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What We Are

Richie's Story

by Richie Ryan

Chapter 18: Love and Passion

As if to some silent, mystical tune, the shadows danced around the main room of the cabin as the logs in the fireplace crackled and popped among the flames that surrounded them. These flames, the same flames that directed the shadows through their limitless movements, were reflected in the eyes of the two teenage boys - two boys who were not yet men, but would never again be children.

Feeling the strength of Kyle's arms around him, Richie listened to the steady rhythm of his heartbeat while he gazed into the fire, thinking about how good his life was right now. He knew he had many obstacles waiting for him as he grew older, but he had no doubts that he would be able to deal with them whenever they decided to raise their ugly head. He felt excitement mixed with relief when he thought about coming out to Lindy. He was excited by the prospect of being able to share how he felt about Kyle with his best friend, and relieved that there would be no more secrets between them.

His thoughts about coming out to Lindy quickly reminded him of another small problem, one called Kevin. He was certain that Kevin would be happy for him, rather than jealous, that he'd found someone to share his love with. After all, even though he and Kevin were very close friends, their relationship wasn't based on their love for each other. They had shared their friendship, and their sex, but they had an understanding that there was no commitment beyond that. Besides, by his own admission, Kevin was still attracted to girls. So, unless he changed in some way, and found that he was more gay than straight, there could never be anything more between them.

No, his relationship with Kevin wasn't going to be a problem. The only thing that Richie could think of that might get a little sticky, was that Richie's lover was Kevin's best friend. Even if that wasn't going to be a problem for Kevin, it would surely be a surprise. Richie actually smiled to himself as he pictured Kevin's face when he found out.

Another thought that entered his mind was how Kyle would react when he found out about what he and Kevin had done. 'Shit,' thought Richie, 'Even a TV soap opera plot doesn't get this complicated'. As with Kevin, he was sure that Kyle wouldn't be mad, or jealous. What he and Kevin had done happened before there even was a Kyle and Richie. Maybe the best thing would be to tell them both at the same time - or better yet, have them find out at the same time, without Richie telling them. That thought gave him an idea.


"Yeah, Rich?" answered Kyle as he turned his head to look into Richie's eyes.

"Promise you won't freak when I tell you something? At least wait until I'm finished before you do?"

"Must be something bad if ya think I'll freak."

"No, it's not bad... just promise me, OK?"

"Sure, I promise."

"I think you should come out to Kevin. I mean, you said you've been thinking about it for a long time, and that you even almost did it a couple of times, and right now I can't think of a better time to do it. After all, he is your best friend, and you gotta be dying to tell him about us. I know I can't wait to tell Lindy. So, what d'ya say, sound like a plan?"

"Oh, man, I knew you were going to say that," said Kyle as he tipped his head back and looked at the ceiling. "I didn't know when, but I knew that sooner or later you were going to say it, and I hoped I would have an answer ready before you did. Well, I'm sorry, but I don't have an answer yet, and I don't know why. I mean, it should be a no-brainer right? It's just like you said, he's my best friend, and I really want him to know that I've finally found someone that's become a very special part of my life, but for some reason I can't bring myself to do it."

Tipping his head forward again to look at Richie, he finished, "I'm sorry, Rich, you're just gonna have to be patient with me on this one until I figure it out. That's all I can tell you right now, OK?"

Richie knew that Kyle was right on the edge of deciding to tell Kevin. This caused him to wonder if he should push him a little by telling him that Kevin would be cool with it, and why. Even though this seemed like a good way to bring everything out in the open, he remembered how he had wrestled for so long with his own demons concerning Lindy. So, thinking it would be best for Kyle to come to terms with this in his own time, he decided to take a 'wait and see' approach. Besides, since he was going to come out to Lindy, regardless of what Kyle did, he could always ask for Lindy's help in figuring out what to do about the other two.

"Sure thing, bro," said Richie with an understanding smile. "Take as long as you need, I won't push ya. I will say this though... I'm sure Kevin will be OK with it. He's pretty cool about stuff like that, and I got a feeling you'll be surprised at just how cool when you tell him."

"Yeah, he is pretty cool, all right. Just about the coolest dude I know... after you that is," he said with a smile as he playfully punched Richie in the shoulder.

"Ya think?" said Richie as he grabbed their empty glasses and headed for the kitchen. "If you say so, Nature Boy."

"Nature Boy," called Kyle, as Richie disappeared around the corner, "Where the hell did you get that one from?"

Richie didn't answer, but just smiled instead as he made them both fresh drinks. When he returned a few minutes later, still smiling but remaining silent, he put both glasses on the coffee table, then went to the fireplace to add a couple of logs.

"You better start talking, Guppy. Where did that Nature Boy shit come from?"

Deciding he'd had Kyle dangling long enough, Richie turned to him with a wide grin across his face.

"I saw you out on the trails today, pointing out all the wild life shit to me. You know what I mean, the deer signs, and the million or so animal tracks that you could identify. Were you like in the boy scouts, or a Junior Wood Chuck or somethin?" he asked, as he returned to the couch.

"Oh, that," said Kyle blushing slightly. "Nah, I picked that up from my dad mostly, I guess. We used to spend a lot of time in the woods when I was younger. We'd take the sleds in the winter, or the dirt bikes in the summer, and cruise all over the trails out there. We'd even go on long hikes together so we could be real quiet and watch the animals doing their thing in the woods. It was a lot a fun."

"Sounds to me like your dad's pretty cool."

"He is, but we haven't done anything like that for a long time... not since my mom died."

Seeing the wistful look on Kyle's face, and hearing his words, Richie was saddened that the conversation had taken this unexpected turn. As bad as he felt for him, he knew that there was probably nothing he could do or say to help him. Finally, he decided to see if he couldn't lighten things up a bit.

"Well, take it from me, bro... all ya gotta do is get him up here, just the two of you, and I'll bet you're back out in the woods before ya know it."

"I don't know, Rich. We come up every spring and fall, to open or close the cabin, ya know... and all he wants to do is get the work done and head right back."

"Well, all I know is that I had a good time. Especially when we were doing that air thing."

Looking at Richie, with first a puzzled expression on his face, then a big grin when he understood what he meant, Kyle said, "Oh, you mean 'Catching some air', you goofy guppy."

"Yeah, that's it. Well, hey, I'm still new at this, man, so cut me some slack, would ya?"

"For being new at it, you sure learned fast."

"That's because I had a good teacher... and I'm not just talking about snowmobiling, either," said Richie, with a devilish grin.

"You are so sexy when you talk like that," said Kyle as he stood and stretched. "Ready for another drink?"

"No," answered Richie as he stood up next to him and put a hand on his shoulder, "Let's go to bed instead."

When they reached the bedroom, both boys quickly stripped down to their boxers. Just as Richie reached for the waistband of his, Kyle stopped him by pulling him into his arms. Holding each other tight, their now hard cocks pressing against each other through the cotton of their underwear, they ran their hands over each other's back. As they kissed, they ground their mouths together, their tongues fighting for supremacy. Soon, through some unspoken agreement, they began to take turns exploring each other's mouth, their tongues first poking at the inside of their cheeks, then gliding over the surface of their teeth.

As they did this, Kyle's hands found their way to the waistband of Richie's shorts and quickly slipped beneath to the lithe round globes of his ass cheeks. While Richie took over control of the battle of the tongues, exploring the inside of Kyle's mouth, Kyle spread his cheeks with his hands. He then slid his middle finger through the crack until he found his anus, pressing against it, causing Richie to moan from deep within his throat.

Passion and lust now consuming both boys, Kyle broke their kiss. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he slipped Richie's pre-cum soaked boxers to the floor. Then, as he squeezed and kneaded Richie's balls with his left hand, he wrapped a fist around his rock hard cock with his other, slowly stroking it with a vice-like grip. His muscles tensing, his passion mounting, Richie thrust his pelvis forward into Kyle's fist in slow but aggressive strokes, moaning as more pre-cum was milked from his piss slit.

