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Not Always Easy

by Kit

Chapter 23 - More Than Friends

The following morning, Thursday, I went home to see if the mail-order items I'd sent for on Monday had arrived. I was disappointed to find that they hadn't, so I phoned the suppliers to check up on my order and I surprised myself by my total lack of embarrassment as I made my enquiry. When I learned that the items would arrive the next morning, I was relieved but also a little nervous that my plans were rapidly reaching the point of no return.

As I was going to be spending the whole weekend at Dan's house, that night Dan and I had dinner separately with our respective families because I didn't want my parents to feel too neglected. To my surprise, as soon as Mum got home from work, she started baking cakes before she began to prepare dinner.

"Any special reason for baking cakes in the middle of the week?" I asked as I assisted her in the kitchen.

"Well, I suppose there is. I thought I'd make a cake for tonight and another for your dessert tomorrow."

"Wow! Thanks, Mum!" I beamed at her.

She must have been reading my mind again, because although I'd decided on the main course, I was going to make for the romantic dinner with Dan, I had no idea what to do for dessert.

"I'm going to make a chocolate cake with cherry and cream filling and a vanilla cake with strawberry and cream filling. As I know you want to make it special, you can choose which cake we have tonight and which to take for tomorrow."

Although my own favourite was the chocolate cake, I knew Dan would prefer the vanilla, and I suppose that my love for Dan should have made it an easy decision. However, I'm ashamed to admit that I hesitated, and from the twinkle in Mum's eyes and her amused smile, I knew she was aware of my internal struggle.

"I'll take the vanilla, please," I said with a grin.

"I knew you would," she replied, nodding her head and smiling knowingly.

Somehow I had the feeling that I'd just been deliberately tested.

That night at Dan's house, just before we went to bed, his dad gave us a brief lecture while his mum looked on with a bemused smile. The topic of the lecture involved what we should and shouldn't do while we had the place to ourselves for the whole weekend. As he finished his little speech, I was pleased but not surprised to realise that none of the things he mentioned in either the 'do' or 'do not' category involved sex.

After what was for us a brief shower together, Dan and I snuggled in bed, cuddling and touching intimately. Although I would describe what we were doing as 'making love' in the broad sense, neither of us seemed anxious to reach orgasm, and eventually he dropped off to sleep in my arms. As I was a little nervous about how things would turn out the next night, it was several more minutes before I too fell asleep.

By the time I awoke the next morning, with Dan's lips wrapped around my morning erection, I knew his parents would be well on their way to London, so I made no attempt to suppress my moans of pleasure. It was not long before I was feeding him a little liquid breakfast, and after a brief pause to catch my breath, I kissed him deeply. Shortly thereafter, I was swallowing the delicious gift of love that Dan produced for me. It was only after we'd had a leisurely and more substantial breakfast that I remembered that I was expecting an important package to be delivered to my house that morning. Getting up from the breakfast table, I went to retrieve my mobile from my jacket pocket, and called John.

"Hiya, John," I greeted him when he eventually answered.

"Hi to you, too! I guess you've just got out of bed," he replied in a tone that was only partly joking.

"Nah, I've been up for ages. Are you at home?"

"Yeah, but I was just getting ready to go out, cos I'm meeting Marie in town."

"Okay, I won't keep you. I just wondered if the postman had been yet."

"About an hour ago."

"Anything for me?"

"Nah. You expecting something?"

"Afraid so," I replied, unable to hide my disappointment.

"Oh, what?" he asked with unsubtle curiosity.

"Nothing much," I lied, "but I'd better not keep you, cos you don't want to be late meeting Marie."

With that, I hung up before John had chance to ask any more potentially embarrassing questions. Dan, who'd been listening to my half of the conversation, raised a questioning eyebrow.

"Postman let you down?" he asked.

"Maybe not the postman," I said dejectedly. "More likely it wasn't posted yet."

"Is it important?"

"Well, yes," I replied without thinking. Then I blushed deeply and added, "It was going to be part of your surprise tonight. But don't worry, it's only part of the surprise."

"Perhaps it'll arrive tomorrow."

"But it won't be the same then!" I complained, somewhat childishly.

He stood up, walked toward me and gave me a big hug.

"Whatever it is," he whispered in my ear, "I'm sure I'll survive without it for another day or two... but I must say, I'm dying of curiosity!"

Before I could think of a response, he began kissing me deeply, and by the time we finished I decided that no response was required. However, my mind continued to race as I wondered what to do about the missing package. As Dan implied, I could just delay things for a couple of days, but that would spoil my plans for the whole weekend. Alternatively, I could try to buy the items locally, but I doubted that I'd have the courage to ask for them in a shop. As usual with me, a decision was postponed.

In the afternoon, on our way to the shops to buy ingredients for that evening's dinner and stock up with supplies for the rest of the weekend, I stopped off at my house to get the phone number of the mail order company. I told Dan that I needed to make a quick phone call related to his surprise, so while he looked through my CD collection to choose some to take back to his house, I went downstairs and dialled the number. The ensuing conversation left me annoyed, frustrated and disappointed. They denied all knowledge of the call I'd made to them the previous day and now claimed that they had not yet shipped my order because they were still waiting for my cheque to clear. When I returned to my bedroom, Dan immediately sensed my negative emotions and raised a questioning eyebrow at me. I just responded with a wry grimace, and I was grateful that he was tactful and considerate enough not to press me with questions.

After our trip to the shops we went directly to Dan's house, and I began to prepare dinner. Not having Dan's skill or flair as a cook, I'd decided to keep things simple: roast chicken, gravy, roast potatoes and peas, followed by the cake Mum had made for us. While the chicken and potatoes were cooking, we sat in the garden on a pair of wickerwork chairs, holding hands, and sipping on some champagne that I'd brought over the previous day. Dan's patience regarding his surprise had begun to wear thin, and he was almost wriggling with curiosity.

"Well," he said, "apart from the fact that you're cooking dinner, where's my surprise? You promised to give me my surprise on Friday night, and it's Friday night now."

"No, it's not," I teased, "It's not night. It's still only early evening."

He frowned, and then I saw a twinkle in his eyes and a hint of a smile at the corners of his lips as he put his almost-empty champagne flute on the grass.

"Put your glass down!" he growled playfully.

"Why?" I asked, amused but somewhat suspicious.

"Cos if you spill champagne all over yourself, we'll have to delay dinner while you get cleaned up!"

Initially, I thought he was just going to embrace me or start snogging, but almost before my glass touched the ground, he pounced on me and began tickling. Because he knew me so well, he was aware that I was extremely ticklish. Fortunately, when I'd been intimate with Ben or Rob, my lust had overcome my sensitivity to being lightly touched. Although I was no less lustful with Dan, I was more relaxed and at ease with him, and it was not unusual for me to squirm and giggle when he touched some particularly sensitive spot during our lovemaking.

At that particular moment, however, Dan was not tickling me as an accidental part of making love, he was doing it with deliberate intent. I squealed and squirmed so violently that within seconds I'd fallen off the chair and onto the grass. Pushing aside my flailing arms and avoiding my uncontrollably kicking legs, he sat on my chest with his knees pinning my upper arms to the ground. He reached behind himself and started tickling my lower stomach, and as I was unable to throw him off, I was forced to gasp a plea for mercy through my giggles. Thankfully, he stopped the tickling and, still keeping me pinned to the ground, he leaned forward and grasped my hands.

"Okay," he said, grinning down at me, "you've kept me on tenterhooks all week, so you'd better tell me now what the surprise is or I'll keep you like this until you do."

"What about dinner? If you don't let me up soon, the roasties will burn."

I looked up at him with a smile of triumph, knowing how much his chef's instincts would make him hate to see dinner ruined. Slowly and deliberately, he released my hands and I felt his weight shift on my chest, but although my vision was still blurred with tears of laughter, I could see no sign of defeat in his expression. Suddenly, I felt his hands return to my abdomen and I began to wriggle again.

"Well, the roasties should be fine for at least another fifteen minutes," he said smugly. "So that gives me plenty of time for more tickles."

"Okay! Okay! I give in! I'll tell you anything!" I screamed and spluttered pathetically as I felt his fingers begin to move.

He stopped tickling, leaned forward, and kissed the end of my nose.

"Alright, I've been incredibly patient for days and days, so now you'd better tell me. What's the surprise that's kept you plotting and scheming all week?"

"I was planning to wait till after dinner..."

"Aw, c'mon, Paul," he interrupted me. "I won't be able to enjoy the food if you keep me in suspense!"

I sighed in resignation as I realised that another part of my big romantic scenario wasn't going to go exactly as I planned.

"Alright, as we have a few minutes to spare, let me up then, and I'll show you."

"This had better not be a trick," he joked as he stood up and grabbed my hand, pulling me to my feet.

"It's no joke," I smiled back at him. "You go and check on the potatoes and I'll see you in the kitchen in a couple of minutes."

As I began walking toward the house, he gave me a slightly suspicious look, but followed me inside without further comment. While he went into the kitchen, I went upstairs to his bedroom, which I now thought of as 'our' bedroom. There I retrieved the ring that I'd carefully secreted away in my overnight bag. After putting the ring in the pocket of my jeans I went into the bathroom, where I gave my face a quick rinse and straightened my hair.

For some reason, I'd suddenly become incredibly nervous. I was certain that Dan still wanted us to make a real commitment to one another. On the other hand, he'd not talked about the subject for weeks, and in fact neither of us had broached the subject since he'd said he was happy to wait until I was ready. I was sure that he'd been silent on the matter because he was just being patient and had been avoiding putting me under pressure. However, a little voice deep inside me suggested that maybe he'd changed his mind and that I was about to make a complete fool of myself. Gathering together all my resolve, I took a deep breath and went downstairs.

"I guestimate the spuds will take another ten minutes or so," Dan said as I entered the kitchen.

He was sitting at the kitchen table with such a look of expectancy on his face that I couldn't resist the temptation to tease him some more. Besides that, I was so nervous that I took the opportunity to delay things a little.

"Just time to set the table," I said as I turned on my heel and headed toward the dining room.

"Not so fast, you little tease!" he said as he stood up. "There'll be plenty of time for that after you've kept your promise. So, where's my surprise?"

Realising that my plan to wait until after our meal was now totally impossible, I sighed and turned back to face him.

"Okay, sit down, close your eyes, and hold out your hand," I said as I walked toward him.

In silence, and showing absolute trust, he obeyed my command. I sat next to him, took out the ring, placed it in the palm of his right hand, and closed his hand around it.

"It's a ring," he announced triumphantly without opening his eyes.

"Clever boy! Okay, you can open your eyes now."

He opened his eyes and his hand simultaneously, then just stared at the ring for several seconds.

"It's beautiful!" he said with great feeling, then added, "But it's not my birthday or an anniversary or anything... is it?"

I didn't reply, but just blushed and smiled as he picked up the ring between his finger and thumb and raised it to his eyes.

"Forever," he said, reading the inscription, then after a brief pause for thought, he added, "The ring you gave to Mike said 'Friends Forever'... "

As his voice trailed off, I could read the question in his eyes, and I thought I could also detect something else, possibly a growing hope, in his expression.

"You and I are not just friends. You're also my lover, my partner, my companion..."

My voice became so thick with emotion that I had to pause for a couple of seconds, and as he waited patiently for me to regain control of my speech, tears began to form in his eyes.

"You're everything to me, but I couldn't fit all that inside the ring," I continued with a smile, trying to lighten the mood.

Still he was silent and a tear began to run down his right cheek.

"Forever?" he asked in a trembling voice.

Then I realised that we were both feeling the same mix of love, hope, and fear of rejection. For months he'd hidden the hope and fear because of his patience and consideration for me. For months those same emotions had kept me paralysed with indecision. Although I'd always known he wouldn't reject me now, I'd also had nagging doubts about the future. What if he got tired of me? What if he rejected me some months or years after I'd made my commitment?

He gazed intently into my eyes as he waited patiently for my answer. Eventually, I sighed as I realised that all of life is a gamble and that there are no benefits without some risk. Then I noticed that tears were running down my own cheeks, and I had to clear my throat before I could speak.

"I'm yours forever. If you'll have me."

He took my hand in his, leaned toward me, and kissed me on the cheek.

"Of course I will, you daft sod," he replied with a silly grin.

We sat like that, gazing into one another's eyes and grinning like fools for a few minutes before I heard the buzzing of the oven timer.

"I'd better see to the roasties," I said as I began to stand, "cos we don't want to eat cinders!"

"I won't mind," Dan replied, smiling dreamily.

Because of our emotional high during dinner, I don't think either of us paid much attention to the food. Although we talked non-stop about lots of things, I can't remember much of what we said, apart from looking for a university we could attend together. As we finished our portions of cake and began to wash it down with coffee, Dan gazed at the ring on his finger, then he looked as if he'd suddenly remembered something.

"That package you were expecting, " he said, "it can't have been the ring, but you said it was part of my surprise...."

His voice trailed off and he gave me an expectant look. Until he mentioned it, I'd totally forgotten about the delivery I'd been hoping for. I felt my face burn and knew that I must be blushing bright red.

"That's right," I replied.

"So, what was it?" he prompted when I showed no signs of continuing.

Partly out of embarrassment, but mostly just because I couldn't find the right words, I hesitated and blushed, if possible, even more deeply. Dan seemed to think my silence was intended to tease him again, because while I was still trying to decide what to say, he spoke again.

"C'mon, Paul, the ring, and more importantly what it means, is the best present I could ever have, so I don't think that keeping me in suspense about another surprise will make much difference."

"I'm not trying to keep you in suspenders," I joked. "It's just that the rest of your surprise was going to be another sign of commitment, and I don't want to disappoint you by telling you what it was."

"At the moment," he said with a grin as he squeezed my hand, "I don't think anything could disappoint me."

"Okay," I sighed. "Ya know we talked about how, erm, intimate anal sex was, and so we decided not to do it until we... I could make a real commitment?"

Nodding his head, he looked slightly puzzled, and I took a deep breath.

"Well," I continued, "the delivery I was expecting was condoms and lube. I wanted that to be another sign of my commitment tonight."

I studied his face to see his reaction, and he looked at me blankly in silence for a couple of seconds before he smiled gently.

"And you thought I'd be disappointed?" he asked, shaking his head slowly. "Being with you is all that matters to me. What we do in bed, or anywhere else... well, that's just icing on the cake!"

"I know that," I replied, feeling a little foolish, "and I feel the same way. But all week I've been planning for tonight, wanting to make it really special."

"It is really special!"

"Yeah, I know," I sighed, "but I've been psyching myself up all week so that I could give myself to you completely."

"But you've done that already," he objected gently.

His smile told me that he knew perfectly well what I was talking about and that he was just teasing me, but I still felt the need to say exactly I meant.

"Yes, but I wanted to give myself physically as well... as a sort of final seal on the commitment and to make this weekend even more memorable."

"Don't worry, Paul," he said as he squeezed my hand. "I'll never forget this weekend if I live to be a hundred."

I felt the desperate need to kiss him, but the width of the large dining table prevented that, so I stood up. Seeming to read my mind, he simultaneously got up from his chair and we met at the end of the table to embrace and kiss. The kiss became more passionate, and he put his hands on my bum, pulling my crotch against his.

Through our jeans I could feel his hard cock pressing against my own and I began to thrust my hips gently back and forth. Just as we were getting into a rhythm of rubbing our cocks together, Dan stopped moving and took his lips off mine.

"Ya know, I've been thinking..."

"Don't strain anything!" I interrupted jokingly.

"No, seriously," he continued with a slight frown. "I was thinking about the condoms that didn't arrive."

When he said that, my feelings of disappointment returned. However, I had to admit to myself that mingled with the disappointment was a slight tinge of relief.

"Yeah, sorry about that," I mumbled, guiltily thinking that I should have ordered them earlier or found a different supplier.

"Nah, it's not your fault," he said. He kissed the tip of my nose before continuing, "What I was thinking was, what are the condoms for?"

"Safe sex, of course!" I replied automatically, before I realised his question was rhetorical.

"Yes, of course," he responded patiently, "but as neither of us is likely to get pregnant, that means 'safe' as in diseases, not passing on germs."

"Obviously!" I said, rather sarcastically, a little irritated and wondering why he'd interrupted our lovemaking to give me this tutorial on 'safer sex'.

"Well, with us two, where would these germs, viruses, or whatever come from? I mean, we're both anal virgins, and apart from you, I've only ever had oral sex with Steve. At the time I did stuff with Steve, neither of had done anything with anyone else. So, where would I have got any sexual diseases from?"

"Blood transfusions? Surgery?" I suggested, beginning to see where his little talk was going.

"I've never had any, have you?"

"Nah. But I've had sex with Rob, and more importantly, with Ben."

"You said Rob hadn't been with anyone before he did it with you..."

"What about Ben? I bet he had dozens of guys before me."

"But you never did anal, just oral and that only a couple of times, so that's got to be pretty safe."

"Pretty safe isn't the same as totally safe," I responded quickly, feeling I'd scored a point and suddenly getting the impression that our discussion was like a tennis match.

"Nothing's totally safe, not even condoms," he pointed out, staring deeply into my eyes, as if he were trying to read my thoughts.

For a while, I couldn't think of a reply, and although what he'd said seemed very reasonable, there was a nagging feeling of doubt. My parents and school had drummed into me the importance of 'safe sex' long before anyone knew I was gay. However, it occurred to me that the lingering doubt in my mind might really be less related to 'safe sex' than it was to my own fear of any pain involved in anal sex. Eventually, one important point did surface from my confusion.

"There's still the fact that because I've been with Ben, I would be more of a risk to you than you are to me..."

"I'm prepared to take such a tiny risk!"

"But I'm not prepared to risk you in any way at all!" I snapped back, terrified by the thought that anything bad could happen to Dan, especially if it was because of me.

"Okay, okay!" he placated me. "I'm not trying to persuade you do anything you're not comfortable with. I was just thinking that it was a great idea of yours to make this weekend even more special. I've been hoping and waiting for what ages and ages, and now you're mine at last, I'd really like to have that final, total closeness to you. And it just seems a pity to have to wait for a package to arrive."

"I know, but..."

"And there's really such a tiny risk. I bet you're more likely to get struck by lightning!"

"People do get struck by lightning," I pointed out, only half joking.

"Yes, well I reckon I'm more likely to get hit by a meteorite than catch any disease from you."

"Mmm," I responded uncertainly, unable to find anything more reasonable to say.

"Anyway, just think about it, okay? I'm not trying to talk you into anything, but I just want you to know that I'm happy to do it if you want, so it's up to you."

I wasn't very happy with the fact he seemed to have put the burden of the decision onto me, but I was distracted from thinking about it any further when he started to nuzzle my neck, sending shivers up and down my spine. We stood there kissing deeply for several minutes before Dan broke off, gave me a lascivious grin, and spoke in a slightly hoarse voice.

"Let's go and have an early night."

"What about clearing up the mess?" I asked, nodding toward the table and returning his grin.

"We can take care of that tomorrow," he replied as he grabbed my hand and began to gently pull me toward the stairs.

For a few minutes, we rolled round on his bed, kissing, stroking and groping one another, though we were still dressed in our T-shirts and jeans. Eventually, I suggested we go for a shower and go to bed. Dan readily agreed, but we found it difficult to refrain from touching and kissing, so it took quit a long time before we were naked and in the shower. As we stood under the spray of water and soaped each another up, we didn't indulge in our usual messing around, though there was plenty of gentle touching. Dan seemed subdued, as if he was thinking of something, but I supposed that it was a result of the heavily emotional evening, so I didn't question him. Our cocks had been rock hard since we had started kissing in the dining room, and in fact mine had been stiff most of the day in anticipation of our weekend together.

As usual after showering together, we dried one another off, and I enjoyed the gently-rough feel of the towel as he dried my intimate parts. When he knelt to dry my legs, my stiffy nearly poked his eye out, and we both giggled as he slapped it gently and admonished it for being 'naughty'. Then he sent shivers down my spine when he kissed it from tip to base and back again. However, just as I thought he might go further and put it inside his mouth, he smiled up at me and continued towelling down to my feet.

After we returned to his bed, we kissed for only a couple of seconds before he immediately pushed me onto my back and went down to begin some serious oral work on my cock. As he licked the precum from the end and began to run his tongue around inside my foreskin, I almost came, but just managed to hold myself back. He noticed the close call and moved back up to kiss me, so I could just detect the taste of myself on his lips as our cocks rubbed together.

"I got you really close just then, didn't I?" he said with a wicked grin when we eventually came up for air.

"Yeah," I grinned back, "but I don't want to cum yet... at least not till I've had a taste of this!"

I grabbed his cock, gave it as squeeze, pushed him onto his back, pulled back his foreskin and began to give his beautiful penis some concentrated oral treatment. As I felt that he was getting close to orgasm, I transferred my attentions to his balls, squeezing them gently as I licked his scrotum. Then, pushing his legs further apart and raising his knees a little, I ran my tongue back and forth between his balls and his anus.

We were clean and freshly showered, but underneath the slight smell of the shower gel, I could smell his sex. As he wriggled and moaned, my nose was buried in his scrotum and I almost orgasmed as I smelled and tasted the unique aroma of my beloved Dan. Returning my tongue to the head of his cock, I licked off the copious amounts of precum and then took him deep inside my mouth, until I could feel him tickling the back of my throat. Somehow, he got around into a sixty-nine position with us lying on our sides, and within a couple of minutes we were swallowing each other's seed.

The whole time from shower to orgasm must have been less than twenty minutes, but that was not unusual for our first bedtime sessions, and we both knew that a longer, slower lovemaking would soon follow. We kissed gently, hardly using our tongues, as we embraced and recovered. As it was a warm summer evening, we just continued lying on top of the bedcovers, and it wasn't long before I felt his stiffy rubbing between my thigh and my scrotum. My own cock, which hadn't gone totally soft, quickly revived to full hardness.

A little over an hour later, after some very relaxed lovemaking and an extremely satisfying orgasm each, Dan lay sleeping in my arms. However, I was so involved with thinking about our 'safe sex' conversation that it was a long time before I, too, fell asleep.

The next morning I awoke to find Dan sitting naked on the side of the bed, looking down at me with a slight smile touching the edges of his lips. The sun was streaming through the open window and I felt too warm and relaxed to move.

"Good morning, sleepy head," he greeted me cheerily.

"Mornin' gorgeous," I mumbled back, making no attempt to move.

He reached down, and as he began stroking my head, I almost purred like a cat. My body was now awake, and eventually my mind also began to function.

"What time is it?" I asked, too lazy to turn my head to look at the bedside clock.

"Almost ten thirty."

"Still quite early then," I said, attempting humour, "especially for a Saturday."

"I s'pose, but I've been up for over an hour. It's such a lovely day that I didn't feel like sleeping in."

I reached across and gently squeezed his semi-erect cock.

"Not even to keep me company?" I said with a smirk.

"Well, maybe if you'd been awake I would have stayed to keep you company. But then we wouldn't have been 'sleeping in', would we?" he said. He grasped my morning stiffy as he continued suggestively, "I could always come back to bed..."

"Nah, don't bother!" I laughed. "Because then you'd be on your own cos I've got to get up for a pee."

With that, I got up and headed for the bathroom, leaving him sitting on the bad. A couple of minutes later, hearing me turn on the shower, he came into the bathroom and joined me under the spray. We touched each other a lot as we got clean, but just in a playful way that didn't lead to any orgasms. Then, as we were both starving, we went down for a brunch of bacon and fried tomato sandwiches.

It was such a lovely day that as soon as our meal had settled we went cycling, and without any real plan we ended up going around Summer Hill. As we rode in relaxed silence, I recalled an earlier cycling trip round the hill and the conversation I'd had with Steve. Although it had been less than four months previously, it seemed like a lifetime ago, and I realised how much had happened and how much I'd changed since then. Those thoughts led me to thinking more about what Dan had said the previous night.

When we got back to Dan's house we drank copious amounts of water to rehydrate ourselves. Then I insisted on having some tea and cake before going for a shower to wash off the huge amount of sweat generated by our ride. As soon as we'd rinsed the soap from our bodies we started getting frisky and doing some play-wrestling, using some holds and grabbing some parts that I supposed might rarely be seen in a real contest. After drying ourselves off, we continued wrestling on Dan's bed until the play-fighting eventually gave way to some serious snogging.

Dan began giving me an all-over tongue-bath. I revelled in the delicious sensations, and in between my fits of ticklish giggles, I reflected that the weekend was turning out to be just as romantic and enjoyable as I'd hoped. Only one of my plans for the weekend hadn't yet come to fruition, and I was still thinking about that. When he started paying particular oral attention to my penis I temporarily lost all ability or desire for thought. However, as he raised my legs and his tongue wandered further toward my anus, I began to think once more.

"Dan," I said, sounding more serious than I'd intended.

"Mmm, what's the matter?" he asked as he raised his head. "I thought you liked me doing this."

"Of course I do. I love it!" I replied. "But I've been thinking..."

I paused, trying to pick my words carefully. In a way, I was surprised at myself for being so reluctant to just come straight out with what I wanted to say. After all, there was no one in the world with whom I was more at ease than I was with Dan, especially about sexual matters. Then I thought to myself, 'If I don't feel comfortable talking about it, should I be thinking of doing it?' While these thoughts went through my mind, he sat back on his heels and gave me a puzzled look.

"Sometimes you think too much," he said patiently, "but that's one of the reasons I love you. Cos you're so thoughtful!"

He gave me such a warm smile that my doubts melted, and as I gazed into his eyes, I realised that I was totally comfortable talking about or doing anything with him.

"I've been thinking about what you said last night. About condoms and stuff."

"Look, I wasn't trying to pressure you into doing anything," he said, frowning a little. "I just wanted you to know how I felt about it."

"Well, I've thought about it a lot, and I agree with you. This weekend I want to commit myself to you totally, and as a sign of that, I'd like to try anal."

He stayed motionless and silent for a few seconds then he leaned forward and began kissing me so deeply and passionately that it literally took my breath away. Just as I was beginning to wonder when I might breath again, he broke off the kiss and got off the bed.

"Lube," he said over his shoulder as he left the room.

A couple of minutes later, he returned with a bottle of his mum's hand lotion, which he handed to me as he lay down next to me. He lay on his back with his knees half bent, and looked at me expectantly. Because I had been psyching myself up to be the recipient, at first I just gave him a puzzled look.

"Use plenty of lube," he prompted as I hesitated, "and make sure I'm nice and loose. How do you want me?"

"Oh," I said, sounding stupid. "I was planning on you loosening me up."

We gazed into one another's eyes for a couple of seconds before Dan spoke.

"I thought you were a bit afraid of it hurting?"

"Well, maybe a bit, but I want to at least try it. It's part of the commitment I want to make."

"But I don't want to do anything that might hurt you, even just a bit," he said, looking at me doubtfully.

"Just because I'm afraid it might hurt, doesn't mean it will hurt. And we won't know unless we try."

"Yes, but why don't you try putting it in me first?" he asked, clearly still concerned.

"No," I said stubbornly, "this is something I want to do as a sign of commitment to you."

"But I won't enjoy it if you're just doing it for me, and I'll hate it if it hurts you."

"I really want to do this. So please, Dan, do it for me?"

"Okay," he sighed, "but I'll take it really slow, and if it hurts even just a little bit, just tell me and I'll stop. Promise you'll tell me?"

I nodded and smiled at him, perversely feeling as if I'd won some sort of victory and suddenly no longer afraid of any possible pain.

"Right," I said brightly. "How do you want me?"

We decided we'd both like to be face-to-face on entry, but that he'd at least start the loosening up process with me on my hands and knees with my bum in the air. He did take it very slow and easy, and he spent several minutes just sliding around the rim before he even put one finger inside. The feelings were very pleasant, and my cock was dripping precum all over the bedcovers. By the time the second finger went in he must have used a good proportion of the hand lotion and I was really enjoying it. In fact, I moaned with pleasure every time he hit my prostate.

All the time he was doing this he kept asking if I was okay and occasionally kissing my back or stroking my buttocks with his free hand. When he tried putting a third finger inside me it began to get uncomfortable, and I was beginning to have second thoughts, but I didn't say anything. However, he must have detected something because he stopped what he was doing and spoke with great concern in his voice.

"You okay? Shall I stop?"

"Nah," I grunted. "Please carry on. Just keep taking it nice and slow."

At first I thought he was going to stop anyway, because he hesitated for several seconds. Then he continued putting in a third finger, and after a few more seconds I felt the pleasure return, though the discomfort had not totally disappeared.

"I think I'm ready now," I half spoke and half moaned.

He removed his fingers and I lay on my back as he reached to get more lotion.

"Let me," I said as I took the bottle from him.

He moved closer so I could reach to lube his cock, and I realised that he was producing so much precum that the lotion was hardly necessary. Still, just to be sure, I applied a liberal amount to his penis before putting some more in my hole. As I handed back the bottle to him and he put it on the bedside table, I could see he was very flushed, and I thought I could detect a slight shake in his hands.

"Okay," I said, raising my legs in invitation.

He held my ankles and gently raised my legs until he could get a clear view of my anus, then he paused and looked into my eyes. The expression of love and concern I saw there made me want this more than ever, and I just smiled and nodded to indicate that he should continue. When he found that my bum was relatively too low for his cock and that he couldn't easily get a position for entry, the anticlimax made us both burst into a fit of giggles.

After we regained our composure, he lay on top of me and began kissing me while rubbing his slippery penis around my belly button. At first, I was concerned he might have given up, but I need not have worried because he eventually stopped kissing me and grabbed a pillow.

"Okay," he said with a grin, "lift up yer bum!"

I complied with his request, and he folded the pillow and put it under the small of my back. Then he put yet more lube on his penis, raised my legs again, and this time easily positioned the head of his cock at my entrance. Again he looked into my eyes, and again I nodded and smiled my permission. Still gazing into my eyes, he slowly began to lean in and push to gain entry, and as the head slipped in quite easily, I felt a sudden stab of pain. Dan froze, looked alarmed, and although the head was barely inside me, he began to pull out.

"No!" I gasped. "Leave it inside. Just keep still for a bit while I get used to it."

He frowned but complied with my wishes and leaned over to kiss me. However, from that position his lips couldn't reach mine, so he kissed the base of my neck instead.

"Right," I said after a couple of minutes when the pain had faded to mere discomfort. "Put some more in."

He stopped nuzzling my neck and leaned back a little so he could see my face as he gently pushed another inch or so inside me. Some of the pain returned, but only a little, and I managed to hide it from him. Eventually, he was buried up to the hilt, and we looked at one another, both wearing expressions of triumph. The pain completely subsided, but it was still quite uncomfortable. However, the feeling of having my beloved Dan inside me and a part of me, far outweighed any discomfort. We were totally united at last.

From this new position he could kiss me deeply, and with his tongue in my mouth and his penis in my rectum I felt a complete and total unity with him. I asked myself how two people could ever get closer than we were at that moment. When he broke off the kiss and looked into my eyes I could tell that he, too, felt this almost mystical feeling. Then I noticed the tears in his eyes.

"What's the matter?"

"Nothing," he smiled, "everything is perfect. Just perfect. I love you so much and I never want this moment to end."

I wanted to say, 'Everything ends eventually, but I'm sure we'll be doing this lots of times in the future,' but somehow I couldn't speak the words out loud, and instead chose to say something lighter.

"Well, the moment will certainly last longer if you don't start moving it about a bit!" I quipped.

Then, realising from his expression that maybe I'd been a little too frivolous, I quickly spoke again.

"Make love to me," I pleaded.

He smiled and began to move his cock slowly in and out. That produced a dull ache inside me, interspersed with jolts of pleasure when he hit my prostate. Gradually, even the dull ache faded, and as I began to enjoy the feelings, my belly-button began to fill with my precum. Dan began to moan and say how wonderful it felt for him, and I was glad that we'd decided to go ahead and make this weekend really special.

He leaned over to kiss me again, and then he kept his cock deep inside me as tried to bend down far enough to get his mouth on my penis. However, he could only manage to lick the head, which was enough to make me tingle all over with pleasure. Giving up on the attempt at simultaneous oral, he kissed me again and began moving in and out with ever faster and deeper strokes. I was suffused with a generalised pleasant feeling from my anal regions, with occasional bolts of almost painful pleasure when he hit my prostate.

After a time that could have been seconds or hours, I could tell from his face and the tension in his body that he was getting close to orgasm. At that point he slowed down again, and grabbing my cock, he began to wank me. Despite the fact that my cock was so slippery with precum that he couldn't get enough grip to pull back the foreskin all the way, the combination or anal and penile stimulation quickly pushed me over the edge. As my cum blasted onto my chin and onto the pillow by my head, he felt my anal contractions and increased the speed of his movements.

Less then a minute after my orgasm, I felt his cock swell, and he shot his own load inside me, then he leaned down and licked up all of my cum that he could reach. After that he collapsed on top of me and began kissing me gently. Eventually, we both began to recover, and although I felt a little uncomfortable with him still inside me, I didn't want him to withdraw. Indeed, I wanted to stay like that forever, but after a couple of minutes he slipped out, and I felt empty.

"That was wonderful. Bloody wonderful!" he whispered hoarsely in my ear. "Thanks, Paul."

We lay cuddling together and exchanging little kisses for several minutes before either of us spoke again.

"Don't know about you," Dan said, "but I'm starving!"

My mind, which had been drifting aimlessly in a warm glow, suddenly focused on my stomach, which rumbled as if on cue. I glanced over at the bedside clock and raised my eyebrows in surprise.

""I'm not surprised," I replied, "cos it's almost nine, and ages since we had anything to eat. Let's go get some grub!"

As we disentangled our limbs and began to sit up, we realised how sticky we were with sweat, lotion and my dried cum.

"I think maybe we should shower first," Dan announced with a wry grin.

"Our third shower today," I added, showing off my counting skills.

"Well," he responded archly, "you shouldn't be such a dirty little boy!"

As I reached out to grab him he jumped up and headed for the bathroom, so with a sigh of happiness and contentment, I got up and followed him.

By the time we'd prepared and eaten dinner, it as after ten and getting dark outside. For the rest of the night I was conscious of my bum, and although it didn't actually hurt, I certainly knew it was there. After our meal we snuggled together on the living room sofa for a couple of hours, watching TV and chatting about all sorts of things, then we went to bed. After the bike ride and the evening of sex, I was quite tired and rapidly fell asleep in Dan's arms.

The next morning, my usual slow return to consciousness was speeded up by the pleasure emanating from my cock. It didn't take too long for me to realise that the wonderful sensations were being produced by Dan's lips and tongue.

"Mmm," I muttered dreamily. "What a wonderful way to wake up. Ever thought of becoming an alarm clock?"

He gave a muffled giggle, but if he made any other reply I couldn't tell what it was because my cock was still deep in his mouth. His cock was just within my reach, so I stretched out and toyed with it, rubbing my thumb around in the slippery precum under his foreskin. By the time he stopped sucking me and moved up to kiss me, I wasn't exactly close to orgasm, but neither was I far away from it.

"Are you awake enough yet?" he asked.

"Awake enough for what?"

"I want to feel you inside me," he responded a little coyly. "I want you to have the great feelings I had yesterday, and I want to know how it felt for you."

Realising what he meant, I became fully awake and my already stiff cock became even stiffer. Detecting my positive response, he reached for the lotion, handed me the bottle, and got on his hands and knees. Needing no further invitation, I began to lube and loosen him, just as he'd done for me the previous day. Having had a finger inside his rectum several times before, I knew how to find his prostate, and he certainly seemed to be enjoying what I was doing. He moaned in pleasure and showed no signs of discomfort when I progressed to inserting three fingers.

"You okay," I asked, just to be sure.

"Oh, yes!" he moaned. "And I'm ready for the real thing now."

Without another word, he grabbed a pillow and rolled over, placing it under his hips. His face was flushed as he gave me a wicked smile and raised his legs. I slipped inside him easily, and as I slowly and gently pushed into him, I studied his face. Seeing no signs of the initial pain and discomfort that I'd felt the previous evening, I gradually buried myself to the hilt inside him. The emotional as well as physical pleasure of such an intimate connection made me giddy.

Dan sighed and looked up at me with a dreamy smile, so after only a few seconds to savour the feeling of being deep inside my lover, I began to move slowly in and out. At his urging, I gradually increased my speed, but quickly slowed down again because I was close to orgasm and didn't want to cum too soon. Low moans of pleasure, barely audible, escaped from his lips, and although neither of us had touched his cock, I could tell he was close to orgasm.

I began to speed up again and reached down to touch his penis. As soon as the tips of my fingers touched him, he began to squirt cum like a fire hose, drenching us both. The contractions of his anal muscles pushed me over the edge, and as I climaxed it felt as if his rectum was milking me dry. I collapsed on top of him, and for several minutes we lay there, dazed by our experience, until he began to notice my weight on him. As he rolled me off him, we both giggled like children at the rude noise made when our bellies, stuck together by his cum, began to separate.

By the time we'd showered, dressed, put the bed sheets in the washing machine and eaten breakfast, it was almost noon. As Dan cleared the table after our brunch, I stood looking out of the window at the dull, wet day.

"Look's like our bike ride is off," I said, secretly a little relieved, as I was feeling very lethargic.

He walked over to me, put his arm round my waist, and rested his head on my shoulder as he looked out at the rain.

"Never mind. I'm sure we'll find something to do," he replied suggestively, squeezing my waist.

I smiled as I turned to kiss him on the cheek.

"Nothing too energetic I hope, cos I'm bloody knackered!"

"Oh, well," he sighed, returning my smile, "I suppose there's always the TV."

As it turned out, that set the tone for the rest of our 'special weekend' until his parents arrived home. We just cuddled on the sofa, watched TV and videos, and chatted about our upcoming holiday to Skye. Of course, there was also quite a bit of snogging, but nothing more sexual than that. When Dan's parents arrived home, his mum seemed to notice something different about us, and his dad made a joke about checking that we hadn't wrecked the place. Dan diverted attention away from us by asking his parents lots of questions about their trip. However, when his dad went to put the kettle on for tea, his mum ignored Dan's questions and studied us closely until she noticed the ring on his finger.

"That's new," she said, grabbing his hand so she could get a closer look.

"A present from Paul," Dan responded, beaming as I blushed.

"Very nice," she said and gave me a questioning look as she continued, "And quite expensive, I should think."

"Not really," I mumbled, avoiding her gaze.

Strangely, I'd been so wrapped up in planning this weekend that it had never occurred to me that people might notice Dan's ring and maybe even ask about it. For some reason I felt quite embarrassed, and this feeling was deepened and mixed with surprise when I heard Dan's next words.

"We're officially a couple now," he declared proudly.

My surprise and discomfort increased even further when his mother stepped toward me and hugged me so tightly that I could hardly breath.

"Thank you," she said quietly in my ear. "I was hoping you wouldn't let him down."

While the meaning of her words was still sinking in to my consciousness, she went off to the kitchen, saying that she wanted to see why the tea was taking so long.

The following morning, I went home and stayed there for the next few days, so Dan and I didn't see much of one another, though we spent lots of time chatting on the phone. The following weekend we would be going on vacation together, and I wanted to spend some time with Mike and my family. This would be the first time I'd ever missed going along on the family annual vacation, and I vaguely recognised that it represented yet another milestone along the road of growing up and becoming an adult.

During my special weekend with Dan, I must admit that I hadn't given much thought to Rob, so I felt a little guilty on Tuesday evening when John came to my room to ask if I'd heard from him. Apparently, Marie and her parents were getting rather concerned about him.

"No," I admitted, "he's not phoned me, and I've been too busy to phone him."

"Probably wouldn't have been any use, anyway," he said, sitting down on what had for a short time been James' bed. "Marie says he usually has his phone turned off."

"But she can talk to him when he's home, can't she?" I asked.

"It seems he's hardly ever home, and even when he's there he spends most of his time in his room When they do see him, he says he's too busy to talk... and he's behaving oddly."

"Even more oddly than usual?" I quipped, and immediately regretted it even before I saw John's frown.

"Sorry," I continued contritely. "I was just trying to be funny. I'm worried, too, but I don't think there's anything I can do, so I guess the frustration came out as a pathetic attempt at a joke. Anyway, how is he behaving oddly?"

"Well, it seems one thing is that he hardly eats anything when he's home and he seems to wear his winter clothes around the house, even when it's warm outside."

Suddenly I remembered the bruising I'd glimpsed on Rob's arm.

"Ya mean like long sleeves and stuff?" I asked, though I'd already guessed and dreaded the answer.

"Yeah," he nodded. "Besides that, he doesn't let anyone touch him, and if they do, he just pulls away. His parents are considering trying to get him to see a doctor, but they can't force him and they've no idea who else to contact for help."

"Well, you can tell Marie that I'll try to get in touch with him, but I doubt I'll get to see him before I go on holiday."

"Okay," he said as he stood up. "Thanks, Paul. She says if anyone can help it's you, cos when you and he were, erm, closer, he was such a different and happier person."

He must have noticed me frown because before I could say anything, he spoke again.

"Oh, I know it's not your fault! You can't help who you fall in love with or who falls in love with you," he said. He paused to give me a wry smile, then continued, "And you can't always help it when someone gets hurt because they fall in love with you."

With that, he left, and I thought, yet again, that he seemed so mature for his years. Occasionally, he was the one who behaved like the older brother.

As soon as he'd gone, and several times over the next few days, I phoned Rob's mobile number, but he never answered and he didn't have his voice mail on, so I couldn't leave a message. Needless to say, I grew more and more concerned, but couldn't think what I could do before I went on vacation.

As the vacation approached, however, my increasing nervousness was due mainly to the prospect of spending two weeks in an isolated cottage with Dan's parents. My worries ranged from the trivial 'What clothes do I take?' to the more inhibiting 'Will the cottage be so small that his parents will hear us having sex?' That in turn led to an even more bizarre thought, that maybe we'd overhear his parents having sex.

When I voiced some of my concerns to Mike on the Wednesday morning in his kitchen, he smiled indulgently and reiterated something he'd been telling me for years.

"Paul, you think too much," he said in a tone of mock exasperation. "Sometimes you spend so much time worrying about all the little details of what might happen that you don't get to enjoy the experience of what really is happening."

"I can't help the way I am," I responded, a little hurt at his apparent lack of sympathy. "Anyway, surely it's a good thing to think things out and be prepared for what may happen."

"In moderation, yes, but..."

He hesitated, as if he was undecided about what to say next.

"But what?" I prompted.

"Well, ya know, sometimes I think you enjoy worrying. In fact, sometimes it seems you positively wallow in it."

This was not the first time he'd said something similar, but he'd never been quite so blunt about it before. Had it been anyone else but Mike, I would probably have been hurt by this bluntness, but I knew him so well that I realised there wasn't a hint of malice in what he'd said. In fact, there was more than a grain of truth in his words, and he was, as usual, direct about such things.

"Yeah, I s'pose you may be right," I said after pausing for thought. "Sometimes, when I'm nervous about something, it's easier to deal with it if I try to work out in advance how I'd deal with the worst-case scenario..."

"Which, of course, may never happen," he interrupted. "But if it makes you happy, then keep on wallowing. Just don't let it stop you from getting on with real life!"

"Speaking of which," I added with a grin, "let's get on with our real-life trip into town, cos I really need to get some new clothes."

James joined us on our trip into town, and the three of us had lunch in our favourite cafe. Although I didn't say anything with Mike present, I was a bit concerned at how James would cope with sharing a room with John while they were on holiday together. However, James seemed in good spirits, though he was disappointed when I told him that Dan and I didn't plan on going to the GLYG meeting because Dan's parents were having a dinner party and he'd promised to cook the meal for them.

"Never mind," I soothed. "Lots of people are on holiday, so there probably won't many people there."

"I s'pose," he muttered.

The conversation moved on to other topics, and after lunch Mike went off to meet Sally, while James and I went home. During the drive, I began to have second thoughts about not going to the GLYG meeting. It occurred to me that maybe Rob would turn up, in which case I'd at least get the chance to see how he was, even if he wouldn't talk to me. Also, maybe James would meet someone who could distract him a little from his feelings for John.

"Still want to go to the meeting tonight?" I asked James as I turned into our street.

"Yes, but I'm not going alone."

"Well, I've changed my mind. I've been trying to get in touch with Rob, and he may be there, so I'll go with you if you like."

His face lit up with a big grin, which faded as he paused for thought.

"Won't Dan mind you going without him?"

"He's my boyfriend, not my owner!" I laughed. "But I'll phone him when I get home to let him know. I'm sure he won't mind, especially as you'll be there to protect me from being molested."

As soon as I got inside the house I phoned Dan, and as I predicted, he was more than happy for me to take James to the meeting. In fact, he thought it was a great idea.

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