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What We Are II

Summer Heat

by Richie Ryan


I still remember the excitement I felt when the first chapter of What We Are - Richie's Story was first published on Nifty. After reflexively clutching my crotch, my next thought was, "This guy can write!" As I continued to read the story, I began to wonder if this were a professional author who was making his living writing for the straight media and posting this story on the gay net for fun. When I later had the good fortune to become acquainted with Richie Ryan I was stunned to learn that, except for a travel diary when he was in high school and the occasional shopping list, this was the first thing he had ever written. That is a compelling argument for the notion that there is such a thing as basic talent which some folks have and the rest of us don't got.

If you haven't read the first book it's probably a good idea to do so before starting the sequel. While not absolutely essential, it will give you a grasp of the characters and make your reading smoother. It can be found on the websites hosting this story.

What We Are - Book II is a compelling argument for the notion that basic talent can be nurtured and developed. There are a couple of passages where the sheer beauty of the writing simply takes my breath away. It is essentially a celebration of what life should be like for healthy gay teenagers. The characters come to life and cause me to think that I have actually seen them walking down the street. It captures the energy of that age, not just the sexual energy, though there is a generous serving of that, but the joyous vigor of being alive. Sit back and enjoy.

Richard Lyon

Chapter 1: The 3rd of July

Even before the sun was up, the morning sky still a pasty blue-gray, the many species of birds that lived in the woods around Gull Lake were already singing their wake-up songs. In contrast to the quiet peacefulness of the previous night, the shrill chirping of the birds began to seep through Kyle's sleep-filled mind. As he became more awake than asleep, he glanced out the window at the predawn sky, silently cursing the birds for their early and disturbingly loud awakening. Raising himself up onto one elbow, he blinked some more of the sleep from his eyes as he looked past the sleeping form beside him to the alarm clock.

"Shit," he said in a whisper when he saw it was only 4:30 in the morning.

Before lying back down for a few more hours of sleep, he looked at the figure stretched out next to him.

"Man, you can sleep through anything can't ya, Guppy," he said, again in a soft whisper.

Richie, Kyle's friend, and for the past six months his lover, was lying on his back with his head turned slightly in Kyle's direction. He smiled when he noticed that his right hand was lying next to his half-opened mouth, palm up and thumb extended, looking as if he was about to begin, or had just finished sucking his thumb. Although his face wasn't a stand-out model's face like Kyle's, his thick black mop of unruly hair gave him the look that everybody called cute.

Since the temperature last night was unusually warm for this early in July, the two boys had gone to sleep with only a sheet to cover them. Even this light covering proved to be too much for comfort, so during the night it worked itself off to where it now only covered them from the waist down.

As usual, Kyle's dick began to get hard as he looked at Richie's upper torso. Although he had grown a little taller since they'd first met - he was right around 5'9" now - he still had that trim, smooth, diver's body that had been such an attraction for Kyle last winter. He had also put on a few extra pounds to go with his taller frame, bringing him up to about 155.

Kyle reached down to squeeze his stiffening member as his eyes traveled across Richie's chest and stomach to his still-covered groin area. Still smiling, he shook his head slowly when he noticed that his lover also had a hard-on tenting the sheet that covered it. As he looked at the raised linen, he recalled how proud Richie was of his dick since it had grown another quarter inch. Staring at it, he wondered if Richie was sporting some morning wood, or if he had stayed hard all night. He guessed it was probably a morning hard-on, but as horny as Richie was all the time, the latter wasn't totally out of the question.

After Kyle quietly lay back down, he released his dick to place both of his hands on the pillow under his head while he stared at the ceiling. He thought about his relationship with Richie, how much fun they had together, and how wonderful the sex between them was. He also thought about how much he'd learned from Richie even though he was only 14, and a year and a half younger than him. The last part of this thought stuck in his mind again, just as it did so often lately.

Almost from the beginning, Kyle had felt that there was a problem with their relationship, and lately he wondered if it wasn't because of the difference in their ages. Pondering this while he listened to Richie's gentle snoring, he fell back into a dreamless sleep.

Three hours later, the warmth from the early morning sun that streamed in through the window bathed the bodies of the two sleeping boys. It was Richie who began to stir first, stretching his half-covered nude body as he began to rub the sleep from his eyes.

When finally his eyes were fully open and adjusted to the bright sunlight, he turned his head to look at the still sleeping Kyle. Six months ago, in this very bed, he told Kyle for the first time that he was in love with him, and as he looked at him now, he knew that his feelings were just as strong now as they were back then.

Staring into his face, looking serene and peaceful as he slept, a slight frown creased Richie's forehead. He knew he loved Kyle with all his heart, there was no question about that. It was because of this fact that he was frowning - frowning because he felt guilty. Since he and Kyle had become a couple, Richie never once cheated on him, and he'd always known that he never would. What made him feel guilty was that in the last few months he'd caught himself checking out other guys. He didn't really understand why, either, because none of them could hold a candle to Kyle when it came to good looks.

He knew that just because he and Kyle were a couple didn't mean he shouldn't look once in a while. The problem for him was that he found himself doing it more often as time went by. Now it had gotten to the point where he began to wonder how long it would be before he did more than just look. When Kyle casually scratched his nose in his sleep, a smile replaced Richie's frown as he put these thoughts out of his mind. As much as he was concerned about this, he wasn't going to let it spoil the long weekend.

Rolling onto his side to face his lover, Richie untangled his morning hard-on from the bed-sheet and stared at Kyle's half-covered 'hockey players' body. At 16 years old, he hadn't grown any since last winter, and Richie suspected that he was probably done growing, already reaching his full adult height of about 5'11''. Even though hockey season had ended months ago, his body remained well toned and fat free at 180 lbs., his muscles as strong and firm as ever.

The only real change Richie noticed was that his blonde hair, which Kyle had frosted on the ends two months ago, was getting darker, and was a light brown color now. Although Richie had seen his teammates nude many times, and even Kyle's teammates on occasion, it was Kyle's body that turned him on the most. Of course, his deep blue eyes and perfect white teeth that complimented his 'teen-model' face might have had something to do with that, too.

Feeling his usual horny self, Richie began to squeeze his slim, five and a half inch hard-on with his right hand while he snaked his left one under the sheets in search of Kyle's. When his hand reached its intended target, he was a little surprised, but not at all disappointed, to find it lying soft against his left thigh. Actually, Richie was kind of glad to find Kyle in a non-aroused state. Although he had seen Kyle's dick countless times over the past six months, both hard and soft, he had never before felt it when it was flaccid. This new experience was sort of a turn-on for Richie, but as expected, it was also short-lived.

After only a couple of gentle squeezes, Kyle's dick began to respond, growing quickly into a full-size erection. As Richie slipped his hand through Kyle's pubic hair, then down to his large, almost hairless balls, Kyle began to wake up.

"It's time to get up, Nature Boy," said Richie quietly as he slowly stroked both of their cocks.

The name 'Nature Boy' wasn't in reference to Kyle's state of undress now, but rather a pet name that Richie began to call him since their snowmobile trip through the woods last winter.

"I can't get up much more that I already am," said Kyle.

He remained motionless on his back with his eyes closed while he enjoyed the feel of Richie's touch.

"Oh, I don't know about that," said Richie with a grin as he began to pull the sheet from Kyle's body.

"You are one horny guppy, aren't you? Well, if you're planning to do what I think you are, you better stop and let me up instead, cause unless you want a mouth full of something other than cum, I gotta take a piss first."

After he said this, Kyle sat up and looked down at Richie. This time when he spoke, there was a more serious tone to his voice.

"Besides, we talked about this last night, remember? Didn't we agree to no sex this morning because we have too much work to do before Kevin and Lindy get here?"

"Yeah but... "

"No buts, Guppy, a deal's a deal. With your hormones out of control, if I didn't take a firm stand on this, we'd never get out of bed, and nothing would get done."

"Oh bullshit," said Richie as he rolled onto his back in disappointment, "I'm not that bad."

There was silence in the room as Kyle got out of bed and started for the bathroom. Just as he was leaving the bedroom, Richie spoke again.

"Am I, Kyle? Am I really that bad? Am I like... too horny or something?"

Noticing genuine concern in Richie's question, Kyle suppressed his laugh into a smile as he turned to look at him.

"If you're wondering if there's something wrong with you, Rich, the answer is no." Smiling even more, he added, "Hell, I can't think of anything wrong with being horny."

From the look on Richie's face, Kyle could tell that he still wasn't convinced. So, despite the fact that he had to piss really bad, he walked back into the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed next to him.

"Look, Rich, as far as I know there's nothing unusual about a guy your age being horny all the time. It's all a natural part of your body's development. So don't worry about it, man, just go with the flow, OK? Besides, I kinda like it when you're horny all the time."

As an afterthought, Kyle reached over and squeezed Richie's hard-on through the sheet as he smiled down at him.

"Just be thankful that Kevin's slap-shot didn't make it impossible for you to be the horny guppy that you are."

This last remark made Richie smile, but only slightly before he became serious again.

"If there's nothing wrong with me, and you like it when I'm horny, then why do you keep bringing it up all the time? It's like I'm bugging you when I feel horny."

"C'mon, Rich, you gotta know I'm just kidding whenever I bring it up. To tell the truth, I'd have to say I'm even a little jealous of it."

Still not convinced there was nothing wrong with him, but knowing that Kyle was trying to make him feel better, Richie smiled up at him.

"Well, you're not so bad in the horny department yourself... for an old dude that is."

"Yeah," said Kyle as he gave Richie's hard-on a final squeeze, "Well, this 'old dude' is gonna kick your 'young guppy' ass if you don't get out of bed and help me get some work done around here."

With that said, Kyle stood and went into the bathroom to relieve his painfully full bladder.

Once Kyle was gone, Richie reached for his stiff member while he wondered if what Kyle had said was true. Maybe he was worried about nothing, and it was natural for him to be so horny at his age. It just seemed that ever since his best friend had shown him how to jack off, he's been obsessed with sex. He was always thinking about it, and it seemed as if his dick was hard more often than it was soft. Kyle didn't know it, but it was because of Richie being horny so much that the two of them came up to Gull Lake a day ahead of Kevin and Lindy.

Tomorrow was the 4th of July, and the four boys had been planning this trip to Kyle's cabin for weeks. The last time the four of them were here together was for three days between Christmas and New Years. Since they had so much fun during that trip, they immediately decided to plan a similar trip in the summer to celebrate not only the 4th of July, but Richie's 15th birthday on the 6th.

Of course, when they first brainstormed this adventure last winter, no one had a clue as to who would be working a summer job. As it turned out, Kevin and Lindy were the ones that were working. Kevin was working full-time at the Home Depot, a huge home improvement supplies chain, and Lindy was working part-time at his dad's shop where Richie's brother Carl worked.

It took both boys a lot of pleading, and in Kevin's case some deal-making, for them to get Wednesday through Friday off. Finally, just two days ago, they both happily announced that they had succeeded. Although Lindy wouldn't have to work again until Monday, Kevin had to agree to work the following Sunday as part of his deal with another employee. There was an unexpected bonus to all of their wheeling and dealing though; they both managed to get a jump on the holiday weekend by getting off at noon on Tuesday, the 3rd.

Because of this extra half-day, during their final planning session they originally agreed to ride up to Gull Lake together, leaving as soon as Kevin and Lindy got off work. Just before the meeting broke up however, Kyle reminded them all that they would be killing two birds with one stone during this trip. This meant that in addition to kicking back and having fun, they would have a little work to do in opening up the cabin for the rest of summer.

After Kyle explained that this meant putting in the boat-dock and the swimming raft, launching the boat, and checking the operation of the seldom used air conditioner, 'always horny' Richie tossed out his idea. Although his primary motivation was to be alone with Kyle as much as possible, he didn't want to mention that to the others, so he took a more practical approach. Since neither he nor Kyle had jobs to worry about, Richie suggested that they could go up on Monday, a full day ahead of their friends. That way they could get most of the work done on Tuesday before Kevin and Lindy drove up to join them late that afternoon.

The prospect of not having any work to do on their days off appealed to both Kevin and Lindy, so they quickly agreed to the idea. Realizing that with the exception of the raft, all of the work could easily be done by two people, Kyle also agreed, so Richie's plan was accepted.

Richie could hear Kyle running the shower now, and as he lay in bed, slowly stroking his stiff member, he smiled at the deviousness of his idea. It's not as if he'd lied to anybody, he just didn't volunteer any unneeded information. However, despite the omission of his true motivation, he thought Kyle might have gotten a little suspicious last night when they were getting into bed.

