The Circle Squared - Book One: Squaring the Circle

by Smokr

Chapter 6

"Nothing Ever Goes As Planned"


When mom called from downstairs, I replied and rolled out of bed without too much effort. The coughing was persistent, but I was growing used to it. I was still worn out and tired, but not as bad as I had been the previous days. I took it as a sign that I was healing.

There was no mistaking that I had taken a little yellow pill. I felt nothing. I was thinking fine, but I didn't seem to care that I was seemingly doing better, or that mom had woken me up. I only noticed and made note of it.

The shower was easier, too, with fewer muscle aches to deal with, though I still had to take care to keep the falling water from striking the burns and the shampoo away from the sutures on my temple. The middle fingers on my left hand were still mostly useless and painful to move, but the swelling in the joints had lessened, meaning they ached less.

I had an erection, and once again I wasn't in any mood to take advantage of it. I didn't feel any lust through the yellow haze. Dispassionately, I made note that physical arousal was possible without any matching psychological state. My last release had been with Jeff on Sunday morning, and I wanted to wait until Saturday night when Jeff was staying at my place, just the two of us. I was expecting a week of chastity to pay off with a fantastic release.

I dressed in sweats and headed downstairs where Mom had breakfast waiting. After breakfast, a little small talk, fresh bandages, and the usual reminders, they left and I was alone again. I hoped Tom would stop by on his way to the bus, but as that time came and went, I gave up on it. It didn't bother me at all.

I went to my room and did the homework my knight had delivered yesterday. There wasn't much and it wasn't hard. The only problem was the new vocabulary in German. I had no idea what the words were supposed to sound like. I could take guesses, but until I returned to the class I had no way to know how close or far off I was. I wouldn't know until I was back in class on Monday.

Once schoolwork was done, I turned on the radio, rolled a joint, and passed the morning listening to music. The songs were the same, but I didn't feel anything. I had no desire to sing or really enjoy the music. That bothered me. Even the buzz seemed empty and lacked any fun. That bothered me, too. I hated the yellow haze, the emotionless state of nothing.

It was odd being bothered by not feeling something, but I could only conclude that most emotions weren't connected with the part of us that was bothered by something being different or wrong.

Somehow we can sense normal and not-normal without any emotional coloration, I figured. They're separate. Like having a hard-on physically, but not being turned on in my head. They might seem the same thing, but they aren't.

I found that fascinating, and realized that interest in something was also a non-emotional reaction. Or at least it wasn't affected by a chemical that inhibited most, if not all, emotional reactions in the brain. And I found that fascinating, too. I shared that information with my journal.

Next, I ran over my plan to have Eric bring up the idea that it didn't matter to them that Jeff and I were together, so that Jeff could see that it was indeed nothing to the guys. I ran it over and over, polishing it, wanting it to work so that Jeff would be more at ease about the two of us, at least among our friends.

Don't Let It End played again, and I was still unable to sing to it in tune with Dennis. And I didn't enjoy it. I didn't feel the heavy sadness that I had when I heard it that first time, mooning over Jeff and me being apart again, afraid we were never going to be friends again. I didn't even feel the lesser hurt that usually came with the song subsequent times. The yellow haze still hung heavily, obscuring my emotions.

So enjoyment of music is tied to emotions, I pondered, but knowing whether something is normal isn't. Interest in something isn't emotional, either. Right and wrong are separate from feelings. Having a hard-on don't mean I'm turned on, and wanting to have sex with someone isn't the same as being in love with them.

I returned to thinking of such things until the phone rang. It was one in the afternoon, so I figured it was a salesman after a new victim, so I let it ring. When it kept ringing, I picked it up and said, "What?" rather angrily, not wanting to be disturbed at any rate, but surprised that I was feeling angry.

"Dude, moody or what?" Tom asked humorously.

"Oh, hey. Thought it was a salesman or something. What the hell you doin' callin'?"

"Hey, just talked to Eric. He got in trouble, big time, no Circle at his place. He can't even make it anyway, no matter where. So how about we just come over there?"

"Fine with me. What'd he do this time?"

"He can tell ya later. Gotta go, gotta get to class and shit. Just wanted you to know. See ya in a couple hours."

"Cool, later," I said.

Knowing Eric, I had no doubt of Tom's story. And I didn't mind the Circle meeting at my place at all. That way, there would be no waiting around for Jon to drive us, and all I had to do was stay at home and wait for them to come to me.

