Jay & Miles

by ColumbusGuy

Chapter 49

POV: Jay, Benny, Greg

"If they scatter—go for the baby and the mother…"

I watched as the low-slung race car roared toward the assembled picnickers…then the driver, Nero The Hero, exclaimed: "Bye bye Baby—hello 70 points!" Moments later, the car and its two occupants, Nero and his Navigator, went up in a fiery blast. In the movie, there was a scramble, and the gushing voice of a busty blonde commentator—Grace Pander—pulled the fictional audience to her rather than the explosion they'd seen on their televisions at home. "…right here on my show—Mrs. Rhonda Bainbridge, the widow of Machine Gun Joe Viturbo's first score…"

From what Mikey had told me about this movie, and the magazine article, I felt better able to follow this one than I had Rocky Horror with Dave and Trebor before Easter. Apparently, in this one, the United Provinces of America had been ruled by Mr. President and the Bi-Partisan Party for twenty years…and the Transcontinental Road Race was a way to divert people from their daily lives. I don't know why, but points were scored from the number and ages of people killed by each driver…which is why each one had vicious looking blades or horns mounted on the fronts of their cars.

The current drivers—five in all—each had a Navigator, and wore a costume of their choosing; the two most famous were Frankenstein in a cape and mask, and Joe Viturbo, dressed like a Mafia hit man. The others were Calamity Jane in a cowgirl outfit, Nero The Hero dressed in an ancient Roman gladiator costume, and the last was Matilda The Hun, dressed as a Nazi soldier. There had been several deaths already, and we weren't very far in yet: a guy working on the road, run down by Joe, a guy dressed as a matador, taken down by Jane, and several doctors and nurses run over by Frankenstein when they wheeled some elderly cripples out into the road for 'Euthanasia Day'—it looked like he decided it ought to be the medical peoples' turn for once, though he passed up over 500 points going for them instead.

When Nero got blown up, we learned through an underground interruption of the Race broadcast that there was a group called The Army of The Resistance headed by Thomasina Paine, who were urging all Americans to stand up against the Party and Mr. President, in the names of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln…and Harry Truman. As things went on, we were told their plan was to capture Frankenstein, since he was a personal friend of Mr. President, and demand the return of freedom as well as the end of the Race. They also planned to do away with as many of the current racers as they could.

"This is one fucked-up movie," I whispered to Mikey, leaning over to give his cheek a kiss. We were sitting against each other in the middle of his Pontiac's front seat, finishing off our pizza and sipping on our big cups of Coke. We'd managed to eat about half of the pizza before the movie started, since it was delayed by fifteen minutes, but still had a quarter of it left. The view through the windshield was great, but the sound would have been better in stereo. There were empty spaces on both sides of us, so I decided I'd grab the one on Mikey's side of the car between movies—it would be almost like stereo.

"Shush, elskede," Mikey whispered back, waving his hand at the movie screen. I sighed to myself, having learned with our OSU friends that my boyfriend would be glued to the movie's action until the credits rolled. Even the pace in which he inhaled the pizza had slowed down, and I thought nothing could have affected that. I didn't mind so much, since this movie was more to my taste than the one we'd seen at Graceland…at least so far there hadn't been a single cross-dressing vampire. And no weird songs either.

It didn't take long for us to realize that this film, unlike Rocky Horror—and despite the presence of Sylvester Stallone, had a point to make; it would have been nice to talk about it now, but neither of us wanted to miss any of what was happening on the screen. I couldn't figure out who the 'Grace Pander' character was supposed to be, but I had seen more than enough Wide World of Sports to recognize that 'Harold' was a parody of Howard Cosell. He was this famous sports commentator who was a font of trivia on all sorts of subjects, and enjoyed putting that into each of his broadcasts. The man loved to talk.

Just to add some more drama, Frankenstein's Navigator, Annie, was the great-granddaughter of Thomasina Paine, and was supposed to hand him over to the Resistance. At the Race's first break in St. Louis, there was a banquet held for the racers, along with massages for the contestants, and a stern warning not to comment on the loss of Nero—'he hit a tree…' was the official version of events. The younger announcer, a man named Junior Bruce, was loud, fanatical and annoying with his repeated exclamation of 'Jesus Chrysler!' If I wanted to see anybody run down, it was him.

