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The Secret Life of Nerds

by Rob Warr

Chapter 2

The Visit

On Friday, the boys got off at their stop and walked the short distance to Philip's house. As before, Mrs. McKinney greeted them then sent them off to the kitchen for a snack. Mildred greeted the boys warmly, and offered them pigs-in-a-blanket and fresh squeezed lemonade. Again Kevin made a big show of telling Mildred how tasty everything was and when she presented them with fresh baked lemon cookies, Kevin took one bite and repeated his earlier accolades.

Afterwards they went up to Phil's room and sat at Philip's desk, going over the math questions at the end of each chapter, and comparing answers. Kevin was careful to mess up once in a while, but Philip was intelligent enough to see through his ruse before too long.

At first he was confused. Why would Kevin pretend to need his help when he was clearly a gifted student? Was it to get close to him, and if so, why? Was he setting Philip up for a fall? Did it have anything to do with the boys he'd been introduced to today? It was all so confusing, but he really liked Kevin, and decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, and not say anything for the time being.

After an hour of studying, Kevin began fidgeting and yawning as if bored. "Can we take a break, maybe swim a while? I'm wearing board shorts under my jeans."

"All right, just let me get changed," Philip said, standing and stretching a moment, "I hope you don't mind but the only swimwear I have are Speedos."

"That's fine, swim naked if you want," Kevin teased, causing the boy to blush.

"I...would if no one was home," Philip said, blushing even redder.

"You're a wild man Phil," Kevin laughed, "better keep an eye on you."

From his dresser drawer, Philip pulled out a pair of fluorescent green Speedos and headed to the bathroom. While he was gone, Kevin slipped off his shoes and socks and removed his shirt and pants, then folded them and placed them on Phil's bed. This left him in a pair of blue and orange board shorts that came almost to his knees. They were last years, and a little snug in the seat and crotch since he'd grown some, but they fit him well enough for swimming.

When Phil returned, he had a huge colorful beach towel wrapped around him from chest to knee and another towel in his hand.

"Here's a towel for later," Phil said smiling. He couldn't believe how excited and happy he was to be going swimming with Kevin, and he hoped he didn't make a fool of himself by doing or saying something stupid.

"Are you naked under there?" Kevin teased as he pretended to lift Philip's towel.

"No," Philip said pulling away, "but my suit is very revealing."

"So? I'm gonna see you sooner or later. What if you wait till we get to the pool and then you whip it off and I'm so overwhelmed by your hotness that I pass out and hit my head or fall in and drown? You gonna take that chance?" Kevin teased.

Philip actually giggled, "I don't think that will be a problem, but if you insist on seeing me half naked I suppose I can accommodate you."

"That's okay, I was only teasing," Kevin said grinning, "Come on Philster, last one in is a rotten egg," he said as he took off running.

Philip recovered quickly and was hot on his heels, but the towel was slowing him down and in a sudden moment of desperation to win, he stripped it off and threw it over his shoulder. As he made it to the bottom of the stairs, Kevin, who had been laying in wait, tackled him.

It was a toss up as to which boy was more surprised: Philip at being ambushed, or Kevin at suddenly having a handful of almost naked boy. As they tumbled to the floor, both were red-faced, but still managed to laugh.

"Got ya," Kevin giggled, "Boy you weren't kidding, that thing is skimpy."

"The idea is that the less suit you wear the less resistance in the water. That's why they're very tight and elastic so they move with your body."

"It looks good on you," Kevin said panting, still holding the half naked boy in his arms.

"Thank you." Philip said, blushing even redder.

Suddenly, Kevin realized how weird the situation was, and he let go of Philip and stood, then offering the boy a hand up, he said, "Come on, let's go Philster."

Although the temperature outside was in the mid 50's, the pool was warm and soothing as they slid in. As long as they stayed in the water they were fine, but as soon as they climbed out to dive, they were shivering.

After swimming the length of the pool, they clung to the side and just floated there and talked.

"Your folks ever talk about wanting another kid?" Kevin asked, trying to sound serious.

"Not really, but I think mother was unable to bear another child."

"There's always adoption, I know this one kid who'd make them a perfect son..."

Philip smiled, he had a pretty good idea who that person was, but he decided to play along, "Oh, really? Well, I could discuss it with my parents if I knew who this child was."

"Huh, oh yeah. Well, he's your age, and a really cool kid, cute too, and polite..."

"Do I know this boy?"

"Yeah, he's in your math class."

"In my math class," Philip said, trying to look as if he was thinking it over. Then a smile filled his face and he burst out with, "Is it Mark Richards? I heard his parents got a divorce..."

"Mark Richards, who's that? OH..oh, I get it. You're making a joke."

"Yes, I think the real boy," Philip giggled.

"Well, can't blame a guy for trying."

As they floated there on their backs, Kevin would occasionally glance over at Philip's crotch. At first he thought he was seeing things, but after a few furtive glances it became apparent that Philip was packing some major junk in his Speedos. Dare he mention it? Kevin wondered, or ignore it and continue to wonder if Philip was hung better than he was?

"Do those Speedos squeeze your junk, or do you wear a jock or something?" Kevin finally said, trying not to sound too interested.

"They have a built in pouch to hold things in place, but I've seen some of the older boys looking as if they were in distress, especially if they became, you know, aroused," Philip said blushing again.

"Aroused? Oh yeah, hard," Kevin laughed, "you ever have that problem Philly Boy?"

"I...I suppose all boys suffer that malady at times..."

"You crack me up Phil. Don't you ever just use regular words, boner, or dick?"

"I...I don't use slang very often. My parents think it's crude and shows a lack of intelligence and upbringing."

Kevin's smile disappeared, "So is that how you feel about me?"

"No, no...not at all. That's what my parents believe. I think the way you talk is just fine, and it excites me a little," Phil confessed, "I like everything about you Kevin," he said looking over at his friend with tears in his eyes, "Please don't be offended by what I said."

"I'm not," Kevin said, touching Philip's arm gently, "I just feel kind of out of place I guess. But I'm loving this pool," he added grinning.

"We should probably go in now, there's a shower just off the kitchen where we can rinse the chlorine off."

The shower was just off the laundry room, and though not as big as the one in Philip's room it easily accommodated the two boys. Philip in his tight Speedos, and Kevin in his see-through board shorts, were quite a sight to behold and as they covertly checked each other out they talked softly about the things that interested them.

Up close Kevin could clearly see the outline of Philip's penis, and unless he was a shower and not a grower, there was no mistaking that he was hung better than Kevin. When hard Kevin predicted that Philip would out measure him by at least an inch, and judging from the apparent size of his balls, out shoot him as well.

Philip was well aware that he was better endowed than most boys his age, but he thought Kevin's penis looked just fine, pressed against his thin wet board shorts. In a way he wished he could think of some excuse for them to be naked, but decided that would be too weird, and he dismissed those thoughts.

When they had the chlorine washed off, they dried off as best they could and returned to Philip's room.

"You can use the bedroom again, and I'll use the bath," Philip said, grabbing a bath towel for Kevin.

"Screw that," Kevin said grinning, "we can both use the bathroom. Don't wanna get water all over your room."

"Uh, all right I suppose one of us can use the toilet enclosure..."

"Are you shy Phil? It's just us two guys. I know it's not cause you're ashamed of your junk, cause it's pretty obvious you're hung like a pony," Kevin chuckled.

"I...I've never been naked with anyone before," Philip confessed.

"Hey, that thing you're wearing is almost like being naked, so don't sweat it."

When Philip still didn't make a move, Kevin sighed, "Do you want me to turn my back? Cause I will, and I don't even care if you stare at my fabulous rear end."

Suddenly Philip burst out laughing, and all his fears of being naked with Kevin melted away.

"No, I'm not worried. We should just look at one another and be done with it, then all the mystery will go out of it."

"Works for me," Kevin said, slowly working his wet clingy board shorts down.

