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Journey of Love

By The Journeyman

Chapter 20

You know how you gotta do something and you think it's going to be the worst thing in the world. Like, admit you hit the baseball that went though someone's window, and then instead of them getting mad they laugh and say, "Good hit!" That's what's happening to me. My lover is reading this journal. And instead of getting all mad, he's laughing and crying in all the right spots, and he says he's falling even more in love with me. Ha. Can you believe that?

Now, as to why it's taking so long. This is hard. My lover may like it, but I don't. My counselor keeps insisting it will help. I want to know when. I have so much fear and uncertainty. I get stronger, and my lover is by my side. And I have a great week, then a bad day, and all I can dwell on is that bad day.

At least I have those weeks. They used to be just moments. They've stretched into weeks, because my lover and his family have never wavered.

And that's why. It takes soo long to get through this.

Late that afternoon we sat down with Mr. Shaw. We were scared. And after that talk with Mrs. Shaw, there was no way we were going to relieve each other's tension, if you know what I mean.

But it went okay. I mean, it wasn't okay, but, like, he didn't get mad or anything. He wanted to know about our feelings. He wanted to know if we were sure. And then he asked.

"Have you boys been having sex?"

We just looked at the floor.

"I guess that means yes. Look, I'll be honest. I don't think it's a good idea. I think 15 is too young. But I have to admit that it's only been since I've been a father that I think it's too young. There was a time when I didn't think so."

Neither of us could look at him. I mean, he was doing a pretty good job and all, but...jeez.

"And 25 years ago it wasn't quite so complicated. We didn't have HIV and AIDS and all that. So it's time for the safety lecture."

And we got it. All the big words. None of the common ones. Penis instead of cock. Anus instead of asshole (well, there's one time when the "polite" word is shorter). Testicles, intercourse, oral stimulation, penetration, condom, lubrication. My, my, he'd done his homework. I wondered if he could give us the sites he'd looked up. Maybe they had pictures.

"Here's the deal guys," he said. "We're not going to be sex police. I wish you wouldn't have sex. I wish you wouldn't have much sex if you do have sex. And if you do, please keep it discreet.

"One more thing, boys. Charlie's going to ask questions. You have to decide how much you're going to tell him. And that might create some problems, too. He's getting to the age where he's going to start dating girls . . . well, um, probably dating girls. If he knows you guys are having sex, he's going to ask why it isn't okay for him to have sex. It would make my job easier if -- well, you know."

We promised we'd be discreet. But he noticed we did not promise to lay off the sex.

"I guess the last thing is safety."

"You already covered that, dad," Danny said. "We know about condoms and not having sex with other people."

"I don't mean that kind of safety. I mean your personal safety. The word's going to get out that you are gay. It may just start as a rumor, but rumor is reality to most people. Try not to let anyone else know. I know you'll do that. But when the word gets out -- and I'm almost positive it will -- it may not be pleasant. Keep in shape, and help each other out. Watch out for each other. I think the other guys will help you. You know, I'm going to have to get used to this. I'm still a little -- ummm -- shocked, I guess. That's not really the right word. I'm not sure just what the right word is. 'Disappointed' is NOT the right word. Anyway, even though I'm not quite used to it, I want you both to know that I love you. You can always come to me for help."

When it was all over, we just looked at each other.

"It's not much of a secret any more," Danny said.

"Should it be?"



"For the reasons my dad said. I mean, I don't mind the guys knowing, and Becky knowing, and mom and dad knowing, but what mom said was right. With that many people, It's bound to get out sooner or later."

"I trust the guys," I said.

"I do, too. But look. Remember when Richie was smoking pot with those guys? Remember how mad he was? What if he had just spilled the beans once when he was high? He could have slipped just one and BOOM! Our secret's out. I know they wouldn't tell anyone on purpose. But what if they just slip?"

"Then more people will know, and we'll have to deal with it."

"I'm not good at dealing with things. I wanna play basketball and have fun in high school," he said.

"Are you ashamed of us?"


"Sounds like you are. It sounds like you want to love me and me to love you, but you're ashamed of it."

"I'm just a little scared, that's all."

"All? Look, you started this."

"I did not. You were the one sucking my toes at the swimming hole and getting off doing it."

"You're the one who sucked me off in your bedroom and told me you had always loved me."

"I had always loved you," he said. "I had fantasized about doing that."

"So all this has been just you fulfilling your little fantasy?"

"No, Justin, it hasn't been. When you shoved me in the dirt and called me a faggot -- that wasn't part of the fantasy. And you getting hurt -- that wasn't either. And this -- this isn't either. I do love you, Justin," he said with tears in his eyes. "I love you more than anything in this world. It is a deep love that makes my heart hurt. I want to be inside of you -- not like when we make love, but I mean really inside of you. I want to feel what you feel. I want to know everything about you."

"You already do."

"No, I don't. Because even though we've spent almost every day of our lives together, we are different. And I want to know everything. I love you, Justin. I'm not ashamed. I'm scared. But I'm not ashamed."

His face was wet with tears, and I went over to him and kissed him till he was almost dry. We stayed cuddled like that on the couch till we heard the back door slam. It was Charlie.

"Hey, guys, dad wants to take us to a ballgame over in . . . holy shit, Danny, are you okay?"

Charlie had caught us by surprise. Danny was quickly trying to wipe away his tears.

"Yeah, I'm fine, Charlie."

"What did you do to him?" Charlie asked, glaring at me.

"It wasn't . . . I didn't. I mean, it's not what . . ." I was at a loss.

"Why's he crying? Why are you crying, Danny?"

"It's nothing. I'll explain later."

"Explain now."

"I can't."


I was staying out of this. It was between two brothers. But then again, it wasn't. It was really between three brothers. There was no question in my mind that Charlie was my brother. If Danny was, Charlie certainly was. He was at breakfast every time I was. He was in the next bedroom when I was sleeping in Danny's bed. He was at all the birthday parties and I was at all of his. Sometimes he was a pest, sometimes he was an ally, sometimes he was nowhere to be found. And from what I could see of the others in the group, that's exactly what a brother was. He was also, in Charlie's case, someone I knew I could depend on.

"Because we don't know if you want to know," I said. Danny looked at me.

"Want to know what?"

"Justin . . ." Danny said. I looked at him, a piercing, long, unblinking look. I tried to tinge it with love and concern. I tried to tell him through my eyes that getting it all done at once was probably for the best.

"Charlie, have your mom and dad come here if they can."

"What's this all about?" he asked.

