This is a mobile proxy. It is intended to visit the IOMfAtS Story Shelf on devices that would otherwise not correctly display the site. Please direct all your feedback to the friendly guy over at IOMfAtS!

Beyond Salvation

by Mark Peters

Chapter 22

Taking one last look at the two of us in the full-length mirrors in Dallas' bedroom before we left for the party, I had to admit that I liked what I was seeing, especially after he put on his shades. We looked about as hot as we could, and if what Dallas was wanting to do tonight was make a statement, we were certainly on the right track. I couldn't help but wonder what Alex and Zack were going to come up with.

As we headed outside to the car, I checked my phone for the umpteenth time to see how long it was before the party would be starting. We had one hour. Sixty minutes in which to call on my parents, collect Alex and Zack and find our way to Gemma Campbell's place.

Plenty of time.

I know I may have been hesitant at first about wanting to attend, but now I realised that there was actually quite a lot riding on tonight. We were seventeen years old and this was the first time Dallas and I would be stepping out publicly as a couple. Just as it was for Alex and Zack. We were young men standing on the cusp of adulthood, and for the first time in our lives we were able to be the people we were meant to be. So far, at school at least, the reaction to our coming out had been largely positive, but tonight would be different. Tonight we would be outside the confines of our school grounds, where different rules applied. Tonight we would be out in the real world. Tonight was the time we would be able to fly; however scary or exciting that might be.

While Dallas locked the back door of the house I went straight to the car and started it up, then watched as Dallas approached. He truly was a sight to behold, and I couldn't help but grin as he made his way towards me.

'What are you grinning at?' he asked as he climbed in beside me.

'Just thinking about tonight.'

'The party?'

'Not exactly,' I replied.

'What then?'

'About what's going to happen after the party,' I replied.

'Oh. That!'

'You know you want to… and you know I want you to…'

'Fuck yeah! So how about we get moving?'

I put on my shades, to match Dallas, then I backed the car down their driveway and out onto the street, before accelerating away in the direction of my house.

Dallas switched on the radio and immediately the car was thumping with the sounds of Lady Gaga singing Born This Way, which seemed to have become a new gay anthem in recent years. The fact that song came on right at this moment seemed to be happenstance. I started tapping my hands on the steering wheel as I drove and before long, I was singing the chorus with her. Dallas looked at me sideways for a moment, but then he joined in as well, and when we pulled up at my parents' house a few minutes later with the music still blaring, we climbed out of the car laughing and continuing to sing, much to my mother's surprise, as she stood up from the garden bed she was working on at the side of the house and faced us, with hands on hips.

As I climbed out of the car I had pulled off my shades and hung them over the top button of my shirt. Mum spotted us wearing our new clothes and did a double take, obviously surprised.

'What's all this?' she asked, as we walked over to her and both gave her a kiss on the cheek.

'Party time,' I answered. 'You like?'

'You both look amazing. Who would have thought that either of you would scrub up so well?'

'Thanks, ma!' I replied. 'Where's dad?'

'Right here,' he said, as we looked up and saw him approaching from the rear of the house. 'Was all that noise I heard just the two of you arriving?'

'Sorry. We were just living in the moment,' I replied.

'And making sure everyone else within a hundred yards was also doing it,' he responded, but it was said with a grin, so I knew he wasn't too worried by it all.

He looked us up and down, then rubbed his chin, then looked at mum, then back at us.

'You trying to make a statement or something here, guys?' he finally asked.

'Dad, this is the first time that either of us has ever had the opportunity to be our true selves, especially in a social situation, so tonight was just too good an opportunity to miss,' I said to him.

'It was all my idea,' Dallas added. 'I figured if we were going to step out together, then we needed to do it in style.'

'Well, you're certainly doing that,' mum said. 'Now, I think we need a photo,' mum added.

'It's not prom night, mum,' I protested.

'I don't care. It's an important night for you both, and I want a record of it for my boys,' she said. 'Do you have your phone on you?' she asked my father. Pulling his phone from his pocket he handed it over, then mum asked us to stand closer together.

'How about we lean on the car?' I suggested, as I started to move back towards it, dragging Dallas with me, before I leaned against the front corner of the hood, then Dallas leaned against the front of the mudguard. Our shoulders were touching, and I crossed my arms in front of me, then urged Dallas to do the same. 'How's that?' I asked.

'Perfect,' mum replied.

Dallas quickly pulled his phone out and asked if mum would mind taking one for him, so that he could send it to his mother.

'Of course, dear.'

With that photo then taken, a few more were then added on both phones, including some with me and my parents together, then a group selfie with me in front holding the camera and the three of them standing around me. All in all they seemed to be quite good when we flicked back through them. I figured this would be something good to look back on in a few years' time and I knew that it would actually be nice to have a record of the night. Chances were there would be plenty more photos being taken later that would get shared around and we could add to these.

'Now, before you go,' mum said, 'Connor will be arriving tonight. He's finished for the year so will be home over Christmas, though he has some work lined up after New Year.'

'Cool,' I replied. 'I'll be home tomorrow anyhow…'

'But we'll come around earlier,' Dallas interjected. 'I'd really like to catch up with him.'

'Come for lunch, then you can tell us all about tonight. And bring your mother, if she doesn't have anything else on.'

'We'll do that. Thank you.'

It was while this conversation was going on I noticed my father staring at me intently.

