a dining room on the left, and a living room on the right, both neat and orderly but comfortably inviting. The kitchen had a small table off to the right, while the left and rear held an old pink Magic Chef stove and a similarly-colored refrigerator. Cabinets painted an off-white filled the rest of the left-hand wall and either side of the window above the enameled sink. I turned nearly the color of the stove when my stomach made a loud growl…I guess half a baloney sandwich wasn't enough for me, though I thought it was special since Cal shared it with me. She pushed me into one of the three chairs at the table—the fourth side was against the wall, and I saw that chair in a corner next to the fridge. Before I could protest, there was a saucer in front of me with a big slice of chocolate cake with layers of thick frosting. A glass of milk soon followed, and Calvin received the same when he took the seat diagonal from mine after finding the spare keys in a drawer. His grandmother took the third chair opposite mine.

"You call me 'grandma', Benny, or 'Beth'…I don't stand on ceremony in my own house. Thank you for helping Callie like you did—now eat up and get back to school before you miss too much of your lessons." I would have said something, but my mouth was full of the most delicious cake I'd ever tasted—and none of it was from a mix—I could tell. We were only allowed little snippets of conversation because any more than that would make us even later, but she smiled at us and I could see how much she doted on her grandson.

There were pegs by the back door in the tiny mud-room, and I saw a man's black rain-coat and hat hanging there, and an old worn pair of boots below them. One of the other pegs held a yellow coat and hat which was about Calvin's size, and the third held a blue rain-coat and a plastic flowered-scarf—obviously his grandma's. A rough guess at Beth's age made me think 62 or 63…she was active and slightly tanned from yard work, and I wondered if Cal's grandfather was at work, or out in the fields. She caught me looking at the coats by the back door and gave me a sad, wistful smile.

"My husband Pieter passed on two years ago…I haven't had the heart to put those things away—next month would have been our 42nd anniversary." Before I could offer my condolences, she went on in a quieter voice. "Piet had just retired from North American Aviation after almost twenty-five years—they gave him a full pension since he chose to take his last year as sick leave…so I have that, and his Social Security as his surviving widow…but I'd give all that up to see him walk through that door one more time." She trailed off and pulled a handkerchief from her apron pocket.

Calvin was out of his seat and had his arms around her in a flash, stroking her hair and giving what solace he could. I wanted to say something, but all the usual words were just empty phrases to someone still mourning such a loss, so I just reached across the table and squeezed her hand. When she looked at me with slightly damp eyes, I gave another squeeze, and drew her attention to something else. Maybe it would divert her from her sadness for a bit. "I can't place your accent…I've been trying, and the closest I can get is somewhere in the Northeast…"

Calvin let his grandma go and sat back down, then dug into the last bites of his cake; mine was already finished, so I drained the last of my milk. Only as I was finishing it did I notice it was just like that Linda's family served, so that must mean that Calvin's grandmother owned at least one cow…then I remembered hearing a few chickens cackling as we entered the house. Beth sniffled a bit and put her kerchief away. "We—Piet and I—came from upstate New York, in the far reaches of what used to be Nieuw Amsterdam; our families, Schuyler for Piet, and Janson for me, first came over in the late 1600s, but unlike some of the other old Dutch, we remained small farmers and businessmen. Nobody really famous or wealthy was in either of our lineages, though I heard stories that one of his ancestors was the first mayor of Albany. I've mostly forgotten any of the Dutch I might have known as a little girl—after the Great War anybody who spoke anything remotely like German was discouraged from using it in public."

That sounded a lot like Linda's family, but they kept up the Danish at home—it was hard to remember that Linda and Jay were the second generation to be born here…especially after the way she tore the hide off Timmy Zane on Monday using Danish. Mrs. Schuyler looked at the round green clock humming above the sink, and stood up, then shooed us toward the front door. "You boys get back to school…you want me to write you a note, Callie?"

I went out on the porch while Calvin hugged his grandma good-bye and told her he'd get a note from his Photography teacher, and he kept tossing glances at me as we got into my Barracuda—I was still letting him drive, and found myself trying hard not to snicker as he once again checked the mirrors—as if they'd mysteriously changed since he set them at school. Finally, he looked at me as he buckled his seat-belt, and that inquisitive raised eyebrow made me lose it—I burst out in a long hard peal of laughter. I had to wipe my eyes with the back of one hand, and seeing Cal's scowl made me laugh even more…but I stopped when I saw the sparkle in his eyes start to dim a little. "I'm sorry, Cal—"

"Don't you fucking dare," he hissed at me—then I saw he was fighting his own grin. "At least she doesn't call me that in public…" I grabbed his hand in both of mine as I told him I was sorry for laughing, but that I loved his grandmother's warmth and mostly-sunny disposition…and that I thought being called Callie was too cute to hold in my surprise and delight at having a nick-name for him. It also made my heart do flips that he hadn't yet pulled his hand out of mine.

He gave me a glare as he turned the car around, then headed out to the road, and school. I would have been more intimidated if he hadn't followed it with a small smile. "You use that name anywhere other people can hear it—besides grandma—and we're through, Benjamin Ned Ross!"

Was it true—did I dare hope….My voice was barely above a whisper as I asked the most important question in my life. 'You mean…we're boyfriends now?" Oh God, please let him say 'yes'…I'll do anything to please him for the rest of my life for that one word….His form wavered a bit as I looked at him, and I watched as he raised his other hand to my cheeks to wipe the tears away. We were stopped at the end of his drive, about ready to turn onto the single-lane black-tarred road.

"Only if you behave yourself…if I hear 'Callie' from anybody but you or Gran, we are definitely over—so watch it, bub—I don't want to lose you a second time." Before he could say anything else—not that I needed or wanted to hear more—I had pulled him across the center console and plastered our lips together in a deep and prolonged kiss, during which I eased my tongue out to touch his lips, only to find his coming to meet mine. I sighed into his mouth as any residual fears left me, and I felt tears on both our cheeks. I was pretty sure some of them were his. We eventually got ourselves together and on the road again…with me holding his hand all the way back to school. He hopped out and handed me my keys, then used his spares to open his car and retrieve his originals from the ignition. Since no one else was outside, and no windows overlooked the north parking lot, I stared at his ass as he leaned into his car until I had my fill, then turned bright red when he pivoted around and closed his driver's side door.

He got his borrowed slim-jim out of my trunk, and we walked side-by-side to the nearest door of the building.

"Grandma wanted me to ask you if you'd come to dinner tonight…she wants to thank you for helping me out with the keys—even if you're the reason they got locked in." He was joking about the keys, but I heard the nervousness underneath loud and clear. He was thinking it was too soon for us to have a 'family' night…but I was all for it. Mom and Dad would be fine with it too, I was sure, so I'd just call them from his house rather than make a run home first…maybe we could study together in his room for a while before we ate….maybe he needed help with his Biology?

"Is showing up right after school too pushy? I could wait half an hour, and then show up…."

Just before going inside, I caught his eyes in the reflected light from the door's narrow glass window. They were emerald fire, and not a cloud in sight…then I ran smack into the door, and rubbed my forehead. I didn't feel a thing!

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