At this point, the actions of both boys became intense and aggressive as their lust overtook them. After coating his middle finger with ample amounts or Richie's pre-cum, Kyle reached between his legs and slid it through his crack to his anus

As Richie grabbed Kyle's hair in both of his hands to drive his dick into his mouth to its base, Kyle sank his moistened finger into Richie's hole all the way to the second knuckle. The brief moment of pain that Richie felt as he did this, was quickly replaced with pleasure as Kyle's finger began to attack his prostate.

With almost animalistic lust, Richie pulled Kyle off his member by his hair and pushed him back onto the bed. After nearly ripping his boxers off, he spread Kyle's legs, lifting them from behind his knees until they were raised above his stomach. While Kyle held them there, Richie knelt down in front of his puckered hole. As he groped and fondled Kyle's dick and balls with his hands, Richie covered his anus with his mouth, lavishing it with his tongue, coating it with generous amounts of saliva.

While Kyle moaned with pleasure, Richie penetrated his sphincter with his tongue and began to bathe its insides. After just a moment of this, he coated his index finger with spit. Then, while he sucked one of Kyle's loose hanging balls into his mouth, he buried this finger into his hole and began to massage his pleasure spot. A moment later, Richie removed his finger, paired it with his middle finger, then slipped them both into Kyle's waiting love tunnel. Richie loved the feel of Kyle's warm rectum on his fingers as his sphincter muscles flexed, clamping tightly around them each time he poked at his prostate.

Richie was surprised when Kyle suddenly lowered his legs as he sat up on the edge of the bed, forcing him to remove his fingers. Looking up at him from the floor, he was disappointed that Kyle had broken the moment, but at the same time he was concerned that maybe his aggressive use of two fingers had caused him pain.

"What's wrong, did I hurt you?"

"No, Rich, it felt great."

"Then why... "

"I want you to fuck me, Rich. I want to feel you inside me."

"Oh, I don't know, man... you know I've never done that before. What if it hurts? I couldn't stand it if I hurt you."

"I haven't done it before, either, but I want to do it now... with you. Besides, you've had two fingers in me already, and that felt great... besides, I've got some KY lube in my bag, so how could you possibly hurt me."

Richie thought about this for a moment. Things weren't happening exactly the way he'd pictured them. He had hoped to get Kyle to do him first, not the other way around.

A little unsure of himself, Richie said, "If we do this, you gotta promise to tell me if I'm hurting you... even if it's just a little bit. Promise?"

"I promise," said Kyle with a grin, "Now go get the lube."

Richie wasn't totally convinced since Kyle was wearing that 'Yeah, yeah, sure.' grin of his that meant he wouldn't tell him even if it did hurt. Driven by his own sexual needs, and the desire to do anything Kyle asked of him, Richie decided to comply, but vowed watch his friend closely for any signs of pain.

With no experience or instruction to draw on, Richie retrieved the lube and smeared a generous amount of it on his middle finger. He then reinserted it into Kyle, somewhat surprised at how easily it slipped through the opening. After he was sure there was an ample amount of lube coating his love ring, Richie carefully added a second finger. Once both fingers were deep within his friend, he slowly moved them around inside to loosen up his muscles, all the time watching him closely for any signs of discomfort.

"Oh that feels good," moaned Kyle. "Now put three fingers in, Rich."

"Oh, man, that's gotta hurt if I do that," said Richie, tempted to call it all off.

"C'mon, man, do it!" said Kyle with a demanding tone.

Then, with love and passion in his voice, he added, "It'll loosen me up some more, and I want you in me so bad. Please, Rich?"

Yielding to Kyle's demands, Richie removed his fingers. Adding a third, he began to slowly and carefully insert them together. When first they broke through the restrictive muscles of his sphincter, Kyle's body tensed as he moaned loudly through clenched teeth. These actions caused Richie to freeze on the edge of panic, holding his fingers motionless just inside of Kyle's anus.

A moment later, Kyle relaxed a little. "OK, go in a little more, and move them around while you do it."

Very nervous now, concerned that he might actually cause serious injury to Kyle, Richie did as he was told. Much to his relief, Kyle was soon completely relaxed again, moaning with pleasure as Richie massaged his insides with all three of his fingers.

Moments later, Kyle pleaded, "Now, Rich. Do it now! I want all of you in me now!"

After transferring the remaining lube on his fingers to his penis, Richie positioned himself so that his glans came in contact with Kyle's hole. Then, looking into his eyes and seeing the yearning there, Richie eased himself forward until the tip of is dick slipped past the well lubricated ring of muscle. Kyle flinched slightly at this, his sphincter tightening around the base of Richie's glans. When Kyle almost immediately relaxed again, Richie applied more pressure, and soon the end of his dick passed over Kyle's prostate as he finally bottomed out.

Pausing in order for Kyle to get use to this 'filled-up' feeling, Richie enjoyed the softness and warmth of his rectum as it encased his member. Moments later, he began to move with short deliberate strokes, stimulating Kyle's prostate with each repetition. When Kyle began to moan louder, Richie increased the length of his stroking. Though still slow and deliberate, he was soon sliding his entire length in, then back out again, until only his glans remained within Kyle's warm confines.

Richie's continued massaging affect on Kyle's passion gland soon had him close to the edge. Responding to this, Richie increased the speed of his penetrating movements. Soon, he was slamming his pubic hair into Kyle's ass cheeks as he drove his dick deep within his love tunnel, all worries of hurting him forgotten. Surprised, yet incredibly turned-on by his aggressiveness, he continued to slam into his lover with abandon, the feeling of control he had over the bigger, stronger Kyle, serving to fuel his unbridled passion.

This behavior was not lost on the normally 'in charge' Kyle, either. Every time Richie lunged into him, it brought him closer to orgasm. Every time the tip of Richie's dick passed over his prostate, he would push back on his throbbing shaft, trying to get even more of it inside. It took all of the control his mind could muster to resist the compelling urge to give in - to go over the edge for what he knew would be the most intense orgasm ever. Instead, he gave himself over completely to the younger boy, groaning with mounting pleasure as he drove mercilessly into him with animal-like lust.

Many minutes later, unable, and not wanting to control themselves any longer, both boys reached their climax. Kyle was the first to come, with Richie a heartbeat behind. When Kyle went over the edge, and began to spew his juices onto his chest and stomach, his entire body went ridged. Crying out in pure pleasure, the muscles of his ass ring gripped Richie's member like a vice.

The incredible pressure surrounding Richie's dick allowed him only three more strokes before his body tensed. With a final plunge, and a guttural moan, he began to fill Kyle's rectum with his teenage boy cream. Wave after wave of pleasure swept through him as he emptied his balls, filling his lover's cavity.

Nearly three minutes later, exhausted, all his sperm expelled, Richie collapsed on top of Kyle's sweat and semen coated body as he fought to begin to breathe again. Listening to Kyle's heartbeat slowly return to its normal rhythm as he came down, Richie reveled in the incredible pleasure he had just experienced. He smiled when he thought about how he hadn't just fucked his lover for the first time, but he'd 'fucked the hell' out of him.

Reflecting back on the experience, he learned two important things. First, he discovered that he could be much more aggressive and forceful when making love this way, and second, he learned that Kyle, who was normally in charge of their relationship, liked it when he did so. For those few but incredibly long minutes, Kyle Jacobson, Radison High's strongest and most powerful hockey player, had given himself over to the younger boy completely - he was putty in his hands - and from the way he reacted when they went over the edge, Richie knew that his pleasure had been heightened from the drawn-out intensity of his lover's lust driven lovemaking.

For nearly five minutes, neither boy moved nor spoke, content to lie together and enjoy the feeling each provided the other - Kyle enjoying the fullness he felt from Richie's still hard member within him, and Richie, the warmth of Kyle's insides. As much as they both wanted to remain the way they were, not wanting to spoil the moment, Kyle's legs were beginning to tire and cramp from being held up for so long. When he could stand it no longer, he was forced to lower them. When he did, much to Richie's disappointment, his dick was forced to vacate Kyle's love tunnel. Kyle was the first to speak as he gently stroked Richie's hair while his head lay on his chest.