As the movie went on, the Resistance took out the other racers: Matilda The Hun went over a cliff thanks to a fake Detour, and Calamity Jane's car was blown up by a landmine. Annie learns Frankenstein has his own plan to kill Mr. President, and decides not to hand him over to the Resistance who would replace him with a double. Now with only Machine Gun Joe and Frankenstein left in the run for the finish in Los Angeles, Joe attempts to kill his opponent, but Annie uses Frankenstein's concealed bomb to take him out.

The confusion ramps up near the end when Frankenstein is injured and Annie dresses up in his costume to shake hands with Mr. President, and thus kill him. Thomasina Paine shoots Annie, thinking it is Frankenstein—and in the resulting chaos, Frankenstein manages to ram his car into the stands and kill the Bi-Partisan Party's leader. In the epilogue, Frankenstein is made President, and with Annie as his bride, announces the abolition of the Race, much to the dismay of Junior Bruce, who says it was a beloved tradition and had to continue.

I cheered when Frankenstein, in a last desperate attempt to shut the guy up, runs him down with his car—at least the spectators on-screen were cheering as much as I was—if not more. With the end credits rolling, I felt Mikey lean against me and plant a long kiss on my cheek. The faint smell of pepperoni lingered, mixed with the tanginess of Coke, but I didn't care about that one bit…that wasn't the most exotic thing I'd tasted on his lips in the near-month we'd been going out…that was reserved for the bitter-sweet taste of our combined juices after we traded blow-jobs.

"What'd you think of it, kæreste?" His breath tickled my ear, and got me hard.

I couldn't help teasing him a little. "Oh, now you want to talk?" In response, I felt his hand snake its way into my lap and wrap around the bulge in my jeans. Mikey gave it a few strokes and squeezes, then let go. A little smirk appeared on his lips just before he placed them next to my ear and let out a warm breath which made my entire body tingle with electric ecstasy. "Blow in my ear, and I'll follow you anywhere," I whispered in response, giving him a quote from our favorite comedy show, Laugh-In.

"Well…there isn't a lot we can do in a parking lot at the movies, is there? Other than watch the show, I mean." His fingers were fumbling with my zipper, then my belt, making room for them to slip inside to fondle my briefs-covered cock. Obviously, he'd thought of one thing we could do, even if it was a little risky…but as much as I wanted to do this, I figured it might be better to wait until our second movie started. In the fifteen minutes between flicks, people would be going to the snack bar for drinks, or to relieve themselves of ones they'd already consumed. Now that I thought about it….

"I gotta take a leak, Mikey…and we ought to throw away the trash." I wasn't sure he'd heard me since his fingers were still rubbing me intently through my underwear, but then he let out a sigh and pulled his hand away enough to do up my pants. If there was anything I knew for sure, it was that my boyfriend loved his car, and he'd given me a long list of instructions on how to treat her—the biggest was that no trash be left inside—and if food had to be eaten, then there had to be a huge supply of napkins to insure against spills or grease stains. I'd joked about him needing to buy plastic seat covers, but the look I got told me he'd seriously thought about it. He said the only reason he let me wear shoes was because it was the law—and he had rubber floor mats.

It was the dual desires of eating pizza and watching the movie that had us eating in the car tonight—the lure of the film had barely won over his manic love of Italy's most famous export. I had to give him credit though—his car was over twenty years old and the interior looked like it had rolled out of Detroit's factory yesterday—not one worn spot or stain anywhere, front or back. And the only things in the glove box besides the registration, insurance card and owner's manual, were a pencil for writing down gas mileage, a tire-pressure gauge, and a box of Kleenex. Mikey had even confessed to washing out the ashtrays as soon as he got her home from the lot where he bought her.

With our empty drink cups and cardboard pizza box in hand, we entered the snack bar. The trash can was right next to the door, so we tossed our things in and made our way to the men's room. Once more, Mikey used one of the stalls, while I found an empty spot at one of the urinals…a little harder now with several other guys taking advantage of the break before our second movie started. I recognized one of the guys from school, but didn't really know him, so I just nodded and went to wash my hands at one of the sinks. I went out to stare at the menu board until Mikey joined me a couple minutes later.

