by David Lee

Chapter 62

At school the following day, the biggest news was the vandalism that had been done to the boys' car. Since Bryan and Zeke had ridden to school early with Mary, they were using their time to study in the student council room. Many of their friends came by to express support. By mid morning, there were rumors that the person responsible had been identified.

Around noon, while Bryan and Zeke were eating lunch in the company of their usual associates, Mary Stillwell came into the cafeteria to tell them the latest news. The tapes from the surveillance camera in the parking lot showed a person with a spray can writing on the side of their car. The image was not high quality, but there was no doubt as to the identity of the boy. Coupled with a thumbprint that the police lab had lifted, there was proof positive. Carson Hoyt had been arrested at school a few minutes before. He had been literally caught "red-handed" because some of the paint was still under his fingernails.

After talking to the insurance company, Mary had called Ace Body Shop to collect the Sebring from the police station. The owner of the shop, Dave, said the paint could likely be removed without a trace since it wasn't even 24 hours old. He promised to have it looking like new by 4:00 in the afternoon.

The boys both got up and hugged her.

The afternoon dragged by. Bryan was eager to see if the car really would look like new. Zeke was concerned about it too, but kept reminding Bryan it was just an object, not a life. That put things into perspective again.

The boys had a gym class during the last period of the day. They were wondering how they would be treated in the locker room considering yesterday's events. Most everyone responded to them the same as always. Zeke thought they were receiving a few more stares than usual, but he realized it could be his imagination working overtime.

One of the guys, Phil, who didn't usually hang around them, took an interest in the under shorts they were wearing. He commented about the way the garments were designed to cup a guy's balls. Phil's attention appeared to be more than a casual interest. Both guys could sense a blip on the gaydar screen, which they discussed later.

Promptly at 3:45, Mary Stillwell drove Bryan and Zeke over to the body shop. Out in front, the white convertible gleamed in the afternoon sun. There wasn't a trace of red paint to be found.

Dave came out of the shop smiling.

"Well, did we do okay?" he asked.

"It looks great!" Zeke responded.

Bryan was almost too choked up to speak. He loved the car a lot. Yesterday at this time, he had feared it would never look the same.

Dave told them that they'd been smart to keep the surface well waxed. Nothing could stick to it permanently as long as they did. He also said he would wait for the insurance check so they didn't need to pay their bill until it was all settled. He didn't expect it to cost them anything out of pocket.

Zeke insisted that Bryan drive it home. They put the top down and headed for the Stillwell's house to enjoy a little pool-time before dinner. While Mary went back to school to finish grading a quiz, the boys frolicked naked in the water. It felt great. A few minutes in the spa managed to relieve most of the stress of the day. The other stress-relief would have to wait until bedtime since Grace was expecting them for dinner shortly. They were eager to play with Zach before it was time to eat.

In the evening, the guys got an email from Skip telling them that things were much better. Maude, his grandmother, had enrolled him in a private prep school which had a cottage system of living. He was in a program for kids who were over-weight and had self-esteem problems. He was paired with a kid who was a grade ahead of him, though only a few months older. The other boy, Cameron, had made significant progress in the same program the year before.

The course of study was challenging, but not as much as the physical part. Skip's mentor worked out with him in the gym every day, encouraging and pushing him to succeed. Their diet in the "cottage" was healthy and controlled in terms of fats and calories. Already in the first week, he'd lost five pounds and felt his body firming up. He was elated.

Besides that, he thought Cameron was really cute and might be interested in him. They were talking about sharing a room for the second term when they would be allowed to choose their roommate.

Skip was very upbeat for a change. Zeke and Bryan smiled as they read his email. He was either in love or serious lust. They hoped it would all work out for him.

When the big homecoming game was played on a chilly Friday night, Cosgrove limped ahead by only one point. Their opponent wasn't the toughest team in their league, so it didn't bode well for the rest of the season.

At halftime, Joey Aldrich was crowned homecoming king. His girlfriend, Karen Smith was crowned queen. She was a vivacious, sweet girl who was the antithesis of Heather Harkin. Heather was pissed that she got enough votes to be part of the court, but not to be the queen. She had certainly given her all to ensure getting lots of votes from the guys. However it was doubtful that she received many from the girls.

Bryan and Zeke smiled at each other in the stands. Bryan knew that, had they not come out and withdrawn their names, Zeke would surely have had a good shot at being homecoming king. Bryan, himself, would likely have had enough votes to be part of the court. He had often been included at the edge of the spotlight which seemed always to favor his lover. Bryan was not jealous, however; it was just the natural order of things. He believed Zeke would always be the one people instinctively favored. He could live with that.

