My crew experience during my first year at Banyard had a huge effect on me and my life. At the time, it was simply something I was doing to fulfill my obligation to Culver House.
I had expected that Sutton would join us at our table in the dining room, now that he was one of us. That didn't prove to be the case. Nor did it follow that he was now one of us. Sutton was Sutton, and like we all had our own private problems, he had his.
At dinner that evening after our first time in the shell, there were varying degrees of enthusiasm. Mike, usually the most outgoing and enthusiastic of any of us, was subdued. Derek, usually the quietest member of our foursome, even more so than I, was almost garrulous. That meant, in his case, he spoke up without being spoken to. When we first sat down, he blushed a little at how forward he was about to be and then forged ahead. "What we did today was great! I'm really into this. Not only will we be working together, but we'll get really fit doing it. What about you guys? Are you as up for this as I am?"
Tyler smiled and reached over to touch his roommate's hand, a tacit sign of approval that Derek had spoken. "I liked it, too. I didn't know we had so much to learn, that rowing was so technical, but it'll be fun being out on the lake, working on it, getting our rowing synchronized. I'm certainly in."
We all turned to look at Mike. He blinked. "Uh…"
"Uh-oh," I said. "Houston, we have a problem…"
"Well, maybe not," Mike conceded. "It just looks a lot harder than I thought it'd be. We're going to have to work really hard to get even halfway proficient. We already have enough class and prep work to keep us busy. When will we have time for this? And how are we ever going to get fit enough?"
No one answered, so I spoke up. "I agree, Mike. This is going to take more effort than I thought, too. But we don't have to think of it like that. We don't have to think of it as more work to do. It's just my opinion, but I think we should decide if it's something we enjoy doing. Being together, being out on the lake, finding out if we can actually do what it takes—the synchronizing Tyler mentioned, the physical training. See, to me that sounds like a whole lot of fun. That's what I suggest: we think about all the fun this'll be, not all the work it'll be. If we enjoy doing it, it'll be great. If we don't enjoy it, we probably shouldn't be doing it at all."
They were all looking at me, which I found somewhat uncomfortable as I didn't like to be in the spotlight. But I thought back to what Mr. O had said: that I needed to become the leader of this group. That seemed ridiculous to me, me being a leader of anything, but at the same time, they were all now looking at me, listening to me; I was their focus, and they were paying attention to what I was saying. So I swallowed my doubts and continued with the thought I'd been expressing.
"Right now, we don't know whether we'll enjoy trying to learn rowing and trying to get good at it. We'll have to go out and try it a few times before we'll really know that. But I had fun today, and it looked like much of the time you guys did, too. When you actually stroked together a few times and the boat took off, that was exhilarating. And if I felt that, just sitting in the boat watching, you must have felt it even more because you were the ones making the boat move."
I turned to look at Mike directly. "I guess what I'm asking, Mike, is if you're willing to try it a few times. If so, maybe then we can all talk again about whether this is something that is worth what we have to put into it."
Mike smiled. "That sounds fair to me. So, how do we want to organize it?"
We talked about that. We decided for the first few times, when we'd need Mr. O to work with us, someone needed to find out when he was available and then see if we were all available then, too. I volunteered to do that.
When the meal was over, we all went upstairs for prep time. I got done early, as usual, and then sat on my bed thinking. Derek eventually wandered in, followed a few minutes later by Tyler. Mike was finished soon after that, and they all started chatting. I excused myself. I'd decided I needed to talk to Sutton.
I walked down the hall to his room. As had been the case before, he was alone. I knocked, he smiled, my heart and stomach noticed the smile, and I walked in.
I needed to see how Sutton felt about how the day had gone and whether he was up to trying to learn to row, spending practice times on the lake, and then discussing with the group how we all felt about it. That was my plan for talking to Sutton that evening.
He had another plan.
As always in his presence, I was nervous. The fact we were alone just doubled the ante. I moved over to sit on his bed. He was on his desk chair. He watched me as I moved to his bed, and when I was on it, he stood and stretched. Even stretching he was sexy. Then he casually walked to the door which I'd left open and closed it. Then he turned the lock.
He came back and sat down on the bed, a couple of feet away from me.
I tried. I really did. "Uh, I came to talk about crew with you." My voice sounded really tense. Well, it, like I, was.
He didn't respond, just kept looking at me. I gulped again, finding it awfully hard to meet his eyes. Breathing seemed difficult, too.
When he did speak after one of those very pregnant pauses that seem to fill romance novels, it was in his very soft, breathy, sexy voice. "You find me attractive, don't you, Luke?"
I didn't answer. I couldn't. I was frozen.
He smiled again, a smile that could only be expressed as seductive. Then he edged closer to me on the bed. "I don't want to talk about crew, Luke. I want to talk about you. You like boys, don't you? You can tell me. I understand. I like boys, too."
He was close to me now. He just sort of naturally—like it was no big deal at all—laid his hand on my leg, halfway between my knee and crotch. Just laid it there. Lying on my leg like that, it felt hot and heavy, and simply by being there it was difficult for me to think about anything else.