"Do you want anything else while we watch the second movie?" I wasn't too hungry after the pizza, but another drink wouldn't be a bad idea. I had no clue about the next movie Mechagodzilla, except that it was another entry in the Japanese monster movie racket. Some of those could be fun, like Mothra, while others were just too silly to sit through and not laugh your ass off. The advantage this time was that I had my boyfriend with me, and if it got too awful, we could have a little fun until it was time to go home. If it was really sucky, we could just go back to my place since Mikey was spending the night…and do our own 'sucky' thing.

"I could split another Coke or Root Beer with you, and maybe get a candy bar…." I gave my elskede a poke in the ribs, knowing he'd gone almost the whole day without his chocolate fix. That was pushing it for him. There was a good selection of candy—everything from a plain Hershey bar to a pair of Reese's Cups. I'd discovered that the only chocolate Mikey wouldn't eat was a Mounds bar since it was coconut, covered in a chocolate coating. As I asked for a medium Root Beer, I watched Mikey put a Reese's Cup package on the counter, then a Hershey bar with almonds. Just for the hell of it, I added a Clark bar to the mix, and then paid for everything.

Back at the car, I grabbed the speaker next to the passenger door and hung it on the window glass, then climbed back in the driver's seat. With both speakers turned on, the sound was definitely better, and we suffered through a few minutes of dancing popcorn boxes and drink cups on the screen until the next movie started. I settled in, leaning against Mikey's chest, and he wrapped his left arm around my shoulders. We were in the center of the front seat, and I pulled my legs up so they were close to the driver's door…after Mikey told me to take my shoes off first. "What's with the 'nut' thing tonight? Chocolate with almonds and peanut butter…?"

Mikey handed me the soda cup while he opened the orange wrapper containing the two chocolate discs filled with peanut butter. His lips brushed my cheek, then he held one of the 'cups' to my lips. "It's kinda risky to pull out our real nuts here…so I'll have to make-do and feed you this instead…." We alternated kisses, sips of root beer, and bites of chocolate until we were almost thirty minutes into the monster movie. The candy was gone, and half of the soda…and the bellows of Godzilla were the most interesting thing about the movie—it was so bad neither of us wanted to pay much attention to it.

I wondered whether we ought to leave when Mikey pushed me off him for a second, then I saw him kick off his own shoes and pull his legs up onto the seat. He reached toward me and I felt him shift so he could pull me back down, half on him, and half on the seat. His right arm was under my neck and rubbing my back between my shoulders, while his left landed on my hips. I nestled closer to get more comfortable; our crotches were rubbing together through our jeans, and our feet were also enjoying the freedom of unshod exploration. "You know, we could just go to my house and get naked?" I whispered, licking the spot just under his right ear.

Mikey sighed, and I felt his head shift to allow me better access, so I kissed him from his jawline to his collarbone. He moaned, and the vibrations went right to my dick, which was getting cramped in my pants—I hadn't arranged it too well in the rest room, so it didn't have space to stretch out like it would have otherwise. Mikey moved his hand between us and I felt his fingers once more on my zipper.

"Nope…we paid to see two movies, so it would be a waste to leave before we got our money's worth," he uttered softly. He'd arranged my package so it had room to move inside my briefs before I felt his hand open his own jeans. He pulled my hips against his, and I could feel his own erection beneath mine, separated only by our underwear. "I'm thinking," he said, as he began grinding his groin against mine, "if we time this just right, we could climax at the same time as the movie…."

It was close, but with our briefs keeping the mess off Mikey's seat, we managed it.

"So, how was the movie last night," Finn asked as soon as I came out of the shower. He followed me up to my attic room and took a seat on my bed. I was still drying my hair, so I didn't see the smirk on his face or how he was surveying my upper body, until I lowered the towel. It was obvious he was checking for any new hickeys left by Calvin. "Did you even see the movie?"