"And the supplies are in situ," I said aloud as I headed toward my desk.

But there goes my big plan! Without Eric, who can I manipulate into saying what I want said, to start the topic the way I want it to be started? And how can I play off someone's words if I don't know what they'll say? Eric's predictable in ways nobody else is. All that planning, gone. Well, fuck. How come nothing ever goes as planned?

Hell of a notion, I added wryly, grinning just a bit. Ohh, emotions, I thought.

I was feeling things again, and glad of it. I turned the stereo up and sang along to the songs I liked as I rolled joints and waited for Jeff and Tom to arrive. Instead of waiting at my window as the time grew near, and then running downstairs to let them in, I unlocked the front door and waited upstairs - a mistake.

I was mortified to hear applause as, "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" ended. It wasn't just one person this time, I realized. It was Friday. I immediately knew that meant both of them were there.

So, the new pipes are settling out for ya, huh? Jeff asked.

You should hear him do, I Want Candy, Tom said, laughing.

I was shocked that Tom would step that close to revealing something he knew was humiliating, and with Jeff standing right there, too. My expression tipped Jeff off that something was passing between Tom and me.

Wha-a-at? he asked very slowly and suspiciously, turning one cocked eyebrow from one to the other of us.

Uh, I didn't know he heard me, I answered quickly.

Yeah, he didn't know I heard him, Tom said, far too deadpan to pass as honesty from him. Intentionally - I was sure.

Su-u-u-re, Jeff said in exactly the same way he'd asked his previous question.

I needed a topic changer, and fast.

So who's up for a buzz?

It worked.

Several hits into the joint, Twins said they can't make it, either, Tom said once he exhaled.

Well, shit. There goes the plans I had for putting everybody through the dungeon tonight.

Yeah. Maybe next week. We could'a done it without Eric's fighter, but not the twins' clerics, too.

Well, there's something else we can do, I offered.

As I watched him ready himself, I couldn't help but think how Jeff's mom would find what we were doing completely evil. It had been extremely difficult to get her to accept that her son was gay, and that I was as well; getting her to accept that we were fornicating together had been almost impossible. But I knew that she would not accept what we were now doing, and her knowing about it would set her back on that path. We knew to hide our pot smoking from her, as that was more than bad enough, but if she found out about this practice, she would ban him from having anything to do with me.

At first, Jeff had been resistant to the idea, believing what he had heard during sermons at his mother's church, on the news, and from other places. But he trusted me, and Tom, and we were able to convince him that it wasn't so bad. The first few times, he had been scared and worried, confused, too. But after those first few times, he found the real fun in it, and grew to like it. We had to get him fairly high as well, before he would try it, but now the pot was only an additional thrill to the main feature.

Tom whispered, "Now, Jeff!"

Jeff jumped from the shadows and struck the unsuspecting victim on the back of the head. The man wobbled, then fell quietly.

"He got anything worth a crap?" Tom asked. "Search him good. I'll keep an eye out."

"Nothing," I said.

"Fuck. We gotta find someone else," Tom said, peering down the dark hall.

Jeff moved along the hall with Tom, side by side. The light from the open doorway was fading, and at the edge of the darkness was a closed door.

"Guess we don't just knock," Jeff whispered with a grin.

Tom kicked the door. It gave, swinging open and smashing against the wall with a loud boom. A lone figure sat at a desk in the dimly lit room. Money lay spread on the desk, some in haphazard piles, some neatly stacked; most of it gleaming dimly in the low light.

"Who're you? Wha'd'ya want?" the man at the desk asked predictably.

"We're your worst nightmare, we want your money," Jeff said from beside Tom.

"And your life," Tom added with a smirk.

They entered the room without further words or precautions, side by side again. From under the desk, the man produced two throwing daggers, sharp blades on both ends of them. Before Jeff or Tom could recover from the surprise, he threw them at the same time. One struck Tom in his gut, the other hit Jeff in his upper right arm. Staggering, Tom dropped his weapon. His fighting arm injured, Jeff dropped his weapon too.

"Out!" Tom grunted around the agony, announcing his intention to turn and run.

Jeff moved to follow. More thrown daggers, each of them taking one in his back. They staggered but kept running. Another struck Tom in his back, one skittered off the wall very near Jeff.

I'll kill you bastards! the man yelled, running after them, throwing more daggers with one hand, holding several more with his other.

The two ran, trying to zig zag in the narrow hall. It did them no good. Several daggers missed, but almost as many found flesh. Before they had covered half the distance to the open doorway and sunlight, they fell.

Looking at each other as they died, Tom said, "Fuck, now we gotta start all over again."

"Man, I knew it was too easy to get in!" Jeff complained, shaking his head.

"Why didn't you say somethin', then?" Tom asked, flipping his paper over to start another character.

"I thought you knew what you were doing!" Jeff said, also flipping over his sheet of notebook paper with one hand, gathering several six-sided dice with the other.

"Gettin' practice makin' characters."

I offered the favored DM's phrase with a wicked grin. They both gave me the evil eye. I laughed. They did too.

"That was a good line, though, Jeff" I said, readying the level one random dungeon generation tables again. "So was your addition, Tom."

"We're your worst nightmare, we want your money?" Jeff asked.

"Yup. Good answer," I said. "And good intimidation, too, Tom."

Thieving is kinda fun, but havin' to sneak around and not having very good weapons or armor kinda sucks. The fighters were better. How about I try a magic-user?

He had turned to me to ask, and his bright, cornflower blue eyes under his blond lashes melted me as usual. I did my best not to show it. His brows had darkened a bit, and weren't as light and fair as they had been. I missed that. It bothered me that it did.

"Even worse armor. Hard to keep alive with only one other player," I offered. After thinking for a moment, I added, "But, if you both go as mages, I can keep things interesting... I think."

They grinned at each other, bouncing eyebrows.

For years, the best Tom could do was to open his eyes wider, moving his thin, black brows upward a bit, which almost always caused me to laugh. Only recently Tom had slipped at my sixteenth birthday party, proving that he was quite able to do it. I had noticed, but other, more pressing things were occurring. I had let the fact that he had been using his apparent inability to bounce his eyebrows to make me laugh for years - while the entire time he was able to do it - pass without comment.

I thought briefly of when, if ever, I would have a chat with him about that fact. There were so many things that Tom had done, or not done, that I wanted to ask about. At that birthday toga party in Tim's basement, just weeks ago, Tom had said he was still working on a long list of things of the sort. He had asked if he could borrow some paper, that he was running low on it making that list.

I smiled to myself, watching him talk Jeff through creating a first-level mage. While Tom pointed out what dice to roll and other details, Jeff nodded and replied with his cute, Yup. Jeff also tended to push the tip of his tongue through the corner of his lips for brief periods from time to time when he wrote. He was also left-handed, and I watched him fill in his stats with his large, neat, curving numerals with great care. His arms were noticeably thicker, and the fine, light blond hairs on his forearms were darker and more visible.

Noticing those things pushed my thoughts into the same ones that had occurred to me over the weekend, when Jeff and I were alone. I had noticed how his chest was broad and his hair dense. His thighs, too, were large and hairy. While not long ago he had been shorter than I was, then not so long ago the same size, he was now larger. He was larger in many, if not all, ways and seemingly only going to get larger yet. I began to wonder if there would ever be any chance that I could let him inside of me.

Realizing where my thoughts were leading, I knew I needed something to sidetrack them.

"Walk him through it," I said, gathering my own and Tom's empty Coke bottles, and motioning for Jeff to finish his so I could take it downstairs with me.

As he handed me his empty bottle, I deliberately grabbed his hand around it. He bounced his eyebrows at me, and I returned the gesture with a wide grin. We both gave a small laugh and he let go of the bottle, removing his hand from mine.

"Give it a rest, guys, you got tomorrow night," Tom said with a smile in his voice, and without looking up from the tables he was consulting.

"What?" we asked in unison.

He said softly, Ster-e-o, as he shook his raven-haired head.

I headed downstairs.

I paused as I passed the many pictures hanging in the hallway between the front rooms and the kitchen. There, among the photos of relatives, hung a picture of Toby. After receiving it the previous weekend from Toby's visiting parents, I had placed it on the wall among the other pictures, as if he had been born into my family. I smiled back at Toby, wondering if a day would come when I would pass by without notice.

I promised myself again that I wouldn't let that happen.