The whole time both boys were removing their swimsuits, their eyes were on each others lower half. As Philip's patch of hair came into view Kevin marveled at how much thicker it was than his own. He supposed that was only natural considering the fact that he seemed bigger below than Kevin was, and he concluded that Philip must be further along into puberty than he was.

Philip, who had never seen another boy naked in his entire life, found himself strangely excited at the prospect. When Kevin's blondish pubes came into view, he anxiously awaited what came next, even as he was freeing his own boyhood.

"Gosh," Kevin said with genuine awe, "You're pretty big down there."

"I suppose I'm a little more developed than most boys our age, but you look just fine yourself."

"Something is different about It has skin, is that what uncut means?"

"Yes, as far as I know all males on my father's side of the family are uncircumcised, or uncut."

"Wow, it looks cool. Uh, how does it work.?" Kevin said, instinctively moving a bit closer.

"I just retract the foreskin, like this, and it looks similar to yours."

"Wow, cool. when you...uh, you know, rub one out, how does that work?"

"Rub one out?" Philip said, giving Kevin a confused look.

"You know, jerk it, jack, uh...masturbate, that's the scientific name I guess," Kevin said blushing. He supposed the reason he was so bold with Philip was because he knew Philip would never reveal what they talked about to anyone else.

"Oh, yes, that. Well, as you can see, the foreskin moves easily along the shaft, and it's naturally lubricated by my semen, so there is no need for any other lubrication," Philip rattled off almost automatically, then realizing how personal and revealing what he'd just said, he dropped his eyes and blushed bright red. His hands automatically went to his crotch in an attempt to cover himself, but somewhere along the way his penis had become semi-erect, and his embarrassment was doubled.

"Hey, why'd you do that?" Kevin said staring at Philip's crotch, "this was just getting interesting."

"You must think I'm perverse to become aroused in another boy's presence," Philip said sounding near tears.

"Then I guess I'm perverse too," Kevin giggled, pointing at his semi-erect penis with both hands, "Dude, we're 12. I get hard sometimes for no reason, and I bet most guys do too. And we been talking about sexy stuff, so...what's the big deal?"

"I just...this is the first time I have ever been naked with another boy."

"Have you been naked with a girl?" Kevin teased.

"Nooo," Philip said sounding horrified.

"Well, me either, but I've seen my friends' dicks a few times," he laughed, "now I've seen yours, so now it's no big deal...right?"

"I suppose," Philip said, relaxing a little.

"So move your hands then," Kevin said smiling, "I wanna see what the competition looks like," he teased.

Slowly Philip moved his hands, a grin spreading across his face, and Kevin moved yet closer. When he so close they were almost touching Kevin bent down and took a closer look. Like himself Philip was smooth between his legs with only a mustache of pubes just above his cock. Kevin noted with interest that Philip's balls were a bit bigger than his and hung a bit lower , and again he wondered if Philip could produce more semen than he could.

"Nice," Kevin said straightening up. "now you look at me, then we can get dressed."

Philip didn't look so much at Kevin's equipment as he did the rest of his body. He liked the way Kevin's developing chest merged into his flat taut stomach, and then faded into a V as it melded into his pelvis. He liked Kevin's sturdy legs with a covering of downy hair so light it was barely visible, and even his small sturdy feet. After all, this was his first time seeing a boy naked and there was more to a boy then just their sex organs.

"You look very fit and quite handsome," Philip said after a moment.

"O..kay," Kevin chuckled, "Now for a look at the backside, then we can get dressed," he said turning his back to Philip.

Philip was surprised at first, but soon his appraising eyes took in Kevin's strong back, his tapered waist and...the two soft pillows that he sat on. Philip had never thought about this particular part of a boy, or a girl for that matter, but now, confronted with Kevin's shapely rear, he realized there was indeed more to the human body than he had once thought.

"Now you," Kevin said spinning back around, "shake that bootie," he chuckled.

Philip did as he was instructed, actually more nervous at Kevin's eyes on his behind than he had been when they were on his front. Kevin didn't spend much time looking Philip's rear over. It was pretty much as he expected, small and shapely, a swimmer's rear, but he did have to admit it was nice.

"Nice butt," Kevin said smiling, "okay, now all the mystery is out of things. We can change in front of each other and even shower together and it will be no big deal, right?"

"Yes, I see what you mean," Philip said grinning.

As they dressed, they talked about school and the upcoming test, and Kevin could definitely see a change in Phil's attitude. He was more outspoken now, and his formal way of speaking was beginning to loosen up some. He wasn't using slang quite yet, but Kevin knew it was only a matter of time.

Once they were dressed, they returned to Phil's room and hit the books again. Kevin continued asking Philip's help even when he didn't need it, and Philip continued to play along. He wasn't sure what was going on there, but he wasn't about to rock the boat at this point.

Around five thirty, Kevin stood and stretched and announced that he should probably get home. He was half way hoping that Phil would invite him to stay for dinner, but he supposed in a home situation like his he wasn't used to making decisions like that.

"I understand," Phil said, trying to mask the disappointment in his voice, "thank you for coming over and for studying with me."

"Like you needed it," Kevin chuckled, "I'm the one who needed the help, so...thank you."

"You're very welcome. I enjoyed spending time with you," he said grinning.

"Not to mention getting to see my bod," Kevin teased.

"I did rather enjoy that, but I believe you did too," Phil said grinning.

"Phil, you devil, you're really starting to loosen up. That's so great."

"I suppose you have something to do with that, and for that, I thank you again."

"You're welcome," Kevin said smiling.

"I'll walk you to the door," Phil said smiling from ear to ear.

This time, they used the front stairs, and Mrs. McKinney heard them coming and met them at the bottom of the stairs.

"Mother, Kevin is leaving now. We finished our studying and even had time to swim a bit."

"Well, it was nice having you young man, please come back again soon."

"Is tomorrow too soon?" Kevin asked grinning, "We didn't have time to go to the park today, and I could really use a bit more studying for the test."

"What do you think about that Philip?" She asked deferring to her son.Personally she wasn't quite sure about Kevin's motives, but his visiting seemed harmless enough. Not to mention the look of joy on her son's face.

"I think that would be fine mother, perhaps Kevin could come for lunch and meet father."

"Would that be agreeable Kevin?"

"Yes ma'am. What time should I come?"

"Shall we say...11:30? I'll have Mildred prepare something special for you boys."

"Thank you ma'am. Anything Mildred fixes will be great. Well I really should go. Can Phil walk me to the sidewalk?"

"Yes, but hurry back Philip. Have a good evening Kevin, we'll see you tomorrow at 11:30 then."

Once outside, Kevin paused under the porte co-chére and turned to Kevin.

"Just so you know, my dad sells insurance and your folks are one of his customers."

"Oh, I see. So is that why you suddenly want to be my friend?" Philip said looking hurt. This could explain Kevin's sudden interest in him, he supposed. A business deal was all it was, paying homage to the client's son to insure he kept his business.

"No, don't be silly. First of all: my dad didn't even know who you were till I mentioned your dad's name, and second: I'm not like that. I just wanted you to know so there were no surprises later on. Me and my folks aren't rich, but we're not poor either. We have a nice house, but nothing like yours, and we don't have a pool or a cook. We're just regular people, so...I just wanted to make sure you're cool with us being buddies, that's all."

Philip relaxed then and smiled, "I have no control over my economic situation any more than you do. I'm not wealthy, my parents are, but all that doesn't matter as far as I'm concerned. I would want to be your friend regardless of your social or economic situation. I like you Kevin," he blushed then, "I have never had a real friend before and I want us to be friends very, as you keep telling me: don't worry so much," he added grinning.

"Good, well gotta go. See ya' tomorrow. I'll skip breakfast so tell Mildred to fix extra," Kevin said grinning.

"I will make sure there is plenty. Goodbye Kevin, and thank you again for coming over."