He was running his eyes over me now, all over. His eyelids seemed to flutter. They drooped across his eyes so they covered the top half of them. He slowly licked his lips.
Then he slid his hand upwards. Not all the way. He stopped with his hand not quite touching what I knew, I just knew, he was about to touch. He moved his eyes there, looking. Looking.
I was silent. Except for my heart, which was now racing and sounding loud in my ears.
His voice dropped to a whisper. "I've seen you look at me. I like looking at you, too. You saw me after that shower the other day, didn't you? Did you think I was sexy?"
I tried to clear my throat, unsuccessfully. I opened my mouth, but no words came out. He slid his hand the extra inch it needed, and its side was now resting against me. 'Me' had already started to harden. It hadn't been asleep. It had been quite aware of what was happening and was letting me know with tingles and pulses that it wasn't going to stay quiescent for long.
He felt it stir and pressed a little harder. That was all it needed. Within seconds, it was hard and seeking a way to find adequate room in my jeans.
I stood up. It was all I could do. I had to find a way to adjust myself, and I couldn't do it sitting on the bed. I reached into my pants and moved things around so the pain eased off. Sutton was still on the bed, almost laughing now but with his eyelids still at half mast. I could see he was hard, too. He reached up, grabbed my hand, and pulled me back onto the bed.
Off balance, I sprawled back onto it, and he quickly came over next to me. He reached with his hand and felt for my stiffness, then gently squeezed it. I moaned.
"Shhhhh," he whispered. Then he took my hand and moved it to his crotch. He pressed it to him, then maneuvered so my fingers were wrapped around him. When he was satisfied, he removed his hand that was holding my hand and brought it back so he could use both hands on me.
He ran his hands up and down my body, inside my shirt. He slipped a hand down inside my pants and took hold of my erection. With the other hand, he started working to unbutton and unzip me. As he was doing this, he was pressing himself into my hand that was still holding him.
He got my pants open, then let go of me altogether and murmured, "Raise your hips."
I was entirely in the moment now—and under his spell, too. I did as he asked, and he swiftly pulled both my pants and underpants down and off. Then he pulled back and looked at me. I was on the bed, stiffly erect, pointing at the ceiling.
"Yum," he said, and leaned over and took me in his mouth.
I'd never felt anything like that in my life. I was totally unprepared for it; it was all happening so fast.
He started working me with his mouth, in and out, using his tongue. I knew I wouldn't last long; I couldn't last long. I was moaning louder now, and he didn't bother to shush me. I'm not sure he even heard me. He dropped one of his hands—the one that wasn't still stroking all over me, playing with my balls, reaching under them and then back up over my chest—to his own self, managing to somehow extract it from his pants and stroking it.
I felt the urgency of the situation building, and then I exploded very suddenly and very hard. He kept sucking. When I was finally finished, I fell back on the bed. He sat next to me, pulled my hand to him again, and said, throatily, "Finish me."
At least he wasn't asking me to do what he'd done. In a fog, almost a stupor, I did as requested, and that didn't take long, either.
I lay still for a while, recovering. He'd rolled onto his side, and he simply looked at me. Grinning. Not bothering to hide himself. I started to be embarrassed and moved to pull my pants up. He put his hand out to stop me.
"No," he breathed. "I like looking at you like this. I like you seeing me, too. I like us being together naked."
I was re-gathering my wits. I moved his hand off me and stood, pulling my clothes up as I did. I hardly knew what to think. We hadn't spoken. What did this mean? Anything? Or was this just sex, with no meaning at all?
I didn't know anything about sex, and relationships. I loved what had just happened, how it felt. And I loved looking at Sutton. He was the sexiest boy I'd ever seen. Even looking at him now, I wanted more of what we'd done.
But I wanted more than that, and I knew that almost instinctively. The sex was wonderful, but I wanted friendship, too. Closeness. A meeting of more than flesh. He said he liked looking at me like this. I liked looking at him, too, but he was gorgeous, and I knew I wasn't. Did he like looking at me naked, or would any naked boy do?
I didn't want to be any boy to Sutton. I wanted us to be closer than that. Could I have that closeness with Sutton? The truth was, I had no idea. I knew I liked looking at him, but would I like him after getting to know him, learning what he was like? The disappointing thing was that we hadn't led up to the sex with any sort of relationship. I didn't know him at all. Did he want to know me better? Did he like me? Did he have any interest in me, a boy his age, a boy like him? Did I matter to him? Could I?
I decided right then, as great as the sex had felt, I wanted to know him better before we did it again. I wanted the sex to mean more than two strangers getting each other off.
But there was no way I could verbalize all this right then. I didn't know if he could listen to it, either. I was exhausted. It had been a big day. I'd come here to talk about crew. Then he'd seduced me. Now, I was done. Simply done. All I wanted to do was go to bed.
I got up, looked at him and his grin, and sort of smiled back at him. I think it was a smile. Then I left.
There will be more about crew, later. And about Sutton. As reported at the beginning, this is a recounting of major events in my life during my first year at Banyard, and this had certainly been one of them.
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