When Steven got home from giving his speech on the last day of the school semester he was completely exhausted. He'd almost fallen asleep in the short car ride home with his mom and dad, and as soon as he got home he went upstairs to take a nap. After all, he needed some rest because Landon was coming over later for dinner and they were going to spend the night together. And Steven was looking forward to lots of nights together with Landon because there was no school for two and a half weeks, so there would be no problems with school nights and homework. The only big question they would face would be which house to sleep at, because both sets of parents wanted to see their son as well as get to know the new boyfriend.
Steven was fast asleep, dreaming of whatever teenage boys dream of that lead them to get a nice big erection, when he felt movement on his bed. He opened his eyes briefly and gave a huge smile as he saw Landon had come from his school and was stretched out on the bed next to him. He opened his arms and Landon snuggled up to him and gave him a long and very gentle kiss.
"You look so sweet and innocent and sexy when you're sleeping, it's hard to have to wake you up!"
Steven tightened his grip on Landon. "Well, just get in here and we can both go to sleep!"
"No, we can't! Your mom and dad told me to wake you up because it's dinner time, and you've got to eat to build up your strength so we can have enough energy to make love all night long!"
"But I want to make love to you right now!"
"Sorry, but that's not an option! Up!" And Landon disentangled himself from Steven's grip, pulled off the bedclothes and started to tickle Steven. Steven was very ticklish which meant Landon could easily reduce him to a quivering giggling lump.
"No! Stop! Help! No! Stop!" cried Steven, but Landon persisted until Steven finally managed to escape. "When I say 'no', you're supposed to stop, right? 'No means no', remember!"
"Yes, but that doesn't apply to tickling, it only applies to sex."
"Does! Now, go take a shower so we don't have to eat dinner with you smelling like a dead skunk!"
Steven threw a pillow at Landon, but both of them knew it was all just a little fun and that they were enjoying themselves. Steven pulled off his tee shirt and then dropped his shorts and underwear. He wiggled his hips and jerked his hips so his dick waved at Landon and then scooted into the bathroom before Landon could grab him.
"Like what you see? Now you're going to have to wait until later for a longer look!"
Dinner was very relaxed. Both the boys were happy that school was over and that they'd have lots of time together. Steven's parents had accepted Landon so easily into their household whenever the two boys were spending the night at their house, and were already treating him as their second son. After everything that had happened following Nick's death, they were doubly happy to see Steven back in the land of the living and taking an interest in doing the things he had loved to do when Nick was alive.
Further, Steven's parents were so proud of what Steven had done for both the 'no means no' and now for the 'use your phone to get home' campaigns. They saw that he was truly growing up, no longer the enthusiastic kid of middle school but a young adult who was dealing with serious matters that affected him and his peers.
"Steven, where on earth did you learn to speak like that in public?" asked his dad. "I'd have rather died than get up in front of my high school class and speak in front of them all."
"Umm, I don't know, Dad, it just sort of happens. I mean, the first time I hadn't prepared anything and just said what came into my mind, and I guess it worked out OK. Today was different because I knew what I wanted to say and I knew the kids would be interested in the topic so I just said it like I'm talking here at dinner."
"I don't think that's quite true, my dear, " added Steven's mom, "you had the audience under your spell. You could have told them to do anything and they would have obeyed you. You seemed to have some form of power over them."
Steven looked pensive. "Maybe, I don't know. I didn't plan anything like that, I just said what I felt. But I guess I do know one thing. Kids are tired of being lectured to by adults and told not to do this and not to do that when they see the same adults doing the same things. So they just don't listen. I always listen better to my friends than I do to adults, it's just natural. So, yea, it's good when kids speak up and people listen."
Landon smiled. "Your mom and dad told me about your speech before I woke you up. I wish I'd been there to hear it. Do you think it was videoed like your other speech?"
"Maybe. They video most things in the auditorium because they get stuff to put on the website for publicity and things. Perhaps it will be there. I mean it was a public event with the mayor and Mr. Connolly so it would be good publicity for the school."
"Anyway, your dad and I are really proud of you, Steven. It's wonderful to have a son who cares about things enough that he's willing to speak up about in public and try to influence the way other people behave! You're becoming quite a hero in the community!"
Steven turned bright red. "I guess. It's funny, I don't want to be in the public eye. I mean I do care about these things, and if I can help save somebody's life that would be neat, but I don't want to be any sort of public hero or anything. I just want to be with my friends and to be able to get on with my life as simply as possible."
"OK, let's not embarrass our hero any more!" said Steven's dad. "What are you two going to do over the Christmas break, other than the obvious, of course."
Steven looked at Landon, grinned, and then shrugged and then answered. "I don't know, Dad, we haven't talked about it. We've both been so busy with school and stuff that it's taken all our energy just to get through the last three weeks."
"It's amazing to think you two have only been together three weeks! It seems like Landon has been part of our family for ever!"
"Yeah, I feel the same, Dad. It really is only three weeks, isn't it, Landon! Wow, but what a three weeks it's been. I'm exhausted. I think all I want to do is sleep."
Landon looked at Steven. "Well, sleeping is good, but you can't just sleep for almost three weeks and not have done anything before school starts again."
"Well, there's Christmas. I've no idea what we're doing for Christmas. What are we doing, Mom, Dad?"
"We're not quite sure yet, Steven. We're talking to Landon's parents about doing something together but nothing definite is fixed. We'll know in a day or two."
Landon looked at Steven again. "Well, I've got an idea about something we could do. I think Steven needs a break from everything. The last three months have been really traumatic for him, and you two as well, what with Nick's death, and then all the grieving you three have been through, and then the excitement of getting the gay social group to work, because that was Steven's idea, and then the fight with Kyle and his suspension, and stopping the boycott of classes, and the 'no means no' campaign, and the civic award, and his speech today on drunk driving and 'use your phone to get home'. So I'm proposing that tomorrow Steven and I take off for a few days before Christmas, and get away from everyone, and have some peace and quiet to ourselves because we haven't really had much time to ourselves with school and everything."
"Landon, I think that's a wonderful idea," said Steven's mom. "Have you any idea where you'd like to go? Jack and I would pay for it, of course, that could be part of our Christmas present for Steven."
"Well, what I've got in mind doesn't cost anything apart from a little food, of course, but that's part of normal life anyway."
"I'm not sure I'm liking this, Landon," said Steven "what exactly have you got in mind?"
"I thought we'd go camping on the beach!"
"CAMPING? I've never been camping! I don't know how! And it's dangerous, isn't it, I mean there's snakes and alligators and bears and panthers and zika virus and all sorts of other bugs and critters and poison ivy, and everything! You're crazy, Landon!"
"Don't be such a wuss, Steven!" said Landon laughing. "Remember, I'm an expert camper because I was in Boy Scouts for years, so I know everything and you don't need to know anything. And where I want to go there are no dangerous animals or snakes or anything, and we'll end up pretty much having a beach to ourselves, especially at night."
"Where are you thinking of going, Landon. I should think most campsites are pretty full at this time of year and it may be hard to get a booking."
"We're not going to a campground. We're going to Black Island State Park!"
"I didn't know there was a campground there!" said Steven's dad.
"No, there isn't. But I happen to know the Park Manager there, and she says we can camp behind her house. And the best bit is, she's going to be away from tomorrow until Christmas Eve so there'd be nobody there, it would be just the two of us because camping isn't allowed in the public parts of the park."
"How come you know the Park Manager?" asked Steven, "I didn't know that!"
"Steven, that's part of the reason I want to go away with you for a few days so we can be on our own. We've only known each other for three weeks and although there's no question we both love each other very much, the truth is we don't know each other very well. I mean, you hardly know anything about what things I'm interested in, and what things I like to do, and I hardly know what makes you tick. I mean, I know you're into gymnastics and you have a strong social conscience, but otherwise I really don't know you. So if we spend a few days together, it's a real chance to get to know each other properly. I love Black Island! Before I met you I'd go there often because I love being with nature and I love the sea, and I've done various Boy Scout activities there, so that's how I got to know the Park Manager."
Steven was silent for a while digesting what Landon had just said. And he realised that Landon was right, they really hadn't had much time together and they didn't know much about each other' interests and likes and dislikes, except they both liked having sex together. Lots of it. But Steven understood that Landon was talking about them and their long term relationship.
"Hmm, OK, I guess I can do that. It's going to be really scary trusting Landon while we're out in the wilderness being threatened by all those wild creatures, but I think it's a good idea. When do we go?"
"But that doesn't give me any time to get ready!"
"You just need a few clothes, some sunscreen, some bug spray, and you've probably got all that already. We can stop at the grocery store on the way to get food and other essentials. My camping stuff is all in my garage, and it's ready to use. Remember, the Boy Scout motto is 'Be Prepared' and I'm ready to camp at a moment's notice! If we go to my place after breakfast tomorrow we can pack my car, have lunch with my family, and then leave after lunch."
"When do you think we'll come back?" asked Steven.
"I was thinking we could come back Christmas Eve."
"But I haven't done any shopping yet, I've got to get presents for mom and dad and you and Bella and Tamsin and your parents and I'd like to get something for the Connors after they helped me so much and the Mancinos, but they've gone north already to be with their relatives."
"Well, we can stop by the mall on the way home. If you decide what to buy people then it makes shopping on Christmas Eve a little less traumatic."
"I guess. I've got a lot of thinking to do beforehand. I have no idea what to get people."
Landon looked straight at Steven. "Steven, the best presents are those that come from the heart, where you show people that you care for them and that you've spent a little of your time thinking about them. Just buying stuff doesn't really show that. In some countries, like Holland for example, they think the best presents are things you make for other people, like a poem or a picture or some handicraft or even a practical joke, something like that. Those types of presents mean more to people than gadgets."
Steven looked a little downcast. "I don't have time to make anything, and if we're going camping, we won't have any time or place to do things."
"Look, you need a break more than anything else, Steven," said his mom. "Everyone will understand if you just get people token things. It's you that people love, not what you buy them."
"I guess. But I'll think about it a bit so we can stop on the way home and buy some things."
"OK, that's a deal!" said Landon. "Now, Steven, you and I have to clear up the dinner stuff because we didn't cook, and then I expect we're going to go to bed fairly soon because we're both tired and we're going to have a long day tomorrow. Is that OK?"
Steven and his parents all agreed. They quickly picked up the remains of dinner, loaded the dishwasher, cleaned up everything, and then went to say goodnight to Steven's parents.
"Mom, Dad, thanks for dinner and everything! I think Landon's right that we're both tired and need to go to bed early. Love you, Mom, Dad!"
Steven gave each if his parents a huge hug. Then Landon came over and gave them each a huge hug.
"Thanks, Landon, it's wonderful to have you here and to see you and Steven so happy!" said Steven's mom with a few tears in her eyes. "We both love you very much!"
"Thanks! I've never been happier!" Then Landon looked at Steven's mother. "Is it OK if I call you Mom as well, and you Dad?"
Steven's mother burst into tears. "Yes, please, Landon, That's the best Christmas present ever!"
The next morning the boys woke up to the smell of bacon. They had gone to bed pretty soon after leaving Steven's parents but they hadn't gone to sleep for a while. Mostly that was because they lay next to each other exploring each others' bodies with their hands and their tongues for a while, and then that turned into a pretty intense lovemaking with Steven arching his back and letting Landon enter him and it wasn't too long before they both came with mutually intense orgasms.
Steven didn't remember anything after that. The adrenaline that had kept him going through the last couple of weeks started to drain out of him, and he went into a deep sleep. Landon looked at him sleeping and once again decided he was the luckiest boy alive. He had a beautiful boyfriend who he loved more and more each day, and he was really excited about spending three full days with him with nobody else around so that their love for each other would get deeper and stronger. And on that happy note he too had fallen into a deep and restful sleep.
Because it was Saturday, Steven's Dad made his famous breakfast, and when two clean and bright eyed boys arrived they saw the spread of scrambled eggs and bacon and sausage patties and home fries.
"Better eat up, boys! When you're camping you won't get to eat anything like this."
The boys dutifully ate, although if truth be told, they would have eaten just as much if they hadn't been going camping because they were teenagers and we all know they're always hungry. Once they had eaten everything in sight, they went up to Steven's room and Landon told him what to pack for their camping trip. All he needed was tee shirts, shorts, underwear, swimming trunks, a light jacket, sneakers and flipflops. Steven threw it all into his gym bag together with his toiletries, sunscreen and bug spray.
"I think I've got everything, Landon! Let's go!"
"No, you've forgotten a couple of things that are very important!"
"How about this?" said Landon, picking up the bottle of lube and tossing it over to Steven.
"Ooops, umm, yes, that's definitely going to be needed! Thanks!"
"And maybe this?" Landon walked over to Steven's bookcase and picked up a little canvas bag. "You might find this useful!"
Steven gulped. It was the little bag he used to keep his sketchbook and pencils and crayons. "How do you know about this? We've never talked about it."
"I talked to your mom, well, our mom, I guess, and she said when you and Nick were together you liked to do some sketches, like that one you have over there." Landon pointed to a sketch of Steven and Nick that had been framed. "It's a lovely picture and you captured something of the closeness you two had, so I asked mom whether you'd done it, and she said you had but you'd given up when Nick was killed, and so I thought maybe you'd like to try to start drawing again."
Steven threw himself at Landon and gave him a huge hug. "I love you so much, Landon, you're so clever and thoughtful, it's a wonderful idea. Maybe I can do some sketches of you at the beach!"
"I'd like that. And I bet you'll find a lot of other things to draw!"
So Steven added the canvas bag to his gym bag. "Anything else I've forgotten?"
"No! Let's go!"
After some big hugs all around and a few more tears from Steven's mom when Landon called her 'Mom' again, they put Steven's bag in the car. Steven noticed a couple of reusable grocery bags in the bag seat.
"What's that, Mom?"
"Just a few extra supplies. You know, chips and snacks and stuff. And your dad added some things, although I'm not sure I approve!"
Steven looked and saw a couple of six packs of beer. "Wow, thanks, Dad!"
"No problem, but don't get drunk!"
And after a final round of hugs the two boys set off for Landon's house. They said hello to Landon's parents and the two girls, and then headed for the garage to sort out all the camping stuff. Because they were going by car, and because they didn't have to carry anything, they were pretty lazy about what they took and how they packed it. In addition to the tent and extra plastic sheets for the floor, they took a couple of folding beach chairs and a table and a large Yeti cooler that they could fill with ice to keep their groceries and the beer cool, and a beach umbrella, and two bikes on a bike rack because Landon's dad had a bike he let Steven use, and a portable gas store and flashlights.
Then they went to Landon's room, and packed more or less the same things as Steven had, apart from lube because they had enough of that. Then Landon went and got two sleeping bags from the spare room closet.
"Two?" asked Steven wistfully.
"Yes, two! But don't worry, they zip together so they form a double sized sleeping bag! You think I'm going to be with you for three nights and not sleep with you?"
There was a large sigh of relief from Steven, followed by his trademark goofy grin. He helped Landon carry the stuff out to the car and they threw everything in.
Lunch with Landon's family was very relaxed. The two girls were a little jealous that they couldn't come, but then Landonsaid maybe they could get their mom to bring them to the park on Christmas Eve morning and spend most of the day there with Steven and Landon before they all headed home. That cheered them up enough that they stopped pouting and started being nice to Steven and Landon again. They both liked him and were thrilled he was Landon's boyfriend, although they didn't like it when the two boys were sleeping over at Steven's house and they couldn't spend time with the both of them.
Eventually the boys set of for the hour long journey to the park, stopping on the way to buy ice, milk, cereal, hotdogs, burgers, instant mashed potatoes, more chips and snacks, some stuff for sandwiches and bread, and some token fruit. Camping cuisine isn't supposed to be nutritional, is it?
They got to the park, drove up to the gate that led to the private part of the park where the Manager and other park staff live. Steven opened the lock with the combination that Landon had told him, and they drove to the Park Manager's house. She was there, having told Landon on the phone she wanted to leave by about four o'clock, so if they arrived before that she'd show them where to pitch the tent and showed them the outside shower that had hot and cold water, and gave them a house key so they could use the bathroom.
"Landon, I'm so happy you're doing this! Your friend will really learn a lot from you about the park and the wildlife and everything, seeing he's never been here before and you know everything! And relax and enjoy yourselves. I've told the Assistant Manager you're here so he knows who you are, but he won't come round unless there's a problem. Here's his phone number. So relax and enjoy yourselves, and I'll see you on Christmas Eve, I should be back about two in the afternoon!"
And with that she drove off, leaving the boys to pitch their tent and get the campground ready. It didn't take long, and then they were ready to do something.
"I want to go to the beach. I haven't seen the sea for a while!"
"OK," said Landon. "There are two beaches here, one nearby which we can walk to and one about two miles away with a good bike trail. That's where most people go because that's near the parking area for the public."
"Let's walk! I need some exercise after all that sitting in the car!"
"It was only an hour!"
"Whatever! Which way do we go?"
"Why don't you put on your swimming trunks, and we'll take a couple of towels and the sunscreen."
"Can we take a beer?"
"No, there's no alcohol allowed in the park, well, not in the public areas, so we better not!"
It only took them a few minutes to reach the beach which wrapped around the end of the island. They laid out the towels and then they put on sunscreen. As you would expect, this resulted in a lot of laughter and two young boys getting erections, but there were still lots of people on the beach so they didn't go any further than just feeling each other up. Then they jumped into the sea and horsed around and splashed each other, and behaved just like you'd expect two teenage boys to do.
When they got tired they went back to their towels and lay down. The beach was gradually emptying out because the park closed at sunset, so they lay there soaking up the last of the sun.
"Look!" said Landon, pointing out into the sea. There was a large dorsal fin sticking up out of the water.
"What! Oh my God, it's a shark! And we were swimming right there. We could've been eaten alive. Jeez, Landon, you shouldn't take risks like that!"
Landon was doubled up with laughter. "Dork, that's not a shark, that's a dolphin! That's not going to hurt us! There's no sharks here! Come, follow me!"
And Landon got up and waded into the sea towards the dolphin, with Steven following cautiously behind him. The dolphin didn't swim away, staying more or less in the same place, and then it seemed to get curious about the two boys and swam a little closer, and eventually started swimming in circles around them.
"My God!" shouted Steven "That's AWESOME! WOW! Amazing!"
And for a few minutes they paddled in the water while the dolphin circled. Then it let of a big spray of water through its blowhole and headed off out to sea.
"Landon, that's the most fantastic thing I've ever seen! Thanks! I'll never forget that!"
They got back to their towels. The sun was beginning to get lower in the sky. Steven looked around and saw they had the beach to themselves. So he moved right up to Landon, and gently pushed him backwards so he was lying down, and then he had his hand on Landon's thigh, and then moved it up inside the leg of his swim trunks until he could feel the mesh barrier, and he kissed him and told him he loved him and he couldn't thank him enough for having the idea of coming to the beach. Then he took his hand out of Landon's swim trunks and gently rubbed his now swelling dick until it was completely rigid. He loosened the drawstring, and slipped his hand in under the waistband until he could feel the head of Landon's dick which already had a little bead of precum on it, and then he tugged at the waistband with both hands, and Landon raised his hips and Steven pulled down his trunks until Landon was completely naked.
"God, you're so beautiful!" Steven looked at his boyfriends body, slim but with firm muscles, little tufts of reddish hair in each armpit, nice big brown nipples, the start of a treasure trail leading down to his patch of auburn pubes from which Landon's dick was standing up proudly.
"You get naked too!" rasped Landon. You could hear the desire in his voice.
"No, this is a special thank you for bring me here. Just lie back and enjoy it!" And Steven bent over and took the head of Landon's dick in his mouth and started bobbing up and down and swirling his tongue around. Soon Landon was squirming and pushing his hips up, and Steven decided to prolong things a bit and released him from his mouth and moved down and licked his scrotum and took each of his balls into his mouth and then moved down to his perineum and finally over his pucker, and moved his tongue around and pushed it in a little, and Landon was really gasping so Steven moved up and started sucking him again, and Landon tensed and moaned and thrust his hips up higher and harder and then with a much louder moan came and came and came in Steven's mouth and Steven swallowed most of it, and then he slid upwards and kissed Landon and they stayed locked together until Landon finally came back to earth.
"That was wonderful, thanks!" Landon spoke softly into Steven's ear. "Now it's your turn!"
"No, I've got a better idea. Why don't we clean up in the sea, then we can watch the sunset, then we're going home and have something to eat, and then when it's dark we'll come back here and you can make love to me on the beach. I think that would be fantastic!"
"You talked me into it!" And Landon got up and without bothering with his swimsuit walked into the sea and washed of the remains of his cum that Steven hadn't been able to swallow, and Steven joined him and got cleaned off as well. And they walked back to their camp hand in hand.
Steven hadn't known it was almost full moon. So when they reached their tent Landon picked up the two folding chairs and they went and sat on the edge of the lagoon on the east side of the park. The sky was pretty dark although there was some glow from the nearby communities. Then the sky started to lighten, and it wasn't long before the top of the moon rose above the mangroves on the far side of the lagoon, and the two boys watched with awe as the moon rose and lit up the sky and there was a silver path from them to the moon stretching across the almost still waters of the lagoon.
Steven's stomach started growling and that meant the boys picked up their chairs, went back to the tent, turned on the lantern and started to think about dinner. Seeing Landon was the expert with the gas stove and knew what he was doing, Steven decided to let him get on with it. Instead, he ducked into the tent, retrieved his canvas bag, took out his sketch book and started drawing.
When he had the burgers frying nicely, Landon looked over. "What are you drawing, Steven?"
"Just some stuff that we saw today."
"Can I see?"
"No, it's not finished. I don't like people looking at my stuff until it's finished. And anyway, I want to surprise you because I've never drawn anything for you before!"
"How can you do this when it's so dark?"
"It's easy. Everything I want to draw is in my head so I know what I'm doing. And I can tidy it up later when there's more light. That's why it's all in pencil because it's easier to do that and make changes, and if I like it, then I can add color or ink or whatever. These are just sort of concepts rather than finished products. So, no peeking!"
"OK, I promise I won't look until your ready to show me!"
"Good. How's dinner, I'm starving and I want to get back to the beach!"
And it wasn't long before the burgers and buns had been demolished, followed by a couple of chocolate flavored energy bars, and then the boys picked up their towels and a blanket and, important this time, the bottle of lube, a couple of cans of beer and headed back for the beach. The moon was so bright it was easy to see where they were going, and soon they were back at the same spot on the beach. The moon was behind then, and in the waves they could see a little phosphorescence in the water.
"What's that light in the water?" asked Steven, sipping gently on his beer.
"It's made from thousands of tiny organisms that glow in the dark. It's called bioluminescence. Fish and other sea creatures can see things we can't. Sometimes it tells them what's dangerous to eat, or whether it's something they like to eat. We can't see it, except for bits and pieces like here, but for them the sea is full of light."
They sat and watched, their arms around each other's shoulders, and just enjoyed the peace and quiet while they slowly finished their beers in anticipation of what was coming next.
And then Steven turned to Landon. "Now I want us to make love together. It's just the perfect place with the sea and the moon and the beach and nobody else here. We've never had privacy like this before because we've always been in my house or your house, but now we're truly alone and I want you really badly!"
Landon didn't need any further encouragement. He laid Steven out on his back on the blanket and repeated almost exactly what Steven had done to him before. So soon it was Steven who has moaning gently as Landon first sucked and swirled, and then started to lick him. And when he reached Steven's pucker, it was almost more than Steven could bear.
"Fuck me, Landon, please, now, I can't wait much longer!" Landon reached over, got the lube, put some on his rampant dick and a couple of dabs on Steven's pucker. And he pushed gently and it wasn't long before he was fully inside Steven and starting to move in and out in a gentle rhythm.
"Harder!" Steven wrapped his legs around Landon's waist and grabbed the back of his thighs and pulled Landon into him. "Harder!"
Landon started to thrust a little more forcefully but Steven just kept begging for more. "Harder, Landon, fuck me, harder!"
The combination of being inside the boy he loved, and being begged and begged to go harder meant that Landon started to get close, so he did speed up, and soon Steven was moaning loudly and they both sensed each other was on the verge and then Steven let out a loud cry. "Harder, HARDER, FUCK ME, LANDON, THAT'S PERFECT, HARDER! AAAGHH!"
And Steven came like he'd never come before and as he came his pucker tightened and that was enough to send Landon over the edge, and with an equally loud cry of "I'M COMING, STEVEN, I LOVE YOU, AAAAAGHHH" he pumped out his sperm into Steven. He'd never come so much and never experienced anything like it.
Landon collapsed on top of Steven, who held onto him like you would to a liferaft, and they lay there panting for breath. Ever so slowly they slowed down, and Landon started to slip out of Steven, and then they were side by side looking into each others' eyes. They didn't speak. There wasn't any need to. They'd both had the greatest orgasms of their lives, and they'd completely and utterly given themselves up to their lover.
They lay like that for a long time, holding each other and listening to the gentle lapping of the waves just a few feet away. Eventually Steven gave a little shiver because with the sun gone and a clear sky it had started to cool down a little. Without saying a word, the two boys released each other, put on their clothes, picked up the towels and the blanket and the lube and the empty beer cans, and slowly walked hand in hand back to the tent. They quickly undressed, and they took a shower together, naked in the moonlight, then they brushed their teeth and dried each other off and slipped into the sleeping bag and held each other.
"I love you more than I can ever say in words. It's been perfect!" Steven snuggled up closer to Landon and kissed him.
"And I love you, and yes, it's been perfect. And tomorrow's going to be better than today!"
And they quickly fell asleep in each others' arms with smiles on their faces.
When Steven woke it was still early. It wasn't dark any more but it was still before sunrise. He felt around but Landon wasn't there, but he could hear him moving around outside the tent and he could smell some coffee. So he crawled out of the sleeping bag, pulled on his shorts and poked his head out of the tent.
"What's going on, Landon, it's still early! We don't need to get up yet, we've got all day!"
"Yes, we do need to get up and yes, we've got all day, and today you're going to learn a whole lot about the park and the birds and the animals and maybe a little about me as well."
"Whatever, I'm still sleepy!"
"You can have a nap later on, well, we can have a nap later on, together that is, or maybe you don't want to do that any more after last night!"
"How about right now?"
"You horny little thing. Come on, get up, there's things I want to show you!"
So Steven put on a tee shirt and found his flipflops and went outside and Landon handed him a cup of coffee. Steven wasn't much of a coffee drinker but in the cool of the morning it tasted really good.
"We'll come back for breakfast in awhile, but we can take an energy bar and some more coffee. Now, get on your bike!"
Steven finished his coffee, watched as Landon got out his day pack, put a flask of coffee and a couple of plastic mugs and some energy bars and some binoculars and Steven's canvas bag with his sketchbook in it, and some sunscreen into it and got onto his bike. Steven followed suit and soon they were pedalling down the trail towards the southern end of the park.
"What are we going to see?"
"Just wait and you'll find out!"
They reached the little fishing pier that jutted out into the lagoon and sat on the bench. The water was still with hardly a ripple. Steven could see the shadows of a few fish in the water and several birds standing on the waters edge.
"What are we looking for?"
"Shhh, wait, you've got to be patient!" said Landon quietly, holding the binoculars in one hand.
They sat quietly for a few minutes, then Landon put his hand on Steven's thigh. "Look, up there," he said very quietly and pointed at a large bird flying in lazy circles over the lagoon.
Steven could see the bird. It was pale colored underneath and brown on top and seemed to have a striped face. It's wings seemed quite long for the size of its body. Suddenly the bird stopped flying in circles. It seemed to tense up and started gliding with a purpose. And then it dropped like a stone and hit the water with a huge splash about thirty feet in front of the boys.
And very quickly the bird reappeared, stretched out its long wings and with one huge heave it lifted itself straight up out of the water, and in its talons was a fish gleaming in the early morning light. Steven watched transfixed as the bird headed straight over their heads, adjusting the fish so its head pointed in the direction the bird was flying.
"What was that!" said Steven, his mouth wide open in amazement.
"That was an osprey catching it's breakfast!"
"Wow, that's unbelievable! You mean that bird can dive into the water and catch fish! I never knew that's possible!"
"It's possible. In fact, ospreys only eat fish, they hardly ever each anything else."
"But how did it get out of the water. I mean, when you see ducks and stuff, they sort of flap their wings and go forward and eventually they take off, but that just came straight up out of the water and flew off!"
"Ospreys are the only bird that can take off vertically. That's why their wings are big, because they need to lift themselves and the fish out of the water in one down beat of their wings. They can catch fish as much as one third their own weight."
"That's amazing. I mean, I know how much effort it takes for me to get into the right position on the ring apparatus we use at the gym, where you can only use your arms to pull yourself right up. So that bird must be strong!"
Landon smiled to himself. He just loved sharing what he loved with Steven. He looked around. "There's another one!"
And they watched as another osprey, a little further away this time, plunged into the water, but this time it came up without any fish.
"It'll be back once it's dried out a bit. They're successful in catching fish most of the time but sometimes they miss. I mean it can't be easy to spot a fish from fifty feet in the air and time the plunge so that you get at least one talon into the fish with a strong enough grip to pull it out."
They sat for a few more minutes but no more ospreys seemed to be fishing that part of the lagoon. So Landon stood up and got hold of his bike. "Let's go to the beach side of the island and see what's happening there."
Steven hopped on to his bike and they pedalled the few hundred yards to the other side of the island. They locked their bikes in the bike rack near the toilets and set off down the beach. There were lots of different birds on the beach, including a large group of largish birds.
"Those birds aren't all the same, are they, Landon?"
"No. The big ones with long red beaks are oyster catchers, the ones with longer, thinner beaks are black skimmers, and the ones with grey bodies and a darker heads are royal terns."
"So why do they all stand together?"
"It's mostly for safety and protection. If they stay in one big group it's harder for predators like hawks to dive down and kill one of them for breakfast. What's odd is that they all eat completely different things but they all stick together. The oyster catchers eat shellfish, including oysters but also lots of other ones, and they use that strong beak to prise shells open. The skimmers fly just about the water and skim their lower beak along the water to catch fish and other sea creatures. The terns are fishers. Look, you can see them diving into the water over there. They dive in beak first and catch little fish in their beaks."
"What are those little birds running up and down the beach as the waves come and go?"
"They're a mixture of plovers and sanderlings. What they're doing is they wait for a wave to break and come up the shore and as the water runs back out they see little things to eat like worms and small crabs, so they rush in and pick them up before they are covered by the next wave."
"Let's sit and watch for a while!"
So for several minutes they watched the shore birds feeding and just standing on the beach. Steven was fascinated by everything he saw. He'd never bothered with looking at these things when he'd come to the beach before, he'd just jumped into the sea and swam and messed around, or when he was younger he'd made sandcastles and stuff. But he'd never seen it as part of nature. And he made some preliminary sketches of the different shore birds.
"Look, Steven, here come some pelicans. They're fishers like the terns, but they're like heavy bombers while the terns are like fighter bombers."
Steven watched as the huge birds folded their wings and crashed into the water, scooping up fish in their huge pouches. He laughed as the birds crashed into the water and then managed to slowly fly up with big long strokes of their wings. He looked over at Landon who was looking at different birds through his binoculars with a huge smile and an expression of bliss on his face.
"You really love this stuff, don't you!"
"Yes, I do. It's what makes me tick! When I go to college I want to study environmental science and do something related to conservation. I might become an ornithologist but I haven't decided yet."
Steven looked at Landon with a wicked grin on his face. "What's a 'thologist'?"
"No, I said 'ornithologist'"
"Well, yes, I heard that. You said horny thologist. I mean, I understand the horny bit because you're always horny but I didn't understand the thologist bit!"
Landon turned round, looked at Steven and then suddenly he started tickling him, and in a minute Steven was a helpless ticklebag, laughing madly as Landon attacked his armpits with his fingers.
"STOP, STOP, please, Landon, I'm going to pee myself!"
Landon stopped and leaned over and gave Steven a quick kiss.
"You deserved that for being so cheeky! You know what an ornithologist is!"
"Yea, I do, but it was worth it to be able to tease you! But how come you're so into all this environment stuff?"
"OK, I'll tell you. Look down the beach. What can you see in the distance?"
"Umm, condos, lots of high rise buildings."
"Now look up the beach, you'll see exactly the same. This whole island was going to be built up just like those places. There wouldn't be any of this left, you wouldn't see any of these birds and all the other things in the park that we'll see later on, just condos and roads. But luckily the builder went bankrupt and the state bought the land and have kept it in its natural state as far as possible. We have to work hard to make sure the bits of nature still left are preserved for future generations, so that's why I spend a lot of time here learning about wildlife and the environment and volunteering my time to keep the place functioning properly.
"And there's another part to all of this. Those ospreys we watched are wonderful. But fifty years ago almost all the ospreys and bald eagles and other hawks were dead. One osprey in twenty survived, the other nineteen were dead. What happened was that farmers and mosquito control people were using a pesticide called DDT and it was really cheap and really effective so they used huge amounts. But what they didn't know was that DDT doesn't break down easily, so fish would eat grass and reeds that had little traces of DDT, and the ospreys that ate the fish gradually built up DDT in their systems. It didn't kill the ospreys but what it did was make their eggshells so fragile that they broke in the nest before the chicks were born. So for many years the hawks and eagle populations just fell until they were almost wiped out. That's why we got the EPA because they help control the use of pesticides and insecticides so we don't have dangerous chemicals in our lakes and rivers and wildlife and stuff. And now our government is trying to destroy the EPA because they think the regulations reduce profits of big corporations, and that means they can start using nasty chemicals again that will hurt the environment. And we're part of the environment. So if there's nasty stuff floating around, it's going to be in us as well. Just like there's plastic in all of us, and in almost all birds and animals as well. So it's really important for us to keep the public educated about the environment, and how everything that affects the environment affects us as well."
Steven looked at Landon. "Wow, you really know a lot, don't you! I never knew any of that stuff. Is that the reason why we've got all that red tide that's been killing fish and turtles and manatees and things?"
"Sort of. Red tide is a form of algae that lives naturally in the Gulf. Algae love warmth, sunshine and food."
"Sounds like a cat!"
"Yes! So if the temperature gets warmer like we're doing with global warming, and there's more food, then the algae multiply really quickly and form these big blooms. And the algae is toxic to fish and other sea creatures, and anything that eats them gets sick as well. So we have to try to fight global warming and make sure there's not enough food for the algae."
"What do they eat?"
"They live off chemicals. The most important are nitrogen and phosphorus. And we put lots of those two things into our water. Some comes from fertilizer from agriculture, and some comes from poop. So if farmers and golf courses use too much fertilizers or homeowners put too much fertilizer on their lawns just to keep them nice and green all the time, or if water treatment plants don't work well, or septic tanks leak, or we get flooding like after a hurricane, then we get lots of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water, and when it reaches the sea the algae are very, very happy. Lots and lots of food! So a natural phenomenon that has only a marginal effect on water quality becomes a major natural disaster that kills millions of fish and turtles and dolphins and manatees.
"And at present all that's happening is that everyone is blaming everyone else and they're not taking any serious steps to control how much nitrogen and phosphorous goes into our rivers and lakes and lagoons and the sea, so it's only going to get worse and worse. So we need more scientists to measure things and find out where pollution is coming from and how to manage water quality so it gets better rather than worse. So that's what I want to do when I leave school. End of lecture!"
"You really do know a lot, Professor Landon. I'm jealous because you know what interests you and you've got ideas about what to do after you leave school and go to college, and I don't have any skills at all. I've no idea what I want to do!"
Landon shifted so he faced Steven face to face.
"Steven, don't underestimate yourself. You have skills I don't and I'm jealous of you for that because you can do things I can't."
"What skills? I just go with the herd and keep out of trouble and do my schoolwork. I'm nobody special."
"Yes, you are. Remember how we first met?"
"Well, of course! It was at that inter-school gay social thing."
"And whose idea was that?"
"Well, mine, I guess, but all I did was say something to Chris and he did all the rest!"
"But it was you that planted the idea in his mind! Without your idea, nothing would have happened, there'd have been no social meeting, you and I wouldn't have met, and the world would be totally different."
"Yeah, but it was just a lucky thought."
"No, it wasn't. You assessed the situation, you realised why you didn't want to date people from your own school, you worked out other kids felt the same, and you came up with a practical solution that's working. The social group is going to be very popular because it addresses a serious issue that lots of gay teenagers face. Just because someone else is better at organizing that you doesn't mean your initial idea was worthless. Nothing would have happened if you didn't work out a solution!"
"I guess you're right. I hadn't quite looked at it in those terms!"
"What about the 'no means no' slogan? Who made that up?"
"Umm, me I suppose, but I said on the spur of the moment when I was really angry with Kyle and it gave me an excuse to punch him in the face. It was the other students who turned it into a campaign!"
"Yes, but it was your idea and you put the idea into other people's minds and they took it and ran with it. You knew that a lot of kids are really uncomfortable with being pushed into having sex, and it's often girls who suffer rather than boys, and it's worse for girls because they can get pregnant and we can't. But it's true for gay kids as well. So you got angry at Kyle not just because of what he did but because of what lots of other kids do and get away with it."
"Perhaps. But I think you're making my role seem more important than it was."
"Bullshit!. Exactly the same is true for the 'use your phone to get home' slogan, that was your idea."
"Yea, I guess. But nobody's going to run with that, it's too lame."
"Maybe, maybe not. Not every idea is successful! But what you've done is to talk to other kids in their language and make them see how devastating it can be to kill someone when you're drunk, and find a solution to help avoid driving when drunk. I mean, we've all heard the 'don't drink and drive' stuff for years, but that's just another slogan. Your slogan provides a solution, not just another way of telling people what not to do."
"And your middle school play idea when you kissed Nick in front of everyone and got away with it! I wished I'd been there to see that! That was your idea as well, wasn't it?"
"It was my idea, but Nick and me worked together to make it into something. Without him it wouldn't have happened. And it was sort of juvenile!"
"Hey, you were in middle school, you're supposed to be juvenile! But it was your idea, Steven! Don't you see that you're really creative and have lots of wonderful ideas because you look at the world differently and try to find solutions and approaches to things that other people don't. That's why you're special and unique and why I'm totally and utterly in love with you!"
Steven looked hard at Landon. He blinked because his eyes were watering and he was on the verge of bursting into tears. "That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me, Landon. Maybe some it's even true! But it's because you're so wonderful yourself and you look after me and treat me as if I'm special and everything, I love you more than I've ever loved anyone before. You've been magic this morning. You've opened my eyes by letting me see the world through your eyes, and letting me see myself through your eyes. And the more you do that the more I understand how special and thoughtful you are, and how much I'm in love with you!"
They fell into a huge hug, and Steven did sniffle a little bit because he really did feel totally in love for the first time, more than he'd ever felt with Nick. Then he looked up at Landon.
"Umm, can we go back to the tent right now, Landon, please, I need us to make love together and I can't wait!"
And that's what they did. They pedalled faster than ever before, threw their bikes on the ground, unzipped the tent, got inside, ripped off their own clothes and then when they were locked together they began to make love as slowly as they could, which wasn't really very slow at all, and despite all the wonderful sex they'd had before, this was special because they really felt as if they were one.
For the rest of that day and the day after the two boys explored the park and their own relationship. They began to find it easier and easier to talk about feelings and emotions and what made them tick and what made them angry, and what things they were willing to fight for, and what things they really didn't have interest in.
After they'd made love that morning, they found they were both starving because a powerbar is not adequate for a growing teenage boy who is expending a lot of energy having wonderful sex at least twice a day.
So they both ate huge sandwiches sitting on the edge of the lagoon where they'd watched the moon rise the previous evening. They didn't talk very much, partly because their mouths were full of sandwich a lot of the time, and partly because they felt so comfortable just being together there wasn't a need to make conversation for the sake of making conversation. They'd gone beyond that.
Then they went back to the tent and took a nap - it had been a short night what with the lovemaking on the beach in the moonlight and the early start to see the ospreys. Even without saying anything, the two boys knew they'd be back on the beach again that night and have a repeat performance.
When Steven woke up after his nap he saw Landon lying there peacefully with his eyes open.
"Hi handsome," said Landon, when he saw Steven was awake, "how are you feeling?"
"Wonderful! I needed that sleep! But now I feel really dynamic again!"
"Me too. What do you want to do for the rest of the day before dinner and then another trip to the beach?"
"I'm not sure. What about you?"
"Well, I think I want to go for a run. I've been neglecting my exercise routine and I need to keep in shape."
"I like your shape as it is, it's really sexy!"
"But if I don't keep fit I won't be able to keep up with all your sexual demands. I mean, it's hard for us older people to keep up with you kids!"
"You, old? You're only just over a year older than me even if you are two grades ahead in school because you're such a genius."
"I'm only two grades ahead because our birthdays fell either side of the cutoff date!"
"Whatever! OK, you can go running so you can service me as I expect and demand, but don't think I'm coming with you! I hate running, it's so goddamn boring!"
"But I don't want to leave you here alone!"
"Why? You're afraid some other gay boy will turn up and see me for the Adonis I am and need to ravish me on the spot?"
"No, dork, I don't want you to be bored with nothing to do!"
"Landon, don't misunderstand me when I say this. I'm very happy to have some time to myself. Boyfriends, especially ones like us, need our own time and space as well as being together. You want to run, I want to catch up on my sketches while things are still fresh in my mind."
"Why don't you take photos then you'd always remember."
"You don't understand. A sketch and a photo are two absolutely different things. A photo shows you what's there as it is. It's a WYSIWYG. A drawing lets you select what it is you want to show, ignoring things that aren't relevant to getting your message over, and making the person looking at the drawing think about it from their perspective but with your message. I'm not saying photographers aren't artists, they are, but it's a different type of creativity entirely. If I do take photos it's mostly to remember colors, if it's going to be a colored drawing, or sometimes to make sure that shapes and perspective are correct. For example, if you're going to draw a person it's better if they look more or less in proportion, unless you're deliberately exaggerating something. Of course, you can spend a lot of time editing and changing a photo in Photoshop or something like that, but you don't really control what the viewer sees. But in a sketch, especially if you keep it simple, then you sort of force the viewer to focus on what you think is important. Maybe when I've done a couple of sketches you'll see what I'm trying to say."
"OK, Professor Steven, so now it's your turn to give a lecture!"
"Sorry, I didn't mean to preach!"
"No, it's not preaching, it's fascinating to listen to you explaining to me who you are and how you think, and that's wonderful!"
"There you go again, you're dumbing yourself down when you're really smart and you know things I don't even begin to understand! Now, I'm going to go for my run if you're really OK with staying here, or maybe going off somewhere to sketch."
"No, I'm staying here. I've got too many ideas in my head to need to have more. There's limited brain capacity up here, you know!"
Landon laughed, stood up, took off his tee shirt and shorts, fished out a pair of pale blue running shorts and pulled them on. Steven looked with his mouth wide open.
"God, you look beautiful like that, Landon, I've never seen you look so sexy! Stay right there!" And Steven fished in his gym bag and found his phone and took a couple of quick photos. Landon played up a bit, making some exaggerated poses and thrusting his crotch out as much as possible, and Steven took lots more photos.
"OK, gorgeous, go running, mind out for snakes and potholes! How long are you going to be?"
"Maybe about forty five minutes. I'm going back to the south end of the beach along the trail, then along the beach to where we were last night, and back here. And I need to do two circuits to keep up my mileage target."
"OK, I'll be here!"
Landon slipped on a runners vest and did several stretching and warm up exercises and then he was off. Steven watched him until he was out of sight, smiled and then reached for his sketchbook and started drawing madly.
About forty five minutes later a very sweaty Landon came back to the tent, breathing heavily. He slowly cooled down with some gentle exercises, and when he was more or less back to normal he walked over towards Steven, who promptly snapped his sketchbook shut.
"I told you! No peeking! You smell terrible and you're all sweaty and disgusting and I'm tempted to have you come and ravish me just like that because that would be fun, but I think you need a shower and I want you to conserve your energy for some more exercise on the beach later on!"
Landon laughed, stripped naked, and went to the shower. Steven watched and thought how lucky he was to have a boyfriend who not only looked fantastic with his runners body and the way he used it when they had sex, but also had a sharp mind and was thoughtful and understood Steven better than he understood himself. He managed to take a couple more pictures of Landon in the shower.
When Landon was dry and had put on another tee shirt and some clean athletic shorts he came and sat in the other chair.
"How about we have a snack and a beer and then wander down to the beach and watch the sunset, and then come back for dinner before we go back to the beach at night!"
"That sounds wonderful, Landon. If you get the snacks and a beer, I'll show you something."
When they'd had some pizza rolls and a good gulp of beer, Steven reached down and picked up his phone and his sketchbook.
"I wanted to try to show you what I was talking about when I was ranting on about photography and drawing. Look here!"
Steven held out his phone and showed Landon a picture of him pulling on his runners vest. You could see all of his developing six pack and the muscles in his chest and his arms.
"Wow," said Landon, "who's that handsome guy? I'd like to meet him! Nice body!"
"Yea, I've got this fantasy I'd meet a guy like that and fall in love with him and want to have sex with him all day and all night! But that's just a dream. I'm stuck with you for better or for worse!"
Then Steven got a serious look on his face. "Now, look at this and tell me what you think! It's only in pencil, but later I think I'll do some of it it ink to make it stronger."
He flipped open his sketchbook and showed Landon a drawing he'd made from the photograph. The basic pose was the same, but what Landon saw made him gasp.
"My God, that's absolutely incredible! How in the hell did you do that?"
The drawing had ignored everything in the photo except Landon's body, and with subtle changes in the pose and careful shading the whole image was sensual. You felt that the boy was taking off his clothes in anticipation of making love to someone because he had this dreamy expression on his face, and the bulge in his skimpy shorts was clear and the focus of the entire sketch. Your eyes were drawn to the bulge and you really wanted him to hurry up and get out of his clothes and fall into your arms and lift your legs and thrust deep into you until you were lost in lust and finally in bliss.
"I think that's the sexiest picture I've ever seen!"
"Well, you ARE the sexiest thing I'VE ever seen!"
"But how did you do that? I mean the photo is nice but it's not sensual, whereas your sketch is very erotic."
"Well, some of it's just that I didn't include anything that wasn't relevant. There's no background, just you. And the shading draws your eyes to that growing bulge in your shorts so that you immediately understand that he's more than ready to have sex with someone, and the face is filled with anticipation of something nice about to happen, and because you can do things with a pencil you can't do on a photo, you can make sure that while there are muscles involved they're not hard and wiry but will be strong but gentle!"
"And you did all that while I was away?"
"Oh, that was only part of what I did, I worked on some other stuff as well!"
"Can I see?"
"No, they're not all finished! You'll have to wait!" And Steven snapped the sketchbook shut again. Landon tried to grab the sketchbook but Steven held it away. "No, you've got greasy little fingers and I don't want my masterpieces to be spoiled!"
Landon stood up and got them both another beer. "You are quite amazing, Steven, you've got hidden talents! Now you've taught me a little bit of how you see the world. When I saw the photo I thought it was nice, but that was really all. You saw something there that I didn't and you captured it in your drawing and I'm humbled because you've got a talent I'll never have. But you know, that's OK, because I think we complement each other. I'm more of the rational thinker, I want to be some form of scientist and I need facts so I can come to logical conclusions, while you're more of a thinker and dreamer and will always be more creative than me, full of ideas but perhaps not always with the ability to transform those ideas into reality. What a fabulous team we're going to be!"
And a little while later two slightly tipsy boys wandered down to their favorite spot on the beach and sat with their arms over each others' shoulders and watched the sun get lower and lower and finally disappear below the horizon and they saw the green flash that you really only get in tropical and subtropical climates, and they fell more and more in love with each other.
Dinner was another example of camping cuisine. Landon cut up an onion and fried that and then added the hotdogs and then made instant mashed potatoes, and afterwards they shared an apple because Steven said he needed to eat one healthy thing that day.
After the moon had risen enough so they could see their way without using a flashlight, the two boys walked down to their secret spot on the beach, and spread out the blanket and sat with arms around their shoulders. They didn't say anything as they were lost in their own thoughts. Eventually Landon hugged Steven a bit harder and turned round to kiss him. But Steven pushed him away and sat looking straight ahead.
"Hey, what's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong! But I need to say something to you. I don't know quite how to say it because it's really personal so please listen carefully and let me finish before you say anything!"
Landon broke the hug and sat with his arms over his knees staring out to sea. "It sounds serious, Steven, is everything OK?"
"Everything's perfect. And that's sort of what I want to say. Today's been something really special for me. It's been the best day of my life. And I'm scared. Let me try to explain.
"You know you're not the first boyfriend I've had. First there was Jake, when we were still living up north. And when my dad told me we were moving here in Florida I was really mad at him because he was making me lose my boyfriend. I'd gone through the whole process of realizing I was gay and getting a boyfriend and coming out to my parents and experiencing having sex with someone for the first time, and life felt sort of special and I started to feel a little grown up for the first time.
"Then, when we moved to Florida and I met Nick, I realized that what Jake and I had had was really not very much. I mean we slept together, although we weren't very adventurous, we were only in sixth grade so we weren't very big down there, so we really only did stuff together with our hands and our mouths. But it was fun! And we couldn't get enough of each other. And we did other stuff, like play video games and do some sports and hung out together.
"When I got to know Nick it was all different. We slept together, of course, and we went further than Jake and I ever did, and we both tried being tops and bottoms and although I liked it when I was a top, it was so much better when he was inside me. And we did stuff together as well, like video games but unlike Jake we shared our lives. We were inseparable, to the point where we really didn't feel we needed other friends. We went to each others' events, me to his soccer and him to my gymnastics, and our families were great about it so that we ended up pretty much with two sets of parents and our parents ended up with two sons. I couldn't imagine life without Nick, I was sure we were going to be partners for life.
"Then Nick was killed and my life fell apart. And you've been a huge part in helping me get back to the point where I want to live again. I mean the Connors and the Mancinos were wonderful, and now my parents and I are really close, almost for the first time, but it's you who's taught me how to love, and I mean really, truly love. And it's completely different from what Nick and I had.
"Nick and I were in love, but we really didn't talk to each other about who we were and what we wanted to do and about feelings and emotions and desires and stuff like that. Some of it I think we just assumed, and we were very compatible, but we never talked about emotions and all that stuff."
Steven turned and looked at Landon, who turned to face him.
"Today I've done stuff I've never done before. I've learned how to look at the world through someone else's eyes and it's helped me understand you better and make me love you more than before. And you've listened to me and let me talk about myself and my emotions and how I see the world, and I've never done that before either because I've never really trusted anyone like I trust you. And you've made me think about myself and what I'm good at and my self-esteem. And while it's clear we're different people with different ideas and approaches to thinking about things, we're perfect partners. And when I say I love you, that doesn't even scratch the surface of how I feel about you, and it may take me the rest of my life to tell you properly. So, yes, Landon, life is perfect and however trite it sounds, I love you."
Landon didn't respond immediately. He looked Steven straight in the eyes, and although it was dark outside there was enough moonlight to see tears running down Steven's face. He gently wiped them off.
"Steven, that was the greatest speech I've ever heard. I don't know what to say. Maybe all I can say is that I'm the luckiest person in the world to have met you and fallen in love with you and know that we're able not just to make love together but share our inner selves with each other. And I've never done that with anyone else. Like you, most of my other boyfriends were mostly about sex, not about a real relationship. But tell me one thing. You said you were scared. Why?"
"Well, I'm scared for two reasons and they're sort of stupid. I'm scared because it's so perfect I can't believe it's going to last. I thought the same with both my other boyfriends but it turned out not to be true. That scares me because I know I'll die if I lose you. But I'm also scared because my feelings for you are so intense I think I won't be able to keep them at this incredible level of intensity. I sort of feel I'm going to explode with emotions. In a few minutes we're going to make love to each other like we did yesterday, but because of what's happened between us today it's not going to be like it was yesterday. It's going to be stronger and more intense and more emotional because it isn't just me and you making love, for the first time it's going to be us making love and really sharing ourselves with each other. And I can't wait any longer!"