As I entered the kitchen, I felt warm and wonderful. Despite the nearby reminder of near death that was the garage, there was a feeling of sedate joy, of being where I belonged. The sun shining in the window over the sink was more warm and yellow than seemed normal for a Chicago February. The blue sky visible through the window was too deep a blue, and the one, solitary cloud that floated in that sky was too bright a white, too puffy, and just too perfect. A bright red cardinal landed on the tree branch just outside the window and chirped sharply once before shuffling his feathers, seeming to stare at me, daring me to doubt his perfection.

I wondered what it was doing here so out of season.

I knew better than to doubt. It was one of those moments when you have to stop and take stock. I put the three empty Coke bottles into the cardboard eight-pack case below the cabinet and went out the back door to the deck. The chill breeze stirred my long hair a bit as I stood quietly in the cold air. The blindingly white snow lay deep over the yard and hung heavy from the trees. Despite the winter weather, I thought that the breeze brought a slight aroma of grass, flowers, and water to my mind, taking me for a moment into a place that didn't exist there or then.

The sight of Toby's secret place, and of him, drifted before my eyes, blocking the view of the back yard. I hugged myself softly as I took a few moments to remember him, to refresh all of those memories. His smile, his laugh were vivid. Our times together played out momentarily in my mind's eye. All the emotions a person can experience ran through me in that brief moment. In the end, I was left only with wonder.

I knew that it meant he was seeing me through that wild, chaotic swirl of images that was the border between there and here; that wall. I knew he saw me, and he was thinking of me.

For a moment I wanted to say something to him. I wanted to say thank you, or I love you, or I miss you. But in that same moment I knew all of those thoughts had reached him instantly, for I heard and felt his same emotions for me.

The sound of my parents returning from the grocery store did nothing to diminish my wide smile. I continued to stay out on the patio as I listened to them enter the door from the garage, talking about President Reagan and prices.

When I heard dad ask, Did you leave the patio door open? I decided it was time to reenter the house and the present.

No, I left it open while I got some fresh air, I said, stepping through it.

Alex! Holy crap kid-er, son. You about gave me a heart attack!

Hmm, guess I know how to get my inheritance a little sooner then, huh? I joked as I closed the glass door behind me.

You might want to let me live long enough to get you through college, first, he answered back.

Since our close call with death, dad and I had taken to joking and jibing with each other as often as possible about death, dying, and mortality. Mom, however, found no humor in our verbal cavorting. In fact, even the slightest kidding between Dad and me sent her into a black mood, until one day dad had taken her by the hands and told her in a soft voice, Hun, these jokes are our way of putting it behind us. Let us have our machismo moments, and I promise we won't make fun of you and your worries about all used cars exploding at the least cause.

She had protested a bit, but relented, seeing finally that our jokes were our way of dealing with the events. I had bit my tongue to prevent myself mentioning Ford Pintos and ruining dad's point.

Oh, please. Your insurance would pay it off. The real reason I want you alive is so I don't have to work to keep a roof over my head. Or Mom have to work even harder or something.

Ah, so my son is lazy, and I have that to thank for my life, dad said, laughing, then winked at mom.

You two just enjoy jabbing like that anymore to rub it in, don't you? mom asked.

Dad and I shared a grin and a laugh.

The other two stooges upstairs? she asked next.

Yup. Was just getting sodas.

On the patio? she asked me, raising her eyebrows.

No, I answered with a quick laugh. Saw a cardinal on the patio and went outside to watch it. Got caught up in the great weather and such a couple minutes.

Great weather? dad asked with a doubtful expression.

Well, great for February, anyway. It's not snowing and blowing like the arctic at least.

Well, why don't you get caught up in helping put away the groceries before you go back upstairs and get caught up there?

I rolled my eyes as I rolled my head on my shoulders, but lent a hand putting things away while we talked a bit about things in general.

I pulled three cold bottles of Coke out of the fridge and opened them before heading upstairs, while again being reminded to clean up my room.

Yeah, yeah, save the whip, I intoned as I left them in the kitchen.

Oh! And ask Tom to come downstairs for a minute when you get upstairs, mom said so matter-of-fact that I was instantly on guard.

Sure, whatever, I said as nonchalantly as I could, not looking back over my shoulder, as badly as I wanted to.

Now what the fuck? I wondered. They can't be up to something, can they? What the hell-e-o does Mom want with Tom? And how do I find out what?

