An Overheard Conversation

by Ivor Slipper

Chapter 12

It was a bright moonlit night. I was standing at my bedroom window looking up into the thousands of stars I could see while knowing there were millions more beyond them that existed, but were not visible to me. It had occurred to me earlier that perhaps that was where Wayne had gone – gone to find that box into which he'd somehow managed to place his troubled past and send out into the heavens.

He'd talked of doing that to them once, over three years ago now on the night my father had managed to convince the school board to fire Jackson and also remove the other members of the little group who had troubled the pair of us. I had no idea why he would want to go and find a box containing his past troubles, but equally I had no idea why he had suddenly vanished a couple of weeks ago, giving me no explanation of why, where he was going, or when he would be back.

Indeed, was he ever coming back was now my worry as I'd heard nothing from him since he disappeared? I knew I was feeling very lonely and wistful, thinking those sort of thoughts. I'd also become rather tetchy and had snapped at my mom a couple of times in the last few days, something that never happened normally. The problem was because prior to that day we had seen each other virtually every day since the one on which I'd first spoken to him. I'd racked my brains to think of why he would simply vanish. Admittedly there were some things that needed to be resolved about the future, but in my view those ought to be discussed between us. I was now beginning to wonder if something had happened to him. Perhaps he'd had an accident and was lying unconscious in a hospital bed somewhere. Perhaps, heaven forbid, he was even dead. If he had, also heaven forbid, decided to leave, then surely he would have told me rather than just walk away after all we had experienced together in the last three or so years?

Life at school had definitely changed for the better since then. A new Principal and VP had arrived at the start of the next semester and the whole ethos of the school seemed to change with their arrival. Instead of a paddling being the inevitable consequence of any kid stepping out of line, now detentions were often used instead. Mind you there were a few kids who always maintained they'd prefer to be paddled and get it over rather than spend an hour or more in detention, or even have to come to school on a Saturday. I guessed some people were never satisfied and suspected most of those saying that had never experienced it.

Indeed the mood in the school also changed and kids seemed happier. Once the new management was in place I persuaded Wayne to join the swim team with me. This time we were welcomed with open arms by the new captain and vice captain and most of the other members. There were though a couple of members who left because Wayne had joined. The captain assured us they would not be a loss. The following year I was persuaded to enter the state championships and placed third overall in the 100 freestyle. The year after that I took part again and this time placed second in both the 100 and 200 free, behind someone who later went on to represent the US in the Olympics.

At the time things changed at school, based on some subtle hints from my mom, Wayne and I had talked about the amount of time he was spending at our house. She was evidently worried that people would start talking and gossip would spread. We could both see her point and came to an agreement that Wayne would spend weekdays sleeping in his grandparent's trailer and just the weekend at ours. We knew other boys at the school often had sleepovers, especially at weekends, so were confident us doing so would not be considered odd.

I did miss having Wayne sharing my bed almost every night and I was sure he felt the same. However, with all the swimming practice we were both doing there were other things to keep us both occupied.

Soon after that I asked Jerry to come round one day after school. I used the pretense of needing some help from him on calculus, but it was really because I felt sorry for him. Without what he'd done I don't think we'd have been able to get the school to remove Jackson and his allies. For doing that Jerry had been thrown out by his father and was now living with his aunt and her two daughters, both of whom much resented his presence. After he'd come round once it was easy to just ask him to come again and he often ended up staying with us for a meal and then spending the evening with me in my room. I'd told Wayne what I was doing and he had no problems about it as he agreed we owed Jerry as he had almost lost while we'd won.

One evening we were sat in my room, talking about this and that, when Wayne's name was mentioned.

"He's special to you, isn't he Ethan?"

"What do you mean?" I asked, wondering where this was heading.

"Oh, don't worry, Ethan. You conceal it very well and he never gives anything away. But sometimes I notice the way in which you look at him and I can tell there is a different relationship between you and him to what you have with anyone else."