'Since when did you two start wearing necklaces,' he asked. Dallas and I glanced nervously at each other.

'Since today,' I answered, as I pulled mine out from beneath my shirt to show him. Dallas did the same thing.

'JJ bought them,' Dallas said. 'They are Yin and Yang… you can see they are two halves of one whole. That's us,' he said proudly, while taking my hand in his, as a knowing look passed between my parents.

'What's that look for?' I asked them. 'We thought they were cool.'

'Oh, they are certainly that,' dad replied. 'Your mother and I had just been wondering how long it would take before there was some kind of commitment. It seems your mother has won the bet.'

'Bet? You were betting on us?' I asked, trying to sound as offended as I possibly could, while inwardly I was cracking up.

'Don't be mad at us, dear. I said it would be before the end of the year. Your father said it wouldn't happen until after you finished school next year.'

Looking my father dead in the eye I said, 'Oh, ye of little faith.'

'It seems you have proved me wrong, son,' dad replied. 'I know we've said it before, but we are both proud and amazed at just how much you have both grown over these past few months. I can't help but wonder what you'll be getting up to next, but I'm sure it'll surprise us all.'

'We were thinking about getting tattoos,' I quipped.

The look on my parents' faces at that comment was simply priceless, but I already had an idea that's how they would react. The look on Dallas' face was almost as good, but I gave him a sly wink and his expression changed. I think he figured I was just planting a seed for later on, which had been my plan.

'Yeah, that's a good one, son,' my father responded. I couldn't tell him that I was serious. At least not yet. I wondered if Connor may have gotten himself a tattoo, yet? If he has, then that would certainly help us for when we take that step.

'Well, I think we need to get going,' I suggested. 'We still have to pick up Alex and Zack.'

'Is that the other couple?' mum asked.


'Your mother and I are so glad that the two of you aren't alone on this journey of yours. And we'd like to meet these boys at some stage,' my father said.

'I'm sure that can be arranged,' I replied. 'We'll talk to them.'

'You do that. Now you had best get going. Have a great night, and don't forget to be careful.'

'We will,' I replied, before hugging both my parents, with Dallas then doing the same, then we climbed into the car and I started it up. 'Right, where are we going?' I asked Dallas as I backed the car out.

'Highlands Road. Do you know where that is?'

'Yup. It's not far from here. Should only take us a few minutes, then it's party time,' I answered.

As I drove, Dallas fiddled with his phone and sent the photo of us to his mother, then less than five minutes later we pulled up outside Alex's parents' home, which was a comfortable looking brick house set in a yard with a tidy garden. We could see our passengers waiting on the front porch, both dressed in what appeared to be identical, dark shirts with some kind of print on them.

'Copycats!' Dallas quipped as we came to a stop.

'Not quite,' I said with a chuckle, before giving the horn a blast. They both jumped to their feet and gave us a wave, then I saw Zack pick up a backpack, before they hurried towards us.

When they got closer and jumped the front fence I finally recognised the design of their shirts. They were a dark colour, maroon I think, with repeated prints of fruits all over them, like watermelons, bananas and oranges. This clothing style was actually quite popular these days, but I don't think it shouted out 'gay'.

'Where the hell are you two going? A costume party or something?' I asked them as they reached the car.

'Just thought we would brighten things up a little,' Zack replied. 'Can you guess what we are?'

'I'm not even going to try.'

'Maybe we'll explain it to you later,' Alex added with a grin. 'After we explain it to Baker… because I'm sure he'll give us grief about them.'

'What the fuck?' said Dallas.

'We just need to make sure Baker finds that out,' Alex added, 'because it'll really piss him off when he realises we're taking the mickey!'

'Well, whatever you are, you do know that we're all going to cop shit for this,' I said. 'They'll think Mardi Gras is on or something!'

'You're not worried about it, are you?' asked Zack.

'Do I look like I'm worried?' Dallas answered. 'For the first time in our lives, this is our time. We can be whoever we want to be, and anyone who doesn't like it can go fuck themselves! I'm ready for a great night. I hope you guys are as well?'

'Hell yeah,' replied Zack.

Dallas then looked at Alex.

'Of course!'

Then he looked at me.

'What? Seriously! You really even need to ask me that?'

They all laughed and then Alex and Zack piled into the back seat.

Dallas looked back at them, taking a close look at their shirts for the first time. 'I've got to say that I'm intrigued,' he said to them. 'So, what are you supposed to be?'

'We're a pair of fruits. Get it?'

'Sweet Jesus!' I replied. 'Yeah. I get it. I don't think the Pride committee will be too impressed though. And what's with the backpack?'

'Our towels and swimmers. Just in case we do get to have a swim. Gemma did tell us we could. Didn't you bring yours?'

'I can't anyhow,' Dallas said, as he gave the plaster on his leg a loud rap with his knuckles. I think he was still grappling with the fruits reference.

'So I just didn't bother,' I added.

'Maybe we'll throw you in anyhow?' Zack shot back at me.

'Don't count on it,' I answered. 'I'm not letting any fruits get their hands on me!'

Once the car door was safely closed, I took off in the direction of Gemma's house, which was located on the edge of town. It only took five minutes to get there and when we came to a stop there were already quite a number of cars parked in the driveway and along the road outside, while we could also see some of our classmates heading into the yard.

I found a parking space opposite their house, in front of an empty lot, then we climbed out and I locked up.

'Hey, I love the shirts, guys,' Alex said to us. As he and Zack had been sitting in the back I guess it was the first chance he'd had to actually see them. 'Twinsies!'

'Almost,' I said with a laugh.

Then Alex stepped in closer and reached for my necklace to take a closer look. When he spotted Dallas' as well his face broke out into a broad smile, before taking Zack's hand and holding it up for me to see. They were both sporting rainbow-coloured friendship rings on their fingers.

'Holy shit! I love those,' I said to them.

'Seems like we're all getting serious,' Alex added. I couldn't help myself, I reached out and hugged them both, just as Pete and Merry walked up.

'I hope we're not interrupting something here?' Merry asked.

'Nope. Just comparing accessories,' I replied.

Merry looked down at Alex's hand, which I was still holding, and noticed the ring, then when she looked up again she noticed the necklace and pendant around my neck.

'Wow. You boys really are going all out,' she chuckled. 'You do know that you're going to cop shit over all this, don't you?'

'Absolutely,' Dallas replied.

'And you're not worried?'

'Why should we be? We're big kids now, and besides, we've got all you guys behind us!'

'And so you do,' Merry replied, before standing on her tiptoes and kissing his cheek.

As we were talking more cars arrived and we were soon joined by Callum, then Kai White and Dane Beaton walked up.

'I hope you folks are ready to par-tay?' Kai asked us.

'Dude, we were born ready!' Dallas boasted, before taking my hand. 'Let's rock this joint.'

A few other classmates had entered the yard just as we had arrived, and we saw they were walking down beside the house, towards a large shed located in the back yard, so we followed their lead and headed in that direction. Some bunches of balloons that were attached to the fence, the side of the house and some trees, seemed to show us the way, and once we had passed the house we found a yard filled with the beginnings of what was required for a party.

Decorations, coloured festoon-lights and a couple of shade shelters near the back of the house and by the shed filled the yard. Everything seemed to be set up around the decent-sized pool that was a feature, which had a child-proof steel fence around it, as per the local Council regulations. We could also see stacks of folding tables and chairs that were waiting to be set up and distributed. Standing around were about twenty of our classmates, clumped together in groups and talking, some of whom gave us a wave as they noticed us. Other than her friend, Amelia Baartz, nobody appeared to be offering any assistance to Gemma, however, who we could see was still busy setting up tables, so we headed straight towards them.

Gemma looked up and noticed us as we were about half way across the yard. Standing up straight she put her hands on her hips and said, 'Well, will you look at you lot. Don't you all just look fabulous!'

'That's us,' Dallas said. 'But you look like you could use some help?'

'Oh, yes puh-lease! I still have so much to do, then I need to change my clothes and get ready and…'

'Just breathe, Gemma, and tell us what needs doing?'

Gemma looked at Dallas, then around the yard, as if she was trying to decide what had to be done next.

'Okay… can we put the chairs out? Also there are tables to go up. There are Eskies with ice and drinks in them in the big shed that can come out under one of the shelters… we'll need some tables for them and we'll use that as our bar, though no alcohol of course… and I'll have to also start bringing food and nibbles out from inside. Mum and dad are helping prepare it for us.'

'Too easy,' Dallas replied.

As one of the sports captains for our year, Dallas was used to throwing orders around and getting people organised, so he quickly took charge. Turning towards the groups of our classmates he called out to them. 'Oi! You lot! Will a couple of you guys bring out the Eskies, drinks and ice from inside that big shed please? Set them up under that end shade shelter for us, will you.'

'Righto,' called Steve Johnston. He had been talking to Kai and Dane, then grabbed Kai by the arm and they disappeared inside the shed.

'And will some of you others help put up those tables and spread those chairs around please. There's still work to be done before everyone else gets here.'

A couple of the other guys gave him a military-like salute, said, 'Aye, aye, Captain,' then laughed, before setting about doing just as they had been asked to do.

'See! Easy as!' Dallas said to Gemma.

Music was already blasting out of a sound system that had been set up beneath one of the shade shelters at the back of the house and beside the pool, and once the tables and chairs were set it wouldn't be long before the place would start to look like a real party venue.

'What else do you need doing?' Alex asked.

'Tablecloths,' Gemma replied, before picking up a nearby box and passing it to him. 'They're only plastic and will be thrown out afterwards, but they'll dress the place up a bit. Can you get these put out on all the tables please? There's a roll of tape there if you need to stick them down. Once that's done, we're almost there, I think!'

'Consider it done,' Alex replied, as he and Zack set off and started passing packets around to the others who were still setting up tables and chairs and asking them to cover the tables.

Turning to Dallas and me, Gemma quietly asked, 'Who is the boy with Alex? I know I've seen him at school.'

'That's Zack,' I replied. 'Alex's boyfriend.'

'I've seen them together this week, I think,' Gemma added.

'They are just coming out,' I said. 'A bit like us really. Zack is a year or two below us.'

'Well, out or not, I don't know what I would have done without the help of all you guys. You rock!'

'It's all good, Gemma. We're all here to just have a good time and unwind after a long year, so we're happy to all pitch in,' Dallas replied. 'So if there's anything you need us to do, you only have to ask.'

Gemma hugged us both and offered her thanks, just as we were all distracted by the sound of more people entering the yard. We turned as one to see another dozen or so of our classmates coming up the drive.

'Oh, God. He came after all,' I heard her say. I instantly knew who she was talking about. Timmy Baker was there at the tail of the group, with one of his sidekicks, Macca and Thommo, on either side.