I did my best to try to figure that out before I got to my room. I walked up the stairs slowly, thinking as hard as I could. There wasn't anything I knew of that they would have to talk about, except me. And that single conclusion sent shivers of dread all through me.

Upstairs, my legs complaining, I handed Tom and Jeff their sodas, then said, rather dully, Oh, Tom, Mom wants you.

His head popped up from the character he was putting the finishing touches on, his face a study in blank curiosity.

"Mine? Or ...?"


What's she want? he asked dully, then turned his face back to the paper before him.

Dunno. She just asked me to ask you to go down, I replied, taking my seat and a long pull off the bottle.

Better go get it over with so we can get started on letting you smear our mages all over the place, he said, getting up. Or cooking them to a nice, crispy brown.

As he passed through the door to the stairs, I looked at Jeff. He was looking at me with one raised eyebrow and his lopsided, sneaky, conspiracy grin. It was his sniffing so obviously that let me know what he was thinking so certainly. Ever since that long ago afternoon that I had watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Jeff, and his brother had arrived after obviously gotten up to something very interesting, but lying his ass off to deny it, the phrase, I smell Spam, or simply, Spam, signified all things suspicious.

Yeah, I know. Spam. I said to Jeff, who replied, Come on.

We sneaked to the head of the stairs, watching Tom from above until he was at the bottom. Then we headed very slowly and very quietly down after him. I peeked around the corner, making sure he had already gone into the kitchen before I made the turn myself, Jeff close behind me.

I was very aware of his closeness and was working very hard not to get turned on by it. The smell of his favorite shampoo wafted around me. Even that innocent closeness caused my heart to race more than the sneaking around could account for. When he occasionally came into contact with me, I felt thrills and chills at the touch. He placed a hand on my shoulder as we sneaked closer to the kitchen door and I put my own hand over his. He responded by bringing his lips to my earlobe and placing a soft kiss there. My breath caught and I stopped sneaking forward.

Not now, I said softly.

His soft voice in that ear said, as his hand slid down my chest, Just warming up for tomorrow night."

I let my head droop on my neck as I shook it.

Not now! I whispered, letting my hand reach out behind me. It quickly, as if guided there, found his groin. I was amazed to feel that he was fully hard.

Wish we could sneak off and be alone tonight, I whispered.

His hand continued to slide down the front of me and found my own growing interest. His lips again caressed my earlobe as he softly said, I wish we could, into that ear.

I swallowed hard and tried to fight down the shivers, the tingling in my gut and groin, the sudden tension in my chest, and the desire to turn around and ravage him right there and then.

"But not when they're here," he said next, crushing my growing hopes that he was past wanting to hide it.

When? Tom's voice said loudly, breaking into the moment.

Jeff and I stiffened, not just in the places where our hands touched each other.

Dad's reply was audible, but not understandable. Jeff and I slipped closer to the kitchen doorway.

Awesome! He's going to be so blown away!

So, Tom was working on another something, and in cahoots with my parents this time, I thought. And Jeff wasn't in on it, or he would'a got frisky upstairs to keep me from coming down here and snooping on it.

Jeff leaned closer to me, his front side now pressing against my back, my hand on his groin now trapped between his hardness and the cheeks of my own butt.

He doesn't have a clue? mom asked.

Not as far as I know. You, Mr. Raymond?

No. I think we got him completely in the dark, dad said with a laugh in his voice.

Oh, really, I thought to myself, despite Jeff's closeness as he pressed even tighter to me, in contact from neck to knees now, causing me to almost shake with desire.

What do ya think they're up to? he asked in my ear.

I don't think I care too much as long as you lean into me like this for a little longer, I thought as I shook my head.

Cool. I can't wait for this! Tom exclaimed.

Just don't do or say anything to tip him off, dad said solemnly.

Jeff patted my shoulder and said, We better get outta here before we get caught.

We ran as quickly and quietly as we could back up to my room. Even though my mind was racing over what we had just heard, my eyes were welded to Jeff's butt as he took the stairs ahead of me. I was panting long before we hit the third floor.

Suddenly I was wishing Jeff would let me enter him. He loved giving and getting oral, and he liked hugging after. He also liked a lot of touching during, in all kinds of places, but he didn't like me playing around his back door. We had tried a couple of times, but he stopped it before very long at all, saying he just didn't like it. I had let him fuck me - or try to - a few times, but his girth was too uncomfortable for me. He also had said he found it a bit painful, and that it didn't, Hurt So Good at all. His tight foreskin didn't slide over his thick head. It slid back far enough to expose about one inch of the tip of his cock and no further. I was sure it was the reason he found it painful to try to enter me.

I guess I can understand that, I thought as we took our seats in my room. I was panting from the exertion, nearly breathless, and my legs felt a bit wobbly even though I was sitting down. His face was a bit red, but probably not from the run, and his grin was contagious. He took a long draw from his Coke and silently burped. When he picked up his pencil and made to continue working on his new magician, I quickly half stood and leaned down to kiss him.

"We gotta wait 'til tomorrow. I want to, it'd be cool, but today would, be, I don't know. Obvious? It's just-

I know, I said quickly. "I don't agree, but I know. You just have to deal with it how you can in your own time. Just hurry the fuck up!"

One of the things I really like about you. You won't do anything to hurt a friend. Not even have sex.

I smiled, then said softly, conspiratorially, and with an evil grin, Maybe, if it'd be really good sex!

We laughed. I loved his laugh. It was smooth, deep, rounded, just like his speech. I also loved how his braces glinted.

I was trying not to breathe too hard or to look guilty as Tom came into my room, looking confused.

Well? I asked.

Your mom has this stupid idea. I'm not supposed to say anything, but, well, what the fuck.

Tom sat and picked up his soda, took a long drink from it, then placed it back on the table, still holding it. Jeff and I looked at each other, and I could easily tell he was thinking the same thing as I was.

Damn right, what the fuck. Now out with it," I said aggressively.

Well, you remember that old Plymouth? The big, green four-door that we fooled your parents into thinking you liked, so they wouldn't know we were actually, well, messing around in it?

Messing around in it? Jeff asked, eyebrows askew.

I ignored him for the moment, almost angry that Tom had said so much. I turned bright red at the memory, and at his revealing it to Jeff. I listened in horror as Tom related the events as matter-of-fact as if describing a fairly good movie.

The car had been abandoned for the most part. It had been sitting in the driveway of a small house for sale for weeks, a for sale sign in its window as well. Tom had tried the door on a lark. When he found it open, we decided that smoking a doobie in it would be fun. Before too long after the joint had been smoked, we had our pants open and were sitting in the back seat, giving each other a hand-job we would both remember for a very long time. It had been very intense, and we were both very stoned. The prospect of someone stopping to look at the car, or maybe even the owner coming to move or check on it, or even someone coming to look at the house, had made the experience that much more intense and incredible.

When we had finished each other, we got out of the old car and were surprised to see my parents driving by as we did. Shocked and embarrassed, we had formulated a plan to explain our exiting the car as they had driven by; I had liked it and was checking it out, and was thinking of asking if I could have it when I got my license.

You guys are pervs, Jeff said, nearly laughing out loud.

Well, Tom said seriously, they wanna get it to replace the van, since they can't find a real replacement for it. And make a big surprise out of it. And I couldn't say anything, 'cause, well, you know.

And now, some months later, it seemed that old heap of junk, and those few minutes of pot and sex with Tom, had come back to haunt me.

I can't believe your parents are getting you another car already, Jeff said with a half-grin.

It's probably only a hundred bucks, I said, dismissing his implication.

The interior is mint, though, remember? Tom asked, grinning evilly. Then he added with a smirk, Except the couple white, crusty stains on the headliner.

Jeff tisked nicely again, this time with a grossly over-exaggerated look of disgust.

I snickered, Tom laughed.

Well, it's not a bad car, Tom offered.

Bad? No, not really. But come on, a big, old, four-door sedan? And green? Inside and out?

Yeah, but what if it's got a four-forty?

An interesting possibility, I thought, having to agree. It could probably outrun many guys' cars if so. And with a little work, I bet it could beat most of them.

A joint was lit and we returned to Dungeons and Dragons. A couple of hours later, the usual argument over where to order the pizza from occurred at the usual time. We began deliberating who would decide where it was ordered from between the usual choices; Barone's, Ledo's, or Casciani's.

Tom, being Tom, came up with the most shocking way to decide who would decide.

How about we jerk-off and whoever shoots the farthest decides?