I glared at him, which he ignored as usual, and pulled a pair of jeans from my closet. "Can I at least put some clothes on first…?" As much as I loved my younger brother, Finn had this annoying interest in my love life, and wanted to know every little detail. We didn't keep secrets from each other, but he didn't need to know what Callie and I got up to in bed…or in the front seat of his car the night before. One look told us that my car's bucket seats were no good for making out, so we'd taken his old Buick LeSabre instead.

Finn nodded when I held up a green sweatshirt, so I pulled it on over my head. "Yes, we saw the movie…," I finally answered, and then decided to tease him a little. "At least the first one."

Well, never say that my brother couldn't surprise me. "So how was it? You saw that Death Race one, right? Someone told me it was pretty cool, with lots of blood…?" Here I thought he was going to dig for sexy details of my date with Calvin. "The paper says it ends next weekend, so I wanted to see it, if it was any good."

I thought about that as I sat down next to him on my bed, and began pulling on my socks. If we tried to fit Death Race in again, it didn't give me much time to see the other one, Rollerball. Callie and I hadn't planned on running into our study friends last night, so we had picked a movie by how good the title sounded. Greg, Denny and the new guy Bill had seen Rollerball, so I could ask them on Monday if it was worth it, but I was pretty sure Cal would go for it even if it wasn't any good. It gave us more time together without anyone around, even if his grandma Lisbet was cool with us being boyfriends. I just felt weird with her in the house when we were making love.

What with studying every night at Jay's, I hadn't been spending much time at home, so I was feeling a little guilty about abandoning my brother to his own devices all the time. Now that I had a boyfriend, I spent even less time with him…maybe if we saw the movie again, with Finn, it would make me feel better…and kill two birds with one stone—Finn wanted to meet Cal, and I wanted that to happen where I could control what conversation they had together.

Before I decided to broach the idea of going together to him, I figured I'd do a little quizzing of my own, about his Club meetings. There'd been one Friday when I was over at Calvin's, and I knew Finn had gone—he never missed one, especially now that he had met Greg's youngest brother there. "How was the meeting Friday? Did you get a chance to see Lee again?"

Ha!—that set him back a little, if the blush on his cheeks was any clue. Greg's brother was only a few months younger than Finn, but it was enough to put him a grade behind, 8th in the middle school, rather than 9th at the connected high school with us. With the way classrooms were assigned, they probably never ran into each other in the halls; middle schoolers' classes were all in the newer building, while kids from the high school could have classes in either one. I'd had Biology there as a sophomore, and would have Problems Of Democracy there next year, like all the other seniors. Jay's sister Linda had the same class over there this year, and I'd had to wait on her more than once to drive her home, due to the longer trip from that class to her locker, and then the parking lot. The best thing would be to have the class earlier in the day, but since everybody had to take it, the time you got was totally random. I really hoped Callie and I had it together next year.

"Yeah…he was there...we rode our bikes some yesterday, and we talked about stuff…." His blushing was even redder than before, but I wasn't going to embarrass him any more than I already had, despite the opening his comment left for me. He was a pretty cool brother, as far as those things went. "Turns out we like some of the same movies and comic books too."

I could understand how they hadn't really had time to get to know each other—the only things the guys said at those events were mostly bragging about who they'd want to screw and how they'd do it—99% of it pure bullshit—then they'd get off and scatter to their own houses as quick as they could. Even if you were friends with other guys in the group, if you hung around to talk after jacking off, it might look queer, and nobody wanted that…even if it was true…especially if it was true.

"How'd that go? Do you think he'll be a friend…maybe even more than a friend?"

It was Finn's turn to glare at me, but after a few seconds of searching my face for signs of joking around, he shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know—we had a lot of fun riding bikes, and we went over to the green with some pop to sit under one of the trees when we got too hot…but all we could do was talk since there were other kids there playing ball." My brother's voice dropped, and I could swear it sounded a little wistful when he continued. "I like him a lot, and he says he likes me…but there's no way we can get any privacy at his house, not with his two little sisters around all the time…."

"So why don't you guys come over here? Maybe listen to some records?" I could understand how hard it was for him to be alone with Lee, being in different grades. They didn't share any classes, or even lunch periods, so school was out too. I was trying to give him options, and wondered why he hadn't thought of the most obvious one. Mom and Dad worked, and our sister Kate was a freshman at OSU, so she was almost never home. That gave me another idea. "You could always use the 'homework' excuse—you've already had the classes he's taking."