'Well, it looks like the party is just about to get started,' Dallas remarked.

'I… I don't want any trouble, Dallas,' Gemma said. 'My parents would never forgive me.'

'It's okay, Gemma. We'll keep an eye on him, and if there is any sign of trouble we'll handle it,' Dallas assured her.

By the look on her face, however, I wasn't quite sure she believed him.

'Come on, Gemma,' Merry said. 'You mentioned something about bringing nibbles out. How about we get started with those.'

We watched as the three girls headed inside, before turning our attention back towards the new arrivals. I don't think that Timmy had seen us yet, but it didn't take long for that to change, as he looked our way, then stopped his sidekicks in their tracks by grabbing their arms.

He said something to them and they both laughed. This also caused those in front of them to stop and look in our direction, but thankfully I didn't see any specific reactions from any of them, other than noticing that they made a move to distance themselves from Timmy. That act alone filled me with hope that our classmates were actually smarter than I'd initially suspected.

Just at that moment the sound of a loud wolf-whistle, followed by more laughter filled the air and we turned to see some of Dallas' football mates entering the yard.

'Lookin' good there guys. Nice outfits. Can I have a dance later?' one of them called out.

'Not in this lifetime, Beau,' Dallas called back to him. 'I already have one broken foot, thanks.'

We all laughed, and as their group met up with some others and started talking and laughing with them, I turned my attention back to what Timmy Baker might be doing. I needn't have worried too much though, as he was now with Kai and the guys who were looking after the drinks table. Kai handed each of them a can of soft drink and they fell into conversation, not once looking our way. I guess they knew better than to diss us in front of him, seeing as Kai and Dallas were tight.

As this was happening Gemma and the girls came out the back door of the house carrying trays of food.

'Make yourself useful and put these around on some tables please,' Merry said to Pete, while handing him a tray with chips and biscuits and dips. Dallas and I were both handed trays as well and were given the same instructions, so we did as asked, while the girls disappeared inside for some more food.

I walked over to one of the tables and placed my tray of nibbles down on it, saying, 'Here you go, guys. Help yourselves,' to the nearest group, receiving a nod and a thank you from them, then I set out to find Alex and Zaçk, who were just finishing with the tables.

'All good?' I asked them.

'Other than being called a pair of fruits by Baker after he spotted our shirts, yeah, just fine and dandy,' Alex replied.

'So he nailed it?' I said, laughing.

'Yeah, trust him to jump on it. I was hoping we were going to have to explain it to him, and really slowly!' said Alex.

'Well, try not to let it get to you.'

'Oh, don't worry. We won't,' Zaçk replied. 'We were actually kind of expecting some kind of flak from him, but that's all there has been so far. We'll give as good as we get if he steps out of line though.'

'Yeah, about that, we just need to be careful, okay? We don't want to make things difficult for Gemma,' I reminded them 'She's worried her folks might lose their shit if there's any trouble. But remember that your friends are here if we are needed. Don't forget that.'

'Understood,' Alex replied. 'If anything does happen, we certainly won't be the ones starting it. As for who might finish it, though, that could be another story.'

There was a note of resolve in his voice that I don't think I had heard from him before. I was glad that they had an attitude that they wouldn't be taking any crap from anyone, but at the same time I did worry about whether they would be able to back that up, or if we would all need to step in if the need arose. I had no doubt we would all be willing to do that, but I just hoped it wouldn't come to that.

I noticed Gemma disappear inside the house, emerging about ten minutes later after having changing clothes from working girl to party host.

'Everything okay?' she asked me.

'So far, so good. Quick question though… is there a rest room handy?'

'Little Girls Room at the back of the house,' she said, while pointing to a doorway with a sign beside it I hadn't previously noticed. 'Little Boys Room down the side of the shed, near the back.'

'And the Men's Room?' I cheekily asked, which seemed to confuse her for just a moment, before finally cottoning on.

'They'll just have to share with the boys,' she replied with a smile, before moving on.

Quickly looking around the crowd to see where everyone might be, I noticed Callum talking to a group of girls. He still had one eye on his friends though, so I knew they were in safe hands. I gave him a nod, which he returned with an added smile, then he turned his attention back to the girls. I had a feeling that somebody was going to get lucky tonight.

Continuing to scan the crowd I noticed most of the football players and soccer players sticking together with their respective teams, some with arms draped over girlfriends, some with wandering eyes checking out who might be available for later fun, no doubt. The geeks were sticking with their own kind, while various other small groups were chatting, or even dancing to the music that was playing over the sound system. Nobody had ventured into the swimming pool just yet. Maybe later though?

With food now being distributed, however, it didn't take long for everyone to start gravitating towards the tables that were now loaded with trays and plates. The conversation groups moved locations, gathering at the tables that were scattered around, jostling and laughing as they did so. Now it was starting to look and sound like a party.

We found a table and Dallas claimed a seat, while I went in search of some food and drinks for us, returning a short while later with a couple of paper plates of food and some cans of soft drink. As the evening began to descend upon us and darkness fell, the conversations going on all around us were loud and fast, as people tried talking over the music. With the party atmosphere we were enjoying ourselves, letting our hair down, and that was the whole idea of the party.

I was pleased to see that even Alex and Zack were mingling, and not spending all their time with Alex's soccer crew, and even more pleased when the two of them, along with Callum, joined us at one point. I wondered where Merry and Pete had gotten to, but soon spotted them deep in conversation with Gemma and some of her friends, before they all disappeared inside, then shortly afterwards re-emerged with yet more trays of food for the guests.

All the while I was also trying to keep an eye out for Timmy, not wanting any of us to get caught off-guard by him, but so far he seemed to be behaving himself.

Time passed, and we all seemed to be having a great night, catching up, not talking about school, dancing, making out. As standing for a long time was somewhat problematic for Dallas, friends came to our table and spent time with us. There was no awkwardness, no hate, we were all just school kids again, and any issues that had divided us had -- temporarily at least -- fallen by the wayside. Everything was going great and even those I suspected might be the cause of trouble were on their best behaviour.

With people dancing close by us I noticed that Dallas was tapping his fingers on the table, in time with the music. His foot -- the good one -- was also tapping and I could tell that he was just itching to get up and dance.

I wasn't sure if I could do anything, or whether I even should, but when a slow song finally came on I reached a decision and stood up, before holding out a hand for him.

'Are you serious?' he said to me.

'Absolutely! I can see you're itching to get up, so come on.'

Glancing across at Zack, I could see him grinning. That was when he did the same, standing and then reaching down and taking Alex's hand and dragging his boyfriend to his feet, not giving him a chance to back out.

Alex looked across the table towards Dallas. 'If I'm game, then so should you be. Remember what we were saying about setting examples?'

'Hurry up or the slow song will be over,' I said to Dallas. And that was how I got to dance with my boyfriend for the very first time.

As the four of us walked over to the spot where most of the dancing had been taking place the crowds parted, allowing us some room. I placed my hands on Dallas' hips. He draped his arms over my shoulders. There was a murmur amongst our classmates, even some muted laughter, but that was all quickly shut down by some of our friends. Somebody let out a wolf-whistle. Somebody else said, 'Go for it boys!'

I wasn't looking at anyone though, only Dallas. The grin on his face as we slow-danced close, our bodies touching, rocking together in time to the song that was playing, our hands on each other, all while in front of our friends and classmates, with barely a murmur to be heard. It was a magical moment.

Flashes went off, as someone took photos. Then, breaking eye contact with Dallas for just a moment I glanced across at Alex and Zack, who were just as wrapped up in each other as Dallas and I were.

When I looked back to Dallas there was a gleam in his eye, and I suspected I knew what was coming. I smiled and tilted my head towards him, just as he began to lean in.

'Oh, my, God! They're going to…' I heard someone say, but that was quickly forgotten, as Dallas' lips met mine, soon working against me, in a gentle, yet firm way, which lasted… and lasted… and lasted, much to the delight of those around us, judging by the whoops and hollers and the flash of lights from photos being taken.

When we finally parted we stood there with our foreheads resting against each other, as the music faded out.

'Fuck. Did we really just do that?' I whispered.

'Yeah, babe. And it was all your doing. Thank you!'

When I looked at Alex and Zack, they were in almost the same pose as we were. When I looked at the faces surrounding us, all I could see was love, before we were soon swamped with slaps on the back, hugs and congratulations from our classmates.

'That was epic!'

'So happy for you.'

'Fuck, that was hot!'

Once more I glanced around at the faces of our classmates. They were all smiling, but then, through a break in the crowd, I spotted Timmy Baker. He was scowling at us. And as he watched us, I saw him raise a small silver flask to his lips and take a drink of something, most likely something alcoholic, before dropping his hand and putting a lid on it.

This couldn't be good.

'What did you say he did?' Dallas asked me a few minutes later, once we had managed to extricate ourselves from the throng of people who were now all dancing and as we headed for a table.

'He was drinking from a flask of some sort. I reckon there had to be booze in it.'

'You're probably right. We better keep an eye on him, though how drunk can he get on one hip-flask?'

'Depends on what's in it and on how much he had before he got here, I guess. Anyway, I've been keeping an eye on him all night,' I answered. 'He hasn't done anything to worry about just yet.'

'Well, let's hope things stay that way. It's starting to get late and it looks like a few people might be getting ready to call it a night,' Dallas said. 'That might make it easier to watch him, unless he just leaves.'

'I doubt that will happen. Anyhow, I think I need another drink.'

We made our way back to the table we had been sitting at earlier, where Dallas told me to sit, while he went to get us something.

It had been a good night so far. Girls and boys holding hands or dancing close had been a common sight, but we made sure that there were at least two boy and boy couples out there being seen, however, and I suspected that there was at least one other such couple after seeing the shadowy figures of two guys sneak away behind one of the sheds at one point, though I couldn't be sure exactly who they were.

Kai and Dane came over and dropped themselves down on the opposite side of the table, just as Dallas returned.

'Damn! The two of you must have balls the size of melons!' Dane enthused as Dallas sat down.

'You jealous or something?' Dallas replied. 'It happens when you go through puberty, but don't worry, yours can't be far off now!'

'Fuck you!' Dane said, laughing.

'Well, it sure was different seeing two dudes dancing. Don't think I've ever seen that before, in real life at least.'

I raised an eyebrow in his direction.

'Don't get me wrong,' he stammered. 'Damn, I thought it was kinda cool actually. The fact that you're both brave enough, especially amongst this mob,' he added, while cocking a thumb towards the rest of our classmates behind us, who were still dancing.