After arriving at the cabin in the late afternoon, they quickly stored their gear, then kicked back with a few drinks to unwind from their trip. They each drank a few 'beamers', a drink made from Jim Beam and Coke that Kyle introduced Richie to last winter. Not only did the alcohol help them to relax and loosen their inhibitions, it also loosened Richie's tongue a bit. So when he practically attacked Kyle as they got into bed, and said how he had been waiting for this moment since their last trip meeting, Kyle momentarily stopped him to make him agree to the 'deal'. They would have sex that night, but in the morning they would get up early and get started with their chores. Well, in Richie's state of mind, he would have agreed to anything short of castration in order satisfy his immediate lustful needs, so the 'deal' was made.

'Man,' thought Richie, as he continued to stroke himself, 'This being horny all the time is like a double-edged sword. On the one hand it got Kyle into bed with me last night for some awesome sex, but on the other hand, I was so horny I had to agree to no sex this morning.'

"Oh well," he sighed, "life is full of compromises."

This thought would later prove to be much more prophetic than Richie could have imagined.

Suddenly realizing that the constant stroking was bringing him close to an orgasm, he picked up the pace a little as he wondered if jacking off violated the 'deal'. Before he had time to sort it out, as if he even cared at that point, he went over the edge, spewing his boy cum all over his stomach and chest. Being so wrapped up in his thoughts, not to mention the intensity of his orgasm, he hadn't noticed when the sound of the shower fell silent. When finally he came down from his orgasm, he opened his eyes and saw Kyle. He was standing in the doorway with a towel wrapped around his waist looking down at Richie while slowly shaking his head.

Without saying a word, he scooped up his clothes from the floor, grabbed a clean pair of boxers from his bag, then left the room, closing the door behind him.

'Whoa,' thought Richie, 'I guess maybe jacking off was a violation.'

After he quickly cleaned himself up using yesterday's underwear, Richie left the bedroom and headed for the bathroom. As he walked across the corner of the main room of the cabin, he glanced around for Kyle. Not seeing him anywhere, Richie assumed he was in the kitchen, and that he was probably pissed.

Feeling guilty and a little dejected, Richie quickly began to take his shower. As he stood under the invigorating spray, he worried for the second time that morning if being horny all the time might be abnormal after all. In spite of what Kyle had said, his being so horny was a problem, and judging from the look on Kyle's face a moment ago, it just might be fucking up this trip before it even got started. In order to make things right between the two of them, and to make sure that he didn't spoil this trip for the others, Richie vowed to control himself. He would even become celibate for the next three days if necessary. Although he grimaced at the thought, and hoped that he wouldn't have to go that far, he was fully prepared to do whatever it took.

Once he'd brushed his teeth and dressed in a clean pair of boxers, blue jeans, and a white T-shirt, Richie padded barefoot into the kitchen. There he found Kyle, fully dressed and preparing his famous breakfast of scrambled eggs and OJ.

"You making enough for two, bro, or are you too pissed to want me to eat with you?" asked Richie, half joking, half serious.

"I'm not pissed at you, Rich... and yeah, there's plenty here."

"You sure you're not pissed at me? I mean, it's not as if I wasted a lot of time or anything, ya know. All I did was jack off while I waited for you to get out of the shower."

"I know, don't worry about it."

"For real?"

"For real," said Kyle as he turned to face Richie for the first time, "now get the OJ out of the fridge would ya, these eggs are just about ready."

When Kyle said nothing more before turning back to the stove, Richie went to the refrigerator to fetch a carton of orange juice. As he pulled two glasses from the cupboard and filled them up, he wondered what was bothering Kyle. He was sure that he wasn't pissed at him, the 'for real' comment they exchanged a moment ago confirmed that.

'For real' was sort of a final confirmation signal that all four boys began using last winter. It meant that whatever was said, was in fact true, and need not be questioned further. This confirmation was very helpful since the four of them joked around with each other so much that it was sometimes hard to tell when a remark was a serious one, or just a joke.

As he sat down to wait for Kyle to finish with the eggs, Richie continued to wonder why he was so moody lately. He knew it was part of Kyle's nature to be unpredictable, and that he had some issues that he chose to deal with in his own way, but lately his sullen moods became more frequent. When Richie first noticed this a few months back, he asked him about it, but Kyle just shrugged his shoulders and said it was nothing. Rather than pressure him any more at the time, Richie decided to let it go, figuring that Kyle would eventually tell him in his own time, and in his own way. Lately though, his mood swings were happening more frequently, so Richie decided to confront him about it again as soon as he felt the time was right.