And Steven grabbed Landon and pulled him down on top of him and wrapped his legs around his waist and thrust himself upwards, and a little later they had to unwrap themselves so they could take off each others clothes very slowly, and their emotions got more and more intense and their physical need for each other got more and more intense, and when Landon finally buried himself inside Steven and they both felt the surge building up inside them and they moved together like they were a single living creature and finally when they came they both let out a huge primal scream.
To this day, Steven thinks they both passed out for a period of time as they let go of themselves completely emotionally and physically. Landon's not so sure, he thinks maybe he didn't pass out. But they agreed that they'd never experienced anything like this before, and that Steven had been right and it was completely different and awesome and wonderful. It was a night neither of them would ever forget.
And when they woke up in each others arms they looked at each other and smiled and they know that life would never be the same again.
They spent most of the next day together exploring the interior parts of the park. They carefully approached the alligator pond and Steven saw just the tip of her nose and her eyes. He'd learned to trust Landon about everything nature, so he wasn't scared of the big reptile. The gator observed them and then ignored them.
They took a side track into an area reserved for park maintenance. Again Landon walked very carefully having told Steven to tread as lightly as possible and be deadly quiet. As they rounded a bend in the path they saw half a dozen brown and orange striped snakes lying in the sunshine. Steven flinched and grabbed Landon's arm and pulled him back.
"Jeez, Landon, don't get close, they'll bite you!" he hissed.
"No they won't, they're just ratsnakes, they won't hurt you. They're much more scared of you than you are of them. Look!" And he gently stamped his foot and the snakes immediately sped off as fast as possible into the safety on the nearby brush pile.
They saw several gopher tortoises slowly wandering around looking for fresh grass. The tortoises rushed back to their burrows when they felt the vibrations of footsteps. Landon explained how important the tortoises were because their burrows sheltered all sorts of different animals, and even enemies would head for a tortoise burrow together for safety if they smelled smoke from a forest fire.
They walked back past mudflats that were drying out as the tide dropped. Steven learned how birds of different species fed together because their beaks were all different lengths and so they didn't compete for food because they picked out their food from different depths of the mudflat. They watched a roseate spoonbill swishing its beak backwards and forwards to filter out its food, surrounded by herons and egrets.
Landon told him how all these species were almost made extinct because of the demand for feathers for ladies hats about a hundred years ago, and how the Audubon Society had posted wardens near big rookeries to protect the birds from hunters, and started a campaign to shame people in public if they had bird feathers in their hates, and eventually got the law changed to start to protect species that were almost extinct.
Steven took a few photos to help him make some sketches later on. And he and Landon walked hand in hand, often not speaking but always communicating.
And, of course, they went back to their secret piece of beach when the moon had risen and they made love to each other again, and while maybe it wasn't quite as intense as the night before, it was full of love, and they were completely content when they got back into their sleeping bag and fell asleep together.
All good things come to an end. When the boys woke up on Christmas Eve morning snuggled up together in their tent they knew that their three days of togetherness and falling deeper and deeper in love were coming to an end. They agreed they'd have to do this again very soon because it was for both of them the best three days of their lives.
They decided to pack up before going to meet Landon's mom and his two sisters because this would maximize their time together, and leave Steven enough time to stop at the store to buy his Christmas presents. He'd told Landon he only needed about fifteen minutes because he knew exactly what he was going to get, but he wouldn't tell him what, despite a vicious tickle attack to try to get him to tell. And when they were packed up they biked down to the parking lot to wait for Landon's family.
At almost exactly nine thirty Landon's family arrived. They saw the two boys waiting for them and the two girls ran over and gave them both big hugs.
"How's it been? What did you see? Tell us all about it? You've got to show us everything! Come on!"
Landon and Steven both laughed, gave Landon's mom a big hug, helped her get some beach stuff out of the car and then they headed down the trail to the beach. They got Landon's mom settled in a beach chair with an umbrella and then the four kids went and looked for ospreys and pelicans and shells and shore birds. Both the boys knew that Tamsin's attention span was short because she was only twelve, and Bella had never shown much interest in the environment but at least for an hour and a half they looked and listened to Landon and Steven telling them what they were seeing.
Eventually playing on the beach became more interesting for the girls, so they rejoined Landon's mom and wandered along the shoreline. Bella quite liked looking at the skimmers and oyster catchers and terns standing on the beach. She said she really liked the patterns they made and she liked the mixture of blacks and reds and greys and whites.
Tamsin came shrieking back saying she'd found an octopus, so they went over and found she was looking at a brittle sea star. Very gently Landon picked it up and placed it in the palm of Tamsin's hand, telling her to be very gentle so as not to break off one of the arms. It had five legs which moved like snakes and Tamsin was fascinated by the wriggling of the creature. Steven took a couple of photos of her holding it until Landon said she better put it back because they would die if they dried out. So Tamsin put it back gently and went off and found another one and played with that. Eventually she got bored, so the four kids went swimming, or rather more like splashing, until they got hungry.
Landon's mom had bought lunch in a cooler, and the boys went and fetched some sodas from the snack bar. After they'd finished eating they lazed around for a bit, and then Landon said they better get back to the Park Manager's house because they wanted to be there when she arrived and thank her for letting them stay.
"OK, Landon," said his mom, "what we've decided is this. Steven's going home to spend Christmas Eve with his parents and then tomorrow we're going to get together in mid-afternoon at our house and we're all going to have dinner together, just the two families. I hope that's OK with you both?"
"That's fine by me," said Steven. "I need time to wrap presents and take a long hot shower and sleep in a real bed rather than sleeping on the ground. What about you, Landon?"
"Same for me! I'm tired because we've done so much stuff in the last three days, we went to bed late watching the moon, and we got up early to watch ospreys fishing. And we'll both be rested for Christmas."
"Well, I'm glad to hear that. I thought you two would resist because you'd insist on sleeping together but maybe you did quite a lot of that here!"
Both boys blushed and grinned and the girls teased them for being love birds, but it was all good natured. So they said their goodbyes and Landon and Steven biked back up the trail to the Manager's house.
The Park Manager arrived about fifteen minutes later and thanked the boys for guarding her house and leaving no trace of a campsite. She said they could come back any time they wanted whether she and her mom were there or not. With hugs and thanks, the two boys got in the car and headed home.
"OK," said Landon, as they got back to so-called civilization. "Where do you want to go for shopping."
"I need to go to the craft store. That's all. I'll be about fifteen minutes. You have to wait outside in the car. Sorry, no peeking at what I'm buying! It's got to be a surprise for you tomorrow or it'll spoil the fun!"
Landon agreed, although he really was curious about what Steven was buying him. He dropped Steven at the front of the store, showed him where he'd park, and watched as Steven disappeared through the doors. He realised how much he loved Steven and even seeing him going into a store without him made him a little sad.
Steven did know exactly what he wanted. He knew the store well enough he could walk to the correct section, and in a few minutes he'd made a selection of the things he needed to buy. He stacked it all up and went to the cash registers. There was a bit of a line because Steven wasn't the only person leaving gift shopping until the last minute. He dumped his purchases on the counter and fished around for his debit card that was linked to his savings account. The cashier, who was an older woman, rang up the purchases, took the card and then stopped and looked at Steven.
"You're that kid from the TV aren't you?"
"Umm, sorry, I've no idea what you're talking about!"
"Yes, you are! You gave that wonderful speech about drunk driving that was on the TV the other day! We all loved it, and when I saw it, the first thing I did was get my son, he's a senior, and took his phone and put an Uber app on it and linked it to my credit card, and got him to promise not to drink and drive because he's done that before, and he promised, and you know what, he went to a party Saturday night and he got an Uber back. You saved his life!"
Steven didn't know what to say. He just turned bright red and blinked.
"You're not paying for any of this! This is my Christmas present to you for being such a wonderful person, trying to help others from killing themselves or other people! Here, take back your card! The store will pay for all this, and anything else you want!"
"Umm, I can't do that," said Steven, who was feeling very embarrassed. "I need to pay!"
"No you don't! I won't accept your card!"
The cashier had waved to the store manager who can rushing over to see what the problem was.
"What's wrong, Marlene, is this kid giving your trouble?"
"Oh, no, sir, this is the boy who gave that speech on TV about drunk driving, you know, everyone's talking about it, and I refused to let him pay for this stuff because it's my Christmas present to him. My teenage son took an Uber home on Saturday when he normally would have driven even though he'd been drinking, so this boy may have saved his life."
"I couldn't agree more, Marlene. I saw the speech, it's been played lots of time because it's so powerful. Young man, we're proud of you! Please accept this as our gift to you to say thank you for trying to stop drunk driving!"
Steven was mortified. He blushed even more when some of the bystanders heard what was going on, and they broke out into applause. He mumbled some thank yous, shook the manager's hand, grabbed his stuff, thanked the cashier profusely, and fled.
Landon took one look at Steven who was crying when he reached the car. "What the fuck's happened to you, Steven, you're crying! What's wrong?"
Slowly Steven pulled himself together and explained. Then he turned to Landon with tears still running down his cheeks. "You see, that's why I don't like to do stuff that puts me in the spotlight. I just want to get on quietly with life, and be with you, and be happy, and not be the center of attention."
"Well, you shouldn't give speeches that end up on TV!"
"But I can't keep quiet when it's important stuff like this. We need to speak out!"
"Look, my angel, you can't have it both ways. If you speak out you're going to catch people's attention. If you keep quiet, nothing will ever change!"
"Yea, I know, but why couldn't somebody else be the spokesperson, like Chris was for the gay social thing?"
"Because you say it so much better because you're passionate about it and that's why people listen!"
"Enough, take me home. I'm going to be miserable! I hate doing presents, and I hate sleeping alone! Bah, humbug!"
After Landon dropped him off at home Steven went into the kitchen, gave his mother a big hug, and told her he was doing presents in his room and didn't want to be bothered.
"Don't you want me to tell you when dinner's ready?"
"Yes, I guess so. Mom, could I just have something simple like tomato soup and a grilled cheese? I'm tired but I've got a lot of stuff to do before tomorrow. Landon's mom said we're going there for a late lunch. Is that right?"
"Yes. We're having a quiet Christmas morning and the three of us can give each other gifts. And then we're going for late Christmas lunch. I suppose you're going to stay there overnight, right? That's if you're both still speaking together after your camping trip!"
"Mom, it was wonderful! Just perfect! And we're much closer now we've spent real quality time together! But I'm not going to tell you about it now. I'll do that tomorrow when Dad's here. Right now I'm going to do presents, OK? Oh, and you and Dad won't get your presents till we get to Landon's. That's the way I'd like to do it because everyone has to open their presents from me at the same time. I hope that's OK!"
Steven disappeared into his room and got all the stuff he needed lined up and then he went to work. He was so absorbed in his work that his mom had to knock several times to get him to come and eat dinner. Like most teenagers he drank his soup and crammed down his sandwich in record time, burped, said sorry, and then told his parents he had to get back to what he was doing but maybe they could leave some dessert or something for him to eat later because he still had a lot to do.
It was after one in the morning when Steven finished wrapping the last present. He had had a short break to eat his dessert but he decided he needed one more bowl of ice cream and some cookies, so he got those, went back to his room and ate it there while thinking what his next project might be.
It was after ten on Christmas morning when he finally woke up. His parents had let him lie in because they knew he was tired after the trip, so it was at brunch rather than breakfast that Steven told his parents all about the camping trip and what he'd seen. They were both surprised by how much Steven seemed to have learned from Landon, and they said so.
Steven explained how Landon had been able to get him to see the world from Landon's perspective, something that he'd never really experienced before, and that maybe he'd been able to teach Landon some things as well.
"It sounds like you two are really suited for each other" said his dad.
"Yes, Dad, I think we really bonded these last few days. I'm much closer to him than I ever was with Nick and we've only known each other for a few weeks. That's amazing to me."
"Maybe it's because you're growing up so you have a different type of relationship with him that isn't just about sleeping together and doing stuff but actually talking and communicating."
Steven looked at his dad. "You know what, Dad, for an old fart and a male chauvinist pig you're sometimes very perceptive. Yes, we communicated, physically and mentally. I think this is the first time I've really been in love, Jake and Nick were sort of steps along the road."
"Don't tell that to the Mancinos!"
"Of course not! I wouldn't dream of telling them that! I'm not stupid!"
"No, you're not! And I think you're right, Steven, you do need steps along the road. I've never quite understood couples who've only dated each other and then got married and stayed together for the rest of their lives. I think you need to get some broader experience."
"Well, Dad, let's hear about your steps along the road. It's your turn!"
"Nope, not now!"
Steven went back to his room, packed the clothes he needed for the next day or two because he didn't know how many nights he'd be at Landon's, put all his wrapped presents in a reusable grocery bag, and got changed into his smart clothes. He and Landon had agreed that for Christmas dinner they should be properly dressed because photos would be sent to aunts and uncles and grandparents. So he put on khaki pants and a light pink shirt and a festive red tie and a blue blazer and socks and loafers, and he brushed his hair. When he looked at himself in the mirror he was pleased with what he saw: the perfect preppy boy that all the old folk would adore, a long way from what Steven really wanted to wear, which was either nothing at all (first choice) or his favorite Adidas shorts.
When he walked into the kitchen his mom took one look. "You look wonderful and handsome and so grown up, Steven! If I wasn't married to the old fart male chauvinist pig here, I'd try to come and seduce you!"
"MOM! Umm, thanks for the compliments but I'm already taken!"
They got their bags of presents and headed to Landon's house. They were greeted by an equally handsome looking Landon who was wearing blue slacks, a white shirt and a red bow tie, and Bella and Tamsin wearing matching dresses with a pattern of Christmas ornaments. As you would expect, both sets of parents drooled over the kids, lots of pictures were taken in every possible grouping, and then it was time for presents.
There's no need to describe every present in detail. But a few were special. Landon's parents gave Steven a new sketch set that had more stuff in it than the one he'd taken to the beach. Landon gave Steven a necklace which had pendant of an intertwined L and S and then put on a matching necklace for himself.
Steven gave everyone their presents and told them to wait and then open them all at the same time. As you will have guessed, he had finished off sketches he'd started at the beach, had inked some in to make them more dramatic, in a few he'd added a little color, and he'd framed them with the items he'd bought at the craft store.
He gave his parents and Landon's parents similar sketches of him and Landon in close up, using one of his photos of Landon and a selfie he'd taken the previous evening as guides to make sure he got the faces just right. Bella got a sketch of a group of black skimmers where he'd colored the beaks red to give a pretty true likeness of their actual colors. Tamsin got a sketch of the brittle sea star in the palm of her hand based on the photo he'd taken. He'd done her hand in soft pencil so it hardly showed, but the sea star was in ink with a brown coloring. All of them were delighted and said so loud and clear and lots of hugs and kisses.
But his picture for Landon was special. There was no photo to guide Steven, just a head full of memories. The picture had taken him a lot of time and was the main reason he'd stayed up so late the previous night. It was a night scene of two boys sitting on the beach with their arms draped round each others' shoulders looking at the moon in the night sky, and with a pathway of light coming from the moon towards the boys. It was all done in various shades of gray, no colors save a little patch of reddish brown hair on one of the boys.
Everyone thought it was a really nice picture and congratulated Steven. Tamsin was the first to point out that they weren't wearing anything, not that there was anything naughty to see except a darker line indicating the top bit of the crack between their buttocks.
"Did you two really sit out there with nothing on?"
Both boys blushed. "Umm, yes, I guess so!" said Steven.
Landon looked at Steven and you could see just the beginning of a tear in his eyes. "It's perfect! What a wonderful memory or our favorite place on the beach! I'll treasure this forever!"
He came over and gave Steven a big hug and a little kiss, and of course the girls both giggled as they watched them. Landon whispered very quietly in Steven's ear "I love you more and more each day, and just wait for tonight!"
Later they all ate a huge Christmas lunch with a beef wellington and various pies, and everyone, including the girls, toasted each other with a glass of wine. Eventually Steven's parents went home, leaving Steven to spend the evening with Landon's family. They played Risk and Stephen played together with Tamsin because she said she never got to win, and they did win one of the games and that made her very happy.
In bed, with the door locked, Landon looked at Steven. "I told you that homemade presents were the best, didn't I? Everyone loved their pictures, but mine is so special because only you and me know the story behind the picture. That's ours and ours alone, and every time I look at it I'll think of those three nights we had on the beach, just us and the moon and the stars and our love for each other."
And so naturally they had to try to relive it by making love, but it's not quite the same when you have to keep it quiet because you really don't want your parents and your little sisters to hear the two of you letting out primal screams when you both come at the same time. They did make a little noise, but as far as they could tell, they didn't wake anyone up. And if they did, nobody ever said anything.
The rest of the school holidays were largely uneventful. The two boys split their time as fairly as possible between the two households. They preferred being at Steven's house because it was a bit more private and his bedroom as quite a distance from his parents' so they could be a little more enthusiastic and vocal in their lovemaking, and while they had to be a little more restrained at Landon's house, Steven appreciated being with his family and got close to both of the girls. And that was a good thing for Steven because he'd not really got to know girls very well, at least since sixth grade when he started having sex with Jake. While he wasn't the slightest bit interested in them sexually, Steven gained a great deal about perspectives from a female point of view.
Landon went back to running pretty much every day. Steven didn't mind at all. Either he was with Bella and Tamsin or he was at home working on improving his drawing skills. While he'd been pleased with the sketches he made as Christmas presents, Steven knew they were only moderately proficient. Admittedly he'd worked under terrible time pressure, completing all five on Christmas Eve when he was already tired from the camping trip, and he knew he didn't have all of the materials and tools and gadgets he'd have liked to make things look a bit more professional. Because Steven had always been his most severe critic and because he always strived for perfection, he decided to add more art and drawing classes to his school subjects, and drop other electives. He wasn't sure he wanted to be an artist, but he did want to get better, and the fact that he could draw things that Landon liked gave him even greater motivation and determination.
Steven also went back to his gymnastics class. The schedule was different when school was out, so he could go in the mornings rather than train after school when he was already tired. Despite his absences he found he was still able to complete his various drills with increasing ease. And he also met up with Gabe, Kyle's older brother.
"Hey, Steven, how were your holidays? Doing anything interesting?"
"Hey, Gabe, Happy New Year! Yes, me and Landon went camping for three days down at the beach. We had a ball! It was just us two, nobody else around. We could have stayed forever but we had to be back for Christmas. How's Kyle doing?"
"Well, he's doing better. He'd really like to meet you again. He definitely learned a lesson when you punched him. You know he really looks up to you, and so it was a real shock when you messed his face up!"
"Did he heal OK?"
"Yeah, he did. It took a while to lose his raccoon eyes so he stayed home from school. But at least he could take his exams online so he didn't lose out on grades or anything. And he wants to meet Jose and tell him how sorry he is. And he may have found a boyfriend. I'm not sure."
"Well, why don't Landon and I drop by tomorrow and talk to Kyle. I haven't seen Jose so I don't know how he feels about reconciliation. I'm sure he'll come round, but not as a boyfriend."
Yeah, Kyle knows he fucked up on that chance. It's too bad because he really liked Jose. Hormones are terrible things, you know! Talking of hormones, I guess you and Landon are really a couple now."
"Yes and it's wonderful. Being holidays we spend every night together! It's going to be tough going back to school and sleeping alone."
"Same for me. I'm getting plenty these days, but that slows right down during school. Parents just don't understand how important regular sex is for teenagers! Just because they can't do it every night any more doesn't mean they should stop us meeting our natural urges!"
"OK, sex machine! Landon and I will drop by mid-afternoon sometime! See you!"
When he got home Steven called Jose and told him he was going over to Kyle's the next day and sounded him out on the possibility of Kyle and him meeting to let Kyle apologise. Jose was pretty reluctant at first, but said that maybe if they could meet in a neutral place and if Steven and maybe Landon were there was well, he'd be willing. But he wasn't up to meeting him one on one yet.
When Landon and Steven met with Kyle the next day, it was like Kyle had gone through some form of transformation. He was really contrite about what he'd done to Jose, and he thanked Steven again for having punched him out to teach him a lesson and to make him think about relationships rather than just sex.
Of course, he was still interested in sex. It's hard to think of many teenagers who aren't. But at least Kyle was approaching things in a rather more mature manner, and he said he'd met someone else he liked, but that this time he was going to go real slow so as not to frightened him off.
"Are you guys going to the gay games and picnic day that we all agreed to at that organizational meeting at the Community College?"
"Did we agree to that?"
"Yeah, and the dance some time in February, you know around Valentine's Day but not on Valentine's Day itself."