'But bravery shouldn't come into it,' I responded. 'We're just two people, like everyone else here. It should be no different whether it was us, or the two of you, or Gemma and Amelia dancing together.'

'Yeah, I get it now, but it hasn't always been that way, has it?'

'No. It most definitely hasn't. I guess times change, eh?'

'Most definitely,' he replied. 'And I'm happy to see it.'

We talked for a while longer before I felt the need to take a pee break, so leaving Dallas deep in conversation with his football mates I first went to get us all another round of drinks, while at the same time I looked around to see where Alex and Zack might be. I could only find Alex, who was sitting with his soccer mates, including Callum. There was no sign of Zack, and I was instantly on edge.

Amelia Baartz was also at the drinks table and I asked her if she had seen Zack anywhere. She shook her head and said, 'Sorry, no,' then went back to her friends.

I picked up some cans of drink and headed back to the table, placing them in front of the guys and then saying I would be back soon. It was then that I noticed Timmy heading towards the shed, looking a little unsteady on his feet as he went around the corner and down the side… the side where the toilet is.

Was that where Zack had gone?

As I turned the corner, some distance behind Timmy I looked up to see him enter an open doorway, where light was spilling out into the night. Almost immediately I heard the sound of a hand bashing on a door, followed by, 'Hurry up in there!' followed by something else being mumbled.

His voice sounded, I don't know… off, somehow. Was he slurring his words? I still wasn't close enough to clearly hear what was fully said, but I definitely heard what came next, as I was now standing right outside the door and was looking in at a small room with a tile floor and what looked like a laundry tub, on the far side of which was another door.

There was a creaking sound as the second door opened. It was the door to the toilet and the person who had opened it was Zack, and he was now looking concerned as he was confronted with an obviously inebriated Timmy Baker and no way out.

'You!' Timmy slurred. 'The little faggot boy!'

'Fuck off, Baker. You can't hurt me now,' Zack shot back.

'We got unfin-ush-shed busy-ness,' Timmy slurred again.

Zack looked up and saw me standing there, just outside the door and gave his head a slight shake.

'I'm warning you, Baker. Back off. You're not getting your hands on me this time, asshole,' then he made a move to try and get past Timmy, only to be blocked and pushed up against the wall.

Zack retaliated, though I didn't manage to see exactly what happened, as my view was blocked by Timmy. What I did see was Timmy Baker suddenly shuffling backwards and colliding with the laundry tub, while holding his stomach, as Zack shot past him and stepped out into the night, right beside me.

Timmy staggered out behind him, rage oozing from every pore of his body.

'Come back here, you little cunt!' he yelled, as Zack and I started backpedalling. I figured that outburst would be bound to get the attention of some of the others.

'Or what, Baker?' Zack shot back. It was almost like he was taunting his nemesis, knowing full well that there was nothing Baker could do to hurt him any more. 'You going to confess to the world what your little secret is?'

'I told ya! I'm gonna finish what I started. That arse of yours is going to finally be mine!'

'I'm not thirteen years old any more, Timmy. I'm not that little boy any more! And this arse belongs to someone else now.'

'But you're still a faggot… and faggots gotta be fucked…'

At that statement I heard a gasp come from behind us. Glancing over my shoulder I saw about ten of our classmates there, obviously attracted by the loud voices. And behind them more of our classmates were joining the crowd.

As Alex, Callum and Dallas pushed through to the front of the crowd, Timmy continued his tirade.

'Faggots gotta learn their place! Should have fucked you while I had the chance,' he said, apparently unaware that most of the kids in our year were now standing there watching and listening to him.

Zack looked at the crowd and then at me, and for the first time I saw him smile. He had waited almost two years for this moment. The moment when the humiliation he had felt at the hands of Timmy Baker could be turned right back on his tormentor.

'How are you going to do that, Baker?' Zack said, almost taunting him, as he stepped backwards, getting closer to the growing crowd with each step. Still, Timmy seemed oblivious to what he was walking into.

'Why you fuckin' little prick-teaser. You wouldn't have the balls to stop me,' Timmy said, as he lunged forward. Zack stepped sideways, managing to avoid the almost sluggish movements of his assailant, then Timmy turned to face him once more.

'Tell me again what you want to do to me, Timmy. What you wanted to do to me that day in the school toilets… on my first day at that school… when you forced your way into the cubicle with me and yanked down my trousers, with your buddies standing there watching and laughing.'

'You looked too cute. You were fresh meat. Had to… show you…'

'Show me what?' Zack asked, as he continued to dance out of Timmy's way.

'Who was boss!'

I dared to look around at our classmates again. They were all transfixed by what was happening, yet nobody seemed to want to intervene. When Macca and Thommo made a move to step forward they were stopped by Kai and Dane, whose strong hands grabbed hold of their collars and held them back.

I heard Kai growl at Thommo, 'Is that what happened?'

There was no answer, so Kai shook him by the collar.

'Answer me!'


Dane shook Macca and asked the same question, receiving the same reply. The people around them snarled at them in disgust. Zack's story was out there now, and the overwhelming response was that people were on his side.

At hearing his friends speak and the disapproval coming from his classmates, Timmy finally stopped and looked at them, realising for the first time that he was the main attraction and everybody had just heard everything that had been said. Everything that he had done, or wanted to do.

He looked at Zack once more, and again the rage was pouring off him. Losing control of himself he dived for our friend, but Zack was ready, deftly stepping aside as Timmy rushed him, while at the same time raising a knee, straight up into Timmy's stomach. His attacker doubled over, before a karate chop landed across the back of Timmy's neck, sending him to his knees.

