Tim opened his eyes and glanced around. The tent was clearly lighter. The fluorescent lamp was still lit and hanging from the frame. Matt had his arms round him and his head on his shoulder. He seemed to have a shy smile on his mouth. Tim kissed the tip of his nose.
He looked around the tent. Scooter and Toby lie still on their sides, facing each other. Although the bag was up to their necks, it was obvious they both held each other. Joe still remained on his back. Chris hugged his neck with his head on his chest.
"Umm....what woke me up? Oh gee....I gotta pee!....That's not what woke me though."
He raised up on his elbows and tilted his head toward the flaps of the tent. He heard muffled voices and the sound of charcoal being poured into the grill.
"Someone's up......That's gotta be Ethan and Ryan. I wonder if they need help."
He gazed at Matt beside him.
"Awh gee, Matty looks so sweet this morning. Hee, hee....His hair is actually standing on end! It looks like he just had the scare of his life! Awh, I don't want to wake him. I really should get out there and help. What do we make for breakfast today?...
"Oh I just know I'm going to hit that chilly air out there and almost pee my pants! I'd better head to the bathroom right off."
He pulled on the same clothes he wore the day before, figuring it was just going to be a day of dirt trails or another trip out in the rowboat.
"Well, I only wore these clothes for a few hours yesterday. It's just they're so damp! I think that's the only thing I don't like about camping. I'll see how cool it is today. If it's warm enough, I'll put on shorts."
He gazed up at the top of the tent and listened as he pulled his jeans on.
"I don't hear any rain on the tent. I wouldn't even mind it if it was just chilly today. I just hope the rain is over."
Minutes later he pulled at the snaps of the tent flaps. He stepped out in a gray hooded sweatshirt. Instantly he felt the cold damp chill. The sky was still overcast but didn't appear as though there were the threat of rain. Ethan and Ryan were before the grill, gazing at the flames of the just lit starting fluid. Ethan held his arms around Ryan from behind, his chin on his shoulder. They weren't talking, yet it seemed as though they were communicating something deep and personal to each other. They both turned their heads to look at Tim.
"Hey!" Ethan sounded out.
Tim suddenly grabbed his crotch.
"Oh!....Oh!....I knew it!" he said with a dash for the bathrooms.
"I'll give you a hand as soon as I get back!" he yelled over his shoulder.
They both broke out laughing as they went for the table. Ryan held his hands out.
"So, what's on the menu for breakfast?"
"I don't know what everyone's going to want!......I really don't want to start on anything until we get a kind of agreement on everything."
Ryan reached for a large kettle.
"Well, it won't hurt to get some water heating. Even if we don't need it for breakfast, we'll have dishes."
As Ryan reached for the handle of a kettle, Ethan grabbed his wrist.
"...Umm....Rye......I just want to say......that was umm, really nice last night."
Ryan shaded his eyes with his hand. It hadn't been an embarrassed action as much as a defeated gesture.
"Oh gee, E......Yeah, it was really nice....but just waaaay too fast!......I couldn't help it! That's the first time I've ever been touched by....by someone else! I....I just couldn't control it!"
Ethan blushed slightly and hung his head.
"...Well, yeah....Same here..." he replied, standing and reaching for the water container, "It's just umm....it was still great, huh?"
He filled the kettle with water and gazed at Ryan. He suddenly set the container down quickly, splashing water from its spout.
"Oh shit, Rye! I don't think I ever slept so well in my life!......I mean, I woke up a few times. And....and you were just holding me so tight! It felt great! I mean you were sound asleep and you were just holding me sooooo tight! I've umm....never felt that close to anyone before..."
He capped the water container as he gazed out over the lake. He sat back down. His expression was one of deep thought.
"...I umm....Well, I sorta started crying a little..."
Ryan gave him a surprised expression.
"Oh! Umm....nothing bad or like that!......In fact I think it was because I was just so happy!"
"Really?" Ryan replied. It had been more of a sigh than a question.
Ethan slowly reached out and and drew him closer.
"Oh shit, Rye......I don't know if I should even say this. Umm....I umm....Well, I could feel something there. I really did!"
Ryan looked at him a bit shyly, yet seriously.
"Oh gee, yeah....Me too...
"I mean, I woke up a couple times too, but it was only like for a few seconds at a time. I just couldn't force myself awake. It was just so warm and comfortable laying there. And you were holding me too! It....Oh shit! This is gonna sound kinda silly, but it almost felt as though the two of us were kinda like....one!"
Ethan smiled as he gave a quick glance around. He leaned in and kissed him quickly and lightly.
"...That doesn't sound silly, Dew!......I think I felt kinda like that too!"
"Really?" Ryan sighed again.
Ethan stood and reached for the kettle. He nodded as he placed it on the grill.
Tim returned from the bathrooms. He walked up to the tent and began fanning the flaps wildly.
"RISE 'n SHINE!....COME ON JOE! CHRIS! SCOOTER! TOBY! UP 'n ATTUM!......YEAH, YOU TOO....CUPCAKE!"
It was obvious there was motion within the tent. There was a series of moans and lighthearted cussing. One by one they ran from the tent, headed in the direction of the bathrooms.
Tim told Ethan and Ryan he'd take over for them with starting breakfast. They made their way to the bathrooms. The others began returning.
The overcast was quickly being blown toward the east. The morning sun came out with a welcome warming sensation. They began sitting at the table, eying Tim. He looked them over.
"Okay....big decision this morning....oatmeal or scrambled eggs?"
Joe moaned. Chris smiled.
"How about both?!"
Tim busied himself at the hot plate. Ethan and Ryan were returning slowly. They were stopping frequently to glance over their shoulders. Indeed, twice they even turned around and looked behind for several seconds.
"Hey," Matt said as they drew close, "What's the big attraction?"
"Ambulance and police!......They're just over that little hill close to the bathrooms."
"Someone must have got hurt very bad to have an ambulance come out here. I never heard any sirens though."
"We didn't either!......Lots of lights flashing though."
Matt and Tim continued with the breakfast. Matt turned to nobody in particular.
"...I wonder why the police responded to an accident!"
"I believe that sort of thing is rather routine," Chris put in.
Chris was drawn to Tim near the hot plate.
"Please allow me to help."
"Everything's under control!..."
"But I feel so....so helpless! I wish to help out!"
"Well, all you have to do really, is put water on the charcoal for dishes."
"There already is water on!....It's still kinda cool yet though."
Minutes later they were all eating. Chris glanced across the table toward Ethan and Ryan.
"Mmmm....Perhaps I shouldn't even be saying this....yet....umm....you two appear....different this morning."
Joe looked up.
"...I thought it was just me. You two do look different this morning."
They both continued eating in silence. They blushed, refusing to look up.
Toby slapped his palm to the table.
"Did you two have some....some hot buttered boy sex last night?!"
Both grinned yet remained silent as they continued eating.
Tim placed his elbow on the table. He flipped his palm out in a silly gesture.
"...So you two....umm....got it on finally?!"
Matt suppressed a grin, trying to remain serious.
"Timmy!....Isn't that kinda....personal?!"
Ryan suddenly looked up.
"Okay!....Yeah!....We....we kinda got it on last night!....Okay?"
"...You....kinda got it on? Hee, hee."
"Yeah!" Ryan nearly shouted, "...For all of two minutes!"
Ethan dropped his fork onto his plate with a clatter. He glanced at Ryan.
"Oh shit!......That was just too fast!"
He covered his pink face with his hands.
"Ohhhh, this is soooo embarrassing!"
"We're just teasing you," Matt put in with a slight chuckle, "Me 'n Tim were.... well, kinda fast ourselves the first time. In fact, we weren't even bare-assed! It was umm....kinda an accident!"
Tim nodded his head in agreement. He held a slight, pleased smile at the reflection.
"Yeah....that kinda just came sneaking up on us....Fast!....Awful fast! Like Matty says, it was really an accident."
Matt suddenly covered his face at the memory.
"Oh gee!....I was just so embarrassed and self-conscious after that!"
Tim stopped grinning and reached out to hold the back of Matt's hand.
"Well Matty....I can't say I was all that embarrassed about it..."
He chewed thoughtfully for a moment.
"That was when you first said you loved me."
"Oh gee, Timmy!"
"Lighten up Matty!......I'm not trying to gross you out. It....Well, it made me finally admit that I loved you too. I thought about that a lot...
"Remember you said it just wasn't you to fall for someone so quickly?......Well, I felt the same way myself. In fact, I think I was actually scared to admit it! I mean even to myself!"
He squeezed Matt's hand.
"Oh gee, I think I felt that way the instant I first saw you!"
"Really?......You never mentioned that before."
Tim didn't reply, yet nodded his head.
An hour later, Matt and Tim pulled at oars in a large, wide rowboat. They had changed into shorts as the day was growing warmer. Matt had been complaining from the start.
"Gee!....Timmy!....Couldn't you have rented a bigger boat?!"
"They're all the same cost!"
"Shit Timmy! This is a whaling boat! I just want to know where the harpoons are kept!"
Tim drew his oar up from the water and looked at Matt.
"Matty....I asked the guy for this boat. Number seven! I saw it docked here yesterday. I wanted this one. It's wide! I wanted us to be able to sit beside each other with a bit more room...
"We'll row across the lake and switch sides. That way we'll work our arms equally."
Matt looked at him as he kept rowing.
"Across the lake?!"
"Yeah. Just one trip."
"Well let's take it a bit easy, kay?"
Matt continued to row the boat, turning it in a circle.
"Matty......Have you ever heard the phrase, 'He's only got one oar in the water,' before?"
"Hee, hee....yeah. Now let's get coordinated here."
They pulled at their oars lightly. It took only seconds for them to fall into a slow, comfortable cadence.
After several minutes, Matt spoke.
"...Umm....okay Timmy. I guess this boat isn't that large. I really thought we'd need a lot more muscle to row this thing."
"We aren't in a race Matty. I just noticed this boat yesterday. I figured it would give us a bit more room on the middle seat here. I really want to build myself up a bit. We do lots of bike riding and walking, but we need to work on our upper bodies a bit more...
"Remember digging that trench at the park?....Oh shit! I don't ever wanna be hurtin' like that again!"
"Are you really serious about goin' all the way across the lake?"
"Yes....I'm sure it's a couple miles, but we aren't crossing the Atlantic!"
They fell into silence as they drew at the oars. They were surprised at the moderate speed they made in such a wide boat. Occasionally they had to deal with several large wakes from the larger, motorized boats.
They began to put their entire bodies into deep, coordinated strokes. They reached the opposite side and ran parallel with the shore as they studied the trees, ferns and cat-tailed swamps.
"Oh wow, Matty....Listen to how quiet it is out here. Wow! This is beautiful!"
They drew up their oars and listened to the wildlife.
They heard the buzz of insects. A dragonfly landed on Tim's knee. Matt studied a wasp which had lighted on the back of his hand.
"Wow, watch it Matty."
"It's okay. They don't sting if you move slowly."
They heard assorted birds within the marsh. Occasionally they heard a splash in the water.
"Oh shit," Matt gasped, "I hope that wasn't a snake coming in after us."
"Oh gee! You had to remind me of the snakes!"
Matt studied the shoreline. There was no sandy embankment. The thick foliage grew to the water's edge. Overhead were more low hanging branches. Small vines, cobwebs and spiderwebs seemed to bounce in the slight breeze. They could also hear the water dripping from the blades of their raised oars.
"Shit Matty....I've never known such near total silence in my life."
"Yeah....It's almost spooky...
"Hey, watch it....I don't want us drifting under there. There's no telling what's up there, waiting to drop down on us."
Rather than pull at the oars, they began to push against them. The boat backed slowly from the shore and the canopy overhead. Tim glanced around, his eyes large.
"Oh shit! I really wish I had a camera now."
"Yeah, me too."
Tim allowed his oar to drop into the water. He reached down to pull his shirt over his head.
"That's it! It's getting too hot out!"
Matt began to study him with a grin.
"...Timmy! Put your shirt back on!......You're giving me a stiffy!"
Tim smiled as he placed his shirt on the seat between them.
"...I got a better idea....
"Why don't you take your shirt off and give me a stiffy?!"
Matt grinned and quickly pulled his shirt over his head. He folded it on his lap and set it over Tim's shirt on the seat between them. He smiled at Tim.
"Well?......Is it working?"
Tim gave him a serious stare as he reached out to rub his chest.
"...Oh yeah....I think it is."
Matt reached out for Tim's shoulders and moved in for a kiss. They both closed their eyes. They felt the boat rock gently. Birds squawked and frogs croaked. Water slapped at the boat. The oar grips rose and fell before them.
They both drew back slowly, seriously studying each others faces. They heard the oars clanking in their locks. A soft breeze rustled the leaves in the trees nearby.
"Ohhhh!" Matt began, "I'm feeling one of those clingy thingys coming on again!"
They drew into a deep hug. It hadn't been tight, yet it felt deep for both of them. They rested their chins on each others shoulders. Tim kissed Matt's neck.
"Oh Matty....I love you so much......I don't think I say that enough."
Matt ran his fingers through Tim's hair and smiled.
"...You don't really have to......You....well, you show me....in so many ways...
"Oh Timmy!....I think I'm getting kinda scared again....This....this just feels too good to be true!"
He gripped Tim in his arms. Again, it hadn't been a tight hug, yet it felt deep.
"Well Matty......as much as I'm enjoying this....I'll enjoy it better after we row back. We've got to go all the way across again."
"Okay....but let's take it easy. I don't wanna be hurtin' like we were that one night!"
"Okay Matty! Let's switch sides now."
Tim gripped his oar.
"And we're not going to take it easy!....No pain, no gain, Matty! We've got to build up our upper body strength a bit!"
They began to draw strongly at their oars. Matt glanced at Tim.
"...I don't want you....buff!......I want you cute!"
Tim glanced at him and rolled his eyes.
"Matty! I keep saying it....We're getting too old to look....cute!......I don't wanna bulk-up like that! I just need a bit more strength in my arms and back...
"...Yeah, I remember that trench we dug at the park! Oh gee! We were hurtin' for two days after that! We were so sore we didn't even wanna do anything with each other!
"...We'll....we'll put our backs into this....Well, just for a third of the way, okay? Then we'll slow down a bit."
"Oh gee, yeah. You're right......I don't ever wanna go through that again!"
For the next half hour, they pulled mechanically at their oars. They didn't speak to each other. They listened to the clank of the oars. They could actually hear the bow cutting through the water.