The dance was on Saturday night. Zeke and Bryan went together. They danced with a number of girls as was their habit. No one turned them down. But for the last dance, when the lights were low and the music slow, they took the floor together. They went to the darkest corner so as not to attract too much attention. There, they embraced and swayed to the music. It was a bit difficult since both were used to leading, but Zeke switched roles and followed Bryan. In a couple of minutes, they were gracefully moving as a unit.

Heather, of course, had to get in a dig if she could.

"You two fags really looked good together out there on the floor. You must get a lot of practice."

Zeke smirked at her, "We don't get much practice on the dance floor, but in bed… Well, that's a different story."

Heather put on her most disgusted look as she flounced off to the other side of the gym. Bryan giggled. Then, he took Zeke's hand in his and they walked to their car.

In the weeks that followed, things at Cosgrove High ran pretty smoothly. No one seemed to be upset over having a couple of openly gay guys heading up student council. One wrestler did come into Doug's office to say he would no longer be on the wrestling team for the rest of the year. But, no further acts of vandalism were visited upon anyone's person or property. No one got into a fight over racial or ethnic differences. Of course there were some flare-ups between freshmen boys who were experiencing hormonal imbalance. One or two took swings at their best friends and then wondered why they'd done it. A few seemed to be moody and have very short fuses. But, all in all, nothing out of the ordinary happened.

When Carson Hoyt's trial came up, he attempted to put the blame on everyone else. He complained about the sentence he'd received from the student court. He said that because the judge (Zeke) was gay, he had imposed too harsh a punishment on poor Carson for just getting into a fight with another gay kid (Bryce). That was Carson's excuse for having painted the derogatory word on Zeke and Bryan's car.

Judge Walkerton had no mercy when she imposed her sentence. Carson now had to serve the three years for his attack on Bryce and Will plus another six months for the current charges. Also, he had to make restitution to the insurance company for the cost of removing the paint from the car as well as pay any deductible.

Since he thought, or knew, that the guys were gay when he wrote "fag" on their car, he was guilty of a hate crime – not simple vandalism. Carson put his head down. Why was everyone against him? He hoped he could score some weed pretty soon. He needed to float awhile. Shit! He really needed to get high.

Zeke and Bryan were somewhat relieved to find out that Carson had vandalized their car because of the sentence he had received in student court more than for the fact that they were gay. It made them feel less vulnerable knowing it was not a random act of hate against gays even though it was charged against Carson as a hate crime.

Carson seemed to have acted alone. There was no evidence that Sean had been a part of the car painting. Sean had attended the court hearing. He wasn't the only student present; lots of kids wondered how it would turn out. Sean was beginning to feel like his sentence wasn't so bad after all.

The ironic thing about the turn of events was that Sean made the most of his community service obligations. He was resistant at first, but came to enjoy the time he spent tutoring elementary students. Some of the little kids were so starved for attention from big people that they practically sat on his lap when he worked with them.

Compared with Sean, the younger kids in the after-school program had nothing (at least in material goods); however, they had love which they freely gave. The experience began to change Sean's outlook on life; his heart started to soften.

The weekly drug testing kept him clean. His parents' lock on the liquor cabinet along with their tight reins on his activities and associates helped keep him on track. His grades began to improve along with his attitude.

The student council reps took their job seriously. In early November, the first evening meeting for the new organization took place. An unusually large number of students came out for it. Dr. Carlson said that he couldn't remember so many kids coming to anything that wasn't required except for a sporting or fine-arts event.

Several students took their turn at the mike to talk in favor of the club. A Muslim girl, Sabrina, who wore a head-scarf, told of how she'd been made fun of because of her religious beliefs.

One boy who was somewhat mentally challenged talked about how much it hurt to be called a "sped." Another boy talked about feeling left out because he wasn't good at sports. Fortunately, he could sing and was finding friends in choir.

Sam got up and told how he had been bullied his freshman year by bigger guys who didn't like him because he was a nerdy little kid who did well in class. He put his arms on the shoulders of Bryan and Zeke as he told the assembled group that these two gay guys had made him over to be the "cool dude" he was today. Then he laughed.

"Okay, so I'm still a nerdy over-achiever, but they befriended me and gave me the confidence to go on and actually enjoy high school. I wouldn't be standing up here in front of you if they hadn't been nice to me. I might not be alive."

That last statement made Bryan and Zeke swallow hard.

The business part of the meeting ran for more than an hour and a half. During the time, a lot of progress was made. Students generated a list of possible topics for speakers and panels to cover at future meetings. They decided on some other organizational issues as well. They put off the naming of the organization and the electing of officers until the next meeting.

At 9:00, Zeke adjourned that part of the meeting so there would be time to socialize. Cathy Epworth had tapped into some income from the vending machines to provide punch and cookies. She had thoughtfully purchased some fresh fruit for those trying to control their calorie intake.

From the din in the foyer of the little theater, the students were having a great time. Kids who had never spoken to each other before were now engaged in conversation. Whether or not it was serious talk didn't matter. Students were communicating. Ms. Epworth and Dr. Carlson smiled. It was happening!

At Thanksgiving time, Bryan and Zeke announced to their gathered families that they planned to commit to each other in the summer. They would wait until Zeke's 18th birthday, but they didn't want to wait a moment longer. Zeke was all for having a ceremony on his birthday. If it couldn't be arranged, he would like it to be the next day of so for sure.

Both families reacted to the announcement as the boys had hoped. The women began to plan how they would host the event. Did the boys want a big crowd or a small one? Would they be "married" in an outdoor setting like some of the other gay couples, or would they want a hall or sanctuary? It was fun to hear them. You would have thought that both were the mother of the bride.

To seal their engagement, the boys had purchased larger diamond studs for each other. Instead of rings, they had earrings. It was fitting.

Thanksgiving night, they returned to their apartment to cuddle in their own bed. They spent a long time talking about plans while exchanging little kisses. Pretty soon the kisses became longer and more serious. The oral stimulation went to other parts of the body until they were in their favorite position nursing on each other's cock. They took the long road, backing off at the last minute a couple of times. Finally, they could no longer stand the wait. Their orgasms were almost perfectly timed.

One night in early December, the boys came home from school to find an old red car in front of the house. Marc Morris and Trevor Thomas were huddled inside trying to keep warm without wasting gas to run the heater.

"Guys, what a great surprise! Can you stay?" Zeke asked as he and Bryan piled out of the car.

Then, he realized that both of their friends looked like they had lost THEIR last friend.

"Can you guys put us up for a couple of nights?" Marc asked as they all hugged.

"Sure!" Zeke and Bryan answered in unison.

"We didn't mean to come here without calling or emailing first, but it's an emergency." Trevor said. "We have nowhere to go unless we can get my grandma to take us in."

"What happened?" Bryan asked.

The two friends took turns telling the story as the boys all carried some of their things into the apartment. It had come about because the high school had an in-service day when the middle school and elementary didn't. Marc and Trevor had seized the opportunity to have some time together to make love. They were in Marc's bed sucking and moaning with the door locked when Marc's younger sister, Mindy, came home. She had been jealous that she didn't get the day off and had faked being sick.

Hearing the sounds from the bedroom, the girl had used the tool which was kept around to open the bathroom lock in case of emergency. It worked on the bedroom doors as well and she had walked in on them.

They had begged her not to tell. They had promised her all sorts of bribes, but to no avail. She couldn't wait to rat on her brother.

Trevor wouldn't leave Marc to face his parents alone. It didn't matter, because when both sets of parents got together, they decided to throw the guys out unless they promised to split up and never see each other again. Since both had already turned 18, they had no options. They were adults and their parents weren't legally responsible for them. Mindy cried and tried to recant her story, but it was too late; the damage had been done.

Marc was still angry with his sister, but agreed he would probably forgive her in time. Right now, he wasn't sure how long it would take. Trevor had one big regret; that was how this all would affect his younger brother, Trent. Trent had always been his bud and still was. But Trevor knew life in the little conservative community of Bentonville, IA would be more difficult for Trent once word got around that his older brother was a queer.

Trevor's grandmother was in Florida with her other daughter, but should return within a few days. Until that time, the two had nowhere to stay. If she turned them down, they would have to figure out something else.

Zeke and Bryan didn't hesitate. They made up the air mattress bed for their guests. Next, they started to plan dinner. Zeke figured they had enough pasta to stretch the meal he and Bryan were going to make for the two of them. He was trying to figure out what else to make to fill everyone up, when the phone rang. The caller was Mary asking if the guys had started dinner or if they wanted to come over to eat with Brad and her.