I didn't know that Zack had that in him, but obviously he wasn't the same kid he had been two years ago. He could handle himself now, and everybody here now knew he was no pushover.

Alex dived forward and wrapped his arms around Zack in a massive bear hug, while Dallas, with a jerk of his head to Kai and Dane, indicated they should turn their captives, Macca and Thommo, free.

'Get that piece of shit out of here,' Dallas said to them, before they clumsily moved forward and picked Timmy up between them, then half-carried, half-dragged him through the crowd and through the back yard of Gemma's house, heading towards the driveway and the parked cars out the front.

As everybody gathered around Zack, we all knew that his nightmare was now over, but I suspected that Timmy Baker's was just beginning.

Once Timmy and his friends had left us, it was like some new life had been breathed into the party, at least for a while, as people discussed what had happened, or passed around phones with photos and video they had recorded. Many of our classmates didn't know very much about Zack, other than the fact that they had seen him around school, was in one of the years below us, and was now Alex's boyfriend.

They also now knew that there was more to him than that. After standing up to Timmy the way he did, he was instantly welcomed into the fold. His status at school was about to go through the roof, and whether he wanted it or not he would now be in the spotlight.

As we sat around going over the events that had just taken place, a succession of our school mates came up to us and told us they were one hundred percent behind us all, adding that it was about time that the school yard was dragged into the current century. I don't think any of us wanted to be thrust into the limelight, but it was inevitable now and we would have to deal with it as best we could. The good news, though, was that there was only one week of school left, and after that we had six weeks of holidays, by the end of which things would have settled down, I was sure.

Gradually the party wound down, with people slowly drifting away and the music and lights being switched off a little after eleven. With just eight of us remaining, being Dallas and me, Alex and Zack, Pete and Merry and Gemma and Amelia, we were sitting around two tables near the pool and talking quietly as insects buzzed around some nearby lights and the night was gradually filling with more familiar nocturnal sounds, now that the music had faded.

'I truly can't thank you guys enough,' Gemma said to us. 'Nobody else was willing to offer much help, so you were all lifesavers.'

'It was our pleasure,' Merry said, getting in quick with a reply before any of the rest of us could. 'You put so much work into tonight, and your parents as well, and we are all so grateful for getting the chance to let our hair down…'

'And come out amongst friends,' I hastily added, rudely cutting in, but not wanting to miss this chance.

'Yes, and I'll second that,' Alex added.

'Well, I couldn't imagine helping out a better bunch of people,' Gemma said. 'And I'm so glad that things worked out for you, Zack, and that you will be able to put Timmy Baker behind you now.'

'Yeah, me too,' he quietly said.

Zack had earlier told us that after his first run-in with Timmy he had all but curled up into a ball and wanted to hide from the world. He had been made to return to school by his mother, however, who'd had no idea about what had happened on that fateful first day, but the suggestion had been made that martial arts might be something worthwhile for him to try, with a view to improving his self-esteem. Even though he had gone along reluctantly at first, he had soon grown to love it, especially as the teacher was all about defending yourself, rather than being the agressor, because he knew that at some point in the future it would be highly likely that he would need to defend himself, so he wanted to be prepared.

In the heat of the moment tonight, when that time came and the tough guy needed to come out, Zack found that within himself and was able to call on his training to do what was needed. It was the first time that it had ever been necessary to use what he had learned, and he was more surprised than excited about what he had managed to do.

Around midnight we said our goodbyes, with a promise to return the following morning to help finish the clean-up, pull down and pack away whatever needed to stored, or returned to wherever it had been borrowed from.

We didn't drop Alex and Zack home to either of their places, they came with us back to Dallas' house and by twelve-thirty we were all in bed, the two of them safely settled into the spare bedroom on the other side of Dallas' bathroom. While Dallas and I were safely cuddled up in his bed, whispering quietly about the events of tonight, we listened to some giggles and quiet talking going on close by, but it wasn't long before the house fell silent. I think we were all too tired for anything other than sleep.

When morning rolled around, I was woken by the sound of the toilet being flushed close by. With the firm and warm body of Dallas still beside me, with an arm and a leg partly draped over me, I was confused for just a few moments, at least until I recalled the events of last night.

At the sound Dallas also seemed to stir. With his face right next to mine he opened his eyes, squinted just slightly, and then smiled.

'Good morning, beautiful,' he said to me.

'Good morning, yourself,' I replied. 'Good sleep?'

'Yeah, it was.'

Just then we heard the sound of a bathroom door sliding part-way open. I looked in the direction of the doorway and saw two, almost naked, teens standing there.

'You guys awake?' Alex asked.

'Yeah, mate. But only just. How was your first night together?' I replied, knowing that they hadn't slept together before, which was something that Zack had confided in me earlier.

They looked at each other and smiled.

'It was beautiful. Thank you,' Alex replied. 'We've never had a chance to do that… our folks are still a bit wary about our relationship… or at least mine are.'

'Well, we'll just have to let you guys sleep over more often then,' Dallas said, rolling over to face them and, as he did so, accidentally pulling the sheet that was partially covering me all the way off in the process, leaving me totally exposed.

Their eyes went straight to my cock, which was standing to attention, as it was every morning, I wondered if I needed to cover up, or simply let them look, but Dallas quickly threw half the sheet back over me. Probably a wise move, all things considered.