"Thanks for the help, and for inviting me, maybe next weekend you can come to my house."

"I'd like that very much."

Kevin started off, then turned to wave at Phil, who waved back enthusiastically. Philip stood watching till Kevin was out of sight then turned to go inside. His father pulled in just about that time in his BMW and Philip met him as he climbed out.

"Hello Philip, did you come to meet me?" he asked sounding amused.

"Hello father, I walked my friend Kevin out and was just about to go back inside, but when I saw you I wanted to of course greet you."

"Is Kevin this new friend of yours that your mother told me about?"

"Yes sir, he is a fellow student, and I've been tutoring him in math."

"That's fine son, do you think the two of you might become friends?"

"I hope so father, I really do. He is quite an extraordinary person," Philip said smiling.

"You really like this boy, don't you?" Dr. McKinney said with laughing eyes. Unlike his wife Dr. McKinney was much more personable and easy going.

"I really do father, but then he is actually my first real friend, so I really don't know how I am supposed to feel."

"Just go with your feelings son. If it's meant to be, then it will be."

"Thank you father, I will. He's coming for lunch tomorrow so you'll be able to meet him."

"Good, by the way what is this boy's last name? Perhaps I know his parents."

"Morgan sir. Kevin says his father is an insurance agent, and that you are one of his clients."

"Walter Morgan? State Farm? Yes, Walt is a nice guy. I can only hope that his son takes after him."

"I think so sir," Philip said, hoping to win his father over before he actually met Kevin, "he is very polite around adults."

"But a regular boy around his peers I hope," Dr. McKinney chuckled.

"I suppose father, but I like him just the way he is."

Dr. McKinney had suspected for sometime that his only son might be struggling with his sexuality, but as a doctor he didn't feel it was anything to worry about. Those things had a way of working themselves out, and whatever the outcome, he knew he could accept it, even though he wasn't quite as confident his wife would feel the same way.

"Well, you know what is right and what is wrong so I leave it to your good judgment to decide how to handle this new friendship. Your mother and I both feel very strongly that it is important that you have friends for your emotional and physical well being. So, that being said, have fun and be a boy," he said putting his arm around his son's neck and leading him inside.

Meet the parents

Kevin showed up right on time the next day and rang the doorbell. Philip opened the door almost immediately as if he were standing on the other side of the door and waiting, which he was, and greeted Kevin with a big smile.

"You look very nice today Kevin."

"My mom made me dress up," Kevin said, pulling at the collar of his pullover, "She'll be sorry when I come home all dirty," he laughed.

"Mildred has been cooking all morning, and I think you will be very pleased with what she has prepared."

"I can't wait, I'm starving," Kevin said just as his tummy growled causing both boys to laugh.

"Come on in, I want to introduce you to Father."

Dr. McKinney was already seated in the small breakfast nook overlooking the pool, and his wife was in the kitchen assisting Mildred. When the two boys walked in Mrs. McKinney greeted Kevin with a smile, then Mildred greeted him warmly. Dr. McKinney looked up and smiled, waiting to be formally introduced.

"Father I would like to introduce you to my friend Kevin Morgan, Kevin this is my father, Dr. McKinney."

"Hello sir," Kevin said offering his hand, just as his father had instructed him, "It's a pleasure to meet you."

Dr. McKinney laughed, "Well, the pleasure is mutual. Philip has told me that you two have been studying together and are slowly becoming friends."

"Actually sir, it's happening kind of fast. I usually don't make friends this easily, but Phil, uh..Philip is easy to like."

Kevin couldn't have picked better words to endear himself to Dr. McKinney and the others present, and to Philip it meant the world.

"Thank you Kevin," Philip said sincerely, "I feel the same way about you."

"Philip tells me your father is Walt Morgan, your father is a fine man, and any son of Walt's is welcome in our home."

"Thank you sir, I agree, my dad is a nice guy and I try to be a lot like him."

"Well, shall we have our lunch and get to know each other better?"

Mildred had prepared a veritable feast, all traditional Mexican dishes, including taquitos, fajitas, tacos, burritos, and cheese queso with home made chips. There was also those thin crispy cinnamon chips with a warm apple topping, and fresh fruit and vegetables with dip. She had made a gallon of her homemade lemonade for the boys, but the McKinney's had a glass of wine.

"Oh man, this is so good," Kevin said digging in, "Thank you Mildred for cooking all this just for me," he said grinning.

"You are welcome Kevin, enjoy yourself."

"So you live nearby, is that correct Kevin?"

"Yes, on Cherry street, just two streets over. Phil and I ride the same bus and have the same stop."

"That's convenient, perhaps Philip can visit you at your home sometime."

"Yes sir, I invited him already. Maybe next weekend."

"I think that would be agreeable."

Mrs. McKinney seemed reserved, deferring to her husband to question Kevin and determine his sincerity. As far as she was concerned, as long as Philip was happy, and not being coerced in any way, she was happy.

Dr. McKinney was not so much testing Kevin as he was just getting to know him. He felt that it was important to make sure Kevin felt as comfortable around him and his wife as he did around Philip. In that way he could make sure he was doing everything he could to help their friendship grow.

After lunch the boys retired to Philip's room and listened to music while their food settled. Not that Philip had eaten that much, but Kevin had stuffed himself and was a bit lethargic at the moment. However, Philip had eaten more than usual, and he guessed it was because he enjoyed Kevin's lively conversation and company so much.

"Want to go to the park when this song ends?" Kevin asked after a while.

"Yes, that sounds fine. I was wondering, did you wear your swim trunks beneath your clothes today?"

"Nah, I forgot, but I could run home and grab them."

"Or, I have several more Speedos, you could borrow one if you'd like."

"You just wanna see my hot bod in a skimpy little suit don't ya?" Kevin teased.

"I've seen you naked, remember," Philip said smiling, "the mystery is gone."

"But I still have a nice bod, right?"

"Very nice, and I think you would look splendid in a Speedo."

"Then I'm in, but first let's go to the park so I can run some of this food off," Kevin groaned, then before he could stop it a loud fart escaped, "Oops, sorry, all those beans," Kevin giggled and it was contagious, soon both boys were laughing.

At the park Philip deferred to Kevin and followed him around taking in all the sights. He was loathe to admit that he'd only been to the park once, but Kevin didn't seem to notice his unfamiliarity with the park, and was glad to lead him around.

When they came to the small pond a flock of ducks and geese waddled up demanding food, but Kevin quickly shooed them away, "Dang beggars, get outa here," he laughed.

Philip was laughing at Kevin's antics, and it suddenly occurred to him that he hadn't laughed that much in his whole life. Kevin was fun and funny, and even things like passing gas, which he'd thought offensive at onetime, seemed funny now.

"Let's go up there," Kevin said pointing toward a wooded area beyond the pond.The park and the wooded area ran all the way through this side of the neighborhood, and abutted the main road on the far side.

"What's up there?" Philip asked with concern. Philip was not a rough and tumble boy and was more comfortable indoors than out, but Kevin on the other hand, was wild and adventurous, and Philip wasn't sure if he was ready to follow him into the wilderness.

"Trails, a little creek. It's really cool," Kevin said smiling.

"Are there any...umm, wild animals there?"

Kevin almost laughed, but seeing the look on Phil's face he simply grinned,"Well, there's probably a squirrel or two, maybe a raccoon, but they won't bother us if we don't bother them."

"Well, I guess that's all right," Phil said, still feeling a little worried.

"Come on, it's not far, and it's daylight out so...the wild animals won't be out yet," Kevin laughed.

"All right, but if I get eaten, you'll be the one who will have to tell my parents," Phil said grinning.

"Why Phil," Kevin said slipping his arm around the boy, "was that a joke? You surprise me more by the minute," he chuckled.

As they walked along the narrow path leading into the woods, Kevin pointed out various points of interest and recounted past adventures.

"One time my friend Josh and I found an injured bird over there. I think maybe a cat or something must've attacked him. Josh loved animals of all kind, so he took it home and nursed it back to health. Then when it was all better we brought it back and turned it loose," Kevin said straight-faced.

"That's wonderful, and did the bird fly away?"

"Yeah, it was something. We just stood there and watched it fly away, it was beautiful. Then all of a sudden this big hawk or something swooped down and plucked that little bird out of the air and flew off with it, "Kevin said looking at Phil to gauge his reaction.

With a look of horror on his face, Phil looked up into the trees and in a trembling voice he said, "Really? Do you think there are any of those big birds around here now?"

Kevin burst into laughter and slapped Phil on the back, "I was kidding, the bird did just fine. He even tweeted thanks as he flew away."

It took Phil a minute to catch the double meaning of "Tweeted", then he burst into laughter and laughed so hard he bent over double.

"Oh Kevin, you are so funny," he said when the laughing subsided, "I haven't laughed this much in ages."

"Yeah, I'm a riot all right, and it's good to hear you laugh. Come on, the creek is this way."

"This is actually kind of fun," Phil said as they approached the creek.

"Stick with me kid," Kevin said in a funny voice, "and I'll change your life."

"You already have," Phil said sincerely, and for once he didn't feel bad about confessing his true feelings.

"Aww, I haven't done that much," Kevin said blushing.

"Yes, you have," Phil said in a husky voice filled with emotion, "you have shown me things I never knew I was missing, and...what it means to have a friend, a true friend. Phil raised his glasses then and rubbed at his eyes. Allergies, he supposed, nothing to cry about.

"It's not like I'm not getting something out of it too," Kevin said, a little uncomfortable with Phil's sudden show of emotion, "You're a great guy. I like being with you."

Phil smiled and blushed a little, "I feel the same."

"Hey, over there, look, it's a beaver," Kevin said excitedly, "Probably gonna' build a damn."

They walked to the edge of the creek and stared across at the creature in awe, and Phil thought he had never felt so at peace with things as he did at that moment. Shyly he stole a look at Kevin and smiled. His stomach had that thumpy feeling again and he felt his heart speed up. Inexperienced as he was in the ways of the world and human emotions, he could not process the feelings coursing through him. Had he been a bit more worldly he would have recognized what he felt as a crush, and that crush was growing day by day. In some ways he was lucky that he didn't know what was happening, for if he had, he would have no doubt been worrying if Kevin noticed, or worse: if Kevin was crushing too.

Kevin motioned to a fallen tree not far away, and suggested they sit for awhile, and Phil followed eagerly. Sitting side by side only inches apart, Phil felt happy despite the nervousness and confusion he felt around Kevin.

"You've never had a friend before?" Kevin asked suddenly.

"Not really. I've had acquaintances before, you know, mostly other boys like me," he said sadly, the mood suddenly swinging in the other direction.

"Even when you were younger, like in grade school?"

"Well..." Phil said softly, getting a far away look in his eyes and smiling slightly, "when I was in 3rd grade I had a neighbor in Ohio named Oliver. He was...well, not what you would call overly bright," Phil's smile increased as he thought about his old pal, "he was fun though, really fun to be with, and he was always laughing and always happy. I envied him in many ways, what he lacked in scholastic ability he more than made up for in a love for life."

"Sounds a little like me," Kevin teased.

"No, actually I find you to be intelligent and fun loving," Philip said quickly, "but I had forgotten just how much fun life could be until I met you."

"So this kid, Oliver, what kind of stuff did you guys do? Did you get into any trouble?" Kevin teased, poking Phil playfully and causing him to giggle.

"No, nothing like that. We swam a lot, my family had a large pool back in Ohio, and he taught me to play, really most kids do naturally. We got dirty, and we ran around, and laughed and had fun. My parents were a little unsure at first, about us being friends, but I guess they are like most parents in that they wanted their child to be happy. I think that is why they have accepted our friendship so easily Kevin. They can see that you make me happy," he said then blushed.

"Your folks seem nice. I like them and I hope they like me too. So, what happened with Oliver, why didn't you stay friends?"

"Oh, he moved away one summer to New York. We tried to stay in touch online, but Oliver never was one for technology. After a while I guess we both just sort of gave up."

"That sucks, my friend Josh moved away too, then he moved back to town, but he went to another school so we really don't see much of each other."

"I bet you've had lots of friends, haven't you?"

"A few good ones, but I gotta admit going into 7th grade I really didn't know that many kids. Then I sort of ran across those guys I introduced you to and started hanging with them at school, but we really don't hang anywhere else."

"So...they're not really your friends?"

Kevin sighed, "It's complicated, we're friends, but not really close friends."

"Thomas seems nice," Phil said gazing at Kevin almost reverently, "But I don't much care for the one named Roger."

Kevin laughed, "You're a good judge of character, he's a dick weed. Terry is nice too, even if he is gay."

"Oh, that's right. I'd forgotten that Terry is gay."

"Yeah, and it took a lot of guts to come out like he did. Of course no one messes with him cause Thomas and Roger have his back."

"Is that why you wanted to be in that group, for protection?" Phil asked, suddenly beginning to see things more clearly.

"Well, there's safety in numbers, so I thought it might be a good way to start the year out right."

"Yes, I can understand that. Kevin, can we go back now?"

"What? Oh sure. Can we swim when we get back?"

"Yes, that would be nice," Phil said, thinking about how Kevin would look in a Speedo and blushing.

"I hope your mom doesn't see me in that skimpy little swimsuit though," Kevin said sounding worried.

"Why's that Kevin?"

"Because no woman alive could resist this bod," he laughed.

Phil laughed too and his happiness returned.

In Phil's room, Phil pulled out several brightly colored Speedos and held them up for Kevin to see, "What color do you prefer?"

"I like the yellow and black ones. I'll look like a bumble bee, and I can sting anyone who gets too close," he teased.

Phil laughed and handed them to Kevin then chose a bright yellow pair for himself, "These are one of my favorites, they remind me of sunshine," Phil said smiling.

"And bananas," Kevin teased, "banana Laffy Taffy, it's that color."

"I suppose I will have to take your word for it. Shall we change here, or in the bathroom?"

"Here's fine," Kevin said quickly stripping off his shirt, then sitting on Phil's bed to remove his shoes and socks.

Phil followed his lead, sitting at his desk to remove his shoes and socks, then he skinned off his pullover and stood to remove his pants.

Kevin watched with interest to see if Phil was really going to go through with getting naked in front of him even as he continued to undress. When both boys were down to their underwear Kevin led the way, quickly lowering his underwear then dropping them to his feet.

Phil watched covertly, and then taking a deep breath, he followed suit. Kevin was proud of him, he had expected him to turn his back or try to conceal himself in some way, but instead he calmly remained facing Kevin and slowly stepped into his swimsuit.

Kevin took his time putting his own suit on, giving Philip a chance to check him out, albeit covertly. It felt naughty and fun to expose himself this way, and the way Phil was looking at him he seemed to be enjoying the show.

"I hope I don't pop a boner," Kevin teased, "I'd probably rip them out."

"They're surprisingly strong," Phil said grinning, "I've never had a pair rip for that reason."

"Oh, so you've had that problem before?" Kevin laughed, "There's a wild man inside you just waiting to get out, isn't there?"

Phil wiggled his eyebrows comically and just smiled as he wiggled into his Speedos, but so far there didn't seem to be an arousal issue.

Once they had their suits pulled up and their junk rearranged comfortably, they checked each other out.

"How do I look?" Kevin asked posing this way and that.

"Very nice," Phil said grinning, "See for yourself," he said pointing to the full length mirror on the back of the door.

Kevin walked over to the mirror and stared at his reflection and whistled, "Wow, I'm hot...aren't I? Damn, how do you keep your hands off me?" he teased.

"It's not easy," Phil teased back, "but when you have a body like mine, it's easier."

"Why Phil, you didn't even blush when you said that. And, you do have a nice bod."

"Come on, let's go put our amazing bodies to the pool," Phil said smiling.

As they walked down the stairs side by side, Kevin felt as if something had changed between them once again. Gone was the awkward and insecure Phil, and in his place was a fun and funny boy who seemed to feel more comfortable in his own skin. Kevin liked to think he had a lot to do with Phil's metamorphosis, and he felt proud of himself.

It had bothered him at first that becoming friends with Phil was just a silly bet to earn him a place in the group, but after being with Phil and getting to know him, he felt good about the whole thing. If not for the bet he'd never have met Phil, never got to know what a smart and funny kid he was, and watch him evolve and grow.

He realized that on some level he was starting to get attached to Phil, and that confused him a little. He'd had friends before, but had never felt exactly the way he felt about Phil. Maybe it was because he felt protective of Phil, or sort of like a mentor. Sure, Phil was supposed to be helping him with math, but as it turned out he was helping Phil with something much more important, learning to be happy.

"Kevin," Phil said noticing Kevin's self reflection, "If you weren't here with me...what would you be doing?"

"What? Oh, well...probably watching TV or playing video games."

"Don't you have any friends you hang out with?"

"Not really, but I do have this one guy I sort of like hanging out with," Kevin said looking serious.

"Oh, what's his name, does he live nearby."

"His name is Philster, and he lives right here," Kevin laughed as he poked Phil playfully.

"Oh, well...I have this friend named Kevin, but he's sort of a prankster, and he's always teasing me," Phil said grinning.

"You know you like it," Kevin laughed, "Come on, race ya' to the pool." he said taking off running.

In the pool they swam several laps to loosen up, then floated in the middle while they rested. The temperature was warmer today and the water felt warm and soothing. Kevin thought to himself that he could certainly get spoiled to having access to a pool, but he was sure that even if Phil didn't have a pool he'd still like him. It wasn't all the cool things Phil had that made him cool, no Phil's coolness came from within, and Kevin was fast becoming almost obsessed with him.

"Did you ask your folks about adopting me?" Kevin teased.

"No, but they are quickly becoming attached to you, so at least you'll be able to spend a lot of time here."

"Hey, we could get married, and then they'd have to let me move in," Kevin said cracking up.

Phil laughed, but a shiver ran up and down his spine. He knew Kevin was only joking, and that neither of them was even old enough to marry, not that they were gay, but it still gave Phil a tingling feeling to have Kevin say such a thing.

"I'd expect you to woo me for a while, and we'd have to date for a year or two to make sure we were compatible," Phil teased back.

"And let me guess, no messing around till we were married," Kevin laughed.

"Oh, I think that's part of the process of seeing if two people are compatible," Phil said, then realizing what that implied, he blushed.

"So do you kiss on the first date Phil?" Kevin said grinning. This was fun,talking crazy stuff like this, but sort of exciting too.

"Well, it would depend on how the date went..."

Kevin howled with laughter, "Oh Phil, you're so funny."

"Have you ever...kissed anyone?" Phil asked, then regretted his choice of words, wishing he'd said a girl, and not anyone.

"Not a kiss, kiss," Kevin said honestly, "A girl kissed me on the cheek once."

"No one besides my mother has ever kissed me," Phil admitted.

"Well, pucker up," Kevin teased, "and we can fix both our problems."

Phil knew Kevin had to be kidding, but why had his penis stirred at the thought of a kiss between them?

"Perhaps after our first date...if it goes well," Phil said laughing, then he swam off leaving Kevin to figure out if he was serious or just busting his balls.

Kevin watched as Phil climbed out and adjusted his suit. Was he starting to chub up? Kevin wondered, then running his hand down the front of his own Speedo, he realized he had a slight erection himself. He stared at Phil as he mounted the diving board and found his erection growing. He was confused by his attraction to Philip, but he'd been dealing with his attraction to boys for a while now, and though it had been faceless bodies he'd fantasized about before, now he had a real live boy to replace them. The fact that Phil's body was a thing of beauty, and that he had seen him naked, only added to the attraction and fueled his fantasies.

With grace and precision, Phil made his dive and Kevin held his breath as he watched his smooth lithe body spring up and forward before knifing into the water and disappearing.

Kevin waited for him to surface, and as the seconds ticked by he began to panic. What if Phil had hit his head or got a cramp? He thought, starting to swim that way. Then suddenly he felt something touch his legs and a second later Phil surfaced directly in front of him.

Grabbing onto Kevin for support, Phil wiped the water from his eyes and grinned at his new friend. They floated there, staring into each other's eyes for what seemed like forever, neither boy speaking, their hearts in danger of escaping their chests.

It would be hard to say which boy started moving first, but soon they found their faces moving closer, until at last their lips met. The kiss was quick and a bit awkward, but to the two boys it was the most amazing thing they had ever experienced.

Unknown to the boys, Dr. McKinney had chosen that exact moment to peer out the window and witnessed what he assumed was his son's first kiss. Smiling, he pulled the curtain closed and retreated to his office. That his son's first kiss was with a boy, neither surprised nor upset the Doctor, but he didn't think now was the time to share this new information with his wife. He vowed to keep an eye on the two, and if their relationship progressed then, and only then, he would breach the subject with his wife.

In the pool, the boys were suddenly very aware of each other, and the awkwardness of what had just happened. Phil released his grip on Kevin and floated nearby, his face red with guilt and his body shivering, not from the cold, but from fear. Fear that he'd messed up everything. He gave no thought to the fact that Kevin had participated willingly, or that it took two people to kiss, instead believing that he had somehow caused it to happen.

Kevin wasn't quite as terrified as Phil, but he did feel a bit guilty forgetting so carried away. In his mind he believed he had been the one to initiate the kiss, and he worried that Phil would be so upset that he would never want to be alone with him again.

"We should go in," Phil said in a trembling voice.

"Yeah, I probably should go home pretty soon," Kevin said, trying not to let his emotions show.

Silently they climbed out and wrapped a towel around their bodies and went inside. Both boys were uncomfortable while showering the chlorine off, but neither made it known, in an attempt to keep things normalized to some degree. After all they'd seen each other naked twice now and had agreed it was no big deal anymore. They were somewhat mollified by the fact they were still clad in the Speedos at this point, but soon they would be faced with the ordeal of changing in front of each other once again.

"That was fun," Kevin said just to break the ice, then regretting the possible implication of his words he quickly added, "the swimming and diving I mean."

Phil mumbled his agreement, then shut off the water, and both boys climbed out and began to dry off a bit before going upstairs. Still not speaking, they climbed the back stairs and entered Phil's room. Kevin was tempted to grab his clothes and run to the bathroom, but he decided to do so would have only made things worse. No, he needed to project a sense of normalcy and nonchalance if he was to get through this.

Drying off his upper body, then his legs and feet, he grabbed his underwear and laid them out on Phil's bed. Then stripping off his swimsuit he quickly covered himself with his towel as he dried his middle and rear end.

Phil followed Kevin's lead, laying his underwear on his dresser, but Kevin was barely aware of him as he concentrated on his own attempt at indifference.

The silence in the room hung heavy on them both, but neither could think of anything to say. Kevin considered apologizing and hoping for the best, but decided that doing so would only make both of them more uncomfortable. No, it was best to just keep quiet and never mention what had happened, and hope they could both forget it and move on.

When Kevin had his underwear on, he pulled on his shirt then sat on Philip's bed and donned his pants. As he was struggling to get his socks on he looked up at Phil who was just slipping his pants on, but he quickly averted his eyes.

Once Kevin had his socks and shoes on he sat there for a minute as he contemplated how to make his getaway without sounding as if he were fleeing for his life.

"Well, I should get home. My mom wants me home for dinner. I had a great time though."

"So did I," Phil said trying not to be sad, even though he was sure this was the end of their friendship, "I'll walk you to the door."

Kevin was glad neither of Phil's parents were nearby, and at the door he didn't linger. "Well, see ya Monday in math," Kevin said smiling. His heart was breaking and he didn't know why. Surely losing Phil's friendship so soon shouldn't be this traumatic.

"Yes, I hope you do well on the exam."

"I'm sure I will, and I know you'll ace it. Well, bye."

"Goodbye," Phil said, quite sure that this was goodbye forever.

On the way home, Kevin mulled everything over in his head and regretted not being brave enough to just talk things out. Maybe Phil would have been cool with what happened, but by not talking about it they'd made it weird.

Was it weird? He wondered, At the time it was pretty amazing. I even felt a tingle in my crotch, and my heart was beating so fast. But wait, wasn't that the kind of stuff people in love felt? Or was it a sex thing?

He was so confused, and there was no one he could talk to about this stuff. Then it dawned on him, there might be one person who would understand, but could he bring himself to talk about something this personal with someone he hardly knew? Then he remembered what Terry had said about Phil being gay, and the whole thing began to make sense. That must be it. Phil was gay, and he'd wanted the kiss as much as he did. Wait, did I just admit that I wanted to kiss Phil? OMG, am I gay? he wondered feeling a bit panicky.

Sure he'd been thinking about boys a lot lately, but he thought about girls too, didn't he? What was it about Phil that he liked so much and why had they become friends so quickly? Did Terry see what he didn't, that their attraction to one another was mutual?

As soon as he walked in the front door his mother yelled at him to come to the kitchen. Fear nearly froze him to the spot. What if as soon as he had left Phil had ran to his parents and told them what had happened? How could he explain kissing a boy?

"What's up mom?" he asked anxiously.

"Your father is taking us out for dinner so I want you to shower and put on your tan Dockers and that nice plaid shirt I bought you."

"I showered after we swam," he said willing his heart to slow down, "but I'll go change."

"All right dear. Did you have fun? Don't get spoiled to that pool," she chuckled.

"Yeah, we had a good time."

"Did he ask his parents about visiting you next time?"

"Yeah, they said probably." Kevin decided that sounded safer, just in case he never heard from Phil again.

"That's good," she said, barely listening now, "Well, go get dressed."

Kevin wasn't really all that hungry, but he didn't want to draw attention to his funk, so he forced himself to clean his plate. His parents tried to pull him into their conversation several times, but his heart wasn't in it. He knew he had to be careful, but talking just took too much energy, and he couldn't think of anything useful to say anyway.

"Are you all right?" Mrs. Morgan asked at last.

"Just tired I guess," Kevin mumbled.

"Did anything happen today at your new friend's house that has upset you?" Mr. Morgan asked, seeing right through his son, "Did his parents treat you well?"

"No nothing like that, and Phil's folks are really nice. His dad said you were a fine man, and any son of yours was welcome in his house."

"That's good. Maybe you'll feel better after a good night's sleep."

"Yeah, just tired, that's all," Kevin said yawning for effect.

Back at home, Kevin kissed his folks goodnight and headed to his room. He quickly stripped off his clothes and piled into bed, but sleep would not come. He kept replaying the kiss over and over in his head, wondering if Phil was as confused as he was about the whole thing. At the time it had felt so right and so amazing, but afterwards the guilt and shame had been overwhelming.

Was it because he was afraid he'd lose Phil as a friend, or was it something much deeper? Could it be that he feared he was gay? All his life he'd been taught that being gay was wrong, or at least not easy, but after meeting Terry he'd decided that gay people were really no different than straight boys in the ways that counted. They could still be decent and funny and fun to be with. What difference did it make if they liked girls or boys?

He thought about his parents attitude toward gays, and realized that while they hadn't just come right out and said that being gay was okay, he'd never heard them talk bad about anyone who was. In fact his dad had a co-worker who was gay and married to another man. His dad had said they were both nice guys and when they'd decided to adopt a boy last year he'd given his name as a reference for the adoption agency.

But it was all so confusing. He thought he liked girls, and though he'd thought about both boys and girls when he masturbated, until Philip came along he'd never thought about anyone in particular. His feelings for Phil were even more confusing. He'd had friends before, close friends, but he'd never felt this way about any of them. Was this what adults called puppy love or a crush? He wondered.

He was sure of one thing though, he didn't want to lose Phil as a friend, and if that meant apologizing and begging his forgiveness, then that's what he'd do. Meanwhile he had a lot of thinking to do.


Two blocks away, Philip McKinney lay in his own bed staring at the ornate ceiling as tears rolled down his cute face and wet his pillow. This was the first real friend he'd ever had, and he was convinced he had ruined everything by letting his guard down, and acting on his emotions. He'd wanted to kiss Kevin practically from the first moment they'd become friends, but now that he had, it seemed like everything was ruined between them.

He didn't understand exactly what he was feeling for Kevin, but he knew it was more than just friendship. The only love he'd ever had was that of his parents, and he was hardly prepared to recognize the feelings he was now experiencing. All he knew for sure was, that he was hurt and sad and afraid that he had just lost the only friend he had ever known. His sobbing became louder now, and he was glad his parents room was far from his own. There was no way he could ever explain to them how he felt. No, there was no one he could turn to for advise or comfort, no one, or was there?

Suddenly he threw back the covers, grabbed his robe, and headed out the door and down the back stairs. At the bottom he paused, his resolve suddenly eroding, but luckily the one person he thought he could trust appeared almost as if by magic.

"Philip, my baby," she cooed, then seeing the tears on his cheeks she asked with concern, "What is wrong? Are you ill?"

Phil shook his head, "Nnnooo," he sobbed, "Oh Mildred, I've ruined everything," he bawled, falling into her loving arms.

In her room, Mildred sat Philip down on her bed, then went to her bathroom to get a wet cloth to wash his face with.

"Tell Mildred what is the trouble," she said cuddling him to her side.

"Oh Mildred, I have ruined everything," he hiccuped, "now Kevin will never want to see me again."

It took some coaxing on Mildred's part, but eventually she got the whole story out of him, and then she smiled. "Oh Philip, can you not see that this boy likes you too. I could see it in his eyes, and the way he treats you. Do not worry about the kiss. People who like each other often express their emotions this way. He would not have kissed you back if he did not have feelings for you."

"But...he was so quiet, and he wouldn't look at me..."

"He was probably as worried as you were. He might think it is you who does not like him now. You must show him that nothing has changed, speak to him as always, and remain friendly. I am sure he will do the same if you show him you still want to be his friend."

"Do you think so?" Phil sniffed.

"Yes, I think so. Now you need to get your sleep. Go on to bed and do not worry. Perhaps tomorrow you can call this boy and talk to him, but do not mention your fears, just be as you were."

"That's a good idea. Thank you Mildred," Phil said wiping his eyes and hugging her, "I knew I could count on you. I love you so much," he added squeezing her tight.

Mildred kissed his face and smoothed back his hair, "I could not love you more if you were my own," she said, tears glistening in her warm brown eyes, "Now you must go and get your sleep, you are a growing boy," she said smiling warmly.

Philip smiled back and hopped up. Mildred followed him to the door and as he started out Mildred gave him a gentle slap on the butt, "Goodnight Philip, sweet dreams."

"Goodnight Mildred, and thanks."


On Sunday, Kevin puttered around in his room most of the morning and only came down when it was time for lunch. His mother had fixed sandwiches and potato salad, but all Kevin could think about was the delicious food Mildred had prepared. And that of course caused him to think of Phil and what had happened.

"Can I have some chips instead of potato salad," Kevin mumbled.

"Yes dear, are you still tired? Didn't you sleep well? I hope you're not coming down with something."

"I'm fine mom," Kevin said, digging a bag of Doritos out of the pantry, "I just need some fresh air. When I finish lunch I'm gonna go for a walk."

"Are you going to The McKinney's?" Mr. Morgan asked.

"Nah, maybe the park. I might see him though...if he's outside."

"All right son, just stay out of trouble," his dad laughed.

"Dad, have I ever been in trouble?" Kevin laughed.

"Not since you dumped the talcum powder in your mother's underwear drawer when you were 4," he chuckled.

"Did I really?" Kevin laughed, "Boy, I don't remember that one."

"I had to wash all my unmentionables, and it took forever to get all that powder vacuumed up," his mother added, "but for the most part you were a good boy, and still are. We're very proud of you."

He wondered if his parents would still think he was so good, or be proud of him if they knew that he might be gay, but he hoped he'd never have to find out.

After lunch he placed his dishes in the sink and went upstairs to grab a jacket. Then calling to his parents that he was leaving, he walked out the front door and headed toward the park. As soon as he was out of sight of his house he pulled out his cell phone and called Terry.

"Sup?" Terry asked sounding sleepy.

"Did I wake you up?"

"Nope, but Sundays I don't do much, just lay around mostly. I was watchin' this dumb show on Netflix called Mr. Young."

"I've seen that, it is dumb, but kind of funny sometimes."

"Not to mention there are some cute boys in it," Terry laughed.

"Yeah, I guess. Uh, Terry, any chance we could meet up today and talk?"

"Sure what's up?"

"I'd rather tell you in person, it's kind of personal."

"Oh, okay...ummm, where are you?"

"Near the park on Hope street, by Phil's house."

"I'm way over on Salem, that's about a mile from where you are."

"Damn, hadn't thought of that."

"Hold on, I might be able to get a ride from my ass-swipe of a brother."

Kevin waited anxiously while Terry shouted to someone in the room, and then Terry was back on the phone, "I'll be there in about five or ten minutes. Where will you be?"

Kevin told him to meet him in the small parking lot, and trudged on hoping Terry didn't arrive before he did. As it turned out they arrived almost at the same time. Kevin was surprised to see that Terry's brother looked nothing like him, and in fact looked Asian.

He waved as he backed out and Terry returned the wave.

"That's your brother?" Kevin asked trying not to sound as surprised as he was.

"Step actually. That's Ken. Mom and dad adopted him when he was a baby, then I was born and they wound up with two boys."

"That's so cool. So he's been your brother as long as you've been alive. Do you guys get along?"

"You know, we fight sometimes but we're bros. We got each others back."

"Is he gonna come back and get you?"

"Yeah, I just gotta call him. He's going to his girlfriend's house to wait."

"Let's go sit by the pond?"

"Okay, what's up with ya?"

Once they were seated on a park bench and had sent the geese back to the pond, Kevin turned to Terry and sighed.

"Does your brother know...about you being gay I mean?"

Terry laughed, "Sorry, but yeah, he knows. He figured it out before I did. Besides, I'm out at school so I made sure I was out at home first and that no one would freak. Why? What's that got to do with what you need to talk about?"

"Something happened...between Phil and me, and I'm sort of worried about it, that's all."

"OMG, did you guys mess around? Cause if you did, it's no big deal, but I want to hear every detail."

"Worse," Kevin said wilting in to himself.

Terry frowned, "Start at the beginning, tell me everything."

Kevin sighed and began. He found Terry was easy to talk to, and things he hadn't intended to share came spilling out with all the rest. Finally he got to the kiss, and as he described the moment he suddenly realized that it didn't seem as embarrassing or weird as it had at the time. He concluded by telling Terry how uncomfortable he and Phil were afterwards, the awkwardness of the shower, and being naked together as they changed.

"Aww," Terry said laying his hand over his heart, "that is so cute. I told you Phil was a gay boy."

"But what about me? Why did I do that? Am I gay too? What does your gaydar say about me?"

Terry looked thoughtful for a moment, then leaned in and kissed Kevin on the cheek. Kevin didn't pull back but when it was over he did look around to see if anyone was nearby.

"What was that for?" Kevin said grinning.

"Just to see what you'd do. You didn't freak, so that's a good sign."

"So...I'm gay?"

"Nah, I mean only you can decide that for sure. You can like another boy and not be 100% gay. It's not about what kind of equipment someone has, it's what's inside. It's obvious you and Phil like each other a the kiss was just your way of expressing that."

"How do you know all this stuff?"

"Because I saw a shrink for a while."

"What? No, did your folks make you go hoping they could make you turn straight?"

"No, nothing like that. I asked to go. I wanted to understand why I was different, and learn to live with it. My therapist was great. The first thing he told me was that I wasn't broken, and he wasn't there to fix me. That meant a lot to me, and after that day we got along great."

"So your folks let you see a therapist and they accepted your being gay...just like that?"

"Yeah, my folks are great, and Ken was my biggest supporter, still is," he said fondly, "I think he thought he was bringing me here to meet a boyfriend," he giggled.

"Oh man, that could be embarrassing next time I see him," Kevin chuckled.

"Hey, I'll set him straight, eventually," he said grinning.

"So what should I do? How can I fix this thing with Phil?"

"You know what Kev? I think you worry too much. Just act like nothing happened and see what he does."

"I can't, cause...well, maybe I liked it and I hope he liked it too."

"Then go over there and talk to him. Tell him how you feel."

"I can't do that, he'll think I'm weird or something."

"Trust me, he will not think you are weird. But you can always just say you really like him as a friend, and you just got caught up in the moment or something."

"That might work. But what if he won't even see me? What if I walk over there and ring the bell, and his mom or dad send me away?"

"Then you'll know, but trust me...Phil has not told his folks anything. For one thing, he probably loves you by now. After all you kissed him. And for another, no kid tells their folks that kind of stuff."

"I suppose, I know I sure didn't tell mine, but they knew something was wrong and kept asking me if I was okay."

"Is Phil that close to his folks?"

"I don't think so. His mom seems sort of stiff and formal. His dad seems pretty cool though."

"His dad's a doctor, right?"

"Yeah, some kind of surgeon."

"Wow, no wonder they can afford to live in a house like that."

"Yeah, it's like a frickin' museum though. I like my house better, except I wish we had a pool."

"You gonna go talk to him?"

"I...I guess so. Hey thanks a lot for meeting me and for the talk," Kevin said offering a fist to bump, but Terry ignored it and hugged him instead.

"Hey, if it doesn't work out with Phil, I'm available," He laughed.

"Want me to wait with you till your bro comes?"

"Nah, go on...go see Phil and tell him you love him or something," he laughed, "I might hang out a while. I got some thinking to do myself."

"Okay, thanks again," Kevin said standing, "I owe ya."

"You're welcome. Always happy to help young lovers," he said grinning.

"I'll call ya' later and let you know how it went."

"You better. Now go!"

Kevin laughed as he walked away, but suddenly the gravity of what he was about to do descended upon him. What if he made a fool of himself? What if it was no big deal to Phil and he thought Kevin was crazy for bringing it up? What if, what if? By the time he got to Phil's house he was a bundle of nerves, but there was no backing down now.

As he neared the front door he noticed there were no cars in the circle drive today and he wondered if anyone was even home. Maybe they'd gone out for the day, but more likely, he decided, their expensive cars were in the three car garage.

Taking a deep breath, Kevin stepped up to the ornate front door and rang the doorbell. As he waited he thought about what he would say, but he didn't have long to think. Suddenly the door opened wide, and there stood Phil dressed in jeans and a pullover and looking very cute and very surprised.

"Kevin, how nice to see you. Would you like to come in?"

"Yeah, but I was wondering if we could maybe go for a walk in the park and talk?"

"Certainly, let me tell my mother and grab a jacket," he said sounding anxious.

Mrs. McKinney appeared just about then, having wondered who was at the door, and she smiled and greeted Kevin warmly. "Hello Kevin, how lovely to see you again. Philip, you didn't tell me you were expecting company."

"He didn't know I was coming ma'am. I was just out for a walk and wound up at the park and, well...I just thought I'd see if Phil wanted to join me. If it's all right with you that is."