A moment later, his thoughts were interrupted when Kyle served up the eggs. Wanting to break the deafening silence in the kitchen, and lighten Kyle's mood if he could, Richie asked about the work they planned to get done.

"So, ya think we can get everything done except the raft before the guys get here?"

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure we can," said Kyle, "as long as we don't run into any major snags along the way."

"Like what kind of snags?" asked Riche between forkfuls of eggs.

"I don't know, like a flat tire on the boat trailer, or the motor won't start. Shit like that."

"Whoa," said Richie, "I never thought about anything like that."

"Well, that's why I wanted to get going early, just so we'd have some extra time in case something like that happened."

Feeling properly admonished, Richie said, "I see what you mean. Look, I'm sorry I let my little head out-think my big head this morning."

"Hey, don't worry about it, Rich," said Kyle with a trace of a smile on his lips.

"No, I'm serious, man. No matter what you say, my 'hornyitus' is a problem sometimes. It's like I need to take some reverse Viagra or something. You spose there is such a thing... like 'Stiffy-Not' or 'Boner-Be-Gone'?"

Pleased to see that Kyle was smiling more, Richie continued.

"Seriously, Kyle, I promise to control myself for the rest of the week. I won't even so much as grab your crotch for the next three days if that's what it takes."

Seeing Kyle's smile widen into a grin, Richie added an afterthought.

"You better not wear that new Speedo I gave you for Christmas though, or all bets are off."

This last statement was too much for Kyle to endure and he exploded in a fit of laughter, blowing chunks of half chewed scrambled eggs all over the front of Richie's clean T-shirt.

Momentarily stunned by the food peppering, Richie quickly recovered and the two of them spent the next few minutes laughing about it.

After they were finished eating, and Richie and the kitchen were cleaned up, Richie pulled on his shoes and socks before the two boys headed for the garage to begin their chores.

"So, what do we do first?" asked Richie as they skirted around the Suburban to get into the garage.

If Kyle answered right away, Richie never heard it as once again he was awestruck by the contents of the two-stall garage. Even though this was the third time he'd been to Kyle's cabin, he was still amazed by all the winter and summer toys the garage contained.

"Yo, Rich, ya with me, bro?"

"Um, oh, yeah, say what?"

"I said I wanted to check the trailer tires first in case we need to fill 'em."

"Oh, right," said Richie as he got back with the program. "So, how do we fill 'em if they're flat?"

"Well, they're not flat," said Kyle as he returned from the far side of the trailer, "but if they were, we'd just fire up the compressor in the corner over there and fill 'em up."

"Oh, of course, how stupid of me," said Richie, looking to the corner that Kyle had indicated, "I should have known you'd have a compressor in here somewhere with all this other stuff."

At that remark, Kyle shot Richie a hard stare that was cold enough to put out a lighted match.

"Whoa," said Richie, "sorry man. From now on, no more spoiled rich-kid jokes, I promise."

Shaking his head but smiling now, Kyle led the way back out of the garage.

Richie was smiling too. He loved the way he always managed to get a rise out of Kyle with his 'rich-kid' jokes. He always meant them in good fun, but he was also careful not to push it too far and risk pissing Kyle off, or worse, hurting his feelings like he did last winter.

"What now?" asked Richie as he followed Kyle back to the cabin.

"Time to test the waters."

"Test what?" asked Richie as they kicked off their shoes by the back door.

"The water. We're gonna put in the boat-dock next, so get your swimsuit or cutoffs and sandals on, cause we're gonna get wet."

"Cool," said Richie as he stripped off his shirt on the way to the bedroom.

'Swimsuit or cutoffs,' pondered Richie as he looked into his bag at his Speedo and cutoff Levi's. He quickly decided on his cutoffs because for some reason he thought his Speedo would look dorky up here in the north woods. He also liked the feeling he got from wearing his cutoffs without underwear, and his dick started to stir at the thought.

'Control yourself,' thought Richie with a smile as he dropped his blue jeans and boxers to the floor, 'This is about work, not sex.' As much as he tried to concentrate however, his dick was still half hard by the time he had his cutoffs zipped up and buttoned.

Kyle had also decided on cutoffs, and after they slipped on their sandals they were headed shirtless for the front door. As soon as they stepped outside, Kyle stopped suddenly, as if he'd just remembered something.

"What?" asked Richie as he stopped himself just short of running over Kyle.

"Sunscreen, bro. We don't want to turn into crispy critters, do we?"

"Oh, right, I'll do you if you'll do me," answered Richie.

Digging the sunscreen from his bag, Kyle looked at Richie with a suspicious grin.

"What?" asked Richie, "I'm talkin about the sunscreen, man. I told ya, I'm under total control here."

Once all of their exposed body parts were covered with lotion, they were finally ready to head down to the lake where the beached boat-dock waited for them.

Even though Richie had been here twice before, both times were during the winter when the lake was covered with ice and snow. Although he thought it looked beautiful then, it didn't begin to compare to how beautiful it looked to him now. Rather than stop at the boat-dock with Kyle, Richie continued on to the edge of the water where he looked out across the vast expanse that was Gull Lake.

The wind was light, coming in from the Northeast, and it was just strong enough to create the gentle waves that lapped relentlessly at the rock strewn shore. It felt warm and gentle against Richie's face, and when it would occasionally gust, or briefly change directions, it ruffled his hair and brought the refreshing scent of fresh pine to his nostrils. All of the sights, sounds, and smells that Richie experienced now, made him realize how beautiful nature really was, and how small he felt in comparison.

Suddenly his reverie was interrupted when he felt something touch his shoulder. When he turned his head, he saw that it was Kyle, and he was saying something to him.

"Yo, Rich... you OK, man?"

"Um, yeah, sure, I'm OK."

"You sure, bro? Ya looked a little spaced out there for a while. I mean, like you didn't even hear me calling you a minute ago."

"Really?" asked Richie, "Sorry, I guess I was just blown away by all this. I mean, it's like... I don't know... I've just never seen anything so beautiful before. Ya know what I mean?"

"Yeah, I do," said Kyle as they stood side by side and looked across the lake. "I know exactly what you mean. This place has always had that effect on me, too. Kinda makes ya feel small, don't it?"

"Yeah, it does... it really does," sighed Richie.

"C'mon, bro," said Kyle a moment later, "Gull Lake is always gonna be here, but if we don't get this boat-dock in, we have two friends that'll kill us before morning."

"You're right," said Richie with a chuckle, "let's do it."

With that, they quickly dragged the boat-dock down off the bank and halfway into the water.

"Holy shit!" cried Richie when he found himself standing knee-deep in the spring fed lake, "This is fucking cold, man. Whose idea was it to put this boat-dock in, anyway?"

This outburst caused Kyle to laugh so hard that he lost his balance and almost fell into the water.

"Hey, chill, bro," he said, once he'd regained his footing, "you'll be fine once you get used to it."

"Chill?! That's the fucking problem, man, I'm already chilled."

"Aw, c'mon ya big wuss. Help me drag this thing out further so we can get it set."

"What d'ya mean? You telling me it has to go in deeper?"

"Well, no, I guess we could leave it here... If we didn't want to put the boat on it, that is. C'mon now, let's go, the sooner we get this in the sooner you can get out. God, what a wuss."

With that said, the two of them had the boat-dock in and set in less than ten minutes. As Richie watched Kyle begin to walk back toward shore, the devil entered his head. With a gleam in his eyes he thought, 'Call me a wuss, will ya?' Since he was now used to the temperature of the water, and feeling recklessly bold, Richie charged at Kyle from behind, splashing him as he went. The shock of the cold water hitting his body was all too evident as Kyle arched his back and screamed so loud the residents of Benson must have heard him from all the way across the lake.

Though not fully recovered from his shock treatment, Kyle turned to face his attacker where he returned his splashing with a vengeance. When finally they were within a foot of each other, too close for their splashing to be effective, Kyle lunged at Richie, carrying him over backwards into about three feet of water. The cool temperature of the water now forgotten, they wrestled and dunked each other repeatedly until they were both completely exhausted.

Standing in waist-deep water to catch their breaths, Kyle said, "OK, Rich, so you're not such a wuss after all. Let's call a truce and get back to work, agreed?"

"Agreed," said Richie. "What's next?"

