Dad carried all of my stuff into Pilgrim Hall after he drove me back to school from Christmas break. Since I was still on crutches, I really couldn't do much lifting. Dad wanted to unpack for me, but I assured him I could handle that. "I can put things in the closet and dresser," I said. "Mitch won't mind helping with the rest."
As my dad got ready to leave, there was an awkward moment between us. I knew Dad wanted to give me a hug, but he wasn't one to show much physical affection. I took charge and set my crutches on the bed. I turned and put my arms around him. "I love you, Dad," I said.
Dad hugged me back. "I love you, too, Son," he said. "You take care of yourself. I'll be back to pick you up for spring break."
I unpacked as much as I could. Then, I hobbled down the hall to the bathroom. I saw Tom heading in the same direction. I was pretty sure he was still mad at me, so I said nothing. He turned around and saw me on my crutches.
"What the hell happened to you?" Tom asked. His tone of voice had a hint of anger in it, but at least he spoke to me.
"I sprained my ankle while I was out running with my dad," I said.
"And the bandage on your forehead?" Tom asked, sounding just a little more concerned.
"I fell when I hurt my ankle," I explained. "I hit my head on the pavement."
Tom made no comment at first. By the look on his face, I could tell that he was conflicted. Tom was a very friendly and caring person. His natural inclination would be to show kindness and support to anyone who was injured. But, Tom was still angry at me, and that made him reluctant to express empathy.
"Sorry that happened to you," Tom said as he turned away from me and entered the bathroom. We didn't speak as we both used the urinals and then washed our hands. I lingered as long as I could, just to make sure that Tom and I didn't have to walk back to our rooms together in silence.
Mitch got back to school about an hour later. Of course, I had to repeat the story of how I injured my head and ankle. Mitch seemed genuinely sympathetic. "Looks like you scraped up your wrists, too," he said.
"Yeah, but they don't hurt anymore," I told him.
"Well, I'll help you in the shower," he said. "But, I draw the line at trimming pubes!"
"That's fine," I teased. "It won't bother me to be bushy like you, at least for a while."
Since the cafeteria was closed on Sunday nights, Mitch asked if I wanted him to get us some take-out food from the sandwich shop across the street from campus. Before I could answer, there was a knock on the door. Mitch opened it. Adam was standing in the hall.
"Is Joel here?" he asked. Mitch opened the door wider so that Adam could see me.
Mitch gave Adam a dirty look. He didn't know that Adam and I had reconciled. The last that Mitch knew, Adam had been a jerk to me, and we broke up. But, Mitch was smart. He picked up on the engaging smiles and excitement that Adam and I couldn't hide.
"We can catch dinner next Sunday," Mitch said to me as he got his wallet and put on his coat. "I'm going to find some of the guys. I'm sure somebody will be hungry – for food."
Mitch left, and Adam looked at me. "You're more banged up than I thought," he said. "Please tell me you're going to be okay."
"I'll be fine," I said.
I leaned my crutches against the wall. Adam came over and put his arms around me. We hugged as if we had been separated in the wilderness for days, and now, we had finally found each other again.
Adam clung to me as he spoke softly into my ear. "I am so, so sorry Joel," he said. He pulled back and looked me in the eyes. "As God is my witness, I will never be mean to you again."
With that, Adam picked me up in his arms and carried me to my bed. He set me down. Still standing, he feverishly stripped off all of his clothes. I carefully removed the boot that was stabilizing my right ankle, and Adam helped me undress. Then, he gently lowered himself on top of me. God! His naked body felt so good against mine!
We held each other tightly, and we kissed passionately. When we came up for air, and I looked up into Adam's eyes, my emotions overwhelmed me. "I love you so much, Adam," I said.
"I love you, too," he said. "When I came to my senses and realized I was throwing away what we have, I felt awful! And then when I found out you were hurt and in the hospital, I panicked!
We shared a soulful kiss. Then, Adam adjusted his weight and accidentally pressed down on my right ankle. "Aghhhhhhhhhh," I yelled!
Adam apologized profusely. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" he said. "Maybe we should wait … you know, until your ankle heals."