Finn's eyes lit up and a grin spread so far across his face I thought his head would split in two—then it faltered. "His brother Jeff had those same classes, so his parents might wonder why he needs my help…." I thought he was just looking for an excuse to put off getting together with Lee, but I was wrong—and that didn't make any sense if they actually liked each other. "Wait—it was two years ago when he had those, so he might have forgotten some of it—but I had them just last year…plus, it's a lot quieter over here—so it would make more sense for that reason too."

I had to suppress a laugh at his excitement, and at my success at diverting him away from the topic of me and Callie's sex life. Then I was hit with another wave of guilt—I'd transferred my spending time with him onto somebody else, which wasn't fair at all, either for Lee…or Finn. I wanted to spend time with my brother, and how much time would there be left for that once we both had boyfriends, and I went off to college? I put a hand on his shoulder just as he was about to get up from my bed, and held him still while our eyes made contact. "Since it's Sunday, maybe you can see if he needs help today…but before you go…do you think he'd like to go see the movie with you—and me and Calvin?"

Have you seen Tigger from the Disney movie of Winnie The Pooh? Well, if you have then you can imagine the reaction of Finn to my suggestion—he was bouncing around like he was nuclear-powered, and I had to put my arms around him in an effort to calm him down. After a couple minutes, he glanced at me with his green eyes sparkling, and gave me a quick hug. "You mean it? I asked him if he wanted to see it yesterday, and we couldn't figure out how since Greg doesn't have a car…and I figured you'd be too busy to want to go with me."

That hit me pretty hard; I hadn't realized how much we'd drifted apart since I got my own room last year. Until then, he'd been my shadow, even coming to watch me during wrestling practices, or my meets around the county schools. He had his own friends, but when they were busy, he'd be right there with me, doing whatever I was doing, even if it was just running errands for Mom. We'd had a really good talk a few days ago—talking about being gay—but then I'd been busy with quizzes and my boyfriend again. Finn deserved better from me.

I couldn't spring Callie coming to dinner tonight on such short notice, which would have been a good way for my whole family to meet him, but maybe I could arrange a way for Finn to get to know him before going to the movies on Friday night. "If you can drag your sorry butt out of bed in the morning, would you want to ride in with me and meet Calvin before school?"

I held up my hand to stop him. "And…you can't ask any stupid questions or say anything to embarrass me in front of him…." Finn's excitement seemed to deflate a little, but I wasn't going to give in on this—he had to promise. He looked into my eyes before giving me a slightly shocked and grouchy smile. "Promise—or you stay home," I said with determination.

Finn got up and headed toward the stairs. "Yeah…," he said as he went down. "You know me…." I heard the door into the hall open, then he called up just as he closed it behind him, "Sucker!"

My little brother hadn't actually said the word 'promise,' so most anything was fair game in the morning—I had to rely on his good sense and his feelings for me, and hope for the best. He was nearly my size, so fear was out as a deterrent…not that I'd ever hit him for real….

I was gonna be so screwed.

When Jay and Mikey left the table for the start of their movie, that just left me and my Yank…and our new friend Bill. We'd mostly finished our food, though we still had some fries left which we'd swipe from a random basket and swirl through pools of ketchup before popping them into our mouths. Bill's had gotten a little colder when he'd approached his friend and walked to another table to chat for a few minutes…then he'd come back to join us. The guy—Kevin—had walked toward the end of the theater showing Rollerball, the same movie we were going to see. I was dying to ask him about their conversation, but he still looked a little rattled, so I steered the topic onto the movie instead.

"So, the star of this movie is James Caan? Wasn't he the guy in the Godfather movies?" Bill nodded, almost absently. I tried harder, "Seems he was in something else a couple years ago—another sports thing?" I looked to Denny to see if he could help me get Bill's mind back to the present.

My Yank furrowed his brow, which made him even cuter in my book, but shrugged his shoulders helplessly. "I vaguely remember who he played in those 'mob' movies, but I didn't watch them—crime dramas don't do anything for me…and at school there was only one TV in each dorm, so I almost never liked what the other guys voted on."