Matt started talking without removing his gaze from the shoreline behind. They kept their eyes on the marshy area behind them. They knew the bow was pointed directly toward the docks on the other side.
"We can slow down a bit now, huh?"
"Not yet!....Pull!....No pain, no gain!"
"Well, if I get as sore as I did with that digging....I'm....I'm gonna tie you down and....and I'm gonna French yer belly button for twenty minutes!"
Tim suddenly doubled over, losing his grip on the oar. The blade fell into the water. The forward motion of the boat caused it to draw forward against his chest, pushing him over backwards. His feet flew into the air.
"Ah, ha, ha, ha!....Hee, hee!"
Tim gripped his stomach with both hands.
"Matty!....Damn you!....I keep tellin' you I can just feel that!.....Just thinking about it....I kin feel it!"
"Hee, hee, hee!"
Matt turned and wiggled his finger into Tim's belly.
"Oh shit! Stop that! Hee, hee. I'll pee! I really will! I'll wet my pants! Matty! Stop!"
He allowed Tim to get back onto the seat. The boat had stopped. The oar handle bobbed before Tim. He bent forward, wrapping his arms over his stomach.
"Oh shit, Matty! It ain't funny!....I tell you I can just feel that!....Like it's actually happening!"
"Okay now....Can we slow down a bit?! I don't wanna get so sore we can't enjoy ourselves tonight."
This seemed to bring a sudden smile to Tim.
"Ohhhh....Have you got something planned for us?"
"...I had something planned for this morning!....But not with everyone else in the tent with us!...
"Oh! I sure hope it doesn't storm again tonight."
Tim reached for the grip on his oar.
"...You know something?" he began, "...If anyone came into the tent, I'd have expected Ethan and Ryan......They're the only ones who didn't show up!"
Matt gazed off at the shore behind them. Tim took up his oar. They began a moderate paced stroke again.
"I feel kinda poorly for Chris," Matt put in, "I think he feels bad he can't do too much."
"...Yeah......Mom and Dad keep tellin' me they aren't being mean by making me do more for myself. I keep telling them I understand all that! They're so worried that I think they're being mean to me..."
He gazed at Matt with a grin, yet held a serious expression.
"We've got each other! That's all I want!....That's all I need!"
They drew their oars up and gazed at each other for several seconds. They both leaned in for a quick kiss.
They began rowing again. Almost instantly they became aware of the near monotonous clank of the oars in the locks.
"Okay, Matty," Tim said with a forced note of joy,"...Think happy thoughts! Keep your mind off the rowing!...
"...Well, hey!......You gotta admit, this is so much better than bein' in a gym on a rowing machine!......Smell that water! Smell the pine in the air! Feel that warm sun on us! Listen to the seagulls!"
From time to time they both looked over their shoulders at the dock on the opposite side of the lake. Each time it appeared they were no closer.
"I'm sorry Matty....It was my idea to go all the way across the lake. I guess it is lots farther than it looks!"
"That's okay......It just seemed like we got there so fast and now it's taking forever to get back!"
"Well, we've got a bit of a west wind against us. Keep thinking happy thoughts, Matty."
They finally drew up to the docks in what they felt was three times the distance out. They drew up their oars as Matt tossed a looped rope over a cleat on the dock. They remained seated.
"Oh shit, Timmy....Now we've gotta climb that ladder!"
They gazed at the wooden dock as the waves moved past. The wooden pilings below the waterline were green with moss. Snails, worms and other marine life clung to them. They could smell the mixture of wet timber, moss, motor oil and outboard exhaust.
Tim stretched his legs out and rubbed his thighs.
"Okay Matty....Tell me that was a dumb idea."
"No!....No it wasn't, Timmy...
"In fact, I think we should do that once a day while we're out here! Not like we're in a race....but just kinda moderate. We'll adjust to it. We needed this! Really!"
Tim reached for their shirts on the seat.
"Well, what do you say we head to the beach for a bit? I'd like to just sit in a shallow spot and feel the waves running over me."
Minutes later they entered the swimming area. They instantly noticed Joe and Chris on a blanket in the warm sand.
"Hey, how's the water?" Tim asked.
Chris remained on his back with his eyes closed. He lifted his arm and pointed toward the lake.
"...I wouldn't know....Snakes swim in that water, and I do not wish to invade their territory."
"...And spiders hop along the surface! On those long legs with the flat feet on the ends!"
It had been Toby speaking from another blanket over. He was on his stomach as Scooter spread a thick layer of suntan lotion over his back. They could actually smell the sweet scent of coconut oil in the breeze.
Tim looked at Scooter and Toby in their brief suits. He then gazed at Joe and Chris. They wore suits with legs nearly halfway down their thighs.
"...And fish pee in that water too!" a louder voice sounded out.
They turned to see Tom and Jenny walking up to them. Jenny playfully slapped his shoulder.
"…It won't kill you to miss your chlorinated pool a couple times this summer! Gee! I like to get out once in awhile and meet people!"
Jenny wore a rather conservative two-piece suit. By comparison, Tom's black Speedo seemed brief.
Both Matt and Tim gave him a glance. They had done this often when seeing other boys. They would whisper a number between one and ten on what they claimed to be their 'Hotness Scale.'
Tim leaned in toward Matt's ear.
"Eight!" he whispered forcefully.
"...Oh yeah!....Definitely an eight!" Matt replied.
They started out into the water wearing their denim shorts. Jenny and Tom followed them into a shallow area and they all sat. The water was nearly to their shoulders.
"Oh gee!" Jenny gasped, "This water is so warm!"
Tom leaned his head forward and pretended to sniff the surface of the water.
"...I smell fish pee!......Jenny! We're sitting in fish pee!"
"Oh Tom! Will you quit that?! This is nice....And wow! Is it warm!"
Tom reached for a piece of seaweed between his thumb and index finger. He gave a disgusted expression as he tossed it over his shoulder.
"Jenny! Fish eat this stuff....and then they shit!"
"Oh, quit bein' so gross! It's not gonna kill you!...
"Do you have any idea how much bacteria is in fast foods?! Hell! I'll bet even your expensive five star restaurants have it! And supermarket foods? Do you know what's in powdered chocolate?......You're always mixing up a chocolate milk! There are ground up insects in it!....And rat 'n mice droppings! You'd probably have a heart attack if you knew what you were eating."
Tom looked down shyly as he spoke softly.
"...I don't like swimming in......fish pee..."
Matt and Tim couldn't hold back giggles.
"So!....Umm," Matt began, "What brings you out here? The beautiful lake?"
Jenny smiled and glanced at Tom.
"Well, Tom's parents came out here for a little vacation this week. I tried to talk my parents into it as well. They can't get time off until July. My aunt and uncle are out here. Well, gee! They're retired!......I think they're out here all summer! They have a nice travel trailer. Oh gee! It's got air conditioning, washer 'n drier, satellite TV....even an electric generator!"
Tim hesitated for a moment.
"...Umm....Jenny?......Did you sorta....umm....set Ethan and Ryan up last winter?"
A brilliant smile spread across her face as she nodded.
"Oh I just had to push those two together!"
"Do they....umm....look gay to you?"
"Not in the least!......It was how they acted around each other....Making DOE EYES at each other? I was ninety percent sure of it. Well, I kind of made it for Harvey's. Sort of a neutral area...
"Oh, we told them we all want to be friends......They felt kinda bad they were excluded from the older students. How well I remember that. Oh! A couple years ago I think we really had a....a thing with the upperclassmen being real snobs. You know I'm a member of the GSA....And I'm sure you know how we're all inclusive! Well, I'm not just saying the gay crowd......I mean all the students! Sure the handicapped! And the fatsos! And the skinny runts! But how well do we accept the younger students..."
She glanced down for a moment with a slight blush.
"...Umm....Tim......One of the senior students last year mentioned you. Oh! Not about bein' gay or anything. In fact he wasn't even in the GSA! He mentioned how you were new around here. All the way from California! And....well we didn't actually mean to do it, but we could have sorta put in a bit more effort to welcoming you to the school."
"...Oh, that didn't bother me. I was awful shy myself. I keep saying it....I don't make it very easy for people to talk to me."
He glanced toward Matt beside him. He reached out to rub his back.
"I met Matty the first few minutes I was here. And I keep sayin' it....I don't know what it was about him....Something just clicked! I mean not that I thought he was gay or anything! Well, I was hoping! Hee, hee. It's just....I don't know....He was the first person who I felt comfortable around. He was kinda easy to talk to. I mean even easier than kids from my old school that I'd known for a couple years!"
"Oh gee. I'm so glad you two hit it off so well......All the kids say you two are just so....so right for each other!"
She ran her hand over the surface of the water.
"Yeah, we're going to do a bit more with the younger kids. We want to make them feel a part of it. Tom and I just thought we'd start with Ethan and Ryan. Well, I was trying to umm....push them together too."
There was a long period of silence here. Each were in their own thoughts. They felt the warm water around them. The breeze was slight but warm as well.
Tim glanced at Tom.
"...So....umm....Tom....if you feel....uncomfortable with me and Matt, you can just go out with Jenny. I mean we understand....People like to talk..."
Tom seemed surprised. He reached out and squeezed Tim's shoulder.
"...Never!....I've got no problem with any of this. Really! I just couldn't be all that active in the GSA with practice on Thursday nights. Believe me, I'd have been there!"
He hesitated for a moment with a slight blush.
"...It's just....umm....the kissing stuff. I don't know why, but that does make me a bit uncomfortable. I mean, even when the boys joke about it."
Tim nodded with a grin.
"Well, me 'n Matt don't do that out in public....Well, not with anyone around!"
He hesitated for a moment.
"...It's just....well if we do something you don't like....just say something about it, kay? And don't feel bad about it!...
"We're very happy that we're being accepted around school. And....well we don't wanna ruin that."
Scooter and Toby looked up as someone walked up to them.
They saw Adam there. He wore shorts and a t-shirt. Below his right eye, was a large purple bruise. His left eye was blackened. His lip was swollen and obviously had three stitches visible.
"Holy shit, Add! What happened to you?!"
He glanced down shyly.
"I umm....fell on the rocks over there this morning......Hee, hee....I'm really getting clumsy. I was feeding the seagulls and I wasn't watching where I was going....I....umm kinda took a spill on the rocks."
"...Awh, gee! Sorry to hear that."
"...Yeah....well....umm....I really hate to tell you this...
"I was going to kinda visit you people this morning......Well, you know my dad....the gay thing and all...
"...Well, he doesn't want me hanging with you boys....I mean....I'm really sorry. I just wanted to tell you that....umm....I'm not ditching you or ignoring you at all. You've both been really nice to me around school and all. Real friends! And this isn't my idea or anything....I just don't want any trouble, okay? I mean it's not you! It's just that my dad doesn't want me around boys following the gay agenda! Oh yeah! Like you're all turning straight boys gay! We've all heard it before, huh?"
"Awh! Shit, Add!....We understand. Don't stick your neck out, huh? Don't make waves...
"Umm....yeah, it sounds so far off but you'll be eighteen before you know it! You'll get out on your own....And don't worry about anything. If worse comes to worse, me 'n Tob will have you move in with us! I mean 'til you find a job and stuff."
Adam squinted his eyes. He wiped his fingers over a tear which ran down each cheek.
"Oh shit!....You guys are the greatest!....See what I mean? Even when I have to keep away from you."
"Hey! Chill, Add!....We understand! We really do! Don't go feelin' bad about it. Like I say, we'll all be together in a few years. We'll have some great times! Just keep thinkin' about that. Think of happy stuff. Yeah, I know it's hard. I've been through all that. I really had it bad. Oh shit!....Bein' without Toby?! I wouldn't wish that on anybody!...
"Just....umm, play along with it! Tell 'em what they want to hear. Tell 'em you were just....well, kinda experimenting. Tell 'em you know for a fact you're straight now. Play their silly games. When you're out on your own, you can do what you want!"
"Oh gee! You guys are great!....You know that?!..."
He suddenly burst into sobs. He covered his face and turned away. He took quick, large strides away from them.
Toby gazed at him walking away.
"Oh shit!....Poor little guy..."
"He fell!....Shit too! If he fell, he'd have scrapes 'n scratches. Those were from hits, Toby! He was punched!......And I think he was covering up for his ole man!"
"Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I was thinking the same thing myself. I think his campsite is near where that cop car and ambulance was this morning!"
Ethan and Ryan were stretched out on a sleeping bag in their tent. They wore shorts. They were shirtless and barefoot. Ethan was on his side, rubbing Ryan's chest.
"This sure is nice huh, Rye?"
"Yeah, but umm....hee, hee. I'll bet the others wonder where we are. Maybe we should go out for a quick appearance or something."
"Nah!......I like this right here..."
Their tent was to the east of the tall pines around them. The tent caught the heat of the morning sun. As afternoon approached, the trees shaded the tent from the direct sunlight.
"Oh Rye......I gotta like....tell you something."
"Well, it's not quite that simple..."
"Oh shit!......Is this something about....us?"
"...Well, yeah!......But like I say, it's not that simple."
Ryan had a sudden expression of fear pass over his face.
"...If....if it's that you don't want to.....be with me anymore. I think I'll understand. I don't think I'd like it, but I'd understand."
"Well no! Not exactly," he replied.
He continued to rub Ryan's chest tenderly.
"I mean, I like this! I really do!......It's just....how can I be sure I'm....I'm gay?"
Ryan's brilliant green eyes looked up at him.
"E....if you're gay....You'll know it!...
"Umm....I....Well, I kinda thought I was....Yet it was like I didn't know. That's not what it was, E......I think I was kinda not wanting to accept it. In fact, I fought it! It just got to the point where I had to accept it. I knew! Oh shit! I was constantly looking at boys!"
"Well, what bothers me....Oh, I keep saying it!....I didn't always know! Umm, did you always know, Rye?"
"Well, thinking back....I don't think I did always know. I think it's that....that puberty thing! When you're young, you don't really think of love and sexy stuff. We're umm....developing now! We're getting more interested in those things. Shit! As I little kid all I thought of was playin' cowboys 'n Indians!....Playin' video games! Goin' to all those....those zombi movies an' gettin' the shit scared outta me!"
"Really, E!....I think it was about the same for me as it was you. I don't think all boys know if they're straight or gay. It's hard to explain......It's just as soon as I got interested in this stuff....my daydreams always seemed to involve boys!...
"I mean I can look at girls and tell you if they're cute or that. You don't have to be straight to know if a girl is cute, right?"
Ethan slowly nodded his head.
"...Yeah....I thought Heidi was cute....Well I still do! And....well, I kinda liked kissin' her, you know?......But......Oh gee! Rye!....That kiss you gave me over at Tim's place!....Oh wow!....I keep tellin' you that was HOT! Heidi doesn't even show up on my radar after that!"
"Hee, hee, really?!"
Ethan reached up and ran his fingers over Ryan's cheek.
"Rye......What I think I worry about....is if I find I'm straight....And this is all just an....an experiment....I wouldn't want to leave you and hurt you like that! That would kill me, Rye! Oh! I can almost see the expression on your face! I'd never want to hurt you like that! You're just so sweet 'n loving. And you know you're the cutest boy in the whole school!"
Ryan couldn't find words. He simply blushed.
Ethan continued to run his fingertips gently over Ryan's cheek. He slowly leaned forward and touched his lips to it. Ryan felt a warm sensation suddenly flow through his body. His arms encircled Ethan with a deep hug.
"I don't ever want to hurt you Rye," Ethan whispered.
Tom dove off the raft which was anchored in the swimming area. Tim bobbed beside it, turning his head looking for Matt.
"In here!" he heard Matt whisper forcefully.
Through the planking, he saw Matt's face from under the raft. He took a breath and dove under, rising under the raft.
"Matty....Tell me when you do something like this. I was starting to get scared."
"Well, I'll be the first to admit I'm not a fast swimmer. Don't worry about me staying afloat."
They both gripped at metal supports above their heads. Beside each of them was two of the several large drums strapped to the raft to add buoyancy.
"Why are you hiding under here anyhow?"
Matt grinned as he made his way closer to Tim.
"I need a battery recharge!"
"Matty! Not here!"
"Timmy!....We're under the raft! Nobody's gonna see us under here!"
He gripped a metal support overhead and threw his other arm around Tim's neck. Matt moved in for a deep kiss.
"Mmm....Mmm....Wow, Matty! Can you keep the heat down a little bit."
"No! I need more!......I never even got a good morning kiss today."
They kissed a minute longer.
"Oh gee, Matty! That's enough!"
"Oh I hope there's no storm tonight!......Any ideas of how we can lock a tent up?"
"Awh. You wouldn't keep Chris out would you? He's so scared. And I think he's really trying. He feels a little embarrassed over it. Did you see how sweet Joe was being with him?"
"Oh yeah. I feel bad for the little guy. I try to put in a good word for him. He just needs his self-esteem boosted a bit. Did you see how proud he was of just washing dishes that first time? I'll bet that was a real challenge for him...
"...I umm....still hope it doesn't storm again tonight. We need some....some alone time."
"Oh shit! I love it when you get like this!......Have you got something romantic planned for tonight?"
"What do you say we'll just let nature take its course?..."
Chris still remained beside Joe on their blanket. He could feel the warm sand from underneath. A warm breeze passed over them. He nearly reached out to place his arm over Joe, yet caught himself. As he opened his eyes, he saw a tiny sand spider crawling along the edge of the blanket. He quickly jumped to his feet.
With this, Toby opened his eyes suddenly and sprang to his feet. He rushed into the water.
Joe slapped at the edge of the blanket.
"Okay....It's dead now. You can come back."
"I don't care if it's dead! Get rid of it!"
Joe pretended it was a great effort digging a trench into the sand. He appeared to drop the spider into it and cover it.
Chris returned to the blanket, sitting down. He looked around apprehensively.
"Oh shit! I believe there's no place out here to be free of those arachnids! Oh! I truly believe I've got to do something with myself."
Toby shyly drew up to the shore. He held his clasped hands before his chest. Water dripped from his arms.
"I ran out into the water to get away from that spider......Then I remembered the snakes!"
Joe turned lazily to his back, his eyes still closed.
"It's dead, Toby....I got rid of it."
"Perhaps I'm not the exclusive one when it comes to awful, arachnids!" Chris put in.
Toby slowly reached the edge of Chris' blanket. His legs and suit still dripping water.
"...Chris......If you put me in a room with only one door in it....And chained a BEAR at the door....And put a tiny little spider in there......That FUCKIN' BEAR IS GONNA DIE!"
They all broke out laughing.
"Oh shit!....NOT FUNNY!"
Matt and Tim still clung to the raft supports overhead as they hugged each other with one arm.
"Matty....I can tell....You're thinking again!"
"I was just thinking about a hot shower and going back into the tent again. I don't think I can wait 'til tonight!"
He gave Tim another deep kiss.
"Oh WOW! Matty!....I just love it when you get like this!"
"You know what I wanna do, Timmy?"
"...I wanna kiss you under water! We've never tried that!"
"I'm all for that," Tim replied with a sly smile. He let loose from the support overhead. His head ducked under the water. Matt followed him.
Ethan continued to rub Ryan's chest. Ryan nearly felt his concern.
"Look, E......If things......don't....work out between us. I'm sure not going to hate you for it!"
"Well, I keep askin' myself if this is real!......I mean about bein' gay. I....well, I kinda hope I am! I still don't know about my family. Like I say....they keep tellin' me not to worry about it. Like this is going to all pass. Oh shit, Rye....This isn't some experiment for me!"
Ryan smiled at him and tweaked his nose.
"Well, there's your answer."
Ethan seemed to be in deep though for several seconds. Suddenly a huge smile appeared on his face. He was lost for words. He simply rested his head on Ryan's chest with a sigh and gripped his shoulders.
After Matt and Tim's fifth underwater kiss, they broke the surface beside the raft.
Tom was sitting on the deck with his feet on the edge of a near submerged drum. He held up his arm, sniffing at it.
"...Fish pee!......And rotten seaweed!"
Jenny playfully cuffed him behind the head.
"...Maybe I should just find myself another boyfriend! Can't you just inhale the fresh air?! Can't you see the beauty out here?!......Smell that fresh water! (Sniff!) That's nature not chlorine! Listen to the seagulls! Smell the pine in the air! Sniff at that aroma of woodsmoke coming from the camping area. And....and I can actually smell someone's delicious stew way out here! Look at all the kids on the raft here. Listen to the laughter. You don't hear anyone complaining about....fish pee!"
Tim reached the raft and grabbed at the top timber. His limp, wet hair stuck to the sides of his head. He gave a smile.
"Come on in, Tom!....The fish pee is fine!"
Jenny pushed on his shoulders from behind. He fell forward into the water. He quickly surfaced.
"Oh!....Oh!....Fish pee and....and rotten seaweed! I think I'm gonna barf!"
"Oh Tommy! Don't be such a grinch!"
He suddenly smiled.
"I'm joking with you Jenny!......That was a joke!"
He grabbed for her ankle and pulled it.
"Eeeeee!" she screamed as she hit the water with a splash.
Tom made his way up the ladder. His tight, wet suit held to him.
Matt drew up beside Tim.
"Oh shit!....Oh shit!....Tommy may be an eight....but that ass is definitely a Ten!"
"Shhhh!......I mean....yeah!....But I don't think Tom would exactly be thrilled that gay boys are checkin' him out!"
"You couldn't miss that if you were straight!"
"Come on. Let's head for the tent and gather up towels and clean clothes."
Both, not being exactly perfect swimmers, splashed their way toward the shallow water.
"Oh! Oh!....I'm getting tired already," Matt yelled out, "Across the lake in that boat and now swimming!......I'd better not be sore tomorrow. I swear! I'll....I'll stick my tongue in yer belly button for twenty minutes!"
Tim gave a gasp as his head went under. He rose up, spitting water out.
"Matty! PLEASE! Don't even joke about that! I can FEEL that!....I can actually FEEL THAT!"
"Hee, hee, hee."
Ethan and Ryan remained on their backs. Each had a hand into the others shorts.
"Oh shit, E!....That's enough! Stop!....We gotta stop for a little bit!"
"Oh yeah....Oh gee....I thought I could hold back for a bit longer after....umm.... last night."
"Yeah. Me too! Oh! Let's just lay here for a bit. Let's not touch each other for awhile. I gotta calm down..."
"Who's that?......Sounds like Matt and Tim. Oh! What if they're lookin' for us?! We gotta get into the sleeping bag....They'll see us tentin' out!"
They heard their voices in the tent as well as the swish of the tent flaps.
"Matty! We gotta tie the flaps back before we go to the showers! It's going to get awful hot in here."
Their voices mumbled for several minutes before they faded out in the direction of the showers.
"Oh gee!," Ryan gasped, "Maybe we'd better not do anything 'til tonight! I'd feel better if I knew everyone was asleep."
"...Asleep?!....Hee, hee....Like eight horny boys are going to sleep?! Hee, hee.... get real, Rye! We all know why we're here!"
"...Well, even if they aren't actually sleeping....Maybe they'll be umm....distracted long enough for me to enjoy this more."
They lay in silence for a moment.
"Oh gee," Ryan began, "I keep thinking about Toby......Wow! He's sure changed! He sure isn't all quiet and shy. I think Scooter gettin' beat up had something to do with that."
"Oh yeah. Gee, I never even knew about Scooter 'til he got back to school."
"Well that's the same time you had that awful flu bug. You weren't in school then."
"That's right. Oh I was one sick little puppy. Oh shit, I don't want to ever go through that again!"
A half hour later Tim began dumping charcoal into the grill.
"Tim, isn't it a bit early to start on supper?"
"Well, it's going to take a bit for the charcoal to light evenly...
"While we were out on that raft, I could smell someone's stew cooking."
"Oh yeah! I could smell that too! I could almost taste it!"
"What have we got around to make a stew with? I don't want to use that freeze dried shit again! Canned meat? Vegetables?.... And don't say beans or peas!"
"Well we got corn 'n carrots....some of those tiny potatoes....and I think I saw a couple small onions somewhere..."
"Let's gather everything up and set it out on the table."
Ethan and Ryan were in their sleeping bag in a deep embrace.
"Oh no!" Ryan gasped, "I....I let go again! I couldn't stop!"
"Oh yeah....Me too! It's all your fault Rye!"
"Oh shit!....You and those....those hot kisses!"
"Hee, hee....You really think my kisses are....hot?"
"Oh yeah!....Oh yeah!....I could almost almost smell those apples on your breath again!"
Ryan pulled down the sleeping bag.
"Oh shit!....I'm wet right through my shorts! We can't go out to the showers like this! People will see us!"
"Rye....We'll put our shorts in the laundry bag. We'll wear our clothes we had on yesterday and bring along fresh ones!"
Ryan stepped from his shorts.
"Oh gee....I think I'm getting all embarrassed again!"
"Rye....Just throw your shorts in this laundry bag. On Saturday we'll dump 'em in a big machine. Nobody has to know anything."
They quickly dressed and stepped out from the tent. They saw Matt and Tim at the table, examining ingredients for the stew.
"So what's goin' on here?" Ethan asked.
"Beef stew!....Well, real beef stew this time! Not that dehydrated stuff!" Matt said, "Well, hee, hee....We're hoping!"
Tim eyed the both of them.
"So where were you two all day? We didn't see you anywhere?"
Ethan grinned and held Ryan from behind.
"We....umm....stayed in the tent."
Tim cast a sly grin yet held a somewhat serious expression.
"Well, nothing wrong with that, huh?"
Matt opened a can of sliced carrots and looked their way.
"Well why didn't you two join us in the tent last night?!"
"What for?....Did we miss an orgy?!"
"The STORM!....Everyone was scared. Didn't you hear it?!"
"What storm?" Ryan asked with a smile.
"You didn't hear that?!"
Ethan continued to hug him from behind.
"...Yeah....we heard it......Well, a little......We just rolled over and went back to sleep."
"Wow! You must have been out of it!"
Ethan hugged Ryan again. He rested his chin on his shoulder from behind.
"We....slept kinda sound last night."
Tim was opening a rectangular tin as he smiled.
"Well, me 'n Matty sleep like rocks after......we're done."
"Timmy....Are you blushing?"
"Oh shit! I had to say that, didn't I?"
He shook out a chunk of pressed beef from the can onto a paper plate. He began slicing it into cubes.
"Oh, I might as well just admit it!" he continued, nodding his head, "Me 'n Matty, umm....Well, we like it! Okay?......I mean when we're.....done!"
Both Ethan and Ryan grinned.
"I don't know how to explain it," Tim continued, "I mean it's not like it's all hot 'n stuff....In fact it isn't hot."
He glanced at Matt.
"...In fact, it's just....warm!"
Matt couldn't resist a grin.
Ryan grinned and nodded.
"Oh yeah....It's that real warm, weak 'n sleepy feeling."
"Exactly!" Tim replied, setting the knife aside.
Ryan turned in Ethan's arms and threw his arms around his neck. He kissed his lips quickly.
"E....I don't think I ever slept so sound in my life!"
Tim looked at Matt, about to pour the canned carrots into a kettle.
"Matty....Pour off some of that water......We want stew....not soup!"
Within minutes, the stew began to simmer over the charcoal. Tim dropped three rocks into the coals and set the kettle higher.
"We gotta be careful now. This will burn very easy."
"I can help!" Chris' voice sounded out.
"Okay....Use this spatula here. Keep scraping the bottom so it doesn't stick and burn."
"Oh gee, Toby!" Scooter's voice sounded out loudly, "Yer playin' with it too much! It's affecting yer mind!"
"Arrgghh!" Toby yelled, pulling him to the ground by his neck. They playfully wrestled on the ground. After a minute they started for the table.
"So what's Toby doin' now?" Tim asked.
"Oh! His arachnophobia is kickin' in again!"
Toby pranced in place as he shook his arms.
"Ohhhh, how I HATE spiders!"
He ran for his tent and quickly came out with a spray can. He held it within the tent, his arm through the flaps. The spray sounded continuous.
"Toby!....We gotta sleep in there tonight! You're gonna gas us!"
"We'll air it out after it soaks for about an hour!"
"Awh! Everything's gonna smell bug spray!......We'll taste it on our food!"
Toby continued to spray, waving his arm within the tent.
"TOBY!" Scooter yelled, running for him.
He tackled him, pulling him to the ground.
Toby fell to his elbow, spraying himself in his face.
"Oh! (Cough, cough!) Oh shit! Wait!....Time out!"
"Gimme that can!....I'm throwing that out in a trash barrel....On the other side of the campgrounds!"