"Well, I don't know about you, but the first thing I'm gonna do is get some dry clothes on. Then I thought we'd hook the boat up to the suburban and pull it over to the boat landing."

"Sounds good to me," said Richie through chattering teeth.

Once they were out of the water, they wasted no time in getting up to the cabin and out of their wet cutoffs. Richie even surprised himself when he found that he could watch Kyle towel off his naked body without getting aroused. For the first time that day he thought that maybe there was hope for him yet.

"Ya think we'll have time to get the jet-skis in the water, too?" asked Richie with excitement in his eyes as he pulled on his Levi's.

"You're just dyin to get on one of those, aren't ya, Guppy?"

"Fuckin right I am!" exclaimed Richie, "Never been on one before, and they look like they'd be a blast."

"Oh, they're a blast alright... and yes, we'll get 'em in right after we get the boat launched."

"Yes!" exclaimed Richie, unable to suppress his enthusiasm.

The jet-skis that Richie was referring to were two top of the line Sea Doo personal watercraft that were stored along with the rest of the toys in the garage. Jet-ski was sort of a generic term that applied to all personal watercraft of this type since they had no propeller, but instead were driven by a powerful jet of water pumped through a nozzle at the rear of the machine.

Once they were dressed in their blue jeans and T-shirts again, they decided to take a short break. It was just past eleven when they sat down at the kitchen table to snack on some chips and a pair of Pepsis. They still had at least four hours before their friends would arrive, so they had plenty of time to launch both the boat and the jet-skis, as well as check out the air conditioner.

"You better keep your cell phone handy from now on," reminded Richie.

"Oh, yeah, you're right. I almost forgot about that."

As was prearranged, Kevin and Lindy would be driving up as far as Harry's Sport Shop on Hwy. 18 near where the Jacobson's private road branched off to the cabin. Once there, they would call Kyle on his cell phone to come and pick them up in the Suburban. Because of the condition of the private road, and since they wouldn't need two vehicles at the cabin anyway, Kevin would leave his car parked at Harry's for the remainder of the week.

Once they finished the last of the chips from the small bag they shared, Richie and Kyle downed the rest of their Pepsis, then headed back to the garage.

"So, where is this boat landing anyway?" asked Richie as he raised the door in front of the big Bayliner boat.

"Well, there's several of 'em around the lake, including the one at the bottom of the last hill on our road. You know, where the road cuts to the left and follows the shore for a while before ending up at the cabin. Anyway, the one we'll use for the boat is right across the lake in Benson. Remember where we took the sleds onto the lake last winter?"

"Yeah, like I could ever forget that day."

"Well, that's the boat landing."

"Cool," said Richie, "I could probably find it myself... if it were winter and I was riding the trails, that is."

Then, remembering the overall condition of the Jacobson's private road, he wondered how safe it would be to pull the boat over it.

"Aren't you worried about pulling the boat over Jake's Road?"

"Ha, Jake's Road," laughed Kyle, "I like that. I think I'll call it that from now on. Maybe I'll even ask Dad if we can't put up a street sign down at the highway.

Anyway, to answer your question, I'm not worried at all. Obviously the Suburban is high enough to handle it OK, and if you'll notice, we have bigger tires mounted on the trailer for just that reason. Of course, it would be nice if we could use the one at the bottom of the hill... it works fine for the jet-skis, but it's just too shallow for a boat launch."

Seeing that Kyle had everything figured out as usual, Richie recalled their snowmobile adventure last winter, and how they had driven their sleds down the middle of Main Street in Benson on the way to the lake. At that time, though, it never occurred to him that they drove onto the lake at a boat landing.

"It's gonna seem kinda weird going to Benson by road this time," said Richie in a matter-of-fact tone.

"Well, pay attention when we drive over there cause you're gonna have to drive the truck and trailer back here after we launch the boat."

This statement hit Richie like a ton of bricks. Although it was obvious to him now, it never before crossed his mind that he would have to drive the Suburban, or any vehicle for that matter, much less pull a trailer.

"Um, Kyle?"

"Hold that thought, Rich," said Kyle as he climbed behind the wheel of the truck, "Now guide me in to the trailer while I back this puppy up."

Before Richie could say anything else, Kyle was backing the truck up, so he guided him to within a half inch of the trailer tongue.