"Well, I did feel sorry for how he was being treated and we got on well together. I thought he needed a friend – and so did I."

"I know that," he responded, "but it grew into something else didn't it? I wish I could have that sort of relationship with someone."

I was surprised to hear that. He was virtually declaring himself to be gay. I decided to take a chance and ask a question.

"I thought you and Willy...?"

He laughed, "Willy has that nice basement and some evenings I spend down there with him. But our relationship is what you might term 'friends with benefits' if you get me."

He said that while making the universal gesture, so I was clear what he meant.

"Ethan, I don't know if I'm gay or bi, or if it's just because I'm too scared to try talking to girls. I just envy you for knowing what you are and finding someone who is the same. Don't worry, your secret is safe with me."

I breathed a big sigh of relief. Although the atmosphere at school had improved, I was sure if it got out that Wayne and I were gay, things would quickly change.

One of my chores at home was to mow the yard, cut the edges of the grass and generally keep the outside of the house tidy. Somehow I always managed to delay doing that work until the weekend. Wayne would help and evidently enjoyed doing it as he'd also spend time with my mom helping her do other things outside like planting up containers and general weeding.

That gave me an idea and I went to a few of the neighboring houses asking if they wanted someone to mow their grass. Initially I just got about three takers and when I turned up at their homes I had Wayne with me. One of them changed his mind as soon as he saw Wayne, which confirmed my thinking that there would have been much less chance of getting any work if he had made the initial approaches. That just wasn't there when I was touting for work and once nearly everyone had got used to seeing the pair of us working and because we did a great job, it soon proved possible for Wayne to do work at houses on his own.

However, I did enjoy doing the work with him, and not just because it gave us a chance to be together. For me there was a lot of attraction seeing him in just work boots, a pair of tight denim cut-offs and bare chested in the sun. The perspiration running down his bare, brown torso was such a turn on I could hardly keep my hands off him! Once we'd returned home and into my bedroom I'd get him to lie on the bed while I licked the sweat off his chest, even under his armpits, before I could get my reward by removing those cut-offs and using my tongue to lick what had been hidden.

The business went so well that after I'd turned sixteen and passed my driving test dad bought me a pickup so I could transport a mower and other tools and it was possible to expand our business beyond the immediate neighborhood. Wayne also learned to drive; dad paid for his lessons, but Wayne insisted on repaying him from his portion of our earnings. He did do more of the work than me because I was also kept busy with my studies and the swimming practice, but we divided the money on that basis.

Earlier this year Wayne's father was finally released from prison. He served his full sentence – no parole was granted. He was though lucky in that he was offered a job at the factory where he used to work, albeit not such a good one. The manager there told him he'd never believed the stories told in court and was happy to have him back. I guess that proved that not everyone in this town was prejudiced. Mr Parnell never moved back with his wife, but obtained a one room apartment where Wayne quite often spent a night sleeping on a couch.

Luckily he was released in time to see Wayne graduate a few weeks ago. His grandpaw and grandma also came, but she didn't look at all well to me, very thin and gaunt. I overheard mom and dad talking about her later and the big C word was mentioned. I hope that isn't the case as I know Wayne will be devastated if she dies.

Our two families sat together for the ceremony along with Jerry and his mom, Willy and his parents and a few others who were in what I'd term our group. We tried to make as much noise as possible when Wayne went up on stage to collect his diploma to make up for those in the audience who refused to put their hands together.

I suppose it must have been after the graduation that whatever is bothering Wayne and caused him to disappear like this, came to a head.

Based in no small part on my swimming abilities I'd been offered a scholarship to San Diego State University, which, after much thought, I'd decided to accept. I'm going to do a major in English and perhaps a minor in European studies – might discover a few more European words to go with klootzak was my thinking!

Thing was at the point I'd virtually told my parents I'd decided to accept this offer, Dad told me that he also had the chance to move back there. What was more he'd never sold the house we'd lived in before moving to Texas but only rented it, so we could all move into the old house. That all sounded great to me.

