Nick's Story

by Nick Brady

Chapter 8

It was almost midnight when I slipped into the bedroom. Kevin was lying on his back with his hands folded across his chest like a corpse, except that he was snoring softly. Good old Kevin. I undressed, folding the suit up and putting it back on its hanger. The tie went around the hanger and the shirt I pitched into the laundry basket. The suit was cool but it felt good to be down to my briefs.

I laid down on my bed and looked over at the other side of the room where Kevin had turned over on his side. He was facing me but still breathing steadily. I closed my eyes and could still hear the music ringing in my ears. When cars drove down the street their tire noise seemed to make piano chords. I thought of Joseph and imagined his long fingers and his gentle manner. He was so cool and different from any other guy I ever met. I thought of the way his leg felt next to mine in the truck and how he had held my hand in both of his when we shook hands good night. I could almost feel the warmth of his strong hands now, and I was aware of my dick lifting up inside my briefs.

I sighed and slid my hand down into my underwear to let my dick flip over onto my belly and pressed my palm down on it, imagining that it was Joseph's hand. I wondered what he looked like under that tux. He was thin but his hands looked so strong. Was it true that if you had long fingers you had a long dong? I wrapped my fingers around my dick and began to stroke it inside my briefs. I was just a little longer than 6 inches now and my fringe of red pubic hair was beginning to spread.

I wondered what Joseph looked like and tried to imagine him naked. Pushing my briefs down now to fist myself and release the load in my balls which were beginning to draw up closer. Reaching down to get a fist full of skin to pull up over the head of my cock then stretch it down, exposing the head, squeezing tighter and pumping faster.

I reached out with my free arm and picked a sock up off the floor and pulled it open and plunged it over my hard dick. Now I could jack myself as fast as I wanted and not worry about the mess, pulling down on the sock exposed my dick head to the cotton knit and made some friction in contrast to the smooth foreskin on the up stroke. I licked my lips and wondered if Joseph would like to kiss with me, imagined his bare chest against mine and his breath on my neck. I could feel my cum start to rise like a warm ball deep in my belly expanding and thrusting itself out through my piss slit. Arching my back I filled the sock with spurt after spurt of hot cum, feeling it coat the head of my dick and cover the inside of the sock with warm slippery semen. I pushed my balls up into my body and rubbed the base of my dick where it curved down under my balls towards my ass hole and felt the last pulse deep in the root of my dick.

I relaxed and laid the small of my back against the damp sheet and milked the last drops of cum out into the wet sock, wiped of my dick with the outside of it and dropped it back on the floor. I could smell the faint pungent odor of semen when I handled the sock, and licked a few gobs from my fingers, remembering the taste of cum -- mine, Tony's, maybe Joseph's. I let out a long breath and pulled my briefs back up over my shrinking cock, and felt myself sinking into sleep. Tomorrow was the picnic.

Something startled me out of a sound sleep and it was a minute before I figured out what it was, then Kevin sneezed again.

"Bless you" I said, opening one eye as he sneezed violently a third time.

"Thanks, excuse me, whatever" Kevin gasped, trying to catch his breath. He sat on the edge of his bed in his briefs, blew his nose into a sock, and sniffed loudly.

I glanced down at the floor next to my bed and noted that my dirty socks from the night before were still there. "You OK?"

"Yeah, I just had a sneezing fit is all"

I looked at the clock and saw that it was a little after 8:00 AM, and remembered the picnic. I jumped out of bed and pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, and trotted barefoot into the bathroom to relieve myself. I threw some cold water on my face and rubbed the sleep from my eyes, dried my face and headed for the kitchen where Mom was pouring her coffee.

"Hey Mom!" I said, louder than I intended."

"What?" she said, and jumped so hard she spilled a little coffee on the counter.

One look told me that I had startled her, "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. I just wanted to ask you something."

"What, for heaven's sake?"

"Joseph invited me to a picnic at his church today, and it's the same church that Jack goes to, and I really want to go."

"Slow down. What church, what picnic, and who is Joseph?" Mom gave me an exasperated look, and then her face softened. "I haven't even heard about the recital you went to last night. How was it?"

"Oh Mom, it was the coolest thing. There were five kids playing fiddles, or violins or whatever, and a boy who played the piano -- no, I mean there were five in all, and just one played the piano. They all played at once and everyone was playing something different but it went together really neat and sounded so cool. After the recital Jack took me up and introduced me to the boy on the piano, that's Joseph and Jack knows his family, and then we went out for pizza and he is really a cool guy Mom, and he invited us to a picnic with his church. Well, he invited me to the picnic, Jack already goes there, but it will be cool and I really want to go, can I please?"

My mother was watching me with a crooked smile and kind of an amazed look on her face. "Did you really say all that in one breath?" she asked.

I took a deep breath and exhaled. "Sorry. The recital was cool, Jack introduced me to a boy named Joseph who was one of the players, and then we went out for pizza. Joseph invited me to come with Jack to a picnic after church at Trinity Episcopal. May I go please?"

Mom looked kind of funny and I think she was trying not to laugh, which was a good sign. "Did you really like the music? What did they play?"

"Hang on" I said and raced back into the bedroom and dug the program out of my coat pocket and ran back to the kitchen. "Here. You can read it. The fish thing was the best part."

Mom read the program, then closed her eyes, leaned her head back and laughed as loud as I have ever heard her. "The fish thing? The Trout?" and she laughed again. "That's funny Nicky."

I could feel my face getting hot. "I'm sorry. Don't laugh at me."

Mom stepped over and hugged me with the program still in her hand. "Honey, I'm not laughing at you -- well, maybe I am in a way, but I'm not making fun of you. You are just so funny sometimes." and she laughed again. "There just isn't anything half way about you is there Nicky?"

"Ah Mom, I'm sorry, I just really had a good time and I wanted to see my friend again. Jack will be there, Can't I just go?"

Mom leaned back against the kitchen counter and took a long sip from her cup of coffee and smiled at me. "Are you sure Jack is going?"

"He said to ask you and if it is OK then I should go tell him and we can go together."

"When is the picnic, after church? Are you and Jack going to church with your friend? she asked.

"Uh, I dunno, we didn't talk about that. I guess so."

"Well, if you are going to the church picnic it might be nice if you went to church." Mom smiled.

"So can I go?" I pleaded.

Mom studied on it for a minute then said, "You go up and check with Jack to be sure he is going, and find out the time, and I will talk to your father about it."

That was as close to a yes as I was going to get so I shot out of the kitchen without another word and bounded up the stairs to Jack's apartment on the third floor. I banged on the door with my knuckles and waited for about 5 seconds then knocked again.

"Jack? Hey Jack?"

I heard a muffled voice from inside and a few moments later the lock rattled and jack opened the door.

Jack was wearing an old flannel bathrobe and his eyes looked funny, like they were not looking in the same direction. Jack scowled a little, "No coffee?"

I slipped in and gave Jack a hug, sticking my nose into the front of his bathrobe. "Sorry." I could still smell some of the nice cologne he wore the night before along with his Jack smell.

Jack side stepped me and walked over to his kitchenette and ran some water from the sink into a percolator. "What's the plan?" he asked without looking at me.

"Mom says I can go to the picnic if you are, and if we go to church first. Well, she said to check with you and she would talk about it with Dad which is the same thing."

"Sunday School is at 9:00, and church is at 10:30. I don't usually make it to Sunday School. The picnic will be right after church about 12:00 at Woodward Park. Actually we are supposed to bring something. It's like a covered dish thing," and he plugged in the coffee pot.

"Are you bringing something?" I asked.

"I will probably swing by the chicken place and grab a bucket on the way to the park." Jack pulled his bathrobe together across his chest and gave me a look that said that he had told me all I needed to know. "Come and tell me if your Mom and Dad change the plan, otherwise I will come by your apartment about 10:00, OK?"

"Uh, OK." I said, and took off back downstairs to tell Mom.

Jack will come by for me at 10:00 for church and the picnic is afterward at Woodward Park" I said as I walked into the kitchen. "And Jack says that I am supposed to bring something."

"I'm making some potato salad for you to take." Mom said as she checked a pot that was starting to boil on the stove. "Your father went out and got us some doughnuts for breakfast. Go see if Kevin is ready. And put on something nice besides jeans and a t-shirt. Some khakis and one of those new knit shirts with a collar would be nice."