My own tisk of shock was drowned out by Jeff's. We both stared at Tom as he he'd offered to eat a live puppy if he got to choose.

I wasn't shocked so much for myself, I was stunned for Jeff. I knew he was having his problems dealing with being gay, and being with me, so I knew that proposing something sexual between the three of us would shock him intensely. He'd also been brought up Catholic and solitary, so he was unused to the entire realm of sex, let alone doing something sexual with someone else who was male and gay.

I was now well aware of how difficult it had been for him to go through with the fumbling hand-jobs before, let alone oral sex and hugs, tickling and kissing. He was coming out of that shell, and I was looking forward to helping him out of it tomorrow night and Sunday morning. But proposing a near-threesome, in such a serious way, and in such a possible situation?

The only thing I wondered was just exactly what was going through his mind. He didn't let me wonder for long, though. As I was still pretty much stunned speechless, Jeff let his newly developing dominant side out of it's cage.

Fuck you! he said firmly, real anger present. You're an ass!

Tom was obviously surprised at his reaction. I needed to defuse things quickly, and the initial comeback that had occurred to me when Tom first made the suggestion seemed to be perfect.

No way, Tom. It wouldn't be fair. I ain't got off since Sunday, so I'd win no problem.

Tom blinked and looked at me, away from Jeff. I looked to Jeff and saw his anger had turned to doubt and surprise.

What? I asked simply, shrugging at both of them.

Then I wondered if Jeff was going to be touchy that I'd mentioned sex with him so forthrightly.

I saw a way around it.

Ain't since Sunday night, I said as if insisting.

That would deflect Jeff's involvement, as he hadn't been with me since that afternoon.

And we gotta decide who decides, I said, returning to the subject. Let's roll for it.

I hefted my twenty-sided die. They were both seemingly willing to drop the topic, until Tom had to ask, Really ain't since Sunday night?

I shook my head.


I rolled a twenty.

I grinned.

Tom and Jeff both put their dice down and relented without challenge, but not without obviously enhanced disgust at my luck.

Casciani's, I said, headed toward the phone. And green olives, I insisted.

Half, they said in unison.

Ster-e-o, I said, dialing the phone and grinning.

Later, when I went downstairs to retrieve the pizza, Mom insisted on changing my bandages. I had her do a rush job of it, took the night pills, and returned to my room with the bounty - minus two pieces. In my rush, I forgot my plan to take a sleeping pill and a little yellow pill with me upstairs to take later. I had planned on it so that I wouldn't have a nightmare in front of the guys. I knew it would mean being emotionless for the morning, but I knew it would wear off by noon, well before Jeff would return for us to be alone together.

More joints were smoked, more games were played, more lies told, more laughs had, and pizza devoured. Jeff seemed ill at ease at times. He laughed, he got high, he took turns on the Atari, he played his character well, but from time to time we would catch each others eyes, and he would obviously react to pangs of guilt or embarrassment.

It angered me each time. I had fought to have him, all or nothing, and now it wasn't turning out to be so black or white. I had him, in a way, but not entirely, and not openly.

As the Circle ran past midnight, I began to ignore him. Not that I didn't react to things he said or did, but I didn't look at him at times or glance at him if any of many certain words were spoken. Thankfully, Tom refrained from pointing out that the two of us were more than friends, and nothing was mentioned of only Jeff staying over tomorrow night.

I'd made it through the first week home. Things were getting back to normal. Slowly. And in bits and pieces. But at least Jeff and Tom were over at my place for the night, and we were doing normal things, and having something like a normal time. It was all just a new normal.

For a change, I was the first out. I hadn't taken a sleeping pill, having forgotten it mostly due to the buzz, so I didn't expect to fall asleep early. I laid on the bed, hands behind my head, while they battled each other on the Atari. I nodded off, and the pungent reek of gasoline filled my head. The smell of gasoline made me nauseous.

I felt my stomach fall in anticipatory dread and fear yet again. I could only watch as I pumped the pedal once, then moved the Styx medallion aside so that I could grasp and turn the ignition key.

The engine turned for several seconds, almost catching, but not quite. The smell of gas grew stronger.

"Yeah. Old Chevy," Dad began.

I leaned across the sizable hump between the front seats and unlatched the the passenger side clamp easily. Knowing that I would be unable to open the other, still, I tried. I pulled and yanked, afraid I might tear it off. The van was shaking from my efforts.