I waved my hand in front of Bill's face, and that seemed to bring him back to our conversation. "What?" he asked tremulously.

Denny leaned in a little across the table. "We were wondering about the movies tonight…you saw the preview for the first one, but what do you know about Breakout?" We both watched as Bill focused on us again, and he gave a rueful smile.

"Sorry; it was just a shock to see Kev again, after figuring he was gone for good." He took a few fries from his basket and munched them, then pushed the rest away—they were getting pretty nasty. "I only saw the ad in the paper for that one. I remember it starred Charles Bronson and Robert Duvall—and there was a picture of a helicopter in it."

Well, the names of the stars helped a little, but not much. I remembered Charles Bronson from some World War II movies, and a bunch of Westerns, but that was about it…Robert Duvall sounded familiar, but I couldn't place him in my head at all. I was surprised when my Yank came up with some things about him. "I remember seeing him in a weird science-fiction movie where people lived underground and took drugs to keep themselves under control…he was the hero…THX something. And the guys at school said he was in those Godfather movies too."

I had an image of people dressed all in white jumpsuits, a car chase in some tunnels, then the guy climbing up a long ladder to emerge onto the surface, maybe at sunrise. I nodded, and mentioned what I recalled, and Bill looked slightly ashamed. "I think I tried watching that when I was eleven, but fell asleep before it was over. Weren't there a lot of boring bits of just talking and even the scenery was white?"

Denny and I both laughed at that. I wasn't sure if I'd been able to sit through the whole thing either, and Denny readily admitted he'd fallen asleep too. I was blushing when I made my next admission: I'd also gone to sleep during 2001: A Space Odyssey—I wasn't even sure if I made it to Jupiter! "We're such avid movie fans, not being able to stay awake through a whole movie…maybe we should buy more soda to get us wired for Rollerball?"

"Chocolate wouldn't hurt either," Denny snickered. Somehow, I'd had visions of us making out in his car during any slow parts of the movies tonight…but then I was reminded of the fact that his Corvair had bucket seats, just like Benny's Barracuda. About all we could do was hold hands, or lean over to kiss a little, unless we wanted to get in the back seat…and miss the movie entirely. My parents might have let me drive one of our cars, but I'd been too excited about the movie to think of it. The Caprice would have been seriously cool, but I'd probably have wound up with the old Rambler station-wagon….

We had about another ten minutes until our movie started, so we went into the snack bar for fresh drinks and candy. I peeled off and headed to the men's room—just in case—and glanced back when they followed me in. Like good boys, we left one space between us at the urinals, but after a couple seconds, I let my eyes wander to my left to check out our new friend. I saw he was doing the same as me, and gave him a little grin. I looked to my other side and saw my Yank leaning forward a little to see what Bill had, and my smile grew bigger—just like my cock started to do.

"Great minds think alike," I murmured softly, and both guys smiled back with a nod. We were the only ones in there, and only a couple people had been in the main area, so I took a risk and gave myself a few strokes as I was finishing off. Denny did the same with his after a few seconds, and that made me get even harder; he was making a lot of progress with my 'appointments', but this was something that just blew me away…he was gaining some self-confidence back, but there was no way I was going to push him into doing more until he asked.

I moved back just a bit so we could all see each other; I knew Denny's body intimately, so I took a few extra seconds to concentrate on Bill. He was a little shorter than us, and a little lighter, but he had potential to be a fox—it would be a year before he was the age we were now, and that could mean a lot when you're sixteen. He wasn't doing too badly in the dick department, though…if he was as hard as I was, which was nearly all the way, then his boner was around 6¾ inches. I topped out at an inch longer, while my Yankee dandy was 7½. It was nice to look at each other this way, but somebody could walk in any second. Denny put his 'gun' away first, and patted my arm affectionately. "Put it away, Reb—you need to be primed and ready for an artillery barrage later…."

I chuckled, and actually laughed at Bill's puzzled look. "Long story, maybe I'll share it with you between movies." I followed my boyfriend to the sinks and began washing my hands, and then we went out to the serving line for our drinks and candy. Armed with medium drinks and an assortment of sweets, we walked toward the drive-in's second section where Kevin had gone. Bill's Impala was parked in the space next to our Corvair, so we leaned against our cars to talk until the Coming Attractions were over. The screen was filled with dancing snacks, and we could hear the noise from several speakers nearby.

"I know you want to ask about what me and Kev talked about," Bill began hesitantly. "I don't really know what to tell you…he keeps a lot of things bottled up inside his head. Getting him to talk is a lot like getting blood out of a stone." I nodded to show I understood that—the one time I'd called him in late January, it had been like pulling teeth, and almost as painful.

"Like I told you guys at the table, I never went to his house, and never met his parents…but I knew it was rough on him just by how moody he would get. Anger like he's got has to come from somewhere, doesn't it?"

Bill looked down at his sneakers for a minute, licking his lips, forgetting about the drink he'd just bought in his agitation. "I'm not sure, but I think his Dad might have been hitting him…that's just a guess, but if you touch him when he isn't watching, he flinches. It makes me so mad because underneath all that anger, there's a really nice guy—he's just afraid to let it show, I think."

Denny and I looked sadly at each other, and our hands joined between us as we leaned on the driver's side door of his car. It was dark enough that I didn't worry about being seen by anybody but Bill—they'd have to walk up to us between our cars, and we'd have a lot of warning to let go of each other's fingers. I felt his warmth in our touch, and he squeezed my hand several times before he shifted a little so our hands lay brushing his hip. I let out a sigh of contentment. My Yank leaned his head a little closer to mine. "Told you, you won the war at Appomattox, Reb."

Bill was watching us intently, and I saw him shake his head sadly when he looked from our happy faces down to our clasped hands, and back again. I knew that feeling all too well, the yearning to be part of something bigger than yourself…to be loved by another person who could satisfy that feeling just by being there, with a gentle touch or even seeing them enter a room. I had that with Dennis Watson now, and I'd never give it up. From all the signs, our pizza purveyor was after the same thing…did he think Kevin was his Mr. Right?

My thoughts were interrupted by a soft voice I knew well with its New England twang. "Kevin sounds like he means a lot to you—do you think he feels the same way?"

Our dark-haired friend looked uncertainly at his hands, which were turning his soda cup nervously, before he took a sip from the paper straw. He didn't say much at first, or meet our eyes, but he seemed to gather strength as he went on. "I…don't know for sure…he's so hard to read—but I hope so…. He did kiss me that night, even if it was while we smoked some pot…doesn't that mean something? He wouldn't do it if he didn't feel it, right? Maybe he needed the smoke to get up the nerve…?"

I was thinking that over and what it implied about Kevin Sommers—he sounded like a guy who not only had self-esteem problems, but one who was also afraid to admit his feelings for another guy. I hadn't gotten any clues about him the one time we'd talked, so I'd written him off my list of potential mates. And yet, here was a level-headed sophomore who saw something special in his friend…some spark which just needed a little nurturing to bring it out. I was working on my Yank—did I even want another 'project?'

"We'll all go talk to him during the break, Bill…." I gaped at Denny's words. "It never hurts to have a few friends, and I know a certain 'Herr Doktor' who can work wonders fixing people up."

Watching the movie, I felt a lot like the metal ball in the game…moving along at breakneck speed until somebody grabbed me and changed my course, shaping it into something different…to some goal I hadn't seen by staying in my usual rut. Looks like I was going to have a new 'patient' whether I wanted one or not…but Denny felt the pain of Bill's heart, and wanted to help, so I had no choice—not that I wanted one if I could bring happiness to another person as I had Denny. As the hero Jonathan E showed in the film, people mattered.

So, during the break, Bill walked us over to a dark-blue and white VW bus with small windows all around…and that's how we met Kevin, probably the most enigmatic guy I'd ever meet. He didn't open up to us, but with Bill reassuring him we were 'cool' and 'good eggs,' at least he didn't shut us out. His angry façade was strong, but I began to see that Bill might be right about him.

It being May Day, I had a crazy thought: Operation S.O.S. had begun.

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