Kevin was already dressed for church when I went in the bedroom. When we were younger we all went to Sunday School and church at First Methodist together. As time went on, Mom and Dad and I went to Sunday School from time to time but had basically quit going to the regular church service. We went about half the time but it didn't take a whole lot to make an excuse for not going. But Kevin still went early for Sunday School, walked over there every Sunday by himself. He said he liked the class.

"What's up?" Kevin asked as I started to change clothes.

I repeated my account of the recital and of meeting Joseph and going with Jack for pizza, and taking Joseph home to this mansion, and then I told him about the picnic. He leaned back against the wall with his arms folded across his chest and listened in silence.

Kevin looked thoughtful and nodded his head a couple of times. "What's Joseph like?"

It seemed like Kevin could always sort through things and find the one thing that was most significant. He is really neat." I said. "He's different from any other guy I ever met." And I tried to explain what Joseph was like, or how he seemed to be. "He's real smart and he knows so much, and you should hear him play the piano, and he likes baseball! He's maybe gonna come to our finals game next Saturday."

Kevin smiled his most mysterious smile and nodded his head, saying, "That's good Nick. That's really cool."

I finished dressing and went in the kitchen to fresh warm doughnuts and cold sweet milk. I had to repeat my story about the recital and the picnic for Dad. But Mom had talked to him while I was upstairs and it was clear that I was going. I was pretty excited.

At ten of 10:00 I trotted up the stairs to Jack's with a Tupperware bowl of Mom's best potato salad. Jack's door was open so I walked in to see him sitting on the old sofa wearing brown slacks and a tweed sport coat with a white shirt and yellow tie. I could smell that nice cologne again.

"Hey", I said.

"Hey yourself" Jack said. "You look nice."

"Am I OK? Should I be wearing a tie?" I asked thinking about the concert the night before.

"No, no" Jack said, "Navy polo shirt and khakis -- you look fine. Whatcha got there?"

"Mom's potato salad. Potatoes, onion, sweet pickles, and mayonnaise -- no mustard."

Jack wiggled his eyebrows, "Works for me. Let's go if you're ready."

We clomped down the stairs and out the back to Jack's truck. He drove over to Trinity and parked across the street, then walked into the grey cut granite cathedral.

"How will we find Joseph?" I asked Jack. "This place is big."

Jack said, "If they are here already, they usually sit about a third of the way back from the front on the left side." and I followed him up the left side aisle until we spotted Joseph and his mother. We turned into their pew and Joseph looked up and saw us.

"Oh, I'm so glad you could make it." Joseph whispered through a wide smile, scooting over to make room. "Have you met my mother? Mother, this is Nick Brady, and of course you know Jack. Nick, this is my mother, Irene Anderson."

"Nice to meet you" I whispered back. His mother extended her hand and said softly, "Hello, please call me Irene. Joseph tells me you are a baseball player."

I smiled and said Yes Ma'am and felt Jack tug down on my shirt. I took the hint and sat quietly next to Joseph. People were coming in and kneeling down on little cushions to pray and I could see that I was to be quiet. After a few minutes Joseph's father joined us and sat on the other end from Jack and me.

The church service was cool. It was fancier than the one at the Methodist church. Some kids my age walked down the center aisle carrying a cross and lighted candles, then a big choir wearing long blue robes, and then the ministers wearing really pretty capes over long white robes. It was neat. The service was kind of confusing because everybody kept standing, and sitting, and kneeling, and reading things out of some red books. Some of the things sounded familiar and I had heard them at my church, but a lot of it was different. Sometimes instead of reading the things in the book, they sang the words to music. I didn't see any notes but everyone seemed to know the tune, and it sounded really nice.

Finally it was about over and the head guy reminded everybody about the picnic at Woodward Park and said not to worry about food because there would be plenty -- something about loaves and fishes. Then all the people at the front walked out singing just like they had come in. When they were all at the back of the church the preacher said something, and then in a very loud voice, "Alleluia!", and everybody yelled "Alleluia" back at him. Then Jack looked at me and said that was it.

I got introduced to Joseph's father who did not tell me his first name so I said, "Nice to meet you Mr. Anderson." Jack offered to take Joseph to the park with us and his parents agreed, saying that they would meet us there.

It took a few minutes to walk out of the church because everybody was lined up to shake hands with the preachers. When we finally got to the street, Jack got in the drivers side of the truck and I slid in next to him from the passenger side, then Joseph sat next to me, just like when we went for pizza.

"What did you think of the service?" Joseph asked.

I said, "It was fancy."

Joseph said, "It is rather long and tedious actually, but I like it. All that ceremony is very traditional you know."

"That's cool. I am kind of used to not knowing what is going on." I said, and we all laughed.

Jack stopped by the Colonel on the way to the park and we rode the rest of the way with the powerful aroma of fried chicken pouring out of the bucket on my lap. The bucket was warm, and I was pressed in by Jack on one side and Joseph on the other. That combined with the excitement of seeing Joseph again gave me a boner. I was OK as long as the bucket of chicken was in my lap, but I knew I was going to have a problem when I got out of the truck.

We drove in the park past the Rose Garden and parked along the curve at the top of the hill. Jack and Joseph stepped out and I managed to get one hand in my lap and adjust my dick up flat against my belly so it wouldn;t show under the loose khakis. I was grateful I had not worn tight jeans. I followed Jack to the picnic area with the bucket held in front of my trousers. Once there, I laid the chicken on the table and sat down on a bench. I think Jack knew what was going on because he had a crooked grin on his face, but Joseph looked worried.

"Are you alright?" he asked.

"Sure, I just needed to sit down for a minute." I said.

Joseph sat down next to me as if that was what we had intended to do all along. He still looked a little concerned. Just then his mom and dad walked up. Joseph stood to greet them and without thinking, so did I. I didn't dare look down to see if my boner showed because that would draw attention to it, so I stuck my left hand in my pocket to push out the front of my pants, and extended my right hand to shake with Joseph's folks.

We made small talk with Jack while the rest of the people walked up and started filling a couple of long folding tables with the covered dishes. Jack fetched my potato salad and his chicken and put them on the table with the rest. When the preacher showed up he led a blessing for the food and people started to line up. After we had filled our plates Mrs Anderson led us over to where she had spread a cloth under a big Oak tree, and we sat cross-legged and started to eat.

I was busy eating so Mr. and Mrs Anderson did most of the talking. I found out that Mr. Anderson was a doctor who specialized in something I couldn't pronounce, and that Joseph had two older sisters who lived away. One was married with a family of her own, and the other was single and doing graduate work somewhere else. The younger sister was about 10 years older than Joseph so he was really like an only child. His parents were a lot older than my mom and dad. They were into the Philharmonic and the Opera Guild and things like that.

His mother was a music major in college and his dad said that he loved good music too, so I could see where Joseph got his talent. And since his parents liked music so much they probably encouraged him a lot. But I thought about what it must be like for him to live in that great big house with parents as old as most kid's grandparents. Maybe Jack was right. Maybe Joseph was pretty lonely and needed a friend.

Mrs Anderson asked me what I liked to do, and I replied "baseball" with a mouth full of chicken. Jack rescued me and told them that I was a good baseball player, an excellent swimmer and an all around great guy. I was glad he said all that but I couldn't have done it with a straight face.

Mrs Anderson was doing most of the talking but I was looking at Joseph. He was eating carefully out of his plate spread out on a napkin over his lap. He was listening to his mother but he kept looking at me, then looking away. When he looked at me again, I winked at him and he turned pink.

When we had finished eating, Joseph collected the paper plates and left to throw them in the trash. When he came back he was carrying a guitar case. He sat down cross-legged on the ground cloth and took a beautiful wooden guitar out of the case. It had a round hole in the top under the strings, and the neck was wider than the electric guitar that one of my other friends had. He started to bring it in tune and I could tell it had a nice sound. Then he began to play bits and pieces of things as if to get warmed up..

"Oh Joseph, play the Rodrigo." his mother said.

I don't really know that," he said, "I've just picked up sections of it from listening to the recording."

"Well play what you know, "she said, "It's so lovely."

Joseph didn't reply but tested a few chords to be sure he got started right, then began to play the guitar. It sounded like Spanish bullfighter music or something like that. I thought of something I saw on TV with dark haired ladies in big full dresses and men in high waisted jackets and boots dancing and stomping and whirling around in circles. Then it would get slow and melancholy and soft. He didn't play continuously but pieces of things, apologizing that it was all he could remember, or that the orchestra needed to fill in something. He was really talking with his mom and dad and they seemed to understand what he was talking about and were very encouraging. I didn't know enough to understand half of what he was saying, but I did know that the music was beautiful and that Joseph was unlike anybody I had ever met.

Finally he pushed the guitar away as if he was finished with it.

"That's all I can remember of that, I really don't know how to play." Joseph said.

I looked at him in amazement. "What do you mean? That was fantastic. I thought you played the piano, not the guitar."

Joseph seemed a little embarrassed, "I have some training on the piano, I just pick at the guitar and try to teach myself a few things."

"Play some more!" I asked.

Joseph seemed pleased by my request and picked up the guitar again. "I know some fun things." he said.

Joseph began to play first one thing after another. a verse or two of a Stone's song, a little of Bob Dylan's `Don't Think Twice', some of John Prine's `Everybody', The Beatles `Yellow Submarine', and bits and pieces of a lot of other things. He missed some of the notes, and he didn't remember all the words, but he was having fun with it, singing out in a soft baritone, and putting some guitar licks when he could. We all clapped for him and made him blush, then he started playing some blues. I recognized something that Eric Clapton had recorded but a lot of it I had not heard before. He talked about B. B. King, and somebody called Leadbelly. He said it was just stuff he had listened to from some old records of his father's, and his father said he had forgotten he even had those records.

This went on for about 30 minutes and Joseph really seemed to be enjoying it. I was amazed. I thought everything he did was terrific and told him so. He seemed pleased but then noticed that several other people had gathered close to listen. At that point he seemed embarrassed and put the guitar away.

"Don't stop!" I exclaimed. "It sounds great! Keep playing."

"No, no, that's enough. I am not a guitarist." and snapped the case shut. "But thank you. I'm pleased you enjoyed it."

Dr. Anderson stood and said that he really needed to go. We picked up after ourselves and I helped Mrs. Anderson fold up her ground cloth.

"Do you still want to come to my baseball game next Saturday?" I asked Joseph.

"Oh yes, that would be wonderful" he said, "May I?" he turned to his parents.

Jack offered, "I am going and can pick Joseph up and take him if that's alright with you?"

Joseph's parents looked at each other and nodded in agreement. "Yes, I think that would be very nice for Joseph, thank you for asking Nick." Dr. Anderson said. And if you would like to have something to eat after the game, I will send some money along with Joseph so he can treat this time."

"Great!" I said. We can make a day of it."

Joseph didn't say much but his eyes were sparkling with excitement. "Yes, that would be very nice" he said. "May I call you?" he asked.

"Sure." I said and Joseph wrote down my phone number. I took his and we promised to talk about it during the week.

We said our goodbyes and Jack and I walked back to his truck while Joseph and his parents went back in the other direction. I missed him already.

"Man! Did you hear Joseph play that guitar?" I exclaimed to Jack.

"Really." Jack said, "I can't believe he just taught himself to play like that. He has a real gift of music.

"And he is so cool about it. Most people who can play like that would be bragging about it." I said. "He acted like he couldn't play. I thought he was terrific."

Jack answered, "You have to understand that Joseph is very gifted and demands a lot out of himself. While he is pretty good on the guitar, he missed some notes, made some mistakes, and he is very sensitive about that."

"Well I think he is being too hard on himself"

Jack turned and looked at me. "Exactly. He is very demanding of himself. More demanding than his teachers. That drive for perfection is what will make him an outstanding musician.

"Geez, he makes me feel like a slacker. I don't feel that way about baseball or swimming."