"That sounds fine. Philip be sure to wear your jacket and take your phone."

"Yes mother, I will. Thank you. I'll be right back Kevin."

As Phil ran up the stairs he couldn't suppress the feeling of happiness he felt. Apparently his fears were unfounded and Kevin still wanted to be his friend. Then as he grabbed his phone and donned his jacket he had another thought. What if Kevin had merely come by to break off the friendship? He knew Kevin was the kind of boy who would be polite and not just dump him without explaining why, and this might very well be why Kevin was here. So it was with mixed feelings that he returned to find Kevin waiting for him in the foyer.

"I'm ready," Phil said smiling.

"Cool, let's go," Kevin said nervously.

"How are you today?" Phil asked as they walked across the street toward the park.

"Good, really good. How bout' you, how you doin'?"

"I'm fine. I'm really glad you came by," Phil said smiling nervously.

"Well, I really came by cause I need to talk with you about something."

"Oh, I see..."

"It's nothing bad," Kevin said quickly when he saw the stricken look on Phil's cute face.

"Let's go sit by the pond."

Phil followed alongside Kevin, his heart beating fast and his body shivering with fear and dread, and when they reached the pond he felt like running and jumping into it.

Kevin looked around for Terry, but assumed he must've either called his brother or headed home on foot so he could do his thinking.

Once they were seated, Kevin shooed the geese away before they could get close, and turned to Phil.

"First off, I wanna say I'm sorry for acting like a jerk yesterday and running off."

"You didn't..."

"Wait, let me finish," Kevin said sighing, "I don't know how you feel about what happened in the pool, that's sort of why I'm here, but I shouldn't have just left things like they were yesterday. I'm not even sure how I feel about it. I kept blaming myself, but I talked to someone and he helped me to see things differently. I don't think I was to blame, but I don't think you were either, cause I don't think there's anything to feel bad about. What happened...just happened. We sort of got caught up in the know?"

Phil was smiling now, and Kevin thought he had never seen him look so cute.

"Kevin, may I say something?"

"Sure, go ahead."

"First of all, I don't blame you for leaving yesterday. We were both feeling a little uncomfortable about what happened, and I would have probably done the same thing if it had been me. Secondly, you certainly weren't to blame for what happened in the pool. Like you, at first I blamed myself, but I thought about what happened all night and again this morning, and I came to the same conclusion that you did, that neither of us was to blame. What happened was...well, confusing, but I don't think it was bad or shameful, and I don't think we should feel guilty about it. Do you?"

"No, not really. I did at first, but Terry explained things to me and I understand things better now."

"You told Terry about what happened?" Phil asked sounding concerned.

"Yeah, sorry, but I had to talk to someone and he's a cool dude..."

"And gay? Is that why you talked to him, because you think...what we did was gay?"

"Well, I first, but even Terry says it doesn't necessarily mean that. He says sometimes friends just get carried away and do, like...well what happened to us."

"Kissing, you mean kissing? You can say it Kevin, I don't mind."

"Yeah, kissing. We're friends, right? So we just sort of got carried away.It's not like we Frenched or groped each other or anything," Kevin laughed nervously.

"So, where do we go from here Kevin?"

"Huh? Well, I was hoping we could just go back to things the way they were. You know, being friends and having fun."

"I'd like that very much," Phil said, finally relaxing, "but I'm not sure things can go back to being exactly like they were," he said grinning.

"Oh, why's that?" Kevin asked curiously noticing Phil's shit-eating grin.

"Because now that you've tasted my sweet lips, how can you ever live without them?"

Kevin burst into laughter and pounded Phil on the back, "Yeah, well, who says I have to?"

They walked around for a while after that, laughing and talking, and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. It was a far cry from the way the day had started, and both boys felt a sense of exhilaration at the way things had turned out.

"Still want to come over next weekend?"

"Yes, very much. My parents are almost as excited about my having a friend as I am," he chuckled.

"Great. This may be too soon to ask this, but do you think you might want to sleep over next Saturday?"

"I...I don't know. I have never slept over before. Do you have room for me?"

Kevin laughed, "Dude, you'd sleep in my room, with me. That's how a sleepover works, but if you're scared to be alone with me..."

"No, no, it's not that. It might take some convincing on my parents' part, but if you are sure you want me, I will ask them."

"Cool, ask em. If they need to talk to my mom, that's cool too."

"Kevin...thank you for talking to me and not making a big issue of this thing."

"The kiss? Well, I don't know whether to be relieved or offended," he laughed, "You sayin' my kiss is no big deal?" he teased.

"No, in was quite nice," Phil said blushing.

"It was, wasn't it? Whew, who knew my first kiss would be with my best friend, a guy?"

"I'm your best friend?" Phil asked, picking up on that part first.

"Yeah, as a matter of fact...yeah, you are," Kevin said blushing.

"I feel the same," Phil said, not bothering to state the obvious, that Kevin was his only friend.

"Good, well...I should probably get home, and you need to go home and start working on your folks so they'll let you sleepover."

"All right, will you walk me home?"

"Yeah, come on," Kevin said, and suddenly he had the most powerful urge to take Phil's hand, but of course he didn't.


On Monday at lunch Kevin saved a spot for Phil, and when he arrived he waved him over.

"Hi Phil, ready for the math quiz?"

"Yes, I think so. Our studying was a big help."

Kevin laughed, "For me maybe, I doubt you needed it."

Phil just smiled. It wasn't the help with math that he was referring to, it was spending time with Kevin that helped him.

Roger sat glaring at the two, and wondered what Phil would think if he knew Kevin's only interest in him was to insure him a place in the group? He knew he couldn't tell him himself, but he couldn't be held responsible if someone else let it slip, now could he?

He knew Terry would be pissed if it ever got back to him, but it might be worth it to keep Kevin out of the group, and wipe that smug smile off the nerd's face. He smiled an evil smile, and thought about how he might make that happen.

Phil aced the math exam as usual and Kevin only missed two problems which was pretty typical for him. After school they met on the bus and shared their grades.

"I only missed two," Kevin said proudly, "thanks to you."

" don't have to pretend any longer. I know you are actually quite good in math," Phil said smiling.

"How long have you known?"

"Well, I suspected that first on the bus, but it was later at my house when I finally figured it out. The only thing I still don't understand is, why? Why did you pretend to need my help?"

"I just couldn't think of any other way to get to know you," Kevin said bending the truth a little. Technically that was true, but of course there was more.

"But why did you want to get to know me?"

"I don't know, I guess I just wondered what it would be like to be your friend."

"Were you that desperate?" Phil laughed.

"Why would you think that? Look at how it turned out, you're a great guy, and we're getting closer every day...right?"

"Yes, but sometimes it all just seems too good to be true."

"Well, maybe I feel that way too...sometimes."


"Yeah, really. Just don't worry about why Phil, just enjoy it and worship the ground I walk on," Kevin teased.

"I do," Phil said seriously, then he grinned.

"So did you ask your folks about Saturday?"

"Actually I did," Phil said mysteriously, but not elaborating.

"So...what did they say?" Kevin asked anxiously.

"Oh, well. As expected they had some questions and concerns."

"Ooookay, and?"

"Oh, well...they said yes," he said grinning.

"You dog, why didn't you tell me at lunch?"

Phil frowned, "I don't feel comfortable around the others yet, especially Roger. I think he hates me for some reason."

"He hates everyone, so feel privileged to be included," Kevin teased, "So what time are you coming over Saturday?"

"My mother, is going to call your mother today and work out the details. We'll find out tonight I guess."

"Gnarly," Kevin said excitedly, "we are going to have so much fun, even if I don't have a pool."

"That doesn't matter, I'm sure it will be fun."

As usual Kevin walked Phil home and they paused at his drive to say goodbye. "I'll call you later, okay?"

"Yes, that sounds fine. Thank you for walking me home, I will see you tomorrow."

"Right, talk to ya' later Philster."

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