"Ask them if they can come here," Danny said.

In a flash, Charlie was back with his dad.

"Mom's busy. She said Dad could handle this. Handle what?"

"Sit down, Charlie, this may take a while," Mr. Shaw said.

And we began to tell him. We started off by just saying we were gay. Mr. Shaw did a great job of explaining what that meant. He did it better than we could have. He had a real calming effect on Charlie, and a neat way of explaining it. He said it was a word used to describe a special type of love -- one between two people of the same sex. He said he hadn't explained it when he and Charlie had had "the talk" because he didn't know much about it at the time, and it didn't seem important. He said Danny and I had that kind of love for each other. Charlie asked what caused it. Mr. Shaw said there was no "cause," it wasn't a disease, and to answer his question before he asked it, no, Charlie could not catch it from us. Charlie gave him a dirty look at that.

"I'm smarter than that," he said. "But I do want to know one thing. I know you said there was no cause, but did they become gay because Justin and Danny have slept together so much?"

"No, Charlie, I don't believe that's why they fell in love. But don't ask me why. They're the only ones who can say for sure why.

"Don't you love him, Charlie?" Danny asked.

"Well, yeah, but like I love you. And I'm sorry, but, yuck! I don't love you like that."

The four of us laughed at that. "I fell in love with him because he fills something in my heart," Danny said, choosing his words carefully. "He makes me feel complete. I'm happier when I'm around him, and I don't ever want to be away from him. It hurts. He understands about me. He makes me happy. "

"How long has that happened?"

"Since I was six. But I didn't really realize it until about a year or so ago."

Charlie looked at me.

"How could I NOT love someone back who loves me like that?" I said simply.

Actually, it was a lot more complicated than that. Danny was so sure of his love for me. And, I mean, I was sure of mine for him, but not why. Was it really that simple? If so, it seems a pretty flimsy foundation to build a relationship on. I knew in my heart what Danny had done for me. I knew logically that he was a spiritual and emotional rock. I knew he fulfilled a physical need -- a need I hadn't realized existed until one warm spring day, but which had grown into a roaring, burning rage of desire. Can something even be spiritually logical? So why was I hesitating? Why did I think I needed to explain it simply?

Because as fearful as Danny was of physically outing ourselves, I was afraid of outing myself to myself. I was afraid of taking that last step. If I said it out loud, if I told Charlie the reasons I loved Danny, the words would make it so. Spending the emotion to put it into words, and then hearing myself say those words would seal my love, explain it all, and make it so. Amen.

I was afraid of that. I had love at home, but no demonstration of it. My parents were so caught up in themselves and their ongoing fight that I was merely a respite. I had committed my life to loving them, and all they gave me in return was their fight. The anger was not directed at me, but it wasn't directed away from me, either. They didn't protect me from it, and if they truly loved me they would have. So my love for them was not returned. As much as I tried, I could not have their full love back.

What if that happened now? What if I gave my love to Danny? Would he always give it back? I'm sure my folks ooh'ed and ahhh'ed over me when I was a baby, and took loving care of me. Somewhere they stopped. I was sure at that moment that Danny loved me with every molecule of his being. But maybe he would stop. My hesitation was a hedge against that. And right now I couldn't do anything about it.

Fortunately, at that very moment, nothing more needed to be said. It was enough for Charlie. He sat thinking for a moment.

"Have you guys had sex?"

"Charlie," Mr. Shaw said quickly, "that's much too personal. You don't need an answer to that."

But I knew Charlie. He figured he'd gotten his answer.

Mr. Shaw explained about the prejudice society holds against homosexuals. He explained how we could not talk about this to anyone else, and the decision about who to tell was strictly up to Danny and myself.

I was fucking drained. The whole discussion took more than half an hour. We' been up late the night before at the party, we'd come out to Danny's mom, his dad and his brother, we were exhausted, emotionally spent, and I, for one, was hornier than hell.

"What Charlie came to tell you before all this got started, was that I was going to take you guys to the football game at Casselton College tonight, if you'd like to go," Mr. Shaw said. Casselton College was a small college in a town about 30 miles away. They had a fantastic football team that always won the conference and usually made it a long way into the national championship playoffs. Not NCAA Division I, but pretty damn good. But tonight I knew I couldn't. I had to go home. I had to get some rest. I wouldn't enjoy it at all. Not tonight.

"No, thanks, dad," Danny said. "It's been a pretty busy weekend so far."

"Can you still take me, dad?" Charlie asked.

"Sure. It'll just be you and me."

Mr. Shaw and Charlie left. Mrs. Shaw gave us some snacks. Then I went home. I mowed the lawn, and then my dad and I cleaned the garage. It was nice being with him. I'd been spending a lot of time with Danny and on school work, trying to keep up. I hadn't paid much attention to the folks. But then, they didn't really pay much attention to me. When my dad asked me how I was doing, I gave him a medical report, not a psychology report. I didn't know if I would ever tell him I was gay and in love with a boy.

We had dinner as a family that night. Fall was definitely here so I put on a jacket and went outside after dinner. Saturday evenings in the fall in my hometown were wonderful. Even better was to go out to a small state park about 10 miles out of town, build a campfire and roast marshmallows. As the air got colder on those crisp, clear fall evenings the fire got more inviting. We'd inch closer to the flames as they mellowed into glowing embers and look up at the stars. My town isn't very big, but it does have street lights that make the stars dim. At the park, where it was dark, the stars made the sky seem milky. Now I longed to go there again with the guys, and wrap my arms around Danny and hold him against me, his back to my chest as we sit on the chilly ground next to the fire.

Richie was already outside, raking leaves in the dark, working off his perpetual energy. He put down his rake as I strolled over.

"Hi, Justin," he said.

"Hi, Richie. Nice night."

"Yep. And it was a great party last night. You get any more sleep?"


"I couldn't sleep. I fixed that fence over there, then I rearranged my room."

"Again? You rearrange it so much it's a wonder you know where anything is. Don't you bump into the furniture when you get up at night to go to the bathroom?"

He laughed. "Nah. I have a nightlight." And we both laughed at that.

Greg came out of the house pulling a sweatshirt over his head.

"Hey, guys. Nice night. What did you guys do today?"

"Not much," I said. "Caught up on sleep, mowed the lawn, cleaned the garage with dad. Pretty uneventful." Well, it was almost the truth.

Danny joined us next, followed immediately by Kyle.

"Hi, bud," he said to me. He came up and put his arm around my waist.

"Hi, Danny." Everyone said hi to him and Kyle.

"So what did everyone do today?" Kyle asked. Richie and I sort of giggled cuz we'd answered that one already.

"Justin and I came out to my parents," Danny said nonchalantly. I stared at him.

"Wow," Kyle said. "How'd that go?

"It went fine. They both suspected already. They are okay with it."

"You didn't tell me that," Richie said to me.

"Well, I wasn't sure how Danny felt about it. Besides, they were his parents -- he should tell you." What a lame excuse. Truth was, I was tired talking about being gay. I had had enough for the day.

Kyle said, "Hey, Justin. I'm going out to Becky's tomorrow. She wanted me to ask if you'd like to come along."

Danny looked at me. "Go ahead, Justin. I've got a ton of stuff to do around the house for mom and dad."

So I said I'd go. We shot the breeze a little more, then as the courthouse clock struck 11 we all went home. You can hear the courthouse clock if the wind is blowing the right way. Actually, there was no wind that night, but the air had a snap of cold in it that helped sounds carry forever. Three freight trains passed through the town while we were talking (I love trains) and I could hear their whistles blow at the grade crossing a mile east of town. A perfect night. Made even more perfect by the night-long silence in our house. No fights. Nothing to wake me from my sleep, burrowed under a comforter in my room. Even though I spent a lot of nights at Danny's, and even though I loved him, and even though I wanted to feel him next to me, this was my room. My place, with my stuff. It was where I was supposed to sleep until I left home. It had my things in it, and my bed. I had a right to a night's sleep.

Sunday Kyle and I went to Becky's farm. The sun seemed to be extra yellow that day -- giving a golden cast to the Midwest countryside. We helped bail hay, except I didn't last as long as I usually did. I was still recovering from the accident. But I knew I was getting stronger. When I got tired, Becky's brother brought me back from the field in an old, beat up pick-up, and let me drive. I'd done it a couple of times before. It's not easy driving across a harvested field. You bounce and bump along over the furrows left from spring planting and the wheel tries to jerk out of your hands. But I managed to hold it steady, and I was grinding the gears less and less. When we got back I helped with some chores around the barn.

There's nothing like fried chicken on a farm. Mashed potatoes, white gravy, green beans, bread and lemon meringue pie for dessert. Becky's mom is a wonderful cook, and they made us stay for dinner since we'd helped during the day. We got done early -- on Sunday dinner comes about 4:00. The sun was getting low, and Kyle and Becky slipped out the kitchen door. I helped Becky's mom clear the table, then just sat as she did the dishes. We chatted about something or other until Becky's brother came in.

"You guys ready to go home? I'll drive you into town. I'm going to a movie anyway."

"Yeah, sure. I'll go see if I can find Becky and Kyle."

I walked out the kitchen door and let the screen slam a little louder than normal to let them know someone was coming out. I poked around the farm yard, but couldn't find them. Then I went back behind the barn, and there they were, sitting on the fence, Kyle's arm around Becky. The fence where Becky and I had made out, and she figured out I wasn't . . . normal.

"Jim's gonna take us back into town, Kyle," I said. There was straw in their clothes, so I knew they hadn't been on that fence all along. But I also knew they had only been kissing -- there hadn't been time for much else. How unfair, I thought. Kyle and Becky were in love -- or nearly so, at least -- and all they could do was kiss. Heck, they were expected to kiss. But no sex. Danny and I were in love, and having sex regularly. We could have it, but they couldn't. I knew Mr. and Mrs. Shaw had to figure we were having sex, but they hadn't forbade it. If Danny had been serious about a girl instead of me, he'd have gotten the abstinence lecture. Our love was forbidden, but we were free to have sex. Becky and Kyle's love was accepted, but they could not have sex. Too much for my feeble brain.

I woke up about 2:30 that morning to more screaming. I slipped on a jacket and shoes and stole out of the house, across the street to Danny's. The door was locked. I lifted the doormat for the key, and there it was. Better than a security blanket on a night like this. I quietly opened the door, returned the key and closed the door behind me as I went in. Down the dark hall to Danny's room. I stripped off my jacket and my boxers and slid naked into bed next to him. In his sleep he rolled over me, put his arm around me and held me till I drifted off.

School that week was uneventful. I was working out after school, still building my strength. Mr. Daniels, the baseball coach, had me doing some stuff for him. He couldn't meet with the players himself because of the state athletic rules. But I could. I got some of the guys together now a few times and we worked on some strength routines. Danny had started basketball practice, and Richie was done with cross country.

I had slept at Danny's Wednesday night, but was home Thursday night, and went to bed at my house Friday.

One Friday in late October, we had a day off from school. A teacher's in-service day or something. It was a spectacularly warm day -- brilliant sun, warm breeze and freedom. Everything a teenager in my town could want. We didn't usually get days like this in October Danny and I grabbed our bikes and decided to head up to the swimming hole -- the one where I had sucked his toes that started this whole thing. We got up there about 10:30 in the morning. Danny brought sandwiches and chips, I brought pop and cookies. We splashed in the water and had lunch. Then we stretched out on the warm rocks and drifted off. This time, though, we were snuggled against each other in an embrace.

But rocks aren't very comfortable and I didn't sleep much. I slipped out of Danny's arms and sat up watching him. His summer tan had mostly faded, but he was a gorgeous as ever. He'd been working out for basketball. His waist was slender, his smooth stomach was flat, and his hairless pecs were perfectly shaped. But he didn't bulge. Well, between his legs he did a little, but he wasn't muscle-bound. He was gorgeous, that's all.

I laid down next to him and licked his big toe. Not being ticklish, he didn't move. I stuck my tongue in between his toes and tasted him. His feet still turned me on. Enormously. I licked up and down the arch and across the ball. I licked along the base of his toes, then down to the heel which I nibbled. I freed my hardening cock from its confines and attacked his other foot with vigor. He began to stir, but this time I didn't stop. Heel to toes, I licked, sucked and nipped. He rolled onto his back and stretched. He even stretched his feet so his toes splayed out. I moved up over him and kissed him full on the mouth, rubbing my thumbs across his small nipples. He grabbed my bare butt and kneaded it as I ground my hardness into his. He pushed up against me and I reluctantly broke the kiss.

My hands moved to undo the snap on his cutoffs and I pulled them off his legs, pausing to plant a kiss on each sole. We were naked, under the brilliant October sun, lips locked together, hands exploring each other as if we'd just discovered the other's body. Our breathing was heated. Danny laid me down on my back. He sat up and scootched between my legs. Then he lifted my left foot and kissed each toe. Little toe to big toe, then the right foot, big toe to little toe. Pre-cum dripped onto my belly. He leaned over me, and I jumped from the thrill as his cock touched mine. He lifted my glasses off and laid them on a rock near by. Then he pulled me into a sitting position, stood, and pulled me up with him. Arms around each other, we kissed again, our slippery cocks making their own love. My hands moved to his butt, and I found his hole. He moaned into my mouth and almost made me cum right then. I played with him, teasing his precious bud with my fingers.

He pulled me over to the water's edge, then jumped in. I did too, but as soon as I did he climbed out. So I followed him. He lay down, and pulled his knees up to his chest. The water was to be our lube. I pushed against him, he pushed back, and with only a little effort, I was in.

But I did nothing. We stayed like that, not moving. Reveling in each others' body. There was an aura of love in the place, where it started. I'd always thought Danny's blow job on me was the beginning. He was the one who told me he loved me -- wanted sex with me. But it was really me. I was always wondering whether I was really gay. Was I gay to please Danny? That was the question in my mind. But no. I had made the first move. I had licked Danny's toes as he lay sleeping. True, I didn't make him cum, but I made myself cum. And it wasn't over a girl, it was over Danny. I was at peace finally.

"What?" Danny asked.

I just looked at him.

"You got a funny look on your face," he said.

"I did?"

"Yeah. Kind of, I dunno, not like you usually look when you're going to fuck me. A real satisfied look, like you usually get when you're done."

"I just figured out something," I said.


"That I've loved you forever."

The smile vanished. He got serious. And then a tear slipped from his eye.

"Make love to me, Justin. Please."

And I did. We lay on rocks and they hurt. It wasn't soft. But it was loving, and slow. I held his feet as I worked in and out of him. But I didn't want to take too long. My lover was lying on a flat rock, and my knees were on the same rock. I know they say making love outdoors is erotic, but it's also sorta inconvenient. This was our spot, though, and it deserved to be honored. I slid all the way in, then back out. We did that for a while, slow strokes, until my need became urgent. I began moving faster. I couldn't help it. The breath caught in my throat. My strength was almost all returned and because of our, um, exercises, I had my stamina back. My balls ached for release and it seemed like my cockhead itched. I slammed in and out of him, trying to hit the magic spot inside. I took his cock with on hand and pumped him.

"Come on, lover. I'm almost ready," I said. "Cum with me."

He grunted with each stroke into him. I wanted to satisfy us both, but by god I was cumming.

"C'mon, Danny," I panted. "NOW!"

I erupted into him, and amazingly his own cock shot a rope of sweet white boycream out of it. I hated to waste it, but I let this one splash onto him. The next one, I aimed his cock to the side and let the white juice cascade onto the rock. I pulled out of him as another spasm it my cock and I moved so my cum would mix with his on this sacred place.

I lay back down next to him and we kissed. For a long time. Till we drifted off to sleep again.

We woke up stiff from the hard ground, and we realized what a risk we had taken. We weren't the only ones who knew about this place. We'd made love in a spot that lots of people might have visited on a day like this. And we'd slept naked. When we realized it, we hurriedly got dressed, pulled our shoes on, and started back down the bike path.

We came upon a runner and separated to go around her. This time we were careful how we came back together. Suddenly, she shouted at us.

"Hey! Aren't you Danny and Justin?"

We stopped. It was Carly, the lady who'd called my mom the day of the bike accident.

"Hi!" I said.

"You guys doin' okay? You look great!"

We sort of caught her up to date on us -- my tangle with the baseball, things like that. She was amazed. We chatted for a few minutes more.

"You know," she said at last. "You guys should be a little more careful."

"Yeah," I laughed. "We're gonna get frequent patient points at the hospital pretty soon."

"No, I don't mean that. I mean where you take a nap. And how."

We blushed.

"Uh, well." Words failed me.

"Don't worry, guys. It's okay."


"Really. Your secret's safe with me. Besides, I think you make a really cute couple. And ya both have cute butts. Gotta go. Don't worry about anything except making each other happy."

And so another person knew.

But after that, no one seemed to know. The secret seemed to have sealed itself.

By December the basketball team was playing pretty well. Danny wasn't a starter, but he was the first sub to come off the bench in each game. So although he wasn't a star, he was a workhorse. We had weekend get togethers, sleepovers forced by my parents and get togethers at each others' houses. Kyle and Becky were still together. Richie had started dating Carie Vickers, who appeared to be as hyper as he was. I don't know if they were screwing, but if they were it was probably a tangled blur of arms, legs and butts for about 30 seconds and then it was over. And then they went running or something. I don't think they were; they didn't seem overly winded.

Greg wasn't dating, but I don't think he felt out of place. Maybe in private moments he felt sorta left out, fifth-wheel type. But he always went along. Danny and I were comfortable holding hands around the guys and Becky, but Carie didn't know and we weren't about to tell her. What a great age that can be. I know, I've read stories on the web, and some kids have a lot of problem with their teenage years. I guess I did too with my parents and all, but we five guys and Becky -- it was a brotherhood that was solid. And as much as Danny and I got from each other, we also got from the others. I really think we would have been okay as gay lovers just by ourselves, but having the support of four of your four best friends was even better.

Of course, Danny and I didn't make love during the sleepovers with the guys. At Kyle's we all slept in sleeping bags, but at Greg's and Richie's there were beds. Danny and I always slept together, which didn't bother the guys. But when the noise forced me out of my house and over to Danny's we found time to play, even on school nights. It was usually a blow job, jacking each other off or rubbing our cocks together, but it satisfied us. But we were getting frustrated because there were no long, intimate periods where we could tease, play, fuck, cum, recover and start over time after time. Teenage bodies are great for that.

One night, though, about 1:45 I had to leave for Danny's. It had been a rough day at school -- math test, science test, social studies presentation and physical assessment in phys ed. Just one of those days when the forces of evil decide to gang up on you. We were all exhausted by the end of the day. I had eaten in the stony silence of the kitchen, done my homework in tension-filled air, and gone to bed certain that I would be up again before the night was through. I tossed and turned in bed. That's how fucked up things had become. Even when it was quiet, I couldn't get to sleep because I anticipated having to get up again.

Sure enough, just as I drifted off, they started. They HAD to know it woke me up; I was always over at Danny's when they got finished. They knew I didn't stay home. So why did they do it to me?

I got up that night, threw on a pair of jeans, stuck my bare feet into a pair of sneakers, grabbed my parka on the way out and walked across the wind-swept street to Danny's. It was snowing lightly. The key was there, a small light was on over the kitchen sink, and I replaced the key after I'd unlocked the door. Then I kicked by shoes off, hung my parka over a chair and crept down the hall to my sanctuary. Danny scooted over as I pulled back the covers from my side and slid into the part he had warmed up for me. I was cold, so I snuggled up against him. Almost instantly my cock hardened and it pressed against his butt. I pulled my hips back so I wouldn't wake him, but it was too late. He turned to me and we kissed. That was the beginning of the slippery slope -- we were goners from there. We did the mutual blow job as we often had, then settled down, but I still couldn't get to sleep. My parents were on my mind. I was hurt, and I was angry at them. I kept tossing and turning, and finally Danny turned back to me.

"What is it?"

I knew he wouldn't accept "nothing", so I said, "My folks. How unfair is this? Don't they know what they're doing? They think they're fighting all alone, and they're so wrapped up in themselves they can't see how it's affecting others. They don't see what it's doing to me, or to you, or your mom, or dad, or Charlie, they don't see what it's doing to Greg and Richie and Kyle and Becky, they don't see any of that." I started sobbing.

"They don't see that I can't figure it out any more. I think they love me, but they only think of themselves. They feed me, they go to parent-teacher conferences" (how's THAT for a measure of love? It's how desperate I was to find it). "They buy me clothes, even tell me they love me. But I can't stand it anymore. My mom is getting crazier every day. My dad is staying out late more often. They let me come over here, and they never apologize. I LIVE in that house. It's as much mine as it is theirs. They paid for it, but then they brought me into the world, and they owe me a place to grow up. A peaceful, loving place. And they don't give it to me." I was laying on my stomach, pounding the pillow as Danny held me from behind. I was sobbing hard now, unable to catch my breath. Danny held me from behind in a tight bear hug. I screamed into the pillow, cried, and screamed some more. All the while he held me, stroked my hair, and tried to whisper into my ear, "I know. It's all right. I'm here, Justin. I love you. I know, my love." He kept that up for a half hour, till I was done screaming. But I wasn't exhausted. I was tense, still angry.

"Make love to me, Justin."

"Now? We have to sleep."

"We aren't sleeping, and we aren't going to. Make love to me."

He rolled me to my back, and pressed his lips against mine. We began kissing, then caressing, and eating each other up. He played with my nipples, and it opened some door inside of me that released a flood of passion. I was all over him. Kissing, sucking, stroking, twisting, nibbling. Somehow he reached into his nightstand and brought out the KY lube. I grabbed it from him, poured it onto my fingers, and slipped one into him. Two, then three followed, and after getting my penis slick, I fucked him. I slammed into him and he grunted. I pulled nearly all the way out, then slammed in again. Then again, then again, then again, then again, then again, then again, then again. POUND, POUND, POUND, POUND with animalistic -- no, bestial fury. He "ooph"ed with each thrust. SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM. "OOPH OOPH OOPH" I pulled all the way out and slammed back in.

And I looked at his eyes. He was looking at me like he'd never seen me before.

He hadn't.

The person he was looking at was not me. I was taking out my rage, a rage that was a direct outcome of the baseball accident, on him. Those thrusts weren't for Danny, or even for myself. Those weren't thrusts of passion. They were thrusts of anger. They were aimed at my parents. Love-making is not supposed to hurt. Not that way. I had Danny's feet in my hands spread as far apart as I could and my cock was burying to its root in his ass. I'd pounded my pelvis against his so hard I was afraid we'd both be bruised in the morning. I looked at Danny, I looked at what I'd done, and I collapsed on top of him, miserable in my own sorrow.

There was a knock on the door.

"Danny?" It was his mother.


"Is everything okay?"

He paused. I was laying on top of him, chest to chest, the sobbing having returned.

"No, mom. It's not. But don't come in for a minute."

I had him in a vise grip of a hold. "Oh, god, Danny. I'm sorry. I'm soo sorry," I sobbed.

He managed to untangle himself and pull on some boxers. He slipped some sweatpants up my legs and over my hips without my help, then opened his door. I know the room reeked of sex and sweat and KY jelly, but his mom said nothing. I also know it was our fucking that woke her. She was by the bed in two steps and had me in her arms. The two of them walked me out to the couch, and we all three sat there, them consoling me, me inconsolable. I just kept saying, "I'm sorry," over and over. Charlie came out, too, awakened by the racket. He leaned up against Danny, reached out a hand, and stroked my arm.

Why wasn't I born a twin to Danny? Why couldn't I have this love in my life?

But then it struck me. I did have this love in my life. I had Fran, Danny, Charlie and George. I wasn't a twin because then Danny and I couldn't be lovers. This way we could. I had the best of both worlds. His mom treated me like I was her son, and his brother treated me like I was his brother. I had a family in the Shaw's home. I only had to put up with turmoil in my own home. Maybe that was an okay price to pay.

Danny was right. We weren't going to sleep that night. The four of us sat on the couch all night, me snuggled against his mom, Danny against me, Charlie against the other side of his mom with his hand on my arm. Danny's dad was in California again. We dozed, but none of us slept. The morning dawned cloudy and cold, snow falling lightly, wind whistling around the corners of the house, swirling the snow. Not whipping it, the wind wasn't fierce, but it was uninviting. I guess us three kids had finally fallen asleep enough that Fran could wriggle out and start fixing breakfast.

We didn't go to school that day. It was a Friday. Christmas break was a week away. Danny and I went to get dressed, and then I saw the horrible thing I had done. We were both bruised along our groins. Tears came again, and Danny held me, rubbing my back. I felt so low. The boy I loved. I had hurt him physically. I had pushed him into the dirt last spring, and I had beat him last night with my own body, making so-called love to him. We were both tender that day. At one point I had to go to the bathroom and cry knowing I had done that to him. How many times am I going to hurt him?

By Sunday I was able to go back home. I didn't know what to say to them. They were my parents. But I doubted whether they really loved me. And yet I could not confront them. But I also had to start counseling. Anger management. The doc said he wasn't surprised. Head injuries sometimes cause personality changes. He said I hadn't changed much, but I was quicker to anger than before. He said part of it was directly related to the injury, but it was also partly out of frustration knowing that I could no longer play baseball and had to wear glasses and all.

Christmas was entirely forgettable. I got all sorts of shit from my parents. A CD player, a TV for my bedroom, headphones to go with the stereo in my room, a DVD player. All stuff to block the noise, I guess. To try to get me to stay home more. Maybe to make up for the noise. But I noticed it was their choice. I had asked for a letter jacket, a class ring, a new watch. It was all about them.

Christmas at Danny's house was warm and touching. I helped them decorate the tree while Christmas carols played on the stereo in the background. Fran had made molasses cookies that day, and we nuked some popcorn. Danny gave me the watch I wanted. I gave him some CDs and a new set of headphones to go with his CD player. His had been stolen at school.

After Christmas Coach Daniels and me started getting the baseball team together. I would watch them lift weights. I was doing real well myself. There was hardly any trace of my injury left. Only a little limp when I got really tired. But every time coach and I tried to play catch, I couldn't. My hand-eye coordination was just bad enough to end my career. Finally he stopped trying me out because I got super depressed every time.

The basketball team was in contention to win the junior varsity conference during the last part of the season. Danny was still coming off the bench, which was pretty good for a freshman who wasn't all that tall. But he was quick. We lost the next-to-last game, which put us in a tie for first place. The last game of the season we played the perennial conference champs, from a town half again our size. The guys put up a huge fight, playing their hearts out, and losing in overtime by three points. Danny cried in my arms that night. It felt good to be able to do something for him.

I tried to do a lot of things for him. Not just sexual things. I was there for him to talk to. I went to his practices when I could wrap up baseball stuff. We laughed a lot. We were a perfect fit. It was fun with the guys, but we had our own fun, too. We always helped each other shovel the driveways to our houses, then went out to earn a little money shoveling other people's driveways. We sledded, did a little ice skating (we both sucked at ice skating), and, of course, fought the requisite snowball fights. (What's the difference between snow men and snow women? Snowballs!) Charlie was always with us now. He seemed closer since that night at Danny's house.

I went to Danny's just about every other night. It was getting worse at home, but I just couldn't bring myself to go to the Shaw's every single night. They were already too generous with me. On the mornings after the nights when I didn't go over Danny would ask if I'd slept okay. I always lied and said yes. But I'd be a zombie through school. Then I'd sleep over at his house the next night, get a good night's rest, and be fine in school. My grades started to slide, but Danny wouldn't let them. He made me study.

You know, there's nothing like sledding in the Midwest. A fresh snow isn't usually great for sledding, because it can be too powdery. But the next day, jeez, it's great. We'd go up the hill to the swimming hole and carve out a path through the woods, tamping down the snow with a saucer sled. It curved and wound around tree trunks, over ledges and across the open meadows to the edge of a field filled with corn stubble. We'd start back at the top and pound out another. Then we'd get on the sleds with runners and race down, criss-crossing, playing chicken, laughing and shouting the whole time. We'd go down alone, or two on a sled, one lying on top of the other, stomach to back. Even when Danny and I did it there was nothing sexual to it – we were covered by layers of clothes (underwear, jeans and snow pants, two pair of sox and heavy boots). We sledded till our toes were freezing. Then we'd go to someone's house, almost limping from exhaustion and near frost bite, and have cocoa. Sounds idyllic, huh? Well it was my escape. Those guys kept me going through all my parent's selfish fights.

Baseball practice started in February, mostly inside. Coach had me work with the guys more on lifting, but we also began to sharpen our throwing. As the weather warmed and snow melted we moved outside. I could help the infielders by hitting grounders to them. But when I tried to play catch, I just couldn't do it. And batting was worse. I shied away from the ball.

Coach Danielson had me start evaluating the players, and I began to take a critical look at each one of them. I started making charts of their strengths and weaknesses. As batting practice began I watched them at the plate. I'd critiqued their performance at their positions. We had a couple of new guys who joined the team. One was a pitcher with so-so prospects, and one was a third baseman with an arm like a cannon. He could fire the ball across the infield and snap it into the first baseman's glove with authority. He was exciting to watch. One day Coach asked me to dinner after practice and for me to bring any evaluations I had. It was about two weeks before our first game. At dinner he asked me about each player. We hammered out the starting line-up at that dinner. He thanked me for all my help, and then he asked about my health.

"I'm really fine," I said. "Almost no lingering effects." I didn't mention about my anger, and he already knew that I couldn't play baseball anymore.

"That's good. I'm really sorry about what happened."

"It wasn't your fault, coach, and you've been really good to me since then."

"Justin, I know you love baseball, and you know I can't play you. I don't want you to think I've been having you do these things because I feel sorry for you. I'm doing them because anyone who wants to be involved in baseball deserves to be. You can't play it, but you know it well. And this way you can still learn. You did a good job helping some of the guys get into shape, and most of your evaluations were right on. You're still learning the game. I hope you're having fun."

"I am, coach. I'd rather be out on the field, but I'll do what I can to help the team win. And I know that means I can't play."

Coach dropped me off at home, and for once I had a peaceful night. But in the morning I noticed that dad wasn't home.

We played our first game in May, and won. We were on our way to winning the JV conference. We won the next two as well. The guys were clicking really well, and our new pitcher turned out to be awesome after a little work. In game four, something happened. It was the fifth inning. There was no score. Rob Dawson was sliding into home from second after a line drive base hit to right field by Ronald Rosehart. The throw from right field was perfect, but Ronald beat it. The umpire called him out anyway. Coach Danielson raced onto the field to protest. He really raised hell. God, he was mad. He and the umpire really got into it. Then all of a sudden the umpire threw him out of the game. It was soo weird. Coach had never been thrown out of the game.

"What the hell am I supposed to do?" he yelled. "Can I have Justin coach for me?"

"No, the rules say it has to be an adult. Kids can't coach." The hell I can't, I thought. I'd been paying attention.

Coach called Ronald's mom out of the stands and they came into the dugout.

"Lisa, look, I need you to coach."

"I can't coach, Mr. Danielson. I don't know the first thing about it."

"Well, really all I need is for you to be here in the dugout. Justin is going to coach."

"What?" I said. I heard a couple of the guys slap hands behind me.

"You're going to coach. Mrs. Rosehart is just here as the adult. You tell her what to do and she'll be the mouthpiece." We both laughed at that. "You'll do fine. You know what's going on. You know my style. It's okay. I trust you."

"Hey, coach, I ordered you out of the game. Leave now or forfeit."

"Just going, ump. Mrs. Rosehart is going to coach."

"Well, let's get playing," he said. I asked if I could substitute as third base coach and the ump said that was fine, but there had to be an adult in the dugout.

Danielson left the dugout, walked to his car, started it and drove off. He actually went to the end of the sports complex, got out, sat on the hood and watched the game through his binoculars. I looked into the group of parents and siblings that made up the tiny crowd for our games. Danny was sitting there, as he did for most of our games. He was wide-eyed at the turn of events. But as I walked out to the third base coach's box, he smiled and gave me a thumbs-up.

"Batter up!" the umpire yelled.

Don Jenkins was next. He came over to the coach's box from the on-deck circle.

"What do you want me to do, bunt him over to third or swing?"

I looked at the pitcher. A left-hander, and Don was a lefty. He had hit well the first three games.

"Swing, but don't try for a home run if you don't get the right ball. They're playing you to pull the ball, so hit into right – there's a good gap there."

"I'll try."

The first two pitches were balls. Then a strike. Then ball three. This had to be the pitch he swung at. It was like slow motion. From the stretch the pitcher brought his arm around, released the ball and sent it rocketing toward the plate. Don swung, met the ball and sent it over the second baseman's head toward that gap in right center field. Ronald took off at full speed. The center fielder and right fielder both scrambled after the ball, but it dropped before they could get there. The right fielder picked it up, which was a mistake because his momentum was carrying him away from the plate. I was swinging my arm wildly to tell Ronald to go for home. He tore past me and dug for the plate. The throw hit the cutoff man at second, who whirled and flung it home. But it was just off the mark and pulled the catcher to the first base side. Ronald executed a perfect slide and was safe. Don had advanced to second on the throw. Way too cool.

The next two batters stuck out. Randy Graham came to the plate. I'd been working with him on contact hitting – making sure he contacts the ball, not hit for power. Just put it into play.

"Just hit the ball. No power," I said from third base. He swung and missed at a terrible pitch. "Okay, Randy. Choose your pitch." Strike two – good pitch, he just missed. "All right. Watch this one." Outside, ball one. I gave the hit-and-run sign to both Don and Randy. "Watch the pitch," I said to Randy. "Choke up a little." He moved his hands upon the bat. This was a gamble, but I knew we'd need the run. The pitcher forgot to check Don. He took a lead. The pitcher wound, Don took off toward third, Randy swung at the ball. CRACK. It looped over the third baseman's head just about the time Don was rounding the base and heading for home. The left fielder ran in on the ball, scooped it up and realized he had no play at either base. Rather than throw it away, he ran it all the way to the third baseman. Glen Jones made the third out of the inning.

As it turned out, we didn't need the extra run. Our pitcher held them scoreless, and we won 2-0. We were 4-0 on the season. How cool. Coach drove in from across the park. He high-fived all the guys, told them to be at practice the next day, and they all left.

"Good call," he said.

"Thanks. I thought it was something you would do."

"Heh heh. Yeah. It was. You've been watching."

"I've been trying to learn."

"Well, then, it was a pretty good lesson, I'd say."

"What was?"

He just smiled.

"Did you get kicked out of the game on purpose?"

"Justin! Do you think I'd get kicked out of a game just so a 15-year-old kid could coach my team?"

"That's not an answer."

"It's all you're going to get. Pick up those bats and put them in my car. I'll drive you home."

"Actually, I was going to call Danny's mom and have her come and pick us up."

"That's okay. I'll give you both a ride."

I really wanted to hug Danny and celebrate our victory, but not with Coach in the car with us.

"You were on the JV basketball team, weren't you?" Coach asked Danny.

"Yes, sir," he replied. "We had a pretty good year."

"You got a lot of playing time, didn't you?"

"Yeah, but I never started. That was sort of disappointing. I was glad to come off the bench, though."

"I would guess you played guard."

"Yeah. I'm a little bit better at defense than offense. I'm not really expected to score."

"You play baseball, too?"

"Just neighborhood games," he said. "I leave the heroics to Justin."

I blushed. "Oh, stop," I said.

"He was one today," Coach said as if I wasn't even there.

"Yeah, I saw."

Coach asked for Danny's address. As we pulled up in front of the house, we both got out of the car.

"You getting out here, Justin?" Coach asked.

"Yeah. See ya tomorrow, Coach."

"Okay. Good game, Justin."

He sped away. The house was empty when we went in. It was about 6:30. A note on the table said Danny's mom, dad and brother had gone shopping. The next town over had a small shopping mall. As soon as he read the note, Danny was all over me. He had my shirt unbuttoned in record time, unbuckled my belt and had my pants around my ankles. He wet his finger and slid it into my hole as he pulled my jock strap down and sucked my still-soft cock into his mouth.

From there it was a mad love-making session. Right there on the kitchen floor. His folks could have walked in any time. After I came down his throat I slurped him into my mouth and sucked for all I was worth. He came in a thundering load. Then we got our senses about us again and went to his bedroom, where he climbed on top of me and fucked me till we were both raw. We dozed until we heard his parents' car pull into the driveway. We were dressed and coming down the hallway as they stepped into the house.

Mrs. Shaw eyed us, but didn't say anything. We sat down to do our homework.

We celebrated our first "anniversary" by going back to the swimming hole where I'd first assaulted Danny's foot. But this time we didn't make love and we didn't see Carly. We hung out together.

"This has been a great year," I said.

"How can you say that, Justin? You almost died."

"No, I didn't. I'm pretty much better now. The prescription is helping me with my anger, the doc is thinking about surgery to help correct my eyesight, and I'm in love. What could be better?"

"You can't play baseball."

"I don't need to. Yeah, I guess in a way I wish I could, but I have to tell ya I'm having a great time on the bench. Coach is treating me great. And I'm in love. What could be better?"

He giggled.

"Remember last year up here? I woke up while you were sucking my toes. I had no idea you liked doing that."

"I didn't either. That was the first time I'd done it."

"Man, it got me thinking. I knew I loved you, and I thought maybe you could love me the same way."

"I'm glad you took the chance."

"Me, too."

"I was really worried when it seemed like everyone knew. I was scared the whole school was going to find out."

"What would you have done?" he asked.

"Honestly, I don't know. I guess it would depend on how everyone reacted to it. I don't suppose it would be have been very good. Remember how mad Richie got? I think a lot of people would have reacted that way."

"Yeah. Me, too. I hate keeping it a secret, though," he said with some emotion. "I mean, everyone is getting girlfriends. Kyle and Becky. Greg's been dating. Richie has gone out with Candace for a few weeks. Everyone is falling in love. I've already fallen in love, and I can't tell anyone. And I want to, Justin. I mean, I don't, because we'll be in for a lot of shit, but I want to. I want everyone to know that I love you. I want us to be able to hold hands in public. I hate this small town shit."

"Danny, it would be the same in a city, too."

"No, it wouldn't. There are lots of gay people in cities."

"Yeah, but even then a lot of them are abused and discriminated against. All it takes is a few."

He signed. "Yeah. But I think I could stand it if I were with you."

"I'm not so sure I could, even with you. It was soo hard having Richie mad at us."

"Because he'd always been our friend, and all of a sudden he wasn't."

"Maybe. All I know is I couldn't stand the hate."

We sat next to each other. We didn't swish our bare feet in the cold water of the swimming hole like last year, because this year it was fucking freezing. We were bundled in jackets, jeans and shoes with heavy socks.

"You'll never have to take it alone, Justin. I'll always be with you," he said. The cold from the rock we were sitting on was starting to work its way through our jeans and underwear, and my butt was getting numb. We kissed softly, then got up and walked back down the path toward our neighborhood.

There was the usual flurry of year-end activities. And finally, on June 1, the last day of school. We went screaming out the building at noon, followed shortly by the teachers. There was the fantastic feeling of freedom. The five of us went downtown and grabbed hamburgers at Snyder's, flipped through the CDs at The Music House, then went home to goof around. Danny's dad's car was in the driveway, which was unusual, so we went to find out what was up. The five of us tumbled into the kitchen. Mr. and Mrs. Shaw were both there, looking a little, I don't know, shocked, I guess.

"Hi, boys," Mrs. Shaw said. But her voice was funny. "Danny, we need to talk to you."

We all looked at each other. "Can't the guys stay?" he asked.

"Only Justin. I'm sorry guys," Mr. Shaw said. "Danny and Justin will be out a little later."

Richie, Greg and Kyle said that was okay, then left the way we'd come in.

"Sit down, boys," George said.

"Where's Charlie?" I asked.

"In his room. We've already talked to him."

"What's the matter?" Danny asked, panicking. He grabbed my hand and squeezed it.

"I've thought real hard about this, Danny. Talked it over with your mom," George said, looking at his hands folded on the table in front of him. "I just don't see any other choice."

"What?" Danny insisted.

Mrs. Shaw started crying. "Just tell them, George. Get it over."

He got a real pained expression on his face.

"I've been transferred. We have to move. There isn't another job in town for me. The bank wants me to move."

There was a long silence. Then Danny asked the question we all knew the answer to.

"Where to?"

"They want me to become president of the banks they bought in California."

"CALIFORNIA?!?" Danny shouted.

"I'm sorry . . ."

"What the hell do you mean, California? We can't move to California. No way." Danny was going into hyperventilating mode.

"Danny . . ." his mom said.

"No. I'm not going. This is home. I'm not leaving. No. You can't make me. I'm staying. I don't want to move. I want to be with Justin. And the other guys. I'm not going. How could you do this?"

"Danny, I know. . ."

No, you don't know. You can't. I'm not leaving. This is just shit. No. I'm not going. Oh, god. This isn't happening. I can't. Don't you see that? I can't leave. This is our home. No."

"Danny, listen. We've talked this over. If I don't take the job, I won't have one here. They expect me to do this. I know it'll be tough. But I'll be getting a huge raise, and you can come visit every summer."

"Every summer? Every fuckin' summer?"

"Danny, there's no reason for that language," his mom said.

"Yes. Yes there is. There is a big reason for it. It's because I'm fuckin' mad. How can you do this to me? I've grown up here. All my friends are here. Justin's here, and in case you haven't noticed, we're in love here. Oh, man, this can't be happening."

"Danny, I know what you're feeling . . ."

"No you don't. Not unless you're going to leave mom here and move. You can't know what I'm going through. You're asking me to leave my . . .Is THAT IT?? It IS, isn't it?? We're moving to get me away from Justin."

"Danny, no . . ."

Well NO. I'm not going. I can't believe you'd do that. But you are, aren't you? This is just to get us apart. You don't like it, do you? You don't like us being in love. You hate it, huh? You don't want me to love another boy? Well, it won't work. I'll always love Justin. I'm not going. We'll run away together. You can't do this. It's not going to work."

"Danny, no," Mr. Shaw said. "That's not it. You know that's not true."

"No, I don't. It looks true to me."

"It's not, Danny. I know you love Justin. I can't help this. I like it here, too. But I have to do this. We'll come back sometime. But I have to do this."

"SOMETIME?? What does that mean? Ten years from now? Twenty? I'm not coming back because I'm not going."

"Danny, you have to go. I'm not doing this to break you up. Danny, listen." His voice got very soft, soothing. "Danny? Listen to me. Danny, I know you love Justin. I wouldn't break you up. I love him, too, as much as I love you and Charlie."

"That's a lie, because if you did, you wouldn't do this to him. To either of us." Danny turned and fled down the hall to his room, and slammed the door shut.

The two of them looked at each other, and then looked at me as if they'd forgotten I was there. And what was I doing. Crying silently. Tears flooded down my cheeks. I saw my life end. No Danny. No refuge. No place to go. No one to comfort me. No one to comfort. No loving arms. No peace. No breakfast. No motherly caress from Mrs. Shaw. No Charlie. No warm bed. No laughter. No tears. No soul. No life. No reason.

"Oh, Justin, I'm soo sorry," Mrs. Shaw said. She took me into her arms and rocked me as I cried against her shoulder.

"Justin, I don't know what to say," Mr. Shaw said. "Those things Danny said. They aren't true. I wish I could do something. You can come visit. We'll bring Danny back here. I'm soo sorry, too."

Mrs. Shaw tried to console me. But she finally held me away from her and looked at me. "Justin, he needs you right now. And you need him. Go to him, Justin. Help him."

I couldn't answer. The mucus was thick in my mouth and throat. I gasped for breath and stood there. The two of them stood up, each took one of my hands, and led me down the hallway to the closed bedroom.

"Danny? Can I come in?"

There was no answer. So I opened the door. Danny was lying on the bed sobbing. He looked at me standing in the door, and his parents went back down the hallway. He stood up, and I walked slowly to him, closing the door behind me. As I reached him, we grasped onto each other and sank to our knees in tears.

Things change so much in a moment. We want to hold on to what we have, but live revolves around us and we are swept away by things we cannot control. Childhood romances don't usually last. But I was sure ours would. So sure. In my heart sure. It began a series of changes I am dealing with today, and with the help of my lover and his family, I will conquer.
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