"Well, you don't plan to make a living out of baseball or swimming, at least I don't think you do. For Joseph, his music is everything to him. He loves it and is kind of obsessed with it. If he were not, it would be harder for him to be successful"

Jack went on, "Joseph is really pretty lonely Nick. He lives in that big house with his mom and dad. They are nice people but kind of old to have a young teenager. They didn't expect to have another kid after his sisters. His father is a very successful surgeon and they are active in the arts and entertain a lot. He came along and they love him and do everything they can to encourage him, but it is hard for him to grow up surrounded by older adults. You are a breath of fresh air for him Nicky."

"That's what he said about you."

"Well, he needs some fresh air. He is very taken with you Nick. That guitar music was mostly for your benefit you know."

"Really?" I said. "I thought maybe he did that a lot."

"I have never heard him play before. Not guitar anyway. He probably can play several other instruments too. He is a natural talent." Jack said. His dad is working all hours and his mother does charity work. They have a housekeeper who is there so he isn't really alone, but in another way he is. I expect he doesn't have much else to do but listen to all kinds of music and teach himself things."

"I don't just hang out at my place. I play baseball, and swim, and run around on my bike. I would get pretty bored if I just stayed around home all the time."

"Sure you would," said Jack. "And so does he. But remember what he said about taking care of his hands.? His parents are very protective of him and he is naturally shy. Put that all together and you have one pretty isolated kid."

"Is that why you said he needed a friend? Is that why you took me to hear his recital?"

"Partly", said Jack. "And partly because I think you can use a good friend too."

"Well, Joseph's awesome, that's for sure."

Jack grinned at me as we got into the truck. "So are you Nicky."

Everybody was in the living room watching the tube when Jack let me off after the picnic. It was hot and Dad was in his recliner in an undershirt and Bermuda shorts, and Mom was on the sofa in a sleeveless sun dress. Kevin was on the other end of the sofa wearing cutoff jeans and a T-shirt. As usual he was half watching television while reading a book of some kind. They all looked at me when I walked in the front door carrying the empty potato salad bowl.

"Hey." I said.

"Well hello," Mom said, "How was the picnic?"

"It was fun," I said, "Jack brought me home."

"Well, what did you do? Were there games and things?" she asked.

"No, well I don't know if there were or not. I talked to Joseph and his family." I sat down on the easy chair and put the bowl on the side table. "Joseph plays the guitar. He played a lot of stuff and we just talked is all."

"You seem to be quite taken with Joseph." Mom said.

"He is really cool" I said. He plays the piano and the guitar and I don't know what else, and he's smart Mom. He seems older than just 14, but he isn't stuck up or anything. He's real nice."

"What is his family like? " Mom asked.

"They are nice." I said. He has two older sisters that are already grown and his parents are kind of old. Well not real old, but older than you and Dad. You know what I mean. His father is a doctor of some kind."

"What's his name?" Dad asked.

"His name is Anderson. I don't know his first name. Joseph's mother is Helen." I answered.

Dad said, "If he is Joseph Anderson senior there is an orthopedic surgeon by that name. Is he tall and lanky?"

"Yes, and he has kind of silver hair." I said.

"That's him." Dad said, "He's an excellent surgeon. I've heard of him." Dad almost looked impressed.

I said, "They seemed very nice but I didn't really talk to them that much. They were talking to some friends of theirs and I was talking to Joseph, and to Jack. Joseph likes baseball. I invited him to the ball game next Saturday and I think he is going to come."

"Isn't that the final game?" Mom asked.

"Yes ma'am." I said proudly.

"I think we all need to see that." Dad said.

"Cool," I said. Mom came to some of my regular games and Dad did too once in a while, but he was usually too busy.

"I'll be there." Kevin said, breaking his silence. Actually, Kevin came to a lot of my games. If Mom or Dad came he would ride with them. Even if they didn't make it a lot of times Kevin would tag along with me. He never said a lot about it but I guess he liked to watch.

"I guess everybody will be there." I said, "Jack is going to come and bring Joseph. That's neat. I'm glad you are coming."

Dad said, "I like to watch you play Nick. You have a lot of hustle. I'm sorry I haven't made more of your games."

"That's OK Dad, I understand." I did understand but it felt good to hear him pay me a complement.

Right at that moment I probably wouldn't have traded families with anybody. But at the same time I felt an unspoken concern about how they would feel if they knew about some of the things I kept secret. The thought gave me a cold shiver.

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