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by J J Janicki

Chapter 11

He wasn't sure if it was going to be the best night of his life or the worst. Five years before there had been another "best night", but this time, on Monday, July 12th, maybe he'd finally found it. Just like Steve said. "You'll find it, Lucas. You'll find what you're looking for. And it might be sooner than you think. 'Cause you're a really nice guy. So don't ever give up hope, okay? One of these days it's going to happen."

But it could also end up being the worst because he didn't feel like a nice guy. Not any more, he didn't, and finding out what he could have had after he'd already messed it up, just because he'd given up hope of there ever being anything beyond that... well, maybe that was what he deserved.

But he still had to try. He didn't know if he could make if right again, but he had to try. Only, he wasn't sure where to start. I mean...

Oh shit. I forgot my disclaimer. So before trying to sort this out, I guess I should get that out of the way.

Warning warning! This story involves sex between teen-aged boys. If you are not of legal age to read such material, do not and if you happen to live in a country or state or municipality where such materials are illegal, do not. If offended by material such as this, close your eyes and arrow back. Quickly! They could start at any moment now!

Or at least before the end of this chapter, they might. Even if I start out by going backwards into it. No pun intended.

But I haven't forgotten about Lucas and Kyle in Atlanta and I haven't forgotten the Boy Scouts. It ties into the mess above, so I'll get back to all that. First though...

... Um, where do I start?

Well, actually it started Sunday afternoon at around 2:30, so I'll start there.

It started with Lucas being invited over for Sunday dinner. That was Aunt Nan's idea. On the way home from church she asked, "Jedidiah, why don't you invite Lucas to have dinner with us? He might enjoy a good home-cooked meal. What do you think?"

Of course Jedidiah was supposed to think that was a wonderful idea, but he wasn't too sure. After a few moments he stammered, "Well, he's probably eaten already."

"Possibly he has," Uncle J. replied, "but it still wouldn't hurt to give him a call. You never can tell."

"Well... I guess I can try," said Jedidiah doubtfully.

His uncle added, "Oh, don't worry, if he wants to come over, we'll not be pressuring him. But he might enjoy himself."

"Or he might not," thought Jedidiah. By then, he knew Lucas fairly well and he was sure he'd be reluctant.

While Lucas really was reluctant at first, he finally allowed himself to be talked into it. Mostly because on such short notice with his uncle in the next room he couldn't think of a good excuse not to go. While he was driving over he thought of a few, but by then it was too late. He kept trying to tell himself that as far as Jedidiah was concerned, there was nothing for him to feel guilty about. It wasn't like they were married, you know. No promises had been made, nothing like that, but still, in a way they were best friends. It sort of looked that way and even if that was all it was ever going to be, he'd put himself in a position where now something was going to have to be hid. He hated that feeling.

And as though he didn't already enough on his mind, there also was the potential problem of his being witnessed to, but at least that didn't happen. Mostly they just asked questions about how the job was going and stuff like that. As always, they were very pleasant.

After dinner, Lucas helped Jedidiah with the dishes, hoping he'd feel better about that other thing. And he did, just a little, but then they went downstairs and he listened while Jedidiah practiced on the piano, and it wasn't long until he was feeling perfectly awful again. It didn't have anything to do with Jedidiah's ability, the problem came from what he happened to be playing at the time: a piano arrangement of the Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem. Jedidiah played it very well and Lucas was familiar with it. But while it's beautiful, it also tends to bring out feelings of sadness. Fortunately, Lucas wasn't familiar with the literal English translation, or it would have been even worse. If you were going with the choral arrangement then it would start out: "Tearful that day, on which will rise from ashes guilty man for judgment." ... And so on. Right. Exactly what he needed.

But then, Jedidiah probably could have played "Joy To the World (Jeremiah was a bullfrog)" and Lucas still would have felt bad.

So he was getting fidgety. He wanted to leave and he didn't want to.

Jedidiah glanced back. He was fairly good at reading body language, and he could tell right off that Lucas was ill at ease. He probably just feels a little awkward. No reason for it, unless maybe he's not used to not being able to do much on a Sunday, but still... maybe...

"Hey, Lucas. If it's okay with my aunt and uncle, you want to ride around some? We can't do much, but I could tell you about Scout camp last week. It was... well, it was interesting. So you want to?"

Jedidiah wasn't planning on telling everything. Maybe later, but not right then. But he did want to tell him about Richard, Buster and Virgil. And while he wouldn't tell just anybody about it, being tied naked to a tree and spray painted was sort of funny, he guessed. "I probably won't mention how we got the paint off, though. At least not today."

Jedidiah wouldn't have believed it. And Lucas sure wouldn't have, not in a million years. How in the world can you go from talking about radio preachers to Baptist revivals to being tied naked to a tree and getting your butts spray-painted and then go on from there to what Mormons believe - even if that was a little confusing - but then that led off to... well, you might not believe it either, but it happened.

But the biggest reason the part about Mormons came up in the first place was because when Jedidiah asked if it would be all right if he rode around with with Lucas for an hour or so, he'd put it like this: "We're just going to talk a little." To be honest though, he probably said this sort of meaningfully, so it came out sounding like he was going to bear his testimony that afternoon. And believe it or not, Jedidiah intended to take a stab at it if the opportunity presented itself. But he hoped to reach that point soon after telling Lucas about his being tied to a tree at Scout camp. Naked. That way, he hoped to lighten things up first. So now it makes sense, right?

Well, in case you don't know it, Brigham Young himself said you weren't supposed to rely on logic when bearing testimony. So Jedidiah at least had that part covered, even if he missed several other key doctrinal points in the process. Just about all of them, in fact. Most importantly, there was the part about how testimony bearing was to be a solemn affair.

But then Jedidiah never was any good at being solemn for an extended period of time.

And then there was one other thing: Bad Jed usually didn't try to start anything on a Sunday because it was pointless. If you couldn't do anything, why bother? So mostly he stayed hid and pouted, but he was still around.

Like I said though, the first thing Jedidiah talked about was their ride to camp in the back seat of Richard's car. How it was a long trip because Richard had this religious radio station on the whole time.

Lucas was starting to feel a little better. (I could have him wallowing in guilt a bit longer, but story-wise, it might not be a good idea. So let's leave it lurking in the background for now.) So he agreed, "Yeah, some of those TV preachers can be pretty obnoxious. I never listened to them on TV... or on the radio... well, for a minute or so I might have, but revivals are almost the same thing. So I know what you're talking about."

"Um... what's a revival?"

Lucas was amazed. "You guys don't have revivals?"

"Well, maybe we just call it something else, but anyway... well, like I said, what is it?"

And so Lucas gave a brief synopsis, concluding with the observation that it was all based on guilt and fear and that was especially true on the last night. "Last night, that's when sinners start getting run-"

"Yeah, we have lots of guilt too," Jedidiah interrupted.

So after a short pause - "Yeah, well, I'll see your guilt and raise you a..." Lucas shrugged and then asked wryly, "so you guys got sin too?"

Jedidiah giggled. "It's been known to happen, I guess. ... Why?"

"Umm... well, maybe I'll get back to that. But first... and this is just because you asked me about it... See, on the last night, that's when the evangelist usually pulls out all the stops. I was nine, so most of the time I was pretty sure I was saved and didn't have to worry about it, but the deal is, the evangelist is probably going to say something like, 'There might be somebody listening to me tonight who isn't going to get another chance.' It's not like he's saying that somebody under conviction is about to get run over by a train, but-"

"What's 'under conviction' mean?"

... "It means if you're a sinner and you don't get yourself right, you might get run over. ... But anyway ... just let me finish the story, okay? ... But anyway, there's some parable that talks about Jesus knocking on the door. Of our conscience. 'And He knocked on the door' or something. I think it was the parable about the wedding guests, only some went out for more oil or something and so when they finally got back to where the wedding feast was being held, it had already started and the door was locked. So they were like, 'Uh oh, now we can't get back in'. So anyway, just by way of illustration, the evangelist walks off the platform - which is where the pulpit was - and out a side door. I think it was into the preacher's study or something. Or maybe it where the choir robes were. But whatever, he closed the door and then he knocked and he said, 'But the door was locked!' So that was dramatic. Only the door really was locked. He'd locked himself out! So he had to mention that - to anyone who would be so kind as to let him back in... and that just completely interfered with the spirit of the message, because everybody was cracking up. Including the evangelist once he got back in. So he just ended things with a short prayer... and that was it."