"Good job," said Kyle as he jumped down from the truck to look at the alignment of trailer hitch and trailer.

"Now, what were you gonna say?"

"Um, did I hear you right? Did you say I would be driving the truck back here after we launch the boat?"

"Well duh, how else do you think we're gonna get it back here?"

"I was afraid you were gonna say that," said Richie, his voice edged with genuine concern.

"What's the problem, man? You do know how to drive don't ya?" asked Kyle as he lowered the trailer onto the towing ball.

"Kyle!" said Richie, his concern evident in his voice, "In case the memory part of your brain is on vacation, I'm not even fifteen yet. I don't have a driver's license!"

"Yeah, I know... but ya still know how to drive, don't ya?" asked Kyle as he hooked the trailer lights up to the truck.

"What d'ya mean, man? I don't even have a learner's permit yet."

"I know that," said Kyle as he stood to face Richie, "but you have driven a car before, haven't you?"

"Well, I backed Carl's car out of the driveway once, but I wouldn't exactly call that driving."

"You mean to tell me that you've never driven a car around on the streets before?" asked Kyle, now becoming concerned about their predicament himself. "I don't suppose I need to ask if you've ever driven a boat before, either."

"Hell no," said Richie as he looked at the big Bayliner, "I haven't even backed a boat out of the driveway."

In spite of their current problem, both boys found themselves laughing at Richie's last remark.

"Shit," said Kyle when he became serious again, trying to think of a solution.

"Um, Kyle?"

"Yeah, Rich?"

"Well, um, I guess I did drive a car... once."

"I knew it!" shouted Kyle, "I mean, what almost fifteen year old kid hasn't driven a car at least once. So, tell me about it. Whose car did ya steal?"

"I didn't steal anybody's car," said Richie defensively, "We... I mean I just borrowed it." This part of his answer was in a lower and slightly guilt ridden tone.

"Yeah? So, whose car was it and who helped ya borrow it?" asked Kyle with a grin on his face.

"OK, I'll tell you, you fucker, but you gotta promise not to tell anyone else. If my parents ever found out, I wouldn't be able to get my license till I'm thirty."

"Hey, bro, my lips are sealed," laughed Kyle, "So tell me about it. No, let me guess. It was you and Lindy, and you snuck your dad's car out one night and drove it all over the neighborhood, right?"

"No," exclaimed Richie, "You are like so wrong, man."

After a very brief pause, Richie continued in a quieter voice.

"It was Lindy's dad's car, and we drove it all over town that night, too, not just the neighborhood."

"Whoa, that is so cool. My Richie has a dark and hidden past and he isn't even fifteen yet."

"Hey, c'mon, man, it ain't that big a deal. I mean, no one got hurt, or caught, we didn't wreck the car... and we got it back as if nothing happened. That's why ya gotta promise not to say anything, cause it's like nothing happened, OK?"

"Sure, Rich, no problemo. At least we know you can drive, so let's finish up here and get this boat in the water."

"Well, wait a minute, dude, I still don't have a license, ya know. Besides, it's been a while since we did that, so I'd have to say my driving skills are probably a little rusty."

"Shit, not to worry, bro. There's like one cop for every five thousand acres around here, so you don't need to worry about getting stopped. And as far as your driving skills go, you can drive over there with me riding shotgun and get in some practice. It's cake, man."

"You always have everything figured out, don't ya, Kyle?"

"You know I do, Rich. Now grab the garden hose off the wall and hook it up to the faucet by the corner of the garage while I pull this baby out."

"Why?" asked Richie, "We gonna wash the boat before we launch it?"

"No, doofus, we're gonna hook it up to the motor's water pump so we can fire it up to make sure it runs OK."

As soon as they had the motor checked out, and Kyle was satisfied that it ran like it should, Richie returned the hose to its place on the wall while Kyle checked out the trailer hitch and safety chain. When everything looked to be secure, Kyle leaned into the cab of the truck and tried the headlights, brake lights, and turn signals, while Richie verified that they worked properly.

"All right, Rich, we're all set. Just pull the door closed, hop in behind the wheel, and we'll blow this pop stand."

"OK, it's your truck," said Richie as Kyle climbed into the Suburban on the passenger side.

"So what do I have to worry about," he mumbled to himself while he pulled the door down, "other than our fucking lives, that is."

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