"No! No!....Please!......If I see a spider in there tonight....I'll....I'll run out bare-assed! And I'll tell the cops it was all your fault!"
"Hee, hee....Toby....I really don't like spiders either, but I won't flip out over one. Just point it out to me and I'll mash it with a paper towel!"
Later that evening, they all gathered around the table. Everyone spooned up the stew.
"Wow, Timmy!" Ryan put in, "This is great! I hope you remember the recipe!"
"I doubt I will......We just threw in whatever we thought would taste good!"
Chris looked up with a bright smile.
"Oh!....Out here....I believe shit would taste good!"
He suddenly drew his hands to his mouth.
"Oh! Sorry!....I wasn't implying that..."
Tim gave him a wave.
"I know what you're saying, Chris. In fact, I haven't really put my finger on what it is about meals while camping out..."
He glanced around.
"Some people say it's the charcoal or wood fire....or the well water. Some say it's the break in routine....The fresh air....Awh! I think it's just that you're a bit more active camping out. I still think it's just your body's way of signaling you're hungry! You need more food to keep up with the pace."
Toby was about to lift another spoonful of stew, but hesitated.
"Oh gee....Hey....umm....Matty?....Tim?....Umm......We saw Adam today."
"Umm....He kinda came down to the beach today......to tell us he can't be around us anymore...
"Oh gee, he was really messed up! His face! I really think his dad let him have it. Oh, he said he fell on the rocks this morning! Shit too! Those bruises weren't from falling down. I don't have to be some kinda forensic specialist to see that!"
"Oh shit," Tim gasped, "I sure hate to hear that."
"Yeah......He....he really felt kinda bad about it. He didn't want us to think he was ditchin' us. He kinda walked away crying. I feel so bad for the little guy. It really hurts."
Tim set his spoon in his bowl. He placed his palms on the table.
"Oh shit....Oh gee, I hate to hear that stuff......Why is there so much hate in the world?......Why can't people just get along? I'm not sayin' we all have to agree with each other......Just sort of get along!"
The others only gazed into their bowls. Nobody spoke.
A half hour later, Tim placed the fluorescent lamp beside the plastic dishpan. The evening grew dark and it was obvious black clouds were forming in the west again.
"Chris....I feel bad we keep pushing the dishes off onto you."
"No!....No! I truly enjoy this. I so wish to help out where I may. I feel....well, kinda useless out here. This is all so new to me!"
"Chris....You're doin' fine. Don't get all nervous about this. Just ease into it. None of us started right out doing everything perfect. Oh shit! I sure did my share of burned burgers....'n burgers dropped on the ground....and....hee, hee....One day I dumped a whole kettle of soup into the charcoal and put it out! I learned how to do things the right way......after doin' them all the wrong way first!"
Chris looked up at him. Tim could only see the fluorescent light reflecting from his glasses. They appeared blank white disks.
"Oh gee! You guys are the greatest!....You know that?"
An hour later, Ethan and Ryan crawled into their tent. They kneeled on the sleeping bag. Ryan looked up as he switched on their battery lantern.
"E!....You're doin' it again! Those....those doe eyes!"
Ethan sat with a serious expression.
""Awh, Dew!......I umm....kinda know what's ahead of me....umm....bein' gay and all......But that's not what's bothering me! Really! In fact I'm really hoping I am gay!...
"...Sound silly, Dew?......Oh shit, I just don't ever want to hurt you!"
Ryan reached out and placed his hand on Ethan's knee.
"...Let's not get into this shit again, please?"
"I can't help it!"
Ethan leaned forward, placing his palm to the side of Ryan's face. He lightly touched his lips to Ryan's, sliding them back and forth. He didn't draw back from him as he continued to speak.
"Oh shit, Dew!....You're....you're a little doll!....So sweet....And I don't wanna find out I'm....I'm straight....and....and end up dumping you!"
Ryan felt no passion or excitement at the gesture. Indeed he felt closer to Ethan than ever before. They continued to rub their open lips over each others.
"...Ethan......I'll understand that. If you really think you're straight, it won't be all that bad...
"What would hurt......what would hurt really bad is if you....you found someone else! A boy!......Oh shit! Yeah! That would hurt......But if you think you're straight, I could really understand that..."
Ethan drew his head back with a shy smile.
"Oh, my little Dewdrop is just so sweet!"
Matt and Tim organized their tent after the quick search for food that night. They closed cardboard boxes and plastic totes. Tim examined the cooler.
"Oh, I think we'd better buy some ice at the camp store tomorrow. It's almost all melted."
Matt tackled Tim around his shoulders and pushed him to the sleeping bag.
"Oh I hope it doesn't storm again tonight!......Did you see those dark clouds moving in there tonight? I wish we could lock this tent up!"
"Awh....You wouldn't scare little Chris like that, would you?"
"Timmy!....We need some....some alone time!"
It was here they heard Toby's voice slightly muffled by the tents.
"...Well I'd better not find any SPIDERS in here! I'll SHIT, Scoot! I really will!"
"Hee, hee," Tim chuckled, "We might end up with Toby in here! Even if it doesn't storm!"
Matt placed his head to Tim's chest and squeezed his shoulders.
"...I'll....I'll tell him we had like twenty spiders crawl out of the cooler! And....and they all ran off hiding somewhere in here!"
"Awh, you wouldn't really do that now, would you?"
"Yes I will!......I wanna be alone with you tonight."
Matt drew up to a sitting position, drawing his shirt over his head.
"Come on Timmy....Bare-assed tonight! I wanna feel you!"
"Oh wow!....I really like it when you get like this!"
Matt seemed to have a more frustrated expression on his face.
"Oh Timmy!....I feel one of those clingy thingys coming on again! I'm soooo scared you're gonna get tired of this!"
Tim sat up and removed his shirt.
"Never! I keep tellin' you it'll never happen!"
Within a minute they crawled into the bag. Matt dropped his head on his chest and squeezed his shoulders.
"Oh shit, Timmy......It's not like I don't wanna do anything tonight......It's just I'm kinda done-in with all that rowing 'n swimming today......Oh! I'm not like sore or anything. Just really tired."
He looked up at Tim. Their eyes adjusted to the dark interior. The yard lights throughout the campgrounds penetrated the tent slightly.
"Oh shit!....I can tell just by the tone of your voice....You've been thinkin' again!"
"Remember the other day when we were rowing....You said to concentrate on other things! Well, while we were rowing back from across the lake....I was thinking..."
"I knew it!"
"Come on Tim....Hear me out on this."
Matt gently rubbed Tim's chest.
"I...umm....I was thinking of a talk show I saw on television. Well, I wasn't exactly watching it....My mom was! They had these couples on there. It was a program on love at first sight or something like that. Lots of psychologists say there's no such thing!......When you look at someone....you're kinda putting all kinds of personality traits into them. If you think they're attractive....you kinda put more positive personality traits to them...
"...Well, these couples were all divorced......Only they remarried their high school sweethearts. And they all agreed that it was one of those love-at-first-sight things. And they all felt kinda bad they didn't stick with their first love from school..."
"Where are you headed with this?"
"Timmy....I already told you all of this! Lots of times!....That saying where if you think something is too good to be true....it probably is!"
Matt's arms suddenly went around Tim's neck.
"Oh shit, Timmy!....Every time I look at you, I keep thinking it's too good to be true!"
"No!....Really!....I get these, what I call clingy moods! And....umm....it really feels great.....to a point....Then I start getting scared again. Oh shit, Timmy! I couldn't live without you!"
"Oh GEE!....Don't start in with the..."
"Timmy! I'm not saying it's that....that suicide thing again......I don't mean it like that! It's more a figure of speech..."
Tim felt Matt's right hand come from around his neck and started squeezing his ribs again.
"Timmy......If you ever......found someone else. And you wanted to come back to me. I'll be there! Waiting!....And I'll take you back in a second! I'll take you back twenty times over!"
"Timmy, I'm being serious here! I don't ever want to be without you!...
"Oh gee......Yeah, while we were rowing back today, I kept thinking of that first day I saw you in school. Oh SHIT!......I was goin' nuts! I was soooo shy but I seriously felt like I wanted to just grab you and kiss you! And....and that second day I was walking to school....after we met. I kept thinking if I was in love with you....After a whole forty-five minutes talking to you. And I was scared! I....I didn't even want to admit it to myself! Oh, not that I was gay or that......It was just something so....so NOT ME about it! But I just felt so helpless about it! I think I was trying to deny it in my mind. Umm....not about being gay. It just wasn't me to fall so easy..."
He began to rub Tim's chest again.
"...When we woke up in the tent that one morning....Umm....The morning we, well....kinda had those....accidents! Oh gee, Timmy, I was really embarrassed there for awhile....but....but I just knew then that I loved you....And I had to tell you that. I don't know....It was scary and....well, kinda wonderful at the same time."
They remained silent for a minute before Tim spoke.
"...Oh gee, Matty......There was another gay romance I was reading on the Net a couple months ago. I....umm....didn't want to exactly tell you about it. I didn't want to worry you about me having that....that roving eye! It was about these two boys....well, obviously, hee, hee....Well, one was just so sweet 'n shy about their relationship. The other wasn't quite so shy about it. And....and talk about a hormone factory! Oh gee, I mean I think he'd screw a donut!"
"No! Really! He was just horny all the time! And....and he went out and fooled around on his boyfriend. His boyfriend found out......Oh shit! That part was only about twenty paragraphs but I had such a hard time reading it.....I couldn't stop crying! Oh! His boyfriend just sank to the floor, sobbing. Oh shit! That was so sad. I couldn't understand how anyone could do that!"
He reached out and held Matt's head tightly to his chest.
"Oh, Matty....I could just never do that to you!...
"There's so much in the news lately about gay marriage. And I'll bet all these people out there are on their second or third marriage! Oh, a bunch of....cheaters trying to keep people who love each other apart! Oh that pisses me off!..."
Matt tilted his head up to look at Tim.
"...Timmy....I'm really serious about this. I'll keep taking you back. Oh, I just don't want to even think about losing you."
Matt felt a hug from Tim. It had been firm, yet not excessively tight. It seemed to contain a message.
"...Matty, you never have to worry about that with me. I couldn't! I just couldn't! I keep thinking about that boy in the story. Oh gee, he was just....destroyed! I just felt so bad for him. Oh gee! I could never do something like that to you."
It was here Matt seemed to see a slight smile on Tim's lips.
"...Matty....I know we play that....that hotness scale with each other when we see another boy. Well, it's fun! It's silly. I know we aren't being serious with each other. Don't ever worry about me cheating on you!"
"...Well, umm....It was that talk show I was thinking about," Matt continued, "....Where they were saying there's no such thing as love at first sight. I know better than that. When I saw you that first time....well, hee, hee....I really thought you were....hot! But it was so much more than that. Something just clicked with me. And I'm serious about that evil witch thing. That's the only way I can explain it. I just felt like I was melting into a pile of ooze! Oh shit, Timmy....My legs! I actually thought about going to the nurse. I really though I was going to pass out!"
Matt drew close to Tim's face and placed a tiny, light kiss on his cheek.
"...I just want you to know....I'll always be here. I'll take you back no matter what."
"Oh Matty!" Tim shot out, placing his arms behind his head, "You know something?......You really know how to kill a good hard-on!"
"Oh!....Hee, hee....Oh shit, Timmy! Hee, hee....I never heard you say something like that before!"
"I'm being serious here......Let's not worry about....cheating! I was all set for a really romantic evening here. I hate all this talk about cheating 'n stuff. I'd never hurt you like that!"
"...Well, umm....I was about to say before......Well, it's not like I don't want to do anything. It's just all that exercise we got today. The rowing and swimming. I mean it's not like I'm sore or anything. It's just I'm really tired."
He drew up to him and hugged his neck again.
"We umm....usually wake up sometime during the night."
He looked up at Tim with a shy smile.
"...Whoever wakes up first....we wake the other....and....and we'll just let nature take its course from there."
Ethan stirred in the sleeping bag.
"Oh no....Oh no....I gotta pee again!....Bad!....I'll never make it to the bathrooms! I gotta find our jug! No!....I don't have time for that. I gotta find a TREE!"
Minutes later he entered the tent again. His eyes had partly adjusted to the brighter yard light over the gravel road. The tent was dark.
"Oh gee, I should have left the lamp on. I can't see a thing!"
He crawled to the bag and felt along the top. His hand struck the lamp and he turned it on.
"Oh gee! Now that seems awful bright! I'll turn it off as soon as I get inside the bag here."
He turned to his side as he slid in, facing Ryan. He was on his side. His hands were under his cheek. His hair before his ears still curved forward, holding tight along his cheeks. It was obvious he was in a deep sleep.
"Oh shit! Rye looks so....so cute there....So sweet!"
Ethan leaned forward and lightly touched his lips to Ryan's cheek. He felt the warm cheek and several strands of hair brush his lips.
"Oh Dew," he whispered, "...I love you."
He suddenly dropped to his back, eyes wide.
"Did I just SAY THAT?!....Oh shit!....I DID!....Yeah!"
He quickly turned off the lamp. He didn't want to see Ryan again. He didn't want to look at him.
"Oh GEE!....Most boys don't wanna admit they're gay!......And I'm layin' here hoping I AM!....I'm gay....I'm gay....Why don't I just admit it?! Oh, Rye just looked so.... so sweeeet there! I....I don't think I'm worried I'm going to turn straight. I think I'm well....trying to distance myself from him. Why is that? Am I trying to....like protect him from something?......or....or am I still....questioning?....Oh I've gotta stop shittin' myself. It's me! I'm the one holding back......Oh gee! Yeah! It's just so wonderful holding him. I could....feel something there all along."
He slowly turned to his side. He placed his face close to Ryan's.
"Oh shit!....Oh gee!....I....I can just feel the heat coming from his lips! It's not ummm....sexy or that......It's that warm feeling I get......Matt and Tim were talking about that. Oh yeah....Oh gee!....Do I tell Rye about that?....Umm....No! Not right now. I gotta think about stuff a bit longer."
He drew the bag up to their necks. He ran his hand over Ryan's side and rested it on his hip.
"Oh yeah, the bag's warming up again. Oh this feels so......I don't know! Oh gee, this is nice."
Four hours later, Tim began to toss around.
"Oh!......I gotta get dressed! I think I'm gonna shit the bed!"
"Not funny Matty! I'm serious!" he nearly yelled as he reached for his clothes.
"Oh!....Oh!....I gotta hurry!......Oh, I think it was that stew! Maybe it was too greasy for me or something."
Switching on the light, he simply pulled on his jeans and quickly reached for his jacket. He noticed Matt suddenly crawl from the bag, gripping his stomach.
"Awh gee! Awh gee!......I hope this isn't contagious!"
"Matty!....I can't wait for you!"
He tore at the snaps and ties which held the flaps closed and disappeared.
A minute later, Matt entered the bathroom. Through the bottom of a stall he noticed Tim's bare feet, his jeans around his ankles. He rushed into an adjoining stall.
"OH!....OH!....I hope the rest don't have this!....We're going to get blamed for fixing that rotten supper!"
"Oh gee, Matty! I really think some of that food was bad! This just came on way too fast!"
"...Umm, what's that beeping?....You got your cell?"
"Oh yeah, I keep it in my jacket. It beeps once a minute for a missed text."
There was a pause.
"Oh gee! It's Mom! She texted at nine!....I never heard it beeping in my pocket."
There was another pause.
"...Hee, hee......You aren't going to believe this....She said to watch the ice in the cooler......She said the food will go bad awful fast in that warm tent!"
"Oh gee....Please don't text her back and tell her we got the shits!"
"Hee, hee....I don't think it's all that bad. When I get a stomach bug, I kinda get that nauseating feeling along with it......I don't have that. I really think that stew was just a bit greasy."
A moment later he heard Tim moan.
"Oh! There isn't any toilet paper in here!"
"Oh gee Tim! There's none here either!"
"...I'm joking, Timmy! Here....I'll roll it under the partition."
"...Well, umm....I don't need it just now......I'm not so sure I'm done yet!"
Several minutes later they walked from the bathroom.
"Oh gee," Matt began, "I feel kinda weak 'n dizzy."
"Yeah, my legs are kinda weak 'n shaky. Oh gee, I hope the others don't have this. Because you're right....They'll blame us for the cooking!"
They paused near the doorway, beside a green trash barrel. Tim pulled papers and old receipts from his jacket pockets and threw them out. Matt pulled candy wrappers from his jeans and tossed them in. Tim looked up at the sky and inhaled deeply.
"Wow! Look at that sky!....Clear as a bell!....I guess that storm in the west never did materialize."
"Yeah, it's pretty......Pretty cold too!"
"Well Matty....hee, hee....I don't know about you, but I didn't have time to even pull on underwear!......I think my....my junk is shriveling up!"
Matt hung from his shoulders with a silly smile.
"...Well, we can't have any of that!......I think we have an important....engagement in the tent tonight."
There was a sudden sound of a thump from the opposite side of the building.
"Oh shit!" Matt gasped, "What was that?"
They rounded the corner of the building and noticed a trailer with lights on inside.
"Oh shit!" Matt gasped again, "That sounds like that little Adam!"
At first, Matt thought of simply leaving, until he saw Tim silently moving forward. In the light from the bathroom windows, he could be seen taking stealthy, quiet steps toward the trailer. Matt ran forward and grabbed his arm.
"Let's get outta here!" he said in a forced whisper.
"DAD!" was yelled, as another thump impacted against the inside.
Both actually saw the trailer rock from some kind of impact within.
"Oh shit! Oh shit!" Matt continued in a forced whisper as he ducked down.
Tim shook his arm loose from Matt's grip.
"I'M GOING TO BEAT THE FAG OUTTA YOU BOY! NO KID OF MINE IS GONNA BE A QUEER-ASSED HOMO!"
Matt noticed Tim draw up to the trailer beneath a window. He seemed to have raised his arm up and placed his hand near the window.
"Shit, Timmy! Let's get the fuck outta here," he continued in his forced whisper.
Tim didn't reply. It was here Matt noticed he held his cell in his hand. It had been opened, and Tim was obviously tilting it in several directions.
There were more thumps and crashes. They no longer heard any word from Adam.
"Harold!" a female voice sounded, "Please stop this!"
There was another thump and crash. It was clear there was the sound of breaking dishes or glassware."
"Harold!....I'm calling the police!"
"You get outta that chair 'n YOU'RE NEXT, BITCH!......I didn't raise a fuckin' queer! This little bastard is going to MAN-UP!"
"Harold!....I'm BEGGING you!"
There was another thump against the wall. Although Matt wasn't actually touching the trailer, it seemed he nearly felt the impact on his palms.
Being so close, Matt feared even whispering to Tim. He gazed up at Tim's cell. It was obvious to him, Tim was blindly aiming his camera through the window. He held it in different positions as though following the thumps and crashes.
For several more minutes, they heard more crashes. Suddenly they heard the door on the opposite side of the trailer open for a moment. It suddenly slammed shut.
"Get the fuck back in here, you little whore!"
There were more thumps and crashes.
Matt sunk to his knees in the damp grass.
"Oh gee! I just wanna get outta here! What if we get caught out here? Oh gee, I don't want that crazy coming after me!"
It was here they heard the distant sounds of sirens. Matt reached up and pulled on Tim's arm. The camera was pulled below the glass of the window. Tim shrugged loose from Matt's grip. Again he aimed the camera blindly through the window.
There were more thumps and crashes. They heard the female voice.
The sirens were now closer. Matt continued to tug on Tim's jacket. Tim nodded his head and drew his cell down, closing it up. They hunched over as they made their way back to their campsite through the shadows. They stood near their tent, still on the gravel road and looked back as the sirens stopped. They saw red and blue lights reflecting from trees which lined the entry road from the highway.
Tim crossed the road and leaned against a utility pole. Above was a weakly lit mercury vapor lamp. The bathrooms and slight knoll to the ground still blocked his view.
"I wanna see what's going on over there!" Tim still whispered.
It was obvious a spotlight came on and was shining on the trailer. They both heard voices and struggling. Tim walked closer and leaned against a tree.
"Oh gee, Matty! They're spraying him!"
"Stop resisting!" they heard a voice.
It was here they saw the flashing lights of the ambulance coming in from the highway.
"Timmy! Let's get out of here!"
"No! I wanna see if Adam is okay."
"Leave that up to them! We can't do anything!"
They made their way back to their site and sat at the picnic table. They kept glancing at the flashing lights over the knoll.
"Timmy! Did you get anything on your cell?"
"...Let me check..."
Sitting on the opposite side of the table, Matt noticed him gazing down at his cell.
"Awh gee! Poor little Adam is being thrown against the wall!........Oh shit! His face is a mess!......It doesn't even look like him!"
Matt heard the phone snap shut.
"Oh gee! I can't even look at any more of that!"
Matt quickly grabbed his wrist.
"Timmy!....Don't send that to anyone!....We'll....we'll give it to Landon! He's a wizz at this stuff!....We can't get involved with this shit!....
"My parents are kinda mellowing out with me....us!....But if this starts trouble, they're going to start worrying again!"
"Yeah....You're right Matty....I don't think my mom 'n dad would be too happy about this either!...
"I'll call Landon in the morning. And....and I'll call from the payphone at the store! I don't even want that call logged from my cell!"
Minutes later they were in their sleeping bag once again. Matt hugged his neck and placed his head on his chest.
"Oh shit, Timmy......I sure hope you don't get pissed with me....I....umm....don't really feel like doin' anything now."
He felt a deep hug from Tim. The simple action spoke a thousand words to him.
"...Nah!....I don't feel like doin' anything either....(sigh)....Oh shit!....Why is there so much hate in this world?..."
They both hugged each other deeply, each lost in their own thoughts.
The following morning, the boys gathered around the table again. Chris looked up from a frying pan on the hotplate. His round glasses were spotted with grease which popped from the pan.
"Oh gee!....This is kinda nice, huh? I guess this isn't too difficult."
"You'll make it Chris," Tim put in casually.
Scooter and Toby made their way back from the bathrooms.
"SCOOTER!......YOU ARE SUCH A RETARD!"
"ME?!....Toby!....I keep tellin' you....You're playin' with it too much!......It's affecting your mind!"
"Arruugghhh!" Toby growled, pulling him to the ground by his neck. Again they began to playfully wrestle on the grass.
Tim turned to them.
"Okay....What's Toby doin' now?"
They got to their feet.
"Oh!....There's some trailer over there with that yellow crime scene tape all over it. And two cops are there! Toby thinks it's some serial killer er something!"
Matt and Tim had decided not to tell the others what they had seen the night before. Tim eyed Matt for a second.
"Oh, it could have been some old man who had a heart attack or something. They have to treat it as a crime until they figure it out."
"Shit too!" Toby yelled, "There's like blood stains all around the door! And the cops there....they aren't answering anyone's questions!"
Tim forced an uninterested shrug.
"Awh....It was probably just a bad accident or something."
Ethan held out his plate to Ryan.
"You want these scrambled eggs?....I think I'm gettin' tired of 'em."
"Yeah....I think I can finish them off...
"Oh gee......I think we gotta go to the store today for some supplies! Let's get some real eggs!"
Tim ripped a piece of paper from the charcoal bag and suggested they start a shopping list. He wanted to draw their attention away from Adam's trailer. They soon pooled their money.
"Well, now," Tim began, "Me 'n Matty don't mind cooking out here....It's just we can't haul all this stuff ourselves. And we'll have ice to haul too!"
He gazed at Joe and Chris. Chris was already placing dishes into a plastic dish pan. Joe reached for a dishtowel. Scooter and Toby were already making their way down to the lake over the rocky breach. Ethan and Ryan agreed to help.
Inside the store's screened entryway was a small concrete porch, Tim whispered to Matt.
"Keep 'em busy for a bit. I'm going to call Landon on the payphone here."
Matt simply nodded.
Tim drew up to the ice storage freezer beside the phone. He dropped coins onto the top and sorted them. He checked his cell phone contacts and carefully pressed buttons on the pay phone.
Minutes later, Tim hung up the phone and entered the store. Matt as well as Ethan and Ryan were gathering up two plastic bags each. They were on a wooden counter. Along both sides were displays for sunglasses, picture postcards and tiny first aid kits.
"What did you guys buy?!"
Matt looked at him.
"The only thing we got that wasn't on the list was chips! Big bags!...
"...And umm....you can grab four bags of ice on the way out. I already paid for it."
As they neared their campsite, they noticed Adam's trailer had been winched up onto a flatbed tow truck. Both ahead and behind it were state police cars, their red and blue lights flashing.
"Awh gee! Awh gee!" Ethan gasped, "Something really bad happened there!"
"Oh yeah....The zombies came by last night!"
"Oh cut that shit out! I'm never goin' to another zombie movie again!"
"Oh all that blood 'n guts stuff is plastic and rubber! With lots of special effects!"
"Well, I don't care......That stuff is real enough for me."
Matt and Tim slowed their pace to allow Ethan and Ryan to go ahead.
"So," Matt whispered, "Did you get hold of Landon?"
"Oh yeah! And he said it was great I didn't send that video out to anyone...
"Umm....I don't think he really wanted to talk about it much on the phone. He's coming out here!....Driving out!....He wants to take my phone home with him. He says he can download it right from the phone with a cord. He doesn't want to even send it to his own computer! He doesn't want any record of it anywhere!"
"Well, let's go for it, huh?......Landon really knows his stuff. If your mom calls, we'll just say your phone was misplaced for a bit. I'm sure she'll call mine."
"So when's he getting here?"
"He said he's leaving right away...
"What would you say?....About an hour?"
As they returned to the campsite, they noticed Chris dumping the dishpan a distance from the tents. He turned with a large smile.
"Oh gee!....This is fun!"
Tim gazed at him.
"Chris......I really feel bad about this. I feel like were pushing all the shitty jobs onto you!"
"Oh never! This sort of thing may seem a bit....routine to you. Yet....for me?....It's....it's an adventure!"
"Hee, hee....Well tonight, me 'n Matt will do the dishes."
"Oh please, no. I feel poorly over such! This....this is all so new to me! And besides....you two are doing the cooking. I wish to help out where I may..."
"Well, tonight YOU are going to do the cooking! Me 'n Matt will take care of the dishes!"
"Oh no!....Oh no! I shall truly botch it all up! I've never done any cooking in my life! Please?"
"Chris!....Nobody will be ordering pheasant under glass, or (ugh!) escargot! We're talking burgers 'n franks. We'll keep it simple! There's nothing to grilling burgers 'n franks. You'll do fine!....And we'll kinda follow along with you, until you get a bit more comfortable with it..."
He turned toward the tent.
"Now if you'll excuse me....My fingers are freezing off. I've got to get these bags of ice into the cooler."
As Tim approached the tent, Ethan and Ryan were carrying out the cooler.
"Umm, Tim," Ethan put in, "We gotta open this valve on this thing and get rid of a couple gallons of water in here."
"Well just let me drop these ice bags in there. I'm getting frostbite!"
Matt and Tim placed things into the tent and put them in a more orderly grouping.
"Okay," Matt was saying, "We'll put the canned goods in here....The bread 'n rolls in here....chips 'n salty snacks in here....and sweet snacks in here..."
He got up from his knees only to find Tim staring at his face. He reached out and held his chest with both hands.
"Matty......I understand last night. Neither one of us wanted to do anything....But tonight....We're going to get some....as you say....alone time! And I don't care if we gotta row a boat out into the center of the lake in the middle of a thunderstorm! We're going to get some alone time!"
Matt placed his arms around his neck as he smiled.
"Oh, now that really sounds romantic!....We'll get-it-on in a wet rowboat, while the wind blows cold rain over us, and lightning is flashing all around!"
Tim gave him a silly grin.
"...If that's what it takes....YES!"
Matt giggled as they drew each other close. They kissed each other deeply for several seconds. Tim backed away as he took thought.
"Okay now....I really don't want the others knowing about all this Adam-video- Landon stuff. Lets try to get the others out until he gets here."
As they stepped from the tent, they saw Joe and Chris sitting on the bench seat of the table. Joe had his arm over his shoulders. Chris was wiping his eyes with a paper towel.
"Hey Chris," Matt asked, "What's up?"
"I'm....I'm okay....I....I'm just soooo happy!"
"So you're crying about it?....Oh gee, I think you've been around that charcoal too much......Breathe deep!....Come on!....Get that carbon monoxide out of your system."
Although still crying, Chris let a giggle out.
"I can't help it! I'm just so happy!......This is great! I've never been camping with friends before. Shit! I never even had any friends before! This is just wonderful! And you're letting me do stuff."