Of course the offer was also made to Wayne for him to move with us. There'd be no problem with him and I openly living together at our age in California. Dad had also asked Mr Parnell, assuming Wayne decided to come with us, if he also wanted to move as he was sure there would be little problem in him finding a job. Mr Parnell had considered the offer but declined because, as he'd said, he'd seen nothing of his parents for many years and did not want to move away from them again, especially because of their age. He didn't specifically mention his mother's health, but I was sure that was a major factor in his decision. I gather dad left his offer open should Mr Parnell change his mind in the future.

Undoubtedly Wayne must have a problem. The offer for him to move with us had been made some weeks ago, but he had so far given no indication of whether he was coming or not. I couldn't understand why he could possibly have a problem - if he loved me as I knew I loved him. Even if he didn't love me the same way it was a chance for him to get away from this town and its prejudice and to make a new life for himself. I had no doubt he could set up a little gardening business and make a living from it as well as be happy doing something he liked and being able to work outdoors. He could also, if he wanted, go to a Community College to get some further qualifications – perhaps even in the horticulture area. I just couldn't see what his problem was and it was frustrating me to hell.

Strangely the morning after I'd stood at the window with all those thoughts. Wayne drew up on our drive in the pickup. He came into the kitchen, greeted my mom with a hug and a kiss, before turning to me. I was sat at the kitchen table finishing off a plate of scrambled egg and bacon.

"Ethan, I am taking you away for a few days – three maybe four. Be ready to go at this time tomorrow as I need today to organise some things."

I felt like asking him where the fuck he'd been for the last couple of weeks, and then to top that he'd simply told me what I was going to do without even asking if it fitted with any plans I might have.

Mum laughed, "If you could see your face Ethan... And close your mouth before that last mouthful falls out."

I couldn't remain angry after that. "Alright big chief, what do I need to pack?"

"You won't need your tuxedo for sure," he responded, "we're not going anywhere posh."

The next morning he arrived as promised. I'd packed some clothes and toiletries into my backpack and a rucksack and walked out to the truck. I could see an assortment of things on the bed including what looked like a couple of sleeping bags, a few cool boxes, some apparently full containers of water and what looked suspiciously like it might be a tent.

I opened the passenger door and climbed in. We said 'Hi' to each other. I didn't expect a kiss as we'd always made sure not to show our feeling for each other in public, so wasn't disappointed when one wasn't offered.

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"You'll find out when we get there," was his response.

"Not good enough Wayne. After this long silence I need to know something."

"I'm sorry about that, Ethan," he said, putting a hand on my thigh. It was good to feel the touch of his hand on my bare skin again. I could feel my dick jerk in response.

"I had things in my own mind I needed to sort out and for that I wanted to be alone, hard though that was."

That sounded both interesting and also promising. So he had missed me.

"I will tell you it will be quite a long journey. Perhaps four to five hours. We are going to Colorado."

"Colorado!" I exclaimed, "why Colorado?"

"Sit back and enjoy the ride and admire the scenery," he said with a laugh, knowing that there would be little to see for most of the trip.

So we set out and soon joined I-27 heading more or less north. We talked for a while as I brought him up to date on things that had happened in his absence. He obviously wasn't going to tell me what he'd been doing so once the conversation petered out he turned the radio on and we sang along to some of the pop tunes we knew.

It wasn't long after we'd entered Colorado that I saw a sign and realized where we were going – the Comanche National Grasslands. That was one puzzle solved, but I still didn't know why we were coming here. Eventually, after a stop along the way to eat what Wayne said would be our last waitress served meal for the duration, we arrived at our destination. I say destination, but I discovered we could camp virtually anywhere. Let's just say we were near the Carizzo Picnic Area because, as Wayne pointed out, that had a swimming hole! We lost little time in getting out of our clothes and making use of it and luckily there were few people around. Then he drove on until he finally found a spot which he decided was right to set up camp.