"Bite your tongue!" I said. "I may not be up to wrestling around with you, but there's no reason we can't enjoy being together again. Just lie next to me, and let nature takes it course – maybe with a little less shifting around than usual."
"You mean like we did when we first got together? Just using our hands?" Adam asked.
"Yeah," I said. "It'll be like starting over again – after our breakup."
"It was a break," Adam said. "Not a breakup. But either way, I think starting over sounds great!"
Adam and I spent the next hour reconnecting emotionally and indulging in our sexual attraction for each other. Kissing Adam and feeling his hands caressing and stroking me were wonderful! Listening to his moans and sighs of pleasure was deeply satisfying. After our nearly simultaneous orgasms, we lay quietly, holding each other close. I could hear Adam's heart beating as I rested my head on his chest. I could have lain there for hours, but the realities of sharing a dormitory room couldn't be ignored.
"Mitch will be back pretty soon," I said. "We should get dressed."
"Yeah," Adam said. "I know. Why don't you come back to my room? You could spend the night."
I would have been glad to do that, but Wesley Hall was on the opposite end of campus. "That's a long way for me to walk on crutches," I said.
"Well, can I stay here?" Adam asked. "Mitch knows that I'm your boyfriend. Do you think he'd mind if I just slept in your bed with you?"
I was tempted to ask Mitch about that, but I knew that wouldn't be a good idea. I was afraid Mitch would say it was okay, but really not like it. He had rescued me from my first roommate, and I never wanted to take advantage of his kindness.
"Not tonight, Babe," I told Adam. "Maybe you can pick me up in your car later this week so that we can sleep together in your room."
Adam was disappointed, but he agreed. We dressed, and Adam got ready to leave. "Thanks for taking me back, Joel," he said as he gave me a goodnight hug. "I won't put you through that again."
As I closed the door behind him, I wondered if I could really trust Adam. I wanted to believe what he said, but I knew the reality of the situation. Adam would never intentionally hurt me, but his manic-depressive condition meant that he couldn't always control his behavior. But right then, it didn't matter to me. I was in love with Adam, and I would do anything I could to make him happy and keep us together.
My class schedule for the second semester was great! Three of my classes didn't change from the first semester, but I no longer had religion or chemistry. Instead, I had signed up for philosophy and astronomy. I loved both of my new classes.
Tom was in my astronomy class. We deliberately avoided each other – until we wound up in a group project together with three other students. That was awkward. Tom and I were civil to each other, but not friendly. Then, things began to change.
About three weeks into the semester, Tom's attitude toward me softened. Occasionally, he initiated a conversation, and he no longer sounded angry. I wasn't sure what was going on, but I decided to take a risk. "Can I buy you a Coke after class," I asked.
Tom agreed, and I suggested going to the coffee shop. "Not there," Tom said. "Let's go someplace where I haven't acted like a jerk to you."
"Huh," I teased. "That eliminates all of the places I know. Where did you have in mind?"
Tom rolled his eyes at me. "Hardy har har!" he said.
My ankle had healed nicely, and I could put weight on it again. It was late January, and I had quit using my crutches and wearing my boot. I still walked very cautiously and made sure to avoid any icy patches on the sidewalks. My forehead was healing, too. Now, I only needed a small, square bandage.
Tom and I left campus and walked to a nearby fast food restaurant. The place was almost empty. I paid for our drinks, and Tom chose a table.
I started the conversation by cutting to the chase. "You still mad at me?" I asked.
"No," he said. "I owe you an apology."
"You don't have to apologize, Tom," I told him. "But, I am glad that maybe we can be friends again."
We sat quietly. Tom's head was down. "You were right," he said.
I almost asked what I had been right about, but I had a pretty good idea what he meant. I had been right about Tom having feelings for Peter.
"Maybe I was right," I said. "But, I could have handled it better. I never meant to say anything that would upset you."
"I know," Tom said. "I came to you for help, and you did what any friend should do. You were honest with me. I just wasn't ready to accept the truth."
"I'm not going to ask you any questions about what has changed, Tom," I said. "But I want you to know that you can talk to me about anything. I'm here for you."
"It's hard to talk about," Tom said. "Maybe it would help if you did ask me some questions."
"Okay," I said. "But, I'm going to tread lightly. How was your Christmas vacation?"
"It was okay," Tom said. "It was great to be home with my family again, but I missed …school."
Tongue-in-cheek, I asked, "You mean all the homework, studying, and tests?"
"Wow, you are the funny one today," Tom said sarcastically.
"Sorry," I said. "I think I know what you meant. You missed your friends."
"I missed Peter," Tom said. "I thought about him every day."
I knew it had taken a lot of courage for Tom to verbalize anything about his feelings for Peter. I was afraid any more questions might push him beyond his comfort level. So, I said nothing.
It took Tom a while, but eventually, he continued the conversation. "I told you that Peter and I had, well, you know."
"Jacked each other off? Yeah, we talked about that," I said. "It's not that uncommon, Tom."
"I tried to tell myself that we were just two buddies helping each other out. I mean, we didn't go any further than that – nothing really gay; you know what I mean?"
There was no way I was going to respond to that question. "Go on," I said.
"I crossed the line last week," Tom said.
"I can tell that's hard for you to talk about," I said.
"I didn't plan for it to happened, Joel," Tom continued. "Yeah, we were jacking each other off again." He smiled ever so slightly. "I mean, like we do almost every night. And then, it just happened. It seemed so natural. I didn't even think about it first."
"I kissed Peter," Tom said. "He kissed me back - while we kept jacking each other off. When I came, it was the best orgasm I've ever had."
"Wow," I said. "That was a big step for you guys. I'm glad you told me, Tom. No matter how you feel about what happened, it doesn't help to keep things bottled up."
Tom took a deep breath. "I knew you'd understand, even if I was a big jerk to you before Christmas."
"Don't worry about that," I said. "I try to roll with the punches, and I'm not one to hold a grudge. As long as we're friends again, I'm good."
Tom nodded at me. "Yeah," he said. "Good friends." We smiled at each other and high-fived.
"So, how are you doing with everything? You okay?" I asked.
"Confused," Tom said. "And excited; and scared."
"Sounds about right," I assured Tom. "Big changes in your life can be very confusing – at least at first. And, finding someone you really care about is exciting. What scares you the most?"
"I've never been with a guy before, and I don't know what to do," Tom said. "I'm afraid of what people will think if they find out. And even worse, I'm afraid I'm going to freak out and hurt Peter."
"How can I help?" I asked.
"Just talk to me," Tom said. "Tell me if I'm crazy; tell me if I'm making a big mistake."
"Well, you know I may not be the most objective voice on that subject," I said. "I'm in love with Adam, and I'd be lost without him. But, if I were you, I'd try to take things slowly with Peter. Don't rush to label things; don't think you need to make any decisions before you're ready. And most importantly, talk with Peter about what's going on in your head. Not just about how you feel about him, but about being confused; about being scared."
"Peter is so cool about it all," Tom said. "He told me … well …that he loves me. He said he doesn't care about anything else."
"Well, that's a great place to start," I said. "Look, I think I know Peter. He's an absolutely fantastic guy. But, he may not know how you're feeling about things. I'm sure he'll be open to talking about anything that concerns you."
"I told Peter the real reason I was mad at you," Tom said. "You know – because you pushed me to admit that I have feelings for him. He's not mad at you anymore. He'll probably want to apologize to you himself." Tom chuckled. "Actually, I think he wants to thank you!"
Later, our group of friends from Pilgrim Hall went to the cafeteria for dinner. Peter sat across from me at our table. He looked a little sheepish – as if he wanted to apologize but couldn't say anything in front of the other guys. I smiled at him and winked. He raised his glass, and I followed suit. "To Friendship!" Peter said. The entire table joined in. "To Friendship!" everyone said as we all clinked our glasses together.
My second semester of college seemed like it was moving along very quickly. I completely recovered from my injuries. Adam's moods stabilized, and he and I grew even closer together. I spent quite a bit of time with Peter and Tom; it was obvious that they were happier than ever. Mitch found a girlfriend that I thought was perfect for him. She was smart, cute, down-to-earth, and open-minded. Adam and I even went on some double dates with Mitch and Beth.
I was doing well in my classes. I took to Philosophy like a cat takes to watching a birdfeeder. Professor Evan's lectures captured my attention and opened up my mind to ideas I had never considered.
One night in February, I stopped by the art studio to see if I could find Adam. He was leaning over a large table and working on a project. There were several other students in the room.
"Hey, Adam," I said as I approached his table from behind. He turned around and gave me a big smile. I wanted to put my arms around him, but I refrained from doing that in front of the other art students. "Can you take a break?"
We walked away from the studio and went into a nearby stairwell. Immediately, Adam pinned me against a wall. He stared into my eyes before kissing me. I kissed him back, and I felt him pressing his manhood against mine. It had been several days since we had been together in private, and I craved sexual intimacy with Adam. I lowered my hand and inserted it between us. Still kissing me passionately, he moved his hips back so that I could cup the growing erection in his jeans. He broke our kiss. "Let's go back to my room," he said.
I should have agreed to go with him.
"No need," I told Adam. I turned his back against the wall and pressed my lips to his. I unbuttoned his shirt and kissed my way down to his nipples. The harder I suctioned myself onto him, the more Adam moaned. My hands went for his belt, and I tried to undo the buckle as quickly as I could. I lowered his zipper, and Adam helped me push his jeans and underwear down. His beautiful erection was pointing up and beckoning me. I lightly stroked him with my fingers as I slowly sank to my knees.
At first, I resisted the urge to impale my mouth with Adam's exquisite and erect phallus. Instead, I licked it – everywhere. I ran my tongue up and down the long shaft from every possible angle, lapping at the head and savoring each of its erotic structures. Adam's cock started to twitch, and he began leaking pre-cum. I put my mouth over the head of Adam's cock, using the tip of my tongue to collect and taste the slippery product of his aroused glans.
I took hold of his testicles, pulling and tugging at them gently. He put his hands on my head and lightly pushed himself against my lips. I opened my mouth, and Adam entered with a slow, steady movement. When my lips, mouth, and tongue tightened around the full length of his shaft, Adam shuddered. "Oh my God, Joel," he said. "You're driving me crazy!"
I reached out and put my hands on his hips, guiding him in and out of me. Several minutes later, Adam was desperate to cum, and my knees were starting to hurt from the hard, concrete floor in the stairwell.
As I sucked Adam's cock with only one goal in mind, I envisioned myself running in a track meet. There were other runners behind me, and they were closing in. I felt compelled to push on and stay ahead of the pack. I could see the finish line ahead, but it kept moving forward – making me work harder and harder to keep up my pace. I reached down into the core of my being to find the strength for one final burst of energy. Suddenly, I felt the finish line banner against my chest. At that same moment, Adam came in my mouth with an explosive orgasm. He clenched his hands on my shoulders as all the muscles in his body went rigid. Adam slowly withdrew himself from my mouth. He was breathing heavily and grunting as he shot the last of his cum onto my face. I couldn't help but smile when I finally heard Adam's huge sigh of relief.
"Oh, wow," Adam said as he started to catch his breath. "That was so awesome - it blew my mind!"
I looked up as I tried to wipe Adam's cum off my face. "That wasn't your mind I was blowing, Babe," I joked. I got up and off of my knees. Adam pulled his underwear and jeans up and buckled his belt.
"Uh-oh," Adam said. "You have cum stains on your shirt."
"I don't see a problem with that," I said. "I just see gifts from my guy."
"Cool!" Adam said with a gleam in his eyes. "That'll make shopping for your birthday this summer really easy!"
I was ready for Adam to attend to my needs. But then, we heard a loud noise from the corridor outside of the stairwell. It sounded like people where fighting. Someone yelled, "Fuck off!" Then, there was a loud thud against the wall, followed by the ear-piercing blare of a fire alarm going off.
Adam and I looked at each other, and we realized we had to get out of the building as quickly as possible. But, I thought we should see what was going on in the hallway first. I reached for the door to the corridor, but Adam stopped me. "No!" he said. "Follow me!" He headed down the stairs. "Come on!"
The art studio was on the third floor of the building. Adam rushed down the stairs, and I followed as quickly as I could, trying not to injure my ankle again. When we got to the bottom of the two flights of stairs, we headed toward the exit door at the back of the building. Before we reached the door, a campus security guard opened it.
"What are you two doing here?" he demanded to know.
"We were in the art studio," Adam said. "We came down the stairs when the alarm went off."
"Did you see where the fire is?" he asked.
"No," Adam said. "I think there was some kind of fight on the third floor. It sounded like somebody was shoved up against the fire alarm."
"Wait outside," the officer commanded. "I'll need a statement." Then, he ran up the stairs.
There was a bench across the street from the art building. Adam and I walked over and took a seat. "Do you think we really have to stay?" Adam asked. "I just want to get out of here."
"Me too," I assured him. "But, it's going to be pretty easy for campus security to figure out who we are. Your friends saw you leave to take a break with me."
"Well then, we'd better get our stories straight," Adam said.
"Stories?" I questioned. "Why can't we just tell them the truth?"
Adam gave me his 'don't be naïve' look.
"Mr. Young, I understand you came over and asked Mr. Criss to take a break with you," Adam said, trying to sound like a campus security guard conducting an interrogation. "Where were you when you say you heard people fighting and the fire alarm went off?"
I was starting to understand why making sure that we had a consistent account of what had happened might be a good idea.
Adam continued his mock inquisition. "And, why were you and Mr. Criss taking a break in the stairwell? There's a lounge right next to the studio."
"Ah," I said. "You mean I shouldn't say that we went into the stairwell so I could give you a blowjob?"
"BINGO!" Adam said. "Let's just tell the officer we took the stairs down to the exit door – to get some fresh air. We were heading back up to the studio when we heard the fighting and the alarm went off."
"The back door is exit only. You have to have a key to open it. How'd we get back in?" I asked.
"We propped it open with a rock," Adam said.
I really hoped we wouldn't be subjected to detailed questioning, but I agreed to Adam's story. "Do you think we should have gone into the hall to find out what was going on?" I asked. "Maybe someone was hurt."
Adam took his time before answering. "Yeah, maybe we should have," he said. "But when the fire alarm went off, instinct just took over. All I could think about was getting us out of there."
Adam and I sat on the bench for a few minutes, and we saw several more security guards enter the building. Finally, someone turned off the alarm. The officer with whom we had spoken before came out of the back door of the building and walked over to us. He introduced himself as Officer Reagan. He took our names and campus addresses.
"Tell me again what you were doing in the building at this time of night," he said.
Adam repeated what he had already told Officer Reagan. "Artists work in the studio at all hours of the day and night," Adam explained. "That's why they leave the building open for us."
"Were either of you injured?" he asked. "We found broken glass and some blood on the floor by the fire alarm."
Adam and I assured the Officer that neither one of us were injured. "We were in the stairwell when the alarm went off," I explained. "We didn't see anything."
"But you said you heard a fight?" Officer Reagan said.
Adam told him what we had heard in the corridor before the alarm sounded.
"The person who yelled 'fuck off,' was it a man or a woman?" Officer Reagan asked.
"A man," Adam answered. "He sounded young – like a college student."
Officer Reagan looked at us suspiciously. "Is there anything else you can remember? Anything that might help us figure out what happened?" he asked.
Adam and I both shook our heads.
"Well then, I guess you can go for now," Officer Reagan said. "Thanks for sticking around. Someone may contact you later if we have any more questions."
"Wow," I said as Adam walked me back to Pilgrim Hall. "That was scary!"
"I know," he said. "But, it's really nothing to worry about. It doesn't sound like anyone was murdered. I bet we never hear from campus security again."
Then, Adam stopped. He had a puzzled look on his face. "Have you checked your mailbox today?" he asked.
"No. There's hardly ever anything interesting in there," I answered.
"You should check your box," Adam told me.
"Why? Are you having a premonition?" I asked.
"I'm not sure," he said. "But check it anyway."
"Ooooooo!" I said, trying to make my voice sound eerie. "Is there something – spooky - in there?"
"No," Adam answered. "But, I don't think you're going to like it."
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