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Life on the Farm

by Joe Writer Man

Chapter 21

*~* Farewell my Friend *-*

When James and I parted ways at the fence line that separates our properties, I headed toward the house that Mom and Jed had built for us to live in a couple of years after they got married when I was about 4 months old. It was the only place where I'd lived, other than for out in the wilderness... When school was going, after HE went to work, I'd sneak into the house, say hey to mom, take a bath, put on clean clothes, then off to school I'd go. HE didn't want me eating HIS food, but Mom fed me anyway. She'd try to apologize, but I'd just leave, knowing things weren't going to change. It was just better that way, I thought.

I'd started living off the land some two years ago, but the winter, wicked as all hell, took me to the abandoned farmstead. The barn provided enough shelter to keep me out of the rain and bitterly cold wind. In the summertime, I had built a kind of a fort like thing right on the creek. That was really kewl... I loved it there. I would go fishing using a homemade fishing pole that I'd built from a large tree branch that had fallen. Actually, that dang branch came down just as I was walking by. I got so pissed off because it glanced off my back, nearly taking me out... so I tried to show 'it' just how hacked off I really was – I stomped and cussed that damn thing... but it would not break, no matter how hard I tried to bust it all to pieces.

Later that day, I'd got a bow saw out of the machine shed; he would have killed me had he known, and took it to the branch. I cut the limb, notched it out, and smoothed the knots away until it was just about the right size for a fishing pole. I'd taken the saw back to the shed. I was looking around in there for some twine to hang off it as fishing line when HE walked in, angry and drunk, as was usual for him.

I'd just learned to stay away just as much as possible. When the weather was nice, I'd bathe in the creek, at night, after the lights had turned off in the house. I waited till then, just because HE had a habit of sneaking up on me. Sometimes he wouldn't do anything, but he'd tell me that I was a waste of protoplasm, that I was in their way, and that I was a bastard – he could never sire anything like the likes of me.

One day, after a particularly hard beating, filled with a rage that I rarely showed, I told him that I couldn't possibly be his son – I didn't think like he did, and I didn't act like he did, in any way, I didn't beat women and children like he did, I wasn't a dumb stupid shithead like he was... the only thing that kept me from getting killed that day was because I was faster than he ever thought about being.

Then he could be the best guy you'd ever want to meet. In fact, he finished that fishing pole for me. In fact, he rode the ATV down to the creek, handed it to me, wished me well, then stayed and watched me fish... we built a fire on the beach, fried them up and partook of them. But these moments were far and few between... I never knew if he was going to be the good guy or the bad guy... the bad guy was the most often visitor, so I just assumed he would always be the bad guy – it kept me out of a lot of trouble.

When I got within sight of the house, his car was parked in the adjacent side yard. Mom was standing on the steps leading out... she was looking my way, but I was under the cover of the forest. I waited a few minutes to see if HE was coming out of the house... I couldn't believe it – the cops said he was in jail and would be there for a very long time, until I was a very, very old man – or dead. I believed Dan, too, and Thomas, too... they were good people, respected in the community... although I didn't know them very well, I had good vibrations... the clincher, though, is that HE hated them. For some reason, even though we lived only across the fence from each other, HE forbade me to associate with them in any way. The little of them that I knew was from school. And, of course, Eric and I hooked up at the Town Fair. God, that, was fun. That same Fair is where I first met James. I was both intrigued and very attracted to him. I doubt that he was aware that I had followed him around the fairgrounds, and that I watched him and Eric, while completely naked, being hosed down by their dad, washing away the mud and muck.

I digress.

Before going out into the open field, the only way to get to the house without walking around to the other side of the property and coming in from the front, I looked all around to make sure I, we, were all alone.

We were not all alone. I saw Aunt Virginia walking the lane between the barn and the house. She was all alone, save for Mom standing on the porch. Virginia had an armload of veggies from the garden. Mom went down the stairs, walked to her, and took some of the load. They talked for a moment, then, together they walked to the house... Virginia was walking like an old woman, bent and broken appearing.

After seeing her in the hospital last night, where she'd been taken after her husband, my uncle, HIS brother, had beaten the holy hell out of her – again.

I thought she was fucking stupid for staying with my uncle. But I also thought my mom was fucking stupid for staying with HIM, my supposed sperm donor... some would call him a Father, or bastardize the word "Dad".

Tears sprang from my eyes... Virginia walked to the steps, then had to take Mom's arm, and even then, she was unable to walk up to the door that leads inside. My shoulders shook violently. I couldn't cry though. Not then. Not ever again. James had seen a side of me that I kept hidden away from the world... and largely away from myself... until I just couldn't take something anymore.

Angry, I grabbed my shirt from the back waistband of my jeans, wiped my eyes out, sucked in a deep breath, and then took off for the house, carefully watching to make sure HE or HIM was not anywhere around.

Without hesitating one single second, I ran to Virginia, took her arm in mine, and gave her a lot of my strength to get inside, out of the heat and humidity. I sat her down in a chair. She grabbed me around the waist, buried her head into my bare stomach, and wept bitterly and openly. Fighting back my emotions, I continued to hold her as if her life depended on it. Maybe it did?

When she released her arms and sat straight up in the chair, I choked back a sob... I mentally berated myself for letting that emotional response out... my stomach also got queasy... part of the sob was to push down a rising bolus of bile threatening to exit my stomach via my mouth...

Her face, once beautiful and alive, was all black and blue. Her left eye was completely swollen shut. Her right one wasn't all that much better, but at least she could see out of it.

"Thank you, Rocky. I'll be okay. It's just going to take some time. We have some adjustments to make. Life isn't always fair. You'll see."

My mom walked over, patted Virginia's shoulder, then turned to me. There was pain there, but then, again, I saw some light behind her eyes. She put her hand against my cheek, "She's right, Rocky. We have some adjustments to make. Work with me, Boy. We can't change the past. We can use the past as a guide to today and tomorrow. One of the changes is that I've asked Virginia to live with us. She's kin. She's my twin sister. I can't turn my back on her. Neither can you. I know you've had to turn your back away, I understand, but that has to stop. I expect you home every night. You have a perfectly good bed in your room... It's 5 years old. It's been barely slept in. Most of that is my fault. I take full responsibility for your being away, but, now, it is your responsibility to be home."

Before I could say anything, not that I wanted to say anything, nor did I feel it would be appropriate to say anything... she continued, "Go get your bath, Boy. We're going to give John a proper burial. We want you to be a pallbearer... it seems fitting that as his older cousin you should pay your respects by helping him this one last time. There are clean clothes on your bed. Wear them. Don't complain."

Their expressions told me that there was no use for argument. And you know what? For the first time, in a long time, I didn't want to argue.

Cautiously, hesitatingly, I turned and walked through the door from the kitchen to the living room, looking all around, half expecting HIM to come out of hiding. Mom said, "He'll never again set foot in this house. Don't you worry none about that, Boy." Her line of vision then changed. She was staring at some object right next to the outside door leading inside. I turned and walked back. By the kitchen door was the rifle she'd had safely and securely locked up in the cabinet.

I looked up and into her eyes, for once. She had total determination written all across her face, and her body language spoke courage and determination.

Rarely had I seen the look of "don't fuck with me" come from her.

I knew, then, that things had changed.

I nodded, then turned away, walked through the doors through the dining room, living room, hallway, and on into my bedroom. On my bed lay a dark pair of pants, a jacket and a bright blue shirt with a matching, but darker tie like thing. I'd never before worn such fine clothes. Neither had John. Those clothes weren't like us. Blue jeans, coveralls, loose fitting shirts, or no shirt, or no pants... those were our deals.

But then Mom's words came back to me, respect.