'D-do you mind if we take a shower, before we go back to Gemma's to help out?' Zack asked, obviously just slightly flustered at what he'd just seen. Despite his heroics of last night, he was still a shy and slightly insecure teen, but that just made him all the more adorable, in my eyes at least.

'Go for it,' Dallas answered. 'You'll find some fresh towels in the cabinet below the sink. In the meantime I'll go and turn the kettle on, and let mum know we have visitors. And I'm also starving, so we'll see if we can rustle up some breakfast as well.'

'Don't go to any trouble on our account,' Alex said.

'I won't,' Dallas replied, before the bathroom door was slid closed.

Dallas flung the sheet off us and then leaned across me, giving me a kiss on the lips that lasted and lasted and lasted. My already hard cock seemed to jump, all on its own accord, but now wasn't the time for going any further.

'Time to get moving,' he said, before jumping up and pulling on some shorts, but nothing else. I did the same, then we headed for the kitchen, where we found Dallas' mother enjoying a coffee, while looking at something on her phone.

'Good morning, you two,' she said to us. 'How was your party? I heard you drag yourselves in at some ungodly hour… and I thought I heard more than just the two of you.'

'Yeah, Alex and Zack came home with us,' Dallas said, as he walked over and kissed his mother on the cheek. 'They used the spare room and they're just having a shower now. And the party was great, thank you.'

'Anything exciting happen?'

Dallas glanced my way, looking slightly concerned.

'Errr… like what?' he cautiously asked.

'Oh, I don't know… did you dance together? Kiss in public maybe? Or get in any fights?'


At that his mother turned her phone around and showed us what she had been looking at. It was Facebook. There were photos of the two of us dancing and kissing, but then she landed on a post that said, 'Bully gets owned! Go Zack!'

Just at that moment the two boys appeared at the kitchen doorway, dressed in their clothes from last night, with their hair still damp and looking slightly awkward, though still sexy.

'Mum, these are our friends, Alex and Zack. Guys, this is my mum,' Dallas said.

'It's nice to meet you, Mrs Pearce,' Alex said.

'Good morning, guys. And it's nice to finally meet you both. I've heard quite a bit about you… and it seems I've read some things about you too.'

They both frowned at that, but then Dallas showed them the Facebook post, with the headline and some photos. Almost immediately Zack turned white and reached out to grab the back of a nearby chair.

'Oh, no,' he whispered. 'I… that… oh, shit…'

Just as quickly Alex wrapped his arms around him and hugged him tight.

'I've got you,' we heard him say. 'You've got nothing to be ashamed of, you hear me. You put that bastard in his place, and everyone loves you for it. You got that?'

Zack managed a nod, before he soon found another set of arms being wrapped around him.

'I'm so sorry, Zack,' Mrs P said. 'I shouldn't have sprung that on you like that. I wasn't thinking. I'm so, so sorry.'

'Th-that's okay,' Zack mumbled, as he tried to regain his composure. 'It… it was going to come out one way or another.'

'How about I cook us up some breakfast and you can tell me all about it?' Mrs P suggested.

Over bacon and eggs and toast, accompanied by coffee and juice, the five of us sat down and enjoyed a Sunday morning breakfast, talking about our friendship and our relationships, school, and the problems of coming out, before finally getting around to the night before.

Mrs P had known about the history between Zack and Timmy, so wasn't surprised with his actions of last night. She did say that she was surprised by Zack fighting back but levelled no blame on him at all for doing so.

'Why were you surprised about that?' Dallas asked his mother.

'It's just… and please don't take this the wrong way, Zack, but you don't seem like a gung-ho karate kid type. To me you seem quite shy and reserved… not that that is a bad thing.'

Zack just smiled at her.

'He does have his moments,' Alex added in reply, as he took hold of his boyfriend's hand.

'And so it seems,' Mrs P replied.

After finishing breakfast and clearing up, Dallas and I hit the shower, then a short while later we were dressed and ready to roll.

Before leaving I mentioned to Dallas' mother that my parents had invited her for lunch, but she had already made plans and asked that I pass on her apologies.

Having promised Gemma some help with finishing the after party clean-up, we headed over there and helped for an hour or so, getting most of what was required finished off before saying we had to be back at my house before lunch. Gemma and Amelia were grateful for the assistance and thanked us again, before we talked briefly about what had shown up online overnight, which they had already seen, and promised to see them at school the following day.

Our next stop was Alex's house, where we dropped them off and said our farewells, again promising to see them at school tomorrow, before continuing on home.

'Fuck, what a twenty-four hours that was,' I said to Dallas as we pulled into our driveway.

'You're not wrong there.'

'It's been good though, right?'

'The best.'

As I came to a stop and turned off the car we sat there for just a few moments, but then I saw Connor come outside, smiling broadly as he came our way. He looked happy, with a spring in his step, and I was so glad to see him.

Opening the car door I started to climb out, but he grabbed my hand and almost dragged me upright, before hugging me tight and kissing me on the cheek, then as Dallas came around and joined us, he did the same to him.

'Fuck, it's good to see you guys,' he said to us.

'Likewise, bro!'

'So, what's been happening in my kid brother's life?' Connor demanded to know. 'Tell me everything!'

I looked at Dallas and we grinned at each other, then laughed.

'Man, you probably wouldn't believe me if I told you,' I replied.


Read More Stories by this Author
Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead