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by Rob Warr

Chapter 1

This story is dedicated to all the homeless LGBTQ youth, and the hope that some of them will find the same kind of happiness Josi did.

My name is Kenny Stevens, and at the time of this story I was 14, almost 15. I guess as far as boys go I'm average. I'm about 5'6", 112 lbs, and I'm pretty fit from riding my bike and stuff. I have light brown hair that gets a little lighter in the summer, and I sort of like how that looks. I guess I'm pretty cute as far as boys go, but I'm not stuck on myself or anything.

I guess one reason I think of myself as kinda cute is cause I sorta compare myself to other boys, and I know a cute boy when I see one. And in case you're wondering why I'm looking at cute boys so much, yeah, it's because I'm gay.

I guess I've known for a long time that I liked boys, and that girls just weren't my thing, maybe as young as 10 or 11, but by age 12 when puberty first set in, I knew for sure. It wasn't like some big revelation or anything, it was just that I really started noticing other boys then, and I was like, Wow...boys rock.

Was it hard (no not that...ha ha) I mean difficult being around my friends and all those cute boys at school, knowing they were pretty much off limits? Yeah, it first, but then I discovered that not all of them were off limits. Oh, I'm not saying they were gay (well not all of them anyway) but you know how boys are? They're curious about sex, and once puberty starts and the hormones start coursing through their veins, anything can happen.

I guess you could say I sort of took advantage of that with some of my closest buds, and for a couple of years we had a lot of fun trying new things out. Of course as they got older and discovered girls I began to lose them one by one, till there were only a couple of them left to mess around with. That's how I figured out which ones were

One of them was a good friend of mine named Donnie Powell. Donnie was blond, blue eyed, and literally one of the prettiest boys on this earth. God he is And best of all, he's really sweet, and not stuck up at all, and very popular with both boys and girls.

Actually Donnie was the first boy in our school to come out as gay, and you know what? I don't think one single person that knew him cared one little bit. He was just as popular and just as sweet as ever, and he gave me hope that maybe someday I could come out too. But not yet.

The other boy was Rico Morales. Rico was half Hispanic, half black, and OMG was he cute, and a real sweetheart who liked everyone. Black hair, big dark expressive eyes, and a small compact body that was sooo hot. We had PE together in 7th grade and he bout drove me crazy when he put on gym shorts. Those smooth shapely legs, and OMG his feet were so cute. Yeah, I gotta thing for feet.

I think the foot thing started when I was like 10 or 11, and me and my buds used to wrestle. One day this kid named Brian stuck his sock foot into my face, and instead of being grossed out, I popped a boner almost instantly. It was sooo embarrassing, but every time I wrestled with any of my friends after that I'd always notice their feet and grab them whenever I could. One day, Donnie put his foot in my crotch and I knew he could feel my boner, but since we'd sort of played around before, I did the same to him and we massaged each other's boner till we got our tingles. Back then of course our orgasms were dry, but they were still very powerful, and needless to say, that became a part of our regular routine.

Anyway, back to Rico. Rico didn't come out voluntarily, he was sort of outed, by this kid named Evan. Evan was a red-haired kid with freckles, and truthfully, not all that cute, and worse, he wasn't really what you'd call a nice person. He was always making fun of other kids, and bullying the younger ones, and for some reason he started picking on Rico.

Well, like I said, Rico was a really sweet boy, and instead of being upset with Evan, he tried to make friends with him. We tried to warn him, but we couldn't be around all the time, and somehow Rico wound up at Evan's house one day after school, and Evan had an evil plan.

I guess Evan had suspected that Rico liked boys, so he set a trap for him, and led him on to the point that they were seconds away from getting naked. That's when Evan sprang the trap, and two of his buddies came out of the closet in his room (hmm...ironic that the homophobes were in the closet) and he was busted. Of course, Evan said it was all a trick to out him, and poor Rico was left to cry all the way home.

Next day at school, Evan and his buddies began their smear campaign, and before lunch period everyone in school knew about Rico. Fortunately, much as it had gone down with Donnie, most of the kids were very supportive, and Evan and his pals wound up the bad guys in all this.

After that, Donnie and Rico became boyfriends and everyone just accepted that too. It gave me hope that someday I could find a boyfriend too, but as far as I knew, Rico and Donnie were the only two other gay boys in our school.

Before I go on and tell the real story today, the story of how I met Josiah, and all that happened afterwards, I wanna tell you about my folks.

My dad is Brent Stevens, and he's like in his 30's. He's a great guy, and as far as dad's go, he's right up there in the top 100. We've always been close, and there isn't anything I can't talk to him about, and I'm pretty sure that when I finally get the guts to talk to him about my being gay he'll be cool with it. I'm just not quite ready. My dad has his own business, a web design company, and he does so much business that he eventually had to hire some people to help him.

Because my dad is so successful, my mom quit her job as a secretary at an insurance agency a couple years ago, and now she helps dad, and that's pretty cool. They get to work together, and that might not work for some couples, but my folks are like totally in love, and there are never any conflicts.

About my mom, gosh where do I begin? First of all, she is really pretty, tall an slender with just the right, you know? Girly curves, and even though I'm gay, I can appreciate what a beautiful woman she is. But the best part is, my mom is sooo sweet. She likes everyone she meets and she loves kids, so all my friends are like her kids too. I think some of my friends actually have a crush on my mom, but I'd pound them if they tried to make a move on

So, I pretty much got it made as a kid, great rents, great friends, and all the stuff your typical teen could want or need, but there was still this longing inside me to find someone to share my love with. I guess I still had time, after all I was only 14, maybe when I started High School I'd find someone, but for was just me. And to make things worse, ever since Rico and Donnie had hooked up, I didn't even have any buds to do sexy stuff with.

The real story begins in August of last year. It had been a good summer so far, but it was drawing to a close and school would begin in a couple weeks. I'd gone to Florida to visit my grandparents for a couple weeks, but I'd still had time to hang with my buddies and take some short trips with my folks.

One of the things I really liked to do was ride my bike on the River Trail near downtown. Because we lived on the other side of town I had to take the bus to the river, but that was cool, cause they have these racks on the front of the bus and you can bring your bike along for free.

Anyway, it was probably around 4 or so by the time I got to the River Trails and grabbed my bike and pushed it down the ramp at the entrance. This end of the park was called The Boathouse District and they had paddle boats, and you could actually take boat rides on a big boat or on small pontoon like boats. Me and my folks had done that last time we were there, and it was way cool.

There was a really cool man made waterfall across the way, and they'd built this waterway that went under the highway and there was a trail that led all the way around it and to the North side of the river. The waterway was sort of a turn around for the boats at the end, and beyond that there were these huge bronze statues and stuff commemorating the Land Rush and Centennial. Pretty cool stuff, but I'd seen it like a hundred times before, so I was just gonna ride the trail around the inlet, then head out onto the North trail, and ride as far as I could before I got tired.

The overpass is like huge, and the walkway under it is cement and really wide. It was cooler in the shade in the tunnel and I was feeling like super good as I stood up and pumped my pedals to get some speed up. At the end I had to slow down, cause the trail narrowed, and turned to follow the shape of the turnaround, then suddenly I noticed this person sitting on the other side of the turn reading a magazine or something.

At first I thought the person was wearing a brown shirt, but looking closer I could see that that was the color of his bare upper body. He sat there shirtless, and as I got closer I noticed he was wearing long pants, but was barefooted.

Now, as hot as that pavement got, I thought that was kinda weird, but I figured maybe he'd just taken his shoes off to give his feet some air. But as I got closer I didn't see any shoes nearby, and in fact,the only thing near where he sat was a black garbage bag that looked pretty empty.

I was moving pretty slow now, trying to size up this guy and make sure he wasn't like a danger or anything, cause a lot of homeless people hang out in that area, but I didn't feel any bad vibes coming from him and I relaxed some.

As I got even closer I could see that he was younger than I'd first thought, maybe 16 or 17, but probably no older. Not an adult, but not a kid either, if you know what I mean. And then I realized something else, he was crying.

When I'd first seen him I thought he was reading a magazine or something, but now I could clearly see that he was holding a picture and he was crying as he stared at it. He was so caught up in his own sorrow that I don't think he even saw me till I stopped right in front of him and spoke.

"Hi, are you okay?" I said, sincerely worried about him. Not only was he not much older than me, but he was cute too, very cute, and when I glanced down at his bare feet I got a little tingle in my middle.

He just shook his head and wiped at his eyes, but he didn't speak, and I really didn't know what to do at that point. Should I just go away and leave him to cry it out on his own, or should I sit down there beside him and try to find out if I could help him in some way?

Well, there really wasn't much doubt as to which choice I'd make, after all, I had the best rents in the world, and they'd taught me that other people matter, and this dude mattered, and if I could help him, then I was gonna do my best.

I parked my bike to the side and I sat down beside him on the big rock he occupied, and for a minute he just continued to stare at that photo, but at least his crying had stopped for the time being. I managed to sneak a peek at the picture he was holding and I was surprised that it was a picture of a boy, a white boy, and he was smiling and looking very cute. This had to be someone very close to the barefoot teen, but was he just a friend, a step bro, or dare I suggest, his boyfriend?

Nah, I thought, the whole world isn't gay, and this stud probably has girls falling all over him when he's not all sad and stuff. Then I thought, what if he's homeless and this is his piece of turf, and maybe he's gonna be laying his head down over there in the tunnel tonight? and my stomach kind of sank.

I'm Kenny, I said offering my fist to bump, but when he didn't offer his fist I pulled mine back feeling a little awkward and rejected. I was trying to be friendly, why couldn't he meet me half way? Then, just when I'm about ready to give up and ride away, he mutters real low.


At first I almost said, what's that? Then I realized that's his name, and I'm thinking, Wow, that's a super cool name. I've never known anyone named Josiah, cool.

"Glad to meet ya Josiah. Um, sorry if I'm being a pest, but I just saw you here and you looked kind of sad (I didn't mention the tears, a guy's got to have his pride), and I just wanted to make sure you were okay."

"Nothin' you can do, nothin' anyone can do," he said looking defeated, "He's dead, gone...and nothing will bring him back." He cried a little more then, and...I don't know, I just felt like I needed to do something, so I scooted over and I sort of put my arm around him, and he sort of laid his head on my shoulder and cried. We sat like that for a long time as Josiah cried it out, and I have to admit I shed a few tears of my own.

I didn't know the boy in the photo, but the thought of someone so young dying was just sad, and the fact that it made Josiah sad was enough to make me care. Eventually Josiah pulled back and he wiped at his eyes and sighed.

"Sorry," he muttered, "you'd think I'd be over him by now. Crazy white boy," he said sadly.

"Um, I don't mean to be nosy, but what was his name, the boy in the picture?"

"Lane," he said almost reverently, "I used to call him Fast Lane," he laughed sadly, "cause he ran everywhere he went."

"He was your friend, right?"

"Huh, oh...yeah, I guess you could say that," he said, sounding a little uncomfortable, or was it just me?

"If it's not to, um...painful to talk about, what happened to him?"

"It hurts like a sonofabitch, but you been kind to me, so I s'pose you got a right to hear. He shot himself bout two months ago. Died before anyone could even get to him."

"Oh my God, no!" I said in horror, "Why, why did he do it?" I said as more tears came forth.

"That's sort of private I reckon. Not sure you'd understand all that stuff that went on..." he said trailing off.

"Okay," I said, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to pry, but you might be surprised at how much stuff I understand when it comes to friends and stuff."

He gave me a questioning look, and then I saw something change, maybe it was acceptance, or maybe he just decided it didn't matter since I was just a strange boy that he'd probably never see again, but for what ever reason, he opened up to me and told me everything.

"Lane was my boyfriend," he said looking at me to gage my reaction. When I just smiled and gave him a nod, he went on. "His folks hated me, well...hated that I was a black boy sniffin' after their little boy, but it was Lane who started it all. I didn't think I was gay...I mean I'd been with girls and I liked it. Sure, I'd messed around some with my homies and stuff, but fall in love with a boy, huh? No way."

"We knew each other from school, cause he sure didn't live in my neighborhood," he chuckled, "and at first we were just like, you know? Hanging out at school, having lunch together, going for a pop or something after school. Then one time there was this party at this older kid's house and Lane got invited, and he asked me to come along."

"At first I was kinda nervous about goin', cause these were rich white kids, and I didn't xactly fit into their little world, but Lane talked me into it. That boy could talk me into anythin'," he chuckled, then looking somber again, he went on, "So I went, and we actually had a good time. I wasn't the only black boy there, and the white kids seemed to accept me just fine, mainly cause I was there with Lane, I guess...but it was fun."

"After that, we started hanging out more and more, sometimes even at his house when his folks weren't there. I knew I should've felt hurt that he couldn't introduce me to his folks, but I really liked that boy, and like I said, he was sort of in control, and I followed him around like a puppy."

"I really liked him, and he really liked me, but so far we'd never really done anything physical, sexually I mean, then one day at his house he told me that he loved me and he kissed me, right on the lips. Crazy huh? At first I wanted to push him away and tell him that I wasn't no sissy faggot, but you know...that was the sexiest kiss I ever had in my life and I just went with it."

"Well, from there it was all downhill. Eventually we were meeting up at his house a few times a week and really getting freaky, you know? Everything. He really, you know? Getting freaked, and that azzz of his was so hot. He said he only wanted me to do him that way, cause I was the man, and that was fine with me, but I think if he'd wanted my booty, I'd have given it to him without arguing."

"We were in love, and things were going great till we got caught. One afternoon at his house, his folks came home and banged on Lane's bedroom door then just barged in and caught me balls deep in their baby boy's bottom."

"We found out later that the old lady next door noticed Lane bringing a black boy into their house several times, and told them, so they took off work just to catch us. It was a big freaking mess. I got threatened with the police and Lane got grounded, and basically they said that if I ever came near Lane or their house again, they'd make sure me and my whole family were run out of town."

"That's awful," I said laying my hand on his leg. His leg felt warm and firm, and he shivered a little from my gentle touch.

"So, we were miserable, and except for school we didn't see each other anymore. No kissing, no making out, no sex, no loving each other the way it shoulda' been."

"We talked about waiting till we were 17 and just taking off on our own, but Lane said his folks would just hire detectives to track us down, and he was scared, not for himself, but for me. You know how it is with black folks, we can disappear and no one thinks much about it. He said he was afraid he'd hire someone to do something to me or to my we just left things like they were."

"Then one night a couple months ago, Lane's dad lit into him about how he was embarrassing the whole family by taking up with a black boy, only I'm sure he said nigger, and I guess they got pretty loud and someone called the cops."

"So, I guess Lane's old man knows the Police Chief or Mayor or something, and they like tried to file rape charges against me. Against me!...The nigger that raped their poor little white baby," he said sounding hurt and disgusted at the same time. "Of course Lane wouldn't cooperate, and that made his daddy even madder. Then I guess he decided if he couldn't use the law to get rid of me, he'd try to buy me and my family off."

"You gotta understand, my momma is all I had, and she worked hard to put food on the table and clothes on my back, and they offered her more money than she'd make in ten years if she could get me to back off and leave Lane alone."

"What would you have done?" He said, but he didn't wait for an answer before he went on. "I figured me and Lane never had a chance anyway. We couldn't be together like we wanted and needed, and Lane deserved someone who could make him happy, maybe someone his folks approved of, a white boy, so...I broke it off. My momma took the money, and we moved here to this dump of a city, and I never saw Lane again."

"So, what happened. Why did he kill himself then?" I asked, more confused than ever.

"Dontcha see? He thought I sold him out. He loved me more than I ever thought possible, and when I left broke that boy's heart. Course it broke mine too, but I was trying to do what was best for him, and for me, and for my family...but I guess I fucked up pretty good, didn't I? One night his old man started rubbing it in his face how he had got me to dump him for a few dollars, and I guess that was too much for Lane to handle. I wish I'd had a chance to explain, but his dad had made us leave town, and all I got to do was leave Lane a note."

"I actually heard about Lane shootin' himself from a friend of mine back there. He knew me and Lane was close, and he sent me the newspaper article and all, and when I read it I wanted to die too. It was all my fault, dontcha see?" he sobbed, "and know what's even worse? If we'd just waited, we coulda been together when we turned 18, and no one coulda stopped us. So, for 50,000 dollars I sold my soul to the devil, but wanna know something else? That ended bad too. Lane's dad died of a heart attack while he was at the funeral. Yeah, who even knew he had a heart? I guess he loved Lane in his own way, and when Lane died he blamed himself, which he should've, but it was my fault just as much as his."

"So, now all I got are the memories, and this picture." he turned to look at me then, and I noticed again how cute he was. Of course he would've been cuter if he'd smile, but his heart was filled with pain and sorrow, and it would be a while before he could learn to be happy again.

"So, do you live around here?" I said, trying to get past the awkwardness that his story had caused to fall over us.

"Used to, I live here now. My momma married this asshole that's drinking all momma's money away, and he likes to hit on me when I'm there, so I just left."

"Um, I was wondering...where are your shoes?"

"Lost em', or someone stole em'. Not sure. I had em' yesterday, when I woke up today they was gone."

"No way," I said getting agitated, "You need shoes dude, this pavement is brutal, not to mention the stickers in the grass."

"I know, but what am I gonna do?" he laughed, "kill a squirrel and make me a pair?"

He actually chuckled a little at that, and I was right, when he was smiling he was way cuter.

"What size do you wear?" I asked then. I had a plan, but I didn't want to give it away till I was sure he'd be okay with it.

"What? 12 I think. My feet ain't as big as some of my homies are. I had this one friend, he wore 14's when he was like 13 years old."

"Will you wait here for me?"

"How come?" he asked looking amused or something.

"Will you? Please, I promise it will be worth waiting for."

He shrugged then, "I got nowhere to go. I was kinda thinking about going to the Mickey Dees downtown and seeing if I could find some eats, but that can wait."

"I'll take care of that too," I said, quickly jumping up and straddling my bike, "Wait here, please..."

He chuckled, "Okay, bro...I ain't goin' nowhere, too hot to move."

I rode as fast as I could, but fortunately my destination was only a couple blocks away. Right there, practically on the river, and at the edge of downtown was a huge Sporting Goods store, and across the street from it was a McDonalds.

My first stop was the sporting goods store and the shoe department. I was glad now that my folks had given me the debit card in my wallet, for emergencies, they'd said, and I was hoping they would agree with me, that this was one of those emergencies.

I was lucky to find a nice pair of low-cut hiking shoes on sale, and as an after thought I bought a pair of heavy socks to go with it. From there I headed to the McDonalds, and there I got a quarter pounder, some chicken nuggets, large order of fries, and a large soft drink.

I was glad I had my backpack, and I stowed the food and shoes in it, but held the drink, and rode one handed all the way to the river. My heart was beating out of my chest as I headed toward the tunnel, wondering if Josiah would still be there, but as I got closer I could see him standing just a few feet from where I'd left him, this time on the grass which I'm sure was much cooler on his feet.

I was all smiles as I skidded to a halt near him, and he walked over to where I stood. He'd been watching me the whole time as I approached, and he was actually smiling a little as he joined me.

"What you got there?" he asked as I handed him the drink. He took a sip and smiled for real then, and my heart swelled with emotion just knowing such a simple thing had affected him so much.

"There's more," I said grinning, as I pulled my backpack off and dug out the sacks of food.

I handed him the sacks and he just stood there staring at me for a minute.

"What's all this? You didn't have to..."

"Hush, and start eating while it's still warm," I said smiling.

He sat down on the rock again, and spread out the food and gave me a curious look, "You gonna eat too?"

"Nah, this is all for you," I said, but I wouldn't mind having a drink of your Coke."

He looked at me for a second, maybe seeing if I was serious, then he handed the drink to me and smiled, "Sure you don't mind drinkin' after a black boy?" He said grinning.

"You don't have any fatal diseases do you?" I asked, then took a slurp of his Coke.

"Not that I know of, unless being gay is a disease."

"Well, no problem there, cause if it is...I caught it a long time ago, he he."

"What? You kidding me, you're gay?"

"Yeah, why are you so surprised? Just cause I'm so manly lookin' doesn't mean I can't swish a little," I laughed.

"You don't swish, but you're cute enough to be a gay boy," he said grinning.

"Well, thank you, so are you," I said grinning back, "Hey, by the way, just how old are you?"

"16, almost 17, my birthday is November 2nd."

"Huh uh," I said slapping at him. No way, mine's the 3rd. Man, what are the odds?"

"So, you're what, 12 now?" he teased, or at least he better be teasing.

"No!" I said indignantly, "I'm 14, I'll be 15 in November for your information."

He laughed, "Sorry, you look younger, but that's not a bad thing bro. Lane sort of had one of those baby faces. He was my age, but he looked way younger."

"He was cute," I said, remembering the boy in the picture, "I'm sorry that you lost him like that. It sucks that you two couldn't be together, but at least you had love for a little while," I sighed, "sometimes I think I'll never find anyone to love me and to love back."

"Sure you will, cute boy like you, I bet there are lots of boys who'd be happy to call you they're baby," he laughed.

"Oh, is that an offer?" I said before I could stop myself.

He looked surprised, then he laughed, "My chances of that happening are about as good as winning the lottery."

"What does that mean?" I said frowning, "That I'm impossible, or that I'm one in a million...he he."

"It's just...well, you know? I'm not very lucky at love, especially with white boys," he chuckled.

"Well, at least you wouldn't have to deal with homophobic, racist assholes, cause my folks are super cool."

"Oh yeah, so they know you're gay and they're cool with it?"

"Well...not exactly. I mean I'm gonna tell, soon...yeah, soon, when the time is just right, but I just know they'll be cool with it."

He nodded and started on his chicken nuggets then. He'd managed to eat while still keeping up his end of the conversation, and I couldn't help but notice that he seemed to be very mannerly, and he didn't speak like most black kids do. I mean, you know? I'm not being judgmental or racist here, I'm just saying they have their, dialect, is that the word?...and they have certain slang words they use. Oh God, I do sound racist, but I swear I am not racist, I just noticed that Josiah talked, well...just like most of the boys I know.

"Well, that's good to know in case I need a place to crash when it gets cold," he teased, but that got me to thinking about just how horrible his situation was. Homeless at 16, man that was awful, and I just had to find a way to help him fix this.

"Totally," I said finally, "I'll throw down the ladder and you can climb up to my room, and I'll hide ya under my bed till my rents go to sleep...he he."

"Oh, and then what? Do I get to sleep in your bed with you?" he said grinning, and causing me to blush.

", if you behave, he he."

"Well, that's no fun," he pouted.

We were quiet for a while, and I let Josi (that's what I was calling him in my head now) finish his food before I pulled out the other surprise I'd brought for him. When I started fumbling in my backpack, Josi's eyes were on me the whole time, and when I pulled out the sack from the sporting goods store, his eyes went wide with surprise.

"Here," I said, "I hope they fit, if they don't we have till 8 o'clock to go exchange them. There's socks in there too."

", what did you do?" he said, keeping his hands at his side and not taking the sack right away.

"It's no big deal, you needed shoes and socks and I got ya some. Come on, try em' on." and when he still didn't reach out to take them, I gave him my famous puppy dog eyes and said, "Please Josi," Oops, I slipped and his eyes jerked open and he looked at me like he'd been slapped.

"How? How did you know?...That's what Lane called me, " he said, his eyes misting over with tears.

Oh God, now I'd done it, but instead of getting mad, Josi took the box from me, sat it down, stood up, and then pulled me into the biggest, tightest hug I'd ever had. Now you might think, being a homeless teen and all that, that Josi might be smellin' a little rank, but no, not at all. In fact he smelled sexy. Kind of a raw, musky scent, that caused a little stirring down below.

"Uh, thanks," I said, blushing bright red and grinning when he finally released me.

"No, thank you. You don't know me, you don't owe me anything, but you went out of your way to stop and talk to me and try to help. I could see that you cared, and that really got to me dude. Now this...I mean, it's just too much..." he said wiping at his eyes.

I shrugged, "Well, my mom and dad taught me to care about people, and I don't know, maybe being gay has made me more sensitive to people's feelings."

"Well, whatever, but bro, I can't accept these, they must've cost a fortune."

"If you don't take them I'll be mad, and you don't want me mad at you, do you?" I said giving him a mean look.

He laughed, "Somehow I doubt you're ever very scary, but seriously, I don't feel right about this. What will your folks say?"

"That I did the right thing, otherwise they've been feeding me a load of bull all my life."

"Your folks sound pretty cool. Any chance they're looking to adopt?" he teased.

"Well, now that you mention it, what would you think about coming home with me?" I said, then quickly added, "I mean, just to meet my folks, and maybe see if they can figure out some way to help you. I just get sick at my stomach thinking about you having to sleep under a bridge or something."

"Nah, I can't man, I'm sorry, but that's too much. It's one thing to have you help me out, but I can't go getting your folks all up in my business. First thing they'd prolly do is call the cops or Child Services."

I sighed, "No, I swear, they wouldn't, but I get why you'd be nervous, about this idea. You just come home as one of my friends and sleep over?"

I thought he was going to laugh himself to death when I told him that, but I didn't get the joke. When he finally got calmed down, he said between giggles, "Dude, you wanna bring home a 16 year old black homeless kid and just expect your folks to say, Oh how nice?" then he started laughing again.'

I guess he saw the hurt look on my face, and he finally figured out that I didn't think it was funny.

"Okay," I said softly, "I get it, you don't trust me, but that's okay. I'm not gonna give up though. I'll come back tomorrow, and the next day, and for as long as it takes till you finally trust me enough to let me help you."

"Aww dude, don't get mad or upset," he said frowning, "Come on, smile. I love your smile," he said putting his hand under my chin and looking into my eyes.

God he was cute, those big brown eyes, so warm and expressive, and those lips. God I wanted to kiss those lips so bad, and I had actually started to lean in before I caught myself. I pulled away almost roughly and turned to face the other way long enough to catch my breath and slow my runaway heart.

"I'm not mad," I insisted. "Now, try on those shoes. I wanna see if they fit before I head home."

He seemed to accept that I wasn't going to give up on that one little thing at least, but he was smiling as he brushed off his feet and slipped on the socks. Gosh, even his feet were cute, and I wished I'd suggested I help him with the socks...he he.

The shoes fit perfectly, but he walked around a little just to make sure they didn't hurt his feet anywhere. He said they fit better than any shoes he'd ever worn, and that lately his shoes had either been coming from the thrift store or Walmart.

The sun was starting to go down now, and I knew I needed to get home soon, but I had to make one last effort to get Josi to go with me. I was terrified that he wouldn't be here when I came back tomorrow, and I just couldn't bear the thought of not ever seeing him again. I knew it was kind of crazy to get myself so attached to this strange kid that easily, but I just couldn't help it. We'd connected on some level that I couldn't explain, but it was more than just me trying to help a kid who needed help, this was about making a new friend, and no way did I want to give that up.

"Sure you won't go with me? I have a treehouse, you could sleep out there," I teased.

"Sounds good, but...nah, I better not."

Wow, was he softening, or just kidding? "I could sneak you some goodies out to eat, he he."

"Dude, next you'll be suggesting I climb in your bedroom window after your folks are asleep," he laughed.

"Well...there's this porch thing right outside my window, and a trellis that makes a pretty good ladder. I climbed out one time to go to a party with some of my friends...he he."

"I bet the neighbors would love that, seeing a black boy climbing in your window," he chuckled, "prolly get my sorry ass shot or something."

"All the more reason to just come home with me and enter through the front door," I said. I just had to give it one more try.

"I can't, I just can't," he said sadly.

"Will you promise me something? I mean, I know we just met, but..." I looked away to sort of allow my racing heart to calm down a little, then said, "but...I really like you Josi, and I want to see you again."

At first he just stared at me. Then I saw his face soften, and for one hopeful moment I thought he might be weakening, but he was stubborn, and that look soon passed.

"Why?" he said frowning, "You can't take care of me. I'm not your problem. You did a nice thing for me, just let it go and forget about me, I'm not worth it."

"That's where you're wrong, you are worth it. And as for me, I didn't help you just to make myself feel good, I helped you because you needed help, and it was the right thing to do. Now dammit, you got me caring about you, and if you shut me out now, I'm gonna be really hurt."

"Well, I wouldn't want that," he smirked, "Poor Kenny, got his little feelings hurt," he said acidly.

I recoiled from his sudden outburst and I felt tear sting my eyes, "I...didn't mean to make it sound like it was about me..." I choked out.

"Oh man, I'm sorry," he said reaching out to touch my arm gently, "I...I just never had anyone give a damn before, and I guess it's hard for me to accept that anyone could care."

"Well, someone does, and that someone is me. I really like you Josi, and I want to see you again," I repeated, "Will you promise me you'll meet me here tomorrow, same time?"

He shrugged, "Sure, why not? It's as good a place as any. Might be safer here too. Maybe I can hang onto these fancy new shoes," he chuckled.

"You better, I'm not rich you know...he he."

"Well, heck...I thought I was baggin' me a rich little white boy. Oh well, at least you're cute."

I blushed, but I could tell he was being genuine, and that made me feel good.

"I gotta go now, the bus will be here any minute and my folks will be expecting me. You sure you won't come with me...last chance," I said grinning.

"Tempting, but no...sorry. I'll see ya tomorrow, okay?"

"Yeah, tomorrow," I said giving him an awkward hug. I was tempted to kiss him, at least on the cheek, but I didn't want to freak him out. I'd never taken to anyone as quickly as I had to Josi, but I couldn't deny the attraction, nor did I want to, "Wait," I said digging out my wallet and pulling out the five dollar bill I kept there for emergencies, "It's not much, but if you get thirsty or anything," I said offering him the money.

He just shook his head, "I can drink water if I get thirsty. I can't take your money. You've already done too much."

I should have known that was too much. I should've just left things where they were, but I had to try to do one more thing, now he was looking upset.

"Okay," I said pocketing the bill, "I gotta go. See ya' tomorrow...promise?" I said with pleading eyes.

He smiled, "I promised, didn't I? If I make a promise I stick by it."

"Cool, me too. I'll see ya tomorrow, and I'll bring supper, okay. We can eat together."

I rushed off to meet the bus then, and once I had my bike loaded, I found a seat and relaxed a little. I hated leaving Josi all alone back there in the park, but what could I do? I couldn't force him to come with me, but at least he'd agreed to meet me tomorrow. If I could just talk to him again, I was sure I could convince him to come home with me and let my parents help him, I just needed time, that was all.

Despite Josiah's promise to meet me tomorrow, I still worried that he'd just move on, get as far away from this crazy white boy as he could, and do his own thing, but deep inside I just knew that Josi wouldn't lie to me.

My folks noticed right away that something was up with me, but they didn't nag me, they never do. They knew that if I had a problem I couldn't handle that I'd eventually come to them with it, but they gave me the freedom to try to solve it myself if I could.

I picked at my dinner and kept staring off into space, barely aware of my parents trying to pull me into the dinner conversation. I answered them with one word replies or nods, but still they didn't press me to spill whatever was bothering me.

I helped clear, and was loading the dishwasher without being asked when my mom came up behind me, placed her arms around my neck, and kissed the top of my head. That wasn't quite as easy these days since my mom was only about an inch or so taller than me now, but it felt good to know she still thought of me as her little boy.

"You know if there is anything you need help with that your father and I are here to help."

"Yeah, I know, thanks, but I think I can handle this thing by myself," I said, not bothering to deny that I had something on my mind.

"All right, but the offer stands, day or night," she said kissing me again.

I thanked her, then went off to take a shower and get ready for bed. I hadn't gotten much bike riding in today, but my encounter with Josiah had drained me emotionally and I needed some down time. I showered and slipped on a pair of boxers, and just lay across my bed fiddling with my phone and thinking about Josi.

Those eyes, those lips, the soft smooth skin of his chest as he hugged me tight, sigh, and those smooth shapely feet. Gosh, I sure had it bad for this boy, and I'd only known him for a few hours. Was I interested in helping him for his sake, or for mine? I wondered. Was I maybe seeing him as a potential boyfriend? Nah, that was crazy. He was just a nice, good looking boy, who happened to need help, and I was just getting emotionally involved because that was how I was raised.

I had a dream that night, and when I woke up it was still fresh in my mind, and unlike some dreams, I could remember every detail of this one. Josi and I were laying in the grass by the river, ducks and geese were swimming on the water, the sun was shining, and it felt warm on our skin. And there was lots of skin, cause we were both naked.

I remember looking over at Josi and he was smiling and looking so cute, but my eyes started wandering down from there. They lingered on his well defined chest, his hard little nipples, his abs, his flat tummy, and then...down to his wiry patch of black pubes and what lay below it.

I'd always heard that black guys were bigger down there than us white guys, but in my dream Josi was just average I guess, about the same size as me, but there was something different about his penis. It took me a minute to figure it out, then it dawned on me what it was, Josi was my dream anyway.

I'd like to say that we got sexy from there, or at least kissed, but that was all there was. Me looking at Josi's naked body, and then I was awake and sweating and hard as a rock. I actually had to take care of my boner before I could get back to sleep, and I came really hard. After that I was able to get back to sleep, and there were no more dreams that night.

In the summer I like to sleep in, but that morning I was up by 9, and mom acted like she was surprised to see me before

"Well, you're up early. Did you sleep all right last night?

"Yeah, actually I did," I said grabbing the cereal and milk.

"I can fix you some pancakes or something if you'd like, honey," my mom offered.

"Nah, I'm not really that hungry."

"Okay, well...I'll fix you a nice lunch later. Right now I've got to run to the bank and take care of some business."

"How come you're not at work?" I wondered.

"I took the day off, and was just waiting for the bank to open, but I'm not in any rush if you change your mind and want some breakfast."

"Nah, you go ahead. I might go over to Joel's house today. His folks put in a pool and he invited me over to try it out."

"Oh, that sounds fun. Well, be careful," she said kissing me on the top of my head. Then grabbing her purse, she left me to eat my cereal and think about things.

I called Joel to make sure it was cool if I came over, and he said some of our friends were already there and to come on over. I slipped on a pair of board shorts beneath a pair of basketball shorts, and I was off to Joel's.

Joel lived in Piedmont Terrace, which was a newer edition than the one we lived in, but only about a mile away, and the two neighborhoods were connected so I didn't have to get out on the main road. It took me about 20 minutes to get there, and I was plenty sweaty and hot by the time I arrived.

Joel had told me to use the gate at the side of the house and just come on back when I got there, and he met me at the side of the house.

"Cool, Kenny's here!" he yelled to our friends, and I waved at the group in the pool.

There was Mark and his girlfriend Cally, Billy and Paul, and a girl named Marta that I only knew by sight and name. They were all my age except Cally who was a year older, but still in our grade because she had been left back at some point in her academic She was a sweet girl, and she and Mark were like the ideal couple and the envy of their friends.

I slipped off my shorts and tee, and showered off in the little bathroom off the mudroom before getting in the pool. It wasn't an Olympic size pool or anything, but it was fairly large, and at the deep end it was 8 feet deep. There was no diving board, but there was a slide which was kind of fun even for sophisticated teens like

I shot the bull with my friends and we caught up on our summer, and I got to know Marta a little better. She was from Germany originally, and was blond and blue eyed, and very pretty, and she seemed nice too. If I'd been interested in girls that way, she would have certainly been girlfriend material, but it was still nice just talking to her.

After a while, we all got out and had sodas and snacks and talked some more, laughing and joking around like kids do. That's when Joel pulled me aside and told me that I'd better be careful around Marta, that she was boyfriend hunting. He said she'd told Cally that she thought I was cute, and Cally had told Mark, and Mark had been all too happy to share the news with Joel.

"She seems nice," I said, "but I'm not looking for a girlfriend right now," I insisted.

"Or ever," Joel chuckled, and I gave him a dirty look.

"Why do you say that, butthead?" I said, trying to laugh it off.

"Come on Kenny, how long have I known you?"

"Uh, I don't know, since third grade I guess. What does that have to do with anything?"

"Dude, I'm totally cool with it, don't get me wrong, but I've never seen you take any interest in a girl before."

"So, what does that mean? Are you accusing me of something?" I said angrily.

"Whoa, calm down, let's take a walk, okay?" he said, not bothering to wait for an answer as he took my arm and led me into his backyard.

There was this wooden Gazebo near the back fence, and he steered me there and we sat down. I noticed the others giving us weird looks, but no one said anything. After all, this was Joel's house, and his rules.

"Dude, I love ya like a brother, and if you dig boys, I'm cool with it."

Wow, that was unexpected. Am I really that obvious? I wondered.

"Why do you think I like boys?" I stuttered, still trying to dig my way out of this mess.

Joel sighed, "Bro, I'm not accusing you of anything, I'm telling you it's okay if you do swing that way. Remember when we were like 11 or 12 and we used to spank the monkey together? Well, you were always a little more into it than I was, but I was cool with it. It felt good, and I would've still been doin' it if you hadn't stopped it when you did."

"So, are you saying you're gay?" I said, putting it back on him, "Cause if you are, I'm cool with it," I said smugly.

"NO, dude...I'm not gay, well...I'm pretty sure I'm not. NO, I'm not...I like girls. I've dated some real hotties too. I'm still packing my V card, but I'm hoping," he said crossing his fingers.

"Look, can we just not talk about this right now?" I begged, "I got some things on my mind, and I came over here to relax and enjoy myself, not to be cross examined about my sexuality or something."

"I'm sorry dude. I didn't mean to upset you, I was trying to be supportive. If you ever do decide to talk to me about this stuff man, I promise I'll be there for ya, and I won't judge ya. I'm cool with you dude, no matter what," he said putting his arm around my shoulder and bumping heads with me.

Joel was a hottie, that was for sure, blond, with the prettiest green eyes you've ever seen, and a body to die for, but at that moment all I wanted to do was put as much distance between him and me as I could.

"I just remembered something I have to do for my mom," I said pulling away and hopping up, "Thanks for inviting me over. I'll see ya later." I was back with the others, pulling on my shorts and tee before Joel could react, and saying goodbye by the time he caught up with me.

The others didn't seem too upset that I was leaving, well maybe except Marta, who insisted on giving me a hug, and that made me even more determined to get away. Joel followed me out and was still apologizing as I grabbed my bike and threw my leg over it.

"Please dude, talk to me," he pleaded, "I'm sorry. Tell me you're not mad at me. Call me later, okay?"

I managed a smile then, Joel was a good friend, and I was sure I could trust him, I just wasn't ready for this quite yet. "Yeah, I might be busy this evening, but tomorrow for sure. Enjoy the pool and have fun. Tell everyone I'm sorry I had to go, but I do have something I have to do."

"Okay, cool, and Kenny," he said giving me a shy smile, "You're a stud no matter what."

I smiled too and waved as I rode off. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad having Joel know the truth about me. Maybe it would be nice to have a straight friend I could confide in. I'd have to do some thinking about that one, but for now I had someone else on my mind, namely Josiah, my barefoot teen from the river.

Mom was back, and when I came in the back door she asked me if I had a good time. I told her it was fun, but I had some stuff to do and was going to go take a shower and change. When I returned she had lunch laid out and I realized that I was actually pretty hungry. My breakfast of cereal and the snack I'd had at Joel's hadn't lasted long, and I needed to refuel.

As I sat there eating the turkey and Swiss sandwich mom had made for me, I couldn't help but wonder what Josi was doing right now. Was he hungry, did he have anything to eat today, or was that food I gave him last night all he'd had? It was depressing, and almost enough to ruin my appetite, but I knew I needed to keep my strength up if I was going to be any good to Josi, so I forced myself to eat.

"Honey, do you need anything?" mom asked suddenly. It was sort of an open-ended question and at first I almost said no. It could be construed as an opportunity to open up and tell her what was on my mind, and maybe get some help with it, or it could be an offer to give me some kind of support to let me work it out myself.

"Well, would it be asking too much to ask 20 bucks without explaining why I need it? You can take it out of my allowance a little at a time if you want."

"I'm sure it's for a good cause, and I think you're worth taking a risk on," she chuckled. She got up and got her purse and laid a crisp 20 dollar bill on the table then sat back down, "Is that enough?"

"Yes ma'am, for now," I said, "Thanks. It's for a good cause, that's all I can tell ya right now."

"All right son, but I hope that soon you can share a bit more with me about what's going on with you. I'm not going to nag you about it, but I wouldn't be a good mother if I didn't worry about you having to deal with whatever this is alone. I know you're a smart and resourceful young man, but just don't bite off more than you can chew."

"I won't, I promise. I'm hoping that after today I can, um...tell you what's going on, but I'll have to wait and see."

"Oh, well...when will you know?"

"At dinner time," I said taking a bite of my sandwich and chewing slowly to buy me more time.

"All right. Are you going to the river again today?"

"Yep, and I might go a little earlier today. Think you could drive me?"

"Yes honey, I have nothing else going on. I'll be glad to."

We finished lunch and I puttered around in my room till time to go. I usually went between 4 and 5 and stayed till dusk, but today I just couldn't wait to get there and see if Josi kept his promise to meet me again. At 3:30 I had mom drop me off at the River Park, and I grabbed my bike out of the back of her van and waved goodbye.

She'd agreed to pick me up as well, and I promised to call her when I was ready to go. I was hoping I wouldn't be alone this time though.

I debated whether to go grab some food first, but I really wasn't hungry, and if Josi didn't show up I sure didn't want to waste money on food I wouldn't have the stomach for. Instead I road over to the tunnel, but as soon as I got closer I was disappointed to see that Josi was nowhere in sight.

Calm down, I told myself, it's early. Did I even tell him what time to meet me? I wondered, feeling panicky now. Maybe he'd come early, and when I didn't show up, he'd thought I'd stood him up. Oh damn, why didn't I make better plans?

I coasted to a stop by the huge rock where I'd first found Josi sitting and crying softly, and felt like doing some crying of my own. I was so distraught that I didn't even see Josi approaching from up the hill where the Bronze statues were, until he was close enough to holler at me.

"Hey, bro...Kenny," he said, and I spun around to see his cheerful smiling face as he rushed my way.

I wiped at my eyes, and my whole face was filled with a smile as I rushed to meet him half way. I just couldn't help myself as I threw myself into his arms and hugged him like we were the last two remaining survivors of the Titanic.

"I was afraid I'd missed you," I said burying my face in his warm sweet, musky neck...mmm.

"Dude, calm down," he laughed, "but he didn't pull away, in fact I think he liked what I was doing, and suddenly his arms went around me and he was pulling me closer.

Was that? Nah, surely not, I thought as he pressed against me. Well, if it was, it wasn't average, that was for

I pulled back a little just so I could look in his eyes, and said, "I missed you. I sorta had a dream about you last night," then I blushed and he chuckled.

"What kind of dream, a sexy one?" he said, causing me to blush.

"No, course not," I said, "but we, naked."

"Oh, well...then the nasty was gonna happen. What happened, did you wake up with your drawers full of cream?...ha ha."

"Noooo," I said pulling away, "Don't be mean. We were just laying there in the grass, naked, and I was just..." but I couldn't finish, I was blushing too hard and tongue tied all of a sudden.

"Okay, I believe you. Course you wouldn't want to mess with a ugly dude like me," he teased.

"God," I said shaking my head, "If you're fishing for compliments,'re cute, and sexy, and sweet too."

"Oh wow, are you sprung for me little dude?" he said grinning.

"Nooo..." I said blushing even deeper, "I just...I know a cute boy when I see one."

"Hey, watch who you callin' boy," he warned, but he was grinning.

"Okay, man then, is that better?"

"Yeah, so what's up wit you today?'

"Well, I thought we'd go get something to eat. I see you managed to hang onto your shoes," I chuckled.

"Hey, I'd have kicked anyone's ass who tried to take these kicks from me. I mean, these came from my baby boy...he he."

"Oh, I'm your baby boy now?" I said grinning, "So, it's okay to call me boy is it?"

"Yeah, cause I mean it with love," he said looking serious.

I blushed even deeper. At this point I must look like a tomato and I'm feeling a little goofy. Maybe that's why I said what I said next.

"I love you too," I blurted out, then I tried to backtrack, but he wasn't having none of it, "I a know?" he he.

"I know what you meant," he sighed, "Cause I feel it too, but it can never be that way with us."

"What do you,, mean?"

"Look at us, a rich white boy and a homeless black boy. Same damn situation I got into before, and look how that turned out. I don't want to have another death on my conscience. I'm poison when it comes to white boys, I need to just leave that stuff alone."

I was kind of hurt at first, but then I realized this wasn't about me, it was about Josi and what he'd gone through, was still going through. I could see why he'd be afraid to try again so soon, especially with someone so much like his last love, but things would be different this time if I could just make him see that.

"I'm not asking you to marry me," I said, making it into a joke, "just be my friend. Is that too much to ask, or are you prejudiced against us white boys? I added grinning.

"You know that's never gonna be enough," he said grinning, "you done seen me naked and you know you gonna want more."

"Correction, I dreamed of you naked, I haven't actually seen you that way," I laughed.

"Same thing," he sighed, "just don't get your hopes up, that's all I'm sayin'."

"So, what sounds good...for dinner, I mean?" I said changing the subject, "You had Mickey Dees yesterday, how about pizza tonight? There's a place in Bricktown that has great pizza."

He grunted, "I don't think they'd be too happy to see a homeless guy show up and smellin' up the place."

"Oh, well," I said, embarrassed that I hadn't thought of that before. Even though he was wearing a shirt today, he was still sort of rumpled and dirty looking, "I've got it. I said grinning as I whipped out my phone. Then calling Pizza Hut, I ordered a large pizza, pausing only long enough to ask Josi what kind he liked, and gave them the approximate address. I told them I'd be waiting in the parking lot, what I'd be wearing, and to make sure they knew I wasn't just a prank call, I paid for it in advance with my debit card. I'd also ordered a two liter of Pepsi and asked for a couple of plastic glasses to be thrown in. The guy who took my order was super nice about it, and I felt really good when I finally hung up.

I pushed my bike while Josi walked along beside me, and we waited in the shade for the delivery guy to show up. About 30 minutes later I saw this car pull into the lot and it had one of those plastic Pizza Hut things on the roof and we walked out to meet him.

I tipped the guy the five that I had in my wallet, then thanked him and he left. There are some tables under the pavilion by the bathroom and stuff, and Josi and I sat down and I poured us some Pepsi. Fortunately the pop was cold, cause we didn't have any ice, but we drank most of the two liter with our dinner.

I only ate a couple of pieces of pizza, saving the rest for Josi, cause I figured he was hungry if he hadn't eaten since last night. He ate slowly, like he was savoring every bite, and I found myself watching him when I could get away with it, and just enjoying being with him.

"What, do I have sauce on my face?" he said suddenly wiping at his lip to make sure.

"What? Uh, no...sorry," I said blushing, "I just...I just like looking at you."

"I told you, don't go fallin' for me," he chuckled, but I think he was flattered by my comment.

"Too late," I teased, "you have that effect on boys like me."

"Hmm...boys like you huh? What kind of boys is that, rich and white?'

"Why do you keep calling me a rich boy?" I frowned, "do you think just because I can spend a little money to help a friend, that I'm rich?"

"A friend? Bro, you don't know me at all. How you gonna call me a friend?"

"I give up," I said wadding up the napkin I'd been holding and standing up, "I gotta pee, I'll be right back."

The bathrooms are locked, and there is a keypad, but guess what?...I know the code...he he. So I typed in the code and went inside, but I didn't let the door close all the way. I don't know why I did that. If I was expecting, or hoping that Josi would follow me, or if I was just being careful, I don't know.

I was almost done relieving myself when I heard the door open, then slam shut. I turned my head to see Josi and he was smiling.

"Don't know how you got in here, but I ain't gonna pass up the opportunity to use a real bathroom," he said as he moved up to the other urinal. Unlike most mens rooms, these urinals had no dividers, and Josi wasn't trying to hide anything as he unzipped and hauled out his junk.

I almost gasped as his beautiful cock came into view, and I felt a shiver run through me as I saw that, just like in my dream, Josi was uncut. And you know what else? He wasn't much bigger than I was down there, and probably only bigger because he was older. Either that rumor about black guys being better hung was a myth, or...he was a grower and not a shower, or...he just didn't have his full growth yet.

"Stare much?" he said, bringing me out of my stupor, "Was it everything you dreamed of?" he chuckled.

"Uh, actually...this is kind of embarrassing, but I dreamed it looked, that you know? Uncut, and stuff...and you are."

"What? No way, really? That's weird. Are you like psychic, or did you peek yesterday when I wasn't lookin'? he laughed.

"Neither, I...I don't know how I knew that."

"Well, it's not that uncommon where I grew up. Lots of babies born at home, and no doctors to do the deed, so most of us still got our skin."

We were done peeing, but there we stood, holding our limp noodles in our hand, but they wouldn't be limp for long if we kept staring at each other that way. I looked up then, and our eyes met, and for the first time I saw Josi blush. It was a lot more subtle than my own blushing due to his skin color, but I could tell that he was blushing, and it was so cute.

"Uh, better put these away," he giggled, "or we might get into some trouble here."

"Yeah, not that I would mind," I said, blushing too, "but it's a little soon for that, don't you think?"

"Yeah, prolly not a good idea," he said, slowly stowing his junk, "Would it be rude if I asked you to...uh, leave me alone in here for awhile so I know...defecate? It's been awhile since I've had a real bathroom to go in."

Defecate? I had to think about that a minute, then when I realized what he meant, I blushed yet again. "Oh sure, no problem, I'll just go back out, make sure no one carries off our pizza and stuff..."

I washed my hands really fast, not even bothering to dry them, and as I exited, I saw Josi head toward the back stall.

Josi had closed the pizza box up to keep the flies out, and I just sat there sipping Pepsi and waiting, and thinking about what had happened at the urinal. How could I dream about Josi's junk and get it so right in the dream? Was I psychic, or was it just a lucky guess? It was weird, but exciting to see I'd been right, and I blushed thinking about what I'd like to do with that beautiful piece of meat. OMG, did I just write that?...Ugh, I'm such a slut

Josi had taken advantage of the running water in the bathroom, and he'd washed up a bit, having even removed his shirt to do so, and his chest was still glistening from water droplets and it looked so sexy.

"That's the worst part of being homeless," he said sitting down, "not being able to shower or use a real bathroom."

"All the more reason to come home with me," I said grinning. "The offer still stands. You can come home as a friend and just spend the night, or...we can tell my folks everything and you can stay a lot longer."

"You're not gonna give up, are you?" he sighed. Then he smiled, "You know, I really wish things could work out like they do in those stories on Nifty and shit," he said surprising me a little. I mean, really, he reads those stories too?...he he. "But life ain't like that. There ain't no happily ever after for guys like me. I'd just cause you more trouble than I'm worth and you'd wind up hatin' me."

"Why would you say that?" I whined, "I could never hate you. I know it sounds weird, I mean us meeting like this and all, but I really care about you. You don't have to like me, or love me...or anything, just let me help you, that's all I'm asking."

"You know, I almost didn't show up today, but I made a promise, and I keep my word. Sometimes it's all a guy has left, his word, and I gave you mine. You do things to my head, you make me think that maybe things could be different, but in the end, I know ain't nothin' gonna change unless I make it happen. No one else can do it for me, you understand?"

"It's not wrong to let someone help you. Most everyone needs help now and then. There's no shame in accepting a hand up every now and then. You're 16 years old, you're not supposed to be out on your own and trying to survive. I couldn't do it, and you shouldn't have to. But together we can do something about it, but you gotta trust me."

"And then what? I move in with you and your folks? Do we share a room, a bed, are we gonna get freaky? Am I gonna be yo live in boyfriend, yo nigger stud, there to service you when you're horny?"

I felt like crying, but I tried to stay calm. Josi was trying to push me away, and I thought I knew why. He was as smitten with me as I was with him, and he was trying to protect his heart, and maybe mine as well.

"Well, as good as that sounds," I said grinning, "I don't think my folks are quite that understanding. We'd probably have to sneak around...he he."

At first I thought Josi was gonna get angry again, but suddenly he started laughing so hard he could barely sit up. I joined him after awhile, but I didn't really think it was all that funny. It was just meant to relieve the tension and defuse the situation, and I guess it worked.

"Can I think about it one more day?" he said when he finally got his laughter under control.

"How do I know you won't just take off running as soon as I leave here tonight and I never see you again?" I asked feeling desperate.

"Cause my word is good, I've done proved that. If I say I'll be here, I'll be here."

"Okay, it's a deal then. Now, eat your pizza, I don't want you getting all skinny on me," I said grinning.

He opened the box and pulled out a piece of pizza and took a bite, then with a smile, he offered me a bite, and I made sure to bite it right where he had, just to show him that I wasn't afraid of his germs. He chewed quietly, and I saw him relax for the first time all evening. I wondered what that meant, was it good or bad? Had he made up his mind already, and waiting till tomorrow was just stalling? I guess I'd have to trust him to keep his word and see what happened, but it wouldn't be easy.

We cleaned up the mess we'd made, then just sat and talked till it was time for me to call my mom. I tried once again to get him to go home with me, or at least meet my mom so he could see what a great person she was, but he just said, Tomorrow...tomorrow, I'll decide.

I rode along in silence, as we drove home. I thought about Josi spending the night under a bridge, or on a park bench, and I felt a little like blurting out the truth, and begging mom to go back and help me convince Josi to come home with us, but I'd given my word too, and I would stick by it.

Tomorrow, I'd know tomorrow.

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