Then a brightly colored envelop lay on the top left hand corner of my dresser caught my attention. It looked like one of those silly cards that John and I shared for our birthdays. Mine was tomorrow. I'd forgotten all about it. We always waited until the very last moment to hurry up and get a card in town to give to the other... this being early was so unlike him...

Had he known?

I hadn't spent a night in the house since late March, so I was surprised when I entered the bathroom. It had been completely redone in bright colors, pastels in creamed white. The broken down toilet had been replaced. The bathtub replaced with a shower enclosure like thing... it even had a shower. I walked on in, but just for a moment... I headed back to my room to get clothes to wear... I'd never, ever, never ever in a million years ever been totally naked in my home... nor had I ever just worn a towel to get from the bathroom to my room... that wasn't changing now.

I opened my dresser and pulled out the very first thing on top. They were a pair of outside Hawaiian printed shorts... I'd never worn anything like those either. I wouldn't have been caught dead showing any skin whatsoever. You just didn't do that in our house. I shivered violently.

"Get a move on it, Boy." Mom shouted from the kitchen. The tone of her voice was 'do it', but she wasn't angry. She just wanted me to do as she'd instructed... nothing more, nothing less.

I grabbed up the shorts and took off for the bathroom. Maybe things were going to be different... they couldn't have gotten any worse than they had been, at least I had thought so... until John's death.

Mom met me in the hallway, just outside the door to the facilities. We looked into each others' eyes. She said, "Things are different, Rocky. Do you think those clothes will fit you? I guessed your size."

"I don't know, Mom. I didn't look... I mean, I didn't check the size... I guess I've got some things to learn, too. Mom?"

"Yes, Boy."

"I'll try."

"Rocky, I've done some wrong things. Listen to me very carefully. <I nodded, cautiously>. I'm trying, too. Now, take your shower. We've got to leave in a little over an hour and a half. We'd like to talk to you, so don't take all day. Rocky?"

"Yes, Mom."

"Take your time. Relax. You're growing up. A boy needs his time alone. I understand."

Did she just say what I might think she said? I felt my face flush... there's no way that she would know... I mean, really.

Then, as she walked away, she turned back, smiled, and said, "Enjoy."

I closed the door, reached for the lock, but there wasn't one. I checked the little closet like thing... I'd kept a 2x4 board in there to jam between the doorknob and floor to keep HIM out... but it wasn't there.

HE wasn't at the house. Nor would HE be at the house. So I relaxed, albeit slowly. I walked to the toilet, looked in... The water was crystal clear, not scummy, rusty and yucky. The thing was clean. I saw my reflection in the water.

One of my worst beatings came when the flusher gadget broke, making it unable to be flushed. HE came in, found evidence of indiscretion, and then beat me to within an inch of my life, and then stuck my head down in it to make sure I never forgot.

I flushed the toilet. I lifted the back lid just to make sure water was returning.

But... HE wasn't home. Nor would HE be home.

I removed all my clothes, even my underwear which were threadbare and tattered, sat down and proceeded to take probably one of the best shits of my life. While I was sitting there, taking care of business, I pulled little cockle burs and pieces of grass from my 'areas' down south of the border. Even the tissue paper was soft, not hard and scratchy like the old stuff we'd always had around.

The little things in life.

The shower was wonderful. I washed and rinsed my hair 3 times to get the grub, grime, oil, and other such nasty stuff out of it. Mom had purchased large wash cloths, thick and strong... oh my God those felt so good brushing against my skin. I was in heaven.

Something I had never done in the house: masturbate myself to completion. That was just not anything I ever felt right about doing before, not when HE was in or near the house... but... once again... HE wasn't home. Nor would he be home.

I leaned against the enclosure wall, closed my eyes, and let my mind trail back to the creek. My vision became narrow and focused. My mouth was wide open, and my brain was 'seeing' James' butt naked walking, climbing up the rock to the top where we laid out in the sun, permitting our skin to dry, where our lips came together hungrily, wantonly, where our arms were holding us together, where the birds were doing bird things, the leaves were doing the rustling leaf things, and where we were just breathing in companionable silence. I felt myself readying for the release, however, before I would permit myself to fall off the world, I opened the shower door just enough to see that the main door to the bathroom was still closed... it was... then I was a goner... it happened... there wasn't anything I could do about it... nor did I want to do anything about it, except to experience the tendrils of pleasure coursing through each and every corpuscle of my body, and it did, wave after ever-loving pulse flowed freely. At some point during the experience, I'd slid down the wall, and was sitting on the floor with the shower water cascading down through my hair, face and the rest of my body.

I opened my eyes. I still had my hand around my penis; however it had shrunken its way deep down into my fist. I'm not the most gifted person in the world, but my penis sure brought about a lot of pleasure. I squeezed a couple of times, just out of curiosity to see if anything was left. At the same time, I felt even stronger pulsations with each squeeze, then they were gone, and then the sensation was extreme discomfort... the skin was way too sensitive to play around with any more.

Though I barely released any fluid from my penis during orgasm, I checked around to make sure there wasn't anything even remotely appearing to be sperms. That's just where my head was, with all the nice warm water running over my body... I never even realized it would have washed down the drain...

The bath towels were super big, thick and fluffy. Oh my God, the fabric felt so, so, so good. The sensations were almost as good as sex, but not quite... close though.

After drying my hair, I ran my fingers through it... it was soft and silky, not matted, not filthy dirty... it actually squeaked a little bit.

The boy I saw in the mirror looked relaxed. I also saw somebody looking back who was sexy. I know this sounds weird, but, while not looking into my eyes, the boy that was in the mirror was attractive, strong, confident, and damn good looking. Was this what James had seen? Or was he thinking that I could be like 'this' with a little care and encouragement and love?

And... Those thoughts and feelings were flowing - despite seeing the multiple bruises and whelps, a few of them mighty mean looking.

I was brought back to the here by a gentle knock on the door. My body tensed as if it were going to go into flight... however, I relaxed again, "Yes? I'll be right out."

"Honey, I want to see your sore spots. It's time I become your mother. It's my job to look after my little boy. Can I come in?"

My eyebrows rose up in fright... I dropped the towel to the floor, reached for those shorts and scurried into them. They were thin and baggy. I looked down to see if my penis was making its presence known... but the pleats were baggy enough to hide that which designates me male. I opened the door. Mom took one look at me... her eyes, for a moment, were sad, but then her determination, or confidence, I don't know which, took over. She walked past me, took hold of the door and closed it.

We were alone, just she and I. She busily examined and ran her fingers over each and every bruise mark, then had me turn around so she could check there, too. Her touch felt nice. It was something that I had always missed. She ran her hands down my back... I didn't even mind when she lifted out my shorts and ran her hands across my bottom. She then urged me to turn around to face her. She ran her fingers across my chest and belly, searching for and finding each and every bruise. Her touch was soothing, not hard and distant like when those doctors checked me over. She then looked directly in my eyes... in hers, I saw nothing but love and concern, so when she lowered the front of my shorts and directed her eyes down 'there' I wasn't ashamed or concerned.

Now, confident that I had not been seriously hurt and damaged, she pulled back up my shorts, and said, "Did he hurt you, Boy?" Did he force himself on you?"

"He tried to. I wouldn't let him. He never did it again."

"Your bottom?"


"You're telling me the truth. I see it. Rocky, you are a good boy. I am proud that you are my son." She then pulled me into her arms and held me firmly. I felt myself welling up, my throat constricting, my chest trying not to heave in and out, my muscles tightening and relaxing – until I was about to explode.

This woman standing in front of me, holding me tight against her, with her arms tightly wrapped around my midsection – was getting to me, like almost nobody else had gotten to me. The more I resisted giving into my emotions, the harder she hugged. There was no escape. For once, I did not want to escape.

"I'm so sorry, My Child. I didn't know what to do. Can you ever forgive me?"

I lost the battle.

All of the put away shame, guilt, despondency, hate, venom, fell out of my system as I put my arms around her and squeezed back... like our lives depended on what we were doing, where we were standing, and the tears that were falling to wash clean our souls. I continuously and constantly wailed that I'd tried to be a good boy, to stay out of the way, that I tried so hard to love him and her, but I just couldn't... I didn't know how... but that I'd try... that I'd love James and take care of him and let him take care of me... that maybe I would be happy.

My heart and my brain seized up. I quickly reached for the washcloth lying on the sink, used it to wipe out my eyes and blow my nose into, and tried to get away... my secret... known only to James... was shattered.

Mom would have no part of me departing her arms. I tried, but not enough to hurt her... she said, "Stop it. Just stop it. You have no right to be ashamed."

"But Momma..."

"Don't you 'but' me. You listen to me: You are my son. I have been a terrible wicked person all these years... but there is one thing that I have kept hidden away... I love you, Rocky. Only Jesus Christ can love you any more than I do. You are a good boy. James is a very good boy, too. You have so much to offer... the main good part of you is your heart. To have come this far you are much stronger than me. How long have you known that you walk a different path?"

I shrugged my shoulders, "I don't know, Mom. I've never really thought about... I mean, I really didn't give it any thought... Mom, I gave up a couple of years ago... that's when I started running... that's why I never really even thought about it... not really. You said a boy needs his private time... well, that was mine. Mom, James already has a boyfriend. I guess I've got to let him go..."

"Rocky, I don't want to meddle in your business... I have to know... did you and John... were you alike?"

John had sworn me to secrecy... we'd shared blood on it. Never would our lips share the secret – never. He was surer of his sexuality than I ever was... until James and I talked about it.

"Mom, I didn't know about me until yesterday... we didn't do anything... he's already got a boyfriend... and, John, we talked about sex a lot..."

"I know that... boys and girls... they experiment... honey, the medical examiner's office called Virginia today... they found some blood... in his bottom..."

"What? He would have told me! No, Mom, no way! I would have known! Mom, the only thing we did was masturbating... together... we even touched each other like that... but – we did NOT have sex! How do... what... when... where... who?" I shouted, suddenly angry.

I pulled away, looked into her eyes, "Mom, I'm sorry for yelling... this is such a shock... I can't believe it... he would have told me if he had boyfriend..."

Oh shit.




Son of a bitch.

"I'm sorry, John. God, I'm so sorry. I hate me."

I turned away, reached for the door knob, turned it, walked to my room, closed the door... in the silence, I seriously contemplated on killing myself. The rifle was in the kitchen, sitting by the door, standing all alone in a corner, most likely it was loaded and ready to go... I mean why bother if it wasn't. I couldn't ever imagine John ever willingly giving himself up... we talked about everything... there wasn't anything we didn't talk about... we shared blood... I looked into the crease of my palm... the scar was intact... in contrast to my dark tan, the scar was very visible. We made sure they would be... lest we ever forget... I'd broken our covenant, our oath, our promise, our love and loyalty – all gone, forever broken, never can return. "John, please forgive me." I cried.

Then the tears dried up. I used the back of my hand to wipe away the tears from my cheeks and my chest. Determined, resolved to my fate, I dropped to the floor the bright orange shorts, leaving me standing there naked as the day I'd been born. I walked to my dresser to get some underwear and a pair of jeans, but, then, my door opened. Virginia entered, closed the door, took my hand, led me to my bed, sat me down, then sat herself down, pulled me into her and said, "John was raped, Rocky. We know that... the medical examiner said so... the tear was extensive, but it was located in a place that would not really be noticeable to John... until he would have a bowel movement... the ME said that my boy actually died from a head injury... it was just too severe. Rocky, let's talk about this later. Let's just bury him. We'll deal with the rest later. Can you do that for me? No, actually that's very selfish of me... would you do it for John, please?"

As inconspicuous as I could, I reached to the floor, grabbed the shorts and draped them across my nakedness, turned to her and said, "I have to say something... it just came out to my Mom... sorry, John <my eyes filled with tears>, Aunt Virginia, John was gay. He told me. He never told me that he'd actually had sex... I know he would have told me if he had... I'm gay, too. We never had sex that way... the only thing we did was, uhm, rub each other. Our pact was to not tell anybody, unless we both decided to say something to other people... I wasn't sure... I didn't know for sure for myself until yesterday. I'm sorry you had to find out this way."

Virginia drew herself up, then with more confidence than I'd seen in her -forever-, she said, "I suspect, I'm damn certain, that it was his father that defiled his son in an unimaginable way – rape. The police are working on it. I have every confidence the truth will come out once and for all. I've made many mistakes, Rocky. <She wiped a strand of hair out of my eyes>. I'll never forgive myself."

I looked into her beaten and battered eyes, and said, "Aunt Virginia, I forgive you. My dad tried to rape me. It must be in their blood, or something, which means it's in my blood, too. I'll kill myself before that ever happens." Mom entered the room at the time I said "I'll kill myself before that ever happens."

She looked at me with this terror stricken expression... her face was registering bright neon banners. "You will not hurt yourself! You will not let your father define you! You will not let me define you! You will not let anybody define you! Do you hear me, Boy?"

Virginia, very softly, said to Mom, "Rocky's afraid he'll grow up like his father and his uncle. He won't let that happen." To me she said, "I've known your father and uncle for a great many years. I had a son by your uncle. Let me tell you that you are not made of the same vile filthy trash. You are a good boy, kind, considerate, and you have a great deal of love <she touched my chest, over my heart> in here." Virginia looked to Mom, "We made mistakes, Kay. Mine cost my son's life." To me she said, "Your life is just beginning. You boys had to grow up hard. Rocky, the only way I might find some peace is sharing my love with you... if you'll permit it. I don't blame you if you don't, or can't... when you get old enough to sign contracts, our farm is yours. I'm having a new deed drawn up... it will be in you and your Mom's names, with the stipulation that you get it free and clear when you are deemed an adult. I love the place, but it was way too many bad memories for me to continue to hold it. For now, since it isn't here, close by, I will be finding a young family to work the land... I can't see it going to waste just because I can't be there."

Just then Virginia looked at the clock on my night stand. I looked, too. So did Mom. We all gasped, then Virginia chuckled, "You know, John told me I'd be late to my funeral... here it is... we're already 15 minutes late, and we're not even ready." Mom looked out the window, chuckled, and added, "The hearse is waiting for us. Oh dear."

With that, we hurried and scurried into our clothes. Mom fussed with my shirt and pants, making sure they were just right. The tie was hopeless... it was one of those real ties... the kind that needed folded this way and that. Finally, we agreed that we'd let somebody at the church take care of it... perhaps the funeral director, even.

Dan, Vera, Thomas, Stacy, Luke, Eric, James and Kevin greeted us as the hearse pulled in front of the church. Stacy came walking to us. She took me into her arms, and hugged me deeply, then kissed my cheek.

Thomas knelt down on the pavement, looked deep into my eyes, nodded, then began doing my tie up correctly. Satisfied, he stood up, then Mom turned me to face her... she fussed with my hair... but that was impossible because it was very windy. Finally, she smiled, whispering in my ear, "You look mighty handsome. John would be so proud of you, that you would dress up just for him."

I knew different but I wasn't going to say anything to counter her statement. I kissed her cheek. The funeral director directed us inside the church and set us down in front of the church on the right side. I looked around to see where the Richardson's, particularly James, was sitting... they were 5 pews back. The church was nearly filled to capacity. I didn't know so many people cared for John... heck, almost the entire town was there... I couldn't believe it.

I whispered to Mom, "Can James sit here with us? Please?"

She nodded. I got up, walked through two other people, went to Dan who was sitting on the end of their pew, "Sir, can James come sit with us? Please? He's my best friend. Right now, Sir, I need my friends... please?"

Dan nodded. He whispered to his wife, then she whispered to Stacy, then to Thomas, then to Eric, then to Luke... that's where it stopped. Instead of saying anything, Luke took hold of James' hand and pointed to me. Dan motioned James over to him, then whispered into his ear. James looked at me, then without delay exited the pew, took me into his arms and held me tight, just as I lost my composure, yet again. Still crying, but not as bad, we made our way back to my Mom, sat down, and waited for the service to start. The preacher, a young man, entered the whatever-you-call-it-area, in front of the lectern, tapped on the microphone a couple of times, and then began the service.

James had his arm around my shoulder, rubbing my back, squeezing my neck every now and again... I felt comforted by his being there. Mom was holding my other hand. She'd dab at her eyes; she wasn't doing well. Virginia was sitting on her other side with her head down... she hardly ever looked up.

It was then that a funeral director tapped my shoulder. He whispered in my ear, "We need you... it's time to bring the casket into the church." He repeated to James.

As if my legs were weighed down with concrete blocks, we made our way out to the coach. The workers rolled his casket out onto a carriage. All we had to do was to hold onto the casket. For a brief moment, I felt peace and serenity, knowing that John wouldn't have to deal with the shit anymore. I so much wished it was me, instead of him, that was being wheeled into a church to have the last words said.

I thought about killing myself, again. I looked into James' face. He was looking into my eyes. I was totally captivated... I knew we were walking, doing what we needed to be doing, but everything outside of us seemed surreal, like it wasn't happening... yet it was happening.

Then, clearly, he pursed his lips and smacked them. He kissed me. Just like that. In front of everybody. I nodded then pursed my lips and slightly broke the plane line of my lips with my tongue, then brought it back in, looking straight ahead, watching where I was going as we were coming to the entryway to the church.

The funeral director had us stand aside. James broke ranks, walked to me, squeezed in, took hold of my hand and squeezed lightly. I squeezed his hard, when the director unlatched the lid.

Mom and Virginia were led to the casket. Mom took my other hand in hers, squeezed tightly, and then, when Virginia was in place, directly in front of the box, the director opened the casket.

I was looking at James. I didn't want to look down. I did not want to see John dead. No way. No fucking way. So I was trying to avoid the inevitable.

Virginia's tears began in earnest, but then she looked at me with a twinkle of a smile on her face. James, the last person in the world I would have ever suspected, chuckled through his sobbing tears.

My emotions cleared for just a moment. James wiggled his eyebrows and motioned for me to look down at John's body.

I didn't want to. Every instinct said not to. Virginia was smiling. Mom looked amused. And James, rubbed his hand down my back, stopping only when he reached my butt. He squeezed lightly, then turned and whispered in my ear, "Look."

I looked into his eyes. He was smiling even though he was crying at the same time.

Hesitantly, never leaving James' eyes until the very last possible second, I turned my head down, and then choked a sob-laugh at seeing my cousin lying dead in that box of dark wood and white fluffy stuff.

Check this out: John was wearing his 'favorite' t-shirt. Now, this t-shirt has a long history, it was his camping out shirt. Holey. Filthy dirty. Smelly. Laundered only once – by accident. Washed by creek water only. Torn under his arms, both of them.

His hair, though clean, was spiked.

Virginia winked her eye toward me. Mom... well, her expression changed from horror to a cautious, then an amused smile passed through her eyes when Virginia whispered in her ear.

I observed that while everybody was teary eyed, we all smiled, and even snickered a time or two when the preacher brought out a side of John that I didn't know about. Later, Eric and I talked about John's life... and well, he didn't know of those parts of John's life either.

There was no burial; instead John's body was going to be cremated. His remains were going to be scattered in and around the creek he and Rocky dearly loved. Loose plans had been made for me to spend the weekend with Seth at Adam's lake house, however I decided to stay – there would be other occasions.

Mom, Virginia, Kay, Stacy and several of the women folk took off for Kay and Rocky's home. I learned that a typical funeral was followed by a large dinner.

Dad, Luke and Kevin took off for home to change clothes. Thomas and Sandy took Rocky home so that he could change his, then we took off for our home so that we, too, could change. Although we didn't have to dress in our good clothes, clean jeans and shirts would suffice just fine.

After eating, we all took off for the creek where we just milled about. Rocky took us to a bend in the creek where he and John had spent a lot of their time just talking, goofing off, and talking about things of interest. We didn't talk about John's funeral nor his death... we didn't need to... nor did we want to.

Rocky got up... we were sitting on the grassy knoll above the bank... and walked up and to the right. I started to get up, but Eric took hold of my arm and held on, saying that, likely, Rocky was going to use the outdoor 'facilities'.

Rocky returned a few minutes later, and said that he needed to get back to his place, because there was a bunch of chores he needed to do, stuff that had to be done, stuff that couldn't be put off any longer. He lamented that there were just some things, like feeding the livestock with weight enhancing foodstuffs that just had to be done. We knew how that was. Dad had already told us to not be too late because we needed to get home to do our own chores.

I got up and walked to Rocky. Our arms went around each other. We held on tightly, not wanting to let go. Eric and Luke joined us for a brief hug, then they pulled away and began walking, with definite purpose, toward Rocky's property, leaving Rocky and me standing there hugging and being close to one another. Rocky took a deep shuddering breath, then dropped his hands down and rested them on my butt. I kept mine around his waist, somehow just knowing he needed our moments of silence to regroup to begin his healing. Finally, Rocky giggled, "I can't believe Aunt Virginia had John dressed that way... he'd love it... do you think he knows?"

"I can't help but to believe he did. Rocky, I didn't know John, but seeing your feelings and hearing the way you talk about him... I have no doubt that he'll live on in your heart. Come on, we're going to help with chores... just let us do it... I'll even do the fuckin chicken house." Rocky nodded, then silently, I put my arm around his waist, he put his around mine; together we walked up to his place and got busy.

Before going home, Rocky, Luke, Eric and I went back to the barn. Rocky took us to the loft, quickly retrieved a pack of cigarettes... Luke didn't smoke. As soon as Eric finished his, he deeply hugged Rocky, then took off with Luke. Rocky and I talked about a few minor things, then the inevitable time to leave arrived. I pulled Rocky in, hugged him deeply, gave him support, and told him that I'd be over to help out just as much as possible, as often as Dad would permit. I was sure that Eric and Luke, and even Thomas, would, too.

Arriving home, we quickly relatively made short order in getting our chores finished, often helping each other.

Afterward, a bath was the first order of business. Kevin insisted on taking a bath with me. While I washed him, Eric took care of his other business, then joined us. He washed Kevin's hair, rinsed it, dried him, and then sent him on his way. Kevin was exhausted tired. He hadn't had his nap that afternoon. He was also very, very grouchy.

Eric and I changed the bath water, entered and got busy washing away the sweat, dirt and grime from our bodies. We talked about how the undertakers had John dressed. We laughed a lot about many of the antics they did together when John was still alive. As was Kevin, we were tired and sore. We didn't even go downstairs for ice cream, though I went down to say goodnight. Returning upstairs, Eric's door was already closed.

I knocked on the door. Eric said to 'enter'. When I opened the door, he was quickly getting into the bed and pulling the sheet over his naked form. From the little I'd seen down south of the border, he was needy for release. He lifted the sheet, thus inviting me into his boudoir, an invitation I did not turn down. Before getting in, I stripped to the skin, and wondered for a brief moment if I should do 'it' with Eric. A little voice in the back of my head said that I probably shouldn't get too interested, though I, or 'it', was definitely willing to do whatever it was that we decided to do. I was even okay if we didn't do anything. While we had no problem with jacking off, Eric had consistently let it be known that he wasn't all that interested with getting it on with a guy... so I was a bit confused on those times when he'd let me suck him off to completion.

We talked about a few things, though none of our conversation was heavy, as we generally did, while relaxing enough to fall asleep. Finally, Eric took a turn and brought up something I'd been thinking about, but hadn't said anything about. At first, his words were shocking, but I understood that he was watching out for not only Rocky, but me, too, "Bro, I'm not going to get in the middle of your love life, other than to say I wish I had girls all over me like guys are over you, but... Rocky or you, or maybe both of you are going to get hurt. Rocky told me today that he likes you a lot, that maybe you two are more than friends... but... he's not going to push your relationship with him... in fact, he decided to pull back... he's going through a lot, James."

Immediately, I thought long and hard on what my conscience had been telling me all along... I, too, wanted to be friends with Rocky... but I, too, wanted more... the feelings were strange, yet comforting all at the same time, but I was conflicted. I replied, "I need to talk to Seth."

"Yeah, you do." Eric said, confirming my thoughts about what the next right thing might be, yet I didn't want to let go of Seth either.

It was almost like I had to decide... yeah, I needed to make a decision. Eric continued, when I hadn't said anything, and while I was lost in my thoughts, "Seth's a good guy. I like him. What do you see in him?"

I kinda chuckled, to buy me a minute, "His big dick."

Eric didn't laugh, in fact his muscles tightened up and he pulled his arm away from mine. I added, "He's a good friend, Eric. I hate to think about what would have happened had Adam not come along... when he did... you know..."

"That's not what I asked though... I asked what you see in him... besides his big dick, that is."

"Well, he saw through me before I could see anything..." I said, then went on to tell Eric what other things Seth and I had done and seen over our relationship, including the birthday party they'd held for me, he and his dad sneaking Adam back into my life...

*-* Meanwhile, at Tony's Lake House in Oklahoma *-*

First, Jim removed the mouth gag, and then unfastened all four heavy leather straps that held my legs and arms apart while he fucked me senseless – in a good way.

We'd met at the gas station on the lake one day shortly after returning from the last trip to Texas for the photography convention, the same one that James and I had spent some serious alone time, getting reacquainted from our separation due to him moving away and living with a family that I was certain would adopt him for keeps.

Jim's 19, broad-shouldered, thin in the waist, and built like a brick shithouse. I don't really know what happened; we simply started hanging out. I found him interesting. He found me interesting, too. Some early mornings, we'd go fishing to pass away the time before he had to go to work at noon. Dad knew his family, and was glad that I'd found a friend on the lake. Dad even invited Jim to our house for dinner since Jim was a bachelor living up in the hills by himself. His parents lived in Gage... he wouldn't tell me why they were estranged, keeping it only to the fact that they had separated when he was 18.

During that week long period of time, I'd tried to call James, but he was always outside doing chores, being with his brothers, and then with his friend Rocky when his cousin died, or it was too late to call, or it was too early in the day. I wanted to talk to him in the worst possible way. I wanted to talk to him about what was going to happen with us. I loved him. I missed telling him how much he means to me. Dad had warned me beforehand, that when James went to live with that family, then our relationship would change drastically. I didn't realize just how drastic those changes would be.

Five days ago, my world changed.

Jim and I had been out fishing (we'd caught some really big white bass and a few crappie, too). When we caught our limit (enforced since the incidents with James at Adam's house, and Adam's arrest – FOR FUCKING NOTHING!), we headed into shore. Jim invited me to his shack so that we could clean the fish, throw them in a skillet over an open fire, and pig out.

I guess you could say that Jim seduced me. I don't really think so, though. We went back to the convenience store where he works to take showers. He doesn't have inside bathroom facilities in his place, but working there comes in really convenient, because they have all the amenities for the folk who live the summer in their house boats. He just cleans up before he goes to work... and well, since we had fish and fish guts all over the place, he bagged them up to take with us. When we arrived, I bought a bottle of shampoo and body soap, deodorant, and even a pair of Adidas shorts and a t-shirt, which they charged at tourist rates. Jim reminded me that he received a store discount, so the price wasn't too terrible bad in the end.

We went back to his cabin to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening, just hanging out. He's a woodworker. His works, mainly big things such as chair and sofa frames, coffee tables and end-tables were beautiful, fine hand-crafted... I could easily tell that he put a lot of time, energy and love into his works... you could just see the pride shining in the quality.

Even though it was hotter than fucking hell, we built a small campfire in a homemade concrete and brick fire pit, roasted Smores, and yes, I joined him drinking. I took a shot of some nasty shit that took the breath away from me... he said, after I managed to swallow, that it was Missouri hill-country moonshine, the best – his grandfather makes it in his own still. I managed to finish that drink, but then switched over to beer... I'd had a few beers along the way, with my Dad. As time went on, and after about 3 beers, I had reached my limit... although I'd never gotten drunk, I wasn't all that excited about getting too far gone at some person's house, that I barely knew.

Jim was also into leather works, and showed me belts, jackets, biker-pants, and other various and sundry items of interest. He was really good with his hands... again you could see the pride he put into his works... they were flawlessly crafted.

I needed to piss like a racehorse (James would love this saying, I thought), but when I stood up, found that I was, indeed, quite loopy, so I turned away from Jim, took out my prized possession, walked, waddled to the edge of the fire circle and let loose with a torrent of pent up liquids. I guess I was wobbling more than I thought... Jim circled me with his arms to keep me falling into the pit... I felt the heat emanating from it on my bare chest and belly, fully elongated tool, and my legs beneath where the fabric of the shorts ended. His strong arms holding me up felt really good. While Dad gives great hugs, this guy, well, I felt different. I wanted to prolong the pee, but it soon stopped. I squeezed my dick and shook any remaining water before tossing it back into those loose fitting shorts.

Jim said, making sense, "Seth, why don't you just stay here tonight... I really don't want your Dad to see that you've been drinking... I'm not looking for trouble, and I certainly don't want to see you forbidden from here. What'ya think?"

"Yeah, definitely... I don't want to put you out..."

"No, it's no trouble. Sometimes, it gets lonely around here. I love it here, but I like to have people around, too... not too much... I'm a loner by nature."

"Okay." I said, then fumbled around looking for my phone to call Dad, but where was it? I started giggling, but then in a moment of clarity, realized my clothes were still in his car, and in my clothes was my phone...

Have you ever tried talking to your Dad, while trying to maintain a steady, even, properly toned conversation – while trashed?

I knew better than to lie to my Dad... I'd never lied to him, no matter what the situation or circumstance happened to be... I respected him utterly and completely. When we talked – well, we talked heart to heart. Being honest with one another was one of our strongest attributes, so when he asked if I'd been (he didn't ask 'how much') drinking, I said I had had 'quite a bit'. He didn't read me the riot act, instead, as only my dad would ask, "Are you safe? I'll drive up there if you aren't."

I turned around, looked into Jim's face, turned back to the phone and said, "Yes, I'm safe."

And so I was. When it came to turning in for the night, Jim gave up his bed and slept in a recliner chair in the small cramped living room. His bedroom wasn't much bigger than the bathroom, all the room it had was the bed and a broken down set of chest of drawers perched in the doorway of the defunct bathroom. I plopped into bed, and that was all she wrote. I was gone, out like a light.

I have no idea what time it was when I finally dragged my 15 year old black, hung-over, parched mouth, ass out of that bed, but when I woke up, I had to pee... and dangerously so. My belly felt like it was going to explode, and not only from the need to release my bladder… I made it outside, ran around back, and just got there when my guts lost the fight… during the upheaval, not only did I pee, my bowels also rebelled… luckily, I got my shorts off and kicked aside before all hell broke loose.

As I was regaining control, Jim walked around the corner of the shack, took one look at me, then came over and supported my shaking and quivering body, all the while reassuring me that the worst was over.

He was right, the worst was over. I actually felt better. My stomach, much to my disbelief, rumbled and even a hunger pain passed through on its way to wherever a hunger pain goes to. He grabbed my shorts, then led me, naked, into the house, grabbed a pail from beneath the unusable sink, told me to stand there, don't move, that he'd be right back.

When he walked away, I felt some warm liquid running down my leg. I looked down. I was mortified at seeing a very small thin trickle of the hot brown stuff that had exited during my sick time... I hurriedly looked around for some paper towels, knowing he had no toilet paper. Seeing none on the counter, I reached up into the cabinet on the right side of the sink. All that was there were folded magazines... I thought he wouldn't mind my using a page or two to...

I pulled one of those magazines out of the cabinet; it was the soft paper kind... I was shocked beyond shock... forgetting what I'd been looking for, and why, I started flipping through the pages, seeing, feeling, reveling, energizing, and drooling, too, full page pictures of men and boys (older boys, though not appearing legal), in various states of bondage and sexual stimulation. I grabbed my cock, but it was too late... at the same time, Jim entered, and then stared at me as I stared at him... I tried squeezing my dick to stop it, but that only made the experience that much stronger. Jim averted his eyes away from my still spurting faucet, walked over, set the pail down on the floor, then walked out of his own house.

Jim returned a minute later, carrying a clean rag. He walked over, looked into my eyes, and said, "You'll need this." Then he turned and walked back outside. At the doorway, he stopped and turned around, smiled warmly, then exited.

I looked all around for a trap door to escape from, no, not because of the pictures, but because I was embarrassed beyond all control... nobody knew my secret, not even James, not even Daddy – and I told Daddy everything... honesty. I didn't want to be tossed into the street, again.

What would he think of me, now?

He WILL hate me. He's talked about sexual perversions before... in fact, we'd had several conversations about the varieties of sexual behavior... one time, I came very close to saying something, but I was too excited, if you know what I mean, to do so. Dad and I have conversations... he treats me like a person, not some street urchin that he felt pity on.

I almost felt ashamed to even look down, but I took the rag and moved my hand toward my privates, but briefly stopped at seeing a stringy strand of male evidence hanging from my penis. It was also still highly erect, standing out at a 70 degree angle and pointed down. I wiped it away, ashamed of myself beyond reach. Then I turned my attention to the backside... found my clothes, got dressed, stood by the side of Jim's chair... and waited... I waited to gather up my strength to go out the front door since there was no rear exit, nor was there a trap door – I looked carefully for one.

"Seth, come out here, right this second. You will speak to me. Do it, now!"

"I'm scared!" I screamed as the up-until-then-dam burst forth, spraying spittle and snot, tears and slobber from my nose and mouth... he knew my secret... I just knew it. He'd think I was the worst piece of green slimy pond scum that ever existed... and he would tell my Dad... and then there would be hell to pay... Dad even talked about lies of omission... with my eyes tightly clenched closed, I was unaware that he'd entered the room, walked over... until took me into his arms... that's when I totally lost control of any composure I may have had, or was trying to hold onto. My guts, the pain, the fear, the uncertainty, the self-loathing... all of it came out in a barrage of useless words, such as being a total worthless piece of black shit that had been smeared into this lifetime.

I cried and cried and cried, wailed and wailed and wailed... until I could not cry or wail anymore. Instead, I became a weak sapling... I didn't even feel bad anymore. I didn't feel good either. Instead, the only feelings were, if you call them feelings, total and complete numbness.

Like a little useless baby, I allowed him to get a kitchen towel out of a drawer, to wipe my nose like a 5 year old, and to lead me outside to a chair. He motioned for me to sit. When I balked, he puffed out his chest out, took a deep breath, and 'told' me to sit in the chair.

(Seth here... this is James' story. By now you should have gathered enough knowledge to realize that I have dealt with my demons. I will simply share that Dad had taken care of Jim's emancipation proceedings, when at 16 years old, his parents found him and his brother tying each other up, sans the sex part – other than for masturbating on each other, the submissive one. Their interactions were interchangeable... so, I hope you understand my reluctance to tell Dad. I've tried to talk with him, but I can't get it out. With this said, I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming with James. And, oh yeah, I wrestled, fought and struggled with how I was going to tell James about these new revelations, truths. The last thing in the world that I would ever do to James – is hurt him. He's had enough hurt in his life... Dad told me to just be honest with him).

*-* Eric's bedroom (I'm back) *-*

"He deeply cares for me, Eric. You already know this. <Eric nodded>. I care for him, too. I'd never hurt him in a million years... we live so far apart..." I said, feeling my reserves slightly cracking, but just a little bit.

"Okay. Look, I don't know much about relationships... you aren't telling me anything I haven't figured out for myself... anyway, I don't know for sure... ah heck, what I'm trying to say is that when you and Rocky look at each other... I don't know what it is that I see... it's different, though. Just remember, and don't forget, that I introduced you two. Wanna jack off?"

Eric and I were awakened... I'm not sure if it was Dad's voice first, or if it was Kevin's pouncing into the middle of our bed that brought us up and out of a deep, deep sleep. Regardless, Kevin was wiggling his way beneath the covers. His exuberance left little to do except to move aside and let him in. In his purely not-so-completely-innocent little voice, he exclaimed, "You're hard, Eric." Then he broke up into a fit of 4 year old giggles. Then, not to leave me out, his hand slipped down, down, down until he grabbed hold of my staff, and just as he was about to say that I, too, had a hard, I clamped my hand over this mouth... which sent him into another fit of giggles.

Well... that earned him a cautious round of tickling. I say cautious, because we didn't know if he'd been to the bathroom or not... you know how he is!

During breakfast, Eric and I asked for and received permission to go help Rocky and his mother with chores at their place. Dad said he was going over, too. He was taking the tractor to cultivate a soybean field. Later, we'd be cutting their hay field. The weather was predicted to be hot and dry, which would cure the hay much quicker. Luke was given instructions to help Mom harvest the first bounty from our vegetable garden. They would, then, bring them, cleaned and cut up, to Kay's for lunch.

We just jumped in and got busy doing what needed to be done... we'd already been out in the fields for about an hour before Rocky showed up. He had a serious case of 'bed head'. His eyes were bloodshot and tired. He was forever grateful for us ACTUALLY showing up. By mid-morning, several other men and boys approximately our ages, showed up, too. That was the first time I'd seen many, many people come together to help neighbors out in their time of need. I got kinda choked up… I mean I'd not ever seen a bunch of people dig in and help each other out like they were… they were doing it like they did it all the time, no big deal, yet it was a big deal… a really big deal.

At lunch-time, we walked into Rocky's house. The smells of really good food overshadowed all else. I walked into the kitchen... the table and all counters were filled with various casserole dishes, a huge slab of ham that Stacy was cutting into sandwich size slices with an electric knife.

The bathroom was being used in waves. The boys were given first dibs. Luke and Eric went in closed the door, did their thing, then exited. Rocky and I were second in line. I took off my shirt. The hay chaff was seriously itching my arms, chest and back. Rocky took a washcloth, soaped it up and washed those areas. I did the same for him.

Rocky seemed pretty 'stand-offish'; I wondered why. Maybe he was scared. I understood. Lots of things were going through my head as I was running the washcloth over his chest and belly, stopping at the top of his tight white underwear. Even then, I didn't stop… I felt myself smile as I pushed the washcloth and my hand down inside his shorts, squeezed first his left cheek, then his right cheek, before pulling everything up through his crack and onto his back. His eyes had popped wide open. He attempted, somewhat, to get away, but gave in as I drew my hand up and out. I tried to form an apologetic smile, yet it was useless as I didn't feel the least little bit sorry for breaking the melancholy.

I tossed the washcloth into the sink, then took Rocky into my arms and held him tight. He didn't even resist, in fact, he wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled us together. We just stood there, quietly, and lost in our own thoughts… nothing else needed to be said. I felt that we were communicating by just being ourselves.

A light rap on the door interrupted our 'moment'. Our lips quickly touched for just a moment. We didn't have time to get into that space where we could really connect. I was hard as a missile, definitely wanting more, but another rap on the door, louder than the previous time, caused us to part. I reached in for one more kiss. He easily and readily accepted it. He said, "This is hard for me, James."

Not waiting for a response, he opened the door. His Mom was stranding there, waiting. She looked at him, then to me. Rocky moved around her, leaving Kay and me standing there wondering what had just happened... I said, "Ma'am, Rocky's having a hard time with all of this."

She nodded, "I know. He just needs some time. He lost his best friend. Go dish up before it's all gone."

I laughed, "Like that's going to happen." I didn't know what else to do, I just knew that I wanted to – so I hugged her tightly. Letting go, she patted my butt, sending me on my way.

When I got to the kitchen, through the throng of people, Rocky handed me a filled plate, then turned back to the feast, gathering up good stuff for him to eat. We were led outside to a picnic table where Thomas, Sandy, Eric, Luke, Kevin, Dad and a couple of other men that I didn't know were sitting, eating. Dad motioned for me to sit next to him. He patted my back, and urged me to dig in.

I kept looking to the porch. Rocky exited and looked all around. He saw us. Soon he was sitting on my other side. Our shoulders and hips were touching. We'd bump arms while taking bites of the wonderful hot food. He then put his bare foot on my bare foot. We played with toes, attempting to interlace them... but we were too ticklish to succeed. Nevertheless, our moods lifted considerably, his especially.

The women in the house shooed us out. They took our plates but would have no part of our getting in 'their' kitchen. Eric, Rocky and I stole a brownie on the way out. We had it eaten before we ever got out of the house.

Outside, a bunch of men were standing bent over in a circle. We ran to see what they were doing. We weaseled in. Luke was kneeling on the ground heaving his guts forward. Dad was patting his back and offering encouragement to our brother. Dad thought he's relapsed with the flu. Eric assured everyone he was feeling okay, in fact he had felt extremely hungry. I guess so – he ate two full plates of food... that seems to me that he was making up for lost time.

Dad urged us to give them some space. Dad and another man picked Luke up and carried him to our car. Mom came running out of the house, asked Eric what was happening. She handed me the kitchen towel, then took off after Dad and Luke. Sandy came out after Eric went to get her. She ran to Dad who was putting Luke into the car. Mom came back to tell us they were taking Luke home, to get him into bed. Their return was questionable. I told Eric and Rocky that I was going to go with them, to offer any assistance I could give. Mom patted my back, and told me to stay put, that they could and would take care of Luke, and that she thought that maybe the heat may have gotten to him. Dad nodded his agreement, and mouthed a "Thank you."

It was mid-afternoon. Seeing that there were no chores needed done, Rocky asked for and received permission for us to go down to the creek. Kay was extremely thankful that we'd gotten so much done that morning. Rocky gave her a rundown of everything that had been done, things that he wanted to do yet that day, and a general idea of what was in store for the following day or two. She took her son into her arms and held onto him. When he put his arms around her, Eric and I walked away to give them their alone time together.

As we were making our way down the path to the tree-line, Eric turned to me and said, "You're okay. I told you to just be yourself… I think it's why Rocky's able to feel what he's feeling. He's a strong kid... he's had to be... his dad's a fuckhead... anyway, I just wanted to tell you this... beat ya!"

He left me no opportunity to say that I didn't do anything... he took off like a rocket, leaving me in the dust. Heh, he awakened my competitive streak, I took off at a dead run, then no more than 15 strides ahead, went down after stepping on a rock and twisting my ankle sideways. By then Eric was out of sight, his head disappearing over the rise in the terrain. I got up. My ankle didn't hurt, but my hip did. I refused to give in. But rather than running, I walked, thinking it would work itself out. Mostly it did work out. I didn't say anything to Eric when I got down to the creek. He was taking off his clothes, then he lowered the front of his underwear, grabbed hold of his sex stick and began jacking it with earnest, smiling at me. Soon, very soon, his penis ejected a small boy-juice spurt that was very apparent, back-lit by sunlight. That was awesome to see. He shucked off his underwear then took off into the creek and went underwater hooting and hollering.

I tossed off my shirt, unfastened my jeans, worked them down to my knees, then reached for my shorts. I was just about to lower them, but Rocky came barreling down the bank, tripped and did a flip end over end. He swore a couple of times, got up, walked over to me and said, "I'm clumsy, what else can I say. Come on, let's cool off."

With that said, he was undressed in a heartbeat, his fully erect wand waving in the air, then it bobbled with each step as he took off at a dead run toward the water. He did a leaping dive, went under water, then popped up some 15 feet away, right next to Eric. He yelled, "The water's great, come on in!"

We goofed off, grab-assed, splashed, swam under water, then came up totally out of breath, much more relaxed, carrying a much better disposition. Eric took off for the 'beach', sat down on the grassy knoll and watched us exit the water. I found it strange, at first, that Rocky covered his genitals as we walked side-by-side to join Eric. Then it struck me: he had a bone that he didn't want me to see. My mind went back to when we were sitting and lying at the creek, in the loft, and then our colossal expression of love as we came together and enjoyed a humongous release of sexual pleasure. He sat down, then immediately pulled his shirt over his erection. I sat down, crossed my legs, but left my penis waving in the air. At the same time, though, we engaged in conversation away from the bad things that had happened recently.

As time went along, we relaxed, and Rocky tossed his shirt aside… I don't think he was even aware that his dick was standing up and out, proud and tall.

Eric looked at me… he was saying something with his eyes, but I couldn't read them. I got up, walked to the water, took hold of my extremely hard dick, and let loose with a high arcing stream. Finished with 'that' release, I quickly stroked myself into oblivion, reached down, wiped away the little bit of sperm still on the head of my dick, licked my finger, and then returned to them and sat back down, and acted as if nothing had ever happened.

Eric quipped, "Show off."

Rocky laid back, pulled his legs up, pushed down and ripped a butt flapping fart to be proud of. He put his legs down, then, much to my surprise, looked directly into my eyes. I put my hand on his shoulder… his eyes closed… I felt the muscles contract and release… he opened his eyes… then closed them, clenching down tightly… his forehead frowned, as if he was in pain… but I knew he wasn't in pain, no, not at all. His face then relaxed. His eyes opened just a tiny bit, just in time to see me lean down and touch his lips with mine. I then looked down across his tummy. Captivated and curious, I looked into Rocky's eyes… and seeing that they were closed peacefully, I ran my finger down his chest bone and onto his stomach to get at a little puddle of white creamy substance that had pooled in his 'innie'. His belly muscle flexed… I looked up… he was looking at what I was doing, or was about to do… I turned back to what I saw and wanted. Very carefully, I swiped that fluid, brought it to my nose, sniffed it, and then, in one fell swoop licked my finger dry. Sweet. Very sweet. Very, very sweet.

I saw something slither in the water, not too far away from our feet. We got up on our hands and knees to see what it was. It was a little snake. I grabbed for it, but missed. The next time was different, I snagged it. It was wiggling around, trying to get free, but soon settled down when we started running our fingers down its back. When we'd had our share of petting the little critter, I gently put my hand back into the water and allowed it to calmly swim away into the depths.

We went for another swim. I found a nest of those little critters across the creek next to a tree root sticking out of the ground into the water. They came over to see what I'd found. Eric said to leave them alone, that they were newborn baby rattle snakes. Concerned that the mother and father might be around, we left them alone. Eric and Rocky swam to our place on the bank across the creek. I had need, so I walked down the bank away from them, turned toward them, then bent down and took care of business in a little patch of grass and thistle, taking care not to sit down or fall down into it.

I went across there, and then walked up the shore to them and sat down, feeling much lighter in the belly.

Rocky turned to me and said, seriously as a heart attack, "You're limping... is something wrong?"

As I opened my mouth to say that I was just fine, Eric looked into my eyes and affirmed Rocky's concern, "I saw you limping, too."

"On my way down here, I tripped and fell. Somebody put a damn rock in the field... I'm just clumsy. It's no big deal, really."

Rocky nodded, while looking into my eyes. He turned away, looking disappointed. In fact, he got up, put on his underwear and sat back down next to Eric. They whispered in each others' ear, then Eric turned to me, "Friends tell the truth, James. I've lied, and well I've found that it fucks things up. Listen to this: did you hurt yourself?" To Rocky, "He had an operation on his hip... that's why he has a scar."

Rocky nodded, then turned to me, "I may do a lot of things that might hurt you, but, one of them will not be lying." He got up, grabbed his jeans, then took off walking down the creek bank toward his hut about 50 yards away. He never looked back.

Eric stood up, "That's strike one." Then he, too, turned and walked down the same path that Rocky had taken.

Soon they were out of sight. I sat there wondering why I had to bring attention to myself. That's the last thing I wanted to do. Rocky was hurting from his cousin, John, dying... I had no right to put my needs ahead of his... firmly, I set my jaw, reached for my clothes and got dressed.

I stood up, debated my thoughts and feelings for a moment, before deciding that my concerns were justified in every way, shape and form... I would not turn the situation into something all about me. My hip hurt. So what. I could still walk. It wasn't that bad. With my decision made, I walked down the path to join them. Yet, I owed them, especially Rocky, an explanation. Both looked up as they heard my tennis shoe clad feet walking the little rocks, sand and little ledges along the way. I sat down next to Rocky, turned his face toward me, and said, "When I was out running on my own, I got hit by a car, sort of... it grazed me. I didn't get hit full on. I managed just fine even with it hurting real bad. I had a break. The doctors in Kansas City operated on it. <I pushed my penis and balls to the left side and stretched out my leg so that the scar could clearly be seen>. It's okay. It's not that bad."

"Then why do your eyes say otherwise?" He said seriously, then got up, grabbed his clothes, and took off up the trail, not looking back. His strides were long and purposeful.

Eric, realizing that he was still naked as the day he'd been born, stopped to pull on his jeans. Then, he dropped them to the ground and came running down, stood in front of me and said into my face, "I'm going after him. You may think you're fine. You really need to think about letting people inside your thick skull."

With that, he took off, put on his jeans and disappeared.

I was telling my truth... I hadn't lied. My hip hurts most of the time... I was used to it. It didn't stop me. I don't let much stop me or even get in my way. I spotted a hand-sized rock, picked it up and tossed it as hard as I could into the rolling waters, and then took off up the hill after putting on my jeans and stuffing my underwear into a pocket. I stopped at the top to get my breath, and to work out a muscle spasm in my right hamstring – just like big deal.

About half an hour later, I arrived at Rocky's house. Admittedly, by then, I was dragging ass... no, I was making my way 'just fine', but by whose definition? All the cars were gone. There weren't any people milling about. I looked all around. Rocky and Eric were nowhere to be seen, so I walked up to the house, knocked on the door and waited, hoping one of the boys would answer. Instead, Kay answered and motioned me into their home. She offered, "The boys are in Rocky's room. They seemed upset about something... we've been through some real stress... do you think Rocky's doing okay? Maybe he's more open..."

"Yes, Ma'am... he's upset. Can I go talk to him?"

"Of course... his cave is down the hall, the second door on the right."

"Thank you. Uhm, are you okay? I mean, well, I'm sorry... I don't know how to ask..."

She took me in her arms, kissed the top of my head, and snickered, "You smell like creek-water, Boy."

"Oh yes, Ma'am... we went swimming and had a blast. Thanks. Can I go now? Oh wait, have you heard from Mom... I was wondering if you knew how Luke is doing..."

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I just got off the phone with her... he's in bed with a temperature. We're pretty sure he had a relapse. That strain is a nasty one."

"Okay, thanks. We've gotta head home to do chores here in a little while."

She released me and pointed toward the hallway. I'd taken 5 or 6 steps. She called my name, "James, are you okay? You're limping."

I started to say, "Yes, Ma'am." But, this is what actually came out, "Uhm, well, I'm sore. I tripped running across the field... I'll be okay. Can I go now, please?" I didn't want to go into detail. She didn't ask, but said, "I'll call to check up on Luke in a few minutes, how about that?"

"That'll work. Thanks."

I walked to the second door on the right. It was closed. I needed to pee anyway. The bathroom was just across the hall so I went in, used the facilities, then, feeling better, knocked on the door. Eric answered. Rocky was lying on his bed leafing through a comic book. He looked toward me, put the magazine down, got up, walked over, looked into my eyes... and waited. He didn't say anything. He didn't even try to. The spotlight was on me.

"Look, I broke my hip, okay? I'm used to having discomfort most of the time." I looked to Eric, then back to Rocky, "I had surgery. It's been checked out a few times since then... there's nothing wrong with it, other than a little inflammation where the plate is. I fell in the field running down to be with you guys... it's probably just sprained. Rocky, I hate having attention put on me. We're here for you."

Eric said, "We need to get home. I'll call Thomas to give us a ride... he already told me to call him when we were ready." He walked to me, looked directly into my eyes, "James, you tell Mom or I will."

With that said, he turned and walked past me, leaving Rocky and me alone. Rocky closed the door, urged me to his bed, undid my jeans, and pushed them and my underwear down my legs in one fell swoop. He walked to his dresser, retrieved a bottle of something, returned, surveyed my exposed nakedness, then got down on his knees, squeezed out a pink like liquid and began massaging my leg. He started out soft and light, then applied more pressure, kneading each and every little and big muscle. He urged me to lay on my side so that he could get both front and back at the same time. I was in heaven. Rocky was fully intent. I noticed that when he is concentrating very heavily on something, he kind of sucks his bottom lip into his mouth… I saw the edge of two teeth clamping down firmly. He looked into my eyes, winked and wiggled his eyebrows, and returned to business.

"There, all done." Rocky said as he got up, wiping his hands on his jeans, walking to the dresser where he dropped the bottle into a drawer. Although I didn't want to, I got up and put myself together. Rocky clucked his tongue as my very hard penis made it extremely difficult to be tucked away – without getting stuck in the zipper.

Rocky snickered, "You do realize that's why we guys wear underwear, right?"

I snickered back, "Nah, I'd have never guessed…"

Okay, although my dick was still major hard, it did go into the confines much, much easier, and without the possibility of it getting snagged by a zipper… damn, that hurts… been there done that.

I stood in front of him, with my eyes searching deeply into his, and his were deeply searching mine. I took the two steps that separated us, leaned in, and kissed those two luscious upturned lips. Before I could say something, he said, "Soak in the tub. Make the water as hot as you can stand it, but don't burn yourself. James, you're limping. Go see Dr. Blair. She's really kewl, and she's good, too."

With that said, he leaned in, rubbed our bodies together… and, once again… we experienced awesomeness that is hard (pun intended) to explain. When we recovered, I reached for his zipper… I wanted more of his nectar, however he pulled away, looked into my eyes and said with a passion that I'd not seen, yet, "James, please don't ever lie to me. Just tell me the truth whatever it may be. If it's bad, then we'll just work through whatever the problem is. When it's good then we'll celebrate. When it's neither bad nor good then we'll just take care of what needs taken care of. I want to know that whatever you tell me comes straight from your heart. I'll do the same thing... no matter what. Well, that's almost true… if you don't want to know what you're getting for your birthday or Christmas, or whatever, don't ask!"

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