Dad told me to to break the latch, but instead to try starting it again.

"At least you know I ain't even started it," I answered with a sly grin.

I didn't feel like grinning. I wanted to scream, Get the hell out of here! and run for my life, but there was nothing I could do. I was fated to relive it again and again.

He peeked around the hood at me with a grin.

Please, Dad! RUN!

I turned the key again. The engine turned over, barely beginning to catch. Dad called for another pump of the accelerator. Knowing that it was the final doom, I did it. The engine turned faster, then caught with a pop. I closed my eyes tightly, but I still saw it all clearly.

Another, louder pop, then an even louder whoom! as there was a bright, orange light, and I was knocked against the van door, my sore temple striking the pillar.

Things went fuzzy, and wobbly, and blurred, all at the same time. I heard Dad yelling my name. The flames rose toward the dashboard. My eyes closed instinctively against the heat and smoke, but I could still see. I could feel the heat of the fire on my right side. The odors of burning carpet, oil, rubber, and plastic choked me.

I reached for the key, fumbled with the Styx medallion, and killed the engine. The flames on the dashboard were now less than a foot from me, and now reached to the height of my face. Thick, black smoke curled up the windshield and rolled over my head.

I opened the driver's door, but it hit the wall of the garage. My lungs began rejecting the air they drew in, making me cough uncontrollably. I couldn't keep my eyes open against the smoke and heat, let alone breathe it.

Can't breathe! Trapped!

"It's okay, Alex. Sh-h-h," I heard Jeff say.

I was suddenly in the bed in the back of the van, and I felt a wam sensation on my dick. The heat of the fire lessened, replaced by that odd, intense, wonderful, pulsating thrill of being given oral sex. I gasped and arched my back as he slid slowly over the head and then down the shaft, sucking and licking intensely.

Ahh, yes! I hissed, putting both hands on either side of his head and pumping my hips.

I looked down and watched as my cock slid in and out of his dark red, plump lips. They admirably formed themselves tightly around my hardness. His tongue ran along the underside of me as I moved in and out, over and over. He took the entire length, stopping there to drive me absolutely insane.

Suddenly and without warning, I was exploding. Gouts of fire seemed to travel the length of my cock in pounding waves.

Suddenly I had that odd feeling you get when you realize that you are somewhere other than where you think or feel you should be. That feeling, while having an orgasm in a dream, was both disorienting and oddly exhilarating. Then I realized that I wasn't dreaming.

I realized that I was in my own room, that the sex was real. Jeff was sucking my cumming cock as I lay in my bed.

Holy... shit, slipped out between pants for air before I could stop it.

The words weren't solely in reaction to the sexual situation, they were also from complete shock and surprise. I had never planned on sex with Jeff, not with Tom staying the night as well. I wondered where Tom was, but gave it little thought with Jeff's warm, wet mouth finishing me. I was even surprised that those thoughts occurred during my orgasm.

Ah! Shit! Stop! I begged as I grew overly sensitive.

He relented and I collapsed back onto the bed with a, Whoof!

I couldn't resist, I guess. Sorry, he said as he moved to lay next to me.

Man, don't be sorry. Shit. You didn't do anything wrong, ya know. Besides, it fucking rocked!

He laughed softly.

I got up to use the john, and when I got back, I, uh, I noticed you was, uh, sorta havin' a nightmare or somethin'.

S'okay, I said as I collapsed further onto my back.

My panting breaths were slowing and the shivers had stopped.

Damn. Whew!

He laughed again.

Can I do you? I asked as I adjusted myself and my sweatpants.

Um, ya don't need to, he said shyly. I kinda got started on myself first. Then, well, couldn't resist with you there, and, uhh, I, um, finished before you did.

He snickered in embarrassment. I understood.

He laid his arm over my chest again, snuggling his face up next to the side of mine. We kissed a couple of times as his familiar and wonderful smells wafted around me.

Go to sleep. You need it, he said softly.

Mmm. Sleep like a log, now.

We giggled. I hoped we would spend the rest of our lives just as we were right then.

I luxuriated in the afterglow of his blow-job and in his embrace. I slid rapidly down into a warm, dark, quiet place where I was safe and had no worries. There were no impending disasters, no imminent horrors, no inevitable dooms there. There was just me and Jeff. And love.

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