We pitched the tent close by an area of flat rock where he considered it would be safe to have a small fire, although he wasn't intending to cook as he considered that should only be done at one of the approved camp sites. We settled for some cold food and drinks that he'd brought with him. We spread a blanket on the ground and laid the sleeping bags on top of it. Then we settled down side by side, initially just holding hands as the sun slowly sank and the stars began to appear in the sky followed by a small crescent moon.

"Wayne, it's so beautiful and peaceful here."

"I hoped you'd like it Ethan. It means a lot to me this area, what was once the home of my people."

Just then an owl hooted in the distance. I felt a little shiver and tried to think of how it must have been for the Comanche to live here, before we came along and changed their way of life, taking their lands and killing so many of them. While Wayne might be a half breed by birth, I knew his inner self was wholly Comanche. I'd had never been here before, but there was definitely something about the place that was affecting me, as if the land itself was trying to let me into its secrets.

Wayne rolled over and kissed me. "I've been here for most of the time I've been away. I've walked the grasslands, the river valleys and climbed the ridges and hills. I needed to somehow absorb what was left here of my heritage, but it was unfair of me to leave you like that."

"It doesn't matter, Wayne. I can't really start to understand what this place means to you, but even I can feel there is something special about it."

"Ethan, I was always going to come with you." We were now lying face to face and I looked at him in surprise. "Yes, little kwihnai was always going to fly away as my father said, but somehow I needed to come here first."

"Do you remember your grandma saying something to me once and you asked me what she said? I told you I couldn't understand her words."

He nodded, "Vaguely, yes. I think I said she must have spoken Comanche."

I gave a little laugh. "No, it was English and I somehow just couldn't bring myself to tell you."

"So what did she say?"

"She told me that I would find a happy place to pitch my tent – and today I have."

He chuckled, "My grandma is supposed to be far seeing."

I pulled him close and we kissed, allowing our tongues to fight their own little battle. Ethan finally broke the kiss and pulled his head slightly away.

"Before little kwihnai flies away, there is something we must do," he said softly, just kissing my lips as he finished speaking.

"What's that?"

"Here on these grounds, Ethan Berenson, I give my heart and my soul to you."

He stood up then and proceeded to strip naked. Having done that I could briefly see his body outlined in the moonlight before he bent down, took my hand and pulled me to my feet.

"Now is the time for me to feel you inside me, for you to make love to me."

I gasped. I'd long thought of making love to Ethan, but this had taken me totally by surprise. And yet it seemed so right in both place and time.

"It is also time for me to feel you inside me little kwihnai, for you to make love to me. You do not know for how long I have dreamed of discovering what it feels like to have you joined deep inside me."

I proceeded to strip naked and stood before him. He looked at me as I finished undressing, his eyes going from my head to my toes. He closed the distance between us and ran his hands down my side.

"I am glad you used that name, but for me to do that to you is not necessary, my paleface tseena," he whispered to me.

"It seemed right for this place for me to use that name, but what does tseena mean." I whispered back, hearing the grass rustle in a sudden slight breeze.

He gave a little chuckle at my attempt to pronounce the word, "It is Comanche for dog and you have been faithful to me through everything, just like a dog."

I laughed at the idea, "I just hope the dog and the little eagle get on with each other."

"These two will, I know."

I lowered my head and gave one of his nipples a little bite. ..He jerked as I knew from experience he would.

"A dog does not bite his master," he said laughing.

"No, but you are not my master," I replied moving my position so I could lick the other one.

"Nor would I want to be. If I remember right at the end of our first ever conversation I agreed to be your pardner."

I'd forgotten about that until he mentioned it when that day came flooding back. "Do you think we can be pardners for life?" I asked, looking up to gaze into his eyes.

"For life and more pardner," he said as he lowered his head to kiss me.

We lay down on top of the sleeping bags and for the first of what I was sure would be very many hundreds of times, I made love to Wayne. As I came inside him I was sure I heard a coyote howl in the distance with that howl being returned a few seconds later by perhaps its mate.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead