Christmas Eve 1975

by Rob Warr

Part 3

Thanksgiving was over and it was back to the grind of school, but at least we had Christmas to look forward to, and I wanted it to be the best ever. Little did I know it would be the Christmas that would change my life again, as well as those closest to me.

When we met up at school on Monday, Will told me that he and his mom had driven to his grandma and grandpa's house to see his dad, but that he wasn't there. His folks, Will's grandparents, said he had left that morning and they assumed he had gone home.

Hurrying back home expecting to find him there, Will and his mom were surprised to find that not only was his dad gone, but also most of his stuff. He'd packed up most of his clothes and a few other things and had taken off, according to Will. He'd left a note, but all Will would say about the note was that his dad still loved them, but that he couldn't be there with them right now.

I didn't press him about it, because I knew it was a sensitive subject, and besides I didn't want him breaking down and crying in school. That could be a death sentence for a 7th grader and everyone knew it. Instead I tried to keep his mind off things and even invited him over the next weekend. Even though I hadn't cleared it with anyone yet, I was sure my mom and granny would understand once I explained what Will was going through. Little did I know that they already knew about Will's folks and a whole lot more than I did.

The morning went by slowly, and by lunch time I was eager to tear into the left over turkey and other goodies that my granny had packed for me. Will grabbed a tray and some junk from the lunch line and sat down by me just about the time Sammy appeared carrying a plain brown lunch bag that was bulging at the seams.

"Wow, what you got in there?" I teased, "A whole turkey?"

"Nope, not a whole one, but some slices, and some ham, and some yams, and some pie. It sure does smell good too," he said sniffing the air like an old hound dog.

"That's what I got too," I said, opening up my lunch box. Everything was neatly arranged and either in baggies or plastic containers, and there was a thermos of tea too.

Will just stared at his tray but didn't seem too interested in it, so I offered to share my lunch, and Sammy quickly made the same offer.

"No thanks, I'm not really hungry," he sighed. Of course I knew why, but I didn't think it was my place to tell Sammy.

"You okay?" Sammy said sounding concerned, but not so much so that it slowed down his stuffing turkey in his face.

"No, but I don't want to talk about it," Will said burying his face in his hands.

I felt awful, but I didn't know what to do. Instinct however told me Will needed a friend, and so I gently put my arm around him, and boy was that a mistake. All those tears he'd been holding back suddenly came gushing out and everyone in the cafeteria looked up when they saw what was going on.

"Take care of my lunch box and stuff, will ya'," I said to Sammy as I helped Will up, and without looking back or waiting for an answer, I led Will to the boys room.

Will seemed some better by the time we got to the bathroom, and his sobs were farther apart and seemed to be drying up. I wetted some paper towels and handed them to Will, not quite brave enough to wipe away his tears myself. He took the paper towels and wiped at his face then blew his nose and tossed the paper towels in the trash. Then rolling out some more towels he wetted them and placed them on his forehead as if he was feverish.

"You okay now?" I asked hopefully.

"Yeah, sorry..."

"No way, don't you apologize. I know how it feels to lose your dad," I said feeling a little near tears myself, then quickly realizing that was not the right thing to say I added, "Not that you're losing your dad, he'll be back."

"I don't know, and really I don't care anymore. I just worry about mom. What will she do? Dad always paid the bills and now we'll have no money."

"Well...I bet your dad will still want to take care of you. Even if they get a divorce the law says he has to pay your mom money to support you." This much I knew from watching TV.

"I guess. Look, I can't go back to the lunch room. Why don't you go finish your lunch and I'll see you in English classs?"

"Nope, not hungry anymore. I'll stay with you. Why don't we walk over to Freddies and get a malt or something, my treat?" Freddies was a mom and pop burger joint just across the street from the school and very popular with the kids.

"Well, okay...if you're sure."

Will got strawberry and I got chocolate, and as we sat there at one of the little tables out front neither of us spoke at first. We watched a few kids come and go, mostly older kids from the High School which was in the next block, but no one paid us much attention.

"I'm scared Bobby," Will said suddenly, and he seemed to catch a chill as he wrapped his arms around himself.

"Me too, but I promise you that nothin' bad is gonna happen to you. Your mom won't let that happen and neither will we." We being me, my mom, and my grandparents, who loved Will like a son.

"Thanks," he said taking another sip of his malt, "I'm freezing my ass off and this isn't helping," he said holding up his cup, "let's go back to the school. I need to pee before the bell rings."

We finished our malts on the way, then peed and headed to our lockers to grab our books for English class, which was our first class after lunch. Our lockers were only a few feet away, and I kept an eye on Will as well as the other kids in the hall just in case one of them started any shit about Will crying in the lunch room. I guess I sort of underestimated my fellow students, cause as far as I know no one made fun of him, and a few of the girls actually came up to him later and asked if he was okay, and if there was anything they could do to help.

Of course most boys weren't that brave, but I liked to think that some of them, like me, were concerned about Will, and if not for peer pressure, they'd have approached him as well.

The day passed quickly, and in gym class Will seemed in better spirits. Gym was the last class of the day and the kids on the football team had practice that hour while the rest of us worked out in the gym. Our Coach, Mr. Anderson was a tall bald-headed man who seemed to genuinely like his job, and he had earned our respect quickly by the way he treated us.

That day we played basketball, skins vs shirts, and Will and I wound up on the skins side. I think I spent as much time ogling the lean smooth bodies of my teammates, especially Will, as I did watching the play, but no one seemed to notice. Or maybe it was because some of them were doing the same thing. Boys are curious about their bodies and how they compare, and gym class was a place where we could check each other out without being too obvious.

The showers were another great place for checking out other boys, and back then showers were mandatory for all junior high and high school kids participating in gym or team sports. The showers were the open kind with no dividers, and instead there were twelve shower heads on the wall in a row. There were drains every few feet and a small ledge below each shower head for soap and stuff.

Two of the shower heads didn't work, so that meant that only 10 boys could shower at once, but there were only 18 of us in my gym classs, so that only meant two shifts. Will and I usually waited till last to take our showers, and that day so did Sammy, who was also in our gym class.

As we lined up at the first three shower heads Sammy looked over at us and spoke for the first time since lunch.

"I got your lunch box in my locker Bobby," he said soaping up his red hair and turning it a darker red.

"Thanks, just bring it with you and you can give it to me on the bus."

"Okay," he said rinsing his hair then looking our way, "uh, it ain't none of my business, but are you okay Will? Did somethin' bad happen?"

"I'm okay, maybe Bobby can tell ya' on the bus. I really don't feel like talkin' bout' it."

"Is that okay, if I tell him?" I asked with surprise.

"Yeah, might as well let all our friends know so they won't be wonderin' why I'm such a ball bag these days."

"You're not," I protested, "you got a right."

Sammy was following our conversation with interest, and I could see that he was eager to find out what the heck we were talking about.

We finished showering and dressed quickly. Will's mom was picking him up again, but he walked us to the pickup zone and waited with us till she showed up. We didn't talk much, mostly about school and the fun we'd had on Thanksgiving, but no mention was made of our bedtime activities.

Will's mom seemed her usual cheery self when she pulled up, but then it occurred to me that she must be very good at hiding her feelings since I hadn't suspected anything was wrong in all my visits there. We waved to Will and his mom, then Sammy and I piled on our bus and headed toward the back. This time however we sat together with an empty seat in front and behind us.

"Okay, what's up with Will?" Sammy asked as soon as our butts hit the seat.

"Well, you gotta promise to keep this to yourself unless Will says it's okay to tell someone else, okay?"

"Yeah, you can trust me Bobby," Sammy said giving me a serious look.

"Okay, goes..."

I told Sammy everything I knew about the situation and what Will had said about the note and his dad saying that he loved them, but just couldn't be with them right now, and Sammy took it all in with a worried look on his face.

"Oh man, do you think his dad is seein' some other woman?"

"Will thinks so, but it might be he's just having some problems at work or something," I offered.

"I dunno', sounds serious. Man, I feel really bad for Will. I mean my mom and dad are there for me even if we ain't got much. I'd be really sad if my dad left us, especially now."

"My folks say your dad is a good hard working man, I don't think you need to worry bout' that," I said trying to reassure him.

"Yeah, I guess. So, Will's folks might be gettin' a divorce then?"

"I hope not, but that's what Will's worried about most, I guess."

"He said he doesn't know how his mom would make a living if that happens or where he'd wind up living."

"Man, that's bad, really bad. I hope that don't happen," Sammy said looking out the window and remaining silent for a while.

"Anyway he's gonna need his friends around to help him get through this."

"Um...does he count me as a friend?" Sammy asked looking at me and blushing.

"Yeah, after the other night..." I said grinning, "you know..."

"Oh yeah," he said grinning back, his face bright red now, "I guess that really makes folks friendly," he added and we both cracked up laughing.

"What you goofs laughing at?" Came a deep voice from behind us where two older boys sat. I didn't know the one who had spoken, but the other kid was Craig Johnson, who had a younger brother named Kyle who was our age, but not one of our friends.

"You fags..." he said under his breath.

Well, under his breath or not, our bus driver Mr. Daniels heard what he said and suddenly his voice boomed out. Michael Wheeler stop that kind of talk on my bus. Don't make me have to stop this bus and come back there and yank a knot in your tail.

"Yes sir," the kid mumbled.

"That's better," Mr. Daniels said, and that was the end of that.

Except the kid's words had made me start thinking again about what me and Will, and now Sammy, had done, and I wondered if it was as innocent and natural as we'd believed. Were we fags? I'd heard the term, as well as homo, and queer, but until now it really hadn't meant much to me. It was mostly something you said to put someone down, like asshole or cocksucker. Oh wow, I realized cocksucker was sort of the same thing, cause everyone knew fags sucked cocks. My head was spinning now, and I felt all confused and a little scared. Was I a fag? Maybe Will and Sammy were just playing around and having fun, while I was taking it all serious cause I was a fag.

"Hey, don't listen to those guys," Sammy said, "I bet they do stuff too," Sammy whispered as if he could read my mind.

"Oh, I'm not, just thinking about Will, that's all," I lied.

"Oh yeah, me too," he sighed, but I somehow thought he might be having some of the same doubts I was about our fooling around.

Sammy got off at his stop a few minutes later and I was left alone with my thoughts. I scooted over to the window and gazed out at the barren fields as we drove along, the gravel crunching under the bus's tires, and was barely aware of a hand on my shoulder. When I noticed I looked up quickly and spun my head to see the boy who had called us fags looking down at me.

"You and your fag friend are dead," he hissed, then as quickly and silently as he had appeared, he slunk back to his seat.

What had we done? I wondered, We hadn't done anything to him or his buddy, or anyone for that matter. Was he able to see what we'd done just by looking at us? I wondered with horror. Was it written on our faces that we had messed with each other, and what did he mean, we were dead? Was he really going to kill us? Or just beat us up? I was shaking as I piled off at my stop, and didn't look back till I was safely up the little road leading to our farm.

"I'm home," I said actually closing the screen door quietly for a change.