"Oh, I guess I missed that."
"Steven, you and Landon were making cow eyes at each other the whole evening. I don't think you heard a single thing anyone else said."
"Is that true, Landon, do you think he's telling the truth?"
"Well, we were rather engrossed with each other, if I remember correctly. So maybe Kyle's right. I don't remember us deciding anything. I guess I was focused on Steven."
"Focused? It was a miracle you two didn't just get naked and screw each other right then and there. I bet you didn't wait very long after you dropped me off to get your rocks off!"
Steven and Landon looked at each other and laughed. And turned bright red.
"Umm, I don't recall. What about you, Landon?"
"Well, we did get out of the car and into your house before anything happened, but it might have been measured in milliseconds!"
"You lucky bastards! How come I couldn't do that?"
"Because we've had a lot more experience than you, Kyle, and we both knew the signals to send to each other that we wanted to get into bed as quickly as possible. And you misread the signals that Jose sent you."
"I guess. Anyway, if you guys are going to that picnic thing, maybe I can come and see if there's anyone there for me."
"Do you remember when it is?"
"Let me see." Kyle got out his phone and pulled up his calendar. "It's on the nineteenth, three o'clock, at the pavilion at Memorial Park."
"Well," said Landon, "we might go. By then Steven and I will probably be tired of each other and we'll be looking out for new prospects!"
Steven punched him gently on the arm. "Just try that, my friend, and you'll be dead before you know it!"
"What about Jose? Did you talk to him?"
"Yes, Kyle, I did. I think that what we need to do is for the four of us to meet somewhere neutral. You'll have to talk to him in front of us because he's not ready to meet you by yourself. That's the best I can arrange at present. Take it or leave it."
Kyle thought for a little. "Well, some of what I'd like to say is a bit private but if that's the only option, I'll take it. Can you arrange a meeting?"
"OK," said Steven, "I'll try. Anyone think of a good neutral place to meet where we can talk uninterrupted?"
"How about the El Lobo where you and I had lunch?"
"OK, Kyle, that's one possibility. Any other ideas?"
"How about Riverside Park? That's quiet."
"No, I don't think he'd like that. He doesn't have transport, and it's best if we can go somewhere where he can leave and go home by himself if he wants to. It would be awkward if the meeting doesn't work out and then we all have to sit in the car together."
"You're right, Steven. How come you can think of all of these things?"
"I don't know, Kyle, I'm just a genius! It all comes naturally!"
"How about Boulevard Cafe? We can sit outside there, it's not often crowded, and if it is we can walk over the street and sit by the kid's playground."
"Is that all OK with you, Landon?"
"Sure, count me in!"
"Thanks! Kyle, I'll talk to Jose and let you know. OK?"
"OK, Landon, we better be going. Things to do, places to go!"
Two days later Landon, Steven and Kyle drove to El Lobo for a late lunch, and they all sat in the same booth at the back where there was nobody near. They had deliberately told Jose they'd be there for one thirty but had arrived earlier than that so they were sure they'd be there first. That meant Jose wouldn't be left by himself and get nervous, and it allowed them to put Kyle on the inside of the booth facing away from the door, with Landon next to him. Steven sat opposite Kyle so that Jose would be kitty corner from Kyle.
When Jose walked in through the door he could see Steven and gave a big smile. Steven had forgotten how good looking Jose was with his long straight black hair and his infectious trademark grin. Steven waved and Jose gingerly came and sat down next to him.
"Hi Jose, thanks for coming!" said Steven, "You know everyone else."
Jose looked at Landon, gave him a rather weak smile, and then looked quickly at Kyle and gave a small nod. Then the boys looked at the menu and ordered the normal mix of tacos and enchiladas and sodas. Then there was an awkward silence.
Eventually Steven started things off. "Look, we all know why we're here. Kyle, I think it's up to you to say what you have to say because it was you who wanted to meet Jose. OK?"
Kyle looked really uneasy. He opened his mouth and then thought better of it, and closed it again. He looked hard at the table top, and then with a deep breath started to speak in a very weak and hesitant manner.
"Jose, umm, it's very hard for me to say what I want to say. Umm, I behaved like a complete asshole and, umm, I got what I deserved when Steven punched me. I can't tell you how sorry I am about the way I behaved, umm, I just lost sight of reality. You're really good looking and my hormones took over from my brain and all I could think of was doing stuff with you. I'm really, really sorry. But I hope you'll believe me when I say I've learned a lesson. Umm, even my parents were happy I got punched. And I know I've screwed things up between you and me, and, umm, I feel horrible about that because, umm, I really like you. I'm sorry. I hope you'll try to forgive me." And he brushed a tear from his cheek and sniffed.
Jose looked long and hard at Kyle. "I can't say I'm sorry you got punched out by Steven. You deserved it. What you did was disgraceful and you deserved everything you got. But I'll accept your apology because Steven tells me you really mean it, and if Steven says it's true, I believe him because I trust him. That's why I wouldn't meet you without him being here. And, yes, you did screw things up between us. I wouldn't have gone to the movies with you if I didn't like you, so I was shocked when you tried to grope me and get me to play with your stuff just like that without warning. I'd thought we might become friends and then perhaps something more would happen, not the other way round. So let's say the matter is closed. OK?"
Kyle looked at Jose and very quietly said "Thanks, Jose, that's very kind of you. But can I ask you a question or two?"
"Umm, OK, I guess."
"Are you planning on going to the gay games and picnic thing in a couple of weeks time?"
"I don't know, I haven't decided. I wanted to talk to Steven and Landon about that because I don't want to go alone."
"Well, umm, it's like this. I'd like to go, but if my being there means you won't go, then I'll stay home. It's the least I can do."
"Well, I had worried about going and meeting you there, but if Steven and Landon are willing to go with me, and if you're really serious about having changed, then I guess I shouldn't stop you going. I mean, we both want to try to meet some other people, don't we? That's pretty much the purpose for single kids like me and you, isn't it?"
Landon spoke up. He knew Jose longer than the others because of the time they'd been in Boy Scouts together. "Jose, Steven and I are definitely going to go. Who knows, by then we'll be tired of each other and looking for new boyfriends, and if we're still together we can go and enjoy ourselves and meet different people and relax. And we're both big and strong and we'll protect you from evil little boys like Kyle, so you'll be safe!"
Jose smiled for the first time since he sat down. "Landon, you're full of it. There's no way you and Steven aren't going to stick together for ages, you're made for each other, everyone can see that immediately. As for Kyle, he's not evil, stupid, yes, but not evil, and I know I'll have Steven there to punch him out if he misbehaves. So, yes, I'll come with you and I won't mind if Kyle is there. It's a deal."
The tacos and enchiladas arrived, and not a word was said as four teenagers took on their appointed task of demolishing everything in no time flat. After they'd eaten they offered Jose a ride home, and put him in the front seat with Landon, while Steven sat behind Jose.
The only other thing that happened before school started again was strictly between Steven and Landon. Steven had gone to the sporting goods store to buy a new singlet for gymnastics. His shoulders were broadening out and his current singlet was getting too tight. Having picked out one the right size, together with some new wrist bands, he wandered through the store idly looking at everything on display. Then something caught his eye, and a big evil grin appeared. He added the item to his purchases, paid, and went home with wicked thoughts running through his head.
Saturday night was the last night the two could sleep together before school started. They'd chosen to be at Steven's house because his parents were going to some function at the hospital so they'd have the place to themselves. When they were alone, Steven decided it was time to unveil the new item he'd bought at the sporting goods store.
"Umm, Landon, I got you a present!"
"What? Why? You don't have to buy me presents!"
"Well, it's more like it's for us. Here!" Steven handed over the little package. Opening it Landon found a pair of running shorts in a reddish brown color that almost matched his hair.
"Oh, those are nice! Thanks! But you didn't need to do that! I've got lots of running shorts. And you said it was for us and you hate running, so what's the deal?"
"Go in the bathroom and put them on, nothing else, and I'll tell you!"
Landon gave him a very peculiar look but did as Steven had asked. When he came out Steven gave a little cry of delight. "They're perfect! Come here!"
As Landon got close to him, Steven, who had shed his tee shirt and was wearing only his Adidas shorts, leapt up of the bed, dropped to his knees and buried his face in Landon's groin and ran his hands up the back of Landon's thighs into the shorts.
"Wow, you're really horny, aren't you!"
"Steven looked up and gave a big grin. "You have absolutely no idea how sexy you are in those shorts. Just looking at you makes me want to come on the spot. And he moved his hands round to the front so he could start to fondle the rapidly growing bulge in Landon's shorts. Then he grabbed Landon and pulled him on top of him on the bed and wrapped his legs around him, kissing him passionately.
"Landon, now, fuck me, as hard as you can!"
"I thought you were a mature, intelligent young man with a big social conscience and a vision for the future, and all you are is a little slutty freshman who all he can do is lie on his back with his legs open waiting for handsome, virile upperclassmen in running shorts to come and fuck him!"
Steven giggled. "Yes, I spend all my time at school by the running track waiting for those seniors and juniors to come and ravish me because all they can think of is picking on poor sweet little innocent freshmen like me, and giving them a wild ride, and then throwing them aside and looking for the next one!"
"Well, I'm glad we got all that straight, little boy. Now unwrap me a bit so I can take off my clothes and have my way with you."
"Oh no you're not! You're going to keep those shorts on and you're going to fuck me like this! Please, Landon!"
And he did. He pulled out his now throbbing dick out, gave it a good lubing, and then slipped it into one of Steven's leg holes. Steven was panting with desire.
""Quick, Landon, quick. Fuck me, now, hard!"
He pushed and slid into to his boyfriend who grabbed hold of Landon's shorts and pulled him in as deeply as he'd ever been. Steven upped the pace and his urgency got to Landon and he started thrusting harder and harder and then Steven came inside his shorts while Landon came inside him. They lay there gasping for breath, with huge smiles on their faces.
"Wow! I guess we really got turned on, didn't we!"
They lay there together and talked about how they were going to cope with being apart five nights a week but they didn't have any sense that either of them would be miserable during the school week. Both would be busy, and they'd be motivated to do all their assignments during the week so they'd have all the weekend time together.
And that's where we can leave the two boys. The vacation had been an essential part of the two boys learning more and more about each other, and they'd found that getting to know each other properly was the best thing that had ever happened to them. So, at least for a while, their lives had had no more drama or stress, and they'd used the time productively to fall completely in love. Would it last like that? Knowing Steven and his propensity to get involved in all sorts of things, it's unlikely. We'll just have to wait and see, won't we!
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