"Thank you, my love. You just took me to where I've never been before... a place I never knew existed. And as long as I live, I'll never forget it."

Not moving his head, Richie continued to listen to Kyle's heart beat.

"Oh no, Kyle. It was you who took me there. It was you who took us both... and when we got there, I knew that place was ours and ours alone... a place where no one else could take me. I love you so much."

Another ten minutes passed with Richie resting his head on Kyle's chest, while Kyle gently stroked his hair.

"You sleepy, Rich?"

"Mmmm, yeah, but I don't want to move. I don't want to go to sleep, either, cause I'm afraid if I do, I'll wake up and all this will have been a dream and you'd be gone."

"Never happen, Guppy, but we should get a shower and get some sleep. We gotta pack up and go home tomorrow, ya know." Kyle was once again in charge.

"Yeah, I know," said Richie with sadness.

Then, raising his head to look into Kyle's eyes, he said, "OK, but on one condition. Next time, you do me. I want you in me, Kyle. I want to know how it feels to have you deep inside of me, and I want you to know how awesome it feels when you do it. Deal?"

"Deal," said Kyle with a grin. "Now get your guppy butt up and let's get that shower."

When they showered together this time, there was something different about it. Although they had shared their bodies and sex before, the intimacy and love they discovered just a short time ago, had changed them in a way that they could never put into words. They were truly in love with each other now - it showed in their eyes, the way they looked at each other, and the way they felt each other as they washed their bodies.

All too soon the hot water ran low so they had to finish quickly. Before long, they were toweled off and back in bed. Naked, warm, and comfortable in each other's arms, they were soon sound asleep.


It was Kyle who awoke first on this, their last morning at the cabin together. He smiled as he looked down at Richie who was laying on his side facing him, snoring softly as he breathed through his half opened mouth. Lightly brushing Richie's hair from his forehead, Kyle leaned over and kissed him gently on cheek. This caused Riche to stir, to roll onto his back, his morning hard-on tenting the covers.

Fighting off his urge for more sex, Kyle sighed, saying, "Hey, Guppy... it's morning, sleepyhead, time to get up."

"Do we have to," groaned Richie, stretching his arms as his eyes fluttered open.

"Yeah, we do, big boy."

"But I'm already up," said Richie, grinning his devils grin as he grabbed his hard-on and waved it around under the covers.

"I know," said Kyle with a chuckle. "You're always up, but I mean out of bed. C'mon, bro, I'm hungry, lets get some breakfast."

Before Richie could answer, Kyle jumped up and began to get dressed, while Richie remained where he was and watched. When he was fully dressed and headed for the door, Kyle stopped to look down at Richie, smiling his affectionate smile.

"If you're not up and dressed in five minutes, I'm coming back to throw your guppy butt into the nearest snowbank."

With that, he was off to the kitchen to start breakfast. As soon as he was gone, Richie closed his eyes again while he slowly stroked himself under the covers. 'God I'm horny,' he thought, 'I've never been this horny before.' Wanting badly to jack off, he wondered if Kyle meant what he said about the snow bank. Shivering at the prospect, he released his dick, swung his legs over the edge of the bed, and wiped the last of the sleep from his eyes. Minutes later he joined Kyle in the kitchen where he was already preparing the scrambled eggs.

Pouring himself a glass of OJ, Richie sat at the table to watch his friend and lover as he worked.

"Would you really have done it, Kyle?"

"What's that, Rich?"

"Thrown me in the snowbank."

"In a heartbeat," answered Kyle.

"That's what I thought," sighed Richie.

With Kyle's back to Richie, neither boy could see the smile on the other's face. Kyle's was at the thought of throwing Richie in the snow, Richie's was at the relief he felt that he decided not to jack off.

After they finished their breakfast and cleaned up the kitchen, they began to get the cabin ready to close down again before they left for home. Two hours later, they were standing beside the Suburban, looking back at the cabin and the lake beyond. Each boy felt sad that they had to leave, but at the same time, they felt happy about the time they had spent together.

A long minute later, Kyle asked, "You ready, bro?"

"No," said Richie as he looked over at Kyle, a single tear forming at the corner of his eye. "But I know we have to, so let's do it."

Feeling his love for Richie well up inside him as he shared his sadness, Kyle pulled him close and kissed the tear from his eye.

"Oh, Rich," he said as he held him tight, "we'll be back... but even if we never came back here, what we have between us is what's important, and that we'll take with us wherever we go. That's a part of us now, and will always be a part of us."

"You're right," said Richie as he slipped from Kyle's arms and wiped the fresh tears from his eyes.

Kyle stood by and watched with empathy as Riche opened the passenger door, pulled off his jacket, then tossed in onto the front seat. Then he laughed out loud when, just before climbing into the truck, Richie turned to him with a huge grin on his face.

"Well, let's go, Nature Boy. Last one in's a rotten egg."

They rode in silence from the cabin to Harry's where they stopped to say goodbye and pick up some snacks for the trip home. When they pulled back onto Hwy. 18 again, Kyle looked over at Richie, and Richie looked at him, their eyes almost screaming their feelings for each other.

Reaching over to squeeze Richie's thigh as he looked back to the road, Kyle said, "Ya know we're going back to the real world again, Rich, and we're gonna have to be careful... I mean real careful... about how we act around each other."

"I know, and I've been thinking about it all the way down from the cabin. But ya know what? I don't think it'll be a problem, at least not for me, anyway. As long as I know how we feel about each other, the rest is cake."

"God you're special," said Kyle. "And ya know what? If you really think I should come out to Kevin, then I'll do it. I'm not sure exactly when, cause I need to wait for the right moment and shit, but I'll do it soon, I promise."

Richie gave Kyle's arm a reassuring squeeze at this and said, "Good, man, I know you won't regret it."

As they made their way down the recently plowed highway toward the freeway, Richie wondered how well it would go between Kyle and Kevin. He knew they were both in for a few surprises when it happened, and he smiled to himself as he wished he could be a fly on the wall to watch it unfold. He also hoped they would tell each other everything, thus saving Richie from the task of filling in the gaps. Then he thought about Lindy, smiling as he pictured his best friends face when he came out to him, and told him the whole incredible story. All in all, Richie's life had gone through some pretty awesome changes in the last week and a half, but he felt good about himself, and that was the best feeling of all.

Richie didn't sleep at all on the way home, he was too excited and happy to fall asleep. So, he and Kyle spent the time talking about their futures, and the possibilities for their lives after High School. This topic was of particular importance for Kyle since he was a junior with only one more year before he graduated.

"So what college do you think you might go to?" asked Richie.

"College? I don't know, I've never thought much about going to college."

"Say what?" asked Richie. "You've never thought about college? You're a junior, man, how can you not think about college?"

"I don't know. You know me, Rich, I'm just a day to day kinda guy. I don't worry too much about two days from now, much less two years."

"Well ya better start thinking about it now. I mean, what are you gonna do for the rest of your life, live off you're dad's money?"

This remark sounded more hurtful than Richie intended, and it had an effect on Kyle.

"No, asshole, I'll get a job somewhere. I don't need to go to college."

"Look, man, I'm sorry about that crack about your dad's money, but you gotta think about going to college, or trade school, or somethin. Oh, sure, you could spend the rest of your life flipping burgers if ya want, but you'll never make any money that way... and the way you live now, the lifestyle you've come to know and love... well you can kiss all that goodbye, too. Where do ya think your dad got the money to buy the cabin and all those toys you enjoy so much? It wasn't from flipping burgers, I can tell ya that much."

Richie suddenly realized that he was getting carried away a little with his tirade, but he cared for Kyle, and wanted him to be able to get the most out of what life had to offer. They rode in silence for the next few minutes until a calmer Richie spoke again.

"Sorry, Kyle, I'll put my soap box away now... but at least think about what I said, will ya? It's really a no-brainer, ya know."

It wasn't until they reached the freeway that either of them spoke again. Suddenly, just before he made the turn onto the entrance ramp, Kyle stopped the truck in the middle of the road and looked over at Richie.

"Ya know what, Rich? You're right, it is a no-brainer, and I can't believe I haven't thought about it before... but what the hell can I do? I'm not smart like you and Kevin, my grades will tell you that, and I don't have any other skills that I can think of, either."

Still thinking this over, Kyle started to move the truck again. After making sure the traffic was clear, he pulled onto the freeway heading south.

A few minutes after they reached cruising speed, Richie said, "Well, first of all, you're smarter than your grades make ya look, and you got a year and a half to get them up. Second of all, you got at least one pretty good skill Nature Boy."

This caused Kyle to look at Richie with genuine surprise on his face - as if he just had some sort of revelation.

"Don't look so surprised, man," said Richie. "Don't forget, I saw you in the woods yesterday, and I could tell you liked all that nature stuff. Now it's nothing that I could get into or anything, and I have no clue if there is any money to be made in it, but I'm sure you could make a decent living at it. I guess what's important is that it would be something that you like to do.

Anyway, it's something to think about. The first thing you gotta do after vacation is talk to Mr. Palmer, the counselor at school. He can help you sort all this shit out, and put a plan together."

A minute or so later, Kyle looked over to Richie with a smile as he stared at him for a moment.

"What?" asked Richie.

"I was just thinking how lucky I am to have fallen for guy who's as smart as you."

"Hey, I'm no smarter than you are. You just gotta realize that, and set some goals for yourself. You'd be surprised what you can do if you set your mind to it... sorta like that blizzard we beat the other night."

"OK, Dad, I'll remember that."

This remark sent both boys into a laughing jag that lasted for the next several minutes. An hour and a half later, as they approached the northern suburbs, Kyle eased the truck off onto the shoulder of the road. With a sigh, the two boys looked at each other, knowing that they were once again about to leave their private world to enter the real one.

"What did ya stop for, bro?" asked Richie.

Though not necessary, Kyle looked around in all directions to make sure they wouldn't be noticed, then leaned over and kissed Richie on the lips.

"So I could do that," he said as he broke the kiss. "I just wanted to kiss you once more before we got home cause I don't know when I'll be able to do it again."

"In that case," said Richie, "let's make it a good one."

With that, the boys fell into a passionate kiss that conveyed all the love and devotion that they knew they felt for each other.

When they broke their kiss, Kyle gave Richie's leg a final squeeze before easing the truck back into traffic. They pulled into Richie's driveway about twenty minutes later. Looking at the clock in the dash, which read 3:00, Kyle turned off the ignition. The silence seemed deafening inside the Suburban as the two teens sat for a moment, reflecting back on the past two days. Even though they both knew they would be seeing a lot of each other from now on, it seemed that anything they did would pale in comparison to their trip to Gull Lake.

"Well, I better get in and see what's been goin on for the past two days," said Richie, "I'll call ya tonight, OK?"

"Sure," said Kyle, "and don't worry Rich, I'll talk to Kevin soon, and let ya know what happens."

"I know ya will."

Right at that point, Richie had the almost overpowering urge to kiss Kyle before he got out of the truck, but his self control intervened at the last minute. Instead, he lifted his bag and boots over the seat from the back, grabbed his jacket, then simply said goodbye as he slipped from the seat to the driveway. As he watched Kyle back out to the street and drive away, Richie suddenly felt alone and abandoned, as if the very core of his existence had vacated his body, leaving his heart pained and empty.

This feeling didn't last long, however, as his thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a familiar voice calling to him from the back door of Lindy's house.

"Yo, Rich, bout time you got back, bro."

A smile spread across his face, and quickly turned into a grin as he turned to face Lindy, now barreling down his driveway to the sidewalk. His grin became a laugh as he watched Lindy nearly fall on his ass when he turned the corner from the driveway onto the sidewalk.

"Yo, dude, what up, man?" asked Richie as they went through their slap-tap handshake.

"I was wondering when you were gonna get home. So, how did it go? You guys have fun? C'mon, man, tell me about it. Did ya ride the snowmobiles?"

Richie's heart was warmed by Lindy's enthusiasm, his feeling of missing Kyle all but gone now.

"Whoa, Lindy, take a pill or somethin, would ya? Yeah, man, we had a blast and I got a ton a shit to tell ya. C'mon in while I call my mom, then I'll tell ya all about it."

Once inside the house, the boys kicked off their shoes. While Lindy went to the refrigerator to get some Pepsi's, Richie picked up the phone and called his mother at work. The phone conversation was short as Richie simply told her that he was home safe and sound, that they had a good time, and that he would fill everybody in at supper.

When he was finished, he checked the front of the refrigerator for any messages. He found two from Lindy and two from Kevin, all four in regards to when he would be home from Gull Lake. After throwing the scraps of paper into the wastebasket, he grabbed his bag and headed for his bedroom with Lindy close behind. When they got into Richie's room, Lindy set the sodas on his night stand, then turned to Richie with his excitement still in his eyes.

"I gotta take a leak, Rich, but when I come back, you gotta tell me all about it."

Before Richie could answer, Lindy was out the door on his way to the bathroom. While he was gone, Richie began to pull the dirty clothes from his bag and throw them in the hamper. As he did this, he thought about all the things he wanted to tell Lindy, wondering where he should start. Just as Lindy returned, he decided to tell him about the trip first, and save the coming out part for last. That way he figured he could sort of build up to what he thought was the most important part of the conversation.

Popping the top on a Pepsi, Lindy asked, "OK, bro, spill it. What did you guys do for the last two days, anyway?"

Richie started from the beginning and told Lindy about the town of Gull Lake, and how small it was - the cabin, and how big it was - and so on right down the line. When he came to the part about the snow storm, he first swore Lindy to secrecy to insure his parents wouldn't find out what really happened, then gave him all the details.

"Whoa!" said Lindy. "That is so cool! Was it as bad as you say, or are you just bull-shittin me."

"I swear, Lindy, it was just like I said. You should have seen it when we stepped out the back door the first time. You couldn't see shit, man. I mean, visibility was like a big zero."

"Jesus, you guys could have been killed or somethin. Were ya scared?"

"Lindy, I've never been so scared in all my fuckin life, man. But we did what we needed to do, and the rest of the time was great. That's why we stayed another night, we were having too much fun to come home."

"So what about the snowmobiles,? Did ya take them out?"

"Oh yeah. Because of the storm we had to wait until yesterday to go out, but they were awesome."

Richie spent the next forty five minutes or so telling Lindy every detail of his adventure, from riding the trails, to snowdrift jumping on the lake. When he had pretty much finished with the high points of the trip, he filled him in on some of the smaller details.

"They even have a Hot Tub and a satellite TV system with the biggest screen I've ever seen. All the comforts of home, only way up in the woods, ya know? We even drank some Jim Beam and coke, and smoked some weed while we were there."

"No shit? OK then, let me see if I got this straight. You fought off mother nature, you went snowmobiling, watched big screen TV while you drank booze and smoked weed, then sat around in a Hot Tub. So what did ya do for fun?"

This remark caused both boys to laugh as they did their slap-tap handshake. When finally they regained control of their laughter, Lindy smiled as he shook his head slowly from side to side.

"Sounds like Kyle is pretty cool, especially for a rich kid. I know I had a good time at his party Saturday night."

"Oh, he's cool all right, bro. He is way cool."

The tone of Richie's voice piqued Lindy's curiosity. When he turned to his friend for clarification, Richie thought, 'This is it. It's time to drop the bomb.'

"Lindy, you're my very best friend, and you know that, right?"

"Well, yeah. I think we agreed on that when we were like four or five years old. So what about it?"

"Do you remember last week when we were walking to school, and you asked me if I thought you were a sensitive person cause you wondered if I would come to you if I had something sensitive on my mind to discuss? You know, something that I couldn't talk to anyone else about?"

"Yeah, sure, I remember."

"Then do you remember that I said we were like brothers, that I would come to you in a heartbeat if I ever had something like that on my mind?"

"Yeah, I remember... but could you cut to the chase, man... I gotta be home for supper at six."

"Well, I've got something real sensitive and personal to discuss with you, bro."

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