"Well, land sakes, you can enter a house without slamming the screen door," granny laughed, "how was your day sonny boy?"

"Not so good, I'm hungry, I sorta missed lunch."

"Missed it? Why? I packed you a good lunch, enough for you and Will."

"Well, about that..." I stammered, wondering how to begin.

Mom came in about then, and I sat down heavily and with tears in my eyes I related the days events, omitting what had happened on the bus, since I still wasn't sure where that was going.

"Oh dear, that poor boy," granny said, "caught up in all that drama. Well, I can only hope that man comes to his senses. He's got a wonderful wife, and a son that thinks the world of him."

"It's too bad Will has to suffer from this honey, but you understand this is adult stuff, and he has no control over it. I'm proud of you for being there for him, and we'll help too, in any way we can."

"Good, cause I sort of invited him over for the weekend."

"That's fine son," she said ruffling my hair and then kissing the top of my head, "You need a haircut young man."

I moaned, but didn't say anything, "Right now I am soooo hungry," I said remembering I hadn't eaten since breakfast.

"Well, how does a big old gooey cinnamon roll sound sonny boy?" Granny said touching my face and then hurrying off to get my snack.

Granny's cinnamon rolls were amazing. As big as a cow patty, gramps would say, but a whole lot better tastin'. Granny always swatted him when he said that, but you could tell he was just teasing her and he loved them as much as we did.

Gran heated mine in a skillet with butter and then drizzled it with her warm vanilla sauce and served it with a big glass of ice cold milk. In no time flat my tummy was full, and I'd forgotten all about my problems for the time being.

I spent the rest of that evening hanging around with gramps, and though he had to have wondered why I was sticking so close to him, he never let on that it was anything but natural. Gramps had a way of putting me at ease that the women folk couldn't. If I was a fag, at least I wasn't one of those limp-wristed girly types, I figured. I liked doing man stuff and puttering around the farm was a balm for my wounded spirit.

After supper we watched TV and I sat by my mom and granny while gramps sat in his old leather recliner, and before too long he was snoring softly.

I nudged mom and she smiled, "He works so hard," she said gently, "and he's a fine man. I couldn't ask for a better role model for you."

If only she knew, I thought, feeling unworthy of my mom and my grandparents at the moment. Surely they would throw me out like yesterday's dish water if they only knew what I was, and what I'd done. I vowed at that moment to never do that stuff again, and to be what my mom and grandparents wanted me to be. Unfortunately you can't change the spots on a leopard, and you can't change what you were born with.

The week passed slowly. Will seemed better, and no one brought up his problems, not even me, although I did ask him occasionally if he was okay. He would always answer the same way, that he was okay for now, but nothing had changed.

By the weekend I was both looking forward to, and dreading Will's visit. What if he wanted to mess around? I'd promised myself that I was done with that stuff, and hadn't even jacked off the whole week, which isn't easy for a 12 year old boy in the throes of puberty.

Will rode the bus home with me that afternoon, and seemed happy for a change, and looking forward to the weekend. I just hoped he wasn't going to be upset with me for not wanting to fool around.

The boy who had called me and Sammy fags had taken to riding up front after that day, and I found out later that our bus driver had made him move closer so he could keep an eye on him. Unfortunately that only made him more angry and determined to get even, no matter how unreasonable the whole thing was.

Sammy sat on the other side of me, and occasionally joined in our conversation, but he seemed to be more interested in Becky Johnson, a cute little freckled faced girl who was sitting two seats in front of us on the aisle.

Noticing Will's interest in Becky Will nudged me and pointed with his head, then leaning in he whispered, "I think Sammy likes Becky."

I had noticed too and I was grinning as I whispered back, "Yeah, and they're a good pair."

"What are you guys whisperin' bout'?" Sammy said blushing.

"Why don't you go say hi to her?" Will said, not pretending that he didn't know what was up.

"She's too pretty," Sammy said, "and I ain't nobody," he sighed, not bothering to protest or hide his feelings.

"Sure you are, you're Sammy, and you're a nice boy and a good friend," I piped up, "that's what most girls like, they're not looking for the flashiest or the toughest boy, they're looking for someone who's nice to them and is a nice person." I said as if I were an expert on such things. Well, I read a lot and watched TV and I had good role models.

"You think so?" he said, looking as if he was actually considering it.

"Yes, just say hi," Will said, "you'll know right away if she's interested, and if not you can move on to the next one," he chuckled.

"I...I don't know, she's awfully pretty..."

Apparently Sammy was looking through the eyes of love, cause I didn't see Becky as being all that pretty, but to each his own.

"Go on," Will said reaching past me and shoving Sammy so hard he almost slid out of the seat.

"What would I say?"

"Just say hi, and maybe complement her on her dress or something."

"Yeah, she does dress really nice," he said licking his lips, "I'm gonna do it," he said steeling himself for what had to be the most frightening experience of his life, "here goes..." he said sliding out of his seat and moving up to the seat across from Becky.

I nudged Will and he was grinning as we watched.

"Hi," we heard Sammy say, "I'm Sammy, oh you know that," he laughed nervously, "that's a really pretty dress you're wearing."

I blushed, cheering for Sammy, and terrified that the girl would slap him down and wound our friends ego, and maybe cause him to never try again with another girl. But instead we heard a soft laugh and a sweet "hello, thank you Sammy."

They began to talk then, and before it was all over Sammy had moved over beside her and they sat talking until we reached Becky's stop, and even then Sammy walked her to the door and said goodbye to her.

The two older boys were laughing and pointing and I heard the one who had called us fags say, "I guess he likes girls and boys," then they both snickered, earning them a dirty look from the bus driver, but he didn't say anything.