After another pause, Jedidiah started, "So... well... that was funny Lucas, but-"

"Well, at least I thought it was. ... But you probably had to be there to appreciate-"

"No," Jedidiah interrupted right back, "it really was funny, but now I'm going to finish telling you about what happened to us at Scout camp, okay? It's pretty funny too." - and with that, he sailed off into the story of how him, Kelly and Katon were tied naked to a big tree in the middle of the night with targets spray-painted on their butts.

So if Jedidiah's purpose was to lighten the mood, it worked. Lucas especially enjoyed the part where Katon shot Buster. But maybe it would have been better if Jedidiah hadn't mentioned the part about them being naked. Jedidiah left out the part about them being discovered that way in the same sleeping bag, but even so, as far as Lucas was concerned, "naked" was an important keyword, so at that point, the spirit of the message had once again been interfered with. Nuked, in fact. Jedidiah had planned on eventually getting to his intended message - on that very afternoon - but the window of opportunity was now closed.

Subconsciously, he probably wanted to do that all along though. Otherwise, he wouldn't have mentioned getting their butts spray-painted, because that raised some questions.

Trying to sound sympathetic - at least a little - Lucas finally asked, "So um... well, um... well, how did you get the paint off? ... I mean, you did eventually, right?"

"Well... yeah. It wasn't hard at all," answered Jedidiah truthfully. He was trying to be evasive, though.

But it was too late. Very carefully Lucas asked, "So... if I ever get my butt spray-painted, then how do I get it off?"

... "Butter."

"Butter. ...So you just... " snigger attack ... Lucas took a deep breath and tried again. "So who... um... well, who buttered... I mean-"

Quickly Jedidiah cut in, "We just buttered each other up, that's all. Clint threw in a stick and... well, we had to, you know?"

And that's how good Jed got himself locked out for the remainder of the afternoon.

At first, Jedidiah didn't provide any extra details about the paint removal project they were forced into because he felt a little guilty about it. It wasn't because of the games they'd ended up playing, it was because Lucas hadn't been a part of it. Imagine that.

Well, it was complicated. Because once Lucas could keep a straight face, he started thinking about what all that buttering up probably led to. He'd never done anything like that - even if he'd done a lot of other things - but it didn't take a genius to figure out that it wouldn't take long for other things to pop up and based on what happened during the camp-out behind his uncle's place Friday the week before, he had to assume that at least that much had happened again and at first, he was struck with pangs of jealousy. So in that respect, Jedidiah read Lucas right.

But what Jedidiah didn't know was that right after that Lucas started thinking about how he had no right to feel that way. Not after what went on in Atlanta, he didn't, so at that point, he started feeling even worse! He really felt bad and the way Jedidiah was acting, I mean, he could sort of sense it, and... well, you know... Lucas thought, "He can probably see right through me."

So they were both feeling bad because they thought the other was feeling bad because...

You know, this really is complicated. So let's start with why Lucas was feeling so guilty. I'll be brief. Flash fiction, okay? So going back to the previous Wednesday night...

Lucas and Kyle were at it again.

Only Lucas was getting concerned. He wondered, "Um... Is it... How much further you got to... gooo... any... way?"

"I'm almost... all... the way... in," puffed Kyle.

"Almost?? ... Holy-"

"You want me to... pull it back out?"

"No, damn it, I do not. ... Oh man. ... but-"

So that's part of the reason Lucas was feeling guilty. So-

Okay, fine. I'll give you the long version then. Or at least a little longer than my first attempt at flash fiction.

Earlier, Lucas had guessed it was at least eight inches, but he wanted to be sure, so he made a quick trip to a nearby all-night drugstore and found a plastic ruler.