Matt stood with his hands on his hips looking seriously at Tim.
"Well, I think Chris needs some time in....in the TICKLE MACHINE!"
Tim grinned as he grasped Chris' arms and held them back. Matt approached him with his fingers clawing through the air.
"Oh no!....Oh no!"
Matt ran his fingers under his shirt.
"Oh shit!....Stop!....I'll pee!....I'll wet my pants! Ohhhh! Hee, hee, hee!....Stop!"
Matt drew his hands back.
"Promise no more crying?!"
"Oh, hee, hee....I promise!....I really do!"
Tim dropped to the bench beside Chris with a smile.
"So are you guys going out in a paddle boat again?"
"Oh yeah!" Chris gasped, pulling his t-shirt down, "Well, until we run into another snake! I'm tellin' you....I'll beach that paddle boat!"
Tim handed him money.
"Well, we'll be out there shortly. We're going to take a trip to the....in house for a bit. Put this down on rowboat number seven!......That wide one."
"Sure. We can do that."
They watched them walk away. Joe tenderly held his arm over Chris' shoulders. He gazed down lovingly at his face. Chris could be heard to give several more giggles with a slight sob between them.
Tim shook his head.
"Poor Chris......He must have had it really bad, huh?"
"Yeah," Matt put in, "I always thought those private school kids were all snobs! Poor little Chris. He's missed out on a lot, huh?"
"Yup. I'm tryin' to kinda boost his self-esteem a bit. He just feels so incapable of anything. He's proud to just get a kettle of water heated."
Minutes later a car drove up slowly. Matt and Tim waved at Landon. He parked his car on the small gravel area beside their lot number. He got out shaking his head.
"Gee!....This is my third time past here! They could put larger numbers on the campsite posts here!"
"Hey! We never even saw you. Well, we didn't know exactly what your car looked like either!"
"You sure got here quick!" Matt put in.
"Oh!....I was at my cousin's place! Not too far from here. In fact, that's where we're going to work on your phone......Can I take a look at it?"
"Sure. Right here."
Landon used his fingernail to open one of the outlet's cover. He examined it carefully.
"Oh shit!......I don't think I have a cord to match this particular output. They're all those 'V' shaped ones. You're phone has one of those little pieces of plastic in it. Kinda like a small USB port. We'll have to solder leads to a matching plug."
"Oh shit. You think you can get it back by late tonight? My mom is sure to call."
"Awh! I'll have it back in a couple hours!"
"Great!......If it rings, it's probably my mom....Don't answer it. We're telling her I just misplaced it for a bit....or....just forgot it in the tent."
"Sure thing," Landon replied, gazing at the screen.
"Umm....Me 'n Matty will probably be out on the lake. Just set it in that big tent there under the cooler. We'll find it there."
He seemed a bit detached from the others. He shook his head as he closed up the phone.
"Oh shit!....That is a nasty vid, huh? I just don't understand all the hate! Why so much hate?....Why can't people just get along?"
Matt shrugged his shoulders.
"...That's the same thing we keep saying. I guess some people love to hate and hate to love."
"Well, hey, guys!....I'll get this right back in a couple hours. Don't say anything to anyone. Nobody has to know who got this! I'll check with Dad's lawyer er the DA, er I'll find someone I can trust. This is hot stuff! We gotta be careful."
Ethan gazed ahead in the aluminum canoe at Ryan sitting forward. They both wore brief, blue swimsuits. Their backs and shoulders glistened with a thick layer of sunscreen.
"Oh shit!....Oh shit!....I'm gay!....I'm gay....I know that now. And....and I'm just so hopelessly in love with Ryan!......Oh, I'd like to tell him!......Yet....I don't know if I should. Everyone tells me I'm questioning right now. Shouldn't I know one way or the other? They say it's not a decision you have to make! They say it's like you always know! Well, I didn't!......I'm still not so sure! Oh! I sure wouldn't want to lead Rye on and then....then just drop him! Oh! That would hurt!....It would hurt him!....It would hurt me! I just couldn't do that! Oh, he's such a sweet little angel. That face! That hair that just sticks to his cheeks and kinda curves out. It's not...hot exactly. It's cute! Everything about him is just so sweet.
"...Oh gee! I keep seein' these....these video clips in my head! I'm breaking up with Ryan. I'm tellin' him I think I'm straight......And....and....Oh that look on his face! Real pain! Oh shit! That would just kill me!"
Joe looked at Chris beside him. Chris had hold of the tiller. Joe's arm was around his shoulders.
"CHRIS!....Lighten up some. I can feel you tense right up. Just sit there! Kinda go along with the boat. Bob along with the boat. You don't have to lean way over every time a wave comes along. We won't tip over."
"Oh gee! These wakes from the speedboats scare me. It really feels like we're going to tip over."
"...And if we do?!......We got life vests on! We won't sink! And the paddle boat won't sink either!......Well, okay, it might be tipped over, but it won't sink! Those pontoons are like tanks! They're air tight. We might be upside down in the water but we won't sink. I'm sure someone will come by to give us a hand."
Joe felt Chris relax some. They continued to peddle at a moderate pace. They could hear the chain clicking over the sprockets. The paddles made rapid dips into the water with a steady rhythm of splashes. Chris glanced around with a large smile.
"Wow!....This is just....so....so....I can't think of a word for it!"
He glanced at Joe with a serious expression.
"Joe....You truly have to believe me......This is the most exciting thing which has ever happened to me! Perhaps you have a somewhat difficult time understanding all this."
Joe reached out and rubbed his shoulder as he smiled.
"Nah!....I understand. It's rough. I mean never having done anything much."
He gazed out over the lake.
"...Umm......When my mother died....oh shit!......My dad and I were....were really lost! Umm....I mean it's bad enough she died and all....It was really sad......But my dad and I......Oh gee!....We couldn't fry an egg!...
"Oh shit! One night my dad was trying to cook us supper. I mean everything went wrong! That was an awful night......He just broke down crying! I felt so bad about that."
He continued to gaze along the horizon. Chris studied his face. He could see by his expression, he was nearly living the moment over in his mind.
...Umm, I already told you about this, Chris......My past boyfriends!......Well, they weren't boyfriends! Matt 'n Tim got me to see that. And....yeah! It hurt at the time. It's just all that's behind me now...
"Oh gee, when I turned thirteen....I kinda knew about myself. And I knew that would be rough on Dad along with everything else we'd been through. I was scared silly to tell him about it. Oh wow!......He took it good. He understood it well. He said I did good in school and kept out of trouble....and that's all he wanted."
He continued gazing over the water. His one arm was over Chris' shoulder, his other hand was in his lap, as Chris was doing the steering.
"Umm....We hear lots of stuff about our bodies changing an' all. Well, umm....I think our minds change too. I lost interest in playing those little kid things. I....Well I started thinking about more serious things. Life....life wasn't as simple as it was when your a little kid...
"Oh shit!....Dad found that janitor job at the hospital. I mean he isn't exactly bustin' his ass in some coal mine with a pick 'n shovel! But he'd come home so tired. I mean he put in twelve or sixteen hour days. He was just happy he had a job. He didn't complain. I....well I learned to cook some. I'd straighten up the house....vacuum the carpet. I wasn't killin' myself. Shit! I didn't have any computer or video games to take up all my time. I'd just sort of go around the house....cleaning up little things....thinking about my homework. I'd organize my thoughts over the next term paper I was working on. It wasn't all that bad. And....and we really got close to each other over a year or so there."
He gazed down at his feet pushing against the peddles.
"He told me I had to get out there and have some fun. He didn't like me in the house all the time. He said I had to go out on some....dates! And....well, he didn't actually say it....but I knew he meant boys! He knew about me...
"And I tried!....I really tried! I think that's why I ended up with all the rotten ones! I was just trying to find a boyfriend as quick as I could. I didn't put a whole lot of thought into it."
He turned his head toward Chris. He lifted his hand from his shoulder and placed it beside Chris' face.
"...And then....then you came along...
"Oh shit, Chris!......You're such a little angel! And you've made me the happiest person in the world!"
"Oh, gee," Chris sighed with a slight squeak to his voice.
Joe moved in and kissed him deeply.
Matt and Tim stepped into the large rowboat which was still moored at the dock. They were shirtless, barefoot and wore faded cut-offs.
"Matty?....Are you sure you really want to go out in this today?"
"Well, yeah! Sure!"
"...Well, I noticed you kinda glancing over those little outboards there."
"...I was looking at the sign!......Three to five horsepower?! I didn't think they made anything that small today!"
"Well, I kinda think that's for the fishermen. They don't need to go ripping around like those speedboats."
"No....Really, Timmy!......I'm not the least bit sore from yesterday. But I sure don't feel like going all the way across the lake today!......Not in this thing!"
Tim sat beside him him with a sly grin.
"Well, maybe you'd like to go out in a canoe!"
Matt smiled back at him.
"...Nah! I kinda like this....where we can sit beside each other."
Tim flipped at the line and removed it from the cleat on the dock.
"Well Matty....I really don't feel like goin' all the way across either. We'll just go back 'n forth along the shore here like we did the other day. But we're goin' to put a little bit into it from time to time. We gotta build ourselves up some......Oh shit! I don't ever want to be as sore as I was that time digging that trench!"
They placed their oars into the locks and began a slow steady cadence.
"Yup, Timmy!......This is nice! And it sure beats the hell out of some gym!"
"Awh!....I think half those gyms and....and health centers are a rip-off! You don't need all that expensive equipment to workout!"
He glanced around with a large smile and inhaled deeply.
"Wow!....Look at that blue sky, Matty! Smell that fresh air! Sooooo much better than a smelly gym! And we're getting the same exercise for a few dollars a day!"
Matt looked at him with a silly grin and wiggled his eyebrows.
"...Yeah....And in a gym, there are no canopies to hide under for a few kisses."
"You must have been reading my mind..."
They followed along a distance from the shoreline in silence. The clank of the oars did little to cover the calls of several seagulls nearby. Within the dense canopy could be heard caws of a crow.
"Awh, SCOOTER!......I think you're getting more RETARDED every day!"
"Well, why can't we just go under those branches for a little bit....I need some kisses!"
"...NO!....I'm not goin' under that! All those limbs 'n vines 'n vegetation....'n SPIDERWEBS! Well have SPIDERS dropping down on us!"
It was here they looked over their shoulders and noticed Scooter and Toby kneeling in a green fiberglass canoe. Toby was wildly paddling with splashing, forward strokes, trying to reverse the canoe.
"Scoot!....You put us under there....and....and....there won't be any hot buttered boy sex for a YEAR!"
"Hee, hee....I'm JOKING Tob! I wouldn't seriously go under there!"
Although Matt continued his cadence at his oar, he looked down and sighed.
"...Well, so much for....for alone time!"
They continued to gaze at Scooter and Toby. The canoe was sleek, with a shiny texture to the exterior. It was obvious there were no seats. Toby knelt in the front with Scooter in the back. Scooter could be seen leaning forward and reaching for something. He tossed a brown, soggy piece of seaweed toward Toby. It dropped onto his shoulder.
"BAAAAHHHH!" Toby yelled.
He got quickly to his feet. His paddle went to the left as he leaped to his right. He fell into the water with a huge splash.
"Holy shit, Toby!....That was only a piece of seaweed!"
"Well, I thought it was a SPIDER!....or some....some slimy thing!....Like a snake or something!"
Being near the shore, Toby was able to stand with the water only to his hips. He quickly made his way to the canoe and began rocking it.
"TOB!......Knock it off! You're gonna SWAMP this thing!"
Scooter grabbed for the sides, trying to counteract Toby's rocking. He fell over the side, paddle flying over his head. He got to his feet and gazed into the canoe.
"TOB!......This thing is half full of water now!"
"Well, then maybe next time you won't go throwing icky things at me!"
"...ICKY THINGS?!......Hee, hee..."
"Arrruuuggghhh!" Toby grunted, grabbing Scooter's neck.
They playfully wrestled in the shallow water until Scooter pointed out to the canoe.
"Tob!....Our paddles are driftin' out! I can't swim that good to bring 'em back in!"
It was here Matt and Tim, Joe and Chris, as well as Ethan and Ryan were all converging on the spot. Matt hung his head again.
"Oh shit!" he whispered forcefully, "There's our....our alone time...fir shur!"
"Well, hee, hee....We can go back across the lake."
"Awh....Isn't one of my kisses good enough for that?..."
"...A kiss, no!......But if you have something else in mind....Let's start rowing!"
"Matty....You're getting as bad as Toby!"
Matt bowed his head shyly with a slight blush.
"Well," he began quietly, "Its been a few days....you know?......I really think I could use a bit of," he lowered his voice "....hot buttered boy sex!"
"Oh shit, Matty....You're blushing again..."
Joe and Chris drew up to the most distant paddle. Joe drew it in and placed it before himself. Ethan and Ryan drew in the second paddle.
Scooter and Toby pushed the canoe to the muddy shore and jammed the bow into it. They tried to tilt it over. Scooter gazed at the water within.
"Now see, Tob....This is what happens when you play with it too much!....It starts affecting your mind!"
"Arrruugghhh!" Toby grunted as he lunged for Scooter.
They wrestled in the shallow water. Matt and Tim drew close.
"We'll give you a hand there!" Tim shouted out.
They rammed the bow of their boat into the shoreline. Both got out in their shorts and waded toward the canoe.
"Hey! This is half full of water!" Matt yelled.
"Oh! Toby's losing it again!....I keep tellin' him he plays with it too much!"
"Well then, quit throwin' icky stuff at me!"
"Hee, hee....Icky stuff?" Tim asked.
Joe and Chris arrived. Joe tossed the paddle to the shore as they gazed inside.
"Oh gee!" Chris gasped, "There must be five hundred pounds of water in there!"
"We're trying to tilt it, Chris....not lift it!" Matt put in.
It was here Ethan and Ryan arrived. They all got out and grasped the canoe from one side. Water rushed out as they tilted it and raised it over their heads.
After setting it back down, Tim drew the bow a distance up the shore. He gazed over the sleek canoe.
"Now this is more what I'd expect of you two," he said, glancing toward Ethan and Ryan, "...A a nice sleek fiberglass canoe!"
"Awh!" Ethan put in quickly, "We kinda like the aluminum ones. They have a bit more of a flat bottom for when you hit those wakes..."
Ethan ran his hand over the smooth surface.