Sammy seemed too happy to notice the two, but Will was seething as Sammy rejoined us.

"That Michael kid has a big mouth, has he been bothering you guys or anything?"

"Uh, well...a few days ago he said something to us and the bus driver heard him and put a stop to it," I said, not going into detail.

"What did he say?" Will insisted.

"He called us fags," Sammy said without emotion, as if it meant nothing to him one way or the other.

"He did?" Will said making a mean face, "he's gotta lot of room to talk, I heard he got caught out behind his barn corn-holing his friend, the one he's sittin' with."'

"Really?" Sammy said, his eyes darting that way, "who caught em'?"

"His sister Brenda, and she told her friends and it was all over school. Didn't you guys hear about it?"

"I think I remember something like that," I admitted, but at the time it really didn't register what it meant or interested me that much.

"Yeah, maybe..." Sammy said, "wow, butt fucking," he laughed, "You'd think he would like fags then. Not that we're fags," he added quickly.

"Course not, you got you a girl now," I said giving him a shot to the arm.

"Aww...we just talked, that's all," he said blushing.

"Well, that's how it all starts," Will chuckled, "Sammy and Becky sittin' in a tree, k.i.s.s.i.n.g, first comes love, then comes marriage, then old Sammy is pushin' a baby carriage," Will sung, causing us to crack up.

"Shut up," Sammy said, but he was laughing, "we're just friends now."

"Friends who kiss?" Will said making a smoochy face.

The three of us were unaware that at the front of the bus the two older boys were watching our every move and listening in on our conversation, and even above the din of the bus load of kids, they were able to hear enough to rankle them.

"I think we need to get off at the next stop," the boy named Michael said.

"What, no...that's crazy, we'd have to walk two miles to your house then."

"It'll be worth it, trust me," the kid said making a fist and popping his open palm with it.

"What are you gonna do?" the other boy, Craig, asked looking worried. Michael was always dragging him into stuff that got him in trouble and he was getting tired of it. Unfortunately Michael was his only friend, and he had a huge crush on him.

He'd been the one to instigate the sex between them, and he'd enjoyed every moment of it. It had started simply enough, them jacking off together, and then moving on to jacking each other off. Then one day Michael had been feeling especially horny and he'd jokingly suggested Craig suck his pecker. At first Craig acted offended, but eventually he'd agreed if Michael would promise not to tell anyone.

Michael was your typical horny teen, and the thought of getting his pecker sucked was exciting enough to make him forget just how queer the whole thing was. However, he'd made it clear from the start that he wasn't sucking Craig's pecker, but that he would jerk him off if he'd suck him.

Craig tried not to sound as anxious to get at Michael's dick as he felt, and pretended to be disappointed that he wouldn't reciprocate, but the truth was he didn't care one way or the other. He just wanted Michaels cock in his mouth and to make him feel good, and yes, to swallow his baby makers.

Michael had insisted that the room be dark, and that Craig not look at him while he was doing it, so Craig agreed to wear a blindfold while he performed oral sex on his buddy. For Craig his lack of vision only enhanced his other senses, and the taste and smell of Michaels sex was so strong that he came without either of them ever touching his cock. Just as Michael began to unload and the first shot hit his tongue, Craig's cock began to swell and spew forth with a powerful hands-free orgasm.

That was the first time, and since Michael had enjoyed it so much, he'd allowed Craig to do again the next time he slept over, and then again at Craig's house the following weekend. The blindfold was gone now, and Craig had free reign to look, touch, and devour any part of Michael's body that he desired, and he took full advantage of it.

Once Michael was comfortable with the touching and the oral sex, Craig moved things to the next level. One Friday afternoon after school the two had been out messing around behind the barn at Michael's and Craig had jokingly suggested that Michael fuck him.

At first Michael acted disgusted, but the truth was he'd been thinking about just that for quite some time. He knew butt fucking was the closest thing to fucking a pussy, and though he had no desire to be on the receiving end of a fuck, he certainly wouldn't mind fucking an ass, and since Craig seemed willing, why not him?

They'd talked about it for a day and a night, and finally that next day Michael agreed to try it. He'd even stolen a condom from his older brother's stash because he was afraid butt fucking would be messy. That and a jar of Vaseline was what he brought to the barn with him when he finally decided to go through with it.

If they'd had more time, and if they'd been able to do it behind Michael's locked bedroom door, things might have worked out better, but that was not to be. They'd waited till dark that night and till they thought everyone was in the house watching TV, then snuck out to the barn and into the hayloft.

Both boys soon found out that anal sex isn't as easy as it sounds, but after some trial and error and some unpleasantness and pain for Craig, Michael finally got most of his hard six inch pecker up Craig's tight shitter. Michael took to fucking like a duck to water, and soon Craig was enjoying the fuck as well. What he loved most of course, was the closeness and the fact that he was pleasing Michael, the boy he loved, though he dare not admit any of that for fear of being branded a fag.

Things were going well when suddenly Michael's 10 year old sister came flying up the ladder, took one look at the two and ran inside to tell everyone what she'd seen. Horrified and embarrassed beyond belief, the two boys pulled apart, discarded the rubber, got dressed, and did the only thing they could do, run for it.

They were gone for two days before Michael's older brother found them hiding out near the lake in a old abandoned pump house. Fortunately it was summer and the temperatures were mild, but they were very nearly starved by the time they were headed back to town and met by their folks.

Surprisingly neither set of parents even so much as mentioned the anal sex, it was too embarrassing for the men, and just not proper for the women folk, but both boys knew that their folks knew what they'd done, and they could barely look them in the eye from that day on. Michael's sister however, wasn't about to let something as juicy as this go unexploited, and she spread the news all over school, telling anyone who would listen, basically ruining both boys reputation. After that day, abandoned by all their other friends, the two became more tightly bonded, but much to Craig's dismay, the sex had come to a halt.

"Mike, I don't think we should bother those kids. After all...I mean, we..."

"Shut up! Don't you start talkin' bout' that crap. That was all you, not me, and I shouldn't even be hangin' round you cause of it."

"I just mean..." Craig said, feeling as if his insides were being poked and gouged by Mike's words.

"Just shut it and do what I tell ya', got it?"

Craig nodded, the tears clouding his eyes. He looked away then so Mike wouldn't see, and steeled himself for more trouble, all because he was in love with a crazy boy who couldn't see what he really was, a fag just like he was.

Sammy got off next, and Will and I talked about what we wanted to do this weekend. Big on our list was getting to drive the tractor again, and I was sure gramps would oblige us since he knew all about Will's problems with his folks. We discussed Sammy and how great it was that he had a girlfriend now, but I was glad that Will didn't express any desire to follow his lead. I personally had no interest in girls at that point in my life, and it was just one more of the things that made me feel like I might be a little different than other boys.

When we got to our stop, we headed toward the front and thanked our driver, Mr. Daniels, and wished him a happy weekend. He was always nice to us kids, even the ones who weren't so nice back, and most of us really liked him. At Christmas our moms would always bake cookies or knit things for him, and he made a big deal of it when we presented the little gifts to him.

We were half way up the little gravel road that led to our farm when we were suddenly aware of a noise coming from behind us and when we spun around to look, two boys were running toward us. It took me a minute to recognize them, but when I did I think my balls pulled up inside my body.

"It's those two boys who called me and Sammy fags," I said in panic as Will stopped dead in his tracks.

"What do you want?" Will said defiantly as the two finally came screeching to a halt just a few feet away.

"We want to talk to you boys, that's all," Michael said, but I doubted talking was one of his strong suits.

"About what?" I stuttered.

"About you being fags," he sneered.

"I thought that was you two," Will sassed back, "I heard you got caught butt fucking last year in your barn."

"That was a lie," Michael said quickly, "my sister lied about that. I ain't no queer."

"You know what? I don't care if you are, or if you're not. Makes no difference to us, right Bobby?"

"Uh, yeah, ain't none of my business," I agreed.

"Cause' you two are queer and you want everyone to be queer, don't ya'?"

"Nope, then there'd be no babies," Will said smugly, "someone's gotta get the girls preggers."

"Not little fags like you, but I sure could..."

"Yeah, if you could find a girl dumb enough and desperate enough to let you fuck her," Will said smartly.

What was he doing, trying to get us killed? If only we could make it the rest of the way up the drive, then we could yell for gramps and he'd save us.

"Oh, you are so dead," the kid said gritting his teeth and starting toward Will.

Will might not have been as strong or as big as the kid, but he was fast and wiry, and he managed to dodge him and the kid almost tripped over his own big feet.

Unfortunately the kid wasn't picky about who he killed, so I was his next target. Now, I'm not a sissy, nor am I that weak. I've been in a few scraps, and wrestling with Will had taught me a few things about how to protect myself, but I knew I was no match for this kid's 200 pounds of teenage fury, so I did the only thing I could think of, I kicked him in the nuts.

Yeah, I know, that's a low blow and technically not allowed, but when you're 12 and scared out of your wits, it's anything goes. Needless to say, Michael hit the ground hard, doubled over and was holding his damaged jewels instantly and I took the opportunity to grab Will's hand and took off running, dragging him along behind me. The other kid, Craig stood there and didn't seem interested in following us, and of that I was glad.

We didn't stop till we were inside the house, the screen door slamming behind us.

I expected to be yelled at, but there didn't seem to be anyone around. I leaned against the door, breathing hard and waiting for my poor heart to slow down and suddenly I was aware of Will's laughter. He was laughing so hard he was shaking, and that got me to laughing, and pretty soon we had collapsed in a pile on the floor as we laughed so hard we could hardly breathe.

"," Will gasped, ""

"I...didn'," I cackled, "'"

I don't know why that was so funny, but it got us started again, and we were still laughing when my mom and grandma, and gramps found us there.

"Well, it's good to see you boys laughing, but what's got your tickle boxes turned over?" gran asked giving us an amused look.

"," Will cackled, and I joined in.

Now you might think that we'd have spilled our guts to my mom and grandparents, but there was sort of an unwritten rule among kids that said you didn't get grownups involved in your problems unless it was absolutely necessary. The immediate threat was over, and we figured we could either avoid the two or as a last resort tell a teacher or other adult if things got out of control.

In my room, our laughter over with as we realized what danger we'd been in, we talked about what to do next.

"That one kid is crazy," I said as I fell down on my bed, "but the other one didn't say nothing or act like he was gonna do anything."

"That's the kid Mike got caught fucking," Will said, I wonder if those two still do stuff," he said looking thoughtful.

"Naw," I said as if I were an authority on the subject, "that Mike kid hates fags. and I figure he ain't gonna wanna do anything that makes him look like a fag."

"Or," Will said falling down beside me, his warm firm body pressing up against mine and giving me shivers, "he is just afraid to admit what he he goes around calling other kids queer and making their life hell."

I mulled that over. I guessed that made some sense, but then again, wasn't that really pretty stupid? Wouldn't it be better just to lay low and not even talk about that stuff?

"Do you think, knows what we did?" I said softly. There, I'd said it, it was out now. Now Will would know I was worried about that stuff.

"Naw, how could he?" Will said rolling over to face me and in the process placing his warm hand on my stomach.

More shivers, and a stirring in my mid section followed, and I was tongue-tied for a moment.

"Dunno, but he thinks we're queer for some reason," I blurted out at last.

"He's just a bully Will, and he probably goes around calling lots of kids that name. Don't take it personal...unless..."

"What? No, I ain't no damn queer," I spit out more roughly than I'd planned.

"Okay, okay...I know," he said patting me gently.

"I like girls just fine," I lied.

"Me too," Will said, but there was something in his voice that didn't ring true.

After all, I knew Will pretty well, even if we'd only been friends a couple years, and I could tell when he was telling a fib, or at least not the whole truth.

"Let's not talk about that anymore, but what are we gonna do if that kid comes after us again?"

"Well, a kick to the marbles seems to work just fine," Will said, cracking up again, and pretty soon I joined in.

One thing led to another, and pretty soon Will was tickling me and then we were wrestling around on the bed, and when Will pinned me I could feel his boner pressing against my leg. Even worse was the fact that my boner had to be poking him in the stomach, but he never mentioned it.

Eventually he rolled off and we just lay there, panting from our exertion, our hands touching as we laid there side by side. I don't know what possessed me to do what I did next, but looking back I guess it just seemed the natural and proper thing to do. Finding his fingers, I entwined mine with them and held his hand as we lay there.

Nothing was said, no discussion of our being queer or our feelings for one another left our mouths, but in our minds and our hearts we knew something very important was happening. However, the moment passed as these things tend to do when you are young, and we soon moved on to other things.

After changing out of our school clothes, we went downstairs to find gramps and try to talk him into a tractor ride before it got dark. On the way through the kitchen we managed to snag a couple cookies from the big cookie jar granny always kept stocked, and we were munching on them when we found gramps coming out of the barn.

"Want a cookie gramps," I offered.

"No son, you need the sugar moren' I do," he chuckled, "what are you two up to now? Finally get your giggle boxes righted?"

"Yes sir, we were wondering if you were gonna take the tractor to the far pasture today."

"Yep, was just headin' that way. Come on then, I figure you boys want another driving lesson," he chuckled.

We thanked him and happily followed him to the old tractor and climbed aboard. This time we were barely out of sight of the house when gramps stopped the tractor and swapped places with me. Since Will had driven first last time, gramps said I could go first, and this time I was ready.

I drove the big old tractor all the way to the fence line and neatly turned it around before stopping so Will could drive us back. Gramps hopped out and checked the watering trough and a section of the fence that looked rotted out, then climbed back on. Will drove us back to the barnyard, and though we kept expecting gramps to tell him to stop so he could take over, he let Will drive the tractor all the way to the barn.

"I told the women folk I was teachin' you boys to drive, and though there was some concern, especially from your momma, Bobby, they agreed that you were old enough to learn, so there's no need to hide anymore."

I knew gramps didn't like keeping secrets, especially when it came to my mom, but I hadn't expected him to tell her what we'd been up to so soon. All in all we were glad though, because it was one less thing to worry about, and it seemed like lately we had more than enough of that.

Supper on the farm was always good, but especially so when we had company. That night it was fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gran's cream gravy, canned corn from the garden, and of course granny's homemade biscuits, which gramps said were so light they would float away if you didn't put lots of butter and honey on em'.

For dessert granny had baked an apple/peach cobbler, and there was still some of the ice cream left over from our trip to the grocery store. Will and I ate till we were stuffed, then pushed back our plates and asked to be excused.

We'd offered to help clean up, but gran always refused, saying it was women's work, but I think she just like her and mom doing it cause it gave them a chance to talk away from everyone else.

"I had a shower last night," Will said when we finally reached my room, "I'm clean enough."

"I had one this morning, so I'm even cleaner," I joked.

"Good, cause I don't wanna sleep with no stinky boy," Will teased.

"I did poop though," I said making a face, "and I'm not sure I wiped good."

"Eww...just keep your underwear on then."

"I always do," I said defiantly, and I sure intended to tonight.

"What can we do?" Will said, but I completely misunderstood what he was asking, and before I knew it I blurted out, "Nothing, I ain't doin' that stuff no more."

I could see by the look on Will's face that what I'd just said made no sense, then suddenly the look of realization took over and he blushed. I felt awful, but the words were out there and I couldn't take them back, even if I'd wanted to.

"I meant now. Wanna play cards or a board game?" he said, his face bright red and his voice betraying the hurt he felt.

"Oh, about Sorry?" I said, not realizing the double meaning of that word. It was a board game, but it was also how I felt at the moment.

"Yeah, I need to go pee first. You set it up and I'll be right back."

I set up the board and waited for Will to return, but he was gone an awful long time. When he did return he was quiet and his eyes were red as if he'd been crying, and I felt even worse for what I'd said. At some point we needed to talk about that, but I wasn't sure I was ready.

Will's sadness turned to anger and each time he sent me back to my home in the game he acted as if he were punishing me for my words.

"Ha, back to your rotten dirty home," he said gritting his teeth, "that'll teach ya'."

Next time it was, "Take that rat fink, back to your rat's nest."

It was getting worse each time, and I was feeling a little hurt now myself. Sure I'd messed up, but at least I wasn't being a butthole about the whole thing. Eventually it got to me, and when it was my turn to send him back to his home I was just as nasty as he was.

"Ha, my turn. Now you know how it feels you dirty bastard," I snapped, then winced at my own words.

"I'm done," Will said throwing down his piece and jumping up.

Before I could react he was out the door and down the hall, leaving me to sit there with my mouth open and tears stinging my eyes. It took me a moment to recover and I considered what to do. Should I go after him? Where was he, anyway? If he was with my mom or grandparents they might think it was weird that I was still in my room. Or had he gone outside, maybe even run away? That last thought got me up and moving, but I didn't have to go far.

As I entered the hall I noticed the bathroom door was closed, and since my grandparents had their own bathroom, it was either Will or my mom in there, but I was pretty sure it was Will.

I tapped on the door gently and at first there was no reply, then in a soft voice Will said, "Who is it?"

"Me, can I come in, or are you pooping?"

There was no answer at first, then I heard the latch being turned and the door open slowly. I entered to find Will backing up toward the sink, his hands rubbing at his eyes. It was apparent that he had been crying, and I felt awful. It was all because of me, and not just because I'd called him a bastard.

"I'm sorry," I said quickly before I could chicken out, "I shouldn't have called you that name...or said what I did earlier."

"Why didn't you tell me that you didn't like it?" he whined, "I feel awful cause I made you do that stuff."

"You didn't make me," I assured him, "I just...I liked it, but it's wrong. I don't want to know?' I said winding down to a whisper.

"A what? A fag? Don't listen to those other guys, that Michael kid, he's more a fag than you are."

"I know, I just...I don't want to be different, that's all. I..." that was as far as I got before my own tears came. I closed the door behind me and latched it then, afraid my mom would come along and see me crying and want to know why, and then I just let loose.

Will came to me, and at first he didn't' say or do anything, then I could see him make a decision, one that would change both our lives forever.

"Bobby, I'm sorry, but I liked that stuff, and I like you, a whole lot, maybe even more than like. And if that makes me a fag, well then I guess I gotta' live with it. But I know you don't feel that way too," he added sadly, "and if you don't want to be my friend anymore I...I understand," he sobbed.

"No, I...I like you too," I confessed, and then we were hugging and pressing our bodies into each other, and that said more than any words we could ever utter.

It felt so right, so natural, just like the hand holding had earlier, and now there was only one more thing left to seal the deal. I truthfully don't know which one of us started it, but I think we both wanted it more than anything, and it was only natural that our lips found each others as we shared our first kiss.

Now up until that moment, the only kisses I'd ever experienced were from my mom and grandparents. I can't ever remember my dad kissing me, but he might have when I was a little kid, but the kisses from parents and grandparents are just little pecks on the cheek or the hair. This thing with Will, however, was a real, wet, warm, toe- curling kiss, that went on and on. It was the kind of kiss that teenage girls write about in their diary, and the kind of kiss that singers write songs about. This was the real thing and when we finally broke for air, we both were flushed, but happy.

"Wow, that was..."

"Yeah," I agreed, before he could even finish, "but does this mean that we' know?"

"Fags?" Will said, still holding me tight, his face only inches from mine, "Does it matter?"

"Nope," I giggled, "I don't care," then looking serious I added, "as long as no one else knows."

He nodded, "Yeah, best not to tell anyone else...yet."

"Yet? You mean you might want to someday?"

He shrugged, "Naw, I guess not," he said sounding disappointed.

We were just standing there looking into each others eyes now, but before too long our heads were moving closer and we were kissing again. This time our whole body got into the act and we were running our hands up and down each others backs. Then suddenly Will let his hand drift lower and he was actually cupping my butt cheek. Wow, that was all it took to give me a full blown boner, and from the feel of the hard thing pressing against me, Will had one too.

"Oh God," I said when we broke away for air.

"I love you," Will whispered, then blushed, "is that okay?"

"Yessss," I hissed, "and I love you too. I think I have since we first met, but I didn't understand it till now."

"Yeah, me too. what?"

"I don't know," I laughed softly, "I thought you knew what to do next."

"I guess I do," he said grinning, and blushing, and looking very cute, "Bobby Williams, will you be my boyfriend?"

"Yes, yes...a hundred times yes," I said hugging him and kissing him again.

"Okay, that that's settled..."

"You mean?"

"Well, unless you don't want to."

"I didn't before, but now I do. Does that make sense?"

"You were just scared before, now you know it's okay."

I nodded, "Yeah, but you knew all along, didn't you?"

"For a while now, but until that night I didn't know how good it was."

"Me either, and truthfully, I haven't stopped thinking about it ever since that first time. Then with Sammy, all I could think about was how I'd rather it was just us two."

"Well, it will be from now on. Come on, I'm thirsty, let's go get something to drink."

"Yeah, and maybe a cookie," I said grinning, "kissing makes me hungry."

We were laughing as we exited the bathroom, and what had started out as a total disaster had turned into something truly remarkable.

That night was amazing. We'd gone from two boys experimenting with sex, to two lovers who explored each others bodies and discovered that sex was so much better when you truly cared about your partner. Okay, we didn't do it all, we weren't ready for real sex yet, but we did touch, and feel, and kiss, and bring each other to exquisite orgasm, not once, but three times. Our manipulations might have seemed tame and awkward to anyone more experienced, but for us it was the most amazing thing that had ever happened in our life.

There was no oral sex that night, that would come later as we got to know each other better and feel more confident and at ease with each other. And anal sex would not happen for a number of years, but what we had now and for those years in between was enough to satisfy us.

That first morning following our night of love and exploration, we slept late, and if not for gramps rousting us out of bed we might have slept all day, or at least awoke and did some more playing. I grumbled as I was forced from sleep, then looking over and seeing my sleeping boyfriend beside me, my face broke out in a grin that must've filled my whole face.

Grabbing a loose feather from my down pillow, I tickled Will's nose causing him to make a little sound in his sleep as he scratched his nose. As soon as his hand was down I tickled him again, this time causing him to sneeze, and that woke him. His eyes flew open after the sneeze and he lay there trying to focus on me, and when he finally did he pulled me down for a morning kiss. As we lay there grinding our morning erections together I wished for more time, but I knew we were expected for breakfast and were already late.

"Come on, we've slept too late already," I said taking his hand and pulling him up.

He didn't resist me, but when I had him on his feet he grabbed me and hugged me fiercely, "I was so afraid I would lose you," he whispered in my ear, "and now you are all mine."

I felt tears sting my eyes, but they were tears of joy. We kissed again, and then struggled into our clothes to hide our morning wood as we walked across the hall to the bathroom to empty our bladders.

As we stood there, side by side, as we had so many times as young boys, I suddenly realized just how much our lives had changed in the span of one day. We were no longer just two boys who were friends, we were now two boys in love, and nothing would ever be the same. It was scary, but exciting to think about, though for the moment we couldn't let anyone know, and so we exited the bathroom separately and I arrived at the breakfast table first.

"Mornin'," I said trying to hide my giddiness, "Sorry we overslept, I guess we were up pretty late."

"Won't hurt you none this one time," gramps said, surprising me, "boy needs to have some fun now and again."

I didn't mean to blush, but I did. Did gramps suspect what kind of fun Will and I had had, or was he talking about regular fun?

"Morning," Will said cheerfully sliding in beside me, "Bobby kept me up late," he said smartly, then gave me a gentle shove.

"Did not," I said laughing as I shoved back causing the adults to laugh with us.

Just like that, Will had defused any awkwardness in the situation, and soon I was enjoying my breakfast. After breakfast Will and I helped gramps take care of a few chores, but it was Sunday and there wasn't much to do. Gramps liked to rest on Sundays and only did what was necessary, and I was glad for that. At one time he and granny had gone to church each Sunday, but at some point gramps had had a falling out with the Preacher and some of the congregation, and now they only attended on religious Holidays. Our next scheduled appearance would be Christmas Eve to see the Christmas story performed by the kids of the church.

"You boys feel up to driving today?"

"Yes sir," I said, not expecting this at all.

"Yes sir Mr. Miller," Will echoed.

"All right have at it, I've gonna go sit on the porch and drink my coffee."

"You mean, drive it alone?" I said, not believing my ears.

"Yes, but stay in sight, and no fancy stuff. Don't run over each other or any of the livestock and you'll be okay."

I let Will drive first and he took us around the barnyard, staying within sight of the house and gramps the whole time. Eventually my mom and grandma came out and when I took my turn I could see my mom wringing her hands and watching anxiously, but fortunately everything went smoothly.

We finally bored of driving and parked the tractor back where it was, shut it down, and locked the emergency brake just like we'd been taught.

"That was fun," Will said beaming as we neared the house.

"You boys look like real farmers," granny chuckled.

"Yes ma'am, I reckon we could do some plowing next spring," I offered.

"Watch out youngun', I might just take you up on that," gramps chuckled.

"I wouldn't mind," I said, and Will echoed my excitement.

Eventually the adults went inside and Will and I were left to entertain ourselves. Almost as if we were of one mind, we headed to the barn and climbed into the hay loft. As soon as we were on solid footing we fell into each others arms and began kissing. I could taste eggs and sausage in Will's mouth and I devoured him hungrily.

" taste good," I said pulling back and grinning.

"You too, let's lay down," Will said taking my hand and leading me to a nice soft pile of hay.

In each other's arms we continued to kiss and rub around on each other, and before long we were both hard as wood. I could feel Will's erection against my leg and I reached down and grabbed it through his pants, causing him to moan into my mouth.

Pulling away I whispered, "Let's take our pants down," and Will nodded his approval as we did just that.

Once our peckers were free we wrapped our hands around each others and began to jerk each other as we continued to kiss. Our naked legs bumped together as we kissed and jerked each other, and as with most boys our age, it didn't take us long to get off.

Neither us produced much seed, but we still managed to coat each others hand with our thin watery liquid. Now, I didn't know about Will, but I'd tasted my spunk a few times, just out of curiosity, and I actually liked it. With that thought in my mind, I reasoned that Will's might taste just as good, maybe better, and without further thought I began to lick my hand clean.

At first Will looked shocked, then he shrugged and mimicked my actions as a wicked smile filled his face, "Mmm...sweet. You taste sweet. Must be all that sugar your granny feeds you," he laughed.

"You taste good too, sort of sweet, but sort of salty too."

That gave me an idea. If Will's stuff tasted this good, then why not drink it right from the tap. I was 12 and I knew what cock sucking was, but of course I had no practical experience, and until Will and I became boyfriends, I had little hope of ever finding out what it was like. Now the possibilities seemed endless. Though it would be a while till I actually acted on my impulse to find out what cock sucking was like, the seed, so to speak, had been planted.

Our sexual appetite sated for the time being, we pulled up our pants and reverted to regular boys, eager to explore the farm and have fun once more. I can't recall everything we did that afternoon, our first afternoon as boyfriends, but the time passed quickly, and too soon it was time for Will's mom to pick him up.

That night as I lay in my bed alone I thought about how my life had changed in just the measure of two days. I'd been frightened and sure I would never do anything with a boy again, and now I was Will's boyfriend and looking forward to doing more and more with that boy. I was 12, and going through puberty, and most of the time I was horny, and thinking of Will and his hot little body soon had me hard and jerking off. I spooged in a sock, threw it beside the bed and was asleep in minutes.

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