Well, it turned out that he'd underestimated, it was almost eight and a half inches. Although Kyle said that it was no such thing, he had to be measuring it from the wrong place, it couldn't be that long.

"It is," said Lucas, "You're supposed to measure from your pubic bone to the tip. I looked it up, and that's how you do it."

"It ain't no damn eight and seven-sixteenth inches," Kyle insisted stubbornly.

"Well, I don't know why you're so uptight about it."

"I just am, that's all. ... When you going to untie me?"

He was like a seven foot basketball player who didn't want to be that tall because people were always gawking. So he said he was 6'-12''. Well, Kyle was sort of that way, but...

... You have to admit that's long.

So that's why Lucas decided doggy style would probably be best. Maybe later he'd be more daring, but on take one, he'd be on all fours with his face buried in a pillow. A pillow could be a very handy thing. He'd taken some bigger around, but he'd never had anything that deep inside... and it's not all the way in? Where in the fuck is it gonna end up?One side-effect of drugs is that you sometimes tend to worry about things. It's called paranoia, and when it strikes, almost anything can set it off, no matter how insignificant it might be. But then by no stretch of the imagination was Kyle's insignificant, so he was worried it might be someplace it really shouldn't be. You never can tell.

Only he had nerve endings up in there as well. He didn't know if he did or not before starting, but he sure did, and hitting his prostate wasn't a problem, so it was it wasn't long until it was quite a ride, with Kyle huffing and puffing and Lucas making blissed out squeaking sounds. It was going to take him awhile to get it back up again, though. If your button is rubbed on for ten minutes - nobody was timing it, but it had to be close to that - then you will lose it. In Lucas' case, twice, even if the second wasn't much more than a dribble.

But as he was wobbling back from the bathroom, he was thinking, "That was good!" and secondly, "When I do him, it'll probably take me half an hour. At least."

Only then, it got worse.

After a quick shower, Kyle crawled into bed beside Lucas. He asked, "You all right?"

"Yeah. ... But let's just watch TV for a little while, okay?"

"You going to leave the curtains open all night?"

"I like the view. ... Shit, Kyle, we're on the seventeenth floor, so it ain't like anybody can see in, you know."

"Oh yeah? You ever see 'Blue Thunder'?"

"If there's a helicopter out there, well, fuck 'em. ... But yeah, that was a good movie. I liked it."

It wasn't likely that a high tech helicopter was on the prowl right then, but Kyle took Lucas' lack of concern as an opening. "Well, if there was one, and they had it miked to pick up sounds, well, the way you was squealing, they-"

"I wasn't squealing. I was just feeling good, that's all. ... But in a little bit, you might be squealing some yourself. You ever think about that?"

"No offense, Lucas, but you might need a dildo to make me do that."

"So you got one?" Lucas wasn't quite up to mentioning his, but it was in Mayville anyway.

"Well, let's just say that I've used one recently."

"What? You borrowed somebody else's? ... You wanna tell me a little more about that?"

"Well... you know Dr. Sandifer?"

"I haven't been in Mayville all that long, so no, I don't. ... Is this an interesting story?"

"He gives good check-ups. ... But you want to know what he charges for a super duper one?"


"Nothing. He'll pay you."

"How much?"

"It depends."

Lucas looked over at Kyle dubiously. "If you're about to ask me if I'm interested in turning another trick... I did it when I needed the money, that's about it. So okay, in St. Louis that happened. But now I got a job. It's not like I'm rich, it's not like I couldn't use some extra money, but I'm okay. And besides, Mayville's too small a town, so it would be a big risk."

"He'll go up to a thousand."

"A thou... Did you just say a thousand?... For what?... I'm still not saying that I will, but I'm not going to tell anybody, so start at the beginning. ... How did you find out about this Dr. Sandifer dude? And uh... well, just start from the beginning, okay?"

Kyle took a deep breath. "He's our doctor. So about two months ago Katon... well, you know, he's just finding out about things and he really don't know much. So I'm not sure how it happened, but Dr. Sandifer talked him and Kelly into going over to his house for a... photo shoot. Skinny dipping in his pool. And I think that was it, I mean, there wasn't any sex stuff... but I'm sure he was trying to lead them up to that. And you know how you are at that age. When you're just getting interested in sex?"

"Yeah, that's educational, all right." Lucas had some misgivings about where Kyle's story was headed, but still... it was interesting, there was no denying it.

Kyle continued, "Well, Kelly's pretty uptight about it, but Katon's always asking me stuff. So that's cool, but anyway, he was talking to me and he told me about Dr. Sandifer. He didn't know any better and he thought it was fun. Said he paid him and Kelly twenty-five each just to go naked over at his house while he took a movie of them. And he would pay them to do it again anytime they needed some extra money. So okay, I told Katon not to do that again, that sooner or later, he was going to take advantage of them, but... well, he said he didn't know what the big deal was, but he'd tell Kelly that maybe they shouldn't. So at first Kelly was pissed at Katon, but he-"

"Why didn't you go to the police?"

"Because then Kelly and Katon would be in trouble. And because my folks don't know about me, that I'm gay. Kelly and Katon know, but not my parents and I don't want them to find out. Not now. And-"

"Well, what makes you think your being gay is even going to come up? Why should it? ... I guess I can understand how Kelly and Katon could get into trouble, but still-"

"Just let me finish, okay? Because it gets more complicated."

As you might imagine. Or at least you should. So to summarize (while taking some license with the dialogue), Kelly and Katon had been bugging their folks for a Super Nintendo. They probably would have eventually found one under the Christmas tree, but they wanted it sooner. So Kelly brought it up again and their father's reaction was, "No problem. Just go out and get yourselves a job."

Well, not long afterwards, Kelly and Katon had a Super Nintendo. They said a friend sold it to them real cheap. But Kyle was sure that wasn't how it happened and he was also sure that there were going to be some more things that they had to have. So he asked Katon about it. "You guys been doing some more modeling?"

"Maybe," replied Katon.

So Kyle mentioned to his mom that it had been more than a year since his last physical.

Kyle wasn't very good when it came to confrontations, but he was good at sending signals. Even if he probably went overboard in Dr. Sandifer's case.

Yeah, probably. When the doctor walked in with the "How are we feeling today?" bit, Kyle was anxiously sitting up on the examination table in his boxer shorts with his hands covering his lap. He had to in case it was some nurse coming in to do a routine test or something. He hadn't really expected the doctor to be all that punctual either, because when the door started opening... well, he was pulling on it. He wanted it to be seen in all its glory, but his original intention was to have it back inside his shorts when the doctor walked in. Maybe not completely - if it had been pointing down or up then the end of it could easily have been peeking out, but as it was, almost all of it was out. So of course Kyle's face turned crimson and he said something like, "Well um... um... I-"

"Oh, don't worry about it. Just us boys in here, right? So you're here for a check-up, is that correct? So if you want to slip your shorts off, we'll get right to it."

So Kyle swallowed hard, turned a little redder, removed his last vestige of clothing... and there it was.

But it worked out okay, because after a quick double-take, the doctor sailed off into how it was nothing to be embarrassed about, that it happened, he remembered how it was - and all that - and then in an almost professional tone of voice, he asked Kyle if he was having some concerns about masturbation.

To which Kyle replied, "Um... well, sort of..." and then he trailed off uncertainly.

"It's very normal," Dr. Sandifer assured him. "Nothing to be ashamed of. All boys your age do it."

"Um, yeah, I guess..." and then Kyle started absent-mindedly pulling on it again. Just slowly, casually pulling up and down on it while sitting on the edge of the table. Subtlety wasn't one of Kyle's strong suits.

But at any rate, now it was Dr. Sandifer's turn to stammer. He managed, "You... um... you know... that might not-"

So Kyle guessed it was then or never. "I'd like to do some modeling for you. You know, like Kelly and Katon. I need the money." And he kept slowly, casually pulling on it.

The next afternoon, he left Dr. Sandifer's house two-hundred and fifty dollars richer.

Lucas snickered, "You must've done some special modeling then. I mean, that's ten times more than what you said Kelly or Katon got. ... Modeling, huh?"

"Well, that and a few other things. ... I mean, I'm playing him along, 'cause I want to take him for all I can, so other than letting him blow me, we ain't had sex, but I let him take a few movies, yeah. "

"Doing what? ... Oh never mind. But... what do you have to do for a thousand? That's what I want to know."

"Do it with another boy. Like you, for instance. The whole bit. ... That's a thousand each, Lucas. One for me, one for you. And you don't have to do anything with Dr. Sandifer, he just shoots the movie. So what do you say? ... You in?"

Lucas had a code, and that was the problem, because he'd gone against it. He would have felt guilty even if it had never gone any further that just sex, if Dr. Sandifer had never entered the picture. It wasn't the sex that made him feel bad, it was the fact that he was doing it behind Jedidiah's back.

He kept telling himself that it was only a game. And it wasn't like he hadn't ever done it before. But somehow, he didn't feel right about it from the start. He really couldn't explain it, but at the very least, it seemed that he had a special friendship with Jedidiah. It was still developing. How much further it could go, he didn't know, but it was worth a lot more to him than having sex with Kyle. I mean, Kyle was all right, but it was like he said at the start, it was about sex and nothing else, there was no chance of it ever being anything else. But that might have been all right if there hadn't been another person in the picture. Only there was, so as far as Lucas was concerned, it was wrong.

And that was before Dr. Sandifer came up: after he was added to the equation... then Lucas just felt dirty. He never said that he'd go along with it, but he also didn't say that he wouldn't. He'd think about it. He did say that he was tempted though, and in fact, he probably would in the long run.

And if he'd still been in St. Louis, he probably would've. For a thousand? Probably. But now he had a chance to start over, and not only that, with Jedidiah there was at least hope. He didn't know how much because he'd been afraid of going out on the limb, but no matter how hard it was to figure him out, when he started trying to rationalize putting a price tag on it, he didn't like himself very much. He didn't then, and by that Sunday afternoon he only felt worse.

Fortunately, Jedidiah wasn't a mind-reader. Only he was almost assuming that Lucas was. And like I said before, he was also feeling a little guilty. So he guessed he'd try to make things right, but first...

Well, actually, he decided that one: He'd try to sneak up on it, but two: If his aunt and uncle asked later on that night what they'd talked about, he'd still be able to truthfully say... "We talked about Ammon's mission to the Lamanites! ... I think Lucas is really starting to get interested now."

So Jedidiah cleared his throat and started, "Hey, Lucas, you want to hear a story about Ammon and the Lamanites? ... I mean, you've heard of Ammon, right?"

"Um... not exactly. ... No, I don't guess I have. ... So yeah, go ahead." From the sound of things, Lucas guessed he was about to witnessed to, but he was feeling really guilty about things in general and had almost lost the will to resist. So under the circumstances, he guessed it wouldn't do any harm.

As for Jedidiah, well, he almost asked Lucas if he'd even looked at that Book of Mormon his Uncle J had left with him, but... "Maybe some other time." (If he had asked though, the answer would have been something like, "Well, not yet." Or at least it would have been fairly evasive.)

"Well, then I'll tell it like my father told it one time when I was little, okay? It's not too long anyway. The story isn't. But anyway... well, see, there was this guy, Ammon. And he's one of the good guys, but anyway, he decided to go on a mission to the Lamanites. The Lamanites were mostly bad people and needed some converting, okay? So Ammon started off by getting a job taking care of the king's sheep. The king of the Lamanites, I mean. So, one day Ammon was out tending sheep and these robbers came along and they scattered all the sheep, and then they were sitting around laughing about it. 'Cause if you're a robber, scattering sheep is more fun than anything else you can think of, so that's what they did. Well, first Ammon got the other servants to calm down, because they were afraid they were going to get their heads chopped off because that's what happened to the last ones who got their sheep scattered. See, the king didn't care for servants who got their sheep scattered. But Ammon told them that all they had to do was to just go find the sheep again and that way, they wouldn't get their heads chopped off after all. So the other servants agreed that Ammon had a good idea. But while they were out collecting their sheep, Ammon went over to have a little talk with the robbers. Only the robbers didn't want to listen and so pretty soon it was like, 'you did too' and 'we didn't either' and all that, and it wasn't long until the robbers had pulled their swords out. Only what they didn't know was that Ammon was really good with a sword. But after he'd chopped some of their arms off, the robbers decided they'd better quit messing with him."

Well, like I said earlier, it was confusing and Lucas definitely was. Confused. He didn't know what to make of it. But actually, that's a close approximation of a story told in The Book of Alma, and Jedidiah's father had once told the story almost that way during one of their family home evenings. Sometimes you want to lighten things up a bit. Only when his father had told it, the punch line had been: "It happened in Vegas." Followed by, "I'm not making this up!" and finally, "That's why they have all those one-armed bandits."

I mean, you get it, right? Well, maybe it would have been better if you'd been there. Or maybe not, but it really doesn't matter. Whatever that story was about, Jedidiah was so enthusiastic about it that right then, Lucas knew what his answer to Kyle was going to be.

Co-starring in a porno movie - $1000. Listening to a corny joke told with guileless enthusiasm - priceless.

Although Lucas did wonder if there was supposed to be a punch line somewhere. And there was, only Jedidiah changed it a little

I mean, you were probably wondering some about that yourself. Well, after a few seconds, Jedidiah concluded, "So now you know why there were one-armed bandits in our tent that night."

Lucas still didn't get it. He just looked blankly at Jedidiah. Although he did have a slightly bemused expression. Finally, trying to be diplomatic, he managed, "I'm not sure if I get it."

"Well, when my father told it, it was about how the one-armed bandits got in Las Vegas, but they were in our tent too. So that's why I changed it. ... You know, butter? Feels kind of interesting? Things just popped up, you know? ... Like they did when we all of us were camping out."

"Oh," said Lucas. Okay, drop guileless then. But guilt or no guilt, he started feeling that crawling sensation again. And that was close to being priceless as well.

Jedidiah rushed on, "I mean, you're not mad about it, are you? ... We just did it ... you know, the one-armed bandit thing because that butter was about to drive us out of our minds, you know? So... if you want to do it now, we could drive over to your uncle's place. So do you? Want to?"

As soon as he could find a pay phone after dropping Jedidiah off, Lucas called Kyle. It was simple and to the point. "Kyle, I'm not going to do it. I mean, it's off, okay? It's not worth it."

Kyle didn't take the news well, but there wasn't much he could say about it.

So while Lucas was still feeling some guilt on the night of Monday, July 12th, it wasn't as bad as it had been. Or at least it wasn't until Jedidiah dropped his bombshell. It came out of nowhere.

But I guess first I should explain that they were camping out again that night, only this time, it was just the two of them. So really, that was the first big surprise. At least on that day, it was. Jedidiah had asked him about it early that afternoon while they were on their way back from Jack's. "Tonight. You want to camp out again? ... It'll just be us. So you want to?"

Lucas shrugged. "Well, yeah. I guess." Right then, he was figuring on some more one-armed banditry and that they might be sharing the same sleeping bag that night, so yeah, that sounded good.

And when that night came, Lucas was in no rush. Just cuddling in that sleeping bag and talking... well, that really was cool. It was close to heaven, in fact. He could have settled for that and nothing else. It wasn't that he didn't want more at some point, but God, right then it was awesome!

Well, they were naked. So yes, it was heavenly. Definitely. They both thought so.

Only Jedidiah was still feeling some guilt about one thing. Or two of them. Although Kelly and Katon had taken turns giving him first aid as well, so really, you could say that there were three They'd only done it that one night, partly because they didn't want to press their luck and partly because Kelly was still making his mind up about it. An initiation was one thing, that didn't make them like gay or anything, but... well, he just wasn't sure, that's all.

They finally ended up drawing cards to see who went first and Katon drew the lowest. And because Jedidiah drew the highest... well, right off, that made things a little tricky, because there were some things Katon was unaware of. Like for starters, teeth.

"Ouch!" (Jedidiah.)