When Bryan explained about their guests, Mary quickly invited them all to come over. She knew how to prepare for a group of hungry teens. She thought a hearty meal of steaks on the grill might be in order. Brad could do the grilling when he got home. A quick trip to the Fareway and she would have it all under control. Zeke was happy to relinquish his role as cook for the evening. It would give him time to plan for tomorrow night.

At the Stillwell's house, Brad and Mary listened sympathetically to the story as it was told again. Marc blushed as he said they had been caught in an "awkward" position. Zeke bit his lip to keep from smirking. He and Bryan had tried a few things that proved to be awkward and had settled on 69 for the most part. They had nearly been caught a couple of times (besides the time he didn't know about when Mary had come early home and found them napping naked in each other's arms).

Mary said she would help Marc and Trevor get their records transferred so they wouldn't lose credits. She advised them to contact Doug Newman about petitioning for eligibility on the wrestling team.

"You don't want to lose the chances at scholarships. You'll need all the financial help you can get if your families won't stand by you. If you're on your own, you should be able to apply for some need-based ones as well."

"I don't know how we could possibly swing college," Trevor said sadly. "We were barely going to make it with scholarships, loans, and help from our families."

Zeke got a serious look on his face. Bryan could almost see the wheels turning in his lover's head.

"I am having a minor brainstorm here," Zeke exclaimed. "I have to talk to Bryan in private for a minute."

The boys went into the next room where Zeke began to outline the plan forming in his mind. He proposed that they take part of their reward money and buy a mobile home with two or three bedrooms – a place which would be large enough for the four of them to share without being right on top of each other. Bryan was excited about the idea though he suggested not having a place so big that the two of them couldn't be "on top of each other."

Zeke snickered as he continued, "We could probably all live a lot cheaper than if we lived in the dorms. Plus, we could sell it for something at the end of four years as long as we kept it in good shape."

They quickly discussed a few more details before joining the others. Bryan was beaming as he announced Zeke's idea.

"My wonderful man has just come up with a viable solution. It will be good for all of us and help make it possible for you guys to get your education. We have been blessed with more money than we need for our schooling. We're pretty sure Mr. Wood will modify our scholarships to apply the board and room money toward purchasing a mobile home. That way, the four of us could live as cheaply as two."

Brad and Mary had to agree the plan was pretty well thought-out. Brad suggested they begin looking to see what units were on the market and what they were selling for. He said they might get a better bargain if they were to buy it in the spring when graduates were leaving the area and eager to sell.

By the time Marc and Trevor had eaten their fill and basked in the love of Bryan's parents, they looked much happier. For the first time in 24 hours, they were hopeful that they could survive "with a little help from their friends."

Despite being horny teenagers, no one made love in Zeke and Bryan's apartment that night. Instead, two pairs of lovers cuddled in the security of their respective lovers' arms. Bryan and Zeke talked excitedly about how to turn Zeke's plan into a reality.

Marc and Trevor cried and laughed together. They cried for the loss of their families, but shared joy at the generosity of their friends. They had lost in one area, but gained in another. Now they were out and free. Bryan's parents had accepted them without question. If Trevor's grandmother, Rena, came through, it might be possible to make it through school after all.

The next day was Friday. Mary made good on her promise to see about school records. She called the apartment about 11:00 to ask Marc and Trevor to come in to see the counselor after lunch. Her call had caught them in another "awkward position." Trevor had to make sure he had swallowed his lover's entire offering before picking up the phone. He was grinning all over as he stood naked talking with Bryan's mom with traces of semen drying on his face.

After meeting with the counselor, Trevor and Marc hung around in Mary's room until they could see Doug Newman. He was happy at the prospect of having these two talented wrestlers on his team, but was worried about whether they could change schools without losing their eligibility. The boys were reluctant to tell the young coach everything. They were afraid he might not want them on his squad.

Finally, Trevor bit his lip and went for it. When Trevor had finished telling his PG rated version of their story, Doug sat back in his chair with a frown on his face. The boys thought perhaps he was angry, but it was just his concentration pose.

"Guys, I want to let you know I'll do everything I can to get you on my team. You're both excellent athletes. With your addition, Cosgrove could be a powerhouse this season. I think since you're moving here of necessity and not your own free will, we should be able to successfully petition on your behalf."

The two young men relaxed visibly.

"We were afraid you might not want a couple of 'fags' on your team." Trevor said.

Doug smiled, "Well, I have at least two other gay guys already. Also, I don't think my brother and his partner would like you to use the word 'fags.'"

The boys' eyes widened. They couldn't believe how accepting this young married hunk of a coach was. Their day was getting better by the hour.

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