"Yup....real nice canoe. Well, I'd use something more like this if we were racing! Besides, there's no seats in it. Oh gee! After a bit, your knees are just killin'! The aluminum ones have seats in 'em. I kinda alternate with a bit of sitting and kneeling."
Within minutes, Matt and Tim were alone. They drifted under the green canopy. The instant they were within its shadow, they felt the gentle breeze from over the lake. The shade was a welcome relief from the intense sun.
Matt smiled at Tim as he rubbed his back.
"Well, before we do anything....strenuous....I think we could do with a quick battery recharge."
"Matty!....I can hear people just on the other side of the shrubs there. People are walking the trails!"
"Oh gee, Timmy....I don't think I can wait 'til tonight!....We need some alone time!
"...If it storms tonight, we'll have to hitchhike up the highway there and find a motel! I'm not sharing our tent with anyone!"
"Awh!....You wouldn't let anyone in if they were that scared?"
"NO!....Let 'em be scared in their own tent!"
Tim turned with a serious expression.
"I've got a great idea......If another couple comes into our tent tonight......We'll go into their tent for the rest of the night."
Matt glanced at him, equally serious.
"...Well I don't care whose tent we're in!......As long as we're ALONE!"
It was noon as Matt and Tim walked past the back of the camp store along the sandy beach. They gazed out over the lake looking for a sign of the others.
"Gee," Matt put in, "Where'd everyone go?!...
"I can see our site from here, and there's nobody there either!"
"I've got no idea...
"...Hey do you feel hungry?"
"Not the slightest! I thought for sure I could put away quite a dinner after all that rowing...
"Hey! Is that Jenny waving from the raft there?..."
"I think it is."
"Hey, let's go out and join 'em for a bit..."
It was early evening before the boys returned to their campsite. Both flexed their arms and felt of their shoulders.
"Well," Matt reflected, "I guess half a day of rowing and half a day of relaxing around the raft was just about right."
"Yeah! I really don't feel bad today....I don't think I'll be hurting tonight."
They glanced around the campsite. Everything was just as they had left it. Tim held his hand over the grill to find it cold.
"Gee, I wonder where everyone is. I recall seeing Ethan and Ryan in their canoe, but not the others."
"Hey! Let's see if Landon left your phone in the tent!"
Tim came from the tent with his phone in a plastic bag.
"Yup! He left it under the cooler."
"...Just a text from my mom at one o'clock."
"Nah!....Well she wants me to call her. Hee, hee....She says to call her after we're done having fun."
Matt drew close to him and put his arms around his neck with a sly smile.
"Oh shit!....We haven't even started having fun."
"Oh gee, Matty! I'm in no mood for that right now. We're all dirty from rowing and bein' out in the water at the raft, swimming....swimming in fish pee!"
"Hee, hee....I think Jenny was really pissed at Tom today."
"Awh, you know he was just bein' silly."
They sat at the table, both glancing at the grill.
"Timmy......I'm really hungry with all that fresh air and exercise we got today... Yet....I can't think of anything I want! Nothing appeals to me! And just the thought of cooking up something simple?....Ugh!"
Tim nodded with a smile.
"I know exactly what you're saying..."
He opened his phone and pressed several buttons.
"...Well, let me call Mom first. We'll take a quick shower and figure out something."
He put his phone to his ear.
"...Yeah! Mom! Anything important?....We just came in from swimming......... Bored?! We were rowing all morning and then went out to the raft for some swimming with Tom and Jenny.........Awh, gee Mom!....You're starting to sound like Gram! Yeah it came down really bad around here too. In fact I think we ended up with everyone else in the tent with us! Everyone was a little scared of the lightening and thunder. I called you during that storm! Remember?.......No! We didn't get wet!......No we weren't cold!.......Yes, we're eating good........Well, no, we didn't eat lunch today....None of us did. We were too busy havin' fun. Me 'n Matty were just thinking of what to make for supper. Nothing we've got here really appeals to us right now...........No! You don't have to come out with supplies! We can wait until Saturday. We'll find something!............ No, our food isn't going bad! We went to the camp store today and got more ice this morning.........Well, yeah, we got some chips 'n stuff, but we also got eggs 'n milk. We've still got lots of hamburgers and franks left.... Well, I'll admit our rolls are getting a bit stale...........Oh gee, Mom!....We'll find something around here. We've got boxes 'n boxes of stuff. We're just waiting for the others to come back. We've all got to agree on something to eat..."
There was a long pause here as Tim continued to listen.
"OH GEE, TOBY!......YOU JUST HAD TO REACH FOR THAT WATER LILLY!"
Scooter and Toby approached. Both were wet, their hair hung straight, water still dripping from the ends.
"Well, I thought it was pretty!"
"Pretty?......You're pretty! Pretty retarded!......I keep tellin' you....YOU PLAY WITH TOO MUCH!"
Scooter jabbed his finger at his temple.
"...It's effecting your mind, Tob!"
Matt turned on the bench and gazed at them.
"Okay," he sighed, "What's Toby up to now?..."
"Oh! He saw a water lilly on a pad. He just had to reach out for it. He tipped our canoe over again!"
"Well, I didn't think I was leaning that far out!"
"Awh gee!....It's good we were close to shore. We had to dump the canoe out again!"
Toby held his palm out with the flowering lilly still on its pad.
Matt stood up and looked at it closely.
"Well, I gotta admit it....It sure is pretty."
He drew his face close to it as he pointed his finger to the green pad.
"...Is that a spider on there?"
"BAAAHHH!" Toby yelled, tossing it into the air.
"That was a JOKE, Toby!"
Toby gripped his chest.
"Oh shit! Don't even joke with me about spiders!"
Toby pumped his legs, running in position.
"Oh shit! Oh shit!....Where can you go today without runnin' into spiders?!"
"Tob! I'm not a fan of spiders myself."
Matt took up the flowering lilly and placed it on the picnic table.
"Oh gee!....I think that'll make a nice centerpiece."
Scooter shook his arms, shaking water off. He pressed his hands to his hair, squeezing water from it. He shivered.
"...Oh gee, Toby! We're using a rowboat from now on! No more canoes!...
"Oh gee......I'm headed for the showers!"
It was here Joe and Chris came along. Chris' clothes were wet. He seemed to be crying. He was flanked by Ethan and Ryan, who held their arms over his shoulders.
"Oh shit!" Ethan said, "We feel so rotten now! We were being funny! We didn't mean to make you cry!"
"NO! NO!" Chris shouted, "I keep telling you! I'm happy, not sad!...
"Oh gee! Oh gee! That was a great prank!......And....and throwing me into the water!....My initiation!......Oh gee! I've never had so much fun in my life! Oh gee! You guys are the GREATEST!....You know that? Oh! This is just so much fun! I never got to do any of this!...
"I wasn't crying because I felt bad. I'm happy! I never got to do any of this before! It's just great!....You know?......You don't tease me and call me shrimpo or brains! This is the most fun I've ever had in my life!...
"Oh!....I believe I shall call father and ask for another week out here!"
This suddenly caused the others to smile and become excited.
"Do you think he could convince all our parents into another week?" Ethan asked.
"Well, I shall try my best to convince him!"
He sat on the bench of the picnic table. Joe carried an old blanket from the tent and draped it over his shoulders. He gave him a deep hug. He also handed him his cell.
"...Umm," Joe began cautiously, "...just try not to cry, huh? He might think we're talking you into it just so we can bully you, er something..."
"Oh no! Father would never think such of you boys.....He really likes you! All of you! He knows you'd never be mean to me..."
A distance away, Tim was closing his conversation with his mother.
"...Mom....Just bring us a few supplies on Saturday. We're doin' okay. And umm....gee, we really wouldn't mind it if we could have a few more days out here to enjoy more of his........No, we aren't bored!......Gee! We're rowing out on the lake! We met lots of our friends from school out here! We're swimmin' out at the raft! We're really havin' fun..."
Ethan, Ryan and Joe watched Chris' expression as they knew someone had answered his call.
"...Umm....Dad?......Umm yeah, it's me......Oh no! No! I don't wish to be picked up!......In fact....umm....we were all sort of hoping we could spend another week out here!......No! I'm quite serious here! We're just having such a fantastic time out here."
He let a slight sob slip.
"......No Dad....I'm not feeling poorly!....In fact (sniff) I've never had such fun in my life! Joe and I were out in one of the paddle boats. Oh gee, hee, hee. Ethan and Ryan paddled up behind us in their canoe. We didn't even know they were there! They threw a rotten piece of seaweed at me and yelled out, 'Snake!' Oh gee, it truly scared me! Yesterday Zack had a snake crawl up his oar! Oh! We were all truly frightened over such. And....and Ethan an Ryan jumped out onto our paddle boat....pretending to be pirates! They said they were going to make me walk the plank! And they tossed me into the water!......Oh gee, Dad! It was right next to the shore! It was shallow. They were just being silly!...
"And yesterday I was out on the beach! Oh gee, I had one of those sand spiders crawling over the blanket. Wow! That truly frightened me for a bit. Zack too!......And I started my very own charcoal fire for the first time. Timmy helped me with hamburgers. And I heated water, and helped with the dishes. Oh dear, it's most difficult doing such things when one gets so used to drawing hot water from a tap, but it was fun! And we're taking out the paddle boats out every day! And....and..."
There was a pause here as Chris listened.
"...Well....yes!......I was awful frightened over the thunderstorm....We ALL were! We all went into Matt and Tim's tent. Oh gee! When we were alone in that tent....We felt like we were the last people in the world!...
"And, umm, (sniff) we even built a fire out on the beach. We roasted hotdogs out there on sticks! And we walked the trails!....And I got photos of it all too!...
"And our very first day out here I helped with putting up a plastic tarp over the table. It was kind of frightening climbing that tree, but I did it! Now we have a nice little canopy over the table if it rains!......And we have bacon and eggs for breakfast! And Timmy even cooked stew and....and vegetable chowder! Oh gee, Dad! (Sniff) I'm just having so much fun out here!"
He couldn't hold back a sob as tears began to run down his cheeks.
"...No Dad!....No! I'm having fun! The boys are great! We were just thinking....if you could, well, call up the other boy's parents and get us another week out here! Yes! I'm quite serious over such! We all are!...
"Joe and I are exploring along the perimeter of the lake in the paddle boat! Oh gee, hee, hee....The first time out in that thing, I though we were going to tip over! It sits a bit high over the water. Oh gee! It's quite an experience studying all the plant life around here....And it's all in it's natural surroundings! And we feed the seagulls out there! Ohhhh, the smell of the lake! Then there's the smell of the swampy areas. You can actually smell the rich soil!...
"...Oh!....And, hee, hee....We got hotdogs at the store today and took them out with us. Hee, hee....Joe was about to take his last bite of his....A seagull landed right on his head and pulled it right out of the bun!...Hee, hee....And....and..."
He continued on talking for another minute, jumping from one subject to the next. He tried to hold back sobs between chuckles. Soon he ended the call.
"Oh gee!....He's going to call all the parents and try to talk them into giving us another week out here!"
"All right!" several shouted out.
Ethan reached out again with a shy smile. He held his arm over Chris' shoulders.
"...Umm....You know we were just joking out there when we tossed you in..."
"Awh! Knock it off already! I was crying 'cause I was so happy! I do that when I'm happy!......It's just so nice to be a part of all this."
They soon all gathered all their shower supplies and clean clothes. Ethan whispered to Ryan as he picked up the blanket from the picnic bench. He turned to Chris.
"We're going to treat you like a king for the rest of the night!"
They quickly drew the blanket around him from behind. He fell into the hammock as they began carrying him along.
"The golden coach will now take you to the Royal Bathhouse!"
The others all caught the joke as they pretended to draw trumpets to their lips.
"Oh gee! Shit! Cut that out. Oh gee! This is so embarrassing! People are looking at us!"
It was an hour later when they all returned to the campsite. Each took a seat at the table. There was a moment of silence. It was here they all heard various tones from cells, signaling text messages. Each ran to their respective tents, returning with their phones open. Their faces reflected the bright screens as evening set in. One by one, they began talking.
"Oh gee!....Mom 'n Dad say I can spend another WEEK out here!" "Oh wow! Mine too!" "Mine too!....And Mom says she'll be out Saturday with more supplies!" "Hey! My mom wants me to text her a grocery list!"
They all gathered at the table again. Tim sat with a rather frustrated expression.
"Well, it's not like we're out of food......but I just can't think of anything that appeals to me tonight....Anyone have any ideas for supper?..."
They all sat in silence for a moment.
"Well," Ryan put in, "I got a kinda big canned ham still in the supplies."
"Great!" Toby put in quickly, "...We'll just pop it into our microwave oven!"
"No! No!" Ryan added quickly, "We can cut it into slices and put it over the grill! I've done that before! It's great!"
Tim suddenly grinned.
"Yeah!....And we can round up some of those tiny canned potatoes! And an assortment of veggies!....Yeah!....I think I'm getting hungry already!"
They all scattered toward their tents and brought back canned goods. Tim set up the fluorescent lamp on the table. Again, thick, dark clouds had begun gathering in the west, blocking the sunset.
Within an hour, they were all eating. Tim glanced at Chris.
"Gee Chris....I hope we didn't depress you too much by cheating with the hot plate again......It's just we needed all that grill just for the ham!....I know how you mentioned you wanted to kinda rough it."
"Oh, I was just referring to the meat!......I don't believe heating vegetables in a can over the charcoal will produce a delectable smoke flavor."
Tim suggested they each text a small shopping list to their parents. They all discussed each list to be sure they weren't duplicating anything. They sent texts to their parents. They all continued eating. Soon Ryan's phone beeped. He opened it and gazed at the screen. A small smile began to grow on his mouth.
"...Hee, hee....It's a text from my mom!....She says, 'WHAT?!....NO SNACKS OR JUNK FOOD?!....Are you feeling okay?'"
They all laughed.
"…Hey, why don't you tell her we need some marjoram, paprika, sage, thyme and turmeric....Hee, hee..."
"Shit too!....She'll buy it!"
Minutes later, they were finishing up their supper. Matt glanced at Ryan.
"Umm....Rye....You ate pretty good, but you look a bit distant tonight. Are you really feeling okay?"
He nodded weakly.
"Oh yeah!....And that was a great supper. Oh gee....I think I'm feeling all that exercise today. That shower woke me up a bit....but now after that supper, phew! I'm kinda feeling it again."
He rubbed his shoulder and flexed his arm.
"...Oh gee, I think I'm kinda settin' up. That was too much in the canoe today."
Toby shook his finger at him.
"Scooter will tell you that's from PLAYIN' WITH IT TOO MUCH!.....You gotta start using your left hand!"
Snickers and chuckles escaped from around the table. Ethan put his hand on Ryan's shoulder.
"...Umm....Ryan doesn't want two hairy palms!"
Again they all laughed.
Tim leaned forward on the bench.
"...Yeah....You gotta watch that, you know....That can make you go crazy!"
He wildly rubbed his hands over his face.
Again everyone laughed.
Chris leaned forward in a serious manner.
"...Oh yes!....And you certainly know you must watch that....because..."
He paused as he drew off his glasses. He held them up to the lamp as though checking the lenses for dirt. He replaced them.
"...That can make you go BLIND!"
They all laughed.
Minutes later, after several yawns from everyone, Ethan and Ryan started for their tent.
Chris glanced at the grill. He glanced at their near-empty water containers.
"...Ummm....Do you suppose we could delay any KP 'til tomorrow morning?....I'm a bit tired myself."
Tim nodded as he slipped plates into a plastic dishpan of cold water.
"Yup!....You're right Chris......We'll do the ole twelve hour soak!"
Chris got to his feet. He stumbled several steps forward and rubbed his thighs.
"Oh dear. I believe that was a bit too much today in the paddle boat. Yet I must admit it was frightfully delightful!"
"Well," Matt began, "that was sure good of your dad to talk all the parents into giving us another week out here."
Chris gazed down at his feet in a moment's thought.
"...Oh dear....I believe father still feels poorly he's never done such with me. He said he was truly pleased I sounded so happy."
Tim hesitated as he looked up.
"Ummm....You know Ethan and Ryan kinda felt bad about tossing you into the lake."
"Oh gee!....I kept telling them I was crying because I was happy! Oh wow!"
He drew in his arms with a slight shiver in the cool evening air.
"Perhaps we could build a fire on the beach tomorrow night. I wish to get all sorts of photographs of this trip. Oh!....I shall treasure them all my life!"
Joe placed his arm over Chris' shoulders and drew him close, kissing his cheek lightly.
"Chris!....I can tell you're about to start crying again......I don't wanna have Matt and Tim start up their TICKLE MACHINE!"
Chris wiped his eyes on his sleeve.
"Oh no!....I'm not crying!....See?!"
Chris and Joe began to walk off in the direction of their tent.
The others seemed to have their attention drawn to the west.
"Oh gee," Toby gasped, "I sure hope those aren't storm clouds rollin' in! I hate thunder 'n lightning!"
"Doesn't really look it to me," Tim put in, gazing off, "...It's not real dark. I think we're in for an awful cold night though."
Toby leaned forward and placed his folded arms on the table. He placed his head on them, gazing at Scooter.
"...Well....how about we get nakey?!"
"Awh gee!....And have some more hot buttered boy sex?!"
"...Umm....not tonight....I was thinking more of hot buttered dreams! I just need some sleep!"
"You're shittin' me!....YOU wanna sleep?! You've been a....a sex machine for four days!"
"Hey....we've been in school!....We haven't had much......time alone....to do anything!......I....I peaked there for a bit. I really think I could do with some....hot buttered sleep!"
Matt and Tim chuckled as Scooter and Toby walked off with their arms around each other.
"Gee," Matt began in a pondering manner, "...remember how quiet Toby used to be? And Scoot....He's umm, kinda developing, huh? I mean, he's kinda between cute 'n......'n hot!"
"Hey....Did you see Tommy out there on the raft today?"
"...In that leopard print suit?!....Bahhh! Wow!....Hot!"
"Well thank you," a voice sounded out.
They turned to see Tom and Jenny approaching.
"Oh shit!" they both yelled out in unison.
The both dropped their heads onto their folded arms over the table.
Matt soon looked up with a red face.
They both took seats across the table from Matt and Tim.
"Don't worry about it......I keep telling you I'm an ally...
"...Just don't....umm....kiss each other or....or grab me, okay?"
Jenny smiled as she tossed her head toward Tom.
"Don't feel bad about it......He doesn't even want me grabbin' him!"
"Oh gee!....Jenny!....Just not on the beach or the raft, okay?"
She leaned into him with a sly smile.
"Oh, I can't resist!....And besides, I like the girls watchin'....I love to make 'em jealous. You've got a hot, round one on you!"
Tim looked at them as he reached out to turn the lamp off.
"Well, we aren't going to attack you!...
"Umm....We just finished eating. We really have nothing to offer you. How about a soda or something?"
"Nah!....We just finished eating as well...
"I just wanted to stop by and tell you......Pizza tomorrow night!....Right here!"
"Well only if you let us chip-in a little, huh?....You're always paying for everything!"
"Awh, no problem!...
"Gee, from Christmas 'til last week, all I did was work and study......I umm, got laid off from one of my jobs..."
"Oh, sorry to hear that," Matt put in quickly.
"Awh, that's quite all right. I've built up quite a savings......Like I say, I didn't really do anything!"
He glanced at Jenny.
"...Now at least I get to spend more time with Jenny too!"
He ran the backs of his finger over her cheek.
"...Oh, my little....Cleopatra!"
"Oh yeah! (Cough, cough)."
"Oh gee, Jenny! You're always so worried you aren't....top heavy! You know I'm not into those hooter honeys!....You're very well proportioned!"
It was here they heard Toby's voice from the tent.
"Awh! Shit!....A....A SPIDER!....Kill it Scoot!"
"...That's a piece of ROPE, Tob!....We probably had it on our clothes from the canoe!"
"No it isn't! THAT'S A SPIDER!"
"It's a PIECE OF ROPE!....LOOK!"
"BAAAHHH! KEEP THAT THING AWAY FROM ME!"
Tom glanced down at the table with a smile.
"I'm not going to laugh....I'm not too fond of spiders myself."
Tim pointed to Tom as he glanced at Jenny.
"...Well, anyhow....I'm with Tom. You're a very pretty girl."
"Well, that's quite a compliment coming from a gay boy."
"Jenny!....I don't have to be straight to know if a girl's pretty!....I'm just....not interested, okay?"
Tom smiled at Jenny as he put his arm over her shoulders, drawing her close.
"...You know I'm not into those....those cheerleaders! Oh gee, they got bust measurements higher than their I.Q.'s!"
Both Matt and Tim snickered.
Jenny looked at Tom.
"Tommy!....That's an awful thing to say! They're all honor role students! They have to be or they could get dropped!"
Tom smiled as he gave her another one armed hug.
"...I don't care....you're not....over the top! You look very pretty without all the slinky clothes and randy body language!"
They all sat in silence for a moment. Jenny blushed slightly.
"Oh gee!" she said suddenly, waving her arms, "Just after you two left the raft today......two guys....Oh! These two guys came out! And....and they had black thongs on!"
Tom rolled his eyes and sighed.
"Oh gee!" Jenny continued, "I think that raft got a bit slick! I think every girl out there was drooling!"
Jenny continued to smile and bounce on the bench.
"Oh wow!....I've seen pictures of them on the Net, but that's the first time I've seen it for real!"
Matt leaned forward with an obvious forced grin.
"Were they hot?!"
"Awh! Matty!....That's an awful thing to ask with Timmy sitting right there!"
Tim leaned forward with a silly grin of his own.
"...Were they hot?!"
"Awh gee, you two!" Jenny shot out, "That's awful. You two are just so sweet looking together. You....you shouldn't have roving eyes!"
"Oh Jenny! Me 'n Timmy do that all the time! We're bein' silly....not serious!"
Tim nodded his head as he drew Matt close.
"Jenny! We do that to be silly!....We....umm....give guys a....a one-to-ten rating and see how close we agree with each other."
"Oh gee!....So what's Tommy's umm....rating?"
"Jen!" Tom shot out.
"Well I'm just curious what....boys think!"
Matt and Tim looked at each other and returned to Jenny.
"Eight!" they both said together.
Jenny slapped her hands to the table.
"An eight?!....Tommy's definitely a ten!"
Tom dropped his head on his arms.
"...Let it go Jenny....I don't care if they think I'm a one!"
"No! It's not right! Just about all you football players are a ten!......An eight?! You must have a scale that's nearly impossible!"
"Jen....I think girls have a different scale entirely!...
"Me 'n Matty take points off for too much....macho!"
Matt held his hand out in a silly gesture.
"If it makes you feel any better, Jen....Timmy and I think Tommy's ass is a good, solid TEN!"
"Oh gee....Oh gee," Tom moaned, rolling his head over his arms.
"Tom," Matt put in quickly, "You know we're bein' silly here."
"Oh yeah. I know that."
Tim glanced at him.
"...A thong?! Tom....I couldn't go out in the water in one of those suits you wear!"
"Awh!....That goes way back to my swim team days. I was just a little kid. We umm, well really didn't think anything of it! It's just now....Oh I tried those trunks of yours. Gee!....It feels like I'm swimming with....with a bed sheet wrapped around me! It feels like I'm just getting pulled under!"
Matt placed his hands on the table with a serious expression.
"Oh gee....A thong?!....Umm....Even if me 'n Tim had some private pool somewhere....I still don't think I'd try that! I think that would feel kinda like a......a continuous wedgie!"
"Well, I wouldn't know!....There's no way I'M gonna walk around in something like that. Oh gee!....I'd feel like I was bare-assed or something......I like to have a little covering!"
Ethan and Ryan came from their tent. Ethan approached the table.
"Umm....Good....You're still up...
"I think we need the sport cream outta the first aid kit, Timmy."
"Well, gee....Grab the lamp here......Umm....Are you okay?"
"Yeah, just a bit sore from bein' out in the canoe today. Oh, we pushed it a bit too much this time..."
Ryan started for the tent.
"And oh!" Tim continued, "We've got some over-the-counter pain pills in there too. They have a sleep ingredient in 'em too!"
Ryan went for the tent as Ethan sat across from Jenny.
"...Umm....Jenny....I've been wanting to ask you....Did you, umm, kinda set me and Ryan up?"
She gave him a sweet smile.
"Well, I thought I was making it look a little like that..."
"Well, umm....Do we look, umm....gay to you?"
She shook her head with a laugh.
"Never!....Well, you're both really cute. You know what it was?......It's the way you two look at each other!....Oh gee, you just can't hide that."
"I was....umm....looking at him?"
"You both were!...
"Hey, Ethan....you know I've got no problem with that. You two look just so sweet together. I thought if we just went out a bit there last winter, I could....well kinda push you two together a bit. The real....well, primary reason was to include some of you younger kids.
"We were talking one day after one of our meetings....And how we try to include everyone in the GSA....but I think we sorta forgot about you younger kids...Oh gee....I'll never forget my first couple years. The older students just had nothing to do with us younger ones. I felt bad about it...
"Oh wow, one day there I kinda caught you two making the....those doe eyes at each other."
Ethan slapped his hands over his face.
"Oh gee!....Doe Eyes?!....Was it that obvious?!"
"No!....Not at all. In fact it was rather subtle...
"Hey!....You know me. I'm the one who sorta looks for those things. And I thought if we were going to kinda include the younger students, I could use the situation to....push you two together a bit."
Ethan gazed down at the table.
"...Oh gee, Jenny....Was I ever nervous waiting that day. Oh....Gee!....It....it felt like a....a date!"
"Well, I wasn't trying to do that to you. I didn't want to make it quite that obvious! I was just hoping to sort of break the ice. I figured going to a neutral place like Harvey's, would get the ball rolling."
It was here Ryan came from the tent with a large plastic first aid kit. He was holding it close to the lamp in his other hand.
"Oh shit! How do you get this stupid thing open?!....It's a good thing I'm not bleedin' to death!"
He set it before Tim.
"Rye!....You don't lift this plastic tab....You just slide it to the right."
Tim drew out a plastic tube and bottle of tablets.
"Rub this onto each other....And take a couple of these pain pills. There's a sleep ingredient in it. It won't knock you out, but it'll relax you some."
Ryan walked to Ethan and literally dropped to the ground at the edge of the bench.
"...E!....Get to work with that stuff! My shoulders are just killing!"
There was a slight pause as Ethan squeezed the tube into his hand and went for Ryan's shoulder.
"Aaaahhh!....Oh shit! Is that cold!"
It was here they heard Toby's voice.
"Okay! Let's get nakey 'n have some hot buttered boy sex!"
"Ohmigod!" Jenny gasped, dropping her face into her hands.
Tim ran for the tent. He poked his head inside.
"Tob!....JENNY'S here! Will you keep it down?!"
"Oh shit! Oh shit!....That was a joke!"
They could see the tent wobble slightly with movement inside. Toby stuck his head out.
"Oh shit, Jen!....That was a joke!....Really! That's just a joke we've been doin' all week! Really!....We....aren't......doin' anything!"
Tom looked up at the dark sky with a sigh.
"...Umm....Jenny?....I think we'd better get goin' now."
She got to her feet.
"...Sounds like a good idea..."
"Awh!" Tim put in quickly, "You don't have to feel bad about it. Toby was really joking!"
Tom smiled as he pulled Jenny closer.
"No, really!....Jen and I want to take a little stroll on the beach before it gets too late. Her aunt and uncle have her under a midnight curfew."
"Well," Matt put in with a silly smile, "We don't want you turning into a pumpkin or anything."
Tom began drawing Jenny back to the gravel road.
"Hey! We'll see you tomorrow night......Seven okay? I mean, we don't want the pizzas getting too cold."
"Great!" Tim put in, "We'll meet right here at the picnic table. And we're all putting something in toward that. That will cost you a fortune! And we can have a little fire down on the beach too. I'll be sure to have everyone set their phones so we don't forget about the time..."
"Sure thing....See you then."
"Easy Dew!" Ethan shot out, "I'm hurtin' here."
Ryan straddled the bench behind Ethan as he rubbed the cream into his back.
"I'm hardly even touching you! I'm not doin' that to hurt you!...
"...Umm....I sure hope you don't feel like....umm....doing anything tonight. I'm beat! That was just too much out on the lake today."
Ethan nodded his head. He raised his right arm as he rubbed his shoulder with his left hand.
"Oh that sounds great, Dew....I'm actually looking forward to some wonderful sleep tonight. Oh, it'll feel so good just holding each other."
Within minutes, they all returned to their tents.
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