Katon quickly pulled away. "What? Am I doing it wrong?" Then he added, "You know, it don't taste all that bad. I thought it might, but it don't."

Jedidiah winced and finally offered, "Well, I heard that you're supposed to like... well, I think you're supposed to sort of move your tongue so your teeth aren't scraping. ... Or something. ... I mean, that's what I've heard about it, anyway. ... So why don't you try that?" (And it wasn't an untruth either.)

It was a game. Like I said, it was like they were initiating each other, that's all. But still, Jedidiah wished it had been with Lucas first. Maybe he was only going through a phase. He still wasn't prepared to think that it might not be, but right then, he wanted to do it with Lucas and he wanted it to be more than just a game. He wasn't sure how much more, but... well, he guessed if Lucas wanted to, then he would. Do whatever. He was hoping Lucas would go first, though.

Only he hadn't. Jedidiah was almost sure that Lucas felt the same way he did, he was almost positive, and maybe pretty soon Lucas would have gone first, but the way he looked at it, since he'd done it with Kelly and Katon, then he should do it with Lucas and not only that, he guessed he should go first.

Especially since Lucas did go out on a limb a little. He was just slowly rubbing on his chest, very lightly, but then all at once he sighed, swallowed hard, and he... kissed him! Lucas kissed him!

Well, actually it was only a tentative peck on his cheek, but still... he just kissed me!

So Jedidiah gave Lucas a squeeze with his arms and returned the favor. Just a quick peck back though, not in the mouth or anything like that.

But that produced a nervous giggle from Lucas. "We're crazy, you know that?"

"Yeah, I guess," said Jedidiah a bit shakily, "but maybe it's just a phase, you know?"

"Yeah, I've heard of that. ... So I don't guess it's anything to get uptight about. ... So-"

"Hey Lucas? I gotta tell you something, okay?"

Lucas could feel his heart pounding. He wasn't sure if it was out of fright, or guilt or what, but he took a deep breath and answered, "Yeah, okay. 'Cause maybe I need to tell you something too, but anyway... go ahead."

"Well, the thing is... I like you. I really like you a lot. Maybe more than anybody else. ... I guess I do. But see, when I was in Provo, me and a friend... we played sex games. We weren't in love or anything like that, not even close, but we liked to play around." (Nervous giggle.)... "And we also got caught doing it and that's why I'm here now. My folks are on mission for the next three years and... well, here I am. It's not like they disowned me, but it works out better here, that's all. ... But see... well, I couldn't tell you about this yesterday because... well, this might sound stupid, but it's because it was on a Sunday. ... Guess that sounds pretty weird, huh?"

"Oh, I knew somebody like that once. ... It's not weird."

So Jedidiah took another deep breath and rushed on."Well, what I wanted to tell you was that while me and Kelly and Katon were at camp, we initiated each other. But see, I... wished it was you first. So you want me to show you right now?"

And that's about the time Lucas started wondering if it was going to be the best night of his life or the worst, because he thought he knew what was coming. It was too much to even hope for, but he still thought he knew.

Well, he wasn't positive, but... "Yeah, I guess. ... I mean, okay."

"Well, close your eyes then."

So then Lucas almost really was positive.

Then when Jedidiah pulled the sleeping bag open, he knew for sure.

Yeah, he knew all right. Except when it happened, it was beyond belief. When it seems like you've been waiting for something for most of your life, it's really hard to take it all in at once.

Although he did have the presence of mind to ask Jedidiah if he'd ever tried 69ing.

Well, yeah. After about a minute, Jedidiah came up and asked, "That okay?"

... "Oh, yeah! ... But... well, you ever 69 before?"

Jedidiah was a little out of breath, but he answered, "Well, I heard of it, but... no, we didn't ever do that. You?"

"Not many times, but I have. ... So you wanna?"

Well, Jedidiah did, so at that point, they both felt like they had been taken to another world. Even if that first trip was a very short one. It probably would have lasted longer if they'd done the one-armed bandit routine earlier that day... but taking everything into consideration - it being their first time and all - there was almost no way it could have lasted very long anyway. But next time, it would take longer.

The only question Lucas had was just how many next times there were going to be.

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